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Lake Erie walleye numbers continue to climb

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

This past summer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife trawl surveys found that there was yet another walleye hatch that is well above average, as fisheries biologists reported the 2021 walleye hatch was the fifth largest recorded over the past 35 years.

The 2021 walleye hatch index was 90 fish per hectare (a standard measure of area), well above the rapidly increasing prior 20-year average of 34 fish per hectare. The young walleye averaged just over 4 inches long and were caught at every site sampled.

“Our fisheries biologists survey nearly 40 locations between Toledo and Huron by dragging a large, concave net along the bottom of the lake,” said Travis Hartman, Division of Wildlife Lake Erie Fisheries Program Manager. “Smaller first- and second- year fish tend to feed near the lake’s floor and are captured in the net, while larger fully-grown fish dodge the net and are not routinely caught.”… Continue reading

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The science (and deliciousness) of popcorn

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

It’s all about the science! I’m talking about the science of popcorn. My extensive research on states that there are 3 main components needed to create the perfect popping corn: kernel moisture of 13.5 to 14%, kernel, and starch all wrapped up in a hard shell. These three factors must be just right to create the magic. Throw these seeds in some hot oil and it’s showtime. The hot oil bath causes the moisture in the seeds to expand and begin their dance. The moisture and pressure build up until there is an explosion of epic proportions. states that popcorn can pop at heights of up to 3 feet! Guess it’s always good to keep the lid on. The starch in the kernel forms a 3-D bubble-like structure that turns it into a fluffy treat. It is amazing science that is true no matter how you look at it. … Continue reading

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FACA encouraged by USDA Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) is encouraged by USDA’s recent announcement inviting proposals to advance voluntary climate-smart farming and forestry practices. The alliance is pleased to see USDA embracing an incentive-based approach that would increase demand for climate-smart farm, ranch and forestry products, while building trust that the climate benefits are real and verifiable.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative saying USDA hopes to receive proposals from a wide variety of stakeholders interested in voluntarily collaborating to test wide-ranging ideas that sequester carbon and reduce GHG emissions on farms and working lands. Vilsack credited FACA, saying the department drew heavily from alliance recommendations released in May 2021 when forming the program. USDA also acknowledges the need identified by FACA to build confidence in these climate benefits by investing in measurement, monitoring and verification to lay the groundwork for success and potential actions by Congress.… Continue reading

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Farm community loses Judy Loudenslager

Known by many in Ohio agriculture, Judith A. “Judy” Loudenslager, age 81, of Marion, died peacefully on Thursday, October 14, 2021, at home surrounded by her loving family.

On November 5, 1939, Judy was born in Marion, Ohio, the only child of the late Robert L. and Evelyn F. (Massie) Campbell. She was raised in Morral, where she was a member of Morral United Methodist Church, and graduated from Morral High School in the class of 1957. Growing up, she also learned the value of hard work, helping at her parent’s grocery store, Morral Market, and at the Morral Supply Company.

In 1954, Judy attended a youth camp with her church up in Lakeside, Ohio, where she fell for her camp counselor, Roy Loudenslager, and from there the rest is history. They dated while she was in high school, and were married a year after she graduated on July 27, 1958, at Epworth United Methodist Church.… Continue reading

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Carbon market caution

Farmers would be wise to look into, but not jump into any agreements with companies to be paid for conservation measures that remove carbon from the air.

That’s because the pay to farmers for those measures isn’t much right now, but it’s expected to increase in the next 10 years, said Brent Sohngen, a professor of natural resources and environmental economics at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Contracts to start no-till farming or plant cover crops pay $2 to $15 per acre annually, Sohngen said. And both measures come at a cost. Cover crops can be expensive, and no-till farming can reduce yields on a corn crop, particularly in the first few years of the practice. So, the expenses or potential crop profit loss would have to be weighed against the carbon payments to farmers.

“Carbon is now a commodity, and there is great potential,” Sohngen said.… Continue reading

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Assessing soybean success

By Matt Reese

Across much of northern Ohio, the soybean crop is looking fairly strong as harvest gets going.

Brad Miller, a technical agronomist for Asgrow and DEKALB, is advising soybean growers to take note of the yields in their fields this fall and compare them with the challenges they identified in those fields earlier in the growing season.

“Across northern Ohio we were seeing both frogeye leaf spot and sudden death syndrome. Frogeye is usually more of a southern Ohio disease, but it has crept north. I have seen it as far north as Perrysburg up by Toledo. It was something we all needed to scout for this year and apply fungicide as needed,” Miller said. “Sudden death syndrome (SDS) is something we have seen more this year with all of the rainfall. It can often be correlated back to areas of the field that had some compaction from last fall.… Continue reading

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Fall weather finally arrives

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

After a very brief cool down the third week of September, summer-like weather has gripped the Buckeye State until this past Saturday. Most stations across Ohio have recorded their warmest October to date (1895-2021). Rainfall has been plentiful for some as well, especially across northwest Ohio, where locations have received 3-5 inches (200-300% of normal). Counties across central Ohio have been a bit drier. The strong cold front that swept through Friday night and dropped temperatures back closer to seasonal norms sparked several tornadoes across the state as well. The most significant (EF2- 115 mph winds) occurred near South Salem in Ross County. The chilly weather also brought the first reports of frost to some locations.


Strong high pressure and fair weather remained in control through Wednesday. Highs reached the upper-60s to mid-70s Tuesday and Wednesday, with overnight lows in the 40s. A fast moving cold front will increase the threat of showers for Wednesday night through Thursday night.… Continue reading

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Beware of dark dust clouds during harvest

By Pierce Paul and Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University Extension

There have been reports of huge dust clouds blowing up behind combines during harvest. It is certainly not uncommon to see dust during harvest as fragments of dead, dry plant parts and soil particles are usually suspended into the air as the combine drives though the field. However, the concern this year is that the dust seems excessive and particularly darker in color than usual. One possible explanation for this could be the fact that leaves in several corn fields died prematurely as a result of mid- to late-season diseases such as tar spot, gray leaf spot, and particularly, northern corn leaf blight. These leaves were then exposed to wet, humid conditions which caused them to produce excessive amounts of fungal spores. 

For instance, under wet conditions, northern corn leaf blight lesions produce large amounts of dark-colored spore that are easily suspended in the air once the plants are disturbed by the combine.… Continue reading

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Prevent combine fires during fall harvest

By Dee JepsenWayne Dellinger, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Autumn weather conditions have led to an increase in combine fires. Two recommendations to prevent injuries and property damage include: preventative maintenance and pre-planning for fire emergencies. 

Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for combine fires. Other states leading the list include Minnesota (1st), Iowa (2nd), Illinois (3rd), Kansas (5th), Nebraska (6th) and South Dakota (7th). 

The majority of harvester fires start in the engine compartment. Contributing factors for heat sources include faulty wiring, over-heated bearings, leaking fuel or hydraulic oil. The dry crop residue makes a ready source for rapid combustion to occur when the machine is operated in the field. Birds and wildlife are known to make nests in the engine compartment or exhaust manifolds – which can add fuel sources for unsuspecting combine operators.… Continue reading

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Earl “Doc” Kantner passed away

Earl F. Kantner, age 95, of Canal Winchester, Ohio passed away on Oct. 15, 2021 at home with his loving family by his side. Long time teacher and youth leader born April 24, 1926 on the family farm near Wapakoneta. Son of Charles I. and Blanche Dapper Kantner. WWII Veteran, served in South Pacific theater on Island of Okinawa with U.S. Army famed Seventh Army Infantry Division. Wounded in action June 17, 1945, the last battle of WWII. Youth Director of Ohio’s FFA youth for 21 years, 1963-1984.
   Earl began his education in a one-room country school in 1932 at the age of six and graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1950. Taught High School Agricultural classes at Ansonia, Wauseon and Canal Winchester, Ohio High Schools. Joined the OSU faculty in 1958 and in 1963 was appointed Assistant State Supervisor of the Agricultural Education Services, Ohio Department of Education.… Continue reading

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Can corn break out of the current trading range?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

With harvest in full swing around the country, the markets are watching. 

Corn outlook

Corn rebounded off the lows last week, but still it remains in the tight trading range of $5.10 to $5.40 it has been trading in for seven weeks. Some of this can be attributed to the recent wheat price rally in this country. Also, for the first time in several months China’s domestic corn price is lower than the price levels of Chinese domestic wheat. This could cause a demand increase for corn for feed should the price trends continue. 

Corn yield reports throughout the U.S. continue to be impressive and suggest the national yield average could still increase. If so, this could be an anchor to prices. On the flip side, Argentina’s spring planting is extremely dry and the potential for upcoming weather issues from November through March could provide the corn market some upside potential.… Continue reading

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Becoming a Certified Crop Adviser and exam prep options

By Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCABruce Clevenger, CCALee Beers, CCA

Practicing agronomists can highlight their knowledge, experience, and dedication to crop production advising through the Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) program. The program provides a professional benchmark for agronomists in the United States and Canada. To become certified, individuals must have a mix of experience, education, sign a code of ethics, and pass two exams. In addition, to maintain their certification, they must earn 40 hours of continuing education credits every two years. 

The first step to becoming a CCA is to pass both the international and local exams. Both exams are scheduled and taken online. The International Exam is available continuously throughout the year. The local exam is given during a specific period, twice a year. The next local exam opportunity is February 2-9, 2022. The registration deadline is January 5, 2022. You can schedule for one or both exams at reading

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Soybean futures held early warning for economic collapse

Global financial markets collapsed in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world. But weeks earlier, soybean futures had already started providing an early warning sign of troubles ahead. Soybean futures were “the canary in the coal mine,” according to a team of agricultural economists from the University of Illinois, who studied soybean, corn, and wheat market trading in early 2020. 

In mid-February 2020, a sharp drop in soybean market liquidity (in particular, the ease with which traders could buy or sell large future positions) coincided with news reports of a 10-fold increase in the number of deaths attributed to the pandemic in China, which is a major export market for U.S. oilseeds. 

“The biggest source of demand worldwide for soybeans is in China. So it was not necessarily surprising the things that matter for the Chinese economy would impact soybeans first,” said Michel Robe, the Clearing Corp.… Continue reading

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Biden Administration may allow for faster processing line speeds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture may allow faster line speeds at pork packing plants under a proposal now being considered by the White House. In July, packing plants operating under the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) had to slow down pursuant to a March federal court ruling that struck down the system’s increased line speed provision. 

The National Pork Producers Council aggressively engaged for months on the matter, proposing a number of options to allow faster line speeds and pointing out, including in recent comments to USDA, that increasing line speeds to the safe operating levels at which many plants operated under a 20-year pilot program would expand pork packing capacity by about 2.5 percent. (The packing industry lost that much capacity when the federal court’s ruling on the NSIS line speed provision took effect July 1.) Lost harvest capacity took away economic leverage from hog farmers, NPPC pointed out.… Continue reading

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Singh named director of compliance for Versova

Versova, one of the nation’s leading egg-producing companies, has expanded its senior leadership team with the newly created role of Director of Compliance. Ashley Singh will be transitioning from her former role at Trillium Farms, a Versova-owned farm in Ohio, to Director of Compliance for all Versova-managed operations and will lead compliance efforts company-wide. 

In the new role, Singh will focus on Versova’s three pillars of compliance; the production of safe, affordable food; the care, health and well-being of Versova’s flocks; and stewardship of the environment. She will lead Versova’s farm compliance teams in Iowa and Ohio in ensuring that food safety and animal welfare practices are met, working with government and regulatory agencies to implement national quality assurance programs, and continuously improving policies and procedures that will help maintain and exceed compliance industry standards.

“Versova’s guiding principles include both quality and compliance, as well as continuous improvement, and with the addition of the Director of Compliance role, our team has established a leader that will be responsible for ensuring that our farms operate with these guidelines in mind,” said JT Dean, Versova president.… Continue reading

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