Dry conditions can lead to nitrates in corn

By Peter Thomison, Laura Lindsey, Steve Culman, Sam Custer, Ohio State University Extension

Have very dry soil conditions increased the potential for toxic levels of nitrates in corn harvested for silage? Nitrates absorbed from the soil by plant roots are normally incorporated into plant tissue as amino acids, proteins and other nitrogenous compounds. Thus, the concentration of nitrate in the plant is usually low. The primary site for converting nitrates to these products is in growing green leaves. Under unfavorable growing conditions, especially drought, this conversion process is retarded, causing nitrate to accumulate in the stalks, stems and other conductive tissue. The highest concentration of nitrates is in the lower part of the stalk or stem. For example, the bulk of the nitrate in a drought-stricken corn plant can be found in the bottom third of the stalk. If moisture conditions improve, the conversion process accelerates and within a few days nitrate levels in the plant returns to normal.… Continue reading

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Fallow ground syndrome

By Andy Westhoven, AgriGold agronomist

Doesn’t that title sound a lot better than prevent plant ground syndrome? The words prevent plant (PP) send shivers down many growers’ backs. For those with PP acres, the season just keeps on offering new challenges. Many growers have worked the ground, sprayed the weeds, chopped the weeds, worked them again… you get the point. Let’s face it, the PP acres are more work to keep clean than the planted acres. In addition to those challenges, the title implies that idle farmland has some more work to do and there is more to watch for with PP acres leading up to next spring.

Fallow syndrome can occur when a corn (or wheat) crop is planted the year after no crop was planted in a field. These grass crops might exhibit a phosphorus (P) or zinc (Zn) deficiency early in the growing season. Plants will appear to be stunted, pale, and purple in color.… Continue reading

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Watch for corn stalk issues this fall

By Peter Thomison, Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

It may be an especially challenging year for corn stalk quality in Ohio. Stress conditions increase the potential for stalk rot that often leads to stalk lodging.

This year persistent rains through June caused unprecedented planting delays. Saturated soils resulted in shallow root systems. Corn plantings in wet soils often resulted in surface and in-furrow compaction further restricting root growth. Since July, limited rainfall in much of the state has stressed corn and marginal root systems have predisposed corn to greater water stress.

Corn stalk rot, and consequently, lodging, are the results of several different but interrelated factors. The actual disease, stalk rot, is caused by one or more of several fungi capable of colonizing and disintegrating of the inner tissues of the stalk. The most common members of the stalk rot complex are Gibberella zeae, Colletotrichum graminicola, Stenocarpella maydis and members of the genus Fusarium.… Continue reading

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Bearish corn, bullish soybeans

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Today’s USDA WASDE report will be closely watched to see what direction grains will take. A surprise from USDA could easily be in the numbers today. Many are expecting a friendly report, especially since the grain stocks report September 30 was bullish for both corn and soybeans. Acres for corn and soybeans could also be changed.

Today’s USDA report had corn production at 13.779 billion bushels, yield of 168.4, and ending stocks at 1.929 billion bushels. Soybean production was 3.550 billion bushels, yield was 46.9, and ending stocks of 180 million bushels.

Corn production lowered, yield up .2 bushels, ethanol lowered 50 million bushels, exports down 150 million bushels, and ending stocks down 261 million bushels. Soybean production lowered, yield down 1 bushel, crush up 5 million bushels, ending stocks down 180 million bushels. Corn acres lowered 100,000 acres, soybean acres down 200,000.

Shortly after the report release, corn was down 9 cents, soybeans were up 8 cents, and wheat was down 2 cents.… Continue reading

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Long fall needed to maximize soybean yields

By Matt Reese

The extended wet conditions through much of the state this spring resulted in soybean planting dates ranging from timely to double-crop. The wide variation in planting dates has resulted in an Ohio soybean crop heading into fall all across the board in terms of development and yield potential.

“The record-breaking rains of spring delayed planting across the Eastern Corn Belt to mark the slowest planting progress on record,” said Roy Ulrich, a technical agronomist for DEKALB Asgrow. “This delayed spring shortened our growing season and has delayed some of our normal management decisions later into the summer.”

Compounding the potential problems this year were challenges with insects in some fields.

“Stink bugs pierce through the pod wall to feed causing the bean inside to not develop or become shriveled and malformed reducing the number of beans per pod,” Ulrich said. “Bean leaf beetles are the other major insect of concern when it comes to pod feeding.… Continue reading

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Managing corn harvest this fall with variable corn conditions

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Elizabeth Hawkins, James Morris, Will Hamman, Ohio State University Extension


Thanks to the weather we had this year, corn is variable across fields and in some areas we will be harvesting corn at higher moistures than normal. Stalk quality may also be variable by field and amount of stress the plant was under. This variability and high moisture may require us to look harder at combine settings to keep the valuable grain going into the bin. Each .75-pound ear per 1/100 of an acre equals 1 bushel of loss per acre. This is one ear per 6, 30-inch rows in 29 feet of length. A pre harvest loss assessment will help with determining if your combine is set properly. Initial settings for different combines can be found in the operator’s manual but here are a few adjustments that can be used to help set all machines.… Continue reading

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Soil health risks in fallow fields

With so many Ohio fields left unplanted this year, farmers should consider the risks to next year’s crops, soil experts from The Ohio State University warn.

If wind or rain carry away the topsoil of a bare field, it can take years to rebuild that topsoil, said Steve Culman, a soil fertility specialist with Ohio State University Extension.

Topsoil is the layer richest in microscopic organisms, which fuel plant growth. Besides losing topsoil, not having any living roots in a field can cause microscopic fungi in the soil to die off, harming the soil’s ability to support a healthy crop, Culman said.

However, it’s unlikely that fields left bare for one year will develop fallow syndrome, which refers to a drop in the yield or health of a crop grown on a previously bare field, he said.

“Soils don’t degrade overnight, typically,” Culman said. “Degradation can happen over many years or decades, just like building healthy soil can take decades.”… Continue reading

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Green stem syndrome

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

One issue that impacts soybean harvest in the eastern Corn Belt at some level each year is green stem syndrome. Green stem syndrome could be larger issue for the 2017 harvest because of latter planting dates in many areas. When green stem syndrome occurs, stems and leaves can remain green after pods have matured. As a result, while pods and seeds are mature and dry enough to be harvested, harvest operations can be slowed as combines have more difficulty dealing with stems and leaves that are still green. In addition to creating harvest delays, green stem syndrome can increase fuel consumption and result in shattering losses if growers delay harvest until stems have fully matured.

The occurrence of green stems varies from year-to-year and can be affected by several factors, such as:

• Viral infections
• Insect feeding
• Late planting
• Drought stress
• Application of fungicides

Successful management of green stem syndrome requires management practices that include timely planting, establishing adequate plant stands, irrigation, and controlling insects/pests.… Continue reading

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Don’t leave mycorrhizae stranded in your prevented planting acres

By Stephanie Karhoff, Ohio State University Extension

What is mycorrhizae, and why should I care?

Mycorrhizae are beneficial fungi that colonize plant roots. They aid plants in scavenging for soil nutrients, by extending the root system via structures called hyphae. In return, plants provide sugars produced during photosynthesis to the mycorrhizae.

Mycorrhizae also produce a protein called glomalin, which glues soil aggregates together to increase soil stability. Overall, this may increase soil tilth, drainage, and the soil’s ability to hold onto essential nutrients.

How has the 2019 season affected mycorrhizae levels?

Flooding events this spring have caused many acres to go unplanted – stranding the mycorrhizae populations that require a growing crop for survival. High soil moisture levels have also led to anaerobic soil conditions that are not conducive for mycorrhizal colonization. When mycorrhizae populations are reduced, the crops that depend on them for nutrient uptake can suffer.

What is Fallow Syndrome, and how can I prevent it?… Continue reading

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Warm weather provides soybean harvest opportunity

Warmer than normal weather early in the week helped push crop maturity, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 6. Most locales saw temperatures in the high 80s or low 90s which was much warmer than normal. This warmth was welcomed given the lack of crop maturity. Farmers kept an eye on the forecast and hoped for a later than normal killing frost as late planted corn and soybeans was still immature relative to normal. Some growers harvested their earliest planted corn and soybeans. Moisture levels were reported to be high. Corn silage was also harvested. The winter wheat crop was being planted much more quickly than normal due in large part to fields being available because they were not planted to other commodities this year. Pasture conditions were highly variable across the State. In the northern and central parts of the State, adequate rainfall was beneficial, while lack of rainfall in the southern part of the State was negatively affecting pastures and hay regrowth.… Continue reading

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Are fall herbicide treatments even more important this year?

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

If you have never applied herbicide in fall to burn down winter annuals, or done it only infrequently, this might be the year to make an investment in fall herbicides. Fall treatments are an integral component of marestail management programs. They also prevent problems with dense mats of winter annuals in the spring, which can prevent soil from drying out and warming up, interfere with tillage and planting, and harbor insects and soybean cyst nematode. It was a generally tough year for weed control, leading to higher end of season weed populations in some fields. A number of acres were never planted, and growers got to experience the difficulty in obtaining season-long control in the absence of a crop.

This reminds us all how important the crop canopy and shading of the soil is during the second half of the season. Bottom line: there was substantial production of weed seed in some fields, and a replenishment of the soil seedbank by both winter annual and summer annual weeds.… Continue reading

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Trump Administration announces changes to address biofuel concerns

Ohio corn farmers welcomed news that President Trump is honoring his commitment to Ohio agriculture by reallocating the waived gallons and upholding the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association wants to thank the President for standing up for ethanol and the RFS,” said Jon Miller, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Corn farmers from Ohio and across the nation have been steadfast in our communications with the White House to retain the RFS and reduce the regulatory barriers for higher blends of ethanol. It’s been a tough year for Ohio farmers, and it is good to finally hear a bit of good news.”

Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a number of waivers exempting refineries from the requirements of the RFS. After the EPA recently approved 31 additional RFS exemptions for oil companies, efforts from ethanol advocates intensified in reaching out to the Trump Administration.… Continue reading

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Pigweed problems expanding

They can sprout up anywhere in a field and they increasingly do: weeds, specifically a family of weeds known as pigweeds.

As they harvest, farmers should watch for patches of pigweeds, which are quickly multiplying across the state. A campaign dubbed “No Pigweed Left Behind” is aimed at encouraging farmers to stop those weeds from spreading any further.

This year could be especially challenging because the state’s record rainy spring caused many crop fields to be left unplanted, ideal conditions for weeds to move in.

Ohio is home to five types of pigweed, each of which can cost a grower a lot to eliminate. Farmers and gardeners love to hate weeds in general, but pigweeds are especially problematic because they grow fast, produce a lot of seeds, and develop a resistance to the herbicides that used to kill them.

In Ohio, the worst two weeds in the pigweed family are Palmer amaranth and waterhemp, said Mark Loux, a weed specialist with Ohio State University Extension.… Continue reading

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Potential frost impacts for Ohio’s late planted crops

By Alexandra Knight, Pioneer Field Agronomist, Lewis Center, Ohio

The cool, wet spring of 2019 got many farmers off to a slow start in Ohio. The challenging weather conditions carried over from last Fall and continued through May and well into June. The question remains, “Will crops have enough time to will finish out?” Early September was not excessively warm, but the majority of Ohio continues to track 4 to 5 days ahead of the long-term average for heat unit accumulation. This is true of whether your plant date was May 30, June 30 or anywhere in between.

Each day corn planting is delayed past May 1 a decrease of 6.8 GDUs will be required to reach maturity. This means a May 30 planted corn would require approximately 204 GDUs less than it would on April 30. With this in mind, 105-day corn is anticipated to be at blacklayer mid-September when planted May 30, late September when planted June 15 and late October when planted June 30.… Continue reading

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Many factors leading to lower yields for Ohio this fall

The late start to the planting season stunted growth in many corn and soybean fields across Ohio, and yields for both crops are expected to be the state’s smallest since 2008.

Last spring’s unrelenting rain caused shallow roots to develop in both soybean and corn plants because the roots did not have to reach far down into the soil for moisture, say crop experts with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Planting in wet soils also led to soil compaction in which particles of soil became pressed together, reducing space between them and limiting the flow of water.

Then summer brought little rain in much of the state, further hindering the plants’ ability to absorb water.

“The issues with corn this year, I think, are pretty widespread,” said Peter Thomison, a corn field specialist with CFAES.

Ohio’s corn yield is forecasted to be down 34% from last year’s yield; and its soybean yield, down 31%.… Continue reading

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Weather extremes continue into harvest season

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Ohio can certainly lay claim to wide extremes of weather for 2019. The wettest spring in 125 years unfortunately provided for great extremes in planting corn and soybeans this spring. While northwest Ohio had a huge amount of prevented planted acres, the rest of the state struggled to complete the planting process. Many acres were not planted until late May and into the first two weeks of June. The dilemma became the need for a long growing season without an early frost or freeze taking place. Fast forward to the end of September. To date, early frosts and freezes have not yet taken place across the Midwest. Weather forecasts into October 15 indicate zero cold weather concerns. The northern Plains will be seeing cooling temperatures but no freezes. In addition, late September rains of 1 to 4 inches moved through Missouri and Wisconsin, along with parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas.… Continue reading

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Weed answers for 2020 start this fall

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

So this year I am getting even more calls and comments on run away marestail.

“Last year I killed it, this year not so much” is often the remark I hear. And following is my response regarding Horseweed (Conyza canadensis), or Marestail as it is known in Ohio. This may be a new weed to you but the western side of the Ohio and particularly the southwest corner have been fighting it since about 2002. It takes a comprehensive effort, but it can be well managed.

Depending on severity and tillage in your system:

For no till soybeans and RoundupReady technology alone, it doesn’t work anymore.

  1. Spray a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate in the fall after corn harvest or you can spray a combination of 2,4-D and dicamba in the fall.
  2. In the spring spray a second burndown (this may be the glyphosate & 2,4-D as above or glyphosate plus Sharpen) add your residual soybean herbicide – e.g.
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Standability concerns in corn

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA,  Seed Consultants, Inc.

For much of the eastern Corn Belt, soils were excessively wet this spring and crops were planted into less than idea soil conditions. Compounded with continued wet weather throughout the growing season, the early wet conditions have resulted in restricted root development. Growers and agronomists who have spent time digging up plants this year have observed shallow root systems, poor soil penetration due to shallow compaction, and narrow, flat root systems that followed the seed furrow because they could not penetrate the compacted sidewalls of the seed trench. Poor root systems are a cause for standability concerns this fall. In areas where root development has been restricted, crops should be harvested in a timely manner to avoid root lodging.

In addition to poor root systems, some of the corn crop’s nitrogen has been lost due to saturated soils and denitrification. Drought conditions throughout July and August has stressed the corn crop during the critical periods of pollination and grain fill.… Continue reading

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Majority of crops not yet ready for harvest

Portions of the northwest and southeast corners of the State received just over an inch of rain while the rest of the State saw less than normal amounts of rainfall, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 29. Temperatures averaging about 8 degrees above normal coupled with dry conditions helped to mature corn and soybeans, although they were still well behind the 5- year average development. The percent of corn and soybeans rated in good to excellent condition increased 1 percentage point over last week but remained 30 percentage points below the 5-year average for soybeans and 29 percentage points below the 5-year average for corn. Winter wheat planting progress leapt ahead of last year and the 5-year average as planters rolled quickly through dry fields. Pasture conditions decreased slightly as growth was stunted, down 2 percentage points from last week and 21 percentage below the 5-year average.… Continue reading

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Corn and soybeans bullish, wheat negative in stocks report

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

The USDA report today had September 1st corn stocks at 2.114 billion bushels, soybeans 913 million bushels, and wheat 2.385 billion bushels. Both corn and soybean numbers were below the low end of trader estimates. Shortly after the report corn was up 10 cents, soybeans up 18 cents, and wheat down 1 cent. Just before the noon release corn was up 2 cents, soybeans up 13 cents, and wheat down 3 cents.

Today is the quarterly grain stocks report on US grain as of September 1st. This report will provide both off farm and on farm bushels. Most likely the report will get some attention from traders as it details another report from USDA. Harvest activity is close to a fever pitch this week in Ohio and the rest of the Midwest. With that note, producers may not have this report on their radar. A takeaway for today – If corn and soybean stocks are drastically different from expectations, it hints 2018 corn and soybean yields could be revised in upcoming monthly WASDE reports.… Continue reading

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