Questions, answers and more questions about cover crops

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

Just because a farmer has raised cover crops for a few years, it does not mean they have all the answers. Sometimes the experience leads to more questions. The more experience they gain, the more questions they have, but also the more new things they will try.

Hans Kok

Hans Kok, program director of the Conservation Technology Information Center in Indiana led a discussion tackling the FAQs about cover crop management during the latest “Dirt on Soil Health” program.

Some of the common questions Kok encounters include: When is the best time to plant cover crops? When is the best time to terminate the cover crop? What are the best cover crops to plant? What about using wheat or cereal rye as a cover crop? What herbicides should be avoided? What does it cost to grow cover crops?… Continue reading

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Crimping cover crops

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

The use of a roller crimper to terminate cover crops in the spring is gaining popularity. 

Many farmers often ask if the blades on a crimper should touch the ground, or how much clearance should be allowed. Eric Neimeyer, a farmer in Delaware County, uses a crimper and shared his experience. 

“We have the full weight of the crimper on the ground, and do not have the wheels holding it up for clearance,” Neimeyer said. “The actual crimping of the cereal rye is the goal, and it is the weight of the tool that puts the crimp into the stem of the rye. The cereal rye needs to be at a minimum in boot stage to kill with crimper. You want to get it before it goes to seed.”

Blade designs vary by the manufacturer. … Continue reading

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Corn College and Soybean School

By Mary GriffithAmanda DouridasLaura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

The Agronomic Crops Team will host a virtual Corn College and Soybean School on Feb. 11, 2021. Corn College is in the morning, from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m., with Soybean School in the afternoon from 1:00-4:00pm. Each program will feature updates from OSU Specialists. CCA CEUs are available. The schedule for the day is as follows:

Corn College, 9:00am-12:00pm

  • Corn Management for 2021, Peter Thomison, 1.0 CM CCA CEUs
  • Meeting Nutrient Needs in Corn, Steve Culman, 1.0 NM CCA CEUs
  • Disease Management, Pierce Paul, 1.0 PM CCA CEUs
  • Insect Management, Andy Michel, 1.0 PM CCA CEUs

Soybean School, 1:00-4:00pm

  • Soybean Management for 2021, Laura Lindsey, 1.0 CM CCA CEUs
  • Weed Management, Mark Loux, 1.0 PM CCA CEUs
  • Disease Management, Anne Dorrance, 1.0 PM CCA CEUs
  • Insect Management, Kelley Tilmon, 1.0 PM CCA CEUs

This program is free to attend.… Continue reading

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US, EU groups urge swift tariff removals

The American Soybean Association and several other groups are calling on the Biden Administration and European Commission to immediately remove, or at least suspend, all additional and retaliatory tariffs implemented since 2018 due to disputes over aircraft subsidies and steel and aluminum trade.

In a letter this to President Biden and President Ursula von der Leyen, the groups underscored the economic hardships faced by their industries—from ongoing tariff uncertainty to COVID-19 impacts—and urged swiftly reestablishing a cooperative trading relationship. 

In the letter, the groups stated:

“Since 2018, our industries, suppliers and supply chains have been negatively impacted by the imposition or threat of tariffs in these disputes, which are wholly unrelated to our sectors. Without a doubt, 2020 has been a particularly difficult and tragic year. The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary closings of non-essential businesses continue to affect the global economy, including our sectors which support millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.… Continue reading

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Herbicide resistance in Ohio waterhemp populations

By Dr. Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

Waterhemp populations across the Midwest continue to develop more complex variations of herbicide resistance.  Multiple resistance to an increasing number of herbicide sites of action is the norm in many populations in states west of Ohio.  Waterhemp has on the whole developed resistance to seven sites of action, including the following:

Group 2 – ALS inhibitors – chlorimuron, imazethapyr, etc

Group 4 – Synthetic auxins – 2,4-D, dicamba, etc

Group 5 – Photosystem II inhibitors – atrazine, metribuzin, etc

Group 9 – EPSP synthase inhibitor – glyphosate

Group 14 – PPO inhibitors – fomesafen, flumioxazin, sulfentrazone, etc

Group 15 – long chain fatty acid inhibitors – metolachlor, pyroxasulfone, etc

Group 27 – HPPD inhibitors – mesotrione, isoxaflutole, topramezone, etc

Individual populations with resistance to three or more sites of action are common. Mutations are occurring that confer resistance to several of these sites of action simultaneously, through a resistance mechanism that enhances the metabolism and inactivation of the herbicides by the plant.

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Improved genetics?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

This is the fun part of my job. I get asked questions or am told I misguided someone and so I do a little field work to investigate what may be the reality. I thank Joe, Nick and Zack at the OSU Western Agricultural Research Station for giving me the space to work, and I think they enjoy the challenge and quest to find answers too.

So once again I ran a trial comparing “older” open pollinated corn genetics to modern corn hybrids. I still use Reid’s yellow dent as a basis for my work because there is so much of that old variety carried through into modern genetics. A chance cross occurred in Ohio at about the time of the Civil War and that accident carries through to today’s genetics and yield improvement.

WARS 2020 Antique corn trial, for yield and harvest stand.
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Good crop, strong exports and the Amazon

By Daniele Siqueira

The last time I wrote here, in mid-December, there were all sorts of rumors around the 2020-21 Brazilian soybean crop, because it was planted about 30 days later than normal due to irregular rains in September, October and November.

The Brazilian delay was one of the main bullish fundamentals at that time in Chicago. Not that the crop was necessarily headed for a disaster (soybeans don’t fail during the vegetative stage!), but because the delay, combined to virtually zero beginning stocks, would leave Brazil out of the export game in January.

That would make room for more U.S. sales, especially to China — something that is really happening now and helping boost international prices even further, along with a very tight supply and demand balance in the U.S., speculations around the crop development in Argentina (it’s doing fine so far, by the way) and tensions between that country’s government and farmers.… Continue reading

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Improving fertilizer availability

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As fertilizer costs increase, farmers want to either lower their fertilizer costs or find ways to conserve soil nutrients. Cover crops can help do both things.  Legumes and clovers sequester nitrogen (N) and grasses and radishes make phosphorus (P) more available.  Most conventional soil tests measure inorganic soil nutrients but are less reliable accounting for organic or carbon-based plant nutrients. As soil health improves, nutrient availability and nutrient efficiency generally improves due to higher soil microbial activity.

Manure improves soil health and soil organic matter (SOM).  Solid chicken manure is high in N, P, and calcium.  Liquid manures (hog and dairy) can be major sources of nutrients but have a high-water content (dairy, 98% water; hog, 95% water) and with high transportation costs, can be more expensive.  Composting solid manure tends to concentrate available nutrients because as manure decomposes, the volume generally reduces to about a third of the original volume. 

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Cold weather and wheat

The upcoming forecast of cold temperatures has sparked some concern about damage to the winter wheat crop.

Fortunately, winter wheat is very resistant to cold temperatures during the months of December, January, and February when the plant is dormant. During these months, winter wheat can withstand below freezing temperatures, especially when there is snow cover. In early 2019, Ohio experienced polar vortex temperatures without snow cover. However, no (or minimal) damage was observed in winter wheat.

Figure 1. Polar vortex temperatures with no snow cover in early 2019 resulted in survival of winter wheat.

Besides wheat’s natural ability to be resistant to cold temperatures, plant breeders have developed wheat varieties that are adapted to Ohio’s environments. Occasionally some companies have tried to push North varieties adapted to the Mid-Atlantic region that may be affected by extreme cold. However, most often wheat that has not survived cold temperatures was planted too late for adequate growth, planted too shallow to protect the crown, or too much water on low spots before the cold temperatures.… Continue reading

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Can improving soil health improve yield?

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

Farmers wishing to improve the health of their soils are often presented with a list of specific management practices to implement. 

“There are many types of management to combine to manage soil health,” said Jordon Wade, from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. “These typically include: keeping the soil covered, minimizing soil disturbance, keeping plants growing throughout the year, having a diversity of plants, and incorporating livestock.”

Wade was a recent speaker for Ohio State’s “The Dirt on Soil Health” series featuring a discussion findings from his research looking at the relationship between improving soil health and increasing yields. As farmers evaluate their soils, there are three areas to assess. 

“When making an assessment, the three indicators we look at are physical, chemical, and biological,” Wade said. “Not all fields respond the same.… Continue reading

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Ohio drainage law revamped


By Matt Reese

By all accounts, the specifics of House Bill 340 may not be all that exciting, but the bill does have significant implications for Ohio’s agricultural drainage projects moving forward. 

With more big rain events putting more water into existing drainage systems and increasing scrutiny of water quality in Ohio, massive efforts and big dollars are being poured into reducing agricultural nutrient and soil loss into the water. The big projects are important, but so are the mundane details of implementing local drainage efforts that were long overdue for updates.  

On Dec. 17, 2020 Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 340, sponsored by Speaker Bob Cupp, to modernize Ohio’s petition drainage laws to better handle issues of excess water in agricultural areas as well as residential and commercial properties and roadways. For agriculture, HB 340 dramatically updates the process a farm would use for a drainage project involving the county for installation and maintenance.… Continue reading

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Winter grain market outlook

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

As farmers are making decisions for 2021, there are some important economic drivers to consider. 

“There are also some factors we really need to pay attention to,” said Ben Brown, now a senior research associate at the University of Missouri and their state specialist in ag business and policy for Extension. “It is uncertain the direction the COVID pandemic takes, what future relief/stimulus packages may look like, and the impact of the resurgence of African swine fever in China.”

Brown was part of the program of a recent Ohio State University Extension Winter Policy and Outlook Meeting where he shared information focused on “Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are going with the markets.”

Brown pointed out that it is important to understand how money flows into the sector. The commodity sector and the U.S.… Continue reading

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Technologies for improving sprayer field performance and efficiencies

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

The Ohio State University’s Precision U winter meeting series wrapped up with a look at sprayer application tips and technologies. Joe Luck, Associate Professor and Precision Agriculture Engineer in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln was the featured presenter.

Joe Luck, Associate Professor of Biological Systems Engineering, Precision Agriculture Engineer, photo credit, UNL

When farmers make a chemical application with a sprayer, the goal is ultimately to protect their crop.

“The first step in achieving this crop protection is to make sure the application is on target and accurate,” Luck said. “This involves proper mixing, including any pre-mixing of products, proper agitation, and direct injection.”

Achieving the desired application rate is a part of the accuracy.

“This can involve the use of a rate controller,” Luck said.… Continue reading

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Soil Health Innovations Conference

New technologies and innovative practices that promise to improve food systems’ resilience at their very roots — the soil — are emerging.

These promising approaches are coming at a time when there is a growing commitment among producers, scientists, food companies, and policymakers to cultivate healthier soil.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) Soil Health Innovations Conference will allow attendees to immerse themselves in the soil-health movement and connect with its most forward-thinking practitioners — all from the comfort of wherever it is that they’re most comfortable these days. 

The virtual conference — which was postponed in 2020 because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic — will bring together leading experts and innovative farmers from around the U.S. to share the latest in soil science, best practices in soil management, and the emerging technologies that will drive the future of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

Registration is now open for the online conference, which will be held March 8 and 9 from 8:30 a.m.… Continue reading

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Improved soil health linked to nitrogen fertilizer efficiency

By Jordan WadeSteve CulmanCassandra Brown, Ohio State University Extension

Most farmers value soil health in theory, but few studies have worked to place an actual agronomic value on soil health. A study published earlier this spring found that a 10% improvement in certain soil health measurements increased relative yields by an average of 5% across N fertilizer rates. In other words, good soil health means getting more bang for every buck spent on fertilizer.

Study leader, former Ohio State PhD student Jordon Wade, based these findings on analysis of corn nitrogen (N) rate trials throughout the Midwest. His findings were consistent across a variety of soils and climatic conditions across the Corn Belt.

Improving N use efficiency is linked to soil biology and the cycling of organic matter, both of which are important components of soil health. In response to increased attention on soil health, both commercial and university research labs have begun offering soil health testing services.… Continue reading

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Gibberella ear rot and vomitoxin in corn

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

If your grain was harvested from a field with Gibberella ear rot (GER), it is more than likely contaminated with mycotoxins. Deoxynivalenol, also known as vomitoxin, is one of the mycotoxins most commonly produced by the fungus Fusarium graminearum that causes GER. Another name for this fungus is Gibberella zeae, hence the name of the disease. grain Grain harvested from GER-affected fields or areas where conditions were favorable for the disease, should be sampled and tested for the presence and level of contamination with vomitoxin. Mycotoxin tests are either qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative. Qualitative tests provide a yes/no answer for the presence of the toxin and are useful for initial screening. Semi-quantitative tests estimate whether the toxin is at or above certain levels (>5 ppm) or within a given range, whereas quantitative tests provide more precise estimates of contamination. There is a trade-off between precision, price, and speed.… Continue reading

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Winter Grain Market and Climate Outlook Meeting (Part 1)

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

The most recent Winter Outlook Meeting, hosted by The Ohio State University, provided data and information to help farmers make informed decisions going into the winter and spring.

Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University, and State Climatologist shared information focused on “Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are going.”

A global assessment of the past year’s weather showed 2020 to be the second warmest since 1880. The warmest average year was 2016, and 2019 ranked third. Looking all the way back to 1880, the ten warmest years have all occurred since 1985.

There was also a significant increase in the number of “Billion Dollar Disasters” in 2020. There was a total of 22 recorded last year. The numbers in general have been increasing. To put it in perspective, looking at the time period of 1908 through 2020, the average is six disasters of that magnitude per year.

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Nutrient management update – the new 2020 fertilizer recommendations

By Greg LaBarge CCA/CPAg, Ohio State University Extension

Things are changing for the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for agronomic crops. We are giving updates this winter because the 2020 Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations were finally published this past November. We have shared preliminary results over the past two winter meeting seasons — now it is out and complete.

The Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations provided the foundation for agronomic nutrient management recommendations from the Land Grant Universities in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana since 1995. With changes in management, available hybrids and other production practices an update was due. Data collection for a comprehensive review of these recommendation began back in 2006 and culminated with 198 on-farm trials in 39 counties conducted during the cropping years in 2014 to 2018. The numbers have been crunched and new recommendations are now published in in the 2020 version of Tri-state Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Alfalfa, Bulletin 974.… Continue reading

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Advanced Yield Select Crop Inputs seeks to boost ROI

It is all about the return on investment. Cory Atley, Ohio’s four-time crop production yield winner, announced a new brand — Advanced Yield Select Crop Inputs — for the purpose of helping growers “make the most of every dollar they spend on crop inputs on every acre they farm.”

Atley, who farms more than 8,000 acres of leased and family ground, is known by many for his high yields and appearance in the reality show “Corn Warriors.” In addition to farming, he and his team at Advanced Yield work with dozens of farmers from Ohio to Kansas to coax more bushels from the ground every year.

“We’re bringing out our own branded products because we’ve found a way to source high-quality products for much lower cost,” he said. “We’ve proven the value of these formulations in our own operation and we can bring these same products to growers in a way that will save them money.” … Continue reading

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Bayer’s third generation corn rootworm trait gains final approval

Bayer announced the receipt of the final safety certificate for import and food/feed use from China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for the company’s third-generation corn rootworm trait (MON 87411). This approval represents the final key authorization for commercial introduction of SmartStax PRO Technology in the United States.

SmartStax PRO Technology is the next generation of corn rootworm protection, and the first product offering three modes of action for corn rootworm control. It combines the proven benefits of SmartStax Technology corn rootworm protection with a novel RNAi-based mode of action, providing improved control of corn rootworm over a range of pressure.*

“We’re excited to receive this authorization and look forward to putting SmartStax PRO Technology in the hands of our grower customers,” said Scott Stein North America Corn Product Management Lead. “The introduction of a novel mode of action like RNAi will provide growers yet another tool to help control tough corn rootworm pests.”… Continue reading

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