Ohio Field Leader

Cover Crop Termination

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, adapted from Green Covers

This spring has been warmer than normal, but Ohio’s subsoil moisture has been dry due to last year’s drought.  Recent rains may have helped depending upon how much rain actually soaked in.  Last year, adequate subsoil moisture allowed farmers to get decent yields, however; what about this year?  According to the National Weather Service, there is a 83% chance for a transition from El Niño to La Niña during April-June and a 62% chance for La Niña to develop by June-August.  Typically, El Niño years are drier while La Niña years tend to be wetter in the Midwest. 

For Ohio, the 60-day weather forecast is for temperatures to be above normal in our area but perhaps drier than normal conditions around the Great Lakes. April may be wetter, but May is expected to turn dry. Farmer’s may be planting earlier than normal depending upon the weather.… Continue reading

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See for Yourself mission to Central America leaves a lasting impression on U.S. soybean farmers

By the United Soybean Board

The Soy Checkoff recently journeyed to Panama and Colombia for its annual See for Yourself mission. A group of farmer participants accompanied by national checkoff farmer-leaders visited Central America February 4-11. The educational mission aims to cultivate the next generation of soybean leaders and this group saw how their soy checkoff investments impact other parts of the world and drive demand for U.S. Soy. 

Adele Flynn, Ohio Farmer said, “As farmers, we tend to forget about the soybeans from the time they leave our fields or bins. The See for Yourself program showed us how our checkoff dollars go to work, guaranteeing U.S. soybean farmers have a vital, strong, and competitive market. But it is so much more than that! We were able to see how our soybeans are making an impact on people’s lives, all while learning a ton, forming great new friendships, and making connections.”… Continue reading

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Sulfur is foundational in high yield soybeans

By Kyle Poling, Pioneer field agronomist in West Central Ohio

Soybeans are considered to be source limited. In other words, a soybean plant has the ability to consistently make more yield than the environment allows. A soybean crop will adjust its yield potential to match the growing conditions. In a typical Ohio soybean field, it is estimated that flowers and young pods abort at a rate of 60% to 75%.

Soybean yield is ultimately determined by two yield components: the number of seeds per acre and the final seed weight. The number of pods (and seeds) produced by a soybean field is determined by the supply of simple sugars from the leaves during flowering and pod set. A highly productive environment will provide plenty of sunshine, nutrients, and water that results in a large supply of sugars to maximize the number of seeds produced per acre. Additionally, an early planting date and limited stresses from soybean flowering (R1) through seed development (R5) will extend the seed fill duration resulting in increased seed weight.… Continue reading

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Recognizing Good Soil Health

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Dr. Alan Franzluebbers, North Carolina Extension has a U-Tube video showing farmers how to look for healthy soils and then improve it. There are several obvious soil health indicators like looking for earthworms, earthworm burrows, and their middens. Also, remove surface residue and look for white spiderweb like mats which are beneficial fungi.  Crop fields with small mushrooms growing are a good sign because those are beneficial fungi just spreading their spores.  However, the hardest to see are the soil bacteria which can be over 1 billion per teaspoon of soil.

Soil Biology has been understudied and is extremely important.  Soil biology can be measured by looking at the soil biological activity, measuring the total biomass of living organisms, and by looking at the diversity of these organisms.  The biology has four main functions: decomposers of crop residue, cycling of water and nutrients, controlling gasses like carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and oxygen for root respiration, and diversity of organisms (think reduce diseases, release nutrients, etc.)… Continue reading

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Hardin County’s Austin Heil brings personal touch to farm machinery

Ohio Field Leader Dusty Sonnenberg travels to Hardin County in the latest Ohio Field Leader Roadshow to the farm of Austin Heil. The conversation goes into Austin’s unique custom machinery solutions that take advantage of the latest technologies with plenty of on-farm knowhow to plant corn and soybeans. Ohio Field Leader is brought to you by Ohio soybean farmers and their checkoff.… Continue reading

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Technology and transition in agriculture

In 1828 Nicholas Heil came to America with the desire to farm. To fulfil his dream, he had to spend 7 years after arriving, working as an indentured servant to pay for his trip and get a start. In1839 Nicholas finally achieved his goal of being able to farm in America.  Nicholas’s experience and example has inspired subsequent generations of the Heil family.

Six generations later, Austin Heil and his father Ashley now farm the same ground in Hardin County that Nicholas first farmed in 1839.  The Heil’s farm just over 400 acres of soybeans, corn, and hay as well as doing some custom planting and harvest. “Our soil types are very variable. We have fields that go from heavy clay to loam to sand all in the same field from one end to the other. When it comes to watersheds, some of our farms flow south, eventually to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Podcast, Episode 43, Austin Heil

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

The Ohio Field Leader is hitting the road again in 2024 and the first stop is in Hardin County at the farm of Austin Heil. Learn how this 6th generation farmer gains inspiration from his Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Nicholas, who came to America in 1828, and started the farm in 1839. The family farm they still operate today. Dusty and Austin talk about agricultural technology and transitions and the future of the industry.… Continue reading

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Health and Nutrition and the United Soybean Board

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

The United Soybean Board (USB) invests soybean check-off dollars to help create new opportunities for increased demand and a better bottom line for U.S. soybean farmers. For every $1 from the check-off that is invested, it returns $12.34 back to the soybean farmer. More than the financial return is the knowledge that is gained to improve efficiency and productivity.

The United Soybean Board is made up of soybean growers from across the country. One of those farmer members is Laurie Isley. Isley is a soybean grower from Michigan and currently serves as chair of the Health and Nutrition Supply Committee. The Health and Nutrition Supply Committee plays a critical role in directing how money is invested in areas such as plant health research and soil health and best management practices. “These three areas have a direct impact on farmers,” said Isley.… Continue reading

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Market Dynamics of US Soy and the Soybean Check-off

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

The United Soybean Board (USB) invests soybean check-off dollars to help create new opportunities for increased demand and a better bottom line for U.S. soybean farmers. For every $1 from the check-off that is invested, it returns $12.34 back to the soybean farmer.

The United Soybean Board is made up of soybean growers from across the country. “The board discusses big picture ideas and all the things going on in the marketplace. We talk about market disruptions and what some of the ways are that US Soy can engage to protect the markets that we currently have. This includes looking at infrastructure and ensuring that our crop gets to the global marketplace,” said Meagan Kaiser, Missouri soybean farmer and past chair of the USB. “We also talk about how we ensure that we are targeting the right audience and that they understand the value of US sustainable soy.… Continue reading

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USB, Innovation and Technology Demand

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

The United Soybean Board (USB) accomplishes its mission by delegating projects to different working groups. The Innovation and Technology Demand Committee is one of those groups that is focused on making sure resources are directed to projects that create new uses and generate demand for soybeans. Dave Dotterer is an Ohio farmer from Wayne County and serves on the USB Innovation and Technology Demand Committee.

“One of our success stories is a new commercialized hardwood plywood that uses a soy-based adhesive instead of a formaldehyde-based product,” said Dotterer. “Another product is a new bio-based firefighting foam made from soybean meal flour. A lot of the firefighting foams currently in use seem to be causing cancer. This soy-based product will not cause cancer.”

“Other products include SYNlawn® artificial turf grass, which is made with a a soy-based backing.… Continue reading

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The $12.34 work of the United Soybean Board and Soybean Check-off

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

The United Soybean Board (USB) invests soybean check-off dollars to boost yields through innovation and production research, create new revenue streams, expand existing markets and add new ones to increase demand and drive sales.

The work of the board is divided into two separate action teams looking at supply and demand. Those are further broken down into infrastructure and connectivity, health and nutrition, and innovation and technology. “We are looking for new uses, and new ways to improve infrastructure and ways to improve the diets of animal agriculture,” said Steve Reinhard, Chairman of the United Soybean Board. “It all goes back to making the investments to help the farmer.  For every $1 from the check-0ff that we invest, it returns $12.34 back to the farmer.”

The USB is made up of a diverse group of farmers.… Continue reading

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Optimize yield by soil testing

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Nester Ag has been consulting on about 200,000 acres in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana since 1992.  All that data drives their soil test recommendations. Clint Nester and his team start by soil testing, determine nutrient rates, variable apply nutrients and then evaluate crop yields.  They follow the 4R’s (Right Source of fertilizer, Right Rate, Right Place, and Right Time).  By following the fundamentals, they strive for optimal yields with the highest profit margin while protecting the environment (improve water quality).

Soil testing can be done in many ways.  They emphasize getting core samples that are representative.  Some farmers and retailers’ sample by soil type, 2.5-acre grids, or zones. Nester’s use zone soil sampling, taking numerous representative soil samples down to 6.67 inches. Zones allow for good N-P-K soil recommendations, help determine pH and lime levels, starter fertilizer rates, side-dress N rates, hybrid selection, and even crop population levels.… Continue reading

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Using drones for spray application – adoption trends in US and worldwide

By Dr. Erdal Ozkan, Professor, The Ohio State University, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, adapted from C.O.R.N. 2024-06

Traditionally, aerial pesticide spraying worldwide has been done using conventional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters with a pilot onboard. However, this is changing fast. Small, remotely piloted aircraft are being used to apply pesticides around the world, especially in East Asia (mainly China, Japan, and South Korea). For example, about 2,800 unmanned helicopters were registered as of March 2016 in Japan, spraying more than a third of the country’s rice fields. Although rice is the main crop treated with spray drones in Japan, use of drones to treat other crops such as wheat, oats, soybean, and other crops has been steadily increasing. According to one report, 30% of pesticide spraying in South Korea is done using drones.

Korea and Japan have used drones for years—mainly the single-rotor, remote-controlled helicopter. Their use of multi-rotor drones is much more recent in contrast to China who have experienced the most significant increase in use of multi-rotor drones for spraying pesticides.… Continue reading

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5 management tips for early-planted soybeans

By Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

There is a yield advantage with early-planted soybeans if you focus on soil, seed and sulfur. It is no longer a question of whether to plant soybeans early, but what crop management practices will help the crop achieve maximum yield potential.

Farmers continue to push up the planting window for soybeans, often putting seed in the ground before corn. The benefit is increasing the time for the plant to produce more nodes on the stem, which increases pods and ultimately creates more seeds per plant. In other words, it leads to higher yields — as much as a half-bushel per acre, per day — according to the United Soybean Board.

Conversely, delayed soybean planting equates to yield loss, which varies by region. USB research notes that soybean yield loss from May 1 to May 31 ranges from 2.2% in Georgia to 42% in an irrigated system in Nebraska.… Continue reading

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Tomorrow’s technology is being developed today (Part 2)

This is a two-part series—Click here to read Part 1.

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

You may have been told to get your head out of the clouds when you were younger, but that is exactly where the technology is today. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) also commonly known as drones are utilizing the cloud and new sensor technology to build and enhance databases with imaging capabilities never seen before. The efficiency and improved accuracy of collecting information about the various forms of plant stress in the crop is greatly enhanced utilizing sUAS’s.

Dr. Christopher Stewart is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at The Ohio State University. His research toward OpenPASS which is an open-source web and mobile application will allow users to automatically deploy software piloted sUAS’s to scout for soybean health.… Continue reading

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Tomorrow’s technology is being developed today (Part 1)

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

As you are reading this, researchers at The Ohio State University are developing the technology you will be using on your farm tomorrow, thanks to your Ohio Soybean Check-off. From the use of Artificial Intelligence and Scouting Drones to more effective sprayer tip selection, your Ohio Soybean Check-off is providing the funds to help these new technologies become reality.

Anyone who has sprayed a soybean crop with a fungicide or insecticide in mid-summer knows the challenge of getting the spray to penetrate the crop canopy. Variable plant height, environmental conditions such as wind speed and direction changes can impact the effectiveness of the application. Dr. Erdal Ozkan is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Engineering at The Ohio State University. Dr. Ozkan is researching ways to reduce pesticide use and drift while increasing application effectiveness through the selection of the proper spray tips.… Continue reading

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Understanding biologicals

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers are experimenting with biological to enhance crop performance.  Dr. Connor Sible, University of Illinois estimated that by 2032, farmers will spend $32 billion/year on biological products.  Currently, biologicals enhance seed growth (25%), fertility (25%), pest management  (25% on insect, disease, weed control) and another 25% are specialty products. 

What are biologicals?  Many are plant growth regulators or hormones.   Bio-stimulates are not alive but come from living organisms and are easier to manage and control. Third are living beneficial microbes which are more difficult to manage and control. Living organisms are affected by moisture, temperature, and exposure to other environmental conditions (sunlight, oxygen levels, etc.). 

Dr. Sible breaks down biologicals into 8 major groups. Starting with living microbes, he lists nitrogen (N) fixing bacteria, phosphorus (P) solubilizing bacteria, residue decomposers (bacteria and fungi), and beneficial fungi (arbuscular mycorrhizae fungi, AMF) which enhance nutrient uptake. … Continue reading

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Savvy Full Season Soybean Management Webinar Series

By Dr. Laura Lindsey, Ohio State Soybean and Small Grain Specialist, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2024-05

Science for Success is hosting a three-part virtual webinar series to discuss strategies farmers can utilize to optimize soybean yield. The webinar is free and open to anyone. We have applied for one continuing education credit in Crop Management for each webinar for Certified Crop Advisers. Register at: go.ncsu.edu/savvymanagementregister

The webinar series will explore some of the many management decisions soybean farmers face throughout the growing season, including:

March 8th: Pre-Season Maturity Group, Planting Date, and Biological Seed Treatment Choices

Fabiano Colet, The Ohio State University

Michael Plumblee, Clemson University

Shawn Conley, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Andre Reis, University of Missouri

Moderated by Emma Grace Matcham, University of Florida

March 15th: In-Season Fertilizer and Fungicide Applications

Jeremy Ross, University of Arkansas

Laura Lindsey, The Ohio State University

Horacio Lopez-Nicora, The Ohio State University

Moderated by Emma Grace Matcham, University of Florida

March 22nd: Late-Season Desiccation Decisions

Rachel Vann, North Carolina State University

Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota

Trent Irby, Mississippi State University

Moderated by Emma Grace Matcham, University of Florida

When: Webinars will take place at 1:00 on each date and will last approximately one hour.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Podcast, Episode 42, White mold management

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

In 2023 the presence of White mold in soybeans across many parts of Ohio was very concerning. The negative yield impact caused many growers to ask serious questions about research and management practices that they could implement on their farms. Dr. Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Plant Pathologist and Nematologist at The Ohio State University, and Dr. Wade Webster, Plant Pathologist at North Dakota State University visit with Dusty to discuss the past growing season in Ohio, what we know about White mold in soybeans, and management strategies for farmers moving forward.

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Drone spraying

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Aerial Drones are being used in agriculture.  Alan Leininger, OSU Extension Educator, Henry County is doing agricultural research on drone applications.  Drones have several advantages over ground-based spray equipment. 

First, they economically apply small rates of spray (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, nutrients), seed (small seeded cover crops) and are battery operated.  Second, they fly in the air, so there is no soil compaction.  They extend the application season.  If it is too wet, applicators can still spray.  There is no wheel damage to standing crops.  Applicators can precision apply product at the ideal time during the growing season to address a nutrient or pest problem.  Drones are also autonomous meaning they fly themselves on a set pattern.  Humans still have to be present for fill ups and to trouble shoot problems (low flying planes, helicopters, towers, telephone lines, tree, etc).

There are several different kinds of drones with various prices. … Continue reading

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