State offering drought meetings

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio State University Extension and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will host a series of meetings throughout the state in September to provide crop and livestock farmers with information on farming in a drought and on accessing available relief resources.

In July, Governor John R. Kasich signed Executive Order 2012-11K, instructing state agencies to work with Ohio’s farmers to minimize the potential environmental and economic impact of an agricultural drought. As part of the order, ODA was instructed to hold a series of educational meetings to discuss forage management, water availability, heat stress on livestock, mitigation strategies and other drought-related topics.

The meetings will include officials from ODA, Ohio State University Extension and FSA. The public will have the opportunity to talk with experts and ask questions at the following meetings:


September  10, 2012 5:30pm – 8:00 p.m., Ohio Department of Agriculture – Bromfield Administration Building (Auditorium), 8995 East Main St.,… Continue reading

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Monsanto and Pioneer continue court battles

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth, Mercer County attorney

A huge agricultural case recently made the news. After over three weeks of jury trial, Monsanto was awarded $1 billion in damages for patent infringement by DuPont Pioneer. Eight jurors in U.S. District Court in St. Louis deliberated for less than an hour.

All I know about the case is what I was able to obtain from some on-line research. And I am no expert in patent law. But I would have loved to have spent a short time listening to dark suited litigators argue about stacking. There’s nothing funnier than a common farm term being discussed to death by legal orators and experts.

Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, both distinguished companies, together share about two-thirds of the North American corn and soybean seed markets. As rivals, they are more like a biotech version of the Hatfields and the McCoys, only the weapons of choice are experts, money and attorneys and the fight is over Roundup Ready technology.… Continue reading

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March 22 corn almost ready to harvest (Aug. 5 update)

On April 10, 2012 we reported on some of the first corn to come up in Ohio. It was planted on March 22, 2012 in Fayette County. We are going to follow that field along through to harvest. See the field’s complete progress from March 22nd up until now.

This will be the second to last update from the field, because it appears the field may be shelled yet this week. We’ve been following this field all season to see how it would turn out compared to fields planted later. Ironically as of this week it seems to look just the same as other corn in the area planted later.





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Cover crops 101

By Matt Reese

With more talk about the incredible range of benefits of cover crop use, even some stalwart holdouts are considering trying a few cover crop fields this fall.

But, like anything else, there is a learning curve with the management challenges of cover crops. Many cover crop veterans feel the easiest way to get a start in cover crops is cereal rye followed by soybeans.

“If I had a 40-acre field, I would allot maybe 10 or 20 acres and try cereal rye or wheat.

Wheat is a little cheaper and guys tend to have more knowledge about it,” said Greg McGlinch, technician for the Darke County Soil and Water Conservation District at a Miami County cover crop field day. “I would go with 35 to 50 pounds an acre with the cereal rye and maybe mix in 1.5 to 3 pounds of radishes with that to create a little drainage in the soil.… Continue reading

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Monsanto expands Genuity refuge-in-a-bag options

U.S. farmers in the Corn-Growing Area now have another single- bag option for managing above- and below-ground pests. Monsanto’s Genuity VT Triple PRO RIB Complete has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, completing federal regulatory authorization in the United States. Commercialization is pending individual state authorizations and notifications, as required.

With this approval, all of the products in Monsanto’s reduced-refuge corn family now are refuge- in-the-bag enabled for the Corn Belt, enabling built-in compliance on insect-resistance management refuge practices to preserve the durability of insect-protection technology for growers. Monsanto was the first in the industry to offer farmers single-bag refuge solutions, starting with Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete, followed by Genuity VT Double PRO RIB Complete and now Genuity VT Triple PRO RIB Complete.

“We continue to get great feedback from farmers on our single-bag refuge products,” said Mike Stern, U.S. Row Crops Business Lead, “which offer the simplest, most convenient refuge option available today.

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Fruit, vegetable safety program set for Sept. 24 in Chillicothe

A program on preventing microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms will take place from 1-4 p.m. on Sept. 24 at 475 Western Ave., Room D, in Chillicothe. Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs, for fruit and vegetable production are the focus.

“The Food and Drug Administration should be releasing draft standards for safe production of fruits and vegetables this year,” said Ashley Kulhanek of Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, which is the program’s sponsor. “So it’s a good time to learn about GAPs.”

Ohio State University Extension educators and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center staff will present the program. Participants will receive a resource workbook, paper handouts and a certificate of participation.

But Kulhanek said attendees won’t actually become “certified in GAPs” by taking the course. That certification comes only through a farm audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a third-party company.

“Find out what your farmers market or buyers require.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – September 4th, 2012


The average temperature for the State was 73.2 degrees, 2.5 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, September 2, 2012. Precipitation averaged 1.37 inches, 0.53 inches above normal. There were 160 modified growing degree days, 17 days above normal.

Reporters rated 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 31, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 39 percent very short, 38 percent short, and 23 percent adequate.


There were isolated showers and enough precipitation to reach what is average for this time of year, but it did little to improve already drought-stricken crops. Field activities for the week included spraying for weeds and spider mites, tilling wheat stubble, applying fertilizer, seeding cover crops, and installing drainage tile.

As of Sunday September 2nd, 95 percent of corn was rated in the dough development stage, compared to 81 percent last year and 87 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Corn harvest has started with very mixed results

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn harvest has begun around the country. Some of the nation’s first corn came off in Arkansas and surrounding areas. They are among the most fortunate producers this growing season. They are enjoying the rare combination of great yields and high prices. During pollination, they also missed the 100 plus degrees seen in much of the Midwest during that very critical period. They are seeing some fantastic yields coming in near 170 to 200 bushels per acre. However, with good yields, the basis can be pretty wide as they were seeing numbers of 50 to 70 under the December. With the drought of the Midwest, we have seen some rather strange

events taking place. One of those is the extremely low water level seen on much of the lower Mississippi River this summer. With those lower water levels, drafts on barges headed for New Orleans were affected.… Continue reading

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Soy Checkoff partners with Goodyear on new tire

The United Soybean Board (USB) continues to drive demand for U.S. soy, thanks to a partnership with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Goodyear recently announced field tests for a new tire featuring U.S. soy that the company says may offer consumers increased tread life and a greener alternative to those manufactured solely with petrochemicals.

Goodyear’s announcement marked the public unveiling of a two-year, ongoing collaboration between the soy checkoff and the Akron, Ohio-based company.

“The soy checkoff welcomes the opportunity to partner with Goodyear in bringing this tire to the market,” said Russ Carpenter, a soybean farmer from Trumansburg, N.Y. and chair of the USB New Uses program. “The checkoff constantly looks for ways to improve the value of soy oil to U.S. soybean farmers and this new tire highlights soy’s versatility in the marketplace.”

The partnership began two years ago, after the 2008 spike in crude oil prices prompted Goodyear to evaluate petrochemical alternatives and propose research exploring soy oil’s potential in its products.… Continue reading

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Many changes in 20 years of Ohio’s Country Journal

By Matt Reese


“Mark Thomas raises corn and milks cows in Stark County.

In that respect, the Louisville-area farmer is no different from the hundreds of other farmers in the Buckeye state.

But Mark Thomas is uniquely different from any farmer in Ohio.”

These were the first lines of the first cover story of the first issue of Ohio’s Country Journal 20 years ago in September of 1992. That initial issue featured Thomas, his love of life on the farm and his tireless promotion of ethanol through his success on the race track behind the wheel of an ethanol-powered hot rod. By 1992, Thomas had won three International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) world championships and he had been successful at using his success to talk about his favorite fuel — corn ethanol.

Thomas grew up learning to love the farm and race cars. When he was in the sixth grade he had to write an essay about what he considered to be a perfect day.… Continue reading

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Ohio No-Till Field Day set for Sept. 13

Cover crops, drought and aerial and high-clearance seeding will be among the topics examined during the Ohio No-Till Field Day Sept. 13.

The event is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the David Brandt Farm, 6100 Basil Western Road, Carroll. Registration is $35 by Sept. 4 or $50 on-site.

The program will include demonstrations of planter and drill setups and adjustments, a firsthand look at cover crop plots, discussions regarding cover crop choices, benefits and seeding methods, and demonstrations of aerial and high-clearance seeding, weather permitting.

Randall Reeder, a recently retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer, emphasized the importance of cover crops, especially in drought years.

“Farmers have more choices and a greater need for cover crops this year due to drought conditions and early harvesting,” he said. “Cover crops are essential to trapping excess nitrogen and other important nutrients within the soil, especially in years of drought.”… Continue reading

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Weekend rains could help and hurt struggling crops

By Matt Reese

With the chance of hurricane inspired rains moving their way into Ohio this weekend, many producers are interested in how the weather could impact their stressed crop fields.

Soybeans could still benefit from the rains.

“On average, there are 2,500 to 3,000 individual soybean seeds per pound. Soybean seeds produced during drought

conditions tend to be smaller compared to seeds produced under normal conditions. Small seed size reduces yield,” said Laura Lindsey, OSU’s Extension soybean specialist in a recent CORN Newsletter. “The influence of late-season rainfall on yield depends on soybean growth stage. If soybeans are at the R5 or R6 growth stage (seed filling), August rainfall will increase soybean size. However, if soybeans are at the R7 growth stage (one normal pod on the main stem has reached its mature pod color), rainfall (or lack of rainfall) will have little influence on soybean yield.”

The rains could be very beneficial for the soybeans, but any accompanying winds and downpours could cause significant problems.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag-Biotechnology Academy prepares teachers with relative and applicable science lessons

Agricultural education and science teachers from Ohio comprehensive high schools and career technical schools recently participated in the first-ever Ohio Ag-Biotechnology Academy sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Education.

The Ag-Biotechnology Academy was designed to engage agricultural education and biotechnology teachers in a hands-on, inquiry-based atmosphere focused on integrating ag-biotechnology curriculum into career technical and comprehensive high school education programs. The goals for the teacher education mirrored goals of the ag-biotechnology industry including: exploring the scientific basis for consumer acceptance of biotechnology; assessing the potential for ag-biotechnology to contribute to global food security; understanding the impact of ag-biotechnology on the environment, sustainability and nutrition around the world; and introducing the global pipeline for new biotechnology traits.

Selected through a competitive application process, 26 teachers spent two days at the DuPont Pioneer soybean research center in Napoleon engaging in hands-on science laboratory activities led by their peers that they can take back to their classrooms and integrate into curriculums this coming school year.… Continue reading

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Preparation of storage facilities for grain harvest

By Curtis Young, Ohio State University Extension

After the long, stinking hot, droughty summer, expectations for poor to seriously poor yields are running high. Thus, protecting every bushel that gets harvested should also be high on everyone’s priority list. Protecting grain quality and ultimately the economic value of the grain begins long before the first acre is ever harvested. This pre-harvest activity is to prepare grain harvesting, handling and storage equipment and structures for the soon to be harvested corn and soybeans.

All pieces of equipment used in harvesting the grain should be cleaned, inspected, and repaired several weeks prior to the beginning of the harvest season. And the harvest season is rushing at us at an accelerated pace this year. Soybean fields are changing colors and corn kernels are dented and rapidly drying down even though in some fields the stalks and leaves are still fully green. Like in real estate where the mantra is Location!… Continue reading

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More growth in demand from China could fuel more exports

Demand for distillers dried grain with solubles in China is growing at a robust pace according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Reporting Service report. While use of the ethanol co-product, widely considered a high quality feed ingredient, remains experimental, the agency expects to see a steady rise as China’s feed demand expands rapidly over the next 10 years.

“As the people of China continue their climb into the global middle class, they are moving toward a diet rich in both protein and taste,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, a farmer from Auburn, Ill. “Given the incredible size of its population, a shift in the average Chinese diet can generate impressive demand. U.S. farmers and ethanol producers look forward to working with the Chinese feed industry to fill this need with quality U.S. distillers grains. DDGS represent a tremendous opportunity for so many, truly maximizing the usefulness of our corn crop and its ability to feed and fuel a rapidly evolving world.”… Continue reading

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Locks and dams key to the future of Ohio ag

Locks and dams key to the future of Ohio ag

By Matt Reese

Along with its rich soils, gifted farmers and thirst for innovation, America has long been

home to the best transportation infrastructure the world has ever known. This has been a tremendous advantage those who want to export anything on the world market.

This is especially true in Ohio, where the transportation infrastructure has helped make agriculture the No.1 contributor to the state’s economy. However, aging and decaying infrastructure, including locks and dams, is threatening statewide jobs and economic growth.

Today, Ohio Soy 2020 and the Ohio Ag Transportation Coalition are hosting the Locks and Dams Forum to educate participants from the agriculture and transportation industries about the condition and importance of transportation infrastructure to Ohio’s economy.

“In the transport business, time is money,” said Rick Calhoun, with Cargill Cargo Carriers. “But we have a system where more than 60% of the locks are more than 50 years old, and they were not designed to last 50 years.… Continue reading

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Harvest ahead of schedule

Harvest is progressing more quickly than average this year. With 6% of acres already complete nationally, many states are progressing well ahead of schedule, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Ohio has even been home to scattered harvest in a handful of fields around the state, though there was no recorded percentage from USDA.

Corn condition overall remains stable as the growing season nears an end, with no significant changes evident since last week.

“Farmers have faced many difficulties this year, with a long, intense drought impacting much of the Corn Belt in 2012,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer. “After an early planting season and optimism surrounding the large numbers of acres planted, much of the Midwest saw corn that failed to reach its full potential due to unfavorable weather during critical periods. Despite these setbacks, farmers across the country are drawing upon their inner reserves, resiliently working to make this harvest as abundant as possible for our nation. … Continue reading

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Hot, dry summer heats up the battle over ethanol

Ethanol is the subject of hot debate as it is gobbling up corn bushels in the third consecutive year of tight supplies and high feed prices for livestock producers.

The U.S. Agriculture Department forecasted that corn production this year will drop 13% to a six-year low as a result of the historic drought nationwide, the calls to divert more corn for food versus fuel are likely to grow more urgent, Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts said.

The USDA said it expects corn growers to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 24 bushels from last year. In Ohio, those numbers translate into a projected 126 bushels per acre, which is down 32 bushels per acre from last year for corn.

For livestock producers already suffering because of poor pasture conditions and high hay costs from the historic drought, that means higher feed costs and the potential that more of them will be forced to sell their herds because they can’t afford to feed them, Roberts said.… Continue reading

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Mark Thomas-August 27, 2012

“Maybe 10 days ago we got four or five tenths of an inch of rain and we’re getting a nice rain right now. It is a nice soaker. A lot of guys are chopping. I’ve heard about guys getting in the fields and stopping and guys that wished they had started earlier. I’ve heard anywhere from 60% moisture to 80% moisture. We’re looking for 62% to 67%. Some of it is drier than you think and some of it is wetter. There is a little bit of everything. Some guys have been pleasantly surprised with 20 tons per acre and there are guys that are normally getting 25 or 30 tons per acre that are getting into the teens.

“A friend of mine is going to shell some corn this week. He planted some 88-day corn early and it is dry and hanging. We’re not even ready to do corn silage yet.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-August 27, 2012

“There is good corn and there is bad corn. Pollination is not really good, but it is better than I thought it would be. We are going to have small ears, which is a given, but the ears are pretty well pollinated. It will be tough to judge yields until we actually get out in it.

“I checked the moisture this morning. It was at 25% or 26% moisture, so I would say in 10 days or so we’ll start shelling some to see what it really is. I am a little concerned about ears dropping and falling off the stalks. The plants gave everything to the ear and I am hoping we don’t get a hurricane wind blowing on this stuff out here and bringing a bunch of moisture while we’re trying to harvest.

“We had some rains that helped the beans. I am really impressed with how the beans filled out, even the earlier beans.… Continue reading

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