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Use care when negotiating oil and gas leases

By Matt Reese

Interest and activity in eastern Ohio’s oil and gas leasing has been picking up again in some new areas.

“Oil and gas have a long history in eastern Ohio dating back nearly 100 years. If you have a farm over here in eastern Ohio, likely you had an oil or gas well on it at some point in the history of that farm,” said Clif Little, Ohio State University Extension educator in Guernsey County. “Around the 2010 timeframe, the Utica-Marcellus craze went through and there was a lot of leasing activity, but most of the development was further east of Interstate-77. Even portions of land here in Noble and Guernsey County weren’t highly sought after. But recently, oil prices have gone up and there’s been renewed interest in leasing in some of these areas.”

Little specializes in beef, sheep, forages, grazing systems, and oil and gas leasing. He is also the author of “Important aspects of an oil and gas lease” at: reading

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Declining Fertilizer Prices

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Fertilizer prices this fall have started to decline since this time last year.  Overall, fertilizer prices have dropped almost 66% since their all-time highs but are still about 20% higher than pre-COVID levels in 2019.  For farmers this is good news because fertilizer is a major cost.  However, grain prices and fertilizer prices tend to correlate which means they travel in the same direction.  Grain prices are declining also.  Generally, fertilizer prices follow the grain price, so it is not all good news. 

Why are fertilizer prices falling? Fertilizer production is a global industry.  Russia is a major exporter of fertilizer, and the Ukraine-Russia war caused fertilizer prices to soar.  For the United States, we had to find new supplies and new input sources.  Canada stepped in and started producing more fertilizer, especially potash or potassium fertilizer, so prices have declined.

Russia and Belarus are major exporters of fertilizer.… Continue reading

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Friendly report, corn and soybean yields less than expected

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

U.S. highlights — Corn 2023 production 15.064 billion bushels, yield 173 bushel per acre (bpa), last month 15.134 billion bushels, yield of 173.8 bpa. Soybean 2023 production 4.104 billion bushels, yield 49.6 bpa, last month 4.146 billion bushels, yield 50.1. 

Additional U.S. highlights — U.S. corn exports for 2023-2024 2.025 billion bushels, corn exports down 25 million bushel, corn for ethanol unchanged. U.S. soybean exports for 2023-2024 1.755 billion bushels, down 35 million bushels, soybean crush up 10 million bushels.    

Following the noon USDA report release, corn was up 5 cents, soybeans up 22 cents, and wheat   up 6 cents. Moments before the report was released, corn was down 4 cents, soybeans up 2 cents, and wheat down 5 cents.

US 2023-2024 ending stocks: corn 2.111 billion bushels, last month 2.221 billion bushels; soybeans 220 million bushels, last month 220 million bushels; and wheat 670 million bushels, last month 615 million bushels.… Continue reading

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Ohio contemplating temporary CAUV changes

By Jeffrey K. Lewis, Attorney and Program Coordinator, OSU Extension Income Tax Schools

Two separate, but very similar, pieces of legislation are working their way through the Ohio Legislature and could end up affecting your farmland’s current agricultural use value (“CAUV”). House Bill 187 (“HB 187”) and Senate Bill 153 (“SB 153”) both seek to adjust how property values are assessed in Ohio and some of those proposed changes specifically affect CAUV. 

Both proposed bills aim to make temporary adjustments to CAUV for farmland. These changes will impact farmland that undergo reappraisal or triennial updates in 2023, 2024, or 2025. The adjustment does not alter the CAUV formula itself but rather calculates a farm’s CAUV at its next reappraisal or update as the average between the CAUV for that year and the CAUV it would have if it were in a county that had reappraisals or updates in the two previous years.… Continue reading

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Watch for ear rots this fall

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

As harvest begins across the eastern Corn Belt, corn growers should scout for ear rots in their fields. In the past few weeks while making yield estimates and walking corn fields, it has become apparent that ear rots may be present in fields this fall. Corn ear rots reduce corn yield, affect grain quality, and can lead to the development of mycotoxins in grain. Below are symptoms and toxin concerns for ear rots that may be present in corn fields this fall:

  • Fusarium ear rot: Symptoms include white to pink colored mold on kernels. This mold can infect small areas of kernels on the ear or be scattered in a random pattern across the ear. Fusarium ear rot sometimes occurs where insects have damaged kernels the ear. Fusarium ear rot produces mycotoxins which create a toxicity concern for both human and livestock consumption.
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Dairy outlook improving slightly

By Chris Zoller, Extension educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Tuscarawas County, Ohio State University Extension

In mid-September, the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) released its monthly Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook. 

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), milk production in the United States totaled 19.075 billion pounds (615 million pounds per day) in July 2023, 0.5% lower than July 2022. Milk cows on farms averaged 9.4 million head in July, down 13,000 head from July 2022. The average milk production per cow was 2,029 pounds in July 2023, down 9 pounds from July 2022. Very high temperatures and dry weather are the primary factors in reduced milk production.

Dairy Margin Coverage milk margins dropped below $4 in June and July. Values below $4 are considered “catastrophic” by the program, triggering indemnity payments to all participants.

The September report revised milk prices up slightly for the remainder of 2023. The… Continue reading

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Things to consider doing now if cash flow is slow

By Brian Ravencraft

I am sure you have heard the saying “cash is king” when it comes to business. There is some truth to this statement for sure because when cash flow is tight, stress certainly sets in for any business owner. Ideally the cash is always flowing, but that isn’t always the case. Let’s look at some moves you can make when cash is slowly making its way in:

  • When money is tight, purchasing expensive new equipment falls to the bottom of the to-do list. However, if you still need certain equipment to keep operations afloat, investigate repairing what you already have on the farm. Or you can shop for refurbished equipment. Purchasing new equipment does present tax savings in most cases, but that won’t help with the cashflow when things are tighter than normal.
  • Perhaps you have equipment collecting dust on the farm. If you have machinery you no longer use, now would be the time to investigate selling it.
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Planting into Dry Soil

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Grain harvest has started but many areas have low soil moisture.  Planting grains or a cover crops into dry soil can be difficult.  The crop may germinate but may not grow or survive if adequate moisture is hard to obtain.  Here are some planting considerations if your soil is dry and you are trying to plant another crop.

First, the goal is to conserve moisture. No-till grains like wheat or rye or even other cover crops will help conserve moisture.  Tilled soils lose about .5-1.0 inch of soil water. Most wheat and cover crops need at least 35%-45% soil moisture to germinate.  A worst-case scenario is if just enough moisture causes seed to germinate, but then not enough to keep it alive.  If your soil is really dry, either plant before a good rain or right after one. If planting deep, a hard rain may cause the soil to crust.… Continue reading

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Soybeans make major harvest progress

Farmers took advantage of last week’s warm and dry start to make harvest progress ahead of cool weekend showers, according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 5 percent very short, 43 percent short, 51 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on October 8 was 62.7 degrees, 6.5 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.51 inches of precipitation, 0.16 inches below average. There were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 8.

Despite relatively high corn moisture levels, farmers made modest harvest progress, though corn harvested for grain remained behind both last year and the 5-year average. White mold raised concerns in some soybean fields in northeastern counties. Ninety-five percent of corn was in or past dent, 63 percent was mature, and 9 percent was harvested for grain. Corn for silage was 88 percent harvested.… Continue reading

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Are yields going higher?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

Corn had been trading sideways between $4.77 and $4.89 since Aug. 11 until Oct. 6 when it never dropped below $4.92.

Technical traders have suggested the seasonal lows are already in for fall. They say the breakout and corn struggling to trade below $4.75 are reasons why higher values should be coming soon. 

Seasonal traders are talking about a trend where 12 in the last 15 years corn traded higher in the second and third weeks of October. But in three of the up years those rallies were for only a couple of cents. There were seven years where the corn board still drifted lower into the end of November. Except for 2011 and 2010 none of the other rallies saw gains of more than 25 cents over the two-week period. The average gain from that seasonal trade has been only about 13 cents.… Continue reading

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Ohio highlights from the World Dairy Expo

Ohioans once again rose through the ranks at the World Dairy Expo. Here are some Ohio highlights from the event in early October.

• Toppglen Wishful Thinking-ET, the winning Lifetime Component Merit Cow, was named Senior and Grand Champion of the International Junior Ayrshire Show. Wishful Thinking is exhibited by Tanner, Brennan, Marissa, and Logan Topp of West Salem. Wishful Thinking will bring home a 20-foot trailer on lease for a year, courtesy of Frenchville Trailer Sales, LLC., and $1,500 presented by BouMatic. 

• 2023 International Junior Milking Shorthorn Show Reserve Grand Champion honors went to the Intermediate Champion Lazy-M-Jk Lady In-Red-EXP, owned by Aubree, Aiden and Alaina Topp of Botkins.

• Reserve Supreme Champion Heifer of the World Dairy Expo Junior Show went to Miss Gayles Grace-ET, exhibited by Kendall Thomas of North Lewisburg. Grace is the Junior Champion of the International Junior Jersey Show. Kendall and Grace will take home a $500 cash award presented by Golden Calf Company.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 319 | Farm Labor and Dad Jokes with OFBF

In this episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, hosts Matt Reese of Ohio’s Country Journal and Dusty Sonnenburg of Ohio Ag Net talk with Michael Bailey, Vice President of Strategic Partnership at Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Bailey shares about labor issues that are happening in the agriculture sector everyday. He shares Ohio Farm Bureau’s efforts in helping to bring light to and reduce this ongoing challenge in American agriculture.  

More in this week’s podcast:  

  • Arthur Erickson, Hylio: Erickson is the CEO of Hylio and he talks with Dusty about drone technology in relation to the future of agriculture.  
  • Meat Export Trade Mission: Two Ohio agriculturists recently went to Korea with the Meat Export Federation. They talk with Matt about their conversations in Korea around Ohio’s Beef and Grain industries.
  • Devin Dye: Dye talks with Matt about real estate and the sale of farm land.
  • Lisa Mitchell, Gerald Grain: She talks with Matt about the pieces of grain in relation to storage this fall. 
Continue reading

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Remembering Mark Sulc

Dr. Mark Sulc, a long-time member and contributor to the Agronomic Crops Network, passed away in September of 2023 following a two-year battle with glioblastoma. He retired from the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science last autumn, marking over 30 years as the Ohio State Forage Extension Specialist. His outreach activities expanded and disseminated knowledge on forage production and management systems for Ohio. Mark developed quality, in-depth training opportunities for Extension agents, industry professionals, and producers. Mark maintained an active research program throughout his career with a focus on forage crop management, especially in relation to disease and insect pests. He was an excellent collaborator and typically worked in multi-disciplinary groups involving partners at OSU and other universities, including collaborators in Brazil.

Mark remained active and productive throughout his career. It is noteworthy that he published seven refereed journal articles in his final three years of service. In addition, he was a significant contributor (co-PI) on a successfully funded USDA-AFRI project on, “Fall Armyworm Outreach and Research for Alfalfa Growers and Educators”, which has multiple years of funding remaining.… Continue reading

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USDA providing $5 million to help organic dairy producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing a second round of payments for dairy producers through the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP), providing an additional $5 million to help dairy producers mitigate market volatility, higher input and transportation costs, and unstable feed supply and prices that have created unique hardships in the organic dairy industry. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already paid out $15 million in the first round of payments for eligible producers, bringing total ODMAP payments to $20 million.  

“This program is critical to keeping small, organic dairies sustainable as they continue to weather a combination of challenges outside of their control,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “In total, the Farm Service Agency is providing $20 million to give organic dairy producers additional economic support to stay in operation until markets return to more favorable conditions.”   

FSA accepted ODMAP applications from May 24 to Aug. 11. Eligible producers for ODMAP included certified organic dairy operations that produce milk from cows, goats and sheep.  … Continue reading

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