Prevented planting, 2019 Market Facilitation Program payments, disaster assistance, and price dynamics

By Gary Schnitkey, Krista Swanson, Ryan Batts and Jonathan Coppess with the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois and Carl Zulauf, with the Ohio State University Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

We stand at a point of extreme price and policy uncertainty. In the Midwest, corn planting is historically late and many acres are or soon will be eligible for prevented planting payments on corn crop insurance policies. On many farms, corn prices have not increased enough to cause net returns from planting corn to exceed net returns from prevented planting. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and has currently indicated that payments will be tied to 2019 planted acres. The 2019 MFP could provide incentives to plant crops and not take prevented planting payments. Moreover, this program could bring a little used option into play this year: take 35% of the corn prevented planting payment and plant soybeans after the late planting period for corn.… Continue reading

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Planting Green: Is there an advantage in a wet spring?

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension agricultural engineer (retired)

Is there an advantage in a wet spring with planting green? Most of the Ohio no-tillers who replied to the question said, “Yes.”

Here are a few specific reasons and additional comments from 10 of our No-Till Council members as they assessed 2019 spring planting heading into June.

David Brandt in Fairfield County was closing in on finishing spring planting with 40 acres of low ground to go. Of course last fall provided poor conditions for cover crop establishment. The late harvest was followed by a rainy November, followed by wet winter with a Polar Vortex. Trying to plant green where there was very little green to plant into did not work this spring, especially in much of the very soggy northwestern portion of Ohio. Further south, there have been relatively more opportunities to plant, though Nathan Brown in Highland County has faced plenty of issues this spring.… Continue reading

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Making it more viable to turn agricultural waste into renewable fuel

Although the stalks and leaves of a corn plant can be turned into ethanol, the high cost of collecting, storing, and transporting the material has limited its use in producing the fuel.

Ajay Shah, an agricultural engineer with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is testing a method that could cut the cost of collecting and delivering corn plant material for making ethanol by up to 20%.

Shah just received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to test the effectiveness of a new method that harvests and transports corn plants intact, the ears together with the stalks. Shah’s strategy has the potential to spur the lagging industry of so-called cellulosic ethanol — ethanol produced from the inedible parts of plants, most commonly corn plants in the United States.

“We have an opportunity to significantly cut the cost of taking agricultural waste and turning it into a sustainable fuel,” said Shah, an assistant professor in CFAES’ Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE).… Continue reading

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Ohio’s farmers looking for answers on 2019 Market Facilitation Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced another round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for 2019 to assist farmers harmed by retaliatory tariffs imposed by China. The program will be administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers who grow commodities affected by the trade war, including soybeans.

While some information about the program has been announced, many details remain unknown.

The Ohio Soybean Association recommends Ohio farmers utilize USDA’s available resources to stay up-to-date as the program develops and more details are announced. Additional information, documents, and a complete list of included commodities can be found at


What we know

  • Payments will be based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to specific crops in aggregate in 2019.


  • County payment rates will be based on USDA’s assessment of the impact of tariffs on individual counties.
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EPA approves E15 for year-round use

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday officially announced the final rule allowing retailers to sell gasoline containing 15% ethanol year-round.

The move comes just a day before the official start of the summer driving season, June 1, when due to restrictions on Reid vapor pressues, E15 could not be sold.

The Renewable Fuels Association said the action fulfills President Trump’s promise to eliminate the summertime prohibition on E15, a fuel that offers lower cost, reduced emissions, and higher octane.

“The ethanol industry thanks President Trump for personally championing this critical regulatory reform that will enhance competition, bolster the rural economy, and provide greater consumer access to cleaner, more affordable fuel options,” said Geoff Cooper, RFA President and CEO. “We have always agreed with the President’s assertion that the outdated summertime prohibition on E15 was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘ridiculous.’”

There are continued concerns from ethanol proponents, however, with regard to the small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard requirements. … Continue reading

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As rains continue, prevented planting decisions loom large

By Eric Richer, Chris Bruynis, and Sam Custer, Ohio State University Extension

Certainly, the Prevented Planting (PP) crop insurance tool has become a hot topic this year. Many of you have had the chance to attend PP meetings or speak with your crop insurance agent. If not, we will try to briefly summarize your options and strongly suggest you talk to your agent or utilize one of the calculators to determine which option best suits your farm operation.

Your first option is to plant the corn crop by June 5, the final plant date for corn (or June 20 for soybeans). Up until the final plant date, you are eligible for your full guarantee at the level you have selected. For example, 80% coverage x 170 bushels per acre APH x $4.00 = $544 per acre. If you elect to plant corn after June 5, you will incur a 1% reduction in your guarantee up through June 25, at which time your corn will crop will become uninsurable.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance options for farmers affected by flooding or excess moisture

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds producers who have federal crop insurance coverage and are unable to plant a crop because of flooding or excess moisture to contact their crop insurance agent to discuss available prevented planting options. Crop insurance agents can discuss available options on when and how to file a claim related to prevented planting.

Brian Frieden, director of RMA’s Springfield Regional Office, urges producers who are unable to plant their crop by the final planting date or who need to replant acreage to contact their crop insurance agent. Producers who are prevented from planting because of an insurable cause of loss must provide notice within 72 hours after the Final Planting Date if they do not intend or are unable to plant the insured crop within any applicable Late Planting Period.

Prevented Planting is a failure to plant an insured crop by the final planting date designated in the insurance policy’s actuarial documents because of an insured cause of loss that is general to the surrounding area and that prevents other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics. … Continue reading

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Assessing corn germination and emergence

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Uniform corn emergence is one of the most important aspects of stand establishment and producing high yielding corn. Understanding germination, emergence, and how environmental factors influence these processes is the first step toward ensure uniform emergence.


Germination begins in a corn seed when it has imbibed 30% of its weight in water. While corn can germinate when soil temperatures are 50 degrees F or higher, research has determined that the optimal temperature is 86 degrees F. Visual signs that corn germination is taking place are the appearance of the radicle root, coleoptile, and seminal roots. When temperatures are cooler, the germination process is slower and seedlings are more susceptible to disease, insects, and other damaging factors.


Uniform emergence is one of the most important yield-influencing factors that growers should work to achieve. Delayed emergence can ultimately result in diminished yield.… Continue reading

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Stacy Family Farm serving generations of berry lovers

By Matt Reese

It is a sunny spring Wednesday in mid-May. Berry-smudged preschoolers accompanied by a flock of moms and numerous teachers create a buzz in the fields that drowns out the sounds of the pollinators at Stacy Family Farm in Washington County.

Since 1899, the Stacy Family has farmed for generations on the fringe of Marietta, though most of the previous generations never saw field trips like the groups picking berries today. A changing food culture, evolving markets and a society far removed from the farm have made field trips a much more important part of the business than they used to be.

“Strawberries start late and school is out early, so we have between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors maybe in a 3-week period. We bring them in from up to two hours away and they are here with us for around an hour and a half,” said Janet Stacy.… Continue reading

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Watch for slug damage on seedling plants (When there are plants to watch)

By Kelley Tilmon and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

Cool, wet conditions have been the perfect weather to favor slug populations. Slugs are able to eat many types of plants, and even in fields that haven’t been sown yet slugs can successfully feed on weeds. Late planting in many areas may cause more slug headaches than usual this year – as slugs get geared up, the small size of both soybean and corn will lead to a greater damage potential from them.

Although we do not know how numerous slugs are in fields, we do know that most crops are being planted later than normal. If you have read our recommendations for slug management, you know that one way a grower can get a head start is to plant early, and get their crop out of the soil and growing before slugs begin their heaviest feeding. However, with the weather conditions over the past month, many fields are just now or even not yet planted.… Continue reading

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The corn crop insurance date looms as wet weather continues to stall planting

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

June 5 is the last corn plant date for Ohio producers to have full coverage on their crop insurance in place for 2019. After June 5, producers will lose 1% of coverage each day for corn planted after this date. The late plant period for corn will end on June 25. Much talk has already taken place in recent days as prevent plant options are thoroughly reviewed to see the best option for this year. Early May saw market talk of corn acres switched to soybeans. U.S. prevent plant corn acres could set a record this year. Why? Producers are extremely reluctant to switch those corn acres to soybeans with November CBOT soybeans mid-May falling below $8.50, which translates into fall delivery soybeans below $8 at the vast majority of Ohio grain facilities. The thinking is: “Why would I plant soybeans only to lose more money if weather is not a threatening factor this summer?”… Continue reading

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Disaster aid package clears senate, stalled in house

Senate Republicans and Democrats finally came together on an agreement regarding a $19.1 billion disaster aid package. Some media sources report that the aid package was set to include payments to producers that can’t plant this year. It also will include farmers whose stored commodities were damaged by flooding. Producers who lost crops to hurricanes and wildfires last year will also qualify for payments. The combination of disaster payments and crop insurance benefits or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program would be limited to 90% of a farmer’s loss. Disaster payments to farmers who don’t buy crop insurance will be limited to 70% of their loss. The disaster aid package also includes a provision making industrial hemp eligible for whole-farm insurance policies starting next year. The Senate approved the bill 85-8 on Thursday, just before the Memorial Day recess. Passing the bill had been delayed months because of a battle between President Trump and Democrats over disaster funding for Puerto Rico.… Continue reading

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How late is too late for corn?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension CCA

As I write this it is obvious that the majority of the corn crop this year will be planted after May 20. I sat last Thursday with a grower from Miami County. We figured the days it takes him to dry out, then to plant first corn and then soybeans and determined that at least some of his crop will be planted into June no matter what. Yields are likely to be reduced. We do know that with good growing conditions and timely late-season rains, we can still produce a decent crop. Consider the economics of your decisions during this season, make those applications that can make you money and skip those that only make you feel good.

Frost worries? Or just wet corn? The corn plant has the ability to adapt to later planting by advancing more rapidly through the growth stages.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer recertification opportunity May 30

By Mark Badertscher, Ohio State University Extension

Do you have a fertilizer certificate that is set to expire May 31 and need a final chance to renew it before it expires? If so, there is a fertilizer recertification class scheduled in Kenton (Hardin County) for May 30 at 7:00 pm. This one-hour evening class will meet the requirements for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The class will be held at the Hardin County OSU Extension Office, 1021 W. Lima Street, Kenton, Ohio. Please arrive early to allow time for check-in or registration and bring your Ohio ‘Fertilizer Applicator Certificate’ card.

Seating is limited, so pre-register at or call 419-674-2297. There is a $10 class fee payable to OSU Extension that can be taken care of online or the evening of the class. Registration for this training does not include the applicator license renewal fee that is due to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.… Continue reading

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Managing head scab with fungicides: Prosaro v. Caramba v. Miravis Ace

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist

What should I spray for scab and vomitoxin control? With the addition of Miravis Ace (a new DMI + SDHI premix) to the list of fungicides recommended for the control of Fusarium head blight (head scab) and vomitoxin in wheat and barley, questions are being asked as to whether it is any better than Prosaro and Caramba. In 2018, we compared the three fungicides on scab susceptible varieties across 12 environments and found that in terms of efficacy against head scab and vomitoxin, Prosaro, Caramba, and Miravis Ace were very comparable. Disease severity, vomitoxin contamination, and fungicide efficacy varied among locations, but on average, all three fungicides reducing scab by about 55-60% and vomitoxin by approximately 50-55%.

When should these fungicides be sprayed for scab control? Another commonly asked question about Miravis Ace pertains to its efficacy when applied at early heading (Feekes 10.3).… Continue reading

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Apple Farm Service announces Local Government Appreciation Days

Do you work for the township, county, city, or state government? Apple Farm Service appreciates everything you do to keep our streets, parks, neighborhoods, and communities maintained and safe. They would like to say thank you with a special day just for you.

Apple Farm Service is excited to announce their first annual Local Government Appreciation Days. Anyone who works for any level of government (whether local, state, or federal) are invited to join them!

Mark your calendars for these dates:

• Covington Store, 10120 West Versailles Rd., Covington. Thursday, June 6, 10 a.m. untill 3 p.m.

• Mechanicsburg Store, 12446 East State Rt 29, Mechanicsburg, Thursday, June 13, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Government employees can stop by for prize giveaways, product demonstrations, test drives, and equipment education. Apple Farm Service will also be firing up the grill for a cook-out lunch.

Product specialists will be on site to provide equipment education, lessons to find the best deals with government bidding and purchasing programs, and product demonstrations.… Continue reading

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OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center to complete second summer of sustainability

Through the support of the Ohio Soybean Council, the OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center at the Ohio State University will continue its education and outreach program, the Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer, throughout the summer of 2019.

This program reaches a wide audience through a mobile platform, delivering an interactive display to various STEM-based events, youth camps, and county fairs throughout the state. Participants will have the chance to interact with soy-based products while learning about the positive impact they have on sustainability and the American economy.

Program assistant, Brad Collins, and student assistant, Haley Wilson, a senior studying agriscience education, will be conducting the programs this summer. They will facilitate various activities that will inform consumers and students about how they can decrease their carbon footprint by living a biobased lifestyle.

According to the OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center 2018 Consumer Market Survey, only 8% of Americans are very familiar with biobased products or packaging.… Continue reading

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Be mindful of sidewall compaction this year

By Joel Penhorwood

With the delayed planting season this year, certain agronomic concerns arise as farmers rush to get in the fields.

Bill McDonald, director of agronomic services for Seed Consultants, said he is seeing some corn fields being planted into wet ground, causing a distinct seed slot to form. That could lead to possible detriment for the corn plant down the road.

“I can stand here and visually look down in the ground and I can see the seed with the mesocotyl coming out of it,” said McDonald, referring to the pictures at right and below. “I have no nodule roots yet and my concern is if we don’t get a rain here relatively quickly, there is going to be nowhere for those nodule roots to go except for up and down the row. We’re dependent on Mother Nature now. We could see a lot of stand loss out here.… Continue reading

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Hemp bill completes third hearing in Ohio House committee

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in the Ohio House of Representatives completed its third hearing regarding Senate Bill 57 on Tuesday. The bill would decriminalize hemp produced under the regulatory system proposed in the bill. The committee heard testimony from nearly two dozen individuals and organization representatives.

None of the witnesses gave testimony in opposition to the bill. Nearly all of the testimony, including the testimony given on behalf of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio Chamber of Commerce, was offered in support of the bill. The Ohio Farmers Union submitted testimony only as an “interested party” rather than as a “proponent,” saying that it supports the principle of hemp decriminalization, but does not believe that the hemp marketing program established in the current version of the bill would be necessary. Click HERE to view the witness testimony regarding Senate Bill 57 on the Ohio General Assembly’s webpage.… Continue reading

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Ohio Corn, soybean and wheat enterprise budgets: Projected returns for 2019

By Barry Ward, Ohio State University Assistant Extension Professor, Leader Production Business Management

Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be largely unchanged from last year with slightly higher fertilizer and interest expenses that may increase total costs for some growers. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2019 are projected to range from $356 to $451 per acre depending on land productivity. Variable costs for 2019 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $210 to $230 per acre. Wheat variable expenses for 2019 are projected to range from $178 to $219 per acre.

Returns will likely be low to negative for many producers depending on price movement throughout the rest of the year. Grain prices used as assumptions in the 2019 crop enterprise budgets are $3.60/bushel for corn, $8.20/bushel for soybeans and $4.25/bushel for wheat. Projected returns above variable costs (contribution margin) range from $150 to $308 per acre for corn and $144 to $300 per acre for soybeans.… Continue reading

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