Oxygen a vital nutrient for corn

There are many things in life that we take for granted, such as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, April 15 being tax day and a salesman showing up just before you were wanting to leave early for the day! There are also some things in the world of crop production we take for granted — it will be hot in August and the weather forecast modules are always wrong after we mow hay.

Crop nutrients can be taken for granted as well, with oxygen being one of those. Growers spend considerable amount of time talking and managing nutrients such as N, P and K (and if we are in a really risky group we may whisper the words boron and zinc). But to bring up oxygen at the coffee shop as a vital nutrient we should manage — that will reward you with the bill.… Continue reading

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Increasing fan speed can help with scabby wheat

Wheat harvest in now in progress and will continue over the next several days before and after the next showers. Early reports on grain quality indicate that a few fields may have moderate levels of scabby grain, and consequently could have vomitoxin contamination above thresholds set by grain buyers. The threshold set by the US Food and Drug Administration for harvested grain intended for animal and human consumption is 2 ppm, but elevators may accept grain with slightly higher levels, depending on how big of a problem we have and whether or not they can find clean grain to blend. Although head scab was not widespread across the state this year, there were a few small pockets with 10 to 15% scab incidence (10 to 15 out of every 100 heads with some amount of scab). These will likely be the fields with the biggest grain quality and vomitoxin problems. In addition, the rains we have had over the last few weeks may have contributed to making the situation worst, increasing scabby grain and vomitoxin levels and reducing test weight beyond what you would expect based on the observed levels of scab.… Continue reading

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2015 western Ohio cropland value and rent

Ohio cropland varies significantly in its production capabilities and cropland values and cash rents vary widely throughout the state. Generally speaking, western Ohio cropland values and cash rents differ from much of southern and eastern Ohio cropland values and cash rents. This is due to a number of factors including land productivity and potential crop return, the variability of those crop returns, field size and shape, drainage, population density, ease of access, market access, local market prices, potential for wildlife damage, field perimeter characteristics and competition for rented cropland in a region.

Western Ohio cropland values and cash rental rates are projected to decrease in 2015 due in large part to continued low to negative profit margin prospects for Ohio’s three major row crops (corn, soybeans and wheat). According to the Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents Survey, bare cropland values are expected to decrease from 5.2% to 11.9% in 2015 depending on the region and land class.… Continue reading

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Is your corn N deficient?

June 2015 has been a very wet month in most of the Corn Belt setting new records in many places. Some of the corn fields I have visited recently are showing N-deficiency symptoms. Nitrogen is one of the most important elements needed by all green plants for chlorophyll production and for photosynthesis. Urgent action is needed in some fields to save this crop.

• If lower leaves of your corn crop are getting yellowish, starting in mid-rib and moving towards edges, there is a good chance it is a sign of N-deficiency.

• Should you apply additional nitrogen? It depends on how, when and how much nitrogen you have already applied? Did you apply it in the fall and use a nitrogen stabilizer? What form of nitrogen did you use? Do you generally sidedress?

• Some people have suggested soil testing before sidedressing. Well, that may be OK if you had plenty of time, but in my opinion, these tests during the growing season are not reliable, especially with lot of rains we have experienced in June this year.… Continue reading

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I have now been called out to numerous sites to look at striped corn. For the most part it looks like we have multiple reasons for the issue. Some, maybe many, of these are self-inflicted wounds — others are weather related as we have too much rain.

If the crop, corn or beans, has an actively growing root system then we don’t see much of a problem. However, if we have an excess of water, very dry soils or a compaction layer then nutrient uptake is reduced. Rarely do I expect to find actual nutrient deficiencies in these cases.

What do we do if we suspect a real deficiency? Check first to make sure that something else isn’t going on — such as the restricted root growth scenario.

Things to check if that’s not the case:

  • Soil pH — this means grabbing a soil sample from the poor looking area and from the good looking area nearby to compare.
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Stress during ear development affects corn yield

Understanding how corn ears respond to stress can help determine what stress was present, when the stress occurred, and how to mitigate the stress in the future.

Environmental stresses during any of four ear development stages significantly affect the number and weight of harvestable kernels. The four critical stages are: (1) when the corn ear is setting the maximum number of kernel rows around the ear (approximately V7), (2) when the ear is establishing the maximum number of ovules along the length of the ear (just before pollination), (3) when the maximum number of ovules are pollinated to form kernels (at pollination), and (4) when the ear sets maximum kernel size during the latter portion of grain fill (approximately R3 to R5).

The first yield component determined by a corn plant is the development of ovule rows on the ear, which begins at about the V7 growth stage. Each ovule row will eventually divide to produce a pair of rows.… Continue reading

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Mid-season insect pests and disease

Corn insects we may see in July are European corn borer and new to northern Ohio the Western bean cutworm. See your Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Alfalfa  Field Guide for images and scouting suggestions.

If you are in continuous corn, watch for Western corn rootworm. This pest has reappeared in areas of the central cornbelt in continuous corn situations, apparently overcoming the Bt insect protection trait. Entomologists say the breakdown of this insect protection trait was expected. Let us know if you see unexpectedly lodged corn.

Soybean aphids were a surprise to many of us last year in central to west central Ohio. From past experience, 2015 is expected to be an “aphid year” so plan to scout for this invasive pest. Typically we hear reports in northern Ohio about July 1 and to central Ohio about August 1. See the Field Guide for recommendations on aphid speed scouting.

Last year we had northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot begin to appear by early July.… Continue reading

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The flood of 2015

While extended periods of wet weather are not uncommon in Ohio, the magnitude and duration of the flooding problems early in the 2015 will define the growing season for some farms. The problem of flooding has been particularly severe in northwest Ohio — some areas have never really dried out all spring.

“It has been a really trying spring. After talking to some guys from insurance companies in Defiance County, it looks like we are sitting at really close to 100,000 non-planted acres there. Then we just got five plus inches of rain and things were wet before that,” said Joe Nester, with Nester Ag based in northwest Ohio in late June. “We have some really serious crop conditions in the whole northwest corner of the state. Northeast Indiana is in the same boat at northwest Ohio. We have some serious root problems with our corn crop. With beans we have had a disease environment for 40 days now.… Continue reading

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Ohio field crops face challenges from too much water


For corn that survives significant flooding, there could be a season of challenges ahead.

“Even if the ponding doesn’t kill plants outright, it may have a long-term negative impact on crop performance. Growers need to watch their fields closely for root and stalk rot, which can lead to lodging problems later in the season and could have negative impact on yields,” said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist. “The muddy, saturated fields have prevented producers from being able to spray and fertilize causing concerns over disease, growing pest presence, and increasing weed pressure. Fields washed out from prior rain events have yet to be replanted due to continued rain, and there is speculation it will be too late to replant. Yellowing of field crops and areas of sudden death are popping up around the state.”

Thomison said that moving forward, the success of flooded corn is dependent on three factors: what growth stage the crops were in at the time of the flooding event; how long the plants experienced ponding; and the air and soil temperatures during the event.… Continue reading

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USDA report sends bullish signals

Today’s report sent shock waves to the bear. Both corn and soybean stocks were bullish and below the average trade estimate. Two weeks ago the bears thought they were in control and more downside ahead. But, Mother Nature again proved who is boss. This was a market that seemed dead two weeks ago. It just goes to show how quickly things can change. Corn stocks were 108 million bushels below expected, soybean stocks 45 million bushels below expected.

Corn acres were estimated at 88.897 million acres, and below trade estimates of 89.292 million acres. Soybean acres were estimated at 85.139 million acres, with the trade estimate at 85.17 million acres

Shortly after the report came out, a customer asked what the grain limits currently are.  Corn is 30 cents, soybeans 70 cents, with wheat at 40 cents.

Just prior to the report corn and soybeans were down one cent, with wheat down four cents. Continue reading

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New funding available for northwest Ohio farmers to help protect water quality

Amid the flooded fields of northwest Ohio in late June, officials from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) announced $17.5 million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help protect water quality in the western basin of Lake Erie.

The five-year RCPP agreement was signed in May and is now ready to assist farmers in installing a variety of best management practices that will keep nutrients on fields and improve water quality. Program enrollment officially kicks off for Ohio, Michigan and Indiana farmers in designated watersheds on Wednesday, July 1, and runs through Friday, July 17, and farmers will be able to sign up at their local USDA Service Center.

This multi-state project includes more than 40 collaborating public and private sector organizations with representation from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, state and local governments, as well as nonprofit entities, universities and private sector businesses.

These organizations have committed resources to leverage $17.5 million in federal funds by contributing more than $28 million to the programs for the reduction of phosphorus and sediment to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin.… Continue reading

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Wheat tour showcases U.S. varieties to E.U. buyers

A European trade team representing Spain, Italy and Malta recently spent a week touring wheat fields in North Dakota, Minnesota and Ohio.

“Tours like this one are important for all U.S. wheat growers,” said Brad Moffitt with the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program. “Our visitors for this tour are more hard wheat and durum customers but they blend a lot of wheat as well which means they do have an interest in the soft wheat as well.”

In fact, Soft Red Wheat (SRW) was the top U.S. wheat class imported during the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 marketing years. During those two years, roughly 80% of the SRW was imported by Spain and 15% was imported by Italy. The European Union has not imported any SRW since June of 2013, but this can change quickly if it is competitively priced, which is why Ohio was a part of this U.S. Wheat Associates sponsored tour.… Continue reading

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NCGA defends RFS

The top leadership of the National Corn Growers Association was well represented at today’s field hearing regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce the volume of ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

NCGA President Chip Bowling of Maryland and Chairman Martin Barbre joined scores of farmers and others on-hand in Kansas City, Kan., to speak of the importance of domestic, renewable fuels to the nation. The EPA’s proposal would cut nearly 4 billion gallons of ethanol from the RFS through 2016, representing nearly a billion and a half bushels in lost corn demand.

“We simply cannot afford — and will not tolerate — efforts to cut the demand for corn, and that’s exactly what your proposal will do,” Bowling told the EPA. “We cannot let this stand. We’ve done our part, and our allies in the ethanol industry have done their part. It’s time the EPA sided with those of us supporting a domestic, renewable fuel that’s better for the environment.”… Continue reading

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OSU to hold grain bin rescue demonstration

Agriculture safety experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will hold a demonstration June 26 to help educate growers on grain bin safety.

Ohio State University Extension educators, first responders with the Ohio Fire Academy and Paulding County firefighters will hold the grain bin rescue demonstration at 6:30 p.m. at the Paulding County OSU Extension Office, 503 Fairground Drive in Paulding.

The demonstration is part of a two-day training program for farm families, 4-H youth, grain bin elevator employees, firefighters and first responders, said Sarah Noggle, an OSU Extension educator. The program will include demonstrations using the Grain Community Agricultural Rescue Trailer (C.A.R.T.) – Ohio’s first grain rescue simulator

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

The Friday portion of the event will feature a grain bin rescue demonstration designed to create awareness of grain bin safety for the general public, Noggle said.

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The farmer-level effects of a Monsanto acquisition of Syngenta

In recent weeks, Monsanto has made multiple efforts to acquire Syngenta. Thus far, attempts have been rejected by Syngenta, but Monsanto shows no signs of backing down.

Although the initial offer of $45 billion was made in private, the matter became very public due, in part, to a YouTube video released by Syngenta laying out the parameters of what they called an unworkable deal.

“We have unanimously concluded that the proposal significantly undervalued Syngenta’s prospects, but also really underestimated the huge execution risk of this transaction as well as the substantial damage that could occur to our integrated business,” said Michel Demaré, Chairman of Syngenta’s Board of Directors. “The second proposal was much easier to make a decision on because it was a copy paste of the first proposal.”

The only difference in Monsanto’s second offer was a $2 billion payment to Syngenta if the merger failed to get regulatory approval.… Continue reading

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Be patient with wet fields of hay

I know many hay producers reading this article are frustrated by the rainy weather. They know that forage quality is declining with each day that goes by (and why did I have to state the obvious, right?). However, I want to urge hay producers to change their focus and be patient, to make sure their hayfields are dry enough to support their equipment before they try to get out on them once the sun starts to shine again.

The loss of quality in one cutting, even the complete loss of the value of one cutting, is less than ruining a forage stand for the remainder of its productive life by running equipment on ground that is still too soft, especially if it is a younger stand. So do what is really easy for me to say, but super hard to practice right now – just be patient. Take the long look and wait until the field is dry enough to support the equipment without damaging the forage stand.Continue reading

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Western Agronomy Field Day

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will hold a Western Agronomy Field Day July 15, offering farmers, farm managers, certified crop advisors and other industry professionals an opportunity to learn more about new agronomic technologies, organizers said.

The field day is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and the Ohio Soybean Council, said Joe Davlin, manager of the Western Agricultural Research Station. The research station is part of OARDC.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

“The field day is designed to educate producers and agribusiness personnel involved in producing and protecting agricultural commodities about the potential threats for this growing season, and how to apply new technology toward successful agricultural production,” he said.

Topics to be addressed during the field day include:

* Manganese foliar applications on soybeans.

* Issues with seed corn maggots and corn rootworm.… Continue reading

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Watch for soybean diseases after big rains

I looked at the soybean prices on Sunday – all were still less than $10/Bushel.  This price combined with yield losses due to late planting, extra expenses for additional late weed control, and flood injury really put the kibosh on all but the most guaranteed return on investment for the remainder of 2015.  Here are a few guidelines, results from our studies in Ohio that point to the best return on investment.

Foliar pathogens have the most impact on soybeans at the later growth stages (R3 to R6) by reducing the photosynthetic area of the leaves that contribute to pod development and seed growth (  Soybeans also have an uncanny ability to compensate for missing neighbors.  The profitability measure for the 2015 season will be to scout for the occurrence of diseases after flowering R3 and choose the best fungicide if necessary.

  1. Septoria brown spot.  This is a lower canopy disease, which surprisingly, we have not been getting too many reports of this year. 
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Saving unplanted soybean seed for next year

Due to wet weather, a few farmers in northwest Ohio have not yet planted soybean.  Can this soybean seed be saved and planted next year?

1.)  Check with your seed dealer.  Your seed dealer may have options available to return seed.  Check with your seed dealer to see what your options are.

2.)  Store seed in a climate and humidity controlled environment.  High temperature and relative humidity increases the rate of seed deterioration.  Iowa State University researchers found when soybean seed was stored in a non-climate controlled warehouse (temperature ranging 18-82°F and relative humidity ranging 37-74%), the seed did not maintain adequate quality.  Seed that was put into controlled cold storage (50-52°F and 53-67% relative humidity) or warm storage (77-79°F and 20-42% relative humidity) resulted in seed that could be safely held for the next season’s planting.

3.)  Test seed quality before planting.  If seed is to be saved for next year’s planting,make sure to test the seed quality before planting. … Continue reading

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RFS proposal offers long awaited good news for biodiesel

Corn and soybean growers waited, and waited, and waited for the Environmental Protection Agency to release Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules that determine the volume of Ohio biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply. By law, EPA is supposed to finalize biomass-based diesel volumes 14 months in advance of the applicable year, making the agency significantly overdue in setting the volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016 with the release of the proposal in May.

After the long wait ethanol supporters were not pleased with the RFS numbers, but for biodiesel backers it was a different story, which will likely be reflected in the 60-day public comment period that ends on July 27.

“This is an RFS that is not perfect, but it is an RFS that works well for biodiesel,” said Adam Ward with the Ohio Soybean Association. “The demand will not only come from the biodiesel category, but also the advanced biofuel category — biodiesel is the only domestic fuel that qualifies as an advanced biofuel.… Continue reading

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