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Early season crop scouting

By John Fulton and Elizabeth Hawkins

Planting is one of the critical field operations during the growing season with yield potential established and impacted once seed is placed in the soil. Uniform emergence and making sure the correct population emerges are important objectives after planting. Emergence is impacted by plant density, seed-to-soil contact within the furrow, seeding depth, soil moisture, soil temperature, seed size, seed orientation, and genetics. It is important to scout your corn and soybeans to evaluate planter performance and crop establishment. Scouting can provide valuable field-by-field insights on how planter performance affected yield potential. 

Scouting can be enhanced by using one of the several mobile applications (APPs). Not only can you take notes, these mobile applications allow you to drop geo-referenced pins and collect images at these points. Another aspect of these mobile applications is the ability to share this information with others within the farm operation or with your trusted advisor. … Continue reading

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NFU: USDA must prioritize climate change across all programs

Agriculture is uniquely positioned to mitigate climate change — but farmers need the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) support to fully realize that potential, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).

In comments submitted, the family farm organization outlined ways UDSA could better “encourage the development, adoption, and equitable delivery of climate smart practices.” While the agency already has a suite of programs that can achieve this goal, they are falling short in some respects. For one, many programs do not currently prioritize climate in their criteria, making it difficult for farmers to use them to meet climate goals on their operations. As a remedy, NFU President Rob Larew encouraged USDA to “publicly state that climate change is an urgent priority. . .and ensure programs reflect this prioritization.” Additionally, it should give precedence to applications that result in “positive soil health, carbon sequestration, and resilience outcomes in line with local climate change resource concerns.”… Continue reading

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Overholt Drainage Workshop


By Vinayak Shedekar, Ohio State University Extension

Join Ohio State University Extension for a webinar focused on drainage design, installation, and management including updates on recently passed H.B. 340 on Ohio’s “petition ditch laws” that address the installation and maintenance of drainage works of improvement in Ohio. A panel of professional engineers representing state and federal agencies, drainage contractors, and tile manufacturers will discuss some standard practices, common issues, and troubleshooting associated with drainage design, installation, and repairs.

The 2021 Overholt Drainage Workshop will be held Wednesday, June 9, 2021 9 a.m. to noon. There is no cost to attend, but registration required. (Register Here) or visit: There are CEU credits available for CCAs and Professional Engineers.… Continue reading

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New grant program to enhance Ohio’s Lake Erie water quality

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded ODA’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation a five-year, $8-million grant to assist in Ohio’s work to improve water quality in Lake Erie.

Administered by the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), the grant funding will support Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative by assisting farmers in developing nutrient management plans and conservation practices in Crawford, Erie, Huron, Marion, Ottawa, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, and Wyandot counties.  

Farmers in these counties can begin enrolling through their local soil & water district office in late summer. 

“Our partnership with NRCS will pave a way for Ohio to cover even greater ground in its statewide goals of clean water through Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director. “Ohio is grateful for NRCS and its insight as we work together to improve water quality through proven conservation best practices.” … Continue reading

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The energy requirements for an Angus beef cow throughout her annual production cycle

By Kirsten Nickles, Graduate Research Associate and Anthony J. Parker, Associate Chair and Associate Professor. Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University

The nutritional requirements for beef cows change daily throughout their annual production cycle. The frequent change in requirements is caused by varying stages of production and environmental factors that affect the cow’s behavior and energy use. To give an example, a spring calving beef cow gestating throughout winter will have energy requirements for maintenance and gestation, and there may be further requirements for cold stress if winter climatic conditions place the cow outside her zone of thermal comfort. To appreciate how great the total net energy cost of a beef cow can be we have included the net energy requirements in Mcal/day throughout the annual production cycle of a mature 1,200-pound Angus cow with a peak milk yield (PMY) of 18 pounds. We included the requirements for maintenance, lactation, and gestation and assume this all occurs without any cold or heat stress on the cow.… Continue reading

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Hunker wins fundraising auction competition

Roger Hunker, auctioneer and Realtor of United Country Real Estate | Walton Realty & Auction Co, LLC in Bellevue is the 2020 winner of the Fundraiser Auction Competition held by United Country Auction Services. He completed the most benefit/fundraiser auctions in 2020. 

Hunker, along with his companies Breeders World and BW Final Drive, conducted over 40 benefit auctions for numerous livestock organizations, FFA, 4-H, local community foundations and some local community members throughout the United States. These online auctions totaled over 7,500 lots covering over a dozen states.

“It is so rewarding to be able to give back to the organizations that helped me as a young person.” Hunker said. 

The United Country | Auction Services Fundraising Competition was created to recognize and promote the tremendous amount of charitable auctions conducted each year by United Country affiliates and auctioneers. Benefit and charity auctions have a long history in the world of auctioneering.… Continue reading

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Small ruminant production and management position open at OSU

The Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University has launched a search for a nine-month, tenure-track faculty member at the assistant professor rank in Small Ruminant Production and Management to begin in the Autumn 2021 semester or when a suitable candidate is found. All application materials must be received before an application will be considered. The anticipated position split will be 80% Extension and 20% research.

Applicants should possess a sound basis in fundamental science, but preference will be given to applicants with interests in small ruminants including sheep and goats. Duties of the position include, but are not limited to, the following: developing educational materials and programs in conjunction with OSU Extension professionals for educating and training sheep and goat producers and conducting applied research on small ruminant production and management. In addition, the position will assist with youth livestock program areas as assigned in coordination with Animal Sciences faculty/staff members and OSU Extension professionals who provide leadership for 4-H programs; assists faculty and staff in undergraduate student recruitment as required; assists with departmental involvement in agricultural and animal industry events; partners with Extension specialists, Extension educators and program assistants, and other educational organizations, agencies, and volunteers in the state and region in programmatic endeavors.… Continue reading

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Early weed control, bumping seed rate could pay big dividends

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D., Director of Genetics for Seed Genetics Direct

Dave Nanda

I favor early planting if the ground is ready. However, earlier planting also requires early weed control. I saw several fields last year where weed control was not very effective, perhaps due to too much rain. Is early weed control necessary? Yes, because the micro-environment of each plant is very important for their ability to reach maximum yield potential. Plants sense early on if they have competition from weeds or other crop plants, and they start to react and plan their future accordingly. If growers can reduce pressure from weeds, it will encourage crops to produce more yield. 

It is especially important to control weeds early so herbicide-resistant weeds won’t get started. Many weeds, such as marestail and waterhemp, have developed resistance to glyphosate herbicide because it was used on millions of acres of corn and soybeans. Genetic and chemical suppliers promoted the use of glyphosate in spite of warnings by many university scientists and crop consultants.… Continue reading

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Prices and weather… weather and prices

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

May corn prices blew past $6, and then a few days later $6.50. Additionally, May futures gained on July futures by almost 10 cents this last week, which is huge, because in a normal week in a normal year a 1-cent move on that spread in a weeks’ time would be a big deal. Basis values across the US also increased another 5 cents this week. These are clear indications that the market is begging for corn and is unable to find it.

How much corn is left to sell by farmers?

The last USDA WASDE report showed on-farm cash corn prices unchanged at $4.30 from the March report, suggesting most farmers already priced the majority of their 2020 crop at lower values compared to today’s prices. Plus, elevator mangers across the Midwest are telling me that a lot of corn was sold around $4 futures and then most farmers sold another big portion of their production again in November when prices hit $4.50.… Continue reading

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Forecasting weather challenges ahead

By Jim Noel, NOAA

There are challenges ahead so we will break them into short-term and long-term.


The recent snow was a rare event for the amount that fell across Ohio. However, the minimum temperatures in the 20s and 30s was not that far off of normal for last freeze conditions for Ohio.

The strongest typhoon ever in the northern hemisphere occurred east of the Philippines last week and this energy will come across parts of North America over the next week. When that happens weather model performance often drops. Hence, if you see more bouncing around of forecasts the next 10-15 days that may be one reason why.

We have a big warm-up the first half of this week ahead of a strong storm that will move through Ohio the second half of the week with wind and rain. We could see anywhere from 0.50 inches to over 2 inches across Ohio later this week but placement is not certain and seems to favor central and southern Ohio with the highest amounts.… Continue reading

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Testing a new way to kill harmful algal blooms

As the weather warms and draws people to the water, tests are about to begin on a new technique for killing off harmful algal blooms in Ohio’s streams and lakes. 

The technology being tested creates ozone and injects it into a waterway in the form of microscopic bubbles. Once in the water, the ozone can kill unwanted algae, destroy toxins, and boost oxygen levels, said Heather Raymond, director of the Water Quality Initiative at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

When these tiny bubbles of ozone called “nanobubbles” burst in the water, they produce hydroxyl radicals and peroxides. Those substances can further destroy harmful algae and possibly help cut off the algae’s food supply, thus preventing future blooms.  

How well this technology works to combat Ohio’s harmful algae will be tested in the lab, in test ponds, and in several state lakes and rivers.… Continue reading

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USDA awards 85 new partnership projects to help mitigate climate change

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. Projects are awarded through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). 

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnerships working at their best,” said Terry Cosby NRCS Acting Chief. “These new projects will harness the power of partnerships to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.” 

Across America, producers are seeing the impacts from climate change. Farmers, landowners and local communities can be a major part of the effort to combat climate change. 

USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air and water.… Continue reading

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Federal bills targeting carbon on farms

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

President Biden announced a major goal –— for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half over the next decade as compared to 2005 levels. Agriculture will play a key role in that reduction by “deploying cutting-edge tools to make the soil of our heartland the next frontier in carbon innovation,” according to President Biden. Several bills introduced in Congress recently could help agriculture fulfill that key role. The proposals offer incentives and assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to engage in carbon sequestration practices. 

Here’s a summary of the bills that are receiving the most attention.

Growing Climate Solutions Act, S. 1251

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee passed S. 1251. The bipartisan proposal led by sponsors Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen.… Continue reading

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Farmers provide pork to northern Ohio residents

As members of the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), Ohio pig farmers are pleased to support the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank in Toledo, Ohio, and their eight-county service area. The protein-packed donation from the Ohio Pork Council will provide over 17,500 wholesome meals to those in need.   

As part of OPC’s annual Pork Power program, Ohio pig farmers donated over 1,300 Daisyfield hams produced by J.H. Routh Packing Company in Sandusky. Hams donated to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will benefit residents from Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties.   

“Ohio’s pig farmers care about producing safe, wholesome pork, taking care of their animals and natural resources, and giving back to their communities. Through OPC’s Pork Power program, we’re able to give back to local food banks in Ohio,” said Rich Deaton, National Pork Board member and Ohio Pork Council director. 

In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, pig farmers in Ohio provided over 86,600 pounds of pork to local food banks.… Continue reading

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Low temperatures slowed planting progress

Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 87% adequate to surplus, up 5 percentage points from the previous week. Temperatures for the week ending April 25 averaged 8.5 degrees below historical normals, while the entire State averaged 0.46 inches of precipitation. There were 2.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 25.

Cold soil temperatures limited planting for farmers while orchardists assessed damage to fruit trees from hard frosts. Oats were 61% planted and oats emerged was 36%. Corn planted progress was at 8% complete while soybeans planted progress was also 8%; cooler temperatures hindered germination and emergence of both corn and soybeans. Winter wheat jointing was 61% and the winter wheat crop was rated 78% good to excellent condition.

For more from this week’s report, click here.… Continue reading

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Planters rolling beneath sunny skies

John Schumm

It is partly cloudy right now but it is supposed to be a good day today and a better day tomorrow. 

We had 4 to 5 inches of snow and I did see 24 degrees on my truck thermometer last week. We planted around 90 acres of beans early and we thought maybe we ought to stop. Looking back, I wish we would have planted a lot because it was perfect planting conditions. 

It was cold enough that I thought it could have done some damage but boy the beans look pretty good. I was surprised. We had a few beans that were just pushing dirt and I was concerned that really cold snap would just take them out. Walking across them yesterday, though, I don’t think the freeze touched them. I think we fared very well. I didn’t see anything turning black. We can see a lot of buttons on our beans and tomorrow they should be opening up.… Continue reading

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You need weather records to go along with those fertilizer application records

By Harold Watters and Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

With planting under way, a couple of reminders. Keep fertilizer application records to confirm you are following your nutrient management plan and to keep tabs on changes that may occur in your soil nutrient levels. This is a reminder of several good sources of weather information that can be used as part of your fertilizer application records.

  • is the standard, and we have told you about this one in our fertilizer applicator certification meetings.
  • From the Ohio Department of Agriculture is the Ohio Applicator Forecast: This works for fertilizer or manure and gives a 12- and 24-hour forecast.
  • From OSU’s Byrd Polar & Climate Center: This may be the simplest tool to use. It gives you a prediction and a red-light or green-light indication if it is safe to apply fertilizer. It can also provide historical data.
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Growing Climate Solutions Act introduced

The Senate Agriculture Committee last week approved a bipartisan bill that encourages farmer participation in the carbon credit offset markets.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, introduced earlier in the week by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would create a certification program at USDA to solve technical entry barriers that prevent farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. USDA’s certification program would provide transparency, legitimacy and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry-related practices.

The bill would also create an advisory council comprised of agriculture experts, scientists, producers and others, to ensure the certification program remains relevant and credible. National Pork Producers Council is among numerous agricultural groups in support of the bill — just as it backed the legislation last year— and believes it will ensure U.S.… Continue reading

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USDA seeks proposals for innovative approaches to conservation on agricultural lands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals through June 21 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials). On-Farm Trials, part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.

This program harnesses the expertise, resources and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help NRCS boost natural resource conservation on private lands and support climate smart agriculture. 

“USDA is a leader in using the latest science, research and conservation tools to reduce the impacts of climate change,” said John Wilson, NRCS Acting State Conservationist in Ohio. “We’re doing our part in helping America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the natural resources we all depend on, like clean air and water, while supporting the health and resiliency of their operations for the future.… Continue reading

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