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U.S. biodiesel industry testifies on illegal trading

Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that it is formally initiating antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. This decision follows a petition that was filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition, which is made up of the National Biodiesel Board and U.S. biodiesel producers.

“Initiation of these investigations validates the allegations in our petition, and we look forward to working with the U.S. government agencies during the course of the next year to enforce America’s trade laws,” said Anne Steckel, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs in response to this announcement.

Today the National Biodiesel Board and US biodiesel producers also provided testimony to the International Trade Commission, explaining that Argentine and Indonesian companies are violating trade laws by flooding the U.S. market with dumped and subsidized biodiesel, and how those imports are injuring American manufacturers and workers.… Continue reading

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Watch for armyworm

The University of Kentucky recently reported high true armyworm moth counts (see: https://kentuckypestnews.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/beware-of-true-armyworms-mild-winter-provides-conditions-for-potential-injuries-in-small-grains/). The mild winter likely contributed to the higher and earlier catches this year. These moths migrate northward, so if our southern neighbor is reporting high catches, these moths are also very likely flying into Ohio.

After migrating and establishing, armyworms begin to lay eggs in grasses, including wheat fields and cover crop fields (that may have corn planted soon). Larvae feed for about three weeks before pupating. Right now, it is still too early to take any management action — eggs probably have not even been laid, let alone hatched. However, the high trap counts so far suggest that armyworms are a pest to watch out for later in the growing season.… Continue reading

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The first wave of Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training is done

Senate Bill 150 gives Ohio farmers until September 30, 2017 to become certified to apply fertilizer. We are now in April of 2017, and at the end of the winter meeting season, meaning you have a very, very few meetings left to become certified. This site gives final dates for programs: http://nutrienteducation.osu.edu.

Ohio State University Extension has delivered more than 290 programs around the state with over 14,500 attendees trained so far.

Record keeping requirements are the most important aspect of the new law, and you will start when you receive your yellow Fertilizer Applicator Certificate. If you are a farmer you will maintain the records for three years. If you are a dealer and apply the fertilizer, you maintain the records for three years and supply a copy of the record to the grower who purchased the nutrients.

Within 24 hours of your nutrient application, record:

  •  Name of fertilizer certificate holder
  •  Name of applicator working under direct supervision of certificate holder (if any)
  •  Date of application
  •  Location (field ID, farm)
  •  Fertilizer analysis (such as 11-52-0)
  •  Rate of fertilizer application (lbs/A) and total amount applied
  •  Fertilizer application method (surface-applied, incorporated, etc)
  •  Soil conditions
  •  For surface applications only: is ground frozen or snow covered?
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Still trying to figure out what to do with dicamba in Xtend soybeans this year?

Even if you are planting RR Xtend soybeans, the answer to this could be: maybe nothing. A number of growers have told us that even though they are planting RR Xtend soybeans, they plan on “letting the dust” settle this first year and stay with their regular herbicide program. And then of course there are also some solid reasons to use dicamba in a preplant or postemergence treatment, depending upon what has been done in the field already and whether previous practices have been ineffective for control of certain herbicide-resistant weeds. A few other things to consider before we cover some of the dicamba use options:

  • Be sure to know the dicamba labels and stewardship guidelines well. It might be worth assessing fields now to determine whether some just should not be treated with dicamba based on sensitive surroundings, and whether for others the wind direction the day of intended application will be a major consideration.
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NCGA offers opportunity to grow leadership skills

The National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to become a part of the change they desire by actively honing their leadership skills through the NCGA Leadership Academy, part of Syngenta’s Leadership at Its Best Program.  Growers must be nominated by their state corn association for either program.  Interested members should contact their state associations now for further information and get completed applications in to state offices by the end of May.
“Since it began in 1986, Leadership at Its Best has trained strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent work at the state and national level,” said Wesley Spurlock, NCGA president .  “Having met so many farmers who feel similarly, I know that the desire to give back to their peers motivates an incredible number of farmers to look for service opportunities. NCGA depends upon this grassroots leadership, and I can personally attest that the time and effort dedicated are repaid in full through the incredible relationships built with like-minded individuals.”
Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership at Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels. 
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NCGA photo contest

The National Corn Growers Association reminds photographers that they can help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the fourth annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA captures high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. While the contest opened recently, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2017.
Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for 25 cash prizes, including a $500 grand prize. Prizes include cash awards for the top three entries in eight categories including:  Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farm Family Lifestyle, Scenery/Landscape, Farming Challenges, SHP Conservation, Little Farmers and one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes.”
For more information on prizes and on these categories, click here.
It is important to note that the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest is specifically geared toward photos of field corn and not sweet corn.
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Corn germination and emergence processes

As growers across the Eastern Corn Belt get ready to plant corn, it is important to review and understand what goes into corn the germination and emergence process. Uniform corn emergence is one of the most important aspects of stand establishment and producing high yielding corn. Understanding germination, emergence, and how environmental factors influence these processes is the first step toward ensure uniform emergence.


Germination begins in a corn seed when it has imbibed 30% of its weight in water. While corn can germinate when soil temperatures are 50 degrees F or higher, research has determined that the optimal temperature is 86 degrees F. Visual signs that corn germination is taking place are the appearance of the radicle root, coleoptile, and seminal roots. When temperatures are cooler, the germination process is slower and seedlings are more susceptible to disease, insects, and other damaging factors.


Uniform emergence is one of the most important yield-influencing factors that growers should work to achieve.… Continue reading

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Last minute tips for managing soybean disease prior to planting

As I was digging weeds already out of the garden this weekend and looking at the buds on the trees, it looks more like early May rather than early April.  Either way we are getting our seed together for research plots and checking our list of locations to begin for what is already an unusual season.  While the rain is keeping us at bay, here are some reminders of last minute checks and to-dos before it turns into those crazy long days.

  1. Sample for SCN.  We’ve always recommended sampling in the fall after a soybean crop.  This is primarily due to when SCN populations will be the highest as well as more time in the fall to sample these fields.  Fall sampling has not been ideal the last few years.  This year it is very unlikely that there was any winter kill of eggs, those that are not protected by the cyst wall. 
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Preseason planter maintenance tips

Hopefully by now you have begun to service and prepare your planter for a successful crop initiation. Set yourself up for a successful planting season and a prosperous harvest by taking time to ensure your planter has been calibrated and set to handle the varying seed size that we are experiencing this year. Below are some guidelines to assist in properly adjusting your planting equipment.


Planter frame adjustment

Hitch and toolbar height: Tractor hitch heights may vary due to tire size, tractor manufacturer, and type of planter. Hitch height should be raised to level toolbar for best planter performance. The tool bar height should be 20 to 22 inches from ground level. Make sure it is level or running slightly uphill to provide correct down-pressure from springs.

Seed transmission systems: Check sprockets, chains, bearings, meter drives and insecticide drives daily. Any vibration in the drive system will end up at the meters and cause spacing issues.… Continue reading

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A look at weed control in 2017: Soybeans

With new opportunities for weed control in soybeans for 2017 comes new responsibilities for management and stewardship. Glen Newcomer of Williams County is planning to incorporate some new technology to continue to stay a step ahead of weeds.

“Like many farmers in Ohio, we used Roundup Ready technology in our operation. We were one of the

first seed growers in our area to use Roundup Ready technology back in 1996. So for over 20 years we have been using that type of technology. Since then, we have expressed interest in Liberty Link technology, which is a different mode of action and different type of weed control. Now we have the opportunity to change that mode of action once again with Extend soybean technology,” Newcomer said. “With dicamba as an option. there will be a tremendous responsibility on the producer’s part to familiarize themselves with the different products, the different restrictions in regard to how they are going to spray it and how they are going to manage it.… Continue reading

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Two new mechanisms for herbicide resistance found in Palmer amaranth

Palmer amaranth is a nightmare of a weed, causing yield losses up to 80% in severely infested soybean fields. It scoffs at farmers’ attempts at control, having evolved resistance to six classes of herbicides since its discovery in the United States 100 years ago. And now, scientists have discovered it has two new tricks up its sleeve.

About a year ago, a group of researchers discovered Palmer is resistant to the herbicide class known as PPO-inhibitors, due to a mutation — known as the glycine 210 deletion — on the PPX2 gene.

“We were using a quick test that we originally developed for waterhemp to determine PPO-resistance based on that mutation. A lot of times, the test worked. But people were bringing in samples that they were fairly confident were resistant, and the mutation wasn’t showing up. We started to suspect there was another mechanism out there,” said Patrick Tranel, University of Illinois molecular weed scientist.… Continue reading

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A first generation farmer’s perspective: 25 years of chances given and lessons learned

When thinking about a typical farmer in Ohio, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to find out that they might run a couple thousand acres of corn, soybeans and wheat. One would also expect that there is a barn full of livestock right alongside a barn even fuller of machinery and implements. Brent Pence of Lynn Alan Farm is fitting of all of these ag-centered stereotypes, but the one characteristic of this New Carlisle, Ohio producer that may be a surprise is that he is a first generation farmer.

“When I was young I knew that this was the path I wanted to take and I knew all about the obstacles that I would have to face by not having generations of farmers in my family behind me,” Pence said. “I started working for Bob Kaffenbarger in middle school and he had me bailing straw and hay and doing all the odds and ends chores that a young kid could do without messing things up to much.… Continue reading

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New program recognizes key role of agronomists

From planting decisions to monitoring crop performance throughout the growing season, farmers depend heavily on their agronomic support team to help maximize their success.

The DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brands are proud to launch and support “National Agronomy Week”, an annual observance to promote appreciation for the invaluable support provided by agronomists, seed dealers and crop consultants. This season, Agronomy Week will be celebrated April 3-7 and will continue to be observed the first Monday through Friday of April in years to come.

“Agronomic experts with various affiliations and expertise play an integral role in the success of our customers, and we want to bring added attention to the important work they do,” said Jesse Hamonic, DEKALB Asgrow Deltapine brand lead. “We’re very proud to help spotlight the expertise and service these ag professionals provide for American farmers, regardless of seed brand.”

Hamonic indicated that spring is the perfect time to observe Agronomy Week, because that’s when agronomic support teams are focused on helping farmers kick off the planting season.… Continue reading

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Wheat nitrogen rates

Wheat has already reached green-up across the state so spring nitrogen may be applied anytime fields are fit. Keep in mind that research has shown no yield reduction as long as nitrogen is applied before Feekes GS 7 (two visible nodes).

Ohio State University recommends the Tri-State guide for N rates in wheat. For now, this system relies on yield potential (which may change in a few years with the update of the Tri-State Guide). A producer can greatly increase or reduce the N rate by changing the value for yield potential. Thus, a realistic yield potential is needed to determine the optimum N rate. To select a realistic yield potential, look at wheat yields from the past five years. Throw out the highest and lowest wheat yield, and average the remaining three wheat yields. This three-year average should reflect the realistic yield potential.

Table 10 in the Tri State guide (https://agcrops.osu.edu/sites/agcrops/files/publication-files/Tri-State.pdf) recommends 110 lb N for yield goals of 90+; 70 lb for 75 bushels; and 40 lb N for 50 bushel yield goal (these recommendations are for total N and include any fall N).… Continue reading

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Bearish news for soybeans in March 31 reports

Soybeans saw bearish acres and stocks, corn prices had a friendly acres report and bearish stocks, and wheat was neutral following today’s Planting Intentions Report and Grain Stocks Report.

Market talk about 2017 U.S. corn and soybean acres has been a dominant feature the last two weeks. During that time volume has been on the decrease. Daily price ranges from high to low, has been narrower than normal. Yet, the reality from previous report days suggests grain stocks are the more important number to watch. Grains stocks are a known number while acres are a prediction of what is yet to happen.

Headed into the report traders were looking for bearish grain stocks and bearish acres numbers. Prior to the noon report, corn was up 2 cents, soybeans down 6 cents, and wheat was up 1 cent. Shortly after the report corn was up 4 cents, soybeans down 17 cents, with wheat up 2 cents.… Continue reading

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Prices could make significant moves following today’s report

After the March 31 Planting Intentions report and Grain Stocks Report are published today the markets could be making significant price moves. Grain producers don’t want to see grain prices drift even more to the downside, away from highs seen in January and February. Following the March 9 monthly USDA Supply and Demand Report, corn and soybeans moved out of their sideways pattern as they reached levels not seen for several months. From March 9 to March 24, corn prices dropped 11 cents, soybeans fell 35 cents, while wheat was down 19 cents.

Following the March 9 Supply and Demand Report, the market seemed to be in a void of news headlines that changed, bringing fresh news to the forefront. In the weeks following that report markets seemed to focus almost exclusively on grain supply and production. Demand mattered very little. Weekly grain export loadings and export sales with numbers above the high end of trade expectations provided zero price bounces higher as the numbers were quickly dismissed.… Continue reading

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What is next for precision ag?

Yield monitors, variable rate applications and auto-steer have changed row-crop agriculture in many positive ways. What’s next?

“There are two big categories,” said John Jansen, North America commercial lead for The Climate Corporation. “One is scripting and the other is managing crop health in the season by getting insights in real time.”

On-farm prescriptions for seeding rates, nutrient application and other inputs are making rapid progress and can now be calculated with a few clicks on an IPad.

“We have some new tools where, with a click, farmers can create seeding scripts in corn. There are over 59 seed brands and over 3,000 corn hybrids that farmers can choose from. They can create zones in a field automatically and assign seeding rates in those zones based on their yield targets,” Jansen said. “We have really simplified the steps to create variable rate seeding prescriptions. We will also be working with some fertility scripting tools focused on corn that will allow farmers to create scripts for nitrogen and well as P and K.… Continue reading

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Cover crop dos and don’ts

I have had several questions through the winter on cover crop removal. I have experience with Austrian winter pea and annual ryegrass in some of my cover crop work. I like Austrian pea, it is easy — just apply your normal burndown of glyphosate, atrazine and favorite pre-emergent grass product for corn. Annual ryegrass on the other hand was difficult to manage. In reading the literature on control, it seems others have difficulty, too.

A new publication on Cover Crop Do’s and Don’ts (WS-53-W) from Purdue Extension came out last year in June too late for 2016, but plenty early for this year. Their suggestions fit with my concerns too. So what are some of their do’s and don’ts?


Weed management

• Do terminate cover crops before planting.

• Don’t use annual ryegrass.

• Don’t reduce herbicide use.

• Don’t rely on cover crops for universal weed suppression.


Insect Management

• Do be committed to scouting.… Continue reading

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Beware: Tick numbers could be on the rise this spring

The warm winter weather has many concerned that ticks will be early and plentiful this spring. Those working outdoors need to be on the lookout.

Aside from just providing a serious case of the heebie-jeebies, ticks are a real, and growing threat to human and animal health because they carry diseases. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, blacklegged ticks are active throughout the year in Ohio with the adults active in the spring, fall and winter. The nymphs are active in the spring and summer and the larvae are active in late summer. The onset of human Lyme disease cases occurs all year in Ohio, but incidents peak in summer following the emergence of the nymphs.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans — the “bull’s-eye” rash.… Continue reading

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U2U makes data more accessible to farmers

Researchers at nine universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are celebrating the completion of a six-year, $5 million program that reinvented the way climate scientists connect with farmers.

The Useful to Usable (U2U) project aimed to mold existing climate data into relevant products for the agricultural community. Project participants first learned about the type of climate data that farmers employ when making growing decisions on their farms and how they employ that data. The team used those insights to develop products that would help farmers determine what, when and where to plant, as well as how to manage crops to maximize yields with eyes on limiting negative effects on the environment.

Purdue University’s Linda Prokopy, a professor of natural resource social science and U2U lead project director, and Melissa Widhalm, U2U project manager, led a team of nearly four dozen faculty, staff and students from partnering universities. Many of the team’s findings were published early online in a special issue of the journal Climate Risk Management slated for March release.… Continue reading

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