Prepare to harvest and store quality silage

As fall approaches many farmers will prepare to chop silage to use as a feed in their livestock operations. There are several key factors affecting silage harvest and storage that will ensure the efficient fermentation and production of high quality feed. Taking time to correctly harvest and store corn silage will allow producers to maximize their feed value.

It is important to chop corn silage at the correct moisture content and stage of development. The corn plant should be from 65% to 70% moisture when chopped (moisture requirements vary depending on the type of silo or storage to be used) and the “milk line” should be one-third to two-thirds down the kernel. Corn silage that is harvested when it is too wet can result in loss of nutrients through seepage and ultimately poor quality feed. Corn silage that is harvested when it is too dry will not ferment correctly and can cause mold to develop.… Continue reading

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Take a last look for Palmer amaranth and waterhemp in fields

As harvest draws near for Ohio’s corn and soybeans, it is a good time (and maybe a last chance) to assess fields for weeds with long-term implications — Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.

“This is your last shot to keep from permanently changing the profitability of your farm operation,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension weed control specialist. “Our two big offenders late season are typically marestail and giant ragweed, so you’re looking for something that looks different than that. We do pre-harvest scouting in a bunch of counties and if the field is big we’ll use binoculars. You’re looking for anything odd out there that you don’t recognize. Your goal of course is to try to prevent any seed production from Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. The same thing can happen too when you’re on the combine. Stop and don’t blow it through the combine. Get out to figure out what it is.… Continue reading

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Last alfalfa cutting and risk management

Alfalfa growers will need to make a decision if they should take another cutting of alfalfa, and if so, when. The recommendation in the newly revised 15th edition of the Ohio Agronomy Guide is to complete the last regular harvest of alfalfa by Sept. 7 in northern Ohio, Sept. 12 in central Ohio and by Sept. 15 in southern Ohio. At this point, undoubtedly some alfalfa growers are saying that they have taken a last cutting at the end of September or early October without any harm to the stand. True though that be, the fact is that the last or fall harvest of alfalfa is a question of risk management. Sticking to the Ohio Agronomy Guide recommendations provides the least risk of an alfalfa stand suffering damage due to low root reserves. Later fall cutting dates increase the risk for stand damage.

All perennial forage plants including alfalfa use the fall period to build up carbohydrate reserves that keep the plant alive over the winter, provide sugars to keep the plant from freezing, and provide the energy needed to start spring growth.… Continue reading

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DowDuPont, Inc. is now the world’s largest chemical company

As of the close of the stock market on Aug. 31, Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. have merged.

The largest two U.S. chemical makers received all necessary regulatory approvals and shares of DowDuPont Inc. begin trading Sept. 1, 2017. The value of the new agribusiness behemoth — now the world’s largest chemical company — is near $150 billion.

DowDuPont plans to split into three separate companies focused on agriculture, specialty products and materials. Yesterday’s closing is a result of a late 2015 decision by the Dow Chemical Company and DuPont boards of directors that unanimously approved a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger of equals.

“This transaction is a game-changer for our industry and reflects the culmination of a vision we have had for more than a decade to bring together these two powerful innovation and material science leaders,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer in 2015 after the merger plans were announced.… Continue reading

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POET expansion means big demand boost for Ohio corn

Agriculture has long been a victim of its own success. When doubts have arisen in the past about whether farmers could produce enough, they have every time been swept away in a sea of over production.

Because of its astounding bounty, agriculture has been able to move beyond providing food to meet other needs of society, including energy.

“Farmers are seeing we have far too much commodity on earth. This is the same thing that happened in the 1980s when biofuels were born. The way we solved that problem was to build ethanol plants and use up that extra supply. Today commodities are again oversupplied and we need the support of rural America because there are competing interests in the energy market that do not want to see us grow. We are constantly battling and we need to work together for higher ethanol blends in our gas tanks that are great for the environment and also great for Ohio’s farmers,” said Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s Marion ethanol plant expansion.… Continue reading

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Soybean rust develops rolling epidemics as spores travel north

Although Midwestern soybean growers have yet to experience the brunt of soybean rust, growers in the southern United States are very familiar with the disease. Every year, the fungus slowly moves northward from its winter home in southern Florida and the Gulf Coast states, and eventually reaches midwestern soybean fields—often just before harvest.

Research shows there is a possibility the disease could jump much longer distances and reach the Midwestern soybean crop earlier in the growing season. Studies suggest that air masses moving from the south could sweep up rust spores from infected plants (kudzu or soybean) and transport them hundreds of miles north earlier in the season, potentially endangering the Midwestern soybean crop.

This could be happening right now as the storm system that created Hurricane Harvey moves north, according to Glen Hartman, a USDA Agricultural Research Service plant pathologist and professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois.… Continue reading

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Brewery boom yields potential for farm

In 2011, Ohio was home to 32 craft breweries.

Now there are at least 220 Ohio breweries and many are looking for homegrown flavors for their key ingredients: barley and hops.

Matt Cunningham of Marysville took notice of Ohio’s craft beer boom back in 2013.

“We grow corn and soybeans and a little bit of wheat. I was looking to stay on the farm but do something else,” Cunningham said. “I saw all of these craft brewers popping up everywhere so I started growing hops.”

Cunningham’s Union County Rustic Brew Farm started with 100 hops plants.

“I wanted to start small to get my head wrapped around it. This is the third year and the first year for a full crop. We had a decent crop last year. I put telephone poles in the corner of a field. I think we have 12 poles. There is one wire across the top but every plant needs its own twine.… Continue reading

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Workshop looks at digital tool ROI for soybean production

The Ohio State Precision Ag Team will be hosting a free workshop for tech savvy soybean growers on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. at Beck’s Hybrids in London, Ohio. Topics of discussion will include data warehousing, production benchmarking, analysis, in-season monitoring, crop modeling, and recommendations.

The day’s discussions will focus on understanding potential value of digital tools for soybean production and how growers are utilizing these tools and services. The value and use will be examined and key outcomes will focus on key outcomes centered around:

  • Different types of benefits that individual technologies provide to soybean farmers.
  • Direct value propositions realized by a soybean farmer using a digital technology.
  • The value of sharing data with trusted advisors or companies providing digital technologies while simultaneously considering data privacy and control.
  • Identifying key educational needs of soybean farmers relative to digital technologies.

Confirmed speakers include Jeremy Wilson of MyAgData, Mike Hannewald of Beck’s Hybrids, and Dr.… Continue reading

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Kernel red streak in corn

One common occurrence observed by growers and agronomists when corn begins to mature is a red coloring of the normally yellow pericarp of corn kernels. Kernel red streak (KRS) results from the development of red pigment in corn kernels caused by wheat curl mite feeding on the kernel seed coat.

According to Purdue’s John Obermeyer and Christian Krupke in the 2015 issue 25 of the Pest and Crop Newsletter: “There are two suspected mechanisms causing the red streaking. One is the triggering of anthocyanin, a red pigment, in the pericarp as a response to mite feeding. Hybrids vary greatly in how much and where anthocyanin accumulates (e.g., purple seedling corn under cool, wet conditions). The other is the elicitation of another red pigment, phlobaphene, that determines cob (white vs. red), pericarp (great variability as shown with Indian corn), and silk (yellow vs. pink) coloration.”

Just like purpling of a corn plant itself during the growing season varies by genetics, so does KRS.… Continue reading

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Beck’s introduces planter that changes row-width, hybrids on the go

A new planter for use in Beck’s Practical Field Research is turning heads. The multi-row width multi-hybrid planter is a joint effort by Beck’s to answer more questions being asked in the field of prescriptive farming. With the ability to change between 10-, 20-, and 30-inch rows on the go, researches hope to see what difference such customization can have on crops and whether or not the planter technology has a wider place in the future of farming.

The planter looks to be heavily used in corn, wheat, and double-crop soybean research in the 2018 season, as explained by Jason Gahimer and Rich Schlipf in this video with Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood.… Continue reading

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2017 Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour summary

Corn, soybeans and a solar eclipse! All three should make the 2017 Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour very interesting.

I was on one of nearly 40 teams of four that will venture out into the great unknown. As we spider-webbed our way from Ohio west and from the Dakotas east, covering 80% of the corn and soybean regions of the United States, we dug a little deeper into the nearly harvest-ready corn and the soybean fields.

In general we found abundant variability throughout the east and crops that have a long way to go.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Tour averages

The U.S. corn crop estimate was 13.953 billion bushels with an average yield of 167.1 bushels per acre. The U.S. soybean crop is 4.331 billion bushels with an average yield of 48.5 bushels per acre, according to Farm Journal.

These estimates are based on assumptions for normal weather through September.… Continue reading

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Using cover crops with fall manure applications

Livestock producers will soon be applying manure as corn silage harvest starts. To best capture the nutrients in manure, livestock producers should incorporate fall applied manure and also consider using cover crops.

The most common cover crops used with livestock manure are cereal rye, oats and radishes. However, farmers have also used wheat, clover, annual ryegrass, or almost anything they are comfortable growing.

• Cereal rye is the best cool-season grass for capturing excess nitrogen. Because rye over-winters, research has shown it can capture and hold 25 to 50 pounds of nitrogen (organic form). It germinates at lower temperatures than oats so may be planted later, but less nitrogen will be recycled the later the rye is seeded.

• Oats are sometimes used as a cover crop in the fall and need to be planted soon after silage harvest. Drilling oats improves germination and growth before frost. Some farmers in northwest Ohio have had great success surface seeding oats and incorporating them with shallow tillage.… Continue reading

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N deficiency showing up

Due to heavy rainfall and saturated soils during the 2017 growing season, it is not surprising to see some signs of nitrogen deficiency showing up in corn fields across Seed Consultants’ sales footprint. Whether applied preplant or sidedressed, patterns of heavy rainfall and wet soils increase the likelihood of nitrogen being lost. Because nitrogen is an essential nutrient for corn plant development and ultimately yield, losses will impact final yields this fall.

When saturated conditions persist, nitrogen can be lost though leaching or denitrification. Leaching (more likely to occur in course-textured soils) is the process where nitrogen is moved down through the soil profile and out of the root zone where it is not available to plants. The severity of nitrogen loss due to leaching is impacted the intensity and duration of rainfall. Denitrification is the process where soil nitrogen is biologically converted to gaseous nitrogen and lost to the atmosphere.… Continue reading

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2017 wheat was good again

There were some good reasons to grow wheat again this year. Many farmers I spoke with said 2017 produced another excellent crop. Cool conditions and adequate moisture in early May and a dry late May and early June helped. What else goes into making the farm more profit?

• Crop rotation — wheat adds a third crop to our rotation. Generally we get a 10% yield bump to the next crop in the rotation. And with a three crop rotation we reduce disease and insect pressure for all crops.

• Cover crop — wheat can be a good cover crop. We can plant it after soybean harvest, unlike other cover crops. Even plant after corn, but be aware that Fusarium head blight will likely be much worse if you are planning on grain harvest.

• Wheat, like oats and cereal rye will help hold onto nitrates. If we want we can graze wheat, or if we get a good stand and have good prospects we can keep it to harvest as grain — this may be our perfect cover crop.… Continue reading

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2017 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour summary

After an extremely wet growing season for Ohio we were not sure quite what to expect in the 2017 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour. We had heard about dry weather, but were surprised how dry some fields were, especially in the northwestern part of the state.

There were certainly some examples that showed up in fields on the 2017 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour displaying evidence of those challenging conditions. We found some corn still pollinating to dented after the spread out planting season for many this spring. But, at the same time, we saw many more examples of how solid farm management practices made the most of some challenging weather situations and others capitalized on timely rains. The Tour was sponsored by AgroLiquid.

In the West, the I-75 group had an average corn yield of 169 bushels on Day 1 and 183 bushels on Day 2. The Eastern leg of the Ohio Crop Tour averaged 180 bushels on Day 1 and 166 bushels on Day 2.… Continue reading

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Heavy rain doesn’t have to mean money down the drain

Farmers of all types face challenges everyday as they work hard to get higher yields and greater profits. Inputs throughout the growing season can help with reaching those goals, but only if those inputs are utilized to their full potential.

Heavy rains in Ohio during the spring and early summer may have washed away some key nutrients and with them went top-end yield and profits.

“Just traveling up and down the road I’ll see corn that’s definitely been nitrogen deficient sometime in its growth stage early on in the growing season,” said Brett Barton, Sales Manager in Ohio for AgXplore. “I wish that more farmers would protect their nitrogen. For the price of that input and adding a small cost to keep them where they are needed would’ve added a lot of bushels.”

A nitrogen stabilizer, like N-Zone from AgXplore, is one solution.

“We see two to seven bushels better across the board by using N-Zone and the cost is minimal,” Barton said.… Continue reading

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Western Ohio cropland values and cash rents 2016-17

Ohio cropland values and cash rental rates are projected to decrease in 2017. According to the Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents Survey, bare cropland values in western Ohio are expected to decrease from 4.4 to 8.2% in 2017 depending on the region and land class. Cash rents are expected to decline from 1.4% to 4.2% depending on the region and land class.


Ohio cropland values and cash rent

Ohio cropland varies significantly in its production capabilities, and consequently cropland values and cash rents vary widely throughout the state. Generally speaking, western Ohio cropland values and cash rents differ from much of southern and eastern Ohio cropland values and cash rents. The primary factors affecting these values and rates are land productivity and potential crop return and the variability of those crop returns. Soils and drainage capabilities are the two factors that most influence land productivity, crop return and variability of those crop returns.… Continue reading

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Soybean aphids showing up

We have heard reports of growers spotting a few soybean aphids in their fields. Finding aphids at this time of year is consistent in the past—we have seen them arrive later and later. We do have a lot of late-planted soybean that are in R4 or R5 stage soybean.

Remember that our economic threshold to treat soybean aphids is a rising population of 250 aphids per plant. But also remember that, at higher growth stages (>R6) the threshold increases dramatically. At this point it is important to note that none of the fields in Ohio have reached treatable levels. Given the aphids’ arrival, the growth stage of soybean and the oncoming onslaught of natural enemies, it may be unlikely that we see any significant impact from soybean aphids this year, but we should monitor our fields. An additional word of caution—many of you have heard that insecticide resistant soybean aphids have been found out West (especially Minnesota and Iowa).… Continue reading

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