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2021 Between the Rows kicks off with a solid start to spring

John Schumm

We started no-till — total no-till — about 12 years ago and things have been working great for us on the soybean side. We have struggled a little bit here and there on the corn side but we are getting closer. I farm with my son, Jeremy, and we both work full-time jobs and this no-till has taken a lot of labor away so we have time to do that.

First we had to take care of the drainage problems. We have used cereal rye and the tilth of our ground just changed tremendously when we started using it. We have a farmer up this way who inter-seeds it with a 90-foot air seeder. He drives it through our standing crops and we try to get that all done the first week of September in corn and soybeans before the soybean leaves start to turn and fall off. We get tremendous growth in the fall.… Continue reading

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Happy Grilled Cheese Day!

By Shelly Detwiler, a berry farmer and dietician

Happy Grilled Cheese Day! I cannot be the last to know about this momentous occasion on April 12, can I? Grilled cheese sandwiches are a beautiful thing, and this is truly a holiday to celebrate. There is nothing simpler and a work of art than a grilled cheese sandwich. Growing up in Plain City I headed to high school in 1979. An off the beaten track, hidden gem was a restaurant called The Dutch Kitchen, just a few hundred feet from the front door. The smells that wafted across the beautiful green grass front lawn of Jonathan Alder HS were like the Pied Piper’s magic pipe putting already ravenous teenagers in a trance, as we followed the tantalizing smells to enjoy the “Amish” culinary delights. One of their specialties to teens far and wide across the district were their grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing gourmet, just three simple ingredients.… Continue reading

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4R Program Highlights “Right People in video series

Almost everyone in agriculture knows the 4Rs: “Right Source at the Right Rate, at the Right Time and in the Right Place.” But how often do we stop to consider that crucial fifth ‘R’ — the Right People? 

Launched in 2014, the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program would not have gotten off the ground without the coming together of the Right People – agriculturalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers and many more stakeholders. This unique blend of seemingly disparate groups saw a need for a science-based program to proactively work toward the long-term improvement of waterways — and from their efforts, the 4R Program was born.

Today, the 4R Program continues to rely on the Right People — the employees of 4R Certified facilities and independent crop consultants who drive the program forward every day. As the trusted advisers of farmer customers, all employees play a part in advocating for the 4R Program, from CEOs and office staff to custom applicators and agronomists. … Continue reading

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OSU working to advance commercialization of ultra-shear technology for liquid foods and beverages processing

Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) have created a university-industry consortium to further the development of and provide access to the licensing of a new, innovative manufacturing technology that preserves foods and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients; no artificial preservatives; and reduced heat. 

Called ultra-shear technology (UST), this new method of high-pressure-based shear technology will allow beverage companies to manufacture healthier beverages by reducing thermal exposure through the combined application of elevated pressure, shear, and controlled times and temperatures.  

The result?

“Healthier beverage options that health-conscious consumers want that aren’t preserved using chemical additives and preservatives with names they can’t pronounce,” said V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam, a CFAES professor of food engineering who is leading the project. His laboratory—with a multidisciplinary team of microbiologists, chemists, and nutritionists—investigates innovative food manufacturing technologies and then works with industry to implement them.

And it’s not just drinks that might soon be preserved in a much healthier way.… Continue reading

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Spring planting decisions

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Last year, spring planting occurred during a cold dry spring, while this year conditions are warm and dry. Farmers have several planting options, depending on whether they are conventional tillage farmers or planting no-till with cover crops. What options farmers choose and their success may depend upon soil and moisture planting conditions.

First, the wheat crop is really green and uniform this year in Northwest Ohio. February snows protected the wheat from cold temperatures and most wheat did not drown out. Microbial levels are generally low after winter and start building as temperatures rise. The soil is a grave yard of dead microbial bodies which have abundant nutrients. During excessive snow melt and heavy spring rains, many soluble nutrients wash away. The dry spring kept soil nutrients around and plants are absorbing these abundant nutrients, promoting lush green plants.

Conventional tillage farmers may be tempted to do more spring tillage, but each tillage pass reduces soil moisture by 0.5-1.0 inch.

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Mixed numbers from WASDE

By Bennett Musselman, Leist Mercantile

The report was bullish for corn and wheat. There were neutral numbers for soybeans. 

Average trade estimates leading into the report were corn ending stocks at 1.396 billion bushels, soybeans 119 million bushels and 847 million bushels of wheat. The trade was expecting slightly higher wheat stocks and expected the USDA to lower corn stocks while leaving soybeans relatively unchanged. 

Corn ending stocks were 1.352 billion bushels, down from last month’s 1.502 billion bushels. Soybean ending stocks held steady from last month at 120 million bushels. Wheat ending stocks were 852 million bushels. Last month they were at 836 million bushels. 

The trade was estimating Brazilian soybean production at 134.03 million tons. The USDA report estimate was higher at 136 million tons.  Argentina soybean production was 47.5 million tons and that is unchanged from last month. 

Immediate reaction to the report had May corn up  6 3/4 cents at $5.86 ½  , May soybeans were down 2 cents at $14.13 ¼ and wheat was up 10 ½  cents at 6.39 1/4 .… Continue reading

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Big yield potential for 2021 as Ohio’s Corn Warriors take to the fields

By Matt Reese

The weather was just not cooperating for planting in 2020. It was time to start filming Season 4 of the reality show Corn Warriors and Greene County farmer Cory Atley was preparing for potential failure on national television. 

Corn Warriors airs on RFD TV and features six farmers from around the country trying to grow record-setting corn yields. Atley (nicknamed “Beast” on the show) farms more than 8,000 acres of leased and family ground and has won the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) yield contest for Ohio numerous times. 

“I was nervous. I thought the first year being on Corn Warriors was going to be a complete flop. The weather just did not work with us. We were wet early and we planted until June 15, which is not common for us. The biggest chunk of the corn acres went in the last week of May and beans were planted after that,” Atley said.… Continue reading

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Raptor strip-till tool makes inaugural landing

When it comes to strip-tillage products, Unverferth has led the industry in innovation since the early 1990s with deep-tillage products such as the Zone-Builder and Ripper-Stripper tools. With evolving farming practices, technology and increased demand for in-row fertilizer placement, the company announces the introduction of the Raptor strip-tillage tool. This versatile tool tills a strip of soil for planting, while leaving between-row residue intact to help increase organic matter and sequester carbon.  

The Raptor strip-till tool features TerrainPro row units with independent depth control to optimally follow soil terrain for creating the ideal seedbed in six stages:

  1. The leading swivel coulter with 20-inch blade features 1,500 pounds of down pressure to cut through the heaviest residue. 
  2. The free-floating row cleaners with curved finger design help clear residue from the strip. 
  3. The centrally mounted crowfoot-style wheel maintains row unit depth independently from row to row. 
  4. The tillage shank precisely tills the soil from 6- to 12-inches deep to manage root zone hardpan.
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No-till field day highlights

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Ohio State University Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)

The virtual Ohio No-till field day held on April 7 is available now on our website: David Brandt hosted the virtual event, which wound up as a little over 2 hours, from the Brandt Farm in Fairfield County. The program begins with comments by Terry Cosby, Chief (Acting), NRCS-USDA.

For your information, another recent virtual program, the Conservation Tillage Conference, March 9-12, is available free at: It has 20 hours of information on managing crops, nutrients, and pesticides, plus improving soil health.

Economics of regenerative agriculture   

Eric Niemeyer, Delaware County, and David Brandt shared their experiences on the April 7 virtual program.      

Eric has been continuous no-tilling with cover crops since 2014. Most cover crop mixes have been seeded with a high-clearance seeder. For corn, he has seeded just after tassel and keeps experimenting with even earlier dates.… Continue reading

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Weather update from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center

By Jim Noel, NOAA

The climate pattern is in a state of a flux.  The La Niña pattern is weakening rapidly and will cause changes in weather patterns in the coming weeks and will result in lower confidence forecasting for a while during this change.

For April it looks like a warmer than normal month with normal or slightly below normal rainfall. However, there will still be big swings in temperatures so the last freeze will likely be in the normal range which is generally mid-April for southern Ohio to late April for northern Ohio.  Evaporation rates will be above normal. This will all result in typical or earlier than normal planting. Beneficial rains will fall over most of the corn and soybean belts in April with the least rain likely in the eastern areas including Ohio. Over the next two weeks we expect 0.50 to 2 inches of rain with normal rainfall being 1.5 to just under 2 inches.… Continue reading

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Agricultural and educational competitions focus for 2021 Ohio State Fair 🎙

The Ohio Expositions Commission announced that the 2021 Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public, and will instead focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families, and guests. This will include junior fair skillathons, the Outstanding Market Exhibitor programs and a modified Sale of Champions. The status of the open shows for livestock will be determined by leaders within the individual species.

When discussing plans for the 2021 Ohio State Fair, members of the Commission expressed concern for public health, as well as the financial impact of hosting a fair that would adhere to current safety protocols and the lasting impacts of the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair.

“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July,” said Virgil Strickler, General Manager.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance and early planting dates

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

With near record warm temperatures for early April and ideal ground conditions, it is very enticing for farmers to start the 2021 planting season earlier than normal. Current research from Dr. Laura Lindsey, soybean and small grains specialist at The Ohio State University shows that planting date has the greatest impact on determining final soybean yields. But many farmers look at the calendar and also consider the crop insurance implications to getting this earlier than normal start to the season.

Jason Williamson, of Williamson Crop Insurance says that farmers are covered if they plant early, but the replant portion of their policy may not be.

“The most common question I have gotten this week is what is the earliest date I can plant with my crop insurance,” Williamson said. “There are actually two answers to that question.

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Cover crop benefits and the soybean microbiome (Part 2)

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Most discussions involving soybean yield and health typically center on the plant health. The DNA of the soybean microbiome is rarely a discussion point among farmers. That could be changing in the future as more emphasis is placed on raising cover crops and the potential benefit to soybean yields. Research funded by the Ohio Soybean check-off is being conducted to evaluate the impact from cover crops on the soil life. One such project focuses on the understanding of winter cover crops in a corn-soybean rotation, with emphasis on the soil microbiome and the resulting benefits to soybean health and yield.

A research study, identifying specific fungi associated with the soil microbiome is ongoing to measuring changes at numerous points during the specific crop rotations.

“The DNA of the fungi in the soil is analyzed,” said Soledad Benitez Ponce, Assistant professor, Phytobacteriology at The Ohio State University.

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OABA and OSU CFAES partner to host career fair at Farm Science Review

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) and The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will partner to hold the Career Exploration Fair at the 2021 Farm Science Review. The event will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The FSR Career Exploration Fair is an opportunity for career seekers, from high school and college students to mid-career professionals, who are looking to start or change their career path to connect with agribusiness employers. All FSR attendees are invited to browse the event, which is included with show admission. The event will also feature short career-related topic presentations on the main stage. 

Vendor booths are available to employers for the career fair. Free vendor space is an exclusive opportunity for current OABA members and FSR exhibitors. Any interested company can indicate their interest when registering as an FSR exhibitor or by contacting the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. For… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau seeks dynamic entrepreneurs with solutions to today’s farm and rural challenges

The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, has opened online applications for the 2022 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. This national business competition showcases U.S. startup companies that are providing solutions to challenges faced by America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Farm Bureau will award $165,000 in startup funds provided by sponsors Farm CreditBayer Crop ScienceFarm Bureau BankFarm Bureau Financial ServicesFMC Corporation and John Deere.

Launched in 2015 as the first national competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs, the Challenge continues to identify the next ag entrepreneurs to watch and supports innovation essential to Farm Bureau member businesses and communities. 

For this eighth year of the competition, Farm Bureau is seeking entrepreneurs who are addressing either traditional or new/emerging challenges. The 2021 Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year, Riley Clubb with Harvust, addressed traditional challenges by developing a software platform that helps farmers successfully hire, train and communicate with employees.… Continue reading

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E15 opportunities

A new economic analysis shows that a statewide shift to E15, a motor fuel blended with 15% renewable biofuel, could add billions to Ohio’s economy, drive new grain demand for farmers and deliver economic benefits across the state. The study was conducted by Agriculture and Biofuels Consulting (ABF Economics), which examined the economic impact of expanding E15 statewide in 12 states across the Midwest that represent 88% of the country’s ethanol production and are responsible for nearly a quarter of U.S. motor gasoline use.

“E15 is the single biggest opportunity to grow the rural economy, increase fuel savings and immediately replace oil with more homegrown renewable energy,” said Joshua Shields, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications at POET. “Family farmers and fuel consumers have the most to gain by shifting to E15, but there are massive economic benefits across the board, especially in America’s Heartland where biofuels are made.”… Continue reading

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Ohio no-till update

By Randall Reeder, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)

Yes, it’s virtual. The field day held each spring at David Brandt’s farm in Fairfield County will be recorded ahead of time and streamed on April 7 (Wednesday) at 9:00 a.m. 

You can watch online, free. The program will be on   If you don’t have Facebook, go to our website to watch: (The program will be archived on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel for later viewing.)

One of the biggest barriers for “conventional” farmers to overcome is concern about reduced net income. Eric Niemeyer and Dave Brandt will tackle this concern head on. They will share case studies and go in depth on the economics of no-till, cover crops and other components of “regenerative agriculture.”

Terry Mescher is the coordinator of the H2Ohio program for the Western Lake Erie Basin for ODA. Director Dorothy Pelanda will join him in giving an update.… Continue reading

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Cover crop benefits and the soybean microbiome

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

As farmers consider different production practices, they evaluate the impact each may have on a specific crop. Many of those practices also impact the soil life. Research funded by the Ohio Soybean check-off is being conducted to evaluate impacts from those practices on the soil life. One such project focuses on the understanding of winter cover crops in a corn-soybean rotation, with emphasis on the soil microbiome and the resulting benefits to soybean health and yield.

“We are studying the effects of cover crop termination on bacterial and fungal communities in the soil microbiome,” said Soledad Benitez Ponce, Assistant professor, Phytobacteriology at The Ohio State University.

Soledad Benitez Ponce, Assistant professor, Phytobacteriology

The soil microbiome can be defined as a community of living organisms in the soil which includes the combination of bacterial and fungal life.

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ODA and OSU Extension kick off 2021 Ohio Victory Gardens Program

It’s time to get your hands dirty and start growing! The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and OSU Extension Offices are kicking off the second year of the Victory Gardens Program. Due to high demand, the program is expanding to include 25 counties, up from 10 counties last year. Approximately 8,300 seed packets will be available free to the public to get people planting.

“We have seen a revived passion for planting through our Victory Gardens Program, which has expanded to 15 additional counties this year,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “Our Ohio Victory Gardens are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, from urban apartment dwellers, to those living in the country, and everyone in between. We hope this will inspire a new generation of gardeners who will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor for years to come.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with ODA on the Victory Garden Program.… Continue reading

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Payoffs from precision farming

By Michael Boehlje and Michael Langemeier, Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University

There are a number of potential payoffs of precision farming from the producer, value chain, and environmental perspectives.

  1. Potential payoffs for the producer

Cost reduction/Efficiency improvement increases

The improved measurement of soil characteristics and weather patterns that is part of precision farming has the most direct and obvious payoff in terms of cost reductions and efficiency increases from more accurate use of inputs such as fertilizer, seed, chemicals, and other inputs and the systematic measurement of the impacts of these inputs on yield and profitability. In essence, precision farming is one step closer to the manufacturing mentality of production agriculture. Precision farming combined with creative ways to schedule and sequence machinery use including 24 hour-per-day operations, moving equipment among sites, and deployment based on weather patterns has the potential to increase machinery utilization and lower per acre machinery and equipment costs as well.… Continue reading

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