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National Ag Coalition taking California to court over Prop 65 listing

As the state of California attempts to implement a policy that would cause massive damage to American farmers, a national agriculture coalition went to court with a request: halt California’s extreme action until the judge can consider all of the facts. At issue is California’s Prop 65 listing of glyphosate, one of modern agriculture’s most valuable tools and an industry standard across the world.

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65, requires the State of California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. The list must be updated at least once a year and has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals.

Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment.… Continue reading

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Farming crops with rocks to reduce CO2 and improve global food security

Farming crops with crushed rocks could help to improve global food security and capture CO2 from the atmosphere, a new study has found.

The pioneering research by scientists at the University of Illinois, together with U.S. and international colleagues, suggests that adding fast-reacting silicate rocks to croplands could capture CO2 and give increased protection from pests and diseases while restoring soil structure and fertility.

Stephen Long, Gutgsell Endowed University Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at U of I and co-author of the study, provides context: “Scientists generally have done a poor job of getting across the point that the world must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and combine this with strategies for extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to avoid a climate catastrophe.”

David Beerling, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield and lead author of the research, explains the project: “Human societies have long known that volcanic plains are fertile, ideal places for growing crops without adverse human health effects, but until now there has been little consideration for how adding further rocks to soils might capture carbon.… Continue reading

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Improve decisions with Extension’s 2017 eFields Research Report

eFields is an Ohio State University program dedicated to advancing production agriculture through the use of field-scale research. Investigations are designed to answer questions that matter to farmers and insights from these studies are used to help farmers and their advisors understand how new practices and techniques can improve farm efficiency and profitability. Projects focus on precision nutrient management strategies and technologies to improve efficiency of fertilizer placement, enhance placement of pesticides and seed, automate machinery, and to develop analytical tools for digital agriculture.

The 2017 eFields Research Report is now available. This report highlights 39 on-farm research projects that were conducted on over 3,000 acres across Ohio. In addition to the study design and yield results, each project report outlines the county where the research trial was located, general information about farm management practices at that location, and county-level weather information for the season. This information helps make it possible to identify research trials and results that align most closely with your operation.… Continue reading

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ASA hires Ryan Findlay as CEO

The American Soybean Association announced the selection of Ryan Findlay as its new Chief Executive Officer.  Findlay replaces Stephen Censky, who left ASA in October of 2017 after confirmation by the U.S. Senate as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

“ASA is extremely pleased to have found someone of Ryan’s caliber and experience to lead us into our next chapter as a first-class U.S. commodity organization” said ASA President John Heisdorffer, a soybean producer from Keota, Iowa.  “Ryan’s background growing up on a farm and working for the Michigan Farm Bureau and for Syngenta give him the right combination of life and work experience that will serve ASA well in the coming years,” Heisdorffer stated.

Findlay is a native of Caro, Mich., where his family still farms row crops.  He earned a degree in political science from Western Michigan University and an MBA from Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The last four years Ryan worked for the global agricultural company Syngenta, focusing on freedom-to-operate issues impacting farmers.… Continue reading

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Organic production is the subject of upcoming panel discussion

Are you looking for a way to increase profitability on your farm? Or are you looking to make some production changes that might offer more sustainability in the long run? Transitioning to organic production may help a farm achieve these goals. There are costs and challenges to making the three year transition on a crop or livestock farm and a lot of careful consideration should be given before making the switch.

One of the best ways to learn is from those who have been through the process before. Join a panel of organic crop and livestock farmers to learn the ins and outs of transitioning and maintaining organic crops and livestock herds.

The panelists include:

Ron Burns- corn, soybeans, wheat
Doug Yoder- corn and wheat
Wesley Krabill- corn and soybeans
Kevin Bell- row crops, hay, pasture, beef cattle

This will be an informal setting where the panelists will share their experiences and farmers can ask questions they have about organic production.… Continue reading

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Paulding County Extension Agronomy Night Feb. 22

Ohio State University Extension in Paulding County will be hosting their annual Agronomy Night on Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM. Topics for the evening will include Soybean Disease and Problems with speaker John Schoenhals from Williams County Extension Office, Weed and Herbicide update from Jeff Stachler, Extension Educator in Auglaize County. Sarah Noggle of OSU Extension Paulding County will be speaking on the Opiate Crisis and relating to agricultural farms. The featured speaker for the evening is Dr. John Fulton, Associate Professor for The Ohio State University, College of Food, Agriculture and Biological Engineering, who will be speaking about Precision Agriculture in relation to fertilizer applications.

The evening will begin with registration and an opportunity to visit the exhibitors from 5:00 PM-5:30 PM. Over 20 booths will be set up for producers to view. Booth exhibitors and sponsors include: Ag Credit, Ag Technologies Incorporated, Baughman Tile, Beck’s Seeds, Ag Consultant Chuck Spallinger, Gaerte Ag Services, LLC, Haviland Drainage Products, Helena Crop Insurance/Helena AGRI-Intelligence, Innovative Ag Management, Kenn-Feld Group, Mercer Landmark, Paul Martin and Sons, Paulding County Area Foundation, Paulding-Putnam Electric Co-Op, POET Biorefining – Leipsic, Pond Seed Company, Redline Equipment, Rupp Seeds, Inc., Schnipke Brothers Tire, State Bank – Defiance, Superior Energy Solutions, The Hicksville Grain Company, The Sherwood State Bank, Wenziger Farms, Williamson Insurance Agency.… Continue reading

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CTC coming soon to Ada with more than 60 speakers

The Conservation Tillage Conference will be March 6-7, 2018 at Ohio Northern University in Ada. The full program, registration details, CCA and CLM credits, maps, and more are on the website: ctc.osu.edu.

The program has more than 60 speakers including 11 from USDA, 30 OSU folks, several from 9 other universities, plus industry experts and farmers.

David Montgomery, a well-known author and speaker from the U. of Washington, will give the keynote based on two of his books, “From Dirt to Regenerative Agriculture.” He will also speak later during one of four concurrent sessions, the special 2-day program on Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters, held in the Chapel.

A Tuesday session on Nutrient Management, organized by Glen Arnold and Amanda Douridas, OSU Extension, has ten presentations including legal issues, manure application mistakes, drag hose research, response to sulfur, and the impact of big rains on Lake Erie. Two other Tuesday sessions are Corn University and Precision Ag & Digital Technologies.… Continue reading

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Report confusing, negative numbers not killing soybeans

The Feb. 8 report seems puzzling in the market reaction to negative numbers for soybeans. It likely means the traders care little about the numbers with weather uncertainty the dominant feature in the weeks ahead.

Just before the report was released, corn was up a half cent, soybeans up 4 cents, and wheat was down 5 cents.  At 12:15 pm corn was up 1 cent, soybeans up 1 cent, with wheat down 6 cents.

Corn ending stocks were reduced 125 million bushels to 2.353 billion bushels due largely to exports increasing 75 million bushels. Soybean exports were cut 60 million bushels with ending stocks increasing 60 million bushels to 530 million bushels. That much of a increase is a huge surprise.

Brazil soybean production was increased 2 million tons to 112 million tons. Argentina soybean production went down 2 million tons to 54 million tons.

The February USDA Monthly Supply and Demand Reports are often pretty boring with little fireworks being set off.… Continue reading

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Looming La Niña could affect yields, prices

The USDA Supply and Demand Report later this month could see ending stocks for corn and wheat moving lower. That same report could see ending stocks for soybeans moving higher. The common thread for the changes in corn, soybeans, and wheat is U.S. exports.

U.S. corn exports could be seeing a boost due to the declining corn production in Argentina. Last month USDA estimated Argentina’s corn production at 42 million tons. Weather concerns in Argentina during January suggest its corn production could slip to 37 million tons. Increasing soybean production from Brazil could spell trouble for U.S. soybean exports beginning next month and into the balance of the marketing year, which ends in August. That export reduction could push U.S. soybean ending stocks higher than the current 470 million bushels.

Don’t look now, but could corn finally begin to see some bright news for prices, changing the funk producers have been in for months?… Continue reading

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Hancock County soil fertility programs

Dr. Ed Lentz will be present two soil fertility programs based on his research and research from other university specialists at the Hancock County Agriculture Service Center, 7868 County Road 140, Findlay, OH 45840. Times and programs are as follows:

Spring Nitrogen, Sulfur, and Other Nutrient Decisions for High Yield Wheat – February 13, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Nitrogen Stabilizers, Starters, Micros, Sulfur and Nutrient Enhancers — How Important Are They for Corn Production? – February 20, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Programs are free to the public. Certified Crop Advisers will receive 1.5 CEU hours in nutrient management at each program. Please register for the one or both programs by calling the Hancock County Extension Office, 419/422-3851 or lentz.38@osu.eduContinue reading

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Concerns with continuous soybeans in 2018

With the likelihood of 2018 farm economics again favoring soybean production, soybeans being planted after soybeans could be on the rise this spring.

With consecutive years of soybean production, yield potential declines and the potential need for additional inputs and precautions increases.

“Agronomically, we never like to see beans after beans, but when it gets into your back pocket sometimes we have to do some things differently,” said Mike Earley, Seed Consultants, Inc. agronomist. “We need to make sure to not plant the same variety in the same field back to back. If we get into continuous beans for multiple years we need to do a lot more scouting and chances are we are going to need some fungicide applications because of a lot more disease pressure in the fields.”

In addition to increased potential for soybean issues including Phytophthora, white mold and frogeye leaf spot, more soybeans could also mean more yield loss to soybean cyst nematode (SCN). … Continue reading

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Winter meeting season in full swing this month

February looks like it will be the peak of the winter meeting season. We on the Agronomic Crops Team provide programs of interest to corn, soybean and wheat growers across Ohio. See our calendar for February: https://agcrops.osu.edu/events/calendar/month/2018-02.

Some items of interest for February you will find:

February 5, 12, 19 & 26 – the Central Ohio Agronomy School in Knox County; 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. each week.

February 5 – Putnam County Agronomy Night; 6:00 p.m.

February 6 – Soil Health Workshop in Woodville; 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

February 7 – Software for developing nutrient management plans; Ottawa 9:30 a.m.

February 9 – Northwest Ohio Crops Day; Deshler 8:30 a.m.

February 9 –  Madison, Delaware and Union Farmers Breakfast; Plain City 9:00 a.m.

February 13 – Controlling Your Problem Weeds; Marion County 1:00 p.m.

February 14 – Weed Management 101; Willard 9:30 a.m.

February 21 – Considering Organic? Urbana 6:30 p.m.… Continue reading

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New farm bill may not see much change for corn and soybeans

Ohio corn and soybean farmers likely won’t see a lot of changes in the next federal farm bill, according to an expert from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

“There’s momentum for minimal changes, but there are some key issues that have to be resolved,” said Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economist and professor emeritus with CFAES.

Among those issues are funding to support cotton and dairy farmers, research, and water quality. The current farm bill is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2018. This legislation affects the livelihood of farmers and others because it funds a host of programs including crop revenue and price support programs that provide assistance when farm income or crop prices drop. And in recent years, the trend has been toward lower commodity prices and declining overall farm revenue.

Across the nation, dairy farmers feel they’re not getting enough assistance from the federal government, but the dairy industry is divided on what type of program it wants, Zulauf said.… Continue reading

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Survey seeks answers for yield limiting factors in soybeans

To participate in this research, please see the online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ohiosoybean

I am continuing a third year of a State‐Wide Project aimed at generating some baseline producer data on current soybean management practices in Ohio’s production systems. This project is funded by the Ohio Soybean Council and the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP). The project goal is to identify the key factors that preclude the state’s soybean producers from obtaining yields that should be potentially possible on their respective individual farms. The term used for the difference between what yield is possible on your farm each year and what you yield you actually achieve is called a “Yield Gap”.

We are therefore asking Crop Producers in Ohio to provide us with yield and other agronomic data specific to their soybean production fields. With that data, we could then conduct an in‐depth analysis of what on‐farm factors might be causing a Yield Gap on producer farms.… Continue reading

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The politics and economics of crop insurance in 2018

Crop insurance critics have a blind spot.

That sentiment comes from former Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator Kenneth Ackerman, who is now an Of Counsel attorney at OFW Law, concentrating his practice on Federal crop insurance and agriculture programs.

“Crop insurance is a very important part of the farm bill and one of the very few issues that almost everyone in the farm community agrees on,” Ackerman said. “It’s grown substantially over the past few years and as a result it’s become something of a target.”

Crop insurance is the largest core agriculture support programs with an estimated price tag of $7.7 billion per year, which has the attention of budget cutters’ in Washington.

“Over the last several cycles of farm bills and appropriations bills, we have seen people looking to take money away from crop insurance to spend someplace else,” Ackerman said. “We’ve already seen for 2018 a number of reports coming out of different ‘think tanks’ suggesting cuts to crop insurance.… Continue reading

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ODA reminds farmers of dicamba changes

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is reminding farmers of revised labels and new training requirements for applicators who intend to use dicamba herbicide products this year. In October 2017, U.S. EPA approved revised labels for the three dicamba products that are labeled for use on soybeans: Engenia (BASF), XtendiMax (Monsanto) and FeXapan (DuPont).

“Like any other product, we want to ensure licensed applicators are properly following label directions as they get ready for this growing season,” said Matt Beal, chief of the ODA Plant Health Division. “This not only helps assure the safe use of pesticides, it also helps prevent misuse and mishandling.”

The manufacturers of these dicamba products also agreed to additional requirements for their products. Some of the revisions include:

  • Products are now classified as “restricted-use,” meaning only licensed applicators will be able to purchase them
  • Applicators must complete dicamba-specific training
  • Increased recordkeeping requirements
  • Wind speed restrictions
  • Temperature inversion restrictions
  • Sensitive/susceptible crop consultation
  • Spray system equipment clean-out.
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Artificial intelligence being applied on farms takes data to the next level

It was not long ago when the term “artificial intelligence” was something largely reserved for sci-fi movies. But, increasingly, daily life is being influenced with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

“AI is changing everything from the way we shop with products like Amazon’s Echo using voice commands to initiate the purchase of products while other AI devices like Nest keep our homes safe and comfortable,” said Christopher Wiegman, a graduate student in the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. “These devices represent a new type of ‘smart’ technology that utilizes AI or machine learning. Machine learning distills large amounts of input data into algorithms based on patterns. The amount of investment in the field of AI has grown substantially spanning all economic sectors ranging from industrial to consumer goods, health care and even banking. Technology titans such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are committing heavily to continuing development of AI.”

Agriculture is certainly a potential beneficiary of the AI progress.… Continue reading

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New biodiesel study highlight benefits

A new study on biodiesel’s lifecycle energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission effects updates and reaffirms the long-understood benefits of using the renewable fuel. The study is the latest in the significant body of transparent, peer-reviewed, studies that conclusively quantify biodiesel’s widespread benefits.

“It’s encouraging to see the commitment to data and quality analysis brought together in this study,” said Don Scott, sustainability director for the National Biodiesel Board. “It’s not news that biodiesel is good for the environment. Where credible results are needed for sound policies, it serves us well to look at transparent, reliable science.”

The report, recently published by a collaboration between Argonne National Laboratory, Purdue University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), represents the most up-to-date and comprehensive lifecycle analysis of biodiesel ever produced. Results confirm that biodiesel compared to petroleum diesel reduces GHG emissions by 72% and fossil fuel use by 80%.

“This is the highest GHG reduction of any heavy-duty transportation fuel and reflects biodiesel’s natural ability to store solar energy in a liquid form compatible with today’s engines and power generation technologies,” said Jim Duffield, who coauthored numerous lifecycle reports for USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist prior to his recent retirement.… Continue reading

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National Biodiesel Conference celebrates 25 years of accomplishments

Producers, marketers and aficionados gathered in Fort Worth, Texas in late January for the 25th National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

Attendees got to learn about the latest policy developments related to biodiesel, see a hot-off-the-line B20 ready diesel Ford F-150 pickup truck, visit a Vehicle Showcase featuring offerings from General Motors, John Deere, Caterpillar and Optimus Technologie, learn about a semi-truck that runs on 100% biodiesel, and enjoy the Biodiesel Ride & Drive that allowed attendees to take a spin in new diesel vehicles around Fort Worth.

Though the focus of the conference was on fuel, it has very agricultural roots. Soybean farmers were instrumental in the initial push for biodiesel and the start of the conference 25 years ago.

“We need to remember that we have a tremendous product that can produce meal, oil and we are very competitive around the world,” said Dave Dotterer an Ohio Soybean Council board member from Wayne County who attended the conference.… Continue reading

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The weather, China and Donald Trump will have to all cooperate to offset ample grain stocks

The Jan. 12 USDA report day was neutral for corn and soybeans, bearish for wheat. The good news from that report for corn and soybeans — it was not a bearish report. The bad news from that report for corn and soybeans — it was not a bullish report. The Jan. 12 report day has been long anticipated in the market to provide additional insights into price direction for corn, soybeans, and wheat. The trade had expected the U.S. corn yield to increase while the U.S. soybean yield was expected to decline. Both took place as expected. USDA put the U.S. 2017 corn yield at 176.6 bushels per acre, up from the November estimate of 175.4.

That same report had the U.S. soybeans yield reduced slightly to 49.1 bushels per acre. Soybean exports were cut resulting in an increase for ending stocks. All three events were anticipated, providing no surprise for the markets.… Continue reading

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