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New ag drones hope to make big difference for farm production, data security

Drones have been long-promised to make an impact as a piece of routine equipment on farms. The new American-made Hylio ag drones, now offered to Ohio farmers by Apple Farm Service, are hoping to make that promise a reality with availability in 2023 that looks to impact aerial application and data security. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood caught up with a variety of sources at the one-of-a-kind kickoff event for the new technology by Apple Farm Service in early April.… Continue reading

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Straddle success (barely) in a sideways market

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

The market will be focused on the weather in the Dakotas as we move forward. While the rest of the country will have good weather for planting, it will come down to how many prevent plant acres there are in the northern part of the Corn Belt at the end of May.

Market action

On Jan. 18 when May corn was trading at $6.80, I suspected corn prices would likely be range bound or slightly higher at the end of March. Therefore, I placed a trade to maximize some profit potential if that happened. On 10% of my 2022 production, I sold a $6.80 April straddle (i.e., sold both the $6.80 April put and the $6.80 April call which are based upon May futures) which allowed me to collect a net positive value of over 41 cents.

What does this mean?

If the value of May corn on March 24 was:

  • Above $7.21 I sell futures at $6.80, but I keep all of the 41 cents collected on the trade, so it would be like selling $7.21 futures.
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Building soil carbon

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The following revised article came from information provided by Jon Stika. Jon Stika is a retired Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil health instructor. He is also the author of A Soil Owner’s Manual: How to Restore and Maintain Soil Health.

Farmers are looking at carbon markets, just as they look at crop markets, to improve their bottom line. The goal is to transfer carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. The real question is what conservation practices increase soil carbon?  If a farmer is looking to sign a carbon sequestration contract, it makes sense they understand carbon cycling and soil carbon storage.

Carbon market contracts use the term “sequestered carbon”.  Sequestered carbon includes oil, natural gas, and coal; carbon that is tied up.  Do farmers want to sequester carbon or recycle soil carbon more efficiently?  Soil carbon is one of the most limiting nutrients for improved crop production.… Continue reading

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Farm On financial management course now available

A new online farm management course offered by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will help Ohio’s beginning farmers qualify for the requirements of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program.

Called Farm On, the self-paced, on-demand farm financial management course was created by Ohio State University Extension professionals and is offered through OSU Extension’s new Farm Financial Management and Policy Institute (FFMPI), said Eric Richer, assistant professor and OSU Extension field specialist in farm management. 

“The Farm On financial management course was created to address the needs of Ohio’s new and beginning farmers who want to better prepare themselves to operate a commercial farm in Ohio and do that with a high level of economic stability while remaining profitable and responsible at every step along the way,” said Richer, who is the lead instructor for the Farm On course. “We believe Farm On will be a great deliverable to Ohio’s agriculture industry because it is on-demand, self-paced, and taught by Ohio State’s expert farm management instructors.”… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 296 | Bird’s Eye View Across Ohio

On this week’s podcast Matt, Dusty, and Joel talk about spring planting. They discuss weather, field conditions, and anything and everything in-between that may affect when farmers can get into the field for this upcoming growing season. 

Matt talks with two 2023 Between the Row Farmers, Lawrence Onweller of Fulton County and Kyle Nietfeld of Mercer County. They talk about their farming operations and when they expect to be in the fields this spring. Next, Joel talks with with Dale Everman of Homan Inc. about what building projects farmers may have. Lastly, Joel stops in for an interview at Apple Farm Service with Alex Ryan, Precision Farming Manager. They discuss the introduction of new drones and what they mean for Ohio agriculture.   

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update

07:39 Lawrence Onweller – BTR

11:50 Kyle Nietfeld – BTR

17:02 Dale Everman – Homan Inc

33:52 Alex Ryan – Apple Farm Service

40:28 Back to Matt, Joel & Dusty… Continue reading

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AFBF says Biden let farmers down

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on President Biden’s decision to veto the Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution that would have overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The CRA was a bipartisan, bicameral effort by Congress to halt implementation of the flawed rule. 

“This veto flies in the face of President Biden’s promise to support farmers and ranchers. This rule is a clear case of government overreach that leaves farmers wondering whether they can farm their own land. It’s a shame the President is standing with bureaucrats instead of with the people who stock America’s pantries,” Duvall said. “The President’s decision to disregard the bipartisan will of Congress also causes farmers, ranchers and all Americans to doubt his often-repeated commitment to work with Congress when Members come together on a bipartisan basis. They did so and he rejected their will with the stroke of a pen.… Continue reading

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Corn germination and emergence

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

As growers across the Eastern Corn Belt get ready to plant corn, it is important to review and understand what goes into corn the germination and emergence process. Uniform corn emergence is one of the most important aspects of stand establishment and producing high yielding corn. Understanding germination, emergence, and how environmental factors influence these processes is the first step toward ensure uniform emergence.


Germination begins in a corn seed when it has imbibed 30% of its weight in water. Corn will begin to germinate when soil temperatures are 50 degrees F or higher. Visual signs that corn germination is taking place are the appearance of the radicle root, coleoptile, and seminal roots. When temperatures are cooler, the germination process is slower and seedlings are more susceptible to disease, insects, and other damaging factors.


Uniform emergence is one of the most important yield-influencing factors that growers should work to achieve.… Continue reading

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Warm sunny days dry and warm the soil

Warm sunny days helped to dry and warm soil last week, according to the USDA NASS, Great Lakes Regional Field Office. Most soils remained too wet and cold to work despite the warm, relatively dry weather last week. Farmers looked with anticipation on the predicted warm, sunny weather in the coming week to further dry and warm soils so that Spring fieldwork and planting could begin. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 1% short, 59% adequate, and 40% surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on April 9 was 50.8 degrees, 5.3 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.67 inches of precipitation, 0.30 inches below average. There were 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 9.

Oat plantings remained behind both the previous year and 5-year averages. Winter wheat was 16% jointed and winter wheat condition was rated 62% good to excellent, an increase of 3 points.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows kicks off for 2023

Lawrence Onweller

I started farming with my father-in-law and my brother in 1980. Then my father-in-law retired and my brother-in-law went to work at Mazda, so I pretty much took over the farm in the mid 80s. At that time it was a little tough.

Now we raise corn and soybeans. I’m pretty much semi-retired and I have a young man that has worked for me take over. He is doing the farming and making the decisions. It is kind of nice.

We have some really good dirt, but we also have yellow sand. It’s droughty and we usually have dry weather in the summer so that really dings us on yield. We have some heavier ground that’s challenging too, but compared to a lot of guys, our heavy ground is their good ground, so we’re blessed with that.

Being near Lake Erie has been challenging, but it’s also been good because it makes us better farmers and better stewards of the land when you have people watching like that.… Continue reading

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Resistance and Soybean Cyst Nematode

By Mark Apelt, Regional Product Specialist, Becks Hybrids

Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN) were first identified in the United States in North Carolina in 1954. Within a 70 year time frame, they have become the greatest yield-reducing pest and disease of soybeans in the US, despite only being able to move a few inches per year in the soil on their own. University experts from 29 soybean producing states have estimated SCN causes more than twice the amount of damage as the next yield-reducing pest (seedling diseases). It is now estimated that SCN costs US Soybean producers close to $1.5 billion per year.

Soybean Cyst Nematode can build up their populations rather quickly. The average female cyst contains approximately 200 eggs (about half become male, and half are female). It takes approximately 24 days (depending on temperature) to go from egg to adult, and each year there can be three to six generations.… Continue reading

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Time to stock up on the right nozzles for the operation

By Erdal Ozkan

This is the time of the year you must complete shopping for nozzles because the spraying season is just around the corner. Although nozzles are some of the least expensive components of a sprayer, they hold a high value in their ability to influence sprayer performance. Nozzles meter the amount of liquid sprayed per unit area, controlling application rate, as well as variability of spray over the width of the sprayer boom. Nozzles also influence droplet size, affecting both target coverage and spray drift risk. Nozzles come in a wide variety of types and sizes. The best nozzle for a given application will maximize efficacy, minimize spray drift, and allow compliance with label requirements such as application rate (gallons per acre) and spray droplet size. Selecting the best nozzle requires careful consideration of many important factors including: sprayer operation parameters (such as application rate, spray pressure, travel speed); type of chemical sprayed (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides); mode of action of chemicals (systemic, contact); application type (broadcast, band, directed, air assisted); target crop (field crops, vegetables, vineyard, shrubs and trees, etc.);… Continue reading

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Fruit and veggies from a different perspective

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

This winter I joined a writers’ group — a huge step out of my dietitian-farmer comfort zone. Each week the group is given two prompts for a 10-minute write about, NO google, NO preparation and NO THESARAUS!!! Yikes! A FREAK OUT began when I found the protocol involved sharing. Out. Loud. My blood pressure began to rise as David Bowie crooned in my ear “Pressure pushing down on me.” 

As the cell timer began to chime, I had changed directions more than Siri in three consecutive traffic circles in a construction zone. 

“Under pressure” was full chorus while my blood pressure was about to jet my head into the heavens. Not good, as this was a group of Midwesterners, New Yorkers, New Jersians, and Californians young at heart. How could I share when I couldn’t even follow my train of thought. At the first prompt I shook my head with absolute certainty that this was not happening. … Continue reading

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Comparing the cost of lime sources

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Depending on your location, you may have a few options for ag liming materials. There are several questions to consider in a lime purchase. What is the calcium or magnesium content? How easily does the product spread with available equipment? Can we address other soil and management goals with the lime source available? Another critical question is, what is the most cost-effective source? 

Fortunately, the Ohio Department of Agriculture regulates products sold as agricultural lime in Ohio. A key part of the regulation is providing an analysis number that allows us to compare lime sources and make accurate applications.

The number that every lime product sold in Ohio must show on the labeling is the Effective Neutralizing Power or ENP. The ENP is a calculated value based on total neutralizing power (TNP), fineness of grind, and percent moisture. 

ENP provides a convenient way to compare lime sources on a cost-per-acre basis.… Continue reading

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OSU and ODA team up to give out free garden seeds for Ohio Victory Gardens

Ohio’s movement to promote urban and rural gardening is back and bigger than ever. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension are partnering once again to encourage Ohioans to cultivate their own produce.

At the Franklin County OSU Extension facility April 9, Ohio Victory Gardens officially kicked off with a special appearance from Brutus Buckeye, who helped plant a few seeds to start the season.

The popular Ohio Victory Gardens program is back for its fourth year and due to high demand, the program is expanding to include 50 counties. OSU Extension offices will be handing out the free seed sample kits to the public to get people planting. Specific days and times for each office are available on the Ohio Victory Gardens website, as well as planting resources and information.

“The Ohio Victory Gardens program is helping to revitalize the art of growing your own fresh food and helping to reconnect people back to agriculture,” said Brian Baldridge, Director of ODA.… Continue reading

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How does soil test P relate to water quality?

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient in crop production. P in the water is also essential for aquatic plant growth, but too much P in water can result in excess aquatic plant growth leading to the eutrophication of streams and lakes. Eutrophication is the depletion of dissolved oxygen in water bodies. In Lake Erie, excessive plant growth produces harmful algae blooms and associated toxins. Both eutrophication and harmful algae blooms are important reasons Ohio is working toward lower P in water regardless of P source. From an agricultural perspective, we continue to reduce our P nutrient use but also need to be aware of P in the soil and how it impacts water quality.

Soil testing is the standard way to evaluate our need to apply fertilizer and is widely adopted. For example, a 2021 survey by the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative of Lower Maumee found that 83% of fields had been soil tested in the past three years. … Continue reading

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Increasing predator insects

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Insects damage over 30% of all crops worldwide amounting to at least $220 billion lost annually. Insect damaged plants allows many plant diseases a way to enter wounds, further complicating crop damage.  Insects can sense when a plant is unhealthy. These plants become a preferred food source, since they feast on plants high in nitrates due to incomplete photosynthesis.  Healthy plants produce full proteins which the insects cannot digest, so they avoid healthy plants. Good plant nutrition decreases insect and disease crop damage.

Another way to reduce crop damage is through predators that consume both insects and disease organisms. Most predators need food, shelter, and habitat to help these beneficial predators thrive.  Small fields surrounded by natural vegetation offer refuge and extra food. Diverse crops and multispecies cover crops with small open flowers promote predators. Soils high in crop residue (mulch) and biological activity offer winter refuge and food for predators.… Continue reading

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Cooper Farms celebrates history, emphasizes animal care

By Matt Reese

In 1938, Cooper Farms started with 300 turkeys in Oakwood, Ohio when Virgil Cooper took over the farm after his mother’s passing. By 1948, a hatchery had been built where the Cooper Farms Corporate Office now resides. Over 85 years, Cooper Farms has evolved into a diversified, vertically integrated turkey, hog and egg company that has stood the test of time in an ever-changing industry. 

Cooper Farms prides itself on forming lasting customer relationships and producing high quality meat and egg products for private label retail and foodservice companies.  

“Our company was founded on a handshake mentality, with a focus on doing the right thing all the time,” said Jim Cooper, CEO. “It’s humbling to see the growth of Cooper Farms and all that we’ve accomplished, with the help of great partners, leaders and team members. I am pleased to see these next generations, both Cooper family and team members, stepping up to leadership roles and seeing us through these next phases of growth.” … Continue reading

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Can I start grazing?

By Victor Shelton, retired NRCS agronomist/grazing specialist

I have already heard the question, “When can we start grazing?” That question came up a bit earlier this year than normal because we had enough warm days in between the cold ones to provide the energy to really see some early green up.

I’ve seen a lot of livestock already out grazing fields. That is OK if they are still grazing stockpiled forages left from last year’s growth, but if they are consuming only new growth and chasing after each new green blade of grass like a chicken after a bug, then you’re usually doing more harm than good.

Fields that were grazed hard last fall, especially prior to dormancy, and fields that were grazed early this year because the cows needed someplace to go, could absolutely use a longer deferment prior to grazing again this spring. Those fields will need to first try to grow or regrow their new solar panel off the reserves that are left, and then spend valuable time rebuilding roots and root reserves before allocating energy and resources on growing forage.… Continue reading

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Meeting the fertilizer need with Mosaic

Ross Bender is director of new product development at The Mosaic Company. Mosaic is a leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, two essential components for global agriculture. He provides insights into the current state of the company’s offerings and steps they’re taking to meet the increasing demand for sustainable crop nutrients.… Continue reading

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