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Researcher seeking soybean fields for pollinator study

Although soybean crops are self-pollinating, some species of bee and fly pollinators can enhance soybean yields, says a researcher with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

The question is what pollinator insects are active in Ohio soybean crops?

That’s what Kelley Tilmon, a field crop entomologist with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, wants to know.

Tilmon is conducting a study on the issue and is seeking conventional or organic soybean growers willing to allow insect sampling equipment to be placed in their fields to identify what pollinator insects are flourishing there.

The study will include fields that haven’t been planted with an insecticidal seed treatment with a minimum field size of 500 by 500 meters, which is about 62 acres, she said.

“It’s more than just honeybees — dozens of species of pollinators have been found in soybean fields around the country,” Tilmon said.… Continue reading

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Baleage: An option in better haymaking

Throughout the Midwest, spring rains can make putting up dry hay very difficult. Last year, many producers struggled to get hay up without it getting rained on. This brings me to discuss baleage as an option for hay making.

It is easy to see the reasons why you should consider baleage. Making hay at higher moisture allows you to bale closer to cutting and shorten the window of dry weather needed to get hay up. It also leads to less leaf loss, less nutrient leaching, and that makes for better quality hay. Wrapping bales also leads to less storage loss.

Waiting on dry weather can also impact forage quality and productions. As forage continues to grow and mature the quality will decline. When producing dry hay, often times traffic is still an issue on fields as much as five days after cutting. This can drastically decrease yields for the next cutting.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – May 2nd, 2016

Rain throughout the week kept growers in the northern parts of the state from doing fieldwork, while growers in the south were afforded more opportunities to plant crops. There were 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 1st. The rain and cool temperatures in the northern counties limited most fieldwork to topdressing wheat and spraying for weeds. Some fields had standing water as well. Growers further south had more ideal weather for planting, and planted corn, oats, and even some soybeans. Producers throughout the state reported slow hay and pasture growth. Growers are also applying fertilizer when able to get into fields.

View the complete report hereContinue reading

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Purple corn concerns?

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

Because many fields have saturated soils and the forecast includes a week of cooler weather, 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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A love affair with eggs

My love affair with eggs started 15 years ago when Jake was in third grade participating in “Egg in the classroom.” This is a wonderful program through 4-H that brings eggs into the classroom to hatch and suck kids into the poultry cult. Just kidding, well kind of. Jake fell in love with chickens and wanted to bring a few home. His cow lovin’ dad responded with “bummer.” The story doesn’t end there but takes a strange twist. Paul said we needed to call Dr. Monke (pronounced Monkey) who is a veterinarian at Select Sires that loves chickens. This may sound like crazy talk but yes, a cattle veterinarian has made genetic advances in the chicken world.

With chickens in mind, we headed over to Dr. Monke’s house, where chickens are treated like kings and queens. Needless to say we ended up taking three Austrolorp chicken teenage pullet sisters home with us, followed up by a quick stop to TSC to fill up the cart with chicken “stuff” to put in our cow barn.

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Fungicides important for quality wheat

Successful wheat production has not been without significant challenges in recent years. But, while there is no way to control all of the variables for guaranteed success, there are some important management steps that can be taken to dramatically improve the odds.

“You’re going to want to look at a fungicide program particularly at heading, which on a Feekes scale is a 10.51. And you are going to want to watch the weather and harvest as soon as you can possibly harvest,” said Jim Howe, with Star of the West Milling Company.

Star of the West does considerable plot work to refine recommendations about how their wheat suppliers can grow a high quality, profitable crop. That research has found that implementing these two practices can help reduce the variability that often exists in a wheat field and lead to vomitoxin from head scab and sprouting.

“Starting when the wheat was planted to when the plant emerged, there were differences in different parts of the field.… Continue reading

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MRTN – Maximum return to N

So how do we make nitrogen (N) recommendations in Ohio? Current recommendations from Ohio State University use an economic model to set our corn nitrogen rate. The Maximum Return To N (MRTN) concept was developed by soil fertility specialists from across the north central region: this is a regional Corn Belt wide approach for nitrogen rates.

For us, we use data from trials in Ohio so we also have our weather included as part of the equation and we factor in the price of nitrogen and the value of corn to bring in the economics. Chart 1 shows that our best economic return to nitrogen for $3.50 corn and $0.40 per pound of N is about 168 pounds of N per acre with a range of about 15 pounds to either side giving us about the same economic return –— within $1. You may also gain efficiency by delaying the bulk of your N application until sidedress timing.… Continue reading

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Soybean yields fluctuate less with weather extremes

Soybean crop yields tend not to fluctuate much and are less likely to be negatively impacted by less than ideal weather compared to other grain crops such as corn.

In fact, the state average soybean yield declined only 8% during the drought of 2012, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension, noting that Ohio’s average soybean yield that year was 45 bushels per acre, compared to the five-year average of 49 bushels per acre.

“There are a lot of concerned farmers going into spring planting right now with all of this unusual weather we’ve been experiencing throughout the state,” she said. “Yields will really depend on when the rains come.”

The reasoning?

Because soybean vegetative and reproductive stages overlap, plants can compensate for short periods of stress, Lindsey said. So while many soybean plants were stunted during the height of the 2012 drought, the plants were able to recover and see positive yields thanks to rainfall in August and September that worked to promote seed fill, she said.… Continue reading

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Tips for bigger berry production at workshop

Small-fruit researchers with College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will offer a workshop May 25 on a production method that results in larger, sweeter strawberries and can help growers extend the harvest season by weeks.

Called plasticulture strawberry production, the method is an increasingly popular technique in which strawberries are planted in September and grown over the winter using plastic to keep the soil warm and suppress weed growth, said Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

The method results in larger, sweeter berries during an earlier harvest period, according to the results of an OSU Extension research trial conducted by Bergefurd, who is based at The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon.

The workshop, which will be hosted by Bergefurd, will include discussion on:

* Winter protection techniques.

* Israeli drip irrigation demonstration and management.… Continue reading

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OSU hops tours

Farmers and brewers can learn about hops and how to grow the increasingly popular crop during the First Fridays Hops Tours at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon.

The tours, which are offered on the first Friday of the months of May, June and July, will allow participants to learn more about the Ohio hops research being conducted by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

The tours are part of the Hop Production to Enhance Economic Opportunities for Farmers and Brewers project. They include a classroom session on hops led by researchers with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and a tour of the hop fields at the Piketon facility, said Charissa Gardner, program assistant with South Centers.

Registration required

In addition to basic information on the ins and outs of hops production, topics addressed at the First Fridays sessions will include:

* Hop yard construction.… Continue reading

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Recent mission reveals Brazil’s huge production potential moving forward

On March 11, farmers with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association embarked on a 12-day market study mission of Brazil, a major competitor of international sales to the U.S. The purpose of this mission was to gain a better understanding of Brazil’s role in the worldwide market of agriculture. The in-person mission allowed first-hand insights of strengths and challenges in Brazil’s agricultural industry.


Sustainability in Brazil

By Rachael Vonderhaar, who farms with her family in Preble County and serves on the Ohio Small Grains Checkoff Board

March 15, 2016

As we start off on our 3- to 5-hour bus drive this morning (the wide time range due to rough infrastructure and heavy truck traffic) to tour Brazilian farms, I realize I have time to review my notes from the last couple of days. Our days have been action packed and long, which equals a migraine for Rachael. I am doing much better now as I am able to read and type on the bumpiest roads I have ever been on. … Continue reading

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Are large corn and soybean price swings finished or just getting started?

Corn and soybean prices have traded in a wide range since last summer. July 2016 corn futures traded to near $4.70 in early July 2015, declined into harvest, and then bottomed at $3.51 following the release of the recent USDA Prospective Plantings report. July 2016 soybean futures traded near $10.31 in early July 2015, dropped sharply into harvest, and traded between about $8.60 and $9.30 from harvest through early April 2016.

The price of both crops experienced a sharp rally this month. July 2016 soybean futures moved to a high of $10.43 on April 21 before finishing last week at $9.96. July 2016 corn futures experienced a more modest rally, trading to a high of $4.07 and finishing the week at about $3.75.

A number of factors contributed to the rally that was led by soybeans. Excessive rainfall in parts of Argentina likely resulted in a measurable, but unknown, reduction in the size of the soybean crop due to flooding.… Continue reading

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Carbon dioxide increases may be affecting bees

Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have reduced protein in goldenrod pollen, a key late-season food source for North American bees, a Purdue University study shows.

Researchers found that the overall protein concentration of goldenrod pollen fell about one-third from the onset of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the 21st century.

Previous studies have shown that increases in carbon dioxide can lower the nutritional value of plants such as wheat and rice — staple crops for much of the global human population — but this study is the first to examine the effects of rising CO2 on the diet of bees.

“Bee food is less nutritious than it used to be,” said Jeffrey Dukes, study co-author and professor of forestry and natural resources and biological sciences. “Our findings also suggest that the quality of pollen will continue to decline into the future. That’s not great news for bees.”

Native bee species and honeybees rely on flowering plants for energy and nutrition.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – April 25th, 2016

Growers made significant planting progress on oats this week between rains this week. There were 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending April 24th.

While weather was significantly better for field work, with warmer weather drying out fields, growers were still somewhat limited by periodic rains. In addition to planting oats, some growers began corn planting, though this was mostly limited to the southern parts of the state.

Some new seedings of alfalfa went into the ground as well. In areas still too wet for planting, producers top dressed wheat and hauled manure.

Other activities included tillage and spraying for weeds.

See the full report hereContinue reading

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GDDs and corn emergence

A great deal of field work has been done over in the week. As corn is being planted across the eastern Corn Belt and another growing season has begun, it will be time to walk and scout fields. Once the corn is planted, the next critical event will be uniform emergence. Many producers have read or heard that it takes about 100 to 120 Growing Degree Days (GDDs) for corn to emerge, but what does that mean?

A GDD (also referred to as Growing Degree Units) is a calculation based on daily high and low temperatures. This calculation helps to predict stages of growth in corn based on an accumulation of heat units or GDDs. The basic formula for calculating GDDs is: add the daily maximum temperature to the daily minimum, divide by 2, then subtract 50. The value calculated by this formula is the total number of GDDs accumulated in one day.… Continue reading

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OSU spring and summer field day schedule

Currently 24 field days on a variety of topics are being planned by Agriculture and Natural Resource staff starting June 1 through the fall with locations throughout the state. A complete calendar of dates can be found at http://agcrops.osu.edu/events. Full agendas are still being developed and you will want to check back for registration information along with other details about a month prior to the date.

An excellent set of field days which include a variety of topics will be presented. Topics include small grains production, hay production, precision agricultural equipment, sprayers, soybean and corn production, modified relay intercropping plus nutrient management which include Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training for several dates.

The calendar includes a first time event is Ohio. The North American Manure Expo will be held at the Molly Caren Ag/Farm Science Review Site on Aug. 3 and 4. This regionally rotating event is a must attend for those involved with manure spreading and use.… Continue reading

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Is fall applied N still present?

The pattern of warmer- and wetter-than-usual weather this past winter has changed in recent months, but hopes for a warm, dry, early spring have faded. Corn growers are concerned about the amount of fall-applied nitrogen that might have been lost through the winter and how this might change nitrogen management this spring.

Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois crop scientist and Dan Schaefer of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association sampled soil around Illinois in winter and early spring to measure the amount of nitrogen that has disappeared from the top two feet of soil as a result of the winter conditions.

A sample of eight fields in Vermilion County showed little change in soil nitrogen between December and February, though there was some loss of nitrate between the January and February samples. The percentage of recovered nitrogen that was in the ammonium form — the form that is safe from immediate loss due to binding with negative charges in the soil — actually went up.… Continue reading

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New publication helps recognize pesticide drift

A new Purdue Extension publication examines the causes and effects of pesticide drift.

Pesticide drift occurs when chemicals used to manage weeds or insects are blown or carried off target by wind during application, posing a potential risk to people, animals and plants on neighboring properties.

Pesticide drift can happen in both residential and agricultural settings and under all types of weather conditions, even if wind speeds are low, said Fred Whitford, director of the Purdue Pesticide Programs and one of the authors of Options for Dealing with a Pesticide Drift Incident.

“Whether it’s a next-door neighbor or a farmer who owns the field adjacent to your property, they have the legal right to apply pesticides to their property,” Whitford said. “However, pesticide applicators also have the legal obligation to keep those products on their side of the property line.”

According to the publication, some crop damage attributed to drift might be the result of other factors, such as insect infestations, plant diseases or weather conditions.… Continue reading

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Uniformity continues with seed germination

The first step in corn stand uniformity is getting the corn planter maintained and adjusted to plant the corn crop as uniformly as possible. The next step in the uniformity equation is achieving uniform emergence.

Germination is simply the process that allows a seed to sprout or begin to grow. Although the definition is simple, the actual process is quite complex. The germination of a corn seed requires soil moisture to “reawaken” the seed and adequate temperatures to speed along the enzymes and chemical reactions that allow the cells in the corn plant to grow and reproduce.

Corn growers know the importance of germination but often don’t believe they have much of a roll in that process. Growers tend to be disconnected from the germination process because they cannot control the rainfall, sunshine and/or temperatures. But, in all accounts where and how a grower places the corn seed greatly dictates the ultimate success and/or failure of germination.… Continue reading

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What’s in store for 2016 corn and soybeans?

This “spring,” the weather has gone from snow and 24 degrees to sunny and 80 degrees within one week. This unusual weather leaves many of us wondering what’s in store for the remainder of the growing season.

In general, unfavorable weather conditions tend to affect soybean yield much less compared to corn yield. In 2012, when we experienced a hot, dry summer, corn yield was reduced by 23% while soybean yield was only reduced by 8% (see the table below). However, under more optimum weather conditions, corn yield gains are much greater compared to soybean. With more ideal weather in 2013 and 2014, corn yield increased 12-14% while soybean yield only increased 2-8%.

Table 1. Corn and soybean grain yield averages for Ohio compared to the 5-year average (data from USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service).

Corn (bu/acre)

Soybean (bu/acre)


153 (-1%)

50 (+2%)


176 (+14%)

53 (+8%)


174 (+12%)

50 (+2%)


120 (-23%)

45 (-8%)


153 (-1%)

48 (-2%)

5-Year Ave.

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