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Corn acres down nationwide

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the Prospective Plantings report, indicating that farmers will plant 88-million acres, 2.14 million fewer acres of corn, a 2% decrease from 2017. If realized, this will be the lowest total corn planted acreage in the United States since 2015.
“U.S. farmers continue to produce more bushels per acre as new technologies are brought to the marketplace,” said National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes. “American corn supplies remain ample as we have a large carryover crop from 2017. U.S. farmers can react nimbly to market conditions and make decisions that make the most sense for their operation.”
Ohio is expected to increase corn acreage from last year, with record high acreage in Nevada and Oregon. In 33 of the 48 corn producing states, planted acreage is expected to be down or unchanged. According to the report, compared to 2017, decreases of 300,000 acres or more are expected in Kansas, Minnesota and North Dakota.
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Report bullish, traders shocked

Report day before the 31st, really? What happened?

Corn and soybean acres are both bullish and less than expected with soybeans starting with “8.” Corn was 88.0 million acres and soybeans 88.9 million acres. Traders were most surprised as corn was up 11 cents, soybeans up 24 cents and wheat up 4 cents shortly after the report. Corn and soybean stocks were above expected with wheat stocks neutral.

Today’s reports may not be on the minds of all producers today. It’s not that some are forgetting about the planting or grain stocks reports. Today is March 29. Many think of March 31 as a big day with the Planting Intentions Report. This year March 31 is a Saturday and the markets are not trading on March 30 with the Good Friday holiday. So here we are, ready or not.

This report reveals U.S. 2018 planting intentions for major crops and U.S.… Continue reading

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Spring seeding of forages

Late this month (depending on the weather) and on into April provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages. The other preferred timing for cool-season grasses and legumes is in late summer, primarily the month of August here in Ohio. The relative success of spring vs. summer seeding of forages is greatly affected by the prevailing weather conditions, and so growers have success and failures with each option.

Probably the two primary difficulties with spring plantings are finding a good window of opportunity when soils are dry enough before it gets too late, and managing weed infestations that are usually more difficult with spring plantings. The following steps will help improve your chances for successful forage establishment in the spring.

  1. Make sure soil pH and fertility are in the recommended ranges. Follow the Tri-state Soil Fertility Recommendations (https://forages.osu.edu/forage-management/soil-fertility-forages). Forages are more productive where soil pH is above 6.0, but for alfalfa it should be 6.5 to 6.8.
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My wandering thoughts on facial recognition software for dairy cows

Recently I read the headline: “Cargill, Cainthus partner to bring facial recognition technology to dairy farms” (Feedstuffs, Jan. 31, 2018). Wow! Reading a cow’s face? I can think of nothing more stoic or poker-faced than a cow. That must be some software.

Then I read further and learned that this new software — machine vision software — recognizes each cow’s hide pattern and facial shape. Cainthus, the Dublin, Ireland-based developer of the software, has developed algorithms to track cows’ key data traits such as ruminations, water and feed intake, time spent lying, standing or walking, and body temperature to flag exactly how each cow in a herd is doing.

The software also predicts when a cow is in heat, even if she has no visible signs. Combine this information with milk production data and voila! Everything a dairyman needs to know about his herd is available on his smartphone or computer.… Continue reading

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Calculating the forgotten costs of farming

When spring rolls around, there are many unpredictable forces farmers have to deal with, including the weather and the markets. The one thing that should not be in that unpredictable category as planting season approaches is a farmer’s cost of production.

“A lot of times a ‘ballpark’ figure may be used to figure out what a farms breakeven point it,” said Carrie Johnson, product line leader for Cargill Ag Marketing Services. “In these markets, if you are off a few cents that can really affect your profitability.”

As farmers start thinking about this year’s farm revenue, they should consider some of the hidden or forgotten costs of farming. Factors such as equipment loan payments, insurance costs and even farmers paying themselves a salary should be calculated when determining the cost of production.

Some farmers may be waiting to see what USDA has to say about 2018 corn and soybean acres on Thursday and then see how the markets respond before putting pen to paper to calculate profitability.… Continue reading

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Spring nitrogen requirements for winter wheat

Application timing and amount are key factors in achieving high winter wheat yields. While the amount of nitrogen required in the fall is relatively small, it is critical to promoting early development and tillering. With spring weather around the corner, winter wheat producers will be gearing up for spring topdress of their wheat crop. Timing and rates are critical in the spring as to maintain the high yield potential of winter wheat varieties.

Spring applications of N should be made after the plants break dormancy. Although in some situations field conditions may be favorable, nitrogen applied in the late winter before plants have broken dormancy is more likely to be lost before plants can utilize it. Spring N applications should not be made before wheat has broken dormancy and begins to green up. The University of Kentucky publication “A Comprehensive Guide to Wheat Management in Kentucky” recommends: “When making a single N fertilizer application the best time is when the crop growth stage is Feekes 4-5, (Zadoks 30, usually mid-March) just before the first joint appears on the main stem and when wheat starts growing rapidly.” The UK publication goes on to say that “The rate of N fertilizer for a single application should be between 60 and 90 lb N/acre for fields with a yield potential less than 70 bu/acre and 90 to 100 lb N/acre for fields with greater yield potential.”

Wheat plants begin a period of rapid growth and stem elongation once they reach Feekes Stage 6 (first node visible).… Continue reading

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Planting depth important for getting a good start on corn in 2018

The huge risk of planting a corn crop in 2018 gets even riskier when the seed is not planted deep enough in the spring. As more work is being done on the importance of proper seeding depth, there is more evidence that much of Ohio’s corn crop is being planted too shallow to maximize performance.

“A lot of people just aren’t planting deep enough. We are checking yields at 1-, 2- and 3-inch planting depths. We need to get the planting depths down where they need to be to get yields up. We are seeing more guys planting too shallow. We see a lot of inch-deep corn and we need to be at a minimum of 1.5 inches preferably even 2.5 inches. We are seeing that seeding depth doing extremely well with emergence,” said Mike Earley, a Seed Consultants, Inc. agronomist. “I like to see seed at least at 1.75-inches deep or even down to 2.25 inches.… Continue reading

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Virtual field trips to soybean farms offered to students

Starting this spring, students who have never had a chance to investigate a soybean field will get the chance to do it — all without having to leave the comfort of their own classroom.

With just an internet-connected computer, webcam and microphone, students of all ages can join their classes on a Virtual Field Trip to an Ohio Soybean Farm, and ride along with a farmer during planting and harvesting. They can see what it takes to produce one of Ohio’s most abundant and versatile crops.

Using live video conferencing technology, these one-of-a-kind virtual field trips, provided through the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), allow students to interact and have real conversations with soybean farmers while the farmer is actually working in the field.

“These new trips help students learn more about soybean production: how they are planted, how they grow, what benefits they provide, and the challenges Ohio soybean farmers face and the decisions they must make,” said Tom Fontana, OSC’s director of research and education.… Continue reading

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Non-GMO corn production and purity concerns

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. Tests used by elevators to determine if GMO’s 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
What steps can be taken in an attempt to produce grain that meets GMO tolerances?… Continue reading

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Get your fertilizer certification…Before planting begins

Ohio is now seeing full implementation of Ohio’s Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification regulation. The regulation was result of Senate Bill 150, which can be found at http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/905.322 and http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/905.321. The 2014 regulation required farmers to complete a fertilizer certification program if they applied fertilizer to more than 50 acres of land in agricultural production primarily for sale. Exemptions included fertilizer applied through a planter, individuals whose crops remained on the farm for their livestock and not sold, or fertilizer applied by a commercial applicator.

Farmers were given three years to complete the certification training. Training included a two-hour program if a farmer already had a Private Pesticide Applicator License, otherwise, a farmer had to complete a three-hour program. Key components of the training were to know the potential causes for algal blooms and management practices to reduce phosphorus losses from farm fields. Training was provided primarily by County Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Educators of the Ohio State University.… Continue reading

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The 2018 soybean planting season has begun in Ohio!

Some soybeans were planted in Ohio Monday! Jakob Wilson from JCW Farms Partnership in Madison County wrote on Facebook:

“Everyone keeps preaching we need to plant beans earlier and earlier! Well here’s our test trial in the ground on 3-19-18. Will be interesting to see how this 7.5 acres turns out! #plant18

This field was corn last year and stalks were hit with a Joker last fall. One pass was planted at 150k and one was variable rate (from 130 to 165k).

The beans were fully treated and also had ilevo on them. Soil temps were 40 degrees at 2 inches and 42 degrees at 4 inches.

We will follow this field throughout the season to see how things turn out!… Continue reading

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Deciphering preplant dicamba labels and tank mixtures

Dicamba can have a good fit in spring preplant burndown programs, especially for control of overwintered marestail in fields not treated the previous fall. We typically recommend a preplant burndown that includes at least two herbicides with substantial activity on marestail in this situation, such as Sharpen + 2,4-D or Gramoxone + 2,4-D + metribuzin. Dicamba is the most effective burndown herbicide on glyphosate-resistant marestail in the spring though, and in our research has usually killed or at least stopped emerged marestail in their tracks without help from other herbicides. We have occasionally observed larger marestail plants escape complete control, due partly to what appears to be antagonism from other herbicides in the mix. Low rates of dicamba added to other less than effective burndown mixtures can also improve control to adequate levels.

With regard to use of dicamba in burndown programs, there are distinctly different situations which define how it can be used and what can be mixed with it.… Continue reading

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ARC-CO and PLC payments for this fall likely to decrease

The tight economics of row crop production in 2017 will have many producers looking for some cash flow from farm bill programs when those payments are released this fall.

Higher yields in 2017, however, will likely mean smaller payments in October of 2018 compared to last fall.

“We saw yields that were pretty high for corn above trend line for some counties for the fourth year in a row in 2017. So looking forward to October of 2018,  I am expecting smaller to no payments for most counties for corn. A couple of counties in western Ohio may trigger a soybean payment but the payments are expected to be a lot less,” said Ben Brown, Ohio State University Farm Management Program
manager. “If you are counting on the money in October for cash flow, I don’t know that we will see as much. Both farmers and ag lenders need to prepare for that.… Continue reading

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Preparing for high yield soybeans

Weather permitting; planters will start rolling across the Eastern Corn Belt in a few weeks. Soybeans, just like corn, will benefit from careful planning and attention to detail. Today’s soybean varieties have the potential to achieve yields of more than 70 bushels/acre when managed intensively. As growers head to the fields this spring, they should start planning management programs to harvest top-end yields this fall.

Planting Date and Field Conditions

Planting date is an important factor determining soybean yields. Purdue research demonstrates that optimum planting dates for soybeans are from late April to mid-May. Ohio State University planting date studies show a .6 bushel per day loss in yield potential when soybeans are planted after mid-May. Just like corn, delayed soybean planting can result in significant yield losses. Earlier planting will benefit soybean fields in several ways. In a recent C.O.R.N newsletter (link: https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2015-09/soybean-planting-date-seeding-rate-and-row-width ), Ohio State University’s Laura Lindsey wrote: “The greatest benefit of planting May 1 to mid-May is canopy closure which increases light interception, improves weed control by shading out weeds, and helps retain soil moisture.” Soybeans should be planted at a depth of 1-1.5 inches when soils are at least 50 degrees F and and dry enough to perform field work.… Continue reading

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Study shows most farmers are in compliance with fertilizer recommendations in Western Lake Erie region

As farmers prepare for their 2018 crop, newly released research shows that a large majority of those whose fields drain into western Lake Erie are adhering to ag experts’ guidelines for fertilizer rates and application practices. The study concludes, however, that the recommendations themselves should be re-examined to better protect western Lake Erie from pollution resulting from agricultural runoff.

The findings are presented in a special issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation published by the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS).

“Our surveys found that up to 80% of farmers are following the most up-to-date guidelines available regarding fertilizer application and general stewardship practices,” said Doug Smith, USDA soil scientist, who co-authored an article in the Journal detailing the research. “But even though the vast majority of growers are applying nutrients at or below recommended levels, the reality is that roughly 70% of the phosphorous entering Lake Erie is from streams and rivers, where agriculture is often the dominant land use.… Continue reading

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National leaders, RINs and RFS

Trump Administration officials planned to meet leaders from biofuel and oil companies today to end the current impasse over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The meeting, however, was cancelled.

One proposal being floated by oil company representatives would put a cap on prices for Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, which are required to comply with the RFS. The proposal stands to undermine growth in the biofuels industry.

“Corn farmers have fought hard the past ten years, within Congress, with the last Administration, and in the Courts to protect the opportunity for renewable fuels to continue to grow as an option for consumers,” said Kevin Skunes, National Corn Growers Association president. “Today, the President is considering a proposal from the oil industry that could cut farm income almost $4 billion dollars per year for the next two years.  It is a deal that American farmers cannot afford.”

NCGA is opposed to an oil industry proposal that would cap the price of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). … Continue reading

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New herbicide resistance management tool launched

UPI, a global leader in the production of high quality crop protection products, is pleased to announce the launch of new TRIPZIN ZC herbicide in the U.S.

TRIPZIN ZC is a unique, patented pre-mix that combines the strength of two powerful active ingredients, metribuzin and pendimethalin. TRIPZIN ZC will provide pre-emergent control of a wide spectrum of broadleaf and annual grass weeds, including Palmer pigweed and other pigweed species, ragweed species, lambsquarters and velvetleaf. Crops on the TRIPZIN ZC label include soybeans, alfalfa, field corn, garbanzo beans, lentils, peas, potatoes and sugarcane. As it is applied prior to crop emergence in soybeans, it is compatible with all herbicide tolerant trait varieties as well as conventional beans.

“TRIPZIN ZC represents another example of innovation from UPI. The combination of metribuzin and pendimethalin, in one product, gives growers two modes of action and, therefore, a viable resistance management tool to help them protect their crop” said Chris Bowley, Senior Product Manager.… Continue reading

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Soybean picture complex after USDA report

US corn ending stocks were estimated at 2.127 billion bushels, a decline of 225 million bushels. Corn exports increased 175 million bushels with corn used for ethanol was up 50 million bushels. Last month corn ending stocks were 2.352 billion bushels. Corn usage was up more than expected. US soybean ending stocks were estimated at 555 million bushels, a jump of 25 million bushels. Crush was up 10 million bushels with exports cut 35 million bushels. Last month ending stocks were 530 million bushels. Wheat ending stocks were 1.034 billion bushels and last month it was 1.009 billion bushels.

Soybeans were negative as the US ending stocks increased while traders expected unchanged.

Argentina soybean production was 47 million tons. Last month it was 54 million tons. No surprise for Argentina soybeans. Brazil soybean production was 113 million tons and compares to 112 million tons last month. No surprise for Brazil soybeans.… Continue reading

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Will March move markets?

March is a huge month for USDA reports. Today’s March 8 monthly Supply and Demand Report expectations suggest corn exports could increase even more. Last month USDA pegged U.S. corn exports at 2.050 billion bushels, an increase of 125 million bushels. Conversely, private estimates suggest U.S. exports could drop even more in the months ahead. USDA estimated soybean exports in February at 2.10 billion bushels, down 60 million bushels from the previous month. That decline pushed soybean ending stocks to 530 million bushels, a jump of 60 million bushels. Yet, report day in February failed to push soybean significantly lower compared to previous years when soybean ending stocks had that much of an increase. Instead, dry weather concerns in Argentina were the feature that day, overshadowing the bearish news. A decades old analogy suggests that when bearish news does not produce bearish price results, the news event is no longer relevant.… Continue reading

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RFS tinkering would deal a substantive blow to farmers

A new economic analysis by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University backs up what corn farmers have been telling the Administration — that manipulating the RIN market mechanism would reduce ethanol blending and impact corn prices. A drop of 25 cents per bushel in corn prices, as CARD economists project from a RIN price cap, would devastate farmers and stagger rural communities.

This spring farmers will begin planting knowing they face their fifth growing season with corn prices hovering at or below the cost of production. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, we lost 12,000 farms in 2016. This decline must be stopped. The CARD analysis clearly shows an artificial cap on Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices in exchange for an RVP waiver allowing year-round sales of E15 would be a bad deal for rural America and the nation’s consumers.

Providing regulatory parity for E15 and higher blends helps address concerns about RIN values.… Continue reading

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