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Bullish reaction on corn and soybeans

USDA put the corn yield at 171.8 bushels per acre, up from last month’s 169.9. Yet, corn is not falling apart. It is 2 cents higher shortly after the report. Before the report corn was down 3 cents. USDA lowered the soybean yield to 49.5, last month it was 49.9. The corn and wheat ending stocks were higher than expected. Soybean ending stocks were lowered to 430 million bushels, last month it was 475 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks less than expected looks to be the driving force for higher soybean and corn prices shortly after the report.

It is also most surprising to see corn rally with the 171.8 bushel yield. We could see the funds short position in jeopardy with the price action in the first 15 minutes.

Headed into this report this is much fear of seeing a bearish yield report with yields climbing even more than what USDA has estimated for corn and soybeans.

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Minimize the risk of harvest fires

Dry corn and soybean fields have put farmers at greater risk of their combines catching on fire while harvesting crops.

At least three combine fires were sparked across Ohio in one week this fall. Two happened during the recent week-long heatwave: one in Crawford County on Sept. 22, another in Miami County on Sept. 24. A third combine fire happened Sept. 28 in Shelby County leaving a man with serious burns, according to news reports.

Combines can catch fire when the dry plant material or grain dust mix with heat generated by the combine’s motor, belts or exhaust system or by the static electricity produced as the combine is driven through a field, said Rory Lewandowski. He is an agricultural and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

Every year, harvest comes with some risk of combine fires, but this year was especially dry so the risk is higher than usual, Lewandowski said.

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World record for data collection set by OSU precision ag team

Over the last year, Trey Colley, a graduate student studying precision agriculture at The Ohio State University, worked to gather the most data ever collected for a single corn plant. Now that the growing season has transitioned to harvest, Colley has been amazed at the amount of data that has accumulated from his corn plant, Terra, growing in a field at the Farm Science Review.

“We have really exceeded our expectations this year and it’s been really cool to see all the different types of technology and their impact on producing the best crop that we can grow,” Colley said. “We collected 18.4 total gigabytes of data for Terra, that’s 28 megabytes per kernel. If we collected this amount of data for the whole 100-acre field, there would be 60 petabytes of data. That is more storage than 466,000 iPhones and three times more than the amount of data Google processes in a day.

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Dodder in western Ohio

We have had reports of dodder in some red clover fields. Dodder is a parasitic plant without any leaves or chlorophyll to produce its own energy. It lives by attaching to a host with small appendages (called ‘haustoria”), and extracting the host plant’s carbohydrates. The stems are yellow-orange, stringlike, twining, smooth and branching to form dense masses in infested fields. Although neither toxic nor unpalatable to some livestock, dodder can weaken host plants enough to reduce yield, quality, and stand. If infestations are severe enough, dodder may kill host plants.

Dodders are annuals that spread by seed. Seed may be able to survive in the soil over 20 years. Controlling dodder with herbicides depends on the crop in which you wish to control it. Some herbicides may affect dodder, but also may affect the crop, or not be labeled for that use. In many cases, dodder control may be more effective if herbicides are applied before the plant attaches to the host.

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Green stem syndrome

One issue that impacts soybean harvest in the eastern Corn Belt at some level each year is green stem syndrome. Green stem syndrome could be larger issue for the 2017 harvest because of latter planting dates in many areas. When green stem syndrome occurs, stems and leaves can remain green after pods have matured. As a result, while pods and seeds are mature and dry enough to be harvested, harvest operations can be slowed as combines have more difficulty dealing with stems and leaves that are still green. In addition to creating harvest delays, green stem syndrome can increase fuel consumption and result in shattering losses if growers delay harvest until stems have fully matured.

The occurrence of green stems varies from year-to-year and can be affected by several factors, such as:

• Viral infections

• Insect feeding

• Late planting

• Drought stress

• Application of fungicides

Successful management of green stem syndrome requires management practices that include timely planting, establishing adequate plant stands, irrigation, and controlling insects/pests.

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Slug management thoughts

As the 2017 field season winds down farmers are reflecting on how things went this summer and are looking ahead to next season.

Many Ohio farmers experienced significant slug damage this spring and are thinking about future practices to mitigate slug damage including cover crops and crop rotations. We are conducting some preliminary on-farm research to look at the effect of different cover crops on slugs, but some interesting work has already been done by our colleague at Penn State, Dr. John Tooker. Tooker and his team have found that slug populations tend to be lower in more diverse rotations than the typical corn/soy rotation — the longer and more diverse the rotation schedule the better. Diversified rotations help promote a healthy field ecology where pests and predators can maintain a balance with each other. Ground beetles in particular are effective slug predators.

Other practices which protect ground beetles have also been shown to help keep slugs down, for example avoiding insecticidal seed treatments or foliar applications unless they are warranted by pest-scouting and thresholds.

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Soybean pod shattering and harvest moisture

Pre-harvest and harvest loss of grain can result in significant yield reductions. Pre-harvest pod shatter (breaking of pods resulting in soybeans on the ground) can occur when dry pods are re-wetted. This year, in our trials, we’ve seen very little pre-harvest loss.

At grain moisture content less than 13%, shatter loss at harvest can also occur. As soybean moisture decreases, shatter and harvest loss increase. In some of our trials, we’ve seen approximately 8% loss when harvesting at 9% moisture content. At 13% moisture content, we still see some loss, but at a much lower level (1-2%). Four soybean seeds per square foot equals one bushel per acre in loss. The seeds are often covered by soybean residue and chaff which need to be brushed away to look for seed losses.

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More Palmer amaranth showing up in Ohio

After Palmer amaranth was recently spotted for the first time in Knox County, northeast of Columbus, the land owner, along with his neighbors and others, came together — 26 in all — and scouted the fields, yanking out the weed as they went.

Carrying machetes or pruning clippers, they walked through damp, nearly chest-high soybean fields determined to yank out or cut down the weed. It was like an army approaching the enemy.

“It’s something everyone is kind of scared of — and should be,” said John Barker, Knox County Extension educator. “It’s a nasty weed.”

Before the slashing, they consulted Mark Loux, a weed specialist with Ohio State University Extension.

“They looked at me and said, ‘What are our options?’ I said, ‘You’re going to have to pull it all out. You’ll regret it if you don’t,’” Loux said.

Palmer amaranth is not native to Ohio. It entered Ohio fields through manure from local livestock that were fed contaminated cottonseed products from the South, as well as through farm equipment previously used on a contaminated field.

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Fall herbicide applications

As populations of herbicide resistant weeds continue to grow, sound management practices are more critical than ever to keep these weeds under control. Fall herbicide applications are good tool for controlling existing weeds after harvest, which will provide a weed free field in early spring the following year.

According to Mark Loux, OSU Weed Specialist, “Even where the herbicides lack residual, the fall treatment seems to enable more effective control of marestail the following season. In some cases, it’s probable that you don’t even know how much the fall treatment helps out, but our research shows that more often than not it does.”

University research also suggests that most fall applied herbicides provide minimal residual control in the spring and that the greatest benefit from residual herbicides is gained from a spring application. The timing of fall herbicide applications is important to ensure control of existing weeds.

“In our research, herbicides seem to be effective for control of winter annuals and biennials well into December.

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Lock failures close Ohio River

For years there have been growing concerns about the aging system of locks and dams on the U.S. inland waterway system. Agricultural exports are heavily dependent on properly functioning locks and dams.

This week there was an example of the problems that can quickly develop. The Ohio River was closed Monday following lock failures near Brookport, Ill. According to the Waterways Council more than 65 towboats were backed up “like a massive truck wreck along an interstate corridor” that stretched for nearly 50 miles.

“Lock 53 is the last lock and dam before the Ohio River meets up with the Mississippi River so it is really one of the most critical links in the overall logistics chain, not only for agriculture but for a host of other industries. A lot of volume goes through that stretch of the Ohio River,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “There was a mechanical failure at the lock that transpired on Oct 1.

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Cover crops increase destruction of weed seed in fields, shed light on predator interactions

Cover crops have been promoted for their abilities to reduce erosion and retain or enhance soil nutrients. Now there is evidence that they can significantly reduce weed seeds from entering the soil seed bank.

Crops such as red clover, planted after a main crop’s harvest, often are used to provide cover for insects such as ground beetles that feed on weed seed scattered along the soil surface. Beetles remove the seeds before they are tilled under and become part of the field’s long-term seed bank. Rodents are also important consumers of weed seeds and, like beetles, tend to prefer foraging under the shelter provided by cover.

As a result, in fields planted with cover crops, three to four times more weed seed is eliminated from the combination of beetles and rodents, according to recent research.

While that result wasn’t unexpected, Ian Kaplan, a Purdue University associate professor of entomology, and Carmen Blubaugh, who earned her doctorate at Purdue and is now a postdoctoral research associate at Washington State University, used field experiments to learn a little about how habitat and fear might cause ripples along the food chain and affect seed predation.

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Farmers impacted by biotech access

From decreasing input costs to increasing on-farm sustainability, biotechnology is an important part of many farming operations across the country. Biotechnology provides another tool in the toolbox to help farmers meet the needs of the future sustainably.

There is no question biotechnology gives farmers additional profit opportunities, but any delays in the biotech approval process will also have an economic impact, according to the United Soybean Board (USB).

“Biotechnology allows U.S. farmers to evolve to meet changing end-user needs sustainably and these new technologies require a rigorous approval process to insure they are safe,” said Keith Kemp, USB farmer-leader from West Manchester, Ohio. “As both a farmer and consumer, I am dedicated to making our food more sustainable and with the regulatory process taking eight to 10 years to get an approval of new technology, it is a very lengthy and costly process for the American farmer.”

One of the most frustrating approval processes as of late has been for high-oleic soybean varieties.

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Yield monitor calibrations

Across Ohio, combines are busy collecting more than just grain. Yield monitors are also busy collecting data with the hope that this information will lead to more profit in the future.

The yield monitor does not directly measure the number of bushels per acre of grain produced; instead, these estimates are calculated based on a combination of data collected by sensors in the combine and information provided by the grower. Because of this, the accuracy of the yield estimate is dependent on the accuracy of all the information that is being used to calculate it and care needs to be taken to ensure all of the data being collected is correct.

The grain flow estimate is an important piece of the yield estimate calculation. Many combines today are equipped with an impact sensor that is used to collect this information. We’ve all heard that proper calibration of the impact sensor is essential to obtain accurate yield estimates, but why?

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Growing apples is a family effort at Springhill Fruit Farm

Like the core of an apple is at the center of the fruit, family is the core of Springhill Fruit Farm owned by Jeff and Laura Burrer of Shiloh. Named for the fresh water river that feeds the 24-acre Richland County orchard, Springhill Fruit Farm was originally acquired by the Burrer family in 1968.

“My dad and mom, Kenneth and Mary Jane Burrer, purchased the orchard from a man named Ray Weaver,” Jeff said. “Ray stayed here for a year and helped my dad learn the ins and outs of an orchard. Prior to that, my dad was a small grain farmer.”

Kenneth and Mary Jane raised their five children on the orchard. Out of all the children, it was Jeff that showed the most interest in the orchard. He began running the orchard in 1998 and in 2004, Jeff and his wife Laura purchased Springhill Fruit Farm. Since then, it has really been a family effort to grow and maintain the operation.

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Reduce the risk of combine fires this fall

I have already seen several photos and even some video clips of harvest 2017 combine fires come across my twitter feed. On our recent CORN newsletter conference call, several Extension Educators mentioned seeing or hearing about combine fires this fall. Crop residue accumulation near a direct heat source such as the engine or exhaust system, or on and around bearings, belts and chains where heat can be generated, accounts for the majority of combine fires. I recently read an article from a Michigan State University Extension web page as well as an article from Dick Nicolai, a South Dakota Extension specialist that both provided advice regarding how to prevent and how to be prepared for combine fires. Some of their safety recommendations include:

 

  • Keep the combine as clean as possible. During harvest, frequently blow dry chaff, leaves and other crop materials off the machine. Remove any materials that have wrapped around bearings, belts and other moving parts.
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Stink bug damage in soybeans

Stink bug damage is becoming a greater concern in Eastern Corn Belt soybean fields, especially with the presence of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), a species that has moved into our sales footprint in recent years. While other stink bugs cause damage, the BMSB is of special concern because it is an invasive species from Asia that was introduced into the United States within the last 15 years. First discovered in Allentown, Penn. in 2001, the BMSB has continued to move west.

Over the last few years, university experts and company agronomists have heard more reports of stink bug damage to soybeans. Growers scouting their soybean fields around harvest time may have seen some pods that were shriveled and/or soybean seed that was very small or appeared to be missing. This damage may have been a result of stink bug feeding. Stink bugs prefer to feed on reproductive tissues, they have piercing mouthparts that allow them to feed on soybean seed in the pods of plants.

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Ohio Corn Marketing Program seeks election to board for five districts

Pursuant to Section 924.07 of the Ohio Revised Code, David T. Daniels, Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture will conduct an election of the Ohio Corn Marketing Program Board on December 15, 2017.

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program is designed to increase the market for corn and enhancing opportunities for Ohio corn producers. The program provides funds for corn research, education, and market development and promotion.

The election to the Board will include these five districts:

District 2 — Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood

District 6 — Ashland, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Richland

District 8 — Auglaize, Mercer, Miami, Shelby

District 11 — Darke, Preble, Montgomery

District 14 — Fayette, Highland, Pike, Ross.

The Nomination Procedure is as follows:

  • Nominating petitions may be obtained from

David T. Daniels, Director

Ohio Department of Agriculture

Legal Section

8995 East Main Street

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399

Telephone 1-800-282-1955 or 614-728-6390

  • Petitions require at least twenty-five (25) valid signatures from Ohio corn producers who reside within the district in which the candidate seeks election.
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Weed answers for 2018 start this fall

So this year I am getting even more calls and comments on run-away marestail. “Last year I killed it,” is often the remark I hear, too. And following is my response regarding horseweed (Conyza canadensis), or marestail as it is known in Ohio

This may be a new weed to you but the western side of the Ohio and particularly the southwest have been fighting it since about 2002. It takes a comprehensive effort, but it can be managed.

Depending on severity and tillage in your system:

For no-till soybeans — RoundupReady technology

1. Spray a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate in the fall after corn harvest (the biggest problem with horseweed is from late summer and fall germinating seed), or you can spray a combination of 2,4-D and dicamba in the fall.

2. Spray a second burndown (this may be the glyphosate and 2,4-D as above or glyphosate plus Sharpen) in April and add your residual soybean herbicide — e.g.

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Fall soil sampling?

The goal of a soil sample is to make a fertilizer recommendation for crop production.

  • To provide that recommendation, calibration studies are done to measure crop response.
  • For Ohio, the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations provide the calibration study history for recommendation development.
  • While there are other “recommendations” used in Ohio, few have done the comprehensive work to truly provide this information.
  • For more information on the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations or on developing a soil sampling strategy several references are provided at http://agcrops.osu.edu/specialists/fertility/fertility-fact-sheets-and-bulletins.

Sample areas in the field that have similar crop yields, crop rotation histories, fertilizer application methods and sources of applied nutrient. Fields or field areas with a history of livestock production (a former pasture, had manure applications or produced hay) or other unique characteristics may require a different sampling strategy. Field areas represented by any single sample should be less than 25 acres. Use of a yield monitor or grid sampling can lead to development of crop management zones, easing the burden of future sampling.

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Bill boosts funding for MAP, FMD programs

The bipartisan CREAATE Act — a bill to increase investment in two federal programs with a proven track record of building global demand for U.S. agricultural products — was recently introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The passage of the bill would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.

MAP and FMD are public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Together, they are responsible for 15% of U.S. agricultural export revenue-$309 billion since 1977.

“MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding global markets for American agricultural exports. We must increase investment in these programs,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association. “These programs deliver a strong return on investment. Every $1 invested in MAP and FMD generates $28 in exports-that means more American jobs, and more money coming into our communities.

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