Carbon market caution

Farmers would be wise to look into, but not jump into any agreements with companies to be paid for conservation measures that remove carbon from the air.

That’s because the pay to farmers for those measures isn’t much right now, but it’s expected to increase in the next 10 years, said Brent Sohngen, a professor of natural resources and environmental economics at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Contracts to start no-till farming or plant cover crops pay $2 to $15 per acre annually, Sohngen said. And both measures come at a cost. Cover crops can be expensive, and no-till farming can reduce yields on a corn crop, particularly in the first few years of the practice. So, the expenses or potential crop profit loss would have to be weighed against the carbon payments to farmers.

“Carbon is now a commodity, and there is great potential,” Sohngen said.… Continue reading

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Assessing soybean success

By Matt Reese

Across much of northern Ohio, the soybean crop is looking fairly strong as harvest gets going.

Brad Miller, a technical agronomist for Asgrow and DEKALB, is advising soybean growers to take note of the yields in their fields this fall and compare them with the challenges they identified in those fields earlier in the growing season.

“Across northern Ohio we were seeing both frogeye leaf spot and sudden death syndrome. Frogeye is usually more of a southern Ohio disease, but it has crept north. I have seen it as far north as Perrysburg up by Toledo. It was something we all needed to scout for this year and apply fungicide as needed,” Miller said. “Sudden death syndrome (SDS) is something we have seen more this year with all of the rainfall. It can often be correlated back to areas of the field that had some compaction from last fall.… Continue reading

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Beware of dark dust clouds during harvest

By Pierce Paul and Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University Extension

There have been reports of huge dust clouds blowing up behind combines during harvest. It is certainly not uncommon to see dust during harvest as fragments of dead, dry plant parts and soil particles are usually suspended into the air as the combine drives though the field. However, the concern this year is that the dust seems excessive and particularly darker in color than usual. One possible explanation for this could be the fact that leaves in several corn fields died prematurely as a result of mid- to late-season diseases such as tar spot, gray leaf spot, and particularly, northern corn leaf blight. These leaves were then exposed to wet, humid conditions which caused them to produce excessive amounts of fungal spores. 

For instance, under wet conditions, northern corn leaf blight lesions produce large amounts of dark-colored spore that are easily suspended in the air once the plants are disturbed by the combine.… Continue reading

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Becoming a Certified Crop Adviser and exam prep options

By Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCABruce Clevenger, CCALee Beers, CCA

Practicing agronomists can highlight their knowledge, experience, and dedication to crop production advising through the Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) program. The program provides a professional benchmark for agronomists in the United States and Canada. To become certified, individuals must have a mix of experience, education, sign a code of ethics, and pass two exams. In addition, to maintain their certification, they must earn 40 hours of continuing education credits every two years. 

The first step to becoming a CCA is to pass both the international and local exams. Both exams are scheduled and taken online. The International Exam is available continuously throughout the year. The local exam is given during a specific period, twice a year. The next local exam opportunity is February 2-9, 2022. The registration deadline is January 5, 2022. You can schedule for one or both exams at reading

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Soybean futures held early warning for economic collapse

Global financial markets collapsed in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world. But weeks earlier, soybean futures had already started providing an early warning sign of troubles ahead. Soybean futures were “the canary in the coal mine,” according to a team of agricultural economists from the University of Illinois, who studied soybean, corn, and wheat market trading in early 2020. 

In mid-February 2020, a sharp drop in soybean market liquidity (in particular, the ease with which traders could buy or sell large future positions) coincided with news reports of a 10-fold increase in the number of deaths attributed to the pandemic in China, which is a major export market for U.S. oilseeds. 

“The biggest source of demand worldwide for soybeans is in China. So it was not necessarily surprising the things that matter for the Chinese economy would impact soybeans first,” said Michel Robe, the Clearing Corp.… Continue reading

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Plant health pyramid

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Soybean with disease and insect feeding.

Soil health and plant health are closely related. Most pest issues are due to inadequate plant nutrition and poor plant health. Most weeds thrive where at least one plant nutrient is lacking. Healthy plants have adequate nutrients levels to repel insects and disease organisms.  Healthy soils promote healthy plants by providing adequate plant nutrition for plants to thrive.

The first step to improving plant health is producing carbohydrates which are the building blocks for proteins. About 50% of a plant’s carbohydrates are allocated to above ground growth and 50% to root growth. Plants convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars using sunlight as the energy source in photosynthesis. Plants allocates sugar to the roots to produce root exudates to feed the soil microbes which make soil nutrients plant available for building proteins.

In the second step, the plants are looking for nitrogen to form amino acids, peptides, and proteins. 

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Keep watch for armyworm

By Andy MichelKelley TilmonCurtis Young, CCAMark SulcAaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Despite the cold snap a couple of weeks ago, we have continued to catch large numbers of fall armyworm moths (we caught 10,000 moths the last week of September), have found eggs, and have even had reports of damage in cover crops, alfalfa and other forage.

The good news is that the extent of the damage is less than we saw during late August and early September. However, the continued warmth over the next week or so may allow fall armyworm caterpillars to do a bit more feeding until the first frost. We recommend to scout all alfalfa, forage, cover crops, winter wheat and other crops that still may be risk from fall armyworm feeding.… Continue reading

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Higher fertilizer price equals a higher return to soil sampling

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Fertilizer prices have been on a steady march higher throughout 2021. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service tracks Illinois fertilizer prices which the state FarmDoc group has summarized and published an article with prices through July 2021. When compared to prices from one year ago, anhydrous ammonia was up 53%, DAP was up 83%, and potash was up 71%. The actual cost per ton of anhydrous ammonia is $746, DAP was $717, and potash was $600. Shown here is Figure 2 from that Illinois FarmDoc article, or find the entire article at

What is the best investment when fertilizer prices are high, a recent, reliable soil test! So what is a recent reliable soil test? A recent soil test is no more than four years old. A reliable test is where you believe the number for pH, phosphorous, and potassium on the soil test represents that field you farm.… Continue reading

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Delayed wheat planting

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

In general, the best time to plant wheat is the 10-day period starting the day after the fly-free safe date. When wheat is planted more than 10-days after the fly-free safe date, there is an increased chance of reduced fall growth and reduced winterhardiness. The effect of planting date on wheat yield is shown in Figure 6-2 of the Ohio Agronomy Guide. A free pdf of the guide is available by clicking here: (Download the pdf by clicking on the picture of the guide.) Currently, with funding from Ohio Corn and Wheat, we are re-examining the effect of wheat planting date…so stayed tuned next year for those results. 

When wheat is planted 3 to 4 weeks after the fly-free-safe date, the same yield can be achieved as earlier planted wheat if freezing weather does not occur until late November or early December. However, a higher seeding rate is recommended.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture extends H2Ohio deadline to plant cover crops

Due to a late harvest and adverse weather conditions, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is extending the 2021 H2Ohio Program deadline for planting overwintering cover crops, including those following small grains, and manure incorporation.

H2Ohio producers enrolled in any of the 24-county area will have until Nov. 1, 2021 to plant their overwintering cover crops and complete all manure incorporation requirements.

ODA recommends to adjust seeding rates to reduce to the risk of planting failure. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Appendix A, seeding rates should be increased by 20%.

For manure incorporation, all H2Ohio practices must be met. Additionally, requirements established in the nutrient management standard (NRCS 590) must be followed. Producers are required to reduce application rates of manure to reflect soil moisture conditions, per NRCS 590. Manure application on wet soils increases the potential for runoff.

In the first year of the H2Ohio Program, 1,800 farmers enrolled more than 1 million acres of cropland in the targeted 14 counties: Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Paulding, Putnam, Hancock, Van Wert, Allen, Hardin, Mercer, and Auglaize.… Continue reading

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Understanding gibberella ear mold, minimizing vomitoxin

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

Fall provides the culmination of the growing season and often the reward for our year-long efforts. However, ear molds and poor grain quality dampen our enthusiasm and make for some lingering challenges if not dealt with properly both at harvest and prior to grain storage.

Some common ear molds, such as diplodia, are not known to produce mycotoxins. However, aspergillus, fusarium, and gibberella ear mold often result in the production of harmful mycotoxins. While aspergillus and fusarium are less common, gibberella is all too often present within some fields at harvest. Gibberella ear mold can lead to vomitoxin present in the grain, which can cause health problems in both humans and livestock, particularly swine. 

What causes gibberella ear mold and why does it occur?

Gibberella ear mold is caused by the fungus fusarium graminearum. This fungus is present to some degree in almost all fields but is especially abundant in corn following corn or wheat and fields with a history of gibberella.… Continue reading

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Rain delays and storage space, communication and patience

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Harvest delays caused by rain may seem like an inconvenience to many, however it has been a welcome opportunity for many commercial grain facilities to relieve some storage pressure and ship grain out during what began as a busy and bountiful fall harvest.

The 2021 harvest season began with a wide range of early yield reports. Many areas in Ohio are experiencing above average yields in both soybeans and corn. Large yields can lead to long lines and reduced storage capacity at local cooperatives and commercial grain elevators.

Grain facilities with access to rail are at an advantage over those dependent on trucking out all the grain according to Clark Carroll, General Manager of the Gerald Grain Center. Those facilities with rail access can also have difficulty.

“The challenge the facilities with rail access can face is the availability and timeliness of train schedules,” Carroll said.

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Transitioning to improved soil health

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers in a conventional tilled corn-soybean rotation often ask how they can improve soil health.  It is not easy but also not impossible. Improving soil health starts with evaluating your soil and then fixing those problems.  Fall is an excellent time to evaluate your current soil health and to start making management changes for next year.

First, evaluate your soil structure.  Take a shovel and look for hard pans and soil that does not crumble easily.  Dig down at least 12-15 inches. Often at least 2-3 layers of hard dense soil may be visible.  Between 6-8 inches, the old plow layer is almost always found; either visually, by probing the soil with a steel rod, or by breaking soil apart. Tillage tools often smear wet soil and create these dense soil layers which restrict roots, water movement, gas exchange, and mineral nutrition.

Second, evaluate your drainage, both surface and subsurface. 

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Studying the compounded effect of pathogens

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

The environment in a soybean field is ever changing. Crop health is dependent on a number of factors. Often, pathologists refer to the “Disease Triangle” which is composed of having a susceptible host plant, the right environmental conditions, and also the disease or pathogen present. All three of these conditions need to be met in order for a crops health to be impacted.  While simple to understand and control in a laboratory, conditions in the field are often much different.

Disease Triangle, Photo Credit Iowa State University

If a host plant is susceptible, and the environmental conditions are favorable, a number of pathogens may be present and ready to attack the crop. It is the interaction of these diseases that is of interest to Horacio Lopez-Nicora, plant pathologist at The Ohio State University.

Lopez-Nicora was recently hired by Ohio State after Anne Dorrance was promoted and assumed more administrative responsibilities for the University.

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What’s our message to the Feds?

By Randall Reeder, Ohio State University Extension (retired)

Our leading no-till farmers can easily explain to other farmers the advantages of continuous no-till, cover crops, and crop rotation. And those other farmers will understand the points, even if they disagree. 

But when the same points are made to the typical government employees or elected officials in Washington, you’ll likely get a blank stare and a question, “What’s no-till?”

At our Ohio No-till Conference on Dec. 8, Bill Richards and Fred Yoder will lead a discussion to arrive at a clear, succinct message. Both have no-tilled for many years. They have years of experience “communicating” with Washington folks, including the 98% who know nothing about no-till farming. 

Interestingly, I’ve been asked by Lessiter Media (publisher of No-till Farmer and organizer of the National No-till Conference) to head up a group to compile a Top 15 list of research articles on no-till. Did you know that “no-till” is known by other names, including “zero-till” and “direct seeding?”… Continue reading

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More green stem syndrome in soybeans

By Laura Lindsey, Kelley Tilmon, and Andy Michel, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2021-34

Green stems on mature soybean plants may be the result of a source/sink problem. If there are a limited number of pods (sink), there are fewer places for the plant’s photosynthates (source) to go.

From previously conducted work by Jim Beuerlein, when soybean pods were removed from a plant node when they first formed and started to expand, the leaf at that node stayed green after the rest of the plant matured. If all the small pods were removed from a branch on a plant, that branch did not mature. Further, if setting of pods were prevented on the main stem of a plant but pods allowed to develop normally on the branches, those branches matured normally while the main stem stayed green and held onto its leaves. Anatomical studies of the flow of carbohydrates within a plant show that each leaf fills the pods at its node only, but if all its carbohydrates are not needed at that node, the extra will move to the next lower node.

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Countryside Land Management – Shane Meyer, Henry and Wood Counties

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off
In a twist of fate, the transition to organics began in 2019 for Shane Meyer of Countryside Land Management in Wood County. It was the year that found over 50% of the acres in Wood County electing for “prevent plant” status.
“We were a traditional corn and soybean operation using strip-till for the corn,” Meyer said. “I had been talking to a neighbor that has been an organic grower for a number of years about what it took to transition from a conventional farm, and the prevent plant year gave us a great opportunity.”

Shane Meyer , Country Side Land Management, Henry & Wood Counties

Shane Meyer grew up on their family farm in Henry County and worked in his father’s trucking business.
“I got more involved in the farming operation when I bought my first farm in 2005,” Meyer said.

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Scout now for cressleaf groundsel and other winter weeds in hayfields and pastures

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

The next month and a half or so is an ideal time to control a number of weeds that cause problems in hayfields and pastures, and also certain weeds in fencerows and other areas adjacent to fields. We discussed scouting and fall control of cressleaf groundsel in a C.O.R.N. article last fall, to avoid problems with the toxicity of this weed in hay next year. Many of these weeds are most problematic in new hay and forage seedings, since the crop may not yet be dense enough to suppress them without the help of herbicides. A number of winter annuals fit into this category — mustards, marestail, pennycress, chickweed. For biennials such as wild carrot, poision hemlock, burdock, and teasel, the low growing plant after the first year of growth, which is present now, is more susceptible to control with herbicides compared with plants with elongated stems in spring.… Continue reading

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Minimizing corn harvest losses

By Jason Hartschuh, CCAElizabeth HawkinsWill Hamman, Ohio State University Extension

Corn harvest is getting an early start this year with excellent September Corn prices it may make economic sense for your operation to start corn harvest at higher moistures than normal. A few producers have also noted poor stack quality which may also be a reason to begin harvest sooner if your operation has this issue. High moisture corn may require us to look harder at combine settings to minimize harvest loss. Initial settings for different combines can be found in the operator’s manual but here are a few adjustments that can be used to help set all machines.

Corn Head

Setting the combine starts at the header with an average of 66% of all machine harvest loss in corn occurring here. Wetter corn often has stronger ear shanks making it harder to snap at the head.… Continue reading

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