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Soil compaction, choices and patience

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Management requires measurement. There are two forms of soil compaction that can be measured and then managed, said John Fulton, associate professor at the Ohio State University in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the recent Precision University 2020 meeting.

“To effectively manage compaction we need to both understand it and measure it. The first is surface compaction. This is the compaction that occurs at the upper soil layer.  It is considered to be within the tilled layer of soil. The second is subsoil or deep compaction. Subsoil compaction occurs below the tilled layer as a result of surface loading,” Fulton said. “There are four stages when dealing with compaction issues. They include: identifying areas of soil compaction,evaluating those compacted areas to determine both the cause and also severity, making plans to prevent future compaction, and developing plans to manage existing compaction.”

John Fulton, Associate Professor, Biosystems Engineering, The Ohio State University

Soil compaction can be defined as soil particles being compressed together and reducing the pore space.… Continue reading

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More land and bigger tractors: Can farmers produce enough to feed Phase One?

By Matt Reese

Can the farmers of the United States produce enough? That is a question being asked as the Trump Administration finalized the Phase One trade deal with China for purchase of $80 billion in agricultural products over the next 2 years and Congress works through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that would also have huge export implications for U.S. agriculture.

President Donald Trump talked about this issue last fall at a rally in Louisiana.

“They said, can we make it 20 [billion dollars]? We don’t think our farmers can produce that much. I said, ‘Make it 50. Our farmers will buy more land and they’ll buy bigger tractors.’…They said to me, ‘We can’t produce that much wheat and corn and all the stuff.’ Because I want to tell you, I got China to order a lot,” Trump said to a cheering crowd of supporters last October as his Administration was in the process of negotiating Phase One.… Continue reading

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Phase One makes progress, still comes up short with Chinese trade

When President Donald Trump signed the first phase of a trade deal with China on Jan. 15, U.S. agriculture was pleased with the promise of nearly $40 billion in farm product purchases by China in 2020.

“The signing of a trade deal with China is a big step in the right direction as farmers in Ohio and across the country are eager to get back to business globally,” said Frank Burkett, Ohio Farm Bureau president. “Restoring our ability to be competitive in China is welcome news for U.S. agriculture and we encourage the Administration to continue building on its success in a Phase One deal and aggressively pursue a full trade agreement with China.”

Over the next two years U.S. trade officials said China will spend $80 billion purchases of agricultural products from the United States, with the amount projected to be slightly below $40 billion in 2020 and slightly above $40 billion in 2021.… Continue reading

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USDA observations

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The Jan. 10 USDA report wasn’t as big of a market mover as some expected. Corn and beans closed only up 2 cents after the report. Following are some highlights.

 

Planted and harvested acres

A surprise was the USDA reducing planted and harvested acres slightly for 2018 as well as 2019. However, the difference in harvested acres between the 2 years was still less than a 1-million-acre reduction.

 

Yields

Probably a bigger surprise was that yields were increased by 1 bushel per acre instead of a slight reduction. The USDA announced they will resurvey 5 northern states in the spring, it seems unlikely the national yield average would increase from those unharvested acres. Therefore, a carryout reduction is still possible later this year.

 

Total production

After taking into considering the acre reduction for both crop years, there was only a slight increase of 50 million bushels in total production with the surprise yield increase.… Continue reading

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Limits on business interest expense deductions

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

One provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that has generated considerable concern among business owners is the new limitation on deductions for business interest expenses.

Prior to the provision, interest paid on business loans or credit lines could be deducted as an ordinary business expense. One section of the Internal Revenue Code — Section 163(j) —limited the deductions for certain types of interest expense that some C corporations paid, but most businesses were able to fully deduct business interest expense in the year it was accrued or paid.

The TCJA significantly changed that. The act expanded Section 163(j) to apply to all types of business interest expense, and it broadened the section’s scope to encompass all businesses, including pass-through entities such as partnerships, S corporations, and sole proprietorships.

Fortunately, many businesses — particularly small businesses — are still exempt from the Section 163(j) limitation.… Continue reading

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2020 Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Conference

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Conference will be held Feb. 21, 2020 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The program theme is “Foraging for profit.” The Keynote speaker will be Jimmy Henning, Forage Professor, University of Kentucky, who will discuss “Making good round bale silage” based on extensive research and experience in Kentucky. Henning will also be speaking on a second topic, “The clover dilemma: Do I have enough to withhold N fertility.”

Another featured speaker to address new fencing technologies is Tony Parker, associate professor, Ohio State University Animal Science, speaking on “Current and future technologies for grazing animal management.”

Several producer talks will also be presented which includes beef producer Jonathan Berger from Wooster, Ohio, dairy producer, Jeff Miller from Winesburg, Ohio, stored forages producers, Miles and Caleb vonStein from Jenera, Ohio and sheep producer, Brady Campbell from Waterford, Ohio.… Continue reading

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How recent corn losses will impact Brazilian exports in 2020?

The new year has started with crop woes in Brazil. No, I am not talking about soybeans, my favorite subject here and everywhere. I am talking about corn – the first corn crop, which has been damaged by hot, dry conditions in some southern producing areas.
And now you might be questioning whether a crop failure in Brazil could result in weaker exports here and, consequently, in more sales of US corn in 2020. That is a fair question. But the answer is no. The problems that Brazil’s first corn crop faces right now will not impact Brazilian exports.
As I have already explained a few weeks ago right here in this column, Brazil grows three corn crops a year. The first crop is harvested from January to May and represents about 25% of Brazilian total corn production. It is grown in states where weather conditions do not allow a second corn crop – which is planted from January to March, right after the soybean harvest.
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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 135 | Above Average

In this edition of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast brought to you by AgriGold, Matt, Dale, Bart, and Kolt have the floor. Dale joins us with notes on the WASDE report. Matt and Bart were at the Ohio Cattlemen’s annual meeting. While there, Matt talked to Ethan Lane and Sasha Rittenhouse. Bart and Kolt caught up with Ben Brown, Ag Economist at Ohio State, who is talking all things ARC and PLC payments. All of that plus more in this week’s episode of the podcast!… Continue reading

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Keep the proper focus with H2Ohio

By Matt Reese

Last year I had the opportunity to serve as the head coach for my son’s third and fourth grade basketball team. As could be expected, wrangling a squirrelly group of elementary school boys did prove challenging, on occasion. This was on full display for the community to see on youth recognition night.

For the event, all of the elementary and junior high boys basketball players in the program gather at the school before a varsity game. The players get their names announced over the loudspeaker and then form two lines facing each other to make a “tunnel” where they slap hands with the varsity players as they run out before the game. It is a nice event to showcase the efforts of the youth.

My team was there, on time, with their jerseys on, which was a significant victory. They ran out as their names were announced as planned.… Continue reading

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2020 OCA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet highlights

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

The 2020 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet showed the bright future members needed on a very gloomy and rainy Saturday.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association vice president of government affairs, Ethan Lane, spoke multiple times during the event about key issues at the federal level for the beef industry. Lane explained the NCBA aims to continue to work with the current presidential administration’s interest in trying to help the agricultural community. On the regulatory front, NCBA had a significant recent victory with an announcement by President Trump promulgating new regulations to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

NEPA was first enacted in 1970 to “create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony,” and has not undergone substantive regulatory revision since 1986. Ranchers must undergo NEPA reviews for many reasons, but common examples include renewal of a term grazing permit, construction of range improvements, or to become eligible for participation in USDA programs.… Continue reading

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Corn neutral, soybeans bearish in Jan. 10 report

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn and soybean production and yield both increased. That was a surprise. Corn and soybeans did not fall apart. Corn ending stocks were lower than expected which helped offset the higher corn production. Soybean ending stocks were unchanged, that was a surprise. Soybean stocks were larger than expected, also a surprise.

Shortly after the USDA report was released, corn was unchanged, soybeans down cents, and wheat down 1 cent. Shortly before the noon report, corn was down 3 cents, soybeans down 2 cents, and wheat down 2 cents.

The report today has long been awaited. Two numbers were heavily watched for this report, U.S. corn production, and U.S. stocks of soybeans on Dec. 1, 2019.

There are a bunch of numbers for the U.S. and world grain production. Corn supply bulls were hoping for major reductions in corn production and yields. Corn demand bears were quick to highlight the declining export demand since last May, which was 425 million bushels along with shrinking corn used for ethanol at 125 million bushels.… Continue reading

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Quitting tillage cold turkey

By Matt Reese

In recent years Nathan Brause re-learned some lessons and quit tillage cold turkey.

“My grandpa, Glenn Brause, no-tilled corn into rye on this farm in the 70s. I remember that. Everyone else was plowing and I thought he was crazy,” said Nathan Brause, who was recently named the No-Till Farmer of the Year by the Ohio No-Till Council. “They had it figured out back then and it took me 20 or 30 years to figure it out again.”

When Nathan took over the gently rolling Sunny Slopes Farm in Crawford County that his grandpa had purchased in the 1920s he invested heavily in tillage.

“We were doing soil samples one day and got caught in the rain. We watched the rain just run off. I thought I had to start tilling again. We used to moldboard plow back in the 80s. Then I started deep ripping. Then we got a chisel plow.… Continue reading

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Hillbilly hot tub a winter hit

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

We have been wearing out our homemade hot tub this hunting season, with the jerry-rigged, propane-heated stock tank getting plenty of use after frigid evenings of deer hunting chill Maria and me to our bones. Stretching out in 104-degree water with the stars overhead and the Kokosing River gurgling past below with a bourbon-spiked hot apple cider in hand is a welcome way to end a day afield. By floating a tablet of chlorine in a simple dispenser we can use the same water several weekends in a row and the lid I made from a sheet of plywood cut to fit and covered with hunter green Naugahyde looks

good and keeps the leaves (and mice…) out.

We even splurged on a small, portable electric clothes dryer, picked up for $20 at the Johnstown Sportsman’s Club Swappers Days over Labor Day weekend.… Continue reading

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Plenty of market factors to watch in early 2020

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Uncertainty and risk are the themes at this writing, just days into 2020. The U.S. military bombed Iran, killing a top general the second trading day of 2020. Crude oil rose over $3 upon news of U.S. air strikes as they reached levels not seen since mid-July 2019.

The U.S. and China are expected to sign an historic trade deal in Phase 1 of ongoing trade talks on Jan. 15. Then a 30-day implementation period goes into effect in which China must wait before they can begin to buy U.S. goods. Instead, it will be crucial to monitor the weekly U.S. grain export sales report, which is published each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. It has been way too long since May 2018 when the tariffs began with partial hints along the way of a trade deal just days away, but unsettled for months. China is not expected to remove retaliatory tariffs implemented since the beginning of the 2018 trade war.… Continue reading

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To outer Mongolia and back

By Don “Doc” Sanders

When I was a boy, my Dad would often use “outer Mongolia” to describe the location of anyone or anything that was a distance from us — including the closest fertilizer plant to our farm, about 40 miles away.

He’d be impressed that I recently returned from outer Mongolia — or rather, the real-life independent nation of Mongolia, situated north of China and east of Siberia, more than 6,000 miles further away from home than that fertilizer plant. I was invited by the Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM) to participate in their V.E.T. Net mission project in Mongolia.

About 25 years ago, Gerald and Francis Mitchem were called to create V.E.T. Net and bring the gospel to the people of Mongolia. They realized that to be successful in introducing the gospel it was important to help Mongols by improving the care of their horses, sheep and cows for a better quality of human life before they could evangelize.… Continue reading

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The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative and Ohio Agriculture Conservation Council

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Just as the 4Rs of Nutrient Management has become a common phrase in Ohio agriculture, the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OAIC) is likely to become just as familiar in Ohio’s agriculture community in 2020.

“This is an innovative, collaborative effort of the agricultural, conservation, environmental, and research communities in Ohio to improve water quality. They plan to do this by establishing a baseline understanding of current conservation and nutrient management efforts and building a new certification program for farmers,” said Scott Shearer, Chair of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. “There are a lot of farmers out there doing the right things, we just have not had a good way to measure or quantify those or to be able to communicate that to the general public. When H2Ohio came along, it put more emphasis on water quality and best management practices.

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Looking back at crop marketing in 2019

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Corn and beans remained range-bound through the holidays as everyone waits for the Jan. 10 crop report and Phase 1 completion of the trade deal. Basis has also stayed strong as farmers aren’t selling, most likely because futures are lower than what farmers would like, given the year we had.

Like nearly every farmer, I wish I would have sold more corn in the summer rally of 2019. But, as we all know, unpredictable weather conditions generated a lot of surprises and uncertainty throughout the year, which had a big impact on the market.

That’s why this week I reviewed my notes from the year to revisit market conditions and my decision-making rationale along the way. Re-evaluating past decisions can bring better perspective and help me build stronger grain marketing plans in the future. Following summarizes my insights and trade decisions.

 

March/April

The March USDA report indicated that U.S.… Continue reading

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Food and nutrition trends to watch for in 2020

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

I am a numbers kind of gal so I am always fascinated by food and nutrition trends. It’s easy to get caught in our agriculture bubble and be amazed at the “outside world’s” thoughts about farming and food. Trends are kind of like the chicken and the egg, which came first but let’s take a peek at Amazon’s Whole Food’s (forecasted) trends for 2020 at media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/whole-foods-market-predicts-top-10-food-trends-for-2020.

  1. Regenerative agriculture: Farming and grazing practices that restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity and increase carbon capture to create long-lasting environmental benefits, such as positively impacting climate change.
  2. Flour power: New flours from teff, tigernut, seed blends, fruit and vegetable flours like banana, cauliflower as well as “super” flours blends packed with protein and fiber.
  3. Foods from West Africa: Food and beverages with a base of tomatoes, onions and chili peppers with add-ins depending on the region such as peanuts, ginger and lemongrass as well as moringa and tamarind, and lesser known cereal grains sorghum, fonio, teff and millet.
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The on-farm quandary of 2019’s 7.3

By Matt Reese

When looking at the last year in the debate over nutrient management and water quality, the number 7.3 stands out.

This number is the severity of the Microcystis cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Erie in 2019, indicating a relatively severe bloom. It was very close to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction of 7.5 made earlier in the summer. The incredible amount of rainfall in the spring of 2019 would suggest a much more severe algal bloom number, but the drastic reduction in planted acres and nutrient application on farms helped reign in the severity.

The 7.3 of 2019 is an indication that — due to necessity or proactive stewardship — spring farm nutrient application can directly impact the severity of the algal bloom in Lake Erie. The 7.3 also indicates though, to get to an average annual severity closer to a desired level of 3, there are many other factors (both farm and non-farm) at play that researchers have yet to quantify or understand.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 134 | New Year, Queen & Intern

In the first podcast of the new decade, we meet Madi Kregel, the new Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal intern who will be with us through the Ohio State Fair this summer. Dale catches up with Dr. Tony Forshey, State Veterinarian with the Ohio Department of Agriculture on changes for the upcoming fair season. He also chats with Lora Current, the 2019 Ohio Fairs’ Queen. Kolt also visited with Mackenzie Hoog, the newly crowned Ohio Fairs’ Queen representing Montgomery County. Dusty sent in a report with Glen Badenhop of American Freedom Energy in Liberty Center discussing how the small refinery waivers have impacted the ethanol and corn energy and local farmers.… Continue reading

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