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Soybean seeding rate considerations

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

The spring planting season in 2020 has started very different from that of a year ago. In some parts of Ohio, planting is well along, while in others, it is just getting started. As farmers head to the field to plant soybeans, the low commodity prices are in their minds. One way farmers have been attempting to reduce the cost of production is by lowering seeding rates for soybeans.

“Ohio State University Extension has been doing a good deal of soybean seeding rate research across the state for the past three years with the e-Fields program. Research has been done for 6 or 7 years in Western Ohio, and what we are finding is that farmers are typically moving that seeding rate down to a population of around 120,000 seeds per acre at planting, across the state,” said Sam Custer, assistant director for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Ohio State University Extension educator in Darke County.… Continue reading

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Soil inoculants

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As planting season starts, some farmers are applying soil bio-inoculants to promote improved plant growth.  Dr. Jay Johnson (retired), former OSU fertility specialist, touted inoculating soybeans with Rhizobium bacteria yearly to increase soybeans yields 1-2 bushels. The Rhizobium bacteria increased nitrogen in soybean nodules which improved crop yields. Today, many farmers are experimenting with soil bio-inoculants with variable results.  Evaluating and using soil inoculants requires some careful management to be successful.

Underneath a single footprint exists more soil microbes than humans in the world!  Soil microbes and plant roots evolved together, feeding each other, and  require certain environmental conditions to flourish.  Most beneficial soil microbes and plants require well aerated soils with high levels of soil organic matter (SOM).  Farmers converting from conventional tillage systems to no-till generally get the most benefit from soil bio-inoculants.  Conventional tilled soils may be too wet, lack enough oxygen or be low in SOM to support the soil microbes long-term. 

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Cold weather weed concerns

By Matt Reese

As wet, cold, windy weather lingers into May for much of Ohio, there are growing concerns about the growing weeds in unplanted fields.

“We always get questions about the cold weather. We had a warm winter and we actually have winter annuals larger than they have been in other years. I have been hearing about chickweed that is 8 to 10 inches tall, which makes for a really challenging burndown situation. A lot of times, you can take those down really fast in warm weather with the right herbicides,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University herbicide specialist. “Cool weather is a big concern and then wet weather is another challenge. It is hard to give really concrete guidelines in this situation. If it is hitting freezing at night, cloudy in the day and 40 or 50 degrees, that is obviously not a good situation to spray and you probably want to wait that out.… Continue reading

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MRTN — Maximum Return To N

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Current recommendations from Ohio State University use an economic model to set our corn nitrogen rate. The Maximum Return To N (MRTN) concept was developed by soil fertility specialists from across the north central region as a Corn Belt wide approach to nitrogen rates.

For us we use data from trials in Ohio so we also have our weather included as part of the equation. And we factor in the price of nitrogen and the value of corn to bring in the economics. I see that our best economic return to nitrogen for $3.50 corn (I’m still optimistic) and $0.40 per pound of N is about 168 pounds of N/A. With a range of about 15 pounds to either side giving us about the same economic return — within $1. You may also gain efficiency by delaying the bulk of you N application until side dress timing.… Continue reading

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How and When to Plant No-till Soybeans

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Services

Planting no-till can be tricky and scary! Successful no-till depends on having fully functioning healthy soils and efficient nitrogen (N) recycling.  Fully functioning soils have higher soil organic matter (SOM) especially the active carbon, sugars, and root exudates  from live roots that allows the soil to crumble.  This leads to good soil structure, improved  drainage, increases water infiltration, and higher soil gas exchange. This aerobic (more oxygen) environment plus the food source (live cover crop (CC) roots) changes the microbial community from one dominated by bacteria (conventional soils, often anaerobic (no oxygen)) to a balanced system with beneficial fungi (mycorrhizal), good nematodes, healthy aerobic bacteria, and protozoa.  The “no-till time line” or transition period is often 3-7 years depending upon how fast and aggressive cover crops, continuous no-till, and manure have been used to promote a fully functioning healthy soil.

Soybeans are hardy, easy, and most simple crop to no-till. 

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Head scab on wheat

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

It is still too early to apply a fungicide to manage head scab. Use the scab forecast system (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/) to monitor concerns. If you plan to spray for head scab, Prosaro or Caramba may be your fungicide of choice. The new fungicide, Miravis Ace, which seems to be just as effective as Prosaro and Caramba based on a limited number of trials, may not yet be widely available. STAY AWAY from the strobilurins when it comes to head scab management. These fungicides tend to increase rather than reduce vomitoxin contamination.

I know that the idea of “protecting the crop” with a “preventative treatment” seems to suggest that the fungicide has to be applied before the crop reaches the critical growth stage — flowering in the case of wheat. But results from more than 20 years of scab research show that you are better off applying a few days “late” rather than a few days “early.” Remember, with head scab you are also trying to reduce grain contamination with vomitoxin, and fungicides are certainly more effective against this toxin when applied at or 4 to 6 days after flowering for wheat.… Continue reading

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Good plant stand is a must for high corn yields

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D., Seed Genetics Direct director of genetics

With all the bad news about the coronavirus this year, we need a miracle. It is really a miracle of nature that a puny little seedling can grow into a big, tall corn plant within a couple of months. The most crucial time in the life of a corn plant is the seedling stage. If we understand how our crops grow, we can do a better job of meeting their needs and improve the odds for getting higher yields. Let’s look at what happens as the young corn plants develop.

Stage V1 to V2 — corn seedlings need 110 to 120 growing degrees to germinate and emerge. The seedlings emerge when coleoptile, the spear-like leaf, pierces thru the ground. First and second leaves develop six to seven days after the seedlings emerge. The first roots start to supply water and nutrients to the young seedlings.… Continue reading

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Ten practices for increasing corn yields and profits

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

The cropping season (a.k.a. late winter) is dragging along a bit slowly. Typically our best crops are planted between April 20 and May 10 — but we usually start a little earlier than the May 20. This year that won’t happen for many of us. What I do know is that the sun will get higher and higher in latitude and will change the weather pattern we are in. We will have a growing season, and we will get planted. I like to look over my corn reminders this time of year just to keep things in perspective and want to share them again. These are from Peter Thomison, our now retired OSU Extension corn specialist.

  • Know the yield potential of your fields, their yield history, and the soil type and its productivity.
  • Choose high yielding, adapted hybrids. Pick hybrids that have produced consistently high yields across a number of locations or years.
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Sprayer calibration: The why and how

By Erdal Ozkan, Ohio State University Extension State Specialist, Sprayer Technology

This is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and environment. The primary goal with calibration is to determine the actual rate of application in gallons per acre, then to make adjustments if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater or less than 5% of the intended rate. This is a recommended guideline by USEPA and USDA.

I get this question all the time: “Why should I calibrate my sprayer? I have a rate controller on the sprayer. I just enter the application rate I want, the controller does the rest”. This statement is correct, only if you are sure about the accuracy of the rate controller which is highly affected by the accuracy of the sprayer travel speed data that goes in the rate controller.

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Do you know which sprayer nozzles to buy?

By Erdal Ozkan, The Ohio State University Extension, State Specialist, Sprayer Technology

This is the time of the year you must complete shopping for nozzles because the spraying season is just around the corner. Although nozzles are some of the least expensive components of a sprayer, they hold a high value in their ability to influence sprayer performance. Nozzles help determine the gallon per acre. They also influence the droplet size, which plays a significant role in achieving improved penetration into crop canopy and better coverage on the target pest, both affect the efficacy we expect from pesticides applied. When I get a question like, “what is the best nozzle I can buy?”, my answer is: it depends on the job on hand. One nozzle may be best for a given application situation, but it may be the worst nozzle to use for another situation. Sometimes, the choice of nozzle may be determined by the requirements given on the pesticide label.

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Managing stored grain into summer

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

If you are storing more grain on farm this spring than usual, you are not alone. Over the last few weeks, we have heard from more producers who are considering holding grain longer into summer months than they normally would. We have also heard a few reports of spoiled grain as producers fill April contracts. Carrying graining into summer has been done for many years successfully but requires much more intensive management than winter grain storage.

Key advice for long-term grain storage

  1. If bins were not cored in early winter, core bins now.
  2. Verify the moisture content of stored grain is at or below recommended levels.
  3. Monitor grain temperature every 3 or 4 weeks throughout storage paying special attention to insect activity and mold.
  4. Monitor the roof area for signs of condensation.
  5. Cover fans to keep the chimney effect from warming the grain.
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My thoughts for #plant2020

By Risë Labig, OCJ marketing specialist

Since I joined the Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net Team over eight years ago, I have enjoyed penning an article, in the spring and fall. Last spring I didn’t get an article written because the husband broke his ankle, and it was an unprecedented season of wet weather that had all of us wondering whether, for the first time ever, a crop could truly get planted.

Last season has taught us that the impossible is possible, and even probable. One of the great strengths of those in agricultural production is that handling risk is such an everyday part of our lives. We don’t often give it extra thought or allow it to overwhelm us. We keep on keepin’ on.

After last spring/summer, we were amazed that we could plant crops that late and still have good yields. It’s given us a sense of comfort as we approach this current season.… Continue reading

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USDA reports record enrollment in key farm safety-net programs

Producers signed a record 1.77 million contracts for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2019 crop year, which is more than 107% of the total contracts signed compared with a 5-year average. USDA also reminds producers that June 30 is the deadline to enroll in ARC and PLC for the 2020 crop year.

“Producers for several years have experienced low commodity prices, a volatile trade environment and catastrophic natural disasters,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Farmers looking to mitigate these risks recognize that ARC and PLC provide the financial protections they need to weather substantial drops in crop prices or revenues.”

Producers interested in enrolling for 2020 should contact their FSA county office. Producers must enroll by June 30 and make their one-time update to PLC payment yields by Sept. 30.

FSA attributes the significant participation in the 2019 crop year ARC and PLC programs to increased producer interest in the programs under the 2018 Farm Bill and to an increase in eligible farms because of the selling and buying of farms and new opportunities for beginning farmers and military veterans with farms having 10 or fewer base acres.… Continue reading

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New HPPD Inhibitor registered for soybeans in select counties

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

In the world of herbicide classification, the are 10 known Modes of Action that have been identified. One of those modes is the Pigment Inhibitor. In the pigment inhibitors are the Group 27 HPPD Inhibitors. This includes products such as Balance Flexx, Armezon, Impact, Callisto, Laudis, and now a newly registered product from BASF called Alite 27 (27 stands for the Group 27 Herbicide). Alite 27 is the first and only EPA registered HPPD available for use in soybeans on the Liberty Link GT27 beans in select counties for 2020.

“Today’s management practices of relying on a single mode of action are not sustainable for long-term control of problem weeds,” said Scott Kay, Vice President of U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “BASF continues to bring new innovations, like Alite 27 herbicide, to market to give growers more operational control over their crops and to help eliminate troublesome weeds in their fields.”

Alite 27 first received Federal EPA registration on March 20, and the State registration in Ohio earlier this month.

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Corn planting depth considerations

By Alexander Lindsey, K. Nemergut, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Timing corn emergence is key to minimize yield reductions, and can be more important for preserving yield than even seed spacing. When setting planting depth for corn this year, be sure to consider not just first emergence seen, but also the uniformity of the emergence.

In work conducted from 2017-2019, we manipulated seeding depth to be approximately 1, 2, or 3 inches deep (current recommendations are for planting at 1.5 to 2 inches deep) in two conventionally tilled fields. One field had 2% to 3% organic matter, and the other had 4% to 5% organic matter. We tracked daily emergence in the plots, and measured stalk strength and yield at the end of the season. Across years and fields, shallow planting resulted in faster emergence of the first plants in each year. However, the seeds that didn’t emerge were more subject to moisture fluctuation and took more time to go from 10% emerged to 90% emerged.… Continue reading

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Conservation Tillage Conference videos online

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

We were fortunate to have Conservation Tillage Conference the first week in March, before the coronavirus from China exploded on our shores. A total of 775 people participated, including about 350 CCAs.

We also recorded the presentations, as we have done the past 3 years. The videos are on the website: ctc.osu.edu. Sixteen were posted in March, and more are being added each week in April.

 … Continue reading

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Crop Progress: Winter wheat jointing progresses

Cold temperatures and precipitation didn’t stop farmers from working the fields entirely, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures averaged 10 degrees cooler than historical normals and the entire State averaged slightly more precipitation last week. There were 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 19. Temperatures fell below freezing across most of the State and the lowest temperatures were observed in the west and north. Some northern portions of the State received 3-4 inches of snow. Freezing temperatures burned some winter wheat leaf tips as winter wheat jointing progress was 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Freezing temperatures caused fruit growers take preventative freeze measures and to scout for frost injury to budding trees and vines. Anhydrous Ammonia was applied to fields, top dressing of wheat continued, and manure was hauled. Chemical spraying was hampered due to high winds. Alfalfa leaf damage was reported in some hay fields, but damage was not widespread.… Continue reading

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2020 planting considerations after a 2019 rollercoaster

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Across Ohio, 1.5 million acres of farm fields did not have a cash crop planted on them in the spring of 2019 as a result of the unprecedented amount of rainfall in the state. On some of those acres, farmers planted a cover crop, but many fields went bare. Those prevented planting situations in 2019 have caused farmers to re-think their 2020 planting intentions. Many cropping rotations were disrupted by the unplanned weather challenges last year and that is resulting in the need for adjustments this year.

“We will have significantly more popcorn acres in 2020 due to the number of prevent plant acres we had in 2019,” said Mark Wachtman of M&D Farms in Henry County. “We are attempting to re-set our rotation.”

Wachtman is one of several farmers hoping for the promise of a more normal year in 2020.… Continue reading

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Glyphosate controversy continues

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Glyphosate, used in the weed killer Roundup, is in the news again. This time, the controversy surrounds the EPA’s decision in January 2020 to allow glyphosate to continue being used in the interim while the agency conducts its mandatory 15-year re-approval review.

Although EPA has yet to make its re-approval decision, two groups of plaintiffs have petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an invalidation of the EPA’s decision allowing continued use in the interim. Plaintiffs argue that the decision violates both the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Endangered Species Act because the EPA has not gathered enough information to prove that glyphosate is safe for humans, the environment, and endangered species.… Continue reading

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Create a strong soybean weed control strategy

By John Schoenhals, Pioneer Field Agronomist, Northern Ohio

Springtime in Ohio is an exciting time — color returns to fields, lawns, and landscapes, outdoor activities (with appropriate social distancing) can begin, and the sound of birds fills the early morning air. When it comes to fieldwork, spring is a pivotal time for setting corn and soybean yield potential.

While seed genetics, weather, planter calibration, and overall uniformity have a high impact on yield, it is important not to lose sight of the challenges of weeds to a grower’s operation.

The challenges that weeds pose to growing crops has increased drastically in recent years, and 2020 will bring even more challenges. Large amounts of prevent plant ground in 2019 allowed tough-to-control weeds such as marestail, ragweed, and waterhemp to produce enormous amounts of seeds. These seeds can very quickly be spread to new areas.

Waterhemp is the newest weed threat in many parts of the state, especially in soybean production.… Continue reading

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