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Chlorinated water sanitation of leafy green vegetables for fresh produce processors

Before leafy green vegetables get to your local grocery store they are treated with sanitizers to reduce bacteria that have come in contact with the produce prior to or during harvesting and to prevent cross-contamination.

Chlorinated water is usually used in fresh produce industry. Chlorinated water treatment is cost-effective and easiest to manage among all of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved sanitizers for fresh produce. If the produce is dirty, it is rinsed first with cool water because organic material reduces the efficacy of the sanitation process.

Keep in mind this information is intended for small food processors. This sanitation process is not recommended for use at home to clean lettuce or other leafy vegetables from your garden, unless the chlorine meets food grade classification.

Chlorinated water is produced by adding either chlorine gas, calcium hypochlorite, or sodium hypochlorite to water. Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), also known as bleach, is sold in liquid form.… Continue reading

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Sorghum x Sudangrass, a real “slump buster”

Major League Baseball players are infamous for trying strange practices to get out of hitting slumps. Not shaving, not showering, and trying to keep the routine they used when the bat was finding the ball. Grazers in part of Ohio typically have a period of time called the “summer slump,” usually in late July and early August when hot and dry weather force cool season grasses into partial dormancy. Quite often we become like baseball players trying the same routine.

Sometimes we as grass managers need to look to the bench and insert a pinch hitter into our forage lineup to help our cows keep up with nutritional demands. Enter Summer annual grasses, including Sudangrass.

Sorghum × drummondii (Sudangrass), is a hybrid-derived species of grass raised for forage and grain native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eastern Africa. Sudangrass is smaller in plant architecture, has finer stalks, produces more leaves than forage sorghum and develops multiple tillers.… Continue reading

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Will tough spring lead to stronger prices?

Spring has brought extremely varied planting conditions to Ohio’s producers and many others in the eastern Corn Belt. Illinois has seen record levels of crop insurance corn replant claims. Many seed corn companies scrambled to get inventory to affected areas. The last half of May brought sunshine while some parts of Ohio again were slow in planting corn and soybeans as fields dried slowly when unexpected rains fell. It also brought some heavy rains, which drowned out the replanted corn in Madison and Licking counties and other parts of Ohio. Numerous producers were planting corn for the third time. Moods were tense with producers anxious to finish the job. Northwest Ohio and particularly Paulding county had rainfall totals of five to eight inches or more that flooded fields for days while miles of electric poles were doing everything but standing straight and tall.

The season’s first weekly corn condition report of May 30 had the U.S.… Continue reading

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Assess winter wheat before harvest

The spring of 2017 has created many challenges for winter wheat growers. As wheat harvest begins across the eastern Corn Belt, producers should keep an eye out for potential problems that may cause yield loss and impact grain quality. Growers have observed the development of diseases such as powdery mildew and Fusarium head blight (scab).

Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus has also been present in some fields, a result of feeding by aphids carrying the virus. Due to warmer-than-normal weather in late winter/early spring, wheat development has been two to three weeks ahead of normal and growers should expect an early harvest. In areas where head blight has developed, growers should adjust combines properly clean out lighter grains impacted by scab.

According to this University of Missouri article, research performed by the Ohio State University showed that adjust fan speeds between 1,375 and 1,475 rpm and shutter opening to 3.5 inches resulted in the lowest discounts at elevators due to low test weight, damaged kernels, and mycotoxin levels in grain.… Continue reading

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Did you calibrate your sprayer? Here is an easy way to do it

This is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. One can determine if the chemicals are applied at the proper rate only by carefully calibrating the sprayer. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and environment. The primary goal with calibration is to determine the actual rate of application in gallons per acre, then to make adjustments if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater or less than 5% of the intended rate. This is a recommended guideline by USEPA and USDA.

Before starting calibration, make sure you have a good set of nozzles on the sprayer. Nozzles wear off through extended use causing over application, or some nozzles are plugged. Clean all the plugged nozzles. Check the output of all the nozzles for a given length of time at a given spray pressure.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer field Day June 22 in Canfield

It seems you can never know enough about fertilizer these days.

A June 22 field day is designed to help answer questions about applying fertilizer, and after the event, participants can obtain the required state certification for anyone who applies fertilizer, other than manure, to more than 50 acres.

The event will feature speakers Lee Beers and Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension educators, who will discuss soil fertility and using fertilizer to improve crop production.

Eric Barrett, an OSU Extension educator, will train participants on fertilizer application safety and best management practices. Soil health will be discussed, including reducing tillage to increase the fertility of the soil and using soil tests. A soil test can determine the amount of fertilizer already in the soil, then a grower needs to know how much the crop will require to produce the desired yield, Lewandowski said. After determining both, a grower can then know how much fertilizer needs to be spread on a field, he said.… Continue reading

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Sound management critical to overcome challenges of 2017

The spring of 2017 has provided Ohio’s growers with many challenges, and as the growing season continues, sound management of crops will be critical to diminish potential problems and maximize yields.

Patterns of wet weather and large rainfall events have caused planting delays, emergence problems, and required replant of both corn and soybeans in many areas. Due to large rain events this spring, many fields were flooded. While both corn and soybeans can survive flooding/ponding for a period of time, several factors determine the length of time plants can survive. Young corn plants can usually survive two to four days in flooded conditions. Death of corn plants is more likely prior to the V6 stage of development because the growing point is still below the soil surface. Soybeans can usually survive two to four days completely submersed. If weather is cool (mid 60s or cooler) plants are more likely to survive several days of flooding.… Continue reading

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Notice of election: Ohio Soybean Council Board of Trustees

Four Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) Board of Trustees districts are up for election in 2017 and are currently accepting petitions. OSC Trustees serve one term of three years and may only serve three consecutive terms. Two incumbents currently filling the positions are term-limited and two are eligible to run again.

District 3: 

  • Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Huron, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit, and Trumbull Counties
  • Jeff Magyar (incumbent) is eligible to run again

District 4: 

  • Defiance, Paulding, and Van Wert Counties
  • Terry McClure (incumbent) is not eligible to run again

District 6: 

  • Crawford, Seneca, and Wyandot Counties
  • Steve Reinhard (incumbent) is not eligible to run again

District 11: 

  • Clark, Greene, and Madison Counties
  • Charlie Troxell (incumbent) is eligible to run again

Candidates must have grown soybeans within the last three years in one of the counties listed above to be eligible. If interested, candidates must complete a petition which can be accessed on the OSC website at www.soyohio.org. … Continue reading

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Safety considerations for baling hay

As we progress into summer, hay baling moves to the forefront of things to be done on the farm. Hay baling season can come with its own set of hazards that can cause injuries. These include equipment hazards, working in hot temperatures, lifting injuries, and even the stress of getting hay down, dried and baled in a narrow window to beat the weather. Some guidelines to use to prevent injuries this hay baling season include:

• Review the owner’s manual and warning labels of the equipment prior to operation.

• Make sure that all guards and shields are in place for the tractor and hay harvesting equipment.

• Ensure that safety locks are in place when working on the baler while the bale chamber is open.

• Make sure twine is properly threaded and the knotter system and twine arm are in good working condition. Do not feed twine by hand into the baler.… Continue reading

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New way to detect Palmer amaranth in contaminated seedlots

Last summer, farmers in the Midwest got an unwelcome surprise after planting native seed on Conservation Reserve Program acres. Palmer amaranth, the aggressive and hard-to-kill weed, had established in droves. As a possible solution, some states declared Palmer a noxious weed, which prohibits its sale and transport.

“I’ve had seed growers call me,” said Pat Tranel, molecular weed scientist in the crop sciences department at the University of Illinois. “Their businesses are up in the air because of this. Unless they have a way to certify their product is Palmer-free, they can’t sell it.”

The typical testing method involves growing a sample of seeds until the plants are large enough to be identified, but this is a slow and potentially unreliable process.

“It all takes a long time, and sometimes the seeds don’t germinate during the test,” Tranel said. “Alternatively, there’s a company that will test individual seeds using DNA sequencing, but they’re charging $100 per seed.… Continue reading

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Do not delay wheat harvest

Wheat harvest date impacts both grain yield and quality. Delaying wheat harvest puts the crop at risk for increased disease, lodging, sprouting, and harvest loss. Last year in Clark County, we evaluated wheat harvested on June 29 (at 12% moisture content) and July 8 (at 14% moisture content). Grain moisture increased between June 29 and July 8 due to 0.58” rain between the two dates.

When wheat harvest was delayed until July 8, yield decreased by nine bushels per acre, test weight decreased by 2.9 pounds per bushel, and DON level increased by 0.86 parts per million. Using a grain price of $4.50 per bushel and discounts from a local elevator, the difference the delayed wheat harvest resulted in a loss of $87 per acre compared to the June 29 harvest.

With funding from the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, we are continuing this research. However, we will be comparing grain yield and quality of wheat harvested at ~20% moisture to ~13% moisture.… Continue reading

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National Agricultural Genotyping Center announces new tools in corn disease identification

Identifying corn diseases and pursuing the best management plan available just got easier, faster and more cost effective due to new testing protocols announced today by the National Agricultural Genotyping Center located in Fargo, North Dakota.

“Farming is a complicated pursuit that involves many choices. Making the right choice at the right time can have a huge effect on profitability,” said Larry Hoffman, Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team. “This is especially true when it comes to identifying the dozens of diseases that can harm healthy corn plants, yields and grain quality.”

Corn has effective genetic resistance to many of the important diseases, according to Pete Snyder, President and CEO of NAGC, however, numerous challenges remain in identifying corn diseases in timely fashion. NAGC is targeting a couple of key diseases, Goss’s Wilt and Xanthomonas, in their first disease assays, or tests now available to corn farmers, agronomists and crop consultants.… Continue reading

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Preble Co. cover crops program June 26

The benefits of cover crops for soil fertility and crop growth are being proclaimed far and wide: increased organic matter and fertility, reduced erosion, improved soil structure, weed suppression, reduced nutrient runoff, and potential increase in crop yields and reduced input costs, just to name a few. Despite this, many local farmers are not using covers. Preble Soil and Water Conservation District encourages farmers to use cover crops, and they’re sponsoring an upcoming program to discuss the benefits and practical considerations to be taken into account when doing so.

The program will be held Monday, June 26 at the farm of Donn and JoAnn Kolb, 3464 Paint Creek Rd., Eaton. A free meal will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6:00.

The program will focus on practical information needed to allow producers to be successful in using cover crops. Speakers will include Dr. Hans Kok of the Soil Health Partnership, Wes Liebrecht of Fennig Equipment, and a panel of local farmers who have experience using cover crops.… Continue reading

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ODA honors top Ohio wines

Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels honored the Director’s Choice recipients at an event held at the Statehouse for retailers, distributors, restaurateurs and winery owners.

More than 20 wines were evaluated by a panel of judges, on behalf of Director Daniels, for the highly coveted award. The 2017 award recipients are:


Best White Wine

2016 Ferrante Grand River Valley Vidal Blanc
Ferrante Winery, Ashtabula County

2015 Doughty Glen Misty Meiner
Doughty Glen Winery, Holmes County


Best Red Wine

Valley Vineyards Red Reflections
Valley Vineyards, Warren County


Best Rose´

Terra Cotta Chambourcin Rosé
Terra Cotta Vineyards, Muskingum County.


In addition, Daniels presented Pamela Ledyard of Stoney Ridge Winery (Williams County) with the Grape Grower of the Year award, and Andrew Codispoti of Gervasi Vineyard (Stark County) with the Winemaker of the Year award.

All of the Director’s Choice award recipients are eligible for the Ohio Quality Wine designation.… Continue reading

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Slugs likely this summer

Something very small has benefited from the heavy rainfall that has played havoc with field crops statewide: the slimy and frequently hungry gray garden slug.

Planting corns and soybeans early sometimes helps reduce the amount of damage from slugs because the crop has a chance to outpace the growth of the slug, whose appetite increases as it matures, said Kelley Tilmon, a field crop entomologist with Ohio State University Extension.

But with above average rainfall across the state and some late-season frosts, a significant number of farmers are planting — or replanting — corn and soybeans later in the growing season. And those emerging plants are tasty meals for the slithering bandits.

This spring and summer might just offer the perfect conditions for slugs, including the gray garden slug, the species that typically creates the biggest problem for growers of field crops, Tilmon said.

“We get the worst problems when we have very small plants combined with large slugs because they’re out there happily feeding on them,” Tilmon said.… Continue reading

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Possibility of seeing purple corn plants

For many areas of the eastern Corn Belt, a great deal of corn has been planted over the past few weeks. Some corn has emerged and is in the early stages of growth. One phenomenon that commonly occurs at the early stages of the growing season is the appearance of purple corn plants. Corn plants can turn purple for several reasons related to environmental factors such as:

• Sunny days and cool nights (temps in the 40s to 50s F)

• Soil pH lower than 5.5

• Cool temperatures

• Wet soil

• Stresses that hinder the uptake of phosphorus

• Herbicide injury

• Soil compaction

When saturated soils and cooler weather occur, producers may see some purple plants in their fields. Purpling in corn due to cooler weather most often occurs when plants are in the V2 to V5 growth stages. Because of diverse genetics, hybrids react differently to early stress and some will exhibit purpling while others will not.… Continue reading

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Corn decisions aplenty as June looms large

As the calendar days pass by and too-wet soil conditions persist, some tough corn decisions are being forced upon farmers.

Across the state, numerous growers have reported having poor stands, said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist. Thomison has heard reports of abnormal growth in their young corn plants, including plants that have developed leaves underground. The deluge of rain in late April and much of May throughout Ohio offered limited planting opportunities. Pounding rains led to crusted soils in fields that did get planted, making it difficult for emerging corn plants to penetrate the surface of the soil and causing leaves to form underneath the ground, Thomison said.

In Darke County where persistent rains fell through most of the planting season, many farmers are awaiting word from their crop insurance adjusters before they replant, said Sam Custer, an OSU Extension educator.

“There’s some corn out there that still has a chance,” Custer said.… Continue reading

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Watch for wheat scab and foliar diseases

Wheat is now flowering in parts of northern Ohio and will continue to flower over the next weeks of so. According to the FHB forecasting system (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/), the risk for scab is low in central and northern Ohio for fields flowering at this time. Although it has rained over the last 2-4 days in parts of the flowering regions, conditions were relatively cool and dry last week, which likely reduced the risk of the scab fungus infecting the wheat spikes. Remember, the scab tool uses average relative humidity during the 15 days immediately before flowering to assess the risk of scab. If 11-13 days during that 15-day window are cool and dry, then the overall risk will likely be low, even if it is wet and humid on the other 2-4 days. Continue to keep your eyes on the weather and the forecasting system over the next week. Fields flowering at the end of this week or early next week (May 26-30) may still be at risk for scab.… Continue reading

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Ohio corn, wheat and soybean farmers urge Congress to fully fund Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) and the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) denounced the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as proposed by the 2018 budget released by the Trump Administration.

Ohio’s corn, soy and wheat farmers have been strong supporters of the initiative. Since 2009 it has provided approximately $300 million annually in water quality improvement efforts and generated more than $2 billion for previously unfunded restoration work over the past eight years. These investments help not only agriculture, but other stakeholders that need support to improve water quality.

“The Great Lakes are the source of nourishment, fishing and recreation for millions of Americans,” said Jed Bower, OCWGA President. “If Congress enacts the administration’s budget as proposed, Western Lake Erie would be harmed by the elimination of the initiative.”

The Trump Administration proposed severe cuts to Great Lakes funding for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year budget.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ethanol Tour highlights efforts to break the blend wall

Ethanol has been an incredible success story for corn growers, particularly in Ohio. Nonetheless, the corn-based fuel faces numerous challenges for continued growth, often referred to as the “blend wall.”

The ethanol blend wall is a barrier for ethanol expansion created by a number of economic, legislative and logistical factors. One component of the blend wall was that most cars were not approved for legal use of ethanol fuel blends higher than 10%. That changed in 2012, however, when the Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs). In addition to the EPA ruling, there are increasing numbers of flex-fuel vehicles on the roads that can use up to 85% ethanol blends.

Another component of the blend wall is consumer choice. Will consumers choose higher blends if they have the option at the pump? This pairs with a third factor in the ethanol blend wall: the infrastructure.… Continue reading

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