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Biomass Crops Assistance Program

Steve Maurer, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, announced the deadline for project area proposals for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).  To be considered, proposals must be submitted to the Ohio FSA State office by close of business, May 27, 2011.

“I encourage all those interested in participating in this program to contact the Ohio FSA State office for details,” said Maurer.

BCAP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and provides payments to eligible farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the establishment and production of biomass crops for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels.  BCAP project areas are specific geographic areas where producers grow eligible biomass crops.  Producers then receive annual payments during the life of the contract period for those crops.

For more information, visit the USDA FSA website at: www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap or contact the Ohio FSA State Office Conservation Section at 614-255-2447.… Continue reading

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Prevented planting reminder

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) would like to remind producers to report the acreage to your local FSA office within 15 days of the final planting date of the crop, when bad weather prevents planting or damages crops.  This applies to all crops, whether covered by crop insurance, not covered by insurance, or covered by FSA’s Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP).  Final planting dates vary among counties and crop types.

Producers who have their crops insured through a private crop insurance company should contact the insurance agent immediately and advise them of the damaged crops.  Additionally, for those crops covered under FSA’s NAP, producers should immediately contact their local FSA office to report the acres and file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss Application. “Producers with NAP coverage should report their losses within 15 calendar days of crop damage from natural disaster, so the loss can be appraised and production counted before the crop is put into another use, abandoned or destroyed,” said Maurer.… Continue reading

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Making adjustments for later corn planting

By Peter Thomison and Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

As of Sunday April 24, only one percent of Ohio’s corn crop was planted, which is 38% behind last year and 13% behind the five-year average (http://www.nass.usda.gov/oh). Weather forecasts indicate more rain this week possibly continuing through Thursday. As prospects for a timely start to spring planting diminish, growers need to reassess their planting strategies and consider adjustments. Since delayed planting reduces the yield potential of corn, the foremost attention should be given to management practices that will expedite crop establishment. The following are some suggestions and guidelines to consider in dealing with a late planting season.

Although the penalty for late planting is important, care should be taken to avoid tillage and planting operations when soil is wet. Yield reductions resulting from “mudding the seed in” are usually much greater than those resulting from a slight planting delay.… Continue reading

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Delayed planting isn’t always a problem

While the sky literally has been falling in the form of rain for the past month, many farmers aren’t panicking about getting their corn into the ground.

“You have to keep it all in perspective,” said Delaware, Ohio, farmer and Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Chairman John Davis.  “In 1995, for instance, we didn’t even plant soybeans until the third weekend in June.”

Davis is also a seed dealer for Pioneer. He said farmers are not yet calling him to say that they want to switch from planting soybeans to planting corn because the planting dates for corn extend into May.

“The optimum planting dates for corn in Ohio is April 20 until May10. If the corn is planted in that time period with good weather, most of the yields will be okay,” said Davis. “This is not the time to panic. If we get dry and hot weather, we can have the corn in the ground in eight days.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-April 25th

“To be honest, I quit checking the rain gauge. It really doesn’t matter because there is another rain coming behind it the next day it seems. It looks like it is going to rain all week. It is just wet.

“I’m not concerned yet. In ‘98 our best crops were planted between the 10th and the 17th of May and that was the best year we ever had. Every year is different. By looking at the trees around here, you’d think it was the first of April instead of almost the first of May.

I had one neighbor who drilled several fields of soybeans 10 days ago. Otherwise, nobody has done anything.

“Fortunately, we have a lot of tiled ground. I think that when it quits raining and if it is warm and windy (those days are coming) we could be in the fields in five or six days easy enough.… Continue reading

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Planting factors in 2011

By Steve Prochaska, Ohio State University Extension

The weather conditions this year have not favored very early planting of corn and soybeans. However, both corn and soybeans can yet be planted with full yield potential.  When soil conditions become favorable, both crops can be planted without great risk to cold weather injury. There are, however, certain attributes associated with each (corn and soybeans) that should be considered if only one crop can be planted at a time. What follows below is risk/benefit analysis to corn and /or soybean planting given the possible time and field constraints that are very possible in 2011.

Risks to early planted orn

1.   Uneven or reduced plant emergence due to extended periods of wet, cold weather can significantly reduce corn yields.

2.   If need to replant, there is a loss of growing season and corn yield potential.

3.   Cost of replanting in the event of failure.… Continue reading

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Marestail control essential to protect soybean yields

No-till practices save soil and offer many other benefits, but soybean producers know there’s at least one big disadvantage: Not tilling gives weeds, particularly problematic marestail, a chance to thrive.

“The biggest challenge we have in no-till soybeans across Ohio and surrounding states is control of glyphosate-resistant marestail in the spring,” said Ohio State University Extension weed specialist Mark Loux.

Marestail emerges in fields from late March through June, and again in late summer through fall. Spring-emerging marestail competes with soybeans throughout the growing season, eventually bolting to a height of 3 to 6 feet, enough to interfere with harvest. It’s more of a problem in the southern two-thirds of the state, though it’s moving north, Loux said.

Loux said a one-two punch is necessary for marestail control in no-till fields: An effective burndown herbicide treatment to ensure planting is done in weed-free fields, and a residual treatment controlling the growth of any new weeds until early to mid-June, when the leaves of the soybean plants are large enough to form a canopy that provides plenty of control.… Continue reading

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ODA Suspends Grain License of Archbold Elevator

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has suspended the grain license of the Archbold Elevator Inc. located at 3265 County Road 24 in Archbold, Ohio.  Operations at a branch in Wauseon, Ohio and at additional storage bin in Elmira, Ohio have also been halted.

Farmers who are owed money for grain deposits with Archbold Elevator should call ODA’s Grain Warehouse Section at 800-282-1955 or at 614-728-6410.

Following an examination the week of April 5, ODA examiners determined that Archbold Elevator held liabilities significantly higher than their available assets and were short at least 50,000 bushels of corn.  The grain handlers’ license, #5272, was suspended on April 11.

Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created to reimburse farmers when a licensed elevator becomes insolvent.

Ohio farmers lost approximately $8 million due to grain elevator bankruptcies prior to the establishment of the fund in 1983. Since the fund was established it has reimbursed farmers more than $8.5 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators.… Continue reading

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Soybean aphid update

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

Normally during this time we offer an up-date article as to our thoughts for soybean aphid in Ohio for the coming summer.  We reported our initial thoughts last fall in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter, 2010-38 that we do expect to see some aphids this coming summer. If you remember, we saw extremely few aphids during 2010 except for the last few weeks of summer which is normal during an “off” year.  While not seeding a lot of eggs on buckthorn, some were indeed found which suggests an “aphid” year coming up.  Thus, we feel that Ohio will continue its two year cycle of very few if any aphids being found followed by low to moderate to even high populations somewhere in the state.  But as we stated last fall and throughout the winter meetings, it is impossible to predict which regions of Ohio, if any, will experience outbreak conditions. … Continue reading

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Corn and soybean prices to reflect substantial uncertainty

Old-crop corn prices declined sharply in the first half of March as it appeared that high prices had sufficiently slowed the rate of consumption. However, a continued high rate of ethanol production, a resurgence of export sales and larger livestock inventories provided evidence that consumption had not slowed, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“The March 1 Grain Stocks report provided an estimate of smaller-than-expected inventories of corn, and prices rallied to a new high on April 11. That rally was followed by a 40-cent decline last week on renewed talk of slowing consumption,” said Darrel Good.

Livestock prices appear to be peaking, and high gasoline prices may point to reduced fuel, including ethanol, consumption. Feed demand for corn is also expected to be reduced by increased wheat feeding, although most of that reduction is expected to occur in the summer months after the harvest of the 2011 wheat crop.… Continue reading

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Proven practices for improving corn yields

By Peter Thomison and Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

The record high corn yields achieved by many Ohio farmers in recent years have generated considerable interest in what can be done to sustain and push yields even higher. Many Ohio growers are achieving 200 bu/A corn. According to some agronomists and crop specialists, we have entered a new era in corn production characterized by higher annual rates of yield improvement. These higher rates are attributed to several factors, including genetic technologies that allow for greater expression of corn genetic yield potential by withstanding various crop stresses.

In the quest for high yields, considerable attention has been given to increasing various inputs, including seeding rates and fertilizers, narrowing row spacing, and making preventative applications of foliar fungicides, growth regulators and biological stimulants. However, the additional costs of some of these practices and inputs may prohibit their use except perhaps for those growers interested in participating in corn yield contests on high yielding sites.… Continue reading

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Harvest more solar power by planting early

By Dave Nanda, agronomic crops consultant and Director of Genetics and Technology at Seed Consultants, Inc.

There are very few things in life that are free. Sunlight is one of those free things, but only a very small percentage of the solar energy is captured by the plants. Most of it is either wasted on the ground or is reflected back. So what can we do to make a more efficient use of this free energy?  These days we hear a lot about reducing the use of fossil fuels and producing more clean energy by solar panels or wind machines. However, I don’t know of a better system than the corn plant for capturing sunlight efficiently, and simultaneously, it reduces carbon dioxide and gives us oxygen so we can breathe and makes food and feed. The only crop plant more efficient than corn in making more calories per unit area is sugarcane, which can be grown only in subtropical and tropical parts of the world.… Continue reading

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Tips on setting up on farm trials

By Anne Dorrance, Pierce Paul, Robert Mullen and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

More and more inputs are being pushed onto producers to raise yields. Some products have a substantial amount of data behind them and for others it is hard to find data. But producers can evaluate these treatments on their own farms. Plan now to leave non-treated strips in the field. This does not mean, the better half of the field gets the treatment and the other half doesn’t, which has been shown to be very biased.   To ensure a fair representation, plan to have the treatments cross the field in replicated strips. The direction of the strips should be such that parts of both the treated and nontreated strips are in both the light and dark ground. In other words, if the dark and light ground or woods at the edge of the field runs east-to-west, the treated and nontreated strips should run north-to-south. … Continue reading

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New seed corn technology comes with risks

Bags of corn seed that mix genetically modified hybrids with and without Bt toxins that kill insects provide farmers easier compliance with federal regulations but could, over time, hasten insect resistance to Bt, a Purdue University entomologist said.

Although “refuge-in-a-bag” seed technology has been approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, questions still remain over its long-term effect on corn rootworms, the main pest targeted by the technology, said Christian Krupke.

“Is a guarantee of 100% grower compliance with refuge regulations for corn rootworms worth a bit of a risk in terms of resistance development?” he said. “For many the answer is yes, because compliance has been declining in recent years.”

Refuge-in-a-bag products contain 90% Bt corn seed with 10% non-Bt “refuge” seed.

Under EPA rules, farmers who plant Bt corn also must plant next to or around that corn non-Bt hybrids equaling 20% of the Bt acreage. With refuge-in-a-bag, farmers plant all the seed together.… Continue reading

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Lima ethanol plant set to resume operations

By Matt Reese

The controversy and colorful history of the oft-discussed ethanol plant in Lima may be a thing of the past. Guardian Energy Holdings, LLC, headquartered in Janesville, Minn., purchased a majority stake in the 54-million gallon ethanol production facility and is planning on resuming controversy-free operations soon.

“We’ve been buying grain since the middle of February and we started dumping about the first week of March,” said Tyler Miller, commodity manager for Guardian Lima, LLC. “April 18 is the official opening date. We will have an open house sometime this summer once we are up and running.”

The facility originally began operations in 2008 as Greater Ohio Ethanol, but filed for bankruptcy protection later that year due to numerous operational challenges and adverse financial market conditions. The plant sat idle since November 2008 before it was re-acquired in March 2009.

“We invested about $30 million into reengineering the process deficiencies from the previous ownership.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report-April 11th

Temperatures were below normal throughout the state, and most areas were too wet for field activities. Producer field activities for the week include hauling grain, spreading fertilizer and manure on hay fields, top dressing application to wheat, and preparation of equipment and fields for planting. Producers in the Northwest and North Central districts have temporarily ceased top dressing applications due to wet field conditions.

As of Sunday April 10, winter wheat was 6 percent jointed, which was 5 percent behind last year and 2 percent behind the five-year average. Five percent of the oats were planted, compared to 26 percent last year and 19 percent for the five-year average. Peaches green tip or beyond were 16 percent, which was 23 percent behind last year and 12 percent behind the five- year average. Fifteen percent of the apples were green tip or beyond, compared to 44 percent last year and 29 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-April 11, 2011

“We had about an inch of rain on Friday. Yesterday I could start to see tile lines showing up and we got another two-tenths last night. Almost no fieldwork has been done in our neighborhood. We did chisel 60 acres of our good sandy loam a week ago that we had tiled last fall. If we had days like yesterday the way the wind blew, we’d be planting by Friday or Saturday for sure. But with the 60-degree days we have coming with lows of 40 at night, you just don’t gain much. It is pretty slow going and there is more rain in the forecast.
“We already tilled up the only wheat field we had, which was 70 acres, which goes to corn. We also switched 100 acres of beans to corn. We have a lot of manure available to us, so the economics really favor corn, as long as my son can reach the field with his 2 miles of dragline.… Continue reading

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Questions remain about demand

The USDA’s monthly update of prospective supply and demand for U.S. corn and soybeans released on April 8 contained some changes from the March report, but reaffirmed the tightness of supply, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“For corn, the USDA increased the projection of use for production of ethanol and byproducts by 50 million bushels, to a total of 5 billion bushels. The increase is consistent with the current pace of use and the strong economic incentive for ethanol consumption provided by high gasoline prices,” he said.

The projection of feed and residual use of corn during the current marketing year was reduced by 50 million bushels, so that the projection of year-ending stocks was unchanged at 675 million bushels. At 5.15 billion bushels, feed and residual use is expected to be about equal to use of last year, he added.

“The USDA will provide an estimate of feed and residual use during the second quarter of the marketing year in the Feed Outlook report to be released on April 12.… Continue reading

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WASDE keeps supplies tight

Expectations for the April World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released by the Agriculture Department were for a slight reduction in the corn supply from last month due to increasing use for ethanol, but USDA pegged the corn supply at 5% of total usage, the same as the March report.

“A 5% stocks-to-use ratio is still historically low,” explained Todd Davis, crops economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “That represents just 18 days of supply, so we’re still going to need a big 2011 corn crop because we don’t expect any drop in total use this year.

“USDA released its prospective plantings report showing farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn this year, which would be the second largest corn acreage since 1944. This shows that farmers are going to step up to the plate and produce the corn that the market is calling for. The market needs corn this year and farmers will deliver.”

Davis said a big corn crop is required to build supplies and to meet growing demand for ethanol, feed and other uses.… Continue reading

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Think twice about planting soybeans in cold ground

By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist (from the OSU CORN Newsletter)

One of these weeks it will actually warm up and we will get to plant the 2011 crop! If you start getting anxious and want to put soybeans into cold soil, you may want to rethink this option. A very nice study was just published by Iowa State Researcher, Leonor Leandro, which compared inoculations of soybean seed with the sudden death syndrome pathogen, Fusarium virguliforme. Seeds which were inoculated at the day of planting developed symptoms at all of the temperatures tested. Seedlings that were three and seven days old developed more root rot and greater severity of foliar symptoms at cooler temperatures (62 and 73) than those inoculated at warmer temperatures (82).

Their conclusions were that soybean seeds are more vulnerable to infection than seedlings, but seedlings grown in cold soils are also vulnerable. For Ohio producers that must manage sudden death syndrome, this study indicates that it may be best to wait until the soils are warmer and plant at optimum conditions for seed germination.… Continue reading

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