Dec. 11 market report

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Today USDA released their monthly supply and demand report. In trading just minutes before the report, corn was trading at $7.27, down 3 cents, soybeans were$14.80, up 5 cents, and wheat was at $8.42, down 7 cents. Trading in recent days prior to this report had focused on weather in South America, the fiscal cliff, and demand.

In early trading following the report release, corn was at $7.31, up 1 cent, soybeans were at $14.82, up 7 cents, and wheat was $8.40, down 9 cents. Then less than 30 minutes later, corn was $7.26, down 4 cents, soybeans were $14.68, down 6 cents, and wheat was $8.33 down 15 cents.

The report contained no major surprises. It provided no dramatic price changes associated with past USDA reports. However, a bit of history did end today. For several years, USDA has released their major grain reports that include monthly supply and demand reports, quarterly stocks reports, and acres intentions reports at 8:30 am.… Continue reading

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Quantifying corn rootworm damage

Every year farmers spend a lot of money trying to control corn rootworm larvae, which are a significant threat to maize production in the United States and, more recently, in Europe. University of Illinois researchers have been working on validating a model for estimating damage functions.

Nicholas Tinsley, a doctoral candidate in crop sciences, has refined a model developed in 2009 by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and in Brescia, Italy, to describe the relationship between root injury caused by these pests and yield loss. He used the equivalent of 19 years of data collected by personnel from the Insect Management and Insecticide Evaluation Program in the U of I Department of Crop Sciences.

“Every year we evaluate a number of different management tactics for corn rootworm; these include soil insecticides and Bt traits,” Tinsley explained. “We do that at a number of different locations on university research farms.”

Tinsley took more than 7,000 data points from field crop insect management trials at Urbana, Perry, Monmouth, and DeKalb for 2005-2011.… Continue reading

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Coaching high corn yields

By Matt Reese

With the last seconds ticking off the clock in overtime, the best player squares up behind the three-point line for the win, he shoots — nothing but net. Victory!

Sometimes, everything comes together for a buzzer-beater victory in crop fields, but that kind of success doesn’t happen by chance, which makes success in corn production similar in many ways to success on a basketball court, according to Fred Below, a professor of crop physiology at the University of Illinois.

“You have to plan for high yields. We put together a management system that consisted of five individual factors that we know are important for yield and we put them together in in a systems package,” Below said at a recent BASF meeting in northwest Ohio. “Since there were five, we made the analogy to a basketball team where we have five pro players that represent the enhanced management system against five high school players which represent the grower’s current standard.”… Continue reading

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China, South America and Mississippi impact markets

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

As 2012 begins to wind down, many producers are anxious to put its events in their rear view mirror. The heat and drought of this summer will be remembered for years. But, before you get too excited, there is one simple reality. Ohio and the Midwest are still in a drought. November 2012 is going down as the fifth driest in history. The U.S. plains are in a drought that is yielding winter wheat crop ratings the worst in history as of the last week of November.

Ohio’s wheat producers were blessed with rains in October, which helped the crop get quickly established. However, in recent weeks numerous comments reveal the ongoing drought is still a factor. Traders will be watching with special interest in coming weeks how all of this plays out in the development of this winter’s wheat crop. Keep in mind that the majority of the U.S.… Continue reading

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Meeting food demand by 2050

By Don “Doc” Sanders

You readers must admit that all of the facts and hype over a projected two billion world population increase — to a total of nine billion people by 2050 — gives pause for concern. I know it did for me. That’s because to feed all those people, we’ll have to increase food production by 50%.

After a year or so of my own research and discussions with others, I believe that agriculture will meet this demand. However, I offer one caveat: producing enough food is one thing but distributing it to everyone is another.

I still remember the stories in the past of governments locking up grain in warehouses — even though their citizens were starving from a drought and famine — because the food was produced from genetically modified crops. It’s time to get over such fears. I believe biotechnology and other technology is going to be part of the solution to feeding our fast-growing world.… Continue reading

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Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium next week

With the U.S. Agriculture Department’s forecast that corn production this year will drop to its lowest point since 2006 as a result of historic nationwide drought, growers can expect to see tight supplies next year and lower grain prices, Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts said.

Prices, supplies and demand are only some of the concerns growers have going into 2013, he said. With that in mind, Roberts will provide a market update for growers Dec. 13 during the 2012 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium at the Roberts Centre and Holiday Inn, 123 Gano Rd., Wilmington.

The symposium will allow growers the opportunity to hear the latest agricultural issues affecting their operations, said Harold Watters, an OSU Extension agronomy field specialist and coordinator of the university’s Agronomic Crops Team.

The event has a strong program lineup that offers information “every corn farmer and soybean farmer” could benefit from hearing, he said.… Continue reading

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Ohio No-Till Council recognizes industry standouts

The Ohio No-Till Council today is recognizing a number of award winners today at the annual meeting in Plain City. No-Till Council president Dave Brandt and Kale Marketing presented the awards.

Outstanding No-till Farmer

Allen Dean was the Outstanding No-till farmer of 2012. Allen Dean (and wife Shelly) farm about 1,900 acres in Williams County. They grow soybeans and wheat. Allen has been no-tilling about 34 years. He began experimenting with cover crops in the 1980s, and has used them consistently the last 8 years.

Allen recently built, a 90-ft wide, high clearance cover crop seeder, using a Miller Nitro chassis so he can plant into a standing crop. He credits cover crops with recycling nutrients in the soil and making them more available to the next crop. Cover crops are especially beneficial during a drought.

Allen visited with Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo shortly after he received the honor.

Allen Dean No till Farmer of the Year for 2012

Educator/Researcher Award

Jim Hoorman is receiving the no-till Educator/Researcher Award from the Ohio No-Till Council. … Continue reading

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Soy exports still strong

U.S. soybean farmers continue to reassure international customers of U.S. soy by meeting demand with high-quality soybeans. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, U.S. soybean farmers exported more than 1.8 billion bushels of U.S. soy during the 2011-2012 marketing year, compared with approximately 2 billion bushels in 2010-2011. The 2012 export numbers include 1.3 billion bushels of whole soybeans, meal from more than 404 million bushels of soybeans and the oil from 126.5 million bushels of soybeans. U.S. soy exports this year are valued at more than $23 billion.

U.S. farmers harvested 3.05 billion bushels of soybeans last year, so these exports represent about 55% of that production. Soy customers in China, the largest importer, bought almost 850 million bushels of whole soybeans, or more than one out of every four rows U.S. farmers grew.

“Our customers’ main concern has been whether we were going to be a reliable supplier,” said Sharon Covert, soybean farmer from Tiskilwa, Ill.,… Continue reading

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Seed Consultants winter meetings

Seed Consultants, Inc. will be conducting winter agronomy meetings this January at select locations across the Eastern Corn Belt. Topics that will be covered include: lessons learned from the 2012 growing season; tips for a successful 2013 corn, soybean and wheat crop; how to interpret 2012 plot data; tips on improving planting and harvesting techniques; and much, much more. Please register in advance to attend one of these very informative agronomy meetings by calling 800-708-2676 or by going online at

 … Continue reading

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A dry Mississippi could mean market disasters

By Matt Reese

Weather, supply, global demand, the crop progress in South America and Chinese hog farmers — with so many factors to consider, crop marketing is never an easy prospect. This year though, farmers trying figure out the best time to pull the trigger in the marketing game face a never-before-seen possibility that could impact global feed and grain markets — the Mississippi River running dry.

“If that happens, we won’t be able to get corn and beans out to feed the market. It also means a collapsing basis,” said Matt Roberts, an Ohio State University agricultural economist. “It doesn’t matter if global demand is strong if we can’t get it there.”

Roberts’ marketing advice is for farmers to hold (and hedge) their corn crop, with some great opportunities to make money on basis, unless the River runs dry. Then all bets are off. On the flip side, livestock producers could find some much-sought after price relief in the basis catastrophe that would result with a non-navigable Mississippi, Roberts said.… Continue reading

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Making the cut at Storeyland Christmas Tree Farm

By Connie Lechleitner, OCJ field reporter

About two miles from the Pennsylvania state line in Northeast Ohio, Debbie and Carl Yeager continue a tradition that brings families from all directions throughout the holiday season. Their Storeyland Christmas Tree Farm becomes a hub of activity as families come to take hay rides, sit around the bonfire, eat snacks and drink hot chocolate while they cut their own Christmas trees and buy wreaths, pine roping and grave blankets.

Named for the farm’s founders, Ted and Dorothy Storey, Storeyland Farm has been a Christmas tradition since 1954.

“About 90% of the trees will be selected and cut by customers,” said Carl Yeager.

The other 10% are pre-cut or burlap covered trees that will be planted.

The Yeagers grew up near the farm, on Route 7 in Burghill, Ohio. Carl began working for the Storeys as a teenager in 1958.

“They treated me like a son, and we got to be really good friends,” Carl said.… Continue reading

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USDA scientists sequence wheat genome

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists working as part of an international team have completed a shotgun sequencing of the wheat genome, a paper published in the journal “Nature.” The achievement is expected to increase wheat yields, help feed the world and speed up development of wheat varieties with enhanced nutritional value.

“By unlocking the genetic secrets of wheat, this study and others like it give us the molecular tools necessary to improve wheat traits and allow our farmers to produce yields sufficient to feed growing populations in the United States and overseas,” said Catherine Woteki, USDA’s Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Genetics provides us with important methods that not only increase yields, but also address the ever-changing threats agriculture faces from natural pests, crop diseases and changing climates.”

Olin Anderson and Yong Gu, scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) based at the agency’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.,… Continue reading

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“Between the Rows” farmers share lessons for 2013

By Matt Reese

This year provided some highs and lows unlike just about any production year in history with incredible early optimism followed by a devastating drought. The “Between the Rows” farmers did a fantastic job of expressing all of the highs and the lows of what has proven to be a very challenging growing season in many ways. At the same time, like any good farmer, they have learned from the challenges they faced this year and will apply their new knowledge to 2013. Here is what the 2012 “Between the Rows” farmers had to say about what they will be changing for 2013.

Mark Thomas, Stark County

“Every year we test a lot of new varieties. Some of the old numbers that we like to stick with instead of the new numbers, but when you see how some of these new numbers perform it makes you re-think things. When they hit a homerun on some of these hybrids they really hit a home run.… Continue reading

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New bio-fertilizer can increase hydroponic vegetable growth

A new organic-based fertilizer for commercial hydroponic production can boost lettuce growth by about 13%, according to preliminary trials conducted by Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.

The fertilizer, BiOWiSH-Hydroponic, is produced by BiOWiSH Technologies, a Chicago-based manufacturer of natural food production and environmental remediation technologies.

Available in the U.S. market for a little over a year and for two years internationally, the fertilizer is a unique blend of bacteria and biocatalysts that, according to company claims, helps speed up the breakdown of organic matter and potentially impacts plant processes, making nutrients more readily available or usable.

BiOWiSH Technologies sought out OARDC — the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences — to carry out independent, third-party testing of its product for the U.S. Also involved in the trials is CropKing Inc., an Ohio-based company that serves the hydroponic produce industry and is a local distributor of BiOWiSH-Hydroponic.… Continue reading

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USDA progressing on crop insurance rate reforms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that rate adjustments will be made to crop insurance premiums over the next two crop years.

“Crop insurance rating reforms have been a priority for our members for many years,” said Pam Johnson, president of the National Corn Growers Association.  “NCGA feels the Risk Management Agency’s announcement represents real reform in decreasing the widening gap between the loss ratio for corn and the premiums charged to growers for policy coverage.”

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency stated in the announcement that an independent and peer reviewed study recommended more weight be given to recent years, rather than the current approach of giving equal weight to all years back to 1975.  This will help provide greater predictability for producers and crop insurance providers. RMA also announced it will be releasing documents by the end of the week that outline premium rates and other program information for the 2013 crop year.… Continue reading

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Lesson learned from 2012

By Matt Reese

As farmers turn their attention to 2013, the past growing season may be a challenge to interpret in terms of what can be learned.

“After a stressful year, there is sometimes a temptation for growers to ratchet back corn plant populations because they did not see a benefit from the higher seeding rates,” Thomison said. “Even in years with stress, we can see value in higher populations in high yield environments that receive

timely rains. We’re looking at optimizing yields in high yielding environments in the range of 33,000 or 34,000 plants per acre for final stands. We have also been looking at seeding depths and we have seen some real benefit to planting deeper, even when planting early. We are collecting more evidence that you are better off planting at 1.5 to 2 inches.”

It is also important to not abandon proven practices after an unusual year, including planting sooner rather than later in the spring.… Continue reading

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Publication highlights versatility of corn

The Corn Refiners Association released the 2012 Corn Annual. The publication, titled “Made in America: Corn Refined Products Help U.S. Industries Thrive,” explains how many U.S. industries are able to thrive, in part, because of the versatility, functionality and affordability of the refined corn ingredients.

“The 2012 Corn Annual serves as an excellent supplement to the data offered in NCGA’s 2012 World of Corn,” said NCGA Growers Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “As NCGA serves growers by providing credible, comprehensive information about corn farming and the issues impacting farmers, CRA works diligently to give a reliable and interesting account of the incredible products made from corn through the wet milling industry.”

The report details how many of the products produced by the corn wet milling industry, such as corn starch, syrup and oil, are easily recognized ingredients used in many common foods Americans enjoy. Additionally, the publication documents how many of these same products also play a “silent” role in industrial applications.… Continue reading

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Partial corn stover removal reduces management challenges

As corn residue increases with grain yields, partial stover removal offers an option for growers. Corn residue increases proportionally with corn yields, creating management challenges for growers. To help address those, agronomists and scientists from DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Industrial Biosciences teamed up to conduct research on the impact of residue removal on the long-term agronomic and environmental integrity of fields. Stover is also evaluated for cellulosic ethanol production, which has benefits for both farmers and biofuel producers.

“In fields where partial stover removal is an option, a sustainable stover harvest program provides value to the grower without negatively impacting the health and productivity of the soil,” said Andy Heggenstaller, DuPont Pioneer agronomy research manager for cellulosic ethanol. “There are three primary factors we examine with growers considering stover harvest, including field productivity level, crop management practices and erosion potential.”

Individual field evaluation is necessary as stover removal is not an option for every field.… Continue reading

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Soybeans and wheat pleasant surprises in 2012

By Matt Reese

In the wild growing season of 2012, soybeans fared much better than corn in the challenging conditions thanks to some last minute rains, said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University soybean specialist.

“Soybeans are more flexible than corn because they set pods for a longer period of time. Soybean yields were affected, but not as much as what people expected,” Lindsey said. “I have been hearing very good yield stories out there, but maybe the people with the bad stories aren’t tell me. I have talked with several farmers hitting 85-bushel yields on their farm. I have heard about a lot of very good yields out there but there were some really bad areas, especially in northwest Ohio. There were beans that were mid-calf high in mid-July. You could see drought stress in our fields but it was not as sustained in the states to the west.

“Most of the benefit was the late season rain.… Continue reading

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2012 Ohio Soybean Banquet highlights

As always, the annual banquet of the Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio Soybean Association brought together some top agricultural leaders in the state to recognize the achievements and success for the Ohio soybean industry.

Highlights from this year included:

The presentation of the Outstanding Achievement Award to Bart and Sheryl Johnson, and the Johnson family, for their contributions to Ohio agriculture through radio, print, television and web media.

Retiring board members were also recognized. This included: Bret Davis, OSA president, Jeff Wuebker, OSA Board Member, Joe Steiner, OSA and ASA Board member, Don Ralph, OSA Board Member, Andrea Flowers-Guckes, OSA Board Member, and Mike Yeagle, OSC Board Member.


In addition, Jim Evanoff, with the National Park Service, talked about the incredible success of biodiesel in the Yellowstone National Park Service, which was the first national park to use the biofuel.… Continue reading

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