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Decreases in air pollution result in surplus of $1.60 billion annually for corn and soybeans

As the global population increases, a critical issue is how the world will meet the growing demand for crops. One solution to increase land productivity is to reduce air pollution. In a recent study, MIT Sloan School of Management Visiting Prof. Konstantinos (Kostas) Metaxoglou quantified the crop yield increases attributed to the reductions in emissions in the U.S. and found that the changes resulted in significant benefits for consumers.

“Crops such as corn and soybeans are grown in a part of the country that also has a large number of electric power plants that are major nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitters. There hasn’t been a lot of research or discussion about the impact of NOx on crops. Our study brings attention to the effect of these emissions on agriculture in the U.S. and shows a strong benefit for consumers of U.S. crops,” Metaxoglou said.

He notes that U.S. agriculture productivity has grown substantially in the past 100 years, with average corn yield increasing 8-fold and average soybean yield increasing 5-fold.… Continue reading

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Commodity Classic kicks off in San Antonio

The 2020 Commodity Classic kicks off this week Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s theme is “See Your Future Clearly.”

As farmers look to improve their profitability in an unpredictable agricultural environment, the educational sessions at the 2020 Commodity Classic are designed to provide farmers with the clarity and insight they need to make better-informed decisions that can have a powerful impact on their bottom line.

More than 40 educational sessions are on the schedule in San Antonio. They will cover a wide range of important topics including soil health, grain marketing, farm policy, farm succession planning, nutrient stewardship, weather trends, mental health, fertility programs, rural broadband access, on-road ag equipment regulations, ag technology, international trade, African Swine Fever and more.

“Every educational session is selected by the Commodity Classic Farmer Committee to ensure the content and the presenters provide high-quality, relevant content that matters to today’s growers,” said Bill Wykes, a farmer from Illinois and co-chair of the 2020 Commodity Classic.… Continue reading

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Nitrogen recommendations for wheat

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

I hear wheat acres are up, to maybe 560,000. That’s good, but what about the one million acres we used to grow. Is there a need for that level of production anymore? Wheat makes our other two crops better and reduces weed, insect and disease problems for them. I know some had a rough fall to get wheat planted, with wet conditions and harvest delays. If you have wheat, it’s time to think about your nitrogen (N) application. The most recent Ohio Agronomy Guide has just a bit of an update on spring nitrogen recommendations for wheat in Ohio.

We do rely on yield potential to make the wheat N recommendation — not for corn anymore, but we still do for wheat. Once you have set a realistic yield goal, follow rates suggested in Table 1. These recommendations are for mineral soils with adequate drainage and 1 to 5% organic matter.… Continue reading

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It’s time for a change: Stop grain drownings

By Robert (Bob) Marlow, Operations Professional Services, Walton, Ind.

I lost a friend recently. Rescuers found his body in a grain storage tank, along with a coworker covered in grains. They died of asphyxiation.

Out of respect for the families, coworkers and others involved, I’m not going to go into specifics. If something doesn’t change, it will happen again.

I’ve lost too many friends in my career. Statistics show on average, 18 to 20 deaths occur each year due to engulfment in grains, and over 80% are due to grain that has spoiled. OSHA tracks these incidents, but not all farms and elevators are regulated by OSHA. If all incidents were included, experts suggest the numbers would be significantly higher.

How and why does this happen?

Corn is the grain most closely associated with, and tied to engulfment deaths, both on farms and in commercial storage operations. Corn is the single largest crop produced in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Dryness worsens in the South as Brazil’s soy harvest reaches 31%

It is Carnival in Brazil, but corn and soybean farmers don’t have time to rest or dance. They’d better hurry up, because time is ticking for the second corn crop planting, which is sown right after the soybean harvest – and this year the soy crop is delayed due to irregular rains in late 2019.

According to AgRural data, Brazilian farmers had harvested 31% of their 2019/20 soybean area by Feb 20, compared to 21% a week earlier, 45% in the same period a year ago and 30% on the five-year average. Top producer Mato Grosso leads, with 73%. Despite excessive rains in some areas of the state, quality issues are not a big concern so far and yield reports remain strong.

Catching up
As expected, the harvest pace finally picked up last week in states that planted later than normal, such as Goiás, Paraná, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.… Continue reading

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USB Take Action webinar series

The USB Take Action initiative and university weed scientists have developed a free webinar series covering various weed and herbicide management issues. The webinar occurs every Thursday at 11 am EST through March 26. Each webinar will have two weed scientists giving presentations about 15 minutes long, and there is opportunity for viewers to ask questions via the web portal. The schedule is as follows:

  • Feb. 20: Aaron Hager, University of Illinois — effective long-term management of waterhemp; Travis Legleiter, University of Kentucky — spray deposition factors.
  • Feb. 27: Pat Tranel, University of Illinois — metabolism-based resistance, multiple resistance, etc; Amit Jhala, University of Nebraska — pollen-mediated gene flow and transfer of herbicide-resistance.
  • March 5: Tom Peters, North Dakota State University — status of research on electricity methods; John Wallace, Penn State University — cover crops and weed management.
  • March 12: Bryan Young, Purdue University — drift retardants/volatility; Bill Johnson, Purdue University — mixing/antagonism, volunteer corn issues.
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Reducing phosphorus runoff

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Tremendous farmer turnout occurred for the new Ohio H20 plan for $30 million being provided to 14 Northwest Ohio counties to improve Lake Erie water quality.  Almost everyone agrees that phosphorus (P) in surface water is a major issue.  The excess P in surface water is causing Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) in Lake Erie.  Since we are dealing with many algae (singular), the plural is algal not algae (common mistake).  One pound of P in water may produce 500 pounds of HAB.  The HAB in water need 1/10 the amount of P that our land-based plants need to thrive, so even a little P in surface water causes HAB to thrive.

In the 1970’s/1980’s, the problem was total phosphorus which includes dissolved (or soluble) reactive phosphorus (DRP) plus the particulate phosphorus (PP) or P attached to soil particles.  Recently, researchers have concentrated mainly on DRP because it flows with the water and is easily HAB absorbed. 

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Will fungicide resistant frogeye be an issue for Ohio in 2020?

By Matt Reese

With growing concern about fungicide-resistant frogeye leaf spot in some parts of the Corn Belt, farmers in Ohio may wondering if this will be a management issue with soybeans in 2020. This could be especially problematic after the fairly mild winter conditions that may set up potential problems for the 2020 growing season.

“Frogeye leaf spot has now become a recurring problem for soybeans in southern up to central Ohio. High levels of inoculum — lots of leaf spots — in the fall can overwinter in Ohio, so this is especially important for those fields that are continuous soybean,” said Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist. “The first thing is if you had frogeye at the end of the season in 2019, please do not plant the same variety back in that field. I do that to create the best opportunity for our research plots to develop disease for fungicide studies, and since I have that covered, you don’t need to do that. … Continue reading

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Continuous soybeans and cover crops

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Soybean growers across Ohio, and especially farmers enrolling in the new H2Ohio program, will be interested in research conducted by Keeley Overmyer, investigating possible impacts from a crop rotation with continuous soybeans and the use of cover crops. Overmyer’s research was funded by a grant from the Ohio Soybean Council and Soybean Checkoff.

According to a survey conducted by the North Central Soybean Research Program, there has been a steady increase in the percentage of Ohio fields with soybeans following soybeans. In 2014, only 8% of the soybean fields were in a continuous soybean system. Just 4 years later, that number has climbed to 17% of the fields in Ohio with soybeans following soybeans. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, 718,000 acres of cover crops were planted in Ohio. Percentages have continuously climbed with soybean fields having a cover crop planted either prior to the soybean crop, or following the soybeans.

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Farm bill decision deadline fast approaching

By Chris Zoller, Mary Griffith, Ben Brown, Ohio State University Extension

Enrollment in the 2018 Farm Bill programs (PLC, ARC-CO, and ARC-IC) ends on March 16. If you do not enroll by this date you will default to the election you made in the previous Farm Bill and receive NO PAYMENTS for the 2019 program year. This same election holds true for 2020.

As a reminder, PLC is a price protection/income loss option that covers declines in crop prices and the ARC-CO program is an income support option based on county-level benchmark revenues and guarantees compared to actual revenues. For those with prevent planted acres, the ARC-IC program may be worth consideration. ARC-IC issues payments when individual crop revenue is less than the guarantee and uses individual yields, rather than the county yields.

Once an election is made, the choice carries through for 2019 and 2020. Annual changes can be made in 2021, 2022, and 2023 program years.… Continue reading

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Results from the 2019 Ohio Corn Yield and Ohio Wheat Yield contests

2019 Ohio Corn Yield Contest results

District 1 (Far Northwest Ohio)

  1. Jim Motycka, 289.37 bushels, Pioneer
  2. Dan Watchman, 280.79 bushels, Seed Consultants


District 2 (Northern Ohio)

  1. Nick Kelbly, 295.8 bushels, AgriGold
  2. Bill Frankart, 254.47 bushels, Pioneer


District 3 (Northwest Ohio)

  1. Jerry Shipp, 265.51 bushels, AgriGold
  2. Scott Saum, 263.48 bushels, Seed Consultants


District 4 (North Central Ohio)

  1. John Wilson, 266.64 bushels, Channel
    2. Todd Schroeder, 257.91 bushels, Pioneer


District 5 (Northeastern Ohio)

  1. Shawn Houck, 276.80 bushels, Pioneer
  2. Dave Schafer, 270.02 bushels, Pioneer


District 6 (Western Ohio)

  1. Don Jackson, 290.04 bushels, Dekalb
  2. Jeff Martin, 272.73 bushels, Specialty Hybrids


District 7 (Central Ohio)

  1. Scott Haer, 287.32 bushels, Pioneer
  2. Michael Vallery, 282.35 bushels, Channel


District 8 (Eastern Ohio)

  1. Mike Wolfe, 294.53 bushels, Dekalb
  2. Bryon Gearhart, 282.66 bushels, AgriGold


District 9 (Southern Ohio)

  1. Cory Atley, 314.55 bushels, Dekalb
  2. Cory Atley, 310.21 bushels, Croplan
  3. Neal Bond, 285.71 bushels, Pioneer (second place District winner)

Ohio Winner:  Cory Atley, 314.55 bushels, Dekalb

State Second Place Ohio Grower: Nick Kelbly, 295.8, AgriGold


2019 Ohio Wheat Yield Contest results

  1. Doug Goyings, Paulding Co., 109.15 bushels, Strike
  2. Larry Gerken, Henry Co., 104.68 bushels, Strike
  3. Keith Kemp, Preble Co., 103.86 bushels, Pioneer
  4. Martin Quigley, Clinton Co., 96.13 bushels, Dyna-Gro
  5. Anthony Stuckey, Fulton Co., 89.66 bushels, Pioneer
  6. Dave Cunningham, Williams Co., 89.47 bushels, Pioneer
  7. Aaron Stuckey, Fulton Co., 89.15 bushels, Pioneer

 … Continue reading

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Nationwide launches annual safety contest to cultivate awareness of grain bin hazards

Each year, thousands of farmers are exposed to the life-threatening hazards associated with entering grain bins to remove rotting or clumped grain. In just a few seconds, an adult can sink waist-deep in the quicksand-like suction of flowing grain, rendering them unable to free themselves without help. Although these hazards are well-known in the industry, they are often underestimated until it’s too late.

To raise awareness of these dangers and prevent all-too-common accidents, Nationwide has launched its seventh annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest in recognition of Grain Bin Safety Week. The goal is to help prevent injuries and fatalities by promoting safe bin-entry procedures when entry is absolutely necessary, such as maintaining quality grain, testing bin atmosphere for toxic gases, wearing proper safety equipment and always utilizing a spotter who can help if needed. Nominations for this year’s Nominate Your Fire Department Contest are open until April 30.

U.S.… Continue reading

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Prevent plant acres and rogue weeds: Having a control plan is the key

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

With prevent plant acres abundant in 2019, some fields experienced a huge increase in the weed seed bank. For some of those fields, pre- and post- herbicide applications were delayed, or did not occur at all. In other fields, weed control was attempted by mowing and tillage prior to seed development. Looking ahead to 2020, weed management could be a challenge.

“This is one of those time you do not want to cut out any of your pre- herbicides or cut rates on your post-,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension weed scientist.

The three primary weeds of most concern coming out of the 2019 prevent plant acres include: waterhemp, ragweeds, and marestail.

“Farmers need to be sure to have a comprehensive effective herbicide program that includes; effective burndown or tillage, a full rate of preemergence herbicide with residuals, and choosing an effective post emerge soybean trait system,” Loux said.

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Non-GMO corn production and purity concerns

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Many corn growers in the Eastern Corn Belt produce non-GMO corn attempting to capture an additional premium. Depending on the contracting elevator, standard GMO contamination allowances are typically from 0% to 1%. Producing non-GMO corn within the acceptable tolerances of GMO contamination is possible; however, there are several challenges and potential pitfalls that make production of 100% pure non-GMO corn a tremendous undertaking and can keep growers from capturing a premium for their corn. Planting non-GMO seed does not necessarily mean the harvested shelled corn will be non-GMO free. Test’s used by elevators to determine if GMOs are present may not be 100% accurate, but they are a determining factor as to whether a load will be accepted.

If a grower plants non-GMO corn, what could cause GMO contamination?

  • Contaminated planting equipment and seed tenders
  • Contaminated seed
  • Mistakes made in record keeping where hybrids were not correctly identified at planting and/or harvest, leading to contamination
  • Adventitious pollen from GMO corn fields can cause cross-pollination of non-GMO corn
  • Contaminated combines at harvest
  • Contaminated grain carts, wagons, trucks, augers, grain legs, and grain bins.
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Bayer and BASF ordered to pay peach farm for damages

DTN — A federal jury has determined Bayer and BASF should pay $250 million in punitive damages and $15 million in actual damages to a Missouri peach farm in response to allegations that the orchard was damaged by off-target movement of dicamba herbicide.

The jury’s verdict came after three weeks of testimony in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Bader Farms filed the suit in 2016 — blaming Monsanto (which was purchased by Bayer in 2018) and BASF for the scenario that allowed dicamba herbicides to move from neighboring fields and damage peach trees. Bader Farms is the largest peach grower in Missouri, listing more than 1,000 acres of peaches and 110,000 trees. The farm also grows other specialty crops and row crops.

Bayer immediately responded with an announcement the verdict would be appealed. BASF spokesman Odessa Hines told DTN via email that BASF had not yet made decisions as to next steps. How the penalty would be split between the two companies should the verdict remain intact is also undecided.… Continue reading

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TMDL effort for Lake Erie to be led by Ohio EPA

Last week, Governor Mike DeWine announced the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (OEPA) intention to create a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Western Lake Erie.

Under the Clean Water Act, a TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a substance (in this case phosphorus) that is allowed to enter a body of water and meet water quality standards for that pollutant. The TMDL sets a reduction goal for that pollutant for each source, such as agriculture, municipal wastewater, developed land, and septic systems.The Clean Water Act directs the state to submit a 303(d) list to U.S. EPA every two years. A TMDL must be developed for all waters identified by a state on their 303(d) list of impaired waters, according to a priority ranking on the list.

In 2018, OEPA listed the open waters of the Western Lake Erie Basin as impaired but did not commit to developing a TMDL.… Continue reading

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Adopting technology and working together: The future is now for agriculture

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Farmers, agricultural retailers, equipment manufactures, and researchers all are faced with a multitude of fast changing dynamics in the agricultural industry. Technology and the associated data are two of the biggest. The development of new technology as well as its adoption and implementation are going to be keys to future success for all those involved in the industry.

“As technology continues to advance, machinery manufacturers will need to work closer with the companies that supply crop inputs to farmers,” said Scott Shearer, Chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Ohio State University. “The question is not if a farmer is going to adopt technology, but how and when they are going to adopt technology.” Companies supplying new farm equipment and technologies will need to work closer with those that supply agricultural inputs and develop new seed, chemical and fertilizer technologies.… Continue reading

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USDA NASS discontinues county level estimates for selected crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will no longer publish county level estimates for dry edible beans, flaxseed, hay (alfalfa and other), potatoes, sugarbeets, sugarcane, sunflower (non-oil and oil varieties) and tobacco. In addition, NASS will discontinue county estimates based on irrigated/non-irrigated practices for all crops. These changes are effective beginning with the 2019 crop year.

The data collection cost for the surveys used to gather the data used for county level estimates had been partially funded through a cooperative agreement, which was not renewed. As a result, NASS is adjusting its county estimates program to reflect the lower funding availability. Before making this decision, NASS published the details of these intended changes in a Federal Register Notice which allowed public comment. All feedback was carefully reviewed and considered before making the decision to discontinue these estimates.

All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications.… Continue reading

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2020 Overholt Drainage School coming in March

The 2020 Overholt Drainage School will be held in Lancaster at the Fairfield Agricultural Center March 9 though 12.

The intensive 4-day program will provide continuing education for land improvement contractors, soil and water conservation technicians, farmers, engineers, consultants, sanitarians, and others interested in advancing their knowledge of basic concepts, principles, and skills related to the purpose, design, layout, construction, and management of soil and water conservation systems with an emphasis on water management and water quality. Instructors include land grant university faculty/staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service/Ohio Department of Agriculture/Soil and Water Conservation District engineers and technicians, Agricultural Research Service engineers and scientists, and experienced Ohio Land Improvement Contractors and Association contractors and associates. Topics will include:

  • Agricultural subsurface drainage: System design, layout and installation
  • Drainage water management: Controlled drainage system design, layout and installation
  • Applications for water management, drainage water harvesting
  • Water quality improvement practices for Midwest agricultural drainage
  • Issues with nitrogen and phosphorus
  • Benefits for water quality and crop yields
  • Water management zones, mains, lateral spacing
  • Layout examples and exercises
  • WTC structure installation
  • Wood-chip bioreactors, phosphate filters
  • Blind surface inlets and
  • Buffers with controlled drainage.
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Adapting to extreme weather

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services 

Extreme weather appears to have become “normal.” Actually, maybe the last 50 years (1960-2010) may have been “abnormal” when you look at long-term climate records. What is considered extreme weather today was more normal several hundred years ago. What should we expect and how can we adapt in the future?  Yearly average moisture for Northern Ohio has been 32-36 inches with 42-50 inches in Southern Ohio. The last four years have been among the top 10 wettest on record and Northern Ohio averaged 50 inches (excluding Lake Erie affected counties), possibly going to 60 inches. Northern Ohio weather today is more like Southern Indiana weather 30 years ago.

Extreme weather events will change your future farming operation. During wet springs, farmers use large equipment and additional hired help to plant in a shorter time period. Growing winter cover crops with evapotranspiration may dry the soil quicker.… Continue reading

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