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Will market factors keep feeding the bull?

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

We are fortunate to have a field of soybeans or corn each year at the edge of our backyard. On a recent hectic Thursday, with a list of “home” work yet to go, Cindy chose to take a short break on the back porch swing. Then she heard a combine. She said, “I ditched my list to soak up every minute of watching the harvest. I’ve spent money for tickets to see things nowhere nearly as satisfying and fascinating.” A one-time-a-year production as a result of the hard work, planning, and amazing dedication of the lovers of the land. What a gift!

Weeks long soybean planting delays in Brazil continued to make headlines in mid-October. Dry conditions for Brazil continue to be problematic as timely rains are not taking place during the September and October planting season. Those dry conditions will prevent Brazil from reaching the typical January shipping pace of 6.5 to 8 million tons of soybeans into China.… Continue reading

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New grain system improves efficiency

Todd Matthews and his brother Jeff grew popcorn for over 30 years on their operation near Ohio City in Van Wert County. Two years ago, however, their popcorn production customer relocated to irrigated acres in the western U.S, prompting the brothers to switch to field corn.

“2018 was an exceptional corn year, which made it really challenging to deliver a lot of corn in the fall,” Todd said. “We knew we needed to increase our corn acres, and that required additional storage capacity. We had expanded our existing grain system as much as we could. We knew we just needed to go with a bigger and better system.”

In 2019, working with their local GSI dealer, Advanced Grain Systems, Matthews Farms installed a new grain handling and storage system. Four bins from the existing system were relocated to the new site — three with 20,000-bushel capacity and a fourth with 25,000 bushels.… Continue reading

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Apple Farm Service continues their Blue Tractor Donation at the Clark County Fairgrounds

Visitors at the Clark County Fairgrounds or the Champions Expo Center might notice another blue tractor making its rounds around the grounds. 

A brand new Powerstar 90 tractor was delivered to the Champions Center the beginning of October. This 86-horsepower tractor will be used frequently across the fairgrounds, completing tasks like finishing the horse arena’s surface, mowing before winter, plowing snow, and whatever else requires a utility tractor. 

“We are so thankful for their continuation of this tractor sponsorship”, said Dean Blair, Executive Director of the Clark County Ag Society. “This marks the third year, and third tractor, that Apple Farm Service has allowed us to use. This is the perfect size tractor to get our jobs done efficiently.” 

Both the fairgrounds and Champions Center will have access to this tractor for the next six to twelve months with a set number of free hours to put on the tractor’s engine.… Continue reading

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OCA’s Cattlemen’s Academy to host first nutrition clinic of the year

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) Cattlemen’s Academy will be hosting three nutrition clinics this fall at various locations throughout Ohio, co-sponsored by Merck Animal Health. The first clinic will be held on Nov. 10, 2020 at 6 p.m. at the Shawnee State Park Lodge in West Portsmouth. 

OCA recognizes the importance of serving individual members across the state and the goal of the Cattlemen’s Academy is to offer informative learning experiences as part of a current OCA membership. These clinics will follow all COVID safety precautions and appropriate social distancing.

The nutrition clinics will include presentations from The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Beef Team where producers will learn about nutrition considerations for cow-calf operations. Topics for the clinic will include forage quality, mineral and protein supplementation programs and a 12-month look at cow nutrition needs. These topics will be covered by Steve Boyles, professor at Ohio State University, and Garth Ruff, beef cattle field specialist at OSU.… Continue reading

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Will Halloween be able to top the spookiness of the rest of 2020?

By Matt Reese

It is hard to imagine that Halloween could be any spookier than any of the rest of 2020, but with the holiday falling on a Saturday and a full moon (a rare second-in-the-month full blue moon in fact) this year, anything is possible.

Halloween candy sales have been trending up, but costume sales have dramatically tumbled. I guess there is no need to buy a mask when you are already wearing one.

It seems though, costumed or not, Ohioans are in the mood to get out and enjoy rural Ohio as there is clear interest in visiting Ohio’s agritourism farms this fall where any number of autumn products can be found and purchased. See the related story on page  . The year has brought tremendous uncertainly and many required changes for some operations, but business is booming as people just want to go outside and do something in rural Ohio.… Continue reading

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Asgrow soybeans release largest XtendFlex product lineup in 2021

Asgrow brand released the industry’s largest XtendFlex soybean product lineup following the European Commission authorization of XtendFlex technology. This lineup not only includes the latest exclusive genetics available but also provides farmers a wide variety of proven products in all maturities for varying conditions across the nation.

“It gives us more options and a targeted approach on different weed species. It will give us some super clean fields,” said Roy Ulrich, Technical Agronomist for DEKALB and Asgrow in southern Ohio. “We now have really good tools in our toolbox we can use at different times of the year with the agronomics and performance we have seen out of Asgrow in the last several years. This is another large launch behind the Xtend soybeans a few years ago.”

Asgrow XtendFlex soybeans are Bayer’s newest soybean trait technology — now offering tolerance to glufosinate. The additional weed management choice provides growers flexibility, performance and profitability potential.… Continue reading

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Leonard named new OFBF chief information officer

Pete Leonard of Westerville has been named chief information officer for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. He will be serving in a newly created leadership position in the organization.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau staff, Leonard was in an IT leadership role at Nationwide for 10 years and has been in IT consulting for more than 20 years with HP, Covansys and Claremont Technology Group. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“Pete believes that IT is more than a cost of doing business, but that IT can provide the means for doing all aspects of OFBF business better,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp. “Creating this new role is an indication of the central role technology will have in our organization to serve our members today and for years to come.”

Leonard and his wife, Bonnie, are parents of two grown daughters Rachael and Sarah.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 176 | Here comes the Matt

Dusty, Kolt and Matt host today! A jumbo sized congratulations goes out to our editor Matt Reese and his new bride Jenna on their wedding this past Sunday! Interviews this week include two from Dusty with Kirk Merritt, with Ohio Soybean, and EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler. Dale has an interview with the Executive Director for Ohio Corn and Wheat Tad Nicholson. All of that and more on! … Continue reading

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Soybean harvest over half complete

Modest precipitation throughout the week was not enough to decrease the amount of acres seeing abnormally dry conditions, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 55 percent adequate to surplus by week’s end, up 14 percentage points from the previous week. However, approximately 56 percent of the State was abnormally dry, according to the most recent Drought Monitor. Average temperatures for the week were 0.1 degrees above historical normals and the entire State averaged 0.50 inches of precipitation. There were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 18.

Farmers harvested crops, planted cover crops, and tilled fields. Soybeans dropping leaves was at 97 percent, ahead of the five year average by 2 percentage points. Soybeans harvested was at 65 percent while soybeans moisture content was at 13 percent. Corn mature was 3 percentage points behind the five-year average at 86 percent while corn moisture content was rated 22 percent.… Continue reading

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Cover crop or cover photo, sunflowers are finding a fit on more farms

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

For use as cover crops, sunflowers have a robust root system allowing them to scavenge nutrients and they are also good for mycorrhizal fungi growth in the soil. The loftiest blooms around attract numerous beneficial insects and can lead to excellent honey production in nearby beehives as well. Their tall and strong stalks offer opportunities for vine plants in a cover crop cocktail to climb.

Dave Brandt in Fairfield County had a 2020 field of sunflowers planted in 30-inch rows after harvesting triticale as part of a cover crop mix. He harvested the sunflowers with the corn head. He also has beehives next to the field and has removed around 450 pounds of honey. Photo by Randall Reeder, OSU Extension.

While more farmers are finding a fit for advantages of sunflowers as a useful component of a cover crop blends in their fields, the crop has also seen a recent explosion in popularity with photographers and their subjects seeking to brighten up their Instagram accounts.… Continue reading

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Facing uncertainty in bio-based industries

By Ajay Shah and Mary Wicks

Plant-based products and fuels have the potential to decrease U.S. dependence on petroleum feedstocks, improving energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating new industries. However, the pandemic and other uncertainties have significantly impacted the U.S. economy, from the availability of funds to the ability of businesses to survive. For bio-based industries, which often face challenges due to their use of unconventional feedstocks and processes, these further constraints can have a significant impact.

Typical challenges the bioeconomy faces are related to system logistics and conversion of biomass. Biomass feedstocks require many steps, including harvesting and transporting bulky materials, preventing decomposition during storage, and pretreating to improve conversion. Each step can have unique costs and inefficiencies that can result in increased costs for the entire system.

Plant-based materials need to be competitive on both performance and price. Conversion of biomass to chemicals that can be used in place of petroleum-based ones or to create unique products can further increase costs.… Continue reading

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Intelligent sprayer upgraded

By cutting the amount of pesticide that ends up in the air or on the ground, a new high-tech pesticide sprayer can save vineyard, orchard, and nursery growers money while protecting the environment.

The “intelligent sprayer” system was first put on the market in spring 2019, but since then it has been upgraded. Now, among other improvements, it can take an inventory of trees or vines by height and width and measure the amount of pesticide sprayed per tree or vine to help growers manage pesticide costs.

Developed by a team led by an agricultural engineer with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the spray technology can sense the location and structure of the trees or vines it is spraying. In the gaps between trees and branches, the spray automatically shuts off, so no pesticides are discharged.

“A standard sprayer releases pesticide constantly down a row, so a lot of extra pesticide goes into the air and onto the ground,” said Heping Zhu, a CFAES adjunct professor and an engineer with the U.S.… Continue reading

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Still planting wheat?

By Laura Lindsey and Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

There is still time to plant wheat. Wheat planted 3 to 4 weeks after the fly-free-safe date can achieve a similar yield as earlier planted wheat if freezing weather does not occur until late November or early December. However, as we enter three to four weeks after the fly-free-safe date, growers should plant at a higher seeding rate than the regularly recommended 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre in 7.5-inch rows.

Generally, the best time to plant wheat is the 10-day period starting the day after the fly-free-safe date. When wheat is planted more than 10 days after the fly-free-safe date, there is an increased change of reduced fall growth and reduced winter hardiness.

Instead, plant at a rate of 1.6 to 2.0 million seeds per acre. The number of seeds per pound and germination rate are important for determining the correct seeding rate and calibration.… Continue reading

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Enrollment begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for 2021

Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year.

“Although commodity prices are starting to show a glimmer of improvement, recent depressed prices and drops in revenue compounded by the effects of the pandemic have seriously impacted the bottom line for most agricultural operations,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Through safety-net programs like ARC and PLC, we can help producers mitigate these financial stressors and keep the ag industry moving forward. Make time over the next few months to evaluate your program elections and enroll for the 2021 crop year.”… Continue reading

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Future even brighter for Lake Erie angling

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

Results from late summer surveys in the western basin of Lake Erie offer some more great news for Ohio anglers, where the 2020 walleye and yellow perch hatches are both above average and continue an exceptional era of fish production in the western basin of Lake Erie.

“Each August, Ohio contributes to lake-wide efforts to survey the hatches of walleye and yellow perch,” said Kendra Wecker, Division of Wildlife Chief. “Our fisheries biologists survey nearly 40 locations between Toledo and Huron. The information collected is compared to the results from previous years to gauge the success of the walleye and yellow perch hatches.”

The 2020 August walleye hatch index was 48 per hectare, a standard measure of catch per area. This is the eighth-highest value on record for Ohio’s waters of the western basin and well above the rapidly increasing prior 20-year index average of 32 per hectare.… Continue reading

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Be prepared for combine fires during harvest season

By Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University Extension

The combination of high temperatures and dry conditions are the perfect conditions for field fires and combine fires during harvest.

Dry grasses, crop residues, and woodland debris along many of our farm fields provide fuel for field fires. Likewise, leaked fuel, cracked hydraulic hoses, heated bearings, overheated belts and chains can provide the ignition for equipment fires.

The combine is a critical piece of equipment for fall harvest. Here are several precautions for protecting combines from fire this season.

Prevent combine fires from starting

Work crews should take extra precautions to prevent fires from starting.

  • Park a hot combine away from out-buildings. Keeping a combine out of barns, sheds, and away from other flammables is a common prevention strategy in case a hot spot ignites. Insurance claims can double when equipment fires are responsible for loss of farm structures.
  • Regular maintenance is priority. Check the machine daily for any overheated bearings or damage in the exhaust system.
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Planting cover crops late

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As harvest progresses, its not too late to plant cover crops, but the options are becoming more limited.  Most cover crops need a minimum of 60 days of growth before cold freezing winter weather limits growth.  Rape seed, kale, and cereal rye are three cover crop varieties that can be planted later than most cover crops that are cold sensitive. The key is getting them planted as soon as possible.

Rape seed and kale are small seeded brassica cover crops that can be broadcast or drilled.  The seeding rate is generally 3-5 pounds per acre by themselves, requiring a .25 to .5-inch seeding depth, and they emerge in 4-10 days. These two brassicas can germinate at 410 F and grow quite rapidly in the fall and can still be planted in late October.  The biggest disadvantage to planting either rape seed or kale before corn is that they do not promote the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi  in the soil, so farmers may see a 5-10 corn bushel decrease.

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R-CALF USA has a “beef” with federal checkoff program

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

Earlier this month, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. R-CALF USA has filed a number of lawsuits involving the Beef Checkoff program over the years, including several that are on-going. 

Their argument, at its most basic, is that the Beef Checkoff violates the Constitution because ranchers and farmers have to “subsidize the private speech of private state beef councils through the national beef checkoff program.” In this new complaint, R-CALF USA alleges that when USDA entered into MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with private state checkoff programs in order to run the federal program, its actions did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). 

R-CALF USA argues that entering into the MOUs was rulemaking under the APA. … Continue reading

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Agritourism farms push through the pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Though there have been many challenges for agritourism in Ohio during the pandemic, it has also become very clear consumers are willing to support small, local businesses, and they’re looking for a reason to get out of the house. With strong local support, agritourism like Heban’s Field of Dreams and Riehm Produce Farm were able to weather the storm of 2020.

“It was like the onset of a hurricane,” said Chris Heban, who owns Heban’s Field of Dreams with her husband, Mike. “All of the elements of the hurricane have to get in place and everything is getting ready for that perfect storm, and then that storm hits. We were just not being able to do anything, our hands were tied. It was just too many unknowns.”

Some of the agritourism unknowns were addressed on Aug. 28 when Governor Mike DeWine released Phases 2 and 3 of the the State Agritourism COVID-19 Requirements.… Continue reading

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