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Bat disease could cost Ohio agriculture up to $1.7 billion a year

Ohio farmers could suffer more than $740 million a year in agricultural losses, and possibly as much as $1.7 billion, if the new deadly disease called white-nose syndrome wipes out the state’s bats, according to a recent study in the journal Science.

Especially hard hit, the study said, would be the rich farming counties in the state’s west and northwest, such as Darke, Wood, Mercer and Putnam, where typical losses could range from $18 million to $23 million per county per year.

“Simply put, bats eat a lot of insects — insects that bother us around our homes, and insects that can damage crops and forests,” said Ohio State University Extension wildlife specialist Marne Titchenell, who was not part of the study but gives bat conservation workshops around the state and studied southern Ohio bat populations in graduate school. “It’s logical to assume we’ll lose a significant amount of the pest-control services that bats provide us as the disease spreads through Ohio and potentially the Midwest.”

The numbers, from an article called “Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture” in the current issue of Science, are estimates based on crop acreage, the number of crop pests eaten by bats, the damage to crops that their feeding prevents, and the need, as a result, for farmers to spend less on pesticides.… Continue reading

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Planting factors in 2011

By Steve Prochaska, Ohio State University Extension

The weather conditions this year have not favored very early planting of corn and soybeans. However, both corn and soybeans can yet be planted with full yield potential.  When soil conditions become favorable, both crops can be planted without great risk to cold weather injury. There are, however, certain attributes associated with each (corn and soybeans) that should be considered if only one crop can be planted at a time. What follows below is risk/benefit analysis to corn and /or soybean planting given the possible time and field constraints that are very possible in 2011.

Risks to early planted orn

1.   Uneven or reduced plant emergence due to extended periods of wet, cold weather can significantly reduce corn yields.

2.   If need to replant, there is a loss of growing season and corn yield potential.

3.   Cost of replanting in the event of failure.… Continue reading

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ODA's Forshey re-elected to National Institute for Animal Agriculture Board

Five Newly Elected to NIAA’s Board of Directors

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.— Members of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture elected five members to their first three-year term on its Board of Directors and re-elected three to their second term. Newly elected to NIAA’s Board were Linda Campbell, American Dairy Goat Association; Colin Forster, Y-TEX Corporation; Dr. Karen Jordan, Dairy Farmers of America; Erika Rachal, Alltech, Inc.; and John Saunders, IMI Global. Re-elected to NIAA’s 21-member Board were Dr. Tony Forshey, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Stan Mannschreck, National Livestock Producers Association; and Dr. David Meeker, National Renderer Association.

“The expertise, passion and experience of these individuals fit well with other members currently serving on NIAA’s Board,” stated Dr. Robert Fourdraine, Chairman of NIAA’s Board. “We have a well-rounded Board that can take a 360-degree look at challenges and opportunities within animal agriculture and help us advance proactive solutions for the industry.”

NIAA’s Board guides the organization’s members that include national and state livestock organizations, poultry and equine organizations, producers, veterinarians, government regulatory personnel, academia, researchers, extension specialists and allied industry businesses.Continue reading

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ODA’s Forshey re-elected to National Institute for Animal Agriculture Board

Five Newly Elected to NIAA’s Board of Directors

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.— Members of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture elected five members to their first three-year term on its Board of Directors and re-elected three to their second term. Newly elected to NIAA’s Board were Linda Campbell, American Dairy Goat Association; Colin Forster, Y-TEX Corporation; Dr. Karen Jordan, Dairy Farmers of America; Erika Rachal, Alltech, Inc.; and John Saunders, IMI Global. Re-elected to NIAA’s 21-member Board were Dr. Tony Forshey, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Stan Mannschreck, National Livestock Producers Association; and Dr. David Meeker, National Renderer Association.

“The expertise, passion and experience of these individuals fit well with other members currently serving on NIAA’s Board,” stated Dr. Robert Fourdraine, Chairman of NIAA’s Board. “We have a well-rounded Board that can take a 360-degree look at challenges and opportunities within animal agriculture and help us advance proactive solutions for the industry.”

NIAA’s Board guides the organization’s members that include national and state livestock organizations, poultry and equine organizations, producers, veterinarians, government regulatory personnel, academia, researchers, extension specialists and allied industry businesses.Continue reading

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Marestail control essential to protect soybean yields

No-till practices save soil and offer many other benefits, but soybean producers know there’s at least one big disadvantage: Not tilling gives weeds, particularly problematic marestail, a chance to thrive.

“The biggest challenge we have in no-till soybeans across Ohio and surrounding states is control of glyphosate-resistant marestail in the spring,” said Ohio State University Extension weed specialist Mark Loux.

Marestail emerges in fields from late March through June, and again in late summer through fall. Spring-emerging marestail competes with soybeans throughout the growing season, eventually bolting to a height of 3 to 6 feet, enough to interfere with harvest. It’s more of a problem in the southern two-thirds of the state, though it’s moving north, Loux said.

Loux said a one-two punch is necessary for marestail control in no-till fields: An effective burndown herbicide treatment to ensure planting is done in weed-free fields, and a residual treatment controlling the growth of any new weeds until early to mid-June, when the leaves of the soybean plants are large enough to form a canopy that provides plenty of control.… Continue reading

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ODA Suspends Grain License of Archbold Elevator

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has suspended the grain license of the Archbold Elevator Inc. located at 3265 County Road 24 in Archbold, Ohio.  Operations at a branch in Wauseon, Ohio and at additional storage bin in Elmira, Ohio have also been halted.

Farmers who are owed money for grain deposits with Archbold Elevator should call ODA’s Grain Warehouse Section at 800-282-1955 or at 614-728-6410.

Following an examination the week of April 5, ODA examiners determined that Archbold Elevator held liabilities significantly higher than their available assets and were short at least 50,000 bushels of corn.  The grain handlers’ license, #5272, was suspended on April 11.

Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created to reimburse farmers when a licensed elevator becomes insolvent.

Ohio farmers lost approximately $8 million due to grain elevator bankruptcies prior to the establishment of the fund in 1983. Since the fund was established it has reimbursed farmers more than $8.5 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators.… Continue reading

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USDA report outlines renewable power opportunities for rural communities

USDA today issued a report that identifies and discusses the wide array of renewable power opportunities available to producers in rural America. The report, titled Renewable Power Opportunities for Rural Communities, is intended to serve as a summary and guide to assist rural utilities that may be considering investing in a renewable electricity generation project and for policymakers who may be considering how to encourage such investments.

The report is designed to assist local and state government leaders, rural farmers and business operators, rural-based utilities and their leadership, and rural residents whose interests are focused on renewable power, distributed generation, and rural economic development. The report discusses a rural utility’s opportunities for investing in renewable electricity generation capacity.

Utility staff can use the report to learn about transmission access for renewable electrical power, system regulation, transmission expansion paths for renewable energy including modernization and a smart grid, future electricity demand, electric utility business models, and developing/financing strategies of renewable energy.… Continue reading

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Trade deal with Panama moving forward

According to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the trade deal with Panama is ready for the next step. In a letter sent Monday to the Chairmen of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees, Kirk states that his office has completed preparatory work on the agreement and is ready to begin technical discussions with Members of Congress on the draft implementing bill and draft Statement of Administration Action.

American Soybean Association President Alan Kemper says the U.S. has a large share of the Panamanian agricultural market that must be protected. ASA says the free trade agreement will prevent other countries from taking some of the current U.S. share of the market and will benefit soybean farmers by immediately removing tariffs on U.S. soybeans, soybean meal and crude vegetable oils. In 2010 the U.S. exported 65-million dollars worth of soybean products to Panama.

Tariffs will also be removed immediately for high quality beef, certain chicken products, frozen whole turkeys and turkey breast and pork variety meats.… Continue reading

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Storing grain goes high tech

By Matt Reese

Tractors guided by satellite can place a seed within an inch of accuracy. That seed can be treated to resist disease problems and genetically engineered to thwart insects, tolerate herbicides or provide nutritional value to consumers. Agriculture is in the midst of countless technological advances to improve efficiency and production, yet many farms still rely on grain handling systems that served their forefathers.

Mark Drewes, who farms in four counties in northwest Ohio, wanted to start from scratch to add a new storage facility with the most modern technology.

“I wanted to streamline my operation to make things as easy as possible. I started from the ground up,” Drewes said. “My goal was to have about a quarter million bushels of storage with a dryer. It had to be high volume, fast and efficient. I wanted it to be as technologically advanced as possible with a completely automated setup.”

First, Drewes had to find the best location for the new facility and make sure he had the necessary infrastructure.… Continue reading

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Soybean aphid update

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

Normally during this time we offer an up-date article as to our thoughts for soybean aphid in Ohio for the coming summer.  We reported our initial thoughts last fall in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter, 2010-38 that we do expect to see some aphids this coming summer. If you remember, we saw extremely few aphids during 2010 except for the last few weeks of summer which is normal during an “off” year.  While not seeding a lot of eggs on buckthorn, some were indeed found which suggests an “aphid” year coming up.  Thus, we feel that Ohio will continue its two year cycle of very few if any aphids being found followed by low to moderate to even high populations somewhere in the state.  But as we stated last fall and throughout the winter meetings, it is impossible to predict which regions of Ohio, if any, will experience outbreak conditions. … Continue reading

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Free cat program from HSDC

The Humane Society of Delaware County (HSDC) is reaching out for anyone wishing to adopt (for free) a barn cat or entire colony. We have an urgent need to safely relocate many feral, semi-feral, and “friendly, but prefers to be outside” cats. Please contact us immediately at horserescuehsdc@gmail.com if you have room in your heart and barn for any experienced mousers. These cats are being horribly mistreated or neglected by residents and we have to act fast to save these cats whose only crime was being born.

HSDC’s “Barn Cat Rescue” is a newly created program designed to manage the rapidly increasing number of neglected feral and abandoned cats in Delaware County.

Each free barn cat will be: vet-checked, feline leukemia tested negative, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered.

HSDC does not receive any governmental funding, so we are counting on the caring folks within our community to step forward and help us trap, sterilize, vaccinate, and re-home these cats.… Continue reading

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Annual Update for USDA National Farmers Market Directory begins

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is opening the updating process for the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, the official count of the nation’s farmers markets. For the first time this year, the directory will also track farmers markets with multiple locations and operating days.

“The USDA National Farmers Market Directory not only counts, lists and maps the country’s more than 6,100 farmers markets, it is also a fantastic resource for those interested in local food production, small producer success, and public policy about regional food systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In addition to helping people find the closest farmers market, the farmers markets listed in this directory are included in maps, mobile apps and other stats. We hope that all managers ensure their markets are included so that no farmers market misses out on this opportunity.”

All of the information in the directory relies on input from farmers market managers in the field.… Continue reading

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Corn and soybean prices to reflect substantial uncertainty

Old-crop corn prices declined sharply in the first half of March as it appeared that high prices had sufficiently slowed the rate of consumption. However, a continued high rate of ethanol production, a resurgence of export sales and larger livestock inventories provided evidence that consumption had not slowed, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“The March 1 Grain Stocks report provided an estimate of smaller-than-expected inventories of corn, and prices rallied to a new high on April 11. That rally was followed by a 40-cent decline last week on renewed talk of slowing consumption,” said Darrel Good.

Livestock prices appear to be peaking, and high gasoline prices may point to reduced fuel, including ethanol, consumption. Feed demand for corn is also expected to be reduced by increased wheat feeding, although most of that reduction is expected to occur in the summer months after the harvest of the 2011 wheat crop.… Continue reading

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Livestock industry: May 2 Workshop in Columbus tackles ammonia, nitrogen

This year’s Ohio State University agricultural air quality workshop will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing livestock and poultry producers when it comes to ammonia emissions and their connection with nitrogen fertilizer. It will take place Monday, May 2, at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center in Columbus.

Aimed at farmers, allied animal agriculture industries, agency professionals and regulators, the workshop will provide a fundamental understanding of ammonia emissions, air regulations, and the best management practices and innovative technologies available for the abatement and recovery of these emissions — both to protect the environment and to create an alternative solution for fertilizer needs in farming.

Registration for the event, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., costs $35 before April 25 and includes lunch. Registration after April 25 costs $45. To register, download a form at http://go.osu.edu/Cn3, fill out and mail with payment to the address indicated on the form.… Continue reading

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Proven practices for improving corn yields

By Peter Thomison and Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

The record high corn yields achieved by many Ohio farmers in recent years have generated considerable interest in what can be done to sustain and push yields even higher. Many Ohio growers are achieving 200 bu/A corn. According to some agronomists and crop specialists, we have entered a new era in corn production characterized by higher annual rates of yield improvement. These higher rates are attributed to several factors, including genetic technologies that allow for greater expression of corn genetic yield potential by withstanding various crop stresses.

In the quest for high yields, considerable attention has been given to increasing various inputs, including seeding rates and fertilizers, narrowing row spacing, and making preventative applications of foliar fungicides, growth regulators and biological stimulants. However, the additional costs of some of these practices and inputs may prohibit their use except perhaps for those growers interested in participating in corn yield contests on high yielding sites.… Continue reading

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Charles Moellendick receives COBA/Select Sires Distinguished Service Award

Charles Moellendick, Lancaster, Ohio recently received a Distinguished Service Award from COBA/Select Sires during the cooperative’s annual meetings. He was presented with a plaque which read, “For Your Calm & Effective Service and Leadership 1980-2011.”  Moellendick thus became the first person to receive this prestigious recognition since 1996.  Moellendick also served as a Director of Select Sires representing COBA members during the same 31 year period.

In making the presentation to Charles Moellendick, current COBA/Select Sires President, Tom Fleming, noted that it was during Moellendick’s term as President of COBA/Select Sires that the current General Manager, Bernie Heisner, was hired in 1992.  When Moellendick started as a Director of COBA in 1980 the cooperative sold 473,043 units of semen in its service area, which remarkably grew to 1,764,136 units in 2010 with no change in the geography served.  Fleming further observed Moellendick’s demeanor as a board member was generally quiet with good humor, but when Charles spoke people listened attentively to what he had to say. … Continue reading

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