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Be skeptical of side-by-side comparisons this year

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Team Sales Agronomist for Beck’s Hybrids

Take caution in putting too much stock in a side by side this year, especially if large yield swings exist in that trial. I say this for multiple reasons.

1. Consistency in hybrid maturity exists within a seed company but not necessarily among seed companies. Beck’s 109-day will be earlier than our 110-day. However, Beck’s 110-day and Acme seed brands 110-day could be different. Why would that matter?
2. If you are doing any side by side and have 108 versus 110 or even 110 vs. 110, two different companies, timing is everything. I have been in plots where one hybrid was tipped back 3 inches and the one beside it only 1 inch. Silk death had occurred on the hybrid that was attempting pollination at a slightly different time. That silk death was more due to “bad 90+ degree timing” than it was to the hybrid itself.

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August 30th Weekly Crop Progress

Ohio Numbers

The average temperature for the State was 69.1 degrees, 2.0 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, August 29, 2010. Precipitation averaged 0.03 inches, 0.82 inches below normal. There were 128 modified growing degree days, 18 days below normal.

Reporters rated 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 27, 2010. Topsoil moisture was rated 9 percent very short, 39 percent short, 51 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

As of Sunday August 29, 96 percent of corn was in dough, compared to 81 percent last year and 86 percent for the five-year average. Seventy-two percent of corn was dented, compared to 32 percent last year and 45 percent for the five-year average. Corn was 7 percent mature, which was five percent ahead of last year and four percent ahead of the five-year average. Corn for silage was 28 percent harvested compared to nine percent last year and 11 percent for the five-year average.

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SDS showing up in soybeans

Sudden Death Syndrome has been showing up from late July into August, but it really got its start back on those cool damp days in May. X. P. Yang, an expert on the subject from Iowa State, says the plants actually got infected in after germination and during emergence when soil conditions are right. The fungus lives in the plant roots making its way into the xylem where it then gets transported throughout the plant.

Making the problem worse are soil compaction and the added stress of soybean cyst nematodes. The plant eventually looses its leaves and is unable to produce.

It will over winter in the crop residue and actually survives better on corn stalks than soybean residue so a corn beans rotation does not help.

Management practices include selecting tolerant varieties, improving soil drainage while managing soil compaction and SCN. It may also help to plant infected fields later to reduce risk of further infection of new crop.

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With crop fertilizer, there can be too much of a good thing

By Matt Reese

Nitrogen is a critical nutrient in corn production and farmers, crop consultants, the Joyce Foundation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are teaming up to find out how much a productive corn crop really needs.
In the past, nitrogen applications have been based on the yield potential of the field.
In the past, when the N cost was very low, the safe bet was to add a little extra to make sure that it was not the limiting factor in corn production. High N cost and increasing awareness of the potential water quality impacts, however, have made that safe bet of the past not so safe anymore. But determining how much N is needed to maximize corn production while minimizing costs and environmental impact is not easy.
In the On-Farm Network of N research plots in part of the Lake Erie Watershed in northwest Ohio, crop consultant Joe Nester has been working extensively to target the ideal rate of the nutrient for the specifics of each unique situation in the field.

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Ethanol program offers benefits to government and industry

A variable subsidy for ethanol producers could cost the government less and provide more security for producers than current fixed rates, according to a Purdue University study.

A variable subsidy rate would insulate producers from risk because as oil and ethanol prices drop, the subsidy for producers would increase, said Wally Tyner, a Purdue agricultural economist and an author of the study. The government would save money because it would not have to pay any subsidy when oil prices are high.

“There will be times when oil prices are high and the subsidy will be low or nothing at all,” Tyner said.

The current government subsidy for ethanol producers – a fixed rate of 45 cents per gallon of ethanol – will expire at the end of the year. Congress will have to decide whether to create a new fixed rate, implement a variable rate or go with no subsidy at all.

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Crop insurance options

Farmers who want to insure this fall’s and next spring’s crops will have some decisions to make regarding crop insurance choices according to Amy Jackson, vice president of insurance for Farm Credit Services of Mid-America. “The new guidelines combine previous yield and revenue plans into one standardized plan and will be known as the COMBO plan,” she said.

For example, the new program combines Crop Revenue Coverage and Revenue Assurance policies into a new Revenue Protection policy. Actual Production History coverage is now called Yield Production. Additionally, price-setting methods and recordkeeping requirements also have changed.

Farmers will still be able to purchase individual policies for their farms. The new plan merely simplifies the process. The important thing to keep in mind, notes Jackson, is a policy automatically converts to the like-kind policy for 2011 if no action is taken. “However, farmers have the opportunity to make changes to their policy type and coverage levels through September 30, 2010 for fall wheat and March 15, 2011 for spring crops,” she said.

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Diagnosing stalk rots

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold agronomist

There have been numerous cases of anthracnose stalk rot moving into corn fields throughout the area. Unfortunately, stalk rots are often misunderstood. Many times when stalk rots move into a field, an assumption is typically made that the particular hybrid had bad health and poor standability, but in reality that assumption is not always correct. To understand stalk rots and why they affect certain hybrids, fields or even certain plants, an investigation into the entire stalk rot cycle must occur.
One of the most important facts about stalk rots is that they are opportunistic pathogens. Being opportunistic means stalk rots very seldom affect healthy, non-stressed corn, but instead attack corn plants that have a weakened defense system or are under some other stress. There are many different issues that can cause a corn plant to be susceptible to stalk rots, but this article will focus on the stresses causing the stalk rots this year.

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Harvesting, storing and pricing corn silage

It is that time of year again (though a little early this year). Here are a couple of silage related articles from Ohio State University Extension experts on the CORN Newsletter.

By Bill Weiss, Ohio State University Extension

Several important decisions regarding corn silage harvest must be made in the next few weeks and these decisions will affect the dairy herd for the next 12 months. Corn silage that is made and stored correctly is an excellent feed and one of the cheapest sources of nutrients in the Midwest. On the other hand, silage that is not made correctly can adversely reduce milk production when fed to cows and will have lower nutritional value resulting in higher supplementation costs.

The decisions that must be made (in order of importance) are:

1. When to chop the corn.
2. Everything else.

The “Everything else” category includes cutting height, chop length, kernel processing, use of inoculant, and how long the silage should be left before feeding.

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Corn and soybean harvest expectations

By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, Northern Ohio

Harvest is rapidly approaching and overall in 2010 we will all have a lot in which to look forward. But before I get to that, let’s start off with the most important harvest message: Be safe. Each spring and fall I e-mail my growers this same message because it holds the most importance. Please take that little extra time to do whatever your doing the safe way. Walk around not over, turn it off even when you are just taking a look, slow down or stop when your tired, and think about who you get to come home to so it stays first and foremost in your mind. We have all had to visit those who lost loved ones or who were injured during the fall. So be safe, I always enjoy sitting down and visiting with you, and I would like to keep it that way this fall!

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Estimating corn yields

By John Brien, CCA, regional agronomist for AgriGold

The Yield Component Method is one of the most versatile and utilized methods to estimate yields. It allows growers to estimate their corn yields as early as 25 days after it takes into consideration the key components that determine grain yield. Yield components include the number of harvestable ears per acre, number of kernel rows per ear, number of kernels per row and kernel weight. The first three components are easily measured in the field while the value for kernel weight for ease of computing is a predetermined factor.
When estimating yields with the Yield Component Method there are several key points to keep in mind. When rainfall during grain fill is below average, the yields will be overestimated, while good grain fill conditions will underestimate yield.
Below is an example of the Yield Component Method to estimate grain yield.
Step 1. Measure a length equal to 1/1000th of an acre.

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Pioneer Field Day on Corn and Soybean Progress

Dale Minyo visits with Pioneer Agronomist Jonah Johnson at the Pioneer Field Day in Wilmington, OH.  Pioneer Jonah Johnson

Dale Minyo visits with Pioneer Agronomist Jerron Schmoll about Pioneer’s Triplestack varieties and the new Optimum AcreMax 1 Insect Protection product. Jerron Schmall -Pioneer

Dale Minyo visits with Pioneer Non-GMO Manager Dan Jones about the need for non-GMO products inside and outside the U.S. Dan Jones- Pioneer

Dale Minyo visits with Jim Trybaum, Pioneer Soybean Agronomic Research Scientist about innovations in soybean varieties.  Jim Trybaum- Pioneer Agronomy Research

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Program Assisting Farmers With Disabilities to be Showcased at FSR

The Ohio AgrAbility program will once again be showcased at Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review, Sept. 21-23 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.
 

The program, part of the national AgrAbility program, assists farmers with disabilities. Visitors to Farm Science Review can stop by the AgrAbility booth along Land Avenue of the exhibitor area to learn more.

 

“Visitors to Farm Science Review can stop by the booth to meet and greet our staff and learn more about AgrAbility and what the program can do for them,”said Dee Jepsen, OSU Extension’s state safety leader.

 

“The program has a mission to improve a high quality of life for farmers and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they and their families continue to succeed.”

 

In addition, Ohio AgrAbility will be showcased in the McCormick Building on Friday Avenue as part of the Universal Design exhibit. Universal Design is a user-friendly method of home accessibility for all.

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Seed Consultants Celebrates 20 Years

When Chris Jeffries and Dan Fox started Seed Consultants Inc. (SCI) in the corner of a farmer’s implement building, they never dreamed the company would become one of the largest independent seed companies in the U.S.
Fox’s and Jeffries’ backgrounds were both in production agriculture and the seed industry. In the ‘90s they were working for major seed companies but felt the western-based companies lacked adequate Eastern Corn Belt testing and strong regional products. “I was disenchanted with the way companies were treating our customers,” Jeffries recalls. “The companies we worked for were not going to add regionalized products, and we were told to basically sell whatever we were given.”
Fox and Jeffries wanted to give customers the best genetics for the region, so in 1990 Jeffries, a Purdue Universitygraduate with majors in Animal Science and Agricultural Education, and Fox, a Wilmington College graduate in Ag Business, started testing, selecting and selling genetics for the Eastern Corn Belt.

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White mold could be a problem again in 2010


By Matt Reese
Chances are looking all too good for another bout with white mold this year in Ohio soybeans.
Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, said if the white mold producing material (Sclerotinia) is in a field, conditions may be right for it to be there again this year.
“Sclerotinia white mold, also known as Sclerotinia stem rot, has a very interesting disease cycle. The inoculum comes from very small fruiting bodies called apothecia that form from the sclerotia. They puff their spores up onto the stems and infect the old blossoms and they can kill the plants in the bottom third of the stem,” Dorrance said. “We have historic fields that have had white mold since the early 90s and late 80s. Every once in a while we get a blow up. Last year conditions were perfect and this year conditions are good again.”
The moisture this year has been favorable for the development of the disease.

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Corn closing in on maturity

By Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension
Ohio’s corn crop continues to develop rapidly as a result of this season’s early planting and above average temperatures. According to the NASS (www.nass.usda.gov), as of Aug. 15, 82% of corn was in dough, compared to 43% last year and 59% for the five-year average. Thirty-four percent of corn was dented, compared to 4% last year and 10% for the five-year average. In many fields, corn in full dent has achieved the half-milk line stage (also referred to as the “starch line”). Thermal time from half-milkline to physiological maturity (“black layer”) is approximately 280 GDDs (http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/GrainFill.html), which corresponds to about 10 days if we accumulate at least 28 GDD daily. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, the NASS has forecast Ohio’s corn average yield at 176 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from last year’s record yield of 174 bushels per acre. If these estimates for maturity and yield come to pass, we may be looking at a very large, early maturing crop.

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Corn Silage Harvest is Imminent

by Mark Sulc, Peter Thomison, Bill Weiss, Ohio State University Extension

Corn development has been progressing at a rapid pace with the recent warm temperatures. Early planted corn is already being harvested for silage in some parts of Ohio. So it is time to check the whole plant moisture content now, if you haven’t done so already.

Ensiling corn at the proper dry matter content provides high quality preservation resulting in good animal performance and lower feed costs. Harvesting corn too wet (low dry matter content) results in souring and seepage of the silage and reduction in animal intake. Harvesting too dry (high dry matter content) promotes mold development because the silage cannot be adequately packed to exclude oxygen. Harvesting too dry also results in lower energy concentrations and reduced protein digestibility.

Harvest Moisture Guidelines

Corn silage preserved between 30 and 38% dry matter (62 to 70% moisture) generally provides good silage fermentation and animal performance.

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Weekly Crop Progress Report, August 16th

Weekly Crop Progress Report for August 16, 2010

The average temperature for the State was 79.1 degrees, 7.5 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, August 15, 2010. Precipitation averaged 1.13 inches, 0.33 inches above normal. There were 180 modified growing degree days, 31 days above normal. Reporters rated 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 13, 2010. Topsoil moisture was rated 7 percent very short, 34 percent short, 56 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

Scattered showers moved through the state and provided needed rain to some areas. Crops and livestock in areas that did not get rain were showing signs of heat stress. Farm activities included tillage, installing tile, hauling grain, spraying corn and soybeans, applying manure, and baling hay. Early tobacco harvest continued in the southern counties, however the majority of the crop was just topped this week.

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