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Soybean rust study will allow breeders to tailor resistant varieties to local pathogens

Midwestern growers don’t worry much about soybean rust

The fungal disease has been popping up at the end of the growing season nearly every year since 2006, but because the fungus can’t survive winter without a host plant, it’s not much of a threat to Midwest crops under current conditions.

Right now, the disease only impacts U.S. soybean growers in the frost-free south, and only over-winters in parts of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean basin.

“But if the frost-free zone were to expand northward sometime in the future, there would be a greater potential for soybean rust to impact Midwestern growers,” said Glen Hartman, plant pathologist in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and crop pathologist for USDA-ARS.

Even though the major soybean-producing region in the United States is currently safe, Hartman and his collaborators aren’t willing to let the ball drop on soybean rust.

“We’d like to stay ahead of the game by knowing more about the pathogen and whether strains of the fungus can overcome soybean rust resistance genes,” he said.

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Peering into the future of agricultural change

USGS scientists led by Terry Sohl at the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center have created a crystal ball to better depict future agricultural land change and project outcomes. Sohl and his colleagues have modified the Forecasting Scenarios of Land-Use Change model to project agricultural change by parcel across a large region in the U.S. Great Plains.

The new FORE-SCE model is unique in that instead of using small pixels, it uses ownership and land management boundaries from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So scientists can mimic how farmers make decisions on the use of individual parcels of land, and then scale that up to regional and national levels.

So, let’s say growing switchgrass to produce ethanol becomes more profitable for North Dakota farmers in the future. Or non-agricultural lands north of the Twin Cities prove advantageous for growing potatoes. The new FORE-SCE model can portray a broader geographic extent, higher spatial resolution at 30 meters, and higher thematic resolution with 28 land cover classes—including 14 different crop types—to project more realistic landscape pattern scenarios and better assess the ecological, economic, and climate outcomes from agricultural changes.

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Rapid growth syndrome in corn

While scouting corn fields this spring, some farmers in the eastern Corn Belt may have noticed strange looking corn plants with new growth that was yellow and leaves that were wrinkled randomly spread throughout their field. This a phenomenon is referred to as “Rapid Growth Syndrome.” In many areas of our sales footprint weather conditions were such that our agronomists and sales staff observed plants affected by Rapid Growth Syndrome. Corn plants are usually affected by this issue is in the V5 to V6 stages of growth. This phenomenon is usually associated with an abrupt change in weather. Twisted whorls can appear when corn plants shift from a period of slow growth (in cool, cloudy weather) to more rapid growth (warm, sunny weather).

Symptoms of Rapid Growth Syndrome include bent-over plants and tightly wrapped whorls that keep younger leaves from emerging. Once younger leaves emerge, they are often yellow but turn green after a few days.

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Analysis of the impact of the RFS

More than a decade after the original renewable fuel standard (RFS) was signed into law, progress has been made toward its goals of energy security, clean air and boosting local economies, according to a new analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association, “RFS Impacts: By the Numbers.” The analysis comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to soon issue its proposed 2018 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS.

Congress adopted the RFS in 2005 and expanded it in 2007. The program requires oil companies to blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel, culminating with 36 billion gallons in 2022.

The analysis looked at data on how the world has changed since adoption of the RFS. Specifically, the analysis compares key data points and indicators from 2005 and 2007 to data from 2016.

Among the highlights:

  • The number of operational U.S. ethanol plants has grown from 81 in 2005 to 213 in 2016, while ethanol production has grown from 3.9 billion gallons to 15.3 billion gallons, a nearly 300% increase;
  • U.S.
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NCGA providing farmer perspective for biotech regulations

The National Corn Growers Association brought the voice of farmers into important conversations on U.S. biotechnology regulations during the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service public comment meeting held at the University of California, Davis last week. This session, which was the second of three, offered the opportunity to personally provide input on the part 340 proposed rule that would modify the science-based federal regulatory framework that regulates genetically engineered organisms use in agriculture.
NCGA Past president Leon Corzine and Freedom to Operate Action Team Vice Chair Brandon Hunnicutt both spoke during the meeting, providing insight into the impact such regulations have upon farmers. Drawing upon firsthand experience with the importance of biotech tools, they stressed the value farmers place on regulatory efficiency and transparency in a system based solidly in science. The farmer leaders then urged officials present to refine the proposal so that USDA can chart a path forward for agricultural biotechnology and products derived from other precision breeding tools that offers regulatory relief and consistency.
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Water quality meeting investigates next wave of sustainability initiatives

Farmers’ continuous commitment to adopting more sustainable agricultural practices is reaping significant benefits such as healthier soil and cleaner water. But, despite these successes, there is more work ahead to juggle the science and economic factors that must be blended and balanced as the speed of change increases.

Finding the best path and striking that balance was the central theme of a water quality and ag nutrient meeting being held in Bloomington, Illinois last week. The meeting brings together National Corn Growers Association staff and state corn staff representing Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.

The nuts and bolts portion of the meeting covered topics such as: assessing current water quality initiatives; costs and benefits of current practices; educating key thought leaders and the public; and farm bill proposals.

One reoccurring theme was finding ways to keep farmers focused and motivated to continue making these positive changes in the current weak agricultural economy.

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Wheat harvest kicking off for for 2017

Combines started rolling in southern Ohio last week where the start of wheat harvest was running a week or so ahead of schedule.

Scott Metzger in Pickaway County got started mid-week and the moisture was around 18% and yields were looking promising. Metzger has some frost damage, though, particularly in the low areas, but he is still hopeful for strong yields in his high management wheat.

“Our goal is to be done cutting wheat and finish planting double-crop beans on the same day — by July 1. We plant a couple hundred acres of seed wheat and we’ll cut that wet and dry it down, then go into the rest of the wheat. That gives us a jumpstart,” Metzger said. “We’ll double-crop every acre of our wheat.”

The odd winter and unusual spring of 2017 has led to many potential challenges for wheat.

“Extreme cold weather caused freeze damage to wheat heads, which has resulted in blank heads and could significantly impact yields,” said Matt Hutchison, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

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Is SCN impacting your soybean yields?

Typically, soybeans may begin to show symptoms of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) damage by July 1st. SCN is a parasitic roundworm that feeds on the soybean root system. The cyst stage of the nematode’s life cycle is when the female nematode is filled with eggs. Cysts are visible throughout the summer on soybean roots and will appear as small, white, and lemon-shaped. After the female matures, these cysts are hard to see. When trying to identify SCN presence on soybean roots, it is important not to confuse cysts with Rhizobium nodules (where N fixation takes place).

How can you determine if SCN is causing damage and yield loss to your soybeans? Injury symptoms include yellowing and stunting of plants. These symptoms may appear in patches of a field. These patches may grow from year to year; especially in the direction a field is tilled. Symptoms may become worse when plants are under other stresses in addition to SCN injury and can be confused with other issues, such as nutrient deficiencies.

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U.S policy with Cuba important for trade

In response to the Trump Administration announcement on the U.S. not lifting sanctions with Cuba, the National Corn Growers Association wants to emphasize the potential importance of Cuba as a trading partner.

Cuba should be an easy market for U.S. corn farmers. Instead, that market has gone to our competitors — costing us an estimated $125 million in lost opportunity each year. If trade with Cuba were normalized, it would represent our 11th largest market for corn. Instead, we have just 11% market share in a country only 90 miles from our border. At a time when the farm economy is struggling, we ask our leaders in Washington not to close doors on market opportunities for American agriculture.

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Kill the SMALL weeds

Everyone remembers the challenges of 2016 as it relates to controlling Giant Ragweed and Waterhemp, unfortunately the volumes of seed returned to the seed bank.

We planned and prepared sound effective Resistance Fighter recommendations for our customers during the winter months to avoid repeating 2016.

We committed to the use of overlapping residual herbicides, with proper application timing and using multiple effective modes of action in those plans.  The weather has challenged us again in 2017 to the extent some of those residuals were applied after planting.  As we move into the early post season think about 2016 and remember the other monumental challenge we faced, which was applying herbicides to off-label weeds.  The target weed height is less than 4-6” weeds.  As temperature and moisture is adequate for growth, applications targeting Giant Ragweed and Waterhemp need to occur well in advance of the 4-6” height.

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I implore you to be diligent to those plans created in the winter to avoid the reoccurrence of history. 

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Chlorinated water sanitation of leafy green vegetables for fresh produce processors

Before leafy green vegetables get to your local grocery store they are treated with sanitizers to reduce bacteria that have come in contact with the produce prior to or during harvesting and to prevent cross-contamination.

Chlorinated water is usually used in fresh produce industry. Chlorinated water treatment is cost-effective and easiest to manage among all of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved sanitizers for fresh produce. If the produce is dirty, it is rinsed first with cool water because organic material reduces the efficacy of the sanitation process.

Keep in mind this information is intended for small food processors. This sanitation process is not recommended for use at home to clean lettuce or other leafy vegetables from your garden, unless the chlorine meets food grade classification.

Chlorinated water is produced by adding either chlorine gas, calcium hypochlorite, or sodium hypochlorite to water. Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), also known as bleach, is sold in liquid form.

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Sorghum x Sudangrass, a real “slump buster”

Major League Baseball players are infamous for trying strange practices to get out of hitting slumps. Not shaving, not showering, and trying to keep the routine they used when the bat was finding the ball. Grazers in part of Ohio typically have a period of time called the “summer slump,” usually in late July and early August when hot and dry weather force cool season grasses into partial dormancy. Quite often we become like baseball players trying the same routine.

Sometimes we as grass managers need to look to the bench and insert a pinch hitter into our forage lineup to help our cows keep up with nutritional demands. Enter Summer annual grasses, including Sudangrass.

Sorghum × drummondii (Sudangrass), is a hybrid-derived species of grass raised for forage and grain native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eastern Africa. Sudangrass is smaller in plant architecture, has finer stalks, produces more leaves than forage sorghum and develops multiple tillers.

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Will tough spring lead to stronger prices?

Spring has brought extremely varied planting conditions to Ohio’s producers and many others in the eastern Corn Belt. Illinois has seen record levels of crop insurance corn replant claims. Many seed corn companies scrambled to get inventory to affected areas. The last half of May brought sunshine while some parts of Ohio again were slow in planting corn and soybeans as fields dried slowly when unexpected rains fell. It also brought some heavy rains, which drowned out the replanted corn in Madison and Licking counties and other parts of Ohio. Numerous producers were planting corn for the third time. Moods were tense with producers anxious to finish the job. Northwest Ohio and particularly Paulding county had rainfall totals of five to eight inches or more that flooded fields for days while miles of electric poles were doing everything but standing straight and tall.

The season’s first weekly corn condition report of May 30 had the U.S.

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Assess winter wheat before harvest

The spring of 2017 has created many challenges for winter wheat growers. As wheat harvest begins across the eastern Corn Belt, producers should keep an eye out for potential problems that may cause yield loss and impact grain quality. Growers have observed the development of diseases such as powdery mildew and Fusarium head blight (scab).

Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus has also been present in some fields, a result of feeding by aphids carrying the virus. Due to warmer-than-normal weather in late winter/early spring, wheat development has been two to three weeks ahead of normal and growers should expect an early harvest. In areas where head blight has developed, growers should adjust combines properly clean out lighter grains impacted by scab.

According to this University of Missouri article, research performed by the Ohio State University showed that adjust fan speeds between 1,375 and 1,475 rpm and shutter opening to 3.5 inches resulted in the lowest discounts at elevators due to low test weight, damaged kernels, and mycotoxin levels in grain.

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Did you calibrate your sprayer? Here is an easy way to do it

This is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. One can determine if the chemicals are applied at the proper rate only by carefully calibrating the 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.

Before starting calibration, make sure you have a good set of nozzles on the sprayer. Nozzles wear off through extended use causing over application, or some nozzles are plugged. Clean all the plugged nozzles. Check the output of all the nozzles for a given length of time at a given spray pressure.

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Fertilizer field Day June 22 in Canfield

It seems you can never know enough about fertilizer these days.

A June 22 field day is designed to help answer questions about applying fertilizer, and after the event, participants can obtain the required state certification for anyone who applies fertilizer, other than manure, to more than 50 acres.

The event will feature speakers Lee Beers and Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension educators, who will discuss soil fertility and using fertilizer to improve crop production.

Eric Barrett, an OSU Extension educator, will train participants on fertilizer application safety and best management practices. Soil health will be discussed, including reducing tillage to increase the fertility of the soil and using soil tests. A soil test can determine the amount of fertilizer already in the soil, then a grower needs to know how much the crop will require to produce the desired yield, Lewandowski said. After determining both, a grower can then know how much fertilizer needs to be spread on a field, he said.

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Sound management critical to overcome challenges of 2017

The spring of 2017 has provided Ohio’s growers with many challenges, and as the growing season continues, sound management of crops will be critical to diminish potential problems and maximize yields.

Patterns of wet weather and large rainfall events have caused planting delays, emergence problems, and required replant of both corn and soybeans in many areas. Due to large rain events this spring, many fields were flooded. While both corn and soybeans can survive flooding/ponding for a period of time, several factors determine the length of time plants can survive. Young corn plants can usually survive two to four days in flooded conditions. Death of corn plants is more likely prior to the V6 stage of development because the growing point is still below the soil surface. Soybeans can usually survive two to four days completely submersed. If weather is cool (mid 60s or cooler) plants are more likely to survive several days of flooding.

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Notice of election: Ohio Soybean Council Board of Trustees

Four Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) Board of Trustees districts are up for election in 2017 and are currently accepting petitions. OSC Trustees serve one term of three years and may only serve three consecutive terms. Two incumbents currently filling the positions are term-limited and two are eligible to run again.

District 3: 

  • Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Huron, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit, and Trumbull Counties
  • Jeff Magyar (incumbent) is eligible to run again

District 4: 

  • Defiance, Paulding, and Van Wert Counties
  • Terry McClure (incumbent) is not eligible to run again

District 6: 

  • Crawford, Seneca, and Wyandot Counties
  • Steve Reinhard (incumbent) is not eligible to run again

District 11: 

  • Clark, Greene, and Madison Counties
  • Charlie Troxell (incumbent) is eligible to run again

Candidates must have grown soybeans within the last three years in one of the counties listed above to be eligible. If interested, candidates must complete a petition which can be accessed on the OSC website at www.soyohio.org

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Safety considerations for baling hay

As we progress into summer, hay baling moves to the forefront of things to be done on the farm. Hay baling season can come with its own set of hazards that can cause injuries. These include equipment hazards, working in hot temperatures, lifting injuries, and even the stress of getting hay down, dried and baled in a narrow window to beat the weather. Some guidelines to use to prevent injuries this hay baling season include:

• Review the owner’s manual and warning labels of the equipment prior to operation.

• Make sure that all guards and shields are in place for the tractor and hay harvesting equipment.

• Ensure that safety locks are in place when working on the baler while the bale chamber is open.

• Make sure twine is properly threaded and the knotter system and twine arm are in good working condition. Do not feed twine by hand into the baler.

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