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No surprises in April 9 USDA Crop Production report

There were no surprises with today’s supply and demand report. Corn ending stocks were increased 50 million bushels to 1.827 billion bushels, less than expected. Corn fed to livestock was reduced 50 million bushels. Corn exports were unchanged as expected. Soybean ending stocks were reduced 15 million bushels to 370 million bushels. This change was the same number anticipated by the trade. Soybean crush and exports were unchanged. Soybean production in Brazil was unchanged at 94.5 million tons, with Argentina at 57 million tons, up 1 million tons. Both were as expected. No surprises for corn or soybeans. Wheat ending stocks were 684 million bushels, down slightly from last month.

Prior to the report corn was down 3 cents, soybeans down 13 cents, while wheat was down  8 cents. The sharply higher U.S. dollar today contributed to the weakness for grains. At 12:20 pm corn was down 1 cent, soybeans were down 13 cents, and wheat was down 3 cents.Continue reading

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OSU offers high tunnel workshop in April

Specialty fruit or vegetable crop producers can gain a better understanding of how to use high tunnels to extend the growing season and boost farm profits at a two-day workshop April 27 to 28 taught by horticulturists and other experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

The Ohio State University South Centers will host the high tunnel training on basic and advanced high tunnel techniques, said Brad Bergefurd, an Ohio State University Extension horticulturist based at the centers in Piketon.

High tunnels are unheated, plastic-covered, relatively inexpensive structures that can dramatically extend the growing season.

The workshop will offer participants a way to gain a broader understanding of integrated pest management techniques as well as crop management in a high tunnel production system and allow participants to tour farms that are successfully using advanced high tunnel production.

Workshop sessions will include:

• “Introduction to Integrated Pest Management in High Tunnels”

• “Science Behind Water Quality”

• “Food Safety Modernization Act Updates on Water Quality Standards”

• “Risk Assessment and Activity in Water”

• “Laboratory Representative Presentation and Demonstration”

• “Aquaponics Production”

• “Disease Control in High Tunnels”

• “Identification of Management of Natural Enemies and ‘Biological Insect Control’”

• “Insect Identification and Control Recommendations”

• “Basic High Tunnel Training Including High Tunnel Basic Techniques”

• “Crop Physiology and Nutritional Aspects of High Tunnel Production”

• “Petiole Sap Analysis Demonstration”

• “High Tunnel Greens, Tomato and Berry Production”

• “Tomato Grafting Demonstration and Exercise”

• “Water Quality Management for Irrigation and Fertigation”

There will also be a High Tunnel Facility Tour including the OSU South Centers, Zimmerman Farms in Cynthiana, Mike Auker Farm in Rainsboro and Freddie Weave Rainsboro Produce in Rainsboro

Registration is $50 and includes high tunnel management booklets and handouts, bus tour, breakfast, lunch and snacks for both days.… Continue reading

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PUCO grants temporary waiver for hauling anhydrous

At the request of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ordered that the age requirement set forth in Ohio Administrative Code 4901:2-5-04(A) be waived to allow the hauling of anhydrous ammonia April 1-June 30 by those 21 and younger as long as the following criteria are met:

  • Within a travel distance of 150 air-mile radius from the source
  • Within intrastate commerce.

OABA sought this temporary relief from the new rules governing the transportation of hazardous material, specifically anhydrous ammonia, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, many agricultural retailers have not had sufficient time to comply with the new requirements that became effective this past fall. While agricultural retailers desire to be compliant, it would have been challenging for those companies delivering anhydrous ammonia to the farm, to comply by this spring.

We appreciate the Public Utilities Commission’s understanding of our concerns and willingness to work with Ohio’s agribusiness community.… Continue reading

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Yield contest success from good management and better weather

Yield contests are always good for generating some headlines and coffee shop conversations, but Don Jackson, from southern Preble County, thinks participating in yield contests can also push the envelope for innovation and getting yields to the next level. The fact that he wins them doesn’t hurt either.

“Yield contests give you the incentive to push things,” he said. “Some of these things may not be economically feasible to do, but by participating in yield contests on a few acres we can find out if they are.”

In 2014, Jackson won the Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest with a yield of 86.1 bushels with Seed Consultants 9363. He also had the highest Ohio yield in the 2014 National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest non-irrigated category with a yield of 285.4221 bushels with DEKALB DKC64-87RIB on his farm near the Indiana border.

Despite his success in 2014, Jackson has been farming for long enough to know that a big part of those yields came from something beyond his control.… Continue reading

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What does it take to raise 100-bushel soybeans?

There have been many references to high yield soybean management in farm publications and presentations over the last few years. There are five key points to maximizing soybean yield:

1. Determinates of soybean yield

2. Maximizing light interception

3. Water use among growth stages

4. Nutrient use

5. High yield practices.

These are all common points when talking with growers who are and have been successful in producing high yielding soybeans. Soybean yields have increased over time. For example, from 1924-1979, the average yearly soybean rate of gain was 0.35 bushels per acre and from 1980-2010 was 0.50 bushels per acre. This increase has been accomplished through improved breeding methods and technologies. The research scientist’s overall goal is to increase the yearly soybean gain even more in the future.

The four main factors driving soybean yield are light (temperature), nutrition, water (drainage), and pest management. Understanding how water, light, and nutrition influence soybean yield is important and essential in developing production practices for high yield soybeans.… Continue reading

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Cuba has potential for U.S. agriculture

Last week I travelled to Cuba. Few people realize U.S. citizens can travel to Cuba as long as it is through special programs approved by the State Department. Although recent news reports indicate travel to Cuba may be easing in the future.

There are eight flights a day from Miami to Cuba. All of the planes are 737’s, full of Cuban Americans flying back to see their families, bringing back money and goods not available in Cuba. It took three hours to check into the flight because each passenger was bringing so many goods. The entire belly of the plane was loaded with shrink-wrapped packages of clothes, TV’s, stereos, cell phones, car parts, etc. I even saw a weed-wacker in one person’s belongings.

Cuba is the size of Tennessee and has a population of 11 million. I was initially surprised how European Cuba felt, because I expected it to be like other Caribbean islands.… Continue reading

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ODA accepting specialty grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting proposals for the 2015 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which will provide funding for projects to enhance the competitiveness of crops such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and nursery crops.

Grant funding is provided by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. The deadline for online grant proposal submissions is June 1, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.  Grants will range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $150,000. In addition, all applicants must provide a minimum match of 25% of the requested grant amount.

Project proposals are sought that will advance the long-term economic viability of the state’s specialty crop industry while increasing the marketability of specialty crops. Higher rankings will be given to projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry.

Food and agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions are eligible to submit specialty crop proposals.… Continue reading

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Considering soybean planting date and varietal maturity

Along with the continuing emphasis on getting soybean planted early — late April to early May — comes the question of soybean maturity rating and whether early planting benefits fuller- or shorter-season varieties the most, said a University of Illinois crop scientist.

Using data collected from recent planting date trials in central and northern Illinois, Emerson Nafziger constructed a response curve showing the acceleration of yield loss as planting is delayed past early May. Even including a large reduction at the Urbana site in 2014, the yield loss is less than 10% by mid-May and about 16% by the end of May. It continues to accelerate as planting is delayed into June, Nafziger explained.

“There is a lot of spread of data at different dates so we know that actual losses won’t hit the line on the graph most of the time,” Nafziger said. “While we’ve always known that planting delays decrease yields on average, these recent findings confirm that losses from planting soybeans late are lower than those from planting corn late.… Continue reading

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U.S., New Zealand seek WTO dispute resolution with Indonesia

The United States and New Zealand requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) establish a dispute settlement panel to examine Indonesia’s restrictions on several categories of agricultural imports. This action follows the failure of bilateral consultations over the last three years to find a solution. U.S. horticultural and animal products are primarily affected by Indonesia’s challenged practices.

“Indonesia’s unrealistic policy of self-sufficiency is known the world over,” said Kevin Roepke, U.S. Grains Council regional director of South and Southeast Asia. “It’s the fourth largest country in the world by population, yet its arable land is only the size of Kansas. As Indonesia continues to make impressive economic progress and dietary standards rise, trading isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

Indonesia is already the world’s largest importer of corn gluten meal and a top 10 market for distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Importing feed grains into the country remains a challenge due to unreliable statistics.… Continue reading

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Wheat growers hopeful for GM technology

The effort to move forward with biotech wheat varieties continues to be a priority issue for the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG).

“We need innovation and genetic modification (GM) technology in wheat. In 1992, wheat was the No. 1 U.S. crop by acreage. We have gone from No. 1 to No. 3 since then. We can’t attribute all of that to the lack of innovation with genetically modified crops, but it is certainly a factor,” said Gordon Stoner, vice president of NAWG. “We are still hearing 5 to 10 years on biotech wheat and I have been hearing about 5 to 10 years for 15 years now. One of our tech providers is working on Bt wheat that would help us manage the sawfly. In Montana alone, losses from sawfly are in excess of $1 million. And, there is also GM wheat with significant head scab resistance. It is sitting on a shelf today.”

Looking forward to the release of biotech wheat varieties, NAWG is being proactive with the world’s wheat growers.… Continue reading

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Water haves and have-nots a nation away

If all the snow that fell in the Boston area this winter had been shipped to California, it would have yielded an estimated 6 billion gallons of water. While Boston was running out of places to pile snow, the drought-stricken West would have gladly received it. Eastern cities broke records for snowfall and cold temperatures, but snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range was incredibly low.

If the current situation isn’t bad enough, the future looks even drier. Researchers from NASA, Cornell and Columbia universities are predicting a “megadrought” and severe water shortages for the Southwest and the central Plains occurring sometime around the middle of this century. A megadrought can last 10 times longer than a typical drought cycle of about three years.

The forecast is based on climate models that put the likelihood of this monster weather pattern occurring at 80%. It wouldn’t be the first megadrought. The last one in North America occurred during the 12th and 13th centuries.… Continue reading

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USDA releases 2015 planting intention numbers: Corn bearish, soybeans slightly bullish

Corn numbers were bearish with acres above expectations as well as stocks higher than expected. Soybeans were considered bullish with acres and stocks below expectations. The bullishness of soybeans is not nearly as strong as the bearishness of corn. Wheat acres and stocks were near expectations. Wheat appears to be a follower of corn today.

Just before the report came out, corn was up 3 cents, soybeans were down 1 cent, wheat was down 5 cents. At 12:20 pm corn was down 13 cents, soybeans up 4 cents, and wheat was down 18 cents.

Just in case you forgot, today is one of the biggest and most important USDA report days for the entire year. USDA will be providing their estimates of quarterly grains stocks as of March 1 as well as 2015 acres. This will be their first official estimate of 2015 acres. They will not be providing any supply and demand numbers today, although the trade will take today’s numbers and make some basic assumptions as to supply and demand.Continue reading

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USDA extends ARC and PLC deadlines

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today provided farm owners and producers one additional week, until April 7, 2015, to choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres also will be April 7, 2015.

“This is an important decision for producers because these programs help farmers and ranchers protect their operations from unexpected changes in the marketplace,” Vilsack said. “Nearly 98% of owners have already updated their yield and base acres, and 90% of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC. These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions,” Vilsack said.

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by the deadline, the farm’s current yield and base acres will be used.… Continue reading

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Wheat is starting to green up

Spring is coming (thank goodness!), and the winter wheat crop is starting to green-up.  Similar to what we’ve seen in the past few years, wheat planted shortly after the fly-free date looks better than the wheat that was planted late.

Our current recommendations

Fields should not be evaluated until completely green from warmer temperatures for at least 10 to 14 days. Stand evaluations will be more accurate when made during weather periods that promote growth.  Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers fall below 25 per square foot after green up. Pick about 10 to 15 spots in the field and count the number of plants per foot of row. A stand with an average of about 12 plants per foot of row may still result in a good population of head-bearing tillers per acre. For those fields with tillers, 15 tillers per square foot is considered minimum for an economic crop.… Continue reading

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Questions from the Fertilizer Applicator Training sessions

Last July the Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 150 that requires those who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres become certified. At more than 20 meetings this past fall and winter I have now presented all or part of the program for the Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training program to almost 2,000 people. We get a lot of questions and comments, after the first couple of meetings we became pretty familiar with what may come up. It has also been very good to see that after the two- or three-hour program that almost everyone understands there is a problem with nutrient loss and we are all a part of the problem.

So here are some of the common questions, and the answers we share.


If we don’t actually have to be certified until September 2017, then “why are we here now?”

The education process will take a while. We expect to train 3,000 to 5,000 growers a year because we just cannot get it all done in one year.… Continue reading

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Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act addresses labeling concerns

Several agricultural groups applauded the introduction of legislation to create a national, science-based labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms and urged Congress to quickly pass the bill.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), will ensure that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration remains the authority on food safety and labeling in the United States.

Additionally, by establishing federal standards around a voluntary GMO-free label, this bill strikes an important balance between providing consumers choice and clarity in the grocery aisle and protecting a technology that is vital to American farmers.

“Farmers and consumers agree on the need for clear, consistent labeling. Labels should be science-based and uniform in all 50 states,” said Chip Bowling, National Corn Growers Association president. “In the absence of a national solution to GMO labeling, we risk increased food prices for American families and continued confusion in the marketplace.… Continue reading

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Tips for managing a late spring

As winter begins to wind down and the first warm spell of the year arrives in March, many growers are most likely anxious to get into the field. However, ideal weather for spring field work may not be right around the corner. As of the beginning of March, 88% of the Great Lakes were still covered with ice and extended forecasts were calling for colder than normal weather to last into April. Should these predictions be correct, Ohio’s farmers may be looking at a slow start to spring in addition to many other challenges.

One area of concern some producers may have after experiencing harsh winter weather is the current condition of winter wheat stands. Are they sufficient to produce a profitable wheat crop? According an article in a 2014 C.O.R.N. Newsletter written by Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, Pierce Paul, “Fields should not be evaluated until completely green from warmer temperatures for at least 10 to 14 days.… Continue reading

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Glyphosate reclassification raises concerns

The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) recently reclassified glyphosate.

IARC, which coordinates and conducts both epidemiological and laboratory research into the causes of human cancer, makes its conclusion on a data review during a meeting that lasts one week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the regulatory body with authority over glyphosate approval in the United States, has extensively reviewed this product and continues to reassess the data on a regular basis. Following this more thorough process, EPA assigns glyphosate to the lowest category E, indicating glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans.

Notably, although IARC is part of the World Health Organization, it appears that the WHO does not always endorse IARC’s decisions. Thus, it would be presumptive to conclude that the WHO would do so in this situation.

“The movement to reclassify glyphosate as a class 2A probable carcinogen ignores the findings of more than four decades of credible scientific research.… Continue reading

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Prepare to do more for water quality

A heavy fog blanketed much of Ohio one early March morning as the long winter freeze was just starting to give way to the warmer temperatures of the coming spring. A thin top layer of the soil had thawed, but a deep freeze remained below. This, combined with persistent rains and a significant snowmelt, set the stage for nutrient and sediment loss from farm fields.

The Duling Farm in Putnam County has spent generations preparing the fields to withstand exactly these kinds of challenging situations with long term no-till, cover crops, closely scrutinized manure management, meticulous soil testing and analysis of results, injection of nutrients into fields with living crops, buffer strips, waterways, gypsum use, drainage management structures, and other practices to minimize soil and nutrient loss. If it can protect the soil and reduce nutrient loss, the Dulings have probably tried it.

Nonetheless, the thick fog that hung in the air on that murky March morning was not enough to obscure the flow of water containing some soil sediment and nutrients through the cover cropped fields, destined for the nearest waterway and a trip north to Lake Erie.… Continue reading

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Meet the sponsor: Tri-Ag Products, Inc.

This year’s sponsor of Between the Rows is Tri-Ag Products, Inc. that was established in 1979 as an independent agricultural retailer of chemicals, seed, and fertilizer. From the very beginning, the core focus of Tri-Ag has been the customer and providing sound agronomic advice specific to the needs of each individual farm to maximize yields. The basic philosophy of Tri-Ag is to provide the optimal solution to the customer, not solutions based on industry programs.

“We are an ag retailer that services large growers who are self sufficient. We sell seed, nutrients and crop protection solutions for the grower. We tailor a customized solution based on their needs. We are not tied to any basic manufacturer so we can provide different solutions and tailor the program based on their needs and not on our need to have to sell a certain line of products,” said Thad Moore, vice president of Tri-Ag Products, Inc.… Continue reading

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