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Watch for harvest issues after a challenging growing season

We began this season with the best-laid plans for our corn crop. April weather provided us with the optimism we were all looking for, but since then, it’s been difficult to keep our head above water — literally. As you know, 2017 has proven to be one of the wettest growing seasons on record for Ohio, with some areas receiving over 20 inches of rain throughout the month of June and similar amounts in July as well. The saturated growing season has resulted in much of our corn experiencing shallow and weak root systems, nitrogen (N) loss, and even impacted pollination in some areas. While some well-drained fields may have had sufficient nitrogen available to the plant, excessive rainfall moved the nitrate nitrogen below the concentration of roots — making it inaccessible as well.

Stalk strength will likely be a concern for some fields as we head into harvest. Not only has the wet weather led to significant N loss due to leaching in lighter soils and DE nitrification in heavier soils, but corn hybrids are also changing.

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Data offers more predictability for management decisions

The Ohio State Precision Ag team continues to tally up megabytes as the effort to gather a world record setting amount of data for a single corn plant (named Terra Byte). The project is also seeking out which data is most valuable for making agronomic decisions.

The effort includes a partnership with Integrated Ag Services (IAS) that develops seeding and fertility management zones called common production units (CPUs). CPUs were created to help make farming more predictable and, therefore, more profitable.

The CPU process starts with the IAS automated precision soil sampler that slices nearly seven inches deep for 30 feet in length, allowing for a soil sample that represents the entire soil profile. The soil samples are placed in cups where they receive a QR code and then sent to the lab. The automated sampler designed by IAS collects samples across fields much faster than standard testing and can complete the task in wider range of soil conditions.

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Cover crops following wheat

Considerations for planting cover crops after wheat in grain crop rotations are common this point in the season. With any cover crop, it is advisable to select a species with a given target in mind (surface erosion prevention, nutrient scavenging, N fixation, soil coverage, etc.).

Grass species, like oats or ryegrass, are typically fast to establish and can provide soil coverage to reduce erosion. Some species (like oats) will typically winterkill, whereas other species are more hardy and may need to be controlled in the spring before or shortly after planting. Additionally, some grass species may be alternate hosts for some corn pests (fungal diseases, nematodes) and may not be the best choice to follow wheat and precede corn in the rotation.

Some legume species (like vetches and crimson clover) may be able to tolerate August weather well if temperatures stay on the cooler side of average. These could provide N to corn next year if inoculated with rhizobia prior to planting, but may serve as an alternate host for soybean cyst nematode and should be avoided if soybeans are planned for next year.

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Points to consider before starting a hops operation

Hop farming requires a substantial investment in capital, time and management. A business and marketing plan is essential to developing a successful hops operation. A new factsheet has been released by OSU Extension to outline the pre-planning points that should be addressed to create a financially successful hops operation.

Economic considerations and site preparation are two important points for a successful hops operation and integral to a business and marketing plan. Planning in these two areas is essential, and the business and marketing plan should be developed at least one year prior to planting the first hop plants.

New hop growers are also encouraged to consider the details in this fact sheet before making an investment. Production budgets indicate at least $25,000 per acre may be needed to establish a high trellis hop planting and at least a $100,000 investment for a small-scale hop processing, drying, pelletizing, cooling, packaging and freezing facility built to federal and state food safety regulatory standards.

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SDS showing up in soybeans

I don’t think too many people in the state will deny that Ohio’s planting conditions were tough. We had a mix of saturated soils and cool temperatures. We have several soil borne pathogens that love these conditions, among them is sudden death syndrome, which is caused by Fusarium virguliforme. In Ohio, this disease tends to occur with greater frequency in fields that have higher populations of soybean cyst nematode. With the environmental conditions we had earlier this spring, extensive flooding injury, I would not be surprised to see a much wider distribution of this disease in the state.

The most common symptom occurring at this time, as soybeans reach growth stage R5, as they start to fill out the pods are patches of soybean with yellowing in the leaves. This yellow will expand on the leaf and the centers will turn brown or necrotic. This fungus produces a toxin as it colonizes the crown (base of the plant).

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Bearish report for corn, soybeans, and wheat

Markets were shocked at both the higher than expected corn and soybean yields and production. Corn and soybeans fell quickly on the bearish news. Shortly after the report corn is down 10 cents, soybeans down 24 cents, and wheat is down 10 cents.

Finally, report day! The August USDA Supply and Demand Report has been anticipated for weeks. Weather across the Midwest this summer has been extremely variable and certainly volatile with too much or too little often taking place. Ohio, Indiana, and other areas have seen numerous, heavy rain this summer as some Ohio areas received over 10 inches in just the month of July alone. Other areas, especially in the Dakotas and the plains have been hampered with persistent drought conditions for several months.

U.S. corn production was estimated at 14.153 billion bushels, a yield of 169.5 bushels per acre, and ending stocks of 2.273 billion bushels. Traders had estimated corn production at an average of 13.855 billion bushels with a range of 13.59 to 14.07 billion bushels.

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Rust issues increasingly common in Ohio corn

Resembling rust on a pickup, a fungal disease that can afflict corn has been confirmed in a higher than usual number of cornfields in southern Ohio.

Every year, some Ohio farmers find southern or common rust on their corn plants, but this year both diseases have been more prevalent, said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension corn and small grain specialist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

Typically, rust fungi arrive late in the growing stage and do limited damage. However, this year farmers had to replant several times, and the younger corn plants are at greater risk for damage, Paul said. Common and southern rusts are most problematic when they infect the plant before it produces silk or a tassel.

Southern and common rusts form orangish and brownish raised spots, respectively, on the leaves of corn plants and can cause as much as 30 to 40% yield losses, particularly on susceptible corn varieties, Paul said.

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Frogeye leaf spot In Eastern Corn Belt fields

Frogeye leaf spot is a disease that has been observed in soybeans across this eastern Corn Belt during the 2017 growing season. Typically, more prevalent in the southern growing regions, the disease can occur farther north as a result of weather favorable to its development.

The fungus that causes Frogeye leaf spot (Cercospora sojina) survives in infected plant debris and can cause infections in growing plants when weather conditions are favorable. Frogeye leaf spot lesions produce spores that are easily transported by wind, acting as inoculum for leaf infections on other plants. The disease is promoted by warm, humid weather and will continue to develop on infected plants during patterns of favorable weather. With the warm and wet weather patterns that have existed in the eastern Corn Belt during 2017, it is expected that frogeye would be observed in some fields.

Frogeye leaf spot symptoms begin as small yellow spots that become larger lesions with gray centers and dark reddish-purple or brown borders.

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Stink bugs in soybeans

As our beans start to put on pods, it’s time to start scouting for stink bugs.  In 2016 a number of farmers had significant stink bug damage but didn’t realize it until harvest, when they discovered shriveled, blasted seeds.  Seed damage can be prevented by scouting and treatment at appropriate threshold levels.

There are several species of stink bugs that can be found in soybean, even beneficials. These include the green, the brown, the red shouldered and the brown marmorated stink bug. The spined soldier bug looks similar to the brown stink bug, but has sharper points on its shoulders, and is more brown on the underside (the brown stink bug is actually more green underneath). Both nymphs (immatures) and adults feed on the developing seed by using their piercing/sucking mouthparts to poke through the pod. Seed that is fed upon will take a flat or shriveled appearance.

Often this damage is not seen until harvest time, because the pod usually retains its shape, despite the smaller seed.

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Does tillering hurt corn yields?

This year I’ve seen more tillering in corn than normal, and there have been inquiries about the impact of tillers on crop growth. When farmers see extensive tillering in their corn hybrids they often express concern that the tillering will have a detrimental effect of crop performance (tillers will “suck” nutrients from the main plant and thereby reduce yields). As a result, tillers are often referred to a “suckers.” However, research has shown that tillers usually have little influence on grain yields and they are generally beneficial.

Tillers are lateral branches that form at below ground nodes. Although tiller buds form at each below ground node, the number of tillers that develop is determined by plant population and spacing, soil fertility, early season growing conditions, and the genetic background of the hybrid. Many hybrids will take advantage of available soil nutrients and moisture by forming one or more tillers where stands are thin in the row or at the ends of rows.

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Corn farmers call for faster access to new technology

Farmers attending  National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Congress in mid-July called for faster access to new biotechnology-enhanced crop traits. The move reflects growing frustration among NCGA members over excessive regulatory delays in the international marketplace.

“Farmers recognize that a strong, science-based, regulatory system is essential to reassure consumers about the safety and quality of our crops,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas and NCGA president. “At the same time, when it takes four to six years, or more, to secure regulatory approvals in certain markets, it is clear that a country’s regulatory system is broken.”

The NCGA’s new policy supports the commercialization of new biotechnology-enhanced corn traits that: a) have been approved by the U.S. and Japan; and b) have faced delays of more than 30 months from any government with a non-functioning regulatory system. By comparison, there are biotechnology traits that have been awaiting regulatory approval in certain markets for the past 48 to 72 months.

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Pumpkin Field Day coming Aug. 17

Autumn will be here before you know it and if you are a pumpkin grower, you won’t want to miss the Aug. 17 Pumpkin Field Day.

The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Western Agricultural Research Station, 7721 S. Charleston Pike South in Charleston. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. The field day will offer beginning and experienced growers valuable research updates regarding disease management, insect management, weed control, and new pumpkin and winter squash varieties.

Current production information designed to help growers will be presented during a research plot tour by experts from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension. OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of OSU’s College of Food Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“The field day will feature some traditional and new projects on the tour,” said Jim Jasinski, OSU Extension Educator and Integrated Pest Management Program Coordinator.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress — July 31, 2017

Cooler and drier conditions allowed producers to complete some field work and harvest hay, straw, wheat and oats, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 30th. The dry weather was ideal for hay cutting, and the drying of soils made for better growing conditions. Many parts of the state experienced good conditions for the pollination of corn. Crop conditions remain steady, but soybeans are showing stress from earlier floods. There is still a great deal of variability in crop conditions. Central and southern Ohio received more rain on average, and minor localized flooding was observed in these areas. Aerial spraying of fungicide took place in areas where field access was still an issue. Harvest of commercial fruit and vegetable crops continued.

Click here for the full report

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C.A.R.E.S. puts sustainability in the hands of the farmer

Farmers face public pressure these days to increase their efforts to protect the environment. Given this increased public attention, as well as EPA and local government initiatives, farmers are turning to sustainable farming practices centered on nutrient management.

Crop Production Services (CPS) has developed a platform to provide education, seed recommendations, and the technology and nutrients growers need to take a proactive approach to ensure the highest productivity while minimizing environmental impact. The program is called C.A.R.E.S., an acronym for Certified Action Regarding Environmental Stewardship.

“C.A.R.E.S. includes the best available farming practices based on the 4Rs and then we tailor those practices to the farm level and field level,” said Steve Emery, Division Manager for CPS in Southern Ohio. “The stewardship practices within the program are both cultural and agronomic and they help the farmer do the right thing for the environment, but C.A.R.E.S. also gives them a voice and a platform to point to and say what they are doing on their particular farm to be sustainable.”

C.A.R.E.S.

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Southern rust confirmed in Ohio corn

After being a suspected issue due to the unusual late spring and early summer weather and Tropical Storm Cindy moving through the area back in June, southern rust was confirmed late last week in several counties in central and southern Ohio.

Evan Delk, a CCA with Integrated Ag Services sent samples he thought were suspect to Ohio State professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Pierce Paul, who later confirmed those samples to be southern rust.

Southern Corn Rust is a fungal disease that generally affects corn after silking. Weather conditions can have a significant affect on when southern rust develops and how far and quickly the disease spreads.

According to Stewart Seeds, southern rust has the potential to cause yield loss due to its ability to develop and spread rapidly. The effect of the disease on corn plant health and yield depends on time of infection. Plants infected early in the season may develop significant damage to leaf tissue.
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Rough year for hay production

The seemingly continuous wet weather Ohio farms have been dealing with this year has slowed hay progress substantially in 2017.

“Certainly if you’re trying to produce dry hay, it’s been frustrating with all the rain showers coming through. That’s probably the comment I hear most from folks who are trying to make any kind of dry hay,” said Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension specialist based in Wayne County. “It’s really been frustrating to squeeze things in between rain showers. A lot of times they’re not getting that done, maybe hay is getting a little too mature or it gets rained on. That’s certainly been a struggle.”

He said several growers in his area range from second cutting to third cutting, all depending on where those spotty showers have fallen.

The latest Ohio Crop Progress Report (July 24, 2017) from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service tallied 83% of alfalfa second cutting completed, a jump of 10 points from the week before.

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Assessing pollination

Many Ohio corn fields have been subject to excessive rainfall this year. The fields where the Ohio Corn Performance Test (OCPT) were planted are no exception. Extraordinary rainfall accumulation has occurred at nearly all OCPT sites. Rainfall accumulations from May 15 to July 18-19 (and there’s been more since then) range from 14 to 19.1 inches at test sites in the southwest/west central/central region.

Reports of short, waist high corn tasseling, as well as uneven development and flowering within fields, are not uncommon in parts of the state where heavy rains contributed to extended periods of saturated soil conditions and ponding.  Now there are questions as to whether such uneven development will impact pollination and thereby affect yield.

There are two techniques commonly used to assess the success or failure of pollination. One involves simply waiting until the developing ovules (kernels) appear as watery blisters (the R2 or the “blister” stage of kernel development).

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Consider scab resistance in wheat selection

One problem that eastern Corn Belt wheat growers face frequently is Fusarium Head Blight (Scab). This disease can cause significant yield loss in addition to reduced grain quality and high levels of mycotoxins. Growers have effectively managed head scab with timely fungicide applications.

One additional tool available to growers for management of Fusarium Head Blight is gene resistance. The Fhb1 gene is widely recognized as an outstanding source of head scab resistance in wheat. This gene is effective in reducing the DON (Deoxynivalenol) levels in wheat, ultimately resulting in better grain quality. DON levels are a major concern in wheat because they cause animal feed refusal, sickness, and decreased weight gain.

For the 2017-2018 sales season, all four of Seed Consultants, Inc. wheat varieties (SC 13S07TM , SC 13S17TM, SC 13S26TM , and SC 13S37TM ) have the Fhb1 gene. The Fhb1 gene provides Type II resistance, which slows down or inhibits the spread of the pathogens from the initial infection site.

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Still wet Between the Rows

We finally got enough dry weather to get the straw wrapped up and we got some manure hauled to make things look and smell better around here. We got an inch of rain over the weekend — seven-tenths earlier today and three-tenths last night.

The first two weeks of July we had 7.5 inches and since then we have probably had about 2 inches, so it has been plenty wet. This last inch, though, was nice and slow. It all soaked in.

We are getting to the point where our soybeans all need sprayed but it has been so wet we haven’t gotten to do it. If we don’t get in soon we’ll have spots that will be a mess. We have a lot of Japanese beetles. The beans planted May 22 are all flowering and it is a nice stand.

The corn all looks good for what it has been through and I think it will be a better crop than last year.

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OSU Agronomy Field Days

See the Agronomic Crop Team’s calendar for more information: https://agcrops.osu.edu/events/calendar/.

 

  • Manure Science Review on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 at the Stoller Brothers & Sons farm in Paulding County. Learn how to use manure nutrients to improve crop yields and protect water quality, get the latest on regulations and staying safe, plus more. See field demonstrations on applying manure, subsurface tile drainage, and more. For program and registration details, https://ocamm.osu.edu/sites/ocamm/files/imce/Events/MSR_2017_FLYER.pdf.

 

  • Southwest Ohio Corn Growers and Fayette County Agronomy Field Day – Fayette Co. August 15, 2017, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. The event is free to attend at the Fayette County Farm, 2770 State Route 38 NE, Washington Court House, OH 43160. Contact: Ken Ford at 937 378-6716 or ford.70@osu.edu. For more information see the website: fayette.osu.edu. Several speakers will be heard throughout the day including: keynote Speaker Sonny Perdue Secretary of Agriculture (yet to be confirmed), a follow-up for 2018 Farm Bill Listening Session, corn ear rot diagnostic demonstration, using on-farm research to make adaptive nitrogen decisions, cover crops for pollinators, and many other activities will be available throughout the day.
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