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More questions for your seed rep

I strongly believe that your Seed Rep should be able to answer some tough questions whether he is working for Seed Consultants or some other seed company before you sign on the dotted line. If they can’t answer some of your questions, they should be able get the answers from an agronomist. Below are some more questions:

• Do you have a replicated testing program? How many locations do you have? Where are these locations in my state?

• Does your company enter their corn hybrids and soybean varieties in the university tests? How do you compare with the other brands? Can you explain what LSD means at the bottom of the yield tables and how to use it?

• Where do you produce your seed? How do you spread your risk of seed production? Can I depend on your company to supply me good seed every year?

• With the lower grain prices, you may have to budget tightly for the 2015 crop.… Continue reading

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Pollinator discussion needs to continue

Four months into the creation of a presidential task force on pollinator health, the National Corn Growers Association has established itself as a leading voice for farmers in the discussion over how to ensure a healthy and robust population of honeybees and other pollinators.

Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team, spoke at the Pollinator Health Task Force’s recent public listening session outside Washington, DC.

“Although corn does not rely on bees or other pollinators, we recognize their importance to agriculture,” Glenn said. “It’s important for us to be at the table, as a voice for farmers, and engaging in a productive conservation about how to solve this challenge.”

The listening session was the latest in a series of activities from the task force, which was created by a presidential initiative in June and is jointly run by the USDA and EPA. Glenn said NCGA is eager to partner with Task Force members on grower education efforts and to continue dialogue.… Continue reading

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Expiring options not a bad thing


There have been many predicted significant difficulties moving this large crop during October to December, which would cause basis prices to collapse. In September elevators even paid up to $4,000 per car or $1 per bushel for the rights to have cars show up at their elevator in anticipation. This week the price of cars has since dropped to $0 per car, which is baffling elevator managers and traders.

This year basis didn’t crash because farmers didn’t sell much grain. In addition to that, farmers have been building more home storage (elevators too). So, with this additional storage, farmers weren’t forced to sell when prices declined before harvest.

This freight issue is helping the Dakotas’ basis the most, which was expected to fall apart by many in the industry. U.S. corn is still a little expensive for exporting, but the pressure is off for now.


As mentioned above, the corn board is holding strong because farmers aren’t selling.… Continue reading

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Tom Yuhasz, Nov. 24

All of the snow is gone again. We had some bizarre blizzard weather there for a while, but it is around 60 degrees here today.

Overall corn harvest is pretty well completed around here, but there is still a little out there. We’re having a little run of corn this morning at the elevator. The later planted beans got hit with all of that water and they weren’t very good. The corn yield suffered from hybrid selection decisions about planting later corn. We are seeing lower test weights in the later corn too.

I think yields were a little bit below average, but not far below. We saw a variety of diseases that we don’t always see in this area. We haven’t had any problems with marestail and we are starting to see that floating around the edges of the fields.

I think for sure we are between the 150- and 200-bushel range for corn in this area, probably around 175 bushels.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Nov. 24

We finished everything before the snow. Everything was done before any real inclement weather and we finished on a good note.

Corn was fantastic. For us it was a new farm average record. Soybeans had a couple of fields with some stand issues due to early rains this spring. Those brought our average back down into our normal range, but we did have some outstanding soybeans as well.

We had corn field averages anywhere from 228 bushels on down to around 175 bushels. The beans had highs in the mid 60s and the fields with stand issues were down in the mid-40s. The corn definitely surprised me, but it makes sense looking back on it. We didn’t have a lot of stress at pollination and when we were getting critically dry we had some really nice rains the first week of August. I think that helped the corn more than I had imagined in terms of kernel fill and maintaining the kernel counts that pollination had given us.… Continue reading

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Jed Bower, Nov. 24

It looks like harvest has wrapped up for most people in the area. You still see a few pockets of corn out, but things are dwindling down. There are some cover crops in the area that are coming on strong if they got them out early. The wheat is coming on nicely for the guys that got it in early.

Cover crops are not new, but they are for many people. There are still a lot of people who think they are a trend that will go away in a couple of years. In my opinion, the biggest problem with cover crops is the timing. It is so hard for us to get them out early enough to allow them to get proper growth before they get a freeze. I have looked into them and the cost of aerial application or specialized equipment is a little limiting right now. As new technology comes on, I think we may see an increase in cover crops in the next few years.… Continue reading

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Brad Mattix, Nov. 24

We still have about 60 acres to do. We had a bad breakdown on our grain setup and we couldn’t get things wrapped up. And, we needed extra help on our manure side and that slowed us up too. We just need part of a day to finish up.

I am concerned with this wind today in the corn. It won’t be good. It has been standing well so far. I am hoping it is still standing after today.

The snow shut us out for a little while but we got back into it on Saturday. Some of our later corn was not nearly as good as our first corn. We definitely saw that trend with the yields. The range between our best corn and worst corn was phenomenal this year. I have never seen anything like it in my life. Our corn still averaged north of 200 but I don’t know exactly where we will end up.… Continue reading

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USDA helps open and expand export markets for U.S. agriculture

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service has awarded funding to more than 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for American products.

“The Market Access and Foreign Market Development Programs help agricultural organizations representing thousands of producers and businesses open and grow markets for American products around the world,” Vilsack said. “Exports create jobs and foster growth that is critically important for rural communities and our entire nation’s economy.”

Through the Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Agricultural Service partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. The program, which focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, is used extensively by organizations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and bulk and intermediate commodities.… Continue reading

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EPA further delays decision on RFS

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not finalize the 2014 Required Volume Obligations (RVO) for biofuels under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) before the end of the year. In making the announcement, EPA noted that it would take action in 2015 prior to or combined with the rulemaking for the 2015 RVO standards.

The previously proposed rule had serious flaws according to many, but the continued delay still leaves quite a bit of uncertainty, especially for soy-based biodiesel.

“The continued delays create great uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers and limits the industry’s ability to invest and expand,” said Ray Gaesser, American Soybean Association president. “The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have taken biodiesel backward from the amounts produced and utilized in 2013. However, ASA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Dry areas yielding disappointing results in 2014 harvest

While Northeast Ohio had too much moisture, and other parts of the state had plenty of rain, there were areas this year that were on the dry side. The lack of moisture is showing up in some disappointing yields in localized areas.

There were several noteworthy pockets of fairly dry weather along the western edge of the state and in parts of south central Ohio. Sam Custer, Darke County Extension educator, said there have been a few spots in his area that have been on the dry side for three years in a row. The area around Union City was one of the driest parts of the state in 2012, dry again in 2013, and saw a dry late growing season this year. The results in that small area were respectable corn yields but a disappointing soybean crop this year. Some of the driest areas in Darke County in 2014 were around North Star.… Continue reading

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How did the 2014 Ohio Crop Tour estimates stack up to actual yields?

Heading into the 2015 I-75/I-71  Ohio Crop Tour, we thought it may be interesting to take a look at how we fared with our crop estimates on the 2014 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour. Here is a look at how our late summer estimates compared to the realities in the fields last fall. On the Tour held Aug. 13 and 14 in 2014, two teams crisscrossed the state hitting 42 of Ohio’s top corn and soybean counties doing corn yield checks and soybean crop assessments. The tour offered a huge amount of variability with corn everywhere from mid-pollination to late dent. A corn field and a soybean field were sampled in each county.

After last fall’s harvest, we followed up on four stops from the 2014 Tour to see how the fields actually performed. Here are the results.

I-75 leg

The corn yield estimate in Hancock County was 215 bushels. After the yield check on Aug.… Continue reading

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Nematodes aplenty in Ohio fields

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is clearly a significant problem for soybeans in Ohio, but it is not the only problem nematode out there.

“Many companies are marketing nematode management products. We want to know what is out there besides SCN. If we find a field that doesn’t have SCN, there has to be something filling that niche,” said Terry Niblack, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist and Chair of the Department of Plant Pathology. “What is it? We have to find out what is out there to know what to do about it. There are always beneficial nematodes and there are always bad nematodes in every field. The question is which kinds and how many.”

The damage from nematodes, in both corn and soybeans, can be tough to identify above the ground. Niblack is working on a soybean checkoff funded study, in conjunction with Laura Lindsey in Ohio State University Extension and Horticulture and Crop Science, to assess SCN populations in Ohio.… Continue reading

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National cover crop survey documents impacts, benefits and challenges

For the second year in a row, a national survey of farmers has documented a yield boost from the use of cover crops in corn and soybeans, as well as a wide variety of other benefits. The survey — which was funded by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension (SARE) program and carried out by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) — also details the challenges and benefits farmers expect from cover crops, data on the costs of seed and establishment, and insight into how farmers learn to manage cover crops.

In all, 1,924 respondents — both users and non-users of cover crops — completed the survey in the winter of 2013-2014. Of the total, 639 provided data comparing corn yields on similar fields with and without cover crops. They noted an average yield increase of five bushels per acre, or 3.1%, on fields that had been planted to cover crops before corn.… Continue reading

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Farming from winter to winter in northeast Ohio

Well it seems that winter is here, and many farmers in northeast Ohio are still dealing with the challenges from last winter. The winter of 2013-2014 will not soon be forgotten in Ohio’s Snow Belt, partly due to the fact that it took most of the spring to finally start warming up. And, even when it warmed up, it still wasn’t all that warm. Courtesy of the winter that just did not want to end, planting season got off to a cool, wet start that would set the tone for the rest of the season.

“It was wet all summer and there were periods that were very wet,” said Les Ober, Geauga County Extension educator. “For example, we had more than seven inches of rain in August where we normally get two or three inches. We were soaked all summer long. Haying was a nightmare up here. You couldn’t get the hay to dry.”

The wet conditions during flowering led to problems with white mold.… Continue reading

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Farmland values due for a slight decline

With crop prices at multiyear lows and interest rates expected to inch up over the next few years, a Purdue University agricultural economist believes the decade-long increase in farmland values might soon be over.

But Michael Langemeier, associate director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture, said any decline should be relatively slight and spread over more than one year.

“We are looking at about a 5% to 10% correction over each of the next three years,” he said. “It’s normal for a market that has been so strong to take a little breather.”

Langemeier said the rally was due in large part to the increased production of corn-based ethanol and strong export markets for soybeans, which drove crop prices higher and made farmland a more attractive investment.

But corn and soybean prices have been in a tailspin recently, falling to their lowest levels in five years on expectations of a record yield and a large global grain surplus.… Continue reading

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Farmers influencing markets buy holding tight to 2014 crop

Harvest progress as of Nov. 10 was 80% for corn and 90% for soybeans. With the cold weather that quickly came upon the Midwest, the remaining bushels of corn and soybeans still standing in fields could be standing longer than producers would desire. Snow came into the upper Midwest hitting Minnesota and the upper peninsula of Michigan, with some areas seeing snow totals of one to two feet. They may not see bare ground again until April.

Here in Ohio, corn yields were extremely variable. It was fantastic to hear those who had been farming for over 30 years again seeing record breaking yields for their farms. What a special accomplishment!

It has been an extremely volatile fall season for both corn and soybean prices. Early in October, January 2015 CBOT soybeans made contract lows of $9.12. The onset of harvest pushed the likely event of a record U.S. soybean crop.… Continue reading

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German study outlines benefits of biotech

The United States is the world’s leader in developing and adopting biotechnology to enhance the yield and quality of agricultural commodities. Despite the rapid adoption of genetic modified (GM) crops by farmers in many countries around the world, however, controversies about this technology continue.

To help evaluate the evidence about GM crops, a German report was recently published outlining the results of a meta-analysis of agronomic and economic impacts of GM crops.

The report examined 147 original studies that built on primary data from farm surveys or field trials anywhere in the world reporting impacts of GM soybean, maize, or cotton on crop yields, pesticide use and/or farmer profits.

“This report is important for the U.S. Grains Council because 93% of all U.S. corn acres were planted with biotech varieties in 2014,” said Andrew Conner, USGC manager of biotechnology. “Therefore, all exports of U.S. corn and corn products — except for cargoes specifically contracted and identity preserved as non-biotech — must be assumed to contain biotech varieties.”

The new report presented findings that GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22% and increased farmer profits by 68%.… Continue reading

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Marketing for money in the bank


Interestingly, the USDA lowered the estimated corn yield in the November report, while most in the trade expected an increase. Regardless, this is the largest crop in U.S. history, with nearly 15 billion bushels raised and a carryout near the 2 billion bushel mark. The next report is scheduled for Jan. 12. Following are a few market issues that may affect prices in the near term:

  • Exports are a concern. Currently, the market is not on track to meet USDA projections, which may mean a bearish long-term.
  • Many farmers aren’t selling on-farm stored corn. So, the only corn for sale is from farmers who stored in commercial facilities that don’t want to continue to pay storage fees.
  • A floor trader mentioned this week that speculative traders will likely slow their trades down through the end of this year, to avoid losing any profits made this year trading. With reduced levels of trading, volatility is also reduced.
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Ohio Certified Crop Adviser Program accepting nominations for 2015 Ohio CCA of the Year Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Certified Crop Adviser of the Year award. The Ohio CCA Program is sponsoring this state award, which is designed to recognize an individual who is highly motivated, delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management, and crop production, and has contributed substantially to the exchange of ideas and the transfer of agronomic knowledge within the agricultural industry in Ohio.

The winner for this year’s award will be recognized at the 2015 Conservation Tillage Conference on March 3 in Ada, Ohio. The winner will receive a plaque, recognition in industry publications, and a $1,500 cash award from the agronomic industry.

To view previous award winners, visit www.oaba.net/cca_award.… Continue reading

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Determining the market year average price for farm bill program payments

The 2014 Farm Bill uses a market year average price for calculating the revenue guarantee for both the County Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-CO) and Individual (ARC-IC) programs. Additionally, the market year average price is used to determine the actual crop revenue for ARC-CO and the price used in calculating potential PLC payments. Because of the importance of this price in the determination of program payments, it is important that producers understand how this number is derived. In Ohio the primary crops that will be insured are corn, soybeans and wheat. This discussion is limited to these crops although there is data for most crops grown in Ohio.

The market year average is the national average price received by producers during the 12-month marketing year. The marketing year is different for each crop. The marketing year for wheat is June 1 to May 31 while the marketing year for corn and soybean are both Sept.… Continue reading

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