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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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Ohioans leading soybean industry at the national level

Farmer leaders of the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) are leading the way for all U.S. soybean farmers as they take on executive committee positions with the American Soybean Association, National Biodiesel Board, Soy Aquaculture Alliance and United Soybean Board.

Bill Bayliss, OSC board member from Logan County, was recently elected chairman of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance (SAA). SAA works to promote research and marketing efforts that will help grow the aquaculture industry in the U.S. Bill previously served as vice chairman of SAA.

Amy Sigg Davis, OSC and OSA board member from Warren County, was elected to her first term on the National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) governing board. She will serve with seven other board members to help lead NBB’s efforts to grow the biodiesel industry through education, communication and policy efforts.

Bret Davis, OSC and OSA board member from Delaware County, was elected to his second term on the American’s Soybean Association’s (ASA) at-large governing board.… Continue reading

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Shaping up tough soils with cover crops and no-till

In 2001, Lynn Eberhard and his sons, Eric and Greg, picked up some new farm ground that was pretty tough. Is was a fairly dry year for Seneca County in 2001 and that farm averaged 59 bushels of corn per acre. There was clearly some work to be done with regard to improving the poorly drained, Blount soil on the farm.

Retired from the Seneca County Soil and Water Conservation District, Lynn had a long track record of no-till and cover crop use in his farm operation, so that is where they started.

“That first year we tilled it because it had been chiseled the year before that. Since then it has been in no-till,” Lynn said. “We have also used cover crops on that farm religiously. At the time we got that farm, we were predominantly using rye.”

With a base of continuous no-till and cover crops, the Eberhards set to work on the fertility.… Continue reading

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2015 pest updates and concerns for 2016

As we look forward to the 2016 crop year, we have to take a little look back to 2014 to see what pests hit us in 2015 in order to plan for next year.

Soybean insects

  • Aphids missed Ohio even though it was the “odd” year and they were supposed to be here. A cold winter last year and a wet mid-summer may have done our control for us.
  • Stink bugs are increasing in number and spreading. I am seeing this group of pests more as I scout soybeans in late fall — perhaps it’s global warming or just the arrival of a new invasive species but there are more here than ever. If you saw shriveled beans at harvest in 2015, do a better job of scouting next year. They tend to hit green soybean pods and suck the juices out reducing yield.
  • Bean leaf beetle has been a generally non-economical pest for a while now.
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It’s still dry out there

I was digging in one of my fields this weekend and see we are dry. Not parched dry like we were back in September and October but dry enough that at two plus feet deep, there was no pooling water. In fact soil conditions are good enough to plant, except that Christmas is next week and I live in central Ohio.

With conditions this dry we could still apply manure, spray a fall herbicide on winter annuals, and apply and incorporate fertilizer or lime. Folks tell me tile is going in very well.

Certainly we had planting delays due to excessive moisture for the third year in a row, but no harvest problems at all for a change. I use the CoCoRaHS network to record and track my rainfall amounts. Over the years I have watched 3-4 stations regularly to see what they get. This table below has the rainfall amounts in inches from April 1st to mid-October for the years 2011 to 2015.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer Certification from the Ohio Department of Agriculture

It is here. Step 1 – the Fertilizer Applicator law (SB 150), and Step 2 – the western lake Erie application restriction law (SB1). Both are now in effect.

  • You have three years to get certified.
  • If you apply fertilizer to 50 acres or more you must get certified, but you have until September 2017 to do that.
  • If you have a Pesticide License, then you’ll get a letter from ODA telling you when to get fertilizer applicator certified. You will attend a two-hour program.
  • If you don’t have a Pesticide License, but wish to apply fertilizer, you must get certified to apply fertilizer. You will attend a three-hour program.
  • For the new Fertilizer Certification training website: http://NutrientEducation.osu.edu.
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Farm safety net loophole closed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week finalized a rule to ensure that farm safety-net payments are issued only to active managers of farms that operate as joint ventures or general partnerships, consistent with the direction and authority provided by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill. The action closes a loophole where individuals who were not actively part of farm management still received payments.

The changes apply to payments for 2016 and subsequent crop years for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs, Loan Deficiency Payments and Marketing Loan Gains realized via the Marketing Assistance Loan program. As required by Congress, the new rule does not apply to family farms, or change regulations related to contributions of land, capital, equipment or labor.

For more details, producers are encouraged to consult their local Farm Service Agency office.… Continue reading

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