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Liquid fertilizer can often be the right product

While each of the 4Rs —the right fertilizer source at the right rate, the right time and the right place — are important to consider individually to improve water quality, they also must be looked at as an interconnected system. Each of the Rs impacts the others.

The right source, for example, depends on the rate required, the timing and placement. John Fritz , precision specialist for The Andersons, Inc., has found that liquid fertilizers are often the right source because of the advantages they offer the other Rs.

“Liquid product is often the right product because you can put it in the right place. If you put the right product in the wrong place it won’t do any good,” Fritz said. “Liquid products benefit the economics, agronomics and the environment by combining the right product with the right rate in the right place at the right time. Any of the products we are selling are only successful based on the way they are placed.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – September 12th, 2016

Producers are seeing the long term effect of early season drought despite sporadic rainfall received lately, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5.7 days available for fieldwork for the week ending September 11th. The week began hot and dry, but many areas accumulated well over two inches of rain by the weekend. However, with Corn maturing rapidly, precipitation brought more disease and pest pressure as well as obstacles to harvest. Soybeans were better able to benefit from recent rains and are progressing on pace with the five year average. Rains have not fully revived pastures in many areas.

Get the complete report for the week ending September 11th, 2016

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Atrazine again targeted by EPA

A recent report from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is highly critical of atrazine. EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine in June 2016, as part of the re-registration process for the herbicide. If the recommendation in the assessment stands, it will effectively ban atrazine, which plays an important role in conservation cropping systems.

The introduction of atrazine and other herbicides significantly changed conservation tillage practices, said Bob Hartzler, professor of weed science at Iowa State University.

“Atrazine was one of the first products used on a large acreage because it is broad spectrum and has a wide margin of safety. Prior to that tillage was the primary means of weed control. Atrazine makes it possible to reduce trips across the field,” Hartzler said. “The extra two or three trips farmers were making across the field to control weeds loosened the soil and made it prone to erosion.”

Farmers have made significant progress adopting reduced tillage and no-till methods of growing a crop, and atrazine plays a key role in making these more sustainable practices possible, Hartzler said.

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Understanding soil biology offers a competitive advantage on the farm

Much of the oft-touted American Dream is based upon businesses developing competitive advantages over their competition.

“If Ford and GM are competing to make the best car for the least amount of money and one of them has a technological innovation that gives them an advantage, the other is scurrying rapidly to one-up them and get back on top,” said Dan DeSutter, who farms 5,000 acres near Attica, Ind. and recently spoke at the Ohio No-Till Summer Field Day. “In farming there is a blissful adherence to tradition to want to do things the way grandpa did it. There are good things that can came out of that but we need to understand science better as farmers.”

For DeSutter, an understanding of the science of soil biology is the competitive advantage for his farm. He admits there is still much to learn in this area, but cover crops combined with livestock manure and no-till are important biological steps to transitioning modern agriculture from degenerative to regenerative.

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The cloud and the changing face of agriculture

Enterprises, non-profits, and startups around the world are using the cloud to accelerate innovations that are changing the face of agriculture.

In support of The Ohio State University’s Discovery Themes initiative, and in tandem with the 2016 Farm Science Review, Amazon Web Services and experts from around the country will demonstrate how massive public data sets of satellite photos and other earth-observation data can be used in precision agriculture. Coupled with advanced sensor technology and the Internet of Things, these data sets can be used specifically to increase crop yield, conserve natural resources, create a safer and more resilient food-supply chain and fight hunger.

Ohio State will host the daylong event — a series of six demonstrations — on Monday Sept. 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on the Columbus campus. The event is free but registration is required.

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Western bean cutworm issues

Reports of ear feeding by western bean cutworm (WBC) have come in at a steady pace over the last few weeks. This is the third consecutive year that we have seen a fair amount of feeding, some of it likely has led to an economic loss. The heaviest feeding has occurred in the Northwest and Northeast corners of Ohio.

While it is too late to spray or control at this point (since most larvae are protected in the ear and are getting ready to pupate anyway), growers may need to watch for the development of ear rots. WBC can leave entry or exit holes in the corn husk, which can then provide a nice wound for pathogens like Fusarium and Gibberella.  Some of these organisms can then be a further source for mycotoxins, including Fumonisins and deoxynivalenol, AKA vomitoxin.

In some cases, damaged kernels will likely be colonized by opportunistic molds, meaning that the mold-causing fungi are just there because they gain easy access to the grain.

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New corn disease confirmed in the western Corn Belt

The presence of Xanthomonas bacterial leaf streak disease has been recently confirmed in Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas. Although the disease has only been found in western Corn Belt states, pathologists are conducting surveys to determine if it is more widely spread.

Until recently, this disease has not been observed in the United States. Bacterial leaf streak causes typical leaf disease symptoms on corn such as elongated lesions that run with the leaf’s vasculature, water-soaked margins of the lesions, and lesions that turn tan to brown as tissue becomes necrotic.

It is important to remember that because this new disease is caused by bacterial infection (like Goss’ Wilt), fungicides will not be effective at controlling it.

Ongoing research will be conducted to determine the impact Xanthomonas bacterial leaf streak will have on corn yields, however, it is important to note that throughout the observation of this disease over the past several years, no yield loss has been documented.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – September 6th, 2016

Areas around the state had a break from the humidity and heat as crops approached harvest, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5.9 days available for fieldwork for the week ending September 4th. Some rain showers at the beginning of the week reduced the moderate drought percentage on the U. S. Drought Monitor. A string of dry days that arrived mid-week provided opportunity for hay harvest. Mature corn was reported to be drying quickly and dropping ears. Corn silage harvest began to pick up. There were some reports of wind and rain damage to corn fields in Southwestern counties. Soybeans are improving but experiencing some yellowing. While hay, corn, and pasture conditions haven’t changed much, most remain in average shape across the state.

Click here for a look at the full report

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Two Ohio Soybean Council funded technologies named 2016 R&D 100 awards finalists

Two technologies recently developed through Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff collaborations have achieved “finalist” designations for the R&D 100 Awards, with winners to be announced in November. Both technologies, Soy-PK Resin and Bio-YIELD bioreactor, leverage the natural properties of soybeans to increase the sustainability and improve health in modern industries.

Since the early 1990s, OSC has engaged in public and private collaborations that encourage rapid commercialization of new commercial and industrial uses of soybeans.

“It’s important that we continue to explore new ways to utilize our soybeans,” said Nathan Eckel, OSC Research Committee chair and soybean farmer from Wood County. “Seeing technologies that we’ve helped develop with some amazing partners receive this kind of recognition is fantastic.”

 

Soy-PK Resin

A finalist in the R&D 100 Materials category and Green Tech Special Recognition (i.e., innovations that help make our environment greener and our goal towards energy reduction closer), Soy-PK offers a safe alternative to epoxy resins containing bisphenol-A (BPA).

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Organic research highlighted at event

The Ohio State University’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program will hold a free public field day featuring new findings and projects related to certified organic research.

The event is from 2 to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 starting at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s West Badger farm in northeast Ohio.

The tour will then proceed to additional organic research plots located at OARDC’s Fry Farm and Horticulture Unit 1, which together represent more than 75 acres of certified organic research land.

OFFER and OARDC are both part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The field day will highlight various aspects of agronomic, specialty and cover crops. A featured topic will be soil management using the soil balancing philosophy, an idea described by William Albrecht in The Albrecht Papers which says that ideal soils contain 60 to 75% calcium, 10 to 20% magnesium and 2 to 5% potassium on their exchange sites, leaving them “balanced,” said Doug Doohan, acting director of the OFFER program.

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OSU Pumpkin Field night

Just in time for the upcoming fall harvest, pumpkin growers can learn more about 70 varieties of jack-o’-lanterns, colored pumpkins, pie pumpkins and specialty pumpkin cultivars during a Sept. 15 field night offered by horticultural experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at The Ohio State University South Centers, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, the Pumpkin Field Day will also offer growers the newest research on pumpkin pest and disease control, said Charissa Gardner, program assistant with South Centers.

“The workshop is designed for anyone that grows pumpkins currently, or anyone that is interested in starting to grow them,” Gardner said. “In addition to offering information on pumpkin crop management, we’ll also offer growers information on pumpkin disease screening for resistance to powdery mildew, downy mildew, anthracnose and white speck.”

Brad Bergefurd, an Ohio State University Extension educator, will lead the field night.

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Using cover crops with fall manure applications

Livestock producers will soon be applying manure as corn silage harvest starts. Both soybean and corn harvest will be about normal this year. To best capture the nutrients in manure, livestock producers should incorporate fall applied manure and also consider using cover crops.

Fall cover crops have been planted in Ohio for many years. While primarily used to help control soil erosion, cover crops can also recapture nutrients in livestock manure and keep these nutrients from escaping into lakes, streams and rivers.

The most common cover crops used with livestock manure are cereal ryegrass, oats and radishes. However, farmers have also used wheat, clover, annual ryegrass, or almost anything they are comfortable growing.

  • Cereal ryegrass is the best cool-season grass for capturing excess nitrogen. Because rye over-winters, research has shown it can capture and hold 25 to 50 pounds of nitrogen (organic form). It germinates at lower temperatures than oats so may be planted later, but less nitrogen will be recycled the later the rye is seeded.
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Farmer-led movement for soil health receives $4 million boost

A revolutionary effort to support on-farm conservation has added a new partner representing major agricultural companies, food companies and environmental groups. The new collaboration will accelerate the Soil Health Partnership‘s leadership in helping farmers adopt practices that protect natural resources while potentially increasing profits.
At the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, the industry-leading companies and environmental organizations today announced the launch of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative. Its goal is to support, enhance and accelerate the use of environmentally preferable agricultural practices.
The Midwest Row Crop Collaborative’s founding members include Cargill, the Environmental Defense Fund, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Monsanto, PepsiCo, The Nature Conservancy, Walmart and the World Wildlife Fund.  The overall shared goal is to help achieve a 45% nutrient loss reduction by 2035 across the Upper Mississippi River Basin – chiefly nitrogen and phosphorus.
As part of this effort, the Collaborative has committed to raise $4 million over five years to augment the Soil Health Partnership, a farmer-led initiative of the National Corn Growers Association established in 2014.
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Kernel red streak in corn

One common occurrence observed by growers and agronomists as corn begins to mature is a red coloring of the normally yellow pericarp of corn kernels. Kernel Red Streak (KRS), pictured top left, results from the development of red pigment in corn kernels caused by wheat curl mite feeding on the kernel seed coat. According to Purdue’s John Obermeyer and Christian Krupke in the 2015 issue 25 of the Pest and Crop Newsletter; “There are two suspected mechanisms causing the red streaking. One is the triggering of anthocyanin, a red pigment, in the pericarp as a response to mite feeding. Hybrids vary greatly in how much and where anthocyanin accumulates (e.g., purple seedling corn under cool, wet conditions). The other is the elicitation of another red pigment, phlobaphene, that determines cob (white vs. red), pericarp (great variability as shown with Indian corn), and silk (yellow vs. pink) coloration”

Just like purpling of a corn plant itself during the growing season varies by genetics, so does KRS.

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OABA’s Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program celebrating and implementing the 4R philosophy

Everyone wants clean water.

Yet, in the complex realities of food production, land management and nutrient stewardship, balancing society’s other needs with the supply of clean water is not always a simple task. While everyone wants clean water, not everyone is willing to invest their time, money and other resources into doing what is necessary to make that a reality.

Using the right fertilizer source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place is a simple concept, but the actual implementation of the 4Rs is a challenging task that requires a broad, unified approach including farmers and the agribusinesses that work with them. Ohio took legislative steps to address the water quality challenges in the western basin of Lake Erie, but Ohio’s agribusinesses wanted to take their water quality efforts a step further.

“We started having conversations with The Nature Conservancy about what else could be done outside of government mandates.

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2016 wheat was great in Ohio

There were some good reasons to grow wheat again this year. Many farmers I spoke with said 2016 was there best crop ever. Cool conditions and adequate moisture early May and a dry late May and June helped. What else goes into making the farm more profit?

  • Crop rotation — wheat adds a third crop to our rotation. Generally we get a 10% yield bump to the next crop in the rotation. And with a three-crop rotation we reduce disease and insect pressure for all crops.
  • Wheat can be a good cover crop. We can plant it after soybean harvest, unlike other cover crops. It can even be planted after corn, but be aware that Fusarium head blight will likely be worse if you are planning on grain harvest. Wheat, like oats and cereal rye will help hold onto nitrates. If we want we can graze wheat, or if we get a good stand and have good prospects we can keep it to harvest as grain — this may be our perfect cover crop.
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Purdue dedicates first field phenotyping facility in North America

Dedication ceremonies were held Aug. 29 for the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center, a 25,500-square-foot facility at the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education.

The center will support state-of-the-art research in automated field phenotyping, the process of measuring and analyzing observable plant characteristics.

The Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center is a core component of the plant sciences research and education initiative, part of Purdue Moves, announced in 2013 to broaden Purdue’s global impact and enhance educational opportunities for students. It is the first field phenotyping facility in North America.

“It will require truly revolutionary new technologies to feed a world of 9 billion people and to do so in a way friendly to the environment,” said Mitch Daniels, Purdue president. “The Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center will play a big part in meeting this most urgent of global challenges.”

Jay Akridge, the Glenn W Sample Dean of Agriculture, said the facility will broaden research.

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Tough life lessons from the 80s for a new generation of agricultural hardships

At 65, Les Imboden recently retired from farming after selling his operation that ran through a fair portion of southern Ohio. He is among the most financially successful farmers from Ohio in his generation and many of his successes (and failures) are rooted in the hard lessons he learned battling through the 1980s.

“When I started farming, it was a way of life and when I said it was a business many people were offended by that statement in the 1980s,” Imboden said. “Farming is a wonderful way of life but you also have to pay the bills by treating it like a business. That seems like such an obvious statement now, but back in 1980 that is not how some people were looking at it.”

Imboden’s hard advice for facing the present tough times in agriculture may still offend some in 2016 as a new generation of farmers face prices dipping below production costs, but sometimes those hardest-to-hear lessons can be the most valuable in challenging times.

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Things to know before buying LibertyLink soybeans for next year

Continued problems with marestail and ragweeds this year have a number of growers considering the switch to LibertyLink soybeans for 2017. The LibertyLink system can certainly be a good choice for management of glyphosate-resistant populations of these weeds, along with waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. It’s essential to use the appropriate approach to LibertyLink soybeans to get the most out of it and avoid potential problems. Some things to consider as you make seed-buying decisions and think about your herbicide costs for next year:

• The active ingredient in Liberty — glufosinate — is available in a number of products now. The glufosinate products that are listed in this year’s weed control guide, Liberty, Cheetah, and Interline, have similar loading, rates, and labels. There is also a premix of glufosinate and fomesafen, Cheetah Max, that could be helpful for bigger ragweeds or waterhemp.

• POST glufosinate applications in LibertyLink soybeans should be part of an overall comprehensive herbicide program that includes a preplant herbicide treatment containing effective burndown herbicides and broad-spectrum residual herbicides.

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Drought stressed silage

Rain has been spotty across much of Ohio this summer and there are areas where corn was under moisture stress during the critical pollination period.  As a result, this drought stressed corn has poor grain development and small cobs.  Much of this corn may end up chopped for corn silage.  Typically the most frequent questions about using drought stressed corn for corn silage revolve around nitrate toxicity, expected yield and quality.

In the August 16 issue of the CORN newsletter (http://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/potential-nitrate-problems-drought-stressed-corn) Peter Thomison and Laura Lindsey addressed the question of potential nitrate problems in drought stressed corn.  When drought occurs during or immediately after pollination it raises the flag of potential nitrate accumulation.  In drought conditions nitrates accumulate in the stalk of the plant, with the lower portion of the stalk having the highest concentration of nitrates.  High and potentially toxic levels of nitrates are more likely to accumulate if high rates of nitrogen fertilizer or high rates of manure were applied to the crop. 

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