Crops



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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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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