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Prevent plant acres and rogue weeds: Having a control plan is the key

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

With prevent plant acres abundant in 2019, some fields experienced a huge increase in the weed seed bank. For some of those fields, pre- and post- herbicide applications were delayed, or did not occur at all. In other fields, weed control was attempted by mowing and tillage prior to seed development. Looking ahead to 2020, weed management could be a challenge.

“This is one of those time you do not want to cut out any of your pre- herbicides or cut rates on your post-,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension weed scientist.

The three primary weeds of most concern coming out of the 2019 prevent plant acres include: waterhemp, ragweeds, and marestail.

“Farmers need to be sure to have a comprehensive effective herbicide program that includes; effective burndown or tillage, a full rate of preemergence herbicide with residuals, and choosing an effective post emerge soybean trait system,” Loux said.

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Non-GMO corn production and purity concerns

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Many corn growers in the Eastern Corn Belt produce non-GMO corn attempting to capture an additional premium. Depending on the contracting elevator, standard GMO contamination allowances are typically from 0% to 1%. Producing non-GMO corn within the acceptable tolerances of GMO contamination is possible; however, there are several challenges and potential pitfalls that make production of 100% pure non-GMO corn a tremendous undertaking and can keep growers from capturing a premium for their corn. Planting non-GMO seed does not necessarily mean the harvested shelled corn will be non-GMO free. Test’s used by elevators to determine if GMOs are present may not be 100% accurate, but they are a determining factor as to whether a load will be accepted.

If a grower plants non-GMO corn, what could cause GMO contamination?

  • Contaminated planting equipment and seed tenders
  • Contaminated seed
  • Mistakes made in record keeping where hybrids were not correctly identified at planting and/or harvest, leading to contamination
  • Adventitious pollen from GMO corn fields can cause cross-pollination of non-GMO corn
  • Contaminated combines at harvest
  • Contaminated grain carts, wagons, trucks, augers, grain legs, and grain bins.
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Bayer and BASF ordered to pay peach farm for damages

DTN — A federal jury has determined Bayer and BASF should pay $250 million in punitive damages and $15 million in actual damages to a Missouri peach farm in response to allegations that the orchard was damaged by off-target movement of dicamba herbicide.

The jury’s verdict came after three weeks of testimony in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Bader Farms filed the suit in 2016 — blaming Monsanto (which was purchased by Bayer in 2018) and BASF for the scenario that allowed dicamba herbicides to move from neighboring fields and damage peach trees. Bader Farms is the largest peach grower in Missouri, listing more than 1,000 acres of peaches and 110,000 trees. The farm also grows other specialty crops and row crops.

Bayer immediately responded with an announcement the verdict would be appealed. BASF spokesman Odessa Hines told DTN via email that BASF had not yet made decisions as to next steps. How the penalty would be split between the two companies should the verdict remain intact is also undecided.… Continue reading

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TMDL effort for Lake Erie to be led by Ohio EPA

Last week, Governor Mike DeWine announced the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (OEPA) intention to create a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Western Lake Erie.

Under the Clean Water Act, a TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a substance (in this case phosphorus) that is allowed to enter a body of water and meet water quality standards for that pollutant. The TMDL sets a reduction goal for that pollutant for each source, such as agriculture, municipal wastewater, developed land, and septic systems.The Clean Water Act directs the state to submit a 303(d) list to U.S. EPA every two years. A TMDL must be developed for all waters identified by a state on their 303(d) list of impaired waters, according to a priority ranking on the list.

In 2018, OEPA listed the open waters of the Western Lake Erie Basin as impaired but did not commit to developing a TMDL.… Continue reading

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Adopting technology and working together: The future is now for agriculture

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Farmers, agricultural retailers, equipment manufactures, and researchers all are faced with a multitude of fast changing dynamics in the agricultural industry. Technology and the associated data are two of the biggest. The development of new technology as well as its adoption and implementation are going to be keys to future success for all those involved in the industry.

“As technology continues to advance, machinery manufacturers will need to work closer with the companies that supply crop inputs to farmers,” said Scott Shearer, Chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Ohio State University. “The question is not if a farmer is going to adopt technology, but how and when they are going to adopt technology.” Companies supplying new farm equipment and technologies will need to work closer with those that supply agricultural inputs and develop new seed, chemical and fertilizer technologies.… Continue reading

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USDA NASS discontinues county level estimates for selected crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will no longer publish county level estimates for dry edible beans, flaxseed, hay (alfalfa and other), potatoes, sugarbeets, sugarcane, sunflower (non-oil and oil varieties) and tobacco. In addition, NASS will discontinue county estimates based on irrigated/non-irrigated practices for all crops. These changes are effective beginning with the 2019 crop year.

The data collection cost for the surveys used to gather the data used for county level estimates had been partially funded through a cooperative agreement, which was not renewed. As a result, NASS is adjusting its county estimates program to reflect the lower funding availability. Before making this decision, NASS published the details of these intended changes in a Federal Register Notice which allowed public comment. All feedback was carefully reviewed and considered before making the decision to discontinue these estimates.

All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications.… Continue reading

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2020 Overholt Drainage School coming in March

The 2020 Overholt Drainage School will be held in Lancaster at the Fairfield Agricultural Center March 9 though 12.

The intensive 4-day program will provide continuing education for land improvement contractors, soil and water conservation technicians, farmers, engineers, consultants, sanitarians, and others interested in advancing their knowledge of basic concepts, principles, and skills related to the purpose, design, layout, construction, and management of soil and water conservation systems with an emphasis on water management and water quality. Instructors include land grant university faculty/staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service/Ohio Department of Agriculture/Soil and Water Conservation District engineers and technicians, Agricultural Research Service engineers and scientists, and experienced Ohio Land Improvement Contractors and Association contractors and associates. Topics will include:

  • Agricultural subsurface drainage: System design, layout and installation
  • Drainage water management: Controlled drainage system design, layout and installation
  • Applications for water management, drainage water harvesting
  • Water quality improvement practices for Midwest agricultural drainage
  • Issues with nitrogen and phosphorus
  • Benefits for water quality and crop yields
  • Water management zones, mains, lateral spacing
  • Layout examples and exercises
  • WTC structure installation
  • Wood-chip bioreactors, phosphate filters
  • Blind surface inlets and
  • Buffers with controlled drainage.
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Adapting to extreme weather

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services 

Extreme weather appears to have become “normal.” Actually, maybe the last 50 years (1960-2010) may have been “abnormal” when you look at long-term climate records. What is considered extreme weather today was more normal several hundred years ago. What should we expect and how can we adapt in the future?  Yearly average moisture for Northern Ohio has been 32-36 inches with 42-50 inches in Southern Ohio. The last four years have been among the top 10 wettest on record and Northern Ohio averaged 50 inches (excluding Lake Erie affected counties), possibly going to 60 inches. Northern Ohio weather today is more like Southern Indiana weather 30 years ago.

Extreme weather events will change your future farming operation. During wet springs, farmers use large equipment and additional hired help to plant in a shorter time period. Growing winter cover crops with evapotranspiration may dry the soil quicker.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer applied years ago still affects Lake Erie

By Alayna DeMartini, Greg LaBarge and Laura Johnson

Although corn or soybeans could not be planted on 1.6 million acres of Ohio farmland last year and little to no fertilizer was applied to those fields, the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie still was high.

That might seem odd. After all, many of those unplanted acres were in northwest Ohio, the region that feeds into the Maumee River and ultimately into Lake Erie.

But a lot of phosphorus was already present in fields from fertilizer applied years before, and older phosphorus is another contributor to the level of phosphorus in Lake Erie, said Greg LaBarge, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist.

Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist

Phosphorus runoff from farm fields is a cause of the harmful algal blooms plaguing the lake.

“Phosphorus was already in fields, ditches, rivers, and tributaries, and it just moved downstream,” LaBarge said.

The rain added momentum — 2019 was the sixth wettest year on record in Ohio, which increased the chances that phosphorus, an ingredient in fertilizers and manure, would travel downstream with the rainwater, said LaBarge, an agronomist involved in a statewide phosphorus water quality monitoring effort.

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Overwintering of pathogens and insects: What do winter temperatures tell us about next season?

By Anne Dorrance, Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

Over the years we have developed databases of winter temperatures followed by scouting to indicate starting pathogen populations for Ohio.

Frogeye leaf spot

We have documented early infections and overwintering ability of the fungus, Cercospora sojina, that causes frogeye leaf spot. It appears that when there are less than 10 days during the months of December, January and February of less than 17 F, we have had reports of outbreaks of frogeye leaf spot. This occurred in fields where there was a high level of inoculum at the end of the season the same or similar moderately to highly susceptible cultivar was planted into the same field again which then initiated the epidemic that much sooner. Losses of greater than 35% in yield or very early fungicide applications were necessary.

Expecting continued warmer winter temperatures, for fields with a history of frogeye leaf spot, and no-till production systems, the first thing for farmers is to do now to mitigate losses in 2020.… Continue reading

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South America headed for another big soybean crop

After a very busy January, when some of us believed that a world war could follow Iranian general Soleimani’s death, when all of us saw the US and China finally signing the “phase one” trade deal, and when the entire world started fearing the coronavirus outbreak, here we are already in mid-February.
 
For us here in Brazil, it is time now to wonder how many acres the US farmers will plant with soybeans in their 2020/21 crop, after the significant cut to the planted area seen last year, and to take a closer look to the South American 2019/20 crop, which is being harvested.
 
For Brazil, the 2019/20 soybean crop started with many problems. The spring rains, which are crucial for the beginning of the planting season, arrived later than normal and were very irregular in several states until November and, in some areas, until December. After that, however, weather conditions dramatically improved.
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Corn consumption showing improvement

By Todd Hubbs, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois

Uncertainties regarding the potential trade deal and coronavirus outbreak remain as negative forces for commodity markets. Corn prices came through the difficulty relatively well over the last couple of weeks. March corn futures prices continue to bounce around in a range between $3.75 and $3.95 seen since mid-December. Over this same period, consumption in some key use categories for corn picked up substantially and corn basis remains strong.

Corn exports remain behind last year’s pace. A recent uptick in export sales offers the promise of increased exports in the second half of the marketing year. In the previous three weeks, net export sales came in at 39.6, 48.6, and 49.1 million bushels, respectively. These net sales totals mark the first time all marketing year of three consecutive weeks over one million metric tons. Total commitments as of January 30 sit at 897 million bushels.… Continue reading

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A million dollar response: H2Ohio meetings

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Last week, three H2Ohio informational meetings were conducted by representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative (OACI) and local county soil and water conservation district offices. Over 1,000 farmers and agribusiness people have attended so far according to organizers. The meetings were held in Perrysburg, Delphos, and Defiance, with every venue at capacity.

“This is a tremendous outpouring of farmers and the farming community who believe with all their hearts in the power of voluntary conservation efforts. It is a shame the general public cannot see everyone here tonight, this is tremendous,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, addressing members of the agriculture community in attendance at the Defiance meeting last Wednesday evening.

Earlier in January, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and ODA Director Pelanda announced that $30 million in H2Ohio funding would be available to Ohio farmers in a 14-county area of the Maumee River Watershed to implement select conservation practices.

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Trade deals, coronavirus keep markets uncertain

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

President Trump signed the USMCA or U.S., Mexico, and Canada Agreement. It has now been passed by the U.S. and Mexico, Canada has yet to ratify this agreement. The USMAC replaces NAFTA, which was a great agreement from the Clinton administration back in the 1990s. Some are calling it NAFTA 2.0. The new trade agreement replaces the 25-year NAFTA agreement. It should give the U.S. more access into those markets. Early indications suggest it will result in more automotive production in the U.S. In addition, this agreement should be beneficial for U.S. dairy farmers. Mexico, from an agricultural perspective, has been in the news in the past two months as they have purchased U.S. corn on multiple occasions.

The Phase One trade deal was signed last month by the U.S. and China. It calls for China to purchase 40 billion dollars in U.S. agricultural goods in each of the next two years.… Continue reading

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What does sustainable mean?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

This is the legal definition: “Sustainable agriculture” was addressed by Congress in the 1990 Farm Bill. Under that law, “the term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

  • satisfy human food and fiber needs;
  • enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
  • make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
  • sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and
  • enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Above from the National Agriculture Library: https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/sustainable-agriculture-definitions-and-terms#toc2 and: https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/sustainable-agriculture-definitions-and-terms.

Is your operation sustainable based upon the points above:

  • Yes, we produce food and fiber to satisfy human needs
  • Enhance environmental quality — we are headed that direction, some are there already.
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National Pesticide Safety Education Month – Learn and practice principles of safe pesticide handling and use

February is National Pesticide Safety Education Month, a reminder for everyone to review their pesticide safety practices. The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), American Phytopathological Society (APS) and Entomological Society of America (ESA) are among the many organizations in the public and private sector that promote pesticide safety during February and throughout the year.

Everyone must focus on safety to protect themselves, others, and the environment, during pesticide transport, storage, application, and disposal.

“There is no ‘downtime’ in the safe handling and use of pesticides,” said Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., Executive Director of Science Policy for the Weed Science Society of America.

The National Pesticide Safety Education Month webpage contains a quiz to check your knowledge of some basic pesticide safety principles and a self-assessment to review some of your own pesticide safety practices at home and at work. You can also view a sample of educational resources produced by land-grant university Pesticide Safety Education Programs and learn the importance of these programs.… Continue reading

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2020 Conservation Tillage Conference coming March 3

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)

The main program for the Conservation Tillage Conference starts with the General Session, March 3, at 8:50 a.m. (10 minutes earlier than usual). At the start of the session, the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser of the Year will be announced.

Lee Briese, an award-winning Crop Consultant from North Dakota will be our General Session speaker. Topic: Details Matter. He will present two additional talks in the Chapel: Herbicide/Cover Crop Interactions and Transitioning to a No-Till System.

For early arrivals, two full-day concurrent sessions will begin at 8:00 a.m. Cover Crops, No-till and Soil Health will be in the Chapel, and Nutrient Management in Room B.

New for 2020, Crop Management and Precision Technology sessions both days replace our previous Corn University and Soybean School. Also new on the first day is a session on Hemp, plus Forage Cover Crops. Sessions will end about 5:30.… Continue reading

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High oleic soybean opportunity for Ohio in 2020

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ohio farmers now have increased availability of high oleic soybean contract opportunities and more delivery locations and options to grow high oleic soybeans for the 2020 season. High oleic soybeans earn an average premium of 50 cents per bushel. High oleic varieties also offer a sustainable, highly stable, U.S.-grown oil product for the food industry and other customers, expanding the market for U.S. soy.

For farmers, high oleic soybeans are backed with over a decade of research to ensure they meet expectations in the fields. Farmers growing high oleic soybeans report that high oleic yields on par with their other varieties. For end-use customers, high oleic soybeans offer higher-functioning soybean oil that meets the needs of a growing number of food and industrial customers. This added functionality allows farmers to add market potential.

“On my farm, high oleic soybeans have proven to be hearty.… Continue reading

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Got a hankering to grow hemp?

Consider the gamble: The crop could generate hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per acre. Or, quite possibly, nothing at all.

The market price for CBD oil, which is derived from hemp flowers, has declined recently because of an oversupply on the market. Farmers in some states are awaiting payment for hemp they grew but could not sell. Some other growers are finding it can be very easy for hemp to exceed the legal limit of 0.3% THC; when this happens, the plants must be destroyed.

“Don’t jump in,” said Peggy Hall, an agricultural and resource law field specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “There are a lot of lawsuits already, and we can learn from those if we proceed with caution.”

Now that it’s legal to grow hemp in Ohio, a lot of people are interested in growing the crop, particularly to turn it into CBD oil, lured by high profit potential.… Continue reading

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EPA reaffirms safety of glyphosate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s favorable conclusion in late January about the safety of glyphosate in its Interim Registration Review Decision, based on the agency’s expert review over a 10-year period, reaffirmed that the extensive body of science continues to support the safety of herbicides containing glyphosate and that the active ingredient is not carcinogenic.

Registration review is EPA’s program for reviewing pesticides every 15 years; the glyphosate registration review began in 2009. In its Interim Registration Review Decision, EPA concluded that it “did not identify any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate.” The decision included measures to address glyphosate spray drift and glyphosate resistance in weeds.

“This is a win for sustainable agriculture,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “Today’s decision means farmers can continue to use conservation tillage and no-till methods on their farms to conserve soil, preserve and increase nutrients, improve water quality, trap excess carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.… Continue reading

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