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Missing corn plants?

So I have already had the call this spring. “My yield of corn last year was low, and I think I had a problem with my population.” Turns out I was in the field late last June, saw the issue of missing plants and said it was too late to determine the problem. Now they want to know how to avoid the problem again, but they changed planters. So I suggest basically the same things I did last year. You must go the field and look!

There are a number of things we look for when we have missing plants, delayed emergence and the possibility of low yield. Here is what we looked at to determine his problem and assess the situation.


Planter problems

I thought from some comments this spring that this was the problem. But when I looked over the Kinze planter the expected problems did not seem to be there.

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Ohio No-Till Council scholarship

The Ohio No-Till Council is offering two scholarships of $500 each. The application deadline is May 31, 2017.

Here are the details:

  • These scholarships are one year in length
  • Are open to all children and grandchildren from a farming background
  • Applicants must be enrolling or currently enrolled in a two-year or four-year accredited college program
  • The expected degree is not limited to agriculture
  • Previous winners and applicants may apply each year they are eligible
  • All monies awarded will be made payable to the winner’s respective college
  • All incoming freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior college students are eligible
  • Applicants must have an accredited 2.5 grade average in your current high school or college curriculum.
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Markets watching as planting season gets rolling

Weather will once again dominate grain markets for the next three months. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center is not currently seeing an active El Niño or La Niña. It is extremely important to monitor for that activity. The Center does see increasing odds for an El Niño in the Northern Hemisphere by late summer or fall. It’s arrival will be crucial for summer weather conditions. Other meteorologists suggest that if El Niño begins after early August, summer weather patterns could be hot and dry. Typically the El Niño pattern is not bad for crop production if present during the summer in the U.S.

Corn and soybean planting is the main focus for producers across Ohio and the Midwest for the next three weeks. As of the second week of April, U.S. corn planting progress was 3%, the same as the five year average. Days before the Easter holiday, producers across parts but not all of Ohio were just beginning field preparations to plant corn and soybeans.

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UPI announces the launch of two new herbicides

UPI, a global leader in the production of high quality crop protection products, has launched two new herbicides in the U.S.

MOCCASIN is the first post-patent herbicide containing the active ingredient S-metolachlor (the same active found in Dual Magnum). Labeled for use on a wide spectrum of crops (including soybeans, cotton, peanuts, potatoes, sugar beets and corn), and with multiple application timings, MOCCASIN is one of the most versatile soil applied herbicides available.

SHUTDOWN is a soil applied, long-residual herbicide designed to be used alone or as an economical tank mix partner with a variety of pre-emergent herbicides. Labeled crops include soybeans, sunflowers, tobacco and several vegetable crops. SHUTDOWN contains one of the most commonly used active ingredients in US agriculture, and has a higher active ingredient loading than similar products in the marketplace; giving you that little extra boost in performance.

“We are very excited to add MOCCASIN and SHUTDOWN to our growing portfolio of products”, said Chris Bowley, Product Manager, “UPI’s mission is to bring high quality and economical options to market that help American growers combat the challenges posed by herbicide resistance.

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Growing Degree Days and corn emergence

As corn planting gets underway across the eastern Corn Belt and another growing season has begun, it will be time to walk and scout fields. Once the corn is planted, the next critical event will be uniform emergence. Many producers have read or heard that it takes about 100 to 120 Growing Degree Days (GDDs) for corn to emerge, but what does that mean?

A GDD (also referred to as Growing Degree Units) is a calculation based on daily high and low temperatures. This calculation helps to predict stages of growth in corn based on an accumulation of heat units or GDDs. The basic formula for calculating GDDs is: add the daily maximum temperature to the daily minimum, divide by 2, and then subtract 50. The value calculated by this formula is the total number of GDDs accumulated in one day. It is a fairly simple equation with a few limitations: The highest maximum temperature that can be used in the equation is 86 degrees F (even if actual temps are higher) and the lowest value for the low temperature that can be used is 50 degrees F (even if actual temps are lower).

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U.S. biodiesel industry testifies on illegal trading

Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that it is formally initiating antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. This decision follows a petition that was filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition, which is made up of the National Biodiesel Board and U.S. biodiesel producers.

“Initiation of these investigations validates the allegations in our petition, and we look forward to working with the U.S. government agencies during the course of the next year to enforce America’s trade laws,” said Anne Steckel, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs in response to this announcement.

Today the National Biodiesel Board and US biodiesel producers also provided testimony to the International Trade Commission, explaining that Argentine and Indonesian companies are violating trade laws by flooding the U.S. market with dumped and subsidized biodiesel, and how those imports are injuring American manufacturers and workers.

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Watch for armyworm

The University of Kentucky recently reported high true armyworm moth counts (see: The mild winter likely contributed to the higher and earlier catches this year. These moths migrate northward, so if our southern neighbor is reporting high catches, these moths are also very likely flying into Ohio.

After migrating and establishing, armyworms begin to lay eggs in grasses, including wheat fields and cover crop fields (that may have corn planted soon). Larvae feed for about three weeks before pupating. Right now, it is still too early to take any management action — eggs probably have not even been laid, let alone hatched. However, the high trap counts so far suggest that armyworms are a pest to watch out for later in the growing season.

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The first wave of Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training is done

Senate Bill 150 gives Ohio farmers until September 30, 2017 to become certified to apply fertilizer. We are now in April of 2017, and at the end of the winter meeting season, meaning you have a very, very few meetings left to become certified. This site gives final dates for programs:

Ohio State University Extension has delivered more than 290 programs around the state with over 14,500 attendees trained so far.

Record keeping requirements are the most important aspect of the new law, and you will start when you receive your yellow Fertilizer Applicator Certificate. If you are a farmer you will maintain the records for three years. If you are a dealer and apply the fertilizer, you maintain the records for three years and supply a copy of the record to the grower who purchased the nutrients.

Within 24 hours of your nutrient application, record:

  •  Name of fertilizer certificate holder
  •  Name of applicator working under direct supervision of certificate holder (if any)
  •  Date of application
  •  Location (field ID, farm)
  •  Fertilizer analysis (such as 11-52-0)
  •  Rate of fertilizer application (lbs/A) and total amount applied
  •  Fertilizer application method (surface-applied, incorporated, etc)
  •  Soil conditions
  •  For surface applications only: is ground frozen or snow covered?
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Still trying to figure out what to do with dicamba in Xtend soybeans this year?

Even if you are planting RR Xtend soybeans, the answer to this could be: maybe nothing. A number of growers have told us that even though they are planting RR Xtend soybeans, they plan on “letting the dust” settle this first year and stay with their regular herbicide program. And then of course there are also some solid reasons to use dicamba in a preplant or postemergence treatment, depending upon what has been done in the field already and whether previous practices have been ineffective for control of certain herbicide-resistant weeds. A few other things to consider before we cover some of the dicamba use options:

  • Be sure to know the dicamba labels and stewardship guidelines well. It might be worth assessing fields now to determine whether some just should not be treated with dicamba based on sensitive surroundings, and whether for others the wind direction the day of intended application will be a major consideration.
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NCGA offers opportunity to grow leadership skills

The National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to become a part of the change they desire by actively honing their leadership skills through the NCGA Leadership Academy, part of Syngenta’s Leadership at Its Best Program.  Growers must be nominated by their state corn association for either program.  Interested members should contact their state associations now for further information and get completed applications in to state offices by the end of May.
“Since it began in 1986, Leadership at Its Best has trained strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent work at the state and national level,” said Wesley Spurlock, NCGA president .  “Having met so many farmers who feel similarly, I know that the desire to give back to their peers motivates an incredible number of farmers to look for service opportunities. NCGA depends upon this grassroots leadership, and I can personally attest that the time and effort dedicated are repaid in full through the incredible relationships built with like-minded individuals.”
Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership at Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels. 
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NCGA photo contest

The National Corn Growers Association reminds photographers that they can help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the fourth annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA captures high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. While the contest opened recently, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2017.
Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for 25 cash prizes, including a $500 grand prize. Prizes include cash awards for the top three entries in eight categories including:  Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farm Family Lifestyle, Scenery/Landscape, Farming Challenges, SHP Conservation, Little Farmers and one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes.”
For more information on prizes and on these categories, click here.
It is important to note that the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest is specifically geared toward photos of field corn and not sweet corn.
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Corn germination and emergence processes

As growers across the Eastern Corn Belt get ready to plant corn, it is important to review and understand what goes into corn the germination and emergence process. Uniform corn emergence is one of the most important aspects of stand establishment and producing high yielding corn. Understanding germination, emergence, and how environmental factors influence these processes is the first step toward ensure uniform emergence.


Germination begins in a corn seed when it has imbibed 30% of its weight in water. While corn can germinate when soil temperatures are 50 degrees F or higher, research has determined that the optimal temperature is 86 degrees F. Visual signs that corn germination is taking place are the appearance of the radicle root, coleoptile, and seminal roots. When temperatures are cooler, the germination process is slower and seedlings are more susceptible to disease, insects, and other damaging factors.


Uniform emergence is one of the most important yield-influencing factors that growers should work to achieve.

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Last minute tips for managing soybean disease prior to planting

As I was digging weeds already out of the garden this weekend and looking at the buds on the trees, it looks more like early May rather than early April.  Either way we are getting our seed together for research plots and checking our list of locations to begin for what is already an unusual season.  While the rain is keeping us at bay, here are some reminders of last minute checks and to-dos before it turns into those crazy long days.

  1. Sample for SCN.  We’ve always recommended sampling in the fall after a soybean crop.  This is primarily due to when SCN populations will be the highest as well as more time in the fall to sample these fields.  Fall sampling has not been ideal the last few years.  This year it is very unlikely that there was any winter kill of eggs, those that are not protected by the cyst wall. 
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Preseason planter maintenance tips

Hopefully by now you have begun to service and prepare your planter for a successful crop initiation. Set yourself up for a successful planting season and a prosperous harvest by taking time to ensure your planter has been calibrated and set to handle the varying seed size that we are experiencing this year. Below are some guidelines to assist in properly adjusting your planting equipment.


Planter frame adjustment

Hitch and toolbar height: Tractor hitch heights may vary due to tire size, tractor manufacturer, and type of planter. Hitch height should be raised to level toolbar for best planter performance. The tool bar height should be 20 to 22 inches from ground level. Make sure it is level or running slightly uphill to provide correct down-pressure from springs.

Seed transmission systems: Check sprockets, chains, bearings, meter drives and insecticide drives daily. Any vibration in the drive system will end up at the meters and cause spacing issues.

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A look at weed control in 2017: Soybeans

With new opportunities for weed control in soybeans for 2017 comes new responsibilities for management and stewardship. Glen Newcomer of Williams County is planning to incorporate some new technology to continue to stay a step ahead of weeds.

“Like many farmers in Ohio, we used Roundup Ready technology in our operation. We were one of the

first seed growers in our area to use Roundup Ready technology back in 1996. So for over 20 years we have been using that type of technology. Since then, we have expressed interest in Liberty Link technology, which is a different mode of action and different type of weed control. Now we have the opportunity to change that mode of action once again with Extend soybean technology,” Newcomer said. “With dicamba as an option. there will be a tremendous responsibility on the producer’s part to familiarize themselves with the different products, the different restrictions in regard to how they are going to spray it and how they are going to manage it.

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Two new mechanisms for herbicide resistance found in Palmer amaranth

Palmer amaranth is a nightmare of a weed, causing yield losses up to 80% in severely infested soybean fields. It scoffs at farmers’ attempts at control, having evolved resistance to six classes of herbicides since its discovery in the United States 100 years ago. And now, scientists have discovered it has two new tricks up its sleeve.

About a year ago, a group of researchers discovered Palmer is resistant to the herbicide class known as PPO-inhibitors, due to a mutation — known as the glycine 210 deletion — on the PPX2 gene.

“We were using a quick test that we originally developed for waterhemp to determine PPO-resistance based on that mutation. A lot of times, the test worked. But people were bringing in samples that they were fairly confident were resistant, and the mutation wasn’t showing up. We started to suspect there was another mechanism out there,” said Patrick Tranel, University of Illinois molecular weed scientist.

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A first generation farmer’s perspective: 25 years of chances given and lessons learned

When thinking about a typical farmer in Ohio, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to find out that they might run a couple thousand acres of corn, soybeans and wheat. One would also expect that there is a barn full of livestock right alongside a barn even fuller of machinery and implements. Brent Pence of Lynn Alan Farm is fitting of all of these ag-centered stereotypes, but the one characteristic of this New Carlisle, Ohio producer that may be a surprise is that he is a first generation farmer.

“When I was young I knew that this was the path I wanted to take and I knew all about the obstacles that I would have to face by not having generations of farmers in my family behind me,” Pence said. “I started working for Bob Kaffenbarger in middle school and he had me bailing straw and hay and doing all the odds and ends chores that a young kid could do without messing things up to much.

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New program recognizes key role of agronomists

From planting decisions to monitoring crop performance throughout the growing season, farmers depend heavily on their agronomic support team to help maximize their success.

The DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brands are proud to launch and support “National Agronomy Week”, an annual observance to promote appreciation for the invaluable support provided by agronomists, seed dealers and crop consultants. This season, Agronomy Week will be celebrated April 3-7 and will continue to be observed the first Monday through Friday of April in years to come.

“Agronomic experts with various affiliations and expertise play an integral role in the success of our customers, and we want to bring added attention to the important work they do,” said Jesse Hamonic, DEKALB Asgrow Deltapine brand lead. “We’re very proud to help spotlight the expertise and service these ag professionals provide for American farmers, regardless of seed brand.”

Hamonic indicated that spring is the perfect time to observe Agronomy Week, because that’s when agronomic support teams are focused on helping farmers kick off the planting season.

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Wheat nitrogen rates

Wheat has already reached green-up across the state so spring nitrogen may be applied anytime fields are fit. Keep in mind that research has shown no yield reduction as long as nitrogen is applied before Feekes GS 7 (two visible nodes).

Ohio State University recommends the Tri-State guide for N rates in wheat. For now, this system relies on yield potential (which may change in a few years with the update of the Tri-State Guide). A producer can greatly increase or reduce the N rate by changing the value for yield potential. Thus, a realistic yield potential is needed to determine the optimum N rate. To select a realistic yield potential, look at wheat yields from the past five years. Throw out the highest and lowest wheat yield, and average the remaining three wheat yields. This three-year average should reflect the realistic yield potential.

Table 10 in the Tri State guide ( recommends 110 lb N for yield goals of 90+; 70 lb for 75 bushels; and 40 lb N for 50 bushel yield goal (these recommendations are for total N and include any fall N).

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Bearish news for soybeans in March 31 reports

Soybeans saw bearish acres and stocks, corn prices had a friendly acres report and bearish stocks, and wheat was neutral following today’s Planting Intentions Report and Grain Stocks Report.

Market talk about 2017 U.S. corn and soybean acres has been a dominant feature the last two weeks. During that time volume has been on the decrease. Daily price ranges from high to low, has been narrower than normal. Yet, the reality from previous report days suggests grain stocks are the more important number to watch. Grains stocks are a known number while acres are a prediction of what is yet to happen.

Headed into the report traders were looking for bearish grain stocks and bearish acres numbers. Prior to the noon report, corn was up 2 cents, soybeans down 6 cents, and wheat was up 1 cent. Shortly after the report corn was up 4 cents, soybeans down 17 cents, with wheat up 2 cents.

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