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Crop production cost analysis

Which number is closest to your total direct and overhead cost of production per bushel of corn: $3.08, $4.17, or $6.21? Do you know? Forty-two farms completed their 2016 farm business and crop enterprise analysis in 2017. Farm size ranged from 40 to more than 1,900 acres.The four lowest cost producers averaged $3.08 per bushel, the median COP was $4.17, and the four highest cost producers averaged $6.21 per bushel.

Only the high 20% of these corn enterprises generated a positive net return for corn. For the other 80%, the personalized benchmark reports they receive helped them identify strengths and areas of opportunity in each crop enterprise.

The highest cost producers will know if their costs were high compared to previous years due to weather or other yield-depressing event or if these numbers are “normal” and are waving a big red flag. Combining the real-numbers information from enterprise and benchmark reports with production information gives each farm manager powerful information to make positive changes.… Continue reading

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Increased rainfall for Ohio has ag implications

Ohio receives 10% more rain per year, on average, than in the 20th century.

“You can think of it as the ‘new normal,’ ” said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

Ohio’s current annual average is 42 inches, up 3 inches from the 39-inch average in the 20th century, Wilson said. Three inches may sound like just a drop in the, well, bucket, but “the problem is the intensity at which the rain is falling,” Wilson said.

The additional 3 inches aren’t spread across the entire year. Instead the bulk of Ohio’s rain is falling in intense rain events, followed by an increase in consecutive dry days, Wilson said. In July 2017, a rainfall dumped 5.5 inches of rain in two hours within Darke County, in the west central part of the state.… Continue reading

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Sluggish soybean seed orders for 2018

The dicamba issues from 2017 continue to loom large for 2018 soybean seed orders. As training sessions have continued on the label changes and application requirements for the dicamba products in 2018, farmers have been waiting to make their soybean seed purchase decisions in what seems to be a generally sluggish soybean-ordering season.

For those still holding off on making soybean orders because of unanswered dicamba questions, tight budgets, market uncertainty, or the tough agricultural economy, placing orders sooner is probably more beneficial than closer to the quickly approaching planting season.

“Seed companies are packaging and treating what has been ordered. If you wait too long you may be limited on seed treatment options and your first choice of varieties may not be what you get. You may have to get something different or go up or down on maturity. We are starting to sell out of things. Plus you miss all of the early order discounts,” said Stuart Yensel, with Seed Consultants, Inc.… Continue reading

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What are wheat tillers and how do they contribute to yield

In the coming weeks as the weather warms, up winter wheat will break dormancy and will begin to green up. After a period of about 2 weeks producers should evaluate their stand in order to make management decisions for their wheat crop. Part of this evaluation includes counting tillers to determine if there is an adequate stand for achieving high yields. According an article in a 2014 C.O.R.N. Newsletter written by Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, Pierce Paul, “Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers fall below 25 per square foot after green up.”

So, what is a tiller? And how should they be counted? Tillers are additional stems that develop off of the main shoot of the plant. Primary tillers form in the axils of the first four or more true leaves of the main stem. Secondary tillers may develop from the base of primary tillers if conditions favor tiller development.… Continue reading

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New virtual reality video tells soil health story from every angle

As interest grows in soil health and its potential to optimize farming, the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) has developed a new tool to immerse the inquisitive. Partnering with StoryUP, the nonprofit ag group has produced a “virtual reality” video that will allow viewers to visit a farm enrolled in SHP and experience a Virtual Field Day.

An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economic as well as environmental standpoint. The Soil Health Partnership is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health, benefiting both farmer profitability and the environment. With more than 100 working farms enrolled in 12 states, the SHP tests, measures and advances progressive farm management practices that will enhance sustainability and farm economics for generations to come. SHP brings together diverse partners to work towards common goals.… Continue reading

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New dicamba label means extra steps for success

It takes time, focus and attention to learn to use new technologies. That, along with some early adoption woes in 2017, is why Monsanto, BASF and Dow/DuPont decided to schedule hundreds of dicamba training sessions around the country before the 2018 growing season gets into full swing.

“Of the issues we saw last year with dicamba use, over 91% of the off-target movement that we saw was frankly a function of not following certain important aspects of the label,” said Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s Vice President of Global Strategy. “That’s the reason we proposed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a new restricted use label that requires training and education.”

A well-attended dicamba training meeting in Celina recently is proof that farmers are willing to learn how to better use the new weed fighting tool in 2018. Monsanto is also helping farmers acquire the right tools for successful dicamba application.

“We are making sure producers have access to the right nozzles because having the proper equipment is absolutely critical,” Partridge said.… Continue reading

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An update on nitrogen recommendations for wheat


Do we have any wheat left in Ohio? I would like to see more acres. It makes our other two crops better and reduces weed, insect and disease problems for them, too. The new Ohio Agronomy Guide has just a bit of an update on spring nitrogen (N) recommendations for wheat in Ohio.

We still suggest following the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for N rates in wheat, with an update on the discussion of why. We do rely on yield potential of a field to make the recommendation. Once you have set a realistic yield goal, the recommendation may be based on the following table. These recommendations are for mineral soils with adequate drainage and 1% to 5% organic matter.

Nitrogen rate for wheat by yield potential.

Yield potential

Total N rate














We do not give any credit for the previous soybean or cover crop, since we do not know if that organic N source will be mineralized for the wheat crop.… Continue reading

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Do not give marestail the chance to determine postemergence herbicide selection in soybeans

Soybean herbicide systems have evolved back to a fairly high level of complexity to deal with the herbicide resistance we have in various broadleaf weeds. By the time we use a comprehensive mix of burndown and residual herbicides, we tend to be coming back with postemergence herbicides primarily for marestail, ragweeds, and waterhemp (and grasses). Postemergence tools available for control of these broadleaf weeds vary with the type of soybean trait being used, but can include glyphosate, PPO inhibitors (fomesafen, Cobra), glufosinate, dicamba, and soon 2,4-D choline. ALS inhibitors have become somewhat irrelevant on these weeds due to widespread ALS resistance, although they may have activity on some ragweed populations still sensitive to ALS inhibitors. Resistance to various sites of action can further limit the number of options.

The following generalizations about resistance seem appropriate at this time:

• Marestail — almost all populations are resistant to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors

• Common ragweed — populations in some areas/fields are resistant to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors, and in some cases also PPO inhibitors.… Continue reading

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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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