NCGA members save at Cabela’s

As the holidays approach, members of the National Corn Growers Association can save when purchasing gifts for the outdoors enthusiasts in their lives. By using the benefits NCGA offers, members can purchase Cabela’s gift cards at a 10 percent discount.

“We always look for benefits that match the interests of our growers, and this partnership is perfect for their active outdoor lifestyle,” said Brandon Hunnicutt , chairman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team. “As the holidays approach, these benefits hold even more value. Using the Cabela’s partnership can help members save while purchasing a gift that many of the people on their lists are sure to love.”

Gift cards valued at $25, $50 and $100 are available. NCGA members may purchase cards by calling the national office at 636-733-5520.

Cabela’s is the world’s largest direct marketer, and a leading specialty retailer, of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise. Since its founding in 1961, Cabela’s has grown to become one of the most well-known outdoor recreation brands in the world.… Continue reading

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Uncertainty looms for 2013 yields and prices

A return to more normal U.S. corn yields in 2013 could send new-crop prices spiraling downward, but persistent drought in some of the nation’s top corn-producing states could have the opposite effect, says Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the midpoint of U.S. farm prices on 2012 corn will be $7.60 per bushel. If yields are more normal in 2013, Hurt said prices could fall by $2.10 to $5.50 per bushel — the largest-ever year-to-year drop.

“The previous largest drop in the annual farm price was 73 cents per bushel for the 1986 crop,” he said. “The percent reduction in 1986 was 33%, which would compare with a 28% reduction in 2013 if prices dropped to $5.50.”

According to Hurt, late next summer a 2013 corn crop larger than 14 billion bushels would meet a usage base that has dropped to just 11.2 billion bushels.… Continue reading

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ASA pushing for farm bill

As Congress continues to debate potential solutions to the fiscal cliff issue, the American Soybean Association (ASA) reached out today to leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to provide its views on potential provisions in a comprehensive five-year farm bill.
In a letter from ASA President Danny Murphy, ASA restated its support for many of the provisions included in both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill, and expressed specific support for the Senate’s Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program, which will provide important protection against reductions in both price and yield. ASA also pointed out major drawbacks to the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) option included in the House bill identified in a recent analysis by AgRisk Management, LLC.
The PLC program “establishes much higher and disproportionate reference or target prices that bear little relation to recent average market prices or production costs,” stated ASA. “Moreover, by tying payments to crops that are actually grown in the current year, the PLC option has the potential to significantly distort planting decisions, production, commodity prices, and government program costs in the event market prices fall.  
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New method tests soybean rust spore viability

Spores from Asian soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) pose a serious threat to soybean production in the United States because they can be blown great distances by the wind. University of Illinois researchers have developed a method to determine whether these spores are viable.

“Finding spores is different from finding spores that are living and able to infect plants,” said USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist and crop sciences professor Glen Hartman.

Soybean rust, which first appeared in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century, is a foliar infector that reduces plant photosynthetic activity and causes defoliation, premature death, and high yield loss. An obligate pathogen, it grows only on plants and dies when the plant dies or is harvested.

The fungus first appeared In the U.S. in 2004. It is concentrated in the southern states where it is able to overwinter on kudzu. Spraying with fungicides is the only way to control it because resistant soybean cultivars are not yet available to U.S.… Continue reading

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Internet Cheerios bullies have little basis for claims

By Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association

General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and other foods, is catching grief from a small group of Internet bullies because of its use of genetically engineered ingredients. Oddly and ironically enough, these social media loudmouths have chosen a product that is predominantly made from oats, a commodity that is not genetically modified. But of course, Cheerios was not targeted because it may contain GMOs, but because it is the most popular cereal brand General Mills produces and they are trying to bully General Mills into an anti-GM stance. Over on the Facebook page for Wheaties, there’s no GMO mention. Likewise at the Lucky Charms page.

One of the comments over on Facebook about the GMO labeling issue is that “The people have spoken.” The fact is, the people have spoken, but these extreme activists have not listened, nor are they listening now. … Continue reading

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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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