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Fertilizer applied years ago still affects Lake Erie

By Alayna DeMartini, Greg LaBarge and Laura Johnson

Although corn or soybeans could not be planted on 1.6 million acres of Ohio farmland last year and little to no fertilizer was applied to those fields, the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie still was high.

That might seem odd. After all, many of those unplanted acres were in northwest Ohio, the region that feeds into the Maumee River and ultimately into Lake Erie.

But a lot of phosphorus was already present in fields from fertilizer applied years before, and older phosphorus is another contributor to the level of phosphorus in Lake Erie, said Greg LaBarge, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist.

Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist

Phosphorus runoff from farm fields is a cause of the harmful algal blooms plaguing the lake.

“Phosphorus was already in fields, ditches, rivers, and tributaries, and it just moved downstream,” LaBarge said.

The rain added momentum — 2019 was the sixth wettest year on record in Ohio, which increased the chances that phosphorus, an ingredient in fertilizers and manure, would travel downstream with the rainwater, said LaBarge, an agronomist involved in a statewide phosphorus water quality monitoring effort.

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Overwintering of pathogens and insects: What do winter temperatures tell us about next season?

By Anne Dorrance, Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

Over the years we have developed databases of winter temperatures followed by scouting to indicate starting pathogen populations for Ohio.

Frogeye leaf spot

We have documented early infections and overwintering ability of the fungus, Cercospora sojina, that causes frogeye leaf spot. It appears that when there are less than 10 days during the months of December, January and February of less than 17 F, we have had reports of outbreaks of frogeye leaf spot. This occurred in fields where there was a high level of inoculum at the end of the season the same or similar moderately to highly susceptible cultivar was planted into the same field again which then initiated the epidemic that much sooner. Losses of greater than 35% in yield or very early fungicide applications were necessary.

Expecting continued warmer winter temperatures, for fields with a history of frogeye leaf spot, and no-till production systems, the first thing for farmers is to do now to mitigate losses in 2020.… Continue reading

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South America headed for another big soybean crop

After a very busy January, when some of us believed that a world war could follow Iranian general Soleimani’s death, when all of us saw the US and China finally signing the “phase one” trade deal, and when the entire world started fearing the coronavirus outbreak, here we are already in mid-February.
 
For us here in Brazil, it is time now to wonder how many acres the US farmers will plant with soybeans in their 2020/21 crop, after the significant cut to the planted area seen last year, and to take a closer look to the South American 2019/20 crop, which is being harvested.
 
For Brazil, the 2019/20 soybean crop started with many problems. The spring rains, which are crucial for the beginning of the planting season, arrived later than normal and were very irregular in several states until November and, in some areas, until December. After that, however, weather conditions dramatically improved.
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Corn consumption showing improvement

By Todd Hubbs, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois

Uncertainties regarding the potential trade deal and coronavirus outbreak remain as negative forces for commodity markets. Corn prices came through the difficulty relatively well over the last couple of weeks. March corn futures prices continue to bounce around in a range between $3.75 and $3.95 seen since mid-December. Over this same period, consumption in some key use categories for corn picked up substantially and corn basis remains strong.

Corn exports remain behind last year’s pace. A recent uptick in export sales offers the promise of increased exports in the second half of the marketing year. In the previous three weeks, net export sales came in at 39.6, 48.6, and 49.1 million bushels, respectively. These net sales totals mark the first time all marketing year of three consecutive weeks over one million metric tons. Total commitments as of January 30 sit at 897 million bushels.… Continue reading

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A million dollar response: H2Ohio meetings

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Last week, three H2Ohio informational meetings were conducted by representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative (OACI) and local county soil and water conservation district offices. Over 1,000 farmers and agribusiness people have attended so far according to organizers. The meetings were held in Perrysburg, Delphos, and Defiance, with every venue at capacity.

“This is a tremendous outpouring of farmers and the farming community who believe with all their hearts in the power of voluntary conservation efforts. It is a shame the general public cannot see everyone here tonight, this is tremendous,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, addressing members of the agriculture community in attendance at the Defiance meeting last Wednesday evening.

Earlier in January, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and ODA Director Pelanda announced that $30 million in H2Ohio funding would be available to Ohio farmers in a 14-county area of the Maumee River Watershed to implement select conservation practices.

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Trade deals, coronavirus keep markets uncertain

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

President Trump signed the USMCA or U.S., Mexico, and Canada Agreement. It has now been passed by the U.S. and Mexico, Canada has yet to ratify this agreement. The USMAC replaces NAFTA, which was a great agreement from the Clinton administration back in the 1990s. Some are calling it NAFTA 2.0. The new trade agreement replaces the 25-year NAFTA agreement. It should give the U.S. more access into those markets. Early indications suggest it will result in more automotive production in the U.S. In addition, this agreement should be beneficial for U.S. dairy farmers. Mexico, from an agricultural perspective, has been in the news in the past two months as they have purchased U.S. corn on multiple occasions.

The Phase One trade deal was signed last month by the U.S. and China. It calls for China to purchase 40 billion dollars in U.S. agricultural goods in each of the next two years.… Continue reading

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What does sustainable mean?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

This is the legal definition: “Sustainable agriculture” was addressed by Congress in the 1990 Farm Bill. Under that law, “the term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

  • satisfy human food and fiber needs;
  • enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
  • make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
  • sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and
  • enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Above from the National Agriculture Library: https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/sustainable-agriculture-definitions-and-terms#toc2 and: https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/sustainable-agriculture-definitions-and-terms.

Is your operation sustainable based upon the points above:

  • Yes, we produce food and fiber to satisfy human needs
  • Enhance environmental quality — we are headed that direction, some are there already.
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National Pesticide Safety Education Month – Learn and practice principles of safe pesticide handling and use

February is National Pesticide Safety Education Month, a reminder for everyone to review their pesticide safety practices. The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), American Phytopathological Society (APS) and Entomological Society of America (ESA) are among the many organizations in the public and private sector that promote pesticide safety during February and throughout the year.

Everyone must focus on safety to protect themselves, others, and the environment, during pesticide transport, storage, application, and disposal.

“There is no ‘downtime’ in the safe handling and use of pesticides,” said Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., Executive Director of Science Policy for the Weed Science Society of America.

The National Pesticide Safety Education Month webpage contains a quiz to check your knowledge of some basic pesticide safety principles and a self-assessment to review some of your own pesticide safety practices at home and at work. You can also view a sample of educational resources produced by land-grant university Pesticide Safety Education Programs and learn the importance of these programs.… Continue reading

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2020 Conservation Tillage Conference coming March 3

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)

The main program for the Conservation Tillage Conference starts with the General Session, March 3, at 8:50 a.m. (10 minutes earlier than usual). At the start of the session, the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser of the Year will be announced.

Lee Briese, an award-winning Crop Consultant from North Dakota will be our General Session speaker. Topic: Details Matter. He will present two additional talks in the Chapel: Herbicide/Cover Crop Interactions and Transitioning to a No-Till System.

For early arrivals, two full-day concurrent sessions will begin at 8:00 a.m. Cover Crops, No-till and Soil Health will be in the Chapel, and Nutrient Management in Room B.

New for 2020, Crop Management and Precision Technology sessions both days replace our previous Corn University and Soybean School. Also new on the first day is a session on Hemp, plus Forage Cover Crops. Sessions will end about 5:30.… Continue reading

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High oleic soybean opportunity for Ohio in 2020

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ohio farmers now have increased availability of high oleic soybean contract opportunities and more delivery locations and options to grow high oleic soybeans for the 2020 season. High oleic soybeans earn an average premium of 50 cents per bushel. High oleic varieties also offer a sustainable, highly stable, U.S.-grown oil product for the food industry and other customers, expanding the market for U.S. soy.

For farmers, high oleic soybeans are backed with over a decade of research to ensure they meet expectations in the fields. Farmers growing high oleic soybeans report that high oleic yields on par with their other varieties. For end-use customers, high oleic soybeans offer higher-functioning soybean oil that meets the needs of a growing number of food and industrial customers. This added functionality allows farmers to add market potential.

“On my farm, high oleic soybeans have proven to be hearty.… Continue reading

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Got a hankering to grow hemp?

Consider the gamble: The crop could generate hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per acre. Or, quite possibly, nothing at all.

The market price for CBD oil, which is derived from hemp flowers, has declined recently because of an oversupply on the market. Farmers in some states are awaiting payment for hemp they grew but could not sell. Some other growers are finding it can be very easy for hemp to exceed the legal limit of 0.3% THC; when this happens, the plants must be destroyed.

“Don’t jump in,” said Peggy Hall, an agricultural and resource law field specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “There are a lot of lawsuits already, and we can learn from those if we proceed with caution.”

Now that it’s legal to grow hemp in Ohio, a lot of people are interested in growing the crop, particularly to turn it into CBD oil, lured by high profit potential.… Continue reading

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EPA reaffirms safety of glyphosate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s favorable conclusion in late January about the safety of glyphosate in its Interim Registration Review Decision, based on the agency’s expert review over a 10-year period, reaffirmed that the extensive body of science continues to support the safety of herbicides containing glyphosate and that the active ingredient is not carcinogenic.

Registration review is EPA’s program for reviewing pesticides every 15 years; the glyphosate registration review began in 2009. In its Interim Registration Review Decision, EPA concluded that it “did not identify any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate.” The decision included measures to address glyphosate spray drift and glyphosate resistance in weeds.

“This is a win for sustainable agriculture,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “Today’s decision means farmers can continue to use conservation tillage and no-till methods on their farms to conserve soil, preserve and increase nutrients, improve water quality, trap excess carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.… Continue reading

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Why should you know your soybean disease rating numbers?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Anne Dorrance, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist, says farmers should do some homework.

“Farmers need to take some time this winter and go back and look at their soybean seed varieties and see what the scores were for resistance to common diseases that they regularly see each year depending on what the environmental conditions are,” she said.

Anne Dorrance OSU Soybean Researcher Field Leader
Dr. Anne Dorrance, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is a pest that is frequently talked about. Recently, and a multi-state campaign known as “What’s your number? Take the test. Beat the Pest.” funded by the soybean checkoff and SCN Coalition has been attempting to raise awareness of the soybean yield losses as SCN populations rise. Nematodes are becoming “resistant to the resistance,” said Dorrance. Farmers are encouraged to sample their fields for soybean cyst nematodes to know what levels they are actually dealing with on each farm and in each individual field.

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Managing stored grain in the winter

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Managing stored grain throughout the winter is an important part of your grain marketing plan for farm profitability. This winter we are already receiving reports of stored grain going out of condition, which can lower the value and be a hazard to those working around the grain facility. At a minimum, stored grain that has gone out of condition can cause health hazards, especially when grain dust contains mold and bacteria. Out of condition grain can also form a crust or stick to the bin walls and if someone enters the bin for any reason an entrapment could occur. For more information on safety when working around grain visit http://go.osu.edu/AFM and listen to episode 41 of the podcast on grain bin safety.

Too many of us know the scare of a close call with grain entrapment but lived to tell the story. Even if it was just in a wagon or a truck while unloading wet grain, the fear is real.… Continue reading

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$30 million allocated to agriculture in the lower Maumee River Watershed

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Sign-up for farmers to participate in the H2Ohio initiative, and receive incentives for implementing approved nutrient management practices begins in February at the local Soil and Water Conservation District offices. A series of meeting have been scheduled in Northwest Ohio to explain the application process for farmers in the 14 county area of the lower Maumee River Watershed who wish to participate in the H2Ohio program. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has announced that $30 million of funding designated for Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio program is available and a total of eight meetings have been scheduled during the month of February to explain the application process for H2Ohio funds and answer questions about the program’s conservation practices.

“In conjunction with details about H2Ohio, these meetings will also introduce the brand-new Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative (OACI) Farmer Certification program. This program is focused on conservation.

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Ohio Department of Agriculture suspends operations at Vista Grain, LLC

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) suspended all operations at Vista Grain, LLC in Washington Court House after discovering it was unable to cover its outstanding obligations to farmers. Vista Grain, LLC is located at 5738 Greenfield Sabina Road, Washington Court House, Ohio, with branch locations in Buena Vista and Lyndon. The grain handlers’ license, #6721, was suspended on Jan. 28 in order to prevent more outstanding obligations to be incurred and to facilitate a possible remedy via the Grain Indemnity Fund.

If you believe you have outstanding grain obligations with Vista Grain, LLC, please call ODA at 614-728-6410 or toll free at 800-282-1955. Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created in 1983 to reimburse farmers when a licensed handler becomes insolvent. Since the fund was established, it has reimbursed farmers more than $16 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators. Claims to the indemnity fund are handled through ODA’s Grain Feed & Seed Section in conjunction with the recommendation of the Ohio Commodity Advisory Commission.… Continue reading

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Brazil, a big corn and soybean belt

The ease of traveling within the United States has always impressed me since the first time I set foot in the Midwest, 13 years ago. Not only because of the mind-blowing transportation infrastructure (which looks even more amazing to my Brazilian eyes, very used to the logistical problems and challenges we have here), but also because doing a crop tour, for example, is painless, since most of the corn and soybean production is concentrated in the Midwest.

That’s why I can’t help a somewhat condescending smile when some American or other foreigner suggests a crop tour in Brazil’s corn and soybean belt. Of course we have crop tours – and very good ones. But driving, for example, from Mato Grosso to Paraná, Brazil’s top producing states, is very challenging, to say the least. Not only because we have bad and dangerous roads (despite all the improvements we’ve seen in the last few years), but also because they are very different states, with more than one thousand miles between them.

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Tenth Circuit Court strikes down EPA small refinery exemptions

In a decision that is expected to broadly impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to granting small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Jan. 24 struck down three exemptions that were improperly issued by EPA.

The court ruling stems from a May 2018 challenge brought against EPA by the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union.

“We are extremely pleased with the Tenth Circuit’s decision to vacate the waivers granted by EPA to three refineries owned by CVR Energy and HollyFrontier,” said Geoff Cooper, RFA president and CEO. “The Court has affirmed our long-held position that EPA’s recent practices and policies regarding small refinery exemption extensions were completely unlawful. And while the decision addresses three specific exemptions, the statutory interpretation issues resolved by the court apply much more broadly.”

Among other findings, the Court held that EPA cannot “extend” exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier, temporary exemptions had lapsed.… Continue reading

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Micronutrient fertilization

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Recent research on photosynthesis shows the importance of adequate nutrient fertility. On average, corn plants only perform full blown photosynthesis about 10-20% of the time, even when weather conditions are ideal. Why? High rates of photosynthesis required essential mineral elements to build carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. If an essential nutrient is lacking or not in a plant available form, photosynthesis shuts down. High soil biological activity makes nutrients plant available. A healthy soil with living roots has 1000-2000X more microbes than a bare soil. Each microbe is a soluble bag of fertilizer full of plant available nutrients to feed the crop.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The availability of soil nutrients is dependent on three factors. One is the chemical form that it can be taken up by the plant.  Second is the proximity to actively absorbing plant root. Three is the soil nutrient must be in a soluble form that can be absorbed by plant roots. 

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2020 weed control strategies for waterhemp and Palmer amaranth

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

From a distance, Palmer amaranth, common waterhemp, and redroot pigweed can easily be mistaken for each other, but proper identification is a key to effective management. Each weed species is a growing problem in Ohio.

Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are relatively easy to separate from redroot pigweed when taking a closer look, because both the Palmer amaranth and waterhemp have smooth stems with no hair on them. Redroot pigweed has fine hairs on the stem.

“It is not critical to separately identify the Palmer amaranth from common waterhemp because the management strategy

Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension

is going to be similar for both,” said Jeff Stachler, Ohio State University Extension educator in Auglaize County. “Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are both dioecious plants, meaning they produce separate male plants and separate female plants. That causes a problem from the standpoint of diversity as every flower on a female plant could hypothetically have a unique male plant that pollinated each of the flowers.

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