Over 30 Years of Conservation Innovation

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

The Conservation Action Project (C.A.P.) was started over 30 years ago by a group of Northwest Ohio Farmers, OSU Extension Personnel, USDA, Soil and Water, and Natural Resources Conservation Staff along with local Agricultural Retailers, with the goal of studying and promoting new innovative concepts and agronomic production practices to farmers. C.A.P. geographically encompasses Paulding, Defiance, Williams, Henry, Fulton, Lucas and Wood Counties in the Maumee River Watershed.

“C.A.P. focuses on a specific area and good practices that can help farmers and the environment,” said Alan Sundermeier, Executive Director of C.A.P.

An advantage that C.A.P has is that it can be adaptive and innovative and respond quickly to new opportunities.

“We have gotten grants for local research and have outreach efforts that are ongoing. We are not trying to duplicate any existing programs. We want to be adaptive and look for new angles to solve local issues,” said Sundermeire.… Continue reading

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Researchers Continue to Strengthen and Refine Soybean SCN Resistance

By Carol Brown, Soybean Research and Information Network

For decades, farmers have been trying to overcome soybean cyst nematode, or SCN, in their fields. There are two major sources of SCN resistance in PI 88788 and Peking on the market today, and 95% of soybean cultivars contain resistance from the PI 88788 source, according to the SCN Coalition. But researchers and farmers are finding that after years of their use, the resistance is waning.

A team of researchers has been collaborating on a complex project to enhance SCN resistance with long-term, strategic SCN management. The project, supported by the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP), holds great potential for soybean farmers. The NCSRP is funded by soybean check-off dollars.

Leading the project is Andrew Scaboo, assistant professor in plant science and technology at the University of Missouri and an expert in soybean breeding. The team is approaching the project from two directions: exploring the genetic makeup of the nematode and developing soybeans with the ability to resist their attack.… Continue reading

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Screening Builds Knowledge for Soybean Cyst Nematode Management

By Laura Temple, North Central Soybean Research Program

Soybean cyst nematodes, or SCN, come in multiple types, depending on their ability to overcome and reproduce on SCN-resistant soybeans. Researchers use the HG type test to determine what types of SCN live in tested soils. The test takes its name from the abbreviation of Heterodera glycines, the scientific name for SCN.

Soybeans come in countless varieties, bred for yield and an array of offensive and defensive characteristics. University agronomists commonly screen regional varieties to provide farmers with third-party data about those characteristics.

“As SCN appears to become more virulent, or able to overcome and reproduce on sources of SCN resistance for soybeans, farmers need specific data to select the best varieties to manage SCN in different fields,” says Horacio Lopez-Nicora, assistant professor of soybean pathology and nematology at Ohio State University. “We are screening both SCN populations and soybean varieties to provide Ohio farmers that information.”… Continue reading

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Improving seed germination

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers struggle to get their crops and seeds planted to germinate quickly.  When seeds are dormant, they wait for just the right conditions before germinating.  Often environmental stresses like not enough moisture (drought) or lack of oxygen make seeds wait until conditions improve. Seeds have a built-in mechanism that prevents them from germinating too soon.  This cautious seed germination approach also tends to hurt plant yields, because plants get off to a late start. 

Dr. Brad Binder, University of Tennessee has been working with various plant seeds and the plant hormone ethylene to study seed germination.  Ethylene increases seed germination, increases leaf growth, and root growth early in a plant’s life.  When applied later in the growing season, ethylene causes plants to mature quicker (senescence) or die off and it promotes fruit ripening.  Dr. Binder exposed tomato, cucumber, and wheat seeds to ethylene in the dark just like when seeds are planted and found that when the seeds started growing and were exposed to sunlight, the plants where taller, had larger leaves, more robust roots, and grew much better.… Continue reading

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The journey from moldboard to Outstanding No-Till Farmer

By Matt Reese

The switch from potatoes and dairy production on Ted Logan’s Morrow County farm to no-till and cover crops has been a radical change — especially for the clay loam soil on the gently rolling fields.

“Up until about 15 years ago, we milked cows and were a commercial potato operation. Potatoes require moldboard plowing every 3 years. Then we switched to basically no-till corn and soybeans for the labor savings and got out of the potato and dairy operation,” Logan said. ”Since then, the soil has completely changed. When you till it frequently like we used to do, the soil just gets very hard. The organic matter levels were down to 1% or lower and it was just very difficult to have any kind of mellowness to the soil. Organic matter is up to 3.5% to 4% now. I feel that can tide you over in the dry times and the soil is so — resilient — is the best word I can use.”… Continue reading

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It’s time for the 2024 Winter Agronomy Meetings in Ohio

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Check-off, Adapted from C.O.R.N 2023-42 and 2024-1

With the turning of the calendar and snow on the ground it is a sure sign that agriculture has moved into the next season.  Some call it the winter season; others call it Agronomy Meeting Season.

The first statewide meeting in Ohio this year is a virtual opportunity for farmers. Battle for the Belt: Corn vs. Soybean- Virtual Corn College and Soybean School is quickly approaching. The 4th annual virtual Corn College & Soybean School will be held on Friday, February 2. The webinar will begin at 9:00 a.m. and finish at 4:00 p.m.

Speakers include OSU Extension state specialists. The first-year results of “The Battle For The Belt: Corn vs. Soybean” will be presented, including 2023 growing season results. This research project addresses which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting, adjusting management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting, and how insects, diseases, and weeds are affected by planting date.… Continue reading

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Help shape the future of eFields with survey participation

By Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

The eFields team is looking for farmers, consultants, and other individuals to participate in study to evaluate the impact of the Ohio State University eFields program and assist us with making improvements. Completing the survey will take less than 15 minutes and is accessible on-line at You will have until March 1, 2024 to complete the survey.

Completing the survey will constitute your consent to participate in the study. Questions about the survey or its use should be directed to Elizabeth Hawkins at… Continue reading

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Big yield record set in National Corn Yield Contest

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the winners of the 2023 National Corn Yield Contest. This group of farmers put up some impressive yields and proved, once again, the ingenuity and resiliency of the U.S. farmer.  

In its 59th year, the National Corn Yield Contest saw nearly 7,000 entries from farmers in 46 states. Entrants across the 10 production categories, including the pilot category for nitrogen management, Class J, had verified yields averaging 269 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 173 bushels per acre. This includes a new national record yield of 623.8439 bushels per acre from David Hula in Charles City, VA, besting the previous record of 616.1953 bushels per acre.  

“Year after year, the National Corn Yield Contest remains the most popular program for NCGA members,” said Harold Wolle, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “It is an opportunity for farmers across the country to put their skills to the test and show the true craftmanship it takes to grow a successful corn crop, and the agronomic data generated by the contest each year helps provide valuable information for future success.”… Continue reading

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EPA reinstates Chlorpyrifos for crops

By ASA eBean News and Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced its decision to restore the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on crops, including soybeans, following a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The court found that EPA unlawfully revoked tolerances, ending use of the insecticide in 2021. Chlorpyrifos, which is the active ingredient in the brand name of products such as Lorsban and Warhawk, is an organophosphate (Group 1B) insecticide that has been used for many important field crop pests in the United States.

“U.S. soybean growers welcome the announcement that chlorpyrifos tolerances and uses will be restored, and EPA will commit to a science-based review of the pesticide, as ordered by the Eighth Circuit Court. EPA’s own science has repeatedly found there are at least 11 high-benefit, safe uses of chlorpyrifos, including for soybeans—a fact of which we will continue to remind the agency throughout this process,” said Alan Meadows, A soybean farmer from Tennessee. … Continue reading

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Soybean Supply Chains and the Panama and Suez Canals

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

Each year the Soy Transportation Coalition holds one of their board meetings at a key supply chain location so that the farmer/board members can see first-hand some parts of the supply chain. Those key parts may include ports, or rail facilities, or inland waterway systems, or most recently, the Panama Canal. 

“There are some key parts of the soybean supply chain that are consequential to the farmer’s profitability,” said Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “In order to be an advocate, you need to understand it first.” 

The visit to the Panama Canal was eye-opening for many attendees. 

“Last year 600 million bushels of soybeans transited the Panama Canal in route to important customers in Asia,” Steenhoek said. “Board members visited the Panama Canal both on the Pacific and Atlantic side, as well as getting a briefing from the Panama Canal Authority.… Continue reading

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Winter weather dictates sweet rewards from the sugarbush

By Matt Reese

In a true blend of technology and tradition, Ohio typically ranks 4th or 5th nationally in maple syrup production, with Geauga County leading the way. The whims of increasingly unpredictable winter weather will set the stage for the 2024 maple syrup production season now underway in Ohio.

The 2023 season had its share of ups and downs for maple syrup producers around the state, who are increasingly tapping based on the specifics of the weather and not the traditional calendar. Ohio’s maple syrup season typically runs from January through March.

“I think everyone would agree the 2023 maple season was anything but normal. It started with a fierce snowstorm in late December and ended with a chaotic mixture of warm and cold days. If you are an Ohio maple syrup producer, how your season went seems to be a matter of location, location, location,” said Les Ober, Ohio State University Extension educator in Geauga County.… Continue reading

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Answering questions with early-stage soy-based materials research

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

“Can we do this?” The formation of Airable Research Lab was the result of Barry McGraw, founder and CLO of Airable asking that question. McGraw, a graduate of Shawnee State University with a plastics engineering degree, first became acquainted with soy-based materials product research when he worked for Battelle in their advanced materials group. Battelle is a global research and development organization in Columbus. McGraw started working on projects for the Ohio Soybean Council while he was at Battelle and that is where his interest in soy was born. “I became really interested agriculture and the different functionality of soy and bio-based products and what it could bring to the market. I learned more about the growth opportunities and challenges of that market. Petroleum kind of dominates it, but bio-based/soy-based solutions can penetrate the market and are making an impact”, said McGraw.… Continue reading

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OCJ-Corn-to-go January 2024

Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension Field Specialist, or 567-376-4019
Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist, or 740-956-5047

Making sense of statistics
By Stephanie Karhoff

With harvest in the rearview mirror, it is time to evaluate yield differences and decide what products or practices worked, and more importantly, what did not work in 2023. So, how do we identify what significantly impacted yield or economic return? Proper use of experimental design and statistics allow us to isolate noise or environmental variation and determine if yield differences are real. Or, in other words, how probable is it that we will get these same results again?

The first step in evaluating yield is to verify that results are from replicated and randomized field trials. Why does this matter? In just one field, there can be a wide range of environmental conditions like soil type or topography. Without replication, it is impossible to know whether a yield difference was due to the treatment you applied or some other factor like disease pressure, varying fertility levels, or differences in management history.… Continue reading

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Virtual Corn College & Soybean School Feb. 2

The fourth annual virtual Corn College & Soybean School will be on Friday, Feb. 2. The webinar will begin at 9 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m. Speakers include OSU Extension state specialists.

The first-year results of “The Battle For The Belt: Corn vs. Soybean” will be presented, including 2023 growing season results. This research project addresses which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting, adjusting management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting, and how insects, diseases, and weeds are affected by planting date. The field experiment included three locations, Clark County, Wood County, and Wayne County with five planting dates for both crops. Updates from the state climatologist, soil specialist, and weeds specialists will be included in this webinar. The CCA CEUs will be available during the live presentation. Please register no later than Feb. 1 at noon. Register with the following website… Continue reading

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Dynamic growing in controlled environment agriculture

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

We’re all looking for technologies that can help us do things smarter, and that includes growing crops in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) systems. Whether cultivated in a greenhouse or an indoor farm, different plants need different conditions at various growth stages for optimal growth and development. Managing the variations in lighting, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2), and fertilizer needed for each species or cultivar can be daunting. Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) is helping growers to monitor conditions for different plant zones and to provide more precise control of inputs.

The use of dynamic lighting illustrates the potential for this technology. With dynamic lighting, the light intensity can be modulated based on crop needs as well as changing environmental conditions, such as day length and fluctuations in natural light levels. In addition, the light spectrum can be adjusted to fine tune growth, nutritional quality, and taste.… Continue reading

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Airable Lab, researching for future soybean demand

Barry McGraw, founder and CLO of Airable Research Lab joins Dusty for the first podcast of 2024. They discuss the idea behind this one-of-a-kind research facility housed at Ohio Wesleyan University and funded by Ohio Soybean Farmer’s Check-off.  Airable provides early-stage soy-based materials research and is responsible for a number of new soy-based products and patents.… Continue reading

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The 2023 eFields Report is available now

By Elizabeth Hawkins and John Fulton

The 2023 eFields report is available. Each year, Ohio State University Extension partners with Ohio farmers to bring local research results to you through the eFields program. These results are summarized and published by the OSU Digital Ag Team in the eFields Report. The 2023 eFields Research Report highlights 184 on-farm, field-scale trials conducted in 47 Ohio counties. Research topics for the 2023 report includes nutrient management, precision crop management, cover crops, technology and forages. Other information about crop production budgets, planting progress, farm safety, and farm business analysis are also included.

The 2023 report is now available in both a print and e-version. To receive a printed copy, contact your local OSU Extension office or email The e-version can be viewed and downloaded at with the online version readable using a smartphone or tablet device.

We would like to sincerely thank all our 2023 collaborating farms and industry partners.… Continue reading

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ODA Extends H2Ohio Enrollment Deadline

Producers have until February 2, 2024, to sign up for incentives

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced today it will extend the enrollment deadline for H2Ohio producers in the 14 counties of the Maumee River Watershed.

Due to a considerable amount of interest during the current signup period, farmers now have until Feb. 2, 2024, to enroll.

Producers in the active signup area are eligible to enroll new acres or re-enroll acres into H2Ohio and earn incentives for implementing best management practices that are scientifically proven to improve water quality. Eligible counties include Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Hardin, Hancock, Lucas, Mercer, Putnam, Paulding, Van Wert, Williams, and Wood.

For more information about H2Ohio or the extended enrollment deadline, please contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.

H2Ohio is Governor DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term.… Continue reading

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