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Distribution of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth in Ohio

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension weed specialist

The maps that accompany this article show our current knowledge of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth distribution in Ohio. These are based on information from a survey of OSU Extension County Educators, along with information we had from samples submitted, direct contacts, etc. We still consider any new introductions of Palmer amaranth to be from an external source (brought in from outside Ohio) — hay or feed, infested equipment, CRP/cover/wildlife seedings. Palmer is not really spreading around the state, and as the map shows, we have had a number of introductions that were immediately remediated. The number of counties where an infestation is being managed is still low, and within those counties, the outbreak occurs in only a few fields still.

Waterhemp is much more widespread in Ohio and is spreading rapidly within the state from existing infestations to new areas via equipment, water, animals, etc.… Continue reading

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OFBF mourns the loss of Yvonne Lesicko

Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau vice president of public policy, passed away suddenly on June 18 from an unexpected medical issue.

“This loss to our Farm Bureau family has hit us hard. Yvonne’s impact on our organization is immense,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president in a letter to members. “Her work literally helped tens of thousands of members, every day of the week. But of course Yvonne did this work with a dedicated team of Farm Bureau staff colleagues, board members, county leaders and indeed members everywhere. This is where she shined the most as a professional: connecting with people, communicating about our work and inspiring us all to do better.”

Calling hours will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, June 25 at Schoedinger Funeral Home, 6699 N. High St, Worthington, OH 43085. A private service for immediate family will take place Friday, June 26 at 10 a.m.… Continue reading

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Dry weather leading to early signs of drought stress

As dry weather continued, soil moisture decreased and crops began to show signs of drought stress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture decreased from 75% adequate or surplus last week to 53% adequate or surplus this week. In addition to dry weather slowing the emergence of soybeans and corn, crop condition worsened. Average temperatures for the week were approximately 2 degrees below historical normals, and the entire state averaged close to zero inches of precipitation. There were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 21.

The drier weather did allow farmers to cut hay and continue other field activities, including planting, spraying herbicides, and sidedressing corn. Winter wheat was maturing, with reporters anticipating the start of harvest in one or two weeks. Armyworms continued to be a problem in wheat fields. Soybean planting progress reached 98%, ahead of the five-year average by 8 percentage points.

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Rain is a good thing

Willie Murphy

We had a pretty big rain the week of June 4 and since then it has been hit or miss. Since then, it has gotten really dry. This weekend where the corn was stressed it was starting to roll up a little bit. If we don’t get rain here relatively soon it is going to start being a problem for the crops. We did get around 2 tenths last night and there is more rain in the forecast today.

Once we got planting wrapped up, everything emerged well. Compared to the last couple of years that have been pretty stressful we are very happy with the way our crops look. We did finish sidedressing all of our corn this past Friday, so we are ready for it to set in rain for a little bit.

The wheat is getting close. We are hoping the first of next week we’ll be able to run it.… Continue reading

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Dicamba rules change (again)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted BASF’s emergency motion to intervene in the case vacating the registrations of three dicamba-based herbicides, including BASF’s Engenia herbicide. The court’s decision will permit the continued use of existing stocks pending further court proceedings.

“The EPA’s order, issued on June 8, 2020, allows growers and commercial applicators to continue to apply Engenia in a way that is consistent with the previously approved label until July 31, 2020. The EPA’s decision to allow the use of existing stocks will help to save this year’s crops and save farmers’ millions of dollars in their investment in our product,” said BASF in a statement. “However, as the Engenia registration remains vacated as a result of the Court’s original decision, we seek a recall and stay of the Court’s mandate until BASF has the opportunity to challenge that decision. We are committed to pursue all legal remedies available to ensure farmers have access to the safe and effective crop protection solutions they have come to rely on, including Engenia herbicide.… Continue reading

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Get your fair food fix

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

Caution: What you are about to read is not healthy.

I am guessing the stay at home order found you along with me, with increased TV time. I love the game show Family Feud. I love the answers, the questions and Steve Harvey. It just hits my funny bone. Richard Dawson kicked off this popular game show when it first aired in 1976. It has been running for 19 seasons with six different hosts and close to 2,500 episodes. Paul and I love to see where our answers fall on the survey.

Summer is in full swing and one of the hot topics in the Ag world is: will fairs happen? The Ohio State Fair has cancelled, and fate of many county fairs is still up in the air. Fairs are communal, a social gathering of the local community to share in their love, passion and celebration of 4-H, food, agriculture, and down-home country entertainment.… Continue reading

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Armyworms may still be at work in fields

By Andy Michel, Curtis Young, CCA, Kelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension

We received many reports of true armyworm infestations in wheat, barley, and corn. These are black or green caterpillars with stripes along the side and orange heads. In the spring, true armyworm moths migrate from the south and lay eggs in grasses such as forage and weed grasses, winter wheat and barley, and rye cover crops. When the eggs hatch, the larvae can significantly damage wheat and barley before then moving to young corn. Usually, moth flights occur in April, but we may have had a second peak the first or second week of May—it’s likely the caterpillars feeding now are from this later flight. Right now, wheat, barley, and corn should be inspected for true armyworm populations. Armyworms like to hide during the day and feed at night, so scouting should occur at dusk or dawn, and/or on cloudy days.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 challenged by farm groups

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation jointly filed an appeal, challenging California’s Proposition 12, which imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The appeals challenge, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asks the court to strike Proposition 12 as invalid. It is unconstitutional and seeks to allow a single state without any commercial hog production to regulate how farmers across the country operate, imposing prohibitive costs with no benefits.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. Currently, less than one percent of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio beef farmers stepping up to help those in need

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across the state, the Ohio Beef Council (OBC) has established the Beef Families Care Fund (BFCF), a matching program to assist non-profit agricultural groups that are working to provide beef meals and nutrition education to Ohioans in need and encourage beef consumption in communities across the state.

“Ohio beef farmers are proud to help feed their local communities,” said Jamie Graham, chairman of the OBC Operating Committee. “We are firmly committed to caring for and supporting Ohioans struggling with food insecurity.”

BFCF is made possible through the Ohio Beef Checkoff Program and will continue through the remainder of 2020. This one-time program is a direct result of several pandemic-related event cancelations, including the 2020 Ohio State Fair.

“The goal of the checkoff is to promote Ohio beef and it has been very challenging with a lot of the face-to-face communication and the promotions we try to do with things being canceled,” Graham said.… Continue reading

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Watch for early-season crop development challenges

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

The 2020 growing season continues to be challenging for Ohio’s farmers. Wet spring conditions with large rainfall events have created some issues that will continue to impact Ohio’s crops throughout the growing season.

Adverse weather conditions have significantly impacted emergence and early crop development. In some areas of the state, fields were planted early and then exposed to weather extremes such as saturated soils and freezing temperatures below 28 degrees F. In other parts of Ohio, fields planted into tough conditions in mid-May struggled to develop and were eventually replanted. Anyone who has driven around the state in the last few weeks knows that poor emergence, variable emergence and thin plant stands are a common sight.

Not only have adverse spring field conditions impacted final plant stands, but some issues that exist as a result of the wet weather will linger throughout the season.… Continue reading

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Catch fish…and eat them

By Matt Reese

Catch fish…and eat them. Humankind has been doing it for millennia.

I am the oldest of four boys and while we were growing up we would make occasional trips to the family cabin with our parents. While there, my brothers and I would regularly request that our father facilitate the process of helping us not only catch fish of a suitable size and quantity for a meal for six, but also fillet and cook them. Anyone who thinks conducting such an endeavor with four young boys sounds simple has clearly not undertaken the task. Nonetheless, we did this a number of times while growing up and have many fond memories of it, even if we rarely got enough fish cleaned for a complete meal.

The plan was to continue this simple Reese tradition in June when we went back to the cabin for a week of family, fishing and boating.… Continue reading

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Declining farmland tax values expected

There’s a bit of good news for Ohio farmers to counter the ample bad news caused by COVID-19, as well as by last year’s historic rain.

In counties scheduled for property value updates in 2020 — about half of Ohio’s 88 counties — the average value of farmland enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program should be about 40% lower than 2017–2019, or about $665 per acre.

That’s according to projections by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The same projections say that in counties due for property value updates in 2021 —another quarter of Ohio’s counties — average CAUV values should be about 25% less than 2018–2020, or about $760 per acre. The declines should mean lower property taxes, on average, for most of the farmers in those counties.

The projections were published in a May report by postdoctoral researcher Robert Dinterman and Ani Katchova, associate professor and farm income enhancement chair, both of CFAES’ Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.… Continue reading

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2020 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge winners

A team of two Ohio high school students took first place in the 2020 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge finals for their policy proposal about creating a statewide database of verified volunteers.

Sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio 4-H and Ohio FFA, the challenge brings together youths ages 14 to 18 from around the state to discuss community concerns and then work together to propose policies and programs to solve the issues.

The 2020 winning team members are Evan Stuart of Richland County and Halle Miller of Wayne County.

The challenge started in the spring when groups met to learn about public policy issues and began planning their proposals. Nine teams presented their proposals in the finals in June, and the top four teams received scholarships.

The teams were judged on their public policy proposals dealing with a specific issue or problem. In the final competition, the teams described the steps necessary to have their public policy proposal adopted by the appropriate government authorities.… Continue reading

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Calcium and manganese deficiency

By John Kempf and James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Services

Calcium and manganese are two soil abundant elements that are often not as plant available and may be deficient in plant cells. Calcium is used in cell wall membranes and often becomes limiting during critical pollination periods when cells are rapidly dividing. Manganese is used in photosynthesis to split the water molecule (H20) into H+ and OH.

Grain and fruit size are determined by calcium after pollination. The cell division process proceeds rapidly, lasting 5-40 days but most grain crops have a 10-14 day cell division window. Cell division occurs exponentially (2-4-8-16-32-64 etc.) as cells divide so calcium may become deficient quickly after pollination. After cell division, grain or fruit fill occurs as the cell is filled with proteins, sugars, and water.  A lack of calcium can limit cell division, grain or fruit size, and reduce yields.… Continue reading

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Good planning extends the grazing season and protects resources

By John Kellis, Ohio Department of Agriculture grazing management specialist

Most southern Ohio pastures are located squarely in the “tall fescue belt.” As these grasses go dormant in the fall, they become a very palatable to cattle and can be intensively grazed. Often producers will strip graze these grasses beginning in December, moving portable fence back 50 feet at a time across the field. Cattle will struggle to get to the next available strip of brown fescue rather than eat hay that may be set behind the cattle. After dormancy, the fescue can be eaten down lower to the ground than you would typically leave after fall grazing where you need to leave at least 4 to 6 inches of growth. This “stockpiling” of forage is a good alternative for late fall and winter grazing. This practice further reduces the need for hay and can provide grazable acres into January or February.… Continue reading

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Early season corn considerations

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

OK, I finished replanting my corn last week, only about three weeks ahead of last year. Oh, and for my planting window, now I have had four periods of about 24 hours each. And for this last planting opportunity, conditions were finally fit to actually plant well. One of my farmer cooperator buddies told me this year he has never used so much technology to plant so poorly.

Poor stands – Compaction and Pythium

The two most common seedling challenges this year were compaction and Pythium. We overworked the soil, this spring and last year both. Poor soil structure leads to soil compaction and crusting. I often quote Sjoerd Duiker, agronomist at Penn State University. This time I’ll just give you his link: https://extension.psu.edu/soil-crusting. Pythium is another problem — our seed treatments only work for so long. This year with cold soils, crusting and excessive rains at the wrong time created a great opportunity for this disease.… Continue reading

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Don’t kill your cash flow

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

Farmers are no strangers to challenging times. From volatile markets and weather extremes to rising costs of inputs, it takes a lot of grit and determination to run a successful farming business. Part of being successful is managing your cash flow. Below are tips from our team members at Holbrook and Manter who were asked to address this very issue and share one or two things that business owners do that has a negative impact on their cash flow.

Some of our team members give very simple answers while others go into great detail. As you read through you will see themes of the things we see often. Read through the answers here and begin correcting the behavior that kills cash flow. Here are their responses:


They blend company funds with personal — deposit company funds into their personal checking account or pay personal expenses with a company credit card — fully meaning to separate it all out properly, eventually.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA chapters receive grants for local communities

FFA chapters across Ohio have been awarded grants designed to help their local communities. The Ohio FFA Foundation’s Agricultural & Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP) provides support to build sustainable relationships and programs that will benefit Ohio communities for years to come.

Originally introduced in 2013, ARCOP grants allow Ohio FFA chapters to apply for funding that aid community development projects. These FFA chapter ARCOP projects often benefit rural residents or low-income farmers and have a long-term impact on the community, either economically or through an improved quality of life. Participating FFA Chapters will work in collaboration with other local organizations to complete these projects for agricultural topics varying from educational programs to awareness and promotion to economic development.

After FFA chapters submitted project proposals to the Ohio FFA Foundation, a total of 12 chapters were awarded grants. The projects will be completed between July and the end of 2020.

The ARCOP program is a partnership between the Ohio FFA Foundation and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.… Continue reading

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April meat exports held strong for beef and pork

April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.

“Considering all the challenges the U.S. red meat industry faced in April, export results were encouraging,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “Exporters lost several days of slaughter and processing due to COVID-19, and shipments to Mexico and some other Latin American markets declined due to slumping currencies and the imposition of stay-at-home orders. But despite these significant headwinds, global demand for U.S. beef and pork remained strong.”

While May export results will likely reflect similar obstacles, Halstrom noted that red meat production continues to recover, setting the stage for a strong second half of 2020.… Continue reading

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