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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast, May 29, 2019

May 29, 2019 -- Plenty of moisture still in the short term forecast tonight, but we are getting a hint or two about some potential for drier air coming into the forecast farther out. We are not making major changes this morning, ...but let’s say we are tentatively hopeful going forward.

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Ohio industry leaders join together to denounce tariff increase

By Kolt Buchenroth, Zach Parrott and Joel Penhorwood

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland — the nationwide grassroots campaign against tariffs — in conjunction with the Council of the Great Lakes Region, hosted a town hall this week in Cleveland at the 2019 Great Lakes Economic Forum.

The event featured a discussion with Ohio business owners, manufacturers and farmers on the impact of tariffs on the state’s economy. The conversation came one day after President Trump announced that he will be increasing tariffs substantially this week.

The group released the following statement regarding the tweet announcement that tariffs on $200 billion of goods will increase from 10 to 25% on Friday.

“For 10 months, Americans have been paying the full cost of the trade war, not China. To be clear, tariffs are taxes that Americans pay, and this sudden increase with little notice will only punish U.S farmers, businesses and consumers,” Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said in the statement. 

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Twins, best friends, teammates

By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter

They had a pact to never compete, but twins Grant and Grace Lach broke that pact in May of 2018 for their individual efforts to earn a spot on the Ohio FFA State Officer Team.

“All throughout our time in the FFA we had a pact that we wouldn’t compete against each other and running for state office was the first time that we broke that pact,” said Grant Lach, 2018-19 State Vice President at Large.

With the bright lights, adrenaline pumping and the election results being announced, their broken pact made the big moment for anyone running for state office even bigger for the twins from the Bloom Carroll FFA Chapter. But, as it turns out, breaking the pact paid off. They are the first twins to ever serve together as state officers in Ohio.

Grant and Grace recently had the chance to reflect on what it was like to serve together on the 2018-19 state officer team.

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A corn market rally is hard to justify

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

There are so many negative factors affecting the corn market right now, it’s difficult justifying any market rally. Weather is always a wild card for the market in either direction especially this early in the season. The funds have a record short position right now, but farmers are really long, so a rally isn’t guaranteed. While no two market years are ever the same, I find it’s helpful to review historical trends to gain perspective or insight.

From this point forward in the year the market has eventually seen a nice rally over the last 4 years:

  • 2018 — December corn posted a low on 4/20, then rallied 27 cents until 5/24
  • 2017 — December corn posted a low on 4/21, then rallied 38 cents until 7/11
  • 2016 — December corn posted a low on 4/25, then rallied 70 cents until 6/17
  • 2015 — December corn went 20 cents lower from 4/20 until 6/15, then increased 70 cents by 7/11

Finishing up my final 2017 Cash Sales

Last August I still had 35% of my 2017 crop, stored at home but hedged with sales against the September futures.

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Data synthesis important for ag research

Agricultural researchers generate vast amounts of data. Little of it is shared with peers or accessible to the public. A diverse group of scientists led by Sylvie Brouder, a Purdue University professor of agronomy, is calling for change and proposing the infrastructure to make it happen.

Brouder led the creation of a commentary paper, “Enabling Open-Source Data Networks in Public Agricultural Research,” for the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology with colleagues from the Environmental Defense Fund, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University, Texas A&M University, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Brouder presented the paper to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“The next generation of agricultural problem solving will require big science and forging linkages across data sets and disciplines,” the paper says. “Currently, a lack of data sharing and data accessibility is a major barrier for making better decisions in agriculture.”

Solving the world’s grand challenges — feeding nearly 10 billion people by 2050, reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and ensuring access to clean water — depends heavily upon agricultural research and advances.

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Morrow County Farm Bureau member appreciation breakfast

Morrow County Farm Bureau will celebrate Ag Week, local farmers and our rural community with its Member Appreciation Breakfast on March 23. Come, mingle and meet with Morrow County Farm Bureau volunteers and local farmers. Join us for table-top discussions and great fellowship.

We will be serving 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Handlebar Ranch, 6695 County Rd. 76, Mt. Gilead. The menu includes French toast sticks, ham, biscuits & gravy, potatoes, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee. Reservations are due by March 13. The price will be $3 for Farm Bureau members, $7 for non-members. If you become a member that morning, your breakfast will be on us! You can also renew your membership at the event.

We know that food and fiber doesn’t just arrive at the grocery or clothing store…or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet. There’s an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption.

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Selling straddles

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The biggest news of last week was when Agriculture Secretary Perdue announced that China agreed to buy 10 million metric tons (about 400 million bushels) of beans Friday afternoon from the Oval office after the markets closed. Earlier in the week President Trump said China would also buy more corn too. While both statements seem positive, the market has already heard rumors and predictions before, only to be let down by smaller numbers due to a variety of reasons. It will take follow through and actual purchases to get the market excited.

March corn closed again for the 13th straight Friday within the tight trading range of $3.74 to $3.85.

 

Market action

With corn trading within a very tight range the last 3 months, including straddle trades in my grain marketing plan was a good decision for my farm operation. Since late November, I placed three straddle trades that all expired on Friday that helped me generate 13.5 cents of profit on 30% of my corn production.

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Tough stretch for ethanol profitability

By Scott Irwin, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois

The U.S. ethanol industry faced considerable headwinds in 2018, including the lowest prices over the last decade, policy setbacks in the implementation of the RFS, and political resistance to granting a year-round RVP waiver for E15. The impact of these headwinds on ethanol production profits is certainly of interest to those in the ethanol industry, as well as policymakers and legislators interested in the financial health of the U.S. renewable fuels industry.

A model of a representative Iowa ethanol plant was used to track the profitability of ethanol production. The model is meant to be representative of an “average” ethanol plant constructed in the last decade. There is certainly substantial variation in capacity and production efficiency across the industry and this should be kept in mind when viewing profit estimates from the model.

Ethanol prices started 2018 at historically low levels of $1.25 per gallon, rose to a peak of $1.43 in April, and then fell most of the rest of the year, reaching a low of $1.06 in late November.

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Award winners recognized at Ohio Pork Congress

Ohio is fortunate to be home to many outstanding leaders who work selflessly to make a difference in the pork industry. At yesterday’s Ohio Pork Congress Luncheon some of those individuals were recognized for their service with the presentation of the Swine Manager of the Year, Ohio Pork Council Service, Pork Promoter of the Year, Friends of Ohio Pork and Ohio Pork Industry Excellence awards.

Swine Manager of the Year Award: Nathan Isler, Prospect

Nathan oversees the sows and three full time employees in the sow barn for Isler Genetics.

“Commercially raising hogs for market is the way we are going and our future as I see it today,” Nathan said. “The vast majority of our hogs go to market, but we also sell breeding stock, show pigs, and pigs for medical research. We sell commercial semen as well. We also have three contract barns. Through the progression of things we are 70% pure York sows.

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