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Process turns wheat flour into CO2-capturing micropores

Researchers have shown how a process for the “carbonization” of wheat flour creates numerous tiny pores that capture carbon dioxide, representing a potential renewable technology to reduce the industrial emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“With increasing carbon dioxide emissions, global warming is accelerating, accompanied by abnormal climate changes,” said Vilas Pol, an associate professor in Purdue University’s School of Chemical Engineering and the School of Materials Engineering. “It is imperative to develop efficient methods for capturing carbon dioxide.”

Purdue researchers developed a process that creates carbon compartments from wheat flour. Collaborating with researchers at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, they studied carbon dioxide capture in these unique carbon compartments. The chemical compound potassium hydroxide was used to “activate” — or generate many small pores — in the wheat flour inside a furnace at 700 degrees Celsius.

The carbon dioxide is “adsorbed,” or bound to the material’s surface inside the micropores.

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It takes many steps to find the right rate

Galen Koepke farms in Ottawa County on the banks of the Portage River just a few miles from Lake Erie.

A television crew was at Koepke’s farm within a few hours after the news broke after the Toledo water crisis in 2014. Since then, all agriculture in the watershed has been the subject of great water quality scrutiny, but Koepke is under a microscope.

In many ways, though, Koepke welcomes the attention because he knows he is doing things right according to the 4Rs with his farming practices. This has not always been easy, however, particularly for one 34-acre field that borders the Portage River. For many years, he had farmed and carefully managed the 20-acre field and then around 20 years ago he purchased a neighboring 14-acre field and combined them.

“On that 14 acres they had two large layer operations with a total of around 100,000 chickens and they had spread all the manure on that field for many years.

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Agriculture still watching (and waiting for) WRDA

New research by the University of Tennessee quantifies what many in agriculture have known for years; failure of our aging river locks and dams along the Mississippi River and its tributaries would be ruinous with billions of dollars in lost jobs and reduced economic activity.

Recently, USDA released estimates of the economic implications to the agriculture sector should a disruption occur at either Lock & Dam 25 on the Upper Mississippi or La Grange Lock & Dam on the Illinois River waterway. The locations were selected because they are representative of the lock system as a whole but also because they occupy key locations on the river system.

“These are both 600 foot locks even though modern tows are 1,200 feet-long. They are also at the lower reaches of the waterways,” said Ken Hartman, chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Market Access Action Team. “The southbound traffic here already contributes to long delays because of the lock size.

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Ohio corn testing positive for vomitoxin

An increasing number of reports are coming in of corn testing positive for vomitoxin, with levels as high as six to 10 parts per million in some cases. Some of these numbers are taking producers by surprise.

Although the weather has been favorable for ear rot development, and consequently, grain contamination with vomitoxin, test results could be misleading in some cases, and may even be incorrect. Since there is not much that can be done about grain contaminated with mycotoxins, you should at least check to make sure that you got a fair test. Get a second opinion if needed.

There are several things about the mycotoxin testing process that could lead to inaccurate results, including how samples are drawn and handled. Remember, the number of ears infected within a field and the number of kernels infected on a given ear are highly variable. As a result, moldy grain and vomitoxin levels vary considerably within the grain lot.

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Soybeans, China, and the rest of the world: Changing of the guard?

Strong import demand is largely credited with soybean’s relatively high current price, especially in the face of a U.S. soybean yield that currently is a record by 3.4 bushels per acre. China remains the largest source of growth in world soybean imports measured in bushels, but its projected growth rate for the 2016 crop year is smaller than the growth rate for the rest of the world. If this projection holds, it will be the first time China has not had a higher growth rate since it became a continuous soybean importer in the mid-1990s.

This study begins with the 1995 crop year and ends with the current projections for the 2016 crop year. Since 1995, China has been a net importer of soybeans.

 

Perspective

Over the past 20 years, China’s annual imports of soybeans exploded from essentially zero to 3.2 billion bushels currently projected for the 2016 crop year.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress — October 31st, 2016

Soybean Harvest Slowly Wrapping Up

Rains were relatively light but the effects of a wet fall persisted, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5 days available for fieldwork for the week ending October 30. Light showers kept harvest of corn and soybeans to a slow pace. Green stalks along with muddy fields were the main obstacles to finishing soybean harvest. Some frosts were noted, but more will be needed to firm up the ground and kill stalks. Cover crops and wheat benefited from the elevation in temperature and soil moisture. Moisture levels of grain harvested over the week averaged 19 percent for corn and 13 percent for soybeans.

Click here to read the full report

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Autumn observations of 2016 crops

We are just compiling the Extension fall soybean weed surveys; it is bad again with marestail and giant ragweed leading. The big news this year is that resistant marestail is statewide — the whole state now looks like the southwest has for the past 10 years. OSU Weed Specialist Mark Loux says to better manage resistant marestail:

  • Do spray a fall treatment for next years no-till soybeans.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t bother with a residual in the fall, save those dollars for the spring application.
  • Timing that generally works well is late October into early November. Although I like to wait until after we have had a rain to settle the corn stalks and spruce up the weeds a little.

Fall soybean insects

They are getting worse. Maybe it was the dry fall or the wet August, or just a shift in insects but as I was harvesting I saw more seed damage than I have ever seen before.

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Ohio Soybean Council Foundation announces scholarships

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The scholarship program encourages undergraduate and graduate students at Ohio colleges and universities to pursue degrees in one of the many academic fields that support the future of the soybean industry including agriculture, business, communication, economics, education, engineering, science and technology.

“In order to ensure the future prosperity of the U.S. soybean industry, it is important that students understand the wide variety of opportunities available in agricultural careers,” said Bill Bateson, OSCF scholarship selection committee member and soybean farmer from Hancock County. “The agriculture workforce hires the best of the best and we want to support those who have an interest in starting careers in agriculture after graduation.”

The 2017-2018 academic year also marks the 10th anniversary for the OSCF scholarship program. Since 2008, the OSCF scholarship program has awarded $266,000 in scholarship funds to 65 students studying agriculture or a related field at Ohio colleges or universities.

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Ohio’s specialty crops had a great 2016

Ohio is home to a myriad of specialty crops, each having their own peculiarities with regard to the optimum weather and growing conditions.

Brad Bergefurd is an Extension educator specializing in agriculture and horticulture. He works with a wide array of Ohio’s specialty crops. As a result, he always has an interesting take on the growing season. Here are some of his thoughts about 2016 as the growing season comes to its conclusion.

“We’ve had some of the best yields in strawberries and asparagus. We did have a few late-season frost events in certain pockets in Ohio last spring, but even folks who got some of that damage still had pretty good strawberry yields overall both with matted and plasticulture. There was one picking of asparagus where there was damage and it had to be mowed. Then, rolling into the planting season, things were a little delayed because we were so wet early on.

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Fall tillage? Is it necessary?

It’s dry and we harvested early, so we have time to kill — and diesel is cheap. Sjoerd Duiker, soil management specialist at Penn State, is a graduate of OSU’s School of Environment and Natural Resources and works just next door. A year ago he supplied us with these remarks on when and why to do fall tillage, it bears repeating.

  • When compaction has been caused, remedial action may be needed. This is especially the case if ruts have been created. If no ruts are seen it is probably not needed to do tillage — instead plant a cover crop to use the living root system to alleviate compaction.
  • Ruts need to be smoothened out to be able to plant the next crop successfully, however. If ruts are uniformly distributed across the whole field, some type of tillage may need to be done on the whole field. In many cases, however, ruts are localized and only need localized repair.
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Are modern genetics worth the money?

At summer field days and then at Farm Science Review, I had the opportunity to talk with growers about crop prices and how they plan to cut back on costs for 2017. One topic that came up several times was to change their genetics to cheaper hybrids or companies. This thought somewhat concerns me.

I have conducted a number of trials and comparisons over the years and generally have learned that new is better when it comes to choosing a hybrid or variety for yield. One such comparison I have been making over recent years is of a modern hybrid to open pollinated corn varieties. I know this is an extreme comparison but I do actually have some folks tell me they are looking for a modern open pollinated variety so they can produce their own seed. For 2016, I compared a modern hybrid, a modern open pollinated variety and an older open pollinated variety.

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Stink bug damage in soybeans

Stink bug damage is becoming a greater concern in Eastern Corn Belt soybean fields, especially with the presence of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), a species that has moved into our sales footprint in recent years. While other stink bugs cause damage, the BMSB is of special concern because it is an invasive species from Asia that was introduced into the United States within the last 15 years.

First discovered in Pennsylvania in 2001, the BMSB has continued to move west. Over the last few years, university experts and company agronomists have heard more reports of stink bug damage to soybeans. Pictured left is damage that was found by Seed Consultant’s seedsmen. Growers scouting their soybean fields around harvest time may have seen some pods that were shriveled and/or soybean seed that was very small or appeared to be missing. This damage may have been a result of stink bug feeding.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress — October 24th, 2016

The harvest of corn and soybeans, as well as the planting of wheat and cover crops progressed until rains moved in mid-week, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 4.1 days available for fieldwork for the week ending October 23rd . Temperatures remained well above average and helped with wheat emergence and the revival of hay fields and pastures. Growers switched between corn and soybean harvest to deal with variable crop and field conditions. Green soybean stems continue to be an obstacle for some. Mold and kernel sprouting in corn was observed in some areas. Ear droppage has also been noted. Moisture levels of grain harvested over the week averaged 18 percent for corn and 12 percent for soybeans.

Click here to see the entire Crop Progress Report

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It’s never too early to plan for next year: Now is the time to implement plans to ensure clean fields and maximum yields in 2017

For many of us, fall is about seeing the “payoff” from all our hard work during the past season. While harvest does allow us to make observations and summarize our findings from the past season, I’d encourage you to also consider preparing your seed bed for next year. For some of you that means tillage, for others who do not intend to till their acres, this means controlling those fall emerged weeds.

While this past growing season was hot and dry for many of us, the recent fall rains have provided the moisture necessary for winter annual and perennial weed populations to thrive. Those same weeds will not only be tougher to get sufficient control of next spring, but will inhibit us from getting our 2017 crop established and off to the best possible start.

Fall is an excellent time to control many of these troublesome winter annual and perennial weeds such as marestail, dandelion, chickweed, henbit, field pennycress and purple deadnettle.

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Torres joins Ohio Corn & Wheat

Ohio Corn & Wheat (OCW) welcomes John Torres, CAE, as director of government and industry affairs. In this role Torres will oversee legislative activities for the organization on a statewide basis, including the coordination of legislative and regulatory actions.

“Advocating for good policy is a fundamental reason our organization exists,” said Tadd Nicholson, the executive director of OCW. “John brings an extensive background in farm organizations, a great network and a diverse set of experiences that are sure to benefit Ohio Corn & Wheat.”

Prior to joining OCW, Torres served for five years as the director of leadership development for American Farm Bureau Federation. He served the organization by working to assess the organizational development needs of state and county Farm Bureaus. Torres began his Farm Bureau career in 2006 as an organization director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

Torres is an active volunteer. He served as a committee member for the Ohio State College of Food, Ag, and Environmental Sciences capital campaign advisory committee, has been a volunteer mentor for Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs Washington Academic Internship Program and holds a seat on the FarmHouse International Fraternity executive board of directors.

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Maintain quality of grain in storage

As harvest is in full swing across the state, and fields of corn and soybeans are disappearing, grain bins are starting to fill up. All of the management decisions that growers made throughout the growing season are being evaluated as yield data is collected and analyzed. Also, growers marketing programs are in full swing trying to maximize the best price per bushel across an entire operation.

One factor affecting profitability is still at jeopardy; that is the quality and marketability of corn and soybeans before they are sold. Grain condition in storage is often overlooked until there is a problem as grain begins to be moved for sale. Grain quality and condition will never improve after it is put into storage, however, it can quickly decline to the point of dockage or rejection at a point of sale. Considering the following points when storing grain can help reduce potential grain quality issues.

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Use plot data to make good decisions

As harvest is completed across the Eastern Corn Belt, seed companies, universities, and growers will have the chance to compile and analyze data from yield testing. One of the most important decisions a farmer will face all year is deciding what variety to plant and in which field to plant it. To ensure that the best possible decision is made next spring, it is important to spend some time looking at yield data. While reviewing data is critical, knowing how to determine whether it is accurate and useful is equally important. Below are some tips for using data to make sound planting decisions next spring.

Look for Replicated Data

Don’t rely on yield results from one strip plot on a farm or from a single plot location. Look for data from randomized tests that are repeated multiple times and across multiple locations. Replications in testing increase the reliability of the data and help to remove variables that can skew results.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress — October 17th, 2016

Weather conditions were ideal for harvesting, planting, and some fieldwork opportunities, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 6.3 days available for fieldwork for the week ending October 16. Corn and soybean harvest is progressing rapidly with the warm dry weather. Some areas weren’t able to do fall tillage and seeding because conditions were extremely dry. Frost towards the end of the week affected some crops. Corn has been slow to dry down and still showing signs of disease and ear rot in some areas. Average grain moisture for corn harvested was 18 percent, and soybean moisture was at 12 percent. The final cutting of hay is wrapping up. Winter wheat planting leapt ahead in areas where soil moisture levels were ideal.

Click here to read the full report

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4Rs in one pass

It has been said many times that there is no silver bullet for addressing the challenges of implementing the 4Rs. While it is not silver, Legacy Farmers Cooperative has fabricated a tool that can accomplish nutrient application at the right rate, the right time, with the right product in the right place and it will be rolling over more than 5,500 acres this fall in northwest Ohio at eight to 10 miles per hour.

Logan Haake is the precision ag manager for Legacy Farmers Cooperative who leads all precision planting, climate, grid sampling, field scouting, variable rate prescriptions, and other precision ag programs for Legacy Agronomy. A fairly new tool in his battle to help implement the 4Rs is a John Deere 2510H — an anhydrous tool bar for either pre-plant or sidedress applications.

Findlay Implement has been working with using the 2510H for subsurface applications of nutrients with very minimal soil disturbance to preserve the benefits of no-till for a couple of years now, renting it out to area farmers.

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USDA issues safety-net payments to farmers in Ohio

USDA Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Steven Maurer announced that nearly 100,000 Ohio farms that enrolled in safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill will receive financial assistance for the 2015 crop year. The programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns.

“These safety-net programs provide help when price and revenues fall below normal, unlike the previous direct payments program that provided funds even in good years,” Maurer said. “These payments will help provide reassurance to Ohio farm families, who are standing strong against low commodity prices compounded by unfavorable growing conditions.”

More details on the price and yield information used to calculate the financing assistance from the safety-net programs is available on the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc and www.fsa.usda.gov/oh.

“Payments by county can vary because average county yields and guarantees will differ,” Maurer said.

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