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Corn planting depth considerations

By Alexander Lindsey, K. Nemergut, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Timing corn emergence is key to minimize yield reductions, and can be more important for preserving yield than even seed spacing. When setting planting depth for corn this year, be sure to consider not just first emergence seen, but also the uniformity of the emergence.

In work conducted from 2017-2019, we manipulated seeding depth to be approximately 1, 2, or 3 inches deep (current recommendations are for planting at 1.5 to 2 inches deep) in two conventionally tilled fields. One field had 2% to 3% organic matter, and the other had 4% to 5% organic matter. We tracked daily emergence in the plots, and measured stalk strength and yield at the end of the season. Across years and fields, shallow planting resulted in faster emergence of the first plants in each year. However, the seeds that didn’t emerge were more subject to moisture fluctuation and took more time to go from 10% emerged to 90% emerged.… Continue reading

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Conservation Tillage Conference videos online

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired), Ohio State University

We were fortunate to have Conservation Tillage Conference the first week in March, before the coronavirus from China exploded on our shores. A total of 775 people participated, including about 350 CCAs.

We also recorded the presentations, as we have done the past 3 years. The videos are on the website: ctc.osu.edu. Sixteen were posted in March, and more are being added each week in April.

 … Continue reading

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Crop Progress: Winter wheat jointing progresses

Cold temperatures and precipitation didn’t stop farmers from working the fields entirely, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures averaged 10 degrees cooler than historical normals and the entire State averaged slightly more precipitation last week. There were 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 19. Temperatures fell below freezing across most of the State and the lowest temperatures were observed in the west and north. Some northern portions of the State received 3-4 inches of snow. Freezing temperatures burned some winter wheat leaf tips as winter wheat jointing progress was 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Freezing temperatures caused fruit growers take preventative freeze measures and to scout for frost injury to budding trees and vines. Anhydrous Ammonia was applied to fields, top dressing of wheat continued, and manure was hauled. Chemical spraying was hampered due to high winds. Alfalfa leaf damage was reported in some hay fields, but damage was not widespread.… Continue reading

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2020 planting considerations after a 2019 rollercoaster

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Across Ohio, 1.5 million acres of farm fields did not have a cash crop planted on them in the spring of 2019 as a result of the unprecedented amount of rainfall in the state. On some of those acres, farmers planted a cover crop, but many fields went bare. Those prevented planting situations in 2019 have caused farmers to re-think their 2020 planting intentions. Many cropping rotations were disrupted by the unplanned weather challenges last year and that is resulting in the need for adjustments this year.

“We will have significantly more popcorn acres in 2020 due to the number of prevent plant acres we had in 2019,” said Mark Wachtman of M&D Farms in Henry County. “We are attempting to re-set our rotation.”

Wachtman is one of several farmers hoping for the promise of a more normal year in 2020.… Continue reading

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Glyphosate controversy continues

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Glyphosate, used in the weed killer Roundup, is in the news again. This time, the controversy surrounds the EPA’s decision in January 2020 to allow glyphosate to continue being used in the interim while the agency conducts its mandatory 15-year re-approval review.

Although EPA has yet to make its re-approval decision, two groups of plaintiffs have petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an invalidation of the EPA’s decision allowing continued use in the interim. Plaintiffs argue that the decision violates both the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Endangered Species Act because the EPA has not gathered enough information to prove that glyphosate is safe for humans, the environment, and endangered species.… Continue reading

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Create a strong soybean weed control strategy

By John Schoenhals, Pioneer Field Agronomist, Northern Ohio

Springtime in Ohio is an exciting time — color returns to fields, lawns, and landscapes, outdoor activities (with appropriate social distancing) can begin, and the sound of birds fills the early morning air. When it comes to fieldwork, spring is a pivotal time for setting corn and soybean yield potential.

While seed genetics, weather, planter calibration, and overall uniformity have a high impact on yield, it is important not to lose sight of the challenges of weeds to a grower’s operation.

The challenges that weeds pose to growing crops has increased drastically in recent years, and 2020 will bring even more challenges. Large amounts of prevent plant ground in 2019 allowed tough-to-control weeds such as marestail, ragweed, and waterhemp to produce enormous amounts of seeds. These seeds can very quickly be spread to new areas.

Waterhemp is the newest weed threat in many parts of the state, especially in soybean production.… Continue reading

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Nematologists eager to study a new soybean variety with SCN resistance

A new soybean variety with resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN) derived from the breeding line PI 89772 is being released by Syngenta in small quantities in 2020. Syngenta is sharing seed with university researchers and farm cooperators now, and full commercial launch is expected in 2021. “We’re excited about a new soybean variety with a source of SCN resistance derived from breeding lines other than PI 88788 and Peking,” said Melissa Mitchum, molecular nematologist at the University of Georgia and co-leader of The SCN Coalition. “If the new variety has the right combination of resistance genes, it could offer a novel mode of action that shifts SCN populations in a different direction than the PI 88788 breeding line and possibly the Peking breeding line, too.”

USDA researchers originally discovered PI 89772 on an expedition in China back in 1930. Ninety years later, and after nearly 25 years of work by breeder Jose Aponte, Syngenta is releasing the variety under two brand names: Golden Harvest GH2329X and NK Brand S23-G5X.

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Be on the lookout for alfalfa weevil

Though it seems like spring has been slow to come this year, we have actually accumulated enough degree days to see potential outbreaks of alfalfa weevil in some locations. Ohio experienced its 5th warmest winter on record (1895-2020) and March temperatures averaged 2 to 8 degrees F above average. Overwintered adults begin laying eggs when temperatures exceed 48 degrees F. Peak larval activity and feeding damage occurs between 325 and 575 heat units (based on accumulation of heat units from January 1 with a base of 48 degrees F). Current (Jan. 1 – Apr. 11, 2020) heating units range from near 100 in far northeastern Ohio, 100 to 200 across much of northern Ohio, and 200 to 300 units across much of central, southwest, and southeast Ohio. South central Ohio has currently eclipsed 300 units as evident at OSU South Centers in Piketon.

In short, now is the time to start scouting.… Continue reading

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Crop Progress: Wheat jointing, Oats being planted

Rain fell and fields remained too wet for most equipment, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures averaged 4 degrees higher than historical normals and the entire State averaged about an inch of rain. There were 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 12. Oats planted progress jumped to 24 percent complete last week despite the short window for fieldwork. Other field activity was limited and ranged from manure hauling, spraying weeds, to tiling fields. Top dressing of winter wheat with nitrogen continued although consistent rain threatened to wash away application effectiveness. Hay fields and pastures continued to slowly green up even as soil moisture levels remained mostly surplus.… Continue reading

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Nitrogen and corn

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

We had some very good speakers again at the Conservation Tillage Conference in March. This year I led what I called the Crop College. We in the past had Corn University and Soybean College but there was a request to broaden those to more than just corn and soybean, so this year we did at least add wheat to the mix along with presentations on tillage and nutrient management.

Day two this year I had Jim Camberato from Purdue come to speak about nitrogen. He pointed out work that he participated in to re-evaluate the Maximum Return To Nitrogen (MRTN) economic model. While there are a lot of reasons why it shouldn’t work, it actually does pretty well to give us an N rate for corn. Ohio uses this economic model, housed at Iowa State University: http://cnrc.agron.iastate.edu. We are part of a group of seven states who developed the model and house our Ohio nitrogen rate yield data there to help in making recommendations.… Continue reading

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Controlling slugs

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Slug populations increase during mild winters and flourish during wet springs, especially in no-till or cover crop fields. Scouting shows that slug populations are increasing and may be an issue this year.  Slug control depends upon understanding slug biology, scouting, natural predators, and effective cultural practices.

Biology: There are over 80,000 slug species, but the main pest is the Gray Garden Slug which lays over 500 eggs in the Spring and Fall. Offspring from one gray garden slug could produce over 90,000 grand-children and 27 million descendants, so slug populations can explode quickly.   Slugs mature in 5-6 months and may live 6-18 months with juveniles causing most crop damage, eating 2.5X their body weight daily.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Slugs can survive without food for several months during hot summers, with most crop damage in the spring or fall.  Slugs are dependent upon moisture, cool conditions, and lush vegetation for food and shelter.

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April 9 USDA numbers neutral

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn exports unchanged, soybean exports cut 50 million bushels, soybean crush increased 20 million bushels, wheat exports were reduced 15 million bushels.

Ahead of the report, many had expected it to be a non-bullish report for grains with traders looking for higher ending stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat for the 2019-2020 marketing year. Next month USDA will publish their first supply and demand reports for the 2020-2021 marketing year.

Shortly after the USDA report was released, corn was up 2 cents, soybeans up 8 cents, and wheat up 7 cents. Just before the noon report, grains were mixed with corn unchanged, while soybeans and wheat were up 8 cents.

Corn not being used for ethanol has been huge in recent weeks as it dominated much discussion by grain merchants and producers alike. Shrinking demand has been major for the corn supply and demand table. Nearby corn basis in many Ohio locations the last two weeks has weakened 20 to 30 cents or even more.… Continue reading

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Soybean Genetics aided by CRISPR technology

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

It is often said that a soybean’s maximum yield potential is when it is still in the bag. Once that seed is planted, everything a farmer does is to help the plant maintain that yield potential. When Professor Feng Qu joined the faculty at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center over 11 years ago, his primary focus was plant pathology. Since that time, he has observed all the factors impacting soybean production.

“One thing I noticed every year was weeds were a farmer’s biggest challenge. As a pathologist I would look at the impact of soybean disease. Some years it was a concern, others it was not as much. Abiotic stress caused by drought would occur from time to time, usually in different places, but not every year across every acre. Even when it did, there is often very little a farmer can do about it,” Qu said.

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USDA NASS to re-survey operators with previously unharvested corn and soybeans

Later this month, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will contact survey respondents in Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin who previously reported unharvested corn and/or soybean acreage. If the newly collected data justifies any changes, NASS will update the Jan. 10 estimates in the May 12 Crop Production report. Stocks estimates are also subject to review since unharvested production is included in the estimate of on-farm stocks.

When NASS surveyed producers in December for the Crop Production 2019 Summary, there was significant unharvested acreage of corn in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; and unharvested soybean acreage in Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. The unharvested area and expected production were included in the totals released on Jan. 10. NASS announced plans to re-survey producers in January; however, because it was unclear when producers would be able to complete harvest, we could not set a re-survey date until now. Since there is significant acreage still standing for harvest in North Dakota, producers in that state will be contacted at a later date.… Continue reading

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Agronomy Week 2020

Agronomy Week, a springtime tradition for farmers to show appreciation for the key support of their agronomic professionals, returns April 6 to 10, 2020. The DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine seed brands are offering the recognition program for the fourth year as an industrywide celebration.

During Agronomy Week, farmers can pay tribute to their agronomic team regardless of seed brand — including agronomists, seed dealers and crop consultants — by nominating up to three individuals at AgronomyWeek.com or by posting the professionals’ names on the DEKALB Asgrow Facebook page or Twitter with #AgronomyWeek and #contest.

Nominating farmers will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win daily prizes, as well as an Ultimate Field Day grand prize this summer if public health conditions permit. A baseball-themed video to help promote farmer participation in Agronomy Week will be featured on social media.

“Agronomy Week this spring will showcase the dreams so many American youth have, whether that’s taking the field in a Major League Baseball uniform or taking over the family farm,” said Pete Uitenbroek, DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brand lead.… Continue reading

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Funding and phosphorus reduction

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Analyzing the cost benefit ratio is a regular management function in agriculture. As farmers make decisions regarding the implementation of best management practices and fertilizer application rates, there is an economic benefit analysis that must be considered. The same applies as the government makes decisions regarding the allocation of resources to phosphorus reduction in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The USEPA is working to develop alternative approaches to achieving nutrient reduction without regulation. Studies have been conducted in the smaller yet similar and more intensely monitored East Fork Watershed in Southern Ohio to develop modeling by conducting bioassessments to determine impact and target levels for excess nutrients.

Watershed action planning involves evaluating the cost of reduction of total phosphorus (TP) levels. “In the modeled watershed, to make the improvements to waste water treatment plants (WWTP), to achieve a 1% reduction in phosphorus (P) load it would cost $5.4 million dollars.

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Using P removal structures to treat tile drainage water

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Legacy phosphorus has been a buzzword among farmers and researchers concerned with the increased P loading recorded in water samples. Ongoing research has indicated that in spite of documented reductions in applied P, and the increased use of cover crops, the P loading in the water continues. The current thought is that particulate P is most often contained in surface run-off. Dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) primarily from legacy P is contained in water coming through the tile lines.

Chad Penn is a USDA–ARS National Soil Erosion Researcher in Indiana. He is investigating various phosphorus removal structures and their ability to remove dissolved P from tile drainage water.

Chad Penn, USDA-ARS

“We have a lot of BMPs to reduce particulate P. Most any practice to reduce erosion will also reduce particulate P,” Penn said. “One big problem with legacy P is that it takes a long time to draw down.”

Research being done by Penn is on tile drainage water specifically from soils with at least 100mg/kg Melich 3.

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Addressing 2019’s lingering challenges

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Following a wet growing season in 2019, some of the issues facing growers in 2020 are lingering from the previous growing season.

Due to the excessively wet weather in the spring of 2019, many fields have compaction that will impact crop development and yields for years to come. Growers should alleviate compaction when conditions allow. Tillage should be performed only when soil conditions are favorable. Tillage under wet or “marginal” conditions will only make compaction problems worse. Compaction is a huge yield killer, as Randall Reeder and Alan Sundermeier wrote in a recent C.O.R.N. Newsletter: “Years of OSU Extension research on Hoytville silty clay loam showed that through compaction, 10% to 15% of the potential crop yield was being left in the field.” Farmers should plan to alleviate compaction when possible and avoid traffic on wet soil this spring.

Weed control in soybeans will continue to be a challenge between herbicide tolerant weeds and the plethora of soybean herbicide traits available to growers.… Continue reading

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Pollinators and honey bees

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

A good deal of attention has been given to honey bees and other pollinators the last several years. Honey bees first began to draw notice back in 2006 when concerns over Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) first emerged. CCD is defined by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service as a dead colony with no adult bees and with no dead bee bodies, but with a live queen, honey and immature bees. More recently, attention has been given to habitat for other pollinators as well. The USDA has looked at existing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts in a Mid-Contract Management (MCM) process to address growing pollinator habitat concerns. Along with reducing soil erosion and improving water quality, CRP aims to ensure plant diversity and wildlife benefits as well. Several producers with CRP contracts for grass filter strips received letters from the FSA offices notifying them of recent revisions to the MCM process that require all CRP contracts undertake a MCM activity.… Continue reading

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