Crops



Funding and phosphorus reduction

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

Analyzing the cost benefit ratio is a regular management function in agriculture. As farmers make decisions regarding the implementation of best management practices and fertilizer application rates, there is an economic benefit analysis that must be considered. The same applies as the government makes decisions regarding the allocation of resources to phosphorus reduction in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The USEPA is working to develop alternative approaches to achieving nutrient reduction without regulation. Studies have been conducted in the smaller yet similar and more intensely monitored East Fork Watershed in Southern Ohio to develop modeling by conducting bioassessments to determine impact and target levels for excess nutrients.

Watershed action planning involves evaluating the cost of reduction of total phosphorus (TP) levels. “In the modeled watershed, to make the improvements to waste water treatment plants (WWTP), to achieve a 1% reduction in phosphorus (P) load it would cost $5.4 million dollars.

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Using P removal structures to treat tile drainage water

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

Legacy phosphorus has been a buzzword among farmers and researchers concerned with the increased P loading recorded in water samples. Ongoing research has indicated that in spite of documented reductions in applied P, and the increased use of cover crops, the P loading in the water continues. The current thought is that particulate P is most often contained in surface run-off. Dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) primarily from legacy P is contained in water coming through the tile lines.

Chad Penn is a USDA–ARS National Soil Erosion Researcher in Indiana. He is investigating various phosphorus removal structures and their ability to remove dissolved P from tile drainage water.

Chad Penn, USDA-ARS

“We have a lot of BMPs to reduce particulate P. Most any practice to reduce erosion will also reduce particulate P,” Penn said. “One big problem with legacy P is that it takes a long time to draw down.”

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Addressing 2019’s lingering challenges

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Following a wet growing season in 2019, some of the issues facing growers in 2020 are lingering from the previous growing season.

Due to the excessively wet weather in the spring of 2019, many fields have compaction that will impact crop development and yields for years to come. Growers should alleviate compaction when conditions allow. Tillage should be performed only when soil conditions are favorable. Tillage under wet or “marginal” conditions will only make compaction problems worse. Compaction is a huge yield killer, as Randall Reeder and Alan Sundermeier wrote in a recent C.O.R.N. Newsletter: “Years of OSU Extension research on Hoytville silty clay loam showed that through compaction, 10% to 15% of the potential crop yield was being left in the field.” Farmers should plan to alleviate compaction when possible and avoid traffic on wet soil this spring.

Weed control in soybeans will continue to be a challenge between herbicide tolerant weeds and the plethora of soybean herbicide traits available to growers.… Continue reading

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Pollinators and honey bees

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

A good deal of attention has been given to honey bees and other pollinators the last several years. Honey bees first began to draw notice back in 2006 when concerns over Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) first emerged. CCD is defined by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service as a dead colony with no adult bees and with no dead bee bodies, but with a live queen, honey and immature bees. More recently, attention has been given to habitat for other pollinators as well. The USDA has looked at existing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts in a Mid-Contract Management (MCM) process to address growing pollinator habitat concerns. Along with reducing soil erosion and improving water quality, CRP aims to ensure plant diversity and wildlife benefits as well. Several producers with CRP contracts for grass filter strips received letters from the FSA offices notifying them of recent revisions to the MCM process that require all CRP contracts undertake a MCM activity.… Continue reading

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Beware of lackluster seed germ in 2020

When Seed Genetics Direct, a family-owned seed company in Jeffersonville began offering free carry-over soybean germination testing to farmers, they weren’t sure what to expect. What they got was a mixed bag of results, the worst of which are very bad.

“So far, we have tested 22 seed samples across Indiana and Ohio through Indiana Crop Improvement,” said Chris Jeffries, CCA, president of Seed Genetics Direct. “The germ from the tags of all seed samples was 80 or above, with an average of 86. After testing, only 12 came back with at least 70% germ; only five were above 80. The lowest two were in the 30s. That’s a pretty wide spread and very worrisome.”

Although SGD isn’t releasing identities out of respect to farmers and competitors, farmers submitted seed from six different seed companies for testing. Farmers did not submit Seed Genetics Direct seed for testing because the company moved beans for 95% of customers and is standing behind replant guarantees for any farmers who have SGD beans.… Continue reading

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Bearish news for corn

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn stocks less than expected but acres of 97 million acres were above the high end of expected.

The March 31 reports included quarterly grain stocks and U.S. acres estimates for 2020. It did NOT have supply and demand tables for grains. Those will be out with the April 9 WASDE Report.

Shortly after the USDA report was released, corn was down 7 cents, soybeans down 3 cents, and wheat down 3 cents. Just before the noon report, grains were mixed with corn down 1 cent, soybeans up 3 cents, and wheat up 3 cents.

Quarterly grain stocks will be the focus today as corn stocks easily captured the most attention. For months various industry and producer reports indicated last year’s corn quality was below average as numerous areas harvested light test weight corn. There is above average concern holding corn with questionable quality could be treacherous into the summer months.… Continue reading

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Against all odds and sensationalist headlines

It’s been just a week since I wrote my last column. But it feels much longer. Although all days seem the same when we forcefully work from home, so many things have happened and so many battles have been fought – most of them on our social media timelines – that a week feels like a month.

Last week, the coronavirus pandemic, of course, remained as the number one trending topic here in Brazil, especially because our President, Jair Bolsonaro, has questioned the lockdown. For those who work in agriculture, like me, it was also an intense period of work and mismatch between reality and some news headlines.

Fake news x biased and lazy journalism
Although I have worked as a market analyst for most of my life, I am also a journalist. And, as such, I often find myself thinking about how the fake news phenomenon affects everybody’s lives. But there is one thing that I consider even worse than fake news.… Continue reading

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Factors that influence nutrient loss

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

Identifying factors that influence flow and nutrient loss was the topic of a presentation by Brittany Hanrahan, research biologist with the ARS Soil Drainage Research Unit in Ohio at the Conservation Tillage Conference.

“We know that storms can contribute disproportionately to cumulative annual phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) losses during the year,” Hanrahan said. “The big picture is that excess P and N fuel algal blooms and have negative impacts. Excess P and N fertilize the algal blooms which eventually die and decompose stripping oxygen from the water causing hypoxic zones. There are over 400 different hypoxic zones found in the world today.”

Data collected in the edge of field studies show that peaks in water discharge coincide with peaks in precipitation events. Surface runoff levels of P and N differ from tile discharge levels.

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Beneficial insects and pest management

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

Scouting a developing crop is an important part of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. Sometimes an area not considered is the impact of beneficial insects. Curtis Young discussed important factors to consider when controlling pests at the 2020 Conservation Tillage Conference.

“Not all arthropod organisms (insects) are pests. There are beneficial insects, spiders, predatory mites, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and nematodes,” Young said. “Each of these has a role in managing and suppressing pest populations in the field.”

Dr. Curtis Young, OSU Extension

Beneficial insects play many key roles in crop production. Pollination is an important function; pest control is another.

“There are insects, spiders, mites and others that eat the harmful insects. These are often referred to as biological control agents. They include predators, parasitoids and parasites,” Young said. “They are useful at suppressing pest species populations like aphids, mites, and scale insects.”

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Ohio Soybean Council Foundation awards $44,000 in scholarships

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) is pleased to announce the 13 scholarship recipients for the 2020-2021 academic year.

This is the thirteenth year for the OSCF Scholarship Program, which was created to encourage undergraduate students to pursue degrees in one of the many academic fields that support the future of the soybean industry, including agriculture, business, communication, economics, education, science and technology, as well as to support ongoing graduate-level research. Since 2008, the OSCF scholarship program has awarded over $390,000 in scholarship funds to students studying agriculture or a related field at Ohio colleges or universities.

“I want to congratulate our 2020-2021 scholarship recipients,” said Bill Bateson, OSC board chairman, soybean farmer from Hancock County and scholarship selection committee member. “It seems like each year our decision is made more difficult because of the incredible talent and dedication to agriculture these students have.”

 

Undergraduate winners

A $3,000 undergraduate scholarship was awarded to:

  • Kevin Fruth of Fostoria, Ohio, a junior at the University of Toledo studying chemical engineering.
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Phosphorus progress in Ohio

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

Heilmann Farms has been operating for nearly a century in Lucas County, just off the shores of Lake Erie. In that time, plenty has changed on the farm. In the last couple of decades, on-farm changes have included a significant reduction in phosphorus applications on the farm.

Phosphorus, of course, has been the source of extensive scrutiny in terms of water quality around the state, particularly in Lake Erie. In the case of Heilmann Farms, reducing phosphorus levels in their fields makes agronomic, economic and environmental sense.

“We have been deficit applying fertilizer for 20 years drawing down high fertility levels in fields. We intensely soil sample, and have developed yield management zones. We soil sample the heavier clay soils every three years, and soil sample the sand farms every other year,” said Jake Heilmann.… Continue reading

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Ethanol gets a win from Trump Administration

The Trump Administration recently chose to not appeal a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that struck down certain small refinery exemptions (SRE) under the Renewable Fuels Standard.

“We are pleased to see the administration has not filed to appeal for an en banc hearing by the Tenth Circuit. While this is a win for our members, our fight is not over. Refiners have filed a request to appeal the January decision, and the Trump administration can still file to appeal in the Supreme Court,” said Patty Mann, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Because of these realities, our team at Ohio Corn & Wheat will remain vigilant on this issue and keep our members engaged with their elected officials.”

The original challenge was brought against EPA in May 2018 by the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union in response to the massive demand destruction caused by the Agency’s illegal and indiscriminate use of SREs.… Continue reading

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Nutrient management tools aplenty in industry offerings

By Matt Reese

As more emphasis is being placed on nutrient management, the agricultural industry is responding with new innovations or new spins on old ones. Here is a small sampling of some industry innovation on the subject.

“We realize that nutrient management and application of fertilizer is a critical piece of the planting process. No planter is the same with that so we have decided to partner with SureFire Ag who is really a specialist in the industry to provide the best fertilizer solution as a factory installed item for any customer,” said Brad Niensteadt with Kinze. “We want to dive in and make sure the fertilizer solution we provide to them is exactly what they want to get the most bang for their fertilizer buck. We just started that partnership and we are just starting the early order season for the 2021 planting season in April. You can start configuring your SureFire ag fertilizer solutions in April.”… Continue reading

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ODA accepting specialty crop grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting grant applications for the 2020 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Funds from this grant are given to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. The application deadline for these specialty crop grants is Thursday, April 30, 5 p.m. EST.

Grants will range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $150,000, and should focus on improving marketing, trainings, food safety, pest control and plant health for specialty crops. Projects must identify at least one expected measurable outcome that specifically demonstrates the project’s impact on enhancing the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.

Applications are open to producer groups, trade associations, nonprofits, colleges and universities. All applicants must be able to provide a minimum match of 25% of the requested grant amount.

Projects that have a focus on the benefit a commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual will not be considered. … Continue reading

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eFields – 2019 Results Webinar

OSU Extension is offering a great opportunity to get an update on last year’s research without leaving the comfort of your home or farm office. With the directives to limit group meeting size, a webinar has been put together to review the 2019 results from all the eFields work. This will take place on Wednesday, March 25 from 9-10:00 a.m.

To register, visit http://go.osu.edu/efieldswebinar

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Exporting soybeans during a pandemic

By Daniele Siqueira, AgRural

My plan for this week was to write something not related to the coronavirus pandemic, since many of us already seem to be sick of so much information (and, unfortunately, misinformation disguised as clickbait headlines) about the disease and the measures that have been taken around the world to control its spread. But things have escalated fast here in Brazil over the last few days and it is impossible to keep going as if everything was normal. Right now, nothing is normal.

Although many Brazilian farmers have been selling soybeans at record prices, thanks to our weakening currency (a direct result of the risk aversion caused by the pandemic), some of them are not exactly in a bed of roses. In central and northeastern states, there are farmers who have debts in US dollars, due to the type of credit they use, and those debts have skyrocketed in just a few weeks.Continue reading

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Optimizing soybean planting decisions

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

Adjusting management practices and optimizing soybean yields based on the planting date was the topic of a presentation by Manni Singh, Assistant Professor of Cropping Systems from Michigan State University at the Conservation Tillage Conference.

“We set the yield potential of soybeans when we plant them, and then we work the rest of the season to protect that yield potential,” Singh said. “We manage the planting date, we manage insects, and we manage diseases.”

Manni Singh, Agronomic Cropping Systems Specialist, Michigan State University

According to data collected by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA), over the last 100 years, total rainfall has gone up by 11%. Of that rainfall, 37% occurs in heavy storm precipitation events.

“These extreme weather events in the spring cause poor field conditions and a variable planting window that farmers need to manage,” Singh said.

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As the world panics about coronavirus, Brazil sells soybeans

The coronavirus hysteria was, at least for a while, just a distant freak show that we were watching on TV and, for those who work with financial and commodity markets, on price charts too.

Since last week, however, COVID-19 is already part of our daily life here in Brazil. First with a few Brazilians who had been to Europe and tested positive after coming home; a couple of days later with people who have never been abroad getting ill; and now with almost everybody in line at supermarkets and drugstores, buying tons of toilet paper, food and, last but not least, alcohol to disinfect the hands and lift the spirits.

And let’s not forget that our President, Jair Bolsonaro, might be ill too, amid all the confusion around the results of his test. Positive? Negative? Who’s lying? Who’s telling the truth? Why was he wearing a mask? Has President Trump been infected too, since he met Bolsonaro in Florida just a few days ago?Continue reading

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Soybean research recap

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

Soybean fertility studies, relative maturity, row width, seeding rates, and the benefits of adding wheat to the rotation were just a few of the topics covered by Laura Lindsey in a presentation given at the Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada last week.

“A study conducted from 2013-2015 with 199 farmers in Ohio looked at cultural practices, and measured soil fertility and

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains specialist

soil cyst nematode levels in 600 fields,” said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean and small grains specialist. “The study investigated both the highest yielding areas of the field and lowest yielding areas of each field and compared them. Soil fertility was a primary factor that accounted for yield differences.”

When evaluating soil test phosphorus (P), 65% of the fields had at least a portion of the field that needed P fertilizer.

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