Wet fields leave some tough tillage decisions

As the wet spring continues to delay planting, grain farmers are faced with tough decisions about their intended tillage operations.

Once the ground is dry enough for farmers to work in the fields, some tillage operations may need to be sacrificed, said Purdue Extension agronomist Tony Vyn.

“The major question this season is, ‘How should my intended tillage program change in response to the current realities of saturated soils within fields, the weather forecast and the calendar?'” he said. “Overall, the most essential aspects of tillage management for corn planting in Indiana and surrounding states over the next few weeks will be to exercise caution, control weeds and enhance seedbed quality where possible.”

Important to choice of tillage systems is limiting soil damage and root-restricting soil layers during tillage or corn planting.

“It is essential to leave the soil condition with the maximum opportunity for unimpeded corn root development,” Vyn said.… Continue reading

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Growmark acquires Select Seed

Regional cooperative GROWMARK, Inc. today announced it finalized the acquisition of the assets of Select Seed, Camden, Ind. The transaction closed May 2, 2011; terms were not disclosed.

Select Seed will continue to operate as an independent brand within the GROWMARK family and Kevin Eggerling will continue to manage the company’s operations from their current headquarters in Camden, Indiana.

“Becoming part of the GROWMARK family of brands will enable Select Seed to continue to offer growers high-performing seed corn along with access to an even broader range of agricultural products and services to improve farm profitability – all with the level of quality and service growers expect from Select Seed,” said Kevin Eggerling.

GROWMARK Seed Division Manager, Ron Milby, agreed. “Select Seed and GROWMARK share a similar history of focusing on providing progressive growers exceptional products to increase their productivity and profitability.” He added the acquisition “supports GROWMARK’s strategies to grow in and from its core businesses, as well as to expand our marketing territory.”… Continue reading

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Beck’s Hybrids expands facilities

Due to continued 20% growth per year for the past 20 years, Beck’s Hybrids is expanding operations by adding a Research Building at the Atlanta, Ind., headquarters. The new research facility will allow for future growth in testing the latest innovative seed technologies and germplasm from suppliers worldwide.

“Our continued growth and expansion is driven by the increasing demands of our customers, who want more high-performing products suited for their acres,” said Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids. “The new research building will provide the capacity to bring an increasing number of new, innovative seed products to our customers.”

The 100’ x 305’ Research Building is part of phase one of the $24.5 million expansion project. The facility will feature 13 offices, as well as the following areas devoted to research: a seed laboratory, climate controlled seed storage, automated processing equipment, and flat storage for equipment and experimental seed. A 400 person capacity meeting room will also be included in the facility.… Continue reading

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Maintain a strong burndown program even with a late start

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

So far this spring it has been quite the challenge to get in the field to get any work done. Very little herbicide has been applied to no-till or minimum till fields. Some of these fields are getting lush with winter annual weed growth. However, winter annuals are not the only weeds that are beginning to emerge. I have seen giant ragweed, lambsquarter, marestail (which is a winter annual but also continues to emerge in the spring and summer) and morninglory, rearing their ugly heads as well. By the time most of our fields in eastern Indiana and Ohio are dry enough to get back on them with spray equipment, weed density and height could be more than what we have seen the past several years. I am concerned about the temptation that may exist to take 2,4-D out of the recipe because of its planting restriction or ignoring the planting restriction all together.… Continue reading

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May planting: What do I do now?

By Brian Essinger, DeKalb and Asgrow territory manager in northwest Ohio

It is natural for anxiety to increase a little each day as the rain drops hit our windows and windshields and yet the key to successful farming is to remain patient and stick to your plan. I have gotten some questions wrapped around what do to do while we wait. First and most importantly stay positive. There is still plenty of time and opportunity in this growing season as we begin May. Again, the key is to remain patient and stick to your plan. We will get a good opportunity to plant this crop. We will be ready when that time comes, and we need to enjoy doing it!

Best practices suggest not switching any maturities until Memorial Day (May 30).

1. Yield and drydown are greater functions of summer weather than planting timing. The key is getting the seed planted in as good shape as conditions will allow.… Continue reading

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Corn and soybean prices continue erratic movement

As expected, corn and soybean prices continue to move erratically in a very wide range. Just in the past week, both May 2011 corn and soybean futures had a 56-cent trading range. As the markets make the transition from old-crop to new-crop dominance, a lot of factors are influencing price expectations, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“For soybeans, the Census Bureau soybean crush report released on April 28 revealed that the March 2011 crush was about 10 percent smaller than that of March 2010. Through the first seven months of the 2010-11 marketing year, the crush was 7.4 percent smaller than the crush during the same period last year,” Darrel Good said.

For the year, the USDA has projected a decline of 5.8 percent. Last year, the crush was unusually large in the first half of the year and declined rapidly from April through August. The seasonal decline may be less pronounced this year.… Continue reading

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Ethanol reduced gasoline prices by $0.89 a gallon in 2010

The increased use of ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $0.89 per gallon in 2010, according to a new study conducted by economists at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin and released by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD). The new analysis, an update to a 2009 Energy Policy paper authored by professors Dermot Hayes and Xiaodong Du, also found that the growth in ethanol production reduced gasoline prices by an average of $0.25, or 16%, over the entire decade of 2000-2010. Further, the study determined that gas prices could double if ethanol production came to an immediate halt.

“This study confirms that ethanol is playing a tremendously important role in holding down volatile gasoline prices, which are currently inching closer to all-time record highs,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President Bob Dinneen. “As rising oil prices are contributing to higher retail costs for everything from gas to food to clothing, ethanol is clearly providing some real relief for American families.”… Continue reading

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Survey reveals conservation tillage practices in Lake Erie Watershed

A recently completed five-year study of conservation tillage practices in the 4.9 million acre Western Lake Erie Basin watershed reveals that most fields in the watersheds are either tilled conventionally or stirred with mulch tillage at least once every three to five years. Crop rotations including corn were the reason fields used conventional tillage periodically. Corn in a crop rotation was planted using conventional methods 80% of the time.

“There are varying degrees of conservation tillage,” explains Steve Davis, a watershed specialist contractor working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The amount of crop residue cover on the field at planting and the degree of soil stirring determines the type of conservation tillage.

“There is a lot of no-till planting in the watershed,” Davis said, “but the percentage of long-term continuous no-till fields is still small.”

These findings are significant when considering the role conservation tillage plays in delivering phosphorous runoff to waterways in the Lake Erie drainage basin.… Continue reading

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Early foliar fungicide applications

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

Most of our wheat is now beyond Feekes 6, jointing, and spring N applications have been completed in most areas. Attention is now being shifted to foliar fungicide applications, with questions again being asked about what to apply, when to apply. Another question that should be asked is whether a fungicide should be applied. With current wheat prices and the wet conditions we have had so far this spring, producers are concerned about protecting their valuable wheat crop. When conditions are as wet as they have been this spring, foliar disease development is certainly a reason for concern.

Septoria blotch is usually one of the first to show up, and it already has been reported in some fields. This disease is favored by cool (50 to 68 degrees F), rainy conditions, and although it usually develops early in the season, it really does not cause yield loss unless it reaches and damages the flag leaf before grain fill is complete.… Continue reading

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Soybean seeding rates should be adjusted for cool, wet soils

As farmers take advantage of the extra time from a long spell of rain to tune up planting equipment, one Purdue Extension soybean specialist says growers need to pay attention to seeding rates – especially with the cold, wet weather in the Midwest.

“April 2011 has been much cooler and wetter than this time last year, so as farmers take advantage for final equipment tune-ups, I want to remind them that planting should be based on soil and environmental conditions,” Shaun Casteel said. “As farmers tune up their planters, drills and air-seeders, they need to consider seeding rates.”

Casteel said that many of the soybean lots planted in 2010 were large seeds. That isn’t the case this year.

“Soybean seeding rates need to be adjusted by seed size rather than weight,” he said. “Planter settings used last year will probably drop more seeds per acre with this year’s seed lots and germination scores fluctuate, as well,” he said.… Continue reading

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Biomass Crops Assistance Program

Steve Maurer, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, announced the deadline for project area proposals for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).  To be considered, proposals must be submitted to the Ohio FSA State office by close of business, May 27, 2011.

“I encourage all those interested in participating in this program to contact the Ohio FSA State office for details,” said Maurer.

BCAP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and provides payments to eligible farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the establishment and production of biomass crops for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels.  BCAP project areas are specific geographic areas where producers grow eligible biomass crops.  Producers then receive annual payments during the life of the contract period for those crops.

For more information, visit the USDA FSA website at: or contact the Ohio FSA State Office Conservation Section at 614-255-2447.… Continue reading

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Prevented planting reminder

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) would like to remind producers to report the acreage to your local FSA office within 15 days of the final planting date of the crop, when bad weather prevents planting or damages crops.  This applies to all crops, whether covered by crop insurance, not covered by insurance, or covered by FSA’s Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP).  Final planting dates vary among counties and crop types.

Producers who have their crops insured through a private crop insurance company should contact the insurance agent immediately and advise them of the damaged crops.  Additionally, for those crops covered under FSA’s NAP, producers should immediately contact their local FSA office to report the acres and file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss Application. “Producers with NAP coverage should report their losses within 15 calendar days of crop damage from natural disaster, so the loss can be appraised and production counted before the crop is put into another use, abandoned or destroyed,” said Maurer.… Continue reading

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Making adjustments for later corn planting

By Peter Thomison and Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

As of Sunday April 24, only one percent of Ohio’s corn crop was planted, which is 38% behind last year and 13% behind the five-year average ( Weather forecasts indicate more rain this week possibly continuing through Thursday. As prospects for a timely start to spring planting diminish, growers need to reassess their planting strategies and consider adjustments. Since delayed planting reduces the yield potential of corn, the foremost attention should be given to management practices that will expedite crop establishment. The following are some suggestions and guidelines to consider in dealing with a late planting season.

Although the penalty for late planting is important, care should be taken to avoid tillage and planting operations when soil is wet. Yield reductions resulting from “mudding the seed in” are usually much greater than those resulting from a slight planting delay.… Continue reading

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Delayed planting isn’t always a problem

While the sky literally has been falling in the form of rain for the past month, many farmers aren’t panicking about getting their corn into the ground.

“You have to keep it all in perspective,” said Delaware, Ohio, farmer and Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Chairman John Davis.  “In 1995, for instance, we didn’t even plant soybeans until the third weekend in June.”

Davis is also a seed dealer for Pioneer. He said farmers are not yet calling him to say that they want to switch from planting soybeans to planting corn because the planting dates for corn extend into May.

“The optimum planting dates for corn in Ohio is April 20 until May10. If the corn is planted in that time period with good weather, most of the yields will be okay,” said Davis. “This is not the time to panic. If we get dry and hot weather, we can have the corn in the ground in eight days.… Continue reading

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Planting factors in 2011

By Steve Prochaska, Ohio State University Extension

The weather conditions this year have not favored very early planting of corn and soybeans. However, both corn and soybeans can yet be planted with full yield potential.  When soil conditions become favorable, both crops can be planted without great risk to cold weather injury. There are, however, certain attributes associated with each (corn and soybeans) that should be considered if only one crop can be planted at a time. What follows below is risk/benefit analysis to corn and /or soybean planting given the possible time and field constraints that are very possible in 2011.

Risks to early planted orn

1.   Uneven or reduced plant emergence due to extended periods of wet, cold weather can significantly reduce corn yields.

2.   If need to replant, there is a loss of growing season and corn yield potential.

3.   Cost of replanting in the event of failure.… Continue reading

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Marestail control essential to protect soybean yields

No-till practices save soil and offer many other benefits, but soybean producers know there’s at least one big disadvantage: Not tilling gives weeds, particularly problematic marestail, a chance to thrive.

“The biggest challenge we have in no-till soybeans across Ohio and surrounding states is control of glyphosate-resistant marestail in the spring,” said Ohio State University Extension weed specialist Mark Loux.

Marestail emerges in fields from late March through June, and again in late summer through fall. Spring-emerging marestail competes with soybeans throughout the growing season, eventually bolting to a height of 3 to 6 feet, enough to interfere with harvest. It’s more of a problem in the southern two-thirds of the state, though it’s moving north, Loux said.

Loux said a one-two punch is necessary for marestail control in no-till fields: An effective burndown herbicide treatment to ensure planting is done in weed-free fields, and a residual treatment controlling the growth of any new weeds until early to mid-June, when the leaves of the soybean plants are large enough to form a canopy that provides plenty of control.… Continue reading

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ODA Suspends Grain License of Archbold Elevator

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has suspended the grain license of the Archbold Elevator Inc. located at 3265 County Road 24 in Archbold, Ohio.  Operations at a branch in Wauseon, Ohio and at additional storage bin in Elmira, Ohio have also been halted.

Farmers who are owed money for grain deposits with Archbold Elevator should call ODA’s Grain Warehouse Section at 800-282-1955 or at 614-728-6410.

Following an examination the week of April 5, ODA examiners determined that Archbold Elevator held liabilities significantly higher than their available assets and were short at least 50,000 bushels of corn.  The grain handlers’ license, #5272, was suspended on April 11.

Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created to reimburse farmers when a licensed elevator becomes insolvent.

Ohio farmers lost approximately $8 million due to grain elevator bankruptcies prior to the establishment of the fund in 1983. Since the fund was established it has reimbursed farmers more than $8.5 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators.… Continue reading

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Soybean aphid update

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

Normally during this time we offer an up-date article as to our thoughts for soybean aphid in Ohio for the coming summer.  We reported our initial thoughts last fall in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter, 2010-38 that we do expect to see some aphids this coming summer. If you remember, we saw extremely few aphids during 2010 except for the last few weeks of summer which is normal during an “off” year.  While not seeding a lot of eggs on buckthorn, some were indeed found which suggests an “aphid” year coming up.  Thus, we feel that Ohio will continue its two year cycle of very few if any aphids being found followed by low to moderate to even high populations somewhere in the state.  But as we stated last fall and throughout the winter meetings, it is impossible to predict which regions of Ohio, if any, will experience outbreak conditions. … Continue reading

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Corn and soybean prices to reflect substantial uncertainty

Old-crop corn prices declined sharply in the first half of March as it appeared that high prices had sufficiently slowed the rate of consumption. However, a continued high rate of ethanol production, a resurgence of export sales and larger livestock inventories provided evidence that consumption had not slowed, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“The March 1 Grain Stocks report provided an estimate of smaller-than-expected inventories of corn, and prices rallied to a new high on April 11. That rally was followed by a 40-cent decline last week on renewed talk of slowing consumption,” said Darrel Good.

Livestock prices appear to be peaking, and high gasoline prices may point to reduced fuel, including ethanol, consumption. Feed demand for corn is also expected to be reduced by increased wheat feeding, although most of that reduction is expected to occur in the summer months after the harvest of the 2011 wheat crop.… Continue reading

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Proven practices for improving corn yields

By Peter Thomison and Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

The record high corn yields achieved by many Ohio farmers in recent years have generated considerable interest in what can be done to sustain and push yields even higher. Many Ohio growers are achieving 200 bu/A corn. According to some agronomists and crop specialists, we have entered a new era in corn production characterized by higher annual rates of yield improvement. These higher rates are attributed to several factors, including genetic technologies that allow for greater expression of corn genetic yield potential by withstanding various crop stresses.

In the quest for high yields, considerable attention has been given to increasing various inputs, including seeding rates and fertilizers, narrowing row spacing, and making preventative applications of foliar fungicides, growth regulators and biological stimulants. However, the additional costs of some of these practices and inputs may prohibit their use except perhaps for those growers interested in participating in corn yield contests on high yielding sites.… Continue reading

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