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Ohio pumpkins could be seed of snack food industry

Most pumpkins grown in Ohio — one of the top producers of the gourd in the U.S. — are of the jack-o’-lantern type, but the state also produces pumpkins for pie. Now, Ohio could become famous for its pumpkin seeds.

Ohio State University researchers are working with growers and Innovative Farmers of Ohio to select pumpkin varieties that yield good seeds for roasting, which could lead to added income opportunities for farmers and a new niche market.

Supported by an Ohio Department of Agriculture specialty crop grant, the project began in 2009 with the planting of 15 pumpkin varieties. This year, the five varieties with the best traits for pumpkin seed production were selected and planted at the university’s Western Agricultural Research Station in South Charleston and at two grower sites in the area.

“We harvested the pumpkins and took them to the pilot plant (at the Food Industries Center on the Columbus campus), where the seeds were extracted, cleaned, dried, roasted and seasoned,” said Jim Jasinski, an OSU Extension educator with the Integrated Pest Management Program.

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Poinsettias brighten greenhouses and homes for the holidays

For those that travel U.S. Route 33 on the southeast side of Columbus, Dill’s Greenhouse has been a landmark for decades with a big sign, a full parking lot and a reputation for quality nursery, garden and landscaping plants. And, this time of year, they are known for the red glow emanating from the 15,000 poinsettias filling the greenhouse.

“The only thing prettier than a greenhouse full of poinsettias is an empty one at Christmas,” said Jerry Dill, owner of Dill’s Greenhouse in Franklin County. “Poinsettias are one last push for the year before a nice break for us from after Christmas to around Jan. 15 or so when we start to get pretty busy again.”

Dill’s poinsettias range from 4-inch to 14-inch pots and there are around 50 different cultivars for customers to choose from, ranging from a standard red to pink and other novelty colors.

“Around 60% of our poinsettias are red and 40% are the novelty plants, and that is probably high compared to what most people sell,” Dill said.

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Ohio State University Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference

Corn University and Soybean School will once again headline sessions of conservation tillage topics at the 2011 Ohio State University Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference.

The event will be held Feb. 24-25 at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada. Sponsors include Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, and the Ohio No-Till Council.

Early registration is $50 for one day or $75 for both days. At the door, registration is $60 for one day and $85 for both days. Complete registration and program information will be available after Jan. 1, 2011 at http://ctc.osu.edu.

The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference is the largest, most comprehensive program of conservation tillage techniques in the Midwest. About 60 presenters (farmers, industry professionals, and university specialists) from around the country focus on cost-saving, production management topics.

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AgriGold customer wins lease on grain trailer at Farm Science Review

One lucky visitor to the AgriGold tent at the Ohio Farm Science Review was selected at random to receive a 9-month lease on a 40-foot hopper bottom grain trailer. Roger Yocom of Yocom Brothers Farm in Cable, Ohio was the prize recipient.

“I’ve been able to park one of my trailers for the season and use this top of the line trailer, which has been great,” said Yocom.

The Yocom Brothers Farm is located in central Ohio and have been a valued AgriGold customer for many years. The Yocom Brothers utilize twin-row corn planting technology on their operation, which is split 50:50 corn and beans. They’ve grown AgriGold products for several years and have been very pleased with their experience.

Visitors who were current AgriGold growers or new customers were able to enter for a chance to win the lease. Multiple entries could be made based upon their current order of corn for the spring.

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Western bean cutworm populations on the rise in Ohio

A staggering number of Western bean cutworm moths were trapped in Ohio corn fields this year compared to previous years, however, economic damage has yet to be recorded.

“The large increase of adult moths caught and the presence of the pest on infested corn suggests that producers will have to keep Western bean cutworm near the top of their list of important corn pests,” said Andy Michel, an Ohio State University 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. That number jumped to 150 in 2008 and to 566 in 2009. This year, that number has skyrocketed to 2,695.

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New Pioneer Web site

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, announced the launch of its newly redesigned web site,  www.pioneer.com . The site is designed to  quickly link growers to local, relevant and timely crop production-focused information. “Our goal is to provide growers access to Pioneer’s industry-leading expertise more quickly and easily,” said Terry Gardner, North American product marketing director for Pioneer.
The most significant change is the convergence of two Pioneer websites: www.pioneer.com and the Pioneer GrowingPoint web site.

“Growers now will be able to access the information that was on the GrowingPoint website without having to sign in,” Gardner said.

Personal data, such as account access, online payments and online recordkeeping remains secure and still requires the user to sign in. Pioneer gathered extensive feedback from growers, customers, Pioneer sales professionals, employees and media to drive the evolution of its Web strategy. The site features a new navigation menu that efficiently organizes information. A rollover feature displays a list of all the topics for each section, making it quicker and easier to locate content with fewer clicks.

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Make sure conditions are fit for anhydrous ammonia application

 

After an early harvest and exceptionally dry fall, a Purdue University agronomist says it’s important for farmers to pay close attention to soil temperature and moisture levels before they apply anhydrous ammonia.

The rule of thumb is to apply anhydrous ammonia after soil temperatures at a depth of 4 inches fall below 50 degrees and are getting colder, said Jim Camberato.

“Low soil temperature hinders the bacterial conversion of ammonium nitrogen (NH4) to nitrate nitrogen (NO3),” he said. “Slowing this reaction is critical to the efficient use of anhydrous ammonia because ammonium nitrogen is retained in the soil, whereas nitrate nitrogen is easily lost through leaching to tile drains or denitrification to the air.

“The longer nitrogen remains in the ammonium nitrogen form in the fall, the lower the potential for nitrogen loss in the early spring when warm soil temperatures and excess soil moisture invariably occur.”

Soil temperatures have fallen below 50 degrees in most parts of Ohio.

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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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