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Catering to the high-end beef market

By Matt Reese

The economy is tough for many consumers right now as costs at the grocery store — and pretty much everywhere else — have spiked. For many families, low-cost options for protein have become a necessity for day-to-day menu options, which can be a challenge for comparatively high-priced beef.

Even with the current economic woes at the grocery store, though, it is hard to beat a delicious steak for special occasions, no matter what the price. Some high-end consumers feel this is especially true of melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef sold under the Sakura brand (which means cherry blossom in Japanese) and raised at Thistlegate Farms in Delaware County.

“The demand for premium quality beef has gone up while the overall usage of beef has gone down. A lot of people in the industry talk about chicken versus beef. Every little kid loves chicken nuggets and the demand for that has skyrocketed,” said Charlie Reffitt, president of Hondros Farms.… Continue reading

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“Roots, not iron” is a key topic Dec. 6

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

The Ohio No-till Conference, Dec. 6 at the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City, will feature Blake Vince of Ontario, Canada, on the topic, “Roots, Not Iron.” He grows corn, soybeans, and wheat (with cover crops) and speaks internationally on regenerative farming practices.

Audience questions will be answered by an all-star panel including Fred Yoder, Bill Richards, and Cody Beacom. Other scheduled speakers include Chad Penn, Alyssa Essman, Amanda Douridas and Terry Mescher. More presenters and details will be announced later.

Honoring David Brandt

The Ohio No-till Council presented a special tribute to David Brandt at Farm Science Review on Thursday, Sept. 21, following the Conservation Farm Family Awards.

The Brandt family, son Jay and grandsons Isaac and Chris, began the program, thanking everyone who has shared condolences since David died May 16 as a result of a truck wreck.… Continue reading

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Updated Manure Value

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Manure is a valuable commodity to farmers for its fertilizer value and it beneficial role in feeding soil microbes and plants.  As fertilizer prices have moderated, the value of manure has declined slightly, but its still a good product for the soil if put on thin with live plants (cover crops) to recycle it quickly.   Manured fields on average have a yield increase of 4.4%. That adds value to any farm.  To get the best results from manure applications, follow these recommendations.

Manure should always be tested because nutrient values vary. Take a manure sample close to the date of application to get accurate results. Soil testing is also recommended to avoid over application.  Pre-side dress nitrogen tests (PSNT) are commonly taken in the spring or early summer but take these tests close to manure application date.  Weather, moisture, soil temperature, and overall soil microbial activity changes PSNT values tremendously.… Continue reading

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Harvest observations to build a better future

By Ryan Klamfoth, Pioneer Field Agronomist

The excitement of harvest is upon us. The view from the combine will provide a front row seat to assess the impacts of the growing season with frequent glances at the yield monitor. The 2023 corn crop has experienced a unique combination of challenges including: low accumulation of growing degree units (GDUs), stretches with no rainfall, plant health issues from diseases such as tar spot, crown rot, anthracnose top die-back, times when low soil moisture limited nutrient uptake, and premature plant death. Recognizing the impact of these challenges is an important step toward better understanding the cause for variable performance that can be expected this year from field to field or even within the same combine pass.

Average heat unit accumulation in many areas of Ohio has been tracking about 5 calendar days behind the 30-year average and 14 days behind the 2022 season. A cool summer has many farmers concerned about shelling wet corn.… Continue reading

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Soil testing: Get the blood work done for your fields

Pioneer Agronomist in Western Ohio Gabe McWhinney joins Ohio Ag Net’s Dave Russell for this fall agronomy update. Though harvest is top of mind, he says don’t forget that fall is a prime time of the year to be soil testing.

“I view soil tests just like a blood test at the doctor,” said McWhinney. “It provides a good inside look at what’s going on in your soil. Doctors don’t guess without running blood work.”… Continue reading

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Connecting with consumers through agritourism

By Matt Reese

Ohio’s agritourism operations straddle the line between urban and rural, filling an important niche for agriculture by entertaining, educating and connecting consumers with farms.

“It gives people an opportunity to drive out of the driveway and turn left instead of right and see what else is in their community. They like to go out and be in the open space. I think that’s the biggest thing. It just gives them a chance to get out and see a new way of life,” said Rob Leeds, with Ohio State University Extension in Delaware County and owner of Leeds Farm in Ostrander. “The idea is you bring people out with activities and a little bit of ambiance, then you talk to them about livestock and how we treat the animals or hay bales versus straw bales and get them out there doing the fun activities that we did growing up on the farm.… Continue reading

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Food Grade Soybean Harvest Cab Cam with Bill Helmuth of Schwartz Farms

Trumbull County is the site of this soybean harvest cab cam as Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood joins Bill Helmuth of Schwartz Farms in the combine. Discussion centers around the growing food grade soybean operation that has dealt with harvest weather challenges in an area impacted by lake effect. Even so, good yields and a notable premium on the crop are top of mind.

The Cab Cam series is sponsored by Precision Agri-Services Inc. More information at reading

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Teaching students where food comes from

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

GrowNextGen is partnering with The Ohio State University to bring more outdoor learning opportunities to students in Ohio, including a visit from three groups of students in September. Patrick Nightingale is a high school science teacher from Kipp Academy in Columbus. He also helps write and uses GrowNextGen curriculum.

“I’ve been able to use a lot of those materials on GrowNextGen’s website in my own classroom and they’ve been amazing materials. GrowNextGen actually merged my passion with a purpose. I was able to use a lot of my passion in writing the curriculum that was aligned with the purpose of students learning about agriculture. That was one thing I’ve been looking for,” Nightingale said. “One of the reasons I’ve always loved teaching environmental science is because agriculture is embedded into one of our units. I find agriculture to be one of the most accessible forms of science that students can get into.”… Continue reading

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Donations support wounded veterans

If over the years a collection of used cars, boats, and tractors have taken up valuable space in the yard or barn, consider donating them to a worthy cause. One to consider is the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF), dedicated to positively affecting the lives of combat-wounded veterans.

Donors and supporters make the mission of MWSF possible and help significantly change the lives of combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families. Contributions go toward housing, vehicles, and support that are all part of each unique MWSF program. These programs go on to help our heroes in different ways.

One program that the Foundation offers is the Skills4Life program, which provides recreational outings and peer-to-peer mentorship through hunting, fishing, and golfing adventures. The program provides a great opportunity for combat-wounded veterans to connect and find camaraderie through outdoor activities. More details about this program and the other programs can be found at… Continue reading

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A virtual success

By Matt Reese

Our food chain connecting farms to consumers is remarkable — a true modern miracle — but it is often not very transparent. This confounds people seeking a more intimate connection with the origins of their food and leads to a whole host of challenges between producers, consumers and the many steps connecting them. As this knowledge gap only seems to be widening, it is more important than ever to find innovative ways to connect the people who eat with the farmers who produce their food.

With this in mind, the Ohio Pork Council teamed up with Springfield-based Shift•ology Communication back in 2015 to start Virtual Field Trips to bring farm visits into classrooms. Virtual Farm Trips use technology to mitigate farm biosecurity and school budgetary issues while allowing students to visit farms and talk with a farmer in real time to learn about agriculture. Virtual Farm Trips hit an impressive 1 million student milestone with a virtual dairy farm visit, hosted by United Dairy Industry of Michigan on Oct.… Continue reading

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Artificial intelligence: It’s not about bluffing my way through vet school

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers nearly every manufacturing and production industry in the U.S. the potential to increase productivity. A major segment of the economy that is behind in utilizing AI and big data to its advantage, however, is our food supply — from the farm to the grocery.

A key part of the problem is that rural America lacks adequate Internet service. In the hinterlands, we’re limited to receiving and sending low numbers of megabytes of data. I recently came to a crossroads with my own Internet service. My staff computer techy guy measured my office Internet connectivity at 0.6 megabytes per second. Yet, six miles east of my home, in Urbana, every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants it can get 200 to 300 megabytes per second service, to watch movies or the gadflies who opine on TV!

“The Internet of Things (IOT)” describes the ability to connect devices, through high-speed internet, to sense, collect, share and process data to fulfill necessary tasks — like milking cows, robotically.… Continue reading

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What is in your grain marketing toolbox?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

Throughout October so far, the corn market has closed within a tight 25 cent range. Lack of farmers selling has kept prices from declining much during harvest. However, the potential carryout concerns are also keeping prices from increasing.

During the same time, soybeans traded within a 60-cent price range. Again, lack of farmers selling, plus lower than expected yields in the west, is keeping a floor under prices. The potential of Brazil’s next crop is keeping prices in check.

What I also found interesting is that a year ago the trading range on corn and beans for this exact same three-week time frame was the same as it is this year. The only difference was that corn was trading $2 per bushel higher last year than it is today while beans are trading nearly $1 per bushel lower now.

What is in your marketing toolbox?

Over the last month I have been on the farm helping with harvest.… Continue reading

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A look at legal standing

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

I’ve had dogs all of my life, but the Border Collie puppies that Kent and I acquired in 2019 add a whole new twist on canine companionship. Ranger and Tonto are workaholics. When I first started training them as puppies, I had little jerky treats I would give them for learning commands. I soon figured out that our Border Collies are not motivated by food. They would look me in the eye as if to say, “did I say I was hungry?” All these two litter mates want is praise, especially if it is praise for them working. They don’t even comprehend the concept of play. If you toss a ball for them they just stare at you like you are crazy. “What is the purpose of the round thing bouncing?” We thought a tug rope might entertain them but they just glared at it as if to ask, “How do you herd that?… Continue reading

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Fall Applied Herbicide Considerations

By Dr. Alyssa Essman, OSU Extension State Weed Specialist, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-36

Harvest is progressing in much of Ohio, though recent rains have slowed field activities in some areas. As crops continue to come off it’s a good time for a reminder about the value of fall-applied herbicides. Rains this past week may stimulate winter annual weed emergence to some extent. This is the best time of year to control winter annuals and some of the more difficult to manage overwintering weed species. Biennial and perennial plants are now sending nutrients down to the root systems in preparation for winter. Systemic herbicides like glyphosate and 2,4-D applied at this time will be translocated down into the roots more effectively than if applied in spring when nutrients are moving upward. This results in better control. In addition, the increasingly unpredictable spring weather patterns we have experienced in recent years can influence the timing and efficacy of spring burndown applications.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 321 | Soybeans and Livestock Go Toegether Like Two Beans in a Pod

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 Laurie Isley, United Soybean Board, Communication & Education Committee Chair. She talks about soybeans’ role in livestock diets and what research the United Soybean Board does to maximize feed efficiency. Laurie is also a farmer from Michigan, so she gives a brief harvest update.     

 More in this week’s podcast:  

  • Doug Miller, Between the Rows Farmer: Doug gives a harvest update as he is one of this years Between the Rows Famers located in Fayette county. 
  • Madi Layman, Ohio Soybean Council: Madi talks with Dale about biodiesel and the history behind its start till today. 
  • John Linder, OCWGA Board Member: Dusty talks with John about the recent Ethanol Trade Team that he hosted on his farm. 
  • Jack Bardakjia, Gapuma Ltd: Jack is from the United Kingdom and he talks with Dusty about his time in the United States learning about ethanol and his experience with the Ethanol Trade Team
  • William Aidoo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy in Ghana, Africa: William is from Ghana and he talks to Dusty about his experience learning about ethanol and corn production as part of this Ethanol Trade Team.  
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Harvest progresses between storms

Farmers made harvest progress in fields last week between rounds of widespread precipitation, according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 1 percent very short, 22 percent short, 61 percent adequate, and 16 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on October 22 was 50.7 degrees, 0.2 degrees below normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.91 inches of precipitation, 0.23 inches above average. There were 3.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 22.

While soybean harvest progress remained in line with recentyear trends, corn harvest progress lagged behind last year and the five-year average. Ninety percent of corn was mature and 20 percent was harvested. The moisture content of corn grain at harvest was 24 percent. Corn for silage was 97 percent harvested. Sixty-four percent of soybeans were harvested. The moisture content of soybeans at harvest was 14 percent.… Continue reading

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2023 Feeding Farmers in the Field

By Joel Penhorwood and Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Ag Net was once again Feeding Farmers in the Field this fall with cooperation from 92.1 The Frog, as well as AG Boogher and Son, RRR Tire, Fertilizer Dealer Supply, North Star Hardware & Implement Co., Farm Credit Mid-America, VTF-Sunrise, Homan Inc., and Golden Harvest. The program serves up lunch and prizes to four farms during the busy harvest season in the 92.1 listening area. Each of the farms was kind enough to offer a harvest update and insights into their operation.

King Family of Allen County, Sept. 27

The King Family of Allen County hosted the first week of the 2023 edition of Feeding Farmers in the Field. Andy King of T&D Enterprises farms with his father and uncle and recently bought into the operation.

Andy King in Allen County talked with Joel Penhorwood for the first Feeding Farmers of the fall.
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Funding for USDA Wetland Reserve Easements now available to Ohio landowners

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a special set-aside funding pool for  landowners interested in restoring, enhancing, and protecting wetlands through the Wetlands Reserve Easement Program (WRE). This year, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding has provided additional financial opportunities for the program, as wetlands play a critical role in climate mitigation. The first application cutoff date to receive fiscal year 2024 funding for both the WRE and WRE-IRA program is November 15, 2023.  

Wetland Reserve Easements can help landowners protect land from climate impacts by reducing, capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Additional benefits include land development protection, critical wildlife habitat preservation and water quality improvement

“Wetlands are one of nature’s most productive ecosystems and provide improved water quality and improved wildlife habitat,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “We hope to reap these benefits and more by assisting landowners with creating and restoring these critical habitats.” … Continue reading

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BEDNAR Demo Day — Tillage edition

You’re invited to BEDNAR Demo Day — Tillage Edition where innovation meets the field. This is an opportunity to witness the evolution of farming technology and engage in meaningful conversations with industry experts at1510 Dean Rd, Cedarville. 

The event starts at 9:30 a.m. and will feature BEDNAR and ATX Implements including:

  • Atlas AO 7000 Profi – Heavydisc: Experience the power and precision of this heavy-duty disc cultivator.
  • Terraland DO 5000 – Combined Tine Plough: Witness the versatility of this innovative combined tine plough.
  • Swifter XE 12 400 Profi – Speeddisc: Explore the efficiency and speed of this advanced Speeddisc.

There will be a working lunch at 1:00. RSVP by 10/25: Ensure a spot by sending an email to or calling us at 317-999-7545.… Continue reading

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Harvest turning up strong yields statewide

Lawrence Onweller

We had quite a few rains last week — and around 2 inches in the last 10 days — so there’s still quite a few beans around in the area or at least around my house left to come out of the fields. We have about 200 acres or so to run, which will take about two days.

Corn has been good to really good. The disease and stuff didn’t seem to hurt it much.

The lowest corn yield I’ve heard about is probably 180 and then I heard up to 250 to 260 bushels. If they had a water issue like drowning out, soybean yields of 48 bushels was the lowest I’ve heard on up to the 70s at the high end. That’s been about our range. There were water issues on both sides, too much or too little.

A lot of the corn moisture has depended on the maturity and when it was planted.… Continue reading

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