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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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Late planted corn?

With some “late” planting or replanting some are concerned already about whether or not we might be caught by a fall frost before maturity without a change in maturity selection. Not to worry. The corn plant has the ability to adapt to the later planting by advancing more rapidly through the growth stages. Work done at Purdue and Ohio State by graduate students of Bob Nielsen and Peter Thomison, shows that the number of growing degree days (GDD) needed from planting to maturity decreases by about seven GDDs per day of delayed planting. So even a hybrid planted on May 30 needs about 200 less GDDs to achieve maturity than a hybrid planted on May 1.… Continue reading

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ODA introduces new tools for water quality

There are many things that farmers can control with regard to their role in improving Ohio’s water quality, but there is one thing they can’t: the weather. And, it just so happens that this factor beyond human control is also the most significant factor in water quality. A big, unexpected rain can undo the best of on-farm intentions for water quality stewardship.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently introduced a couple of new tools to help address this perennially challenging problem.

“ODA firmly believes science and technology must be at the forefront of all water quality issues and these new and innovative tools are impactful steps that will merge the ideas of precision farming and precision conservation,” said David T. Daniels, Ohio Department of Agriculture director. “The agricultural community continues to take the necessary steps to maintain agricultural productivity, while protecting our natural resources and reducing nutrient runoff to improve water quality in Lake Erie and surrounding waterways.”

The Ohio Applicator Forecast is a new online tool designed to help nutrient applicators identify times when the potential nutrient loss from a fertilizer or manure application is low.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s wheat, flour industries to be explored at forum

Experts from the wheat and flour processing industries will share an update on Ohio’s future in this billion dollar market at the Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum, Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m.  The event is hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation (AIF).

Siemer Milling Company executives Rick Siemer, president, and Carl Schwinke, vice president, along with Diane Gannon, former subject matter expert, Mondelēz International, and current wheat processing technology consultant, will provide the latest information on the industries and what the means to growers in northwest Ohio. Siemer, Schwinke and Gannon will also discuss the technical aspects of wheat processing, milling procedures, grain quality and more.

Flour production by U.S. mills reached a new record for the first quarter of 2017.

Employing roughly 160 people, Siemer Milling Company sources approximately 25 million bushels annually of soft red winter wheat largely from Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.… Continue reading

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Plant survival in flooded conditions

Due to large rain events this spring, many fields have been 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. If temperatures are warm (mid 70s or warmer) plants may not survive 24 hours under flooded conditions. Ponding of six or more days can result in significant stand losses and death of all plants where ponding has occurred. Although ponding/flooding has the potential to impact stands, crops have the ability to survive under the right conditions.… Continue reading

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Early season insect pests

With the slow growth, no growth, or no emergence of the corn and soybean crop through the first half of May, insects in many cases have been able to keep up with crop progress. I like to use a chart from the Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Alfalfa Field Guide as a starting point to know what and when to watch for pest problems.

corn scouting

soybean scouting

The scouting calendar is based on an average year. As you can see for both corn and soybeans we typically have some time to go before we are beyond the threat of insect pests. But this year we seemed to have moved up maybe two weeks on timing of insect appearance. Pests we have seen in May have been a few slugs, many flea beetle, and a few chewing caterpillars. We have European corn borer and corn rootworm as well as some anticipated bean leaf beetle to scout for in June.… Continue reading

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NCGA encouraging pollinator friendly practices

With another growing season underway across corn country, the National Corn Growers Association encourages farmers to complete a mental check list and assess your farming operation and any potential impact for pollinators like honey bees.
If you are using treated seed, remember to consider the following five basic steps for stewardship of treated seed during planting season:
Follow Directions: Follow directions on treated seed container labels for handling, storage, planting and disposal practices.
Eliminate Flowering Weeds: Eliminate flowering plants and weeds in and around the field prior to planting.
Minimize Dust: Use advanced seed flow lubricants that minimize dust.
Bee Aware: Be aware of honey bees and hives located near the field, and communicate with beekeepers prior to planting when possible.
Clean and Remove: Completely clean and remove all treated seed left in containers and equipment used to handle harvested grain and dispose of it properly. Keep all treated seed out of the commodity grain channels.
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Don’t forget the S


Now that our corn is in the ground, it’s time to focus on the management and nutrition of our crop. Often times, when we consider what nutrients our corn needs between the V4 and V8 time frame, we think of nitrogen (N). Another nutrient that is essential to corn production, but is often forgotten or taken for granted is sulfur (S). When it comes to nutrition, a corn plant’s S needs rank only behind N, phosphorous (P), and potassium (K).

S is critical to ensuring balanced nutrition in our corn crop. In the plant, S helps ensure that the plants efficiently convert N into protein. While supplying an adequate amount of N alone is good, supplying it with an ample supply of S along with that N is essential for a high-performing, efficient crop that produces maximum yields. When I think about S in corn, I compare it to maintaining a balanced diet.… Continue reading

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Senate takes action on E15 fix

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is considering legislation that would extend the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver to gasoline blended with 15% ethanol (E15). The bill would allow retailers across the country to offer more biofuel choices to customers year-round.

The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act has 18 bipartisan sponsors and was introduced in March by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), and Joni Ernst (R-IA). Senate champions have sought to bring the bill to a vote in the next few weeks.

Earlier this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt also expressed his hope for a fix but acknowledged the need for greater certainty in the laws governing RVP.

“This is a simple and long-overdue fix that will improve air quality, lower prices at the pump, and level the playing field for homegrown biofuels,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “We’ve been working with champions in the House and Senate for three years to get this over the finish line so that local fuel retailers have the freedom to offer cleaner-burning, less expensive biofuel blends all year long.… Continue reading

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Herbicide considerations for replanted corn

Following recent and excessive precipitation, many corn producers are now scrambling to replant. While there are many agronomic considerations associated with replanting, University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager said farmers should keep weed control/herbicide issues in mind.

“Herbicide-resistance traits in the replanted hybrids should be taken into account,” says Hager, an associate professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I. “For example, if you initially planted a glyphosate-resistant corn hybrid and have areas that need to be replanted, you can replant with a similar glyphosate-resistant hybrid or choose to replant with one that’s not glyphosate-resistant. If you take the second option, you will have to take special precautions to reduce drift with any postemergence glyphosate application, as these plants will be extremely sensitive to glyphosate.”

Hager said farmers should consider the interval between the last herbicide application and corn replanting.

“For soil-applied corn herbicides, replanting can proceed whenever field conditions are feasible,” he said.… Continue reading

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NCGA files comments on WOTUS review

The National Corn Growers Association filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on ethanol and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulations, following President Trump’s executive order, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.”
NCGA urged the EPA to use its authority to give drivers year-round access to higher blends of ethanol such as E15. EPA has previously issued a Reid Vapor Pressure waiver for 10 percent ethanol blends. Providing E15 with the same waiver would lead to more choices at the pump and cleaner air.
NCGA also encouraged EPA to update its lifecycle analysis for corn-based ethanol. EPA last updated its lifecycle analysis in 2010, projecting that corn-based ethanol would produce 21 percent fewer GHG emissions when compared to gasoline by 2022. Other federal government agencies have issued updated GHG lifecycle analysis for ethanol based on actual corn and ethanol production experience. Most recently, USDA analysis released in 2017 shows corn-based ethanol results in 43 percent fewer GHG emissions when compared to gasoline.
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Optimum hay yields need optimum fertility

With the weather finally allowing hay harvest to get underway across Ohio, it’s also a good time to consider strategies for replacing the soil nutrients that are removed during harvest. Since hay is the basis for most Ohio winter beef cow rations, it’s common for cattlemen to occasionally pull soil samples from hay fields that don’t seem to be as productive as they once were. Often times they’re surprised to discover the fertility is low, especially in fields that have been in hay for some time.

It’s not uncommon to hear a farmer suggest they didn’t realize the mechanical harvest and removal of forages took with it a significant amount of soil nutrients. From there conversations sometime evolve into comments like, “But I always thought forages were good for the soil. Don’t we constantly hear that cover crops are good for soil health?” The response is simple — the plant material generated from a “cover crop” is seldom removed from the field, thus does not take with it the soil nutrients it utilized while growing.… Continue reading

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Marion POET to double capacity with expansion

POET Biorefining in Marion is undergoing an expansion to more than double its capacity from nearly 70 million gallons per year to 150 million gallons per year, improving the grain market for local farmers and adding new jobs to the community. With the expansion, high-protein animal feed production will also grow from 178,000 tons to approximately 360,000 tons annually.

“As more drivers choose E15 fuel across the country and biofuels demand increases, growth opportunities such as this and new technologies to lower fuel emissions will follow,” said Jeff Lautt, President of POET Biorefining. “POET is hopeful that, among other issues, summer limitations on 15% biofuel blends will be lifted so that consumers have greater access to clean, homegrown biofuels.”

With the increased production, corn purchases from area farmers will grow from the current 24 million bushels to approximately 50 million bushels annually, improving the grain market for farmers at a time when agriculture is facing challenging commodity prices, farm incomes and land values.… Continue reading

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IPM approach best for soybean aphids

About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the United States in 2017 — a record high, according to the USDA. Research published in the April 2017 issue of Pest Management Science indicates that many of these soybean growers will invest in neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments. The two-year, multi-state study revealed that, even during periods of infestation by the soybean aphid, the neonicotinoid treatment produced the same yields as using no insecticide at all.

The study was a joint effort of Purdue University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, the University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University, and the University of Wisconsin. The research was grower-funded, using soybean checkoff funds provided by the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP).

The neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam, which is applied as a coating to soybean seeds, provides a maximum of two weeks of protection against insect feeding. Aphids typically don’t reach damaging numbers until much later in the season, said Christian Krupke, an entomology professor and extension specialist at Purdue University and one of the researchers and authors of the study.… Continue reading

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Pests to watch for in 2017

One of the topics of discussion this winter at the corner table of the local coffee shop most certainly was the upcoming growing season and the expected higher than average insect populations due to the mild temperatures this winter. That topic of discussion paired with high armyworm and black cutworm moth captures from neighboring states should keep early season insect pressure at the forefront of growers’ minds this year. Insects that overwinter as adults such as bean leaf beetle, flea beetle, and stink bug will have the potential to have higher than normal populations early this spring. However, just because insect mortality was lower this winter does not mean there will be a problem this spring because populations may have been lower heading into winter. Nevertheless, lets look at some of the insects to keep an eye out for this spring.

Corn flea beetle that overwintered as adults are the vector for Stewart’s wilt that can cause seedling corn plants to tiller and yellow striping in the leaves.… Continue reading

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Emergence issues showing up after a wet start to May

The nearly ideal planting conditions followed by extensive rains statewide have led to some unusual crop emergence problems for corn and soybeans in Ohio.

Peter Thomison reported several instances of somewhat unusual corn emergence issues.

“Often the problems were associated with corn seedlings leafing out underground and it’s likely weather and seedbed conditions were responsible for the occurrence of the abnormal growth. Seedlings exhibiting abnormal emergence may have a twisted appearance because internal leaves start expanding before the seeding has elongated. ‘Corkscrewed’ mesocotyl/coleoptile development may occur when the coleoptile encounters resistance (like soil crusting or a dense soil surface) as the mesocotyl elongates. Several factors (or combination of factors) may be responsible for this abnormal growth. These factors may be characterized as environmental, chemical, or mechanical. Environmental conditions associated with underground leafing include light penetration, cold soils, or heavy rains soon after planting. When plants unfurl below the soil surface, they usually turn yellow and die,” Thomison wrote in a recent CORN Newsletter.… Continue reading

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