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Double-crop forages to maximize summer forage potential

By Jason Hartschuh, Ohio State University Extension AgNR Educator, Crawford County

Many producers use summer annual forages for grazing and stored forage to either fill the summer slump or keep livestock feed through the winter. With wheat harvest finalized across most of the state and straw baling completed for many now our attention turns to creating a second or third profit center off those wheat acres.

Wheat acres provide an excellent opportunity for double-cropping with forages that when harvested at the proper growth stage can either make high quality late gestation early lactation forage, grazing opportunities, or gut fill to mix lower the quality of other forages or concentrates.

Many species of summer annuals can be utilized for forage. Some of them such as radish and turnip can be easily grazed but do not make good stored forage as baleage or dry hay. For dry hay we have found the best two species to be teff and oats.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER welcomes new participants in elite training program

Eight farmers and agribusiness professionals have been selected to participate in Ohio Farm Bureau’s 2021-2022 AgriPOWER Institute. This yearlong program focuses on public policy issues confronting agriculture and the food industry such as consumer relations, regulations, energy, and trade policies. It helps individuals develop the skills necessary to become effective leaders and advocates for agriculture by learning from experts in these fields.

Class XII members are Brian Herringshaw of Bowling Green, Paige Hunt of Delta, Camille Klick of Massillon, Krysti Morrow of McConnelsville, Christine Snowden of New Albany, Melanie Strait-Bok of Ney, Greg Tholen of Lynchburg and Emily Warnimont of Findlay.

“These participants all have a passion for agriculture and see themselves in a leadership role in the future,” said Melinda Witten, AgriPOWER director. “Getting a better understanding of current issues and developing skills to lead and advocate for agriculture is what this program is all about, and we have a lot of great experiences planned for Class XII.”… Continue reading

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Crop progress ahead of last year, average

A dry work week was followed by heavy rains across much of the state by the weekend, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 94 percent adequate to surplus, down 2 percentage points from the previous week. Temperatures for the week ending July 25 were 2 degrees below historical normals, while the entire State averaged 0.54 inches of precipitation. There were 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 25.

Farmers harvested wheat and cut hay as weather permitted. Winter wheat harvest was 94 percent complete. Alfalfa hay second cut progress was 84 percent complete. Oat harvest was 55 percent complete and oats condition was rated 70 percent good to excellent. Corn silking progress was rated 72 percent complete while corn condition was rated 76 percent good to excellent. Soybeans blooming was rated 75 percent and soybeans condition was rated 68 percent good to excellent.… Continue reading

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Pollination going well around the state

Ross Black

Last night we finally got 2 tenths of an inch of rain at my home farm. The corn was really starting to need it. It is amazing how fast we got dry. The corn was starting to roll up a little bit, especially under the trees. We’ll welcome any shower we can get and we’re hoping for more into the next week. The corn is anywhere from mid-pollination to just wrapping up pollination. Everything looks really good, but we did notice some gray leaf spot bad enough to spray. We tried some fungicide and we’ll see if there is a return on investment with that. We sprayed just the hybrids we thought had the gray leaf spot in it bad enough to warrant the fungicide. We had the luxury of spraying with a ground rig — a high boy Hagie. I had strips left in the fields to have a test.… Continue reading

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Building yield all the way to black layer

By John Brien, Eastern Agronomy Manager for AgriGold

Raising corn is a complex and challenging endeavor no matter the year or the environment, but one of the most challenging parts of raising corn is ensuring the corn crop is producing yield all the way to black layer. Why is this so important? Because at dent stage, also known as R5, 65% of the dry weight of the kernel still needs to be accumulated. That 65% could easily equate to 20% to 25% of the final yield or 40 to 60 bushels of grain.

John Brien

The adage that once the corn reaches dent the yield is made and nothing can hurt it is a false statement. In corn production, agronomists talk about the length of grain fill and the longer a corn plant can accumulate dry matter, the higher the yield (not potential, actual yield). The extra time correlates directly to the importance of the R5 stage.… Continue reading

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Open hearts and helping hands

By Sally McClaskey, Program Manager, Education & Marketing, Ohio 4-H Youth Development

For many 4-H’ers, showing the animals they’ve raised is a summer tradition. It’s the culmination of long hours of feeding, grooming and practicing, then taking the spotlight in the showring. And thanks to caring 4-H’ers in several counties, special needs youth also have the opportunity be in that spotlight.

The Open Hearts Livestock Show premiered last month at the Marion County Fair for youth with developmental disabilities. Five individuals, paired with a 4-H mentor, took to the ring, displaying their showmanship skills with pigs, rabbits and goats. 

Planning the Open Hearts show began two years ago when 4-H member Kyla Stockdale was inspired after she developed a special bond with a 4-H camper when she served as a counselor. It sparked her interest in pursuing a career working with special needs youth. When Kyla reached out to her 4-H educator, Margo Long, the Extension Educator in Marion County, Long encouraged her to visit the Holmes County Fair.… Continue reading

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USDA announces pandemic assistance for timber harvesters and haulers


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing up to $200 million to provide relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that have experienced losses due to COVID-19 as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Loggers and truckers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) July 22 through Oct. 15, 2021. The Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program (PATHH) is administered by FSA in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, authorized this critical assistance for the timber industry. Timber harvesting and hauling businesses that have experienced a gross revenue loss of at least 10% during the period of Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2020, compared to the period of Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2019, are encouraged to apply.

“USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative promised to get financial assistance to a broader set of producers and today’s announcement delivers on that promise,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary.… Continue reading

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How to distinguish flooding injury from Phytophthora or Pythium root rot in soybeans

By Dr. Anne Dorrance, adapted from C.O.R.N. 23-2021

Soybean roots and watermolds. Photo Credit – Dr. Anne Dorrance, O.S.U.

Flooding injury occurs when soils are saturated for several days and anoxia develops.  The roots are killed, as are the nodules that are home to the nitrogen fixing bacteria. The field has an “interesting’ smell but the key symptoms of this injury are on the roots. Dig up a few plants – if it is flooding injury the outside of the root – the epidermis will be easily pulled off the root leaving the white center – looks like rat tails. In addition, the nodules will be gray and easily crushed.

For Phytophthora stem rot – for those cultivars with low to moderate partial resistance ratings we will begin to see stem rot 5 to 10 days after the heaviest rains. On soybeans, a chocolate brown canker will develop, the plants will turn yellow, wilt and die.

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NPPC pushes for labor reform

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, National Pork Producers Council President Jen Sorenson urged Congress to address the agriculture labor shortage by expanding the H-2A visa program for year-round use without a cap. As she explained, U.S. pork production is a year-round effort, requiring a hardworking and dedicated workforce on farms and in processing plants.

“Current visa programs designed for seasonal agriculture—such as the H-2A visa—fail to meet the workforce needs of U.S. pork producers and other year-round livestock farmers. Now more than ever, we need a dedicated, year-round workforce,” Sorenson told the committee.

If not addressed, the labor shortage “could lead to farms and packing plants shutting down, causing serious financial harm to the communities in which they operate. As a result, pork production would be constrained, leading to higher food prices for consumers and the United States becoming an unreliable trading partner for the many countries around the world that rely on our pork,” she noted.… Continue reading

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An upward spiral in corporate culture based on faith

By Matt Reese

We all have recent experience with “hard.” It’s doubtful 2020 was anyone’s favorite year, and for many of us it was very difficult. So where do people turn when life is hard and they need a listening ear, or help working out of a difficult situation, or a new way to look at a problem? 

Coach Belo

These were the questions that Kalmbach Feeds was asking on behalf of their team members in 2017. Fortunately, a great solution presented itself. Kalmbach welcomed Bob Belohlavek to their team as a “life coach” available to all of the company’s 700+ employees. Better known as “Coach Belo,” Belohlavek has spent his entire life dedicated to helping people. Since 2017, he has worked one-on-one with hundreds of Kalmbach team members on dozens of different topics and issues. Any issue that is important to that person is important to Coach Belo. Kalmbach understood the difficulty of trying to discuss tough situations, especially personal ones, with a boss or co-worker.… Continue reading

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Soil microbes and hybrid vigor

The tiny organisms living in soil may have a greater effect on the yield and pest and disease resistance of crop plants grown in that soil than previously known.

Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Kansas have shown that soil microbes — microscopic organisms like viruses, bacteria and fungi found throughout nature — play a role in the phenomenon of heterosis or “hybrid vigor,” the superior performance of crossed plant lines, or hybrids, over inbred plant lines. Hybrids are often used by farmers for agricultural production due their superior crop yields.

Research into hybrid vigor has generally highlighted the roles of genetic and abiotic environmental factors behind the phenomenon. So finding that the biotic soil environment impacts heterosis was a bit surprising and serendipitous, the researchers say. 

“This work moves us toward a better understanding of what’s driving heterosis,” said Manuel Kleiner, an assistant professor of plant and microbial biology at NC State and a co-corresponding author of a paper describing the research.… Continue reading

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New bill seeks to eliminate ethanol RFS requirements

The National Corn Growers Association strongly opposes a bill that was introduced in the U.S. Senate in July, referred to as the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act,” which would remove the implied conventional biofuel blending requirement from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), increasing harmful emissions and use of fossil fuels.

“This bill is ill conceived and would have a devastating impact on air quality, the diversity of our energy supply, fuel prices and rural economies,” said John Linder, NCGA president. “Blending ethanol into the fuel supply is one of the most effective ways to lower carbon emissions to combat climate change and replace the most toxic components of gasoline.”

Today’s corn growers sustainably produce more corn on less land with fewer resources than when the RFS was enacted and are committed to further improvements in sustainability. These extraordinary results have been accomplished as food price inflation has decreased as ethanol production has grown.… Continue reading

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Burnout: What it is and how it impacts you

By Bob Belohlavek, life coach for Kalmbach Feeds
Four phrases come to mind when considering our culture today. It’s fast-paced, stress-filled, demand-saturated, and relationship-starved. It’s understandable then, in light of such conditions, why good people burn out. 
It’s a state of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion brought on by too much stress over a long period of time. If you’ve been “crazy busy” for as long as you can remember, don’t be surprised if you lose enthusiasm, energy, perspective and purpose. Burnout feels as if you’re merely putting in time, not making waves, barely getting by, or going through the motions. Even though we may do our best with what we have to give, we may also find ourselves feeling as if we’re “at the end of our rope” during prolonged periods of work-related or personal stress.


Burnout creates a feeling of never-ending exhaustion. Symptoms of fatigue flag the fact that something’s wrong.… Continue reading

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Fly-by scouting taking off

By Matt Reese

It is hot, tiresome and, in some cases, physically impossible to properly scout every acre of cropland to collect the necessary, timely information to make very expensive decisions in the high stakes pursuit of agricultural profitability. Especially as farms increase in size, it is simply not feasible to scout every acre in a timely fashion.

With this in mind, Molly Caren Ag Center (the home of the Farm Science Review) has teamed up with Integrated Ag Services to explore the possibilities, applications and, ultimately, the return on investment of Taranis scouting equipment and drone technology combined with artificial intelligence to scout more acres more efficiently. 

“With the drone scouting we are doing multiple passes across some of the fields to look for emergence issues and weeds we need to scout for to make a decision on. We have a 200-acre field here that we have broken up into two different treatments.… Continue reading

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Raw Milk: To drink or not to drink?

Some millennial parents believe that raw milk is a good dietary choice for their children. 

In my educated opinion, whole milk is certainly a healthy choice, for children and parents. But raw, unpasteurized milk? …. Ehh-nnn-ttt! (If you’re wondering, that’s my guess at how to spell the sound the wrong answer buzzer makes on a TV game show.) It’s what you hear before a contestant is sent off the set with a consolation prize, like a case of Rice-a-roni.

Researchers at UC-Davis in California agree with the game show judge’s call on this one. And they go even further in a study, in which they conclude that the natural bacteria in raw milk take on a generous dose of antimicrobial (antibiotic) resistant genes when the milk is left out of the fridge and allowed to warm to room temperature.

Their study recommends that if you’ve got raw milk — and a desire to drink it — you should keep it in your refrigerator until you’re ready to pour a glass.… Continue reading

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Ohio legislative summer update

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Following a flurry of activity before its break, the Ohio General Assembly can now enjoy a few lazy days of summer. While the legislature spent much of its energy passing the state budget, it also moved several bills affecting agriculture. Here’s the latest update on legislation that’s moving down at the capitol.

Enacted bills

Solar and wind facilities 

We wrote earlier about S.B. 52, the wind and solar facility siting bill the legislature passed in late June. Despite pressure to veto the bill, Governor DeWine signed the legislation on July 12; its effective date is October 9, 2021. The new law requires developers to hold a public meeting in a community at least 90 days prior to applying for project approval, allows counties to designate restricted areas where wind and solar projects may not locate, sets up a referendum process for county residents to have a voice in restricted area designations, adds two community officials to the project review process at the Power Siting Board, and establishes rules for decommissioning of projects, including performance bonds.… Continue reading

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Back this year for an in-person show: Farm Science Review 2021

Ever want to climb into the cockpit of a plane and glide over a field? 

At this year’s Farm Science Review Sept. 21 to Sept. 23, visitors will have that chance without leaving the grassy ground under them. 

The upcoming, annual farm trade show will offer a series of virtual reality experiences such as operating a crop duster, high-tech planters, combines, and other equipment.

Sitting in a mini IMAX-type theater, visitors to FSR can watch videos projected on a domed screen around them. They’ll get an expansive view — a bit wider than peripheral vision—so they can feel as if they’re flying a plane. Or riding a high-tech planter. Or peering into a beehive.  

To film the videos, Ohio State University Extension educators mounted cameras to various spots on planters, tractors, combines, and other vehicles, so viewers can get a perspective they wouldn’t normally get. 

“It’s a little bit like having a bug’s eye view of all of these places,” said Brooke Beam, Extension educator in Highland County. … Continue reading

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Wet weather hurt wheat straw quality and set stage for disease

By Pierce Paul and Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

This July has been one of the wettest on record for the state of Ohio, and with the extra moisture, comes concerns about diseases in corn and soybeans and harvest and potential quality challenges with wheat.

Late harvest coupled with excessive rainfall means more time for late-season mold growth, mycotoxin accumulation, test weight reduction, and sprouting; all of which could result in poor overall grain quality.  

Test weight (grain weight per unit volume or grain density) is one of the grain quality traits most likely to be affected by harvest delay and wet conditions. Low test weights usually occur if grain is prevented from filling completely or maturing and drying naturally in the field. Rewetting of grain in the field after maturity but prior to harvest is one of the main causes of reduced test weight. When grain is rewetted, the germination process begins, causing photosynthates (i.e.,… Continue reading

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Why inverse markets mean farmers should sell their grain now and not later

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The USDA had no surprises for corn and beans last week. Now the market will wait for national yield estimates in the August USDA report. A quarter of the Corn Belt is dry, so the next 2 weeks will be critical for the national yield outcome and price direction. The price potential range is still very wide.

Carry versus inverse markets

A market carry is when a nearby futures contract month’s price is lower than a later month’s price. On Friday, December corn closed at $5.52 while March closed at $5.59. This indicates corn supply during and after harvest is expected to be higher than demand usage, so the market is encouraging hedgers to store the grain for later use by paying them the carry spread.

Inverses are when the nearby futures contract month’s price is higher than a later month. For instance, on Friday September corn was $5.56 while December was $5.52.… Continue reading

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Cash or accrual accounting: How do you choose?

By Brian Ravencraft

When it comes to keeping track of the revenue coming into your agribusiness, and the expenses you take on during day-to-day operations, you essentially have two different types of accounting methods to choose from. Cash accounting and accrual accounting. It is important to understand the difference between the two before deciding what is best for your agribusiness.

Cash accounting looks at the revenue and expenses as they come in and as they are paid out. Think of this as a wheel that is constantly turning as money flows into your operation. Not considered while using this method is money that is expected to come in. Here we are talking about all real cash, all the time. Those who enjoy a real time look of the cash coming in and out of their business should select this method. 

Accrual accounting brings accounts payables and receivables into the fold, monitoring the money brought into the agribusiness and the funds and services the operation owes to outside vendors and companies.… Continue reading

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