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Take time to thank a veteran

We get to celebrate Veteran’s Day in a special way on my family’s Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. We participate in the Operation Evergreen Program that sends around 300 Christmas trees, complete with handmade ornaments, to troops stationed overseas for the holidays. On the Sunday prior to Veteran’s Day, we invite area veterans to come and select three or four Christmas trees from the farm to cut for this purpose. Local elementary students, high schools students and community groups also visited the farm to present the ornaments they have made to the veterans. This year there were well over 3,000 ornaments brought to the farm. The trees and ornaments then go from our farm to the Ohio Department of Agriculture where they are inspected and shipped off to Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever else U.S. troops are serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each year we have done this, my Grandpa Franklin Deeds has been a part of the ceremony.… Continue reading

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Calves shifting to feedlots

Cattle producers are likely to use more corn than previously expected according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Cattle on Feed report.

The implication of the October 21 report is that feed grains used by cattle in feedlots from the 2011 crop will be more than 5% higher than what was fed from the 2011 crop.

“The real surprise was the higher number of placements in September that resulted in more than one-half million more cattle being fed than a year ago,” said Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

Calves can eat corn, but also can add weight with forages. However, according to Hurt, the high number of feedlot placements in September serves as an indication that corn has become “cheap” relative to forages.

“December corn futures fell by $1.75 per bushel in September, which was enough to shift the feedlot outlook from bleak to rosy,” he said. “Managers responded by buying light-weight animals, as placements of calves under 700 pounds were up a remarkable 14%.”

Placing such a large number of young cattle in feedlots means they will be on grain diets, instead of forages, for a long time and will consume a lot of feed grains.… Continue reading

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OSU students get firsthand look at Dutch dairy industry

By Kyle Sharp

When a group of 10 Ohio State University students and two resident directors — Maurice Eastridge, Ohio State University professor of dairy nutrition, and his wife, Donna — visited the Netherlands this past summer for a Dairy Industry Study Abroad Program, they saw a lot of livestock on the farms they visited. But surprisingly, they saw plenty more almost everywhere they drove throughout the European country.

Because tourism is a big part of the Dutch tradition and people like to see the animals, Dutch farmers keep their animals out on pasture more than their U.S. counterparts. Right up to the city limits or even in the city, there would be animals out grazing, Maurice Eastridge said.

The students found it fascinating.

“I was very shocked to see sheep and cows grazing nearly along every road as we traveled throughout Holland,” said Brooke Barley, a junior human nutrition major from Canton.… Continue reading

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Zehringer moving to ODNR

Rumors have been floating around for a while now. Though there still has been no formal announcement regarding this issue, it seems fairly certain that Ohio Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer will be vacating his post at the request of Governor Kasich to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Some high ranking ODA officials will be going with Zehringer as well. A number  of candidates have been considered to replace Zehringer, but no one has been selected as of yet. Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols had no comment on the issue.

Though Zehringer has only served as ODA Director for a short time, it has been a productive and successful tenure by most accounts. He has overseen the final phases and implementation of the Ohio Livestock Care Board’s standards and led an aggressive charge to attract new and expand existing agribusinesses in Ohio.

 … Continue reading

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November USDA report offers few surprises

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

USDA released their November production estimate for corn and soybeans on Nov. 9. They also published ending stocks as well as supply and demand tables.  USDA put the U.S. corn production at 12.31 billion bushels with a yield of 147.7 bushels per acre. Both numbers are down from October and slightly below trade expectations. Traders were looking for the corn yield to be 147.9 bushels per acre. USDA did also lower corn fed to livestock by 100 million bushels. Ending stocks were estimated to be 843 million bushels.  Corn used for ethanol was unchanged at five billion bushels.

Soybean production was pegged at 3.046 billion bushels with a yield of 41.3 bushels per acre, both are down slightly from the October report. Soybean demand the past several weeks has been extremely poor as South America has been capturing soybean sales normally coming out of the US during the harvest season.… Continue reading

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How late is too late to plant wheat?

By Matt Reese

In the soggy battle with wet weather this fall, Jake Culler in Ashland County (a featured farmer in Between the Rows) said they did not start planting most of their wheat until Nov. 4. Although it is well past the recommended time for planting wheat, the Cullers are hoping to get another 60 or 70 acres in this week to maintain their rotation and produce straw for their dairy.

“Wheat planted this late will likely not tiller well enough going in to winter and as such will likely suffer severe winter-kill,” said Pierce Paul, OSU Extension plant pathologist. “However, if you are lucky and Mother Nature cooperates, weather conditions in November and early December may be mild enough to allow the crop to emerge and develop a few tillers before going into dormancy. In addition, some growth and tiller development may also occur in early spring, again if the weather cooperates.”

To compensate for low tiller development, Paul recommends that any wheat planted this late should be planted at higher-than-normal seeding rates of 2 to 2.2 million seeds per acre.… Continue reading

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Lodged corn slowing harvest

This lodged Fairfield County corn is slowing things down in an already long harvest. The worst lodging in the fields is around the perimeter where the refuge was planted. Despite the lodging, yields are ranging from the 170s on up to around 220 bushels. Volunteer corn is a concern for next year, so Liberty Link soybeans will probably be planted. Refuge in the bag will also be used to prevent this refuge associated problem in the future. Have you seen much lodging in your fields? Continue reading

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Dairy producers considering distillers grains

Dairy producers looking for a high-quality heifer feed that often costs less than traditional corn and soybean feed grains should consider distillers grains, said a Purdue Extension dairy nutrition specialist.

Distillers grains, a co-product of ethanol production, are high in both protein and energy. Although distillers grains have typically been fed to lactating cows because of their demand for protein, recent Purdue University studies show that distillers grains are a viable feed option for young heifers, though other research has shown distillers grains can be introduced as early as the calf starter diet and are a viable feed option for young heifers.

In a time when grain prices are high, distillers grains also can provide a more economical feedstuff.

“We’ve seen similar growth performance whether producers are feeding distillers grains or more traditional feeds, such as corn and soybeans,” Tamilee Nennich said. “We also found that it doesn’t matter if an animal is being fed in a feedlot and has a diet based on harvested forages or if that animal is grazing.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows November 7, 2011

“Soybean harvest is winding down but corn harvest is just starting around here. We just finished up with the soybeans last night. We’re thinking of maybe shelling the May corn, but there is only about 100 acres of that. The ground conditions have not been conducive for harvest. There have been people cutting ruts and getting stuck on the sand ridges.

“I feel kind of sheepish that I was complaining about the late planting and the dry summer because soybeans are above average yields from the low 40s to the low 60s. The late-planted beans and corn took advantage of the August and September rains and missed the heat during pollination. That is not normal that the late-planted beans and corn will out yield the crops planted in April and May. I do think the genetics had something to do with it too. The May corn has yields as low as 60 bushels because it didn’t get rain and it pollinated in that heat.… Continue reading

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Hybrid comparison considerations

By Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc.

As you harvest corn this fall, it is important to assess the performance of the hybrids in the field, but there are some important considerations to remember. We can’t compare the performance of hybrids of different relative maturities, especially when they are 7 to 8 days apart unless we are trying to study different maturities. Also, we should not compare the yields of hybrids planted 10 days apart unless we are trying to study the effects of planting dates on yields.

Planting is one of the most important things you do during the growing season. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of doing a good job of planting. The fields planted in a rush will be uneven in germination as well in spacing. It has been shown by studies conducted at Purdue and Ohio State Universities as well as in my own studies conducted over the years that seedlings which emerge even a couple of days later than their neighbors will have a disadvantage.… Continue reading

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Brown marmorated stink bug could be Ohio's next pest

As if there were not enough challenges to face in Ohio agricultural production, a new one may be on the eastern horizon.

“The brown marmorated stink bug has been expanding westward from the east. This was first found in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago and has been expanding westward across the soybean growing regions,” said Andy Michel, assistant professor at OARDC and Ohio State University Extension with a specialty in soybean insect management. “We have found some of these populations in Ohio. We typically find them first in homes. They have a behavior similar to that of the multicolored Asian Ladybeetle where they overwinter near homes. The pictures I’ve seen from out east are pretty dramatic where people are sweeping the stinkbugs off of their front porches into five gallon buckets.”

They can explode into large populations and they have a diverse and large appetite.

“The are important pests of many agricultural commodities like fruits, field corn and soybeans,” Michel said.… Continue reading

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Brown marmorated stink bug could be Ohio’s next pest

As if there were not enough challenges to face in Ohio agricultural production, a new one may be on the eastern horizon.

“The brown marmorated stink bug has been expanding westward from the east. This was first found in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago and has been expanding westward across the soybean growing regions,” said Andy Michel, assistant professor at OARDC and Ohio State University Extension with a specialty in soybean insect management. “We have found some of these populations in Ohio. We typically find them first in homes. They have a behavior similar to that of the multicolored Asian Ladybeetle where they overwinter near homes. The pictures I’ve seen from out east are pretty dramatic where people are sweeping the stinkbugs off of their front porches into five gallon buckets.”

They can explode into large populations and they have a diverse and large appetite.

“The are important pests of many agricultural commodities like fruits, field corn and soybeans,” Michel said.… Continue reading

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The mathematics (and economics) of soybean shrink

By Matt Reese

This wet soybean harvest has been challenging and has renewed concerns of farmers concerning the shrink charge that is fodder for regular coffee shop conversations.

“The quality has been very good this year with big, healthy beans. Guys have been taking beans off a little wetter, but most are in the 11% or 12% range,” Randy Broady, Director of Grain Operations for Trupointe Cooperative. “Shrink is charged at 13% and I would guess that less than 20% of the beans coming in have been over 13% moisture.”

The charge for shrink is intended to account for the amount of mass that will be lost as the soybeans are dried. While farmers do not want to face deductions in their checks from the elevator, they are actually often better off taking in wetter beans and being charged for the shrink, according to Broady.

“If I’m a farmer, I would rather deliver a wetter bean because they are actually bringing in more weight and, even after the discount, they are coming out ahead,” he said.… Continue reading

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India could be the next emerging major export market

India’s growth outlook “appears more subdued than last year,” but analysts still expect to see it hover around 8%, reported U.S. Grains Council Consultant Amit Sachdev.



The International Monetary Fund now pegs Indian growth at 7.8% for 2011/2012, citing challenges from high inflation and higher interest rates, which could dampen demand. The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, meanwhile, projects growth close to 8%. 



The Reserve Bank of India recently raised interest rates for the twelfth time in 18 months in an effort to slow inflation and reduce demand, but since borrowing by Indian households is low, consumers have liquidity to absorb the increase. Monthly installment payments on loans represent less than one percent of Indians’ total household income.


Even with a slowdown, India’s growth is likely to outstrip many other nations’ this year. India is now the world’s fourth-largest economy, following the United States, China and Japan, and is about to surpass the Japanese economy in size.… Continue reading

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Handle corn with care

The hot, dry summer took its toll on some of the corn crop, particularly in northwest and western Ohio. To make matters worse, corn that was planted later than normal is being harvested at higher moistures. According to a Purdue Extension grain storage and drying specialist, that means growers need to pay extra close attention to harvest methods, drying and grain storage.

In some areas, corn is more susceptible to lodging than usual, and there have been a few reports of poor kernel fill and small kernels, said Matt Roberts. Others report more cobs and stalk pieces or more fine material in their harvested corn.

“Low test weight corn can be more susceptible to kernel breakage during harvesting and handling than high test weight corn, and quite often more fine material is produced when corn is harvested at higher moistures,” Roberts said. “The presence of broken kernels, stalks and cobs in a grain bin can restrict airflow.… Continue reading

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Soybean aphids may be back in 2012

By Matt Reese

To date, farmers have been fortunate that entomologists had the soybean aphid pretty well figured out in Ohio.

“Soybean aphids have been a pest in Ohio since 2000 or 2001 and we seem to have outbreaks every other year. In odd numbered years we tend to have outbreaks,” said Andy Michel, assistant professor at OARDC and Ohio State University Extension with a specialty in soybean insect management. “For the past 10 years we were fairly comfortable with the every other year pattern. In Iowa and the midsection of the country, there seemed to be a couple of years where the population cycle was out of whack. But that didn’t happen in Ohio and it has gone in the every other year pattern as we had predicted.”

But, like just about everything in nature, just when it gets figured out something can change.

“This year something odd happened. We had a fair soybean aphid population in Ohio, it was scattered, but we considered it a relatively high aphid population year in 2011,” he said.… Continue reading

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4R nutrient stewardship efforts address Lake Erie algae

Farmers and other key stakeholders successfully reduced total phosphorus going into Lake Erie over the past 50 years, but must revaluate nutrient management practices to more effectively manage dissolved phosphorus in those same bodies of water, according to one Ohio State University Extension expert.

“It’s a different problem from what we had in the 1960s and 70s in terms of total phosphorous going into the lakes,” said Greg LaBarge, Ohio State Extension educator and one of the leaders of Extension’s Agronomic Crops Team. “From an agricultural standpoint, we changed tillage practices, which reduced the total loading going into the lake from agriculture. We cleaned up the phosphorous and had a very healthy lake.”

Thirty years ago, farmers in the watershed of Lake Erie’s western basin were challenged to meet aggressive standards for reducing the total amount of phosphorus impacting the lake. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) credits those farmers for succeeding in cutting phosphorus use in half, while also reducing sediment loading into the lake by 50%.… Continue reading

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Crop prices treading water

Following wide swings in September and early October, the prices of corn, soybeans and wheat have traded in relatively narrow ranges in the last half of October. Narrow trading ranges reflect the lack of new information and, in some cases, conflicting demand indicators, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Since Oct. 12, December 2011 corn futures have traded in a range of about 40 cents, with a high near $6.65. That contract is now about $1.40 below the late August high,” he said.

According to Good, basis levels remain generally strong and are at record levels for this time of year in some markets. Demand news tends to be mixed for corn, he said.

“Ethanol production since Sept. 1 has been near the level of a year ago, suggesting corn consumption in that market remains at record levels. Spot market margins for ethanol producers have increased sharply since reaching record low levels in June.… Continue reading

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Rus-Men Farms direct markets meats

By Kyle Sharp

 

While Russ Sellman doesn’t know exactly how a Christmas tree grower feels watching excited families pick out the best tree prior to Christmas, he thinks he has a pretty good idea. It’s probably a lot like watching people clamber over the turkeys he and his wife, Mendy, along with their three children, Emely, 21, Jesse, 17, and Elaina, 13, raise and sell for Thanksgiving from their farm near Galion in Crawford County.

Twelve years ago, the Sellmans started marketing meat from the animals raised on their farm, Rus-Men Farms, and the venture has steadily grown over time. They began with beef and pork, and have added chicken and turkey to fulfill customer demand.

“Everything is direct marketed,” Russ said. “We haven’t hauled anything to market in probably two years.”

And while they enjoy the constant interaction they have with their enthusiastic, local customer base, the most memorable time of each year is when people come to pick up their turkeys.… Continue reading

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Ear mold problems do not appear to be widespread

As the tough 2011 cropping year draws to a close, farmers can take solace in knowing that despite unfavorable weather conditions, corn molds don’t seem to be of widespread concern, says a Purdue University plant pathologist.

Summer drought often leads to Aspergillus ear rot infections in corn, which produces aflatoxin — a carcinogen and liver toxin that affects livestock. Luckily, it doesn’t look like most farmers will have to worry too much about it.

“People might have yield problems with late planting and drought stress, but it doesn’t appear that ear rot will be a widespread problem this year,” said Charles Woloshuk.

Aspergillus ear rot is common in plants with drought stress because it thrives in weak plants. Since many other diseases need cool weather to survive, Aspergillus has little competition.

Woloshuk also said many of the other grain diseases don’t seem to be a problem this harvest. One common concern is Gibberella rot, which is associated with another toxin, called vomitoxin or DON.… Continue reading

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