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Gray leaf spot plaguing corn

By Denny Wickham, Pioneer agronomist

The warm, humid July weather proved to be conducive to the development of leaf diseases in corn, especially gray leaf spot (GLS). While this disease is not new (it was first noted in Illinois in 1924), increased use of no-till and reduced tillage corn production practices have likely led to higher incidence of the disease. The fungal pathogen causing GLS, Cercospora zea maydis, overwinters on corn residue from the previous crop and higher levels of residue left on the soil surface allow for greater survival of the pathogen. In response to higher temperatures and humidity that occur in late spring, conidia (spores) begin to develop on the corn residue and are blown or splashed from the corn residue onto the current year’s corn plants. Infection typically begins in June, but disease symptoms may not show up until late July or early August. Earlier infection allows for greater spore build-up and more damage to the leaves.

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Syngenta Seeds, Inc. Launches Agrisure Artesian Technology, First Water-Optimized Technology for Corn Hybrids

Syngenta Seeds, Inc., today unveiled its Agrisure Artesian technology, the new brand name for its range of water optimized hybrids and the newest addition to the Agrisure family of high-performance trait products. A limited quantity of hybrids with this technology, which has demonstrated the potential to deliver 15% yield preservation under drought stress, will be available through the company’s Garst, Golden Harvest and NK product brands.

Agrisure Artesian technology enables corn plants to use available moisture more efficiently, resulting in higher yields on drought-stressed acres including dryland and limited-irrigation farms in the western Corn Belt. Growers on rainfed acres in the central and eastern Corn Belt likewise can use Agrisure Artesian technology to help stabilize yields in years of inconsistent rainfall or in fields with variable soil types and moisture-holding capacity. In years of ideal rainfall, hybrids with Agrisure Artesian technology have demonstrated no yield penalty compared with hybrids without the technology.

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USB review reveals financial responsibility

The USDA recently conducted an 18-month review of the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soybean checkoff. The USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded that there was no basis for any of the allegations of wrong doing. The independent USDA report confirms that the United Soybean Board farmer directors are performing their duties in a financially responsible manner in accordance with the federal law that created the soybean checkoff.

“USB directors and staff are encouraged by the OIG’s report,” said Philip Bradshaw, USB chairman and soybean farmer from Griggsville, Ill. “The report confirms that, as farmer-directors, we’re doing our jobs as financially responsibly as the federal law that created the soybean checkoff set out for us to do.  USB will continue to move forward in achieving profit opportunities for every U.S. soybean farmer.”

A survey of U.S. soybean farmers conducted in February showed that 75 percent of U.S. soybean farmers support the soybean checkoff.  

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Weekly crop report

In Ohio, 92% of the corn was silking as of July 25, up from 75% a week earlier and well ahead of the 70% five-year average, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fifteen percent of Ohio’s corn crop had reached the dough stage compared to the 4% average. Ohio corn was 61% in good or excellent condition, compared to 72% nationally.

Nearly 80% of Ohio soybeans were in bloom and 36% were setting pods, both slightly ahead of the five-year average. Sixty percent of Ohio soybeans were in good or excellent condition.

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Western bean cutworm egg masses and larvae found in Ohio

For the first time since the trapping of Western bean cutworm moths in corn began in 2006, Ohio State University Extension entomologists have identified egg masses and larvae. The find reveals that populations continue to increase and that growers will really need to monitor the pest in the future.

“The infestation of egg masses and larvae was light, but this just verifies that we won’t see this pest decreasing in the coming years and growers will really have to start scouting for it each season,” said Andy Michel, an OSU Extension entomologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Western bean cutworm is a common pest of Western corn-producing states that is rapidly expanding eastward and finding a niche throughout the Midwest. The number of adult moths trapped in Ohio each year has been steadily increasing.

In 2006, entomologists caught three moths in the traps. In 2007, six were caught.

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Ohio Fresh Produce Marketing Agreement being developed to protect producers and consumers

By Matt Reese

The fresh spinach in the glass case at the grocery store has been handled with the utmost care from the farm through the present moment as it sits in display case. Mist floats down to shower the greens with cool water when a filthy sparrow swoops down from the rafters and through the mist of water, spraying dirty bird germs all over that previously clean spinach. No one sees this happen. A customer gets sick. Who gets the blame?

Unfortunately, whether it is really their fault or not, the blame often falls upon the farm. And as more scrutiny falls on farms, many of the larger Ohio produce operations have been required by their buyers to meet specific food safety standard operating procedures. For many operations this has resulted in the need to employ a full-time food safety quality assurance person to manage the complexities of the requirements that often have no backing in science or any potential for increased revenue for the farmer.

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Bee-ware of scams and vandals

By Barbara Bloetscher, State Apiarist, Ohio Department of Agriculture

Several incidents of vandalism and scams have been reported the last two months.  A group (most likely PETA) poured kerosene in some live hives and left a sign stating that they had “freed the bees of human domination.”  Of course beekeepers know that the group just murdered the bees in very heinous way and that beekeepers are doing their best to keep bees ALIVE.  Please keep an eye on your hives and do not let anyone handle the hives except for the County Apiary Inspector and friends whom you have authorized.

Another person or persons have reportedly written a list of violations against a beekeeper and left the “ticket” containing violations and fines for the beekeeper to pay.  NO ONE including the State Apiarist has the authority to write violations without first contacting the beekeeper and undergoing major paper work and legal transactions which takes months to undergo. 

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Ohio Volunteer Farmer-Leader Appointed to the United Soybean Board

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack appointed 9 new farmer-leaders to the United Soybean Board (USB) in February, including John Motter of Jenera, Ohio. Motter grows soybeans, wheat and corn.

“The United Soybean Board has a history of developing many new products that increase the profitability of soybeans,” said Motter. “I want to do my part in helping U.S. soybean farmers increase their profitability.”

Motter is a member of the New Uses Committee and hopes to increase the demand for soybeans through upcoming new products.

“There are a number of projects in the new use pipeline,” said Motter. “Unfortunately, due to our relationship with industry partners, we have to maintain confidentiality in these projects. But trust that there is a long history of success in new uses. An example would be the partnership with Ford Motor Company and the Lear Corporation in developing soy-based foam for seats in Ford vehicles.”

Motter and the 12 other appointees from across the United States will serve three-year terms and will represent the interest of all U.S.

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Western Bean Cutworm Egg Masses and Larvae Found in Ohio

 

For the first time since the trapping of Western bean cutworm moths in corn began in 2006, Ohio State University Extension entomologists have identified egg masses and larvae. The find reveals that populations continue to increase and that growers will really need to monitor the pest in the future.

“The infestation of egg masses and larvae was light, but this just verifies that we won’t see this pest decreasing in the coming years and growers will really have to start scouting for it each season,” said Andy Michel, an OSU Extension entomologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Western bean cutworm is a common pest of Western corn-producing states that is rapidly expanding eastward and finding a niche throughout the Midwest. The number of adult moths trapped in Ohio each year has been steadily increasing.

In 2006, entomologists caught three moths in the traps. In 2007, six were caught.

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Do warm nights lead to lower yields?

By Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist

High night temperatures (in the 70s or 80s) can result in wasteful respiration and a lower net amount of dry matter accumulation in plants. The rate of respiration of plants increases rapidly as the temperature increases, approximately doubling for each 13 degree increase. With high night temperatures, more of the sugars produced by photosynthesis during the day are lost; less is available to fill developing kernels, thereby lowering potential grain yield. High night time temperatures result in faster heat unit (GDD) accumulation that can lead to earlier corn maturation, whereas cool night temperatures result in slower GDD accumulation that can lengthen grain filling and promote greater dry matter accumulation and grain yields.

Past research at the University of Illinois indicates that corn grown at night temperatures in the mid-60s outyields corn grown at temperatures in the mid-80s. Corn yields are often higher with irrigation in western states, which have low humidity and limited rainfall.

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Corn earworm could be a concern in 2010

Moth trap reports indicate an early start to the corn earworm (CEW) infestation window across the Corn Belt this growing season. In early July, CEW had already been identified in the south, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The trend could lead to significant corn earworm activity in the Midwest later in the growing season. Moth traps have identified Ohio as an area that may be at a higher risk of yield loss due to possible insect infestation, so growers are urged to scout fields to determine if treatments are needed to avoid yield-crippling damage.

Damage from corn earworm is caused by the larvae as they feed on leaves, silks and developing kernels.

“CEW is a serious pest that is present in Ohio every year. The pest overwinters in some parts of Ohio and is present throughout the state on many crops including field corn, sweet corn, popcorn and many vegetable crops.

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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 once the white mold producing material (Sclerotinia) is in a field, it will be there.

“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,” Dorrance said. “This was a bit of a surprise as the 2 weeks prior to this were dry, but rains did fall 3 to 4 days prior, the night time temperatures hit below 70 a couple of nights and more importantly — there was still heavy dew on the plants at noon.”

Because of the potential for problems this year it will be important to carefully scout fields with a history of white mold. Fields that have formed a dense canopy prior to flowering and experience consistent moisture and a few cool nights are at the highest risk for this disease, Dorrance said.

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Corn Futures Climb on Wheat, Technical Buying

Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. corn futures climbed on Wednesday on support from a surging wheat market and technical short covering, traders and analysts said.

September corn ended up 5 3/4 cents to $3.79 3/4 a bushel, and December corn closed up 6 cents to $3.93 1/2. Despite the gains, the September contract is down 3.8% on the week.

The market climbed despite a lack of fresh bullish news, traders said. Traders and analysts mostly said the crop outlook remains good, although bulls point to reports of variability, with some areas too wet and others too dry for optimal yields.

The market lacks a clear weather threat in the forecast, however. Mike Tannura, meteorologist with T-storm Weather, said that while much of the corn belt will see a day or two of hot temperatures through the end of the week, beyond that temperatures will be more moderate.

He added that as of now, it appears that rains are likely to miss some of the wettest areas of the western corn belt, hitting north of areas of Missouri, Iowa and west-Central Illinois that have been saturated.

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Soybean Management Decisions Depend on Growth Stage

Heavy spring and summer rainfall made for a sporadic soybean planting season. The crop ranges in development from just planted to flowering and podding, and it is important for farmers to be able to identify those growth stages before making management decisions.

“Soybean management is based on growth stage of the plant, time of year and pests, including weeds, insects and diseases,” said Shaun Casteel, Purdue Extension agronomist. “Producers need to be able to accurately identify the growth stages so they can scout fields and make the best possible decisions.”

Casteel said farmers should take this time to scout fields, and he suggested the following tips to properly identify the first four stages of reproductive maturity:

Growth stage R1, or beginning bloom, is when any open flowers are present on the main stem nodes. R1 begins approximately 6-8 weeks after emergence and responds to both light and temperature. During this stage vertical root growth rate rapidly increases, and it plants are about 65 days from the beginning of physiological maturity.

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Corn Production Techniques Showcased at SW Ohio Corn Growers Day

Corn production and management techniques will be the focus of the Southwest Ohio Corn Growers and Fayette County Agronomy Field Day on Aug. 18.

The free event, sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, will take place from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Fayette County Demonstration Farm, 2770 SR-38, Washington Court House, Ohio.

University and industry speakers will cover such topics as economic corn seeding rates, corn weed control options, diagnosing ear abnormalities, matching spray tips to products, N-cycle and inhibitors, disease and the environment, and changing the discussion on high fructose corn syrup.

There will also be an ATV safety program, corn hybrid plots, a trade show, and health screenings. Certified crop adviser credits will be offered.

For more information, contact John Yost at (740) 335-1150 or log on to http://fayette.osu.edu/news/swocga-fayette-agronomy-field-day.

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USDA: Corn, Soybean Conditions Hover Around Average

by Jeff Caldwell

Corn conditions dipped slightly, though the crop’s progress remained well ahead of the normal schedule in the last week, according to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress report.

In general, 72% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, down just 1% from the previous week. Development’s still rolling right along; the crop made an almost 30% jump in silking progress (from 38% to 65%) in the last week. That’s 18% ahead of the previous 5-year average.

Soybean conditions improved over the last week. As of Sunday, 77% of the crop was in good to excellent shape, while 60% of the nation’s beans are blooming and 18% are setting pods, both a few percentage points ahead of the normal pace.

Weather extremes continue to taunt farmers in the Corn Belt, where though general crop conditions are okay, there are pockets where either too much or not enough moisture is wreaking havoc on fields.

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Agricultural Easement Purchase Program Helps Expand Farming Business and Conservation

State farmland preservation funds are doing more than preserving land, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation. Results revealed that Agricultural Easement Purchase Program funds are being used to help implement on-farm conservation measures and expand the farm business.

“These funds are going far beyond the physical aspects of preserving agricultural land,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs. “They are also helping producers engage in more sustainable practices, which is good for the community, environment and economy.”

The Ohio State University Center for Farmland Policy Innovation performed the independent survey, of which 79 of the program’s 101 participants responded. A majority of respondents, 91.7 percent, reported that they are satisfied with the program.

More than half of the respondents indicated they are establishing new conservation practices on their farms since receiving funds from the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. In addition, 23 respondents are diversifying their farming business, and 17 are establishing new or additional farm businesses.

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OCGA board members receive legislative support for ethanol tax credit

With the future of corn ethanol hanging in the balance in Congress, the Ohio Corn Growers Association’s (OCGA) recent grassroots lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., garnered crucial support for an ethanol-blender’s tax credit, known as VEETC (Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Extension). The legislation continues the current tax credit for entities that blend ethanol with gasoline.



This week, U.S. Representative Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), of Ohio’s 15th congressional district, signed as a co-sponsor for the Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act (HR 4940) that would extend key ethanol tax incentives until the year 2015, including the $0.45 per gallon blenders credit for ethanol use.


“Current ethanol tax policies are working to build out the industry, expand infrastructure and provide the foundation for new technologies to thrive,” said OCGA President John Davis, a Delaware County farmer.


Davis was among a group of farmer board members in Washington, D.C., the week of July 14.

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Horticulture Field Night Features New Trials and Compost Sock Demo

 

A new trial for currants and gooseberries at Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon will be featured at the upcoming OSU South Centers Horticulture Field Night Aug. 12, along with a demonstration of compost socks that are producing encouraging results for growing crops without soil.

Registration begins at 5 p.m. with a wagon-tour program following at 6 p.m. Derma scan viewings for sun damage will be available until 6:30 p.m.  Dinner will be served at 8:30 p.m. when specialists will be available for questions. Registration is $10 per person. OSU South Centers is located at 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, Ohio.

The highlight of the wagon tour will be the newly established Ribes trial where currant, gooseberry and jostaberry plants are being studied as a possible new commercial crop for Ohio’s small fruit growers. Ribes were grown in the state in the early 1900s, but were banned due to the serious threat to the white pine industry from white Pine blister rust. 

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Commodity prices are cyclical, but unpredictable

What goes around comes around, even with commodity prices.

Prices climb unusually high and then drop quickly about every 30 years, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist. The price spikes often are brought on by wars and currency devaluation – unexpected events that are difficult to predict, he said.

Hurt will discuss price spike cycles during a session of Top Farmer Crop Workshop. The 43rd annual workshop, hosted by Purdue Extension and Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, will take place July 18-21 in the Pfendler Hall Deans Auditorium on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus and at Purdue’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education, located west of campus.

Annual U.S. corn prices rose from $2.08 in 2005 to $4.29 a bushel in 2007, before falling this year to $3.60, in prices adjusted to reflect 2010 dollars, Hurt said. The 2007 high price filled many in the agricultural industry with optimism that demand for crops will continue to exceed supply and farmland values can only keep rising.

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