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Ohio Farm Bureau launches new online safety program for farmers

Nearly everyone in Ohio’s agriculture community knows someone who has been seriously injured or who has perished from an on-farm related incident. While fatalities in farming activities have declined over the last few years, the ultimate goal is to eliminate farm-related accidents altogether. That’s the vision of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Cultivating Safe Farm Operations eLearning Safety Series, a new, interactive, engaging and accessible online education program developed for a broad audience of farmers, workers and on-farm youth to make real changes in their farm safety habits.

Developed in partnership with Nationwide and Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science’s Ag Safety and Health Program, the online safety series offers three 40-minute modules for learners and covers several basic agricultural risks. Each module integrates an assessment into the online platform to assure basic comprehension, which will help cultivate on-farm behavior modification.

To access the modules, prospective learners must create an account through the Farm Bureau University platform, which is provided in partnership with American Farm Bureau Federation and includes additional self-directed learning opportunities.

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Windows for planting expected in coming weeks

By Jim Noel, NOAA

After a wet spring was forecasted since January, it appeared in April that a window would open in May. The rain total window has however, the frequency window has not. The rainfall the last two weeks in Ohio has averaged 1.5 to 2.5 inches with some streaks above 3 inches and some below 1.5 inches. Normal for this period is 1.5 to 2.0 inches. The reality is the ground is just so wet from the wet period up to May. The other BIG key is the frequency of the wet weather.

Often, when it is wet in say the eastern U.S., it is dry in the western U.S. The opposite also holds true. However, we have a very active and progressive weather pattern all around the northern hemisphere. This means a lot of weak to moderate storms on a continuous basis. It is not just Ohio either.

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Trade assistance must help all affected farmers

Following the recent escalation of trade tensions between China and the United States that will likely exacerbate the erosion of agricultural export markets and further depress commodity prices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to announce a trade assistance package to support struggling family farmers and ranchers.

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, National Farmers Union (NFU) provided recommendations for how best to “craft a package that will adequately address the broad, long-term impacts to all of American agriculture.”

“Family farmers and ranchers have borne the brunt of the trade war with China, which has intentionally targeted American agricultural products with retaliatory tariffs. We appreciate the administration’s recent efforts to relieve the immense economic pressure those in the agriculture industry are feeling as a result,” said Roger Johnson, NFU President Roger Johnson. “Though China’s tariffs have specifically targeted soybeans, pork, and sorghum, many other commodities have been impacted, both directly and indirectly.

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Lake Erie water levels high

With the amount of rainfall that Ohio has received this spring, the Lake Erie water levels continue to rise. Lake Erie water levels are currently at near record highs, will remain high and are anticipated to peak in the month of June. Lake levels will then begin to subside due to a normal seasonal decline, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

All of the Great Lakes are at near record highs due to increased precipitation across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region. Lake Erie is 2.5 feet above long-term average water level for the month of May. The May 10, 2019, water level is 4 inches above the record highest average level for May, which occurred in 1986.

High water levels increase the chance of flooding in low-lying coastal areas, especially during wind-driven seiche events. The combination of waves and high water can cause severe coastal erosion during these events.

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Beef and pork exports down and lamb trending higher

For the first quarter of 2019, U.S. beef exports were slightly below last year’s record pace while pork exports continued to be slowed by trade barriers, according to March data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). U.S. lamb exports were a first quarter bright spot, trending significantly higher than a year ago.

March beef exports totaled 107,655 metric tons (mt), down 4% year-over-year, while value fell 2% to $678 million. For the first quarter, exports were down 3% at 307,306 mt valued at $1.9 billion (down 0.8%).

March beef exports were very strong on a per-head basis, with export value per head of fed slaughter averaging $335.81 — up 1% from a year ago and the highest since December. The first quarter average was $309.32 per head, down 2% from a year ago. March exports accounted for 13.6% of total U.S. beef production and 11% for muscle cuts only, which was fairly steady with last March.

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Farm accident claims life of an Urbana man

Michael E. Russell, 78, of Urbana, was killed in a farm accident on May 15.

According to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, Russell was checking a planter for an airline leak in a field off of Route 36 East. The equipment released when Russell was under the planter. Russell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Urbana EMS, Mechanicsburg EMS, and the Champaign County Coroner assisted at the scene.

For more, visit peakofohio.com.

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Diverse stakeholder group to benchmark nutrient management efforts and create farmer certification to improve water quality

A unique collaboration of stakeholders representing the agriculture, conservation, environmental, and research communities have joined forces to develop and deploy a statewide water quality initiative. This unprecedented partnership brings together diverse interests to establish a baseline understanding of current on-farm conservation and nutrient management efforts and to build farmer participation in a new certification program.

The Agriculture Conservation Working Group recently held a two-day retreat in Ostrander, Ohio, where sub-committees focusing on best management practices, education development, governance, data management, certification and public outreach engaged in robust dialogue around strategies for introduction and implementation of the program. Much of the conversation centered on identifying the path to healthy waterways in the state, and the complex approaches necessary to understand existing practices and successfully engage farmers in education and certification.

“A group with a farm-level focus and representation from across the environmental, academic and agricultural communities has never come together before with a commitment to the shared objective of improved water quality,” said Scott Higgins, CEO, Ohio Dairy Producers Association and co-chair of the working group.

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Forage shortage: Considering early weaning

By Garth Ruff, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, Henry County

Low hay inventory this past winter combined with poor pasture stands due to excessive moisture have led to a greater proportion of thin beef cows both across the countryside and on the cull market. As we evaluate the toll that this past winter took on forage stands, especially alfalfa, hay is projected to be in short supply as we proceed into next winter as well.

For a beef cow to be efficient and profitable, we must meet her nutritional requirements for maintenance in addition to those for reproduction and lactation. As a reminder, the hierarchy of nutrient use is as follows: maintenance, development, growth, lactation, reproduction, and fattening. This applies to all nutrient categories, not just to energy alone. As we conclude calving season, we are entering the most challenging time in production cycle when it comes to providing adequate nutrition.

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Ohio soybean farmers call for an end to damaging trade war

The ongoing escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China is threatening the livelihood of Ohio soybean farmers. Since tariffs were put in place last year, soybean prices have dropped 20 to 25%. The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has been fighting against the use of tariffs from the beginning because farmers want to be able to compete in a free market. When they do, they thrive.

“This is simply unacceptable,” said Scott Metzger, OSA president and Ross County soybean farmer. “We understand the reasons for bringing China to the negotiating table to address technology transfer and intellectual property issues. However, there are other tactics that can be used to accomplish that without harming farmers and our rural economies.”

On May 10, the U.S. increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, from 10 to 25%. It is also taking steps for an additional 25% tariff on the remaining $325 billion in annual imports from China.

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Planned trade relief package getting NPPC support

The Trump administration indicated it is planning a trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. President Donald Trump tweeted that he would use money raised from the recently increased tariffs on China to purchase $15 billion in agricultural products for humanitarian aid to help the ailing farm sector.

“U.S. pork has suffered from a disproportionate share of retaliation due to trade disputes with Mexico and China. This retaliation turned last year — which analysts had forecast to be profitable — into a very unprofitable time for U.S. pork producers. The financial pain continues; the 20% punitive tariff on pork exported to Mexico alone amounts to a whopping $12 loss per animal,” said David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council. “While there is no substitute for resolving these trade disputes and getting back to normal trade, NPPC welcomes the offer of assistance from President Trump.

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Cold, wet weather can lead to purple corn

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

For much of the eastern Corn Belt, it has been too wet to plant this spring. However, in some areas corn has been planted is emerging or in the early growth stages of development. One phenomenon that commonly occurs at the early stages of the growing season is the appearance of purple corn plants. Corn plants can turn purple for several reasons related to environmental factors such as:

  • Sunny days and cool nights (temps in the 40s to 50s F)
  • Soil pH lower than 5.5
  • Cool temperatures
  • Wet soil
  • Stresses that hinder the uptake of phosphorus
  • Herbicide injury
  • Soil compaction.

Because many fields have saturated soils and the forecast includes cooler nights and continued wet weather, producers may see some purple plants in their fields. Purpling in corn due to cooler weather most often occurs when plants are in the V2 to V5 growth stages.

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Ohio Crop Progress: Wet Conditions Hindered Progress

Rainfall continued to stall planting progress and kept producers out of the fields, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending May 12. Soils were saturated and some standing water was present in fields. Fields have been too wet for tillage equipment in some areas. Some corn and soybeans were planted but progress was still well behind last year and the five-year average. There was also a little progress in oat planting despite less than ideal planting conditions. Winter wheat condition remained guarded as wet soils have drowned out some wheat and prevented herbicide application in fields. There were some reports of producers applying fertilizer by airplane. Wet and cold weather was inhibiting field dry out and preventing fieldwork.

Ohio Crop Progress coverage on Ohio Ag Net sponsored by Bane-Welker.

Click here to read the full report

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OSU testing eShepherd in beef and dairy industries

Agersens and The Ohio State University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that paves the way for the two organizations to implement research trials to determine the efficacy and economics of the eShepherd system for local conditions.

eShepherd is a smart collar system for livestock, enabling cattle producers to create “virtual fences” and use their smart device to remotely fence, move and monitor their livestock around the clock from anywhere in the world.

Ian Reilly, CEO of Australia-based Agersens, said the team at The Ohio State University had the expertise and knowledge the company needed to better understand local cattle and dairy markets and determine how virtual fencing technology can help Ohio farmers get the most out of their land and livestock.

“eShepherd is set to revolutionize livestock management by unlocking value from the digital transformation of the American beef and dairy industries and will make farming more efficient, more manageable and less labor intensive,” Reilly said.

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Leading agriculture commodities oppose additional tariffs on Chinese goods

On May 10 the U.S. Trade Representative moved forward with increasing the tariff rate from 10 to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Farmers across the country are extremely concerned by the actions taken by President Trump and his Administration. The National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Soybean Association, and the National Corn Growers Association were expecting a deal by March 1 before farmers went back into the fields but today saw an escalation of the trade war instead. The three commodities represent around 171 million of acres of farmland in the United States.

“U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now, and these additional tariffs will continue to put a strain on our export markets and threaten many decades worth of market development,” said Ben Scholz, NAWG president. “Further, members from both sides of the aisle and Chambers have reservations about the Section 232 tariffs in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

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OCA BEST Program celebrates 20th year and a successful season

The 2018-2019 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) Program came to an end on May 4 with its annual awards banquet held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. This season celebrated the 20th year of the BEST Program.

“This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of the BEST program,” said Stephanie Sindel, OCA Director of Youth Programs. “Throughout the years, the committee’s focus has been to keep a progressive, family engaged program while utilizing cattle as a tool to help educate and raise the next generation of leaders. The BEST program boasts numerous successful professionals that have walked through the ring at BEST shows.”

Several representatives from program sponsors were on hand to help present awards, totaling more than $60,000 in belt buckles, luggage, show materials and other awards. The BEST Sponsoring Partners for 2018-2019 were Ag-Pro — John Deere, Bob Evans Farms, M.H. EBY, Frazier Farms, Farm Credit Mid–America, Garwood Cattle Co.

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Patience for planting 🔊

By Joel Penhorwood

The 2019 planting season continues to be an aggravating one for Ohio growers, though there’s still plenty of time for a good crop ahead, says DEKALB Asgrow Technical Agronomist Roy Ulrich.

Ulrich spoke Thursday to a group of Union County farmers, hosted by Yoder Ag Services, answering questions and highlighting timely agronomic issues.

“No really big reasons to change anything as far as products or practices until after we get out past Memorial Day. Once we get toward the end of the month, then we can make some changes, but right now just stay the course. Whatever plan you had is still the best plan to put in place,” said Ulrich.

He pointed out how growing degree day requirements for corn actually go down as the planting season rolls along due to corn’s unique adaptation abilities. Soybeans though do require a different tailoring as the planting date gets later, the reason he recommends upping populations by 10,000 per acre for each week after Memorial Day.

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State budget clears house, moves to senate

By Kolt Buchenroth
The Ohio House of Representatives has placed their seal of approval on their version of the State’s operating budget totaling $69 billion. The bill, which passed 85-9 was massive in size and covers a lot of ground. Several pieces of the bill relate to agriculture.
“We are following some provisions dealing with water taxes, agricultural products, education that are really important under Farm Bureau policy,” said Jenna Beadle, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy.
It’s no surprise that the House’s version of the budget relates in large part to water quality and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Program. The bill’s language says in part that the initiative encourages cooperation among government, business, higher education, agriculture, and conservation organizations.
While Governor DeWine had proposed the program’s funding for the next decade in the budget, the legislature had other plans.
“The House has removed the mechanism for funding H2Ohio on an ongoing basis and has only funded it for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
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Getting corn off to a good start: Planting depth can make a difference

By K. Nemergut, Alexander Lindsey, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Planting depth recommendations for Ohio are 1.5 to 2 inches deep to ensure adequate moisture uptake and seed-soil contact. Deeper planting may be recommended as the season progresses and soils become warmer and drier, however planting shallower than 1.5 inches is generally not recommended at any planting date or in any soil type. According to some field agronomists, shallow plantings increase stress and result in less developed roots, smaller stalk diameters, smaller ears and reduced yields. In a 2011-2012 Ohio evaluation of planting depth, grain yields were about 14% greater for the 1.5-inch and 3-inch planting depths than the 0.5-inch planting depth in 2011, and 40% greater in 2012. The lower yields of the shallow planting were associated with reduced final stands and six to seven times as many “runt” plants as the other two planting depths.

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USDA accepting applications to reduce costs for organic certification

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for fiscal 2019 funding are due Oct. 31, 2019.

“Producers can visit their local FSA county offices to apply for up to 75% of the cost of organic certification,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA Administrator. “This also gives organic producers an opportunity to learn about other valuable USDA resources, like farm loans and conservation assistance, that can help them succeed. Organic producers can take advantage of a variety of USDA programs from help with field buffers to routine operating expenses to storage and handling equipment.”

OCCSP received continued support through the 2018 Farm Bill. It provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program.

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