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2015 northwest Ohio corn silage test

In 2015, 38 corn silage hybrids representing 13 commercial brands were evaluated in a joint trial with Michigan State University (MSU). One Ohio location is combined with Michigan’s two southern (Zone 1) silage locations. The Ohio test site was located in our Northwest Region at Hoytville (Wood County). The two MSU sites were located in Branch and Lenawee counties, which are on the Ohio/Michigan state line. The test results from the three 2015 locations are treated as one region. The plots were planted with four-row air type planters and maintained by each respective state utilizing standard production practices. The center two rows were harvested with MSU’s self-propelled forage harvester. Silage tests were harvested uniformly as close to half milk line as possible. Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) Quality Analysis was performed by MSU using their current procedures. Silage results present the percent dry matter of each hybrid plus green weight and dry weight as tons per acre.

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Ohio Crop Tour follow-up

To follow up on our I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour, we got some of the actual yields from the fields we sampled in August. Below you can see how well (or how poorly) we did with our yield estimates.

County, Actual yield, Crop tour estimate in August

Crawford: 240, 231

Darke: 164, 217

Delaware: 168, 204

Defiance: 105, 113

Fairfield: 171, 175

Franklin Co.: 176, 146

Hancock: 220, 200

Henry: 158, 159

Highland: 179, 210

Madison: 228, 186

Medina: 150, 160

Miami: 202, 190

Paulding: 90, 70

Pickaway: 220, 235

Preble: 200, 234

Putnam: 96, 119

Ross: 205, 203

Wood: 117, 136

Wyandot: 195, 186

Van Wert: 110, 98

The combined numerical tour average was 175 bushels on the August crop tour. The formula used is accurate plus or minus 30 bushels for the areas of the fields sampled.

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What to do about residual herbicides on soybeans in 2016

What makes a farmer ask this question? Many customers were happy with the weed control they saw in 2015 and are planning to use the same program in 2016. But others had soybeans that were stunted, which raised some concern.

These pictures are from Page 87 of the 2014 Practical Farm Research (PFR) book. As shown in these images, various residual herbicides caused differences in emerged stand and soybean height later in the season because of additional stress from cool wet conditions at emergence.
As you can see from the summary below, the control yielded less because it received no burndown and the weeds ran rampant.
This year my friend and respected PFR Agronomist, Jonathan Perkins, ran the same study twice at the new southern Illinois PFR Site in Effingham. One of the plots was executed the same as in 2014 and the other was conducted with a new spin.
These studies do a good job of demonstrating how compounding chemistries can affect soybeans.
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4R Nutrient Stewardship Program continues expanding reach

The Nutrient Stewardship Council, the governing body of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, is pleased to announce that more than 1 million acres in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) are now under the guidance of nutrient service providers that have earned certification through its program.

The voluntary certification program is a regionally concentrated effort by the agriculture industry to significantly reduce and prevent applied nutrients from running off fields, which has contributed to algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Twenty-five nutrient service providers — advisers to farmers for soil, nutrient and crop management – have achieved certified status through the program since its inception in March 2014. These certified facilities provide nutrient recommendations or nutrient application services to 4,350 farmer customers covering 1.8 million acres, with 1.2 million of these acres located in the WLEB watershed. Over 20% of total farming acres in the WLEB are now supported by certified nutrient service providers through the program.

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Wheat vernalization

For winter wheat to produce grain, it has to experience a period of cooler temperatures once the germination process has started. When exposed to temperatures near 40 degrees F for a period of about three weeks, wheat undergoes vernalization which allows it to produce a seed head. If for some reason wheat plants are not exposed to this period of temperatures they will stay in the vegetative stage and will not produce a seed head.

The exact time and temperature required for vernalization varies from variety to variety. Research has linked winter hardiness and maturity to vernalization requirements. For instance, varieties that are more winterhardy and later maturating require lower temperatures and longer periods of cooler weather for vernalization to occur. Even in a mild Eastern Corn Belt Winter, wheat will still be exposed to temperatures cold enough to allow it to go through the process of vernalization.

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Challenging weather for crops in some parts of Brazil

This has been an odd summer, to say the least, thanks to the “Godzilla” El Niño. It has been very rainy in the South, with sometimes lower-than-normal temperatures, and hot and dry conditions are prevalent in the rest of the country, especially in Mato Grosso and in the Northeast.


Good rains in central and northern Brazil

In early January, however, the Center-West and the Northeast regions received some good rains that have helped the soybean crop in the Northeast (where farmers plant later, in November, December and even early January) and in parts of Mato Grosso. Nevertheless, those rains came too late for part of the soybean crop in Mato Grosso, which filled pods in December under hot and dry conditions.

In the South, rains have remained well above normal and some farmers complain about the lack of luminosity. Yields are probably not going to be as high as last year’s, when the region harvested a record crop, but they are likely to get close to those levels.

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Beck’s Hybrids 2015 Ohio PFR results are in

For the third year, Beck’s Hybrids has surveyed Practical Farm Research, or PFR trials, at their London, Ohio facility. The purpose of the PFR program is to test situations that farmers need to make decisions about for upcoming seasons, like how to manage nitrogen, whether or not to foliar feed a crop, testing products that are currently available and studying different cultural practices used by farmers all over Ohio.

Tile was put into some of the ground in March and by April 18th the 2015 planting season began for Beck’s Ohio PFR trials.

“Planting dates on corn and soybeans is something we test every year,” said Alex Johnson, Beck’s Sales Team Agronomist for Ohio. “Looking at the data, 2015 was nothing new as planting early gave us more yield. We know that to hold true for corn, but that was the case for soybeans as well in 2015 and those soybean seeds proved the value of seed treatment to protect those plants early on.”

There were some freezing conditions on the PFR plots 2 inches into the soil after the earliest planted mid-April dates.

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Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association elects officers

The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Board of Directors elected officers for 2016 during their December meeting. Executive committee positions include the offices of president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. Those elected to an officer position are responsible for the implementation of board policies and procedures, as well as carrying out the roles for their respective office.

Chad Kemp, a corn, soybean and wheat farmer from Preble County, was re-elected to serve a second term as the OCWGA president. He has held various leadership roles in the association including vice-president and secretary. Kemp is also a graduate of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)/Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Program. He farms with his family near Lewisburg, Ohio.

Fifth generation Fayette County farmer Jed Bower was re-elected as OCWGA vice-president. In addition to growing corn and soybeans near Washington Court House, Bower is very involved in NCGA as a Public Policy Action Team member and is a former Fayette County Farm Bureau President.

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Possible 2016 harvest prices for corn

Historical changes between projected and harvest prices are used to derive a distribution of possible harvest prices for corn in 2016. This analysis suggests about a 20% chance of harvest prices less than $3 per bushel. Given the chance of low prices, farmers should maintain high coverage levels when purchasing crop insurance.


Arriving at a possible 2016 harvest price

Historical projected and harvest prices for corn are shown in Table 1 for the years from 1972 to 2015. Projected prices are used to set crop insurance guarantees. For Midwest states, the projected price is the average of settlement prices of the December CME corn contract during the month of February. An indicator of the projected price in 2016 is the current price level of the December 2016 contract. In this first week of January, the price of the December corn contract was near $3.80 per bushel.

Harvest prices are used to calculate crop insurance payments.

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Nutrient management app available

Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper (ONMRK) is a computerized recordkeeping system that syncs with your smartphone or tablet to create a simple, easy, and quick way to record all of your fertilizer and manure applications from the field. The free app works on tablets, iPads, and smartphones. It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for Android devices and App Store for Apple devices.

To get started, simply go to the app’s website www.onmrk.com. After setting up your account, enter your farm and field information. Download and open the app on you smartphone or tablet and enter your applicator key. All of the data that has been entered on your computer will now synchronize with your smartphone or tablet. The app features drop‐down menus and quick entry fields which make it fast and easy to enter the required information.

The application information you enter from the field is combined with the GPS Location data from your smartphone or tablet.

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Two Ohio soybean milestones in 2016

This year marks two significant milestones for Ohio’s soybean support system.

“It will be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) — our grassroots member-driven policy organization — and it will also be the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) — the state checkoff organization in Ohio,” said Kirk Merritt, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Council. “In 2016 we want to celebrate the great work OSA board members have done over the years to influence policy in a way that benefits Ohio soybean farmers. We also will certainly acknowledge the great work done on the checkoff side to support research, marketing and education that benefit soybean farmers. With the checkoff, who would have guessed that soybeans would be in the things they are in now? Biodiesel, foam in car seats and now the chemicals that line pop cans all come from soybeans that make these products more environmentally friendly and better for your health.”

In commemorating both important anniversaries, 2016 will be a busy year for both OSC and OSA.

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Farmland leasing workshops offered throughout Ohio

Ohio State University Extension will offer four Farmland Leasing Workshops throughout Ohio this upcoming February, 2016. The three-hour workshops will include topics of interest to both landowners and farm operators, such as factors affecting leasing options and rental rates, analyzing rent survey data and legal requirements and provisions for farm leases. The speakers will help attendees consider how to use data in negotiations and to apply legal information to leasing practices. Workshop presenters include Barry Ward, Assistant Professor, OSU Extension and Leader, Production Business Management and Peggy Hall, Assistant Professor, OSU Extension and Director of OSU’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program.

Topics included in the workshop are: factors affecting leasing options and rates; evaluating cash rent survey data; farmland leasing options: fixed and flexible cash leases; creating a legally enforceable lease; legal provisions in farmland leases; and analyzing good and bad leasing practices.

Dates and Locations of Farmland Leasing Workshops are:

February 3, 2016, 1:00 pm—4:00 pm

Location: Kent State University Tuscarawas, New Philadelphia, Science and Advanced Technology Center


Questions: Contact Chris Zoller at 330-339-2337 or Emily Adams at 740-622-2265.

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Ten strategies to survive tight grain margins

There are a few things that every business person knows about margins. There are typically only two ways to improve them — either increase revenues or reduce costs. Although this is very simple to say, making the management decisions to affect movement on either front is often difficult at best. Included in this article are some ideas that farmers can consider with today’s lower crop prices and projected lower profit margins.

1.     Complete a financial analysis

Knowing where the business stands financially will be critical in developing a plan to survive this period of low margins. This will provide insight into the how drastic the measures need to be to weather the storm. Good financial capacity will allow farm families to borrow new money, restructure term debt, or even make interest only payments on some loans. This does not mean to imply you shouldn’t look at other options in conjunction with this strategy.

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Ohio Maple Days 2016

New food safety laws, sap collection systems, syrup grading systems and more will be featured at this year’s Ohio Maple Days, which are Jan. 21 in Morrow County, Jan. 22 in Wayne County and Jan. 23 in Geauga County.

The annual events, which are the same at each location, offer educational sessions for commercial and hobby maple producers.

“They’re timed to help producers get ready for the coming season,” said organizer Gary Graham, maple syrup specialist with Ohio State University Extension and one of the program’s speakers.

Ohio’s maple syrup season usually starts sometime in February.

Graham, who coordinates OSU Extension’s Maple Syrup Program, will present “Marketing: Sweet Signs for a Sweet Product” as a featured speaker at the events.

“With the flatline bulk prices in today’s marketplace, it’s essential for producers to market their products,” Graham said.

He’ll give tips on reaching younger, wider audiences.

“The marketing efforts of old don’t have the same impact as in the past, as our society moves to more digital-hungry consumers,” he said.

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National crop commodity organizations looking to re-focus efforts moving forward

At the national level, corn, soybean and wheat commodity organizations are looking to assess their priorities for the future and focus on their strengths. There was an update outlining the plans for the future from each national organization at the December Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium held in Columbus.

The National Corn Growers Association’s strategic plan will seek to enhance consumer trust, and related objectives. The plan will include strategies for key NCGA programs in that effort, including its participation in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, CommonGround and the Corn Farmers Coalition.

“We are looking into where we want to be at in five years with the development of a strategic plan,” said Anthony Bush, who serves on the NCGA Board and farms in Morrow County. “We felt like we were an inch deep and a mile wide and we felt like we really needed to focus on what we were good at.

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February workshop addresses 4Rs on the farm

The Nutrient Stewardship Council will host a complimentary “4R Farming 4 Sustainability” educational workshop Feb. 12 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, providing farmers and agricultural retailers updates, perspectives and information on the 4Rs and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification.

The voluntary certification program is a concentrated effort by the agriculture industry to significantly reduce and prevent applied nutrients from running off fields, which has contributed to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, such as the one responsible for the shutdown of Toledo’s water supply in early August of 2014.

“This event will help farmers and nutrient service providers learn more about the voluntary certification program and how important the 4Rs can be in nutrient management,” said Andrew Allman, executive director of the Nutrient Stewardship Council. “Attendees will hear from both their peers and industry professionals to learn how they can contribute to the goal of long-term improvements in the Western Lake Erie Basin.”

The workshop agenda includes:

  • An overview of the certification program and its relevancy/legislative connection, provided by Nutrient Stewardship Council representatives and certification program administrators.
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Corn success is where you build it

Relying on a weather scare as the best hope to fix the current weak prices for corn, as suggested by some market analysts, is not an acceptable business model. So, farmer leaders of the National Corn Growers Association have recommitted to boosting corn utilization as a key strategy in achieving a healthy and viable corn industry long term.
“To successfully address farmer’s income you have two paths, either decreasing input costs or growing demand,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chairman Larry Hoffmann, a farmer from Wheatland, North Dakota. “We will continue to work on both, but with a renewed focus on new uses for corn as a means of raising the price per bushel.”
NCGA’s Corn Board, action teams and committees convened in St. Louis last month to delve into the issues and opportunities that will impact corn farmers across the country during the coming year.
The Research and Business Development Action Team explored possible changes to team policies and activities that could help their respective programs improve efforts to create and maintain opportunities for growers.
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How do non-GMO hybrids perform?

According to the USDA-Economic Research Service in 2015, 85% of the state’s corn acreage was planted to transgenic corn hybrids with 68% of total acreage planted to stacked trait hybrids (http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/biotechcrops/ ). However, many corn growers in Ohio are interested in growing non-transgenic (non-GMO) corns. Some want to grow non-GMO corn to reduce seed costs associated with traited corn and/or take advantage of the premiums offered for non-GMO corn. Growers who have not experienced serious problems with rootworm and corn borer and who have controlled weeds effectively with traditional herbicide programs question the need for transgenic hybrids. There are also corn growers interested in cutting costs by selecting hybrids with fewer transgenic traits for similar reasons.

A major concern of growers is whether the yield potential of hybrids with fewer transgenic traits or no transgenic traits is less than that of stacked trait hybrids with multiple genes for above and below ground insect resistance.

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OSU agronomy workshop focused on healthy soils

Healthy soils are a key ingredient to produce strong crop yields, and understanding what nutrients your soils need is a fundamental step in that process, says an educator in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Soil fertility is crucial to maximizing yield potential when growing crops, said Amanda Douridas, an Ohio State University Extensionagriculture and natural resources educator.

“Increasing crop yields starts with understanding what your soils need and making sure that you are making the right nutrient application decisions,” she said. “And that starts with taking a good soil sample so that you can have the most reliable test to base your nutrient application decisions on.”

Managing field nutrients

Learning how to pull accurate soil samples for testing is just one of the topics to be discussed during the Improving Yields Through Fertility Agronomy Day, offered OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

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Can corn prices increase?

Corn prices could head higher in 2016 but the outlook for soybeans is less certain, according to a new analysis by Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

Writing in the latest issue of the Purdue Agricultural Economics Report, Hurt forecasts a stronger market for corn after early-season flooding in 2015 damaged some Indiana crops.

“Corn prices are expected to increase in the winter and next spring by at least enough to cover on-farm storage costs,” Hurt writes. “Eastern Corn Belt basis levels are expected to remain very strong, especially in Indiana where low yields were dominant in the northern two-thirds of the state.”

According to Hurt’s projections, cash prices for corn could reach the low-$4 range per bushel in coming months at processing plants and perhaps go as high as $4.40 per bushel in summer.

But soybean prices are likely to remain flat or even decline slightly if, as expected, there is a strong harvest in South America and farmers in the U.S.

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