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Be patient with wet fields of hay

I know many hay producers reading this article are frustrated by the rainy weather. They know that forage quality is declining with each day that goes by (and why did I have to state the obvious, right?). However, I want to urge hay producers to change their focus and be patient, to make sure their hayfields are dry enough to support their equipment before they try to get out on them once the sun starts to shine again.

The loss of quality in one cutting, even the complete loss of the value of one cutting, is less than ruining a forage stand for the remainder of its productive life by running equipment on ground that is still too soft, especially if it is a younger stand. So do what is really easy for me to say, but super hard to practice right now – just be patient. Take the long look and wait until the field is dry enough to support the equipment without damaging the forage stand.

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Western Agronomy Field Day

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will hold a Western Agronomy Field Day July 15, offering farmers, farm managers, certified crop advisors and other industry professionals an opportunity to learn more about new agronomic technologies, organizers said.

The field day is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and the Ohio Soybean Council, said Joe Davlin, manager of the Western Agricultural Research Station. The research station is part of OARDC.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

“The field day is designed to educate producers and agribusiness personnel involved in producing and protecting agricultural commodities about the potential threats for this growing season, and how to apply new technology toward successful agricultural production,” he said.

Topics to be addressed during the field day include:

* Manganese foliar applications on soybeans.

* Issues with seed corn maggots and corn rootworm.

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Watch for soybean diseases after big rains

I looked at the soybean prices on Sunday – all were still less than $10/Bushel.  This price combined with yield losses due to late planting, extra expenses for additional late weed control, and flood injury really put the kibosh on all but the most guaranteed return on investment for the remainder of 2015.  Here are a few guidelines, results from our studies in Ohio that point to the best return on investment.

Foliar pathogens have the most impact on soybeans at the later growth stages (R3 to R6) by reducing the photosynthetic area of the leaves that contribute to pod development and seed growth (http://www.oardc.osu.edu/soyrust/2007edition/10-SoybeanGrowthandDevelopment.pdf).  Soybeans also have an uncanny ability to compensate for missing neighbors.  The profitability measure for the 2015 season will be to scout for the occurrence of diseases after flowering R3 and choose the best fungicide if necessary.

  1. Septoria brown spot.  This is a lower canopy disease, which surprisingly, we have not been getting too many reports of this year. 
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Saving unplanted soybean seed for next year

Due to wet weather, a few farmers in northwest Ohio have not yet planted soybean.  Can this soybean seed be saved and planted next year?

1.)  Check with your seed dealer.  Your seed dealer may have options available to return seed.  Check with your seed dealer to see what your options are.

2.)  Store seed in a climate and humidity controlled environment.  High temperature and relative humidity increases the rate of seed deterioration.  Iowa State University researchers found when soybean seed was stored in a non-climate controlled warehouse (temperature ranging 18-82°F and relative humidity ranging 37-74%), the seed did not maintain adequate quality.  Seed that was put into controlled cold storage (50-52°F and 53-67% relative humidity) or warm storage (77-79°F and 20-42% relative humidity) resulted in seed that could be safely held for the next season’s planting.

3.)  Test seed quality before planting.  If seed is to be saved for next year’s planting,make sure to test the seed quality before planting

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RFS proposal offers long awaited good news for biodiesel

Corn and soybean growers waited, and waited, and waited for the Environmental Protection Agency to release Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules that determine the volume of Ohio biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply. By law, EPA is supposed to finalize biomass-based diesel volumes 14 months in advance of the applicable year, making the agency significantly overdue in setting the volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016 with the release of the proposal in May.

After the long wait ethanol supporters were not pleased with the RFS numbers, but for biodiesel backers it was a different story, which will likely be reflected in the 60-day public comment period that ends on July 27.

“This is an RFS that is not perfect, but it is an RFS that works well for biodiesel,” said Adam Ward with the Ohio Soybean Association. “The demand will not only come from the biodiesel category, but also the advanced biofuel category — biodiesel is the only domestic fuel that qualifies as an advanced biofuel.

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Measuring corn growth

What are the critical stages in the life of a corn plant? Actually, corn needs a lot of tender loving care throughout the growing season. The growth of corn is pretty consistent and is driven by heat units or Growing Degree Days (GDDs).

• How do you calculate GDDs? Calculate average daily temperatures by adding the highest and lowest temperatures of each day and divide by 2. Subtract 50 from the average daily temperature to get the GDDs for each day with the limitation that if the low falls below 50 degrees F, we use 50 as low and if the temperature goes above 86 degrees F, we use 86 as the high for that day. This allows us to make some adjustments in the formula.

• If we add the GDDs of each day from emergence to physiologic maturity (Black layer), we will have the total GDDs needed for the hybrid to mature.

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Hearing shows bipartisan momentum on national food labeling efforts

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee for holding an important hearing on the bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act and demonstrating the urgent need for legislation that would establish uniform, science-based food labeling standards. Introduced by Congressmen Mike Pompeo and G.K. Butterfield, the bill has already attracted 60 co-sponsors, including 12 Democrats.

Titled “A National Framework for the Review and Labeling of Biotechnology in Food,” the hearing provided members with an opportunity to learn about the role genetic engineering plays in our nation’s food supply. Additionally, the hearing delved into state-specific labeling regulations and their potential impact on interstate commerce and consumers.

“America’s corn farmers are pleased that the bill is receiving support from both political parties and from Members of Congress representing broad and diverse constituencies,” said John Linder, NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair, a farmer from Morrow County Ohio.

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Tropical Storm Bill flooding could wipe out Ohio soybeans

With many soybean fields across Ohio already dealing with wet soils from earlier rains, the flooding impact from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill could leave some growers with diseased crops or facing yield loss.

In fact, if soybean crops at the V2-V3 growth stage are flooded for three days, growers could face a 20% yield loss, said Laura Lindsey, a field crops expert in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Growers with soybean fields flooded for six days could stand to lose up to 93% of their crops’ yield potential, said Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension.

“Things are a little bit scary for growers right now,” she said. “The continued rain falling on already saturated soils across the northern and west-central part of the state is going to be tough on soybeans.

“Based on OSU studies of flooding’s impact, soybeans at the V2 and V3 growth stage flooded for six days or more could wipe out an entire crop.”

Statewide, for the week that ended June 14, soybeans are 95% planted and 87% emerged, according to the May 26 U.S.

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Tips for dealing with floods and saturated soils in crop fields

In terms of crop concerns, there are numerous things to worry about with the current floods and saturated soil conditions around Ohio. In corn, aside from the physical damage of flood waters, there can also be costly nitrogen loss.

“There is no tool or test that can tell how much has been lost. An estimate can made on the loss potential, which is based on N source, time of application, soil temperature, and number of days that soils have remained saturated,” wrote Ed Lentz and Steve Culman with Ohio State University Extension in a recent CORN Newsletter. “Most nitrogen that is lost from a field is in the nitrate form during wet conditions. Time of transformation to nitrate is dependent on the type of N fertilizer applied. Anhydrous ammonia is less susceptible to loss since it converts to nitrate rather slowly. Urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) solution has about 25% as nitrate at application time has a greater risk for loss than anhydrous.

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Big rains swamp Ohio

A steady dose of heavy rains over the last few days for many parts of the state has created a number of dangerous situations for people and challenging situations for crops. Impassable roads, significant flooding and saturated crop fields were common throughout the state yesterday.

The northwest part of the state was the hardest hit with flood warnings being issued early in the day for nearly every county in the northeastern quarter of the state. Logan County and Allen County were particularly bad with flooding conditions.  Counties in southeastern, central and eastern Ohio were added to the flood warning list later in the day. The Heritage Cooperative even cancelled work at its headquarters in Logan County due to the high number of road closures and serious flood conditions in the area early in the day. Rains are predicted to continue around the state into next week with possibly another 3 to 5 inches of rain as the remaining remnants of Tropical Storm Bill move into the Ohio Valley.

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Problems to watch for after saturated soil conditions

While there are still areas in need of rain, many Ohio fields were subjected to excessive amounts of water in June, which can lead to a number of potential problems.

In corn, the soggy conditions may have contributed to lost nitrogen through leaching.

“There is no tool or test that can tell how much has been lost. An estimate can made on the loss potential, which is based on N source, time of application, soil temperature, and number of days that soils have remained saturated,” wrote Ed Lentz and Steve Culman with Ohio State University Extension in a recent CORN Newsletter. “Most nitrogen that is lost from a field is in the nitrate form during wet conditions. Time of transformation to nitrate is dependent on the type of N fertilizer applied. Anhydrous ammonia is less susceptible to loss since it converts to nitrate rather slowly. Urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) solution has about 25% as nitrate at application time has a greater risk for loss than anhydrous.

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2014 Farm Bill sign-up is not finished yet!

Many farmers have the belief that they have completed all the necessary steps needed to complete the sign-up for the 2014 farm bill programs. They made the yield update and base acre reallocation decisions and then they made the ARC/PLC decision for each farm. So what decision is left to make? Just as it has been in previous years, farmers still need to enroll in the farm bill program. The enrollment window has been announced and will begin June 17, 2015, and will end Sept. 30, 2015.

The concern is if farmers do not know they have one more paper to sign at FSA they will lose out on any potential benefits, especially since this enrollment period will include both 2014 and 2015. If farmers do not enroll their farms, then all the previous decisions on reallocations, updates, and program choice were all for nothing. Also if landowners or farmers choose not to update yield, reallocate base acres, and make a program election, they can still enroll a farm into the new farm bill program.

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Hedging to maximize farm profitability with tight margins

Soybeans

Due to heavy rain, 6 million soybean acres in Kansas and Missouri are not yet planted. How many acres might end up in prevent plant? Two million acres, or about 100 million bushels, while significant would probably not have that large of an effect on the market. Even if none of these acres are planted, the 2015 carryout will still be higher than 2014.

Total planted acres estimates are still uncertain. USDA estimates 84 million while others forecast 87 million. Prevent plant acres will also influence the market. With so many unanswered questions, $8 to $10 is likely the range for now.

 

Corn

Social media and news reports make it sound like flooding is widespread throughout the Midwest, which is contradicting USDA weekly reports of 75% good to excellent corn crop overall. Many farmers, who initially reported yellow/uneven corn, are now seeing the warm weather and nitrogen take effect and corn appearances are improving.

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Flooding effects on corn

Recent rains have caused a lot of ponding in low lying areas of the fields. What effects would ponding or flooding have on corn plants? Below are some facts:

• Under flooded conditions plants can’t breathe and survive for long. Flooding interrupts the breathing and photosynthetic processes of plants. Obviously, plants which are completely covered by water are at higher risk than those which are partially submerged.

• Oxygen in the soil also gets depleted within 48 hours of flooding and the plant growth functions like nutrient absorption is affected.

• Duration of ponding or flooding is critical. Cooler temperatures after flooding will help the survival of the young plants. Warmer temperatures above 75-80 degrees F following flooding can kill the plants.

• Corn plants which are partially submerged may continue breathing, photosynthesizing and living. Obviously, the longer they are under water, the lower their survival rate.

• Plants older than V6 stage survive better because the growing point is above ground after this stage.

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Ohio Corn Marketing Program awards first ethanol infrastructure grant

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program (OCMP) is pleased to announce Speedway LLC (Speedway) as the first recipient of The Ethanol Infrastructure Grant Program. Speedway, based in Enon, Ohio, will use the grant to increase ethanol availability in Franklin, Hancock, Lake, Cuyahoga, Warren and Clark counties.

The grant program creates the opportunity for fuel retailers to significantly expand the reach of ethanol in Ohio through financial support for the purchase and installation of dispensing equipment that is compatible with ethanol-blended fuels.

“Over 722,000 Ohio motorists are driving flex fuel vehicles, and they deserve access to efficient and clean burning ethanol,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn Marketing Program. “We are proud of our farmers’ dedication to ethanol demand expansion, as they continue to invest significant corn checkoff dollars to improving ethanol availability.”

OCMP is working in partnership with Guardian Energy to financially support the program. Guardian Energy operates an ethanol plant in Lima, Ohio. 

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Act now to control giant ragweed

Farmers who spot giant ragweed in their fields should apply a post-emergent herbicide before the infestation becomes unmanageable, even if no other weeds have appeared, two Purdue University plant scientists advise.

If left unchecked, giant ragweed could choke out emerging grain crops and even develop immunity to the herbicides used to control it, Bill Johnson, professor of botany and plant pathology, and Travis Legleiter, weed science program specialist, write in Purdue’s Pest and Crop online newsletter.

“A lack of residual herbicide at planting and farmers’ hesitation to spray when only the giant ragweed is at the appropriate height often leads to situations where post-emergent applications, regardless of the herbicide of choice, are being made to giant ragweed plants that are much larger than the labeled height,” the article states.

Giant ragweed sprouts early in the season and grows rapidly, blocking light from corn and soybean seedlings. Most manufacturers recommend applying post-emergent herbicide when giant ragweed is 4-6 inches tall.

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Supplemental forage options for early summer planting

Now that first harvest of forage crops is completed or in progress, some may be noticing the low yields in damaged forage stands, or they may realize the need for additional forage supplies this summer. There is always the temptation to no-till something into existing stands in an effort to produce more tonnage, but I believe that is a risky proposition this time of the year. The existing stand will compete heavily for moisture and regrowth of the existing stand will shade new seedlings struggling to get established. So at this point in the year, I think it is best to either kill a poor stand and seed an annual crop for summer forage production, or find open land available to seed an annual forage for supplemental feed.

There are several good options for producing supplemental forage from annual crops planted in June, which are discussed here. Additional options for supplemental forage exist for planting in late summer, particularly following wheat harvest.

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Not many surprises in this month’s USDA report

Prior to the report release corn and soybeans were down 3 cents, with wheat down 11 cents.  At 12:20 pm corn was down 4 cents, soybeans down 1 cent, and wheat down 12 cents. Corn usage was cut 25 million bushels in the ethanol column. Corn for ethanol now stands at 5.175 billion bushels.

This is not a huge surprise even though usage has been over 100 million bushels each of the last four weeks. Seeing several weeks above 100 million bushels is encouraging. But with numbers reaching the mid-90 million bushel mark earlier this spring for several weeks, it is just too little, too late to keep the total corn used for ethanol at 5.2 billion bushels. Margins have been declining for two weeks as they fell to levels seen in early April.

Old crop soybean ending stocks went down 20 million bushels due to increased demand. Ending stocks now stand at 330 million bushels.

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Feeding Farmers Week 3 – Davisson Farms, Union County

For the third week of Feeding Farmers in the Field, sponsored by AgriGold Hybrids, Dale Minyo and the crew of the Ohio Ag Net made their way south of Milford Center in Union County to Davisson Farms. Dale Davisson leads the corn and soybean operation.

The farm is currently enjoying a good balance of moisture and dry weather along with having a positive planting season overall. Davisson reports they were extremely happy with the emergence they’ve seen in corn and have recently finished side dressing.

Davisson also reported temperatures being a bit on the cool side during soybean planting, but plants have so far come up nicely around the farm.

The operation has been utilizing variable-rate technology for a couple years now, something they say they’ve grown to love.

Watch the interview between Dale Minyo and Dale Davisson below:

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Seedling blights of corn

We like growers to plant their corn early, however, we want them to wait until the ground is ready and soil temperatures are 50 degrees and above. When you have a lot of area to cover, you have to plant when the weather will let you. But this can create opportunities for disease organisms and insects to attack the newly emerging plants. This year after planting, it turned cold and the seedling blights had their chance to invade. There have been several reports of seedling root-rot in corn fields. Some of the causes for seedling blights are as follows:

• Seedling diseases are favored by wet and cool soil conditions (50-55 F) after planting. Corn planted early or in no-till ground is more susceptible to these diseases. Recent cool and wet periods were ideal for the pathogens that cause seedling blights.

• The disease organisms that infect corn seedlings are species of Pythium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia.

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