Crops



Jim Herring-October 8th

“There are some surprising yields out there, but inconsistent is the word for the corn. It is all over the board. Even on every round we’re seeing numbers from one end to the other. The averages on corn are certainly down compared to beans. I took my worst field off and it was 100 bushels. Some of the better fields have averaged 180.

“We ran our National Corn Growers Association contest corn and 289.67 bushels and 282.51 are the two numbers I posted. The plots ranged from 240 to 290 dry, they were more than 300 bushels wet. Those were weighed, measured and certified by the NCGA. It was definitely accurate. If someone told me a month ago that we would have 180 bushel corn, I would have believed them — but not 100 bushels more than that.

“In the soybean contest plots, we posted a 77- and a 70-bushel yield and we haven’t run our best beans yet.… Continue reading

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Strong corn crop in China

The U.S. Grains Council 2012 China Corn Harvest Tour projects another good Chinese corn crop, driven both by higher yields and an increase in planted acreage. Persistent reports of weather and pest problems in some areas this summer, plus recent typhoon impacts in northeastern China, had raised concern about potentially significant yield reductions. The Council’s survey, however, suggests that the impact of these events is relatively small. While the final harvest will fall short of best-case expectations, it will be another record year for China corn.

“The U.S. drought and short 2012 crop is pressuring buyers in all sectors,” said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. “But corn trades in a global system, and the safety net is the capacity of other producers to step up.

“The United States is by far the world’s largest corn producer and exporter, but in a tough year for U.S. corn, it is a relief that the world’s number two producer is having a good year.… Continue reading

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USDA releases results of the 2011 certified organic production survey

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified organic growers in the United States sold more than $3.5 billion organically grown agricultural commodities in 2011, according to the results of the 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey, released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS conducted the survey for USDA’s Risk Management Agency to help refine federal crop insurance products for organic producers.

“This is the first time we have conducted a survey focused solely on the USDA-certified organic producers,” said Hubert Hamer, Chairperson of NASS’s Agricultural Statistics Board. “With this survey’s results, policymakers will be able to better assess the Federal Crop Insurance program and its impact on the organic industry.”

Mirroring its conventional counterpart, corn leads organic field crops in sales and accounted for more than $101.5 million in 2011. The only other field crops to have more than $50 million in sales were alfalfa dry hay and winter wheat, accounting for $69.5 million and $54 million in sales respectively.… Continue reading

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Aquaculture supporting soy demand in Pakistan

An innovative Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)-funded program in Pakistan is not only improving local diets, but is creating jobs, training workers and helping create a thriving aquaculture industry with U.S. soy.

The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program began a three-year program last September called “FEEDing Pakistan.” ASA/WISHH is collaborating with the Pakistan Fisheries Development Board on portions of the program, which aims to enhance the country’s growing aquaculture sector through trial fish feeding using high–protein, floating fish feed produced from U.S. soybean meal. The program also provides valuable training to fish farmers, including those in rural areas.

Mohammed, a 23-year-old from a village in the Punjab province of Pakistan, was hired to serve as a FEEDing Pakistan field research officer for one of the program’s tilapia feeding trials. Mohammed was the only member of his family — and one of the few from his village —  to attend high school and college.… Continue reading

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International grain customers watching short crop closely

Despite an expected lower crop this year, the United States remains open for business to international customers. The U.S. Grains Council understands the challenges faced by international customers due to the short crop and is working aggressively to help customers through a challenging year.

According to Daniel O’Brien, an extension agricultural economist with Kansas State University, “it is likely that grain buyers will weigh the net cost of grain buying plus logistical procurement costs across a full spectrum of grains they could buy to accomplish their goals,” whether that is for feeding livestock, food use or building up grain stocks. As for strategies for buyers to lower costs, the options are relatively few — simply because grain futures and markets have already adjusted to the expected smaller U.S. corn crop.

Darrel Good, an economist at the University of Illinois, said buyers can work to reduce the quantity of grains they may need at this time by purchasing substitutes, operating more efficiently or by scaling back.… Continue reading

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Controlling volunteer corn before wheat

The relatively early beginning to corn harvest provided a good environment for the emergence of volunteer corn, said University of Illinois associate professor of weed science Aaron Hager.

“Emerged volunteer corn at this time of year is normally not a problem because the plants will winterkill,” Hager said. “However, if a killing frost does not occur soon, these volunteer plants could be an impediment to farmers who would like to sow wheat this fall.”

To provide a better environment for small grain establishment, volunteer corn plants should be controlled before sowing. Preplant tillage is effective, but what about using a herbicide to control established plants?

Glyphosate is very effective for controlling existing stands of sensitive corn. There is no waiting interval between application and sowing small grains, but overall control may be improved if at least 24 hours elapse between application and replanting.

Glyphosate will not control glyphosate-resistant volunteer corn. Alternative herbicides such as Gramoxone SL can be used.… Continue reading

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2012 tough on apples (and apple growers)

By Matt Reese

Eating an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but growing apples can be hard on your health, especially in a year like 2012.

It was a stressful year for apple producers in many orchards in the eastern U.S., including Sage’s Apples in Geauga County, just a few miles south of Lake Erie.

“Normally Lake Erie is frozen and that usually holds the warm weather back for us in the spring,” said Bob Sage, who runs the business with his brother, John, and son Ben. “This year the Lake never froze all winter and, because of that, we warmed up when everyone else did. That was about two weeks early.”

The early warm weather pushed the apple blossoms that suffered from spring frosts, leaving apple growers to stress over whether their crop was done before it even got started. Fortunately for Sage’s Apples, things turned out better than initially expected.… Continue reading

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Watch out for shattering soybeans

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist

The extreme weather conditions this growing season are affecting soybean harvest. Soybean plants are shorter than normal resulting in pods that are closer to the ground. Additionally, some Ohio growers are also noticing soybean pod shattering during harvest.

Shattering is more likely to occur when pods are formed under drought conditions and re-wet later in the season. Short plants and shattering pods can increase harvest losses.

Four soybean seeds per square foot is approximately one bushel per acre yield loss. We found incidents of approximately 8 to 12 seeds per square foot (a 2 to 3 bushel per acre loss). Little can be done to prevent soybeans from shattering, but Iowa State University Extension offers some advice for harvesting shorter than normal soybeans at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2012/0808hanna.htm .… Continue reading

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USDA grants support specialty crop producers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $101 million in grants to support America’s specialty crops producers, who provide the fruits, vegetables, nuts and other nutritious foods for millions of healthy American meals each day. Approximately $55 million of the total will be invested in 56 specialty crop block grants to states that fund 748 initiatives across the country to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers. An additional $46 million will go to support new and continuing research and extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for growers and businesses that rely on a sustainable, profitable specialty crops industry. Vilsack made the announcement before touring the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, Wis., which prepares food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, for delivery to local public schools.

Under Vilsack’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has supported efforts to strengthen local and regional food systems for farmers of all types and sizes, helping them take advantage of new opportunities and succeed in today’s marketplace.… Continue reading

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Ear rots a health and harvest concern

By Matt Reese

There have been reports of farmers getting sick from cleaning combines without wearing dust masks. This could be linked to the inhalation of dust from a number of different ear rots that are being discovered in the Ohio corn crop.

Ear rots in fields can present health and safety issues during and following harvest. Corn harvest and grain handling become very important when ear rots are an issue.

AgriGold agronomist John Brien pointed out a number of potential ear rots in Ohio this fall to watch for in fields.

 

Fusarium kernel rot

Fusarium is caused by several different species of Fusarium and is the most common fungal disease on corn ears. The Fusarium pathogen overwinters very well on corn and grass residue and is more often seen in no-till, minimal-till and continuous corn fields. The Fusarium fungus thrives in environments that are hot and dry after pollination.… Continue reading

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Stocks report gives bulls reason to push prices higher

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

This morning was the quarterly grain stocks report issued by USDA. Corn and wheat stocks were lower than traders had expected, while soybean stocks were higher than expected. The report indicated that the Sept. 1 corn stocks were 988 million bushels, soybean stocks were 169 million bushels, and wheat stocks were 2.10 billion bushels.

Ten minutes after the report came out corn was trading up 18 cents, soybeans up 2 cents, and wheat was up 17 cents.  Just before the report came out at 8:30 a.m., corn was down 6 cents, soybeans were down 1 cent, with wheat down 2 cents.

Seeing the corn stocks below one billion bushels will help give the bulls some reason for corn to move higher from these levels. Soybeans have been hit hard the past four weeks as they have dropped over $2.20 from their contract highs on Sept. 4.… Continue reading

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Soybean farmers see work of the checkoff at home and abroad

From the use of biodiesel at a major U.S. airport to the use of soy oil for the baking and frying industry, soybean farmers from around the country witnessed first-hand some of the many ways soybeans are used during the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) 2012 See for Yourself program.

Sponsored by the national soy checkoff, the fifth-annual program offered 10 farmer-participants from across the country the chance to tour a number of sites related to the checkoff’s objectives to improve the value of U.S. soy meal and oil; ensure the industry and its customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate; and meet the needs of U.S. soy customers.

“Common sense told me that a board made up of volunteer farmers would be frugal with their own checkoff dollars but it was great to learn more about how they invest the funds to maximize the benefit to soybean farmers,” said Jonathan Miller, a soybean farmer from Island, Kentucky.… Continue reading

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New drainage technology could address algae issues

A new field drainage technology could help reduce runoff from farm fields and reduce the risk of harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie and other Ohio lakes.

The system, called an Inline Water Level Control Structure, is designed to keep water and nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorus, on the land where crops can use them, Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review organizers said.

Working with the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association (OLICA), two new water control structures were installed at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center during Farm Science Review. The new installations bring the total number of the systems in use there to eight, said Matt Sullivan, Farm Science Review assistant manager.

He said the Molly Caren site serves as a model for drainage technology. The new control structures are part of the site’s comprehensive water management plan.

“We call them nutrients in the fields, but it’s called pollution when it’s in the stream,” Sullivan said.… Continue reading

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Weed management important before wheat

Proper weed management is important for the success of winter crops after the fall harvest, a Purdue Extension weed specialist said.

While the drought has led to a harvest earlier than normal, that also means farmers can prepare fields for winter crops, such as wheat, earlier this year.

“Farmers looking to plant wheat in the next couple weeks, as long as the crops are off the field, are in good shape. Now’s a good time to control weeds,” Bill Johnson said.

Recent rain has helped weeds thrive, and farmers will need to do additional work to prepare their fields for their winter crops.

“The drought has made weed management very difficult, but as for this fall, we actually have pretty good soil moisture right now, and weeds are growing, so the weeds are fairly sensitive to herbicides,” he said.

Two herbicides safe to use before planting wheat are glyphosate and gramaxone.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Renewable Fuels Industry Swings Back

Ohio’s renewable fuel industry announced the formation of a new coalition, Fuels America, to defend America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which encourages the blending of Ohio-based ethanol into gasoline. Speaking out in support of the coalition are representatives of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association and The Andersons Inc.

The Ohio groups are part of a large coalition of advanced and traditional renewable fuel stakeholders throughout the nation focused on demonstrating the economic, clean energy and national security benefits the RFS provides.

The launch of the coalition comes as the US Environmental Protection Agency considers a request to “waive” the RFS, a move that coalition members stressed would have serious unintended consequences for Ohio’s rural communities, clean tech innovators and energy independence.

“Our support for this coalition is based upon the truth that ethanol is vital to all of Ohio’s economy,” said Mark Borer, President of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association.… Continue reading

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Green weeds complicate harvest

Fields with actively growing weeds from this summer’s drought and recent rains could create problems for farmers during harvest, a Purdue Extension weed scientist said.

That rain, along with early spring-planted crops and the drought have led to fields that contain green weeds along with mature corn and soybean crops.

“It’s a statewide issue,” Bill Johnson said. “Wherever we’ve gotten rain in the past few weeks we’re seeing weeds pop up.”

Late-summer droughts or killing frost usually dry out the ground so new, green weed growth isn’t a problem for farmers. But this year crops matured earlier than normal.

Johnson recommended that farmers use herbicides to get rid of weeds and dry out the ground to prevent future weed growth so they can have a timely harvest. But, he said, not many herbicides can be used soon before harvest.

“Herbicide application isn’t mandatory, but it’s good practice. If the weed growth is bad enough, it could create more wear and tear on machinery and hurt grain quality when harvesting crops,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

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DuPont Pioneer Advances New Soybean Varieties for 2013 Planting

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

New soybean varieties from DuPont Pioneer face the toughest challenge in the final year of research testing. During this research stage, soybean varieties are placed in IMPACT™ (Intensively Managed Product Advancement Characterization and Training) trials on growers’ farms to ensure product performance is up to the high standards set by Pioneer. Recently, 34 Pioneer® brand soybean varieties passed final scrutiny from the Pioneer research and development, field sales and agronomy technology service teams and will be commercially available to producers for planting in 2013. Of the 34 new varieties, 10 are specifically for Ohio producers.

“The research effort is pretty extensive”, said DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Research Manager Kirk Reese. “In Ohio, we have about 48 IMPACT locations and of those locations there are about 150 experiments. So, when we test a product at the pre-commercial stage to decide to release it for planting, we are looking at about 3000 to 4000 test plots prior to the release of a new variety.”… Continue reading

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Food safety meeting for fruits and vegetables Oct. 3

A program focused on food safety and Good Agricultural Practices to prevent microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms will take place Oct. 3 in Cleveland.

The Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Educational Course will run 6-9 p.m. at the Urban Community School, 4909 Lorain Ave. Speakers will be Ohio State University Extension educators and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Staff.

“The Food and Drug Administration should be releasing draft standards for safe production and harvest of fruits and vegetables as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Ashley Kulhanek of Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, the program’s sponsor.

Even though those standards have been delayed in the Office of Management and Budget and might not be released until after the November election, Kulhanek said now is a good time to learn about GAPs.

Attendees won’t actually become certified in GAPs by taking the course, but will learn more about the program.… Continue reading

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Get more out of your combine by keeping more in it

By Matt Reese

With combines rolling around the state, crop producers are experiencing no shortage of aggravation resulting from the variation in the crops, particularly corn. Farmers are reporting that, even within just a few yards, corn yields can go from near zero to over 200, which makes setting up the combine to preserve as much of the crop as possible a real guessing game.

“Be patient and let the machines get filled up and make sure you have the rotors full so the rotors and cleaning system perform like they are supposed to,” said Andy Uhland, with AGCO. “With the drier conditions, it has been easier to get flotation pressure set and smoother hugging of header height control without having to fight mud and wet conditions.”

While some things do work better in the dry, low yielding conditions out there, there are some important adjustments to get more out of your combine by keeping more in it.… Continue reading

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Premature corn sprouting reported around Ohio

By Peter Thomison and Allen Geyer, Ohio State University Extension

We have received several reports of premature corn kernel sprouting across Ohio. A combination of factors, including erect ears, bird damage, ear molds, and wet weather, contribute to premature sprouting.

The problem is usually limited within fields but if it’s evident across a field, it has the potential to cause drying and storage problems. Fields showing widespread kernel sprouting should be prioritized for early harvest.

Kernel red streak is also present. With this kernel problem, red streaks form on the sides of kernels and extend over the crown; symptoms are most pronounced at the tip of the ear. Kernel red streak is caused by a toxin secreted during feeding by the wheat curl mite. Severity of symptoms varies among hybrids. The streaking develops in the pericarp but does not affect the feed or nutritional value of corn. The reddish discoloration is a cosmetic blemish, and may affect certain uses of food grade corn, and may thereby reduce premiums.… Continue reading

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