Precision University – combating soil compaction

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

There is no shortage of examples of soil compaction across Ohio’s farm fields looking back at the last two years. The fall of 2018 and spring of 2019 created some less than ideal conditions for field work leaving many farmers concerned with field compaction. This concern is justified as compaction can significantly reduce yields. Compaction has been a concern for many years as equipment size grows, increasing axle weight.

Researchers have been conducting on-farm trials comparing farming practices to uncover ways farmers can reduce compaction. Comparisons include tires and tracks, equipment size and tillage practices.

At the 2020 Precision University, OSU Extension has invited in some of the leading experts from across North America on compaction research and management.

Featured Speakers include:
Dr. Scott Shearer -The Ohio State University

Dr. Ian McDonald -Ontario Ministry of Agriculture

Dr. Mark Hanna -Iowa State University

Dr. Jason Warren -Oklahoma State University

The 2020 Precision University will be held January 8 from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. 

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OCWGA members pushing for USMCA and ethanol

Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association members participated in a recent press conference earlier in St. Louis to urge the Trump Administration and members of Congress to finish the job on trade and ethanol issues important to corn farmers.

Patty Mann (Jackson Center), John Linder (Edison), Kelly Harsh (Delaware), Gail Lierer (Okeana), and Josh Yoder (Plain City) were on hand to let the Administration and Congress know that immediate action is needed.

The past year has presented a perfect storm of challenges for America’s corn farmers in Ohio and across the nation. While there have been positive developments, such as the trade agreement with Japan and the long-awaited approval of year-round E15, there are still outstanding issues that, if adequately addressed, would provide some much-needed certainty to corn farmers.

The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association joined with other state leaders and NCGA leadership and called on the President to follow through on his commitment to farmers and the RFS, conclude China trade negotiations with a positive outcome for agriculture, and for Congressional leaders to reach an agreement with the Administration and pass USMCA.… Continue reading

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2019 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The 2019 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Those in attendance will be welcomed and addressed by Director Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Cathann Kress, Dean of the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Ben Brown, OSU Farm Management Program Manager will have three different sessions dealing with the farm economy. Aaron Wilson, OSU Atmospheric Scientist will lead a breakout session about climate change, and Dr. Scott Shearer, Chair of the Department of Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering, will lead a breakout session about technology. Additional breakout sessions will be conducted throughout the day focusing on: trade, water quality, farm finance, small refinery waivers, H2Ohio, and grain supply/carryover.

In addition to the educational session, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association and the Ohio Soybean Association will hold their annual meetings during the symposium.

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Why do we still see so much tillage across Ohio?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Pick-up any farm publication and chances are you will find an article about the use of cover crops or no-till farming. Drive across any rural county in Ohio and chances are you will find a field that has recently been tilled. With all the current research evaluating best management practices utilizing no-till and cover crops, why do we still see so much tillage across the state?

Just ask a group of farmers gathered at the local elevator or coffee shop what their top reasons for tillage are, and more than likely there will be a rather consistent list. Those reasons often cited include: breaking-up soil compaction, managing crop residue, controlling weeds and diseases, and improving yields. Most will admit that they have tried and like the concept of no-till farming, especially from the standpoint of making fewer trips across the field. In the same conversation however, they will often talk about the challenges they face on heavier soils with compaction issues and managing crop residue.

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Lackluster December report from USDA

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

No changes in U.S. corn exports or U.S. ending stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat. Can you say, “boring”? Following the report corn was unchanged, soybeans up 1 cent, and wheat up 1 cent. Before the report corn was unchanged, soybeans up 3 cents, and wheat unchanged.

This report had zero changes in U.S. 2019 corn and soybean production, yields, and harvested acres. This follows the pattern seen in past December WASDE reports.

Continuing to be dominant in the grains news cycle are the U.S./China trade talks along with ongoing weather in South America. Today their weather is a non-issue.

The major numbers traders will be watching today included U.S. corn exports and production estimates from South America. Today USDA estimated U.S. corn exports at 1.850 billion bushels. Last month they were 1.850 billion bushels. USDA pegged Brazil’s soybean production at 123 million tons and corn production at 101 million tons.… Continue reading

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Ohio No-Till Conference Videos

The Ohio No-Till Council held their annual conference last week. Ohio Ag Net was there to video all of the information to bring it to you. You can watch each segment below on this page. Our own Dusty Sonnenberg has the highlight story here.

Healthy Soils, Healthy Waters, Healthy Life | Mark Anson

Soil Health, No-Till, and Cover Crops Panel

Ohio Department of Agriculture | Director Dorothy Pelanda

Indigo Carbon

Cover Crops Panel

My Farm Story – Nathan Brause

NutrientStar | Karen Chapman, Brookside Labs

Business Meeting


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2019 Ohio No-Till Conference highlights

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Panel Discussions, a 19,000-acre cover crop grower, and the Ohio Director of Agriculture highlighted the 2019 Ohio No-Till Conference at Der Dutchman in Plain City on Thursday. Ohio No-Till Council President Jan Layman from Hardin County welcomed a near capacity crowd of farmers and agribusiness people to the annual meeting of conservation minded farmers eager to discuss some of the lessons learned from what proved to be a very challenging year.

With a backdrop of hot coffee and freshly baked donuts, many attendees discussed the past growing season and shared stories of the weather struggles going back to the fall of 2018. The conference program started on an optimistic note with a panel discussion looking ahead at best practices to manage cover crops going into the spring of 2020. Participants Nathan Brause, Cody Beacom, Jay Brandt, Glen Harsh, and Eric Niemeyer shared their experiences and lessons to carry forward.… Continue reading

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Commodity Classic set to inspire

A decorated fighter pilot and best-selling authorwill be the keynote speaker during the Commodity Classic General Session.

The 2020 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas. Commodity Classic is the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience. The Friday morning General Session is one of the most highly-rated experiences during the three-day farmer-driven event — and the 2020 version promises to be as well.

Keynote speaker will be Lt. Colonel Waldo Waldman, a decorated fighter pilot, highly-rated Hall of Fame Speaker and New York Times best-selling author. His message is designed to inspire farmers to collaborate and innovate with their fellow farmers and ag partners to maximize their potential in farming and in life.

The session will also include the nation’s commodity association leaders who will discuss the hottest issues facing the nation’s corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum producers. Additionally, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers will provide an update on the ag equipment industry. … Continue reading

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Brazil stealing corn exports

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Demand bears were quite pleased with their positions during the month of November. It’s no secret that corn demand has been shrinking for consecutive months. Increased corn production in Brazil and Argentina have been stealing corn exports out of the U.S. In recent months U.S. corn export projections from USDA have shrunk several hundred million bushels. In addition, October and November weather in South America was non-threatening. There is no story to date of weather concerns, which might reduce production during their current growing season.

The NASS Weekly Crop Progress Report of Nov. 25 had the U.S. corn harvest at 84% with the average at 96%. The weekly progress reports are scheduled to continue into the early weeks of December when typically they end around Thanksgiving.

Both corn and soybean prices fell during November. Corn was down 18 cents, soybeans down 56 cents, while wheat was up 27 cents.… Continue reading

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Phytophthora sojae survey by the numbers

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Since 2016, numbers tell the story. Three states, four years, 128 farms, and 1,280 soil samples. Linda Weber, a graduate student researcher in plant pathology at OARDC has been collecting samples and screening over 400 isolates of Phytophthora sojae against the single resistance genes that are currently available in today’s cultivars. “Researchers evaluate 14 single resistance genes, however there are only about 6 genes that are currently available in cultivars,” Weber said. This survey is funded by money from the Ohio Soybean Check-off through the North Central Soybean Research Program. Weber is evaluating the effectiveness of single resistance genes against the Phytophthora sojae pathogen.

Phytophthora sojae is a soil borne pathogen that causes Phytophthora Root Rot and Stem Rot. “This is a major cause of soybean yield losses annually,” Weber said. “Soil types found in Ohio, such as the heavier clay soils, when they are saturated in the spring, are ideal for Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot to develop.”

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Late planting leads to wetter harvested grain

More Ohio farmers invested extra time and fuel this year to dry their harvested corn and soybeans because both grains were planted several weeks late and had less time to dry in the field.

While drying harvested corn in a mechanical dryer is typical each year, some producers in the state dried soybeans this year for the first time ever.

“Soybeans dry a whole lot better outside when it’s 70 degrees and you can run around in short sleeves. Farmers are harvesting in winter coats,” said Eric Richer, an Ohio State University Extension educator in Fulton County, on the far northwestern border of the state. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

If grain stays in a dryer too long, fires can occur. Also, the longer that corn and soybeans sit in drying units, the greater chance the grains will turn brittle, crack, or break down into dust particles — all of which can decrease the price a grower gets for the grain.… Continue reading

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Ohio No-Till Conference coming up this week

The Ohio No-Till Conference is coming up this Thursday, Dec. 5. at Der Dutchman Restaurant. 445 South Jefferson (US Route 42), Plain City, OH. Guests can register at the door for $60. Here is the schedule:

9:00 Welcome and Introductions: 
Jan Layman, Hardin County, President, Ohio No-Till Council

9:05 Managing Cover Crops in Spring 2020 Panel of no-till farmers, cover crop experts
Nathan Brause, Cody Beacom, David or Jay Brandt, Glenn Harsh, Eric Niemeyer

10:00 Healthy Soils, Healthy Waters, Healthy Life
Mark Anson, Vincennes, Indiana (19,000 acres of no-till with cover crops)

11:00 Break
11:15 Blanchard River Demo Network: Overview
Aaron Heilers, Manager

11:25 Soil Health, No-till and Cover Crops. Panel Moderator: Bret Margraf, Seneca Co.
Mark Anson, David Brandt, Jan Layman

12:05 Ohio No-Till Awards (Sponsored by Walnut Creek Seeds)
Educator/Researcher Award: Blanchard River Demo Farms Network. Aaron Heilers
Business/Industry Awards: Clary Farms; Walnut Creek Seeds; Bird Agronomics
Outstanding No-Till Farmer: Nathan Brause, Crawford County
Scholarship Awards: Jessica Monnier
Aubrey Margraf
Matt Roth (funded by Dr.… Continue reading

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Ohio soy industry highlights accomplishments and recognizes leaders

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

The challenging 2019 growing season in many parts of Ohio did not dampen the spirits at the Ohio Soybean Industry Dinner.

One highlight of the evening was a brief update from Ed Beaman from the U.S. Soybean Export Council that was recognized with the 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award. Beaman talked about the strategy the organization uses to expand soybean markets around the world.

“It is a long term relationship building effort. It is fun for me to remind people that U.S. soy was in China for almost 12 and a half years before we sold any soybeans. And we are working in other markets employing the same tactics, using the same messaging as we did in China to build those other markets. While we probably don’t have a silver bullet to replace China, I do think we have a lot of silver buckshot. If we can employ that buckshot around the world properly then I think U.S.… Continue reading

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Pockets and windows: 2019 year in review

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist, likes to refer to the 2019 growing season as one filled with “pockets and windows.”

There were pockets of Ohio that had windows of opportunity to plant on time. There were pockets of Ohio that never had a window to plant. There were pockets that had short windows, and pockets where the windows that came too late. Ohio experienced both pockets of flooding and drought in 2019. Wood County led the state with over 52% of the acres never planted due to wet soils. By the end of the growing season, over 80% of the state was considered abnormally dry, or in some level of a drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“In spite of all the tremendous variability in the 2019 growing season, the yields that are being reported are surprisingly good,” Thomison said.… Continue reading

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Winter meeting season coming up

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Both Pesticide Applicator license holders and Fertilizer Applicators will attend recertification programs at the same time and place, check the PestEd website for a program near you.

And as we get closer to winter meeting season we will post those regional and area agronomy and update meetings. Our Agronomic Crops Team calendar is pretty thin now, but will be full before Christmas. So check our website:, for the events and their locations.

A couple of events on my calendar for crop producers:

  • The Ohio No-Till Conference is Dec. 5 at Der Dutchman Restaurant, 445 S. Jefferson, Plain City. Details are on this website:
  • The annual Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium is Dec. 17, 2019, at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center at 2201 Fred Taylor Dr, Columbus, OH on OSU campus. Register today at
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Basis worth watching this winter

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn basis for fall 2019 and into January-March 2020 has been relatively flat for months. Numerous Ohio locations have the nearby corn basis at anywhere from 10 to 40 cents over the December CBOT. Flat price levels from fall into January often only provided a gain of 10 to 15 cents compared to that of past years when the gain could have approached 30 cents or more. Producers seem content to sock as much corn away as possible into home storage bins with the anticipation of higher prices down the road.

Soybean basis on the other hand late October and early November saw improvements in numerous facilities across Ohio of 10 to 20 cents for nearby delivery as the harvest wound to completion. Also, deliveries for January to March had basis improvement of 5 to 10 cents.

Demand bears have been most pleased to see corn prices stall and retreat the last two weeks of October.Continue reading

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Ohio State report evaluates options for reducing Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms

Several research teams, led by The Ohio State University, have concluded a three-year study evaluating the ability of agricultural management practices to reduce phosphorus-causing harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

In 2012, the United States and Canada set the goal of reducing phosphorus entering the lake by 40%. Now, researchers have a better understanding of what management practices need to be implemented, and what research still needs to be done to meet these goals by 2025.

The majority of phosphorus entering Lake Erie originates from the Maumee River watershed. More than 85% of the phosphorus entering the lake comes from agricultural sources such as fertilizer runoff. To address this, researchers are evaluating what agricultural management practices have potential to reduce this phosphorus, while supporting farmers to maintain profitability.

Photo courtesy of NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

“There’s a lot of edge-of-field work going on that identifies successful practices in single fields.

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Correcting compaction infractions below the surface

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

It will come as no surprise to farmers that compaction issues will play a role in the future productivity of their fields after the last two growing seasons. Across Ohio, 2018 finished with a wet harvest with many farmers unintentionally committing compaction “infractions.” The equally wet spring of 2019 did not help heal the already injured soil profile, and in some areas, the fall of 2019 was also a challenge. Soil structure was severely damaged by multiple passes of heavy harvest and planting equipment. While many farmers attempt to follow controlled traffic patterns, it is not always practical when the weather only allows for brief windows of opportunity for field work.

This scenario was a text book example for both topsoil and subsoil compaction to occur according to research conducted by Randall Reeder, Ohio State University emeriti and Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State Soil Specialist.

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Planning early is a key to effective on-farm research

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Most Ohio farmers will agree that 2019 will go down in the history books as a year with tremendous variability. For those who conduct on-farm research, variability is one thing they attempt to reduce. One way to help reduce variability is to have a plan before you go to the field. A plan that is designed to have multiple replications of the various components can give you options.

“If you have a plan, you will be more likely to implement it when you go to the field,” said Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension, Agronomic Systems Field Specialist. “If changes need to be made due to changing conditions, you will be more likely to have options available that allow you to maintain the integrity of the research and not compromise the reliability of the results.”

Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension Agronomic Systems Field Specialist

Hawkins feels that learning what works in different years is critical.

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Crop insurance options for producers facing delayed harvest

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) said producers with Federal crop insurance that are experiencing a delay in harvesting their crop and potentially have a loss should contact their Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) to file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest. The late maturing crop coupled with extremely wet and wintery conditions this fall have extended harvest for producers across the Midwest.

Brian Frieden, Director of RMA’s Springfield Regional Office, reminds producers who have federal crop insurance coverage and are experiencing delays in harvesting their crop to contact their crop insurance agent to file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest.

Producers must file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest before the end of the insurance period, so that Federal crop insurance claims are settled based on the amount of harvested production. For producers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, the end of the insurance period for corn and soybeans is Dec.… Continue reading

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