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Nematode resistance in soybeans beneficial even at low rates of infestation

Each spring, tiny roundworms hatch and wriggle over to the nearest soybean root to feed. Before farmers are even aware of the belowground infestation, the soybean cyst nematode silently begins to wreak havoc on soybean yield.

Fortunately, breeders have identified soybean varieties with genetic resistance to the nematodes and have used them to create new resistant varieties. As you might expect, resistant varieties yield more than susceptible ones when SCN is in the soil. But, until now, it wasn’t clear whether that yield advantage held up at low SCN infestation rates.

“The University of Illinois has been organizing a regional testing program of university-developed experimental soybean lines through funding from the United Soybean Board. In the last decade, we have collected data on agronomic performance, including yield, but also data on the resistance of the lines as well as on SCN pressure in the field. We’ve built up a massive dataset from these tests,” said Brian Diers, University of Illinois soybean breeder.

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Considerations for the 2017 planting season

With another spring planting season upon us, there are a few planter considerations before heading to the field. Seed costs remain a significant investment today with planting being a critical if not most important for maximizing yield potential. Maximum yield exists when the seed is in the bag but is influenced by the ability of the planter to create a suitable seedbed, while providing good soil-to-seed contact at the proper depth without sidewall compaction. Mistakes made at planting only reduce yield potential. Variations in seed metering and seed depth placement can impact uniformity of emergence and final stand counts. While some precision technology can be costly and prove difficult to determine ROI, here are some thoughts on technologies that can quickly, in most cases less than one year, pay off on your farm. First, we will provide some comments about planter and meter setup.

A key maintenance step is to have all your meters evaluated on a test stand annually.

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Guide on newly approved herbicides

The Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) has published a set of guidelines for soybean farmers who are considering the use of newly approved dicamba-based herbicide products.

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered Monsanto’s XtendiMax and BASF’s Engenia herbicides for pre-emergence and post-emergence use on dicamba-tolerant (DT) soybeans.

The dicamba outreach publication was developed by pesticide program administrator Dave Scott of OISC and Purdue Extension weed specialist Bill Johnson to explain how to legally and effectively use dicamba-based herbicides on DT crops.

Dicamba-based herbicides are best used to treat giant ragweed, marestail, waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, lambsquarters and morning glories.

“This product is a sorely needed tool in controlling glyphosate, ALS, and PPO resistant broadleaf weeds in soybeans,” Johnson said. “It’s very effective if used correctly.”

Using dicamba-based herbicides requires more caution than other more commonly used herbicides, Johnson said.

“This is a new tool for controlling weeds in soybeans, but it has more restrictions than any other herbicide I have encountered in my life,” he said.

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Biologicals are here to stay in agriculture, but what are they?

It seems there are ever increasing amounts of products for agricultural use that are considered “biologicals” in this rapidly advancing field of research and product development. Biological products can serve as natural pesticides and biostimulants that lead to growth enhancement, disease control, soil health improvement, and plant nutrient uptake enhancement, among numerous other uses.

According to R.J. Rant of Nutrilink Biosystems based in Michigan, biologicals are a diverse group of products derived from naturally occurring microorganisms, plant extracts, or other organic matter. They fall into two main categories: microbials (live organisms including bacteria, fungi, nematodes, protozoa and viruses) and biochemicals (naturally occurring compounds including plant and insect growth regulators, organic acids, plant extracts, minerals, and pheromones). Microbials are fairly well understood, but there is still much to learn about biochemicals, Rant said.

Biologicals that have been in use for a while in agriculture include: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Bacillus subtilis, seaweed extract, humic and fulvic acid, sugar (molasses), compost teas, and fermentation extracts.

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Don’t get in a hurry to apply N to wheat

Normally we would be concerned about producers applying nitrogen to wheat on frozen ground this time of year. The recent wave of abnormally warm temperatures has removed any frost that was in the ground and suggests that green-up may come sooner than recent years.

Even if wheat comes out of winter earlier, the crop still does not require large amounts of nitrogen until stem elongation/jointing (Feekes Growth Stage 6), which is generally the middle or the end of April depending on the location in the state and spring temperatures. Ohio research has shown no yield benefit from applications made prior to this time period. Soil organic matter and/or N applied at planting generally provide sufficient N for early growth until stem elongation.

Nitrogen applied prior to rapid utilization has the potential to be lost and unavailable for the crop. Nitrogen source will also affect the potential for loss. Urea-ammonium nitrate (28%) has the greatest potential for loss, ammonium sulfate the least, and urea would be somewhere between the two other sources.

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Handy Bt trait table for U.S. corn

Most corn hybrids planted in the U.S. contain one or more transgenic traits for weed or insect management.  There are many different available traits, which can sometimes cause confusion about a hybrid’s spectrum of control or refuge requirements. The Handy Bt Trait Table provides a helpful list of trait names and details of trait packages to make it easier to select and understand products and their refuge requirements, and read company seed guides, sales materials, and bag tags.  This year’s table was authored by Dr. Chris DiFonzo at Michigan State University with contributions by Drs. Kelley Tilmon (OSU) and Pat Porter (Texas A&M).

A new column has been added to the table in 2017 to address local or regional performance issues in cases where there are documented

field-level insect populations which are less susceptible to or resistant to a given Bt protein.  An insect is listed in this column only if ALL of the Bt proteins which should control it in a product are ‘ineffective’ somewhere in the US or Canada.

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Collecting farm data for profit and sustainability

Historical farm data is nice to have, but it can’t make money or improve the operation when it’s sitting in a file cabinet.

Keith Kemp, a checkoff farmer-leader from West Manchester, is using all of that data from his farm to continue  improving.

“Each year we grid sample, soil test and do the mapping at planting and harvest time,” Kemp said. “During the winter months we take all of that data we’ve collected for the year and overlap that with data from years past. We’ll analyze those results and come up with our best decisions on population seeding, along with setting up our variable rate fertilizer and nitrogen plans.”

Kemp will take an ever more centralized approach to his data this year by surveying his farm on half-acre grids. This long-term data collecting strategy is helping Kemp not only improve the outcome of a crop in a certain field; it is also helping him better the soil health where he sees issues pop up year after year.

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Surfacing new uses for corn critical to long-term viability of farmers

Increasing demand for corn and corn farmer profitability is key to the National Corn Growers Association’s mission, and this was clearly evident at the recent meeting of NCGA’s Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team (CPQAT).

Farmer team members from across the U.S. discussed several potential avenues for finding new uses for corn to drive demand. Potential areas of focus are new food uses for corn, new plant-based chemicals from corn and more specifically using corn as a feedstock to replace chemicals currently manufactured from petroleum.

“Developing new uses for corn is nothing novel. It has always been important. Within the last 20 years, fuel ethanol went from being a new use for corn to our second largest market.  And look at the impact that has had on farmer profitability,” said Larry Hoffmann, chairman of the CPQAT. “But trying to keep corn use ahead of our growing productive capacity is a never-ending challenge.

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Take action on weeds

With approval of dicamba resistant soybeans and now the products to spray on them, we need to plan to avoid the problems we had develop with excessive use of glyphosate as we move toward higher use of dicamba products.

The United Soybean Board has developed some very nice materials to fight resistant weeds. It involves using broad-spectrum pre-emergent herbicides as the basis for your weed control program. Mark Loux our Extension Weed Specialist supplemented and printed these packets for Ohio — they have been very popular at our pesticide re-certification training programs this winter. The campaign to manage resistant weeds is called “Take Action” against herbicide resistant weeds. The website to get more information is http://takeactiononweeds.com. I especially like the Site of Action chart: http://takeactiononweeds.com/understanding-herbicides/site-of-action-lookup/.

“There are no new herbicides” is not quite a true statement, as there are many new names, but it is the active ingredient that is important, the rest is about marketing of a brand name.

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NE Ohio winter agronomy school

Join OSU Extension as we host our annual Agronomy School for crop farmers in Northeast Ohio. With profit margins decreasing it will be vital for crop producers to get the biggest bang from the dollars they invest in land rental, seed and fertilizer, technology, chemicals, and crop protection. This workshop is sponsored by the OSU Extension offices in Ashtabula, Trumbull & Geauga Counties with support from W.I. Miller & Sons & the Ohio Soybean Council.

Speakers include David Marrison, Les Ober, Russ Coltman, Anne Dorrance, Pierce Paul, Andy Michel, and Glen Arnold. 

Cost is $10/person and include refreshments, lunch, and handouts. Lunch is sponsored by W.I. Miller & Sons. Contact David Marrison (440-576-9008) or Lee Beers (330-638-6783) for more information.

March 15th, 2017, 9:30am to 3:30pm, Williamsfield Community Center, 5920 State Route 322 Williamsfield, OH 44093.

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GLS and NCLB in 2017

During the previous several growing seasons Gray Leaf Spot (GLS) and Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB) developed in some corn fields, affecting yield and stalk quality. You might ask; “Will these diseases be a problem next year?” The answer to this question depends on several factors.

The fungi that cause the development of these diseases overwinter on crop residue. If GLS and NCLB developed in 2016, the fungus will be present on residue in 2017. The development of these diseases also depends on environmental factors. Warm, humid weather favors growth of GLS and NCLB. Periods of heavy due, fog, or light rain will provide the needed conditions for these leaf diseases to develop. For either GLS or NCLB to become a problem in 20127, the fungi need to be present in the field in addition to favorable weather conditions. Fortunately, producers can make some management decisions to hinder the growth of GLS and NCLB and lessen their impact should they develop:


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No change in soybeans, bearish surprise

U.S. soybean ending stocks were unchanged, that was a bearish surprise. At 12:10 pm corn is down 2 cents, soybeans down 11 cents, wheat up 1 cent. Before the report corn was unchanged, soybeans up 1 cent, while wheat was up 2 cents.

There were minor changes in the world grain ending stocks. No surprise there.

U.S. corn ending stocks were estimated at 2.320 billion bushels, down 35 million bushels. US soybean ending stocks were 420 million bushels, no change. Seeing no change was bearish. Brazil soybean production was estimated at 104    million tons, no change. Soybean production in Argentina was estimated at 55.5 million tons, down 1.5 million tons. Brazil’s corn production was pegged at 85.6 million tons with Argentina corn production at 36.5 million tons. Both were unchanged.

Traders were expecting this report to be pretty boring with little changes compared to the January report. They expected U.S. corn and U.S.

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Winter wheat management

In the coming months 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.

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Completed genome sequencing of soybean aphids will lead to new management strategies moving forward

Soybean aphids were first discovered in Wisconsin in 2001. Since then, the crop pest has become well established throughout the northern Midwest and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada. On numerous occasions the soybean aphid has caused very significant economic damage in Ohio.

The tiny pests inflict crop damage due to their potentially suffocating numbers. They can have as many as 12 generations a year and when the populations get large enough, the normally wingless aphids give birth to a winged generation that can spread far distances on the wind, according to Ohio State University Extension.

Because of the potential for ongoing problems from this yield robber in the future, there have been significant funding efforts from the North Central Soybean Research Program, USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Center for Applied Plant Sciences at Ohio State University and the Ohio Soybean Council for a broad array of management techniques addressing soybean aphids.

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There are plenty of questions as the farm bill debate kicks off

Though it seems like the last farm bill has just been finally implemented, discussions are already ramping up for the next farm bill in Washington, D.C. With a new Administration, a challenging farm economy and the ever-shifting whims of public perceptions about agriculture, there is plenty of uncertainty about the outcome.

“There is a lot of conversation about where this Administration is going to spend the money. We are going to have a lot of push from conservative groups who typically align with rural Americans for cuts in the farm bill. It is a continual effort on our part to help farmers understand who is working for them and who is working against them. This will be critical to continue to talk about in the ag community,” said Adam Ward, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association. “I think we will see more support from conservation compliance going forward, but I think a big part of the conversation is that conservation is helping us grow better crops and develop long-term opportunities for farmers beyond this generation.

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Opportunities for profit in 2017

Trade, currency and geopolitical issues are putting much uncertainty in an already wavering commodity market, but one analyst says he still believes there will be opportunities for farmers to use the black pen this year when looking at their bottom line. Finalizing crop insurance will be a major factor in getting to that positive outcome.

“Farmers need to utilize these products to protect themselves and get to a profitable level,” said Mike Zuzolo from Global Commodity Analytics. “The last thing a farmer wants this year is to have more uncertainty and worry after they plant, versus before they plant.”

That is why Zuzolo is advising his clients to make hedging a priority. He says that seed technology, fertilizer and weed control are all very important to the farm plan, but marketing needs to be right at the top of the list.

“The U.S. dollar is going to be even more important this year, in terms of what commodity upside we could have,” Zuzolo said.

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Looking ahead to 2017 weed control

With spring a few months away, one issue that must continue to be addressed by the farmers of the eastern Corn Belt is the growing populations of herbicide resistant weeds.

Herbicide resistant populations of weeds such as Marestail and Giant Ragweed have existed for several years and are a growing problem. A few new additions to the list of herbicide resistant weeds have arrived recently, including Palmer amaranth. Now more than ever, it is critical that growers focus on employing effective herbicide programs.

Controlling these weeds will require attention to details such as, timing of herbicide applications, using multiple modes of action, use of residual herbicides, and scouting to determine what weeds are present and if any were not controlled by herbicides. There is a wealth of information available from universities which growers can, and should consult in order to stay ahead of problem weeds.

For successful weed control apply herbicides when weeds are small enough to be controlled, always follow herbicide labels, and avoid using low rates of herbicides.

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Modeling the future of soybeans in the Midwest

How will the rising temperatures expected to occur with global climate change affect soybean growth in the Midwest? Rather than wait and see, researchers at the University of Illinois will use real crop data and computer modeling to better predict future impacts of higher temperatures on agricultural production and identify promising targets for adaptation.

The project is being funded with a $420,000 USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture grant. U of I environmental scientist Kaiyu Guan is the project director. Carl Bernacchi and Elizabeth Ainsworth are co-project directors. Both are plant physiologists in the U of I Department of Plant Biology and Department of Crop Sciences.

The project will look at how temperature affects major plant processes such as photosynthesis and respiration.

“Higher temperatures in the future may result in accelerated crop growth rate and shorter growing seasons,” Guan said. “There will likely be direct heat stress effects on the various stages in plant reproduction, including number of flowers and pods produced and aborted and the higher temps may increase the plants’ demand for water.

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2017 Soybean College

OSU Extension, Darke County will be hosting the 2017 Soybean College on Tuesday, February 7.  This will be a rare opportunity where The Ohio State University will have all of its state specialists working with soybeans at one meeting focusing on soybean production. This workshop will feature Dr. Laura Lindsey, Soybean/Wheat Extension Specialist; Dr. Kelley Tilmon, Field Crop Extension Entomologist; Dr. Mark Loux, Research and Extension Weed Science; Greg Labarge, Agronomic Systems Field Specialist; Dr. John Fulton, Precision Agriculture Engineer; and Dr. Anne Dorrance, Field Crop Extension Pathologist.

It will be held at the Andersons Marathon Ethanol, 5728 Sebring Warner Road, Greenville, Ohio. The meeting will run 8 am until 4 pm with a continental breakfast and lunch provided.

Workshop sponsors include the Ohio Soybean Council, Seed Consultants, Crop Production Services and Otte Ag.

What we’ll cover:

•          Market Outlook –Chad Strobel, The Anderson’s

•          Can You Budget a Profitable Soybean Crop – Sam Custer

•          Agronomic Practices that Optimize Profitability in Soybean Production-

Perception vs.

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More links emerging between farm economics, productivity and the environment

The Soil Health Partnership, an initiative of the NCGA, recently held its third annual Soil Health Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. About 185 Ag scientists, industry leaders, environmentalists, water quality experts and enrolled farmers discussed their efforts to make agriculture more productive and sustainable through healthy soil.
The key takeaway from the meeting: Building long-term data by its very nature takes time, but early indicators are promising on the relationship between soil health and economic, productivity and environmental gains in agriculture.
“Through this program, we have powerful analytics underway providing early indicators of tangible links between soil health and enhanced farm performance,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director and NCGA director of soil health and sustainability.
Working with their agronomists and trained field managers, SHP farmers have enrolled about 32,000 acres to provide data for the analytics. The three main areas of study are cover crops, reduced tillage and advanced nutrient management.
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