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Cover crop termination

By Alyssa Essman and Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension, Weed Science Specialist

The 2019 growing season came and went and left many fields in a state of disarray heading into 2020. Many growers that were unable to plant decided to use cover crops, to reduce soil erosion and provide some weed suppression during the extended fallow period. Terminating these cover crops using the right methods at the right time will be critical to ensure timely planting and prevent the cover crops from competing with cash crops. The three main methods of cover crop termination are natural (species that winter kill), chemical, and mechanical. Cover crops may also be bailed, grazed, or harvested as silage. Most species require some sort of management decision for termination. Cover crop species, growth stage, weather, and cover cropping goals should all be considered when planning termination method and timing. These decisions require a balance between growing the cover long enough to maximize benefits and terminating in time to prevent potential penalties to the following cash crop.

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Innovative nitrogen producing microbial for corn

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Field Leader, CCA

Nitrogen loss from synthetic fertilizer is a concern for many farmers as it is a loss in potential bushels, and also can be harmful to the environment.

“Research has found in some light soils, as much as 40% to 60% of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer can be lost due to volatilization into the air,” said Mark Reisinger, vice president of commercial operations with Pivot Bio.

The timing of nitrogen (N) application can also be an issue. Having the N available to the crop in a usable form, when the plant needs it can be hit or miss. Traditionally, synthetic N fertilizer is applied multiple times throughout the growing season to feed the soil, and meet a growing crop’s needs.

A microbe was found in Missouri, and new microbial product has been developed utilizing it to capture N from the air, and deliver it to a corn crop in a form that can be utilized.… Continue reading

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Attendance record set at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio

By Matt Reese

A record number of farmers converged in San Antonio in late February for the 2020 Commodity Classic.

The total number of farmers registered was 4,678 — the highest number in the show’s 24-year history, eclipsing the previous record of 4,595 set in 2016 in New Orleans. Total registration of 9,350 was also second only to the New Orleans event.

The event was held Feb. 27, 28 and 29 and featured dozens of educational sessions, a huge trade show with nearly 400 exhibitors, a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, a concert performance by Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry, policy meetings of the commodity associations, a wide variety of presentations from well-known industry leaders and top farmers, and tours of area attractions.

Ohio’s farmer leaders were on hand to set policy and the stage for what they are hoping will be a great 2020 for U.S.… Continue reading

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Challenges linger from 2019

By Alan Sundermeier, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

As farmers are preparing for the 2020 cropping season, the challenges of 2019 may still linger. There are basically three scenarios which will influence 2020 cropping practices.

Corn or soybeans were planted
Yes, there were some acres of corn planted last year in northwest Ohio. Storage of low test weight and higher moisture corn is creating mold and damaged grain. Above normal winter temperatures and humid air have interfered with proper aeration of storage bins. Farmers need to monitor grain bins and be prepared to unload before spring temperatures rise. Also, fall tillage was not done due to wet soil conditions. This may change tillage plans this spring. No-till soybeans into corn stalks are a better alternative.

Soybeans were planted later than normal in 2019. As a result, less wheat was planted last fall due to the late soybean harvest. Will more acres of 2020 soybeans be planted into those same 2019 soybean fields?… Continue reading

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March looking to be warmer, not as wet

By Jim Noel, NOAA

A warmer than normal March is now anticipated. This is a change toward the warmer side. This will speed green up conditions and start evapotranspiration early this spring. This will also help to dry out our really wet soils, a little bit at least. The bottom line is things are shaping up to not be as tough this spring.

The outlook for March calls for above normal temperatures and near to a little bit above normal rain (but not as wet as it had looked like several weeks ago) https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

The spring outlook calls for things to be warmer and slightly wetter than normal but not as wet as last year. The summer is still leaning toward warmer than normal but a swing toward drier than normal.

Hence, the planting season appears not as tough as last year but there still could be some summer challenges ahead as dryness could develop.… Continue reading

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Strip-till advantages

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Spring tillage warms the soil because each tillage pass reduces soil moisture by 0.5 to1.0-acre inch. It takes 10X more energy to warm up cold wet soil then air, so a tilled warmer, moist, well aerated corn seed may germinate faster.  Tillage create good seed-to-soil contact for even and consistent corn stands and also kills early weeds which may reduce yields 10%.  Tillage also burns up carbon and mineralizes soluble nutrients (50 PPM nitrates) for faster early corn growth. These early tillage benefits are the main reason why farmers do annual tillage.

The downside risks though are also a problem.  Tillage causes higher soil erosion, soils start to seal as the soil organic matter is mineralized (40-60% loss in SOM in last 75 years), soils become tighter, harder to farm, less water infiltration, ponding water, and higher water and nutrient runoff. Weeds and other pests (insects and diseases) thrive on tilled soils, and generally more inputs (fertilizer, fuel, equipment, pesticides) are needed to get good yields.

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Plenty of highlights from day one of CTC

Farmers and CCAs again crowded the halls and meeting rooms on Ohio Northern University’s campus for the Conservation Tillage Conference that started yesterday and continues today.

One highlight from the morning program was the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Program announcement of Wesley Haun from West Liberty as the 2020 CCA of the Year. Haun is the senior agronomist at Tiger-Sul Products, LLC. With more than 32 years of crop advising experience and service, he was one of the earliest Certified Crop Advisers. As planting season approaches, Hahn is helping customers rebound from the challenges of last year.

“We’re helping farmers sort through the decisions they have to make from a crop production standpoint. We have a lot of fields from last year that were left fallow. We also have to sort through what fertility was applied,” Hahn said. “There was also the potential for weeds and that dynamic has to be considered as well.… Continue reading

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Determining the proper corn plant population

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

One factor that greatly influences corn yields is plant population. Determining the correct plant population may take some effort, however, it is a critical factor that every corn grower needs to get right in order to maximize yields. Recent research performed by universities and seed companies has determined that that yields increase significantly as populations are increased up to a point of 34,000 seeds per acre. In general, yields begin to level off at planting rates around rates 36,000 seeds per acre. Recent studies have also determined that even in low yield environments planting rates of 31,000 seeds per acre maximize yield and economic return. In very productive, 250 bushels per acre yield environments, research results show that higher populations (38,000+ seeds per acre) maximize yields. Breeding and advances in genetics have improved the modern corn plant’s ability to yield at higher populations when compared to corn hybrids from the past.… Continue reading

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Compaction or poor soil structure?

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Engineers insist that soil compaction is caused by wheel traffic (true) but it also comes from excessive tillage, rain (think hard driving rains) and gravity (to a lesser degree).  Soil compaction is poor soil structure due to a lack of roots and active carbon (soil organic matter, SOM) from root exudates.  Tillage adds soil oxygen that promote bacteria that breaks down the good soil structure (macro-aggregates, macro’s) or soil that crumbles.  The glues that form the macro’s comes from plant roots and microbial waste or byproducts.  Bacteria wastes are important for cementing soil particles into micro-aggregates (micros) while fungi are important for producing glomalin that cement micro’s together into macro’s. Micro’s are the building blocks to good soil structure, but without the glues, they cause poor soil structure or compacted soils.  A balance of soil bacteria and fungus are needed for good soil structure.

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Brazil harvests a record crop amid export uncertainties

With 40% of its soybean area harvested by the end of February and favorable weather conditions in most of the country, Brazil is definitely headed for a record production this season.

In early February, AgRural raised its production estimate to 125.6 million metric tons, more than 10 million tons up from last year. There are drought-related losses, however, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state and number-three soybean producer.

AgRural has already made two cuts to the forecasted production for the state since the beginning of the year and further reductions will be made in March. Other states, on the other hand, have very good prospects and are likely to make up for most of the losses in Rio Grande.

Exports
Even with a bumper crop, Brazil is likely to export less soybeans in 2020. Before the coronavirus outbreak in China, AgRural had estimated exports at 70 million metric tons, 4 million metric tons down from 2019, due to an expected increase in the US exports to China.Continue reading

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ODA hemp program to begin accepting applications

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Hemp Program will begin accepting license applications from potential cultivators and processors for the 2020 growing season on March 3 at noon. All cultivators and processors are required to obtain a license and can apply online at www.agri.ohio.gov at that time.

The Department created hemp rules, which passed through a review and public comment process, were approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), and went into effect on Jan. 29. Ohio’s Hemp Program is one of just three approved by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Hemp is a cannabis plant, grown for its many industrial uses. It does not produce the intoxicating effects of the cannabis plant, marijuana. Hemp yields a strong fiber, used in textiles. The seed has nutritional value and can be eaten, and Cannabidiol, or CBD, can be extracted from the plant. CBD is now being used in food and dietary supplements.… Continue reading

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New stewardship network celebrates growing momentum on conservation in agriculture

The National Corn Growers Association and Environmental Defense Fund launched the Success in Stewardship Network at Commodity Classic to celebrate and accelerate the use of agricultural conservation practices on U.S. corn farms.

The network will showcase success stories from the many farmers and state-level programs putting stewardship into practice, with the goal of building an ever-growing network of corn farmers who are also conservation leaders. NCGA and EDF recognized the Minnesota Corn Innovation Grant Program and the Illinois Corn Precision Conservation Management Program for their farmer-supported efforts to deliver clean water, healthy soils and farm profitability.

“The Success in Stewardship Network will break down the notion that conservation is only for an elite group of farmers,” said Callie Eideberg, director of agricultural policy and special projects at EDF. “Practices that protect the land and water and increase climate resilience are more prevalent than many thinks, and this network will bring farmers and agricultural organizations together to continue making conservation commonplace.”

The network will celebrate and connect the farmers and programs that are already driving change with proven conservation practices.… Continue reading

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Vernalization requirements for winter wheat

By Laura Lindsey, Will Hamman, Ohio State University Extension

In the southern portion of the state, above-average temperatures have resulted in winter wheat remaining green (see picture). Will the vernalization requirement be met?

Winter wheat has molecular regulation preventing the transition to reproductive growth until a certain threshold of cold days has been reached. This regulation is called “vernalization.” In winter wheat, the vernalization period protects plants from breaking dormancy too early.

The vernalization requirement varies among cultivars and is temperature (and day length) dependent. In a study conducted on one winter wheat cultivar, it took 40 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 52°F while it took 70 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 34°F. Temperatures above 64°F were ineffective for vernalization. Although winter wheat is green and the winter temperatures have been fairly mild, winter wheat should meet the vernalization requirement.

Once the vernalization requirement has been met, growth is driven by growing degree units.… Continue reading

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Big yield farmers talk shop

Record Breaking Yields. BASF hosted a panel discussion with some of the top corn producers across the country. Listen in as Randy Dowdy, David Hula, Cory Atley and Levi and Jenna Oshsner discuss pushing yields to the next level. The panel discussion includes new technologies, fertility, tissue sampling and the need for fungicide application on every acre. #behindthescience20… Continue reading

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Winter agronomy meetings

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

One of the last big meetings of the winter is the Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada, Ohio. Find program and registration information at many county Extension and Soil & Water offices as well as the http://ctc.osu.edu website.

The CTC this year is March 3 and 4 at the Macintosh Center on the Ohio Northern University campus, 402 West College Avenue, Ada Ohio. The CTC is an annual 2-day program with speakers in four concurrent sessions, exhibitors, and a chance to visit with friends and co-workers. Session titles this year:

  • Crop School — Tuesday and Wednesday upstairs in Room A
  • Nutrient Management — a mix of manure talks and water quality
  • Cover crops, No Till and Soil Health
  • Hemp, plus forage cover crops
  • Managing cover crops
  • Building on 60 Years of no-till success
  • And water quality.

Attendance over the past 5 years has been over 800.… Continue reading

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Cover crop recipes for new users

By Sarah Noggle, Ohio State University Extension

Wondering how to do cover crops? OSU Extension, in collaboration with the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC), has produced cover crop “recipes” for two scenarios: Post corn, going to soybean and Post soybean, going to corn.

The recipes are intended to provide step-by-step guidance to some of the lowest-risk starting points for cover crops. They don’t cover the whole spectrum of possibilities, but they can help beginners get most pieces in place to incorporate cover crops into a farm operation. The two recipes were developed to address Ohio’s most common crop cropping system, the corn/soybean rotation.

The “Post corn, going to soybean” recipe suggests cereal rye, which provides an overwintering ground cover. Soybeans often thrive when planted into standing dead or living cereal rye residue. The “Post soybean, going to corn” recipe suggests an oats/radish mix, which will winterkill and leave a smaller amount of residue in the corn seedbed the following year.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer applicator record keeping rules are in place

By Harold Watters, Ohio State university Extension agronomist

I have done half a dozen fertilizer re-certification trainings this winter so far. There have been many questions — that’s good. It means you are thinking. When we first rolled out the required training, there was complaining about everyone else who also is contributing to the problem. Now that seems to have gone away and folks are looking for ways to reduce the problem on their own farm. I am hearing they forgot about some of the requirements that they need to follow. One big item that we hear from ODA inspectors is the need to record the application of fertilizer. Within 24 hours of any nutrient application, record:

  • Name of fertilizer certificate holder
  • Name of applicator working under direct supervision of certificate holder
  • Date of application
  • Location (field ID, farm)
  • Fertilizer analysis (such as 11-52-0)
  • Rate of fertilizer application (lbs/A), number of acres, and total amount applied
  • Fertilizer application method (surface-applied, incorporated, etc)
  • Soil conditions
  • For surface applications only: is ground frozen or snow covered?
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Had your auxin training yet?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

I recently sat through my training for the season. I was told it’s “all online” but I prefer in person. Everyone now who uses a dicamba product on soybeans must attend auxin training from one of the manufacturers; contact your seed dealer or herbicide supplier to see when yours is happening. If you missed it for the product you are using, that’s OK, you can attend any of the manufacturers’ training sessions to get the update. You can see the list of restrictions for Ohio and online training specifics on the OSU Pesticide Education website: https://pested.osu.edu/DicambaRestricitions.

The goal is not just to reduce herbicide movement but also to reduce resistance weed development. So how do we reduce the potential of resistance development?

  1. Use a pre-emergent herbicide,
  2. Spray post to small weeds; 4-inches or less,
  3. Allow no seed production. “Go rogue” to remove those seed heads.
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