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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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Start scouting for western bean cutworm

Purdue University entomologists predict western bean cutworm to peak in egg laying over the next couple of weeks.

The insect is relatively new to Indiana and Ohio, said Christian Krupke. The pest originates in the Great Plains states, but has been increasing in the region since 2006. So far, 2010 looks to be the worst year for infestation.

The pearl-like eggs are found in clusters of 50 to 100 and turn deep purple before hatching. Once hatched, larvae quickly enter into the corn whorl and eat until ears form. Molds often form where worms have eaten.

Krupke expects the northwest corner of the state to experience greater populations of western bean cutworm because the soils are sandy, making it easier for the insect to dig into the soils to overwinter.

“We know eggs are present in many fields in northwestern Indiana,” he said. “There will be many more deposited over the next couple of weeks, so scouting is essential in high-risk areas of the state.”

Although some Bt hybrids offer control, insecticide sprays are effective if applied at the appropriate time.

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The 2010 wheat season: A look back as we move forward

By Pierce Paul, Dennis Mills, Katelyn Willyerd, Alissa Kriss, Ohio State University Extension

The 2010 wheat harvest has finished and, as we plan for the 2010-2011 season, let us take a quick look back and learn from this past crop. We had everything this year — head scab and vomitoxin, Stagonospora leaf and glume blotch, powdery mildew, leaf rust, head smut, cereal leaf beetle, plus a very hot late-spring-early-summer. The big problem this year was head scab and vomitoxin, with incidence ranging from 3% to 60% and vomitoxin from less than 1 to 18 parts per million (ppm). Both Stagonospora and powdery mildew were also very severe, with a severity score of 7 out of 10 this year. Diseases combined with a short grain fill period resulted in low to moderate yield and grain quality, with average yield ranging from 40 to 90 bushels per acre and test weight from 45 to 60 pounds per bushel.

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Researchers Taking Three-Pronged Approach to Flooding/Disease Impacts on Soybeans

Farmers’ hands are tied when it comes to managing soybean injury related to soil flooding and water-loving root rot diseases, but after several years of research at Ohio State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, some promising solutions are on the horizon.

To combat the yield impacts associated with standing water, disease development and poor soil structure during heavy rains and flooding situations, Ohio State University plant scientists are taking a three-pronged approach to improving soybean health: molecular plant breeding, transgenics and soil management.

Over the past three years, USDA-ARS and Ohio State plant scientist Tara VanToai and her colleagues with the University Missouri—Delta Center have been analyzing 196 soybean lines that carry the genes of a flood-tolerant Asian variety and a flood-prone variety. The goal is to identify molecular markers in lines that exhibit flood tolerance to aid in developing flood-tolerant soybean varieties by molecular plant breeding.

“Out of that work, we have identified a handful of lines, less than 10, that show sufficient flood tolerance – 60 percent to 70 percent tolerance in standing water after 10 days,” said VanToai.

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Local Foods, Natural Gas Extraction Topics for Oct. 21 Land-Use Conference

Land-use implications regarding everything from the extraction of natural gas from the vast Marcellus Shale to policy decisions geared to strengthen local food systems are on tap as topics for the 2010 Ohio Land Use Conference, set for Thursday, Oct. 21.

Sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the annual land use conference typically attracts up to 150 elected officials, economic developers, local planners and community leaders, said Nancy Bowen-Ellzey, community development educator for OSU Extension and coordinator of this year’s conference.

“We always try to identify current, emerging issues so the sessions are relevant for participants,” Bowen-Ellzey said. This year’s sessions, some of which run concurrently, include:

Land Use Planning for Local Food Systems, with Holly Mattei, director of the Fairfield County Regional Planning Commission, and Katie Myers, farmland programs coordinator, Countryside Conservancy.

Regional Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change, with Matt McCauley, director for regional planning, Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.

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Time to park the pickup and walk the fields

By Bill Mullen

Jr., Director of Agronomic Services for Seed Consultants Inc.

Until we park the truck and walk our fields, we will never fully know the issues affecting crop development today. Walking fields of soybeans now will give us information on how the crop is actually handling the stress. There are various disease and insect issues to be aware of while walking fields, such as soybean cyst nematode, soybean aphids, sudden death syndrome, frogeye leaf spot, and white mold.
Now is the time to be scouting for soybean cyst nematode (SCN) in your fields. SCN injures soybean roots, and leads to stunted plants. There are not good above ground symptoms to indicate the presence of SCN in a field, especially when moisture is adequate. The cyst is found on the roots are filled with eggs which penetrate the roots and develop into adults in 14 to 21 days. As they develop, the cysts rupture the root, later die and then fall off into the soil.

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USDA Receives Signed Standard Reinsurance agreements from crop insurance companies

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsac announced that as of July 12, 2010, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) received signed 2011 Standard Reinsurance Agreements (SRA) from all 16 private insurance companies who participated in the federal crop insurance program during the 2010 crop year, formally ending the negotiation process which has been underway since December 2009. The new SRA negotiated by USDA is projected to achieve $6 billion in savings over the next 10 years, two-thirds of which will go toward paying down the federal deficit while the remaining third will support high-priority risk management and conservation programs.

“The new agreement that we have now finalized lays the foundation for a more sustainable federal crop insurance program, reduces the federal deficit, and improves the farm safety net for producers by providing incentives for companies to sell policies in all areas so that farmers and ranchers across the country can access these critical risk management tools,” Vilsack said.

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