I know we are supposed to already know the basics, but sometimes we forget

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

One of my buddies often takes calls and visits fields where a problem has occurred. And although he doesn’t say this to the grower or crop consultant he visits with, afterward he tells me “it’s the agronomy, stupid.”

I have taught from the Ohio Agronomy Guide this year and used it for some excerpts a couple of other times as well — and even I forget what is in there. I sat last evening with one of our county folks — a good one, Bruce Clevenger — and an industry agronomist. We went through the Agronomy Guide and just kept finding these words of wisdom. I hope you will read through the publication but I want to share some of the nuggets that Bruce and I found:

  • How is CEC determined? 
    • Page 28 — CEC = ppm Ca/200 + ppm Mg/121 + ppm K/390 + 1.2 x (7-BpH).
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WISHH sharing soy health benefits around the world

Release of the U.S. government’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025” reaffirms the role of U.S. soy in human diets. As a globally-respected, science-based reference, the report recognizes soy in core elements of healthy dietary patterns. 

ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program offers training on these health benefits with entrepreneurs and organizations in emerging and developing countries that produce nutritious foods and feeds containing soy that contribute to improved health and economic opportunities. WISHH connects trade and development across global market systems, improving food security. 

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services issued the 164-page report. It stresses, “The foods and beverages that people consume have a profound impact on their health.” The Dietary Guidelines is designed for policymakers and nutrition and health professionals to help all individuals and their families consume a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet. This edition of the Dietary Guidelines highlights the importance of encouraging healthy dietary patterns at every life stage from infancy through older adulthood.… Continue reading

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Time to register for CTC

By Randall Reeder, Ohio State University Extension

A reminder to register for CTC, 4 days, March 9-12. It’s only $50. The full schedule and registration details are at: 

Each day will start at 8:00 a.m. and will have 5 hours of great value, ending about 2:00 p.m. That adds up to 20 hours of presentations. 

Here are the topics for each of the four days, March 9-12 (Tuesday-Friday): Tuesday-Crop Talk at CTC; Wednesday-Nutrient Management; Thursday-Pest Management; and Friday-Soil & Water Management. 

Crop consultants can earn 20 hours of CCA credits. Livestock managers can expect to earn more than 5 hours of CLM credits.  

The production of this CTC is first-class. We have the usual lineup of top presenters (only ~30, instead of our usual 60). Ohio AgNet is collecting and organizing all presentations and other components of each day’s program. Shift*ology Communications will manage populating the app, Results@Hand, for streaming online. … Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture accepting specialty crop grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. To qualify, the grants must be used to support projects that raise awareness about and increase demand for specialty crops grown in Ohio. Eligible specialty crops include fresh fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Successful grant applications should explain how projects will improve specialty crop production through marketing and promotions, research, and development, expanding availability and access to specialty crops, or addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. Preference will be given to projects that have the potential to significantly expand, enhance and improve production and demand.

Ohio’s food and agricultural non-profit organizations, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions are eligible to apply. Private individuals and businesses are not eligible for this grant and applications for projects that directly benefit a particular product or generate a profit for a single organization, institution or individual will not be awarded.… Continue reading

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Hemp production in Ohio

By Matt Reese

There is certainly plenty of interest in Ohio hemp production, but there is also quite a bit to learn about the diverse, newly approved crop.

After being prohibited for many years, commercial hemp production was legalized in the U.S. by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Then on July 30, 2019, Senate Bill 57 was enacted to legalize hemp production in Ohio. Hemp produces three main types of crops — fiber, grain, and metabolites — each crop with very different genetics, production practices, processing methods, and end uses, said Craig Schluttenhofer, assistant research professor of natural products for Central State University Agricultural Research Development Program.

“Production wise, metabolites are very labor intensive, handled by hand and very similar to growing a tobacco crop. The grain plant gets 5 to 6 feet tall. It is harvested with a combine and stored and dried in grain bins like small grains with some modifications,” Schluttenhofer said.… Continue reading

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Soil health webinar

On March 9, 2021, Indigo Ag will be hosting the Ohio Winter Ag Webinar from 1 to 5 p.m. Indigo Ag is bringing together industry leaders in the state of Ohio that all share a core value: soil health that leads to farmer profitability. The event will feature a strong lineup of presenters that have put the health of our valuable soil in Ohio at the core of all management decisions. When soil health is a farmer’s focal point, the positive results are endless. 

Indigo has brought in two farmers and six industry professionals for a top-notch webinar. Topics include cover crop resources and management, conservation funding opportunities, local watershed initiatives, and other soil health expertise from regional farmers and representatives. The event is FREE and packed full of valuable information. Continuing Education credits will be offered through the Certified Crop Advisor organization. For further questions, please reach out to Elizabeth Haney at ehaney@indigoag.comContinue reading

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Using enterprise budgets to help determine which crop to grow

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

High market prices incentivize farmers to consider raising crops that they may not otherwise grow given lower prices. While the higher prices may make a crop more profitable than it had been; making a fair assessment of the profitability level in comparison to other crops is important. The use of the Ohio Crop Enterprise Budgets is a good starting point to compare all the variables involved.

“An enterprise budget provides an estimate of potential revenue, expenses and profit for a single enterprise,” said Barry Ward, Leader in Production Business Management at The Ohio State University. “The Ohio State University College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) has a long history of developing Enterprise Budgets that can be used as a starting point for producers in their budgeting process. The OSU enterprise budgets represent common, workable combinations of inputs that can achieve a given output.”

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Digging into soil compaction

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Soil compaction is a problem that almost every farm has, and no one likes to admit. Soil compaction is simply reduced porosity from a reduction of void spaces in the soil.

“Voids in the soil are caused by roots and by the seasonal freeze/thaw cycle,” said Scott Shearer, professor and Chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. “Ideal soils have 50% void space. Half of the void space should hold water, and half should be air space. Compacted soils lack these voids. If we don’t have that mix, that is when we see a negative impact to crop yield.”

Soil compaction can be caused by adverse weather conditions and heavy equipment. Operating smaller equipment and operating in dryer soil conditions reduces the chance of causing compaction.

“Compacted soils impact root growth.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance and farm bill decision

By Chris Bruynis, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

The 2021 decision for making the crop insurance and farm bill decisions is all about risk management. With the recent increased crop prices and the volatility in the markets, crop insurance is expected to increase by about 50% to 60% this year compared to last year. So, with crop insurance more expensive and the choice between Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) unclear, the strategy to protect risk exposure becomes more interesting. In this article different strategies are outlined looking at ARC/PLC with Revenue Protection (RP), Supplemental Crop Option (SCO) and Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO).

To illustrate the different decisions several corn scenarios from an example farm in Clermont County Ohio will be used for this article. Here is some background information pertinent to the examples.

  • Revenue Protection pays against the actual farm revenue using either the December futures for the month of February or the higher of the spring price or the harvest price depending on the product selected.
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Virtual 2021 Commodity Classic coming in early March

With his pending return to the position of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack may also be returning to Commodity Classic as the keynote speaker during one of its 2021 General Sessions.

Commodity Classic has extended an official invitation to Secretary-nominee Vilsack to speak with attendees during the 2021 Special Edition of Commodity Classic during the Closing General Session from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Central on Friday, March 5.  

Vilsack has spoken at several Commodity Classic events over the years while he served with USDA under the Obama Administration. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Commodity Classic is being delivered digitally online March 2 to March 5, 2021. 

Registration for the 2021 Special Edition is available at Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, the first 5,000 farmers who register can do so at no charge. All other attendees can register for $20. Registration includes access to the entire week’s program as well as access to archived sessions through April 30, 2021.… Continue reading

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Summary of multi-state research on soybean planting

By Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2021-04, Ohio State University Extension

With funding from the United Soybean Board, soybean agronomists across the U.S. came together to summarize soybean row width, planting date, and seeding rate research trials. (Ohio-specific research trials were funded by Ohio Soybean Council.) Here’s what we found:

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains specialist


Row width Soybean row width varies across the U.S. In Ohio, most farmers plant soybean in 7.5-, 15-, or 30-inch row widths. Across the U.S., narrow rows (7- to 15-inch) out-yielded wide rows (≥ 30 inches) 69% of the time. Narrow rows tend to out-yield wide rows due to earlier canopy closure which facilitates light interception and drives photosynthesis. For the full report on row spacing:

Planting date 

The date of planting has more effect on soybean grain yield than any other production practice. In many instances, this means planting soybean as early as field conditions allow, but generally at or after the Risk Management Agency (RMA) replant crop insurance dates begin.… Continue reading

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Soy farmers seek to protect phosphate choices

The American Soybean Association (ASA) has filed joint comments to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) regarding a petition by the Mosaic Company to enforce countervailing duties on Russian and Moroccan imports of phosphate fertilizer.

“We believe countervailing duties on these imports will have a negative impact on the availability of phosphate fertilizer in the United States and, in turn, adversely affect crop production and farmer livelihoods,” said Kevin Scott, ASA president and soybean farmer from Valley Springs, South Dakota.

Phosphorus is one of several main macronutrients necessary for plant growth and is vital to crop production. Adequate levels of phosphorus in the soil benefit early season root development and help provide the energy crops need to maximize growth and production. Phosphate fertilizers are widely used by soybean, corn, cotton and other crop producers throughout the United States.

Mosaic’s petition in support of countervailing duties is not in the best interest of a healthy U.S.… Continue reading

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Virtual Crop Tour recap for 2020 growing season

By Matt Reese

Though there were certainly exceptions, 2020 was much more favorable to Ohio’s corn and soybean growers than the previous year. This showed up in the 2020 Virtual Ohio Crop Tour conducted Aug. 11 though Aug. 13 and in Ohio’s final production numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January. According to Cheryl Turner, state statistician, for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Ohio Field Office, Ohio’s 2020 average corn yield was 171 bushels per acre, up 7 bushels from 2019. Growers harvested 3.3 million acres for grain, up 28% from 2019. Total production of corn for grain was 564 million bushels, up 34% from 2019. 

Ohio’s average soybean yield for 2020 was 54 bushels per acre, up 5 bushels from 2019. Growers harvested 4.87 million acres, up 14% from 2019. Production, at 263 million bushels, was up 26%, Turner said. 

There were 102 entries total in the Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net 2020 Virtual Crop Tour (63 corn and 39 soybeans) submitted by farmers and Ohio State University Extension educators from around the state, sponsored by Ohio Crop Performance.… Continue reading

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Manure and cover crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Many livestock farmers who are being compensated by the H2O Ohio program may be looking for guidance on planting cover crops. NRCS Appendix A (Cover Crops) is your best guide for cover crop seeding methods, planting dates, and planting rates. Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation office or local NRCS representative for additional questions.

What should your cover crop accomplish if you are applying fall manure? First, a live plant that survives the winter and absorbs nitrogen, phosphorus, and reduces soil erosion. Fibrous fine roots systems are better than tap roots which may allow manure nutrients to leach into tile or surface water. The cover crop should be easy to kill, and it’s a bonus if it can be used for forage (but not allowed under the H2O Ohio program rules).

Generally, grass cover crops with fibrous fine roots absorb manure nutrients the best.

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Tiller watch for wheat

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

In the coming months as the weather warms, up winter wheat will break dormancy and will begin to green up. After a period of about 2 weeks producers should evaluate their stand in order to make management decisions for their wheat crop. Part of this evaluation includes counting tillers to determine if there is an adequate stand for achieving high yields. According an article in a 2014 C.O.R.N. Newsletter written by Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, and Pierce Paul, “Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers fall below 25 per square foot after green up.”

So, what is a tiller? And how should they be counted? Tillers are additional stems that develop off of the main shoot of the plant. Primary tillers form in the axils of the first four or more true leaves of the main stem. Secondary tillers may develop from the base of primary tillers if conditions favor tiller development.… Continue reading

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Cover crops and water quality

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Cover crops can directly impact water quality. With all the attention being given to improving water quality and reducing nutrient loads going into Ohio’s waterways, farmers are encouraged to consider a multifaceted approach of best management practices (BMP’s) that include the use of cover crops.

In the most recent “Water Quality Wednesday” program, Rachel Cochran, Water Quality Associate with OSU Extension, shared six key points to consider when evaluating the benefits of planting cover crops to improve water quality. “Cover Crops can directly impact water quality,” said Cochran. “Cover crops can prevent soil erosion.

They absorb excess nutrients. Once the cover crops die and decompose, those nutrients are returned to the soil in a usable form for other plants. They can increase soil aggregate stability. The cover crops compete with weeds for sunlight and nutrients.

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Wetland reserve easements available

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to restore and protect critical wetlands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements. This year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest in technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, tribes and other groups protect these valuable lands.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, wetland reserve easement (ACEP-WRE) focuses on restoring previously drained agricultural lands and protecting the restored wetlands with easements. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

“Protecting these lands preserves Ohio’s heritage, natural resources and open space,” said John Wilson, NRCS Acting State Conservationist in Ohio.  “Easements are another option for people who want to take additional steps to preserve some of our state’s most precious resources.”

Applications for ACEP-WRE are taken on a continuous basis.  The deadline to receive fiscal year 2021 funding is March 12, 2021.

Through ACEP-WRE, NRCS helps landowners restore and protect wetland ecosystems.… Continue reading

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Hemp conference March 5

Central State University Extension and Ohio State University Extension are collaborating to present the 2021 Land Grant Virtual Hemp Conference: Looking Back to Plan for the Future. 

            The virtual conference will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 5, and features a wide variety of speakers focusing on growing and marketing hemp. 

            Speakers will include: 

• Craig Schluttenhofer, Central State University, Updating Research on Growing Hemp 

• James Morris and Brad Bergefurd, Ohio State University Extension, Research in Growing CBD Hemp
• Chris Zoller and Lee Beers, Ohio State University Extension, Research in Growing Fiber Hemp 

• Tyler Mark, University of Kentucky, Economics of Growing Hemp
• Margurite Bolt, Purdue University, Pest Management in Hemp Crops
• Jim Belt, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Hemp Licensing in Ohio 

Two sessions will be held with Session 1 starting at 9 a.m., and ending at 11:30 a.m., and Session 2 starting at 1 p.m.,… Continue reading

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Mandatory software updates for Deere GPS receivers

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Spring is less than 40 days away, and with snow on the ground, now is a great time to check for software updates on all the GPS equipment and displays on the farm.

For farmers that use John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS) precision equipment, there are some items that must undergo a mandatory update in order to communicate with the StarFire system moving into the 2021 growing season. The StarFire 20-2 Update is mandatory for all StarFire 6000 and StarFire 3000 receivers. The most important part of the 20-2 software update is that it positions the Starfire 6000 and 3000 receivers to continue operating in the future.

The StarFire 20-2 Update first became available in August of 2020. 

“The 20-2 update is needed for the receivers to decode the new language and track the satellite,” said Scott Gerken, account manager for the Kenn-Feld Group.… Continue reading

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Updated fertility calculator for Ohio recommendations

By Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA, Ohio State University Extension

An update to the Fertilizer Calculator for Ohio has been posted at The Fertilizer Calculator for Ohio (Version 2021) corrects an error in calculating whole field fertilizer cost and standardizes the width of field/subfield description fields across tool forms based on user feedback.

The tool is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet developed to support users who want to generate their own recommendations based on the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa, 2020. The spreadsheet is designed to be compatible with Excel version 1997-2003 or later.

Recommendations can be generated for the following crops:

  1. Corn
  2. Corn-Silage
  3. Soybeans
  4. Wheat (Grain Only)
  5. Wheat (Grain & Straw)
  6. Alfalfa
  7. Grass Hay
  8. Grass/Legume Hay

Spreadsheet features:

  • There are 21 data lines.
  • Supports copying data soil test data from another spreadsheet or within the spreadsheet.
  • User controls whether recommendations are build/maintenance or maintenance only for phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).
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