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Russia Bans Grain Exports, Markets Soar

By Dow Jones Newswires

The death toll from Russia’s forest and peat fires hit 50 Thursday, as government efforts failed to stop the blazes from spreading.

Continued scorching temperatures have also extended the damage caused by Russia’s worst drought in a decade, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for a ban on grain exports and set aside nearly $1.2 billion for stricken farmers.

The total area on fire increased to 196,000 hectares Thursday, a gain of around 7,000 hectares from the previous day, as 373 new fires appeared and 254 were extinguished, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

In all, 589 separate blazes were burning throughout Russia, 70 more than Wednesday, despite 162,000 emergency workers deployed to fight the flames. The fires have consumed over 2,000 dwellings and left around 4,000 people homeless, while causing an estimated RUB4.6 billion of damage.

Record heat persisted throughout Russia’s European territory, with temperatures in Moscow expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius Friday, nearly double the seasonal average of 23 degrees.

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Crop progress report

The National Agricultural Statistics Service released its crop progress report for the week ending on Aug. 1. Nationally corn is 7% dented (2% ahead of average), and 31% is in the dough stage, which is 7% ahead of average. Soybeans are 86% blooming, up 12% on the average and 53% are setting pods, which is 5% ahead of the average. Winter wheat is 83% harvested 5% behind the average. The national corn and beans crop condition dropped from last week but they are still ahead of last year. Ohio was .9 degrees above normal last week with .26 inches of precipitation below average. Topsoil moisture is as close to average as you can get. Corn silked in Ohio is 94%. The average is 88%. Corn is 30% in the dough stage. The average is 14%. In Ohio, 87% of the soybeans are blooming and 55% are setting pods, the averages are 89% and 45%, respectively.

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Curious kernels in corn

By Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

In the July 23, 2010 issue of the Illinois Pest Management Bulletin, Dr. Emerson Nafziger describes an unusual phenomenon “in which corn kernels seem to start to develop after pollination but are empty of content.” Affected kernels appeared to contain only clear liquid with perhaps a small amount of white material–probably starch–that may later turn yellow.” An image of a corn ear showing the symptoms is included with the article athttp://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=1387. The liquid in these “bubbles” eventually dries up, leaving what are essentially seed coats without an embryo or endosperm. These may flatten as kernels on both sides press in during grainfill, if there are only a few, scattered “bubble kernels” on an ear. Dr. Nafziger notes that corn ears exhibiting “bubble kernel” symptoms were associated with late glyphosate application and observes that conditions after application this year might have favored the development of the effect.

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Can the corn factory run too fast?

By John Brien, CCA,

AgriGold regional agronomist

From planting until pollination a corn grower is concerned about building their corn factory. The corn factories foundation is

corn roots, the stalks are the walls and the leaves are the machines that run the entire factory. The goal is to build the best, most

efficient factory possible and then turn it on line at pollination. The factory needs to be built to produce enough sugars to maximize

kernel development and grain fill. Currently our factories have been built and are running at full steam, the question now is can

our corn factories run too fast?

What is meant by a corn factory running too fast? At a car factory there is a pace of operation that maximizes production, too

slow and the company will eventually run out of money, too fast and the machines may breakdown or more likely the quality of

the product is sub par.

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Insect Observations for Late July

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel, Bruce Eisley

Currently, we are not receiving many reports of insect problems in field crops in Ohio.   People are reporting finding soybean aphids, but only at a few aphids per plant at most.  Remember that the threshold is 250 aphids per plant with a rising population (it takes 700-800 per plant to cause economic damage), and these numbers are NOT being seen.  As we get into August and the later part of the summer, the susceptibility of soybeans to aphids goes down.  However, as in other years with low numbers aphid, we do expect the numbers of aphids to begin to rise prior to the end of the summer.  These aphids then will move to buckthorn in the fall and lay eggs, and will overwinter, possibly resulting in problems in 2011.

A few people have asked about twospotted spider mites in soybean with the hot temperatures we have been experiencing. 

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Gray leaf spot plaguing corn

By Denny Wickham, Pioneer agronomist

The warm, humid July weather proved to be conducive to the development of leaf diseases in corn, especially gray leaf spot (GLS). While this disease is not new (it was first noted in Illinois in 1924), increased use of no-till and reduced tillage corn production practices have likely led to higher incidence of the disease. The fungal pathogen causing GLS, Cercospora zea maydis, overwinters on corn residue from the previous crop and higher levels of residue left on the soil surface allow for greater survival of the pathogen. In response to higher temperatures and humidity that occur in late spring, conidia (spores) begin to develop on the corn residue and are blown or splashed from the corn residue onto the current year’s corn plants. Infection typically begins in June, but disease symptoms may not show up until late July or early August. Earlier infection allows for greater spore build-up and more damage to the leaves.

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Western bean cutworm egg masses and larvae found in Ohio

For the first time since the trapping of Western bean cutworm moths in corn began in 2006, Ohio State University Extension entomologists have identified egg masses and larvae. The find reveals that populations continue to increase and that growers will really need to monitor the pest in the future.

“The infestation of egg masses and larvae was light, but this just verifies that we won’t see this pest decreasing in the coming years and growers will really have to start scouting for it each season,” said Andy Michel, an OSU Extension entomologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Western bean cutworm is a common pest of Western corn-producing states that is rapidly expanding eastward and finding a niche throughout the Midwest. The number of adult moths trapped in Ohio each year has been steadily increasing.

In 2006, entomologists caught three moths in the traps. In 2007, six were caught.

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Ohio Fresh Produce Marketing Agreement being developed to protect producers and consumers

By Matt Reese

The fresh spinach in the glass case at the grocery store has been handled with the utmost care from the farm through the present moment as it sits in display case. Mist floats down to shower the greens with cool water when a filthy sparrow swoops down from the rafters and through the mist of water, spraying dirty bird germs all over that previously clean spinach. No one sees this happen. A customer gets sick. Who gets the blame?

Unfortunately, whether it is really their fault or not, the blame often falls upon the farm. And as more scrutiny falls on farms, many of the larger Ohio produce operations have been required by their buyers to meet specific food safety standard operating procedures. For many operations this has resulted in the need to employ a full-time food safety quality assurance person to manage the complexities of the requirements that often have no backing in science or any potential for increased revenue for the farmer.

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Logan County cattleman joins Ohio beef industry’s elite

By Kyle Sharp

In 1966, at the age of 14, Frank Phelps moved with his family from their farm in Van Wert County to the current farm they operate in Logan County. The previous year, they had become joint owners of a herd of registered Limousin cattle with the O’Connor family, which owns the Logan County property.

“It was quite a change back then from the flatland of Van Wert to some hills down here,” Phelps said.

While the O’Connor family owns the land, co-owns the cattle and assists with broad management decisions, Frank and his dad, Don, oversee the daily operation.

“It’s been a good partnership,” Phelps said. “Every Saturday morning we have a meeting with them. It makes it nice that they’re interested and willing to spend some money to maintain and improve the farm.”

The O’Connor-Phelps farm milked cows for a while, had a farrow-to-finish hog operation, and most recently also had feeder pigs.

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White mold could be a problem again in 2010

By Matt Reese

Chances are looking all too good for another bout with white mold this year in Ohio soybeans.

Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, said once the white mold producing material (Sclerotinia) is in a field, it will be there.

“Sclerotinia white mold, also known as Sclerotinia stem rot has a very interesting disease cycle. The inoculum comes from very small fruiting bodies called apothecia that form from the sclerotia,” Dorrance said. “This was a bit of a surprise as the 2 weeks prior to this were dry, but rains did fall 3 to 4 days prior, the night time temperatures hit below 70 a couple of nights and more importantly — there was still heavy dew on the plants at noon.”

Because of the potential for problems this year it will be important to carefully scout fields with a history of white mold. Fields that have formed a dense canopy prior to flowering and experience consistent moisture and a few cool nights are at the highest risk for this disease, Dorrance said.

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Soybean Management Decisions Depend on Growth Stage

Heavy spring and summer rainfall made for a sporadic soybean planting season. The crop ranges in development from just planted to flowering and podding, and it is important for farmers to be able to identify those growth stages before making management decisions.

“Soybean management is based on growth stage of the plant, time of year and pests, including weeds, insects and diseases,” said Shaun Casteel, Purdue Extension agronomist. “Producers need to be able to accurately identify the growth stages so they can scout fields and make the best possible decisions.”

Casteel said farmers should take this time to scout fields, and he suggested the following tips to properly identify the first four stages of reproductive maturity:

Growth stage R1, or beginning bloom, is when any open flowers are present on the main stem nodes. R1 begins approximately 6-8 weeks after emergence and responds to both light and temperature. During this stage vertical root growth rate rapidly increases, and it plants are about 65 days from the beginning of physiological maturity.

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Crop report from Between the Rows

According the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Ohio soybean condition moved up 1% to 59% in the good to excellent categories while corn condition was unchanged. The pasture quality improved 2% to 72%, and the hay condition improved 5% to 63%. The corn silking is ahead at 75%, with the average only at 38%. The soybeans blooming are at 64% with the average at 59%. The oat harvest is 19% complete and 7% ahead of average. Topsoil moisture is 22% short to very short while last week had 30% in those categories and 40% on the average; 73% of the topsoil moisture is rated as adequate. The “Between the Rows” farmers are facing a wide array of conditions in fields from very good to not so great. Here is there report from July 19. Kevin Miller Williams County Things have gotten too hot and dry. The crops need rain. “We had .4-inch last Tuesday night, but now we’re in need of some rain.

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Can you ID the donkey in the HSUS deal?

The donkey in our barn needed its hooves trimmed, but I had no experience in the realm of jackass foot care. I was completely unsure how to proceed until my friend Chad came over and said that he would be trimming the hooves of his (and his in-laws) donkeys the following day. He said if I helped him trim his donkey hooves, he would be glad to help me. How fortunate.

The next morning I found myself chest deep in a pasture of nettles and poison ivy trying to round up donkeys that were not too interested in being rounded up. In our system, Chad (who is a much more experienced donkey farrier than I) did the trimming and I was charged with wrestling and holding the surly beasts of burden that were quite dismayed about the entire situation. In the process, I was kicked, bitten and stepped on.

I complained enough about my various injuries from the experience that my wife was not sure who the real donkey was in the barn when we finally got to the hooves of our donkey (see my blog at www.ocj.com for a photo).

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The queasy agreement with HSUS

-Editorial by Kyle Sharp-

So there I was, sitting back in the seat of my tractor in the middle of a hayfield. I’d just shut off the PTO to the haybine and felt sick to my stomach. No, my hay mower had not just broken down (although that has happened plenty in the past month), and I was not suffering from heat stroke related to the 90-plus degree heat.
Instead, I was on my cell phone, and my publisher, Bart Johnson, had just told me that a press conference was underway at that exact moment and Ohio’s agricultural leaders had struck a deal with the Humane Society of the United States.
“I feel like I could puke off the side of my tractor, but the only reason I’m not is because I’d be baling it up and feeding it to my cows,” I said to Bart.
He shared my disbelief over what was transpiring, although perhaps in not quite such a blunt fashion … OK, maybe it was equally or more so, but I can’t in good conscience put it in print.

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July 5 Update from between the Rows

The temperatures are up and the crops are coming along in this week’s report from Between the Rows. Here is the report from the farmers after the holiday weekend.

– Matt Reese

Kevin Miller

Williams County

“What a difference two weeks made. We had a gorgeous week of weather last week with low humidity and temperatures. We had some really nice second cutting hay and the quality was excellent. I would say we’re around half way done with second cutting in this area.

“Most guys got started last Wednesday and Thursday last week with wheat. I have today yet and I should be finished. My yields have been 85 to 90 bushels yields and my test weight has been 56 to 58 test weight. In our area, I do not think the vomitoxin is going to be a huge issue. I’ve heard 1 to 3 parts per million vomitoxin from elevators.

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State lawmakers educated about corn’s economic impact

On the heels of planting season, the Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) hosted an education and awareness event about the economic significance of the corn industry for agricultural committee members of the Ohio Statehouse.

“We addressed real issues at a real farm,” said Tadd Nicholson, OCGA director of government and industry affairs.

On June 16, OCGA welcomed Senate Chair Kirk Schuring-R, 29th District; Senate member Karen Gillmor-R, 26th District; House Chair Rep. John Domenick-D, 95th District; House Ranking Minority Member Rep. James Zehringer-R, 77th District and several legislative aides to Delaware County corn farmer John Davis’ family farm.

Several issues such as technology, sustainability, corn-ethanol development and agricultural assistance were discussed. Corn supply was also addressed.

“There’s no truth to the food versus fuel debate,” said OCGA Executive Director Dwayne Siekman. “Corn farmers are producing an abundance of corn, using less land to meet national and international food, feed and fuel demand.”

Corn Production in Ohio

  • Supports an estimated nearly 34,000 jobs
  • Generates $358,045,696 in labor income
  • Contributes $1,457,184,768 to GDP (value-added)
  • Generates $2.1 billion in crop value

“Corn directly impacts Ohio,” said Nicholson.

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Ducks, cattails and corn: June in Ohio’s farm fields

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold Hybrids, Eastern Regional Agronomist

Unevenness is the best description for all corn fields in the Eastern Corn Belt. Driving up and down the road uneven corn fields can easily be spotted. Some corn fields are yellow, stunted and uneven, while other corn fields are green, knee high and still uneven.

The unevenness in all the corn fields has been caused by the difference in rooting environments. The current corn crops rooting environment has been affected by planting date, planting conditions, soil types and most severely the amount of rainfall since planting started. The difference between rooting environments can easily be seen by plant height and plant color. Good rooting environments produce green, fast growing corn plants, while poor rooting environments produce stunted, yellow and slow growing corn plants.

What is the difference in the rooting environment that has caused the huge unevenness in corn fields? The difference between rooting environments is the amount of oxygen present in the root zone.

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Ducks, cattails and corn: June in Ohio's farm fields

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold Hybrids, Eastern Regional Agronomist

Unevenness is the best description for all corn fields in the Eastern Corn Belt. Driving up and down the road uneven corn fields can easily be spotted. Some corn fields are yellow, stunted and uneven, while other corn fields are green, knee high and still uneven.

The unevenness in all the corn fields has been caused by the difference in rooting environments. The current corn crops rooting environment has been affected by planting date, planting conditions, soil types and most severely the amount of rainfall since planting started. The difference between rooting environments can easily be seen by plant height and plant color. Good rooting environments produce green, fast growing corn plants, while poor rooting environments produce stunted, yellow and slow growing corn plants.

What is the difference in the rooting environment that has caused the huge unevenness in corn fields? The difference between rooting environments is the amount of oxygen present in the root zone.

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Head Scab in Wheat Widespread

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Beck’s Hybrids Team Sales Agronomist

Towards the end of last week and so far this week, I have been in numerous wheat fields all over the state of Ohio, from as far south as Chillicothee to as far north as Defiance.  I have visited several fields in east central IN as well and am finding very high percentages of head scab in wheat.  Here are some facts for you.  Fusarium head blight of wheat, also called head scab, is caused mainly by the fungus Gibberella zeae.  This happens to be the same fungus that caused growers in IN/OH vomitoxin problems in their corn last year.  Therefore, the potential exists for vomitoxins to be of concern in this wheat crop as well.  From flowering to early dough, temperatures of 75-85 degrees are required for infection with light to moderate rainfall for as little as 2-3 days during this time. 

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