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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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Have you thought about a cover crop?

We get calls most summers about growing cover crops in Ohio after winter wheat. Often in the past couple of years the calls have related to producing nitrogen after wheat for the next crop — usually corn. The short answer is that we have difficulty in Ohio, with our short season after wheat harvest, in growing that perfect cover crop. When my grandfather had a four- to five-year rotation that included two years of clover, then yes you could grow some nitrogen for corn. With our short rotations of corn, soybean then maybe wheat and the income demands of cash rent farming, it is difficult to allow any cover crop to grow for more than a few months.

The search is for that perfect cover that provides great cover, that is cheap and easy to establish and provides a benefit. I worked with winter peas over several years and have found it an easy crop to establish.

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Southern rust and common rust on corn: How to tell them apart

Ohio corn producers are reporting more rust on corn this year, and are concerned that it might be southern rust, the rarer but more damaging of the two major rust diseases that affect corn in state. Based on the fact that they both produce rusty looking pustules on the leaves, producers may actually be confusing common rust with southern rust, especially when they are not occurring side-by-side on the same leaf. The table below provides some key differences between the two based on the characteristics of visual symptoms and conditions favorable for development.

 Common rustSouthern Rust
Pustule appearanceLarge, oval to elongated, scattered over the leafSmall, circular, evenly distributed over leaf
Pustule colorBrownish to cinnamon-brownReddish orange
Pustule locationBoth upper and lower surface of leaves. Generally only found on leaves.Predominantly on the upper leaf surfaces. Also found on stems and husks.
Optimum ConditionsCool (60-77F) and humid conditionsWarm (77+F) and humid conditions
RegionSubtropical and temperate regions – more common in the northern statesTropical and subtropical regions.
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The dicamba dilemma

With more acres of dicamba resistant cotton and soybeans growing in fields around the country, there is more potential for postemergence dicamba applications during warmer, more humid conditions and more chances for the controversial herbicide to move off-target.

The situation has been particularly heated in in the South. An Arkansas man was shot and killed in 2016 over a neighborly dispute concerning off-target dicamba damage. Missouri and Tennessee have also been reporting off-target dicamba damage on significant acres.

Available for 2017 planting were the Monsanto Xtend soybeans and cotton that are resistant to Monsanto’s XtendiMax with VaporGrip, which is also sold as FeXapan by DuPont. In addition, BASF developed the Engenia dicamba formulation. The long-needed new tools are finally available to help tackle tough weed control situations but are bringing with them (not wholly unexpected) logistical and management issues. Arkansas and Missouri have even banned any additional dicamba applications for the remainder of the growing season, although subsequent label changes will allow some continued use in Missouri.

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Watch for wet weather challenges

The growing season of 2017 continues to be a challenge for management and forces work to be done in between torrential rainfall events. Some areas of the state have already received more than 20 inches of rain since planting which is more than 8 inches above the 10-year average. This above average rainfall may seem like a huge relief, especially to those areas of the state that were in a drought last growing season, but it creates its own agronomic challenges as well.

In corn fields, the excess moisture and warm temperatures have created the perfect environment for fungal growth. Gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and common rust can be found in most corn fields around the state. With the disease present and a conducive environment, the last side of the disease triangle — a susceptible host — is also needed to drive rapid infection. Product disease ratings from the seed companies would be the first place to start evaluating which products in the fields may be the most susceptible to which diseases.

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Hops field night July 27

If you raise hops, pre-harvest can be a make-or-break time. Learn everything you need to know about the next steps that need to happen at the Ohio State University South Centers Hops Pre-Harvest Field Night on July 27.

The field day will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at OSU South Centers Research Building Auditorium, 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon.

Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with OSU South Centers, will be hosting the field day, which is being sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Due to Ohio’s growing craftbrewing industry and increased interest in buying local, Bergefurd has developed a research and education program for hops that focuses on production and marketing. The goal is to develop sustainable hop production practices for growing conditions in Ohio, he said.

“A lot of people are growing hops for Ohio’s brewing industry, and hop farmers need to know what to look for as they get close to harvest.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress — July 17, 2017

Continued wet weather with heavy downpour events caused many fields to be lost to standing water and has stalled harvest, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 1.9 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 16th. Northwest and Central Ohio were drenched by heavy storms. Major rains fell in the vicinity of Hancock, Hardin, Seneca and Wyandot counties on already saturated soils. The Blanchard River near Findlay crested at 16.5 feet, which was three feet above major flood stage. Critical cropland drainage networks were overwhelmed and corn and soybean fields were inundated with water. Reports of Sclerotinia led many growers to scout fields for disease. Winter wheat is still in the fields as wet field conditions has prohibited harvest. Excessive moisture created concerns over head sprout. Pasture and range conditions changed little despite the rains. Farmers delayed manure applications and bailing of straw.

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Diseases showing up in soybeans

Northern Ohio and North Central Ohio farmers need to focus on Sclerotinia as we move into flowering.  Southern Ohio producers also have something to focus on, scouting for frogeye leaf spot.  There are still a few very high yielding but very susceptible cultivars planted in Ohio and it is the susceptible ones that we are most concerned about. Losses of 35% have been reported when the disease starts early and we have consistent, weekly rains.  Another complication in the frogeye story, Ohio has a mixed population, some strains are still susceptible to the strobilurin class of fungicides while other strains are resistant, and some fields have both.  We do have funding this year from Ohio Soybean Council to evaluate the strains for sensitivity to strobilurin fungicides.  So if you have some samples, please mail them to us and we will test for sensitivity to strobilurin fungicides.  This is done through the use of molecular markers which are targeted directly to the most common mutation that is known to occur for resistance development. 

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Scout for foliar diseases in corn

Anyone who attended one of our Winter Agronomy Meetings heard a discussion of what conditions promote diseases (northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot) and possible management options. You might ask, “What are the important management options that will protect yield from leaf diseases?” Although some of the important management practices have already been performed (crop rotation, hybrid selection, and tillage, and planting) growers still have opportunities to protect their corn from disease as discussed in the following list:

• Scouting: Scouting fields is an important part of a management plan. Walk corn fields right before tassel emergence to determine disease presence and severity.

• Identify which diseases are present: Having the ability to identify specific diseases is a critical piece in managing GLS and NCLB. NCLB symptoms are brown or tan cigar-shaped lesions, ranging from one to six inches in length. GLS symptoms are tan or gray rectangles with parallel or straight sides, ranging from half and inch to four inches in length.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress — July 10, 2017

Wet Conditions Hinder Progress

Large rain events were negatively affecting field crops in many parts of the State, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.There were 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 9th. Rain throughout the week was beneficial in the Northwest where dry conditions have prevailed, but in central and southern counties, continued rain events have saturated soils and caused ponding in fields, raising concerns of root diseases in corn and soybeans. Hay fields were still reported in good condition, but wet weather challenged growers trying to mowed and bale hay. Producers took advantage of drier weather early in the week to make rapid progress with wheat harvest, but there were reports of lodging in wheat and oats caused by high winds.

For the full report, click here.

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Soggy conditions Between the Rows

Things are wet and miserable. Every three days it rains. I have straw that has been rained on four times. We finally got all the wheat cut. When you get nice days do you bale straw or go cut the wheat before it gets rained on for four straight days and the test weight goes down? They brought a draper out to demo and we finished cutting wheat last night about 11.

Here around home the wheat was in the 75- or 80-bushel range, which I wasn’t too upset with, but the wheat was pretty rough on one of our south farms. It was just too wet. Quality wise we haven’t hauled any in yet, but things are looking promising as far as the markets go. We have a bunch of wheat sold and we have heard the test weights have been good. The wheat is actually worth something now and we wanted to get it off.

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Taking a byte out of the record books

Even for those not good at holding their breath for longer than 24 minutes and unable to complete more than 36 consecutive backflips on a jet ski in one afternoon, there are yet undiscovered ways to earn a spot in the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records.

One of those ways is being pursued by Trey Colley, a graduate student in precision agriculture at The Ohio State University. This past winter, he decided to attempt to set a record for gathering the most data ever collected for a single corn plant.

“As part of the Ohio State Precision Ag program, we want to stretch the limit of our current precision ag technology and data collection methods for this year by attempting to collect the most data ever for a single corn plant. We are going to do that throughout the 2017 growing season,” Colley said. “This is a goal we set to challenge the availability of technology for collecting precision ag data.

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Agricultural fertilizer certification training offered before Sept. 30 deadline

Ohio farmers who still need to get fertilizer certification before the Sept. 30 deadline will have more than 20 opportunities to attend training sessions offered by experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

The training, provided by Ohio State University Extension, fulfills the educational requirements of Ohio’s 2014 agricultural nutrients legislation which requires individuals who apply fertilizer on more than 50 acres to become certified by Sept. 30, 2017.

Already, more than 17,000 Ohio farmers have gone through Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training, or FACT, which offers information on best management practices to apply fertilizer for optimum crop yields, reduce the risk of nutrient runoff and improve water quality throughout the state, said Mary Ann Rose, program director for OSU Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program.

FACT was developed by CFAES field specialists and is offered in partnership with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The training provides research-based tactics to keep nutrients in the field and available to crops while increasing stewardship of nearby and downstream water resources.

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June 30 Stocks and Acreage Reports implications for corn and soybeans

On June 30, the USDA released the Acreage and Grain Stocks reports. The Acreage report surprised many observers and generated strong positive movements in corn and soybean prices. The following discussion recaps the information contained in the reports and the price implications for corn and soybean prices.

June 1 corn stocks were estimated at 5,225 million bushels, nearly 500 million bushels larger than last year and about 100 million bushels larger than the average trade guess. Total disappearance during the quarter was 3,400 million bushels. Estimates of corn exports during the quarter are at 688 million bushels. Corn used for ethanol and co-product production during the quarter totaled 1,342 million bushels. Corn processed domestically for other food and industrial products was likely near 413 million bushels.

The remaining disappearance, after adjusting for imports, is estimated at 965 million bushels, consists of the feed and residual category. Feed and residual use during the first three quarters of the marketing year is estimated at 4,757 million bushels.

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Ag producers say financials stronger than 2016 but predict missed financial targets in 2017

U.S. agricultural producers indicated their farm operations’ financial positions are stronger than at this time in 2016, but expressed concerns that they might not meet their 2017 financial targets, according to a monthly producer survey conducted as part of the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.

The barometer, which is based on a survey of 400 U.S. agricultural producers, read 131 for the month of June — virtually unchanged from the April and May readings of 130.

“Although the Ag Economy Barometer has not changed appreciably the last couple of months, it’s important to note that it remains well above levels recorded prior to November 2016,” said Jim Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

In June 2017, 13% of survey respondents indicated that their operations were financially better off than a year before — the highest reading since Purdue researchers first started surveying producers in October 2015.

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Markets watching weather and pollination

Wheat prices the last week of June finally brought smiles to producers. It has been a long wait as wheat prices earlier this year sunk to 10-year lows. World supplies have been building for years, not helping prices at all. Commodity funds have been short wheat since mid 2016 as they built a huge short position. Several new records were set along the way as that short position reached 151,000 contracts last October. This year, U.S. wheat acres are at the lowest level in over 100 years. Many producers have taken the extreme step of removing wheat from their rotation and instead planting just corn and soybeans. Wheat had the biggest price movement for several months when looking at the three major grains: corn, soybeans, and wheat.

For several weeks producers have been watching the drought conditions in the Dakotas as spring wheat acres were less than expected. Those drought conditions were huge as wheat prices rose 30 cents on June 30 with two USDA reports.

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Japanese beetle in corn and soybeans

We have been hearing reports of Japanese beetles in corn and soybean.  These beetles are large with a shiny copper and green color.  Foliage feeding in corn is almost never economic, though economic damage from silk clipping is possible (though rare).  Consider a rescue treatment when  silks are clipped to less than half inch and, fewer than 50% of the plants have been pollinated, and the beetles are still numerous and feeding in the field.

Japanese beetles will also feed on soybean foliage.  http://cropwatch.unl.edu/documents/soybean%20defoliation.png

Defoliation guide for soybean (University of Nebraska)

While the damage might look startling, it is very rare that this reaches economic levels from Japanese beetle.  A rescue treatment is advised when defoliation levels reach 30% in pre-bloom stages, and 20% in bloom to pod fill.  These defoliation levels apply to the plant as a whole, not just certain leaves.   A visual guide to defoliation is useful because it is very easy to over-estimate defoliation in soybean. 

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