Crops



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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Last chance for farm bill program sign-up March 16

Agricultural producers who have not yet completed their 2019 crop year elections for and enrollment in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs must schedule an appointment to do so with their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) by Monday, March 16.

“To date, more than 1.4 million contracts have been signed for the 2019 crop year. This represents 89 percent of expected enrollment with less than a week left for producers to get on FSA’s appointment books,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “If you’ve not completed your elections or enrollment, the clock is ticking, and your program eligibility is at stake; so please call FSA today and request an appointment.”

Producers who do not contact FSA for an appointment by close of business local time on Monday, March 16 will not be enrolled in ARC or PLC for the 2019 crop year and will be ineligible to receive a payment should one trigger for an eligible crop.… Continue reading

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The role of soil microbes

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Soil microbes are abundant, making nutrients available to plants. There are more soil microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth. Most soil microbes exist under starvation conditions and are dormant, especially in tilled soils. There are 1,000-2,000 times more microbes near active live roots than tilled soil, and each microbe is a soluble bag of plant available fertilizer. Active roots supply 25-45% of their total root carbohydrates to feed the microbes. The plants feed the soil microbes sugars and the microbes supply the plant with amino acids, soil nutrients, and water.

Bacteria, actinomycetes, and protozoa tolerate soil disturbance and dominate in tilled soils. Fungi and nematode populations tend to dominate no-till soils with live plants. Recent research shows that humus originates mainly from the dead bodies of microbes stacked up in the soil. Good soil is just a graveyard for dead microbes!

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In Brazil, it’s time to pay attention to “safrinha” corn

With half of the soybean harvest complete in Brazil by Mar 5, it is time, again, to take a look at the second corn crop, also known as “safrinha”, which is being planted later than normal due to a delay in the soybean crop, caused by irregular rains in the last quarter of 2019.

Until last week, 80% of the projected area had been planted in south-central Brazil, in line with the five-year average, but only because top producer Mato Grosso has nearly finished sowing, according to AgRural data. In other states, the ideal window is already closed or about to end and farmers are working at full steam to avoid planting a large area during the second half of March.

Riskier crop
The late planting makes the second corn crop more susceptible to yield losses caused by dryness and/or freezing temperatures during pollination and grain filling. Despite the delay, Brazil is likely to increase its area by around 3%, thanks to very attractive prices – a result of strong demand and a weakening Brazilian real against the dollar.Continue reading

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Corn planting date considerations

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

For much of the Eastern Corn Belt it is widely understood that the optimal planting period is between April 20th and May 10th. Research has proven that corn loses yield potential daily when planted after the beginning of May. For the Central Corn Belt, the declines in yield potential due to planting delays vary from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May. Knowing that this is true, it can be frustrating during a wet spring or when field work is delayed for one reason or another. Planting is a critical component of a successful crop as it sets the stage for the entire growing season. However, it is important to keep in mind that early planting is just one of many factors that contribute to high yield potential. Planting early favors high yields, but it does not guarantee them and growers should not focus entirely on the calendar.… Continue reading

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Transition to organic grains workshop

By Eric Richer, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Is your farming operation looking for alternatives to commodity corn and soybeans? Have you been wondering how to add value to your operation? On Tuesday, April 7th from 9 am to 2 pm at the Robert Fulton Agriculture Center, 8770 State Route 108, Wauseon, OH, OSU Extension will be hosting a discussion of the opportunities and challenges associated with growing a value-added, organic grain crop. This discussion will be open to current, transitioning, or interested organic farmers, farmland owners, venders and grain buyers. The workshop will address three primary hurdles for transitioning to organic grains: market options, weed control and organic documentation.

Speakers include Julia Barton, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, discussing the organic transition process including the required documentation and approved products for use. Then Dani Kusner, The Andersons-Organic Division, will walk through key organic agronomy principles that could possibly require a mindset change on your farm.… Continue reading

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Ohio receives malt barley endorsement

Ohio Corn & Wheat is excited to announce that efforts for Ohio to receive a Malt Barley Endorsement (MBE) have been successful. We are pleased to share that the Malt Barley Endorsement was voted on, and approved, by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to include 35 counties in the state of Ohio. Eligibility begins starting with the 2020-2021 crop.

Counties included in the Malt Barley Endorsement include: Allen, Butler, Champaign, Columbiana, Crawford, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Knox, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Miami, Ottawa, Pickaway, Preble, Putnum, Ross, Sandusky, Shelby, Trumbull, Union, Wayne, Wood, and Wyandot.

The Malt Barley Endorsement provides additional quality protection (based on the specifications from malting barley contracts or special provisions if insuring under a malting barley price agreement) for malting barley acreage that is insured under the Small Grains Crop Provisions. MBE incorporates projected and harvest prices based on malting barley contracts versus using projected and harvest prices from the Commodity Exchange Price Provisions. … Continue reading

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Cover crop termination

By Alyssa Essman and Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension, Weed Science Specialist

The 2019 growing season came and went and left many fields in a state of disarray heading into 2020. Many growers that were unable to plant decided to use cover crops, to reduce soil erosion and provide some weed suppression during the extended fallow period. Terminating these cover crops using the right methods at the right time will be critical to ensure timely planting and prevent the cover crops from competing with cash crops. The three main methods of cover crop termination are natural (species that winter kill), chemical, and mechanical. Cover crops may also be bailed, grazed, or harvested as silage. Most species require some sort of management decision for termination. Cover crop species, growth stage, weather, and cover cropping goals should all be considered when planning termination method and timing. These decisions require a balance between growing the cover long enough to maximize benefits and terminating in time to prevent potential penalties to the following cash crop.

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Innovative nitrogen producing microbial for corn

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Field Leader, CCA

Nitrogen loss from synthetic fertilizer is a concern for many farmers as it is a loss in potential bushels, and also can be harmful to the environment.

“Research has found in some light soils, as much as 40% to 60% of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer can be lost due to volatilization into the air,” said Mark Reisinger, vice president of commercial operations with Pivot Bio.

The timing of nitrogen (N) application can also be an issue. Having the N available to the crop in a usable form, when the plant needs it can be hit or miss. Traditionally, synthetic N fertilizer is applied multiple times throughout the growing season to feed the soil, and meet a growing crop’s needs.

A microbe was found in Missouri, and new microbial product has been developed utilizing it to capture N from the air, and deliver it to a corn crop in a form that can be utilized.… Continue reading

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Attendance record set at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio

By Matt Reese

A record number of farmers converged in San Antonio in late February for the 2020 Commodity Classic.

The total number of farmers registered was 4,678 — the highest number in the show’s 24-year history, eclipsing the previous record of 4,595 set in 2016 in New Orleans. Total registration of 9,350 was also second only to the New Orleans event.

The event was held Feb. 27, 28 and 29 and featured dozens of educational sessions, a huge trade show with nearly 400 exhibitors, a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, a concert performance by Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry, policy meetings of the commodity associations, a wide variety of presentations from well-known industry leaders and top farmers, and tours of area attractions.

Ohio’s farmer leaders were on hand to set policy and the stage for what they are hoping will be a great 2020 for U.S.… Continue reading

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Challenges linger from 2019

By Alan Sundermeier, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

As farmers are preparing for the 2020 cropping season, the challenges of 2019 may still linger. There are basically three scenarios which will influence 2020 cropping practices.

Corn or soybeans were planted
Yes, there were some acres of corn planted last year in northwest Ohio. Storage of low test weight and higher moisture corn is creating mold and damaged grain. Above normal winter temperatures and humid air have interfered with proper aeration of storage bins. Farmers need to monitor grain bins and be prepared to unload before spring temperatures rise. Also, fall tillage was not done due to wet soil conditions. This may change tillage plans this spring. No-till soybeans into corn stalks are a better alternative.

Soybeans were planted later than normal in 2019. As a result, less wheat was planted last fall due to the late soybean harvest. Will more acres of 2020 soybeans be planted into those same 2019 soybean fields?… Continue reading

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March looking to be warmer, not as wet

By Jim Noel, NOAA

A warmer than normal March is now anticipated. This is a change toward the warmer side. This will speed green up conditions and start evapotranspiration early this spring. This will also help to dry out our really wet soils, a little bit at least. The bottom line is things are shaping up to not be as tough this spring.

The outlook for March calls for above normal temperatures and near to a little bit above normal rain (but not as wet as it had looked like several weeks ago) https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

The spring outlook calls for things to be warmer and slightly wetter than normal but not as wet as last year. The summer is still leaning toward warmer than normal but a swing toward drier than normal.

Hence, the planting season appears not as tough as last year but there still could be some summer challenges ahead as dryness could develop.… Continue reading

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Strip-till advantages

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Spring tillage warms the soil because each tillage pass reduces soil moisture by 0.5 to1.0-acre inch. It takes 10X more energy to warm up cold wet soil then air, so a tilled warmer, moist, well aerated corn seed may germinate faster.  Tillage create good seed-to-soil contact for even and consistent corn stands and also kills early weeds which may reduce yields 10%.  Tillage also burns up carbon and mineralizes soluble nutrients (50 PPM nitrates) for faster early corn growth. These early tillage benefits are the main reason why farmers do annual tillage.

The downside risks though are also a problem.  Tillage causes higher soil erosion, soils start to seal as the soil organic matter is mineralized (40-60% loss in SOM in last 75 years), soils become tighter, harder to farm, less water infiltration, ponding water, and higher water and nutrient runoff. Weeds and other pests (insects and diseases) thrive on tilled soils, and generally more inputs (fertilizer, fuel, equipment, pesticides) are needed to get good yields.

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Plenty of highlights from day one of CTC

Farmers and CCAs again crowded the halls and meeting rooms on Ohio Northern University’s campus for the Conservation Tillage Conference that started yesterday and continues today.

One highlight from the morning program was the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Program announcement of Wesley Haun from West Liberty as the 2020 CCA of the Year. Haun is the senior agronomist at Tiger-Sul Products, LLC. With more than 32 years of crop advising experience and service, he was one of the earliest Certified Crop Advisers. As planting season approaches, Hahn is helping customers rebound from the challenges of last year.

“We’re helping farmers sort through the decisions they have to make from a crop production standpoint. We have a lot of fields from last year that were left fallow. We also have to sort through what fertility was applied,” Hahn said. “There was also the potential for weeds and that dynamic has to be considered as well.… Continue reading

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Determining the proper corn plant population

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

One factor that greatly influences corn yields is plant population. Determining the correct plant population may take some effort, however, it is a critical factor that every corn grower needs to get right in order to maximize yields. Recent research performed by universities and seed companies has determined that that yields increase significantly as populations are increased up to a point of 34,000 seeds per acre. In general, yields begin to level off at planting rates around rates 36,000 seeds per acre. Recent studies have also determined that even in low yield environments planting rates of 31,000 seeds per acre maximize yield and economic return. In very productive, 250 bushels per acre yield environments, research results show that higher populations (38,000+ seeds per acre) maximize yields. Breeding and advances in genetics have improved the modern corn plant’s ability to yield at higher populations when compared to corn hybrids from the past.… Continue reading

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Compaction or poor soil structure?

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Engineers insist that soil compaction is caused by wheel traffic (true) but it also comes from excessive tillage, rain (think hard driving rains) and gravity (to a lesser degree).  Soil compaction is poor soil structure due to a lack of roots and active carbon (soil organic matter, SOM) from root exudates.  Tillage adds soil oxygen that promote bacteria that breaks down the good soil structure (macro-aggregates, macro’s) or soil that crumbles.  The glues that form the macro’s comes from plant roots and microbial waste or byproducts.  Bacteria wastes are important for cementing soil particles into micro-aggregates (micros) while fungi are important for producing glomalin that cement micro’s together into macro’s. Micro’s are the building blocks to good soil structure, but without the glues, they cause poor soil structure or compacted soils.  A balance of soil bacteria and fungus are needed for good soil structure.

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Brazil harvests a record crop amid export uncertainties

With 40% of its soybean area harvested by the end of February and favorable weather conditions in most of the country, Brazil is definitely headed for a record production this season.

In early February, AgRural raised its production estimate to 125.6 million metric tons, more than 10 million tons up from last year. There are drought-related losses, however, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state and number-three soybean producer.

AgRural has already made two cuts to the forecasted production for the state since the beginning of the year and further reductions will be made in March. Other states, on the other hand, have very good prospects and are likely to make up for most of the losses in Rio Grande.

Exports
Even with a bumper crop, Brazil is likely to export less soybeans in 2020. Before the coronavirus outbreak in China, AgRural had estimated exports at 70 million metric tons, 4 million metric tons down from 2019, due to an expected increase in the US exports to China.Continue reading

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ODA hemp program to begin accepting applications

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Hemp Program will begin accepting license applications from potential cultivators and processors for the 2020 growing season on March 3 at noon. All cultivators and processors are required to obtain a license and can apply online at www.agri.ohio.gov at that time.

The Department created hemp rules, which passed through a review and public comment process, were approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), and went into effect on Jan. 29. Ohio’s Hemp Program is one of just three approved by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Hemp is a cannabis plant, grown for its many industrial uses. It does not produce the intoxicating effects of the cannabis plant, marijuana. Hemp yields a strong fiber, used in textiles. The seed has nutritional value and can be eaten, and Cannabidiol, or CBD, can be extracted from the plant. CBD is now being used in food and dietary supplements.… Continue reading

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