Helpful tips for reducing soil erosion

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

Soil erosion is an annual problem throughout the Eastern Corn Belt. Recent research estimates that farmland across the Corn Belt loses close to four tons of soil per acre each year due to erosion. In addition, even under the best conditions topsoil buildup is very slow, if it occurs at all. Soil particles can be detached and moved out of a field by both wind and water. Wind can pick up small soil particles, transporting them long distances. Water moving along the ground surface can remove a thin sheet of soil, create small channels, or wash out large gullies.


Factors that contribute to erosion

1.Rainfall — soil erosion increases as length or intensity of rainfall increases
2.Slope length/grade — soil erosion is worse on longer/steeper slopes because water moves faster across the soil
3.Vegetation/residue — growing plants and residue protect the soil from rain impact, slow down flowing water and increase infiltration of water into the soil, as well as protecting the soil from wind erosion.
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Final RVO rule leaves waiver loophole open

The National Corn Growers Association said the EPA’s final 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) moves renewable fuels and energy security forward in 2019, but the growth will only be realized if EPA does not grant refiners further RFS exemptions.

“We are pleased the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintained the implied conventional ethanol volume of 15 billion gallons and increased the total 2019 renewable fuel volume as intended by the RFS. However, EPA granted refineries 2.25 billion gallons in RFS waivers over the past year but did nothing to account for those lost volumes. If EPA continues to grant large amounts of waivers in this manner, the volumes set in this final rule cannot be met,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president.

In comments on the rule, NCGA and its grower members urged EPA to take steps to maintain the integrity of the RFS, including projecting 2019 waivers and accounting for those gallons to keep the RFS volumes whole.… Continue reading

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Soybean harvest dragging on

By Matt Reese

There were eye-popping soybean yields around the state in 2018 and, unfortunately, some of those soybeans are still out there. The Ohio soybean yield is forecast at 59 bushels per acre, which would be the highest on record if realized, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Ohio Field Office. But, harvest continues to drag on for Ohio’s soybeans with 90% of the state’s crop harvested as of Nov. 25. The five-year average for the same date is 99%.

“We’re just down to about 300 acres of double-crop beans,” said Scott Metzger, a Pickaway County farmer on Nov. 20. “In our area there are some beans and not much corn out there. Everybody was hammering on corn because they were concerned about it going down.”

The early focus on corn followed by very uncooperative harvest weather has unfortunately left some soybean fields un-harvested into December. Quality issues also presented a challenge for soybeans, offsetting some of the strong yields.… Continue reading

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The root of all production

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

In many ways, the intricate network of plant roots serve as its control center. Thus, optimizing the root environment, including irrigation water and nutrient levels, can improve plant health and production. The controlled growing conditions of a greenhouse allows for precision management of the root zone.

In traditional crop production, where plants grown outdoors in fields, irrigation and fertilizer application are options, but there is little or no control over rainfall and soil composition and chemistry. Greenhouse producers can choose a growing media, from hydroponics to soilless substrates, that best fits the plant’s needs. Similarly, the amount and chemistry of irrigation water and nutrients can be carefully controlled. By providing conditions that optimize the function of roots, greenhouses production can improve plant health, increase yields, and reduce potential runoff of soil and nutrients.


Find out more from the experts

On Jan. 17 and 18, 2019 greenhouse growers will have the opportunity to learn how to optimize the root zone environment for improved plant production.… Continue reading

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Did you spray a fall burndown?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Is it too late to make a fall application for marestail control? Probably not, but will the conditions allow? That is another story. I have seen a few folks squeeze in fall applications, and heard several who said they will still try. I made a couple of applications last fall in mid-December and surprisingly they worked. I used glyphosate and 2,4-D. It went under snow shortly after and then deep cold, so I wasn’t sure if I had wasted my time. But when we started to green up in the spring, it was mostly dead — not perfect but pretty good. This year we had a long fall, and plenty of moisture to get weeds started. It’s green out there under those corn stalks.

We have published this information fairly frequently in the C.O.R.N. newsletter (, and our suggestions for fall treatments have not really changed much.… Continue reading

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Ohio wraps up a banner year for corn

By Matt Reese

For those who really like to watch corn grow, 2018 was a great year.

Ohio’s 2018 corn is by far the best-ever crop statewide and is also the highest average yield for many individual farms. In November, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service bumped Ohio’s corn yield up 16 bushels from last year’s report to an average yield of 193 bushels per acre, which would be the highest on record if realized. Total production is expected to be 629 million bushels, up 14% from 2017.

The record crop got its start last May. April was just an extension of a very long, cold winter, but Ohio’s summer temperatures arrived right around May 1. What followed was an astonishing accumulation of heat units for the vast majority of the state. By Oct. 14 almost all Ohio locations being monitored were well above average on heat unit accumulation, according to NASS.… Continue reading

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2019 Ag Outlook Meeting

Sutton Bank is hosting a 2019 Ag Outlook Meeting on Mon. Dec. 17, 2018.

The event will be packed with short sessions from experts with information that will help manage the risk and financial success of farms.

The program includes attorneys Robert E. Moore and Ryan Conklin of Wright & Moore Law Co. on the topic of Agricultural Law – What You Should Know Before Signing Leases; Denny Camp and Mike Moore of Payne Nickles & Co on the topic of Understanding New Tax Laws; Brenda Blair, Seneca County CED with Updates on FSA Farm Programs; Jim Byrne, Byrne Agricultural Marketing discussing Grain Marketing Strategies; Randy Barclay, Marketing Supervisor, Rain and Hail, Central Division – Crop on Insurance Key Updates; and Matt Roberts with the Economic Ag Outlook for 2019.

The event will be held at the Attica Fairgrounds Social Hall at 15131 E. Township Road 12 Attica, Ohio 44807.… Continue reading

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Proposal for long-term extension of the biodiesel tax incentive

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, released a proposal to make technical corrections to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (PL 115-97) and to extend several expired tax credits, including the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive. NBB welcomes the proposal for a multi-year extension of this important incentive; it would keep the credit at its current rate of $1.00 per gallon for 2018 through 2021 but gradually reduce it to $0.33 per gallon by 2024 and then allow it to expire.

“The biodiesel industry has long advocated for a long-term tax extension to provide certainty and predictably for producers and feedstock providers. Too often, the credit has been allowed to lapse and then reinstated retroactively, which does not provide the certainty businesses need to plan, invest, and create jobs,” Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs with the National Biodiesel Board. “We appreciate the recognition that the biodiesel industry is integral to our domestic energy needs through this long-term extension.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s soybean farmers look to a bright future

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

While the current situation for soybeans is less than ideal, there was plenty of talk concerning the bright future ahead at the this week’s 2018 Ohio Soybean Industry Dinner.

“Today is not a good situation with disappointing prices and Mother Nature has given us a tough fall to work with in many places. Basis levels are low futures prices are low, but we have to keep the outlook that we continue to be in a growing global demand industry,” said Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council who spoke at the event. “Soy demand has outstripped growth for corn and wheat for 20 years and will continue to do so. We’ve got some exciting market opportunities around the world outside of China. We’re trying to work in basic markets where we can continue to grow for the long term future and we are working very hard on our “What it takes” initiative to get our U.S.… Continue reading

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Inversion and drift mitigation workshop Dec. 14

By Cindy Folck, Ohio State University Extension

Recognizing weather conditions that could cause inversions is important when using certain herbicides in corn and soybeans. On December 14, join a discussion about recognizing inversions as well as ways to improve communication between farmers growing sensitive crops and pesticide applicators.

Inversion and Drift Management Workshop, presented by the Ohio State University Extension IPM program will be conducted on December 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. Farmers and pesticide applicators can attend the workshop in-person at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 or attend virtually through the online webinar link. More information about the workshop is available at

Leading off the workshop will be Aaron Wilson, weather specialist and atmospheric scientist with OSU Extension and the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. Wilson will focus on weather conditions that cause inversions and provide useful measures and observation to help determine if inversions are happening.… Continue reading

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Use plot data to make sound decisions

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

As harvest is completed across the Eastern Corn Belt, seed companies, universities, and growers will have the chance to compile and analyze data from yield testing. One of the most important decisions a farmer will face all year is deciding what variety to plant and in which field to plant it. To ensure that the best possible decision is made next spring, it is critical to spend some time looking at yield data. While reviewing data is critical, knowing how to determine whether it is accurate and useful is equally important. Below are some tips for using data to make sound planting decisions next spring.

Look for replicated data

Don’t rely on yield results from one strip plot on a farm or from a single plot location. Look for data from randomized tests that are repeated multiple times and across multiple locations.… Continue reading

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New tips to try to minimize dicamba damage

New restrictions a federal agency has put on using a controversial dicamba aren’t enough to prevent it from spreading onto nearby plants, according to an Ohio State University weed expert.

As a result, Mark Loux, a weed specialist with Ohio State University Extension, and colleagues from Purdue University and the University of Illinois have created a list of additional precautions that farmers should try to follow whenever they use dicamba.

The additional recommendations from Loux and his colleagues include not applying dicamba if the temperature is warmer than 80 degrees or if the forecast indicates wind gusts over 10 miles per hour. The recommendations also say that farmers should apply dicamba early in the season around the time of crop planting, or soon after the emergence of the crop and weeds.

They also suggest that farmers talk to their neighbors before applying dicamba so that farmers know what plants are nearby that could potentially be affected by any spread of dicamba.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council celebrates 9th and 10th R&D 100 Awards

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) received two R&D 100 Awards Nov. 16 at the 56th annual R&D 100 Awards in Orlando for a soy-based floor coating that was funded with Ohio soybean farmers’ checkoff dollars. The R&D 100 Awards honor the 100 most innovative technologies of the past year. OSC won in cooperation with Light Curable Coatings, Redwood Innovations and Quick Cure Protective Coatings in the Mechanical/Materials category. OSC was also awarded a Special Recognition for Green Technology. These awards are OSC’s ninth and 10th R&D 100 Awards since 2002. OSC has received five R&D 100 Awards in the last five years.

The soy-based UV-cured, high-performance, bio-preferred floor coating contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The clean, green soy-acylate-based product delivers exceptionally low cure times and meets or exceeds industry targets for appearance, hardness, adhesion, solvent resistance and application temperature.

“It feels incredible to know that something developed with checkoff dollars is considered one of the most innovative technologies of the past year,” said Nathan Eckel, OSC Research Committee chair and soybean farmer from Wood County.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council announces Annual Meeting

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) will hold its annual meeting on Monday, November 26, 2018 at the Columbus Marriott Northwest in Dublin, Ohio. The meeting will begin at 3:00 p.m. and all Ohio soybean farmers are invited to attend.

The meeting will include a discussion of Ohio soybean checkoff investments, audit review, and acceptance of new members to the OSC Board of Trustees.

For meeting information, contact OSC at 614-476-3100.… Continue reading

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NCGA calls for more equitable trade relief

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp urged U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to consider changes to the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) ahead of the second round of payments.

In a letter to Perdue, Chrisp said that he continues to hear from farmers who are disappointed in USDA’s approach to calculating the first round of MFP payments because it was too narrow in scope and did not capture the real-time impacts of trade disruptions on our markets.

Chrisp asked Perdue to add ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to the calculation of damages for corn. Using USDA’s methodology, gross trade damages for ethanol and DDGS amounts to $254 million, which was not accounted for in the first MFP payments. Chrisp also asked the Secretary to allow farmers who suffer production losses from disasters to use an alternative to 2018 production for their MFP calculation. This would ensure farmers suffering from drought, hurricane-related losses or other natural disasters would not be penalized twice.… Continue reading

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CCA Exam Registration open through Dec. 14

By Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Exam registration for the February 1, 2019 exam date is open now through December 14th. Interested in becoming a Certified Crop Adviser or becoming certified in one of the specialty certifications (4R Nutrient Management Specialty, Resistance Management Specialist, Sustainability Specialty, and new in 2019 is the Precision Agriculture Specialty)? Find Performance Objectives, registration, and other materials for all exams on the CCA Exam website:

The OSU Agronomic Crops Team offers a basic CCA exam preparation workshop on January 9 and 10 in Sidney Ohio. We provide presentations and guidance on how and what to study for the exam – our goal is to help you pass, but at the same time show you where you may be deficient and need a little more study. The price for the exam preparation class is $250. Secure on-line registration via credit card, debit card or check is available at: reading

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“Living Soil” film released

By Alan Sundermeier, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The Soil Health Institute released Living Soil, a 60-minute documentary about soil health featuring innovative farmers and soil health experts from throughout the U.S. The film is freely available to download and stream at

Living Soil captures the background of the current soil health movement and its momentum, beginning with painful images of the Dust Bowl, and then transitions to personal experiences of innovative women and men who are managing their land to enhance soil health. The film features rural and urban farmers from Maryland to California, selling everything from corn to bouquets, united by their care for the soil.

The Soil Health Institute ( is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement.… Continue reading

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Lessons learned from 2018

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

The 2018 growing season was one of the most challenging for our customers in recent history. Although growers would rather move on from the frustrations and challenges thrown at us this year, there are several lessons that can be taken from 2018 to ensure success in the future.

Timely field work

Wet spring weather has shown the importance of timely field work in the spring. Saturated soils create delays and pressure to complete field work in narrower windows of time. Although heavy rains and cool weather can cause extended delays, field conditions can turn around quickly as observed this spring. Our agronomists observed soil temperatures a few inches below the soil surface go from the upper 30s (Fahrenheit) to the mid 50s in just a few days in no-till fields where soils had been saturated. Having equipment ready to go when a favorable planting window arrives is imperative.… Continue reading

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Notes on fall fertilization: Nitrogen

By Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Department of Crop Sciences

With harvest almost complete after another year with high to very high yields, it’s time to review some basics of fall fertilization. Neither fertilizer nor grain prices are historically high, so there’s reason to be aware of costs while making sure to cover the nutrient basics.



In a webinar on Oct. 19 organized by the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, we looked at some of the nitrogen response data that have come in so far this fall and considered what this might mean in terms of fall N management. In some of the trials, modest N rates produced high yields, much like we’ve been seeing routinely in recent years. But in a few other trials, we found that the crop needed more N than we have seen in most recent trials done on productive soils. It’s too soon to call this a phenomenon for 2018.… Continue reading

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Infrastructure improvements could offer common political ground

By Matt Reese and Ty Higgins

There is not much that politicians on opposing sides of the aisle agree upon these days, but improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure could be one of them.

“If there was a to-do list for the American people, I would say political acrimony and obstruction are not on it, but infrastructure is. It is encouraging to see both Republicans and Democrats have both come to the conclusion that they need to justify they deserve to be there. One of the most effective ways to do that is to actually get something done and I think infrastructure is the best opportunity to do that in a bipartisan manner,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “But you’re not just making an allocation of funding for a short period of time. It is something you invest in your long-term competitiveness. For agriculture, we really need that right now.… Continue reading

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