H. R. 872 moves closer to a Senate vote

Congressional leaders from both parties have expressed interest in reining in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s expanding regulations. In one such effort, Ohio Representatives Bob Gibbs and Jean Schmidt took the lead on H. R. 872 that addressed the EPA’s duplication of regulations with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, passed the House earlier this year and was just passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee with a strong bipartisan vote. This legislation clarifies that NPDES permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their EPA approved label. Ohio Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau, and the nation’s crop organizations were pleased with the bill’s progress one step closer to a vote on the Senate floor. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), voted in favor of the measure.

From a statement from the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association: “OCWGA is pleased by Sen.… Continue reading

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What can we learn from the USDA stocks and acreage reports?

A large number of factors have contributed to the higher prices of corn and other commodities over the past year. The beginning of the price increase can be traced to the USDA’s forecast of 2010 corn planted acreage and the estimate of June 1 corn stocks released on June 30, 2010, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“The USDA’s June 2010 forecast of corn planted acreage came in at 87.872 million acres, 926,000 fewer than indicated in the March 2010 Prospective Plantings report. The market was generally expecting acreage to exceed March intentions,” he said.

The final planted acreage estimate for 2010 was 320,000 acres larger than the June forecast. Area harvested for grain was 441,000 acres larger than was forecast in June, but declining yield prospects more than offset the slightly larger acreage estimates, he added.

The USDA’s estimate of June 1, 2010, corn inventories was about 300 million bushels–or 6.5% –smaller than was anticipated by the market and about 245 million bushels smaller than our pre-report calculation, he said.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report-June 20th


The average temperature for the State was 66.7 degrees, 3.6 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 0.73 inches, 0.23 inches below normal. There were 107 modified growing degree days, 34 days below normal. Reporters rated 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, June 17, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 13 percent short, 76 percent adequate, and 11 percent surplus.


Temperatures and precipitation were lower than normal for most of the state, a departure from the previous two weeks. A break from the rainfall allowed farmers to finish planting corn and soybeans. Most field activities included cutting hay, spraying herbicide and side-dressing corn. Some wheat fields were showing indications of fusarium head blight due to high moisture levels. There were isolated reports of cut worm in corn, as well.

As of Sunday June 19th, corn was 92 percent emerged.… Continue reading

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Double-cropping soybeans may be very profitable this year

By Matt Reese

With a frustrating growing season finished (or mostly finished) wheat growers will now be turning their attention to the wheat crop and harvest. And for many, double-crop soybeans could be a very profitable option in 2011.

“The growers who are harvesting wheat should consider planting double-crop soybeans after wheat, especially south of I-70 in Indiana and Ohio,” said Dave Nanda, Ph. D. 
Director of Genetics and Technology, Seed Consultants, Inc. “There is plenty of moisture available this year. With the current prices, planting double-crop soybeans could be quite profitable. It is very important to plant the second crop of soybeans as soon as possible after wheat harvest because the yield decreases everyday that planting is delayed. Soybeans planted late try to compensate for the shorter growing season. Realize that the aim of the plants is to produce viable seeds.”

Seed populations and varieties need to be adjusted based upon the specifics of the situation.… Continue reading

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White wheat and floppy corn: Issues in the Eastern Corn Belt

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Team Sales Agronomist, Beck’s Hybrids

In this agronomic update I want to take some time to discuss the two most common questions I am receiving from growers as of late. Those questions are…

1. Why are areas in my wheat field turning white?

2. Why is my corn leaning over? It looks like chemical injury.

First, there are several reasons why your wheat may be appearing to reach maturity early.

1. Nitrogen deficiency: with the abundant rainfall we received this spring, our wheat plants are running out of nitrogen. When a grass crop runs out of N it begins the process of cannibalization. It will cannibalize itself to make grain. Therefore, we are seeing wheat fields that are prematurely dying due to this nitrogen cannibalization.

2. Low areas or drowned out spots are dying sooner due to anaerobic conditions from waterlogged soils earlier in the season. These same areas also run out of nitrogen sooner as well.… Continue reading

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U.S. Senate votes to repeal VEETC

The U.S. Senate voted to pass the Feinstein/Coburn amendment that repeals the 45-cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the 54-cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol is a giant step toward leveling the playing field for a bushel of corn. It was a 73-27 vote on the legislation introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

“The VEETC and the tariff on imported ethanol have put cattlemen and other end-users of corn at a competitive disadvantage to the corn-based ethanol industry when it comes time to buy a bushel of corn. Repealing the VEETC and the import tariff are important steps to fully leveling the playing field. We commend the 73 U.S. Senators who supported the Feinstein/Coburn amendment,” said Bill Donald, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president. “Cattlemen aren’t opposed to ethanol. In fact, we support our nation’s commitment to reducing our dependence on foreign oil.… Continue reading

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Tips for renovating strawberries

Strawberries, particularly the June-bearing types, tend to produce a lot of runners and daughter plants in a patch. This leads to overcrowded plants that compete for light, moisture, and mineral nutrients and leads to a reduction in the amount of berries produced in a strawberry patch, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

“In order to minimize competition among plants and maintain a productive June-bearing strawberry patch over an extended period of time, the patch needs to be renovated immediately at the end of harvesting season every year,” said Maurice Ogutu. “The patch can be renovated until the plants have had three to four fruitings or until the plants are not performing optimally. The plants that are not performing optimally may be destroyed and a new strawberry planting established on a different location,” he said.

Ogutu described renovation as the removal of the higher percentage of old strawberry plants from established plantings to allow natural replacement with new daughter plants that will produce more fruit.… Continue reading

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Ohio family featured In national campaign

Many Ohioans in agriculture are familiar with the Harbage family in Clark County and now, residents of Washington, D.C. will be getting to know them as well.

The Ohio farm family is featured in an ad campaign as part of the Corn Farmers Coalition program that debuts at Union Station, an important venue for reaching policymakers inside “The Beltway.” This is the third year for the program highlighting U.S. corn growers.

“Even in the 21st Century, corn farming remains a family operation,” said Kansas Corn Commission Chairman Mike Brzon, a farmer from Courtland, Kan. “In many cases, such as mine, this vocation goes back multiple generations. The family farmer growing corn for a hungry world isn’t a myth, but a critical economic engine for our country and it’s important that policymakers and influencers realize this.”

Corn farmers from 14 states and the National Corn Growers Association are supporting the Corn Farmers Coalition program to introduce a foundation of facts seen as essential to decision making, rather than directly influencing legislation and regulation.… Continue reading

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USDA announces projects to provide increased renewable energy production, reduce reliance on foreign oil

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the establishment of four additional Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas to promote the cultivation of crops that can be processed into renewable energy. Acreage in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania will be designated to grow giant miscanthus, a sterile hybrid warm-season grass that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels, and bio-based products.

“Renewable, home-grown, clean energy from American producers is vital to our country’s energy future because it reduces our reliance on foreign oil and creates good-paying production jobs that cannot be exported,” said Vilsack. “Today’s announcement will make a significant contribution to rural America and create nearly 4,000 jobs, demonstrating the great economic potential the production of renewable energy holds for our rural communities.”

It is estimated that each of the four project areas and conversion facilities would earn about $50 million per year. According to industry estimates, a large number of biorefinery, agriculture and support jobs will be created in each area.… Continue reading

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June is the time to test for nematodes in corn

There are no good ways to control nematodes in corn once the crop is planted. Votivo has proven effective as a nematicide when applied as a seed treatment. However, because it adds cost, not everyone chose to add it. Companies varied in their policies for adding and charging for treatments.

Nematodes have traditionally been thought of as soybean pests – the soybean cyst nematode. In recent years, though, it became apparent that other nematodes attack corn, particularly in lighter soils. What’s not known is how widespread nematode infestation might be.

The way to see if there is a corn nematode problem is to do soil samples in June, said Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants. Obviously, you’ve already made your decisions for the year as whether to apply the nematicide or not. What you’re looking for by testing in June is looking ahead to making the most economical decisions next year.… Continue reading

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Ohio family featured in national corn coalition campaign

For the third year in a row, our nation’s capital will learn about the U.S. family farmers who produce corn, our nation’s top crop, as part of the Corn Farmers Coalition program that debuts today at Union Station, an important venue for reaching policymakers inside “The Beltway.”

“Even in the 21st Century, corn farming remains a family operation,” said Kansas Corn Commission Chairman Mike Brzon, a farmer from Courtland, Kan. “In many cases, such as mine, this vocation goes back multiple generations. The family farmer growing corn for a hungry world isn’t a myth, but a critical economic engine for our country and it’s important that policy makers and influencers realize this.”

Corn farmers from 14 states and the National Corn Growers Association are supporting the Corn Farmers Coalition program to introduce a foundation of facts seen as essential to decision making, rather than directly influencing legislation and regulation.

“Once again, we’re putting a face on today’s family farmers to showcase the productivity and environmental advances being made in the industry and to provide factual information on how innovative and high-tech corn farmers have become,” said Brzon.… Continue reading

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Head scab is not the only cause of bleached wheat heads

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

We have received several reports of bleached wheat heads in fields across the state. The distribution of symptoms in the affected fields ranges from individual bleached heads scattered throughout the field to huge sections of fields or entire fields with bleached heads. Timing of symptom development ranges from one to three weeks after flowering. In some instances, bleached heads are empty (blank). Such a wide variety of patterns and symptom characteristics is causing considerable confusion among producers as to whether they are dealing with head scab or some other problem. Scab does indeed cause bleached heads, but it is not the only cause of this type of head disorder. Along with head scab, take-all, hail, frost, flooding, and injuries caused by insects (wheat stem maggot) may all lead to bleached or white discoloration of wheat heads.

Useful information to help you determine whether you are dealing with scab include 1) the weather condition shortly before and during flowering, 2) the timing of symptom development after flowering, 3) the bleaching pattern on the head and the plant, and 4) the distribution of affected heads in the field.… Continue reading

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Genome offers clue to functions of destructive wheat fungus

One of the world’s most destructive wheat pathogens is genetically built to evade detection before infecting its host, according to a study that mapped the genome of the fungus.

Stephen Goodwin, a Purdue and U.S. Department of Agriculture research plant pathologist, was the principal author on the effort to sequence the genome of the fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola, which causes septoria tritici blotch, a disease that greatly reduces yield and quality in wheat. Surprisingly, Goodwin said, the fungus had fewer genes related to production of enzymes that many other fungi use to penetrate and digest surfaces of plants while infecting them.

“We’re guessing that the low number of enzymes is to avoid detection by plant defenses,” said Goodwin, whose findings were published in the early online edition of the journal PLoS Genetics.

Enzymes often break down plant cell walls and begin removing nutrients, leading to the plant’s death. M. graminicola, however, enters the plant through stomata, small pores in the surface of leaves that allow for exchange of gases and water.… Continue reading

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Attention shifting from acreage to corn and soybean yields

In the monthly report of World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), the USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) reduced the forecast of U.S. planted and harvested acreage of corn and rice. Forecasts for the other major crops were not changed from the forecasts in the March Prospective Plantings report, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Analysts lowered the corn planted acreage forecast due to planting delays in the eastern Corn Belt and northern Plains. In contrast, some increase in acreage is expected in the western Corn Belt and central Plains where planting was more  timely,” he said.

USDA judges that planted acreage will total 90.7 million acres, 1.5 million fewer than revealed in the March survey of planting intentions, he said.

According to Good, area harvested for grain is projected at 83.2 million acres, 1.9 million below the May forecast. The large reduction reflects expectations that some planted acreage was lost to flooding in the lower Ohio, lower Mississippi and Missouri River valleys.… Continue reading

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Can small weeds hurt yield?

By Dave Nanda, Ph. D. 
Director of Genetics & Technology 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

When the developers of technology for Roundup resistance and Liberty (Ignite) resistance released these products for marketing to the farmers, they were recommending that farmers let the weeds grow until the corn and soybeans are fairly tall to form a canopy and then spray their weeds and kill them all in one pass. Well, it was a good salesmanship and many farmers bought into it as a way to save money on weed control. Little did they realize that the smaller weeds also hurt the yield potential of the crops.

Studies conducted by several universities and my own observations have indicated that smaller weeds do reduce the yield potential of the crops. When the infra-red light is reflected from the chlorophyll of the neighboring plants, whether crop plants or weeds, each individual plant, because of its micro- environment, “decides” early on how many ears and the seeds on the ears or how many beans it will try to produce.… Continue reading

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Cover crops and prevented planting update for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio

An announcement made by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) states that producers are eligible for prevented planting on acreage where the cover crop was not timely terminated and the subsequent crop was prevented from planting due to an insurable cause of loss.

The statements in the Special Provisions of Insurance are relevant to insuring a spring crop (e.g. corn, soybeans, etc.) following a crop or small grain crop that has reached the headed stage. Producers who plant a crop after a cover crop that has headed, budded, or has been harvested in the same calendar year are required to request a written agreement through their crop insurance agent. Producers have until July 15th to request a written agreement request through their agent, but are encouraged to submit their request as early as possible because a crop inspection is required as part of the written agreement. The inspection must show a yield potential equal to 90 percent of the guarantee.… Continue reading

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USDA crop report reflects disastrous weather across the country

A challenging weather year for farmers and ranchers all across the country is clearly reflected in yesterday’s crop report released by the Agriculture Department with drops shown in production, stocks and acreage forecasts for corn compared to the May report.

And with the expected drops in both production and supply, USDA is forecasting record prices not only for corn but also for wheat and soybeans. Prices for all three commodities were moved upward from the May estimates due to weather challenges. The cotton price remained the same as the May estimate, but it is still a record.

“There is no doubt that the wild weather year we’re seeing is impacting all the crops farmers produce,” said Todd Davis, crops economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Drought and floods are taking their toll on cotton, corn, wheat and other crops, and USDA’s newest numbers demonstrate just that.”

In its June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates released today, USDA reduced planted corn acres by 1.5 million acres from its March planting intentions survey to 90.7 million acres.… Continue reading

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Flood damaged wheat could be a total loss

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

The damage left by above-average rainfall is now showing up in parts of Ohio. Wheat fields that were under water for several days are now dying. Wheat can recover from a few days of excess water, once the water dries out quickly. But the frequent and heavy rains we have had left the crop under water for close to a week in some locations.

Excess water replaces the air in the soil and deprives the plant roots of much-needed oxygen. Roots that are deprived of oxygen for an extended period will die. This is soon followed by death of the stems, and eventually, the entire plant, and the dead plant tissue is quickly invaded by opportunistic organisms. While wet, saturated, and poorly aerated soils do favor some plant pathogens such as Pythium and could lead to root rot, the problems we are seeing in most of the flooded fields are not caused by diseases.… Continue reading

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It is time to start scouting emerging crops

Now is the time for grain farmers to scout fields at risk for insect infestations and potential pest problems, according to a Purdue Extension entomologist.

Corn planted into grass and wheat in areas of dense growth poses a high armyworm risk. Corn where weedy growth existed could potentially face cutworm troubles, and soybeans first emerging could face bean leaf beetle pressures.

“Corn that has been no-till planted into an abandoned wheat stand or a grass cover crop should be inspected immediately for armyworm feeding,” said Christian Krupke. “Hatched larvae will move from dying grasses to emerging or emerged corn.”

Armyworm feed from the leaf margin toward the midrib and give corn a ragged appearance. In some cases damage may be extensive enough that most of the plant, except the midrib and stalk, is consumed.

“A highly damaged plant may recover if the growing point has not been destroyed,” Krupke said.

If growers find that more than 50% of the corn plants show armyworm feeding damage and there are numerous live larvae less than 1.25 inches long, Krupke said a control method may be necessary.… Continue reading

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A late start to corn planting – Agronomic challenges ahead

By John Brien, AgriGold Regional Agronomist

Planting corn in 2011 has continually been hampered by frequent rain events that have dumped varying amounts of water across the Ohio region. According to the June 5 USDA Ohio cropping report, Ohio had 58% of the corn planted compared to the historical average of 99%. Of the 58% planted, 21% had emerged.  The late start to corn planting is not ideal and will present some unique challenges to corn growers throughout the growing season, but the late planting does not constitute a crop failure. Corn plants adapt very well to challenges and will produce the most grain as possible; the key to success is limiting the amount of stress the corn plant endures.

Late planted corn is more susceptible to weather stress than corn planted earlier in the season. Late planted corn is more likely to experience hotter weather during pollination and more moisture stress during grain fill.… Continue reading

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