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Alfalfa continues to mature

By Angela Arnold, Mark Sulc, Jeff Stachler, Dean Kreager, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The alfalfa crop over the past week has continued to advance in maturity. Pure alfalfa stands across Ohio are ready to be harvested for high quality forage. Producers in dryer regions were able to start harvesting alfalfa fields over the weekend. Western Ohio has had larger rainfall totals than Eastern Ohio over the last two weeks. Keep in mind that harvesting when the soil is too wet and soft will do non-reversible compaction damage to the stand and will lower the productivity the rest of this year and into future years.

Grasses in Central Ohio have headed out. Once grasses reach the early heading stage, they are already past the prime for high producing lactating dairy cows; however, grass in early heading is still good for feeding to many other classes of livestock with lower requirements than lactating dairy cows.… Continue reading

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Soil moisture and the weather to watch in 2020

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

There is an old saying that “drought begets drought.”

Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension climate specialist explains that soil moisture can have an impact on both temperature and precipitation.

“When we get into weather patterns of dry weather and drought conditions, and it seems like the pattern continues, the level of soil moisture plays a role in that,” Wilson said. “The same applies when we get in a wet pattern, and it just keeps raining. The level of moisture in the soil can impact both the precipitation and temperature.

“This past winter in Ohio was the fifth warmest on record since 1895 looking at the period of December through February. It was also the 22nd wettest. Relatively warm and wet describe how the spring of 2020 began as well. March was the 11th warmest, especially when you factor in overnight lows, and it was the 15th wettest on record statewide.”

Geographically, there are differences across the state.… Continue reading

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Canal remnants offer glimpse into Ohio history

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

Constructed in the early 19th century with the goal to connect Lake Erie to the Ohio River and points between and beyond, the great Ohio canal system covered 1,000 miles during its prime years in the Buckeye State. This unique system featured hand dug, man-made canals that were built to be 40 feet wide at the top, 28 feet wide at the bottom, and a 4 foot minimum depth; the canals hauled human and material cargo at a clip of 4 miles per hour by horse- and mule-drawn towboats. Made up of two major north-south running canals — the Ohio and Erie and the Miami and Erie — and several smaller feeder and connector canals, the canal system played an integral role in the development of the Midwestern frontier.

Trustee of the Canal Society of Ohio, Ron Petrie, explained that Ohio pioneers were aided tremendously by the canal system and the state itself owes much of its early growth to this mode of transport.… Continue reading

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Making the most of a COVID slowdown

Like much of the economy, the hydraulic business really slowed down in recent weeks. Though COVD-19 kept things slow at the shop, DNC Hydraulics employees shifted gears into building mode to work on a new 60-foot by 48-foot building at their Rawson facility.

The crew broke ground in late April in response to new growth for the business. The DNC team started by creating a stone pad. After that, the poles went up and the framing started. The next step was to get the trusses up.

“The fun part about this build is that our employees are the main builders,” said Cody Conaway, DNC Hydraulics sales manager. “With the slow down we have had due to COVID-19, our guys really stepped up to help build this building.”

 … Continue reading

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Thinking of direct food sales? Consider these legal issues

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

There’s much disagreement over what we know about COVID-19, but one thing we can agree upon is that it has left an impact on the food supply chain. For some food producers, that impact is creating opportunity. Many growers see the potential of filling the gaps created by closed processing facilities, thin grocery shelves, and unwillingness to shop inside stores. If you’re one of those growers who sees an opportunity to sell food, we have a few thoughts on legal issues to consider before moving into the direct food sales arena. Doing so will reduce your risks and the potential of legal liability.

 

Follow COVID-19-related guidelines

Perhaps this goes without saying, but businesses should take COVID-19 guidelines seriously. Doing so will hopefully reduce the potential of a COVID-19 transmission in the operation while also minimizing the risk of an enforcement action and potential legal liability for failing to protect employees and customers.… Continue reading

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Significant rainfall slowed progress

A modest amount of field work occurred in the state due to increased rain, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. High amounts of precipitation caused localized flooding throughout the state, bringing planting progress to a halt in most areas. Although reporters suspected some damage occurred to recently planted crops, most noted that it was too early to tell how severe that damage was. Average temperatures for the week were close to historical normals and the entire state averaged just under 3 inches of precipitation. There were 1.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 24.

Despite increased amounts of rain, farmers were able to continue small amounts of spraying activities and began hay cutting. Topsoil moisture increased from 29% surplus last week to 56% surplus this week. Corn planted progress was 66%, 2 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans planted progress remained ahead of the five-year average by 9 percentage points.

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Hay and straw: Labor of love? Or love of labor?

By Matt Reese

Baling hay and straw is a labor of love for brothers Miles and Caleb von Stein that requires a love of labor they’ve had since high school.

“Growing up, Caleb and I loved baling. We did it for our FFA SAE project. We started with 20 or 40 acres of straw. Dad and my uncle said we’d never get it all baled,” Miles said. “That was in 2010 and it almost was a personal challenge and we tried to do more every year. Then they didn’t think we could do 50 or 60 acres and now we are doing 600 or 700 acres. The fact that they thought we couldn’t do it almost fueled us even more to grow.”

Small square bales of hay and straw have paved the way for the von Steins to take their Hancock County family farm in a new and innovative direction focused on soil health, high quality products and meeting unique customer demands.… Continue reading

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Post-planting scouting

By John Fulton

Planting remains one the most important, if not most important, field operation for row-crop producers. In most cases, there is one pass to “get it right” with the planting operation. Two key goals of the planter are to achieve optimum stands and uniform emergence to maximize yield potential once the seed is placed in the furrow. Once placed in the soil, corn emergence is influenced by several factors and should be kept in mind not only during planting but also post-planting when scouting.

While planting is the critical field operation, scouting post-planting is important to evaluate planter performance (i.e. Did I “get it right?”) and understanding a field’s yield potential for the current cropping season. Scouting can provide valuable notes on how the planter performed across and between fields with this data used to help improve planting in the future. Mobile applications can enhance scouting since most today provide the ability to geo-reference (i.e.… Continue reading

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Ohio corn, soybean and wheat enterprise budgets: Projected returns for 2020

By Barry Ward, Ohio State University assistant Extension professor, leader in Production Business Management

COVID-19 has created an unusual situation that has negatively affected crop prices and lowered certain crop input costs. Many inputs for the 2020 production year were purchased or the prices/costs were locked in prior to the spread of this novel coronavirus. Some costs have been recently affected or may yet be affected. Lower fuel costs may allow for lower costs for some compared to what current budgets indicate.

Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be largely unchanged from last year with lower fertilizer expenses offset by slight increases in some other costs. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2020 are projected to range from $359 to $452 per acre depending on land productivity. Variable costs for 2020 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $201 to $223 per acre. Wheat variable expenses for 2020 are projected to range from $162 to $198 per acre.… Continue reading

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Teens to advise ODNR youth outreach program

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

If only this were offered when I was a teen: the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is looking for highly motivated high school students to serve on the Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC), a statewide network of student leaders working together to enhance ODNR’s youth outreach and program efforts.

“This is a great opportunity for ambitious young people to jumpstart their future careers with skills that transfer to any profession,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz of the opportunity.

ConTAC members will develop innovative and practical ideas that empower young people to protect and preserve Ohio’s natural resources, provide feedback and make recommendations to enhance outdoor outreach. Council members will also get the chance to explore careers in the natural resources sector and develop valuable networking and leadership skills.

A new class of 30 teens will be selected to serve on ConTAC for the 2020-2021 academic year.… Continue reading

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March margin triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program payment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the March 2020 income over feed cost margin was $9.15 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the first payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. Current projections indicate that a DMC payment is likely to trigger every month for the remainder of 2020, a different expectation from last July when some market models had forecast no program payments for 18 months.

“This payment comes at a critical time for many dairy producers,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA Administrator. “It is the first triggered DMC payment for 2020, and the first payment to dairy producers in seven months.”

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.… Continue reading

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New alternatives for county fair auctions

Show and fair officials from across the country are looking at alternative options for their upcoming auctions amid uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

In response, Ohio – Breeders’ World Online Sales has introduced BW Final Drive Youth

Auctions as an alternative option to county fairs across the country to still hold auctions for their exhibitors. BW Final Drive Youth Auctions offers multiple options including premium sale online auctions, an “add on” option for buyers to add money to an exhibitor’s premium, and a terminal/market online auction.

“Being an auctioneer, 4-H advisor, county fair committee member and a 4-H parent, I am here to provide you with the best possible solutions for your auctions at a cost that reflects the youth are my top priority,” said Roger Hunker, owner of Breeders’ World Online Sales and BW Final Drive Youth Auctions.

BW Final Drive Youth Auctions works with each fair/show individually to meet their needs and guidelines.… Continue reading

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Case IH offering financing options during tough times

The world of farm equipment has changed with the struggling agricultural economy. Case IH, through CNH Industrial Capital, now offers a range of financing programs for equipment purchases, including 0 payments and 0% interest until 2022 offer to provide options to help farmers navigate the challenging times.

Scott Harris, VP North America for Case IH, said this is not a new program, but the offer has been expanded to support customers during these unprecedented times.

“This financing program not only gives farmers the ability to continue their essential day-to-day practices, but it also provides them with the flexibility to upgrade their fleet to brand-new equipment, helping maximize their yields. This program helps keep farmers highly productive and gets them through two harvests without having to pay,” Harris said. “In addition, Case IH has taken added steps to provide financial assistance and programs for producers. For example, the CNH Industrial Capital team is working with those who are having financial difficulties on account of the current environment and offering solutions such as flexible re-structures and new terms. … Continue reading

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Progress in planting made between rains

Willie Murphy

We have gotten a bunch of rain but we were able to plant last Tuesday. We planted a field of beans and it was getting pretty fit. On Wednesday we got both planters up and running and got the corn planter going. We got all the bugs worked out and got a bunch planted on Wednesday and Thursday. Then we got a spotty rain here and we got maybe two tenths. Further north got anywhere from four tenths to eight tenths on Thursday.

It kind of dried back out for us and we were able to plant corn all weekend. We started late Friday and planted until the middle of the day on Monday and got about half of our corn planted. North of here they got more rain. Altogether I think they got 2.5 inches from Monday to today. We are fortunate. You don’t have to go very far from here before it gets pretty wet.… Continue reading

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State Fair canceled for 2020 🎙

By Matt Reese

On May 21, the Ohio State Fair announced that the event will not be taking place in 2020 — rides, fair food, junior fair, Smokey Bear, open shows, friends in the show barn, everything is canceled.

In recent weeks, the Ohio State Fair’s management team and the Ohio Expositions Commission were evaluating all available information from state and local health officials, as well as the financial feasibility of a reduced capacity fair. With the available information, the Ohio Expositions Commission voted to cancel the Ohio State Fair in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the fair for the future.

 “Our commissioners love our State Fair and you know how much I do and this is hard on all of us. This is my 28th year with the Ohio State Fair and I’ve had a lot of challenges over the years and this is right up there.Continue reading

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Setting basis and leaving futures unpriced

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Last week’s USDA report showed 10% less carryout than the trade expected for the 2020 crop. However, it was still 3.3 billion bushels, which is concerning. In the last 33 years, the highest final carryout level ever reached was 2.3 billion bushels. While some farmers may have switched corn acres to beans, or other spring crops, it’s unlikely to be enough to offset 1 billion corn bushels.

 

Setting basis and leaving futures unpriced

This week a couple farmers across the country discussed setting basis levels in their area and moving grain sooner than later. Here are some issues to consider before setting basis for May, June or July delivery without first having futures prices locked in.

 

Willing to set futures price by June 29?

First, a farmer needs to decide if they are willing to set their futures price on this trade by June 29.… Continue reading

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Embracing young family workers and teaching farm safety during the COVID summer

By Dee Jepsen and Shoshanah Inwood

This spring and summer will be like no other in recent history during the COVID-19 outbreak. As you take stock of the goals you have for your farm this season, labor needs, and family dynamics, now is also the perfect time to create a plan for the role kids will have on the farm this season. As you formulate your plan, it will be important to take the age of your children and their farm interest into account. The following strategies and tips may be helpful as you come up with a plan for involving young family members in daily chores.

 

Designate safe play areas for toddlers and young children

A farm is a wonderful place to grow up. However, younger children also require more oversight. It will be helpful to have conversations as a family about how to keep kids safe while farm work is being done.… Continue reading

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Feeding Farmers program postponed

With the uncertainty of the COVID 19 crisis and the apprehension concerning gatherings of people, we have decided to postpone the spring 2020 Feeding Farmers program sponsored by AgriGold until later this year.

“The best part of this program is the neighbors coming together and sharing lunch and fellowship,” said Bart Johnson, owner of Ohio’s Country Journal. “We want to make sure we can continue the importance of getting together socially and celebrating the honor of being involved in agriculture.”

The hope is this fall will bring more relaxed social gathering guidelines and a return to more normal events. We will provide details when we know more.… Continue reading

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Soybean demand remains uncertain

By Todd Hubbs, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois

The USDA released the first projections for U.S. corn and soybean supply and demand in the 2020-21 marketing year on May 12. The forecasts for soybeans showed higher ending stocks this marketing year with a substantial decrease in the next marketing year’s ending stocks. While the prospects for this year’s crop come to the forefront, the consumption projections reflect the potential market size and merit consideration.

Current marketing year ending stocks increased to 580 million bushels due to a 100 million bushel drop in soybean exports. Total consumption for the 2019-20 marketing year is forecast at 3.901 billion bushels, down 70 million bushels from 2018-19. The initial forecast of soybean use for the 2020-21 marketing year came in at 4.315 billion bushels. Driven by an expectation of exports at 2.05 billion bushels, consumption near this level last occurred in 2017-18 before the onset of the trade war.… Continue reading

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