Crops



Crop acreage will likely increase in 2011

Corn, soybean, wheat and cotton prices are at the highest levels in years which implies there will be more crop acreage in 2011, according to Gerald Bange, chairman of the Agriculture Department’s World Agricultural Outlook Board.

In a crops outlook report delivered at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting, Bange said as much as 10 million more acres could move into crop production this year.

“We won’t know until we get the planting intentions report. It won’t be until June until we know for sure,” Bange said.

Strong prices and strong demand for cotton should mean more acreage will be devoted to that crop, according to Bange, but it is still uncertain what kind of increases are seen for corn and soybeans.

High prices and very low stocks for corn should mean more corn acreage in 2011, but Bange said indicators right now are actually pointing to more soybean acres.… Continue reading

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Beck’s Hybrids to host 52 winter grower meetings

Beck’s Hybrids will host 52 grower meetings across Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan throughout January and February. The meetings will summarize key topics and findings from Beck’s 2010 Practical Farm Research, as well as discuss long-term management procedures.

PFR is focused with the farmer in mind and provides a comprehensive look at how different practices and new technologies perform in field environments. In 2010, Beck’s conducted more than 65 different studies across multiple locations.

“This year we’re bringing growers a very unique, visual presentation that focuses on the question…”If corn could talk, what would it say?,” said Scott Beck, Vice President at Beck’s Hybrids. “We’ll take growers through the corn plants growth stages and highlight practices that will ultimately increase their yield and bottom-line.”

Key topics to be addressed include timing of nitrogen, the importance of early season protection, the effects of fungicides, and post harvest residue management. For a complete list of meeting dates, times and to register, visit www.beckshybrids.comContinue reading

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USDA’s Risk Management Agency unveils proposed rule to reward farmers participating in Federal Crop Insurance Program

The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced today that it has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would reward farmers participating in the federal crop insurance program for good performance.

“This proposed Good Performance Refund will benefit qualifying farmers and ranchers across rural America and strengthen the Federal crop insurance program,” said RMA administrator, William J. Murphy. “It encourages producers to use the best available management practices in order to qualify for the refund in future years and rewards good performance by returning a portion of the out-of-pocket costs paid for crop insurance premiums back to those who have paid into the program and have had limited or no losses.”

Under the proposed program, payment amounts would vary by producer and will be based on each qualified producer’s history in the program. RMA estimates that the average refund amount per producer this year will be about $1,000.… Continue reading

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USDA's Risk Management Agency unveils proposed rule to reward farmers participating in Federal Crop Insurance Program

The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced today that it has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would reward farmers participating in the federal crop insurance program for good performance.

“This proposed Good Performance Refund will benefit qualifying farmers and ranchers across rural America and strengthen the Federal crop insurance program,” said RMA administrator, William J. Murphy. “It encourages producers to use the best available management practices in order to qualify for the refund in future years and rewards good performance by returning a portion of the out-of-pocket costs paid for crop insurance premiums back to those who have paid into the program and have had limited or no losses.”

Under the proposed program, payment amounts would vary by producer and will be based on each qualified producer’s history in the program. RMA estimates that the average refund amount per producer this year will be about $1,000.… Continue reading

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Parking lot gardening

An old asphalt parking lot might not seem like a good place for a garden, but in urban areas it can be. It tends to be cheap open land and an Ohio State University expert on intensive small-scale horticulture has started a three-year study on what works best there.

Joe Kovach, who specializes in maximizing fruit and vegetable production in limited spaces, is comparing three ways to do it in empty, abandoned parking lots: in giant-sized pots and in raised beds on top of the blacktop, and in trenches cut right through it.

“There are a lot of vacant parking lots in places like Cleveland and Youngstown,” said Kovach, who works at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster and holds a joint appointment with Ohio State University Extension. “We’re hoping to learn if the trenches work, if the pots are worth it and of all three techniques, which is the best?”… Continue reading

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Focus on food safety, current issues at OPGMA Congress

“Your Recipe for Success” is the theme for this year’s Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Congress, Jan. 17-19 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. The registration deadline is Jan. 7 and is available online at http://www.opgma.org/.

Sessions cover a wide range of topics, including special sessions on Monday, Jan. 17, on food safety issues. Presenters include farmers, industry representatives and university specialists from across the nation, including Ohio State University Extension educators and researchers with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Among the sessions being offered by OSU Extension and OARDC faculty members are:

Strawberry and Tomato Production in High Tunnels, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Matt Kleinhenz, Brad Bergefurd.

Apples: Thinning Trials and U.S. Apple Industry Activities, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Allison Parker, Diane Miller, Jozsef Racsko.

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Control and Resources, Jan. 17, 3-4:15 p.m., Sally Miller.

Food Safety Part 3: Training, Education and Implementation, Jan.… Continue reading

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SCI acquisition a product of an evolving seed industry

By Matt Reese

The world of corn and soybean production forever changed in the late 1990s when the first genetically modified soybeans were released. Since then, there is no doubt that traits have revolutionized corn and soybean production, but those same traits have altered the industry in other ways.
The big benefits of traits come with a big price tag in terms of the money required to research and bring them to market. The stakes are high in this high dollar game and once the major players make the huge investment in traits, they are in it to win. Disputes are inevitable, and while the legions of lawyers battle it out, the smaller seed companies that depend on these traits (but cannot afford to develop their own) are caught in the crossfire.
This is the story behind the surprising recent news that DuPont, which owns Pioneer H-Bred International, Inc. (PHI), had acquired Seed Consultants, Inc.… Continue reading

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The debate of ethanol and food prices continues

Recent news stories about higher food prices often try to make a connection between food prices and the demand for ethanol, an incorrect assumption on the part of the ethanol opponents that significantly downplays all the impacts and pressures that affect food prices. Studies after the 2008 spike in corn prices help demonstrate this, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

“It’s an outrage to hear the same claims time after time, blaming corn growers and ethanol producers for the rise in food prices,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president. “It’s a rhetoric with no grounding in reality. Our growers are not only producing more corn and meeting all needs, but we are also experiencing some of the same negative factors on their farms, such as higher energy costs, that are driving up food prices around the world.”

Here in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office had already looked into the issue and issued a report in April 2009 that discussed the role of factors such as energy:

“CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008, the rise in the price of corn resulting from expanded production of ethanol contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 percentage points of the 5.1% increase in food prices measured by the consumer price index (CPI).… Continue reading

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OCGA and OWGA progressing in unification

The Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and Ohio Wheat Growers Association (OWGA) have taken steps to unite to better represent the interests of thousands of grain farmers throughout the Buckeye State.

At the Ohio Grains Symposium December 16 in Lima, OCGA and OWGA leaders discussed the process and decision to form a new organization with the goal to advance Ohio’s grains with members.

As a single entity as of Jan. 1, 2011, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) has positioned itself for the regulation and advancement of domestic and international issues that affect the success of Ohio’s corn and wheat markets, including energy, livestock, trade, environment and transportation issues and relief programs, research and marketing programs.

The new organization is the result of an ongoing relationship between the formerly separate associations that has been fostered with shared staff and joint membership meetings, legislative visits, public campaigns and policy-development strategies.… Continue reading

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Statement from Thomas C. Dorr, USGC president, regarding China’s anti-dumping case against U.S. DDGS imports


“The U.S. Grains Council has a 25 year history of market development and capacity building programs in China and values the U.S./China market and trade relationship. China is a critical partner in trade and an important market for the United States.

“China’s investigation of U.S. DDGS imports is surprising and could be disruptive to trade. China’s unusual market and supply volatility over the last two years has resulted in new global trade flows. As trade flows change, it should perhaps not be surprising there would be an adjustment period in response to unprecedented demand.

“The United States takes pride in being a reliable supplier of high-quality feed and food grains and its ability to rapidly respond to global market demands.

“The mission of the U.S. Grains Council is to help keep markets open and support the free flow of goods. The Council looks forward to continuing the strong trade relationship with buyers and end-users of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ethanol, racing and the NASCAR nap

By Matt Reese

February and the start of the NASCAR season are just around the corner. This occasion has taken on an important place in the life of one of my co-workers in recent years.
She was never a big NASCAR fan, but after she married a diehard follower of the sport several years ago, she had to make some life changes. To deal with this potential source of marital strife, she called one of her friends in a similar situation to determine the best way to acclimate to her new life of NASCAR. That is when she learned the secret of the NASCAR nap.
Apparently, most of the drama, excitement and spectacle of NASCAR can be enjoyed in the first half hour and the final hour of the event. Hence, devoted wives of NASCAR fans can take a roughly two-hour Sunday afternoon nap during the middle of the race and still be able to hold competent discussions with their husbands about the event.… Continue reading

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SCN research

By Dennis Mills, Glen Arnold, Roger Bender, Mike Estadt, Mark Koenig, Anne Dorrance, Bridget Meiring, Kate Gearhart, Dave Mangione, Ohio State University Extension

As part of a multi-state, 3-year North Central Soybean Research Program project, we have compared the changes in SCN populations under varieties which are susceptible or have resistance derived from PI 88788, Peking, or PI437654 (CystX).  Management of soybean cyst nematode consists primarily of crop rotation both with non-hosts and with different sources of resistance (if they are available).

Best SCN Management Strategies for Ohio Soybean Producers
Egg counts/200 cc of soilCyst CountPopulation LevelManagement Strategies
0-400None detectedContinue to monitor field after two crops of soybean
40-2001TraceBegin to measure some yield loss in Susceptible varieties at or above 200 eggs/200cc
200-20001-4LowPlant SCN resistant variety or rotate to a non-host crop.  At or above 2000 eggs some yield loss may occur on SCN resistant varieties
2000-50003-20ModerateRotate to a non-host crop next year and return with SCN resistant soybeans the following year.
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West Ohio Agronomy Day-January 10th


The January 10, 2011 West Ohio Agronomy Day has daytime and evening sessions for the convenience of farmers, agricultural businesses and crop consultants. St. Michael’s Hall in Ft. Loramie, Ohio is the location of this event, designed to offer a comprehensive crop production agenda while providing private and commercial pesticide re-certification credits as well as CEU’s for Certified Crop Advisors.

Believe it or not; agriculture’s use of phosphorus is headline news! Ohio State University Extension’s soil fertility expert Dr. Robert Mullen plans to explain the science behind the attachment of P to soil particles at the January 10 West Ohio Agronomy Day. Plan to attend the program at St. Michael’s Hall in Ft. Loramie to also benefit from Purdue’s corn specialist Dr. Bob Nielsen’s advice on hybrid selection and plant pathologist Dr. Kiersten Wise’s crop disease control strategies with seed treatments and fungicides. OSU’s Dr. Ron Hammond will address insect issues with corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa and Mullen plans to share comments on best investment of your fertilizer dollars.… Continue reading

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Newest DuPont acquisition hits close to home in Ohio

DuPont announced it has acquired Seed Consultants, Inc., Washington C.H., Ohio, and Terral Seed, Lake Providence, La., as part of its Pioneer Hi-Bred PROaccess business strategy. Terms were not disclosed.

These two seed companies have been distributing products under the Pioneer-owned trademarks: Supreme EX brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties, distributed by Seed Consultants and  REV brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties, distributed by Terral Seed.

First introduced in December 2008, the PROaccess business strategy enables Pioneer to make available its seed genetics to more growers through a network of distributors. Pioneer will continue its PROaccess distribution agreements with other independent seed companies as previously announced, including: Beck’s Hybrids, Atlanta, Ind., distributor of XL brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties; Burrus Hybrids, Arenzville, Ill., distributor of Power Plus brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties; Doebler’s PA Hybrids Inc., Jersey Shore, Pa., distributor of RPM brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties.

In early December 2010, Pioneer closed the acquisitions of Hoegemeyer Hybrids, Hooper, Neb.,… Continue reading

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Soil is an overlooked resource

Advances in genetics and traits promise to accelerate yield increases in U.S. corn and soybeans. Some even say yields will double by 2030. But what’s often missing from the conversation is the critical role of soils.
Soil scientists remind us that even the most elite crop varieties need well-managed soils to provide the nutrients and water essential for high yields.
“U.S. corn and soybean farmers already are feeding whole nations,” said Jennifer Shaw, head of sustainability with Syngenta. “As we coax even more yield from every acre, soil health will become just as important as crop health in our drive to double food, feed and fiber production.”
Soils in the Corn Belt are among the world’s most productive, but they are degrading at a rate that will affect productivity unless we reverse the trend, points out Kendall Lamkey, agronomy chair with Iowa State University. Despite major gains in soil conservation, Iowa leads the nation in soil loss by water.… Continue reading

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2010 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest winners announced

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) announced the winners of the 2010 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest during the Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium in Lima. This was the first year for the statewide contest and entries surpassed expectations with more than 137 applicants.

There were six yield categories available and the quality category of the contest was based on highest percentages of oil and protein.

“We were very pleased by the response and excitement we received from Ohio farmers about the contest this year,” said Jeff Wuebker, president of OSA and Darke County soybean farmer. “We had some great yields and quality results from the entries and we hope to have even more entries next year.”

This year’s Overall State Yield Champion was Don Jackson from Preble County.  Jackson recorded a yield of 81.699 with Seed Consultants 9360 variety.

The complete list of yield and quality winners is listed below:

Yield Results

Conventional Tillage                                             Yield                           Variety

Don Jackson (Preble Co.)                           … Continue reading

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Legitimacy of EPA Total Maximum Daily Load rule called into question

The Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council (ANPC), a coalition of agricultural groups, released a third party report last month conducted by LimnoTech that raises significant questions about the data used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule. In a report, “Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region,” developed by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), very different estimates of pollutant loads to the Chesapeake Bay are reported compared to EPA’s data.

“Basically, we have two different agencies in this administration studying the same thing but yielding completely different results,” said Ashley Lyon, deputy environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “USDA’s report clearly shows that farmers and ranchers have already significantly surpassed EPA targets for reductions in sediment and phosphorus.”

The LimnoTech report found many discrepancies between USDA’s report and EPA’s data.… Continue reading

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No-till makes a difference where the rain meets the soil

When it comes to his no-till fields, Paul Kelly Jr. take a very keen interest in what is happening “where the rubber meets the road.” Though in this case, “where the water meets the soil” is more appropriate.

For this reason, when most farmers are parking their equipment in the barn and heading indoors due to a rainstorm, Kelly has been known to head out in the elements to observe his Clinton County fields.

“I’ve spent a lot of time walking my fields in the rain and comparing them to the conventional fields of my neighbors,” Kelly said. “I have collected jars of rainwater running off our fields and the others’ tilled fields and we never have nearly the soil loss. In the jars from my fields I would get floating crop residue. In the jars from the conventionally tilled fields there would be soil. That proved to me that the practices we are using are really performing.”… Continue reading

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Seven Ohio corn farmers recognized for outstanding yield numbers

Ohio farms are typically recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for having higher-than-average yield numbers each year. And each year, the Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and the National Corn Growers Association reward farmers whose yields have exceeded national and state averages.

Seven Ohio farmers, listed below, were recognized by OCGA December 16 during the 2010 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium in Lima, Ohio, as having outstanding yields:

AA Non-Irrigated


Steve and Tim Reinhard

293.891 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC62-54

Bucyrus, Ohio

AA No Till/Strip Till Non-Irrigated

Bill Putnam

285.5752 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC62-54

Conover, Ohio

No Till/Strip Till Irrigated

Jim Motycka

240.8185 Bushels Per Acre

Pioneer 33D14

Napoleon, Ohio

Ridge Till Non-Irrigated

Roger W.  Wolfe

253.3243 Bushels Per Acre

Pioneer 33W84

Baltimore, Ohio

Ridge Till Irrigated

Steven L. Meienburg

236.7612 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC61-19

Malinta, Ohio

Irrigated

Les Imboden

251.6672 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC61-69


Ashville, Ohio

“These seven individuals are a prime example of how Ohio farmers can do more with less,” said John Davis, OCGA President.… Continue reading

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ASA’s WISHH and USDA ship soy flour to Afghanistan

The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) representatives participated today in the final preparations of a shipment of soy flour to Afghanistan. The 3,525 50-pound bags of soy flour shipped from the Port of Virginia will deliver the benefits of high-protein soy to 5,000 women and their families in Afghanistan.

ASA and state soybean leaders from Virginia, North Carolina and Illinois joined USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Associate Administrator Janet Nuzum at ARREFF Terminals in Portsmouth, Va. for loading of the soy flour. They then went to the Port of Virginia where the five containers were shipped. USDA purchased the soy flour as part of its cooperative agreement with ASA under the USDA Food for Progress Program. Cargill’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa facility produced the soy flour, which readily increases the protein content of traditional naan breads as well as makes soymilk and other foods.… Continue reading

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