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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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Shedding some light on corn tassels

Tasseling is just around the corner for most corn fields. The acres of green will soon be topped with shades of yellow, green or purple. What an exciting time in the life of a corn plant. The emergence of tassels not only marks the halfway point of the corn’s plant life but also signifies a major change within the corn plant.

A major shift of priorities occurs once a corn plant tassels. Prior to tasseling, the corn plant is in a vegetative growth stage. The corn plant is focused on producing vegetation such as stalks, leaves and roots and maintaining a healthy defense system. Soon after tasseling the corn plant no longer is concerned about growth or maintaining a strong defense system, but the sole purpose of the corn plant becomes producing grain. All of the plants resources are redirected from plant growth to the formation of the largest ear possible.

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Maturity and population for double-crop soybeans

Many of our customers find it profitable to double-crop soybeans. A reoccurring question many of our growers ask is, “What is the right population and which maturity should I plant?” As many of you know, many factors contribute to yield potential such as planting date, final stand populations, varietal selection, soil fertility, rain fall, planting conditions, etc.

According to Jim Beuerlein (now retired OSU Extension Specialist), “late planting reduces our cultural practice options for row spacing, seeding rate and variety maturity. For the last half of June, 225,000 to 250,000 seeds per acre are recommended, and in early July drop 250,000 to 275,000 seeds per acre.”

Soybeans are not like corn because they are photo period sensitive. The amount of daylight the plant receives triggers its reproductive cycle. The date and timing of physiological maturity are affected by day length and the stage of seed development in the uppermost pods on the plants.

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Watch for mid-season pests

Corn insects we may see in July are European corn borer and new to northern Ohio the Western bean cutworm. See your Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Alfalfa Field Guide for images and scouting suggestions.

If you are in continuous corn, watch for Western corn rootworm. This pest has reappeared in areas of the central Corn Belt in continuous corn situations, apparently overcoming the Bt insect protection trait. Let us know if you see unexpectedly lodged corn later this summer.

Last year we had Northern corn leaf blight and Gray leaf spot appear later than normal and then get slowed by dry weather. With our wet weather, I think I am seeing gray leaf spot already on susceptible hybrids. The watch in soybeans is Frogeye leaf spot. We have too many bean-on-bean acres so look for this disease and read these comments from Anne Dorrance: http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/AC-53.

Watch the Crop Observation & Recommendation Network newsletter for reports of disease and insect appearance across the state: http://corn.osu.edu.

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OSU Extension and OARDC agronomy field days

It has been an interesting spring. Have questions? We may have the answers; we certainly want to have the discussion. Come to one or all three of our field days in July. Put these dates on your calendar and plan to attend.

  • OSU Weed Day, South Charleston: July 12
  • Western ARS Agronomy Field Day, South Charleston: July 19
  • Northwest Ag Research Station Field Day, Custar: July 27

The OSU Weed Science Field Day will be held on July 12 at OARDC Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston. As in previous years, it’s a mostly self-directed event and a chance to look at all of our research. The day runs from 9 to noon, followed by lunch for those who preregister. Feel free to bring anyone you like and to tell others, but please send an email to Bruce Ackley to preregister at ackley.19@osu.edu telling him how many are coming so we can plan.

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First generation corn borer management in non-Bt corn

European corn borer (ECB) was once our most important corn insect, but its population has decreased over the past 20 years, likely due to Bt-corn that provides excellent protection. For this and other various reasons, many farms have switched to corn that does not contain Bt proteins to control ECB and other caterpillar pests. Keep in mind that ECB is not an extinct species — we can find ECB still flying around. This year, we have seen ECB feeding in conventional corn.

ECB has two generations per year. Currently, we are seeing larval feeding on the leaves and in the whorl. Soon, and if not already, these larvae will tunnel through the stalk where they will usually continue to feed and pupate. Adults will emerge in late July-early August.

Growers of conventional corn should inspect their fields for the characteristic shot hole damage (see figure). If found, you may see larvae feeding in the whorl—you may need to pull the whorl out of a couple of damaged plants to check.

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It’s almost July and we are all done with our soybean herbicide applications. Right?

Got weeds? Did you use a burndown, and apply a pre-emergent herbicide at the same time? Then you did well. That has gotten you off to a good start.

As I drive around today however, I still find soybean (and corn) fields that have weeds taller than the crop. That means we missed something. And yes I know we now have Extend soybeans labeled (and just recently the Enlist bean). But we still need a good burndown and those pre- herbicides. Partly our goal is to slow down weed emergence so they are shorter when we do spray our post application as well as to remove weeds so we start the season with a clean slate. Oh and yes, to get high yields.

Marestail

You know the drill so I won’t go into that again. But it continues to be our number one weed in soybeans, and yet it is manageable — even in conventional soybeans.

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