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Head scab is not the only cause of bleached wheat heads

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

We have received several reports of bleached wheat heads in fields across the state. The distribution of symptoms in the affected fields ranges from individual bleached heads scattered throughout the field to huge sections of fields or entire fields with bleached heads. Timing of symptom development ranges from one to three weeks after flowering. In some instances, bleached heads are empty (blank). Such a wide variety of patterns and symptom characteristics is causing considerable confusion among producers as to whether they are dealing with head scab or some other problem. Scab does indeed cause bleached heads, but it is not the only cause of this type of head disorder. Along with head scab, take-all, hail, frost, flooding, and injuries caused by insects (wheat stem maggot) may all lead to bleached or white discoloration of wheat heads.

Useful information to help you determine whether you are dealing with scab include 1) the weather condition shortly before and during flowering, 2) the timing of symptom development after flowering, 3) the bleaching pattern on the head and the plant, and 4) the distribution of affected heads in the field.… Continue reading

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Genome offers clue to functions of destructive wheat fungus

One of the world’s most destructive wheat pathogens is genetically built to evade detection before infecting its host, according to a study that mapped the genome of the fungus.

Stephen Goodwin, a Purdue and U.S. Department of Agriculture research plant pathologist, was the principal author on the effort to sequence the genome of the fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola, which causes septoria tritici blotch, a disease that greatly reduces yield and quality in wheat. Surprisingly, Goodwin said, the fungus had fewer genes related to production of enzymes that many other fungi use to penetrate and digest surfaces of plants while infecting them.

“We’re guessing that the low number of enzymes is to avoid detection by plant defenses,” said Goodwin, whose findings were published in the early online edition of the journal PLoS Genetics.

Enzymes often break down plant cell walls and begin removing nutrients, leading to the plant’s death. M. graminicola, however, enters the plant through stomata, small pores in the surface of leaves that allow for exchange of gases and water.… Continue reading

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Attention shifting from acreage to corn and soybean yields

In the monthly report of World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), the USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) reduced the forecast of U.S. planted and harvested acreage of corn and rice. Forecasts for the other major crops were not changed from the forecasts in the March Prospective Plantings report, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Analysts lowered the corn planted acreage forecast due to planting delays in the eastern Corn Belt and northern Plains. In contrast, some increase in acreage is expected in the western Corn Belt and central Plains where planting was more  timely,” he said.

USDA judges that planted acreage will total 90.7 million acres, 1.5 million fewer than revealed in the March survey of planting intentions, he said.

According to Good, area harvested for grain is projected at 83.2 million acres, 1.9 million below the May forecast. The large reduction reflects expectations that some planted acreage was lost to flooding in the lower Ohio, lower Mississippi and Missouri River valleys.… Continue reading

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Can small weeds hurt yield?

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

When the developers of technology for Roundup resistance and Liberty (Ignite) resistance released these products for marketing to the farmers, they were recommending that farmers let the weeds grow until the corn and soybeans are fairly tall to form a canopy and then spray their weeds and kill them all in one pass. Well, it was a good salesmanship and many farmers bought into it as a way to save money on weed control. Little did they realize that the smaller weeds also hurt the yield potential of the crops.

Studies conducted by several universities and my own observations have indicated that smaller weeds do reduce the yield potential of the crops. When the infra-red light is reflected from the chlorophyll of the neighboring plants, whether crop plants or weeds, each individual plant, because of its micro- environment, “decides” early on how many ears and the seeds on the ears or how many beans it will try to produce.… Continue reading

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Cover crops and prevented planting update for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio

An announcement made by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) states that producers are eligible for prevented planting on acreage where the cover crop was not timely terminated and the subsequent crop was prevented from planting due to an insurable cause of loss.

The statements in the Special Provisions of Insurance are relevant to insuring a spring crop (e.g. corn, soybeans, etc.) following a crop or small grain crop that has reached the headed stage. Producers who plant a crop after a cover crop that has headed, budded, or has been harvested in the same calendar year are required to request a written agreement through their crop insurance agent. Producers have until July 15th to request a written agreement request through their agent, but are encouraged to submit their request as early as possible because a crop inspection is required as part of the written agreement. The inspection must show a yield potential equal to 90 percent of the guarantee.… Continue reading

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USDA crop report reflects disastrous weather across the country

A challenging weather year for farmers and ranchers all across the country is clearly reflected in yesterday’s crop report released by the Agriculture Department with drops shown in production, stocks and acreage forecasts for corn compared to the May report.

And with the expected drops in both production and supply, USDA is forecasting record prices not only for corn but also for wheat and soybeans. Prices for all three commodities were moved upward from the May estimates due to weather challenges. The cotton price remained the same as the May estimate, but it is still a record.

“There is no doubt that the wild weather year we’re seeing is impacting all the crops farmers produce,” said Todd Davis, crops economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Drought and floods are taking their toll on cotton, corn, wheat and other crops, and USDA’s newest numbers demonstrate just that.”

In its June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates released today, USDA reduced planted corn acres by 1.5 million acres from its March planting intentions survey to 90.7 million acres.… Continue reading

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Flood damaged wheat could be a total loss

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

The damage left by above-average rainfall is now showing up in parts of Ohio. Wheat fields that were under water for several days are now dying. Wheat can recover from a few days of excess water, once the water dries out quickly. But the frequent and heavy rains we have had left the crop under water for close to a week in some locations.

Excess water replaces the air in the soil and deprives the plant roots of much-needed oxygen. Roots that are deprived of oxygen for an extended period will die. This is soon followed by death of the stems, and eventually, the entire plant, and the dead plant tissue is quickly invaded by opportunistic organisms. While wet, saturated, and poorly aerated soils do favor some plant pathogens such as Pythium and could lead to root rot, the problems we are seeing in most of the flooded fields are not caused by diseases.… Continue reading

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It is time to start scouting emerging crops

Now is the time for grain farmers to scout fields at risk for insect infestations and potential pest problems, according to a Purdue Extension entomologist.

Corn planted into grass and wheat in areas of dense growth poses a high armyworm risk. Corn where weedy growth existed could potentially face cutworm troubles, and soybeans first emerging could face bean leaf beetle pressures.

“Corn that has been no-till planted into an abandoned wheat stand or a grass cover crop should be inspected immediately for armyworm feeding,” said Christian Krupke. “Hatched larvae will move from dying grasses to emerging or emerged corn.”

Armyworm feed from the leaf margin toward the midrib and give corn a ragged appearance. In some cases damage may be extensive enough that most of the plant, except the midrib and stalk, is consumed.

“A highly damaged plant may recover if the growing point has not been destroyed,” Krupke said.

If growers find that more than 50% of the corn plants show armyworm feeding damage and there are numerous live larvae less than 1.25 inches long, Krupke said a control method may be necessary.… Continue reading

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A late start to corn planting – Agronomic challenges ahead

By John Brien, AgriGold Regional Agronomist

Planting corn in 2011 has continually been hampered by frequent rain events that have dumped varying amounts of water across the Ohio region. According to the June 5 USDA Ohio cropping report, Ohio had 58% of the corn planted compared to the historical average of 99%. Of the 58% planted, 21% had emerged.  The late start to corn planting is not ideal and will present some unique challenges to corn growers throughout the growing season, but the late planting does not constitute a crop failure. Corn plants adapt very well to challenges and will produce the most grain as possible; the key to success is limiting the amount of stress the corn plant endures.

Late planted corn is more susceptible to weather stress than corn planted earlier in the season. Late planted corn is more likely to experience hotter weather during pollination and more moisture stress during grain fill.… Continue reading

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FSA updates

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is extending the deadline to submit 2010 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) production reports for planted acres to September 1, 2011.

“Producers are reminded that the July 15th deadline is still in place to report the annual acreage and that the September 1st extension is only for reporting ACRE production reports,” said Steve Maurer, State Executive Director. “By following these deadline dates, compliance with current farm programs, and possible eligibility for future programs will be ensured.”

The production reports impact eligibility for potential ACRE payments in the current year and also impacts future years’ benchmark farm yields for covered commodities.

In addition, farmers are encouraged to report failed crop acreage that will not be brought to harvest to their local FSA office.  Failed acreage must be reported to FSA before destroying and replanting to allow time for a field check.

“It is very important that farmers report failed acreage that will not be brought to harvest to the FSA office prior to destruction,” said Maurer.… Continue reading

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Syngenta signs agreement with Golden Acres Genetics, Ltd. to transfer sorghum seed inventory

Syngenta in North America announced an agreement with Golden Acres Genetics, Ltd., Waco, Tex., to transfer all existing Syngenta sorghum seed inventory to Golden Acres effective as of June 3, 2011. The agreement covers all Syngenta sorghum hybrids, including forage, grain and sudangrass products.

“We’re pleased that Golden Acres is acquiring Syngenta’s sorghum inventory and will continue to provide farmers with high-quality hybrid sorghum seed,” said Steve Sick, Syngenta sorghum product manager. “With our recently announced integrated business strategy, Syngenta remains fully focused on our products and technology platforms in core crops to fuel our company’s future growth through new and innovative crop solutions developed from our broad seeds, seed care and crop protection portfolio.”… Continue reading

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Late planting tips

By Bill Mullen, Director of Agronomic Services, Seed Consultants, Inc.

With corn planting winding down in most areas, some time should be spent walking recent corn planted fields for any sign of damage from Black Cutworm. With the delayed corn planting and heavy weed mass worked into the soil prior to planting, black cutworm damage has been seen throughout Ohio and Indiana. Those hybrids with Herculex have an in-plant ability to suppress/control this pest. However in high cutworm pressure, one may need to spray an insecticide for control.

Loss of stand before emergence, due to above ground cutting of the young corn plant at the surface, usually indicates cutworm damage. In order for the Herculex to work, the cutworm has to ingest part of the young plant in order to die. Once this happens, other cutworms seem to get the message and find other non-Herculex fields to feast on. With the recent high temperatures from last week, corn will emerge faster than early May planted fields and the need to keep an eye on recently planted corn fields is very important.… Continue reading

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NItrogen loss is a concern after wet spring

Recent rainfall across much of the Corn Belt has some growers wondering if they have enough nitrogen left in the soil for their corn crop. Agronomy experts with Pioneer Hi-Bred say growers need to evaluate fields and, in some cases, develop a nitrogen rescue strategy. 

“Each year presents new environmental challenges,” said John Shanahan, Pioneer agronomy research manager. “Nitrogen is the single most expensive input, which means there are numerous reasons to get it right — the right amount, the right timing on the right acres. Growers who don’t apply enough risk reduced yields.”

Early-season nitrogen stress creates irreversible yield loss. According to the University of Kentucky, for each day of moisture saturation, 3 to 4% of nitrates in the soil are lost. “Corn requires nearly half of its total nitrogen supply between V8 and tasseling,” Shanahan said. “Pioneer recommends side-dressing nitrogen between V4 and V8, allowing a safety margin for weather and soil conditions that delay nitrogen application or the movement of nitrogen to the roots.” 

Soils tests are a useful tool for evaluating nitrogen in fields.… Continue reading

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The Ohio Soybean Council Seeking Board Member Nominations

Ohio Soybean Council to Elect Five Trustees

The Ohio Soybean Council Board of Trustee elections will be held in five districts this summer. Districts eligible for election include:

District 3            Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Lake, Huron, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Summit and Trumbull

District 4            Allen, Paulding and Van Wert

District 6            Crawford, Seneca and Wyandot

District 11            Clark, Greene and Madison

At Large

To be eligible, applicants must reside in a qualifying district and be a soybean producer engaged in the growing of soybeans in the state of Ohio, who owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss of such soybeans at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding November 15 of the current year. Those eligible producers (spouses who jointly produce soybeans are considered to be a “family” and are considered as an individual board member) who have contributed to the soybean checkoff and have submitted a petition with the signatures of 15 eligible soybean producers who reside in the respective district, shall be determined candidates for election.… Continue reading

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Hay making considerations

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

Rainy weather and saturated soils have meant a late start to the hay making season. Here are some things to consider when making hay:

Plant maturity: This is the largest determining factor regarding hay quality. The highest quality hay is made from plants in the vegetative to early reproductive stage. As plants mature, fiber levels increase, and crude protein and energy content decreases. This year it looks like there will be a lot of low quality first cut hay. The weather removed this factor from our control and now we have to deal with it.

Cutting Height: This can affect both hay quality and longevity of the stand. Cutting heights for primarily grass hay stands should not go below 3.5 inches, especially if the stand is orchardgrass. In the April 20th edition of the Beef Cattle Letter, Garry Lacefield had an article in which he talked about questions he was receiving from farmers asking why their orchardgrass hay fields were not lasting as long as in previous years.… Continue reading

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It’s “sink or swim” week for Ohio’s corn growers

Drier weather in the past few days has Ohio’s farmers itching to get in their fields to get corn planted.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, only 19% of Ohio’s corn crop was planted as of Sunday, May 29. Normally, 93% of the crop is planted at this point. Indiana was in a better situation with 59% of corn planted as of Sunday, compared with an 87% average over the past five years.

“Luckily, the weather does seem to be turning,” said Greg LaBarge, agriculture and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension. “The rain we were worried about Tuesday night missed Ohio, but a lot of folks still will need another few days to dry out to start planting. As soon as they can get in, they’ll be running nearly 24 hours a day to try to get the corn in.”

For every day that planting is delayed in late May and early June, corn growers can anticipate a loss in yield of up to two bushels per acre.… Continue reading

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It's "sink or swim" week for Ohio's corn growers

Drier weather in the past few days has Ohio’s farmers itching to get in their fields to get corn planted.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, only 19% of Ohio’s corn crop was planted as of Sunday, May 29. Normally, 93% of the crop is planted at this point. Indiana was in a better situation with 59% of corn planted as of Sunday, compared with an 87% average over the past five years.

“Luckily, the weather does seem to be turning,” said Greg LaBarge, agriculture and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension. “The rain we were worried about Tuesday night missed Ohio, but a lot of folks still will need another few days to dry out to start planting. As soon as they can get in, they’ll be running nearly 24 hours a day to try to get the corn in.”

For every day that planting is delayed in late May and early June, corn growers can anticipate a loss in yield of up to two bushels per acre.… Continue reading

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Wet spring leaves fields full of untreated weeds

The abnormally wet spring in the Eastern Corn Belt has not only hampered planting, but it also has prevented timely weed burndown applications, said a Purdue Extension weed scientist.

A common problem has been yellow fields caused by cressleaf groundsel, commonly known as ragwort, senicio or butterweed. Rain kept farmers from controlling this weed with herbicides earlier this spring.

“Farmers have a lot of questions about controlling cressleaf groundsel because the excessively wet weather did not allow burndown applications to be made in late April,” said Bill Johnson. “Now we have fields with groundsel, plus chickweed, henbit, deadnettle and winter annual grass at the seed set stage. Not to mention the summer annuals, such as giant foxtail, giant ragweed, common lambsquarters, black nightshade, pigweeds and waterhemp that have started to emerge.”

Bolting horseweed, or marestail, emerged last fall, and seedling horseweed that emerged this spring also continues to be an issue.… Continue reading

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Yield expectations for June corn planting

By Peter Thomison and Allen Geyer, Ohio State University Extension

In previous articles we’ve noted that by the end of May, planting delays may result in yield losses as high as 2 bushels per acre per day but that the impact of late planting on yield can be highly variable. Information on the performance of corn planted in June is limited. When planting is delayed beyond June 1, many grain producers switch to soybean because it has generally been regarded as more profitable than late-planted corn.

What can we expect from corn planted for grain in June? Since 2005 we have conducted field studies to compare the agronomic performance of corn planted on “normal” Ohio planting dates in late April and early May with that of corn planted on dates in early-to-mid June. These planting date studies also included hybrid maturity, nitrogen, seeding rate and foliar fungicide treatments but for the purpose of this discussion we will focus on planting date effects.… Continue reading

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Soggy May was tough on hay

By Matt Reese

Everyone knows that farmers love their tractors and equipment, but hay guys really love their equipment. Dependable, functional equipment is vital when making 180 acres of high dollar hay and 130 acres of straw a year, said Neall Weber as he speaks highly of his hay equipment sitting safely out of the persistent spring rains. He is quick to point out the Circle C Roller he uses makes the hay soft and palatable for horses and allows it to dry more quickly in the field.

“That roller buys us a day of drying for every cutting,” he said.

The Hesston baler has a long track record of dependability, which really counts when making hay.

“I don’t even know how to work on the balers because we’ve never had to,” he said with a proud gleam in his eyes. “We never have trouble with them. With hay, even 15 minutes or a half hour can make a big difference.… Continue reading

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