The successful switch to organic

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The most dangerous phrase to any multigenerational business is, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” 

Scott Myers is the third generation to farm at Woodlyn Acres Farm in Dalton. While away in college at the Ohio State University, Myers focused all his time on figuring out ways to return to the farm following graduation. In 2000, Myers started a hay business, selling to mainly local dairymen, and was able to return home to the farm. 

When milk prices started a downturn nearly a decade ago, many of his dairy customers transitioned to organic milk production in order to find a niche market. Myers saw an opportunity and his own niche market, so Woodlyn Acres followed suit. 

“Organic dairies are what got us considering switching our own fields,” Myers said. “I wanted to be able to support my customers.”

The transition to being certified organic started very slowly.… Continue reading

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Putting a value on manure: Part 2

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers are looking for ways to lower their fertilizer bill as fertilizer prices soar.  While applying manure is more complicated than commercial fertilizer, manure is a valuable source of plant nutrients and improves soil health.  Putting a value on manure is not easy because it depends on many factors including how it is stored, applied, handled, etc. A review of 159 manure research articles found manure fields had an average yield increase of 4.4%. Adding roughly 5% yield increase to a 200 bushel/acre corn crop (10 bushels) adds value. Most of the yield boost did not  compare with the value of the P and K in manure according to Dr. Rick Koelsch from Nebraska.

Manure should always be tested because nutrients values vary. Take a manure sample close to the date of application to get accurate results. Soil testing is also recommended to avoid over application. 

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Ohio ethanol bill moves forward

On Nov. 17, the Ohio House of Representatives voted 89 to zero in favor of a bill that aims to offer qualifying fuel retailers a 5-cent-per-gallon tax credit for sales of fuel containing between 15% and 85% ethanol.

House Bill 165, would cap the total tax credit amount at $10 million and make the credit available for four years after the bill is signed into law.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support of members of the Ohio House who voted in favor of HB 165, which would create a temporary tax credit for the retail sale of higher-ethanol blend fuel,” said Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “[This] vote puts Ohio one step closer to increasing consumer’s choices and competition at the pump while protecting energy independence and market stability for our state’s grain producers. We look forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of this legislation in the Senate.”… Continue reading

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ODA, Ohio Christmas Tree Association send Ohio Christmas trees to troops overseas

Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio Christmas Tree Association (OCTA) are partnering once again to send American troops stationed throughout the world an Ohio-grown Christmas tree. Operation Evergreen is an annual event being held today at ODA’s Reynoldsburg campus and organized by the Ohio Christmas Tree Association.

“Ohio Department of Agriculture is proud to be part of this holiday tradition that helps bring a piece of home to our military troops,” said Director Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture. “It is one small way we can help say thank you to those men and women who sacrifice time at home with their families for the greater good of serving our country.”

Trees are donated by various Ohio Christmas tree growers and inspected by ODA nursery inspectors before being sent to soldiers serving in the armed forces overseas. Trees received a phytosanitary certificate for international shipment and will be delivered to troops by UPS.… Continue reading

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Maximizing weed control amidst supply challenges

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

As harvest wraps up, it’s natural to want to take some time to recoup before jumping immediately into decision-making mode for the coming season. However, due to the uncertain availability of several post-emergence herbicides, an increased sense of urgency may be warranted to ensure your supply and formulate a plan to keep your soybean acres weed-free in 2022.

Over the last 18 months, many supply challenges have surfaced across multiple industries. The agricultural industry is currently facing many potential challenges heading into the 2022 planting season. While some herbicide shortages may be speculative, others appear more certain. Due to their broad-spectrum activity, glyphosate and glufosinate-containing (Liberty) herbicides are two of the most widely used herbicides on the market. These reasons, amongst other factors, have led to supply concerns with these herbicides as we look ahead to 2022.

Making the most of the glyphosate and glufosinate supply

Fall Applications (weather permitting)

Where possible, avoid using glyphosate this fall.… Continue reading

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Rotate SCN-resistant seed varieties for optimal protection

Understanding the difference between soybean cyst nematode-resistant varieties may help soybean growers understand the importance of rotating sources of resistance, which is one of the “active SCN management” strategies advised by The SCN Coalition. For combating SCN during the 2022 growing season, The SCN Coalition encourages growers to work with their advisors to select the appropriate SCN-resistant varieties.  

“Most soybean growers are familiar with PI 88788 and Peking, the two most widely used sources of resistance to soybean cyst nematode,” said Melissa Mitchum, University of Georgia molecular nematologist. “What might be news to growers is these different sources of SCN resistance have different resistance genes — also known as different modes of action.” 

Simply speaking, resistance from the PI 88788 line contains one gene, Rhg1. Resistance from Peking contains two resistance genes, Rhg1and Rhg4

“There are also different flavors — aka alleles — of the Rhg1 genes, which is where the A and B designations come into play,” Mitchum said.… Continue reading

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Maximum soybean yield starts with early planting

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

Maximizing soybean yield starts with an early planting date and timely rainfall. According to research by Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension State Soybean and Small Grains Specialist, the best yields in the 2021 variety trials have come from early April planted soybeans that caught timely rains in the R3-R5 growth stage.

“According to the USDA NASS data, 7% of soybeans were planted in April this year, which was more than the past several years,” Lindsey said. “We had some trials that we started planting on April 5th, and the soil temperatures and conditions were nearly perfect.”

Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean Specialist

The growing conditions a soybean plant experiences throughout the season impact the yield. There are key times when rainfall is more critical than others. “The weather was pretty good this summer for soybeans.

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Is fall herbicide application part of the plan for 2022?

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Field Specialist

The first question in that statement is: are herbicides available for fall burndowns? We hear there are shortages. Fall herbicides do work and can be an excellent start to your marestail management program. This year we let our marestail get too big in many areas and we still had a few out there at harvest.

We are just compiling the Extension fall soybean weed surveys; it is not quite so bad as last year but we still see waterhemp, giant ragweed, and marestail. The number of clean fields has gone up it looks like, likely due to earlier planting and then better timing on that first post application. 

I spoke with Tony Dobbels recently (on Mark Loux’s team) and discussed preliminary results of the fall survey. His response was that we have good technology for dealing with all of these weeds – RRExtend, LibertyLink and now Enlist3.… Continue reading

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Ohio Certified Crop Adviser of the Year nominations for 2022

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Field Specialist

Almost every acre of crops in Ohio has a crop advisor working with the owner or operator. These advisors are to a great extent well trained, educated, and continue to learn about new ways of producing crops economically and in an environmentally safe manner. Ohio has approximately 500 Certified Crop Advisers helping manage those crop acres. Please nominate your CCA for Ohio CCA of the Year.

The Ohio Certified Crop Adviser of the Year award was designed to recognize individuals who are highly motivated, deliver exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production and have contributed substantially to the exchange of ideas and the transfer of agronomic knowledge within the agricultural industry in Ohio.

The past 10 years of CCA of the Year:

For 2021, Thomas Puch of Heritage Cooperative was the winner.… Continue reading

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A few more thoughts on soil fertility…

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Field Specialist

Our last article covered some things to think about with higher 2021-2022 fertilizer prices. Unfortunately, there was an error with the soybean removal rates in that article. So let’s correct that and give you the current phosphorus and potassium removal rates for our major grain (Table 1) and forage crops or crop residues (Table 2).

Including nutrient removal numbers for crop residue is not something we often do. The most common residue harvested is wheat straw, but the removal of corn stover and occasionally soybean residue are becoming more common. If a field has frequent residue removal, for instance, fields close to livestock facilities, the nutrients removed with residue should be considered in nutrient plans. The nutrient removal values here can help evaluate that need on your farm.

Table 1. Nutrients removed in harvested grain
 Nutrient Removal Rate (pounds/bushel)
Source: Bulletin 974, Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Alfalfa
Table 2.
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Post-harvest field condition considerations

By Mitch Greve, AgriGold agronomist — Ohio

Corn and soybean harvest is in full swing throughout Ohio and as growers race towards completion it is imperative to be simultaneously thinking ahead towards next year. The most important question when exiting a field post-harvest is, what condition did I leave this field in? No-tillage, fall tillage, and cover cropping are the main practices a grower uses to help manage their fields in the fall. Irrespective of a growers management strategy, the importance lies in creating a level seed bed for spring to induce good seed to soil contact which promotes uniform seed emergence. 

No-tillage is when a grower leaves the fallow ground untouched post-harvest. A no-till management practice promotes better soil structure with larger macropores which can beneficially influence water and nutrient availability throughout the heat stress portions of the growing season. However, wetter springtime soil conditions coupled with cooler soil temperatures creates a more conducive environment for early season seedling blights on heavier or untiled ground.… Continue reading

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Fall soil fertility sampling

By Laura Lindsey, Emma Matcham, Steve Culman, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2021-37

The fall is a great time to collect soil samples to identify any needs for lime, P, and K. Soil sampling either this fall or spring 2022 will be particularly important with the high costs of agricultural inputs. If soil test P and soil test K levels are within the maintenance range it is extremely unlikely that there will be a yield response with additional fertilizer application. For more information on the state soil fertility guidelines, see the newly revised “Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa” available here:

Keep in mind, when you collect a soil sample for fertility analysis, you can also collect soil for soybean cyst nematode (SCN) analysis. Please see Dr. Lopez-Nicora’s article on collecting soil samples for SCN in the fall.

When should you soil sample? Consistency is important. Sampling at the same time of the year the field was last sampled is ideal to help track trends.

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Biological buffering of nitrogen

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As crop prices increase, generally fertilizer prices increase as well. Farmers who are booking nitrogen (N) for next year are paying at least twice as much. N use efficiency is critical as farmers try to cut back on N usage while attempting to maintain crop yields. Building soil organic matter (SOM) and improving soil health improves N use efficiency.

Soil health and regenerative farming systems develop healthy soils with robust microbial communities that recycle soil nutrients efficiently to meet a crop’s nutritional requirements. In healthy systems, photosynthesis is maximized which produces large volumes of soil carbon as a food source for the soil biology. The soil biology then recycles those soil nutrients to the plant as plant available nutrients. Keeping soils high in SOM or carbon are a key factor in buffering N and keeping it plant available (Larry Phelan).

Inorganic N fertilizers are usually applied as salts which can be damaging to plants.

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2021 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium

The 2021 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium will be held Dec. 1, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Der Dutchman at  445 S Jefferson Ave, Plain City, OH 43064.

 The Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium offers grain farmers from around the state the opportunity to hear about the latest agricultural issues and trends impacting their operations while connecting with fellow farmers and industry experts. 

Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association members will also have the opportunity to voice opinions and elect board representatives during the 2021 OSA Annual Meeting. The agenda includes comments from Terry Cosby, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and presentation topics including: tax policy and American agriculture, nutrient management, renewable diesel, supply chain disruption, farm bill, and agricultural markets.

Register for the event at:… Continue reading

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Biofuel advocates urge White House to embrace homegrown fuel solutions

America’s top biofuel and farm advocates called on President Biden to swiftly expand access to lower-carbon, lower-cost biofuels as the administration seeks to address the rising cost of fuel. In a letter to the White House, rural leaders noted that biofuels hold the power to “insulate consumers from volatile oil markets by extending the fuel supply, much like releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but with sustainable results.” 

“Simply extracting more oil — or importing it from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) — won’t deliver the results you are seeking for consumers or the climate,” warned the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, American Soybean Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, Renewable Fuels Association, and Fuels America.
To promote competitive prices while reducing emissions, biofuel and farm advocates also urged regulators to act swiftly on long-awaited biofuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).… Continue reading

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USDA provides $1.8 billion through ARC and PLC

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in the process of issuing $1.8 billion in payments to agricultural producers who enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2020 crop year. These payments provide critical support to help mitigate fluctuations in either revenue or prices for certain crops. These two USDA safety-net programs help producers of certain crops build back better after facing the impacts of COVID-19 and other challenges.  

In addition, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is encouraging producers to contact their local USDA Service Centers to make or change elections and to enroll for 2022 ARC or PLC, providing future protections against market fluctuations. The election and enrollment period opened on Oct. 18, 2021 and runs through March 15, 2022. 

“As we build back better than we were before, we will continue to support our farmers, ranchers and producers as they overcome the challenges associated with COVID-19, climate change and other issues,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator.… Continue reading

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Agricultural microbiological products (Part 1)

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

This of the time of year when farmers are considering options for buying seed, fertilizer, various pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides) and other products for next year’s crop. Now farmers may want to consider buying agricultural microbiology products which require even more specialized knowledge. This article will attempt to give some basic information about agricultural microbiological products and what they do. 

Microbial products have many names including crop probiotics, bio-fertilizers, bio-stimulants, bio-controls, or bio-fungicides. They can be applied to the soil, seed, or as inoculants; with or without carriers like compost, peat, or stickers. Buying microbiological products is like moving to the wild west. While almost all products generally will or can work, they are fickle and may not work every year due to various environmental conditions. Handling, storage, and applying the microbes at the right time, place, and rate to soil, seeds, and plants can be challenging, according to research from Penn State University.… Continue reading

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Innovative solutions for water quality

Farmers enrolled in Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative are using innovative solutions to plant overwintering cover crops before Nov. 1, 2021.

Due to a late harvest and adverse weather conditions, the Ohio Department of Agriculture extended the deadline for planting overwintering cover crops and completing all manure incorporation requirements to Nov. 1, 2021.

Watch Jeff Duling, a Putnam County producer enrolled in H2Ohio, show how he creatively seeds his cover crops by dropping them from planes.

In the 10-county H2Ohio expansion area, 800 producers enrolled 600,000 acres in the program. These applications represent nearly $11.5 million in H2Ohio practice incentives and approximately 36 percent of the cropland in the project area.

Enrollment in the 10-county Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) expansion area closed on October 15. Enrollment in the original 14-county area was reopened and remains open until Jan. 15, 2022.

Producers can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District for information.… Continue reading

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Concerns of shortages, crippling prices due to tariffs on fertilizers

The National Corn Growers Association joined four other agricultural groups in October encouraging the U.S. Court of International Trade to overturn an earlier decision by the International Trade Commission, which imposed tariffs on imported phosphate fertilizers from Morocco.
“Farmers are feeling the pain from these tariffs,” said Chris Edgington, Iowa farmer and NCGA President. “We’re facing severe cost hikes on our fertilizers, and we are worried about fertilizer shortages next year. We desperately need the U.S. Court of International Trade to remedy this situation.” 

The U.S. Department of Commerce recommended in February 2021 that the ITC implement tariffs over 19% on imported fertilizers from Morocco after the Mosaic Company, which manufactures fertilizers used in the U.S. and abroad, filed a petition with the department seeking the levies. The ITC voted in March to impose the tariffs while adding similar levies on Russian imports.
As a result, critical sources of imported supply have been shut out of the U.S.… Continue reading

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Management decisions relative to high nitrogen fertilizer prices

By Gary SchnitkeyNick Paulson, and Krista Swanson, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois, and Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University

Nitrogen fertilizer prices continue to rise. The average anhydrous ammonia price now is over $1,100 per ton. Overall, these large price increases indicate that 2022 nitrogen application rates should be lowered, particularly for farmers who have been applying nitrogen above university recommended levels. Current corn and soybeans prices are at levels that result in the same relative profitability for both crops in northern and central Illinois. 


Nitrogen fertilizer prices

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) released their latest estimates of fertilizer prices in Illinois on October 21. The average price of anhydrous ammonia was $1,135 per ton, up by $278 per ton from the price reported two weeks previously. AMS began reporting fertilizer prices on a bi-weekly basis starting in September 2008.… Continue reading

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