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The right time for fertilizer application pays (because the wrong time is so costly)

When it comes to understanding the right time to apply nutrients, it is important to know when it is the wrong time.

Several years ago it had been a wet and frustrating fall for getting any field work done in the Lost Creek Watershed in northwest Ohio. It was followed by a fairly cold winter and there was an extended period of frozen conditions in February that provided a great opportunity to catch up for lost time.

“We got a nice window and pretty much every dealer in the area was working on spreading fertilizer on frozen ground. There was about four inches of snow cover. Less than a week later we received a three-plus-inch rain event that melted the snow and allowed for major surface runoff on the frozen ground. There was rain/snow in the forecast, but no one was forecasting a three-inch rain. So the farmers and dealers that were spreading weren’t really in the wrong.

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Demonstration Farm research hopes to benefit farmers statewide in years ahead

The word innovative is quick to be used in modern agriculture, but the expression is on full display through a unique program taking place in northwest Ohio’s Blanchard River Watershed, and rightfully so. Active farms and industry-leading producers are taking on the task of demonstrating new conservation techniques there in hopes of finding practices that water quality practices for future use throughout the watershed and statewide.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service have teamed up with area farmers to undertake the aptly named Demonstration Farms. Several other federal, state, and local partners are helping out with funding the five-year, $1 million effort.

Aaron Heilers was recently named project manager for the demonstration farms.

“I was contracted with NRCS and Farm Bureau when they formed that partnership about a year ago. They needed somebody to manage that project and be the liaison between the farmers and the agencies,” Heilers said.

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OSU release Ohio State PLOTS app to help with farm management

After months of anticipation, Ohio State PLOTS is available for download for both Apple and Android devices. This app provides an all-in-one tool that can be used to enhance farm management decisions.

Ohio State PLOTS was created with funding from Field to Faucet, an OSU initiative dedicated to research, education and outreach activities designed to deliver end-to-end solutions to harmful algal blooms and other water quality issues. The initiative began after the numerous algal blooms that occurred in Lake Erie, causing hundreds of thousands of residents to be without safe drinking water. Field to Faucet aims to keep farmers productive and profitable, while helping to ensure clean drinking water remains available and plentiful.

With Ohio State PLOTS, users can create on-farm trials that compare hybrids, fertilizer rates, stand counts, and more. Available to producers, OSU Extension educators, agronomist and consultants, this intuitive application provides meaningful interpretations of individual trials.

One advantageous feature of Ohio State PLOTS is the user’s ability to design basic plot layouts, which can be saved and/or shared.

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Ohio grown hard cider back on the menu

Northeast Ohio is getting a new homegrown, culinary offering courtesy of some down-to-earth sweat and determination.

“I hesitate to say the first, but definitely one of the first farm cideries in Ohio since Prohibition,” said Matt Vodraska, of Bent Ladder, LLC. Bent Ladder is a new offshoot of Rittman Orchards & Farm Market, a family business that has grown in recent years to become a household name for homegrown fruits and vegetables locally, offering a plethora of foods from their bucolic slopes in Wayne County.

Vodraska is the next generation of his family to be involved in the business. He grew up with fruit, moving from their Ohio fruit farm at the age of 12 to Washington state, later to Tennessee, all before the family came back to the Buckeye state 12 years ago to take over a rundown patch of land where they’ve since seen their business thrive.

Matt certainly didn’t always picture himself coming back to the fruit life.

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Extensive Ohio soil fertility tests show current levels of P and K

Balanced soil fertility management is critical for achieving crop genetic yield potential and maximizing profitability.

Recent evidence found in a new DuPont Pioneer soil fertility update for Ohio suggests that P and K fertilizer rates may not be keeping pace with higher nutrient removal rates that are accompanied by increasing crop yields in some fields.

“We wanted to capitalize on our on-farm trial efforts within Ohio and we felt that if we knew what the fertility status was that would give us a benchmark for what our corn hybrid performance would be for those trials as well,” said Kirk Reese, Agronomy Research Manager for DuPont Pioneer. “What we found was that about two-thirds of the state’s 750 samples that we collected were in either an optimum or high range for phosphorus and the remaining third was in a low range according to the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations.”

Capture Ohio KOn the potassium side of the testing, over 80% was rated in the optimum or high range.

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Ohio Corn Marketing Program seeks election to board for five districts

Pursuant to Section 924.07 of the Ohio Revised Code, David T. Daniels, Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture will conduct an election of the Ohio Corn Marketing Program Board on December 15, 2016.

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program is designed to increase the market for corn and the profitability to Ohio corn producers. The purpose of this program is to provide funds for corn utilization research and to permit corn producers to develop, implement, and participate in programs for research, promotion, market development and education.

The election to the Board will include these five districts.

District 1: Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Williams

District 4: Allen, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert

District 7: Carroll, Columbiana, Holmes, Jefferson, Stark, Tuscarawas, Wayne

District 10: Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Pickaway

District 13: Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Warren

The Nomination Procedure is as follows:

• Nominating petitions may be obtained from

David T. Daniels, Director

Ohio Department of Agriculture
Legal Section
8995 E Main Street
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399

Telephone 1-800-282-1955 or 614-728-6390

• Petitions require at least twenty-five (25) valid signatures from Ohio corn producers who reside within the district in which the candidate seeks election.

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Want weed answers for 2017 – Start this Fall

So the calls have been coming in — “I have Horseweed this summer that I just cannot control!” And this is my response regarding Horseweed (Conyza canadensis), or Marestail as it is known in Ohio.

This may be a new weed to you but the western side of the Ohio and especially the southwest corner have been fighting it since about 2002. It takes a comprehensive effort to manage but it can be managed.

Depending on severity and tillage in your system:

For no till soybeans — RoundupReady

1. Spray a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate in the fall after corn harvest (the biggest problem with horseweed is from late summer and fall germinating seed), or you can spray a combination of 2,4-D and dicamba in the fall.

2. Spray a second burndown (this may be the glyphosate and 2,4-D as above or glyphosate plus Sharpen) in April and add your residual soybean herbicide — e.g.

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Considerations for wide-row wheat

Growers may be interested in wide-row wheat production due to reductions in equipment inventory (lack of grain drill) and to allow intercropping of soybean into wheat. With funding from the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program and the Michigan Wheat Program, we’ve conducted several wide-row wheat trials.

How much is wheat yield reduced when planting in wide rows compared to narrow rows? In most instances, wheat yield is greater when grown in narrow row width (7.5-inch) compared to wide row width (15-inch). Yield reductions associated with wide row wheat production ranges from 0% to 15%. In wide-row wheat, we tend to see more head-bearing tillers per foot of row compared to narrow-row wheat. This suggests that under some conditions, increased tillering in wide-row wheat may compensate for lower initial plant population per unit area. The level of yield reduction associated with wide row wheat production varies among wheat varieties. Therefore, variety selection is important when growing wheat in wide rows.

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Too early to sell 2017 soybeans?

Soybean prices during the last five months of the 2015-16 marketing year averaged much higher than during the first seven months of the year. For example, the average daily bid price at central Illinois locations was $8.67 during the first seven months and $10.28 during the last five months of the year. Those daily prices ranged from $8.40 on March 1, 2016 to $11.58 on June 30, 2016.

Through the first half of the 2015-16 marketing year, the soybean market traded on the basis of prospective year ending stocks of U.S soybeans of 450 to 460 million bushels. The 2015 U.S crop was very large, following an equally large crop in 2014; the 2016 South American crop was expected to be record large; U.S. exports were expected to be 150 million bushels smaller than in the previous year; and U.S. producers were expected to expand planted acreage in 2016 following the weather-induced decline in 2015.

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Court sides with ag retailers on process safety management standard

The D.C. Court of Appeals last week ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it issued an enforcement memorandum on July 22, 2015, redefining the “retail facility” exemption to the Process Safety Management Standard.

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute, which brought the suit to court, are pleased with the decision.

“OSHA made a bad decision in regulating ammonia in response to an ammonium nitrate incident, and the agency made that decision incorrectly,” said Daren Coppock ARA President & CEO. “Although ARA could only challenge on the procedural point and not the decision itself, we’re still very pleased to see the Court rule in our favor and to provide this relief to our members.”

Ag retailers are exempt from PSM until OSHA completes a notice-and-comment rulemaking process regarding PSM, which could take several years to finalize. ARA is currently reviewing the court’s decision and will provide additional analysis once our assessment is complete.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress — September 26th, 2016

Little to no rain this week has accelerated crop maturity and provided opportunities for fieldwork, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 6.4 days available for fieldwork for the week ending September 25th . The hot and dry weather promoted the drying of the corn crop. Condition rating for crops and pastures remained steady. The moisture content for corn harvested over the week averaged 21 percent, and soybean moisture average 14 percent. The window for silage harvest neared the end.

Read the full report here

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Changes coming for USDA’s largest conservation program

In response to customer and partner input, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced a significant update to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program by acreage. Beginning with the new enrollment period planned later this year, the updated CSP will leverage redesigned planning and evaluation tools and an expanded array of new enhancements to provide conservation-minded producers with more options to improve conditions on working lands.

“We are reworking the program to make it easier to understand not only from the producer standpoint, but also for our field staff,” said Mark Rose, Director of Financial Assistance Programs Division for USDA-NRCS. “We’ve tied the enhancements more directly with the conservation practices that the producer may already be implementing or could implement.”

These changes will make it easier for NRCS to describe to producers what outcomes are going to be, which was a bit of a challenge with the prior program.

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Crop profitability a bleak picture in 2016, 2017

Ohio State’s Barry Ward took a look at possible crop profitability in 2017, and as you may imagine, the picture isn’t too bright.

“It’s not as good of an outlook as what we would like. Obviously the numbers are pretty negative at this point,” Ward said. “We’ve got a cost structure that’s still a legacy of what we had during those real profitable years. And with prices being lower as a result of maybe bumper crops around most of the Midwest, not Ohio necessarily, we’re looking at some very low to negative returns on all of our major row crops.

“If we look at some of the variable costs that we’re expecting for our three major crops — corn for instance — we’re right around $360 an acre for next year, at least our projects right now. And that’s just slightly lower than last year. The only real mover that we’re seeing right now is slightly lower fertilizer prices.”

Rent prices also remain a concern, especially with a lengthy turnaround in reevaluation of tax formulas.

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Moldy corn, kernel sprouting and upright ears

Moldy ear and kernel sprouting problems have been reported in parts of Ohio especially west central and NW Ohio. The title photo by Sam Custer, Extension Educator in Darke County and the photo below by Dr. Pierce Paul is a good illustration of what is being found in some fields:

The moldy ears have been attributed primarily to Diplodia ear rot. As has been the case in past years, the moldy ears and kernel sprouting are often associated with upright ears. Ears that remain erect after physiological maturity (black layer development) are more likely to promote molds and kernel sprouting because they trap water (especially at the base of the ear and slow kernel drying. These ears may also be affected by opportunistic organisms taking advantage of the moist, nutritious environment at the base of the ear.

There are several factors that determine whether a corn ear remains erect or “droops” (points downward) following physiological maturity.

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Is the fall rest period really necessary for alfalfa?

The long-standing recommendation has been to take the last harvest of alfalfa by early September in northern Ohio and mid-September in southern Ohio. Every year I observe that many people do not follow this recommendation, probably for various reasons. Most people taking only three cuttings are finished with the final harvest by early to mid-September. But the fourth cutting is another story. As of the end of last week, only about half of the fourth cutting of alfalfa in Ohio was complete, which reflects the rate of fourth harvest completion going back at least five years.

I have heard some say that the fall rest period is not necessary and fall cutting never harms their stands. This could well be the case in many years on many farms, especially where excellent management is in place…where a good variety is used under excellent fertility and high soil pH, on well-drained soils, etc.

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Diplodia ear rot showing up in corn

Over the last two weeks, we have received several samples of corn ears with symptoms typical of Diplodia ear rot. This is one of the most common ear diseases of corn in Ohio. It is caused by two species of fungi, Stenocarpella maydis and Stenocarpella macropora. The most characteristic symptom and the easiest way to tell Diplodia ear rot apart from other ear diseases such as Gibberella and Fusarium ear rots is the presence of white mycelium of the fungus growing over and between kernels, usually starting from the

base of the ear. Under highly favorable weather conditions, entire ears may become colonized, turn grayish-brown in color and lightweight (mummified), with kernels, cobs, and ear leaves that are rotted and soft. Rotted kernels may germinate prematurely, particularly if the ears remain upright after physiological maturity. Corn is most susceptible to infection at and up to three weeks after silk emergence (R1).

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NCGA’s Soil Health Partnership receives $1 million Conservation Innovation Grant

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help spur a groundbreaking effort to optimize farm enterprise profitability, reduce Greenhouse Gases and improve agronomic productivity. The National Corn Growers Association received the grant to develop a system for scalable carbon accounting in agriculture, to be developed through its Soil Health Partnership initiative.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this year’s Conservation Innovation Grant recipients on Sept. 8. The competitive grant “stimulates the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural land.”

Under the NCGA project, the SHP and other project partners will develop a “greenhouse gas insetting framework.” The framework will serve as a model for corporations and other entities to drive conservation adoption and achieve GHG reductions, as well as economic profitability benefits.

Carbon insetting is similar to “offsetting,” in which a third party is paid to plant trees or implement other practices to “offset” carbon emissions.

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Soybean growers can consider expanding options for the 2017 crop

As soybean farmers hit the fields for harvest this fall their thoughts will inevitably drift to variety selection for the 2017 crop. The options for soybeans in 2017 are more diverse than ever in several different ways.

High oleic

There is expanding interest in planting high oleic soybeans. Ohio soybean farmers were the first to plant high oleic soybeans more than five years ago and this summer they took their message to the streets of Findlay. To showcase the many attributes of high oleic, the event featured local restaurants offering foods cooked in high oleic soybean oil and gave farmers the opportunity to learn more about adding high oleic varieties to their 2017 plans.

The key message of the day was that the end result of using high oleic soybean oil is a higher quality product for consumers and a premium for farmers.

“It certainly made an impact on the edible oil market and the market share that soybeans will continue to have,” said John Motter, a Hancock County soybean grower who was among the first farmers to grow high oleic soybeans.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – September 19th, 2016

Late Rains Bring Limited Benefit

Rains throughout the state delayed harvest for many as crops rapidly matured, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5.6 days available for fieldwork for the week ending September 18th. Sporadic rainfall later in the week hasn’t done much to improve pasture conditions, and livestock producers continued to feed hay in many areas. Hay conditions showed little change as well. Corn and Soybean conditions were practically unchanged as harvest got underway for both. Planting also got underway for the 2017 wheat crop.

Click here to read the full report

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