Crops



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

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Weed resistance on the rise

Weeds resistant to individual families of chemistry are commonplace and have been for more than 20 years, but how can farmers best manage the challenge when a weed is resistant to more than one herbicide?

Multiple-mode-of-action resistance is a challenge farmers could be facing when it comes to tough weeds like waterhemp and ragweed. Whether it is ALS or glyphosate, farmers are finding weeds that are resistant to multiple herbicide modes of action, making management a bigger challenge.

When a herbicide is used on any given weed population, there may be a few plants that have a natural resistance to it. When a herbicide is used in a repetitive manner without other herbicides or management tactics, farmers may be selecting for the weeds carrying the resistance, even if they don’t know it at the time. Once this has developed, you have to manage around the issue as if it were a “new” weed requiring different control practices.… Continue reading

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Long-term world wheat demand projected to rise

In the next few months, wheat markets look gloomy, at best. Longer term, however, many experts are painting a brighter picture for world wheat demand. In the next 10 years, developing countries with rising incomes and growing populations will drive wheat industry growth, but U.S. market share is expected to decline due to rising Black Sea wheat production and trade, according to USDA’s Agricultural Long-term Projections Report. In the annual report, USDA predicts that annual world wheat imports will reach 157 MMT by marketing year 2021/22, which is 15% greater than the 2011/12 estimate of 137 MMT.

According to USDA’s projections, the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States will have the largest increase in wheat imports for any region, growing 31% to 8.2 MMT. The report projects imports by Middle East countries, excluding Egypt, will rise 24% to 19.6 MMT. Together, the West Africa and Middle East countries will account for 51% of the total expected increase in world trade in the next 10 years.… Continue reading

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U.S. infrastructure lags, trade may follow

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Last month a group of Ohioans traveled to Panama for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) annual meeting. Panama is becoming a very strategic location for all American exports, not

only because of the recently signed Free trade Agreement, but also because of the expanding Panama Canal.

Tadd Nicholson, Interim CEO of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA), was a part of the Buckeye delegation in Panama. He and his colleagues had the opportunity to see first-hand, via boat ride, the progress being made with the Panama Canal expansion.

“Picture a boat that has 4,000 containers on it about the size of a semi-trailer,” Nicholson said describing the current vessels being used through the canal. “The new ships that will be moving freight around the world will hold three times that amount. After seeing the size of the vessels being used today, it is hard to imagine vessels of the magnitude to carry 12,000 containers.”… Continue reading

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Is 2012 the year to try ACRE?

By Matt Reese

If farmers have not already, it is time to think about the enrolling in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program.

“We’re trying to talk to crop farmers now because when they get out to April and May, they will be busy,” said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University economist. “Sign up has to be by June 1 at the FSA office.”

Hurt said this might be the year for farmers to put some extra thought into ACRE.

“It is designed to float up and down as a safety net for the farmer. We have high prices now — the 2010 crop had record high prices for corn and beans. The 2011 crops beat those with new records. We now have two years of record high prices, which makes that revenue guarantee in ACRE very high,” Hurt said. “A second reason is that 2012 is the last year for ACRE under the farm program we have now.… Continue reading

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World wheat stocks still climbing

Estimates of 2011/12 total world wheat stocks inched higher again this month, reinforcing the market’s bearish wheat outlook. In its update of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) in February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased the estimate of total global wheat supplies for the seventh month in a row. Although the large numbers came as no surprise, the abundance of wheat in the world continues to be an unfriendly factor for markets that weighs on prices.

USDA increased its 2011/12 projected global wheat supplies by 2.14 million metric tons (MMT) to a record 894 MMT. An increase in world production estimates accounted for 1.38 MMT of the change and a rise in Kazakhstan’s beginning stocks accounted for the remaining 760,000 metric tons. World production is now estimated at 693 MMT, 6% greater than last year and an all time high. The higher production estimate combined with a 1 MMT decrease in total consumption resulted in a 3 MMT increase in global ending stocks.… Continue reading

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Tips for contending with emergence issues this spring

As spring emerges, so can emergence issues if growers don’t focus on mitigating the stresses of early planting and high residue, according to experts from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. 


Early planting can be appealing to growers with many acres to plant who want to get ahead of spring rains like those in 2011. In addition, early planting can provide potential benefits, such as more time for crop development and the potential to help reduce the effects of mid-summer droughts in some years.

“Predicting the best time to plant can be tricky, as each growing season provides unique environmental challenges,” said Imad Saab, Pioneer research scientist in crop genetics, research and development. “Emergence can be delayed or reduced if planting conditions are less than ideal, and this commonly leads to yield loss for the grower.” 


To maximize emergence, Saab recommends growers avoid planting until soil temperatures are 50 degrees or more, and preferably with a near-term warming trend.… Continue reading

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IPM workshop for specialty crops

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ohio State University’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program are teaming up to offer a workshop on IPM conservation plan writing for specialty crop growers, March 14, in London.

“This workshop is designed for certified crop advisors, independent crop consultants and technical service providers who have an interest and preferably some experience working with vegetable, tree fruit or small fruit production,” said Jim Jasinski, an OSU Extension educator and IPM specialist. “Once trained, these individuals will be hired by and work directly with the producer to develop a site- and crop-specific IPM conservation plan for that operation.”

For the past three years, specialty crop growers have been eligible to compete for NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funds, which provide financial assistance to help them adopt specific IPM practices on their farms. NRCS is encouraging more specialty crop growers to apply for these funds and have an IPM conservation plan written to accompany their EQIP applications.… Continue reading

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Fierce herbicide receives EPA registration in corn

Fierce Herbicide, the newest residual from Valent U.S.A. Corporation, has received EPA registration and is now available to no-till and reduced-tillage field corn growers looking for a long-lasting preemerge solution to tough weeds. Fierce is also pending EPA registration for use in soybeans and is anticipated to be registered in time for the 2013 season.

Fierce is a combination of Valor Herbicide and a new active ingredient, pyroxasulfone. Trial results from 2011 showed this combination to provide dependable, long-lasting control of the broadest spectrum of weeds and grasses.

“Growers know and believe in the excellent control Valor brings to their weed programs,” said Trey Soud, Valent product marketing manager. “By combining Valor with pyroxasulfone, growers will now have a single herbicide to tackle even the toughest weeds and grasses.”

In a series of university and private trials over 2010 and 2011, Fierce provided as much as eight weeks of residual control.… Continue reading

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Learn strategies & tips on ECO farming at Conservation Tillage Conference

Ohio crop growers looking to increase the organic matter content in their soil to the tune of $900 per unit increase in organic matter, may want to consider a move to ECO Farming, advises an Ohio State University Extension educator, who says that switching to the technique could result in raising soil organic matter levels by several percentage points depending on soil type.

ECO Farming, which stands for Ecological Farming and includes using eternal no-till, continuous living cover and other best management practices, is not only economically viable, it is also ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable, said Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues, who is based in Mercer County.

It uses a combination of cover crops and no-till worked into a corn/soybean/wheat rotation to more efficiently use the inputs farmers add to their soil, “reducing the amount of nutrients they may need to buy in the future,” he said.… Continue reading

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Learn strategies & tips on ECO farming at Conservation Tillage Conference

Ohio crop growers looking to increase the organic matter content in their soil to the tune of $900 per unit increase in organic matter, may want to consider a move to ECO Farming, advises an Ohio State University Extension educator, who says that switching to the technique could result in raising soil organic matter levels by several percentage points depending on soil type.

ECO Farming, which stands for Ecological Farming and includes using eternal no-till, continuous living cover and other best management practices, is not only economically viable, it is also ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable, said Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues, who is based in Mercer County.

It uses a combination of cover crops and no-till worked into a corn/soybean/wheat rotation to more efficiently use the inputs farmers add to their soil, “reducing the amount of nutrients they may need to buy in the future,” he said.… Continue reading

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White mold and other diseases a concern after mild winter

By Matt Reese

While there were some run-ins with the full wrath of Old Man Winter in the past few months, by in large, it has been a mild season. The wet and warm weather through much of the winter has plant pathologists concerned about the possibility of diseases this growing season.

“Ohio is known as the replant state and that is not going away. As these soils have remained saturated, all of those soil borne organisms are there primed and ready to go,” said Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist. “When we try to extract these pathogens from the field, we have them incubated in cool temperatures. The longer we incubate, the better disease we get. We have had a winter that has mimicked exactly what we do in the greenhouse to recover these pathogens from the soil.”

Understanding the disease history in the field will be important this season.… Continue reading

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Should you use starter fertilizer?

By Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology for
Seed Consultants, Inc.

Why is starter fertilizer becoming more important than in the past? When we plant early, the growing conditions for germination and early growth of the seedlings are very harsh. The soils are cold and wet and anything we can do to help the little seedlings will give them a head start. In addition, planting in no-till or reduced tillage ground is becoming more prevalent. For applying starter fertilizer, you may have to modify your planter. It is important to have the nutrients, especially, nitrogen available immediately after germination to the young seedlings where little roots are developing. What are benefits of starter fertilizer?

• I have seen better stand establishment where starter was used as compared to the check rows.

• Corn is more robust and healthier. The canopy formation is slightly faster and corn seedlings are ahead of the early weeds.… Continue reading

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RMA proceeding with crop insurance premium reductions

By Matt Reese

Those who use crop insurance in Ohio should see some welcome changes in their premiums this year and in following years. Late last year, the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced that Ohio would have some of the biggest proposed decreases in the nation resulting from updated methodology to set crop insurance premiums.  

The RMA announced that many states, including Ohio, would see significant decreases in crop insurance premiums based on the decreasing risk levels due to a number of factors. The federally supported crop insurance system was designed to have a loss ratio of 1.0. In theory, farmer-paid premiums paired with USDA-paid premiums, should result in an equal number of dollars paid in claims throughout time. However, the rating methodology has not kept up with yield increases and other factors resulting in increased insurance premiums.

RMA periodically reviews premium rates and makes necessary adjustments for actuarial soundness, aiming to establish the most appropriate premium rates.… Continue reading

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South American seed production offers challenges, benefits

By Steve Woodall, production, Production Contract Administrator, AgReliant Genetics

Producing seed corn in South America for U.S. corn growers offers some unique benefits and challenges. AgReliant produces seed in Argentina and Chile for several reasons. Genetics and traits in the seed industry are moving ahead faster now than they ever have. Having a second production cycle each year offers the opportunity to provide our customers with a better supply of the newest products and also gives the chance to increase supply of our best products. Parent seed is also produced in South America in order to bring new products up to commercial production levels faster.

A common practice for winter production is for parent seed produced in the U.S. to be harvested, conditioned, quality tested, shipped to South America and planted in a matter of a few weeks. The parent seed traveling to South America is flown down on commercial passenger flights and regular air freight lines.… Continue reading

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Marestail resistance a growing problem

Ohio grain farmers are likely to find more glyphosate-resistant marestail in their fields this year because of the wet fall and warm winter, says an Ohio State University Extension weed specialist.

Marestail is the most abundant, herbicide-resistant weed Ohio growers deal with, and according to Mark Loux, a combination of herbicide applications can provide the most consistent, effective control.

Resistant populations were traditionally found in southwestern Ohio, but now essentially all of the marestail statewide is glyphosate-resistant. Twenty-five percent of marestail also is resistant to ALS inhibitors, meaning postemergence herbicide applications are often the least effective, Loux said.

“The situation takes on even more significance this spring as crop growers were hampered from fall applications due to the lack of time and good weather last fall to get herbicide applied,” he said.

Loux offers several approaches growers can take to deal with increasingly difficult weed control scenarios:

* Apply burndown plus residual herbicides in late March or early April, which is applying early enough that burndown of emerged crops is not an issue.… Continue reading

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OCWGA members provide farm bill shot in the ARRM

By Matt Reese

Last fall, the National Corn Growers Association unveiled their Agriculture Disaster Assistance Program (ADAP), a commodity title proposal for the 2012 farm bill designed to modify and replace the existing Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) and provide a more effective and responsive safety net for

growers.

Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association member Anthony Bush, from Morrow County, serves as the chair of NCGA’s public policy action team and oversaw the national effort. With the NCGA’s farm bill option that cut more than $20 billion in spending over 10 years and transitioned away from the increasingly hard to justify direct payments, politicians took notice.

After some near miraculous political maneuvering by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and his staff, a version of the NCGA proposal found its way into the congressional spotlight with unusual bipartisan sponsorship and support in the Senate. This Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management Program (ARRM) program is now the focus of farm policy in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Working on a farm bill in a “different” town

By Matt Reese

Things are different in Washington, D.C. these days.

“It’s a different town since the last election. The right is further right and the left is further left,” said Jon Doggett, the National Corn Growers Association vice president of public policy. “The Tea Party is pushing Republicans further right. The same thing, but maybe not to the same degree, is happening with the left. Things are really changing. This is the biggest change I’ve seen in the 25 years I’ve been in Washington.”

The budget is the bottom line and has polarized the opposing sides of the debate.

“We have deficit spending out as far as the eye can see. Forty-two cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed and that is only going up. The Republicans are going to push hard to get Bush tax cuts extended,” Doggett said. “The rhetoric is going to be tax and spend Democrats verses ‘kill grandma by cutting social security’ Republicans.… Continue reading

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Working on a farm bill in a "different" town

By Matt Reese

Things are different in Washington, D.C. these days.

“It’s a different town since the last election. The right is further right and the left is further left,” said Jon Doggett, the National Corn Growers Association vice president of public policy. “The Tea Party is pushing Republicans further right. The same thing, but maybe not to the same degree, is happening with the left. Things are really changing. This is the biggest change I’ve seen in the 25 years I’ve been in Washington.”

The budget is the bottom line and has polarized the opposing sides of the debate.

“We have deficit spending out as far as the eye can see. Forty-two cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed and that is only going up. The Republicans are going to push hard to get Bush tax cuts extended,” Doggett said. “The rhetoric is going to be tax and spend Democrats verses ‘kill grandma by cutting social security’ Republicans.… Continue reading

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Margrafs caring for the soil with no-till

By Matt Reese

The 1,110 Seneca County farm of Bret and Gene Margraf has long history of making no-till work on the diverse soil types and rolling land. The Margrafs were the Ohio No-Till Council Outstanding No-Till Farmers of the Year for their dedication to the land.

The move toward conservation started with Gene’s experimentation with a JD 7000 planter for no-till farming in the late 1970s. The soil types on the farm range from blow sand to silt loam and heavy clay, sometimes all in the same field. The first attempts with no-till started on the best-drained ground that was the most conducive to the new type of farming.

“We started with no-till beans in the sandier farms,” Gene said. “Then we got a little braver and tried it on some other soils. There might have been a yield drop at first in the corn depending on the soil type.… Continue reading

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