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Organic forage option

With the help of a small business grant from the USDA, Wisconsin farmer-breeder Peter Pitts teamed up with Pure-Seed Testing, Inc., of Hubbard, Ore., to create a now widely popular variety of conventional grass forage that is also probably the first certified organic festulolium in North America.

Pitts worked with Michael Casler, who was at that time a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Today Casler is a grass breeder in Madison, at the Agricultural Research Service U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.

Intrigued by Pitts’ success with festulolium (pronounced “fes-tu-lo-lium”), a ryegrass (Lolium genus) with a small number of meadow fescue (Festuca) genes, Casler bred the grass with festulolium growing in old university nursery plots throughout Wisconsin. These plants had survived many years of “get tough or die” conditions like those on Pitts’ old pasture on his 350-acre, mostly organic beef cattle farm.

Pure-Seed Testing’s breeder, Crystal Fricker, screened the plants in Oregon for stem rust resistance, yield, and other desired characteristics.… Continue reading

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USDA Crop Report offers little excitement during harvest

Amid a long harvest of endless hours sitting in a combine seat staring at rows of corn and soybeans, farmers got little from the November USDA Crop Report to generate much excitement.

Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts described the report as “pretty boring.” The grain markets, for the most part, are watching other markets, awaiting thoughts of buying acres for 2012 production.

“The grain market overall did not look at the report as particularly bullish or bearish,” Roberts said. “The market, over the past few weeks, has been much more influenced by the outside markets, primarily equities and the European debt situation. Those have been much bigger factors than grain market fundamentals.”

Roberts said USDA’s latest crop production figures and estimates of supply and demand yielded few significant changes.

The report, released Nov. 9, showed a decrease in corn production of 1.4 bushels per acre, down to an average yield of 146.7 bushels.… Continue reading

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Corn prices sideways and sliding

Corn prices have traded in a sideways pattern since mid-October, but are currently in the lower end of the recent range, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“Soybean prices have trended lower over the past month with January futures now back near the early October lows,” said Darrel Good.

Corn prices received little support from last week’s USDA Crop Production report containing a lower forecast for the size of the U.S. crop. The U.S. average corn yield is projected at an eight-year low of 146.7 bushels, 1.4 bushels below the October forecast, he said.

“The potentially positive price impact of that reduction was muted by USDA’s judgment that feed and residual use of corn will only reach 4.6 billion bushels during the current marketing year, 100 million bushels below the October forecast,” he said.

The forecast is 192 million bushels below the surprisingly small estimate for the previous marketing year, he added.… Continue reading

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Ohio's Crop Progress – November 14th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 48.4 degrees, 6.0 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, November 13, 2011. Precipitation averaged 0.19 inches, 0.61 inches below normal. There were 38 modified growing degree days, 19 days above normal.

Reporters rated 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, November 12, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 36 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13th 2011

Farmers were harvesting corn and soybeans and planting winter wheat when they could in between rain. The northeast part of the state had some fields that were hard to get into because they were saturated with water. They were also doing fall tillage.

As of Sunday November 13th, corn harvested for grain was 51 percent complete, compared to 99 percent last year and 79 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – November 14th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 48.4 degrees, 6.0 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, November 13, 2011. Precipitation averaged 0.19 inches, 0.61 inches below normal. There were 38 modified growing degree days, 19 days above normal.

Reporters rated 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, November 12, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 36 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13th 2011

Farmers were harvesting corn and soybeans and planting winter wheat when they could in between rain. The northeast part of the state had some fields that were hard to get into because they were saturated with water. They were also doing fall tillage.

As of Sunday November 13th, corn harvested for grain was 51 percent complete, compared to 99 percent last year and 79 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Biochars can benefit soils

ARS scientists are leading the way in learning more about “biochar,” the charred biomass created from wood, other plant material, and manure.

Soil scientist Jeff Novak in Florence, S.C., is coordinating the multi-location effort. In one project, he led a laboratory study to see if different biochars could improve the sandy soils found on the Carolina coastal plain, and Pacific Northwest silt loam soils derived from volcanic ash.

Novak’s team used peanut hulls, pecan shells, poultry litter, switchgrass and hardwood waste products to produce nine different types of biochars. All the feedstocks were pyrolysed at two different temperatures to produce the biochars. Pyrolysis is a process of chemical decomposition that results from rapid heating of the raw feedstocks in the absence of oxygen. Then the biochars were mixed into one type of sandy soil and two silt loam soils at the rate of about 20 tons per acre.

After four months, the team found that biochars produced from switchgrass and hardwoods increased soil moisture storage in all three soils.… Continue reading

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Costs and profits on the rise for crops in 2012

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Ohio State University Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

 

Crop profitability prospects for 2012 are positive for the three major row crops in Ohio. Input costs have increased from last year but high futures prices for 2012 crops allow producers to plan for positive margins for next year. OSU Extension Enterprise Budget projections show positive returns for corn, soybeans and wheat in 2012.

But, with that in mind, it is also important to note that OSU Extension Budgets show projected variable (cash) costs for corn, soybean, and wheat production to all be 10% higher in 2012 versus 2011. The higher commodity prices and higher costs lead us to a riskier production year as the cash investment in an acre of corn will top $400 (excluding land, machinery and labor costs) and in some production scenarios be closer to $450 per acre.… Continue reading

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Farm bill proposals mark “evolutionary change”

After analyzing 10 major proposals circulating for the 2012 Farm Bill as of the first week of October 2011, an Ohio State University farm policy expert said the proposals reflect a striking commonality in the philosophical changes underlying the debate over federal farm programs.

“I’m not saying there aren’t differences, but if you look at the proposals in their entirety, there is a large amount of overlap,” said Carl Zulauf, a professor with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “If you focus on the differences, you miss what is a striking amount of similarities in the direction of policy change.”

Zulauf evaluated 10 Farm Bill proposals, looking at those similarities and differences using information from the Congressional Research Service and documents publicly released by the proposal’s author.

All but one of the proposals had a shallow loss component, addressed multiple-year risk, were oriented to revenue, discussed the need for coordination of the program with crop insurance, had an individual crop orientation, and required a loss for a farm to receive payments.… Continue reading

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Farm bill proposals mark "evolutionary change"

After analyzing 10 major proposals circulating for the 2012 Farm Bill as of the first week of October 2011, an Ohio State University farm policy expert said the proposals reflect a striking commonality in the philosophical changes underlying the debate over federal farm programs.

“I’m not saying there aren’t differences, but if you look at the proposals in their entirety, there is a large amount of overlap,” said Carl Zulauf, a professor with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “If you focus on the differences, you miss what is a striking amount of similarities in the direction of policy change.”

Zulauf evaluated 10 Farm Bill proposals, looking at those similarities and differences using information from the Congressional Research Service and documents publicly released by the proposal’s author.

All but one of the proposals had a shallow loss component, addressed multiple-year risk, were oriented to revenue, discussed the need for coordination of the program with crop insurance, had an individual crop orientation, and required a loss for a farm to receive payments.… Continue reading

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U.S. exports face increasing global competition

While the U.S. has been the traditional powerhouse in terms of global crop commodity exports, there is more competition popping u around the world every year.

In the near future, U.S. exports are likely to face strong competition from Ukrainian corn and feed wheat exports, according to Cary Sifferath, a U.S. Grains Council regional director. 



“With a record corn crop this year and plenty of feed quality wheat to sell, I would now say Ukraine will have 10 million metric tons (394 million bushels) to as much as 12 million metric tons (473 million bushels) of corn and 7 million metric tons (257 million bushels) of feed wheat available for export,” he said.


Ukrainian farmers are using fertilizer and other inputs more aggressively to increase yields. Capital spending on port facilities and export capacity is also increasing as multinational exporters invest in the region, but Sifferath feels that rail and export facilities could still prove a bottleneck for moving such grain volumes.

… Continue reading

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November USDA report offers few surprises

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

USDA released their November production estimate for corn and soybeans on Nov. 9. They also published ending stocks as well as supply and demand tables.  USDA put the U.S. corn production at 12.31 billion bushels with a yield of 147.7 bushels per acre. Both numbers are down from October and slightly below trade expectations. Traders were looking for the corn yield to be 147.9 bushels per acre. USDA did also lower corn fed to livestock by 100 million bushels. Ending stocks were estimated to be 843 million bushels.  Corn used for ethanol was unchanged at five billion bushels.

Soybean production was pegged at 3.046 billion bushels with a yield of 41.3 bushels per acre, both are down slightly from the October report. Soybean demand the past several weeks has been extremely poor as South America has been capturing soybean sales normally coming out of the US during the harvest season.… Continue reading

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How late is too late to plant wheat?

By Matt Reese

In the soggy battle with wet weather this fall, Jake Culler in Ashland County (a featured farmer in Between the Rows) said they did not start planting most of their wheat until Nov. 4. Although it is well past the recommended time for planting wheat, the Cullers are hoping to get another 60 or 70 acres in this week to maintain their rotation and produce straw for their dairy.

“Wheat planted this late will likely not tiller well enough going in to winter and as such will likely suffer severe winter-kill,” said Pierce Paul, OSU Extension plant pathologist. “However, if you are lucky and Mother Nature cooperates, weather conditions in November and early December may be mild enough to allow the crop to emerge and develop a few tillers before going into dormancy. In addition, some growth and tiller development may also occur in early spring, again if the weather cooperates.”

To compensate for low tiller development, Paul recommends that any wheat planted this late should be planted at higher-than-normal seeding rates of 2 to 2.2 million seeds per acre.… Continue reading

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Lodged corn slowing harvest

This lodged Fairfield County corn is slowing things down in an already long harvest. The worst lodging in the fields is around the perimeter where the refuge was planted. Despite the lodging, yields are ranging from the 170s on up to around 220 bushels. Volunteer corn is a concern for next year, so Liberty Link soybeans will probably be planted. Refuge in the bag will also be used to prevent this refuge associated problem in the future. Have you seen much lodging in your fields? Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – November 7th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 46.1 degrees, 1.9 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, November 6, 2011. Precipitation averaged 0.23 inches, 0.49 inches below normal. There were 34 modified growing degree days, 2 days below normal.

Reporters rated 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, November 4, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 59 percent adequate, and 41 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6th 2011

Farmers were harvesting corn and soybeans and planting winter wheat.

As of Sunday November 6th, corn mature was rated at 95 percent, compared to 100 percent for both last year and the five-year average. Corn harvested for grain was 34 percent complete, compared to 94 percent last year and 67 percent for the five-year average. Corn silage was 96 percent harvested, compared to 100 percent for both last year and the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Ohio's Crop Progress Report – November 7th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 46.1 degrees, 1.9 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, November 6, 2011. Precipitation averaged 0.23 inches, 0.49 inches below normal. There were 34 modified growing degree days, 2 days below normal.

Reporters rated 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, November 4, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 59 percent adequate, and 41 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6th 2011

Farmers were harvesting corn and soybeans and planting winter wheat.

As of Sunday November 6th, corn mature was rated at 95 percent, compared to 100 percent for both last year and the five-year average. Corn harvested for grain was 34 percent complete, compared to 94 percent last year and 67 percent for the five-year average. Corn silage was 96 percent harvested, compared to 100 percent for both last year and the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Hybrid comparison considerations

By Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc.

As you harvest corn this fall, it is important to assess the performance of the hybrids in the field, but there are some important considerations to remember. We can’t compare the performance of hybrids of different relative maturities, especially when they are 7 to 8 days apart unless we are trying to study different maturities. Also, we should not compare the yields of hybrids planted 10 days apart unless we are trying to study the effects of planting dates on yields.

Planting is one of the most important things you do during the growing season. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of doing a good job of planting. The fields planted in a rush will be uneven in germination as well in spacing. It has been shown by studies conducted at Purdue and Ohio State Universities as well as in my own studies conducted over the years that seedlings which emerge even a couple of days later than their neighbors will have a disadvantage.… Continue reading

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Brown marmorated stink bug could be Ohio’s next pest

As if there were not enough challenges to face in Ohio agricultural production, a new one may be on the eastern horizon.

“The brown marmorated stink bug has been expanding westward from the east. This was first found in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago and has been expanding westward across the soybean growing regions,” said Andy Michel, assistant professor at OARDC and Ohio State University Extension with a specialty in soybean insect management. “We have found some of these populations in Ohio. We typically find them first in homes. They have a behavior similar to that of the multicolored Asian Ladybeetle where they overwinter near homes. The pictures I’ve seen from out east are pretty dramatic where people are sweeping the stinkbugs off of their front porches into five gallon buckets.”

They can explode into large populations and they have a diverse and large appetite.

“The are important pests of many agricultural commodities like fruits, field corn and soybeans,” Michel said.… Continue reading

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Brown marmorated stink bug could be Ohio's next pest

As if there were not enough challenges to face in Ohio agricultural production, a new one may be on the eastern horizon.

“The brown marmorated stink bug has been expanding westward from the east. This was first found in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago and has been expanding westward across the soybean growing regions,” said Andy Michel, assistant professor at OARDC and Ohio State University Extension with a specialty in soybean insect management. “We have found some of these populations in Ohio. We typically find them first in homes. They have a behavior similar to that of the multicolored Asian Ladybeetle where they overwinter near homes. The pictures I’ve seen from out east are pretty dramatic where people are sweeping the stinkbugs off of their front porches into five gallon buckets.”

They can explode into large populations and they have a diverse and large appetite.

“The are important pests of many agricultural commodities like fruits, field corn and soybeans,” Michel said.… Continue reading

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The mathematics (and economics) of soybean shrink

By Matt Reese

This wet soybean harvest has been challenging and has renewed concerns of farmers concerning the shrink charge that is fodder for regular coffee shop conversations.

“The quality has been very good this year with big, healthy beans. Guys have been taking beans off a little wetter, but most are in the 11% or 12% range,” Randy Broady, Director of Grain Operations for Trupointe Cooperative. “Shrink is charged at 13% and I would guess that less than 20% of the beans coming in have been over 13% moisture.”

The charge for shrink is intended to account for the amount of mass that will be lost as the soybeans are dried. While farmers do not want to face deductions in their checks from the elevator, they are actually often better off taking in wetter beans and being charged for the shrink, according to Broady.

“If I’m a farmer, I would rather deliver a wetter bean because they are actually bringing in more weight and, even after the discount, they are coming out ahead,” he said.… Continue reading

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India could be the next emerging major export market

India’s growth outlook “appears more subdued than last year,” but analysts still expect to see it hover around 8%, reported U.S. Grains Council Consultant Amit Sachdev.



The International Monetary Fund now pegs Indian growth at 7.8% for 2011/2012, citing challenges from high inflation and higher interest rates, which could dampen demand. The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, meanwhile, projects growth close to 8%. 



The Reserve Bank of India recently raised interest rates for the twelfth time in 18 months in an effort to slow inflation and reduce demand, but since borrowing by Indian households is low, consumers have liquidity to absorb the increase. Monthly installment payments on loans represent less than one percent of Indians’ total household income.


Even with a slowdown, India’s growth is likely to outstrip many other nations’ this year. India is now the world’s fourth-largest economy, following the United States, China and Japan, and is about to surpass the Japanese economy in size.… Continue reading

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