Crops



Intelligent sprayer upgraded

By cutting the amount of pesticide that ends up in the air or on the ground, a new high-tech pesticide sprayer can save vineyard, orchard, and nursery growers money while protecting the environment.

The “intelligent sprayer” system was first put on the market in spring 2019, but since then it has been upgraded. Now, among other improvements, it can take an inventory of trees or vines by height and width and measure the amount of pesticide sprayed per tree or vine to help growers manage pesticide costs.

Developed by a team led by an agricultural engineer with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the spray technology can sense the location and structure of the trees or vines it is spraying. In the gaps between trees and branches, the spray automatically shuts off, so no pesticides are discharged.

“A standard sprayer releases pesticide constantly down a row, so a lot of extra pesticide goes into the air and onto the ground,” said Heping Zhu, a CFAES adjunct professor and an engineer with the U.S.… Continue reading

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Still planting wheat?

By Laura Lindsey and Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

There is still time to plant wheat. Wheat planted 3 to 4 weeks after the fly-free-safe date can achieve a similar yield as earlier planted wheat if freezing weather does not occur until late November or early December. However, as we enter three to four weeks after the fly-free-safe date, growers should plant at a higher seeding rate than the regularly recommended 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre in 7.5-inch rows.

Generally, 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 change of reduced fall growth and reduced winter hardiness.

Instead, plant at a rate of 1.6 to 2.0 million seeds per acre. The number of seeds per pound and germination rate are important for determining the correct seeding rate and calibration.… Continue reading

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Enrollment begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for 2021

Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year.

“Although commodity prices are starting to show a glimmer of improvement, recent depressed prices and drops in revenue compounded by the effects of the pandemic have seriously impacted the bottom line for most agricultural operations,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Through safety-net programs like ARC and PLC, we can help producers mitigate these financial stressors and keep the ag industry moving forward. Make time over the next few months to evaluate your program elections and enroll for the 2021 crop year.”… Continue reading

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Be prepared for combine fires during harvest season

By Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University Extension

The combination of high temperatures and dry conditions are the perfect conditions for field fires and combine fires during harvest.

Dry grasses, crop residues, and woodland debris along many of our farm fields provide fuel for field fires. Likewise, leaked fuel, cracked hydraulic hoses, heated bearings, overheated belts and chains can provide the ignition for equipment fires.

The combine is a critical piece of equipment for fall harvest. Here are several precautions for protecting combines from fire this season.

Prevent combine fires from starting

Work crews should take extra precautions to prevent fires from starting.

  • Park a hot combine away from out-buildings. Keeping a combine out of barns, sheds, and away from other flammables is a common prevention strategy in case a hot spot ignites. Insurance claims can double when equipment fires are responsible for loss of farm structures.
  • Regular maintenance is priority. Check the machine daily for any overheated bearings or damage in the exhaust system.
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Planting cover crops late

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As harvest progresses, its not too late to plant cover crops, but the options are becoming more limited.  Most cover crops need a minimum of 60 days of growth before cold freezing winter weather limits growth.  Rape seed, kale, and cereal rye are three cover crop varieties that can be planted later than most cover crops that are cold sensitive. The key is getting them planted as soon as possible.

Rape seed and kale are small seeded brassica cover crops that can be broadcast or drilled.  The seeding rate is generally 3-5 pounds per acre by themselves, requiring a .25 to .5-inch seeding depth, and they emerge in 4-10 days. These two brassicas can germinate at 410 F and grow quite rapidly in the fall and can still be planted in late October.  The biggest disadvantage to planting either rape seed or kale before corn is that they do not promote the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi  in the soil, so farmers may see a 5-10 corn bushel decrease.

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Agritourism farms push through the pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Though there have been many challenges for agritourism in Ohio during the pandemic, it has also become very clear consumers are willing to support small, local businesses, and they’re looking for a reason to get out of the house. With strong local support, agritourism like Heban’s Field of Dreams and Riehm Produce Farm were able to weather the storm of 2020.

“It was like the onset of a hurricane,” said Chris Heban, who owns Heban’s Field of Dreams with her husband, Mike. “All of the elements of the hurricane have to get in place and everything is getting ready for that perfect storm, and then that storm hits. We were just not being able to do anything, our hands were tied. It was just too many unknowns.”

Some of the agritourism unknowns were addressed on Aug. 28 when Governor Mike DeWine released Phases 2 and 3 of the the State Agritourism COVID-19 Requirements.… Continue reading

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Environmental groups look to “Enlist” more judges to reevaluate decision

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided it would not overturn the EPA registration for the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is meant to kill weeds in corn, soybean, and cotton fields, and is made up of 2,4-D choline salt and glyphosate.  Although the court upheld registration of the herbicide, it remanded the case so that EPA could consider how Enlist affects monarch butterflies. 

The court found that EPA failed to do this even though it was required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  On September 15, 2020, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other groups involved in the lawsuit filed a petition to rehear the case “en banc,” meaning that the case would be heard by a group of nine judges instead of just three. … Continue reading

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Trade talks

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

International trade discussions often take place thousands of miles away from the soybean fields of Van Wert County. That was not the case recently when U.S. Congressman, Bob Latta, hosted USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs, Ted McKinney, in Northwest Ohio. McKinney participated in a roundtable discussion with area farmers at the home of Ohio Soybean Council member Mike and Kendra Heffelfinger.

Congressman Bob Latta, Mike and Kendra Heffelfinger, and Under Secretary Ted McKinney

“Ted McKinney grew up on a family farm in Tipton, Indiana, and graduated from Purdue,” said Latta. “He was a state FFA Officer, and served as the Indiana Director of Agriculture under then Governor Mike Pence.”

The Under Secretary spent about an hour taking those in attendance for a trade “spin” around the world to discuss the current status of negotiations with key trade partners.

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Corn harvest picks up, behind average

Seasonally warm and dry conditions helped push harvest progress but also increased the number of acres seeing moderate drought, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 41 percent adequate to surplus by week’s end, down 11 percentage points from the previous week. Approximately 43 percent of the state was abnormally dry or worse, according to the most recent Drought Monitor, up from 36 percent last week. Average temperatures for the week were 3.3 degrees above historical normals and the entire State averaged 0.14 inches of precipitation. There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 11.

Farmers harvested soybeans and corn, planted wheat, and applied lime. Soybeans dropping leaves was at 93 percent, ahead of the five-year average by 2 percentage points. Soybeans harvested was at 49 percent while soybeans moisture content was at 12 percent. Corn mature was at 77 percent, behind the five-year average by 3 points while corn moisture content was rated 23 percent.… Continue reading

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Waterhemp woes

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

Waterhemp is a weed that some Ohio farmers have not experienced on their farms. Other farmers in Ohio have joined the ranks of those across the country who know it all too well, and wish they did not. Waterhemp is a weed that Ohio State University Extension personnel have been warning farmers around the state about at numerous agronomy meetings. The impact of waterhemp on soybean yields is very real. “If left untreated, it will compete with soybeans all season long, and can reduce yield by 44%,” said Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension Educator in Auglaize County, and Weed Specialist. 

Waterhemp is an annual weed with enormous genetic diversity. It begins emerging in early May and continues to emerge until late July. Waterhemp is a prolific seed producer.

“Most plants will produce at least 100,000 seeds per plant.

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Cover crops enhance soil health

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Fall harvest has started but farmers also need to think about planting cover crops.  USDA-SARE publication (10 Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health) states “Cover crops lead to better soil health and potentially better farm profits.”  Here is a 10-point summary.

Cover crops feed many soil organisms. Most soil fungi and bacteria are beneficial to crops, feeding on carbohydrates that plants exude (release) through their roots. In return, fungi and bacteria supply nutrients, such as nitrogen or phosphorous, to the crop roots. While cover crops directly feed bacteria and fungi, many other soil organisms eat fungi and bacteria, including earthworms and beneficial arthropods (soil insects). Cover crops support the soil food web throughout the year. Beneficial soil insects eat weed seed, devore crop predator eggs and larva, and consume or outcompete many crop disease organisms.  Good soil health means that all soil organisms are kept in balance so no one organism becomes a pest.

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Ear rots showing up in Ohio corn

By Pierce Paul and Felipe Dalla Lana da Silva, Ohio State University Extension

Over the last two weeks, we have received samples or pictures of at least two different types of corn ear rots — Gibberella and Trichoderma. Of the two, Gibberella ear rot (GER) seems to be the most prevalent. Ear rots differ from each other in terms of the damage they cause (their symptoms), the toxins they produce, and the specific conditions under which they develop. GER leads to grain contamination with mycotoxins, including deoxynivalenol (also known as vomitoxin), and is favored by warm, wet, or humid conditions between silk emergence (R1) and early grain development. However, it should be noted that even when conditions are not ideal for GER development, vomitoxin may still accumulate in infected ears.

A good first step for determining whether you have an ear rot problem is to walk fields between dough and black-layer, before plants start drying down, and observe the ears.… Continue reading

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Trumbull SWCD cover crop cost-share program

While the use of cover crops in local agricultural production is not new, recent interest is likely due to the economic and environmental benefits cover crops provide. Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District offered a cover crop cost-share program in 2019 that focused on drilling the seed but there can be challenges with timing. Trumbull SWCD set up a committee to plan the aerial seeding program that included Board supervisors, an associate supervisor and District staff members. Precision Aerial Ag Service worked with Trumbull SWCD and their Pymatuning/Shenango Watershed partner, Crawford County Conservation District in Pennsylvania to finalize the pilot program. Steve Zvara, with Precision Aerial Ag Service, provided the seeding service and would like to develop a regional effort for aerial seeding. Trumbull SWCD staff will continue working with him on that project.

With Trumbull SWCD’s aerial seeding program, participants were mainly focused on the benefit of erosion control. Cover crops can be used to reduce water and wind erosion and maintaining ground cover through the winter season will help reduce soil loss.… Continue reading

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Reaching retailers to foster the adoption of higher ethanol blends

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has been working with retailer education when it comes to utilizing and accessing higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85. ACE’s Flex Fuel Forward website is a resource for retailers by retailers.

Ron Lamberty, Senior Vice President of Market Development, said the organization launched a new tool for retailers, helping them determine the compatibility of existing station equipment with E15.

“A huge number of retailers have E15 compatible equipment and could sell it tomorrow without a big investment,” Lamberty said. “But they don’t know, and most haven’t even checked, because API, AFPM, oil companies and petroleum marketer groups have been telling station owners their equipment isn’t compatible with E15 since it was approved, and replacing it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We just want them to check because a lot of them will be shocked to find out they can add E15 for next to nothing.”… Continue reading

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Tomatoes offer challenge and reward

By Matt Reese

As corn and soybean harvest efforts around Ohio are really starting to take off, the state’s tomato harvest is wrapping up. And, for Brian and Andy Stickel in Wood County, 2020 was a good tomato year.

“Tomato harvest has been underway now for several weeks and so far the crop looks pretty good. We went from one extreme to the other. It was a very wet year in Wood County last year and we did not get anything planted in 2019,” Andy said. “The 2020 spring was pretty favorable to get planted in a timely manner. We were really pretty dry all summer. We only really had significant rains in late August. Tomatoes like dry feet and that has been pretty favorable. It has kept disease pressure down so far.”

The diverse operation includes cattle, corn, non-GMO food-grade soybeans, wheat, hay, tomatoes, and cover crops. Andy and Brian are the fourth generation of their family on the farm.… Continue reading

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Variable soybeans in 2020

By Matt Reese

There is always variability from soil type to soil type, but this year it seems to be more pronounced.

“I think one of the words that is going to ring true this year is ‘variation.’ There is variation not only across the field but there is wide variation across the entire geography I cover in the southwest half of Ohio,” said Roy Ulrich, technical agronomist for DEKALBAsgrow. “We’ve got areas that caught timely rains and there are going to be some good yields. We also have areas that unfortunately did not catch those rains and they will be looking at depressed yields coming into harvest. There will be areas in some fields with higher moisture holding capacity that are going to yield considerably better than some of our droughtier soils. We have gone through a wide range of stress environments this summer, most driven by moisture or the lack thereof.”… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Linder moves into role as NCGA president

By Matt Reese

John Linder, of Edison, in Morrow County, started in his new role as president of the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association on Oct. 1.

“Harvest is upon us, combines are rolling across the country as we speak cutting beans or shelling corn. For the moment, the focus is safely getting this year’s crop safely in the bins and to the elevators, but soon all of us will be shifting our attention to the future,” Linder said. “For some, those plans might be to simply stay afloat while others see opportunities to expand their operations. Wherever you may be on that continuum, my pledge to you is that there will be no stone left unturned in our efforts to create opportunities for our industry to recover and grow beyond the current situation.”

On the state level, Linder is a past chair of the Ohio Corn Marketing Program Board of Directors and past member of the Ag Credit Co-op Board.… Continue reading

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The future of sustainable weed control

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

The year 1996 changed the mindset of many growers regarding their approach to controlling weeds in soybeans. The introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans allowed farmers to more adequately control weeds, and it allowed for post-emergence applications to occur without the crop response that had become expected. Because of this, the adoption of Roundup Ready soybeans took place very rapidly. 

Since then, many farmers have implemented a weed control strategy that relies heavily on post-emergence trips to perform much of the heavy lifting for weed control. For many years, this approach has worked successfully. However, 20+ years later, glyphosate-resistant weeds are once again changing the face of soybean weed control.

From the mid-1990s until recently, glyphosate has been a staple component to most soybean post-emergence programs. Moving forward, many soybean technologies and POST programs are now utilizing Liberty herbicide to control glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds. Not only is Liberty replacing or being applied in conjunction with glyphosate in many POST programs, but future and recently introduced soybean technologies are also providing tolerance to multiple sites of action (SOAs) POST to combat herbicide resistance. … Continue reading

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2020 Farm Science Review Virtual Research Plot tour continued – Sulfur Deficiencies

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

The OSU Extension, Agronomic Crops Team and the e-Fields Program had a number of research plots once again at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in 2020. The online review gave guests a number of opportunities to take a virtual plot tour and learn more about the ongoing research. The virtual plot tour was sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council.

Harold Watters, OSU Extension, Field Specialist Agronomic Systems, presented a poster session discussing nutrient deficiencies and the current research being conducted across the state, particularly as it relates to sulfur deficiencies. To start the discussion, Watters pointed out that while there may be sulfur deficiencies in some fields, the broad application of sulfur to fields across Ohio is not necessary yet. “There are deficiencies in some fields out there, and they will probably be seen on the sand and gravel fields, and lower organic matter soils,” Watters said.… Continue reading

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2020 Farm Science Review Virtual Research Plot tour continued – Poultry litter use

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

The Ohio State University Extension, Agronomic Crops Team and the e-Fields Program had a number of research plots once again at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in 2020. The online Review gave guests a number of opportunities to take a virtual plot tour and learn more about the ongoing research. The virtual plot tour was sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council.

The use of poultry litter as a source of nutrients in crop production has increased in recent years as farmers have realized the additional benefits it brings in the micro-nutrients and biological components it contains. In order to maximize these benefits, proper application is necessary. Proper application includes calibrating the spreader in order to apply the correct amount to achieve the desired agronomic results while still protecting the environment.

As part of the 2020 Farm Science Review Virtual Plot Tour, a session was held on Soil manure spreader calibration and poultry litter application.

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