Crops



Ohio’s Produce Marketing Agreement moving forward

By Matt Reese

While millions of people enjoy multiple delicious, high quality meals every day across the country, it is an unfortunate fact that the very small percentage of bad meals people eat are by far the most memorable.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), between 1996 and 2010, approximately 131 produce-related outbreaks were reported, resulting in 14,132 illnesses, 1,360 hospitalizations and 27 deaths. When people get sick and die from their food, it is not soon forgotten by consumers and policy makers. With food safety concerns a hot political topic the FDA was required to develop standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding fresh produce on farms with passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act in January of 2011.

With looming action from the FDA, and the rise of other marketing agreements around the country that did not fit Ohio’s diverse group of fruit and vegetable growers, Ohio leaders saw the writing on the wall and took proactive measures by starting the process to develop the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement (OPMA).… Continue reading

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Farm bill extension means decisions for farmers

By Chris Bruynis, Ohio State University Assistant Professor and Extension Educator

In 2008 when farmers were first provided the choice between the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) questions arose about what would happen if the 2008 Farm Bill was extended. Since the original rules required farmers that elected ACRE to remain in that program until the Farm Bill expired the question surfaced again when The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the authorization of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill).

USDA’s Farm Services Agency recently released the following information:

The 2013 DCP and ACRE program provisions are unchanged from 2012, except that all eligible participants in 2013 may choose to enroll in either DCP or ACRE for the 2013 crop year. This means that eligible producers who were enrolled in ACRE in 2012 may elect to enroll in DCP in 2013 or may re-enroll in ACRE in 2013 (and vice versa).… Continue reading

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Drought is still a problem in some areas

While the drought no longer dominates headlines, it remains a serious concern for farmers across the U.S. Plains and western Midwest. Dry weather conditions persist and, with only light showers and snowfall on the immediate horizon for many, farmers may encounter fields suffering from depleted subsoil moisture when planting begins across the central United States in about 10 weeks.

“Once temperatures drop, public attention shifts away from the drought conditions that persist,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “News stories have begun speaking of the drought of 2012 as if it were in the past. But, for many farmers, the drought has not ended and there is no relief in sight. While facing the possibility of another dry year, farmers must focus on advocating for the risk management tools that they need by pushing their legislators to pass a new five-year farm bill.”

Forecasts from a variety of sources indicate that the drought may impact many farmers for the foreseeable future.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer, soil pH and Cation Exchange Capacity

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics and Technology 
for Seed Consultants, Inc.

Soil pH, and Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) — how are they related and do they affect fertilizer inputs? Some of the facts below should clarify their relationship.

• Soils are made up of sand, silt, clay and organic matter. The CEC of a soil tells us about the texture of the soil. Soils with higher clay and organic matter content have higher CEC values. The CEC value of the soil in a field is fairly constant but can be changed over time with the addition of organic matter, through the use of cover crops and manure, for example.

• Positively charged particles are called cations and negatively charged particles are called anions. The CEC is the measure of how many negatively charged sites are available in the soil.

• According to David Mengel of Purdue University, most common soil cations are calcium, magnesium, potassium, ammonium, hydrogen and sodium.… Continue reading

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Produce industry gathers at OPGMA Congress

Nearly 800 attended the 2013 OPGMA Congress this week in Sandusky, Ohio. This 2.5-day convention and marketplace brought together produce growers and marketers to share ideas, find products and services to help their business, and network with colleagues.

Industry suppliers from across the country exhibited at the 100-booth trade show to showcase the latest in produce varieties, equipment, products, and services. Attendees saw some of the latest innovations designed to help businesses grow and become more profitable.

Food safety and our industry’s responsibility to ensuring safe food was a priority at this year’s OPGMA Congress. Ten sessions were offered that shared GAP best practices, common food safety issues and farm deficiencies, environmental testing, managing listeria survival in agriculture environments, certification through the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement, and an update from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) representatives on the proposed food safety rules that will affect the industry.

In addition, 40 sessions were offered on topics like tree fruit, vegetable production, pest and disease management, small fruit, merchandising and marketing strategies, and business management.… Continue reading

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Early focus on the size of the 2013 U.S. corn crop

The drought-reduced U.S. corn crop of 2012 suggested that corn prices might behave in a pattern generally described as “short crops have long tails,” said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“This phrase depicts the expectation of rapidly rising prices that peak near harvest time, decline in an unspecified pattern over the next several months, and return to pre-drought levels as early as the following marketing year. The decline in prices is expected as a result of a slowdown in consumption and a return to normal production,” said Darrel Good.

Corn prices this year have generally followed the expected short-crop pattern as the anticipated consumption and supply responses continue to unfold. The pace of consumption of U.S. corn so far in the 2012-13 marketing year has been slower than last year.  However, the slowdown has been modest and has come primarily in the export market and in the production of ethanol rather than in the domestic feed market as was earlier expected, he said.… Continue reading

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Prepare for larger soybean seed size this spring

Soybean seed size is influenced by both genetics and the environment. Genetic effects on seed size are largely predictable but weather conditions and their effects on seed size are not. Given the atypical growing season in 2012, it is important to understand the impact on soybean seed size and shape.

In response to drought, soybean plants typically drop flowers and pods, reduce seeds per pod, abort seeds within a pod, and reduce the size of the seed. The specific response depends on the soybean stage of development and severity of the drought stress. The onset of late season rains caused seeds remaining in drought-stressed pods to swell, resulting in larger than normal soybean seed size.

To help growers manage larger soybean sizes, DuPont Pioneer conducted plantability tests of 2012-produced soybean seed using seven different planter metering units. In collaboration with equipment providers, Pioneer offers management tips to help growers maximize planter performance and ensure the highest possible planting accuracy with larger soybean seed.… Continue reading

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Biodiesel production exceeded 1 billion gallons in 2012

The U.S. biodiesel industry broke the 1 billion gallon mark in 2012 for the second consecutive year, according to year-end production figures released this week by the EPA. The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons was roughly flat over 2011 production, exceeding it by just 6 million gallons.

“These numbers reflect the ongoing growth and development of our industry and represent real jobs at plants across the country,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, the industry trade association. “Biodiesel continues to account for the vast majority of the nation’s Advanced Biofuel production and is playing a significant role in diversifying our energy supplies with clean, American-made fuel.”

The figures show that production for the month of December totaled just 59 million gallons, the lowest monthly volume of the year. The December total marked the close of a year-end slump in which biodiesel production dropped significantly as Congress failed to renew the biodiesel tax incentive.… Continue reading

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Changing your farm in a changing climate

By Matt Reese

The climate is changing. Are farms changing with it?

“Climate changes all the time and I am not sure that it is something that we need to get too excited about, but we do have to adapt to it,” said Jim Hoorman, with Ohio State University Extension in Putnam County. “We are seeing increased heavy downpours, rising temperatures, and longer growing seasons. In a couple of years we could be seeing temperatures that we’d used to expect in Kentucky.”

Ultimately, the changes could have some clear benefits to Ohio agriculture.

“Overall it is probably going to be good for agriculture in the Midwest, but we have to adapt to extreme weather,” Hoorman said. “We also hear about more carbon dioxide. Is carbon dioxide good for agriculture? Absolutely. We’re looking at what could be 20% yield increases due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Agriculture can be part of the solution to high carbon dioxide levels.… Continue reading

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2013 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference

Grape growers, wine producers and anyone interested in learning more about the wine industry will have several opportunities to learn from local and national professionals during the 2013 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference.

The conference, held Feb. 18-19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Dublin, is anticipated to attract some 250 participants throughout the region, said Imed Dami, a state viticulture (grape growing) specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension.

The conference is offered jointly by Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, OSU Extension, OARDC, the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and the Ohio Wine Producers Association. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The conference will offer sessions that focus on viticulture and enology with themes focused on vineyard innovations, fruit wine and specialty production among other topics, and is designed to help growers and winemakers, as well as to boost Ohio’s wine industry, Dami said.… Continue reading

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DuPont Pioneer Launches Next Generation T Series Soybeans

A new series of Pioneer® brand soybean products, developed through the innovative DuPont Pioneer Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT™) process, will bring soybean growers across North America a broad range of high yielding varieties. The new line of soybean products – named the T Series – includes 39 new products and will be introduced in this year.

Signaling an exciting new era in soybean production, the T Series supports soybean growers committed to seeking the right product for the right acre on their soybean fields. Available in seven maturity groups, T Series products represent the largest number of soybean varieties advanced in a single year by Pioneer. The new T Series varieties succeed the popular  Pioneer Y Series soybeans introduced several years ago.“The next generation T Series soybean products provides growers a total package that helps them gain the most from every acre,” says Don Schafer, DuPont Pioneer senior marketing manager – soybeans.
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Northern Ohio Crops Day

February 14, 2013 is this year’s date for the Northern Ohio Crops Day to be held at Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed, 1375 N. State Route 590, Gibsonburg, Ohio. Featured on this program will be: “Pesticide Safety, Reminders on Common Situations”  “Wood Lots, Now what after the Emerald Ash Borer” “Weed Control Strategy” “Tools in Soybean Production” and “ Ponds and Water Issues”. These are topics that have been suggested by area producers. This year’s presenters are new to Northern Ohio Crops Day. We are very fortunate to have our new soybean and small grain specialist, Laura Lindsey, presenting at this year’s program.

Program has been approved for Private and Commercial pesticide recertification credit. Participants can obtain all private recertification credits, and commercial credits are 1 hour each in Core, 2D plus ½ hour in 2C, 6A, and 3A. We have also received 4 CEU’s for Certified Crops Advisers. Due to support from our Ag sponsors pesticide recertification credits for private applicators is $30. … Continue reading

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Tight inventory of farmland will keep values high in 2013

By Heather Hetterick

The uncertainty of capital gains tax changes encouraged a flurry of farm ground sales in the last quarter of 2012.

“It’s been a seller’s market. There’ve been more buyers out there than there have been sellers,” said Roger Hayworth, East Region Area Sales Manager, Farmers National Company.

He said the overall listings on the market currently have slimmed down.

“Even though the availability of land opened up a little bit at the end of the quarter in 2012, it’s basically closed down now that we’re in 2013,” Hayworth said. “I do see that availability will still probably be sluggish in 2013 compared to 2012.”

In the past several months, new record highs for farmland have been set across the Midwest. In October, 80 acres of farm ground in Sioux County, Iowa sold for a record-setting $21,900 an acre.

“We have seen record highs continuing in different locations across the country throughout 2012 and we see no sign of that letting up,” Hayworth said.… Continue reading

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Revisiting metribuzin – It’s back and with more utility then ever

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

Several years ago a dealer commented to me that he didn’t know why he would ever need to recommend metribuzin to a grower. I remember thinking that there was a need somewhere for almost every residual herbicide available to us, and that some would likely become more important due to herbicide resistance issues. We seem to have arrived at that point with metribuzin. This is of course not news to those readers who never stopped using it, but for the rest of us, this article hopefully provides the reason to use or recommend metribuzin in some soybean fields.

Metribuzin is a triazine herbicide and photosynthetic inhibitor that has been used in soybeans since the mid 1970s, and it was a primary component of soybean herbicide programs prior to the introduction of ALS-inhibiting herbicides in the late 1980s. Sold by Bayer under the name Sencor for several decades (but no longer), generic metribuzin is currently available from several companies (e.g.… Continue reading

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Clear sailing for DDGS

It’s official. The classification of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as a non-hazardous cargo became final and mandatory under the code of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on Jan. 1, 2013. This was the culmination of a process initiated by the U.S. Grains Council in 2010 in coordination with DDGS producers and shippers and the U.S. Coast Guard, which is the official U.S. representative to the IMO.

Actually, the recommendation of the relevant IMO subcommittee and acceptance of that recommendation by the responsible committee of the IMO were obtained in 2010 and 2011. But turning a proposal into a mandatory classification is a multi-year process, said Erick Erickson, USGC director of global strategies.

“Previously, DDGS had not been classified by the IMO. But as DDGS trade grew, several insurance organizations communicated their opinion that DDGS was a hazardous cargo, raising the prospect that DDGS cargoes would be required to be shipped on vessels equipped with special fire suppression equipment – thus raising the cost of DDGS shipments,” Erickson said.… Continue reading

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Conference offers training, education for grape growers, wine producers

Grape growers, wine producers and anyone interested in learning more about the wine industry will have several opportunities to learn from local and national professionals during the 2013 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference.

The conference, held Feb. 18-19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Dublin, is anticipated to attract some 250 participants throughout the region, said Imed Dami, a state viticulture (grape growing) specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension.

The conference is offered jointly by Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, OSU Extension, OARDC, the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and the Ohio Wine Producers Association. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The conference will offer sessions that focus on viticulture and enology with themes focused on vineyard innovations, fruit wine and specialty production among other topics, and is designed to help growers and winemakers, as well as to boost Ohio’s wine industry, Dami said.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s corn farmers achieve successful crop despite extreme weather challenges

Ohio’s corn farmers experienced extreme weather during the 2012 growing season, yet in spite of historic challenges a plentiful yield was produced, according to the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA). The results of the 2012 season are borne out in the annual crop report released recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Facing what published reports cited as the broadest and most intense drought since 1956, corn farmers in Ohio and across the Midwest faced significant obstacles. In Ohio, the USDA declared an emergency state of drought for 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

“Ohio’s corn growers are resilient and work hard from planting to harvest to produce a quality, bountiful crop each year,” said Brent Hostetler, OCWGA president. “Corn growers met obstacles along the way, but best farming practices and improved technology helped them contribute to our nation’s eighth-largest crop in recorded history despite the drought.”… Continue reading

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Take time to review FDA’s Produce Safety rule

Ohio’s produce farmers might want to take some time to review the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s newly proposed Produce Safety rule.

Produce farmers have until May 16 to comment before the rule is finalized, said Ashley Kulhanek, agriculture and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension. After finalization, the rule will take effect for some operators within 60 days.

“That’s a short period of time after finalization before they have to comply with the new rules,” she said.

The proposed Produce Safety rule, announced on Jan. 4 and published in the Federal Register, is one way the government is putting the Food Safety Modernization Act into practice. The act was signed into law in January 2011, and growers and the food industry have been waiting since then to get details on what it will mean for their operations.

Also announced Jan. 4 was the proposed rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food, geared toward facilities that process, package or store food.… Continue reading

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Ohio tobacco production update

By David Dugan, Ohio State University Extension

Tobacco production has been in a steady decline since the late 1990s in the United States, and Ohio has seen the same reduction in producers and acres of tobacco. The big change happened in 2004 when the mandatory “buyout” happened. The buyout ended the quota system that had been in place since the 1930s. The quota system was based on acres until the early 1970s when the quota was transitioned over to pounds. Quotas were tied to farms and considered an asset. Land owners who did not produce tobacco often leased their pounds to a producer wanting to grow more tobacco. Crop share production was very common, too. The “buyout” eliminated all of this. No more leasing, crop share or quotas.

The post buyout production is mainly direct marketing with tobacco companies. However, there are still some auctions in operation, which prior to the buyout was the standard method of marketing the crop.… Continue reading

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Crop input outlook for 2013

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management
OSU Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

Crop profitability prospects for 2013 are positive for the three major row crops in Ohio. Input costs have increased from last year but high crop futures prices for 2013 crops will allow producers to plan for positive margins next year. OSU Extension Enterprise Budget projections show positive returns for corn, soybeans and wheat in 2013.

OSU Extension Budgets show projected variable (cash) costs for corn, soybean, and wheat production to be 4%, 6% and 2.5% higher, respectively in 2013 versus 2012. Higher commodity prices and higher costs point to another risky production year as the cash investment in an acre of corn will top $400 (excluding land, machinery and labor costs) and in some production scenarios be closer to $450 per acre. The cash investment in an acre of soybeans or wheat will be in the $200 to $260 range.… Continue reading

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