Crops



$30 million allocated to agriculture in the lower Maumee River Watershed

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Sign-up for farmers to participate in the H2Ohio initiative, and receive incentives for implementing approved nutrient management practices begins in February at the local Soil and Water Conservation District offices. A series of meeting have been scheduled in Northwest Ohio to explain the application process for farmers in the 14 county area of the lower Maumee River Watershed who wish to participate in the H2Ohio program. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has announced that $30 million of funding designated for Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio program is available and a total of eight meetings have been scheduled during the month of February to explain the application process for H2Ohio funds and answer questions about the program’s conservation practices.

“In conjunction with details about H2Ohio, these meetings will also introduce the brand-new Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative (OACI) Farmer Certification program. This program is focused on conservation.

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Ohio Department of Agriculture suspends operations at Vista Grain, LLC

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) suspended all operations at Vista Grain, LLC in Washington Court House after discovering it was unable to cover its outstanding obligations to farmers. Vista Grain, LLC is located at 5738 Greenfield Sabina Road, Washington Court House, Ohio, with branch locations in Buena Vista and Lyndon. The grain handlers’ license, #6721, was suspended on Jan. 28 in order to prevent more outstanding obligations to be incurred and to facilitate a possible remedy via the Grain Indemnity Fund.

If you believe you have outstanding grain obligations with Vista Grain, LLC, please call ODA at 614-728-6410 or toll free at 800-282-1955. Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created in 1983 to reimburse farmers when a licensed handler becomes insolvent. Since the fund was established, it has reimbursed farmers more than $16 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators. Claims to the indemnity fund are handled through ODA’s Grain Feed & Seed Section in conjunction with the recommendation of the Ohio Commodity Advisory Commission.… Continue reading

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Brazil, a big corn and soybean belt

The ease of traveling within the United States has always impressed me since the first time I set foot in the Midwest, 13 years ago. Not only because of the mind-blowing transportation infrastructure (which looks even more amazing to my Brazilian eyes, very used to the logistical problems and challenges we have here), but also because doing a crop tour, for example, is painless, since most of the corn and soybean production is concentrated in the Midwest.

That’s why I can’t help a somewhat condescending smile when some American or other foreigner suggests a crop tour in Brazil’s corn and soybean belt. Of course we have crop tours – and very good ones. But driving, for example, from Mato Grosso to Paraná, Brazil’s top producing states, is very challenging, to say the least. Not only because we have bad and dangerous roads (despite all the improvements we’ve seen in the last few years), but also because they are very different states, with more than one thousand miles between them.

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Tenth Circuit Court strikes down EPA small refinery exemptions

In a decision that is expected to broadly impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to granting small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Jan. 24 struck down three exemptions that were improperly issued by EPA.

The court ruling stems from a May 2018 challenge brought against EPA by the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union.

“We are extremely pleased with the Tenth Circuit’s decision to vacate the waivers granted by EPA to three refineries owned by CVR Energy and HollyFrontier,” said Geoff Cooper, RFA president and CEO. “The Court has affirmed our long-held position that EPA’s recent practices and policies regarding small refinery exemption extensions were completely unlawful. And while the decision addresses three specific exemptions, the statutory interpretation issues resolved by the court apply much more broadly.”

Among other findings, the Court held that EPA cannot “extend” exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier, temporary exemptions had lapsed.… Continue reading

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Micronutrient fertilization

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Recent research on photosynthesis shows the importance of adequate nutrient fertility. On average, corn plants only perform full blown photosynthesis about 10-20% of the time, even when weather conditions are ideal. Why? High rates of photosynthesis required essential mineral elements to build carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. If an essential nutrient is lacking or not in a plant available form, photosynthesis shuts down. High soil biological activity makes nutrients plant available. A healthy soil with living roots has 1000-2000X more microbes than a bare soil. Each microbe is a soluble bag of fertilizer full of plant available nutrients to feed the crop.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The availability of soil nutrients is dependent on three factors. One is the chemical form that it can be taken up by the plant.  Second is the proximity to actively absorbing plant root. Three is the soil nutrient must be in a soluble form that can be absorbed by plant roots. 

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2020 weed control strategies for waterhemp and Palmer amaranth

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

From a distance, Palmer amaranth, common waterhemp, and redroot pigweed can easily be mistaken for each other, but proper identification is a key to effective management. Each weed species is a growing problem in Ohio.

Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are relatively easy to separate from redroot pigweed when taking a closer look, because both the Palmer amaranth and waterhemp have smooth stems with no hair on them. Redroot pigweed has fine hairs on the stem.

“It is not critical to separately identify the Palmer amaranth from common waterhemp because the management strategy

Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension

is going to be similar for both,” said Jeff Stachler, Ohio State University Extension educator in Auglaize County. “Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are both dioecious plants, meaning they produce separate male plants and separate female plants. That causes a problem from the standpoint of diversity as every flower on a female plant could hypothetically have a unique male plant that pollinated each of the flowers.

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Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2020

By Barry Ward, Ohio State University Extension

A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation. Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work.” A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

Custom farming providers and customers often negotiate an agreeable custom farming machinery rate by utilizing Extension surveys results as a starting point.… Continue reading

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Macro and micro nutrients

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

A basic understanding of soil fertility is important for high crop production. All crops require seventeen essential nutrients for proper growth and development, the specific amount of each nutrient depends upon the crop. The atmosphere provides hydrogen and oxygen and carbon (most comes from the soil first). The rest must come from the soil and the amount available for a plant depends upon many factors such as the soil type, organic matter, pH, drainage, microbes, temperature, and rainfall. Soil nutrients are absorbed by water being pulled through the plant through transpiration and by roots intercepting the nutrient molecules.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Some nutrients are required in large amounts compared to other nutrients and are called primary or macro nutrients. Primary nutrients include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), or potassium (K). Nitrogen is used to form amino acids and proteins in the plant and most plants need 3-5.5% of their plant tissue biomass as N.

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Brazil headed for a bumper soy crop amid US-China deal

The 2019/20 soybean crop harvest has started with expectations for a record production in Brazil. Despite planting delays in some states due to irregular rains in the fourth quarter of 2019, production is pegged by consultancy AgRural at 123.9 million metric tons, 1.2 million up from the previous estimate and a new record for the country, above the 119 million metric tons produced two years ago.

By Jan 16, 1.8% of the soybean area had been harvest in Brazil, most of it in top producer Mato Grosso, where yield reports have been coming at the high end of expectations. In the rest of the country, soybeans still need beneficial weather conditions until at least the end of February to secure a bumper crop, since important states such as Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás had significant planting delays. All of them, however, have favorable weather forecasts.

Still at risk
In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, and in the North/Northeast region known as “Matopiba” (Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia), hot, dry conditions seen in December reduced the yield potential.… Continue reading

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Farming for cleaner water: Soil health sessions

American Farmland Trust (AFT) wants to help Ohio agriculture learn more about soil health. AFT is sponsoring a 2-hour session — same session offered three times over the course of 18 hours — in Ostrander, Mt. Victory and Waldo.

Hans Kok, Midwest Soil Health Specialist and Coordinator of the Indiana Cropping Systems Initiative and Indiana Conservation Partnership, will be the featured speaker at all three sessions. Hans will talk about the adoption of practices and cropping systems that can lead to improved soil health. Food will be provided at each stop.
The sessions are:

• Feb. 3, 2020 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Leb’s Pizza House 17 S. Main St. Ostrander

• Feb. 4, 2020 7:30 am – 9:00 am at Plaza Inn 491 S. Main St. Mt. Victory

• February 4, 2020 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at All Occasions Banquet Facility 6989 Waldo-Delaware Rd. Waldo.

RSVP by calling Mark Wilson at 614-506-7846.… Continue reading

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A look back at 2019 Crop Tour numbers

By Matt Reese

Rewind back to mid-August of 2019 when two groups from Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net took to the back roads of the state to take a peek at the yield potential following arguably the worst planting season in the state’s history. The 2019 Ohio Crop Tour was sponsored by AgroLiquid.

Of course, we found many fields (particularly in northwest Ohio) that were very late developmentally. This made estimating yields for the fields quite challenging. The corn yield potential was there in many fields, but the crop was in great need of a late frost and steady rainfall throughout the rest of the growing season to come close to achieving the yield potential we were seeing. Guess what happened…

Here is what we wrote at the end of the 2019 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour on Aug. 15: For corn, the average yield for the East was 175 bushels per acre, the average for the West was 167 bushels per acre and the overall average was 171 bushels.Continue reading

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Compaction: Where the rubber meets the road

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

It can be said that compaction occurs where the rubber meets the road, or in this case, the rubber meets the soil.

“If you think about how roads are designed and built, they are constructed to handle heavy loads. It comes down to a function of the axle weight,” said Ian McDonald, researcher from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. “Why do we think it is alright to put heavy axle weight on top of a biological ecosystem?”

In research conducted at Bern University by Matthias Stettler, it suggests that the axel load on equipment in a field should ideally be less than 5 tons per axle and tire inflation pressure should ideally be less than 15 pounds per square inch. Common field equipment axle loads are 7.5 tons per axle for a 200 horsepower 4-wheel-drive tractor, 13 tons per axle for a 325 horsepower 4-wheel-drive tractor, 24 tons per axle for a combine with a 12-row head, and 35 to 40 tons per axle for a 1200-bushel grain cart.

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Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Soybean Council energy study: Understanding the impact of demand charges and power factor in agriculture

Farmers have long explored options to provide energy savings associated with their agricultural operations. Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Soybean Council have partnered to provide research-based data driven tools to help Ohio farmers assess and navigate various energy infrastructure investment options for their farm. Specifically, the project team is interested in learning more about your experience and interest in implementing energy management strategies such as peak demand reduction, power factor correction, and/or the integration of solar generation systems to reduce electricity costs on your farm.

Farmers with commercial rate structures that charge for peak demand and poor power factor can implement equipment and management strategies to reduce electricity costs, thus increasing long-term profitability. However, very little is known about the economic feasibility of investing in equipment to reduce peak electric demand charges in agriculture. To determine the economic feasibility of implementing energy management strategies it is important to simultaneously study the real costs of installing new equipment, ongoing risks, challenges, as well as understanding how these improvements will influence the calculations of a farms electric bill a comprehensive manner.… Continue reading

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Soil compaction, choices and patience

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Management requires measurement. There are two forms of soil compaction that can be measured and then managed, said John Fulton, associate professor at the Ohio State University in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the recent Precision University 2020 meeting.

“To effectively manage compaction we need to both understand it and measure it. The first is surface compaction. This is the compaction that occurs at the upper soil layer.  It is considered to be within the tilled layer of soil. The second is subsoil or deep compaction. Subsoil compaction occurs below the tilled layer as a result of surface loading,” Fulton said. “There are four stages when dealing with compaction issues. They include: identifying areas of soil compaction,evaluating those compacted areas to determine both the cause and also severity, making plans to prevent future compaction, and developing plans to manage existing compaction.”

John Fulton, Associate Professor, Biosystems Engineering, The Ohio State University

Soil compaction can be defined as soil particles being compressed together and reducing the pore space.… Continue reading

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Plenty to consider at OSU Extension farm bill meetings

Farmers who prefer planting over paperwork could gain a lot from a series of upcoming meetings that will guide them through the tedium of signing up for farm safety net programs and crop insurance.

Ohio State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are partnering to offer free meetings across Ohio to help growers of commodities decide on a government farm program that will help protect them against dips in farm income.

By March 15, farmers of corn, soybeans, and wheat have to decide which one of three government farm programs they want to enroll in. Each offers different benefits. Those who sign up for Agriculture Risk Coverage at the County Level (ARC-CO) receive a payment whenever revenue on a particular commodity in the county where their farm is located runs below a guaranteed level.

Another option is Agriculture Risk Coverage at the Individual Level (ARC-IC), which triggers a payment when revenue falls below the guaranteed level. … Continue reading

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Northwest Ohio Corn & Soybean Day

By Eric Richer, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The annual Northwest Ohio Corn & Soybean Day is scheduled for Friday, January 17 in Founders Hall at Sauder Village in Archbold from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. The program has a variety of speakers, farmer/retailer re-certification credits and 30 exhibitors sharing information on management practices for the 2019 crop production season.

Topics and speakers for the day include:

Drainage for Crop Production and Soil Health

Eileen Kladivko, Professor, Purdue University

Biology and Management of Pigweeds

Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension, Auglaize County

Farmer Attitudes and Behaviors in WLEB

Robyn Wilson, Professor, OSU School of Natural Resources

Corn Nematodes

Abasola Simon, PhD Candidate, OSU Plant Pathology

CORE Pesticide Update

Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension, Williams County

Farm Bill Decision 2019-2020

Eric Richer, OSU Extension, Fulton County

Fumigation: Caring for your stored grain

Curtis Young, OSU Extension, Van Wert County

The following continuing education credits for pesticide and fertilizer applicators are offered throughout the day:

Private Pesticide Applicator Re-certification: 3hrs in categories Core, 1, 2, and 6.… Continue reading

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How recent corn losses will impact Brazilian exports in 2020?

The new year has started with crop woes in Brazil. No, I am not talking about soybeans, my favorite subject here and everywhere. I am talking about corn – the first corn crop, which has been damaged by hot, dry conditions in some southern producing areas.
And now you might be questioning whether a crop failure in Brazil could result in weaker exports here and, consequently, in more sales of US corn in 2020. That is a fair question. But the answer is no. The problems that Brazil’s first corn crop faces right now will not impact Brazilian exports.
As I have already explained a few weeks ago right here in this column, Brazil grows three corn crops a year. The first crop is harvested from January to May and represents about 25% of Brazilian total corn production. It is grown in states where weather conditions do not allow a second corn crop – which is planted from January to March, right after the soybean harvest.
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Hemp production workshop

Join experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and beyond in discovering Ohio’s possible new cash crop.

A workshop titled “Growing Hemp in Ohio: Separating Fact from Fiction,” featuring 10 sessions by 18 speakers, is set for Jan. 24 at the CFAES Wooster campus, about 60 miles south of Cleveland.

The event will look at the opportunities and challenges facing Ohio hemp growers. Subjects will include hemp plant basics, growing practices, business considerations, rules, and regulations.

Also offered is an optional program from 9:30 a.m. to noon the next day, Jan. 25, featuring six sessions by speakers from national and Ohio hemp-related businesses. Independence-based HempOhio is sponsoring the program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved Ohio’s hemp plans, making it legal for the state’s farmers to grow the crop.

Useful for making products including health food, paper, clothing, biofuels, bioplastics, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil, hemp is closely related to marijuana but lacks its psychoactive component, the chemical THC.… Continue reading

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2019 eFields Report is available

By Elizabeth Hawkins and John Fulton

The spring planting season of 2019 was a season that many of us may want to forget, but the weather conditions we dealt with provided us an opportunity to learn how we can be more resilient in agriculture. Looking back at the lessons learned can help us be prepared for similar conditions in the future. The 2019 eFields Research Report highlights 88 on-farm, field scale trials conducted in 30 Ohio counties. Research topics include nutrient management, precision crop management, cover crops, and forages. Other information about production budgets, planting progress, and the 2018 Farm Bill is also included.

The 2019 report is now available in both a print and e-version. To receive a printed copy, contact your local OSU Extension office or email digitalag@osu.edu. The e-version can be viewed and downloaded at go.osu.edu/eFields with the online version readable on smartphone or tablet devices.

The eFields team has planned six regional results meetings to discuss local results and gather information about research interests for 2020.… Continue reading

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