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Pioneer introduces new transgenic corn product, Optimum Intrasect

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel and Bruce Eisley, Ohio State University entomologists

Pioneer has just announced a new transgenic corn hybrid that will serve as an intermediate and technical step between Optimum AcreMax 1 (from the first family of Optimum AcreMax products) to Optimum AcreMax and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (from the second family of products).  While having Bt proteins for both corn borers and corn rootworm control, Optimum AcreMax 1 still needs a separate 20% refuge for the corn borer portion of the mix (refuge-in-the-bag is only for rootworms), whereas Pioneer’s intent for Optimum AcreMax (for above-ground pests) and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (for above- and below-ground pests) is to be truly refuge-in-the-bag for both pests.

Until that time comes, hopefully within a year or so, they have obtained EPA approval and released to the market an intermediate product called Optimum Intrasect which contains two gene proteins, Cry1F and Cry1Ab, for corn borer control (rootworm control is not part of Optimum Intrasect). 

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Pellets reduce costs, but not enough for cellulosic ethanol producers

Despite reducing transportation and handling costs, pelletizing cellulosic biomass would not be cost-effective for ethanol producers, according to a Purdue University study.

Klein Ileleji, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, and Preethi Krishnakumar, a graduate research student, factored the costs and logistical requirements cellulosic ethanol producers would face using different types of biomass – corn grain, corn stover and switchgrass – in both bale and pellet forms.

Their findings, published in the current issue of the journal Applied Engineering in Agriculture, show that the denser cellulosic pellets would allow ethanol producers to save money by utilizing the same equipment used to transport and handle corn grain that flows using elevators, hoppers and conveyor belts.

“If a producer is switching from a corn ethanol plant to a cellulosic plant, they are starting with an existing grain system, and the storage and handling costs for pellets will be less since they are granular and flowable like corn grain,” Ileleji said.

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Ohio Soybean Association and Ohio Soybean Council Announce Staff Changes

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) and Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) recently welcomed Adam Ward as the new OSA executive director and OSC director of marketing and outreach.  Rocky Black, OSC director of bioproducts utilization, will now also serve as OSA senior policy advisor.  Jennifer Coleman, former OSC communications coordinator, has been promoted to OSC communications director.

These staff changes follow the departure of Jamie Butts, who had served as OSA executive director and OSC communications director.  After six years with OSA and OSC, Butts left the organizations to pursue an opportunity with Pioneer Hi-Bred.

As executive director of OSA, Ward will lead the state and federal policy efforts and statewide membership program, as well as OSA’s producer education initiatives.  As OSC director of marketing and outreach, Ward will manage domestic marketing initiatives including areas such as animal agriculture and soy biodiesel.  He will also coordinate OSC’s industry outreach activities.

Ward most recently served as the assistant to Gov.

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Pesticide applicator alert

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

The state legislature and the Ohio Department of Agriculture have been busy since last winter; new updates have been made to your pesticide license. So any applicator who holds an Ohio Private Applicator License has just received an updated license – every private applicator in Ohio.

Why the new license? They actually have simplified the process, by reducing the categories from 13 to 7. And that means fewer tests, fewer categories to get recertified in, simpler. It is hard to believe, but this is one government function I am happy about. Everything is still covered it’s just been combined with similar categories.

For most of us across Ohio we have categories 1, 2 and CORE. Those cover Field Crops (1), Forage Crops and Livestock (2) – of course everyone has CORE that is the regulation, environment and safety area.

Category 1 now includes seed treatment, stored grain and noncrop in addition to weeds, insects and disease control for corn (all corn including sweet), soybeans and wheat.

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Hybrid selection for 2011

Ohio corn harvest may not be quite wrapped up yet this season, yet growers are already making decisions about hybrids to plant in 2011.

Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension state agronomist, said that hybrid selection is one of the most important management decisions a grower makes each year.

“It’s a decision that warrants a careful comparison of performance data,” said Thomison, who also holds an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “It should not be made in haste or based on limited data. Planting a marginal hybrid or one not suitable for a particular production environment imposes a ceiling on the yield potential for a field before it’s been planted.”

Thomison recommends that growers choose hybrids that are best suited to their farm operation.

“Corn acreage, previous crop, soil type, tillage practices, desired harvest moisture, and pest problems all determine the relative importance of such traits as dry down, insect and disease resistance, early plant vigor and plant height,” said Thomison.

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Input for head scab tool requested

Ohio State University Extension plant pathologists are asking wheat growers, millers, bakers, and grain handlers for their input on a multi-state web-based tool that evaluates the risk of the development of head scab, a serious disease of wheat that affected several acres throughout in 2010.

The Fusarium Head Blight Risk Assessment Tool (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/riskTool_2010.html) is one of the largest early disease warning systems in the nation that uses a combination of weather patterns, the type of wheat planted, and the flowering dates of a grower’s wheat to predict the level of risk a grower may face from head scab. The tool provides daily estimates of scab risk for 25 states east of the Rocky Mountains.

“Fusarium head blight or head scab of wheat has been an important problem in Ohio, with the biggest outbreak in the last 10-14 years occurring in 2010,” said Pierce Paul, an OSU Extension plant pathologist and wheat specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

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Crop Production report

The markets had been waiting on the latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Production report and quickly responded to lower crop production levels.The grain markets were higher right out of the gate following the release of the report, but corn and wheat suffered from profit taking later in the day.

As of Nov. 1, U. S. corn production is forecast at 12.5 billion bushels, down 1% from the October forecast and down 4% from last year’s record production of 13.1 billion bushels. Yields are expected to average 154.3 bushels per acre, down 1.5 bushels from the previous month and 10.4 bushels below last year’s record of 164.7 bushels.

U.S. soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.38 billion bushels, down 1% from the October forecast but up slightly from last year. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 43.9 bushels per acre, down 0.5 bushel from last month and down 0.1 bushel from last year’s record high yield.

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Midwest elevators offering growers premiums for low linolenic soybeans

Through a program with Bunge Oils, a select group of elevators in the Midwest is offering growers expanded options to earn a 55-cent-per-bushel premium for harvest delivery and a 60-cent-per-bushel premium for buyers call for Pioneer brand low linolenic soybeans. These elevators include key locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A complete list of participating elevators is available by visiting www.pioneer.com/LLSoy, then selecting the “2011 Low Linolenic Soybean Program with Bunge” button on the left side of the page. 


“With food companies looking for 0g trans fat alternatives that preserve flavor and shelf life, the market for low linolenic soybeans continues providing contracting opportunities for growers,” says John Muenzenberger, Pioneer senior business manager for soybean output traits. “At the same time, Pioneer has provided a strong low linolenic soybean lineup to help growers meet that demand.” 


Following is an overview of Pioneer low linolenic soybean varieties available to growers for the 2011 season:

92Y50 (RR) – Mid-Group II variety, SCN resistance, excellent harvest standability

92Y71 (RR) – Ultra-low linolenic variety, SCN resistance, strong emergence, harvest standability

93Y03 (RR) – Early Group II variety, SCN and Phytophthora resistance, SDS tolerance

93Y50 (RR) – Ultra-low linolenic variety, strong emergence and harvest standability, Phytophthora root rot resistance, avoid planting where iron chlorosis is common

93Y71 (RR) – Contains 1k Phytophthora resistance gene, race 3 SCN resistance, good SDS tolerance

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Corn prices and ethanol

Corn prices continue to be supported by expectations that the USDA will reduce the forecast size of the 2010 U.S. crop and by a rapid pace of ethanol production. The rate of exports and export sales has been somewhat disappointing, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Reported expectations for the Nov. 9 USDA Crop Production report are for a slightly lower yield and production forecast, with the average yield guess reported at 154.4 bushels. The October forecast was 155.8 bushels. A smaller production forecast without any change in the consumption forecasts would further reduce the expectations for the size of year-ending stocks,” he said.

A 114-million-bushel reduction in the forecast of crop size, as implied by a yield of 154.4 bushels, would reduce the projection of year-ending stocks to 788 million bushels or 5.8 percent of projected consumption, he added.

Ethanol production during the first nine weeks of the 2010-11 corn marketing year averaged 36.344 million gallons per day.

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November 9th USDA Crop Report

Corn Production Down 1 Percent from October
Forecast Soybean Production Down 1 Percent

Corn production is forecast at 12.5 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the October forecast and down 4 percent from last year’s record production of 13.1 billion bushels. As of November 1, yields are expected to average 154.3 bushels per acre, down 1.5 bushels from the previous month and 10.4 bushels below last year’s record of 164.7 bushels. Forecasted yields decreased from last month throughout much of the Corn Belt, with the biggest decline forecasted in Missouri, down 7 bushels per acre. The expected yield in South Dakota declined 5 bushels from last month while the Nebraska yield dropped 4 bushels per acre. Record high yields are forecast in California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.38 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the October forecast but up slightly from last year.

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New weight limit for trucking containers levels the playing field for Ohio ag

By Matt Reese

As a result of its central location, access to major waterways and plenty of railways, Ohio has an abundance of empty shipping containers sitting around. More stuff comes in to be distributed than there is stuff that is going out.

Along with all of the empty shipping containers, Ohio is also blessed with abundant agricultural commodities including corn and soybeans that are in demand around the world. It is only logical that Ohio’s top commodity crops, especially high-end food-grade non-GMO crops, be shipped to the world via empty containers.

“A lot of the premium specialty soybean market is transported in containers. And when freight rates go up for overseas shipping, we start to see more of the commodity grains going into containers,” said Kirk Merritt, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC). “We also see export buyers that do not want to buy in bulk, but are interested in a small number of containers instead of buying a tanker load.”

There are several businesses in Ohio that have taken on the challenges of container shipping soybeans in particular, but this state has an inherent disadvantage when it comes to container shipping on the highways.

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Elections favor continued federal commodity payments

Farmers who favor continuation of federal commodity payments should come away from Tuesday’s (Nov. 2) election feeling good, a Purdue University agricultural economist said.

While Republicans regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrats held onto the majority in the Senate, the new agricultural committees in each chamber aren’t likely to touch farm subsidy programs, said Otto Doering, a farm policy specialist. There’s even a good chance both committees will abandon attempts by current House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson to eliminate direct payments, he said.

“Congressman Peterson’s desire is to back off direct payments and, instead, strengthen counter-cyclical payments to make agricultural subsidies more reasonable and fair to the public,” Doering said. “I think that’s dead meat at this point as farm groups rally again to preserve the direct payment, particularly in this time of high commodity prices.”

Counter-cyclical payments date back to 1933 and are traditional price support subsidies provided to qualifying crop farmers when the prices for their crops are lower than a specified level.

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2010 corn harvest wrap-up

By Matt Reese

Stark County farmer Earl Wolf got an early start with harvest and finished early — Oct. 25, specifically. Wolf was not alone in his early finish. It was downright spooky with most of Ohio’s corn and soybean crop out of the fields before Halloween this year.

By Nov. 1, Ohio corn harvest was 91% complete, compared to the five-year average of 50%, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Soybeans were 97% harvested, with a five-year average for early November of 85%. Winter wheat emerged in Ohio was at 80%, with the average normally at 67%. The winter wheat crop rating for Ohio is 65% good to excellent, better than last year’s 61%.

Nationally, corn harvest was 91% complete compared to 24% last year and the 61% average, according to NASS. Soybeans were almost wrapped up at 96% harvested. Last year, soybeans were just half done by the same time.

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Great opportunity for fall fertilizer applications

With corn and soybean harvest ahead of schedule in Ohio, farmers are encouraged to make their fertilizer applications now.

“This is a rare opportunity for farmers,” said Robert Mullen, an Ohio State University Extension fertility specialist. “With harvest about two weeks early, on average, they can get quite a bit of fertilizer applications down this fall and avoid that frozen ground application in the winter.”

Mullen, who also holds an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, said that phosphorus and nitrogen are the two main fertilizer inputs made to the soil and extra care should be taken with how both are managed.

“Soil test, soil test, soil test,” said Mullen. “Know what your nutrient status is. If you don’t need phosphorus, don’t apply it. Point blank. End of story. There is no agronomic benefit to applying more phosphorus than is needed.”

If a phosphorus application is required, specifically as an input from manure, Mullen encourages farmers to follow best management practice recommendations on application amounts.

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Syngenta Agrisure Viptera Trait wins Agrow Awards “Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology” honors

Syngenta has received a prestigious Agrow Award in recognition of the company’s new Agrisure Viptera corn trait in the Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology category. The award was presented at the annual 2010 Agrow Awards ceremony in London, England, on Nov. 2. Agrow is a leading provider of news, analysis and data for the global crop protection industry.

The Agrisure Viptera trait is a novel insect management tool that protects corn crops against a variety of harmful pests, including corn earworm, black cutworm and Western bean cutworm. With this ability, the trait can help U.S. corn growers recoup an estimated 238 million bushels of corn and $1.1 billion in annual yield and grain quality losses due to damage from these pests(1). The trait is available in hybrids from Garst®, Golden Harvest® and NK® Seeds and will also be made available through licensing agreements.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and is another validation of the global recognition of Syngenta’s success in delivering leading edge biotechnology solutions for growers’ problems,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of Syngenta Biotechnology R&D.

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Soybean aphids could be a threat in 2011

While 2010 was not a significant year for aphid infestation, that doesn’t mean growers can or should ignore this yield-robbing pest in 2011, according to experts from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. 


After 2009 presented a very widespread, severe year for aphid infestation, the 2010 growing season was more limited, with only pockets of serious aphid problems, largely in Minnesota. 


That said, researchers like Jessie Alt don’t see the problem lessening. 


“There’s no crystal ball, but aphids have gone from being an every-other-year threat to becoming a challenge every season,” says Alt, Pioneer research scientist. “So the probability is high that aphids will be an issue again in 2011.” 


As growers consider seed selection for next season, Pioneer experts suggest growers leverage antibiosis ratings and select soybean varieties with native tolerance as the first line of defense. Antibiosis refers to natural characteristics that discourage aphids from feeding and reproducing, and it provides some general protection from all biotypes.

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Requests for Stink Bug Information Met With Overwhelming Response

With the help of homeowners, Ohio State University Extension entomologists have compiled plenty of statewide data on the brown marmorated stink bug, a relatively new pest to Ohio that not only damages crops but takes up overwintering residence in homes.

“From the data we’ve received so far, we know that Ohio is inundated with the stink bug,” said OSU Extension entomologist Ron Hammond. “At this time, we have enough data to work with, so we no longer need assistance. But we greatly appreciate the help we’ve received from homeowners in our research efforts.”

OSU Extension county offices have been overwhelmed with phone calls and e-mails the past week from homeowners reporting the presence of the brown marmorated stink bug in their homes.

Researchers are interested in tracking the range of the pest in order to develop ways to control the insect and prevent it from damaging crops or populating homes.

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How high will corn go?

December 2010 corn futures moved above $5.00 in mid-September, moderated in early October, and then moved sharply higher following the USDA’s October Crop Production report. The month of November started with new highs for that contract, said Darrel Good, a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“Even though prices are at the highest level since July 2008, some analysts are projecting even higher prices, with $7.00 being a favorite target. The obvious question is: Why are higher prices needed?” he said.

The role of the corn market is twofold. First, corn has to be priced so that current supplies last until the next harvest. Second, corn prices have to motivate sufficient production in 2011 to meet needs during the 2011-12 marketing year, he said.

The second objective is met primarily by directing acreage decisions in 2011. Corn prices continue to adjust as the market’s assessment of the “right” price needed to meet these objectives changes.

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Nov. 20 NAP crop deadline


Steve Maurer, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, would like to remind producers that they have until November 20, 2010 to sign-up for the 2011 Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP) crop coverage.  This deadline applies to the following crops: Apples, Asparagus, Blueberries, Caneberries, Cherries, Chestnuts, Forage for Hay and Pasture, Grapes, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Strawberries, Honey and Maple Syrup.
NAP covers losses caused by damaging weather conditions.  Producers receive a payment when the loss is in excess of 50 percent.  Losses are generally determined by the percentage of loss compared to the producer’s actual yield history.  Eligible production losses are paid at 55 percent of the established value for the crop.
The service fee is $250 per crop per county or $750 per producer per county.  The fee cannot exceed a total of $1875 per producer with farming interest in multiple counties.  Limited resource producers may request a waiver of service fees.
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