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Winter meeting season coming up

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Both Pesticide Applicator license holders and Fertilizer Applicators will attend recertification programs at the same time and place, check the PestEd website https://pested.osu.edu/privaterecertification for a program near you.

And as we get closer to winter meeting season we will post those regional and area agronomy and update meetings. Our Agronomic Crops Team calendar is pretty thin now, but will be full before Christmas. So check our website: http://agcrops.osu.edu/events/calendar, for the events and their locations.

A couple of events on my calendar for crop producers:

  • The Ohio No-Till Conference is Dec. 5 at Der Dutchman Restaurant, 445 S. Jefferson, Plain City. Details are on this website: https://ohionotillcouncil.com.
  • The annual Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium is Dec. 17, 2019, at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center at 2201 Fred Taylor Dr, Columbus, OH on OSU campus. Register today at ohiograinfarmerssymposium.org.
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Basis worth watching this winter

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn basis for fall 2019 and into January-March 2020 has been relatively flat for months. Numerous Ohio locations have the nearby corn basis at anywhere from 10 to 40 cents over the December CBOT. Flat price levels from fall into January often only provided a gain of 10 to 15 cents compared to that of past years when the gain could have approached 30 cents or more. Producers seem content to sock as much corn away as possible into home storage bins with the anticipation of higher prices down the road.

Soybean basis on the other hand late October and early November saw improvements in numerous facilities across Ohio of 10 to 20 cents for nearby delivery as the harvest wound to completion. Also, deliveries for January to March had basis improvement of 5 to 10 cents.

Demand bears have been most pleased to see corn prices stall and retreat the last two weeks of October.Continue reading

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Ohio State report evaluates options for reducing Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms

Several research teams, led by The Ohio State University, have concluded a three-year study evaluating the ability of agricultural management practices to reduce phosphorus-causing harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

In 2012, the United States and Canada set the goal of reducing phosphorus entering the lake by 40%. Now, researchers have a better understanding of what management practices need to be implemented, and what research still needs to be done to meet these goals by 2025.

The majority of phosphorus entering Lake Erie originates from the Maumee River watershed. More than 85% of the phosphorus entering the lake comes from agricultural sources such as fertilizer runoff. To address this, researchers are evaluating what agricultural management practices have potential to reduce this phosphorus, while supporting farmers to maintain profitability.

Photo courtesy of NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

“There’s a lot of edge-of-field work going on that identifies successful practices in single fields.

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Correcting compaction infractions below the surface

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

It will come as no surprise to farmers that compaction issues will play a role in the future productivity of their fields after the last two growing seasons. Across Ohio, 2018 finished with a wet harvest with many farmers unintentionally committing compaction “infractions.” The equally wet spring of 2019 did not help heal the already injured soil profile, and in some areas, the fall of 2019 was also a challenge. Soil structure was severely damaged by multiple passes of heavy harvest and planting equipment. While many farmers attempt to follow controlled traffic patterns, it is not always practical when the weather only allows for brief windows of opportunity for field work.

This scenario was a text book example for both topsoil and subsoil compaction to occur according to research conducted by Randall Reeder, Ohio State University emeriti and Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State Soil Specialist.

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Planning early is a key to effective on-farm research

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Most Ohio farmers will agree that 2019 will go down in the history books as a year with tremendous variability. For those who conduct on-farm research, variability is one thing they attempt to reduce. One way to help reduce variability is to have a plan before you go to the field. A plan that is designed to have multiple replications of the various components can give you options.

“If you have a plan, you will be more likely to implement it when you go to the field,” said Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension, Agronomic Systems Field Specialist. “If changes need to be made due to changing conditions, you will be more likely to have options available that allow you to maintain the integrity of the research and not compromise the reliability of the results.”

Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension Agronomic Systems Field Specialist

Hawkins feels that learning what works in different years is critical.

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Crop insurance options for producers facing delayed harvest

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) said producers with Federal crop insurance that are experiencing a delay in harvesting their crop and potentially have a loss should contact their Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) to file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest. The late maturing crop coupled with extremely wet and wintery conditions this fall have extended harvest for producers across the Midwest.

Brian Frieden, Director of RMA’s Springfield Regional Office, reminds producers who have federal crop insurance coverage and are experiencing delays in harvesting their crop to contact their crop insurance agent to file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest.

Producers must file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest before the end of the insurance period, so that Federal crop insurance claims are settled based on the amount of harvested production. For producers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, the end of the insurance period for corn and soybeans is Dec.… Continue reading

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Lackluster soybean yields for 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The 2019 growing season will be remembered for many things, though bin-busting soybean yields will probably not be one of them.

“Soybean yields in Ohio are going to be wide ranging. This is largely due to the soil moisture during the growing season, both excess and drought. Soybean planting date across the Midwest is still the No. 1 factor in soybean yields. With the late planting this year, that is very unfortunate. This year the excessive wet, followed by the dry also had a huge impact,” said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. “It started wet, was late planted and then some areas of the state just dried out. Wet soils led to poor root conditions, then dry conditions struck some areas, which just magnified the poor root problem. The lack of moisture during pod fill is probably a bigger issue where water and rainfall is concerned for soybeans.

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How reliable will this year’s test plot data be?

By Laura Lindsey and Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Ohio’s corn and soybean crops experienced exceptional growing conditions in 2019, including record rainfall in May and June followed by drier than normal August and September conditions in many areas. As a result of the early season saturated soils, corn and soybean planting was delayed across most of the state. For soybean, planting date is the most important cultural practice that influences grain yield. Planting date is also a major factor affecting crop performance and profitability in corn. The persistent rains and saturated soils caused localized ponding and flooding. These conditions resulted in root damage and N loss that led to uneven crop growth and development between and within fields. Agronomists often question the value of test plot data when adverse growing conditions severely limit yield potential.

With corn, is data from test plots planted in June of questionable value since corn is typically planted by mid-May for optimal crop performance?… Continue reading

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Figuring out the 2019 lessons learned

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Sometimes the best lessons learned are from the times things do not go as planned. Most in agriculture will agree that 2019 is a year that in many aspects did not go as we had planned. The variability of planting dates and conditions throughout the growing season left many farmers scratching their heads, especially as it related to the final yields. In some cases, the yields were what was expected as a result of the late planting and given growing conditions this year. In other cases, however, the yields were surprisingly good. The Ohio State University is undertaking a project to try to better understand the yield impacts of the planting delays created by the 2019 weather conditions. A farmer survey has been developed, and researchers are asking for help.

Normal planting dates for Ohio range from mid-April to the end of May. This season was quite different when planting for both crops was delayed until late May and stretched into June and even July across many parts of Ohio.… Continue reading

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Soybean research addresses some of the challenges of 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

There were plenty of challenges for soybeans in 2019 and, fortunately, there are numerous research projects seeking some solutions.

Research has consistently shown the importance of planting date. In some cases in Ohio in 2019, planting date did not hurt final yields as much as would be expected due to a late frost and consistent moisture. This does not diminish the importance of planting dates for soybeans.

“Planting date is still the number one factor that influences soybean yield,” said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. “You don’t want to push it too early, because there can be issues on that end.”

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains Specialist

Research has consistently shown a yield reduction from late planting ranging from 0.25 to 1 bushel per acre per day depending on row width, date of planting, and variety. In southern Ohio, soybeans should be planted any time after April 15 when soil conditions are suitable.

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Corn residue breakdown

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers often struggle to get corn residue to breakdown. Many environmental and soil conditions can affect residue breakdown including air and soil temperature, moisture, oxygen, biological activity, and farming practices. Tillage and the addition of fall nitrogen after harvest are common practices that farmers use to speed up residue breakdown. Many farmers feel that the GMO (genetically modified) corn residue is also much slower to break down. Integrated Crop Management at Iowa State University (Madhi Al-Kaisi) conducted a 3-year trial to test these ideas.


GMO versus Non-GMO corn with tillage

Researchers used both Bt (Bacteria thuringiensis) and Non Bt or Non-GMO corn varieties and evaluated three tillage systems: deep tillage, strip till, and no-till systems for three years, in the field and under controlled laboratory conditions. After 12 months in the field, they found no significant differences between Bt and non Bt corn and no differences between tillage system in corn residue break down.… Continue reading

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Crop rotation and second-year soybean yields

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

As harvest wraps up in across the eastern Corn Belt and plans for the 2020 crop are finalized, growers will determine what crops to plant and plan crop rotation across their acres. When considering crop rotations and yields, many focus on continuous corn and the yield penalties associated with that practices. However, there is one possibly overlooked benefit of crop rotation: avoiding a soybean yield penalty.

In this article, the University of Kentucky’s John Grove discusses soybean yields for first year and second year soybeans from 2009 to 2016. Grove’s research data shows an average yield penalty of 2.3-bushels per acre across that 7-year period, with some years being showing yield losses greater than 10 bushels per acre. In another article from no-till farmer, Greg Roth shows data that predicts a 4- to 6- bushel per acre yield penalty for second year soybeans.… Continue reading

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Understanding the Brazil corn crop

Even if the mere idea of visiting Brazil has never crossed your mind, you probably have listened to a song called “The Girl From Ipanema”, maybe in Frank Sinatra’s voice. And what does that song have to do with agricultural markets?

Nothing. But one of its composers, Brazilian Tom Jobim (who sings the song with Sinatra), once said that Brazil is not for beginners. That sentence became a famous and useful way to describe how difficult it is to understand Brazil’s peculiarities. And its corn market is one of them.

As you probably know, Brazil grows two corn crops a year. Well, since last October, it is officially three, but I will write about that third crop another time. For now, let’s stick to the two traditional crops. The first one is planted from September to December and competes for area with soybeans.

Considering that Brazil is now a soybean powerhouse, it is not a surprise that the first corn crop has lost millions of acres over the last two decades.Continue reading

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The top weeds for 2020

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader

After a challenging 2019, four specific weeds should be on every farmer’s radar for 2020: waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, giant ragweed, and marestail.

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth

Palmer Amaranth is an invasive pigweed. Get tips for controlling it from Ohio Field Leader.
                Palmer amaranth seed heads

In terms of waterhemp, there was significant seed production potential in 2019.

“I have seen an increase in waterhemp in 2019, especially with all the prevent plant acres, and that is going to mean big problems for some farmers in 2020,” said Kenny Schilling, retail market manager for FMC Corporation. “If you know you are going to have waterhemp issues in the 2020 soybean crop, a farmer needs to plan on using a dicamba or Liberty soybean in that field.

“It is recommended to use a Group 14 and Group 15 Family herbicide in the pre-emerge application and follow it up with a Group 15 Family herbicide again in the post-emerge application, combined with the chemistry from the herbicide resistant soybean that was planted.

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Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative puts H2Ohio focus on farm-specific conservation initiatives

Following Gov. Mike DeWine’s overview of his H2Ohio program, the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) announced the framework of its public-private partnership with the DeWine Administration’s H2Ohio initiative to ensure funds are provided to farmers at all levels of conservation and nutrient management implementation.

“OACI’s mission is to achieve meaningful improvement of water quality in Ohio, assure the future viability of Ohio agriculture, and build widespread participation of farmers,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council and co-chair of OACI. “While there is no silver bullet, we believe this unprecedented partnership will bring meaningful change to Ohio’s water quality over time.”

OACI will work with the H2Ohio program to ensure funds flow to farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement through implementation of science-based practices that contribute toward healthier waterways. This initiative will begin in the Maumee watershed.

“We are bringing together diverse stakeholders to improve Ohio’s water quality through measurement, education, and certification of Ohio’s farmers,” said Scott Higgins, CEO of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association and co-chair of OACI.… Continue reading

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Do you know your SCN number?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader

What’s your number? While this question sounds like the latest campaign to monitor your cholesterol or blood pressure, it is actually talking about a different health measurement. The health and yield of future soybean crops will be impacted by the level of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) present in fields.

SCN damages soybeans by feeding on roots. This takes nutrients from the plant, and creates wounds for fungi to enter. The past few years the SCN Coalition, funded by the soybean checkoff, has been running the “What’s your number?” campaign to renew attention to the yield robbing pest. Presentations about SCN were common on the agenda of many farm programs in the mid to late 90s. The relative ease of Roundup ready soybean production increased the common practice of no-tilling soybeans back to beans, which created a wonderful environment for SCN populations to grow. In the years following, thanks in part to an increased awareness of SCN associated yield losses and the development of resistant varieties, SCN saw a decline in many Ohio fields.… Continue reading

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Farm bill meetings scheduled around the state

Ohio State University Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency in Ohio are partnering to provide a series of educational Farm Bill meetings this winter to help producers make informed decisions related to enrollment in commodity programs.

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill. While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, there are some changes that producers should be aware of.

Farm Bill meetings will review changes to the ARC/PLC programs as well as important dates and deadlines. Additionally, attendees will learn about decision tools and calculators available to help, which program best fits the needs of their farms under current market conditions and outlook.

Enrollment for 2019 is currently open with the deadline set as March 15, 2020. Enrollment for the 2020 crop year closes June 30, 2020.… Continue reading

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Changing weather patterns: The new “normal”

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

After enduring the spring of 2019, it will not take much convincing for many of you that precipitation extremes have become the new normal. It’s been said that if you want things to be different, just wait until next year. While this will likely be true, the trend of punishing rain events occurring more frequently is undeniable.

Impacts of extreme precipitation:

  1. Intense rains with increased atmospheric moisture = persistent risk of flooding
  2. Soil movement and topsoil degradation
  3. Decreased aggregate stability, lower soil O2 levels
  4. Sustained dry periods between rains
  5. Days to perform field work are limited.


Effective water use

While excessive water at any given time has many downsides, effective water utilization is critical to overall crop development and growth. Water is a fundamental component of photosynthesis. In order to maximize this critical resource, we must implement management strategies that allow our soils to both accept and retain more water to sustain us throughout the drier periods.… Continue reading

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The best weed control is a growing crop

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The best weed control is a growing crop. This is one of the lessons re-learned in 2019 according to a couple of long time agricultural chemical company representatives.

“The earth was meant to be covered. If there is not a crop growing, nature is going to cover itself. Something is going to grow,” said Neil Badehnop, sales representative for Valent USA. “Overall weed control is done by the growing crop, and if the intended crop is not planted, something else will grow — in this case, it will be weeds.”

In his over 28 years monitoring the weed situation across Ohio, Badenhop has seen first hand the reality of the old saying “Weeds beget weeds.” In those fields that were left bare and weeds were not properly controlled and allowed to go to seed, there was the potential for a huge build-up in the weed seed bank.… Continue reading

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Where’s the bean? Missing seed in soybean pods

By Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension

As soybean harvest progresses, a few growers are noticing poor yields in otherwise nice-looking plants and pods. While a visual inspection might lead to high estimations of seed quality, the inside may contain shrunken, shriveled or, even worse, missing seed. Stink bugs can often cause this type of injury to soybean seed. They have piercing sucking mouthparts that poke through the pod wall, and then feed directly on the seed. Because their mouthparts are small, damage to the pod is often undetected. However, opening a few pods may reveal poor seed quality evident of stink bug feeding. We have seen increasing issues with stink bugs in Ohio. This past season was no exception and we will likely continue to see issues in the future. For more information on stink bug identification, scouting and resources, see our agronomic crops insects webpage: https://aginsects.osu.edu/home… Continue reading

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