Planting precautions for pollinators

Beekeepers in Ohio benefitted from the generally mild winter of 2015-2016. In Columbus we lost less than 20% of our colonies over winter. Spring is the only reliably good season for bees in Ohio. Colonies that survived the winter and new colonies brought up from the Gulf Coast or California are currently in the process of harvesting nectar and pollen from spring-blooming trees and weeds.

Little honey will be made from this spring bounty as most will be eaten by the bees themselves as they multiply and grow into large productive colonies that will be able to make a honey crop off of clovers, black locust, alfalfa and soybean in the coming months. Additionally, robust colonies will be needed to pollinate the fruit trees soon and pumpkins, squash and cucumbers later in the summer.

Spring build-up of honey bee colonies can be directly threatened by corn planting. Insecticide seed treatments used on corn seed generate an insecticidal dust when they are planted.… Continue reading

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Bullish soybean numbers, corn and wheat follow

Soybeans are sharply higher as U.S. and world ending stocks decline more than expected. Corn and wheat are up and following soybeans higher. The market had expected bearish numbers. It is hard to find one of those today. Planting delays and wet weather conditions will give Ohio producers much more time today to study the myriad of USDA numbers. With more rain in the forecast they will be watching the screens for price action with greater intensity after the noon report is released. Many parts of Ohio had planting and field work progress over the weekend of less than a half day to almost two days. The rains on Monday brought field work to a grinding halt.

Prior to the report corn was unchanged, soybeans were up 18 cents, and wheat was up 1 cent. At 12:15 pm corn was up 9 cents, soybeans up 46 cents, wheat up 3 cents.… Continue reading

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NCGA 2016 Yield Contest online entry open

With planting well underway in much of the country, the National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 30, fees will be reduced to $75. NCGA reminds growers that a small time investment now saves money later this summer.
“We are excited to announce that yield contest entry is now open. While it may still seem a ways out, we all know how quickly the time passes once planting season starts,” said Brent Hostetler, Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair. “Every year, we gain valuable data from the contest that help develop the production practices of tomorrow. I urge those who haven’t entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high-yield techniques as contest entrants in 2016.”
To enter today using the online form, click here.  The version of the online form released this year is suitable for use on mobile devices.
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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – May 9th, 2016

The cold, wet conditions continued this week, keeping fieldwork to a minimum.

There were 1.1 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 8th. While some planting of corn, soybeans, and oats occurred in the most southern parts of the state, most growers were kept from planting due to saturated fields and standing water.

There were some reports of hail, mainly along the I-77 corridor south of Canton to the River Valley. For most growers, the only activities they were able to work on were spraying weeds and applying fertilizer. Most wheat remains in good to excellent condition despite conditions favorable to stripe rust.

Growers are generally in a holding pattern at the moment, waiting for warmer conditions and less precipitation, so that fields can dry up enough for planting.

See how much planting progress was made in the past week and view the complete reportContinue reading

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Hops production expanding in Ohio

One of the more popular beers brewed by Columbus-based Actual Brewing Company and sold to about 200 bars, restaurants and markets across Ohio is made with locally grown hops.

Called Elektron, the American amber ale is brewed using Ohio-grown Cascade hops. It is 6.2 percent alcohol by volume and has 27 International Bitterness Units, a measurement of a beer’s bitterness, which comes from the hops used during the brewing process.

If Fred Lee, the company’s founder and president, had his way, he’d brew even more beer varieties with hops grown in Ohio. Hops are the main ingredient beer manufacturers use to balance the sweetness of malt sugars in their product.

“Freshness is key when it comes to hops, and anything grown locally would by nature be fresher,” Lee said. “In fact, I’d love to buy more locally grown hops — but we’d need them to be more exotic hops, hops that you can’t find anywhere else.”… Continue reading

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Wheat field day June 1

On June 1, we will be having an on-farm wheat field day in Pickaway County near Circleville at the site of our Ohio Wheat Performance Test and other agronomic wheat trials. Click here for more information.

Registration is free, but we are requesting registration by Friday, May 20 for lunch count. Lunch will be held at Jackson Township Hall. Please register through the Pickaway County Extension office (740-474-7534 or

Topics include:

How low can you go? Wheat freeze tolerance
Minimum wheat stand to maximize profits
Soil fertility considerations for improved efficiency
Wheat disease identification and management
Ohio Wheat Performance Test

Featured speakers include:

OSU’s Wheat Agronomy Team: Laura Lindsey, Matt Hankinson, Doug Alt, and Allen Goodwin
OSU Plant Pathologist: Pierce Paul
Pickaway County Extension: Mike Estadt
Michigan State University Soil Fertility Specialist: Kurt Steinke

Field day is sponsored by the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program and Keynes Bros. Milling.… Continue reading

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Adjusting no-till burndown for late planting

This is a revision of an article we seem to publish in C.O.R.N. about every three years, when wet weather prevents early planting and in some cases also prevents early burndown applications. There have been opportunities to apply burndown herbicides in much of the state over the past several weeks, and some areas have made considerable progress on planting. Other areas have made little progress. We are probably not in a true “late planting situation” yet, but some of the state is now wet and not that warm, and more rain is coming.

The longer-range forecast calls for drier than normal conditions and higher than normal temperatures apparently. The weeds obviously continue to get bigger under wet conditions, and what is a relatively tame burndown situation in early to mid-April can become pretty hairy by early to mid May. In our research plots, we appear to have as good a winter annual population as we have ever had, possibly due to a relatively mild winter (weed scientists admittedly probably have more appreciation for a “good” weed population than the rest of the world).… Continue reading

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Armyworms and cover crops

True armyworm (Pseudaletia unipuncta) overwinters in the southern U.S. and adult moths migrate northward in April and May.  Females lay eggs in grassy fields including rye cover crops, and the young caterpillars feed there, typically attacking corn from early may through June.  Corn planted into rye cover is at greater risk for early season armyworm feeding because the caterpillars may already be in the field and move to the corn after the rye is killed.  Armyworm can also move into corn from other fields such as wheat, in which case infestation usually occurs along field edges. Though some growers include an insecticide in their rye burndown herbicide, this prophylactic application is not recommended because in many years the armyworm populations will not be sufficient to warrant it or its cost.  Foliar insecticides work well as a rescue treatment and can be applied in years when scouting indicates it will help. … Continue reading

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Researcher seeking soybean fields for pollinator study

Although soybean crops are self-pollinating, some species of bee and fly pollinators can enhance soybean yields, says a researcher with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

The question is what pollinator insects are active in Ohio soybean crops?

That’s what Kelley Tilmon, a field crop entomologist with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, wants to know.

Tilmon is conducting a study on the issue and is seeking conventional or organic soybean growers willing to allow insect sampling equipment to be placed in their fields to identify what pollinator insects are flourishing there.

The study will include fields that haven’t been planted with an insecticidal seed treatment with a minimum field size of 500 by 500 meters, which is about 62 acres, she said.

“It’s more than just honeybees — dozens of species of pollinators have been found in soybean fields around the country,” Tilmon said.… Continue reading

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Baleage: An option in better haymaking

Throughout the Midwest, spring rains can make putting up dry hay very difficult. Last year, many producers struggled to get hay up without it getting rained on. This brings me to discuss baleage as an option for hay making.

It is easy to see the reasons why you should consider baleage. Making hay at higher moisture allows you to bale closer to cutting and shorten the window of dry weather needed to get hay up. It also leads to less leaf loss, less nutrient leaching, and that makes for better quality hay. Wrapping bales also leads to less storage loss.

Waiting on dry weather can also impact forage quality and productions. As forage continues to grow and mature the quality will decline. When producing dry hay, often times traffic is still an issue on fields as much as five days after cutting. This can drastically decrease yields for the next cutting.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – May 2nd, 2016

Rain throughout the week kept growers in the northern parts of the state from doing fieldwork, while growers in the south were afforded more opportunities to plant crops. There were 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 1st. The rain and cool temperatures in the northern counties limited most fieldwork to topdressing wheat and spraying for weeds. Some fields had standing water as well. Growers further south had more ideal weather for planting, and planted corn, oats, and even some soybeans. Producers throughout the state reported slow hay and pasture growth. Growers are also applying fertilizer when able to get into fields.

View the complete report hereContinue reading

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Purple corn concerns?

For many areas of the eastern Corn Belt, a great deal of corn has been planted over the past few weeks. Some corn has emerged and is in the early stages of growth. One phenomenon that commonly occurs at the early stages of the growing season is the appearance of purple corn plants. Corn plants can turn purple for several reasons related to environmental factors such as:

• Sunny days and cool nights (temps in the 40s to 50s F)

• Soil pH lower than 5.5

• Cool temperatures

• Wet soil

• Stresses that hinder the uptake of phosphorus

• Herbicide injury

• Soil compaction

Because many fields have saturated soils and the forecast includes a week of cooler weather, producers may see some purple plants in their fields. Purpling in corn due to cooler weather most often occurs when plants are in the V2 to V5 growth stages. Because of diverse genetics, hybrids react differently to early stress and some will exhibit purpling while others will not.… Continue reading

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A love affair with eggs

My love affair with eggs started 15 years ago when Jake was in third grade participating in “Egg in the classroom.” This is a wonderful program through 4-H that brings eggs into the classroom to hatch and suck kids into the poultry cult. Just kidding, well kind of. Jake fell in love with chickens and wanted to bring a few home. His cow lovin’ dad responded with “bummer.” The story doesn’t end there but takes a strange twist. Paul said we needed to call Dr. Monke (pronounced Monkey) who is a veterinarian at Select Sires that loves chickens. This may sound like crazy talk but yes, a cattle veterinarian has made genetic advances in the chicken world.

With chickens in mind, we headed over to Dr. Monke’s house, where chickens are treated like kings and queens. Needless to say we ended up taking three Austrolorp chicken teenage pullet sisters home with us, followed up by a quick stop to TSC to fill up the cart with chicken “stuff” to put in our cow barn.

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Fungicides important for quality wheat

Successful wheat production has not been without significant challenges in recent years. But, while there is no way to control all of the variables for guaranteed success, there are some important management steps that can be taken to dramatically improve the odds.

“You’re going to want to look at a fungicide program particularly at heading, which on a Feekes scale is a 10.51. And you are going to want to watch the weather and harvest as soon as you can possibly harvest,” said Jim Howe, with Star of the West Milling Company.

Star of the West does considerable plot work to refine recommendations about how their wheat suppliers can grow a high quality, profitable crop. That research has found that implementing these two practices can help reduce the variability that often exists in a wheat field and lead to vomitoxin from head scab and sprouting.

“Starting when the wheat was planted to when the plant emerged, there were differences in different parts of the field.… Continue reading

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MRTN – Maximum return to N

So how do we make nitrogen (N) recommendations in Ohio? Current recommendations from Ohio State University use an economic model to set our corn nitrogen rate. The Maximum Return To N (MRTN) concept was developed by soil fertility specialists from across the north central region: this is a regional Corn Belt wide approach for nitrogen rates.

For us, we use data from trials in Ohio so we also have our weather included as part of the equation and we factor in the price of nitrogen and the value of corn to bring in the economics. Chart 1 shows that our best economic return to nitrogen for $3.50 corn and $0.40 per pound of N is about 168 pounds of N per acre with a range of about 15 pounds to either side giving us about the same economic return –— within $1. You may also gain efficiency by delaying the bulk of your N application until sidedress timing.… Continue reading

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Soybean yields fluctuate less with weather extremes

Soybean crop yields tend not to fluctuate much and are less likely to be negatively impacted by less than ideal weather compared to other grain crops such as corn.

In fact, the state average soybean yield declined only 8% during the drought of 2012, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension, noting that Ohio’s average soybean yield that year was 45 bushels per acre, compared to the five-year average of 49 bushels per acre.

“There are a lot of concerned farmers going into spring planting right now with all of this unusual weather we’ve been experiencing throughout the state,” she said. “Yields will really depend on when the rains come.”

The reasoning?

Because soybean vegetative and reproductive stages overlap, plants can compensate for short periods of stress, Lindsey said. So while many soybean plants were stunted during the height of the 2012 drought, the plants were able to recover and see positive yields thanks to rainfall in August and September that worked to promote seed fill, she said.… Continue reading

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Tips for bigger berry production at workshop

Small-fruit researchers with College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will offer a workshop May 25 on a production method that results in larger, sweeter strawberries and can help growers extend the harvest season by weeks.

Called plasticulture strawberry production, the method is an increasingly popular technique in which strawberries are planted in September and grown over the winter using plastic to keep the soil warm and suppress weed growth, said Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

The method results in larger, sweeter berries during an earlier harvest period, according to the results of an OSU Extension research trial conducted by Bergefurd, who is based at The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon.

The workshop, which will be hosted by Bergefurd, will include discussion on:

* Winter protection techniques.

* Israeli drip irrigation demonstration and management.… Continue reading

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OSU hops tours

Farmers and brewers can learn about hops and how to grow the increasingly popular crop during the First Fridays Hops Tours at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon.

The tours, which are offered on the first Friday of the months of May, June and July, will allow participants to learn more about the Ohio hops research being conducted by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

The tours are part of the Hop Production to Enhance Economic Opportunities for Farmers and Brewers project. They include a classroom session on hops led by researchers with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and a tour of the hop fields at the Piketon facility, said Charissa Gardner, program assistant with South Centers.

Registration required

In addition to basic information on the ins and outs of hops production, topics addressed at the First Fridays sessions will include:

* Hop yard construction.… Continue reading

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Recent mission reveals Brazil’s huge production potential moving forward

On March 11, farmers with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association embarked on a 12-day market study mission of Brazil, a major competitor of international sales to the U.S. The purpose of this mission was to gain a better understanding of Brazil’s role in the worldwide market of agriculture. The in-person mission allowed first-hand insights of strengths and challenges in Brazil’s agricultural industry.


Sustainability in Brazil

By Rachael Vonderhaar, who farms with her family in Preble County and serves on the Ohio Small Grains Checkoff Board

March 15, 2016

As we start off on our 3- to 5-hour bus drive this morning (the wide time range due to rough infrastructure and heavy truck traffic) to tour Brazilian farms, I realize I have time to review my notes from the last couple of days. Our days have been action packed and long, which equals a migraine for Rachael. I am doing much better now as I am able to read and type on the bumpiest roads I have ever been on. … Continue reading

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Are large corn and soybean price swings finished or just getting started?

Corn and soybean prices have traded in a wide range since last summer. July 2016 corn futures traded to near $4.70 in early July 2015, declined into harvest, and then bottomed at $3.51 following the release of the recent USDA Prospective Plantings report. July 2016 soybean futures traded near $10.31 in early July 2015, dropped sharply into harvest, and traded between about $8.60 and $9.30 from harvest through early April 2016.

The price of both crops experienced a sharp rally this month. July 2016 soybean futures moved to a high of $10.43 on April 21 before finishing last week at $9.96. July 2016 corn futures experienced a more modest rally, trading to a high of $4.07 and finishing the week at about $3.75.

A number of factors contributed to the rally that was led by soybeans. Excessive rainfall in parts of Argentina likely resulted in a measurable, but unknown, reduction in the size of the soybean crop due to flooding.… Continue reading

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