Wheat Yield Enhancement Network registration closing soon

By Mike EstadtLaura LindseyEric Richer, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Wheat growers interested in becoming part of a ground-breaking new program in the Great Lakes region must register now, so they don’t lose out on the 2023 opportunity to learn more about their wheat crop and how to hit their yield potential.

Registration closes January 27 for growers interested in participating in the second year of the Great Lakes Wheat Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) program. To register or for more information on Great Lakes YEN visit or look for the hashtag #GreatLakesYEN. 

Every farm involved in the Great Lakes YEN anonymously shares soil, tissue and whole plant analysis for comparison and benchmarking. Growers receive reports specific to their farm. Growers will learn more about how their wheat crop develops and produces yield, and how they compare to their peers.

According to 2022 participant Rick Clifton of Circleville, Ohio, “The sampling aspect of the YEN program in itself is a learning opportunity. … Continue reading

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Ohio grain farmer leadership looking forward to 2023

By Matt Reese

In December, the Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium offered the chance for farmers from around the state to learn about the latest agricultural issues impacting their operations. It also gave attendees a chance to hear from the leadership of the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) and the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. 

Presidents Ben Klick (Ohio Corn & Wheat) from Stark County and Patrick Knouff (OSA) from Shelby County took a look back at 2022 and shared insights about where their organizations are headed in 2023. Of course, when farmers get together, they talk about the weather and harvest.

“Planting in 2022 was a nightmare, to be honest. It was extremely wet early, we got some crops in, got wet again, then we dried out for our area. There have been some discussions about some of the issues we’ve seen with vomitoxin in our area,” Knouff said. “I will say I was happy with my yields, but when I look back at where I was at early in the season, I probably should be really happy.… Continue reading

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Argentina’s soybean dollar program and impact on global supply

By Guil Signorini, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science | The Ohio State University

The macroeconomic policy in Argentina and their government’s strategy to improve the central bank’s financial reserves have crossed paths with agribusinesses and the production of commodities. The country has been grappling with high inflation rates and a weakening exchange rate of the Peso against the United States Dollar for several years, but the situation has worsened more recently.

Most countries around the globe were affected by inflation following the pandemic years as a collateral effect of social stimulus plans and disrupted supply chains. Currencies of developing countries devalued consistently against the Dollar and investors left to seek stable markets. Yet, Argentina’s economy has taken a darker turn than most. Its currency continues to depreciate at unprecedented rates. On Jan. 10, 2023, one U.S. Dollar was equal to 180 Pesos, compared to 60 Pesos per Dollar in January 2020 — a threefold depreciation in three years.… Continue reading

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Rotate SCN-resistant seed varieties for optimal protection

By The SCN Coalition™

Understanding the difference between soybean cyst nematode-resistant varieties may help soybean growers understand the importance of rotating sources of resistance, which is one of the “active SCN management” strategies advised by The SCN Coalition. For combating SCN during the 2022 growing season, The SCN Coalition encourages growers to work with their advisors to select the appropriate SCN-resistant varieties.

“Most soybean growers are familiar with PI 88788 and Peking, the two most widely used sources of resistance to soybean cyst nematode,” says Melissa Mitchum, University of Georgia molecular nematologist. “What might be news to growers is these different sources of SCN resistance have different resistance genes — also known as different modes of action.”

Simply speaking, resistance from the PI 88788 line contains one gene, Rhg1. Resistance from Peking contains two resistance genes, Rhg1 and Rhg4. “There are also different flavors — aka alleles — of the Rhg1 genes, which is where the A and B designations come into play,” Mitchum adds.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Roadshow | John Buck – Buck Farms, Marion County

Ohio Field Leader’s Dusty Sonnenberg visits with John Buck of Buck Farms in Marion County. This video, originally shot this past fall, discusses the application of many different agricultural technologies at Buck Farms. The full in-depth discussion can be heard in the Ohio Field Leader Podcast.

Ohio Field Leader is a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.… Continue reading

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Cover crop research project looking for participants

 Project Description: The Soil & Agroecosystems Lab at the University of Michigan is seeking farmers to participate in a citizen science study to understand variation in cover crop growth across different farming conditions. This research will help inform site-specific recommendations for improving cover crop performance in the Great Lakes. If you or someone you know is currently growing overwintering cover crops, please consider participating.

Participation involves completing two easy steps:

  1. A 15-minute online survey asking questions about soil conditions and management practices for your cover crop field.
  2. A short field assessment in early spring (~20-30 minutes per field) that requires taking a few photos and height measurements of your cover crops before they are terminated.

Participants will receive $50 per cover cropped field (for up to two fields) and a personalized cover crop performance report, including estimated cover crop biomass and management recommendations based on the findings of our study.

Eligibility: Fields located in MI, OH, IN, IL, WI, or MN that currently contain fall-planted,overwintering cover crops are eligible.… Continue reading

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The power of soil biology

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off.

It has been said the more we learn the less we know. That seems true when it comes to our soil biology.  Danielle Kusner is a certified crop advisor and Terrain Advocate for Deep Soil LLC.

“Transitioning from what we traditionally study in soil chemistry and the elements, to soil biology is a higher level of understanding of soil systems,” Kusner said. “We are at a revolutionary time in agriculture. Understanding soil microbes and biology will change what we do on our farms.”

Kusner said studying the soil food web helps farmers realize that the more they learn about the soil, the less they find that they know.

“The soil food web is comprised of multiple levels,” Kusner said.

The first level is made up of photosynthesizers. It contains the plants shoots and roots. The second level is made up of decomposing mutualists, such as pathogens, parasites, and root feeders (bacteria, fungi, and nematodes).… Continue reading

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Do we need sulfur in Ohio?

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Historically, most soils in Ohio supplied adequate sulfur for plant growth, but atmospheric deposition of sulfur that kept soil adequately supplied has declined. Soil tests that work well for other nutrients do not correlate well to determine sulfur fertilization needs. A combination of lower atmospheric deposition of sulfur and an unreliable soil test should have Ohio crop farmers watching their crops closely for sulfur deficiency symptoms. Field trials in 2020 and 2021 show only infrequent yield responses to sulfur addition in corn and soybean. Several sources of sulfur are available for application where needed.

Sulfur has been a free nutrient due to 15 to 20 annual sulfur (as sulfate) deposition from the air across Ohio. The atmosphere’s sulfur source is flue pipe emissions from coal-powered industrial plants. Rainfall washes sulfur from the air, where it was soil available to crops or immobilized into organic matter.… Continue reading

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Planning for high yielding soybeans

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc.

When planning for the upcoming growing season, it can be easy to focus more energy on corn production as it has traditionally been the more intensively managed crop. However, producers who put in the effort to manage their soybean crop have proven it is possible to attain high yields potential. Below are some tips for planning to produce high-yielding soybeans in 2023.

• Quality Seed: Planting the right seed sets the stage for the entire growing season. Growers should plant genetics with high yield potential. Choose varieties that have been tested at several locations and across multiple years. Growers should choose varieties adapted to their soil types and management practices. As with corn, choosing varieties with strong disease packages and agronomic traits with aid in achieving higher yields.

• Planting Date: University research has proven that timely, early planting is one way to increase soybean yields.… Continue reading

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Improving plant production efficiency in controlled environments

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

Everyone is looking to lower their energy costs, including those in controlled environment agriculture (CEA), which includes greenhouses and indoor farms. What is more important is the energy efficiency to improve profitability of crop production in heating seasons. CEA allows for better control and predictability of the growing environment, including temperature and light, and it can extend the growing season as well as expand food and ornamental crop production to urban areas and harsh environments. But CEA can be energy intensive, although energy needs vary depending on building design and materials, climate, and technology use. Heating, cooling and humidity control and electric lighting typically use the most energy.

Greenhouses have the advantage of natural light but provide little insulation for temperature control. Thus, they may need cooling in summer and heating in winter. They may also need supplemental lighting during seasons when sunlight intensity is diminished.… Continue reading

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Meristem serving more farmers in 2023

Stoutsville Seed Shed of Stoutsville and Meristem Crop Performance Group, LLC ( are moving into 2023 with Wade Rethmel representing them as a sales agronomist to serve more farmers in South Central Ohio.

“Sean Rittinger and Stoutsville Seed Shed have been quite successful in taking Meristem products to more farmers, and helping growers make the most of every seed they plant,” said Mitch Eviston, Meristem Founder and CEO. “Wade Rethmel’s energy and field knowledge will help both companies meet the needs of more customers.”

Rittinger, who owns and operates Stoutsville Seed Shed, also farms 1,000 acres of his own, says he’s building Stoutsville Seed Shed to meet his needs and those of his farmer neighbors. He views adding the Meristem portfolio — and teaming with Wade Rethmel — as steps to help improve return on investment (ROI) for every farmer he serves.

“Wade has proven himself across many years of working at field level with a farm business and an ag retail cooperative,” Rittinger said.… Continue reading

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Corn trade dispute addressed by Biden Administration

After President Biden met with his counterparts in Mexico and Canada, Secretary Tom Vilsack indicated that there would be no compromise on Mexico’s proposal to ban biotech corn. The secretary’s statement came as Biden met with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The National Corn Growers Association weighed in on the developments.

“We appreciate Secretary Vilsack for taking a firm stand on this issue,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “We would encourage the Biden administration to keep this issue front and center and push for a quick resolution, as farmers have already made their purchasing decisions for the 2023 crop year. We also continue to urge the Biden administration to file a dispute under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”
Talks between the two countries started in the fall of last year, as NCGA and state corn grower groups encouraged the Biden administration to act to prevent López Obrador from moving forward with a promise to ban shipments of biotech corn beginning in early 2024.… Continue reading

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Tips for first time no-tillers

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, Adapted from article by Elizabeth Creech, NRCS.   

Veteran no-tillers know that no-till farming  offers several benefits including keeping soil in place, improved nutrient recycling; savings on labor and fuel; and improved water infiltration, water storage, and drought resiliency. No-till means that farmers plant into an undisturbed soil that is teaming with microbes.  Beneficial microbes prefer a stable environment to grow, so soil health improves over time.  

High fuel prices, high inputs costs for chemicals and fertilizer, labor shortages, and weather issues are starting to make no-till farming more appealing. Getting started in no-till can be challenging because it is a different system and it takes time to learn new skills.  Here are some tips for getting started.   

First, it helps to solve some of your existing problems.  Make sure you have adequate drainage, take care of the weeds, and soil tests to address fertility issues. … Continue reading

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2023 Soil Health Webinar Series

Join the Ohio State University Extension Agronomic Crops Team 2023 Soil Health Webinar series for a Thursday morning series about soil health. You won’t want to miss out on this year’s line-up of farmers and academic experts covering a wide range of soil health topics as they dig below the surface to investigate new developments in soil health and soil management. 

Featuring a variety of speakers from Ohio and beyond, all sessions are 8:00-9:00 a.m. with time for Q & A:

Feb. 2, 2023.  Know your Biologicals and What They Can (or Cannot) Do for You by Dr. Mark Licht, Iowa State University. Separate fact from fiction and learn about the types and potential applications of biological crop inputs. CCA credits available: 1SW.

March 2, 2023.  Intercropping & Soil Health by Lucas Criswell, No-till Producer. Are you interested in relay cropping on your farm? Lucas Criswell will share his experience with relay cropping on his family’s operation in Lewisburg, PA. … Continue reading

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Blending no-till, cover crops and technology for success

By Matt Reese

Tim Norris went from farmer, to tech guy, back to farmer, and now on to a new, unexpected title: Outstanding No-Till Farmer.

At the December Ohio No-Till Council Conference, Norris was recognized for his new title earned through his work with his successful blend of no-till, cover crops and technology on his Knox County farm.   

“We farm 800 acres of our own corn, soybeans, sunflowers and wheat and then we do about another 900 of custom planting and harvesting for neighbors. I grew up across the river on the farm that my dad had and it was a small corn, soybean, wheat, and oats farm — very diversified. And then we had a lot of cattle with some hogs, chickens, and sheep as well. By the time I was 18, I pretty much decided I wanted a grain farm. So my aunt’s farm, which was right across the Kokosing River, is where I started to grain farm in 1984,” Norris said.… Continue reading

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Rye Cover Crops in Organic No-till Soybeans

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off.

Rye cover crops bring benefits, and biomass. Both need to be managed.

“Take care of your rye biomass,” said Lea Vereecke, a certified crop advisor and consultant with the Rodale Institute. 

Vereecke has been conducting research on organic no-till soybeans for several years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison with Erin Silva. She now works as an organic crop consultant with the Rodale Institute. Adequate cereal rye biomass is a key component in the successful production of organic no-till soybeans.

“Many farmers like tillage because it aids in nutrient cycling. Tillage moves organic matter and nutrients to different layers of the soil profile. Tillage can improve weed control and reduce the germination of certain weed species. It allows the soil to warm quicker in the spring, resulting in improved germination and crop emergence. It also aids in residue management and plays a role in disease control by burying that residue and speeding up the decomposition,” Vereecke said.… Continue reading

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U.S.A. soil erosion

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services 

The following article was adapted from an article entitled “More than 50 billion tons of topsoil have eroded in the Midwest” (Elizabeth Gamillo). The estimate of annual soil loss is double the rate of erosion USDA considers sustainable.

Soil scientist estimates that 57.6 billion tons of  topsoil has been lost in the USA in the last 160 years.  During the Dust Bowl era (1930’s), over 20 tons of topsoil per acre were lost annually in the Midwest due to wind erosion.  Due to soil conservation efforts, erosion rates declined to around 7.4 tons nationwide and new estimates are closer to 5 tons per year.

However, these are only estimates and sometimes the way these numbers are calculated differs.  In many cases, they are looking at only sheet, rill, and wind erosion; ignoring the gully erosion which is the most severe.  Sheet erosion is the thin layer of topsoil that erodes across the whole field and is barely noticeable. … Continue reading

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When will Brazilian farmers sell their bumper soybean crop?

By Daniele Siqueira, AgRural Commodities Agrícolas

I am writing this article in late December, a time of the year when Brazil is starting to harvest the very first soybean fields of the season — although more significant progress is expected to be seen only in mid-January, as it normally happens. Despite some losses caused by spotty rains in western Paraná, where harvest starts in January, and concerns about below-normal rains in Rio Grande do Sul, where most of the crop is still in vegetative and early reproductive stages, the expectation is for a bumper 2022-23 production.


INMET Millimeters.

If weather conditions improve in dry areas in the south of the country and remain favorable in other states, production will easily surpass the 150 million metric tons mark — 25 million up from last year. Less than one-quarter of the potential production, however, has been sold by producers so far, in the slowest farmer-selling progress since 2008/09, according to AgRural.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Podcast Episode 27 – Growing for the Next Generation

For the first podcast of 2023, the Ohio Field Leader looks ahead to the future. This is a look beyond 2023 to the needs of agriculture in future generations with the help of the Ohio Soybean Council’s check-off funded GrowNextGen program. Listen in as Dusty visits with Jane Hunt to learn more about this educational program that takes science into the classroom to educate and inspire young people to consider agriculture and the soybean industry in their future. Dusty and Jane look back at the last 10 years of GrowNextGen and what is ahead in terms of hands-on learning, educational activities, careers, and resources for teachers and students alike.… Continue reading

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Check-off dollars and the next generation — GrowNextGen

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off.

As a new year begins, it is natural to look to the future. The Ohio Soybean Council is looking to the future far beyond 2023 with help from the soybean check-off to fund the GrowNextGen project.

The concept of GrowNextGen is to bring agriculture science to the classroom by providing real-world educational tools to engage the next generation workforce. Jane Hunt serves as Director of Education, at Education Projects. That organization administers the GrowNextGen project for the Ohio Soybean Council. They work with educational partners to develop lessons with the goal of getting soybeans into every classroom in Ohio. Their vehicle of delivery is hands-on lessons and activities utilizing soybeans and soy products that align with current elementary and high school standards.

The GrowNextGen project started 10 years ago focusing on creating content that could be used by a traditional science teacher and easily implemented in their classroom.… Continue reading

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