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Limitations of spray drones and obstacles to their adoption

By Erdal Ozkan

Acceptance of spray drones by individual farmers has been slow for several reasons:

  1. Not enough research data comparing drone performance (e.g., efficacy and spray drift) to ground sprayers and conventional aircraft is available. The limited published data on performance of spray drones may not be usable and can be contradictory because of the wide variation of design parameters among drones being tested.
  2. Fewer acres are covered per hour of operation compared to airplane and ground sprayers.
  3. The battery powering the drone lasts a short time (5 to 15 minutes with a full tank) and requires recharging between tank refills. Having three charged batteries per drone and fast charging at 240v eliminates long interruptions in spraying to charge the drone’s battery. Maintaining three charged batteries allows replacement of a discharged battery while refilling the spray tank. The spent battery can then be recharged and ready for the next refilling.
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Dry weather and more straddle success

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

Last week I suggested the market needed a spark to rally, and it looks like it could be weather. Widespread dry forecasts this past week led the market to rebound everything it lost the week before and more. If dry weather persists this coming week, futures could rally even more. However, if reports suggest rain, the market will likely pull back. Weather uncertainty is typical this time of year and causes increased market volatility through the summer. 

Market action

On March 21 May corn was trading at $6.38 and July corn was trading at $6.20. With corn coming off a recent 6-month low the week before, it seemed that corn prices would likely trade sideways or slightly higher through late May. Plus, once May futures were off the board, it seemed likely the July contract would go up and trade at similar levels as the May contract was trading. … Continue reading

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Over 2,000 farmers participating in OACI to improve Ohio water quality

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) announced that over 2,000 northwest Ohio farmers have become involved in the organization’s certification program since its rollout in early 2020. The certification program helps farmers throughout Ohio take their conservation efforts to the next level with a free, confidential analysis that allows them to better manage on-farm nutrients to improve water quality.

“When we created this universally recognized farmer certification program, the overarching goal was to help increase adoption of best management practices and recognize farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement,” said  Kris Swartz, OACI Chair and Wood County farmer. “We have achieved some very positive results since the program began, which once again proves that farmers are interested in taking part in resources and education they need to voluntarily employ modern, science-based water quality practices on their farms.”

OACI continues to work with the DeWine Administration’s H2Ohio initiative to ensure funds flow to farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement through implementation of H2Ohio approved practices that contribute to healthier waterways.… Continue reading

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USDA program helps organic dairy producers cover rising costs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces assistance for dairy producers with the new Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP). ODMAP is established to help mitigate market volatility, higher input and transportation costs, and unstable feed supply and prices that have created unique hardships in the organic dairy industry. Specifically, under the ODMAP, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is making $104 million available to organic dairy operations to assist with projected marketing costs in 2023, calculated using their marketing costs in 2022.  

Organic dairy producers have faced significant and unique increases in their marketing costs, compounded by increases in feed and transportation costs and the limited availability of organic grain and forage commodities,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “Without assistance, many organic dairies, particularly small organic dairies, will cease production, which not only impacts the domestic supply and consumption of organic milk but also the well-being of many rural communities across the country.… Continue reading

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Tall tales, taller corn

Remember Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack, and his massive sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox? You younger readers may have to Google them. Anyway, Paul and Babe were bigger than life in American and Canadian folklore.

As I reminisce reading years ago about Paul’s exploits, I ponder — now as a vet who has provided nutritional advice to cattle and swine producers — what kind of nutritional program would be required for an ox of Babe’s legendary mass? 

I recently discovered that the answer could lie in the town of Totontepec in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. I’ve never visited there, though I’ve been in Mexico numerous times.

If there’s any place on earth that could satisfy Babe’s outsized nutritional demands, it’s got to be Totontepec. There they have a variety of corn that the locals call olotón. It’s been grown in the mountainous Totontepec region for a couple thousand years. … Continue reading

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Reminders about residual herbicides

By Dr. Mark Loux, adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-15

It’s always fun when rainfall is feast or famine.  Dry periods such as the coming week are great for about everything except weed management.  From the perspective of making sure residual herbicides work, we like to see a decent rain about once a week.  Residual herbicide treatments need to be applied and receive a half to one inch of rain within a week or so after tillage or an effective burndown treatment, to control weeds that will start to emerge at that time.  More time than this allows for weeds to emerge before herbicide can be moved down into the soil, reducing the degree of control that residual herbicides are capable of providing.  This is especially important for shoot uptake herbicides, such as group 15 – acetochlor, metolachlor, pyroxasulfone, and dimethenamid.  Weeds are germinating and emerging more rapidly now compared with a month ago, so timeliness of the rain is more important. … Continue reading

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Funeral arrangements for Dave Brandt of Fairfield County

David Brandt, of Fairfield County, passed away at the age of 76 from complications resulting from an automobile accident. 

He was known around the world as the face of a meme associated with honest work. In agricultural circles, Brandt will be remembered as a global leader in no-till, cover crops, soil health, nutrient dense crops, and direct marketing. Agriculturalists from around the world visited his Fairfield County farm each year to see his soils first-hand and learn from his many years of experience. He also traveled the world speaking about his farm. Brandt served as a Marine and was a Vietnam veteran who returned home to farm in the late 1960s, but soon after his return, Brandt’s father died in a farming accident. He and his wife, Kendra (who passed away in 2020), were forced to sell the farm and start over with very little equipment. No-till was a way to reduce costs.… Continue reading

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Significant progress, dry weather a growing concern

Last week’s mild and sunny weather accelerated planting progress but raised concerns about excessive dryness, according to the USDA NASS, Great Lakes Regional Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 7 percent very short, 38 percent short, 53 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week 60 ending on May 28 was 62.0 degrees, 1.0 degree below normal. 50Weather stations recorded an average of 0.01 inches of 40 precipitation, 1.05 inches below average. There were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 28.
Fieldwork completed last week included planting row crops and cutting hay. Some operators adjusted planting depth in reaction to successive weeks of dry weather. Operators in central and southern counties reported limited replanting and identified emergence issues in fields planted with corn and soybeans, stemming from an absence of recent rain. Livestock were in good condition, though pastures in the south showed stress from short soil moisture.… Continue reading

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Fall hunting season dates set

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

The Ohio Wildlife Council approved proposed hunting and trapping season dates for 2023-24, including deer bag limit changes in seven counties, during its regularly scheduled meeting last month. Deer are Ohio’s most popular game animal, and hunting seasons in 2023-24 will have similar dates to last year. Bag limits will increase to three deer in Belmont, Gallia, Geauga, Harrison, Jefferson, and Monroe counties, and will decrease to two in Butler County. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken. The deer hunting season dates for 2023-24 include:

• Deer archery: Sept. 30, 2023-Feb. 4, 2024

• Youth deer gun: Nov. 18-19, 2023

• Deer gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2023; Dec. 16-17, 2023

• Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2024.

The Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) disease surveillance area in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties will again allow additional hunting opportunities to slow the spread of CWD.… Continue reading

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A look at the dairy barn fire in Texas

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

On Monday, April 10, 2023, at around 7 p.m., South Fork Dairy suffered an explosion and fire that seriously injured one female worker and killed around 18,000 dairy cows. It was likely the deadliest dairy fire in our nation’s history, according to several news reports. South Fork Dairy had only been operating at this elevated level for about three years. It is located just southeast of Dimmitt, in Castro County, in the Texas Panhandle. I cannot imagine the shock and pain the owners and employees are experiencing.

            I’ve been to Dimmitt, Texas, more than once. This was years ago when I worked for the Texas Department of Agriculture. I will never forget driving towards Dimmitt. The land is flat, open prairie. Population is sparse. You could see the lights of Dimmitt 40 miles away. And Dimmitt is not a big town, population of approximately 4,300.

            At that time, Dimmitt and all of Castro County were known for fertile soil and lush, irrigated crops.… Continue reading

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SCOTUS favors farmers in WOTUS ruling

On May 25, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a favorable opinion in the much-anticipated WOTUS case, Sackett v. EPA. The justices held that “waters” refers only to geographical features that are described in ordinary terms as “streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes” and to adjacent wetlands that are “indistinguishable” from those bodies of water due to a continuous surface connection, making it difficult to determine where the “water” ends and the “wetland” begins. 

For more than half a century, the agencies responsible for enforcing the Clean Water Act (EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) have wrestled with the problem of defining the term “waters of the United States” and its jurisdictional reach over wetlands. Before this ruling, the Supreme Court has tried three rotimes to clarify the meaning of WOTUS, adopting varying interpretations. 

The holding is a clear win for farmers and landowners, as it seeks to resolve the recurring question of what wetlands are to be considered WOTUS and significantly limits the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction, especially over isolated wetlands such as prairie potholes; all nine justices rejected as “implausible” the agencies’ use of the flawed and expansive “significant nexus test.”… Continue reading

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Plant identification, There’s an App for that.

By Erin Hill, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

Plant identification apps for smart phones have seen significant improvements over the past several years, offering the opportunity to take a photo and get an instant identification in many cases.

We are driven to identify plants for many reasons; sometimes it is a curiosity about the world around us, other times it is out of the desire or need to manage areas like gardens, agricultural fields, restored habitats, and/or natural preserves. Plants are the foundation of food webs and they are tied to our understanding of how ecosystems function. Plant identification has been and continues to be a matter of familiarity, knowledge passed down through mentorship by family or friends, or perhaps something learned in school.

There are now several smartphone apps available to assist with plant identification.

Since 2018, a faculty member and several students at Michigan State University have evaluated a total of 14 apps thus far.… Continue reading

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New OSU labs focus on ag, construction technology

The Ohio State University has received a gift from Trimble, a technology company, to establish state-of-the-art technology labs for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences(CFAES). This gift of software and hardware represents the largest philanthropic gift-in-kind investment to support teaching, research, and outreach in the history of CFAES.

The multidisciplinary labs at Ohio State will enhance teaching, research, and outreach activities in food and agricultural engineering, construction management, and natural resources. The Trimble technology labs will be located on the Columbus campus and Ohio State ATI on the CFAES Wooster campus. The labs will be the first to include Trimble agriculture solutions. 

The centerpieces of this gift are customized training workstations that simulate the use of Trimble agriculture hardware and software in the classroom environment. This technology will instruct students on technologies such as machine guidance control and steering in the classroom, as well as field leveling and water management systems.… Continue reading

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A planter that takes cartridges? | 2023 Corn Planting Cab Cam | Mia Grimes, Clark County

A new planter technology in Ohio fields is being highlighted in this Cab Cam. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood joins Mia Grimes of Raven Farms as she plants corn in Clark County with their SIMPAS-equipped planter, one of only two currently in use in Ohio. The unique cartridge system allows them to apply three separate products at once or individually, all on a prescription basis.

The two also talk Mia’s farming background, the farm’s growth in recent years, and the 2023 planting season as Memorial Day weekend arrives.

The 2023 Cab Cam series is sponsored by Precision Agri Services Inc. More at… Continue reading

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Good grazing starts with the soil

By Matt Reese

Getting the most out of each bite in the pasture taken by livestock means many hours of management behind the scenes, but the investment offers ample return for the bottom line and long-term future of the farm. 

Stuart Heavilin has poured significant time, money and know-how into his rotational grazing operation to maximize the potential of the family’s Harrison County farm, working alongside his wife, children, and parents.

“You know a cow’s mouth is maybe 4, 5 inches wide. Take a pair of scissors that wide and try to cut a daily amount of dry forage for that cow. How long is that going to take you? If you have grass that’s a foot tall, it’s not going to take you very long at all to do it. But if your grass is two inches, three inches tall, it’s going to take you awhile,” he said. “They can only eat so long.… Continue reading

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Soybean planting depth considerations when planting into dry soil conditions

By Michael Staton, Michigan State University Extension, edited for Ohio.

Soybean planting progress is slightly ahead of the 2018-2022 average this spring. According to the May 22, 2023, USDA Crop Progress and Condition report, 63% of the soybean acres in Ohio have been planted. However, dry soil conditions and a warmer and drier than normal 6-to-10 day weather outlook increase the potential for inadequate soil moisture to adversely affect soybean germination and emergence. Because of this, planting depth will be an even more important management decision this season.

Adequate soil moisture is the most important factor affecting soybean germination. The seed must imbibe (take in) 50% of its weight in moisture for the germination process to begin and remain above 20% moisture after the seed swells and the seed coat splits. This is why agronomists recommend planting soybeans into at least 0.5 inch of moist soil to ensure adequate moisture is available to complete the germination process.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s pig farmers donate to Mid-Ohio Food Collective

On behalf of all the state’s pork producers, the Ohio Pork Council is again partnering with a community-based nonprofit to further demonstrate how much its members are dedicated to bringing high-quality, nutrient-dense protein to those in need. A $5,000 donation to the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, which will be used to purchase pork, will serve thousands of people through the organization’s Mid-Ohio Kitchen based in the south side of Columbus. 

“Mid-Ohio Food Collective’s work toward hunger-free, healthier communities is made possible by partnerships to serve our neighbors,” said Matt Habash, President, and CEO. “We are grateful to the Ohio Pork Council whose generous support will provide high-quality, Ohio-raised pork for meals distributed by our Mid-Ohio Kitchen team.”

While giving back to the state’s rural and urban communities is a regular part of the Ohio Pork Council’s Pork Power initiative, it’s even more critical during uncertain economic times that are affecting so many Ohioans.… Continue reading

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