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Winter wheat management: What are tillers and how do they contribute to yield?

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager for Seed Consultants, Inc.

In the coming months as the weather warms, up winter wheat will break dormancy and will begin to green up. After a period of about 2 weeks producers should evaluate their stand in order to make management decisions for their wheat crop. Part of this evaluation includes counting tillers to determine if there is an adequate stand for achieving high yields. According an article in a 2014 C.O.R.N. Newsletter written by Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, Pierce Paul, “Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers fall below 25 per square foot after green up.”

So, what is a tiller? And how should they be counted? Tillers are additional stems that develop off of the main shoot of the plant. Primary tillers form in the axils of the first four or more true leaves of the main stem. Secondary tillers may develop from the base of primary tillers if conditions favor tiller development.… Continue reading

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Extensive spread of corn toxin could affect 2019 crop

A wetter than normal summer and fall in Ohio led to the worst spread of a toxin on corn in at least a decade, according to a grain disease expert with The Ohio State University.

And next year’s crop may be at risk as well. The fungus that produces the toxin can survive the winter, particularly if stalks or other plant material from the 2018 corn crop are left on the surface of the soil, said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension specialist in corn and small grain diseases.

The extent of vomitoxin across Ohio and the rest of the Corn Belt led some farmers to receive a lower price for their crop, Paul said.

High moisture levels spur the spread of vomitoxin, which can cause people and animals to get sick. The rainy summer and fall in the state and across the Midwest not only left more moisture in fields, but also delayed some farmers from harvesting.… Continue reading

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New conservation practice could reduce nitrogen pollution in the Gulf of Mexico

Every summer, a “dead zone” forms in the Gulf of Mexico. Plumes of oxygen-robbing algae, fed by excess nitrogen coming in from the Mississippi River, kill off marine life and threaten the livelihoods of those who fish the Gulf. States bordering the Mississippi River are putting strategies in place to limit nitrogen from wastewater treatment plants, surface runoff, and agricultural fields. In a new study, University of Illinois scientists have estimated that a new conservation practice known as saturated buffers could reduce nitrogen from agricultural drainage by 5 to 10%.

“It might not sound like much, given that agricultural drainage only represents a portion of the nitrogen getting into the Mississippi. But 5 to 10% is pretty good for an inexpensive, passive system that farmers can put in and forget about,” said Reid Christianson, research assistant professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I and co-author of the study.… Continue reading

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Wyandot Agronomy Day Jan. 29

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Wyandot Agronomy day will be held on Jan. 29 from 9:00 to 3:30 at the Sycamore Community Center, 3498 St Rt 103, Sycamore Ohio 44882. Featured Presentations will include Dr. Pierce Paul presenting on Corn and Wheat Disease and Dr. Aaron Wilson on Todays Weather and Climate. Other presentations by local educators will cover all pesticide categories and fertilizer for recertification credits. The program includes lunch and will cost $50 including recertification credits if you wish to attend and do not need recertification credits the program will only cost $20. For more information and to register see the flier or call 419-562-8731

Topics include:

•Creating a herbicide program to match your farms needs

•Managing disease in forage crops

•Applying Nutrient management BMPS on your farm.… Continue reading

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Be informed about 2019 dicamba requirements

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is reminding farmers of revised labels and new training requirements for applicators who intend to use dicamba herbicide products this year. In October 2018, U.S. EPA approved revised labels for the three dicamba products that are labeled for use on soybeans: Engenia (BASF), XtendiMax (Monsanto) and FeXapan (DuPont).

“Like any other product, we want to ensure licensed applicators are properly following label directions as they get ready for this growing season,” said Matt Beal, chief of the ODA Division of Plant Health. “This not only helps ensure the safe use of pesticides, it also helps prevent misuse and mishandling.”

The manufacturers of these dicamba products also agreed to additional requirements for their products. Some of the requirements include:

  • 2019 labels supersede all prior labels for these products. Applicators must obtain a copy of the new label and must have that label in their possession at the time of use
  • Only certified applicators may purchase and apply the products.
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Madison County Grain Outlook Breakfast

The 2019 Grain Outlook Breakfast is Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Der Dutchman in Plain City from 8 a.m. to noon. The meeting is $15 including hot breakfast. Pre-registration is required. Contact the Union County Extension Office at (937)644-8117.
Topics include:

· Commodity Prices – Today’s YoYo (Ben Brown)
· Examining the 2019 Ohio Farm Economy (Barry Ward)
· U.S. Trade Policy: Where is it Headed? (Ian Sheldon)
· Weather Outlook (Aaron Wilson)… Continue reading

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No-till a fit for first generation farm

By Matt Reese

Starting out as a first generation row-crop farmer offers plenty of challenges. To help overcome some of those, Nathan Brown — the 2018 Ohio No-Till Council Outstanding No-Till Farmer —started no-tilling on his Highland County farm.

Though he did not grow up on a farm, Brown began working for a nearby farm when he was young, which allowed him to get started on his own. In 2012, he started no-till to help make the transition to farming on his own a little easier.

“Originally we started working everything but I realized really quickly that tillage wasn’t going to be feasible if I was going to expand the operation. I remember chisel plowing ground in April or May when I was back in high school and watching the neighbors who were no-tilling out planting. I realized that as much as I love to do tillage, I really hate to do tillage,” Brown said.… Continue reading

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2018 eFields Research Report available

By Elizabeth Hawkins, John Fulton, Jenna Lee

High quality, relevant information is key to making the right management decisions for your farm. The eFields program at The Ohio State University was created to provide local information about critical issues for Ohio agriculture. The 2018 eFields Research Report highlighting 95 on-farm, field scale trials conducted in 25 Ohio counties was released on Jan. 9. Research topics include nutrient management, precision seeding, crop management, soil compaction management, remote sensing, and data analysis and management. To help identify trial locations that are similar to your operation, each study includes information about weather, soil types, and management practices. Additionally, economic analysis was added to select trials this year. QR codes that link to videos featuring the researchers and partner farmers are available in the report.

The 2018 report is now available in both a print and e-version. To receive a printed copy, contact your local OSU Extension office or email digitalag@osu.edu.… Continue reading

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Winter maintenance worth the effort

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

Have you ever heard someone say, “What do farmers do in the winter?” As you are aware, there are many answers to this question.

Winter is a great time to get ready for spring planting, which will be here before we know it. One of the most important parts of the growing season is planting. It’s crucial that your crops get off to a good start and it’s important to make sure that your planter is field-ready when the time comes. Planting seed into the best possible growing conditions is a one of the most important tasks of spring field work. A planter in need of some adjustment can result in varied seed placement, uneven emergence, and ultimately a reduction in yield potential.

Check for and replace any parts of your planter that are excessively worn. No-till coulters or disk openers that are worn out will not create the proper seed furrow and may cause poor seed placement.… Continue reading

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China approves GM traits as trade talks proceed

By Matt Reese

As trade talks between the United States and China ramp up, China announced the long-awaited approval of five genetically modified crops. This is the first GM crop approval by China for import since July of 2017.

The approved products include two canola products, DowDuPont Inc’s DP4114 corn and DAS-44406-6 soybean, and the SYHT0H2 soybean from Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, but now owned by BASF. The Chinese approval of these GM crops is viewed by many as a positive sign in the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.

“The traits approval is a surprise. The talks in China involve a lot of people — it is not just one guy from each side sitting at the table. I think it is more than political posturing. That is what we have seen for months by both sides,” said Doug Tenney, with Leist Mercantile. “I expect that we will see an announcement of a trade deal sooner, not later.”

Tenney said U.S.… Continue reading

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Syngenta settlement approved by federal judge

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program, Ohio State University

The major multi-year class action lawsuit against Syngenta for failing to receive import approval from China before selling its Viptera and Duracade seeds in the United States has been settled for $1.51 billion.

On Dec. 7, Judge John Lungstrum of the U.S. District Court for the District Kansas issued a final order granting the settlement.

In the order, the court overruled a number of objections from class members who opposed the settlement. It also awarded one third of the settlement amount to the plaintiffs’ attorneys as attorney fees, valued at $503,333,333.33.

The next step could involve appeals by those opposed to the settlement. According to a statement posted by one of the co-lead counsels for the plaintiffs, payments to eligible parties could begin as early as the second quarter of 2019, depending upon whether any appeals are filed.… Continue reading

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Ohio EPA sets rules to improve TMDL procedure

Ohio’s corn, soybean and wheat farmers applaud the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for new rules that will improve the procedure for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation plans. In December, Ohio EPA established additional steps to involve interested and affected parties, including farmers, in the TMDL process.

“The continuous improvement of water quality is a priority of our farmers, and it is essential for them to be part of all decisions that impact both water quality and their businesses,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “We thank Ohio EPA for recognizing the importance of our participation, and we further encourage all state agencies to include us in all aspects of water quality policy.”

Under its new TMDL procedure, Ohio EPA will:

  • Notify interested and affected stakeholders and offer at least 30 days of input for TMDL development during the project assessment study plan, the biological and water quality study report and the loading analysis plan.
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The 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp and what it means for Ohio

By Ellen Essman, Sr. Research Associate Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Hemp is one of the most talked-about provisions of the new Farm Bill. There’s plenty of excitement about the removal of federal restrictions on hemp production and the economic opportunities for growing hemp. But what exactly does the Farm Bill say about hemp? Can Ohioans now grow, use and sell hemp and hemp products? We dove into the 807 pages of the Farm Bill Conference Report to find answers to your questions about the new legal status of hemp and hemp cultivation.


What is hemp?

Before we go much further in this discussion, it’s important to understand that both hemp and marijuana are species of cannabis, but they have different properties. Of particular note is the fact that marijuana contains much more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than hemp. THC is the part of a cannabis plant that can cause a psychoactive effect in certain concentrations, but hemp plants generally do not contain enough THC to produce a “high.” Hemp has many uses — it can be used for construction materials, fabrics and clothing, and animal bedding.… Continue reading

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Corn ethanol production has minimal effect on cropland use, study shows

Ethanol production has increased sharply in the United States in the past 10 years, leading to concerns about the expansion of demand for corn resulting in conversion of non-cropland to crop production and the environmental effects of this. However, a new study co-authored by a University of Illinois researcher shows that the overall effects of ethanol production on land-use have been minimal.

The research, published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, looks at the effects of ethanol production capacity and crop prices on land use in the U. S. from 2007 to 2014.

The increase in corn ethanol production has led to concerns that it would raise the price of corn and the demand for cropland; thus making it worthwhile to bring land that was not previously cultivated (such as grasslands) into production, says Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at U of I.

“Studies have simulated the crop price effects of producing 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and shown that they could lead to large expansion in crop acres,” Khanna said.… Continue reading

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Wet year leads to long harvest

The soggy truth? Ohio had a really wet year.

After an exceptionally rainy fall in Ohio, the state is on track to have its third wettest year ever, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist with Ohio State University Extension and the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center.

Early September the remnants of Hurricane Gordon moved across Ohio triggering upward of 8 inches of rain in southern Ohio. While October rainfall was closer to average, in November, umbrellas came out again — and often.

With a high rainfall count heading into winter, even if December winds up with average or even below average rain, total rainfall for 2018 likely will be the third highest on record, Wilson said.

“Ohio is not an anomaly,” he said. “It fits the trend toward increased precipitation that we’ve seen across the Midwest and the Northeast.”

Temperatures are getting warmer, and a higher amount of water vapor is in the atmosphere, leading to increased precipitation, Wilson said.… Continue reading

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Hops production picking up in Ohio

By Matt Reese

Next month more than 75 Ohio hop growers will gather for the 2019 Ohio Hops Conference and Trade Show in Columbus. The Jan. 9 and 10 event is a sign that, as Ohio’s craft beer production has boomed in recent years, agriculture is starting to follow to meet the exploding demand for one of the key ingredients for brewing beer.

Members of the Ohio Hops Growers Guild (OHGG) have more than 70,000 hop plants under cultivation and many craft beer brewers and drinkers put a premium on Ohio-grown ingredients. Ohio’s climate, however, does make hop production challenging.

A century ago, Ohio was home to very robust hop production to match the state’s substantial brewing industry. In subsequent years, though, Ohio’s insect and disease issues pushed the nation’s hop production to the drier climates in the Pacific Northwest. But with the recent brewery boom, many farms are again taking a look at Ohio hop production.… Continue reading

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Market volatility ahead

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Producers across the country are hoping grain prices do better in 2019. Next month, USDA will be releasing their final estimates for 2018 U.S. corn and soybean production and yields as well as quarterly grain stocks as of Dec. 1, 2018. Many are expecting both corn and soybean production and yields to be reduced slightly with the challenging weather in Ohio and South Dakota, which stalled the final harvest of corn and soybeans during the last half of November and into December.

Dec.1 was a big day for producers. On that date during supper, U.S. President Trump and China President Xi sat down to discuss trade issues. Be glad it was not a “quick” meal, as it lasted two hours. It was a meeting months in the making, yielding a tremendous amount of uncertainty on the parts of producers across Ohio and the United States. Following that meeting, we know that several things were agreed upon.… Continue reading

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Greenhouse management workshop

The Ohio State University’s 2019 Greenhouse Management Workshop, set for Jan. 17-18 in Wooster, will dig all around a plant’s roots. The theme is “Root Zone Optimization.”

Peter Ling, associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said this year’s program is unique because it will focus exclusively on the root zone.

Ling has organized the annual workshop, which is designed for commercial growers from Ohio and beyond, for each of its now 21 years.

Chieri Kubota, professor in Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, said root zone optimization means surrounding a plant’s roots with the best possible chemical, physical and biological conditions — the ideal nutrients, moisture and more.

Doing so, she said, helps plants grow faster and tolerate pests and diseases better, which for a greenhouse grower can translate into lower costs, higher yields and greater income.

Since greenhouse growers typically grow their plants in small containers, troughs or water culture (hydroponics), “managing the root zone is essential,” Kubota said.… Continue reading

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Climate change and no-till

By Randall Reeder, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)

The federal government released a report on global climate change that predicts, among other disastrous results, that American farmers are doomed to failure. Drought, heavy rain, floods, and hot summers will destroy crop yields.

Farmers aren’t stupid. They know how to adapt to changing conditions. For example, there is a lot more acres of corn grown in Canada and our Northern Plains than 50 years ago.

Good news for the climate. If all cropland in the Midwest and Great Plains switched to continuous no-till (with cover crops) the rate of global warming would be SLOWED because carbon from the air would be sequestered in the soil as organic matter.

Crop yields for corn, soybeans and wheat (and whatever replaces them in localities) might increase despite dry summers and less groundwater for irrigation. The extra organic matter means soils would hold more water, reducing the impact of dry periods.… Continue reading

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