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Questions, concerns and consumers in the alternative meat debate

By Matt Reese

It is hard to miss the new products in the grocery store and the nearest fast food restaurant — they look like meat, but they are plant-based. Products like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat are generating plenty of consumer buzz, questions and misinformation which, admittedly, have some in the livestock world a bit concerned.

“As a meat scientist I have received various calls and questions. It is a very hot topic today in the United States and around the world,” said Lyda Garcia, the Extension meat specialist
with The Ohio State University
College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. “It is 2019 and we are a big melting pot in the United States. An advantage to that is we have a variety of different tastes. There are many options to choose from, which I think is a phenomenal thing, but I don’t think it is fair to state that one product is better than the other.

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Don’t give your storage away

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The delayed and slow harvest progress has helped corn and bean prices by keeping basis levels higher than normal. A slow harvest also keeps futures prices from sliding because when sales across the scale are more gradual, there is less burden on logistics and end users can grind through more old crop before new crop is available.

Some end users are concerned there won’t be enough low-priced grain after harvest, so they’ve been aggressive with basis bids. End users know when harvest is complete and the bin doors are closed, it will take some coaxing to motivate farmers to sell.

Often farmers are too focused on cash prices and don’t pay enough attention to their storage expenses. However, if farmers want bigger premiums and profits, they need to think about grain marketing differently than conventional wisdom. This is especially true in years when grain prices are at or under breakeven points.

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More Ohio highlights from the 2019 National FFA Convention

By Matt Reese and Kolt Buchenroth

Heading into the 2019 National FFA Convention, the organization announced a record-high student membership of 700,170 and, in the next year, Kolesen McCoy will be representing each of those members as only the third National FFA President from Ohio.

“It has been a mix of emotions and a roller coaster of a ride for sure. It is a very humbling experience. As soon as a heard my name called, I was shocked and overwhelmed with the excitement I had to go on this journey for the next 365 days with five amazing people at my side to be able to serve the 700,000 members across the country,” said McCoy from the Global Impact Stem Academy in Clark County. “And I can say that when I look at the five people around me there is a consistent message. They are not here for themselves, if that makes sense.

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South American crop update

By Daniele Siqueira, AgRural

Another crop season is underway in Brazil and things have not started exactly well for soybeans. And a poor start to the soybean crop always fuels speculations about the second corn crop, which is planted in the beginning of the year, right after the soybean harvest, and accounts for about 70% of Brazil’s total corn production and almost the entire corn export program. That’s why many people are already asking about the second corn crop planting window. Is Brazil going to cut its corn acreage in 2020 due to the soybean delay?

By Oct 17, Brazilian farmers had planted 21% of their intended area, compared to 34% in the same period a year earlier and also 21% on the five-year average, according to consultancy AgRural.

In top producer Mato Grosso, the soybean planting caught up after a slow start in September, and about half of its area was already planted by Oct 17.

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Markets have plenty to consider heading into November report

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

U.S. corn exports continue an alarming trend for reduction this fall. With two months into the September to August marketing year, weekly export inspections with the Monday 11 a.m. ET USDA report have seen numerous weeks of disappointing numbers. Many of those weeks saw corn exports at or below the low end of trader expectations. Typically, weekly corn export loadings have outpaced those of soybeans. However, this has not been the case for much of the summer and fall. At the end of October, corn exports were running 60% behind compared to USDA projecting an 8% drop for the year. Corn exports for 2019-2020 were lowered 150 million bushels with the October report. Since May, USDA projections for corn exports have dropped 375 million bushels for a 16% decline. Strong export competition and higher production from Brazil and Argentina has played a major role in the corn export decline.

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 127 | National FFA Convention Recap

After a trip to Indianapolis for the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo, Matt, Dale, and Kolt are here with a recap of the whole week. Kolesen McCoy became the third FFA member from Ohio to become National FFA President, and we catch up with him in the podcast. Additionally, highlighting Ohio FFA’s success, we caught up with some members of the Covington UVCC FFA Chapter who was named the Model of Excellence Chapter for the country. Matt also sat down with a few of the Ohio FFA state officers to catch up about the National FFA Convention. All of that and more this week on the Ohio Ag Net Podcast brought to you by AgriGold.

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Soy demand getting a boost through Airable Research Lab

By Matt Reese

With an increasing number of consumers looking for environmentally friendly products, there is growing demand for plant-based chemical feedstocks in a wide range of uses (for example, as alternatives to petroleum-based plastics). More companies are finding ways to better serve their customers with bioproducts that can lower costs, provide functional benefits, and reduce the environmental impacts.

One example is Roof Maxx, a soy-based emulsion that can extend the life of roof shingles. The product was developed through a collaborative effort between Roof Maxx Technologies, LLC, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), and Battelle in Columbus. Brothers Mike and Todd Feazel sold a successful roofing business to start Roof Maxx Technologies and develop this cost-effective, earth-friendly roofing treatment.

The Feazels have been in the roof replacement business for many years and saw the great need for extending the life of traditional roofing to add value for customers. Roof Maxx restores the flexibility of aging shingles and their ability to repel water, extending the useful life of an existing roof for 10 to 15 years — and at a fraction of the cost of roof replacement.

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Trading in a sideways market

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

In 19 of the last 20 trading sessions, corn closed within a tight range of $3.83 to $3.98. It seems farmers are willing to make sales at $4 and end users are willing to buy at or below $3.80. I expect sideways trading until the November USDA report.

In early September when December corn futures were trading below $3.60, $4 seemed unlikely. So, I looked for trades with upside potential near $4, even if the market didn’t go there.

 

Trade 1: Sold Straddle

On 9/5/19 when December corn was around $3.59, I sold a November $3.65 straddle (selling both a put and call) on 10% of my 2019 production collecting 21 cents.

What does this mean?

  • If Dec corn is $3.65 on 10/25/19, I could keep all 21 cents
  • For every penny corn is below $3.65 I get less premium penny for penny until $3.44
  • For every penny higher than $3.65 I get less premium penny for penny until $3.86
  • At $3.86 or higher I have to make a corn sale at $3.65 against Dec futures, but I still keep the 21 cents, so it’s like selling $3.86
  • At $3.44 or lower I begin to lose money penny for penny regardless of how low prices go and no sale is made.
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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 126 | Revitalizing Plumb Hall, National FFA Office, and Fake Meat

In this episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast brought to you by AgriGold, Matt, Dale, and Kolt are joined by the chair of the Animal Sciences Department at The Ohio State University, Dr. John Foltz. The podcast comes to you this week from inside of Plumb Hall on Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences campus. There, the Animal Sciences department is showing off their newly revitalized space.

Also on the podcast, Matt talks to Dr. Lyda Garcia of Ohio State regarding the fake meat and the impossible burger that has been popping up. OCJ FFA reporter Meredith Oglesby sits down with Ohio FFA’s National Officer Candidate, Kolesen McCoy.

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Harvest moving forward for Between the Rows farmers

Nathan Brown

We are pretty well wrapped up with our soybeans. We have shelled a little bit of corn but we still have quite a ways to go with that.

Our beans were 8 to 10 bushels off of what they normally are. We did spray one or two fields with fungicide and those fields were yielding what we normally would see. So this may have been the year to spray fungicide and we suffered a little there.

There was some frogeye, but maybe more than anything the overall plant health may have been the benefit of the fungicide. I don’t know that it was any one disease, just the overall plant health.

The first soybeans we cut were on the dry side and the last load came out at 12.6% moisture. We’d cut soybeans for two days and then we’d sit for a week. The replants were planted the first part of July and didn’t come to maturity until the frost — that held us up.

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Markets watching harvest and trade war

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn and soybean harvest has been in full swing since early October. Yields continue to be extremely varied across the state. Both corn and soybeans have been pleasantly surprising with moisture levels as mid-October saw many soybeans running 9% to 11% moisture. Corn moisture quickly moved below 18% for many producers. Others could not believe their eyes when corn moistures dipped below 15%. Winter wheat acres were quickly planted as they followed soybean harvest in rapid fashion. The first frost of the season for many areas of Ohio took place the morning of October 13. It brought an abrupt halt to the growing season for late-planted corn and soybeans as well as double-crop soybeans.

The U.S./China trade talks continue, seemingly similar to soap operas, which are years in the running. I am quickly reminded of words from last late spring when some analysts announced, “A trade war can easily last far longer anyone could ever expect.” This current trade war between China and the U.S.

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H-2A changes could improve farm labor issues

As any employer knows, hiring forms, applications and rules are cumbersome, time intensive, duplicative, and can sometimes lack flexibility and common sense. This can be especially true for farmers trying to hire workers through the H-2A guest worker program. In seasonal farming situation, it can be tough to find domestic laborers and sometimes foreign workers are the only option, but the process of getting them hired is notoriously cumbersome.

In September, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced changes through a Final Rule in an effort to modernize the burdensome H-2A visa process for guest workers and make it easier for employers to follow the law and hire workers.

First, DOL’s Electronic Recruitment Rule rescinds the requirements to advertise a job opening in print newspaper, expands and enhances electronic job register, and uses state workforce agencies to promote job openings, which are further reaching and more cost effective. Also, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification announced updates to the pertinent H-2A forms and online filing process for the H-2A temporary agricultural program.

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Are modern genetics worth the money?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

I have conducted a number of trials and comparisons over the years and generally have concluded that new is better when it comes to choosing a hybrid or variety. One such comparison I have been making over several years now is of a modern hybrid to open pollinated corn varieties. This may be used as a comparison for those who grow open pollinated corn for sale as organic, although I used herbicides here for weed control. For 2019, I compared a modern traited hybrid, an early modern traited hybrid, a modern open pollinated variety and several older open pollinated varieties.

Reid’s yellow dent has a history with Ohio and has played a significant role in modern corn breeding. Green Field and Krug are selections from Reid yellow dent. They were all tall, and had some leaning problems, so looked like Reid across the board.

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Tax preparation tips for closely held businesses

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

As you prepare for the upcoming tax season, now is a good time to review the lessons learned from last year’s first exposure to the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Here are seven end-of-year steps that agricultural owners in closely held businesses should take now to prepare.

 

  1. Maximize pass through deductions

One of the most significant provisions of tax reform for sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations is the qualified business income (QBI) deduction, also known as the section 199A deduction. This allows business owners to deduct up to 20% of pass-through business income, and it also provides for a 20% reduction of certain types of rental income.

But, as many taxpayers discovered last year, the deduction is subject to some complex limitations. If you have not done so already, you should review how your business is structured and how profits are distributed to see if there are changes you could make that would apply this deduction more effectively.

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Corn must overcome demand obstacles for a price rally

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The October USDA Supply and Demand report took into account the adjusted stocks in bins estimate from the late September report. The next day, the President announced a trade deal with China could be coming in the next 5 weeks.

Since then, few details have been provided on the trade deal and some are questioning if a deal will actually be signed in the late November Chile meeting. If a deal is signed some are questioning if China will buy more ag products than pre-trade war levels. This combined with the killing frost throughout parts of the Corn Belt created more market uncertainty.

 

Wheat competition

The over-abundance of U.S. and global wheat has led to the cash price of hard red wheat being the same value as cash corn in the southern plains. This means, if prices rally, some livestock producers may replace corn with less expensive wheat, which could potentially reduce the feed category for corn by 100 to 200 million bushels.

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How much do you value your data?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ask an expert in the industry about the importance of calibrating yield monitors to collect harvest data and they will most likely tell you, “It’s about how much you value your data.” That was the response from Matt Liskai, owner of Green Field Ag in Gibsonburg, Ohio. Matt has been working with yield monitors and other precision agriculture equipment since they first came on the scene in the early 2000s.

“Everyone has a different philosophy when it comes to calibrating their yield monitor for harvest data,” Liskai said. “Some calibrate their yield monitors once a season, and some will calibrate for every field or variety. It’s about the value you place on the data you are collecting and the decisions you will make with it. You need to ask yourself how important is it that the data you collect is accurate?”

According to John Fulton, OSU Extension Specialist for Precision Ag, and Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension Agronomic Systems Field Specialist, geo-referenced yield data (i.e.

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Fall herbicide application is part of the plan for managing tough weeds

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

We are just compiling the Extension fall soybean weed surveys; it is bad again with waterhemp, giant ragweed, and marestail leading — this is the first year that we have a pigweed species in the number one spot in several counties. The number of clean fields has gone down, likely due to late planting and then missing the timing on weed size.

I spoke with Mark Loux last week and shared preliminary results of the survey. His response was that we have good technology for dealing with all of these weeds —RRXtend, LibertyLink and now Enlist. But timing was critical this year and we just couldn’t hit it with the weather. So speak now with your seed supplier, and your herbicide supplier. Plan to use a different program than you used last year. Add pre-emergent herbicides at planting or with that burndown the week before planting.

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To till or not to till

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

For the last several years, many farmers have been adopting practices to improve the “soil health” of their fields. Often this includes no-till or reduced tillage, and the introduction of cover crops. While the basic soil health concept is relatively uniform, the way the practices are implemented is often very different from operation to operation.

Every farm and field is unique, and so is the management approach taken by each farmer. Systems that manage no-till combined with cover crops have been found to have the greatest benefit to overall soil health.

“It takes commitment and a systems approach,” said Jim Hoorman, owner of Hoorman Soil Health Services in Jenera, Ohio.

Unfortunately, the wet harvest last fall and continued saturated soil conditions this past spring in many parts of the state created a scenario that left many farmers scratching their heads: “To till or not to till…that is the question.” Last year’s harvest caused obvious compaction issues from equipment traffic.

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