Crops



National Biodiesel Conference celebrates 25 years of accomplishments

Producers, marketers and aficionados gathered in Fort Worth, Texas in late January for the 25th National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

Attendees got to learn about the latest policy developments related to biodiesel, see a hot-off-the-line B20 ready diesel Ford F-150 pickup truck, visit a Vehicle Showcase featuring offerings from General Motors, John Deere, Caterpillar and Optimus Technologie, learn about a semi-truck that runs on 100% biodiesel, and enjoy the Biodiesel Ride & Drive that allowed attendees to take a spin in new diesel vehicles around Fort Worth.

Though the focus of the conference was on fuel, it has very agricultural roots. Soybean farmers were instrumental in the initial push for biodiesel and the start of the conference 25 years ago.

“We need to remember that we have a tremendous product that can produce meal, oil and we are very competitive around the world,” said Dave Dotterer an Ohio Soybean Council board member from Wayne County who attended the conference.… Continue reading

Read More »

The weather, China and Donald Trump will have to all cooperate to offset ample grain stocks

The Jan. 12 USDA report day was neutral for corn and soybeans, bearish for wheat. The good news from that report for corn and soybeans — it was not a bearish report. The bad news from that report for corn and soybeans — it was not a bullish report. The Jan. 12 report day has been long anticipated in the market to provide additional insights into price direction for corn, soybeans, and wheat. The trade had expected the U.S. corn yield to increase while the U.S. soybean yield was expected to decline. Both took place as expected. USDA put the U.S. 2017 corn yield at 176.6 bushels per acre, up from the November estimate of 175.4.

That same report had the U.S. soybeans yield reduced slightly to 49.1 bushels per acre. Soybean exports were cut resulting in an increase for ending stocks. All three events were anticipated, providing no surprise for the markets.… Continue reading

Read More »

Jan. 29 last chance to avoid late registration fees for Commodity Classic

Only a few days remain to take advantage of standard registration fees for the 2018 Commodity Classic to be held Feb. 27-March 1, in Anaheim, California. The last day regular registration fees are in effect is Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Late registration fees will apply after that date.
Hotel group rates are also guaranteed through Jan. 29. Reservations after that date will be based on availability and may be charged at the hotel’s prevailing rate.
Registration fees vary depending on the number of days attended. Members of the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Sorghum Producers and National Association of Wheat Growers receive additional discounts on registration.
All registration and housing reservations should be made online at www.commodityclassic.com. Experient is the official registration and housing provider for Commodity Classic. In order to stay at an official Commodity Classic hotel, reservations must be made only through Experient to ensure favorable rates, reasonable terms and confirmed hotel reservations.
Continue reading

Read More »

Clean up continues after massive grain spill in New Carlisle

Late Sunday night Sam Sutherly got a catastrophic phone call he never wanted.

“When I got the phone call I just said, ‘Oh that’s nice.’ I turned to my wife and said, ‘I really don’t want to go.’”

The Sutherly family owns Miami Valley Feed and Grain in New Carlisle where a grain tank collapsed late on Jan. 21, spilling around 365,000 bushels of corn worth over $1.25 million.

“The tank gave way and the impact of the corn caused the nearby transformers to explode,” Sutherly said. “Our renters there at the elevator — there is a house on the grounds — said it sounded like a jet airplane was coming in and she looked out and all the corn was laying on the ground. The tank was built in 1968 when the government wanted to do some government storage. It was full. It was 72-feet tall to the edge and then an additional 20 feet tall to the peak of the cone.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Concerns with continuous soybeans in 2018

With corn prices looking grim and the likelihood of 2018 farm economics again favoring soybean production, soybeans being planted after soybeans could be on the rise this spring.

With consecutive years of soybean production, yield potential declines and the potential need for additional inputs and precautions increases.

“Agronomically, we never like to see beans after beans, but when it gets into your back pocket sometimes we have to do some things differently,” said Mike Earley, Seed Consultants, Inc. agronomist. “We need to make sure to not plant the same variety in the same field back to back. If we get into continuous beans for multiple years we need to do a lot more scouting and chances are we are going to need some fungicide applications because of a lot more disease pressure in the fields.”

In addition to increased potential for soybean issues including Phytophthora, white mold and frogeye leaf spot, more soybeans could also mean more yield loss to soybean cyst nematode (SCN). … Continue reading

Read More »

RINs part of a political battle of renewable fuels

RINs — Renewable Identification Numbers — have been in the news recently as a part of the ongoing political battle between oil companies and renewable fuel proponents.

“When the EPA put in place the Renewable Fuel Standard, they had to be sure the proper amounts of renewable fuels were being blended into the nation’s fuel supply. To account for that they created RINs. Every time a gallon of renewable fuel is created, a RIN is attached to it. It is an accounting system to make sure the RFS mandate is met. It is a tracking number for every gallon of biofuel created in the U.S.,” said John Torres, with Ohio Corn & Wheat. “RINs are bought and traded because not every fuel refinery in the country blends ethanol or biofuels. Those refiners that do not blend biofuels have to buy a RIN in order to offset the percent of the renewable fuels that is mandated.… Continue reading

Read More »

Hormone keys to plant growth or stress tolerance, but not both

Plants that grow well tend to be sensitive to heat and drought, and plants that can handle those stresses often have stunted growth. A Purdue University plant scientist has found the switch that creates that antagonism, opening opportunities to develop plants that exhibit both characteristics.

“Normally these two are antagonistic, but in nature, some plants tolerate stress and grow well. The questions is why some plants can have both, but most plants cannot,” said Jian-Kang Zhu, distinguished professor of plant biology in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. “Once you know how the stress response and growth pathways are connected, hopefully we will be able to decouple them.”

Working with model plant Arabidopsis, Zhu found that abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone, is activated in plants that can tolerate stresses such as salt and drought. But ABA sets off a chain reaction that stymies plant growth.

Zhu found that in stressed plants, the ABA pathway is activated and leads to phosphorylation of the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) kinase.… Continue reading

Read More »

Dicamba training opportunities in Ohio

For those planning on planting dicamba tolerant crops next year, there is plenty of change coming in 2018 compared to last year.

The label requirements for spraying will be much different and training is being required for applicators.

“The new labels for Engenia, XtendiMax, and FeXapan have many new precautions that applicators need to be aware of,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist. “An additional requirement is that anyone applying these products must attend an annual dicamba or group 4 herbicide-specific training.”

In 2017, there were 27 official complaints of dicamba damage with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The U.S. EPA is monitoring complaint reports and the label changes in 2018 to determine whether to continue to allow post- application of dicamba.

The label changes will make the already narrow application window in 2017 even narrower in 2018. At Purdue University, Joe Ikley and Bill Johnson took a look at the potential window of opportunity for dicamba application last year based on 2017 label requirements.… Continue reading

Read More »

Tax webinar for farmers Jan. 29

Are you getting the most from your tax return? Farmers and farmland owners that wish to increase their tax knowledge should consider this webinar that will address tax issues important to them. Mark your calendars for Jan. 29, 2018 to participate in this  hour webinar from 10 a.m. to noon.

The webinar, which focuses on tax issues specific to farmers and farmland owners will offer insight into topics such as new and proposed tax legislation as well as buying and selling farmland.

OSU Income Tax Schools which are a part of OSU Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will offer this webinar on Jan. 29 from 10 to noon.

The two-hour program, which will be presented in a live webinar format, is targeted towards farmers and farmland owners who file their own farm taxes or simply wish to arm themselves with more tax information that will help them to better plan for tax filing.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Annual Crop Summary for 2017

Crop conditions varied widely across the state, due to delays in planting, replanting, and emergence issues throughout the 2017 season, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Heavy rains along with cold temperatures at the beginning of the season hindered the drying of fields and caused the need for significant replanting. Dryer conditions in June brought opportunities to dry out fields to resume planting and other field activities. The dry weather continued allowing growers to catch up on replanting, apply fertilizer and cut hay. Excessive moisture throughout July created concerns in crop progress. August brought cooler drier conditions which helped stabilize crops.

Ohio’s 2017 average corn yield was 177 bushels per acre, a new State record, up 18 bushels from last year. Producers harvested 3.13 million acres, compared to 3.30 million acres in 2016. Total State production of corn for grain was 554 million bushels, up 6 percent from the 2016 production of 525 million bushels.… Continue reading

Read More »

Neutral report, South America weather still huge factor

The long awaited USDA report day is finally here. Some consider this day one of the biggest days for USDA reports for the entire year. Before the report came out corn was unchanged and soybeans were down 4 cents. Just after the report was released corn was down a half-cent while soybeans were up 5 cents.

Corn ending stocks were raised 40 million bushels to 2.437 billion bushels. Corn yield for 2017 was put at 176.6 bushels per acre. Corn production was up 26 million bushels at 14.604 billion bushels. Corn exports were unchanged, corn for ethanol was unchanged. No surprises for corn.

Soybean yield was lowered to 49.1 bushels per acre, with production at 4.392 billion bushels, down 33 million bushels. Exports were cut 65 million bushels to 2.160 billion bushels. The trade was expecting
soybean exports to cut.

Brazil soybean production was increased to 110 million tons, up from108 million tons last month.… Continue reading

Read More »

Bells and whistles are few, but quality is elite at Ravenhurst Champagne Cellars

Chuck and Nina Harris like Champagne, really good Champagne.

“The reason we’re here is that I married a woman who liked to drink Champagne. That is how we met, over Champagne. We promised one another we’d learn more about it. She is a chemist and I am a chef so we looked at it in completely different ways,” said Chuck Harris, the winemaker and owner of Ravenhurst Champagne Cellars in Union County. “We are both originally from Van Wert. We went to high school together. We got together later in life after we’d tried a few careers and we started a pursuit of Champagne. Could we do this in Ohio? We looked all over the country and decided Ohio would be the best place, all things considered. We were pioneering here, especially with vinifera grapes. All of the other places we’d be just another face in the crowd.”

Along with being unique to the area, Harris picked a very specific location for very specific reasons.… Continue reading

Read More »

Lettuce Work helping young people with autism serve others through agriculture

Doug and Julie Sharp of New Albany have devoted countless hours to working with youth and young adults that fall on the autism spectrum. Besides being the parents of an autistic child, Julie is a teacher at a school that specializes in working with students that have autism and Doug served on the school board.

Although there are many programs for youth that fall on the autism spectrum while they are in school, the Sharps noticed a distinct problem: after graduating from high school it is hard for youth with autism to receive support from external programs.

Seeing the need, the Sharps worked diligently to create the Lettuce Work Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization that serves young adults with autism and trains them for the future. The idea for Lettuce Work began in 2007. After construction of a 15,000 square foot greenhouse, partnering with a local high school, and plentiful paperwork, the first batch of lettuce was harvested in 2014.… Continue reading

Read More »

Hydroponic crop production workshop

Growing plants in a liquid nutrient solution without soil in controlled environments, i.e. hydroponics, has been successfully used for greenhouse production of lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, and other crops. Hydroponic production is an agricultural production practice that optimizes energy consumption and water use; effectively employs chemical-free integrated pest management controls (IPM); permits agricultural production independent of season; and can generate higher crop yields with improved quality, consistency, and predictability, while exploiting less land. Hydroponics provides year round continuous production and crop yields that exceed field production by as much as 10-fold, all while optimizing resources including water, energy, space, capital, and labor. Hydroponics is an important agriculture practice commonly represented in greenhouse food crop production. However, hydroponic systems have a higher initial investment than soil-based crop production and require technical skills and careful management.

 

Learn more from the experts

On Feb. 8 and 9, 2018 greenhouse growers will have the opportunity to learn about best practices for growing crops in hydroponic systems.… Continue reading

Read More »

Study suggests new targets for improving soybean oil content

Scientists working to increase soybean oil content tend to focus their efforts on genes known to impact the plant’s seeds, but a Purdue University study shows that genes affecting other plant parts deserve more attention.

Wild-type soybeans contain bloom, a powdery substance originating in the pod that can coat seeds. This trait makes the seeds less visible and is believed to be advantageous for their long-term survival in natural environments. But the bloom is enriched with allergens and can be harmful for animals and people if ingested. People domesticating soybeans selected a naturally occurring mutation that makes soybean seeds shiny through eliminating bloom.

“This mutation was selected by ancient farmers approximately 5,000 years ago,” said Jianxin Ma, professor in Purdue’s Department of Agronomy. “That could have been a key step for domesticating soybean for agricultural production and human consumption.”

Ma and his colleagues wanted to know more about the genetic control of bloom in wild soybeans.… Continue reading

Read More »

It’s cold here, but what is the weather in South America?

The first major story line for 2018 has to be the ongoing frigid temperatures across Ohio and the Midwest so far this winter. Those cold temperatures seem to affect human temperament as well as that of farm equipment, which makes for challenges in getting grain moved to final destinations. Not only do the trucks need to be operating at peak performance in these frigid temperatures, the driver has to be constantly aware of road conditions. Road conditions and temperatures could easily see some facilities needing grain moved today, not tomorrow in order to meet train shipping deadlines. Prolonged weeks of these conditions could cause ongoing headaches for those needing enough grain to keep facilities operating at optimum efficiency. The worst case scenario would see soybean crushing or corn ethanol facilities shutting down due to insufficient inventories on hand.

Weather, prices, and demand will be major factors for grain prices in the next three to six months.… Continue reading

Read More »

Conservation Tillage Breakfast Series

The 2018 Conservation Tillage Club breakfast program series will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory.  Each session will start at 7:30 am with complimentary buffet breakfast followed by the program at 8:00 am.  Other sessions will be held on Jan. 23, Feb. 6 and 20.

On Jan. 9, the program will feature Mike Bacon and Andrea Weaver, CAUV Property Tax Changes.  Bacon is the Hardin County Auditor and Weaver serves as the Union County Auditor.  They will be joined by a panel of other property tax and conservation experts.  As county auditors, they have sent out notices of changes and held meetings with landowners, local schools, and farm groups to help explain how changes brought about by the Ohio Department of Taxation will affect them. The presentation at the Conservation Tillage Club breakfast will focus on the most recent changes in the CAUV formula in regards to conservation lands and what landowners must do in order to see possible reductions in their property taxes for coming years.… Continue reading

Read More »

Winterize your ag technology

After this season, you may be tempted to park your equipment in the shed and take a much needed winter break. You probably remembered to winterize your machinery, but you may have overlooked the need to winterize your precision ag technology. Here are some tips to ensure your monitors and sensors continue to function next season.

  1. Bring technology indoors.

Although precision ag technology is ruggedized to protect against harsh field conditions, the temperatures that we often experience during a Midwest winter are low enough to potentially damage the electronic components of in-cab displays and sensors such as the GPS receiver. Remove them and store indoors to protect them from the winter weather. Even if your equipment is parked in a protected area, it may be wise to remove sensors and store them to protect against rodent damage.

  1. Export and backup data from cards

Winter is a great time to pull this season’s data off data cards and/or in-cab displays.… Continue reading

Read More »

The difficulty in legally applying dicamba: Weather factors

Labels for the dicamba products approved for use on Xtend soybeans, Engenia, FeXapan, and XtendiMax, were recently revised, and are now generally more restrictive in an effort to prevent some of the problems with off target injury that occurred in 2017.  Whether these additional restrictions do much to prevent volatility is doubtful, but this aside, one of the problems with labels this restrictive is the difficulty in even finding enough time to make legal applications.  It can be an interesting exercise to review past weather conditions with the goal of determining legal windows of application, taking these restrictions into account.  Weed scientists at Purdue University conducted this type of analysis for west central Indiana for June 2017, and came up with a total of 48 hours when it would have been legal to apply (hours of dawn to dusk, wind speeds between 3 and 10 mph).

We conducted a similar analysis, used weather information for June of 2017 at the Dayton International Airport.  

Continue reading

Read More »