Photo proof of corn up in Illinois

Blake Roderick of the Pike & Scott County Farm Bureaus shared this photo of corn up in southern Illinois. Next Monday the first Weekly Crop Progress Report of the season comes out and we’ll learn what farmers have been up to in Ohio and across the Midwest.

This Friday USDA will release their Prospective Planting Report and we’ll see how much corn, soybeans and wheat everyone intends to plant this year.


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New insights into spray drift

Chemical additives that help agricultural pesticides adhere to their targets during spraying can lead to formation of smaller “satellite” droplets that cause those pesticides to drift into unwanted areas, Purdue University researchers have found.

Carlos Corvalan, an associate professor of food science, said understanding how the additives work together means they could be designed to decrease the health, environmental and property damage risks caused by drift. Corvalan; Osvaldo Campanella, a Purdue professor of agricultural and biological engineering; and Paul E. Sojka, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, published their results in a February issue of the journal Chemical Engineering Science.

“When we spray liquids, we have what we call main drops, which are drops of the desired size, and we can also have smaller satellite drops. The smaller drops move easily by wind and travel long distances,” Corvalan said. “Now that we know better how additives influence the formation of satellite droplets, we can control their formation.”… Continue reading

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How early is too early for planting corn?

By Brad A. Miller, C.C.A., Territory Agronomist for DEKALB & Asgrow, Northern Ohio

With the unseasonably warm temperatures and good field conditions many producers have
considered, or may have already begun, planting corn. Curren highs have been reaching into the
80’s and the extended forecast looks favorable, making the thought more tempting. Current soil temperatures
are near 60° F and the favorable temperatures are allowing us to collect as many as 15 growing degree units (GDU) per day. These soil temperatures are high enough to begin germination. Corn requires about 120 GDUs to emerge after planting. If conditions stay similar, as indicated by the forecast, enough GDUs would be collected if corn were planted on March 23 to possibly emerge by March 31.

There is considerable risk when planting this early, however. The earliest dates with a 50% or less chance of frost (32°F) range from April 20 for areas immediately adjacent to Lake Erie to May 15 in east central Ohio.… Continue reading

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Field history important in disease management

Successfully controlling yield-limiting crop diseases comes down to analyzing field history and making the right management decisions for individual fields, says a Purdue Extension plant pathologist.

Once soil-borne crop diseases are present in a field, they rarely disappear. When the right weather conditions present themselves, diseases such as sudden death syndrome, root rot, white mold and seedling blight can substantially decrease crop yields.

“Managing diseases starts with knowing what is present in the fields,” Kiersten Wise said. “Growers need to know what diseases have shown up in their fields in the past, and they need to plan for those diseases even if they haven’t seen them in a few years.”

Disease development is mostly dictated by environment, planting date and seed variety. Wise said there could be more problems after a very warm, wet winter because soil-borne diseases are there and waiting for the right conditions to flourish.

“Soil diseases don’t go away, so growers need to plan to manage them,” she said.… Continue reading

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Soy checkoff looks at protein and oil

As some U.S. farmers enter the fields this spring, their center of attention likely won’t be on protein and oil. Meanwhile, that’s exactly the focus of U.S. soy customers when deciding what to buy.

According to a recent soy checkoff survey, nearly 70% of U.S. soybean farmers feel no need to worry about protein and oil content because they have no problem – at present – selling their soybeans.

“Most farmers see a price per bushel and see soy for the sum of its parts,” said Marc Curtis, immediate past chair for the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean farmer from Leland, Miss. “That value actually is calculated based on the value of meal and oil, minus the processing costs, but we don’t get that sort of transparency.”

The survey also helped measure soy farmers’ receptiveness to a component value system, being fairly reimbursed based on the value of protein and oil in their harvested soybeans.… Continue reading

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(Very) early planting negates replant coverage

With the amazing warm weather, planters are rolling in some parts if the state where the soils are dry enough. While this may prove to be a great early start for the planting season, Brian Frieden, USDA’s Risk Management Agency Director for the Springfield Region, reminds producers that crops planted before the earliest planting date are not eligible for replant payments, but the insurance guarantee is not impacted as long as producers follow good farming practices.

In Ohio, the earliest planting date for corn is April 6.  For soybeans, the earliest planting date is April 21. For more details on planting dates, or the impact early planting may have on crop insurance policies, contact a crop insurance agent.… Continue reading

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Early herbicide applications could fail

Although the calendar shows it’s March, many Midwest farmers are preparing their fields for spring planting like it’s the middle of April. That’s not necessarily a good thing, says Purdue Extension weed specialist Bill Johnson.

Producers taking advantage of unseasonably warm temperatures to apply an initial round of herbicides could find those applications wearing off well before weeds reach peak growth, Johnson said.

“We normally start our planting operations in the middle of April, but with all the fieldwork being done right now we’re running 2-4 weeks ahead of schedule,” he said. “That means that we’re potentially adding one month onto the growing season. And for producers using what we call reduced or setup herbicide rates, they may find their herbicide programs running out 2-4 weeks early as well.”

A setup herbicide treatment is not intended to eliminate weed problems. The reduced rate application deals weeds a blow until they are knocked out with a post-emergence herbicide later in the crop season.… Continue reading

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New seed treatment for soybeans

BASF announced that it has reached an exclusive supply agreement with Monsanto Company for fungicide seed treatments for soybeans in North America.  Monsanto’s next generation Acceleron Seed Treatment Products for soybeans and cotton will contain F500— the same active ingredient found in Headline fungicide — and the innovation Xemium fungicide, which is expected to be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012.

A new generation of the carboxamide class of chemistry, Xemium has shown to provide superior control of key soybean and cotton diseases.

“Growers know that yields can suffer without successful early-season crop development,” said Bob Yaklich, Market Manager for Seed Solutions for BASF in North America. “The combination of BASF fungicides, Xemium and F500, provides a new level of disease control, as well as healthier plants and improved crop quality, which can improve yield potential. This new agreement with Monsanto will give growers the opportunity to give seedlings a stronger start and their growing seasons a stronger finish.”… Continue reading

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GAP workshop next month

Farmers looking to learn how to prevent microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms can attend an April 14 workshop that will offer information from Ohio State University Extension experts on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) for fruit and vegetable production.

The event will take place in Mahoning County from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm, McMahon Hall, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Road, Canfield.

Participants will receive a resource workbook, paper handouts and a certificate of participation, said Ashley Kulhanek of Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, the program’s sponsor.

“The Food and Drug Administration will be releasing draft standards for safe production of fruits and vegetables later this year,” she said. “So it’s a good time to learn about GAPs.”

Attendees won’t actually become certified in GAPs by taking the course, Kulhanek noted. That certification comes only through a farm audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a third-party company.… Continue reading

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Wheat nitrogen management

By Matt Reese

As wheat fields around the state are greening up, last year’s wet fall, late harvest and marginal prices have left many questions about wheat this spring.

In the case of John Hoffman, in Pickaway County, the wheat crop is looking good so far. Hoffman got his soybeans off early last fall and got the wheat planted in good time. He was able to apply his first 28% on March 5, which is normal, and hopes for a second application around April 15. Weeds were sprayed last fall prior to planting and control seems to be holding so far in most fields.

“Wheat looks good in the area if it was planted early,” he said. “You can tell the fields that were planted a little late and wet. With this weather, we could have a dramatic improvement in wheat quality if these conditions continue.”

It is also time to make some decisions about nitrogen on wheat.… Continue reading

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Fighting winter annuals

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist


The Eastern Corn Belt is experiencing one of the warmest winters on record. Temperatures have consistently been 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for most of the winter months, with some locations recording 60+ degree temperatures in the month of February. The warm weather throughout the winter could lead to a lot of unwanted situations in 2012. One of the unintended situations caused by warmer than normal temperatures is the potential for high infestations of winter annuals.

Winter annuals are unique in that they grow during the cool times of the year when other annual weeds become dormant. The life cycle of winter annuals begin anytime between late summer and early spring. The newly sprouted weeds overwinter as small seedlings and then when the weather begins to warm in the spring they continue to grow, flower, put on seeds and then die. Winter annuals typically grow close to the ground for protection against cold winter days.… Continue reading

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What’s new from crop and chemical companies?

By Matt Reese

If, going into the late winter meeting season, farmers in Ohio were not aware of the problems associated with resistant weeds they probably are now. Resistant weeds were the clear theme and the dominant topic of discussion in the numerous meetings and the

Commodity Classic trade show in Tennessee last month.

Driving much of the discussion was an unlikely pairing of former chemical giant rivals Monsanto and BASF that have teamed up on this daunting problem. BASF’s innovation in development, Engenia herbicide, is an advanced dicamba formulation with low-volatility characteristics for improved on-target application. Engenia will help control more than 100 of the annual broadleaf weeds that farmers are battling in their crops, including glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, waterhemp and marestail.

“BASF is dedicated to providing solutions, technical support and educational tools to help growers implement a weed management program based on herbicide best practices,” said Paul Rea, with U.S.… Continue reading

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Corn yield prospects for 2012

With 2011-12 marketing year-ending stocks of U.S. corn expected to be near pipeline levels, the size of the 2012 crop has substantial price implications, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good. Acreage intentions will be revealed in the USDA’s March 30 Prospective Plantings report, but much of the current discussion centers on prospects for the U.S. average corn yield.

Widely differing views of yield prospects for 2012 have emerged. A number of factors may contribute to the diverse views, but four have received a lot of attention. These include (1) the timing of planting, (2) the magnitude and potential change in the trend yield, (3) the expected summer weather conditions, and (4) the location and magnitude of acreage changes.

“The mild winter weather and early spring fieldwork suggests that the 2012 crop will be planted in a very timely fashion,” Good said. “There is a general perception that early planting results in a higher U.S.… Continue reading

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How early is too early to plant?

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

The unseasonably warm weather may have you contemplating a jump-start on spring planting. As of March 14, there was talk of farmers already planting in areas of Illinois and Indiana.

But, how early is too early? What could be the consequences of jumping the gun?

There are the obvious things to consider like soil moisture, soil temperature and equipment calibration. But, here are five things that farmers might not have thought of that need to be considered before dropping the planter in the ground early.

1. Crop Insurance

Jason Williamson at Williamson Insurance has received many calls over the past week from farmers asking how early they can plant.

“For most of Ohio, the early plant date is 60 days prior to the final plant date. This year that date is April 6 for corn and April 21 for beans,” Williamson said. “If you plant either crop before that date your crop insurance stands, but you have no replant coverage.”… Continue reading

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Handle treated seeds with care

By Sharon Covert, International Marketing Committee Chair for the United Soybean Board and soy checkoff.

Each day keeps getting a little bit longer and warmer, which means it will soon be that time of year again—planting season. Farmers will soon be back in the field sowing this year’s soybean crop.

Many farmers have complex management decisions to make each spring, but deciding which soybean variety to plant has become an increasingly difficult one. In the past few years, soybean seed treated with crop protection products have become very popular.

These brightly colored seeds can help protect seedlings from pests and diseases, but farmers need to remember the importance of keeping treated seed and harvested oilseeds or grain separate. Soy customers beyond the elevator have become increasingly sensitive to this issue, and negligence can threaten our relationship and income.

For example, if a treated seed shows up in a shipment of soybeans in China, customers there will reject the entire load.
… Continue reading

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Nematode presence low in Ohio Corn Performance Trials

Amid growing questions of nematodes’ effect on corn yields in Ohio, a recent sampling in the 2011 Ohio Corn Performance Test locations found no visible evidence of nematode injury, an Ohio State University Extension specialist says.

Several seed companies submitted hybrid entries in the performance test that included nematicide seed treatments, said Peter Thomison, an OSU Extension agronomist. Soil samples were collected to assess whether nematodes may be present at test sites. Two bulk samples of 20 cores each were taken from each test site, all of which have a history of some form of conservation tillage, he said.

“Nine of the sites followed soybeans, one followed corn,” Thomison said. “There was no visible evidence of nematode injury, such as uneven growth or stunted plants, in sampled plots.”

The purpose of the test is to evaluate corn hybrids for grain yield and other important agronomic characteristics. Results of the test can assist farmers in selecting hybrids best suited to their farming operations and production environments.… Continue reading

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Bluegrass Farms poised for the future of ag exports

By Matt Reese

Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc. is opening up Ohio agricultural production to a world of opportunity with its Central Ohio Logistics Center in Fayette County. Bluegrass Farms has specialized in the shipping of identity preserved, non-GMO soybeans from its Jeffersonville facility to discerning Asian customers for years. The recent addition of the five miles of railroad and a container loading facility that comprise the Central Ohio Logistics Center have opened up some new and exciting possibilities.

“We need to minimize the amount of truck traffic we use because it is the most expensive and inefficient. The faster we can get our commodities on the rail the better off we are,” said Dave Martin, president of Bluegrass Farms. “We spent the last couple of years constructing this rail facility adjacent to Bluegrass Farms. This allows us to ship heavy-weight containers without hitting the road and ultimately lowering the cost and increasing efficiency to increase the value to the farmers in Ohio that we serve.”… Continue reading

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Ohio agencies announce water quality measures

The Directors’ Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Working Group spent months compiling their extensive findings on how agriculture is contributing to water quality problems and how this can be controlled. The group was assembled to aggregate all of the available information on the problem, organize it and present it to the directors of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, who will then make recommendations to the governor.

The three Departments today announced their recommendations for reducing excess agricultural nutrients from affecting or entering the western basin of Lake Erie.

“Our agencies worked with Ohio’s agricultural community to identify the best ways to decrease this nutrient loading into Ohio’s water bodies,” said David Daniels, director of the ODA. “The farmers, private companies, agricultural organizations, agri-businesses, environmental organizations and academic institutions were all asked to provide their best input, ideas, advice and guidance.… Continue reading

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Optimum AcreMax XTreme receives registration

DuPont announced that it has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Optimum AcreMax XTreme insect protection for corn. Optimum AcreMax XTreme adds to DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred’s lineup of single-bag solutions to deliver insect control and simplified refuge management for growers. “Optimum AcreMaxXTreme is the right product for growers who need enhanced above- and below-ground insect control and simplified refuge management on their acres,” said Paul E. Schickler, Pioneer president. “Growers need proven technology to defend their crop against insect damage, while receiving overall agronomic performance. OptimumAcreMax XTreme joins a very successful lineup of other simplified refuge Pioneer brand products.”

Optimum AcreMax XTreme products integrate 95% of a trusted, high-yielding Pioneer brand corn hybrid containing Herculex XTRA insect protection. This is combined with YieldGard Corn Borer insect protection and the Agrisure RW trait and 5% of a similar non-Bt hybrid with herbicide tolerance to serve as the integrated refuge.… Continue reading

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Do bumper bugs foreshadow crop pest problems?

By Matt Reese

Is spring here? Based on the vast number of bugs on this just cleaned bumper after a 15-

minute Central Ohio drive, the insect population seems to think so. The sunny skies are warming soils fast, though more rain in the forecast could slow the warming trend.

In general, Ohio can expect more of the same in the coming weeks, according to Jim Noel with the National Weather Service who contributes to the Ohio State University Extension CORN Newsletter.

“Nothing has changed since our last update,” Noel said. “The outlook for the rest of March is for an active pattern with above normal temperatures, above normal rainfall and some risk of severe weather. What will be quite different in 2012 versus 2011 is that the spring will not be as cool. It also will be wet, but not as wet as 2011 and the wetness will likely end earlier than 2011.… Continue reading

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