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4-H events cancelled statewide through July 6

By Kolt Buchenroth

According to a letter penned by Dr. Kirk Bloir, Assistant Director of 4-H Youth Development with Ohio State University Extension, all Ohio 4-H events are cancelled through July 6, 2020. This closure does not include county fairs, which are governed by county agricultural societies. The letter reads:

It is with a heavy heart that I share this news with you. Due to ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision has been made to cancel all Ohio State University Extension in-person programming through July 6.

This includes all 4-H programs, activities, and events. Additionally, we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all 4-H camps through August 31. Although in-person programming is canceled, we will continue to offer virtual 4-H experiences.

We know this is an incredible disappointment and recognize how much everyone looks forward to our cherished 4-H summer events. As 4-H professionals committed to providing positive youth development programming, we share your sense of loss.

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Is a wetter-than-average spring on the way?

Farmers anxiously awaiting spring rain forecasts might want to take several deep breaths and keep their rubber boots ready.

Above-average spring rainfall is expected in March, April, and May—which is exactly what happened last year.

However, recent forecasts call for warmer-than-average temperatures in March. If that happens, that could dry up some of the ground moisture, making it manageable for farmers to get into their fields to prep them for planting.

How much rain will this spring bring?

“It’s impossible to say,” said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Time will tell whether the rain levels will rival last year’s, when farmers across the state struggled to get into their saturated fields. An unprecedented number of fields across Ohio could never be planted. When farmers were able to get into their fields, they risked their tractors and other equipment getting mired in the mud and compacting the soil, making it less suitable for seed growth.… Continue reading

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Keeping your head in the agricultural game while the rules keep changing

A conversation with…

Michael Swanson, an economist with Wells Fargo Bank who spoke at the 2020 Ohio Agribusiness Association Industry Conference

 

OCJ: You talked about how the three-point line changed the strategy of the game of basketball with the addition of an arbitrary line added to the court. Coaches, players and teams all had to adjust their game plans to account for the change and those who adapted most quickly and effectively had the advantage. Agriculture certainly has some similarities. What are they?

Michael: Every day someone is drawing a new three-point line on our court. It could be a regulatory three-point line. It could be a technology three-point line. Either way, it changes the game. Agriculture used to be a labor-intensive industry and now it is an input driven industry. You used to be able to get up earlier, work later and out produce your neighbor. That is not always the case anymore.… Continue reading

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People, product and protocol — Biosecurity and African swine fever

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The world is watching African swine fever (ASF) and it is a top concern for the U.S. pork industry.

“It would be devastating for our industry. Our industry depends on exports,” said Dave Pyburn, Vice President of Science and Technology at the National Pork Board. “Immediately in the face of an outbreak of any of the big three foreign animal diseases, (classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease, and ASF), we would see all exports stop.”

ASF is not harmful to humans, but is fatal to pigs. This particular swine disease has a near 100% fatality rate according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The ASF virus originated in sub-Saharan Africa, though most of the ASF headlines have come from China. According to a Purdue Agricultural Economics report, the USDA estimates that hog slaughter and pork production are falling sharply in China as ASF continues to devastate the Chinese pork industry.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast – January 9, 2020

January 9, 2020 -- Rain begins overnight tonight with just general showers. Through tomorrow we see showers continue, spreading across the entire state. The Friday rain action will be steady, but generally light. Then a second wave is still on the way for  Saturday into early Sunday. We are keeping event rain totals this morning at 1-3" with coverage at 100%

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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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A large increase in historic family farms recognized by the Ohio Department of Agriculture

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Historic Family Farms Program registered 975 historic farms between 2010-2019. That’s a 26% increase in historic farms during the decade. In comparison, during the program’s first 16 years (1993-2009), 749 farms were registered. The top registering counties in the last decade were: Putnam County, 122 farms, Mercer County, 65 farms and Hancock County, 33 farms.

Ohio’s Historic Family Farms program was developed in 1993 to honor Ohio’s founding farm families for their contributions to agriculture in Ohio. Farms under same-family ownership for 100 years or more qualify to be designated as a historic family farm.

“In 26 years, we’ve seen this program grow from eight recipients in its inaugural year to nearly 1,800 registered farms today. The level of enthusiasm from farm families receiving their historic designations is indisputable,” said Erin Dillon, program administrator for the Ohio Historic Family Farms Program. “The successes of the Historic Family Farms Program can be solely attributed to families who proudly continue their farming heritage — it’s our duty and honor to acknowledge that perseverance.”

In 2019 alone, ODA recognized 106 new historic farms owned by the same family for at least 100, 150 or 200 consecutive years.… Continue reading

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World champion Buckeyes celebrate success in the sawdust

By Emily Beal, writer for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

This time of year, Ohio State University fans around the world are getting ready to watch a Buckeye team make a run for a National Championship. Many, though, many not realize that there are already some 2019 champion Buckeyes that compete in a different type of venue. The Ohio State Dairy Judging Team proved it was the cream of the crop, placing first at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. this fall. The last time Ohio State won the contest was in 1986.

The Dairy Judging Team placed first among 18 schools in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest on Sept. 30. Coached by Bonnie Ayars, The Ohio State University team placed seventh for reasons with a score of 788. The team consists of fourth-place overall individual Billy Smith and ninth-place overall individual Lauren Almasy along with Sarah Lehner and Ian Lokai.… Continue reading

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The (not so spooky) tale of Halloween pumpkins

On a day with no shortage of haunting pumpkins around the corner, many people may be wondering just how the largest, most terrifying of these autumn staples come to be. The answer is not nearly as spooky as the end product. A bit of late night investigation will reveal there is a fair amount of agricultural expertise behind those giant Halloween pumpkins.

Even first-time growers are capable of growing pumpkins in excess of 400 pounds if the seeds are the Atlantic Giant variety, which are available at numerous garden centers and catalogs, according to Mike Estadt, educator, Ohio State University Extension.

“To grow pumpkins in excess of half a ton, it all begins with superior genetics,” Estadt wrote in Growing Giant Pumpkins in the Home Garden, a new Ohioline fact sheet.

Ohioline is OSU Extension’s free online information resource and can be found at ohioline.osu.edu. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.… Continue reading

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Soil health risks in fallow fields

With so many Ohio fields left unplanted this year, farmers should consider the risks to next year’s crops, soil experts from The Ohio State University warn.

If wind or rain carry away the topsoil of a bare field, it can take years to rebuild that topsoil, said Steve Culman, a soil fertility specialist with Ohio State University Extension.

Topsoil is the layer richest in microscopic organisms, which fuel plant growth. Besides losing topsoil, not having any living roots in a field can cause microscopic fungi in the soil to die off, harming the soil’s ability to support a healthy crop, Culman said.

However, it’s unlikely that fields left bare for one year will develop fallow syndrome, which refers to a drop in the yield or health of a crop grown on a previously bare field, he said.

“Soils don’t degrade overnight, typically,” Culman said. “Degradation can happen over many years or decades, just like building healthy soil can take decades.”

If a field stayed bare this year and the farmer is concerned about planting on it next year, he or she can plant soybeans or wheat on those acres because corn is more susceptible to fallow syndrome, Culman said.… Continue reading

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Integrated Ag Services launches new software platform

MyFarm Solutions powered by Integrated Ag Services is a new software platform. Growers can use MyFarm Solutions to closely monitor grain markets, track weather on a field-by-field basis and access the IAS Yield Trials.

“We provide the agronomics plus economics when working with growers and MyFarm Solutions allows farmers to make real-time decisions for their farm using real-time information,” said Dave Scheiderer, owner, Integrated Ag Services. “There’s no shortage of technology, charts and information, but it can be hard to determine what that means for the specific farmer. MyFarm Solutions provides the technology and the benefit of working with a trusted partner to help guide critical decisions.”

New features will be added to MyFarm Solutions in the near future including like field level profitability, daily yield estimations, equipment telematics and more. You can find more information about MyFarm Solutions, receive a demo and set up a complimentary account at https://www.myfarmsolutions.net.

As part of the introduction of MyFarm Solutions Integrated Ag Services (IAS), is offering a Davis Vantage Vue weather station with the purchase of 500 acres of 0.5 acre HD grid soil sampling for the fall of 2019 and connecting the weather station to MyFarmSolutions.net.… Continue reading

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Managing take-all and other diseases in wheat after wheat

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

I never recommend planting a small grain crop after another small grain crop, as planting wheat after barley for instance or barley after wheat increases the risk of diseases such as head scab and take-all. However, this year, some growers do not have much of a choice; soybean will not be harvested in time in some fields for them to plant wheat, so they will either have plant wheat after corn harvested for silage or after wheat. If you do end up planting wheat after corn or wheat, here are a few tips that could help to reduce the risk of having major disease problems next spring:

  1. Select and plant the most resistant variety that you can find. Check the Ohio Wheat Performance Trials report (https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/wheattrials/table6.asp?year=2019), and select a variety with resistance to as many diseases as possible. Give priority to head scab, Stagonospora, and powdery mildew resistance.
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Markets watching the frost and Sept. 12

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Declining grain prices continued that trend into the first week of September. December 2019 CBOT corn made a new contract low of $3.53, over a dollar below the contract high of $4.73 from June 17. Kansas City wheat reached a 14-year low that same week. Chicago December CBOT wheat tumbled to $4.50 ½, well below its summer high reached in June of $5.65 ¾ and its contract high at $6.34 ½ established in August 2018. The contract low for December wheat was reached May 13 at $4.42 ¼. While U.S. corn and soybean production for this year falls below levels seen in 2017 and 2018, plentiful and ever-increasing world stocks of grains continues to keep prices on the defensive. U.S. grain exports face stiff and growing competition from other world suppliers. Early September, South American and Black Sea corn sale values were 15 to 45 cents per bushel below those from the U.S.… Continue reading

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2019 Ohio State Fair Junior Market Rabbit Barn Sale of Champions

In a new record for the rabbit barn, the Grand Champion Rabbit Meat Pen exhibited by Preston Christman, from Miami County, sold for $7,000 to the Ohio Market Rabbit Producers Association. The Reserve Champion Rabbit Meat Pen, exhibited by Josey Meeks, of Preble County, sold for $4,700 to Show-Rite Feeds and their network of dealers.

The top 30 exhibitors from the show were awarded premiums. Third place received $750, fourth place received $400, fifth place received $275, places six through 15 received $250 and places 16 to 30 received $125.… Continue reading

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County fairs find relief in Clean Air Bill

By Kolt Buchenroth

Ohio House Bill 6, dubbed the “Clean Air Bill” passed out of the House of Representatives yesterday with a vote of 53-43. The act deals primarily with power generation and the creation of a clean air fund. However, the bill has a provision that will relieve Ohio’s county fair’s of nearly half of their electricity bills, said Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport).

“The problem is that county fairs are on a demand rate. Basically, they pay their electric bills for the week of the fair, but then they have to pay for what it costs to generate that power for the other 11 months. Typically, it’s double what that electric bill is for that one week,” Jones said.

Representative Jones cited the example of a fair that used $20,000 in power for the week of the fair. Utility companies, Jones said, were charging fairs $40,000 over the other eleven months of the year to maintain their equipment to provide that much power.… Continue reading

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