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A look at the environmental impact of pets

By Don “Doc” Sanders

An estimated 200 million dogs and cats live in the United States, along with 330 million humans. More than 60% of American households are home to at least one pet.

You’ve probably seen the information out there about how people impact the environment. But how much do our pets contribute to this effect?

Do they really have a significant environmental impact? You bet your sweet bippy they do! 

Pets’ impact on global warming was first studied in 2017, using a technique called life cycle analysis (LCA). An LCA of an animal species evaluates all of the inputs that go into supporting the animals, right down to the animals’ outputs. That is, their excrement.

LCAs have been completed numerous times over the past several years for food animals like cows and pigs. So, it’s logical that researchers would also evaluate our pets. Or at least you’d think so, if they had a chance to see how much food my boxer, Ruby, wolfs down. … Continue reading

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Fertilizer stratification

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Fertilizer stratification occurs when a farmer surface apply soil nutrients like phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) without doing any tillage.  Deep tillage (plowing 6-8 inches deep) generally moves and mixes surface applied nutrients down about 3-4 inches, or roughly 50%.  Some farmers worry that nutrients applied at the surface will not be plant available. 

Marion Calmer, an experienced no-till farmer and researcher in Illinois, found that roughly 54% of his P and 43% of his K was found in the top 2 inches of his soil.  Since he plants corn 2 inches deep, many nutrients were above his corn roots. In dry weather, he was seeing stunted corn and nutrient deficiencies (P deficient purple corn).  For every $1 in fertilizer (P & K) applied every year, he got back about $.40 in additional corn yield.  He had been applying commercial fertilizer for 30 years to his no-till fields by surface applying nutrients. … Continue reading

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Trout in the Cuyahoga River

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show 

The Cuyahoga River has been stocked with about 1,000 rainbow trout. That’s amazing when you consider that the northeast Ohio flow was once a national punchline for water pollution, catching on fire in 1969. Since then, the river has made a comeback for recreational users and wildlife — such as trout — alike.

The trout release was a combined effort by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Western Reserve chapter of Trout Unlimited and the city of Cuyahoga Falls.

“This is unprecedented. I don’t know that this has ever happened in the river so now it’s stocked,” said Don Walters, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor.

Jason Pullin, recreation program manager for the city, said the conditions were perfect for a release that would seem unthinkable not long ago.

“Trout typically live in cold water, but it has to be very clean.… Continue reading

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Winter manure application

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

An unusually dry fall has allowed manure application to farm fields to be ahead of the normal schedule. Nevertheless, there will still be some application of manure to frozen ground or snow-covered ground.

Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Several commercial manure applicators have established manure storage ponds in recent years to help address this issue.

In the Grand Lake St Marys watershed, the winter manure application ban from Dec. 15 to March 1 is still in effect. Thus, no manure application would normally be allowed in that time period.

In the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) watershed, the application of manure to frozen and snow-covered soils require there to be a growing crop in the field. This could be a pasture, alfalfa, clover, ryegrass or a rape crop.… Continue reading

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Plenty of opportunities to buy yet in 2022

By Matt Reese

The end of 2022 is looming and there are big purchase decisions farms may need to make in the coming weeks, many involving equipment. 

Peter Gehres

“People are looking to maybe turn over equipment at the end of the year to get something new and certainly people buying needing to spend some profits rather than paying Uncle Sam. Fall auction season is always a very busy time and after the Labor Day holiday gets wrapped up, we go as hard as we can until Christmas,” said Peter Gehres, CEO of Jeff Martin Auctioneers. “We are actively getting ready for auctions all around the country throughout the rest of the fall. We’ve got a great auction coming in Lima, Ohio on Dec. 13 at the Allen County fairgrounds. Brandon Gerdeman is based right there in northwest Ohio and taking consignments actively for ag equipment and transportation equipment, as well as construction equipment and any other assets related to that.… Continue reading

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TMDLs and Ohio agriculture

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension; Rick Wilson, Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water; and Joshua Griffin, Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water

What is a Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL?

When a stream or lake is not meeting the expectations for a healthy waterbody it is considered impaired and the clean water act requires that a plan is developed to restore it to a healthy state. The plan is called a “Total Maximum Daily Load” or TMDL. A TMDL identifies the linkages between the impairment and a pollutant, then prescribes pollutant load reductions needed to restore the waterbody. 

Sources of pollutants are classified under a TMDL as either point sources or nonpoint sources, both of which are evaluated for needed reductions. Point sources include all sources regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, including wastewater treatment facilities, industrial facilities, and some stormwater from developed areas.… Continue reading

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Winter planter maintenance pays off

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

Have you ever heard someone say, “What do farmers do in the winter?” As you are aware, there are many answers to this question. Winter is a great time to get ready for spring planting, which will be here before we know it. One of the most important parts of the growing season is planting. It’s crucial that your crops get off to a good start and it’s important to make sure that your planter is field-ready when the time comes. Planting seed into the best possible growing conditions is a one of the most important tasks of spring field work. A planter in need of some adjustment can result in varied seed placement, uneven emergence, and ultimately a reduction in yield potential.

Check for and replace any parts of your planter that are excessively worn. No-till coulters or disk openers that are worn out will not create the proper seed furrow and may cause poor seed placement.… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau urges Congress to address rail strike

Ohio Farm Bureau wrote a letter to Ohio’s congressional delegation urging swift action to avert a rail strike or lockout that would lead to shutdowns or slowdowns of rail-dependent facilities, resulting in devastating consequences to national and global food security.

This letter shares Ohio Farm Bureau’s support of the emergency resolution H.J. Res. 100, which would implement the Tentative Agreement as brokered by the administration with the rail labor unions and the railroads. 

“A strike or lockout, combined with existing challenges in the rail system, backlogs at our ports, and with trucking along with record-low water levels on the Mississippi River impacting numerous barge shipments, would be catastrophic for the agricultural and the broader U.S. economy,” the letter read. “Congress must act to prevent this from occurring. Thank you for your responsiveness to this imminent supply chain issue.”

The House is expected to take up H.J.Res. 100 for a vote on the floor as early as Nov.… Continue reading

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A look at buying puts

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The market is monitoring increased COVID lockdowns in China and South America’s weather forecasts for their upcoming growing season. Also, recent bombings in Ukraine have reduced the electric power supply by 50%, which is impacting export facilities and their ability to move grain. The Black Sea export corridor deal was renewed on Nov. 19, but the total ships loading in Ukraine has dropped by half since then.

I shared previously that on April 19 I bought $6.80 December puts for 40 cents on 70% of my 2022 production. This basically provided me a guaranteed floor price of $6.40 per bushel, after factoring the cost to buy the puts.

Why did you buy puts?

There were several variables impacting the market at the time. The war in Ukraine was only two months old, plus there were concerns in the western corn belt regarding late planting and that La Niña could cause widespread dry weather.… Continue reading

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Using soybeans to prevent scale build-up in the petroleum industry

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

New research funded by farmers is proving how the soybean industry can benefit the petroleum industry. Research currently underway at Airable Lab is creating possibilities. Airable Research Lab is a soy-based research and development project funded by the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off. The lab is equipped to research and develop new products that utilize soy-based feedstocks to solve industrial and consumer challenges. Their product design is based on key performance indicators provided by their clients. The Airable Research Lab leverages its intellectual property and utilizes other tools to accelerate the research and development process.

Airable Lab Director, Barry McGraw, says that they have been working with a company from the State of Texas to develop a scale inhibitor for the oil and gas industry. “We are in the process of scaling production of that up in Columbus,” said McGraw.… Continue reading

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OSU Outlook and Policy Conference highlights

 The Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE), held its first in-person Outlook and Policy Conference since 2019 in November, at the 4-H Center on Ohio State Campus. 

Below are brief summaries of what each speaker presented, along with copies of their presentations.

Energy market outlook by Brent Sohngen 

This presentation examined current trends in energy markets, focusing on factors affecting the supply and demand of oil, natural gas, and renewable energy. These factors include global supply considerations related to OPEC, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting economic sanctions, and US energy policy.  Critical US and Ohio energy policies and their effects on market outcomes in energy markets were examined, with respect to recent legislation related to renewable energy sources. The global demand situation also plays a critical role in energy markets and were examined. Finally, the presentation also considered how widespread net zero commitments by many private companies could influence the future evolution of energy markets domestically and internationally. … Continue reading

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A chat with the GrowNextGen Teacher Leader of the Year

Shelby Guthrie of the Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield has been named the GrowNextGen Teacher Leader of the Year for 2022-2023. Click on the audio player to listen to this interview as Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo talks with her about the honor, her strategy as a teacher, and how she brings agriculture to life in the classroom as well as much more.

GrowNextGen brings agriculture science to the classroom by providing real-world educational tools to engage the next generation workforce. Backed by funding from the Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio soybean farmers, GrowNextGen helps expose students to different career fields in a thriving industry. Resources include teacher workshops, curriculum, e-learning courses, and virtual field trips. To learn more go to… Continue reading

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Cool and dry weather as harvest wraps up

A cool and mostly dry week was interrupted by late week showers as farmers completed their final harvest activities of the fall season, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 14% very short, 31% short, 52% adequate, and 3 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on Nov. 27 was 39.9 degrees, 0.6 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.56 inches of precipitation, 0.27 inches below average. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 27. 

Last week’s field activities included applications of manure and fertilizer as well as tile drainage system repair. Corn for grain was 95% harvested, and the average moisture content of corn grain at harvest was 18%. Corn harvest was delayed in some western counties as farmers waited for space at grain elevators to become available. Winter wheat was 96% emerged and winter wheat condition was rated 58% good to excellent; in the northwest, rain and warmer weather supported strong wheat growth.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 279 | YAP Conference Preview

Matt and Dusty sit down with Sara Tallmadge to talk about the Young Ag Professional (YAP) Conference that is coming up in January. She provides a nice preview of what to expect at this year’s event. Dusty also chats with Dr. Justin Welsh with Merck Animal Health about new technologies in animal agriculture.

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update  

07:32 Dr. Justin Welsh – Merck Animal Health 

24:46 Back with Sara Tallmadge – YAP Conference… Continue reading

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OCA BEST kicks off in December

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) Program is excited to commence a new season with this year’s theme “On a Quest to be the BEST,” alongside sponsoring partners: Evans Cattle Company, Ag-Pro, Bob Evans Farms, Diamond T Land & Cattle Co., D&E Electric, M.H. EBY Inc.,  Ricer Equipment, Weaver Leather Livestock, The Folks Printing, Dickson Cattle Co., Jones Show Cattle, RD Jones Excavating, Shepard Cattle Company, and Six R Farms. 

BEST is a youth development program of OCA that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions, educational contests, leadership opportunities and community service. Juniors earn points for participation in each sanctioned show which they are rewarded for at the end-of-season banquet.

The schedule for this year’s season is as follows:

• AGR Holiday Classic, Columbus — Dec. 9-11

• Scarlet & Gray Midwest Showdown, Columbus — Jan.… Continue reading

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FSA microloans an opportunity for small, beginning farms

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

Housed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides loan opportunities for agricultural producers. Microloans were developed for and are available to better serve the unique financial needs of new, niche, and small to mid-sized farm operations.

Microloan types

There are two types of microloans available through FSA: Farm Operating Loans and Farm Ownership Loans. Specifics about each are provided below.

Operating microloans can be used for all approved operating expenses, including but not limited to: start-up expenses; annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rent, marketing costs, family living expenses, purchase of livestock or equipment, minor improvement costs, hoop houses, tools, irrigation, and delivery vehicles.

Ownership microloans can be used for FSA Farm Ownership Loan approved expenses, such as the purchase of land or a farm, construction of new buildings, improvements to existing buildings, pay closing costs, and implement conservation practices.… Continue reading

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