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Ohio Annual Crop Summary for 2017

Crop conditions varied widely across the state, due to delays in planting, replanting, and emergence issues throughout the 2017 season, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Heavy rains along with cold temperatures at the beginning of the season hindered the drying of fields and caused the need for significant replanting. Dryer conditions in June brought opportunities to dry out fields to resume planting and other field activities. The dry weather continued allowing growers to catch up on replanting, apply fertilizer and cut hay. Excessive moisture throughout July created concerns in crop progress. August brought cooler drier conditions which helped stabilize crops.

Ohio’s 2017 average corn yield was 177 bushels per acre, a new State record, up 18 bushels from last year. Producers harvested 3.13 million acres, compared to 3.30 million acres in 2016. Total State production of corn for grain was 554 million bushels, up 6 percent from the 2016 production of 525 million bushels.… Continue reading

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Neutral report, South America weather still huge factor

The long awaited USDA report day is finally here. Some consider this day one of the biggest days for USDA reports for the entire year. Before the report came out corn was unchanged and soybeans were down 4 cents. Just after the report was released corn was down a half-cent while soybeans were up 5 cents.

Corn ending stocks were raised 40 million bushels to 2.437 billion bushels. Corn yield for 2017 was put at 176.6 bushels per acre. Corn production was up 26 million bushels at 14.604 billion bushels. Corn exports were unchanged, corn for ethanol was unchanged. No surprises for corn.

Soybean yield was lowered to 49.1 bushels per acre, with production at 4.392 billion bushels, down 33 million bushels. Exports were cut 65 million bushels to 2.160 billion bushels. The trade was expecting
soybean exports to cut.

Brazil soybean production was increased to 110 million tons, up from108 million tons last month.… Continue reading

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Bells and whistles are few, but quality is elite at Ravenhurst Champagne Cellars

Chuck and Nina Harris like Champagne, really good Champagne.

“The reason we’re here is that I married a woman who liked to drink Champagne. That is how we met, over Champagne. We promised one another we’d learn more about it. She is a chemist and I am a chef so we looked at it in completely different ways,” said Chuck Harris, the winemaker and owner of Ravenhurst Champagne Cellars in Union County. “We are both originally from Van Wert. We went to high school together. We got together later in life after we’d tried a few careers and we started a pursuit of Champagne. Could we do this in Ohio? We looked all over the country and decided Ohio would be the best place, all things considered. We were pioneering here, especially with vinifera grapes. All of the other places we’d be just another face in the crowd.”

Along with being unique to the area, Harris picked a very specific location for very specific reasons.… Continue reading

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Lettuce Work helping young people with autism serve others through agriculture

Doug and Julie Sharp of New Albany have devoted countless hours to working with youth and young adults that fall on the autism spectrum. Besides being the parents of an autistic child, Julie is a teacher at a school that specializes in working with students that have autism and Doug served on the school board.

Although there are many programs for youth that fall on the autism spectrum while they are in school, the Sharps noticed a distinct problem: after graduating from high school it is hard for youth with autism to receive support from external programs.

Seeing the need, the Sharps worked diligently to create the Lettuce Work Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization that serves young adults with autism and trains them for the future. The idea for Lettuce Work began in 2007. After construction of a 15,000 square foot greenhouse, partnering with a local high school, and plentiful paperwork, the first batch of lettuce was harvested in 2014.… Continue reading

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Hydroponic crop production workshop

Growing plants in a liquid nutrient solution without soil in controlled environments, i.e. hydroponics, has been successfully used for greenhouse production of lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, and other crops. Hydroponic production is an agricultural production practice that optimizes energy consumption and water use; effectively employs chemical-free integrated pest management controls (IPM); permits agricultural production independent of season; and can generate higher crop yields with improved quality, consistency, and predictability, while exploiting less land. Hydroponics provides year round continuous production and crop yields that exceed field production by as much as 10-fold, all while optimizing resources including water, energy, space, capital, and labor. Hydroponics is an important agriculture practice commonly represented in greenhouse food crop production. However, hydroponic systems have a higher initial investment than soil-based crop production and require technical skills and careful management.


Learn more from the experts

On Feb. 8 and 9, 2018 greenhouse growers will have the opportunity to learn about best practices for growing crops in hydroponic systems.… Continue reading

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Study suggests new targets for improving soybean oil content

Scientists working to increase soybean oil content tend to focus their efforts on genes known to impact the plant’s seeds, but a Purdue University study shows that genes affecting other plant parts deserve more attention.

Wild-type soybeans contain bloom, a powdery substance originating in the pod that can coat seeds. This trait makes the seeds less visible and is believed to be advantageous for their long-term survival in natural environments. But the bloom is enriched with allergens and can be harmful for animals and people if ingested. People domesticating soybeans selected a naturally occurring mutation that makes soybean seeds shiny through eliminating bloom.

“This mutation was selected by ancient farmers approximately 5,000 years ago,” said Jianxin Ma, professor in Purdue’s Department of Agronomy. “That could have been a key step for domesticating soybean for agricultural production and human consumption.”

Ma and his colleagues wanted to know more about the genetic control of bloom in wild soybeans.… Continue reading

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It’s cold here, but what is the weather in South America?

The first major story line for 2018 has to be the ongoing frigid temperatures across Ohio and the Midwest so far this winter. Those cold temperatures seem to affect human temperament as well as that of farm equipment, which makes for challenges in getting grain moved to final destinations. Not only do the trucks need to be operating at peak performance in these frigid temperatures, the driver has to be constantly aware of road conditions. Road conditions and temperatures could easily see some facilities needing grain moved today, not tomorrow in order to meet train shipping deadlines. Prolonged weeks of these conditions could cause ongoing headaches for those needing enough grain to keep facilities operating at optimum efficiency. The worst case scenario would see soybean crushing or corn ethanol facilities shutting down due to insufficient inventories on hand.

Weather, prices, and demand will be major factors for grain prices in the next three to six months.… Continue reading

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Conservation Tillage Breakfast Series

The 2018 Conservation Tillage Club breakfast program series will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory.  Each session will start at 7:30 am with complimentary buffet breakfast followed by the program at 8:00 am.  Other sessions will be held on Jan. 23, Feb. 6 and 20.

On Jan. 9, the program will feature Mike Bacon and Andrea Weaver, CAUV Property Tax Changes.  Bacon is the Hardin County Auditor and Weaver serves as the Union County Auditor.  They will be joined by a panel of other property tax and conservation experts.  As county auditors, they have sent out notices of changes and held meetings with landowners, local schools, and farm groups to help explain how changes brought about by the Ohio Department of Taxation will affect them. The presentation at the Conservation Tillage Club breakfast will focus on the most recent changes in the CAUV formula in regards to conservation lands and what landowners must do in order to see possible reductions in their property taxes for coming years.… Continue reading

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Winterize your ag technology

After this season, you may be tempted to park your equipment in the shed and take a much needed winter break. You probably remembered to winterize your machinery, but you may have overlooked the need to winterize your precision ag technology. Here are some tips to ensure your monitors and sensors continue to function next season.

  1. Bring technology indoors.

Although precision ag technology is ruggedized to protect against harsh field conditions, the temperatures that we often experience during a Midwest winter are low enough to potentially damage the electronic components of in-cab displays and sensors such as the GPS receiver. Remove them and store indoors to protect them from the winter weather. Even if your equipment is parked in a protected area, it may be wise to remove sensors and store them to protect against rodent damage.

  1. Export and backup data from cards

Winter is a great time to pull this season’s data off data cards and/or in-cab displays.… Continue reading

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The difficulty in legally applying dicamba: Weather factors

Labels for the dicamba products approved for use on Xtend soybeans, Engenia, FeXapan, and XtendiMax, were recently revised, and are now generally more restrictive in an effort to prevent some of the problems with off target injury that occurred in 2017.  Whether these additional restrictions do much to prevent volatility is doubtful, but this aside, one of the problems with labels this restrictive is the difficulty in even finding enough time to make legal applications.  It can be an interesting exercise to review past weather conditions with the goal of determining legal windows of application, taking these restrictions into account.  Weed scientists at Purdue University conducted this type of analysis for west central Indiana for June 2017, and came up with a total of 48 hours when it would have been legal to apply (hours of dawn to dusk, wind speeds between 3 and 10 mph).

We conducted a similar analysis, used weather information for June of 2017 at the Dayton International Airport.  

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Ohio Soybean Council receives R&D 100 Gold Special Recognition Award

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) has received an R&D 100 Special Recognition Award for developing EnzoMeal, an effective and sustainable food source for farm-raised fish. The 2017 Gold Special Recognition Award — the highest level of this prestigious award for invention and innovation — was presented in the Corporate Social Responsibility category. OSC was among the 100 winners announced November 17 during a black-tie awards ceremony in Orlando, Fla.

An advanced soybean-based fish feed, EnzoMeal addresses a key impediment to widespread expansion of aquaculture (“fish farming”), the fastest-growing sector of food production. Standard fish meal’s primary ingredients — wild fish and shrimp — are rapidly dwindling resources. However, conventional soybean meal, when used at high levels in producing fish feed, contains carbohydrates that fish cannot easily digest. OSC and its research partner, Battelle, developed a technology that removes nondigestible carbohydrates and increases crude proteins in the soybean meal, resolving the challenges that to date have limited a high level of soybean use as a substitute fish feed protein.… Continue reading

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Extension of the biodiesel tax credit

The bill included many issues of interest and impact to soybean farmers. However, it didn’t include an extension of the biodiesel tax credit that expired last year.

The biodiesel tax credit and other expired temporary credits were not addressed in the comprehensive tax reform bill, but there is an effort to have a separate tax extender package included on another legislative vehicle that could pass before the end of 2017 or early in 2018. The Ohio Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association, as well as the National Biodiesel Board, are working to get the biodiesel tax credit attached to a revenue bill that might be moving through Congress.

Soybean farmers have played a leading role in establishing and developing the biodiesel industry. From the first investments made by the soybean industry, biodiesel has grown into a domestic market approaching 3 billion gallons.… Continue reading

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2018 Ohio State University Outlook Meeting schedule

Ohio State University Extension is pleased to announce the 2018 Agricultural Outlook Meetings! In 2018 there will be seven locations in Ohio. Each location will have speaker addressing the topics of Free Trade Agreements: Why They Matter to US Agriculture, Grain Market Outlook, and Examining the 2018 Ohio Farm Economy. Additional topics vary by location and include 2018 Farm Bill Policy Update, Dairy Production Economics Update, and Farm Tax Update.

Join the faculty from Ohio State University Extension, Ohio State Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics, and Industry Leaders as they discuss the issues and trends affecting agriculture in Ohio.  Each meeting is being hosted by a county OSU Extension Educator to provide a local personal contact for this meeting. A meal is provided with each meeting and included in the registration price. Questions can be directed to the local host contact.

The Ag Outlook presentations will be recorded this year and be made available to farmers not living close to the meeting locations or those unable to attend.… Continue reading

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Changes to crop insurance continue in 2018

Changes to the Federal crop insurance program initiated in 2017 will continue into 2018. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) continues to improve the program, increasing its availability and effectiveness as a risk management tool while safeguarding the integrity of the program.

In 2017, RMA had a number of accomplishments in the areas of program integrity, program efficiency, expanded options, and customer service. These accomplishments include the way RMA develops new pilot programs, and makes policy changes based on stakeholder feedback.

“RMA has a responsibility to producers to provide flexible and available crop insurance,” said Robert Johansson, USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We also have a responsibility to the American taxpayer to ensure the Federal crop insurance program is actuarially sound and uses their tax dollars in an efficient and effective manner.”

Some highlights from 2017 are:

  • Customer service — RMA worked with Approved Insurance Providers, agents, and stakeholder groups to respond to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as a number of severe wildfires and other disasters throughout the year.
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Cover crop experiments are a Wilson family tradition

Remembering his experiences as a boy back in the 1950s with his father’s corn-wheat-hay crop rotation, Nathan Wilson did some experimenting with cover crops in the 1980s on his Pickaway County farm. Wheat was a part of the crop rotation for the farm and Wilson also tried some cereal rye.

“I tried planting cover crops in the 80s with cereal rye because I remember what that hay had done in the soil. Back then we didn’t have the Roundup beans and if we didn’t get that stuff killed before the beans came up it was a disaster,” Nathan said. “The beans were planted and the rye was head high. It was spitting rain when he sprayed and that night it rained four inches. If we hadn’t got that sprayed it would have been a disaster. The rye died and the beans grew. I felt we were lucky to get a crop that year after a very tough planting situation and I quit cover crops cold turkey.”

Nathan’s sons Ryan and Wyatt Wilson joined the farm in subsequent years and made another push for including cover crops with the long-term no-till on the farm.… Continue reading

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Yields ok, prices are a different story in 2017


Despite the gush of rain in the early part of the season, corn made a comeback and led to surprisingly high yields in Ohio this year. The state’s soybean farmers were not so fortunate: yields were down an average of four bushels compared to a year ago.

Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture had estimated Ohio’s average corn yield would be 173 bushels per acre, many farmers harvested 200 plus bushels per acre, said Allen Geyer, a research associate with Ohio State University Extension.

“Everyone has been pleasantly surprised about yields. Price-wise, that’s a whole different story,” Geyer said.

On average, Ohio farmers got $3.50 per bushel for their corn and $9.39 for soybeans, both down from the 2016 averages of $3.61 per bushel for corn, $9.66 for soybeans.

Favorable weather through much of the season contributed to high yields of corn this year, Geyer said. No days were too hot, which can slow corn’s growth.… Continue reading

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Conference offers advice on nutrient management

With so much focus on fertilizer these days, where and when it’s applied, a conference will be held in January to inform people about the many approaches and technological advances that can make it easier.

The 2nd annual Precision University Jan. 11 in London, Ohio, will feature presentations about technology that can help farmers apply fertilizer in a way that prevents it from running off the land and ending up in Lake Erie or other waterways.

The conference is being hosted by Ohio State University Extension and the Digital Agriculture program team in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES.

Starting in September 2017, those who apply fertilizer on more than 50 acres of land in Ohio have had to become certified every three years by passing a test or taking a course in how to safely apply nutrients to their land.… Continue reading

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Wilson family building on a heritage of conservation

Nathan Wilson has been working on the farm since he was first able to drive a Ford 8N back in the 1940s.

“I grew up with the opportunity to farm because my dad was busy and we had 130 acres and a Ford 8N. He hired some help but there was always something for me to do. I think I drove that tractor before I started school. Back then there were always jobs to do for a little kid on a Ford 8N. I was disking when I was 7 or 8. I had an early start and always loved it,” Nathan said. “My dad was always interested in the soil. When dad got out of the service he started a large animal vet clinic in Circleville and bought a farm. The first thing he did was divide the farm into four fields with a four-year rotation of corn, wheat and two years of hay.… Continue reading

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Updated Bt table to help with hybrid selection

Corn producers have many hybrids to choose from including those with transgenic traits for insect management. However, the array of trait packages and what they are best suited for can be hard to keep track of. The “Handy Bt Trait Table” for U.S. corn production provides a helpful list of trade names and details of their trait packages, including which Bt proteins and herbicide traits they contain, what insects they are marketed to control, refuge requirements, and which insects have developed resistance to them in at least some regions. This table is produced by Dr. Chris DiFonzo, extension entomologist at Michigan State, with contributions from Drs. Pat Porter (Texas A&M) and Kelley Tilmon (Ohio State). It has been updated for 2018 and can be a useful guide for farmers and crop consultants in their hybrid selection. It is temporarily housed on this page at Texas A&M while the Michigan State entomology website undergoes renovation.… Continue reading

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