Soy protein blocks LDL cholesterol

By Sharita Forrest University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

A protein in soybeans blocks production of a liver enzyme involved in the metabolism of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein, scientists found in a recent study.

Consuming soy flour rich in the protein B-conglycinin has the potential to reduce low-density lipoprotein – LDL – cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of metabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis and fatty liver disease, said Elvira de Mejia, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Scientists have long known of soybeans’ cholesterol-reducing properties and lipid-regulating effects. Researchers in the recent project at the University of Illinois investigated two soy proteins thought to be responsible for the outcomes – glycinin and B-conglycinin. They found the latter to be particularly significant.

“Soybeans’ effects on cholesterol metabolism are associated with their protein concentrations and composition,” de Mejia said. “They’re also associated with peptides embedded in them that are released during gastrointestinal digestion.”… Continue reading

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Hot topics in grain crops

By Ed Lentz, Ohio State University Extension

The Ohio State University Extension Hancock County office will be offering its Hot Topics in Grain Crops Series over three evenings in February and March at the Hancock County Agricultural Service Center, 7868 CR 140, Findlay, OH 45840. Each meeting will cover one specific crop — wheat, corn, and soybean. Local research results and a discussion on upcoming production issues will be presented at the meeting. There will also be a Question-and-Answer period to address any issue concerning that crop which was not part of the presentation. The programs will be led by Edwin Lentz, who has a doctorate in Crop Management and Physiology and has been providing agronomic expertise to Ohio farmers for over 30 years. Programs are free but please register by calling the Hancock County Extension office, 419-422-3851 or email at least one day before the program. Program details are given below:

  • Hot Topics in Corn Production.
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Solutions for actively managing SCN go beyond genetics

By The SCN Coalition

“Don’t ever let politics or pessimism deter you from producing novel and bold strategies,” said Ed Anderson, executive director of the North Central Soybean Research Program, to kickoff the 2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference. Those presenting at the conference have clearly embraced that mission.

A hot topic at the event was a new genetic tool for managing soybean cyst nematode (SCN) that’s expected to hit the market late this decade.

“The new Bt SCN resistance trait developed by BASF will slow the rate of increasing yield loss, but it alone won’t fix the problem,” said Greg Tylka, nematologist at Iowa State University and a leader of The SCN Coalition. The mounting economic toll of parasitic nematodes must not be met with complacency. Barring the unexpected development of a silver bullet, an active, multipronged defense against SCN will be needed.

SCN is a mounting economic threat

SCN currently costs farmers 5.5 bushels an acre, equating to roughly $1.5 billion in yield loss each year, estimates Mike McCarville, trait development manager at BASF.… Continue reading

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Upcoming conservation tillage events

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired), Ohio State University

Farmers interested in increasing their corn yields by 20 or 30 bu/acre will want to learn from David Hula of Charles City, VA. He has won the yield contest 4 times, and has the current record of 616 bushels per acre.

He will share major points about maximizing yield during the General Session, starting at 8:30 a.m., March 14. Then he will answer your questions for 2 hours after lunch. David assures us that he keeps no secrets; he shares his practices, including what has not worked and what works best. He will answer your questions honestly.

We could not have brought David Hula to CTC without major support from Calmer Corn Heads, Brandt Products, Meristem, and Pioneer.

Starting at 10:00 a.m., the conference breaks into 4 concurrent sessions. On Day 2, there are also 4 concurrent sessions, from 8:30 to ~4:30.… Continue reading

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Importance of uniform corn emergence

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

Two aspects of stand establishment often discussed by agronomists are emergence and seed spacing. “Picket fence” spacing in corn helps plants grow efficiently and minimizes competition between them. Uniform spacing is an important part of stand establishment. More importantly, however, is uniform emergence. Plants that are just 1 leaf collar behind (due to uneven emergence) significantly reduce yield. According to Paul Jasa, University of Nebraska Extension ag engineer, “When a plant develops ahead of its neighbor, it hurts yield dramatically. It’s going to vary somewhat from year to year, but a plant lagging behind those around it becomes a weed.” To achieve uniform emergence, consistent planting depth is critical.

Field conditions, gauge wheel settings, unit down pressure, and planter speed all affect seeding depth. Set planter depth and check it regularly. A planter may have enough weight to apply the proper down force when full, but what about when it’s almost empty?… Continue reading

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Soybean Defoliation Assessment

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

Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of Soybeans. The amount of leaf surface area to absorb sunlight is an important factor in a soybean crop reaching its yield potential. Soybeans do a remarkable job compensating for reduced leaf tissue.  Regardless if it is from insect feeding or hail damage, a soybean’s ability to compensate should not be underestimated.  

The potential of defoliation from hail damage cannot be avoided. The ability to reduce leaf defoliation from insect feeding is possible, and it is an important management decision. The decision to treat soybeans increases the cost of production and may slightly reduce the yield depending on the time of application and equipment used.  It is important to consider the growth stage of the soybeans as well as level of defoliation when determining if a treatment should be made.… Continue reading

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CRP signup 2023

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can begin applying for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General signup starting Feb. 27 through April 7, 2023. CRP is a cornerstone voluntary conservation program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a key tool in the Biden-Harris administration’s effort to address climate change and help agricultural communities invest in the long-term well-being of their land and natural resources.  

“The Conservation Reserve Program is one of the largest private lands conservation programs in the United States, offering a range of conservation options to farmers, ranchers and landowners,” Vilsack said. “CRP has and continues to be a great fit for farmers with less productive or marginal cropland, helping them re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and support wildlife habitat. Under this administration, we have made several updates to the program to increase producer interest and enrollment, strengthen the climate benefits of the program and help ensure underserved producers can find a pathway to entry into CRP.”  … Continue reading

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Controlling slugs and voles in cover crops

Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-04, By Paige Garrabrant and Rachel Cochran, OSU Extension Water Quality

The OSU Extension’s Water Quality Team launched their annual webinar series with a two-part webinar on cover crops. The team works closely with producers throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin to implement practices that not only improve growers’ operational efficiencies and profitability, but also to promote soil health and reduce nutrient and sediment loss. Several producers that the team works with have requested more education specifically on cover crops.

The webinar last week focused on cover crops with a handful of different speakers. Tim Reinbott, Director of Field Operations at the University of Missouri’s Agricultural Research Stations, provided listeners with some insight and advice on controlling slugs and voles, which are common in no-till and reduced-till situations. His goal is to help growers control pests while maintaining progress they have made toward conservation. It is no surprise that the benefits of reduced tillage cannot outweigh the loss of crops that results from a devastating slug or vole infestation.… Continue reading

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Agave program to enhance sustainability of energy markets

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

Brazil is frequently in the media spotlight to illustrate arguments on environmental issues and policies. The news often comes across as a set of bitter comments on weak institutions or the country’s inability to monitor and safeguard its forests. I put this conversation aside and invite the interested reader to focus on a positive analysis regarding energy supply and sustainable alternatives.

Applied economists, myself included, have published articles describing the history that led Brazil to hold one of the most sustainable energy mixes in the world. Despite challenges in revamping outdated macroeconomic policies and reducing the involvement of the central government in market matters in the past, citizens of the country today consume electricity that is 92% renewable. Hydroelectric plants have led the generation capacity charts since the 1980s, while more recently, windmills and biomass-based plants have increased their participation.… Continue reading

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Warm winter weather and wheat

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Across Ohio, the average air temperature was 8 to 10 degrees F warmer in January through Feb. 12. Due to these warmer winter temperatures, wheat may appear greener than usual and also raises the question, “Will the vernalization requirement be met?”

Winter wheat has molecular regulation preventing the transition to reproductive growth until a certain threshold of cold days has been reached. This regulation is called “vernalization.” In winter wheat, the vernalization period protects plants from breaking dormancy too early. The vernalization requirement varies among wheat cultivars and is temperature and day length dependent. In a study conducted on one winter wheat cultivar, it took 40 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 52 degrees F while it took 70 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 34 degrees F. Temperatures above 64 degrees F were ineffective for vernalization. Although winter wheat is green and the winter temperatures have been above average, the vernalization requirement will be met.… Continue reading

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Cover crops: Good and bad

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers seem to either lover or hate cover crops.  Cover crops have many benefits, but they may be hard to see immediately.  First the bad or difficult things about cover crops will be discussed followed by the benefits.

Cover crops cost money for seed, planting, and sometimes termination.  It takes more knowledge and experience to plant cover crops and to use it with no-till (school of hard knocks), so its risky at first.  The timeliness factor, getting cover crops planted on time and established is difficult.  Herbicide carryover can be an issue and sometimes it requires different equipment (no-till, sprayers, spreaders) although less or no tillage equipment if used in a no-till system. 

Then there are the pests (slugs, voles, cutworms) that love a good feast.  Cover crop residue may have an allelopathic or negative growing effect on the grain crop.  It can be difficult to plant timely if soils stay cold and wet (sounds like a compaction problem) and sometimes planting is delayed and soil get hard and dry. … Continue reading

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Planting depth critical to high yields

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

Planting is one of the most critical management practices of the year because it sets the stage for the entire growing season. There are several key aspects of planting, one of which is planting depth. Invariably, every year Seed Consultants’ agronomists come across problems that are caused by variable and improper planting depth. Planting depth is critical because it impacts germination, seedling development, crop root development, emergence, and ultimately crop yields.

For corn, seed needs to be planted no shallower than 1.5 inches below the soil surface. Typically, the suggested range is 1.5 to 2 inches, however, some studies and growers have seen success at depths up to 3 inches. It is important to make sure that corn is planted into adequate soil moisture for germination. In addition, corn needs to be at least 1.5 inches deep for the proper early development the root system.… Continue reading

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NCGA submits comments to EPA on renewable fuels

Higher renewable fuel volumes over the next three years would go a long way in improving energy security, lowering gas prices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to recent comments the National Corn Growers Association submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, requires that U.S. transportation fuel contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel each year. NCGA’s comments were in response to EPA’s proposed volume requirements for 2023, 2024 and 2025.

“NCGA supports EPA’s proposal of annual increases in volumes, including an implied conventional biofuel volume of 15.25 billion gallons, and recognition that ethanol plays a critical role in cutting GHG emissions and our energy security,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “With continued pressure on energy security and costs, and the need to accelerate GHG emission reductions, however, biofuels can contribute even more. We ask EPA to continue working with us on complementary policies to advance higher ethanol blends, enabling ethanol to do more to cut emissions and costs.”… Continue reading

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SCN management and seed protection

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

With the increased price of soybean seed in recent years, the discussion about planting “naked seed” or cutting back some component of the seed treatment to lower the cost has become more common among soybean growers. The risk of this decision is if the wrong treatment is removed, the plant is at greater risk depending on the environment. “One area of my research is evaluating soybean seed treatments and evaluating different environments with a combination of different pathogens,” said Lopez-Nicora. “We have a complex of pathogens that can interact synergistically and cause more damage to the plant.  Researching SCN is an objective of my program, but also other organisms that are threatening our soybeans and how they interact with these different pathogens.”

“We know that soybean cyst nematode management is not just the use of one tool, but the integration of multiple management tools,” said Horacio Lopez-Nicora, OSU Extension Soybean Pathologist and Nematologist.… Continue reading

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Reduced ethanol demand leads to higher corn ending stocks

By Krista Swanson, the lead economist for the National Corn Growers Association.

Projected corn ethanol use for the 2022/23 marketing year declined by 25 million bushels from last month, according to this week’s UDSA World Agriculture Supply & Demand Estimates report. As the only change on the supply or demand side of the corn balance sheet, it resulted in a corresponding increase of 25 million bushels in projected corn ending stocks for the current marketing year.

Despite a return to the post-COVID normal in 2022, fuel ethanol produced using corn trailed the years leading up to the 2020 COVID disruptions. From 2017 to 2019, the average annual fuel ethanol production was 15.9 billion gallons, calculated using data from the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA). After dropping to 13.9 billion gallons in 2020 and recovering to 15.0 billion gallons in 2021, production in 2022 was 15.4 billion gallons. This is 88% of the 17.4 billion gallon per year total of U.S.… Continue reading

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Soybean Cyst Nematode Management Research (Part 2)

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

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is the leading yield robber of soybeans in Ohio and across the nation. The challenge to SCN detection is that there are no above ground symptoms. “When we do our research, we always have different varieties and sources of resistance, and we go and we measure anything we can from these plants; height, branching, intensity of the color of the foliage,” said Lopez-Nicora. “We absolutely do not see any above ground symptomology when we have SCN. The nematode is reducing yield without any above ground symptoms.”

Lopez-Nicora reminds farmers to ask themselves if they know if they have SCN. “If the answer is no, then they should sample their fields for SCN to know if they have it or not. They should try to answer that question with data,” said Lopez-Nicora.… Continue reading

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Increasing Soybean Yields

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

There are an estimated 275,000 different plant species on earth.  Each contain thousands of unique chemical compounds, however, each individual plant with its own unique genetic background can also produce their own unique variations to these compounds.  A plant with one thousand plant chemicals can literally combine them a million different ways.  When you add diversity to a plant and soil microbial community, you can get significant changes to both the soil and the plant response with only minute changes.  The changes can be dramatic.

Many companies are now experimenting with using biologicals (microbes, plant extracts, etc) to stimulate plant growth and yield.  At the National No-till on the Plains conference, Wichita Kansas, a researcher (Chris Teachout) described a process he was investigating to promote higher soybean yields.  Chris was using a liquid compost worm extract that he applied directly to the soybean seed. … Continue reading

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Crop Tour recap!

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

The statewide average estimates on the 2022 Ohio Crop Tour ended up pretty close to the final Ohio USDA numbers for the crop.

According to USDA NASS, Great Lakes Regional Field Office, Ohio’s corn and soybean yields in 2022 were both down from 2021. Ohio’s 2022 average corn yield was 187 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from 2021. Growers harvested 3.18 million acres for grain, down 5% from 2021. Total production of corn for grain was 595 million bushels, down 8% from 2021. 

USDA NASS had Ohio’s average soybean yield for 2022 at 55.5 bushels per acre, down 1.5 bushels from 2021. Growers harvested 5.08 million acres, up 4% from 2021. Production, at 282 million bushels, was up 1% from 2021. 

Our 2022 Ohio Crop Tour (made possible by Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff) included both in-person and a virtual option.… Continue reading

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Virtual Corn College and Soybean School

By Laura LindseyAmanda Douridas, CCATaylor Dill, Ohio State University Extension

Due to popular demand, the AgCrops Team will host the 3rd annual virtual Corn College and Soybean School on Feb. 10, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring your OSU Extension state specialists and soil fertility guest speaker, Dr. Kurt Steinke, from Michigan State University. CCA CEUs will be available during the live presentations.

To register, please go to:  Please register by Feb. 9 at noon. There is a $10 registration fee for this event, which goes directly to support OSU AgCrops Team activities. 

Presentations will be recorded and uploaded to the AgCrops Team YouTube channel after the event ( However, CCA CEUs will not be available for the recorded presentations.


9:00-9:40            Osler Ortez                       Corn Management for 2023

9:50-10:30          Laura Lindsey                   Soybean Management for 2023

10:40-11:20       Kurt Steinke (MSU)         Soil Fertility

11:20-noon        Mark Loux                        Weed Management


1:00-1:40            Kelley Tilmon                   Soybean Insect Management

1:50-2:30            Andy Michel                     Corn Insect Management

2:40-3:20            Pierce Paul                       Corn Disease Management

3:20-4:00            Horacio Lopez-Nicora     Soybean Disease Management

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Soybean Cyst Nematode Management Research (Part 1)

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

Not all Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) are created equal. There are specific SCN populations that are more challenging than others. “The active way to manage SCN is with a soil sample,” said Horacio Lopez-Nicora, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist. “Hopefully farmers do not have SCN in their field, but if they do, then they need to know the numbers so they can plan a strategy to manage the SCN and reduce numbers to below the damage threshold.”

In addition to knowing if SCN are present and the numbers, it is also helpful to know the specific population of SCN. “Some SCN populations can easily be managed with any source of SCN resistance. Those populations are the 80 type zero, formerly known as Race 3,” said Lopez-Nicora. “Other populations that have adapted and reproduce on the most commonly used source of resistance that we have available in commercially produced soybeans, which is PI 88788.… Continue reading

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