Crops



ASA sets policy priorities for 2012

Ohio Soybean producers gathered at Commodity Classic in Nashville with other producers from around the country to review and revise the policy direction of the American Soybean Association (ASA). There were 133 producers from ASA’s 26 state affiliates who served as Voting Delegates in this annual process that guides the ASA as it pursues future initiatives to improve U.S. soybean farmer profitability.

The voting delegates session was held on Saturday, March 3, following conclusion of the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show that drew a record 6,014 attendees. What follows are some of the most significant additions and modifications covering a variety of important soybean issues.

Trade

ASA supports legislation that would graduate Russia from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik amendment in order to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia.

ASA opposes any proposal to merge the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with other trade agencies. ASA believes that USTR should remain an independent agency within the Executive Office of the President, focusing on trade negotiations, trade agreements and trade enforcement.… Continue reading

Read More »

Transferring seed technology after patents expire

Farmers from across the United States learned about the nuts and bolts of the transition from patented to generic biotech events at the 2012 Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tenn.

In 2014, the first widely grown plant biotechnology event will lose patent protection with more to follow in the coming years.

“This creates a challenge for the industry,” said Bernice Slutsky, American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) vice president of science and international affairs. “Even though an event comes off patent here in the United States, it’s still highly regulated around the world.”

A mechanism needed to be developed to ensure that international regulatory approvals and proper product stewardship is maintained so that U.S. commodity exports are not impeded.

Working closely with its stakeholders, ASTA and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) decided to take a proactive approach to help address this challenge.

The two organizations put together a joint working group comprised of seed companies big and small, trait providers and those who license traits.… Continue reading

Read More »

Weed resistance solutions a hot topic at Commodity Classic

If farmers in Ohio were not aware of the problems associated with weeds that have developed resistance going into the last month or so of late winter meetings, they probably are now. Resistant weeds were the clear theme and

the dominant discussion topic at the Commodity Classic trade show.

Driving much of the discussion was an unlikely pairing of former chemical giant rivals Monsanto and BASF who have teamed up on this daunting problem.  BASF innovation in development, Engenia herbicide, 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.

“As the industry leader, 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, Vice President, U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

Early spring nitrogen likely won’t increase yields for wheat

Despite the fact that an unusually wet fall and planting delays kept many wheat farmers from applying starter nitrogen, an Ohio State University Extension educator says they shouldn’t rush to apply spring nitrogen earlier than needed.

Even though wheat has had less time to grow and tiller, applying nitrogen too early in the spring could not only cause farmers to lose money, but also present environmental concerns – and it isn’t likely to increase yields, said Ed Lentz, associate professor who specializes in crop production and agronomy.

Instead of applying nitrogen early, Lentz said farmers should wait until green-up, at the earliest, to maximize yield potential, save money and guard the environment.

“Producers have asked if applying nitrogen earlier would offset the low fall tiller numbers and would tiller number and growth benefit from a split application,” said Lentz, who also is an OSU Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.… Continue reading

Read More »

Early spring nitrogen likely won't increase yields for wheat

Despite the fact that an unusually wet fall and planting delays kept many wheat farmers from applying starter nitrogen, an Ohio State University Extension educator says they shouldn’t rush to apply spring nitrogen earlier than needed.

Even though wheat has had less time to grow and tiller, applying nitrogen too early in the spring could not only cause farmers to lose money, but also present environmental concerns – and it isn’t likely to increase yields, said Ed Lentz, associate professor who specializes in crop production and agronomy.

Instead of applying nitrogen early, Lentz said farmers should wait until green-up, at the earliest, to maximize yield potential, save money and guard the environment.

“Producers have asked if applying nitrogen earlier would offset the low fall tiller numbers and would tiller number and growth benefit from a split application,” said Lentz, who also is an OSU Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.… Continue reading

Read More »

Seed Selection Key to Managing Soybean Disease, Achieving High Yields

As spring planting season approaches, soybean growers should be aware that one of the best ways to manage soybean disease is to make sure they plant the right varieties for their fields, said an Ohio State University Extension soybean expert.

In fact, seed selection is one of the most important decisions Ohio soybean farmers can make to ensure the best yield outcomes, said Anne Dorrance, a plant pathologist with joint appointments with OSU Extension and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

“Growers have got to make sure they have the right resistance package, which is one of the best ways to manage soybean disease,” she said. “Growers should make sure that the variety they select has the right resistance package for their field, because soybean diseases can severely reduce yields.

“In the rush to plant last season, we had some fields where growers put in the wrong varieties. But now is the time to plan for spring planting in case we have a similar season this year as we did last season.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Ruts, weeds, and bugs: The challenges of a wet, warm winter

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Associate Agronomist for Seed Consultants, Inc.

The 2011 growing season offered many challenges. While that difficult season is behind us, 2012 could also be challenging due to lingering effects of 2011, and an unusually warm winter. Some of the challenges farmers may face this year include ruts, compaction, early weed growth, insects, and disease.

As a result of 2011’s wet harvest, farmers may be facing ruts and compaction this spring. In no-till fields, management options will vary depending on the severity of ruts. Light tillage should be used for ruts that must be filled before planting. No-till farmers should perform tillage only where ruts are present, not disturbing the rest of the field. Performing unnecessary tillage to an entire field will be detrimental to the long-term benefits of continuous no-till. Tillage should be performed only when soil conditions are favorable. Tillage under wet or “marginal” conditions will only make compaction problems worse.… Continue reading

Read More »

Managing grain in storage

By John M. Smith, OSU Extension Educator, Auglaize County Agriculture and Natural Resources

If you had $20,000 to $50,000 in cash sitting in a grain bin, would you check it often? You know you would. Even though grain went into storage in excellent condition why not check your grain that is worth that much? Check it at least once a week.

With the wet fall harvest and high humidity in many areas, much of the grain that went into the bins in poor condition could be headed for trouble; especially when the weather warms up and stays warm.

Properly managing grain in your storage bins is important to maintain quality. Factors that can cause grain to go out of condition are:

• Presence of insects;

• The amount of fines and foreign-material left in the stored grain;

• Initial quality of grain going into storage;

• Grain moisture content;

• Grain temperature.… Continue reading

Read More »

Be proactive to manage weed resistance

By Matt Reese

Devastating stands of suffocating weeds, $100 per acre in weed control costs to avoid significant yield loss, and hand chopping weeds for clean fields are just some of the herbicide resistance horror stories from the southern U.S.

Ohio farmer Mark Dowden, from Champaign County, got to see these challenges first hand on a recent trip to Tennessee.

“In the south, they couldn’t kill weeds that were taller than a couple of inches tall. After being down there and seeing it, I wanted to come back and tell people, ‘Hey look, we have got to start using these residuals to control this problem in Ohio,’” Dowden said. “We’ve all got to work together on this because, even if I’m doing things right, if the guy down the road is not doing things right, it is all coming our way. It is just a matter of time. We just don’t want this problem.… Continue reading

Read More »

In 2012, farmers can get more crop insurance coverage for less

As crop insurance purchase deadlines approach for the majority of the Corn Belt on March 15, the National Corn Growers Association urges farmers to explore how changes in policies can make coverage more affordable. With lower insurance premiums being offered for most coverage levels this year and adjustments to historical-yield trend calculations, many growers can take advantage of lower rates and increases in coverage.

“At NCGA, we constantly strive to improve the safety net for farmers and hope that in 2012 many will take advantage of the improved options that we have achieved,” said Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President. “We faced difficult weather conditions across much of the Corn Belt in 2010 and again in 2011. By reexamining crop insurance options, many growers may find that increased coverage is more affordable and will better guard against losses in 2012.”

Lower premiums are the result of adjustments that the Risk Management Agency made based on updated crop insurance actuarial data and partial implementation of proposed changes to the program’s rating methodology.… Continue reading

Read More »

Demand growth for corn and soybeans could slow

By Matt Reese

Farmers are used to the inconsistencies of the weather. They know how to handle bugs and weeds and they are used to rolling the dice in the gamble of agriculture each year on their farms. But in 2012, the profitability of corn and soybean growers may depend more on European financial ministers, Chinese pork demand and biofuel politics.

Ohio State University economist Matt Roberts shares the bearish sentiment of many economists for the coming year due to factors very far removed from the farm fields of Ohio. He feels, for several reasons, those factors are aligning in favor of lower prices for corn and soybeans.

“The amount of demand growth we have seen in the last 20 years is unprecedented. It is driven by Chinese demand for meat and U.S. demand for ethanol,” Roberts said. “Meat demand in China is driving oilseed demand. Globally we’re growing 40% more soybeans than we did 10 years ago at nearly triple the price.… Continue reading

Read More »

Intensive soil sampling makes dollars, and sense

By David Scheiderer, Integrated Ag Services

Traditional soil sampling is done on a 2.5-acre grid or more, and its effectiveness relies heavily on whether or not the person doing the sampling does a good job. This reliance on human precision leaves room for error. Such errors are unacceptable for many farmers trying to manage record high fertilizer prices against unimaginable volatility in the commodity market. There is the opportunity to gross $1,000 or more per cropland acre, and a farmer wants to capture as much of that as possible by applying costly fertilizer and lime at peak efficiency.

How a soil sample is taken can greatly impact the results. If the soil is wet, soil will compact inside a traditional soil probe, making it difficult to clean out between samples. As the person sampling travels through the field taking core samples over a period of hours, the effort it takes to keep  the probe unplugged can become frustrating.… Continue reading

Read More »

Family continues sweet tradition in the winter woods

By Matt Reese

There is something special about winter in the woods on the Herring Farm in Wyandot County. The crunch of snow underfoot muffled amid the trees, the red flash of a winter cardinal, the tracks of wildlife — the Herring woods have all the same appeal as any other. But as the temperatures begin to warm in late winter, a flurry of activity takes place as it has for centuries before among the trees on the wooded hills of the farm.

“Around 1850 my great, great grandfather started making maple syrup here and the Indians had been making syrup before that,” said Dave Herring, who grew up learning the details of his family’s tradition in the winter woods. “My family has made syrup ever since then on this farm. I am the fifth generation and my boys are the sixth generation. It was all done with buckets back when I was young.… Continue reading

Read More »

ARS research focuses in on corn disease resistance

Three corn diseases, southern corn leaf blight, northern leaf blight, and gray leaf spot, all cause lesions on corn leaves. In the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt, northern leaf blight and gray leaf spot are significant problems.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and university colleagues found a specific gene in corn that seems to confer resistance to all three of these leaf diseases. This discovery, published in 2011 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could potentially help plant breeders build disease-resistance traits into future corn plants.

The researchers examined 300 corn varieties from around the world, making sure to have a genetically diverse representation. No corn variety has complete resistance to any of these diseases, but varieties differ in the severity of symptoms they exhibit.

“We set out to look for maize lines with resistance to these three leaf diseases. But what we really wanted to know is which genes underlie disease resistance,” says ARS plant geneticist Peter Balint-Kurti, who is in the Plant Science Research Unit in Raleigh, North Carolina.… Continue reading

Read More »

Boosting the solar power of corn

By Dave Nanda, Seed Consultants, Inc.

These days we hear a lot about reducing the use of fossil fuels and producing more clean energy by solar panels or wind machines. However, I don’t know of a better system than the corn plant that not only captures sunlight efficiently and simultaneously reduces carbon dioxide and gives us oxygen so we can breathe. A very small percentage of the solar energy is captured by the plants; most of it is either wasted on the ground or is reflected back. So what can we do to make a more efficient use of this free energy?

Our corn breeders have been collecting germplasm from all over the world and developing superior hybrids for a long time. We have designed hybrids with upright leaves, which can capture more sunlight and also allow the lower leaves to receive and trap greater amounts of light. These hybrids may also be planted at higher populations.… Continue reading

Read More »

Zinc’s role in corn production

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Zinc is a micronutrient, meaning it is needed in very small amounts by the corn plant. Actually the amount is measured in ounces per acre instead of the normal pounds per acre of other major nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium. A 150-bushel corn crop is known to remove only 0.25 pounds of zinc. Even though zinc is needed in small amounts, it has a huge impact on how a corn plant grows and ultimately how much yield is produced. In a study performed by the University of Nebraska on a low zinc testing soil showed a 53-bushel increase in yield by adding one pound of zinc to a starter.

Zinc plays a critical role in the following systems of a corn plant:

• Aids in the synthesis (production) of growth hormones and proteins.

• It is needed in the production of chlorophyll and carbohydrate metabolism.… Continue reading

Read More »

Zinc's role in corn production

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Zinc is a micronutrient, meaning it is needed in very small amounts by the corn plant. Actually the amount is measured in ounces per acre instead of the normal pounds per acre of other major nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium. A 150-bushel corn crop is known to remove only 0.25 pounds of zinc. Even though zinc is needed in small amounts, it has a huge impact on how a corn plant grows and ultimately how much yield is produced. In a study performed by the University of Nebraska on a low zinc testing soil showed a 53-bushel increase in yield by adding one pound of zinc to a starter.

Zinc plays a critical role in the following systems of a corn plant:

• Aids in the synthesis (production) of growth hormones and proteins.

• It is needed in the production of chlorophyll and carbohydrate metabolism.… Continue reading

Read More »

U.S. and EU reach agreement on organic trade

A historic new partnership between the United States and the European Union announced last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture means that organic foods certified in the U.S. can be sold in Europe for the first time — a move that could provide new market opportunities for Ohio growers.

The agreement, which now makes the $26.7 billion U.S. organic market functionally equivalent to Europe’s organic market, means organic growers nationwide no longer have to comply with often-contradictory rules setting different organic standards for each country.

This important step is built upon years of progress in organic agriculture.

“Ten years have passed since the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its National Organic Program (NOP). You may recognize the ‘USDA Organic’ seal on thousands of fruits, vegetables, meat or other goods you can buy at the local market. The program combines detailed organic standards with a rigorous oversight and enforcement system. It also provides access to the U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

2011 Ohio corn and soybean yield numbers by county

The Ohio office of the National Ag Statistics Service has released the 2011 production yield report for Ohio by county.

The top corn producing counties:

1) Darke
2) Wood
3) Madison

The top soybean producing counties:

1) Wood
2) Putnam
3) Hancock

Where did your county rank? Check out the complete reports for rankings and production totals.

2011 Ohio corn yields by county

2011 Ohio soybean yields by countyContinue reading

Read More »

Don't poke the bear: Market crops with care

By Matt Reese

It is never a good idea to poke a bear. Maybe that is why so many economists are encouraging farmers to watch closely for marketing opportunities for their 2012 crops. Ohio State University economist Matt Roberts shares the bearish sentiment of many economists for the

coming year.

“Corn inventories are very tight because we have had two consecutive below trend, disappointing yields and that is why we have tight supplies and high prices. This is the first time since 1980 there have been two consecutive below-trend corn yields,” he said. “I don’t think that most producers are putting enough weight on the fact that we are in a short crop year. All it takes to lower prices is a normal year. I think there is a tremendous amount of downside risk here.”

With this in mind, Roberts outlines three possible scenarios in the markets.

“If we hit 165 bushels per acre, it would be a solid year, but not a great year,” he said.… Continue reading

Read More »