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Nitrogen management, redux

With a slow start to spring corn planting, we also do not have our pre-plant nitrogen on yet in many cases. For both economical and environmental reasons it is better to wait to apply, so this may be a win-win.

Yes, phosphorus (P) is a big concern for Lake Erie, but nitrogen (N) is also another culprit in excessive algal growth both to the north and to the south. And while we lose 1.5 to 2 pounds of P per acre we may lose 35, to 55, to 165 pounds of nitrogen or even “everything you applied.” This adds up to real money, if N is priced at fifty cents per pound — maybe $18 to $90 an acre. These warm spring rains are also a reminder of why we do not apply fall nitrogen in Ohio.

So what is the right rate for nitrogen on corn? Table 9 of the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations, written in 1995, says to use a yield goal approach for your nitrogen recommendation — for example with corn yield goal of 180 bushels per acre you would need 190 pounds of N in a corn-soybean rotation.… Continue reading

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Monitoring spotted wing drosophila

A relatively new but already widespread winged pest to Ohio small fruit growers can cause significant crop damage but, if spotted early, can be managed to avoid losses, according to an entomologist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

While spotted wing drosophila may look like a common vinegar fly, it instead has the potential to wipe out entire fruit crops because of its propensity to attack healthy ripening fruit, said Celeste Welty, an Ohio State University Extension entomologist and associate professor of entomology.

“The bad news about this pest is that is it widespread and causes significant damage,” said Welty, who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “But once you identify it and know it is impacting your crops, it can be managed and beaten back. Early detection is a critical part of managing this pest.”

To help growers learn new management tips for spotted wing drosophila and new methods to trap and get rid of the pest, Welty, along with Jim Jasinski, an OSU Extension educator and integrated pest management specialist, will offer a webinar May 6 from 10:30 a.m.… Continue reading

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NCGA pushing EPA to stick to RFS timeframe

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month entered into a consent decree agreeing to a court-enforced timeline for establishing the Renewable Volume Obligation numbers for 2014 and 2015 for the Renewable Fuel Standard, the delayed timeline — especially for 2014 — were a reflection of the problems the EPA set up for itself by numerous delays.

“Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to provide cleaner domestic fuel choices for consumers,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “And the EPA has finally provided additional clarity about their timeline for announcing the 2014 through 2016 renewable fuel requirements. We have expressed our concerns about the continued delays to the EPA, and we will be taking them at their word that they will adhere to this new deadline. NCGA will continue to work with the EPA to ensure the numbers are consistent with the statute passed by Congress and put the RFS back on track.”

Under the consent decree and other commitments, the EPA will follow the following timeline:

  • By June 1, the agency will propose volume requirements for 2015 and 2016 and will re-propose volume requirements for 2014, by June 1, that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.
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Historical perspective of planting corn in April

How much corn is typically planted in Ohio by the third week of April?  According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ohio/Publications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/index.asp), for the week ending April 13 no appreciable acreage of corn had been planted in Ohio (1%), which compared to 0% last year and 7% for the five year average.

The table below shows corn planting progress (percentage of acres planted) in April and May for the past 15 years. This historical data shows that the percentage of corn acres planted by April 15 is usually very limited averaging 2% and ranging from 0 to 10%. By April 20, the percentage of corn acreage planted was 10% or greater in only four of the 15 years, and by April 25, it was 10% or greater in only seven of the 15 years. By April 30, the percentage of corn acres planted was 10% or greater in nine of the 15 years but in only 3 of the 15 years did the % acreage planted exceed 50%.… Continue reading

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Water Quality Status Report issued by Ohio Farm Bureau

Addressing the challenges that threaten Ohio’s clean water resources is an important priority for the agriculture community. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has released a report detailing its efforts to ensure safe and healthy water for the state.

The Water Quality Status Report provides a list of action items being taken by farmers, Farm Bureau and many collaborative partners to implement new farming techniques and best practices to protect water while farming productively. It emphasizes actions in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB), but water quality is a statewide issue and Farm Bureau is addressing it throughout the state. Farm Bureau also has established statewide partnerships to identify comprehensive solutions to complex water issues.

“Normally, water is something we all take for granted, unless we have too much of it or not enough,” said Steve Hirsch, OFBF president. “Water quality and quantity has always been important to farmers, but they are also vital to the quality of life for all Ohioans.”

The Toledo water crisis and the recent algae bloom events in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St.… Continue reading

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Planting tips for small corn seed

The pathway to high profit yields starts with accurate singulation and placement of every seed. As we approach planting season, here are some key suggestions to achieving those effective plant stands. I will focus only on the “seed” aspect.

1. Pre-condition your seed: All seed packaging systems need to be conditioned to the current temperature and humidity. This can be accomplished by opening the doors of sheds and storage buildings where seed is stored and letting an “equilibrium” develop. Small bags should have the shrink wrap removed for improved air flow among the bags. Seed boxes should have enough room between them that a person can walk around them. If cross-ventilation is a problem, farmers in the past have set up large fans to increase air flow. All these efforts will reduce condensation possibilities inside the boxes.

2. Lubricate your planter: This procedure is extremely important before planting any seed.… Continue reading

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Website helps farmers identify, manage mycotoxins and ear rots in corn

A website developed by plant pathologists from Purdue University and a nationwide partnership of research institutions could help farmers better understand and respond to the threat of mycotoxins and ear rots in corn.

The site, Corn Mycotoxins, includes management information as well as photo and video reference materials about Aspergillus, Diplodia, Fusarium and Gibberella — the four most common and economically significant ear rots. The website also provides information on how to properly store moldy grain and the characteristics of various types of mycotoxins.

Ear rots occur when certain fungi infect corn. Several of those fungi produce mycotoxins, which accumulate in grain. Mycotoxins can be harmful to livestock and humans if contaminated grain is used in livestock feed or human food products.

Mycotoxins are natural chemicals that are very stable and not easily eliminated from contaminated grain, said Charles Woloshuk, professor of botany and plant pathology and member of the website development team.… Continue reading

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Get a jump on small marestail

Even small early weeds can hurt crop yields, especially marestail. So it’s important to get a head start on controlling those early weeds, especially, if they are herbicide resistant. Some facts about early emerging weeds and tips on their control are given below:

• There are many early emerging weeds but the main one to scout for is mares tail, which is also known as horseweed. Herbicide resistant populations of marestail are becoming harder to control in some areas.

• According to the University of Nebraska, marestail seeds can germinate on the surface and thrive in no-till fields. Each marestail plant can produce up to 200,000 seeds which are mainly spread by wind. So even if you did not have marestail in your fields before but your neighbor had, you should scout your fields before planting so you are not surprised later.

• In the fall, marestail produces non-dormant seeds that germinate and form an over-wintering rosette.… Continue reading

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Hops tours this summer

Growers and others interested in learning more about the Ohio hops research at The Ohio State University can attend tours of its hop fields in both Piketon and Wooster.

The “Hops production to enhance economic opportunities for farmers and brewers” project is offering early stage growers, advanced growers and anyone else interested in hops production an opportunity to tour the hop research trials.

The trials are taking place at Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon and at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. Participants can learn basic information on how to get started in hops production as well as what resources may be available to help growers, said Charissa McGlothin, program assistant with South Centers.

The tours will feature basic information on the ins and outs of hops production, including trellis construction, drip irrigation and how to evaluate which variety of hops growers are interested in producing, McGlothin said.… Continue reading

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Conservation measures required for crop insurance eligibility

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers that the 2014 Farm Bill requires producers to file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA service center by June 1, 2015, in order to become or remain eligible for crop insurance premium support.

Most farmers already have a certification form on file since it’s required for participation in most USDA programs such as marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans and disaster assistance. However farmers, such as specialty crop growers who receive federal crop insurance premium support, but may not participate in other USDA programs, also must now file a certification form to maintain their crop insurance premium support.

“USDA employees are working very hard to get the word out about this new Farm Bill provision,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary. “While many producers will not need to take action, we want to help make sure that those who are required to act do so by the June 1 deadline.… Continue reading

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Planting season is here

Producers across Ohio and the Midwest enter the spring planting season with much anticipation. They welcome the end of a two-year cycle of higher than normal snowfall last winter as well as colder than normal temperatures this winter. Some would say those back to back events are following in a once every 20 years or “generation cycle.”

The prolonged cold has left wheat producers behind normal in applying spring nitrogen. Actually, the snow we had in February along with the three weeks of much colder than normal temperatures are the real culprits. Producers report being greatly encouraged by the condition of wheat as it exits dormancy and begins to green up. Many have guarded optimism for their 2015 wheat yields. Those still growing wheat have often seen yields of 80 to 100 bushels the past three years. In many cases, producers below I-70 continue to be following wheat with double-crop soybeans.… Continue reading

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Rule change for NCGA yield contest

The National Corn Growers Association announced important rule changes for the upcoming 2015 National Corn Yield Contest. For the upcoming year, contest rules have been altered to ensure a more even field upon which all contests may participate and, thus, to highlight the incredible accomplishments of so many of our entrants.

In 2015, each NCGA membership used to register for the NCYC must have an individual’s name on it, and each individual may have only one membership number. Each membership number may be used on as many contest entries as desired but, as in previous years, each number will only be awarded official placement for one state and one national level entry.

“Over the past few years, NCGA has seen so many incredible entries to the yield contests, and we truly wish to recognize as many as possible,” said Don Glenn, NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair. “We hope that this rule change will allow us to showcase more of the breadth of talent and innovation we see across the contest and, at the same time, gin up additional interest and inspiration among potential participants.”

For access to contest information and a detailed list of the entry and harvest rules, click here.… Continue reading

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Mimic the mentor to improve soils and cut inputs

When considering how to maximize the productivity of Ohio’s agricultural lands for generations to come, there are more farmers taking cues from the ultimate expert on the subject — Mother Nature.

For eons, she took care of the soils and developed them into some of the richest the world has ever seen. Now, as modern stewards of the land face the perennial challenges associated with agricultural production, there are some simple and broad concepts that are just scratching the surface of a very complex science that is just beginning to be understood.

“We are trying to educate people to have the right ecological context. We forgot to look at the soil as a living ecosystem. We were not taught to synergize with it,” said Ray Archuleta, a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation agronomist to 300 listeners packed into David Brandt’s Fairfield County farm shop earlier this month. “We are taking a more holistic view through biomimicry.… Continue reading

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Bambauer Fertilizer & Seed expands operation with new construction

More than 150 farmers from Shelby, Logan and Auglaize counties attended an Open House event last month for a newly constructed Fertilizer Facility at Bambauer Fertilizer & Seed.

Located south of Jackson Center on Wise Road, the 10,000-ton facility will be focused on better service to Bambauer’s retail customers.

“This expansion is an effort to improve our business and better serve our customers,” said Mitch Bambauer, manager of the Jackson Center location. “Our goals with this facility are to provide the best blended product and most complete coverage when adding fertilizer enhancements, while at the same time, increasing overall efficiency.”

Expanding storage and rail capacity for better purchasing power as well as more efficient transfers to allBambauer train cars Bambauer locations were additional goals of the project. A tower blend system that incorporates a state of the art High Intensity Mixer are additional features of this facility.

“As farm operations grow, trucks and machines also keep getting bigger.… Continue reading

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Monarch meeting looks to restore butterfly populations

The National Corn Growers Association recently represented corn farmers’ interests during the Keystone Monarch Collaborative meeting held in St. Paul, Minn. This meeting brought together farm organizations, farmers, government agencies, monarch researchers, companies in the agricultural supply chain and conservation organizations to discuss the need for more collaboration and public private partnership on monarch recovery and conservation efforts.

During the meeting, participants shared information about existing efforts underway, including research and monitoring. After identifying areas for immediate engagement for those already taking active measures, the group explored the usefulness of a more comprehensive planning process.

“NCGA came to the table for these discussions to learn about the type of conservation efforts recommended for farmers to improve the health of monarch populations,” said Ethan Mathews, NCGA Director of Public Policy. “While our proposed solutions to this issue may vary widely, we understand the importance of having a seat at the table and working on areas of mutual agreement to find the best outcome possible that takes farmers’ concerns into consideration.”

These discussions come on the heels of a U.S.… Continue reading

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Will 2015 be the perfect storm for marestail?

This spring is shaping up to be one where marestail control problems abound, based on the following:

1. Not many fields were treated with herbicide last fall due to wet weather and the late harvest. Fall treatment results in a field free of overwintered marestail in spring, which takes the pressure off spring burndown treatments — they just have to control the newly emerging small marestail. One strategy to compensate for lack of fall treatment is to apply herbicide early in spring when overwintered marestail plants are still small, but….

2. Wet weather so far this spring has largely prevented application of burndown herbicides which means that……

3. When we can finally apply spring burndown treatments, they have to be comprehensive enough to control fairly old, overwintered marestail. We know that the standard-rate glyphosate/2,4-D burndown can struggle in this situation, so some modification/replacement of this may be warranted.

Some possible modifications to consider:

• Increase the 2,4-D rate from 0.5 to 1.0 pound active ingredient per acre, which can improve control by 10% to 20% in our experience, possibly not enough in late April.… Continue reading

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Can small weeds hurt yield?

Can small weeds hurt yield?

Yes. Here is why:

• Plants appear to know quickly whether they have enough elbow room to grow. They are healthy and strong with plenty of space, but weak and spindly when crowded. It doesn’t matter if neighbors are corn plants or weeds.

• It’s especially important to control weeds early so herbicide-resistant weeds don’t get started. As young corn seedlings, their leaves and roots are not long enough to touch other plants and ‘feel’ that they don’t have elbow room. So how do they know they have too much company?

• Research studies have shown that light reflected from chlorophyll of neighboring plants signals how close those plants are to them. All green plants have chloroplast cells that capture energy from sunlight to produce sugars. Stomata or leaf openings allow them to obtain carbon dioxide from the air. They give off oxygen during the day.… Continue reading

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Are you speculating or hedging?


There was another USDA report last week estimating usage and carryout. It had few surprises; corn carryout raised slightly (this was projected in the March 31st stock reports), which means there is more corn stored on the farm than the trade previously estimated.

Expect little corn excitement in the next two months. With plenty of old crop corn, the U.S is not competitive in the world markets as prices approach $4.00. On the other hand, farmers won’t sell below $3.75. A large weather event in May or June would probably be the only reason this trading range would change in the short-term.



It’s hard to be bullish beans. The U.S. and the world for that matter has a mountain of beans in storage and plans to plant record acreage this year are forecasted. The only potential is that it’s a long time to August and making the crop is still open to weather issues.… Continue reading

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EPA moving forward with RFS

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed news that the Environmental Protection Agency will propose the volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 by June 1, 2015 and finalize them by November 30, 2015. In addition to the 2014 and 2015 volume requirements, EPA announced the same timeline for establishing the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2016 and 2017.

“Today’s announcement provides encouragement that EPA will get the RFS implementation back on track and provide greater certainty and stability to the U.S. biodiesel industry. ASA has been urging EPA and the White House to address the overdue RFS volume requirements and move forward immediately on finalizing increased volumes for biomass-based diesel, and we met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in late March and pressed this issue,” said Wade Cowan, ASA president. “As good as this news is, however, there are still questions that remain regarding the volume levels that EPA will propose for 2014-2017.… Continue reading

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Wheat price manipulation complaint filed

Last week, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and Mondelēz Global LLC with manipulation and attempted manipulation of the prices of cash wheat and wheat futures.

The complaint, filed on April 1 with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges that the two companies also violated speculative position limits established by the CFTC and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), and engaged in numerous noncompetitive trades in CBOT wheat. According to a statement released by the CFTC, the actions of these two organizations in December 2011 did result in market price shifts, lowering cash wheat prices and strengthening the spread between December 2011 and March 2012 wheat futures, which made the companies more than $5.4 million in profits.

The National Association of Wheat Growers is concerned about potential manipulation in the wheat market that negatively impacts our wheat growers.

“Our growers operate on low margins and even pennies per bushel difference in market price can make a big difference to a farmer’s bottom line.… Continue reading

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