FDA announces Food Safety Modernization Act standards

On January 4, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the long-awaited proposed standards for foodborne illness prevention and produce safety. Called the “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption,” the rules will be used to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed by President Barack Obama in 2011.

This is the next step in the laborious process of standardizing strategies to minimize the potential of microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“OPGMA commends the FDA in its efforts to be inclusive of the various stakeholders, including Ohio’s produce growers. This was an unprecedented process and one welcomed by OPGMA,” said Lisa Schacht of Schacht Farm Market in Canal Winchester and president of OPGMA.

Early on, the FDA solicited advice from OPGMA in numerous ways, including an organized a tour of several farms by FDA representatives. The result is a comprehensive and robust set of proposed rules and guidelines to fulfill the vision of the FSMA.… Continue reading

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Global corn demand spurs historic shift in China

For the first time in history, China will produce more corn than rough rice, according to reports by the U.S. Grains Council. This change, first projected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate, comes as the growing affluence of the Chinese middle class spurs for a protein-rich diet.

The USDA report, which upwardly revised Chinese corn production projections by 300 million bushels, illustrate how the economic trends of the world’s most populous country could create opportunities for well-positioned corn producers.

“Dramatic shifts in corn production are taking place across the globe” said Kevin Roepke, USGC manager of Global Trade. “This is stark evidence that today’s corn producer is well poised to take advantage of growing global consumerism.”

Demand for meat in China experienced explosive growth over the past 20 years, with poultry consumption increasing by 300%.  During that period, pork consumption increased by 85%, and beef consumption has increased 155%.… Continue reading

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Drainage, yields and the environment

By Kayla Weaver, OCJ field reporter

With solid market prices and steady land values, Ohio farmers are taking the opportunity to reinvest in their farms by making improvements or upgrading their equipment. Many are choosing to invest more in their land with the installation of new drainage systems that also allow them to take advantage of new technology.

Steve Gerten, owner and operator of Inbody Drainage in Leipsic serves as the chairman of the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors of America (OLICA) and has been very involved in the new trends in drainage in his business.

“The farm economy over the last four or five years has been successful as far as being able to finally make a decent profit margin. In turn, farmers are reinvesting into their farms. I think technology, such as a yield monitor, plays a role as they can see an impact in fields they’ve tiled and can quickly see the payback of having a drainage system,” he said.… Continue reading

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USDA report shows Ohio corn, soybeans and wheat stocks & corn yields all down in 2012

Per the January 11th USDA Report:

Ohio’s 2012 average corn yield is estimated at 123 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from the November forecast, and down 35 bushels from the previous year. Producers harvested 3.65 million acres for grain this past year, compared to 3.22 million acres in 2011. Total State production of 449.0 million bushels is 12 percent below the 2011 total. Acreage harvested for silage is estimated at 200,000 acres, up 60,000 acres from the previous year. The average silage yield is estimated at 16.0 tons per acre.

Ohio’s average soybean yield for 2012 is estimated at 45 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from the November forecast. Growers harvested 4.58 million acres of soybeans in 2012 from the estimated 4.60 million acres planted. Total soybean production is estimated at 206.1 million bushels, down 5 percent from the 217.9 million bushels produced in 2011.

Alfalfa yields averaged 2.80 tons of dry hay per acre in 2012, while all Other hay averaged 1.80 tons per acre.

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USDA releases most important report of the year

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Have you watched the grain markets in recent weeks with the same attitude as watching paint dry? It takes forever. Well it’s finally here. The long awaited January 11 USDA crop reports were released today at noon. Corn production for 2012 was estimated at 10.78 billion bushels with a yield of 123.4 bushels per acre. Soybean production was pegged at 3.015 billion bushels and a yield of 39.6 bushels per acre.

Traders had expected today’s price reactions to be violent, swift, and volatile. Traders viewed corn as bullish, soybeans negative to neutral, and wheat bullish.

The trade has been talking about this report heavily for the past month. Many view today’s report day as the most important one for the entire year. It consists of four major reports; final corn and soybean production numbers for 2012, Dec. 1, 2012 quarterly grain stocks, the normal monthly supply and demand report, and lastly, estimated 2013 U.S.… Continue reading

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January 11th USDA Crop Report


USDA pegged corn production at 10.78 billion bushels, which is up 1% from November estimates but still down 13% from the 2011 crop. The average yield was 123.4 bushels per acre, which was at the high end of pre-report estimates. Corn yields were down 23.8 bushels per acre from 2011.

In hitting 10.78 billion bushels, USDA raised the average yield per acre in this report yet lowered the number of harvested acres to 87.4 million acres.


Soybean production was projected at just over 3 billion bushels, which was comparable to the average trade estimates. Soybean production is down 3% from 2011, but still the seventh-largest crop in U.S. history. The average yield was projected at 29.6 bushels per acre, which also was the same as pre-report estimates.


Wheat acres came in at 41.8 million, which was below average trade estimates. USDA projected 29.1 million Hard Red Winter Wheat acres, which fell below the range for pre-report estimates.… Continue reading

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Gypsum could fight Lake Erie algae

An Ohio State University scientist says an abundant byproduct from coal-burning power plants, if spread on farmers’ fields, could help control Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms.

Warren Dick, a soil biochemist in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), said applying fluidized gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum to crop fields can keep soluble phosphorus, the main nutrient feeding the algae, from getting washed from the soil by heavy rains, then running off into streams and rivers and eventually into the lake.

“And FGD gypsum, which is a synthetic form of gypsum, can improve both the soil and the crops,” he said. “Naturally occurring, mined gypsum has a long history as a soil amendment and fertilizer for farming.”

A professor in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), Dick is part of a national program to develop agricultural uses for FGD gypsum, which comes from the air-emission scrubbers at coal-burning power plants.… Continue reading

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Update on Saflufenacil herbicides

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

There are some changes with regard to herbicides that growers should be aware of in the coming year. Here is an overview of Saflufenacil herbicides.

Major changes with saflufenacil products within the past year or so include the addition of higher soybean burndown rates and planting restrictions, and one new product. Sharpen can now be applied at rates up to two ounces per acre in soybean burndown programs, and higher rates can improve burndown and residual broadleaf weed control. As Sharpen rates increase above one ounce per acre, the minimum interval between application and soybean planting increases. For soils with more than 2% organic matter, the minimum delay between Sharpen application and planting: one ounce — anytime before emergence; 1.5 ounces — 14 days; two ounces 30 days. Similar changes have occurred for Verdict use rates in soybeans. The five-ounce Verdict rate can be applied anytime before crop emergence, while rates of 7.5 and 10 ounces per acre must be applied 14 and 30 days before planting, respectively.… Continue reading

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ACRE payments not probable in Ohio for 2012

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

Recently I read an article that suggested that an Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payment might be possible for the corn crop in Illinois. So, I thought maybe it might be possible here in Ohio. We have relatively good estimates from the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) on the 2012 yield for Ohio. Corn yield is estimated at 123 bushels per acre and soybeans at 43 bushels per acre. Corn represents a decline of approximately 22% and soybeans are down 10% from the five-year Ohio Olympic average.

The ACRE revenue guarantee for corn in Ohio is $627. To calculate the actual crop revenue for the state, simply multiply the state average yield times the market average price for the year. The market year starts in September of 2012 and goes through August 2013. Since the market average price is not known, one can determine what the market price needs to be to generate an ACRE payment by dividing the ACRE revenue guaranty by the average yield.… Continue reading

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Soy checkoff examines options for locks and dams

The U.S. shipping industry received a reminder of how much a lock closure can cost when Lock 27 on the Mississippi River closed for five days this fall due to emergency repairs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that an unscheduled closure at this lock can cost up to $2.8 million per day. Emergency fixes and unscheduled maintenance cost shippers and those using shippers to move products. Additionally, the inadequacies of the aging U.S. lock and dam system can add burden, time and costs due to inefficiencies.

A recent study funded by the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) Global Opportunities program in coordination with the Soy Transportation Coalition examined these inefficiencies and potential maintenance solutions for this vital part of U.S. infrastructure. The U.S. inland waterways serve as important and economical routes to transport U.S. soy to global markets. Nearly 60% of total 2011 soybean exports passed through Mississippi River ports in southern Louisiana.… Continue reading

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Friday marks new release time for USDA report

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

As announced back in September, USDA’s crop reports due on Friday will have a bit of a different twist to them. These reports will be the first major reports released at their new time of noon, which will take place while the markets are in an open outcry session. Previously the release time was 8:30 a.m. Eastern. This change comes with the markets being open 24 hours a day. So why is the new release time noon?

“Apparently that is a time that has fairly good liquidity in the market where many people are active in trading,” said Gerald Bange, USDA Chief Economist.

Bange’s staff certainly likes the change as before they had to get to work at midnight to get the 8:30 a.m. reports put together and released. The later release time means a little more sleep, but not much.

“We’re still going to have to get in here at a fairly early hour,” Bange said.… Continue reading

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Update on soybean herbicide premixes

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

There are some changes with regard to soybean herbicide premixes that growers should be aware of in the coming year. Here is an overview.

Soybean herbicide premixes

Intimidator (Loveland/CPS) is a premix of s-metolachlor, fomesafen (Reflex), and metribuzin for preplant or preemergence use in soybeans. Activity is similar to a mixture of Prefix plus metribuzin. Intimidator provides broad-spectrum weed control but will be generally less effective for residual control of giant ragweed compared with other broad-spectrum soybean herbicides (Valor XLT, Gangster, Sonic, Authority XL, etc). The addition of a few ounces of metribuzin 75DF will improve marestail control, especially where the lower rates of Intimidator are used.

Matador (Loveland/CPS) is a premix of metolachlor, imazethapyr (Pursuit), and metribuzin for preplant or preemergence use in soybeans. A use rate of two pints per acre would be typical in a planned preemergence followed by postemergence soybean herbicide program.… Continue reading

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Changing soil pH on your farm

By Dave Nanda, Seed Consultants, Inc.

We have discussed what pH is and the importance of having balanced pH during the last three weeks. Many physical, chemical and biological processes necessary for crop survival, growth and yield are affected by soil pH. I would like to discuss how you can adjust the pH in the soils on your farm.

• For high yields we must balance soil pH depending on the crops we intend to grow. For growing corn, beans, wheat and alfalfa, we need to have a soil pH values of 6.0 to 6.8. Balanced pH is critical because it can affect nutrient availability, soil-applied herbicides and their degradation, potential for aluminum or iron toxicity, as well as nitrogen fixation by legumes.

• Some soils have a tendency to become acidic over time due to weathering of soil minerals and release of acidifying metals, leaching away of calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium, decomposition of organic matter, and application of ammonia-based fertilizers.… Continue reading

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Update on Mesotrione herbicides

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

There are some changes with regard to Mesotrione herbicides that growers should be aware of in the coming year. Here is an overview.

Mesotrione herbicides

Major changes here include two new mesotrione premixes from DuPont, and some reformulating and renaming of Syngenta products. Lexar and Lumax have been subject to minor reformulating, and are now Lexar EZ and Lumax EZ. Camix, the premix of mesotrione and s-metolachlor, has been renamed Zemax. New Dupont mesotrione products include the following:

Instigate, a mixture of mesotrione and rimsulfuron, is labeled for preplant, preemergence, and early postemergence use in field corn. Instigate provides residual control or suppression of annual grass and broadleaf weeds, and has activity on emerged weeds. Application of this product alone will generally not be adequate in either a total preeemergence or preemergence followed by postemergence herbicide program. A mixture of Instigate plus an atrazine premix should have burndown activity that is similar to Lexar and Lumax, as well as similar residual weed control.… Continue reading

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No-till, cover crops and drought

By Randall Reeder, Faculty Emeritus, Ohio State University Extension

You’ve probably seen the commercial for gold that asks, “If I offered you $5,000 in either gold or paper money, which would you take?”

The commercial implies that gold is better, but if I’m going to use the money tomorrow as a down payment on a truck, I’ll take the cash. Otherwise, I’ll have the expense of selling the gold first.

Cover crops may present a similar question for you. If you knew the 2013 growing season would be just as dry as 2012, would you want to have cover crops in your fields today? Your ground may be covered with snow, so you won’t see any difference between a dormant cover crop and bare ground. But dormant cover crops have living roots (the same as winter wheat), and those roots provide sustenance to the biology in the soil, and continue to take up nutrients.… Continue reading

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Update of Pyroxasulfone herbicides

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

There are some changes with regard to Pyroxasulfone herbicides that growers should be aware of in the coming year. Here is an overview.


Pyroxasulfone Herbicides

Pyroxasulfone is a new active ingredient for residual control of annual grasses and certain small-seeded broadleaf weeds. It can be found in several products that were recently labeled for use in corn, and several of these will be labeled for use in soybeans in the near future as well. Mode of action of pyroxasulfone is similar to the acetamides — a group 15 seedling growth inhibitor. Pyroxasulfone controls most annual grasses, pigweed, waterhemp, lambsquarters, and black nightshade, and also has fair activity on common ragweed and velvetleaf at higher rates. The spectrum and length of control is dependent upon rate, as with most herbicides.

The premix products that contain pyroxasulfone are geared for use in a planned preemergence followed by postemergence program.… Continue reading

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OCTA winter meeting

January 26, 2013 is the date for the Ohio Christmas Tree Association (OCTA) Winter Meeting at The Reese Center on the Newark campus of Ohio State University in Newark. Mike Gutridge and the Winter Meeting Committee have put together a great meeting that will be highlighted by outlook of the shale gas industry in Ohio, income tax update, irrigation and insects and mites plus much more.

Registration information can be found on the OCTA website at or by contacting the OCTA Office at 740-828-3331.… Continue reading

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Ohio State Fair’s Soybean Education Program receives international recognition

The Ohio State Fair, in conjunction with the Ohio Soybean Council, has received an award of distinction in the inaugural Soybean and Environmental Sustainability Awards competition from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) for its soybean education program at the 2012 Fair.

In addition to receiving first place in its attendance division for the “educational event, exhibit or program for the fairgoing public – soy use” category, the Ohio State Fair was presented with the coveted Judge’s Choice Award for the entire Soybean and Environmental Sustainability Awards competition, which recognized fairs in four different categories, and in each of five divisions based upon attendance. The entries were evaluated and judged by a team of industry leaders selected from the membership of the IAFE.

The multi-faceted program was developed in partnership with the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff to educate fairgoers, farmers and concession vendors about the state’s most abundant and versatile crop, the soybean:

  • Many concessionaires made their fried foods healthier by adopting the use of trans fat-free high-oleic soybean oil in their food booths, featuring educational signage alongside the delicious treats.
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Do crops have pH value preference?

By Dave Nanda, Seed Consultants, Inc.

In the last couple of weekly articles we discussed what pH value is and the importance of hydrogen for plant growth. As we discussed last week, hydrogen is one of the four elements essential for all life.

• Plants absorb hydrogen through water by a process called osmosis. This process is what makes the nutrients travel through the water into the plant. Soil pH plays an important role in water and nutrient uptake. We saw last summer that once a plant dies due to too much heat or lack of water, the late rains could not revive it.

• A pH neutral environment is suitable for most plants. However, the pH values required by corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa are somewhat different for optimum performance. Some examples of crop preferences for acidic or alkaline soils are given below:

• Potatoes and radishes like acidic soils with pH value of 5.0 – 5.5

• Soybeans and crimson clover like pH of 5.5 – 6.0

• Corn, cucumbers and tomatoes like pH of 6.0 – 6.5

• Alfalfa, celery, lettuce and onions like pH of 6.5 – 7.0

Since we have to grow different crops on the same ground, we need to adjust the pH values of our soils so they are suitable for most of the crops that we intend to grow.… Continue reading

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Purdue Extension pocket reference guide available

A popular Purdue Extension pocket reference guide for corn and soybean producers has been updated and is now available.

The 2013 Corn and Soybean Field Guide is an in-field reference to help farmers quickly identify and manage crop problems, such as weeds, diseases and insects.

The 324-page guide has information useful from planting to harvest and features color photographs and reference tables to help farmers make fertilizer and pesticide application decisions. Other topics include crop development, nutrient deficiencies, planting decisions, soil fertility and herbicide injuries.

Growers can use the guide to help them apply appropriate amounts of fertilizers for soil nutrient deficiencies or pesticides for pest management, which could save them money, said Corey Gerber, director of Purdue’s Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center.

Updates from last year’s guide include improved photographs and new information about soybean vein necrosis virus, which was first confirmed in Indiana in 2012.

Guides are available individually or in bulk from Purdue Extension’s The Education Store at http://www.the-education-store.comContinue reading

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