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Use care when harvesting wheat with vomitoxin

By Matt Reese

According to a recent Ohio State University Extension survey, 140 fields in 27 counties have been surveyed for head scab, and the incidence in untreated fields has ranged from 0.4% to 45%. A few fields in all parts of the state (southern, central, and northern) had greater than 25% incidence, while other fields had very low incidence. With vomitoxin again an issue in fields around the state and wheat harvest just getting started, it is important that farmers remember the dangers of inhaling the very small particles of the fungus.

“One of the issues of vomitoxin is that you can have contamination that doesn’t show up in obvious ways. Certainly, there may be issue because we’ve had an incredibly wet year, which promotes the growth of fungus,” said Mary Fleming, an Agricultural Health Nurse in the Hospital and Health Care industry with Kilbourne United Methodist Church. “One of the problems with respiratory exposure is that the particle size that causes damage is so small that it is not visible to the naked eye.… Continue reading

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Ethanol mandate means corn demand less responsive to price

Federal law that helped jump-start the ethanol industry in the United States also is shifting normal supply-and-demand forces within commodities markets, said a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Not quite four years after Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, markets are struggling to meet both the law’s renewable fuels standard and grain demands from the livestock, food and export sectors, said Wally Tyner, an energy policy specialist. About 27 percent of the nation’s corn crop must be devoted to ethanol this year to meet the federal mandate, leaving other corn users to compete for the remaining 73%.

“The renewable fuels standard requires 15 billion gallons of ethanol be consumed per year by 2015, regardless of what the price of corn is and regardless of what the price of crude oil is,” Tyner said. “Corn could be $2 a bushel or $10 a bushel, crude could be $50 a barrel or $100 a barrel and that 15 billion gallons has to be there.… Continue reading

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2011 rough on wheat

The significance of Ohio’s extremely wet spring is well documented in terms of corn and soybean production, but wheat fields also suffered considerably from the abundant precipitation.

“This has not been the best season for wheat,” said Pierce Paul, Ohio State Extension specialist and plant pathologist.

Farmers faced everything from flooded wheat fields, to disease issues and prevented spring nitrogen applications due to the severity of conditions, he said. Because of such conditions, yield estimates across the state range from as low as 25 bushels per acre to as high as 90.

Paul attributed the lower-yielding fields to a combination of flooding, missed nitrogen applications and disease pressure.

“The rains created moist, humid conditions,” he said. “Any time we have moist, humid conditions, we’ll have diseases.”

The most common diseases in Ohio fields this year included powdery mildew, Septoria, Stagonospora and a fairly significant appearance of head scab. But, Paul said, while the incidence of head scab is relatively high, it isn’t as bad as last year, based on his field surveys 145 fields.… Continue reading

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Time for scouting crops

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics & Technology, Seed Consultants, Inc.

One of the most difficult planting seasons is finally over. With high soil moisture and warm temperatures, crops could grow fast but the plant diseases will grow fast too. While scouting for insects, make sure to watch out for diseases also. This will not only help you in getting prepared for foliar fungicides if needed later, you might be able to take some control measures right away for certain pathogens.

Stewart’s wilt is one of those diseases that may be controlled if detected early. It is caused by bacteria carried by shiny black flea beetles, the size of a pin-head. The bacteria live the body of the beetles during winter and if the winters are mild, more beetles will survive. They cause bacterial wilt and leaf blight in the corn plants by feeding and injecting the bacteria into the plants.… Continue reading

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Progress toward cellulosic ethanol from corn stover

DDCE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DuPont, has entered into an agreement to purchase a parcel of land in Nevada, Iowa, adjacent to Lincolnway Energy LLC’s conventional ethanol plant. It is DDCE’s next step toward building one of the world’s first commercial-scale biorefineries to produce fuel-grade ethanol from cellulose, in this case stover-dried cobs, stalks and leaves left after grain harvesting.

DDCE is successfully producing cellulosic ethanol at its pre-commercial facility in Vonore, Tenn., and is scaling up the process to globally license its end-to-end production system. 

“We’re producing cellulosic ethanol sustainably and economically today, and the market is ready and interested to deploy large-scale biorefineries,” said Joe Skurla, CEO of DDCE. “We are purchasing the site next to Lincolnway because it will meet the business needs for our project, and provides potential economic and environmental synergies for both facilities.”

The DDCE process is designed to make fuel from a variety of cellulosic biomass.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-June 27,2011

“We finished planting on June 8 with corn and beans both. We’re off to a very good start. We have near perfect stands in every field. They look beautiful, really, but they should since they were planted in June. The only kicker is that if it was three or four weeks earlier, we’d be sitting on top of the world right now. But for going in late, I guess we can’t complain. We’re close to that 8-inch mark on the corn that is at about the five-leaf stage. We should be close to knee high by the fourth of July.

“Wheat is kind of a sore subject around here. It looks pretty tough as a general rule. There is head scab and other disease in it. In May, we were wet and had a couple of big rains that killed wheat in the low areas. Wheat is not going to be very good around here.… Continue reading

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ASA pushes for resources to keep inland waterways functioning

The American Soybean Association (ASA) has joined with the National Grain and Feed Association, other producer groups, processors, and input suppliers, alerting the Congressional Appropriations Committees about the urgent need for additional resources to dredge and repair inland waterways that have been damaged by historic high water levels.

“Agricultural producers, processors and exporters rely on the entire Mississippi River system and share concern about the impact recent floods in the Midwest will have on the river system,” said ASA First Vice President Steve Wellman, a soybean producer from Syracuse, Neb. “More than 60% of U.S. soybean exports moved to world markets through the Port of South Louisiana via the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”

A modern and efficient inland waterways transportation system is vital to maintaining U.S. agricultural competitiveness in the world market. As the U.S. system continues to face delays and closures attributable to low drafts and crumbling locks and dams, competitors are increasing expenditures on their own transport infrastructures, thereby eroding the competitive advantage long enjoyed by the United States.… Continue reading

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WISHH provides soy to Afghans in need

In May, 414 bags of Stine soybean seeds arrived at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded Soybeans in Agricultural Renewal of Afghanistan (SarAi) project, launched by the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program in 2010. The seeds were loaded onto a truck and transported to the project site at Dashta-Qala, Takhar Province. On June 13, the farmers received the seeds, inoculum and fertilizer for planting their first cash crop.

The multi-faceted SarAi project uses soybeans to benefit Afghan farmers, food processors, and rural communities, as well as women and children. It provides a total of 240 metric tons of defatted soy flour, 13,750 metric tons of soybean oil and 6,000 metric tons of soybeans over three years. Over the life of the program and all of its activities, this project will benefit more than 405,000 Afghan people.… Continue reading

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No easy answers for some tough herbicide questions

By Matt Reese

It was a tough spring for weed control and herbicide experts like Mark Loux, with Ohio State University Extension, continue to get more questions about various issues.

A recent example is a commercially sprayed, long-term no-till Delaware County field (pictured). While some ragweed was killed, nearby plants were slowed, but not stopped, with a treatment of Roundup/Sharpen after 10 days. Monsanto recommended waiting until it greens back up and hitting it again with 44 ounces of Roundup. Was this an herbicide resistance issue or something else?

Here is Loux’s response to the situation and the photo:

One thing to keep in mind that, aside from glyphosate resistance issues, burndown treatments in no-till were applied a month or more later than they typically are, so we were dealing with bigger and older weeds. One consequence of this is certainly that burndown treatments that work well in late April or early May are being stretched to their limits when they are applied in June.… Continue reading

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Root zone wars can cause corn casualties

By Dervin Druist, Syngenta agronomist

Corn is developing quickly this time of year, and agronomists often get questions about nutrient deficiencies, herbicide concerns, and other plant growth related topics. On my recent service calls, I was reminded again of the importance of the root zone. Planting into optimum conditions was difficult this spring, and now the roots are battling the seed zone issues that we created mechanically, or by hydraulic compaction due to the very heavy rainfall we had at times.

Hydraulic surface compaction

As I sank my spade in fields across several states, it was obvious there was significant surface compaction in some areas this year. Many times, the top two inches of soil would come up like chunks of brick. What would you expect the corn plant to look like under those conditions? In one situation, a grower no-till planted at one-inch seed depth this year because he thought he needed quick emergence with the cold, rainy conditions.… Continue reading

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Custom rates for hay

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

All fall and winter I get questions in the Champaign County office about farm rental rates. Now that we are in the growing season, the calls are about farm custom rates for services that neighbors and farmers hire from each other. I actually use material for both from Barry Ward, the program lead for Production Business Management in the Ag Econ department at Ohio State University. The current calls are about cutting and baling hay, but installing tile and other calls will come in as well.

To compile the data, Barry conducts a survey to ask farmers what they charge their neighbors for this local custom work. He notes, “There is no assurance that the average rates reported in this publication will cover your total costs for performing the custom service or that you will be able to hire a custom operator for the average rate published here.… Continue reading

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H. R. 872 moves closer to a Senate vote

Congressional leaders from both parties have expressed interest in reining in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s expanding regulations. In one such effort, Ohio Representatives Bob Gibbs and Jean Schmidt took the lead on H. R. 872 that addressed the EPA’s duplication of regulations with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, passed the House earlier this year and was just passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee with a strong bipartisan vote. This legislation clarifies that NPDES permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their EPA approved label. Ohio Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau, and the nation’s crop organizations were pleased with the bill’s progress one step closer to a vote on the Senate floor. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), voted in favor of the measure.

From a statement from the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association: “OCWGA is pleased by Sen.… Continue reading

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What can we learn from the USDA stocks and acreage reports?

A large number of factors have contributed to the higher prices of corn and other commodities over the past year. The beginning of the price increase can be traced to the USDA’s forecast of 2010 corn planted acreage and the estimate of June 1 corn stocks released on June 30, 2010, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“The USDA’s June 2010 forecast of corn planted acreage came in at 87.872 million acres, 926,000 fewer than indicated in the March 2010 Prospective Plantings report. The market was generally expecting acreage to exceed March intentions,” he said.

The final planted acreage estimate for 2010 was 320,000 acres larger than the June forecast. Area harvested for grain was 441,000 acres larger than was forecast in June, but declining yield prospects more than offset the slightly larger acreage estimates, he added.

The USDA’s estimate of June 1, 2010, corn inventories was about 300 million bushels–or 6.5% –smaller than was anticipated by the market and about 245 million bushels smaller than our pre-report calculation, he said.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report-June 20th


The average temperature for the State was 66.7 degrees, 3.6 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 0.73 inches, 0.23 inches below normal. There were 107 modified growing degree days, 34 days below normal. Reporters rated 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, June 17, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 13 percent short, 76 percent adequate, and 11 percent surplus.


Temperatures and precipitation were lower than normal for most of the state, a departure from the previous two weeks. A break from the rainfall allowed farmers to finish planting corn and soybeans. Most field activities included cutting hay, spraying herbicide and side-dressing corn. Some wheat fields were showing indications of fusarium head blight due to high moisture levels. There were isolated reports of cut worm in corn, as well.

As of Sunday June 19th, corn was 92 percent emerged.… Continue reading

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Double-cropping soybeans may be very profitable this year

By Matt Reese

With a frustrating growing season finished (or mostly finished) wheat growers will now be turning their attention to the wheat crop and harvest. And for many, double-crop soybeans could be a very profitable option in 2011.

“The growers who are harvesting wheat should consider planting double-crop soybeans after wheat, especially south of I-70 in Indiana and Ohio,” said Dave Nanda, Ph. D. 
Director of Genetics and Technology, Seed Consultants, Inc. “There is plenty of moisture available this year. With the current prices, planting double-crop soybeans could be quite profitable. It is very important to plant the second crop of soybeans as soon as possible after wheat harvest because the yield decreases everyday that planting is delayed. Soybeans planted late try to compensate for the shorter growing season. Realize that the aim of the plants is to produce viable seeds.”

Seed populations and varieties need to be adjusted based upon the specifics of the situation.… Continue reading

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White wheat and floppy corn: Issues in the Eastern Corn Belt

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

In this agronomic update I want to take some time to discuss the two most common questions I am receiving from growers as of late. Those questions are…

1. Why are areas in my wheat field turning white?

2. Why is my corn leaning over? It looks like chemical injury.

First, there are several reasons why your wheat may be appearing to reach maturity early.

1. Nitrogen deficiency: with the abundant rainfall we received this spring, our wheat plants are running out of nitrogen. When a grass crop runs out of N it begins the process of cannibalization. It will cannibalize itself to make grain. Therefore, we are seeing wheat fields that are prematurely dying due to this nitrogen cannibalization.

2. Low areas or drowned out spots are dying sooner due to anaerobic conditions from waterlogged soils earlier in the season. These same areas also run out of nitrogen sooner as well.… Continue reading

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U.S. Senate votes to repeal VEETC

The U.S. Senate voted to pass the Feinstein/Coburn amendment that repeals the 45-cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the 54-cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol is a giant step toward leveling the playing field for a bushel of corn. It was a 73-27 vote on the legislation introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

“The VEETC and the tariff on imported ethanol have put cattlemen and other end-users of corn at a competitive disadvantage to the corn-based ethanol industry when it comes time to buy a bushel of corn. Repealing the VEETC and the import tariff are important steps to fully leveling the playing field. We commend the 73 U.S. Senators who supported the Feinstein/Coburn amendment,” said Bill Donald, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president. “Cattlemen aren’t opposed to ethanol. In fact, we support our nation’s commitment to reducing our dependence on foreign oil.… Continue reading

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Tips for renovating strawberries

Strawberries, particularly the June-bearing types, tend to produce a lot of runners and daughter plants in a patch. This leads to overcrowded plants that compete for light, moisture, and mineral nutrients and leads to a reduction in the amount of berries produced in a strawberry patch, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

“In order to minimize competition among plants and maintain a productive June-bearing strawberry patch over an extended period of time, the patch needs to be renovated immediately at the end of harvesting season every year,” said Maurice Ogutu. “The patch can be renovated until the plants have had three to four fruitings or until the plants are not performing optimally. The plants that are not performing optimally may be destroyed and a new strawberry planting established on a different location,” he said.

Ogutu described renovation as the removal of the higher percentage of old strawberry plants from established plantings to allow natural replacement with new daughter plants that will produce more fruit.… Continue reading

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Ohio family featured In national campaign

Many Ohioans in agriculture are familiar with the Harbage family in Clark County and now, residents of Washington, D.C. will be getting to know them as well.

The Ohio farm family is featured in an ad campaign as part of the Corn Farmers Coalition program that debuts at Union Station, an important venue for reaching policymakers inside “The Beltway.” This is the third year for the program highlighting U.S. corn growers.

“Even in the 21st Century, corn farming remains a family operation,” said Kansas Corn Commission Chairman Mike Brzon, a farmer from Courtland, Kan. “In many cases, such as mine, this vocation goes back multiple generations. The family farmer growing corn for a hungry world isn’t a myth, but a critical economic engine for our country and it’s important that policymakers and influencers realize this.”

Corn farmers from 14 states and the National Corn Growers Association are supporting the Corn Farmers Coalition program to introduce a foundation of facts seen as essential to decision making, rather than directly influencing legislation and regulation.… Continue reading

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USDA announces projects to provide increased renewable energy production, reduce reliance on foreign oil

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the establishment of four additional Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas to promote the cultivation of crops that can be processed into renewable energy. Acreage in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania will be designated to grow giant miscanthus, a sterile hybrid warm-season grass that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels, and bio-based products.

“Renewable, home-grown, clean energy from American producers is vital to our country’s energy future because it reduces our reliance on foreign oil and creates good-paying production jobs that cannot be exported,” said Vilsack. “Today’s announcement will make a significant contribution to rural America and create nearly 4,000 jobs, demonstrating the great economic potential the production of renewable energy holds for our rural communities.”

It is estimated that each of the four project areas and conversion facilities would earn about $50 million per year. According to industry estimates, a large number of biorefinery, agriculture and support jobs will be created in each area.… Continue reading

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