Cover crop weed control

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

A new study by Purdue University, Dr. Bill Johnson shows the benefits of cover crops for weed control.  Cover crops are known to control grasses and marestail, but Dr. Johnson wanted to document other weed control benefits.  For example, can you control weeds with out residual herbicides?  What other weeds do cover crops control? 

Dr. Johnson found residual herbicides may not be needed if crop residue is high enough to suppress marestail and annual grasses weeds.  For other broadleaf weeds, the cover crop residue was not enough to suppress broadleaf weeds. The cover crops plus residual herbicides were 100% effective at controlling weeds in his trials.  Cocklebur was a problem weed which required the full rate of herbicide plus the cover crop residue to control it.

Dr. Johnson discovered several other important weed facts about cover crops.  Planting green or planting soybeans into cereal rye later had a much higher success rate than terminating the cover crop early. … Continue reading

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USDA announces $29 million to increase American-made fertilizer production

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at Commodity Classic in Orlando that the Department received $3 billion in applications from more than 350 independent businesses from 47 states and 2 territories for the first two rounds of a new grant program to add innovative domestic fertilizer production capacity.

USDA also announced the first $29 million in grant offers under the first round that focused on projects that can come online in the near term. The grants will help independent businesses increase production of American-made fertilizer, which will spur competition, give U.S. farmers more choices and fairer prices and reduce dependence on unreliable foreign sources like Russia and Belarus. Vilsack made the announcement at the 2023 Commodity Classic, the same event where he first unveiled the program a year earlier.

“I know that increased costs for fertilizer and other inputs have put a strain on farmers and cut into the bottom line,” Vilsack said.… Continue reading

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Seiler named National Conservation Legacy Award winner

Les Seiler from Fayette in Fulton County was named the National Conservation Legacy Award winner at the annual American Soybean Association Awards Celebration event during Commodity Classic on March 10, 2023. 

At the event, four regional winners were recognized in the extremely competitive program and Seiler was announced as the overall national winner. The National Conservation Legacy Award is designed to recognize the outstanding environmental and conservation achievements of soybean farmers, which help produce more sustainable U.S. soybeans. A national selection committee, composed of soybean farmers, conservationists, agronomists and natural resource professionals, evaluated nominations based on each farmer’s environmental and economic program. The program is sponsored by ASA, BASF, Bayer, Nutrien, the United Soybean Board/Soy Checkoff and Valent USA.

Seiler Farms is part of the Western Lake Erie Basin, where Les and his brother, Jerry, have implemented a suite of farming practices to help mitigate soil loss and maximize soil health.… Continue reading

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U.S. soy’s well-earned reputation for sustainability

By Kerrey Kerr-Enskat

U.S. soybean farmers are widely recognized for their innovative solutions to the challenge of a changing climate. Through their commitment to sustainable agriculture, they are managing to produce more with fewer resources while at the same time supporting a healthy society and preserving the planet. As a result, U.S. Soy has the lowest carbon footprint, including land use change, compared with soy of other origins(1).

This progress is being recognized globally, with an increasing number of food companies adopting the Sustainable U.S. Soy (SUSS) label as they shift procurement towards more sustainable supply chains. The SUSS logo is currently featured on more than 1,000 SKUs from 70 companies across the Americas, Greater China, Northeast Asia, and Southeast Asia.

We saw a great example of this in late 2022 when Ichiban soymilk started featuring the Sustainable U.S. Soy logo served on non-stop Vietnam Airlines flights from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco.… Continue reading

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Is drainage water recycling for you?

By Vinayak Shedekar and Elizabeth Schwab, The Ohio State University

The February issue of Ohio’s Country Journal featured an article by Greg LaBarge on “What is drainage water recycling?” ( I decided to continue this conversation, especially for those who may have started wondering what it would take to implement drainage water recycling (DWR) and irrigation for field crops. Let’s try and address some additional questions on DWR. 

What sites are suitable for drainage water recycling? The short answer is: a site that can benefit from both improved drainage and supplemental irrigation. If you know how to access the USDA-NRCS’s Web Soil Survey, you can look up the suitability of the field’s soils for drainage as well as irrigation. The surface topography and the layout of the field’s subsurface drainage system will play an important role in deciding the location of the storage pond, as well as the appropriate irrigation method (subirrigation versus overhead or drip). … Continue reading

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Drones for spraying pesticides

By Erdal Ozkan, Ohio State University Extension

Traditionally, aerial spraying of pesticides has been done using conventional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters with a pilot onboard. However, this is changing. Small, remotely piloted aircraft are being used to apply pesticides around the world, especially in Southeast Asia. For example, about 30% of all agricultural spraying in South Korea, and about 40% of Japan’s rice crop, is sprayed using drones. In contrast, drone spraying is in its infancy in the United States, but interest in this technology from pesticide applicators is steadily increasing.

A variety of names and the acronyms are associated with remotely piloted aircraft. Most used ones are: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). However, the name used most commonly by the general public is “drone.” Drones entered the agriculture scene initially for non-spraying applications, such as crop and field-condition data collection to increase profitability in crop production. Drones successfully and effectively monitor plant growth by collecting and delivering real-time data from the moment of plant emergence to harvest.… Continue reading

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Take action on managing pest resistance

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

We all must pay more attention to pest resistance in our chemical control choices. Whether it is natural selection, genetic shifts, or enhanced metabolism, certain weeds, insects, and disease species are becoming more challenging to control. There are several things to consider in pest control to keep the wide range of pest control options on your farm.

Mixing and matching the application timing and site of action of our pesticide options is one important way to limit pesticide resistance. The website has several resources to understand how to mix pesticide products with different modes of action into your applications. Charts list available herbicide, insecticide, and fungicide products with branded premix formulations.

Corn hybrids with insect resistance traits are widely available. Resistant to some traits are found in certain insect species. Many traits are available and packaged in several combinations under different brand names.… Continue reading

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Which crop should be planted first?

Battle for the Belt: Which crop should be planted first, corn or soybean?

By Dr. Laura Lindsey and Dr. Osler Ortez, OSU Extension, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-05

  • Which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting?
  • Can we adjust management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting?
  • How are insects, diseases, weeds, and other factors affected by planting date?

We will address these questions (and more!) weekly during the growing season with a series of short videos. Watch Episode 1 here:

To stay up-to-date on this project, make sure to subscribe to the CORN newsletter (, subscribe to our YouTube channel (, or follow us on Twitter (@stepupsoy, @OrtezCornCrops).

For both soybean and corn, earlier planting is promoted to maximize yield. However, Ohio has a trend toward a lower number of suitable fieldwork days. With non-favorable weather, the planting date window is often short and disconnected.… Continue reading

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Corn planting dates

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

For much of the Eastern Corn Belt it is widely understood that the optimal planting period is between April 20th and May 10th. Research has proven that corn loses yield potential daily when planted after the beginning of May. For the Central Corn Belt, the declines in yield potential due to planting delays vary from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May (Nielsen, 2013). Knowing that this is true, it can be frustrating during a wet spring or when field work is delayed for one reason or another. Planting is a critical component of a successful crop as it sets the stage for the entire growing season. However, it is important to keep in mind that early planting is just one of many factors that contribute to high yield potential. Planting early favors high yields, but it does not guarantee them and growers should not focus entirely on the calendar.… Continue reading

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Weed control in wheat

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Scouting wheat for potential weed issues is important to avoid yield loss or harvesting problems. When identifying a weed issue that requires a herbicide treatment, it is essential to apply herbicides at the correct stage of small grain growth to avoid crop injury. Making weed control decisions before or during Feekes 5.0 provides the greatest range of herbicide options. As wheat advances past jointing (Feekes 6.0) and approaches the boot stage, herbicide choices become limited. Most herbicides can be applied in UAN when the small grains are topdressed. However, applying herbicide in UAN can increase crop injury somewhat, and some labels recommend adjusting surfactant rates to minimize damage.

A few species to look for include.

  • Wild garlic can contaminate harvested grain if the grain table picks up the aerial bulblets. Several herbicides are effective if applied in the spring after the garlic has several inches of new growth.
Continue reading

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Survey to create a Soybean Management Systems App

By Dr.Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension State Soybean Specialist, adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-05

Researchers want to help you grow more profitable soybeans through the power of data science. The concept is to use data-driven knowledge to make profitable soybean management decisions in a systems approach. Soybean agronomists are developing an app to help make those decisions in real time. The more farmer data collected, the more accurate the tool will be. (And…the more data we have from Ohio, the more applicable the tool will be to our state!) The app will allow growers to drop a pin in a field, enter input variables, and receive crop management decision help directly and through online scouting tools such as Sporecaster and Tarspotter.

This is what we are asking from you:

Continue reading

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Tips on N for wheat

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Nitrogen is the highest variable cost line in the 2023 wheat production budget. In addition, it is an important variable in yield, lodging, and grain quality. Spring N fertilizer should be applied between green-up (Feekes 3-4) and the beginning of stem elongation or jointing (Feekes 5-6). Here are a few things to consider in determining your wheat topdress N rate.  

Ohio wheat N rate recommendations appear in the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations. Bulletin 974 (2020) is yield potential based. Table 1 shows N rate recommendations. These recommendations are for mineral soils with adequate drainage and 1% to 5% organic matter. Another important note is that the N rates in Table 1 are the total N applied. Therefore, if you used fall N, subtract that nitrogen from the Table 1 rate.

Using manure as a nitrogen source is a great opportunity considering current nitrogen prices. Lodging from excess N is a genuine concern when using manure in wheat.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Podcast, Episode 3-1-2023, Dr. Horacio Lopez-Nicora and Dr. Mitch Roth

Soybean research does not happen in a vacuum. Often times it is interdisciplinary. On this episode of the OFL Podcast we will visit with Dr. Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Soybean Pathologist and Nematologist, and Dr. Mitch Roth, Molecular Mycologist. Both these gentlemen work for Ohio Soybean Farmers working to try to improve the health of Ohio’s Soybean Crop. They analyze soybean pathogens from the genetic level all the way up to the field level to help farmers make better management decisions.… Continue reading

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Corn growers respond to delayed implementation for year round E15

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the implementation of a plan from eight Midwest governors to require lower-volatility gasoline in their states aimed at ensuring drivers in those states continue to have year-round access to fuel with 15% ethanol. However, EPA proposed to delay implementation until 2024. 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was one of the governors behind the plan. The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association supported the governors’ plan and expressed disappointment over the one-year delay in implementation and the market uncertainty the delay creates for E15 in 2023.

“Governor DeWine took action to ensure Ohioans could maintain access to low-cost, low-emissions E15,” said John Settlemyre, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association president. “With EPA’s proposed delay, Ohioans could lose access to E15 this summer, removing the opportunity to save drivers money. We urge EPA to prevent that disruption and we thank Governor DeWine for his support on this important issue.” … Continue reading

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Ohio Corn & Wheat celebrates, calls for action

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Ag Net

The annual Celebration of Ohio Corn & Wheat was held in Bucyrus, Ohio, on Feb. 23, 2023, to recognize the accomplishments of the organization, and the corn and wheat growers who are a part of it. The event was attended by approximately 200 growers and industry guests from all over the state. 

Executive director Tadd Nicholson recognized state Wheat Yield Contest winner Dave Lutz with association board president John Settlemyre.

Some notable award recipients included the State Wheat Yield Contest winner Dave Lutz and State Runner-Up Kent Edwards; State Corn Yield Contest winner Cory Atley and State Runner-Up Carl Atley; and scholarship winners Jacob King, Bryce Bennett, Dalton Mullins, Abigail Paxton, Matthew Gusset, Molly Hafer, Kiley Holbrook, Emerson Trapp, Carley Miller, and Tim Sullivan. 

The Celebration of Ohio Corn & Wheat is one of the ways the organization is able to publicly recognize the people who work hard every day for Ohio agriculture and look to the future.… Continue reading

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Fungicide effects on microbes

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As Spring approaches, farmers may be considering applying fungicides to wheat, corn, and soybeans.  Fungicides are used to terminate fungus. Beneficial soil fungus like Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus (AMF) are hurt by some fungicide applications, but not all. Some fungicides (Apron, Aliette, Ridomil, Metalaxyl) stimulate some AMF to grow better by terminating pathogenic fungus that compete with AMF.  Here are some general tips about fungicide use and AMF.   

In general, foliar applications of non-systemic fungicides to leaves and stems have much less impact on AMF which live around the roots. Non-systematic means the fungicide is not as mobile in the plant or soil or generally as long-lasting. Some fungicide can wash off the plant, but the soil organic matter and diluted spray tends to have minor effects on AMF long-term. Any effect is usually short term because the AMF can regenerate. 

Soil drench applications of non-systemic fungicides are detrimental to AMF if applied before root colonization takes place.… Continue reading

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CTC (with yield champion David Hula) coming soon

By Mark Badertscher and Randall Reeder

The Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference (CTC) will be held in- person March 14-15 at Ohio Northern University in Ada. The first day of this year’s conference will feature David Hula, four-time winner of the National Corn Growers Association Yield Contest and current record holder at 616 bushels per acre – all accomplished with no-till and strip-till. His presentation has been made possible by sponsors Brandt Professional Agriculture, Calmer Corn Heads, Pioneer Seeds, and Meristem Crop Performance.

Connect with other farmers and CCAs, experience new ideas, and increase your net income. Historically over 800 individuals will attend each day of this two-day conference, making it the largest agricultural meeting in northwestern Ohio.  

The meeting and program have been developed by The Ohio State University Extension Specialists along with Agriculture and Natural Resources Educators in local counties with assistance from local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.… Continue reading

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Spring nitrogen and wheat

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

Application timing and amount are key factors in achieving high winter wheat yields. While the amount of N required in the fall is relatively small, it is critical to promoting early development and tillering. With spring weather around the corner, winter wheat producers will be gearing up for spring topdress of their wheat crop. Timing and rates are critical in the spring as to maintain the high yield potential of winter wheat varieties.

Spring applications of N should be made after the plants break dormancy. Although in some situations field conditions may be favorable, nitrogen applied in the late winter before plants have broken dormancy is more likely to be lost before plants can utilize it. Spring N applications should not be made before wheat has broken dormancy and begins to green up. The University of Kentucky publication “A Comprehensive Guide to Wheat Management in Kentucky” recommends: “When making a single N fertilizer application the best time is when the crop growth stage is Feekes 4-5, (Zadoks 30, usually mid-March) just before the first joint appears on the main stem and when wheat starts growing rapidly.”… Continue reading

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Upcoming soybean research

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

In agriculture, the year is broken down into seasons. There is the planting season, the growing season, the harvest season, and winter meeting season. When it comes to agronomic research, they also have seasons. These include the planning season, the meeting season and the research season. Planning and research occurs all year long. Research goes on during the growing season, (and beyond in the laboratory). Meeting season occurs in the winter, as well as summer field days.

“When planning research, we try to move from the root upward,” said Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Plant Pathologist and Nematologist at The Ohio State University. “Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) will continue to be an important part of our research. We are looking at different seed treatments. We are also looking at different sources of resistance that can be effective at managing the sources of SCN resistance.”… Continue reading

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Casey named CEO of NCGA

Neil Caskey, a long-time professional in the agricultural arena, has been tapped to lead the National Corn Growers Association as its new CEO, according to the organization’s board of directors. Caskey will assume the role on Monday, Feb. 27.

NCGA board members say they are pleased to name someone of Caskey’s caliber to the top job.

“Neil’s experience in agriculture is extensive, and he is well known as someone who gets the job done well,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “The board and I are certain that Neil will usher in new ideas and take the organization to new heights.” 

Caskey has served as NCGA’s vice president of communications and industry relations for over four years and spent over a decade promoting agricultural issues as executive vice president at OBP Agency, a leading advertising and public relations firm. His professional background also includes work for the American Soybean Association and as a legislative aide for a U.S.… Continue reading

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