Completed genome sequencing of soybean aphids will lead to new management strategies moving forward

Soybean aphids were first discovered in Wisconsin in 2001. Since then, the crop pest has become well established throughout the northern Midwest and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada. On numerous occasions the soybean aphid has caused very significant economic damage in Ohio.

The tiny pests inflict crop damage due to their potentially suffocating numbers. They can have as many as 12 generations a year and when the populations get large enough, the normally wingless aphids give birth to a winged generation that can spread far distances on the wind, according to Ohio State University Extension.

Because of the potential for ongoing problems from this yield robber in the future, there have been significant funding efforts from the North Central Soybean Research Program, USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Center for Applied Plant Sciences at Ohio State University and the Ohio Soybean Council for a broad array of management techniques addressing soybean aphids.… Continue reading

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There are plenty of questions as the farm bill debate kicks off

Though it seems like the last farm bill has just been finally implemented, discussions are already ramping up for the next farm bill in Washington, D.C. With a new Administration, a challenging farm economy and the ever-shifting whims of public perceptions about agriculture, there is plenty of uncertainty about the outcome.

“There is a lot of conversation about where this Administration is going to spend the money. We are going to have a lot of push from conservative groups who typically align with rural Americans for cuts in the farm bill. It is a continual effort on our part to help farmers understand who is working for them and who is working against them. This will be critical to continue to talk about in the ag community,” said Adam Ward, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association. “I think we will see more support from conservation compliance going forward, but I think a big part of the conversation is that conservation is helping us grow better crops and develop long-term opportunities for farmers beyond this generation.… Continue reading

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Opportunities for profit in 2017

Trade, currency and geopolitical issues are putting much uncertainty in an already wavering commodity market, but one analyst says he still believes there will be opportunities for farmers to use the black pen this year when looking at their bottom line. Finalizing crop insurance will be a major factor in getting to that positive outcome.

“Farmers need to utilize these products to protect themselves and get to a profitable level,” said Mike Zuzolo from Global Commodity Analytics. “The last thing a farmer wants this year is to have more uncertainty and worry after they plant, versus before they plant.”

That is why Zuzolo is advising his clients to make hedging a priority. He says that seed technology, fertilizer and weed control are all very important to the farm plan, but marketing needs to be right at the top of the list.

“The U.S. dollar is going to be even more important this year, in terms of what commodity upside we could have,” Zuzolo said.… Continue reading

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Looking ahead to 2017 weed control

With spring a few months away, one issue that must continue to be addressed by the farmers of the eastern Corn Belt is the growing populations of herbicide resistant weeds.

Herbicide resistant populations of weeds such as Marestail and Giant Ragweed have existed for several years and are a growing problem. A few new additions to the list of herbicide resistant weeds have arrived recently, including Palmer amaranth. Now more than ever, it is critical that growers focus on employing effective herbicide programs.

Controlling these weeds will require attention to details such as, timing of herbicide applications, using multiple modes of action, use of residual herbicides, and scouting to determine what weeds are present and if any were not controlled by herbicides. There is a wealth of information available from universities which growers can, and should consult in order to stay ahead of problem weeds.

For successful weed control apply herbicides when weeds are small enough to be controlled, always follow herbicide labels, and avoid using low rates of herbicides.… Continue reading

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Modeling the future of soybeans in the Midwest

How will the rising temperatures expected to occur with global climate change affect soybean growth in the Midwest? Rather than wait and see, researchers at the University of Illinois will use real crop data and computer modeling to better predict future impacts of higher temperatures on agricultural production and identify promising targets for adaptation.

The project is being funded with a $420,000 USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture grant. U of I environmental scientist Kaiyu Guan is the project director. Carl Bernacchi and Elizabeth Ainsworth are co-project directors. Both are plant physiologists in the U of I Department of Plant Biology and Department of Crop Sciences.

The project will look at how temperature affects major plant processes such as photosynthesis and respiration.

“Higher temperatures in the future may result in accelerated crop growth rate and shorter growing seasons,” Guan said. “There will likely be direct heat stress effects on the various stages in plant reproduction, including number of flowers and pods produced and aborted and the higher temps may increase the plants’ demand for water.… Continue reading

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2017 Soybean College

OSU Extension, Darke County will be hosting the 2017 Soybean College on Tuesday, February 7.  This will be a rare opportunity where The Ohio State University will have all of its state specialists working with soybeans at one meeting focusing on soybean production. This workshop will feature Dr. Laura Lindsey, Soybean/Wheat Extension Specialist; Dr. Kelley Tilmon, Field Crop Extension Entomologist; Dr. Mark Loux, Research and Extension Weed Science; Greg Labarge, Agronomic Systems Field Specialist; Dr. John Fulton, Precision Agriculture Engineer; and Dr. Anne Dorrance, Field Crop Extension Pathologist.

It will be held at the Andersons Marathon Ethanol, 5728 Sebring Warner Road, Greenville, Ohio. The meeting will run 8 am until 4 pm with a continental breakfast and lunch provided.

Workshop sponsors include the Ohio Soybean Council, Seed Consultants, Crop Production Services and Otte Ag.

What we’ll cover:

•          Market Outlook –Chad Strobel, The Anderson’s

•          Can You Budget a Profitable Soybean Crop – Sam Custer

•          Agronomic Practices that Optimize Profitability in Soybean Production-

Perception vs.

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More links emerging between farm economics, productivity and the environment

The Soil Health Partnership, an initiative of the NCGA, recently held its third annual Soil Health Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. About 185 Ag scientists, industry leaders, environmentalists, water quality experts and enrolled farmers discussed their efforts to make agriculture more productive and sustainable through healthy soil.
The key takeaway from the meeting: Building long-term data by its very nature takes time, but early indicators are promising on the relationship between soil health and economic, productivity and environmental gains in agriculture.
“Through this program, we have powerful analytics underway providing early indicators of tangible links between soil health and enhanced farm performance,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director and NCGA director of soil health and sustainability.
Working with their agronomists and trained field managers, SHP farmers have enrolled about 32,000 acres to provide data for the analytics. The three main areas of study are cover crops, reduced tillage and advanced nutrient management.
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Making sense of soil health testing

The topic of soil health has been receiving a great deal of attention lately and farmers are increasingly interested in understanding more about their soils. There are a number of labs that now offer some sort of soil health package, typically made up of tests that reflect biological, chemical and physical components of the soil. Some of these tests have been around for some time, while others are relatively new. But as a farmer, how do you make sense of all these new soil tests, and what they mean for your operation and management?

Soil testing for nutrient analysis (standard soil testing) has a rich history, and in Ohio we enjoy an incredible infrastructure that helps us manage nutrients more effectively. This includes everything from a thriving private consultant industry that will help sample your soils to professional soil testing laboratories that will analyze your soils quickly for a few dollars, to the nutrient recommendations that Ohio State and others have developed over the decades and continue to revise today.… Continue reading

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Crop rotation and second year soybean yields

As spring approaches and plans for the 2017 crop are finalized, growers will determine what crops to plant and plant crop rotation across their acres. When considering crop rotations and yields, many focus on continuous corn and the yield penalties associated with that practices. However, there is one possibly overlooked benefit of crop rotation: avoiding a soybean yield penalty.

In this recently published article, the University of Kentucky’s John Grove discusses soybean yields for first year and second year soybeans from 2009 to 2016. Grove’s research data shows an average yield penalty of 2.3 bu/ac across that 7 year period, with some years being showing yield losses greater than 10 bu/ac. In another article from No-Till Farmer, Greg Roth shows data that predicts a 4 to 6 bu/ac yield penalty for second year soybeans.

Yield loses from continuous soybeans (and other continuous crops) are usually associated with increased disease presence as well as pests.… Continue reading

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Harvest update from South America


The Brazilian soybean harvest was 2.2% complete as of Jan. 19, up from 1.5% a year ago and 1.2% on the five-year average. Mato Grosso leads, with 7.5% (about 2.2 million tons), but the return of widespread rains to the state has slowed down the harvest in several areas. More rains are forecasted for the state and will probably prevent farmers from harvesting a total of 7 million tons until the end of January, as forecasted by AgRural in early December.

Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás, also in central Brazil, had harvested 1% and 0.2% of their soybean area by Jan. 19, respectively. In Paraná (south), Brazil’s second largest soybean producing state, harvest has had a slow start. Despite the good shape of the crop, some areas planted earlier are not ready for harvest yet because they had a slower development due to lower-than-normal temperatures in October and November.… Continue reading

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Potential biological control agents found for fungal diseases of soybean

Viruses are everywhere. They affect all forms of life, from complex mammals down to the mere fungus. We may not give much thought to fungal viruses, or mycoviruses, but new research from the University of Illinois suggests they deserve a closer look.

“There’s been a lot of work done with human and animal and plant viruses. There isn’t as much known about fungal viruses or insect viruses, because if they get infected with a virus, no one cares,” said Leslie Domier, U of I and USDA ARS virologist.

It turns out there are good reasons to care about mycoviruses. Fungal diseases account for approximately 10% yield losses annually in corn and soybeans. When certain mycoviruses infect those fungi, they can become less virulent — good news for crop yields. These forms were the targets of a recent investigation by Domier and his colleagues.

“In addition to viruses that make fungi less virulent, we were also looking for those that might be transmitted outside of the fungus the way a cold virus is transmitted, where you can pick it up off a surface without having direct contact with another person.… Continue reading

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Workshop for nutrient management plan development software

Nutrient management plans provide a field by field risk evaluation for sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen loss and nutrient recommendation for crop production. The workshop will demonstrate one method to develop plans for general use and is accepted for Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) practice cost share program.  The software used is open access and work on PC platforms. There is not cost.

The software can also be used by Technical Service Providers (TSP) to provide planning services for Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans for livestock producers and Conservation Activity Plans used for NRCS programs as well. For more information on TSP program see

What is the Workshop About?

Workshop will demonstrate:

1.                MapWindow GIS with MMP Tools

2.                MMP

3.                NRCS Ohio Nutrient Management Templates used for programs such as EQUIP.

The training will use a sample farm to demonstrate the utilization of these two programs to generate a plan that can be presented to NRCS for approval.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training this winter: Do you need to do it?

Who needs to be certified?

By law and regulations created with the passage of Senate Bill 150 in 2014, anyone in Ohio who applies fertilizer to 50 acres or more, must be certified. This law applies to fertilizer — that is material having an analysis of N-P-K. If its manure, lime or other farm residue you do not need to be certified by this law.

If all of your crop goes through an animal before it leaves the farm, you don’t need to be certified, but I think it’s a good idea if you do go to the class and get certified anyway.


How do you get certified?

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will certify applicators in Ohio. If you are a Licensed Pesticide Applicator in Ohio, you attend a two-hour meeting and fill in and sign the form. Ohio State University personnel supply the education for this class, we hope you pay attention and actually learn something.… Continue reading

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Yield winner constantly looking for improvement

It was an interesting year for Ohio grain farmers with weather of all kinds through the growing season. A final number on the corn yield monitor of anywhere near 200 would be considered successful for most producers.

Byron Gearhart of Ross County tallied a 258.85 bushel per acre entry in the irrigated division of this year’s National Corn Grower’s Association (NCGA) yield contest with the DKC67-57RIB Dekalb variety — good enough to top the state in the category. It’s not the first time Gearhart has been recognized for high yields, having topped the podium for many years prior.

“It’s all about detail, detail, and a bit of sheer dumb luck,” Gearhart remarked about his success.

Though this time around, he said it was disappointing that number wasn’t higher.

“I don’t know how to put it, but Mother Nature still rules the roost. We would like to have seen 300. We had the input costs, we had everything there in place — but we just ended up with short ears,” he said.… Continue reading

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Hops conference next month

The hops industry is booming in Ohio, and organizers of The Ohio State University Hops Conference and Trade Show on Feb. 24-25 have brewed up a program that will keep the learning flowing for beginner and advanced growers alike.

“There was an estimated 200 acres of hops planted in Ohio on 80 farms in 2016, up from 10 acres on four farms in 2014,” said Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist with Ohio State University Extension and one of the conference organizers. The event is co-sponsored by the Ohio Hop Growers Guild.

Ohio’s growing number of breweries require flowers of the hop plant as the main ingredient providing bitter notes as a balance to the sweetness contributed by malt sugars. An interest in locally grown ingredients has spurred growth in Ohio’s hops production.

This is the first year the annual conference will be held at The Ohio State University’s South Centers, Bergefurd’s home base.… Continue reading

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New soybean export opportunities to China

It’s no secret that China’s domestic soybean production has been declining since 2004/05, due to a change in their corn price support policy. Since then, China’s soybean import volume has been increasing to meet the growing demand from the crushing industry to supply the needs for soybean meal and soy oil. But an exciting new export development is China’s growing need for specialty soybeans for use in making soy foods and beverages.

Unlike in the U.S., essentially all of China’s domestic soybean production are non-GMO beans and nearly all are used to make food and beverages. Last year, China grew approximately 10.51 million metric tons (MMT) of soybeans. They are projected to increase production 11 percent this year. An impressive increase, but it’s not going to be enough. This year, demand for non-GMO soybeans for food use in China could exceed their country’s domestic production by over 20%. Essentially, China is projected to consume specialty soybean tonnage roughly equal to Iowa’s total 2015 soybean production.… Continue reading

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Long-term weather and prospects for recovery of corn prices

Corn and other grain prices have declined sharply since 2013 and have recently been as low as $3 per bushel on a monthly average basis. The low level of prices has prompted some observers to declare that the “new era” in grain prices that began late in 2006 has come to an end. Whether the new era is indeed over depends on the mix of factors that have driven prices so low. If these factors are unlikely to be reversed, then there is little chance for a major price recovery. If at least some of these factors can be reversed then there is a possibility of price recovery within the new era price range. The answer has obvious and important implications for farm incomes, land prices, crop input prices, land rental rates, and marketing strategies. The answer will also have important policy implications for U.S. agriculture.

The first major factor on the demand side is economic growth.… Continue reading

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Bower to lead Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association

The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Board of Directors elected officers for 2017. Executive committee positions include the offices of president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. Those elected to an officer position are responsible for the implementation of board policies and procedures, as well as carrying out the roles for their respective office.

Fifth generation Fayette County farmer Jed Bower was elected as OCWGA president. In addition to growing corn and soybeans near Washington Court House, Bower is very involved in National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) as a Risk Management Action Team member and is also a former Fayette County Farm Bureau President. Last year, he served the association as vice-president.

Fairfield County farmer, Jon Miller will serve as this year’s OCWGA vice-president. Miller is a grain farmer from Pleasantville that currently has three generations of the Miller family involved in the day to day operations. He has participated in the DuPont Leadership New Century Farmers program and is currently in the NCGA/Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Program.… Continue reading

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Eastern Russian plant collection could improve cold hardiness in miscanthus

Winters in eastern Russia are intensely cold, with air temperatures regularly reaching -30 degrees Fahrenheit in some locations. It is a seemingly inhospitable climate, but native plants have found ways to thrive there. University of Illinois plant geneticist Erik Sacks suspected one of these plants may hold the key to breeding cold-tolerant food and biomass crops. To find out, the modern-day botanical explorer set off across eastern Russia with colleagues from the N. I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR) to collect specimens of the perennial grass Miscanthus sacchariflorus.

“Miscanthus is part of a tribe of grasses, the Andropogoneae, that includes sorghum, sugarcane, and corn,” Sacks said. “Because it is found so far north, this population of Miscanthus sacchariflorus is likely the most cold-hardy of that group. If we want to improve cold hardiness in this very important group of plants, this is going to be the best population to study.”… Continue reading

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Fruit and veggie conference

A conference for fruit and vegetable growers is set for Feb. 7 at the Oasis Conference Center, 902 Loveland-Miamiville Road in Loveland.

The Southwestern Ohio Specialty Crop Conference offers “a little something for everyone,” said Greg Meyer, Ohio State University Extension educator in Warren County and event organizer.

“We have hosted a grower school for specialty crops in southwestern Ohio for over 30 years,” Meyer said. “We decided to expand it to offer more classes and, in 2016, we moved the venue to the Oasis Conference Center to give us more space for concurrent sessions.”

The conference, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., offers five concurrent sessions in fruit production, vegetable production, specialty cropping systems, pesticide safety and farm management, and marketing and food safety.

In addition, some sessions offer private pesticide applicator credits in three categories, Meyer said: Core, 3 (Fruits and Vegetables) and 5 (Greenhouse). He encourages applicators to bring their license to the conference so OSU Extension personnel can check their recertification status and determine how much training they need to become recertified.… Continue reading

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