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Crops



Wheat acres up, but many are in poor condition

In Ohio, 930,000 acres were planted with wheat compared to last year’s total of 780,000 acres, according to the USDA. Seeding of winter wheat acres are up 10 percent to total 41 million acres nationwide, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported.

Helping fuel last fall’s renewed interest in wheat were better economics and favorable planting conditions, said Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

“The price of wheat escalated in the fall of 2010 with the poor wheat production in Russia and Canada,” he said. “Secondly, conditions for planting wheat improved dramatically with the early harvest of corn and soybeans, and by fall helped producers get the crop planted in a timely manner.”

Cash prices for wheat are hovering at $7 per bushel. Corn is trading at a cash price of about $6 a bushel, with soybeans about $13.50 a bushel.

While $7 would seem an attractive price, wheat might not be able to compete with $6 corn, Hurt said.… Continue reading

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Reduce costs of feeding hogs with finer grinding

It is well known that corn needs to be ground to be effectively utilized by pigs. New research shows that particle size reductions beyond current common practice may help lower feed costs.

“For many years producers have been grinding to an average particle size between 650 and 700 microns,” said Hans H. Stein, University of Illinois Extension swine specialist and professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. “This particle size was based on research showing that if grain is ground to a smaller particle size, then problems with ulcers in pigs may increase.”

However, Stein said research also shows that energy and nutrient digestibility will increase if particle size is reduced to smaller than 650 microns. Because of this increase in nutrient and energy digestibility, less feed is needed to produce one pound of gain if grain particle size is reduced.

Newer research indicates that feed conversion may be improved by 3 to 5% if corn particle size is reduced from 650 to 450 microns.… Continue reading

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Yield or disease resistance package, which should come first?

By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist

There are many of things to choose from as we prepare for the 2011 planting season. Lots of different packages, choices, and we all remember the challenges of the past few field seasons. In parts of the eastern soybean belt, we have more challenges than most other areas of the Midwest soybean production region. This is a review of the key pathogens in the state that are very well managed with resistance –- if the soybean variety has it.

Phytophthora

Phytophthora sojae is our number one soil borne pathogen for major portions of the state. We see it every time the wrong variety is planted and we have heavy rains. We get stem rot. When stem rot occurs we lose substantial amounts of yield. For a variety with low levels of partial resistance, we can still lose 50% in yield, and if there is no partial resistance, the whole field can be lost.… Continue reading

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USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service extends sign-up period for Conservation Stewardship Program

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the ranking period cut-off date for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to January 21, 2011. Producers interested in CSP should submit applications to their local NRCS Office by the deadline so that their applications can be considered during the first ranking period of 2011.

“CSP benefits rural communities across the nation by protecting and preserving critical natural resources,” said NRCS Chief Dave White.  “We encourage those producers who have already made conservation a priority to apply and work with us to expand the scale of conservation on their land.”

CSP is offered in all 50 states, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups. The program provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habit enhancements and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change.

Producers are encouraged to apply for CSP throughout the year to be considered for current and future application ranking periods.… Continue reading

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“No on Snow” a good rule to live by

By Karen Chapman, Great Lakes Regional Director at Environmental Defense Fund

Farmers have to watch every penny in order to remain profitable – now more than ever. Even with rosy crop prices, producers cannot afford to waste fertilizer or fuel. The January 3rd on-line bulletin “Crop Input and Land Outlook 2011” from OSU Extension, points out that, “Fertilizer continues to be the most volatile of the crop input costs and cost management of this important input may be the difference in being a low cost or high cost producer in 2011.”

With nitrogen and phosphorus prices both up at least 50% from a year ago, it’s hard to imagine why any farmer would apply fertilizer only to see it flow off the field. However, many farmers — some probably unknowingly — do just that.

It’s time to stop this practice, to protect both the pocketbook and soil and water health.… Continue reading

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Ohio 2010 corn and soybean yields down from 2009

Ohio’s 2010 average corn yield is estimated at 163 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from the November forecast, and down 11 bushels from the previous year. Producers harvested 3.27 million acres for grain this past year, compared to 3.14 million acres in 2009. Total State production of 533.0 million bushels is 2% below the 2009 total.

Acreage harvested for silage is estimated at 140,000 acres, down 30,000 acres from the previous year. The average silage yield is estimated at 17.0 tons per acre.

Ohio’s average soybean yield for 2010 is estimated at 48 bushels per acre, unchanged from the November forecast. Growers harvested 4.59 million acres of soybeans in 2010 from the estimated 4.60 million acres planted. Total soybean production is estimated at 220.3 million bushels, down 1% from the 222.0 million bushels produced in 2009.

Alfalfa yields averaged 3.30 tons of dry hay per acre in 2010, while all Other hay averaged 2.20 tons per acre.… Continue reading

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Advanced Biological Marketing Announces iGET™ Technology

Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) announces the next generation in seed treatments: iGET™ (Induced Gene Expression Triggers). The technology, now formulated into several new products for ABM, alters plant gene expression to change plant physiology and enhance biochemical pathways that will increase crop performance.

The technology, based on three decades of research at Cornell University and other international biological research programs, provides multifunctional and crop specific blends of beneficial strains of Trichoderma microbials.

“These changes are systemic,” Marty Robinson, Ag Division President, says, “so that root colonization by the seed treatment can affect the physiology of the whole plant, even the foliar or leaf biology. It will enhance the uptake of water, nutrients, especially nitrogen, and subsequent nutrient metabolism.”

ABM offers iGET products for corn, soybeans and wheat that can create bigger root systems and plant growth and increase yields. SabrEx™ Root Inoculant for Corn (TreatYourCorn.com) has the benefits of iGET Technology, with a typical yield response of 10 bushels per acre.… Continue reading

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Water quality, fuzzy math and the EPA

by Matt Reese

Yeeeeikes! We just got our heating bill and, although we have been setting our thermostat lower and lower in the last couple of years, it has been getting higher and higher. At the same time, unleaded fuel has been on a steady climb in the last few weeks and many people are still suffering from unemployment and an income that is going the wrong direction.

With so many numbers in our lives, wouldn’t things be easier if we could just fudge them one way or the other to get a more desirable outcome? Of course, no one can do that, except, apparently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It is the job of the EPA to regulate, and the fine folks at the Agency in the current Administration seem to particularly love their work. In their quest to further regulate water quality through the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) permitting process, it seems that the EPA is working with numbers that favor their favorite pastime.… Continue reading

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Corn and Soybean Day

The annual Corn and Soybean Day from Ohio State University Extension will take place Jan. 27 in Archbold, Ohio (near the Indiana and Michigan borders) and will be packed with all the information you need to know to get off to a good start in the upcoming 2011 production season.

Sponsored by OSU Extension’s Maumee Valley Extension, Education and Research Area, the program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and will be held at Founder’s Hall at Sauder Village, 22611 State Rt. 2, Archbold.

Cost is $20 with registration postmarked by Jan. 18, or $30 at the door. Download the registration form at http://go.osu.edu/Bdu or contact the Fulton County office of OSU Extension at 419-337-9210. Registration and check payable to OSU Extension can be mailed to OSU Extension Fulton County, 870 St. Rt. 108, Suite A, Wauseon, OH 43567.

Topics for the day include:

* “What is going on with the weather and what to expect for 2011,” Jim Noel, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Ohio River Forecast Center.… Continue reading

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DEKALB scholarship

Applications are now being accepted for the  DEKALB Ag Youth Scholarship program, which will provide $2,500 awards to 10 students in 2011 in recognition of their commitment to agriculture.

“We are excited to once again sponsor the DEKALB Ag Youth Scholarship for the fifth straight year,” said DEKALB Marketing Manager Jason Hoag. “DEKALB has a strong history of investing in ag youth education by sponsoring a variety of scholarships and awards.”

This particular award is available to both high school and collegiate students who plan to pursue an agriculture-related degree and who have demonstrated strong leadership skills and community involvement.  It has already made a difference fordozens of students since 2007.

“The scholarship has helped me get the best education I can,” said 2010 DEKALB Ag Youth Scholarship winner Chelsea Ahlquist, 18, of Onaga, Kan., who is working toward an agronomy degree at Kansas State University.  “I’m really excited for the opportunity at Kansas State to pursue a career in crop development.”

Ohio FFA District 1 President Mike Hannewald of Waterville, 19, was another 2010 recipient. … Continue reading

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Crop acreage will likely increase in 2011

Corn, soybean, wheat and cotton prices are at the highest levels in years which implies there will be more crop acreage in 2011, according to Gerald Bange, chairman of the Agriculture Department’s World Agricultural Outlook Board.

In a crops outlook report delivered at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting, Bange said as much as 10 million more acres could move into crop production this year.

“We won’t know until we get the planting intentions report. It won’t be until June until we know for sure,” Bange said.

Strong prices and strong demand for cotton should mean more acreage will be devoted to that crop, according to Bange, but it is still uncertain what kind of increases are seen for corn and soybeans.

High prices and very low stocks for corn should mean more corn acreage in 2011, but Bange said indicators right now are actually pointing to more soybean acres.… Continue reading

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Beck’s Hybrids to host 52 winter grower meetings

Beck’s Hybrids will host 52 grower meetings across Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan throughout January and February. The meetings will summarize key topics and findings from Beck’s 2010 Practical Farm Research, as well as discuss long-term management procedures.

PFR is focused with the farmer in mind and provides a comprehensive look at how different practices and new technologies perform in field environments. In 2010, Beck’s conducted more than 65 different studies across multiple locations.

“This year we’re bringing growers a very unique, visual presentation that focuses on the question…”If corn could talk, what would it say?,” said Scott Beck, Vice President at Beck’s Hybrids. “We’ll take growers through the corn plants growth stages and highlight practices that will ultimately increase their yield and bottom-line.”

Key topics to be addressed include timing of nitrogen, the importance of early season protection, the effects of fungicides, and post harvest residue management. For a complete list of meeting dates, times and to register, visit www.beckshybrids.com or call 800.937.2325.… Continue reading

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USDA’s Risk Management Agency unveils proposed rule to reward farmers participating in Federal Crop Insurance Program

The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced today that it has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would reward farmers participating in the federal crop insurance program for good performance.

“This proposed Good Performance Refund will benefit qualifying farmers and ranchers across rural America and strengthen the Federal crop insurance program,” said RMA administrator, William J. Murphy. “It encourages producers to use the best available management practices in order to qualify for the refund in future years and rewards good performance by returning a portion of the out-of-pocket costs paid for crop insurance premiums back to those who have paid into the program and have had limited or no losses.”

Under the proposed program, payment amounts would vary by producer and will be based on each qualified producer’s history in the program. RMA estimates that the average refund amount per producer this year will be about $1,000.… Continue reading

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USDA's Risk Management Agency unveils proposed rule to reward farmers participating in Federal Crop Insurance Program

The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced today that it has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would reward farmers participating in the federal crop insurance program for good performance.

“This proposed Good Performance Refund will benefit qualifying farmers and ranchers across rural America and strengthen the Federal crop insurance program,” said RMA administrator, William J. Murphy. “It encourages producers to use the best available management practices in order to qualify for the refund in future years and rewards good performance by returning a portion of the out-of-pocket costs paid for crop insurance premiums back to those who have paid into the program and have had limited or no losses.”

Under the proposed program, payment amounts would vary by producer and will be based on each qualified producer’s history in the program. RMA estimates that the average refund amount per producer this year will be about $1,000.… Continue reading

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Parking lot gardening

An old asphalt parking lot might not seem like a good place for a garden, but in urban areas it can be. It tends to be cheap open land and an Ohio State University expert on intensive small-scale horticulture has started a three-year study on what works best there.

Joe Kovach, who specializes in maximizing fruit and vegetable production in limited spaces, is comparing three ways to do it in empty, abandoned parking lots: in giant-sized pots and in raised beds on top of the blacktop, and in trenches cut right through it.

“There are a lot of vacant parking lots in places like Cleveland and Youngstown,” said Kovach, who works at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster and holds a joint appointment with Ohio State University Extension. “We’re hoping to learn if the trenches work, if the pots are worth it and of all three techniques, which is the best?”

His work could boost the use of abandoned urban land.… Continue reading

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Focus on food safety, current issues at OPGMA Congress

“Your Recipe for Success” is the theme for this year’s Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Congress, Jan. 17-19 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. The registration deadline is Jan. 7 and is available online at http://www.opgma.org/.

Sessions cover a wide range of topics, including special sessions on Monday, Jan. 17, on food safety issues. Presenters include farmers, industry representatives and university specialists from across the nation, including Ohio State University Extension educators and researchers with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Among the sessions being offered by OSU Extension and OARDC faculty members are:

Strawberry and Tomato Production in High Tunnels, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Matt Kleinhenz, Brad Bergefurd.

Apples: Thinning Trials and U.S. Apple Industry Activities, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Allison Parker, Diane Miller, Jozsef Racsko.

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Control and Resources, Jan. 17, 3-4:15 p.m., Sally Miller.

Food Safety Part 3: Training, Education and Implementation, Jan.… Continue reading

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SCI acquisition a product of an evolving seed industry

By Matt Reese

The world of corn and soybean production forever changed in the late 1990s when the first genetically modified soybeans were released. Since then, there is no doubt that traits have revolutionized corn and soybean production, but those same traits have altered the industry in other ways.
The big benefits of traits come with a big price tag in terms of the money required to research and bring them to market. The stakes are high in this high dollar game and once the major players make the huge investment in traits, they are in it to win. Disputes are inevitable, and while the legions of lawyers battle it out, the smaller seed companies that depend on these traits (but cannot afford to develop their own) are caught in the crossfire.
This is the story behind the surprising recent news that DuPont, which owns Pioneer H-Bred International, Inc. (PHI), had acquired Seed Consultants, Inc.… Continue reading

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The debate of ethanol and food prices continues

Recent news stories about higher food prices often try to make a connection between food prices and the demand for ethanol, an incorrect assumption on the part of the ethanol opponents that significantly downplays all the impacts and pressures that affect food prices. Studies after the 2008 spike in corn prices help demonstrate this, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

“It’s an outrage to hear the same claims time after time, blaming corn growers and ethanol producers for the rise in food prices,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president. “It’s a rhetoric with no grounding in reality. Our growers are not only producing more corn and meeting all needs, but we are also experiencing some of the same negative factors on their farms, such as higher energy costs, that are driving up food prices around the world.”

Here in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office had already looked into the issue and issued a report in April 2009 that discussed the role of factors such as energy:

“CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008, the rise in the price of corn resulting from expanded production of ethanol contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 percentage points of the 5.1% increase in food prices measured by the consumer price index (CPI).… Continue reading

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OCGA and OWGA progressing in unification

The Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and Ohio Wheat Growers Association (OWGA) have taken steps to unite to better represent the interests of thousands of grain farmers throughout the Buckeye State.

At the Ohio Grains Symposium December 16 in Lima, OCGA and OWGA leaders discussed the process and decision to form a new organization with the goal to advance Ohio’s grains with members.

As a single entity as of Jan. 1, 2011, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) has positioned itself for the regulation and advancement of domestic and international issues that affect the success of Ohio’s corn and wheat markets, including energy, livestock, trade, environment and transportation issues and relief programs, research and marketing programs.

The new organization is the result of an ongoing relationship between the formerly separate associations that has been fostered with shared staff and joint membership meetings, legislative visits, public campaigns and policy-development strategies.… Continue reading

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Statement from Thomas C. Dorr, USGC president, regarding China’s anti-dumping case against U.S. DDGS imports


“The U.S. Grains Council has a 25 year history of market development and capacity building programs in China and values the U.S./China market and trade relationship. China is a critical partner in trade and an important market for the United States.

“China’s investigation of U.S. DDGS imports is surprising and could be disruptive to trade. China’s unusual market and supply volatility over the last two years has resulted in new global trade flows. As trade flows change, it should perhaps not be surprising there would be an adjustment period in response to unprecedented demand.

“The United States takes pride in being a reliable supplier of high-quality feed and food grains and its ability to rapidly respond to global market demands.

“The mission of the U.S. Grains Council is to help keep markets open and support the free flow of goods. The Council looks forward to continuing the strong trade relationship with buyers and end-users of U.S.… Continue reading

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