Ohio Field Leader

Commodity Classic 2021 – The State of U.S. Soy

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

The 2021 Commodity Classic features a number of informational sessions ranging on topics from grain marketing, to crop production, to farm policy. One of the kick-off sessions for soybean farmers was “The State of U.S. Soy.” The roundtable discussion hosted by Tyne Morgan featured Dan Farney, Soybean Farmer from Illinois and Chairman of the United Soybean Board (USB); Meagan Kaiser, Missouri Soybean Farmer and Treasurer of the USB; David Iverson, Farmer from South Dakota and Secretary of the USB; and Belinda Burrier, Maryland Soybean Farmer and Director and Marketplace Chair for USB.

Success for soybean farmers in today’s market takes more than just a yield at harvest. Increasing demand for soybeans is an essential part of the equation. The soybean checkoff helps facilitate market growth and creation by funding and directing marketing, research and commercialization programs.… Continue reading

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Using enterprise budgets to help determine which crop to grow

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

High market prices incentivize farmers to consider raising crops that they may not otherwise grow given lower prices. While the higher prices may make a crop more profitable than it had been; making a fair assessment of the profitability level in comparison to other crops is important. The use of the Ohio Crop Enterprise Budgets is a good starting point to compare all the variables involved.

“An enterprise budget provides an estimate of potential revenue, expenses and profit for a single enterprise,” said Barry Ward, Leader in Production Business Management at The Ohio State University. “The Ohio State University College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) has a long history of developing Enterprise Budgets that can be used as a starting point for producers in their budgeting process. The OSU enterprise budgets represent common, workable combinations of inputs that can achieve a given output.”

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Digging into soil compaction

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

Soil compaction is a problem that almost every farm has, and no one likes to admit. Soil compaction is simply reduced porosity from a reduction of void spaces in the soil.

“Voids in the soil are caused by roots and by the seasonal freeze/thaw cycle,” said Scott Shearer, professor and Chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. “Ideal soils have 50% void space. Half of the void space should hold water, and half should be air space. Compacted soils lack these voids. If we don’t have that mix, that is when we see a negative impact to crop yield.”

Soil compaction can be caused by adverse weather conditions and heavy equipment. Operating smaller equipment and operating in dryer soil conditions reduces the chance of causing compaction.

“Compacted soils impact root growth.… Continue reading

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Summary of multi-state research on soybean planting

By Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2021-04, Ohio State University Extension

With funding from the United Soybean Board, soybean agronomists across the U.S. came together to summarize soybean row width, planting date, and seeding rate research trials. (Ohio-specific research trials were funded by Ohio Soybean Council.) Here’s what we found:

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains specialist

 

Row width Soybean row width varies across the U.S. In Ohio, most farmers plant soybean in 7.5-, 15-, or 30-inch row widths. Across the U.S., narrow rows (7- to 15-inch) out-yielded wide rows (≥ 30 inches) 69% of the time. Narrow rows tend to out-yield wide rows due to earlier canopy closure which facilitates light interception and drives photosynthesis. For the full report on row spacing: https://soybeanresearchinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/FINAL-2700-002-20-Row-Spacing_Science-for-Success-Dec-22_v1.pdf

Planting date 

The date of planting has more effect on soybean grain yield than any other production practice. In many instances, this means planting soybean as early as field conditions allow, but generally at or after the Risk Management Agency (RMA) replant crop insurance dates begin.… Continue reading

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Manure and cover crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Many livestock farmers who are being compensated by the H2O Ohio program may be looking for guidance on planting cover crops. NRCS Appendix A (Cover Crops) is your best guide for cover crop seeding methods, planting dates, and planting rates. Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation office or local NRCS representative for additional questions.

What should your cover crop accomplish if you are applying fall manure? First, a live plant that survives the winter and absorbs nitrogen, phosphorus, and reduces soil erosion. Fibrous fine roots systems are better than tap roots which may allow manure nutrients to leach into tile or surface water. The cover crop should be easy to kill, and it’s a bonus if it can be used for forage (but not allowed under the H2O Ohio program rules).

Generally, grass cover crops with fibrous fine roots absorb manure nutrients the best.

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Cover crops and water quality

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

Cover crops can directly impact water quality. With all the attention being given to improving water quality and reducing nutrient loads going into Ohio’s waterways, farmers are encouraged to consider a multifaceted approach of best management practices (BMP’s) that include the use of cover crops.

In the most recent “Water Quality Wednesday” program, Rachel Cochran, Water Quality Associate with OSU Extension, shared six key points to consider when evaluating the benefits of planting cover crops to improve water quality. “Cover Crops can directly impact water quality,” said Cochran. “Cover crops can prevent soil erosion.

They absorb excess nutrients. Once the cover crops die and decompose, those nutrients are returned to the soil in a usable form for other plants. They can increase soil aggregate stability. The cover crops compete with weeds for sunlight and nutrients.

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Mandatory software updates for Deere GPS receivers

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

Spring is less than 40 days away, and with snow on the ground, now is a great time to check for software updates on all the GPS equipment and displays on the farm.

For farmers that use John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS) precision equipment, there are some items that must undergo a mandatory update in order to communicate with the StarFire system moving into the 2021 growing season. The StarFire 20-2 Update is mandatory for all StarFire 6000 and StarFire 3000 receivers. The most important part of the 20-2 software update is that it positions the Starfire 6000 and 3000 receivers to continue operating in the future.

The StarFire 20-2 Update first became available in August of 2020. 

“The 20-2 update is needed for the receivers to decode the new language and track the satellite,” said Scott Gerken, account manager for the Kenn-Feld Group.… Continue reading

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Questions, answers and more questions about cover crops

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

Just because a farmer has raised cover crops for a few years, it does not mean they have all the answers. Sometimes the experience leads to more questions. The more experience they gain, the more questions they have, but also the more new things they will try.

Hans Kok

Hans Kok, program director of the Conservation Technology Information Center in Indiana led a discussion tackling the FAQs about cover crop management during the latest “Dirt on Soil Health” program.

Some of the common questions Kok encounters include: When is the best time to plant cover crops? When is the best time to terminate the cover crop? What are the best cover crops to plant? What about using wheat or cereal rye as a cover crop? What herbicides should be avoided? What does it cost to grow cover crops?… Continue reading

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Crimping cover crops

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

The use of a roller crimper to terminate cover crops in the spring is gaining popularity. 

Many farmers often ask if the blades on a crimper should touch the ground, or how much clearance should be allowed. Eric Neimeyer, a farmer in Delaware County, uses a crimper and shared his experience. 

“We have the full weight of the crimper on the ground, and do not have the wheels holding it up for clearance,” Neimeyer said. “The actual crimping of the cereal rye is the goal, and it is the weight of the tool that puts the crimp into the stem of the rye. The cereal rye needs to be at a minimum in boot stage to kill with crimper. You want to get it before it goes to seed.”

Blade designs vary by the manufacturer. … Continue reading

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Herbicide resistance in Ohio waterhemp populations

By Dr. Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

Waterhemp populations across the Midwest continue to develop more complex variations of herbicide resistance.  Multiple resistance to an increasing number of herbicide sites of action is the norm in many populations in states west of Ohio.  Waterhemp has on the whole developed resistance to seven sites of action, including the following:

Group 2 – ALS inhibitors – chlorimuron, imazethapyr, etc

Group 4 – Synthetic auxins – 2,4-D, dicamba, etc

Group 5 – Photosystem II inhibitors – atrazine, metribuzin, etc

Group 9 – EPSP synthase inhibitor – glyphosate

Group 14 – PPO inhibitors – fomesafen, flumioxazin, sulfentrazone, etc

Group 15 – long chain fatty acid inhibitors – metolachlor, pyroxasulfone, etc

Group 27 – HPPD inhibitors – mesotrione, isoxaflutole, topramezone, etc

Individual populations with resistance to three or more sites of action are common. Mutations are occurring that confer resistance to several of these sites of action simultaneously, through a resistance mechanism that enhances the metabolism and inactivation of the herbicides by the plant.

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Improving fertilizer availability

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As fertilizer costs increase, farmers want to either lower their fertilizer costs or find ways to conserve soil nutrients. Cover crops can help do both things.  Legumes and clovers sequester nitrogen (N) and grasses and radishes make phosphorus (P) more available.  Most conventional soil tests measure inorganic soil nutrients but are less reliable accounting for organic or carbon-based plant nutrients. As soil health improves, nutrient availability and nutrient efficiency generally improves due to higher soil microbial activity.

Manure improves soil health and soil organic matter (SOM).  Solid chicken manure is high in N, P, and calcium.  Liquid manures (hog and dairy) can be major sources of nutrients but have a high-water content (dairy, 98% water; hog, 95% water) and with high transportation costs, can be more expensive.  Composting solid manure tends to concentrate available nutrients because as manure decomposes, the volume generally reduces to about a third of the original volume. 

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Can improving soil health improve yield?

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

Farmers wishing to improve the health of their soils are often presented with a list of specific management practices to implement. 

“There are many types of management to combine to manage soil health,” said Jordon Wade, from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. “These typically include: keeping the soil covered, minimizing soil disturbance, keeping plants growing throughout the year, having a diversity of plants, and incorporating livestock.”

Wade was a recent speaker for Ohio State’s “The Dirt on Soil Health” series featuring a discussion findings from his research looking at the relationship between improving soil health and increasing yields. As farmers evaluate their soils, there are three areas to assess. 

“When making an assessment, the three indicators we look at are physical, chemical, and biological,” Wade said. “Not all fields respond the same.… Continue reading

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Technologies for improving sprayer field performance and efficiencies

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

The Ohio State University’s Precision U winter meeting series wrapped up with a look at sprayer application tips and technologies. Joe Luck, Associate Professor and Precision Agriculture Engineer in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln was the featured presenter.

Joe Luck, Associate Professor of Biological Systems Engineering, Precision Agriculture Engineer, photo credit, UNL

When farmers make a chemical application with a sprayer, the goal is ultimately to protect their crop.

“The first step in achieving this crop protection is to make sure the application is on target and accurate,” Luck said. “This involves proper mixing, including any pre-mixing of products, proper agitation, and direct injection.”

Achieving the desired application rate is a part of the accuracy.

“This can involve the use of a rate controller,” Luck said.… Continue reading

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Winter Grain Market and Climate Outlook Meeting (Part 1)

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

The most recent Winter Outlook Meeting, hosted by The Ohio State University, provided data and information to help farmers make informed decisions going into the winter and spring.

Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University, and State Climatologist shared information focused on “Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are going.”

A global assessment of the past year’s weather showed 2020 to be the second warmest since 1880. The warmest average year was 2016, and 2019 ranked third. Looking all the way back to 1880, the ten warmest years have all occurred since 1985.

There was also a significant increase in the number of “Billion Dollar Disasters” in 2020. There was a total of 22 recorded last year. The numbers in general have been increasing. To put it in perspective, looking at the time period of 1908 through 2020, the average is six disasters of that magnitude per year.

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Global pandemic doesn’t stop water quality research

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

The Ohio Sea Grant program is one of 34 State programs funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to identify and research issues impacting their neighboring water bodies. Every state that touches the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico or one of the Great Lakes has a Sea Grant Program. Sea Grant Programs are modeled after Land Grant Institutions, and take the research results and disseminate the information to stakeholders, decision makers, and those that can make a difference. 

Chris Winslow is the Director of the Ohio Sea Grant, and also Director of Ohio State’s Stone Lab on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. While COVID-19 impacted the on-site education and outreach that Sea Grant conducts at Stone Lab, much of the research on the lake continued despite the pandemic. 

“We typically offer a lot of education and outreach programming at Stone Lab and everything at that location was shut down or went virtual,” Winslow said.… Continue reading

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The dirt on soil health

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

As more is learned about the complexities of the soils serving as the basis for our civilization, it is becoming apparent to many that agricultural management practices need to change. Les Siler, a farmer from Fulton County, said farmers need to be intentional to improve the quality and health of their soil.

“Treat the soil like a living thing. You need to take care of it, keep it covered and not tear it up,” Siler said. “Along with the use of cover crops, having a multiple crop rotation is beneficial. “Crop diversity is very beneficial to the soil health and the soil life. Farmers also need to think about anything they do to the soil. If it is applying fertilizer or making a tillage pass. They need to think about how that impacts building the soil.” … Continue reading

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Understanding soil health terms

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Service

Soil health can be hard to understand if you do not know the “lingo” or terminology.  Talking to a doctor, sometimes you need a dictionary to know what they are saying.  Here’s a short primer on soil health terms.  “Soil health” is defined by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. Soils contains living organisms that perform functions for humans but these organisms need food, shelter, and certain environmental conditions to thrive.

“Soil ecosystem functions” include processes like nutrient cycling, clean water (filtering, buffering, availability), soil physical stability, and soil habitat ( where organisms live). Ecosystem services are grouped into four categories: provisioning (food production and water), regulating (climate and disease control), supporting (nutrient cycles, crop pollination) and cultural (spiritual and recreational benefits). Many soils are degrading rapidly especially when  compared to their virgin state, before they were cultivated.

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Where are we going with U.S. and global trade?

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

Agricultural trade was the topic of the first in a series of winter outlook meetings hosted by the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics (AEDE) at The Ohio State University’s College of Food Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (FAES). Dr. Ian Sheldon, Ohio State’s Andersons Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy, led the discussion examining the effects of the pandemic on global trade and U.S. agricultural trade, including an evaluation of the Phase 1 Trade Agreement with China.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had an impact on international trade.

“Global trade was forecast to decline by 9.2% in 2020, but then rise 7.2% in 2021 according to the World Trade Organization,” Sheldon said. “Those forecasts were originally made in late October and November of 2020. Forecast estimates initially looked much worse as their April forecast was for a decline of anywhere from 13% to 32%.”… Continue reading

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Precision U Meetings focus on reduced working days

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

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Digital Ag Team is hosting Precision U virtually this year in a series of four meetings, all with a theme of tackling spring operations with reduced working days.

It is no surprise to Ohio’s farmers that the weather patterns have been changing, and the short- and long-term weather impacts create a need for adaptive management styles.

“Since 1995 we have seen a decrease in the number of suitable working field days in Ohio from April through October,” said Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University and Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center.

Looking back at the 2020 midwest growing season, defined as March through November, the growing season was warmer with both daily high temperatures and overnight lows above the 30-year average.… Continue reading

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Maximizing factors that influence crop yield

By Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers consistently attempt to increase crop yields but may not know which factors are important.  Yield is influenced by climate and temperature, plant and water management, and soil nutrient management factors.  Good genetics plus the ability to manipulate and optimize the plant’s environment generally result in the highest yields.

Climate and temperature factors are critical to achieving high yields.  Warmer temperatures maximize crop growth including cell division, cell growth, and crop metabolism while cold temperatures inhibit plant growth.  Ideally, soybeans grow the best at air temperatures of 770F. A string of temperatures below 600F reduces soybean pod set.  Corn is a warm season plant that germinates best at 60-650F soil temperatures and grows best between 72-850F.  Iowa and Illinois benefit from dark soils, high in soil organic matter (SOM) which absorbs heat and warms soils better than light-colored sandy soils. 

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