USDA NASS to re-survey operators with unharvested corn and soybeans

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will re-contact respondents who previously reported acreage not yet harvested in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in the spring, once producers are able to finish harvesting remaining acres. If the newly collected data justifies any changes, NASS will update the Jan. 10 estimates in a future report. Stocks estimates are also subject to review since unharvested production is included in the estimate of on-farm stocks.

When producers were surveyed for the Crop Production 2019 Summary there was significant unharvested acreage of corn in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; and soybean acreage not yet harvested in Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. The unharvested area and expected production were included in the totals released on Jan. 10.

As a result of this work, NASS may release updated acreage, yield, production, and stocks estimates for corn and soybeans later this spring. Because farmers’ ability to complete harvest is impacted by winter weather, timing of the re-contacts and subsequent publication schedule will be announced at a later date.… Continue reading

Read More »

Quitting tillage cold turkey

By Matt Reese

In recent years Nathan Brause re-learned some lessons and quit tillage cold turkey.

“My grandpa, Glenn Brause, no-tilled corn into rye on this farm in the 70s. I remember that. Everyone else was plowing and I thought he was crazy,” said Nathan Brause, who was recently named the No-Till Farmer of the Year by the Ohio No-Till Council. “They had it figured out back then and it took me 20 or 30 years to figure it out again.”

When Nathan took over the gently rolling Sunny Slopes Farm in Crawford County that his grandpa had purchased in the 1920s he invested heavily in tillage.

“We were doing soil samples one day and got caught in the rain. We watched the rain just run off. I thought I had to start tilling again. We used to moldboard plow back in the 80s. Then I started deep ripping. Then we got a chisel plow.… Continue reading

Read More »

OSU hosting Farm Bill meetings around Ohio

Ohio State University Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency in Ohio are partnering to provide a series of educational Farm Bill meetings this winter through early February to help producers make informed decisions related to enrollment in commodity programs.

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill. While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, there are some changes that producers should be aware of. Farm Bill meetings will review changes to the ARC/PLC programs as well as important dates and deadlines. Additionally, attendees will learn about decision tools and calculators available to help assess which program best fits the needs of their farms under current market conditions and outlook.

Enrollment for 2019 is currently open with the deadline set as March 15, 2020.… Continue reading

Read More »

Scientists improve yield predictions based on seedling data

A doctor diagnosing a 50-year-old patient based on a blood test taken during the patient’s infancy would be unthinkable.

Anecdotally speaking, however, that’s what Michigan State University scientists have done with corn. Using plant RNA data from 2-week-old corn seedlings, Shinhan Shiu, professor of plant biology and computational mathematics, science and engineering, has shown that farmers and scientists can improve adult crop trait predictions with accuracy that rivals current approaches using DNA, i.e. genetic data.

“Traditional breeding methods take months to years, which can be saved if we can predict the desirable traits just from DNA and RNA without growing them, without having to measure the actual traits directly,” said Shiu, senior author of the paper appearing in the current issue of The Plant Cell. “To continue the human medicine anecdote, it’s like sequencing an infant’s RNA and analyzing what sort of traits the infant may develop later in life.”

Shiu has long been fascinated with using computational approaches to resolve evolution and genome biology questions.… Continue reading

Read More »

Plenty of market factors to watch in early 2020

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Uncertainty and risk are the themes at this writing, just days into 2020. The U.S. military bombed Iran, killing a top general the second trading day of 2020. Crude oil rose over $3 upon news of U.S. air strikes as they reached levels not seen since mid-July 2019.

The U.S. and China are expected to sign an historic trade deal in Phase 1 of ongoing trade talks on Jan. 15. Then a 30-day implementation period goes into effect in which China must wait before they can begin to buy U.S. goods. Instead, it will be crucial to monitor the weekly U.S. grain export sales report, which is published each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. It has been way too long since May 2018 when the tariffs began with partial hints along the way of a trade deal just days away, but unsettled for months. China is not expected to remove retaliatory tariffs implemented since the beginning of the 2018 trade war.… Continue reading

Read More »

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative and Ohio Agriculture Conservation Council

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Just as the 4Rs of Nutrient Management has become a common phrase in Ohio agriculture, the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OAIC) is likely to become just as familiar in Ohio’s agriculture community in 2020.

“This is an innovative, collaborative effort of the agricultural, conservation, environmental, and research communities in Ohio to improve water quality. They plan to do this by establishing a baseline understanding of current conservation and nutrient management efforts and building a new certification program for farmers,” said Scott Shearer, Chair of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. “There are a lot of farmers out there doing the right things, we just have not had a good way to measure or quantify those or to be able to communicate that to the general public. When H2Ohio came along, it put more emphasis on water quality and best management practices.

Continue reading

Read More »

When weeds talk

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Service

A weed is any plant out of place, but what is the real purpose of weeds?  Weeds, ecologically, are the first plants to inhabit nutrient deficient or disturbed soils. Most weeds grow in soils that are high in nitrates and are bacteria dominated.  By studying the type of weeds that grow on your farm, you can start to figure out what conditions are limiting.  The real purpose of weeds (believe it or not) is to improve the soil. Many weeds act as collectors of deficient soil minerals.  Mother Nature does not like bare soils, so she finds something to grow (weeds) that improve soil so that other plants can grow.

Each plant is an indicator of the conditions that exist in that field and indicates why some agronomic crops (corn, soybeans, wheat, hay) growth may suffer.  Weeds give us a clue to what factors are either limiting or in excess.

Continue reading

Read More »

I survived 2019

By Harold Watters, CCA Ohio State University extension agronomist

And I deserve a certificate. I think you do too. I told my intern this summer that this will be a season she will remember her whole career. But honestly, I want to forget this one — unless this is the glimpse of what the future brings. Attend any “dealing with climate change” program you hear about, just in case.


Weed management in Ohio, update 2019

Our OSU Extension AgNR educators observed soybean fields across the state again this fall to see what was out there for our annual fall soybean weed survey. I was supposed to share this early enough so you could at least get a fall application on to get a head start on controlling marestail, but it seems we have more problems than that to deal with.

Statewide our most frequently observed weed problem was again marestail.… Continue reading

Read More »

What’s in my corn? Insect management traits in corn hybrids

By Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

Corn hybrid selection is about more than maturity and agronomic properties. Many corn hybrids also come with a package of Bt traits for the management of various insects below-ground (for example corn rootworm) and above-ground (for example, corn borer) pests.

These traits can add substantially to the cost of the seed so it’s worth evaluating which ones you really need. In fields without a consistent history of insect pest pressure Bt traits are an added cost that likely won’t pay for itself. Sometimes you only need protection against soil pests, sometimes against above-ground pests, and sometimes neither. But how do you know what Bt traits the various hybrids contain and what insects they are meant to manage? This can be confusing or hard to figure out.

There is an excellent resource available to help with this — the Handy Bt Trait Table.… Continue reading

Read More »

“Ultra-early” corn performance

Rich Minyo, Allen Geyer, Peter ThomisonBy Rich Minyo, Allen Geyer, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Confronted with June planting dates, some Ohio corn growers planted hybrids with relative maturity ratings earlier (less than 102 days) than those of our commonly grown maturities. At the Hoytville OCPT test site, we evaluated 27 ultra-early hybrids with maturities ranging from 93 to 101 days. Yields averaged 190 bushels per acre and ranged from 163 to 219 bushels per acre; harvest grain moisture averaged 19.3 and ranged from 18.3% to 20.3%; and test weight averaged 56.6 and ranged from 53.3 to 58.5. In contrast, a 107-day commonly grown maturity hybrid included as a check yielded 220 bushels per acre with a 22.9% harvest moisture and test weight of 51. The Hoytville test site planted June 12 and harvested Nov. 18, benefited from favorable growing conditions with timely rains. Pest injury was negligible. Several hybrids were subject to severe animal damage and not considered in this performance overview.… Continue reading

Read More »

Warden recognized for work as a CCA

In a presentation at the Annual Indiana CCA Conference on Wednesday afternoon, Randall Warden, CEO and agronomy lead at A&L Great Lakes, was named the Indiana Certified Crop Adviser of the Year. The Indiana Certified Crop Advisers CCA of the Year award recognizes someone who has gone above and beyond in their career to help farmers and others in the industry improve their techniques in crop production.

Randall has been with A&L Great Lakes for 25 years, and during his tenure, total lab sample volume has increased 5-fold. He has accomplished this by focusing on sound agronomy, customer service, and quality analytics. While Randall is well known to many Indiana CCAs, he is often in the background of many programs and projects that other CCA’s are using daily. His ability to discern a clear agronomic message that moves the agronomy industry forward from a collection of often overlooked data is truly remarkable.… Continue reading

Read More »

Cover crop herbicide carryover

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers who want to plant cover crops after corn and soybeans also want to control resistant weeds like marestail, waterhemp, and giant ragweed. Often the residual soil herbicides remain active and have a long residual or half-life that could hurt cover crop establishment. Herbicide half-life is how long it takes for half the herbicide to break down. Good stands of radish and cereal rye also suppress these tough weeds. Since many factors vary from field to field and even certain areas of the field, residual herbicide activity at cover crop establishment is difficult to predict.

Herbicides remain biologically active based on soil temperature, rainfall, time of application, organic matter, soil type, and soil pH. Generally, the warmer the soil at planting time, the higher the microbial activity and the faster the herbicide breaks down. Moisture is critical, so dry summers means less or slower breakdown than when moisture is not limiting.… Continue reading

Read More »

Choosing varieties and hybrids for 2020 — Check disease resistance ratings

By Anne Dorrance and Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

The seed suppliers want your early orders and the catalogues are all spread out on the tables. Now to begin the process of choosing the best variety or hybrid for your fields that can hold up to the all of the challenges facing soybeans and corn in Ohio. Our recommendation is to first focus on the disease and insect scores. Every company uses a different scale based on 1 to 10 – but for some companies 1 is best and for others, 10 best – so first read the fine print. In addition, some companies use a distributive disease rating scale, using words like “excellent disease package,” “good disease package,” or “poor.” While this scale is unclear as to which specific disease the hybrid is most resistant to, it can still be used as a guide for hybrid/variety selection. For instance, a hybrid listed as having an “excellent disease package” should be less susceptible to the primary diseases than one listed as having a “good disease package.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Biodiesel tax credit

Last week, Congressional negotiators reached agreement with the White House on a package of tax policies, including a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.

The tax package extends the $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel and the 10-cent per gallon small agri-biodiesel producer credit retroactively for 2018 and 2019 and prospectively for 2020, 2021 and 2022. The last time the credit was in place at the start of the year was 2016.

The House of Representatives added the tax package to omnibus appropriations measure and passed it the afternoon of Dec. 17. The Senate is expected to clear the measure and send it to President Trump for signature before Friday, Dec. 20.… Continue reading

Read More »

Sustainable and safe greenhouse crop production

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

Ohio’s production of crops grown under controlled environments (CE), i.e. greenhouses and plant factories, is growing. From 2012 to 2017, floriculture and bedding crop production increased by 12%, based on square footage. During the same period, the area allocated for greenhouse production of vegetables, herbs and tomatoes increased about 4-fold, with total sales of about $75 million in 2017.

Like any other crop, those grown in CE require careful management to maintain plant health and maximize yields. Unlike field crops, CE production allows for control of growing conditions. Understanding how to manipulate climatic factors, such as temperature, humidity and lighting, as well methods to manage pests, can optimize plant growth while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

For CE production of vegetable crops, eliminating the risk of foodborne pathogens is also critical. The National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program provides training and resources to educate growers about methods of growing, storing and transporting food crops that protect consumers.… Continue reading

Read More »

EPA releases 2020 RFS numbers, leaves biofuel proponents underwhelmed

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020 on Dec. 19.

“Through President Trump’s leadership, this Administration continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said  Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator. “President Trump committed to our nation’s farmers that biofuel requirements would be expanded in 2020. At the EPA we are delivering on that promise and ensuring a net of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.”

Under the Trump Administration, EPA has increased the renewable volume obligations and continued to expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector. Through this rule, EPA has modified the RFS program by projecting small refinery relief to ensure that these final volumes are met, while adjudicating small refinery relief when appropriate. As proposed, the EPA finalized a projection methodology based on the 2016-2018 annual average of exempted volumes had EPA strictly followed the Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations of 770 million Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) in those years, including granting 50% relief where DOE recommended 50% relief.… Continue reading

Read More »

Attendees to go from bines to steins at Ohio Hop Conference

Attendees will go from bines to steins at the 2020 Ohio Hop Conference, hosted by the Ohio Hop Growers Guild, with numerous sessions focused on producing high-quality crops and meeting demand for the growing industry.

The seventh annual conference is set for Feb. 21 and 22, 2020 at the Courtyard by Marriott Springfield Downtown. The Ohio Hop Conference unites producers, brewers and beer enthusiasts with industry leaders and university experts to explore innovations in hop growing techniques and current areas of research.

“The Ohio hop industry is growing and improving every year. As producers, we must do the same,” said Jandi Adams, chairwoman of the Ohio Hop Growers Guild. “The conference is a fantastic opportunity for growers to make business connections and set standards that ensure hops produced in Ohio are the safest, most sustainable and highest-quality on the market.”

In addition to networking opportunities and access to the industry trade show, attendees of the 2020 conference will hear from expert speakers and engage in hands-on learning sessions.… Continue reading

Read More »

Tillage for the control of weeds, insects and disease

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ask most farmers why they perform tillage, and the first few responses will most likely be: to eliminate compaction issues, manage crop residue, or level the soil and prepare a seed bed for next year. After that there is a second tier of answers that usually follows. Weed control, as well as managing insects and disease issues are often secondary reasons given for tillage.

Prior to the advent of modern herbicides, and the no-till revolution, tillage was the primary form of weed control for centuries. As both chemical herbicide technology and equipment have evolved, the need for tillage has also changed.

While tillage is an effective method for controlling some species of weeds, there are now chemical options that are equally effective.

“We now have good enough chemistries that we do not typically need to perform tillage to control weeds,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension Weed Specialists.

Continue reading

Read More »

Survey finds majority of Ohio voters want President Trump to do more to support farmers, Renewable Fuel Standards

A recent poll found a sizable majority of Ohio voters believe President Trump should do more to support farmers with overall survey responses underscoring Ohio voters’ strong support for the Renewable Fuels Standard and the use of renewable fuels.

Sixty-six percent of Ohio voters reported a favorable opinion of biofuels, such as ethanol produced from corn. After learning about the Trump Administration record on small refiner exemptions, 53% of voters somewhat or strongly opposed the actions on the RFS. Only 29% of voters somewhat or strongly supported the Administration’s recent actions on the RFS.

In less than three years, the Trump Administration has given out 85 waivers to small refineries — a stark contrast from the total of 10 waivers granted over the course of the eight years prior. These 85 exemptions totaled 4 billion gallons of biofuels not blended in petroleum, which has significantly hurt Ohio farmers.

Forty-nine percent of voters think President Trump is not doing enough to support farmers.… Continue reading

Read More »

Gene editing: It’s an evolution, not a revolution

By Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity

How can you talk to consumers about gene editing when most have little understanding of how plants are bred?

The Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture, formed by the Center for Food Integrity in 2016 as a partnership of stakeholders who share a vision of global acceptance for the responsible use of gene editing in agriculture and food, understands that building trust in gene editing is essential so that the food system has the social license to use the technology in a responsible matter.

The Coalition analyzed consumer research about communicating about biotechnology and they discovered that some methods of communicating are more effective than others. One discovery was that talking about the evolution of gene editing technology — instead of describing it as a revolution — helped people to understand it better.

Scientists have every right to be proud of advancements.… Continue reading

Read More »