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Maximizing factors that influence crop yield

By Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers consistently attempt to increase crop yields but may not know which factors are important.  Yield is influenced by climate and temperature, plant and water management, and soil nutrient management factors.  Good genetics plus the ability to manipulate and optimize the plant’s environment generally result in the highest yields.

Climate and temperature factors are critical to achieving high yields.  Warmer temperatures maximize crop growth including cell division, cell growth, and crop metabolism while cold temperatures inhibit plant growth.  Ideally, soybeans grow the best at air temperatures of 770F. A string of temperatures below 600F reduces soybean pod set.  Corn is a warm season plant that germinates best at 60-650F soil temperatures and grows best between 72-850F.  Iowa and Illinois benefit from dark soils, high in soil organic matter (SOM) which absorbs heat and warms soils better than light-colored sandy soils. 

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 186 | No Diggity, No Drainage

Matt, Kolt, and Dusty host today with special guest, Amy Milam. She is the director of Legal Education and Member Education with Ohio Farm Bureau and talks a little bit about new legislation for drainage. Interviews this week include Matts talk with Garry Shick of Hardin County; Garry was named the Ohio No-Till Farmer of the Year. Madi Kregel has an interview with the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association President Steve Bateson, and Randy & Kim Haines of Cool Winds Farms in Lima, Ohio. She talks to them about the harness racing industry and the impact COVID-19 had on it. … Continue reading

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Top story of 2020!

Governor DeWine to Ohio Fairs: What we’ve seen is unacceptable

Kolt Buchenroth nearly broke the Internet with this story (our website actually did shut down temporarily due to the traffic) that exploded with his reporting from a July 22 meeting between Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio’s fair managers covering hot topics including COVID cases, wearing masks at fairs, and the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo. The governor was not holding back his dismay regarding the uptick in COVID cases tied to county fairs. There was some dismay from the county fair side of things as well, as one could imagine. This story is a real sign of the times for the incredibly wild ride that was the 2020 fair season.… Continue reading

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2020 Organic Corn Performance Test results available

In 2020, 34 organic hybrids representing 6 commercial brands were submitted for evaluation in the Organic Corn Performance Test. The tests were conducted on certified organic fields at Apple Creek (West Badger Farm) and Wooster (Fry Farm) in Wayne County and Lindsey in Sandusky County and were intensively managed for nutrients and weed control. Each hybrid entry was evaluated using four replications per site in a randomized complete block design. Hybrids were planted either in an early or full season maturity trial based on relative maturity information provided by the companies. The relative maturity of hybrid entries in the early maturity trial were 106 days or earlier; the relative maturity of hybrid entries in the full season trial were 107 days or later. The planting rate was 34,000 seeds/acre with a final stand target of 30,000 – 31,000 plants/acre. Soil amendments were applied according to recommended cultural practices for obtaining optimum grain yields.… Continue reading

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Dealing with the threat of intentional harm to farm property

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

Whether from trespassers, thieves, vandals, disgruntled employees, drug makers, activists, or extremists, farm security threats are a risk farmers face. Unfortunately, current social and political conditions have added new dimensions to that risk. Intruders can harm property in many ways: releasing or injuring livestock, stealing anhydrous or chemicals, destroying crops, contaminating water, introducing disease, setting fires, or committing other acts of theft, vandalism or destruction.

Recent suspicious activities on Ohio farms have reminded us of the need for constant awareness of farm security and intentional harms to farm property. Our newest publication, Intentional Harm to Farm Property: Legal Options and Strategies for Farm Owners aims to meet this need by addressing the following.

What to do when a farm security issue occurs

Three immediate actions can be helpful to ensuring a clear-headed reaction to an incident:

  • Call local law enforcement.
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2020 Northwest Ohio Corn Silage Test

By Rich MinyoBill WiddicombePeter ThomisonAllen Geyer, Ohio State University Extension

In 2020, 45 corn silage hybrids representing 11 commercial brands were evaluated in a joint trial with Michigan State University (MSU). One Ohio location is combined with Michigan’s two southern (Zone 1) silage locations. The trials were divided into two maturity groups designated early and late since the relative maturity (RM) submitted by the companies with results listed in separate tables. The Ohio test site is located in our Northwest Region at Hoytville (Wood County). The two MSU sites are in Branch and Lenawee counties, which are on the Ohio/Michigan state line. The test results from the three 2020 locations are treated as one region. The plots were planted with 4-row Almaco SeedPro 360 plot planters and maintained by each respective state utilizing standard production practices. The center two rows were harvested using MSU’s New Holland T6.175 tractor which powered a two-row Champion C1200 Kemper forage harvester with a rear mounted Haldrup M-63 Weigh system.… Continue reading

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Keeping poinsettias through the winter

Bold when purchased, poinsettias can wither as winter goes on. 

It might be because of how they were treated. If they were exposed to cold drafts or perched by a heat vent, or if they sat in a cold car through too many errands, the leaves could turn yellow and fall off—even before the holidays or not long after. 

Native to Mexico, poinsettias favor bright light and warm conditions.

“You need to find a location in your house that provides good light. Six hours of bright light are necessary every day,” said Uttara Samarakoon, an assistant professor at Ohio State ATI in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

The biggest mistakes people typically make are not providing enough light, watering them too much or too little, and keeping them near heating or air conditioning vents, said Samarakoon, coordinator of the Greenhouse and Nursery Management Program at ATI.… Continue reading

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Temple Grandin offers alternatives to livestock farmers

By Mike Estadt, Ohio State University Extension Educator

Temple Grandin, Professor at Colorado State University and world renown animal welfare specialist and contributor to Forbes Magazine recently authored an article “Alternative business models that farmers should consider.”  The full article can be found at:

First and foremost, small processing plants will never, let me repeat that, never compete with the large plants on cost efficiency. But a series of smaller plants will be less susceptible to the disruptions that happened in the spring of 2020. Grandin offers the following points that have been synthesized into a few sentences.

Use the craft beer industry as a model: Go niche

During the restrictions placed upon restaurants and bars, craft brewers innovated and moved their dining outside so they could still sell their draft beers. More importantly craft brewers have been able to coexist with the Anheuser-Busch InBevs because they offer beers that the large brewers do not. That… Continue reading

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Online equine classes offered by Ohio State ATI

Two equine online courses planned for spring semester are horse health and disease, and horse breeding and selection through online equine courses at Ohio State ATI in Wooster. Horse health and disease is a study of equine disease, lameness, and emergency first aid with emphasis on preventative health care and the manager’s role with the veterinary professional.

Horse breeding and selection teaches the principles of equine breeding management with emphasis on applied equine reproductive physiology, breeding methods, breeding stock management, and basic genetics and selection. Both courses include a hands-on lab that will meet every other week in Wooster; however, students have the option of enrolling as a continuing education student (a student who is not pursuing a degree) and taking part in the online portion only. 

Classes begin Jan. 11, 2021, and there is still time to enroll. For more information about these and other spring semester courses, contact ATI’s Office of Business Training and Educational Services at 330-287-7511 or visit reading

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Top stories of 2020: No. 6

Politics of cow farts and the Burger King Whopper

In a bizarre ad campaign based on shaky science, flawed logistics and incorrect assumptions, Burger King touted feeding lemongrass to cattle to reduce climate change. The delightful Doc Sanders addressed the issues and set the science straight, but also gave Burger King kudos for ultimately reversing their course on this Whopper of a story. If you did not see the initial ad, you can view it at: It will further shape your impressions looking back on the insanity of 2020.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension’s online winter programs

By Mary GriffithAmanda DouridasLaura LindseyAllen Geyer, Ohio State University Extension

This winter OSU Extension’s Agronomy Team will offer a variety of educational programs for farmers and crop consultants to attend online. The team will offer both traditional programs including a Corn College, Soybean School, and Precision University, as well as focusing on some new hot topic areas. New programs will focus on three areas: Investing in Soil Health, Crop Diversity to Improve Your Bottom Line,  and Farming in Weather Extremes. CCA CEUs will be offered at each session. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required for each session to receive log-in information. The schedule with registration information for each program is listed below.

Be one of the first 300 people from Ohio to sign-up and attend a 2021 Virtual Winter Meeting hosted by the AgCrops Team and you will receive a set of handouts! Included in the shipment to your door is a copy of the Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Forages Field Guide, a 2020 eFields Report, digital soil thermometer, and a 2021 Agronomic Crops Team Calendar (with important marketing, crop insurance and USDA report dates identified).… Continue reading

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The new COVID relief bill: What’s in it for USDA?

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

Just in time for Christmas, Congress delivered quite a package by passing new COVID-19 relief legislation. President Trump signed the bill on Dec. 27. Buried in the 5,593 pages of the legislation is an allocation of nearly $11.2 billion dollars to the USDA. A large portion of the USDA funds will provide additional payments for agricultural producers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Benefits for food processors, energy producers and timber harvesters are also in the bill, as well as funding for several other USDA programs and studies. We’ve categorized, compiled and summarized where the USDA funds are to go below.


  • Supplemental CFAP payments of $20 per eligible acre for the 2020 crop year, for eligible “price trigger crops,” which includes barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton and wheat, and eligible “flat rate crops,” which includes alfalfa, amaranth grain, buckwheat, canola, cotton, crambe, einkorn, emmer, flax, guar, hemp, indigo, industrial rice, kenaf, khorasan, millet, mustard, oats, peanuts, quinoa, rapeseed, rice, rice, sweet, rice, wild, rye, safflower, sesame, speltz, sugar beets, sugarcane, teff, and triticale but excludes hay, except alfalfa, and crops intended for grazing, green manure, or left standing.
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Anti-meat group makes false claims

Just before Christmas, the head of an anti-meat extremist group posed as the CEO of a major pork producer during a national television interview, making outrageous and false claims about the U.S. pork industry and challenges it faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Taking advantage of this black swan event to drive an anti-meat, anti-livestock agriculture agenda is reprehensible. These radical extremist groups who typically work shrouded in secrecy and false identities — frequently while breaking the law — are only able to propagate their false narrative by hoodwinking journalists and posing as credible sources,” said Howard “AV” Roth, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) president.

Meanwhile, despite enormous challenges this year, hundreds of thousands of committed farmers and others employed in the pork production industry remain dedicated to keeping Americans and consumers around the world supplied with affordable, nutritious protein.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused record numbers of Americans to be food insecure,” Roth said.… Continue reading

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Top stories of 2020: No. 8

Ohio Youth Livestock Expo moves forward with plans for 2020 junior shows

After the 2020 Ohio State Fair was canceled, I talked with Tracy Dendinger in early June. She was one of the many volunteers at work putting together the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo to offer Ohio State Fair livestock exhibitors the chance to show. Despite incredible odds and weeks of daily changing challenges, the Darke County show series was a success by all measure.… Continue reading

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Remember setbacks when applying manure in winter

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Some Ohio livestock producers will be looking to apply manure to farm fields frozen enough to support application equipment. 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. Thus, this information is for manure from non-permitted livestock operations.

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 from now until March 1. The ban also prohibits surface manure application anytime the ground is frozen or snow-covered in that watershed.

In the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) watershed, the surface 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, wheat, or a ryegrass crop.… Continue reading

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