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Railroad strike narrowly avoided with tentative agreement 🔊

Mike Steenhoek

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal

A possible railroad worker strike starting Friday has been avoided after reports of a tentative agreement reached Thursday morning.

“Well, fortunately, this morning, there was an announcement that the two parties came to a tentative agreement for the this new 5-year contract for railroad workers,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition in a conversation with Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal. “And what that does, importantly, is that it prevents this potential strike at 12:01 Eastern Time on Friday. And so that’s a real sigh of relief to have that that resolution.”

Steenhoek reports the tentative agreement will provide rail employees a 24% wage increase during the 5-year period of the contract (2020-2024) — consistent with the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board. Steenhoek said an immediate average payout of $11,000 will be provided upon ratification.… Continue reading

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Laying the foundations for high yield wheat

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Making sound agronomic decisions give wheat a well-established root system as a foundation to maximize yield. Wheat is an annual crop, but there are ten months between planting and harvest. Here are seven practices to establish your wheat for its long growing season.

  1. Variety selection is of utmost importance. The Ohio State University Wheat Performance Trials shows yield and other important agronomic data for 79 varieties at four sites at The OSU trials traditionally included disease ratings, but weather wiped out the 2022 disease rating site. The 2021 disease rating data is still helpful and is archived at Company trials are another information source. The more information you look over, especially from your region, the higher your confidence will be about your choice. 
  2. Plant a high-quality seed and use a seed treatment. You take on that responsibility if you plant saved seed from the farm.
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Today’s Bio-Capsule is not your grandpa’s bucket

In this video, Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo talks with Nathan Louiso of Meristem Crop Performance about unique, new technology for a next generation starter meant to dramatically increase performance for farmers at planting, all with ease of use in mind.

Meristem recently announced the commercial launch of two patent-pending biological delivery systems – BIO-CAPSULE and MICROBILIZE – building on their effort to bring real productivity gains to farmers. Louiso gives an in-depth look at the system, as well as talks the importance of the addition of EXCAVATOR product in field preparation.

Be sure to visit Meristem Crop Performance at the 2022 Farm Science Review for an in-person look at the new technology. More information at… Continue reading

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Improving high clay soils

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, Adapted from Dale Strickland article, Green Cover Seeds.

Working with clay soils can be difficult when trying to grow crops.  Sticky when wet and rock hard when dry, a high clay soil can drive you crazy!  However, clay soils have many great qualities.  Compared to sand and silt, clay has higher water holding capacity and greater cation exchange capacity (CEC).  CEC means the clay has a negative charge and can hold many positively charged soil nutrients. Water and soil nutrients are needed for plants to optimize yield.  Yet, clay has several problems.

First, even though a soil has plenty of water, plant roots have to access that water.  Roots need oxygen to grow and tight clay soils that are saturated have limited oxygen for roots to grow. The tight pore spaces in clay soils limits root growth and does not allow atmospheric oxygen from getting into the soil. … Continue reading

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Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: Impacts on agriculture

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376) into law in August with the stated goals of reducing health care costs for rural America, lowering energy costs, addressing climate change, and strengthening conservation programs for agriculture. This reconciliation package includes a subset of nearly $38 billion funding for agricultural conservation, credit, renewable energy and forestry through FY2031.

“This package, signed into law by President Biden…was passed by Congress through budget reconciliation, a method that carries extra restrictions affecting the content and funding timelines of certain provisions within the bill,” said Scott Gerit, American Soybean Association chief economist. “The Inflation Reduction Act, or reconciliation bill, addresses tax issues, prescription drug costs and energy and climate change, among other things.”

The American Soybean Association has supported several provisions, such as biofuels investments, that were included and earlier voiced opposition to specific proposals, including changes to stepped up basis and other farm tax provisions that were not included in the final proposal signed into law. … Continue reading

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Ohio Forestry Association announces open application period for conservation education grant program

The Ohio Forestry Association Foundation has always supported educational projects throughout Ohio. These grants will generally be small-scale and are designed to assist an organization with a project, with a maximum individual grant amount of $2,500. Applications will be accepted between September 12 and October 14 this year, with grant awards being selected and announced by December 1 for funding to be used in the following calendar year. See complete details of the grant program, including application details and directions or see the printable application.

Examples of past grant recipients include:

  • $750 to support a Wood Art Festival
  • $1000 to help fund development, printing, and distribution of Invasive Species Calendars
  • $1000 to help fund the purchase of a Portable Sawmill for a Natural Resource Class at a Career Center
  • $1000 to sponsor a Forestry Station at a State Envirothon
  • $1000 to help fund an Educational Trip for College Forestry Students
  • $1500 to sponsor a 4-H Woodworking Day at a State Fair.
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Two-stage ditch and sod waterways pulling a farm together.

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

For Les and Jerry Seiler, soil conservation became a necessity to keep a farm in production. Les Seiler farms with his brother Jerry and son Nathan in Fulton County near Fayette, Ohio. They farm consists of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and alfalfa. The Seilers plant cover crops and use no-till and conservation tillage. “Fulton County has around 62 different soil types. We farm about 32 of those.  Some of our fields may have 4-5 soil types in the same field,” said Seiler. “Using conservation practices allows us to mitigate some of the variability. We now use cover crops to try to keep something living in the soil all year around.”

Nathan, Les, and Jerry Seiler

While most of the acres the Seiler’s farm are the very typical of the flat Northwest Ohio landscape, one farm in particular had a significant amount of slope to it.… Continue reading

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Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) or Brown Stem Rot (BSR)? That is the question!

By Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2022-30

In August we started finding soybean diseases in Ohio. Recently, several fields in Ohio have been showing foliar symptoms (Fig. 1) very similar to those caused by sudden death syndrome (SDS)

Photo Credit, Dr. Horacio Lopez Nicora, The Ohio State University Extension

Figure 1. Soybean field in Ohio severely affected by sudden death syndrome (SDS) with premature defoliation in the R5/R6 growth stage (A); symptoms begin with interveinal yellowing (chlorosis) of leaf (B); eventually leaf tissue dies and becomes brown but veins remain green (C). The fungus infects the root and produces toxins that are responsible for the above-ground symptoms.

SDS is caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium virguliforme. This species is the most prevalent in the region, however, other Fusarium species can cause SDS. SDS above-ground symptoms can be confused with those produced by a different fungus (Cadophora gregata) that causes brown stem rot (BSR).… Continue reading

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Application process open to sponsor Ohio’s Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program

Counties, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, land trusts, cities and townships are invited to apply to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation for local sponsor certification from Sept. 12 through Oct. 14, 2022.

Local sponsors that complete the certification application and qualify will be allocated a portion of the funding available in Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program 2023 funds. These funds are used to purchase agricultural easements on Ohio farms, preserving productive agricultural farmland.

Certified local sponsors will then accept local landowner applications and help secure easements through ODA’s Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. Once the easement is secured, the local sponsor visits the farm once a year to complete a monitoring report to ensure the land is being used for agricultural purposes.

The application is available on ODA’s local sponsor page. Any organization interested in being a local sponsor for the 2023 landowner application year must apply during this time period.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau names Policy Development Committee

Twenty Ohio Farm Bureau leaders are serving on the 2022 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Policy Development Committee. The committee collects and organizes public policy recommendations from county Farm Bureaus and presents the final policy suggestions to be voted on by Ohio Farm Bureau’s delegates during the state annual meeting in December.
In its initial session, the committee heard from government leaders, subject matter experts and Farm Bureau staff on topics such as farmland preservation; the farm bill; SEC climate reporting at the farm level; funding alternatives for the gas tax; biosecurity measures to protect livestock from chronic wasting disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza and swine fever; and the U.S. EPA approval process for ag technology such as Enlist, atrazine, and others.
The policy committee consists of 10 members from Ohio Farm Bureau’s board of trustees and 10 representatives of county Farm Bureaus.
The committee is chaired by Ohio Farm Bureau First Vice President Cy Prettyman of New Bloomington and includes OFBF President Bill Patterson of Chesterland and Treasurer Lane Osswald of Eldorado.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 268 | Lumberjacks and The Paul Bunyan Show

On this week’s podcast Matt and Dusty sit down with Emmett Conway and Jim Doll with the Ohio Forestry Association talking about the upcoming Paul Bunyan Show. Joel sits down with Zach Dennis with Bane-Welker Equipment to discuss parts availability. The GrowNextGen folks sit down with Dale to talk about their current and upcoming projects. Dale catches up with staff at Farm Credit Mid-America to talk about their new office opening in Alliance. All this and more thanks to AgriGold! 

0:00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update 

0:26:55 Zach Dennis – Bane-Welker Equipment

0:31:51 GrowNextGen 

0:48:38 Farm Credit Mid-America Staff 

1:11:05 Closing … Continue reading

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Crops nearing harvest facilitated by nice weather

Farmers across the State welcomed timely rains and seasonable temperatures as crop development progress accelerated during the previous week, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office.

Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 2% very short, 13% short, 77% adequate, and 8% surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending Sept. 11 was 69.7 degrees, 2.1 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 1.07 inches of precipitation, 0.55 inches above average. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sept. 11.

Corn dough progress was 96% complete, corn dented progress was 64% complete, and 16% of the crop was mature. Corn harvested for silage was 53% complete. Corn condition was rated 62% good to excellent. Soybeans pod setting progress reached 98% and 14% of soybeans were dropping leaves. Sixty-one percent of soybean plants were reported as being in good to excellent condition. Second cuttings of other dry hay were 92% complete.… Continue reading

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USDA forecasts 2022 production down from last year

Corn, soybean, and cotton production is all down from 2021, according to the Crop Production report issued by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Corn production is down 8% from last year, forecast at 13.9 billion bushels; soybean growers are expected to decrease their production 1% from 2021, forecast at 4.38 billion bushels.

Because of the completeness of the data, corn and soybean acreage were reviewed for this report, a month earlier than usual. As a result, area planted to corn is estimated at 88.6 million acres, down 1% from the previous estimate; area planted to soybeans is estimated at 87.5 million acres, down 1% from the previous estimate.

The average U.S. corn yield is forecast at 172.5 bushels per acre, down 2.9 bushels from last month’s forecast and down 4.5 bushels from last year. NASS forecasts record high yields in California, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Acres planted to corn, at 88.6 million, are down 5% from 2021.… Continue reading

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Crops looking strong as harvest draws near

Joe Everett

It is starting to look a little bit more like fall. The crops are starting to change a lot more and you can tell harvest is right around the corner now. Right around here a lot of the stuff that went in early, especially earlier varieties, are starting to really change. We’re starting to see corn change and beans are changing too, but they seem like they’re a little bit slower, which is kind of surprising. I think corn won’t be far behind the beans. We’re still probably a couple weeks out yet, though, before we do anything here.

We were hurting for rain, but now it seems like the rain won’t shut off. We’ve been getting rain periodically. Last night we got a little over half inch. I think if you go more towards Sydney, they even got a little bit more than we did so the rain has been good.… Continue reading

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Feeding fish with Ohio soy

By Matt Reese

In Ohio farm country it is no secret many people likely enjoy a higher percentage of meat, eggs, and dairy in their diets than other segments of our agriculture society. The foods raised by Ohio agriculture feed the people of Ohio agriculture. Often overlooked though, on rural Ohio farms, are fish.

“The average person in the U.S. only eats around 17 pounds of seafood per year, even though recommendations for a healthy heart are more than triple that number,” said Matt Smith, program director, aquaculture Extension, Madison County Extension Office. “There is probably a local seafood farmer near you — shop local.”

Even if it has scales and gills instead of hooves, aquaculture is a growing part of domestic agriculture.

“There are some segments of U.S. aquaculture that are exploding in growth. In particular, our coastal states are seeing significant growth in shellfish production. There are well over 1,500 shellfish farmers now along the East Coast.… Continue reading

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Winterizing your grazing plans

By Victor Shelton, Retired NRCS Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Some people try to make pasture management a lot more difficult than needed. I think sometimes it is more about how it is perceived in the eyes of the beholder. Some might think that a pasture that is grazed evenly to the ground, all the time, means that no forage was lost – no.  Some might think that mowing it frequently and making it look like a prime horse pasture behind a fancy fence is ideal – maybe. It is really about the management of the forage to achieve the goals of production, forage quality and numerous added benefits that benefit erosion, soil biology, and usually also wildlife.

Anytime you can keep something simple it is usually best.  I’ve been to several events this summer and had similar questions asked to me that can be summed up as, “What are the basic rules of good pasture management?”… Continue reading

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Dining on mushrooms

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Millions of Americans are disconnected to agriculture with more than three generations removed from the farm. They are turning to urban gardening, farm to door delivery services, local farms/farmers markets and even foraging in an attempt to regain that connection. They yearn for control, involvement and hygge where their food comes from. 

 Foraging. It has become the new bougie term for those who are focused on environmental and sustainable eating. I was talking with a friend just the other day about her son who lives in an inner metro area and had taken up foraging. She was so excited she was almost jumping up and down that he had foraged in the neighborhood and parks to find incredible edible treasures. First off, my hubby hates mushrooms so the way to my man’s heart is to avoid mushrooms. Bottomline, I had no idea what she was talking about. … Continue reading

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Late season weed scouting resources

By Alyssa Essman, Ohio State University Extension

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth plants that have escaped POST applications or emerged after are now starting to develop mature seed. These plants can produce upwards of one million seeds per plant in certain situations. When it comes to the management of these weeds, the best offense is a good defense. Anything we can do from now through harvest to prevent seed from being deposited into the soil seed bank will pay dividends down the road. At this point in the season there are limited options for control beyond scouting and hand pulling. Just a few plants left in the field can lead to a total infestation within a few years. Viability of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth seed is greatly reduced after 3-5 years.

Some diligence over a couple of growing seasons can drastically reduce populations. Aside from tremendous seed production, fast growth rates, and lengthy emergence windows, what makes us most nervous about these weeds is their propensity to develop herbicide resistance.… Continue reading

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