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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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Soybeans faced challenges, but still producing well in 2016

Though the August rains provided some much-needed hope for 2016 soybean yields, there have still been plenty of pleasant surprises on yield monitors this fall.

“The soybean yields have been outstanding in almost every situation. There are a few areas that were dry and stressed but 80% to 90% of the territory I cover is seeing some of the most outstanding yields they have had in the history of their farming operations,” said Chasitie Euler, Pioneer account manager in Henry, Fulton, Williams, and Lucas counties. “We are approximately 40% to 45% wrapped up with soybean harvest. We are getting a lot done with this beautiful weather. Hopefully the rain will hold off so we can get a lot of these acres wrapped up.”

That does not mean, however, that the soybean harvest is free from challenges. Green stems have been a fairly widespread problem around the state, which has made for some slow going.

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Many proven benefits have cover crops gaining interest

For thousands of years, farmers have used cover crops to help manage pests, reduce weeds, improve rainfall capture and enrich soil health. In addition to all of those benefits, today, there is renewed interest in using cover crops as a modern farming practice to help reduce carbon emissions.

“Cover crops have been somewhat limited in adoption with about 3% of farmers utilizing them, but we are seeing a lot of interest these days,” said Mike Lohuis, Monsanto’s Director of Ag Environmental Strategy. “It’s not easy for a farmer to go from not using cover crops to full adoption so I think the practice is something that farmers want to try out on some of the more challenging acres of their farm.”

Interest in cover crops are growing more rapidly in parts of Ohio and Indiana because of nutrient management issues, in Kentucky to mitigate soil erosion and in the Chesapeake Bay region where incentives were put in place to promote cover crop adoption. 

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Tips for harvesting lodged corn

While never a recommended practice, this is definitely not the year to “store” corn in the field and delay harvest. Reports of lodging and downed corn are increasing across the state. Stalk rots are largely responsible for the problem, which have been promoted by stressful production environments and susceptible hybrids. Affected corn stalks are characterized by internal plant tissue that has disintegrated and often appears “hollowed out.” These symptoms are also often present in the crown of the plant. Severe lodging slows the harvest operation causing delays that expose the crop to less favorable weather conditions, as well as wildlife damage. Another loss may occur if ear rots develop when ears on lodged plants come in contact with wet soils and surface residues. Even certain hybrids that normally exhibit good standability and stalk quality are exhibiting significant lodging. According to some grower accounts, corn that had been standing well, collapsed in the course of a few days.

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Research yielding some clear answers to murky water quality questions

Farmers want answers on water quality. The general public wants answers. The residents on and around Ohio’s lakes and streams want answers.

But first, what exactly is the problem?

Laura Johnson works with the long-term water quality monitoring efforts at Heidelberg University in Tiffin. The research has painted a fairly clear picture of the agricultural impact on water quality in Lake Erie.

“We have a one of a kind long-term water monitoring program. The longest-term river monitoring efforts are the ones that run into Lake Erie like the Maumee, Sandusky, and Cuyahoga. We also monitor rivers running to the Ohio River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. At those stations we monitor all year round, every day and we try and get all of the storm events because that is when everything comes off the fields and out into Lake Erie,” Johnson said. “When we look at our agricultural watersheds, we see this big increase in dissolved phosphorus and it is bioavailable for algae.

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Brown pods, green stems

Last week, we received a few comments about soybeans having mature pods, but the stems remaining green. Similar observations were made in 2012 — another dry year. Green stems on soybean may be a result of a source/sink problem. With the hot and dry conditions this year, pod set was likely reduced. With a limited number of pods (sink), there are fewer places for the plant’s photosynthates (source) to go.

From previously conducted work by Jim Beuerlein, when soybean pods were removed from a plant node when they first formed and started to expand, the leaf at that node stayed green after the rest of the plant matured. If all the small pods were removed from a branch on a plant, that branch did not mature. Further, if setting of pods were prevented on the main stem of a plant but pods allowed to develop normally on the branches, those branches matured normally while the main stem stayed green and held onto its leaves.

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A good weed management program often starts in the fall

The 2016 harvest season is underway across much of the Corn Belt. Getting harvest completed is top of mind, but growers should also be considering fall herbicide applications, since a good weed management program often starts in the fall.

With the increase in weed resistant problems, a spring application is often not enough to control weeds, especially marestail. A fall herbicide application can be a great way to control winter annuals that emerge after harvest, especially in no-till fields and fields with a history of marestail. Rains late in August and so far in September could end up giving us more winter annuals than normal, making an application this fall potentially more beneficial. Typically an application is best from after harvest until around Thanksgiving. An application can be successful past Thanksgiving, but once we have a hard freeze many weeds are less susceptible to herbicide.

A typical fall burndown mix that provides good control is combination of glyphosate with 2, 4-D and/or dicamba that is applied during the time listed above.

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Tips for storing moldy grain

Moldy corn caused by plant diseases like diplodia ear rot along with stalk quality issues reported in many parts of the Midwest this season mean farmers need to dry corn properly and be especially proactive in protecting the quality of their stored grain, according to GSI (Grain Systems, Inc.).

Gary Woodruff, GSI conditioning applications manager, recommends that harvest be completed soon for corn infected with mold or stalk quality issues. Drying with a high temperature dryer at 180 degrees plenum temperature or higher will help extend storage life, he said, but even that cannot eliminate a reduction in how long the corn can be stored.

Woodruff also advises:

  • Discoloration and low test weight are good indicators of grain with a limited storage life.
  • Dry any affected corn to one point lower than normal moisture content, preferably at 14% or below, to reduce water which can promote additional mold growth.
  • Maintain a bin inside temperature in the 30s or below.
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