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Carefully consider wheat planting date

Plant after the Hessian Fly Safe date for your county. The Hessian Fly free dates can be found at ( These dates vary between September 22 for northern counties and October 5 for the southern-most counties. Central Ohio counties are right at the end of September of start of October. Planting within the first 10 days after the recommended fly-safe date minimizes the risk of serious problems with Hessian Fly.

This is because on those dates, the weather conditions, especially temperature, are unfavorable for the Hessian fly. As a result, damage caused by this insect will likely be less if wheat is planted after the specific date. However, in Ohio the Hessian fly-safe date is not only about the Hessian fly. Another excellent reason to plant wheat after the fly-safe date is to minimize problems with diseases, especially barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV). BYDV is transmitted by aphids and tends to be most severe when transmission occurs in the fall.… Continue reading

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New yeast strain could lower costs for cellulosic ethanol production

A new strain of yeast that could help streamline cellulosic ethanol costs and production has been developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers. This work, which supports the USDA priority of developing new sources of bioenergy, was conducted at the agency’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill.

ARS molecular biologist Zonglin Lewis Liu and his colleagues determined that this yeast strain can break down and ferment the sugars in corn cobs left behind after the compound xylose — which is sometimes used for industrial activities — has been extracted. The new strain of yeast, Clavispora NRRL Y-50464 (Y-50464), can tolerate cob-derived compounds that interfere with yeast growth and fermentation rates.

It is able to grow rapidly at 98.6 °F, so it thrives at the higher temperatures needed to optimize simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) rates. SSF is a one-step process in cellulosic ethanol production that combines releasing and fermenting feedstock sugars.… Continue reading

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Get wheat off to a great start with proper fertility

To get wheat off to a great start, apply 20 to 30 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre at planting to promote fall tiller development. Review your soil test for phosphorus and potash applications. Phosphorus should be applied if soil test levels are below 50 ppm (100 pounds per acre) regardless of yield potential. The exact rate will depend on the soil test level and yield potential. Check the Tri-State guide for specific rate recommendations (

The same philosophy would be true for potash. Potash should be applied if soil test potassium levels are below 150 to 175 ppm (300 to 350 pounds per acre) regardless of yield potential. For soils with potassium levels below this amount the recommended rate would depend upon the yield potential, soil test level and the cation exchange capacity of the soil.

Soil pH should be around 6.5 for optimum production. Secondary nutrients (calcium, magnesium and sulfur) and micronutrients should not be necessary for a fall program on most Ohio soils maintained at the proper soil pH.… Continue reading

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Rotate wheat with soybeans

Wheat should be planted after soybeans not after wheat or corn. Diseases are a big concern in wheat after wheat. One such disease, and by far one of the most important, is head scab. The head scab fungus survives in wheat stubble left in the field after harvest. Wheat planted into this stubble is more likely to have head scab and vomitoxin problems next year, especially if late-spring, early-summer conditions are wet and humid. Our studies have shown that when wheat (or corn) residue is abundant (more spores of the fungus present), only a few days of wet and humid conditions during flowering are needed for head scab to develop and vomitoxin to exceed critical marketing thresholds (2 parts per million). For the same reasons, planting wheat after corn is just as bad as planting wheat after wheat. The scab fungus survives equally well in both corn and wheat stubble.

In addition, growers who plant wheat after wheat usually have more problems with diseases such as Cephalosporium stripe and Take-all root rot.… Continue reading

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Researchers study fire ant venom as natural fungicide

Red imported fire ants are named for the fire-like burn of their sting. Now, the same venom that packs such a painful wallop may actually do some good for a change.

Studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Stoneville, Miss., have shown that certain alkaloid compounds in the venom — piperideines and piperdines — can hinder the growth of the crop pathogen Pythium ultimum.

Chemical fungicides, delayed plantings and crop rotation are among methods now used to control P. ultimum, which causes damping-off diseases that decay the seed or seedling of vegetable, horticultural and cucurbit crops. Despite such measures, damping-off remains a costly problem, and new approaches are needed, according to Jian Chen, an ARS entomologist.

Chen is co-investigating the potential application of fire ant venom to manage soilborne pathogens like P. ultimum in collaboration with ARS microbiologist Xixuan Jin, and Shezeng Li of the Institute of Plant Protection in Baoding, China.… Continue reading

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Wheat varieties important as planting draws near

As growers make preparations for planting wheat this fall, we would like to remind them of a few management decisions that are important for a successful crop. Nearly every farm in Ohio has a field or two that could benefit from planting wheat, if for no other reason than to help reduce problems associated with continuous planting of soybeans and corn. Consistent high yields can be achieved by following a few important management guidelines. Listed below are the most important management decisions that Ohio wheat producers need to make at fall planting time to produce a crop with satisfactory economic returns.


Variety and seed selection

Select high-yielding varieties with high test weight, good straw strength and adequate disease resistance. Do not jeopardize your investment by planting poor quality seeds or by planting anything but the best yielding varieties that also have resistance to the important diseases in your area. Depending on your area of the state, you may need good resistance to powdery mildew, Stagonospora leaf blotch, head scab, and/or leaf rust.… Continue reading

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Keep an eye on the corn-wheat dynamic

Corn continues to play a very influential role in U.S. wheat price discovery. Wheat futures are following corn futures up, sideways and down — sometimes in spite of solid wheat fundamentals. This observable linkage probably will not change anytime soon as the 2013/14 corn harvest is likely to set new U.S. and world records. Following a sharp decline in 2012/13 due to drought, ample supply this year pushed both corn and wheat futures lower, albeit at different rates. As winter wheat planting season quickly approaches, wheat farmers and their customers should closely follow how the corn-wheat dynamic plays out for 2014/15.

Although the shift has slowed somewhat, the trend for U.S. wheat to lose planted area to corn and soybean production continues. Chinese driven demand for soybeans and the emergence of corn-based biofuels increased the profitability of these crops at a faster pace than wheat. In addition, new varieties with dramatically higher yield potential helped corn and soybeans expand into traditional wheat growing areas.… Continue reading

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New technology sheds light on crop tissues

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist in California has opened a window into the vascular networks of a number of crops by adapting computed tomography (CT) scan technology to the study of plants.

Andrew McElrone, a plant physiologist with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Davis, Calif., is using the technology to study how water and pathogens move through a plant’s vascular tissue called xylem. The xylem consists of tube-like elements that play a major role in the plant’s growth and survival. When a plant takes up water from its roots, water passes through these tubes as if it were sipping water through a straw, and it uses thousands of these tubes in the process.

Drought conditions increase tension on the water in healthy xylem tubes, making them more susceptible to the formation of air bubbles, called embolisms, which interrupt the water flow and lead to damage or even death of the vine.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – September 16th, 2013

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There were six days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending September 15, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. Hot temperatures in the early part of the week gave way to cooler temperatures and light rain in the later part of the week. The Northeastern part of the State received slightly above average rainfall, with the rest Ohio remaining in dry conditions with only spotty rainfall. Crop conditions all declined slightly, but farmers are still happy with their crops and seem optimistic about the coming harvest. While most corn and soybeans in the state are a week to several weeks away from being ready for harvest, harvesting has begun in a few early planted soybean and corn fields. Most producers used their time this week to plant cover crops and make hay and corn silage.

The full reportContinue reading

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OFU in D.C.

Ohio Farmers Union president Roger Wise of Fremont and the other NFU state presidents were recently in Washington, D.C. to lobby members of Congress with the leadership and staff of NFU.

“As a member of the NFU Board of Directors, I voted to support the resolution to show the Ohio Farmers Union’s unflagging support for a new Farm Bill and for Congress to continue support for COOL and the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Wise said. “The fact that the Farm Bill has become an object of partisanship and has been mired in the House for two years – held hostage by a group of extremists – is a prime example of our broken political process in Washington.”

The message from Wise and others was about teamwork in Washington to get meaningful legislation passed.

“I’m here again with my colleagues from around Ohio and the country to simply ask for reason and a willingness to work together for compromise that allows agriculture in America to move forward with a bill like that passed by the Senate which contains deficit reduction, contains reforms and has farmers with more skin in the game as it pertains to the safety net,” Wise said.… Continue reading

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Some goals met, loftier ones set by CFAES Dean

No one said it would be easy to fill the shoes of the former Dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Current Dean Bruce

McPheron knew that when he came in to replace Bobby Moser one year ago.

McPheron had a vision when he first came back to Ohio State from Penn State of what he would like to see happen in the short term and long term at the college. After his first year, he said progress is being made.

“We’ve made great progress towards some of the critical issues,” McPheron said. “The facilities issues really hit you in the face. There are a lot of improvements that are necessary and there are projects that will take a decade or two to complete in terms of thinking about a new ag campus.”… Continue reading

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The Weekly Corn Belt Update {September 16th, 2013}


The Snapshot Tour is hosted by Jay Calhoun of Colgan Commodities. This is a daily update on crop and weather conditions across  locations in the Corn Belt.  Listen to the audio report in full by visiting and clicking on the audio tab.

Maumee, Ohio

The crops in the NW region of Ohio can be drawn into two areas in regards to moisture:  Draw a line from Lansing, MI down to Toledo and go west and the crops simply do not look as good. Go east of that line and the crops are better.  The better yields for beans will be early, and for corn the better yields will likely be the later corn.Continue reading

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Cover cropping can optimize organic production

Farmers can fine-tune their use of cover crops to help manage costs and maximize benefits in commercial organic production systems, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Production expenses for high-value organic crops like lettuce and broccoli can exceed $7,000 per acre, so producers often try to streamline costs with an annual two- to three-crop rotation. ARS horticulturalist Eric Brennan designed a long-term investigation that examined several different cover cropping strategies for an annual organic lettuce-broccoli production system. This work supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

The researcher selected three winter cover crops often grown in the Salinas, Calif., area — rye, mustard, and a legume-rye mix — and planted each cover crop using either a typical seeding rate or a seeding rate that was three times higher. Seeding rates can influence a cover crop’s ability to smother weeds.

During lettuce and broccoli production, Brennan ensured all systems received the same fertilizer and irrigation inputs and pest management.… Continue reading

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Dry weather took icing off corn yields

Much of the state’s once thriving corn crop took a late-season yield hit as hot, dry conditions developed in late summer.

The combination of dryness and extreme heat during corn kernel weight development is further cutting into yield potential. Purdue University corn specialist Bob Nielsen said that these conditions took the “frosting off the cake” in many fields that were making a final push to fulfill their full yield potential as the hot and dry conditions developed.

“In fact, for some fields, the ‘cake’ is disappearing, too,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Drought Monitor update of Sept. 5 showed that a small area in western Ohio was abnormally dry — the lowest level of dryness. While most of the state was not in any level of drought after the soggy conditions for much of the growing season, there were many other areas that were getting fairly dry. Some areas in northwestern, central and southern Ohio went for two or three weeks with very little rainfall in August and early September.… Continue reading

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Preserving Food Grant Received by Madison Plains FFA

ARCOPThis year the Madison Plains FFA chapter received the 2013 Agricultural and Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP) grant of $2500.

The money from the grant was used to purchase a laptop to record and upload photos of what the members learned, a camera to record and take pictures of the members learning and participating in the canning process, a pressure cooker, food processer, canning jars, and canning mixes.  Students brought in produce from their own gardens.

The ARCOP grant was used to teach the FFA members how to can and preserve vegetables and fruit. They were taught to first clean the produce, then chop and puree it using the food processer, third the students sanitized the jars and prepped the lids by soaking them in water, and the last step was putting the jars into the pressure cooker to release the pressure and seal the lids. During the students class period they made salsa and pickles. … Continue reading

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Drying and storing wet, immature grain

When corn reaches maturity late in the season, field drydown is slower due to cooler air temperatures. DuPont Pioneer agronomists provided several tips for drying and storage of the wet, immature grain this season.

Properly drying this year’s very wet, lower quality corn will be essential to avoid further quality reductions. Screen lower quality grain prior to drying, using a rotary screen, gravity screen or perforated auger housing section.

This will prevent foreign material and broken kernel fragments (or “fines”) from blocking air flow essential to uniform grain drying and storage. Next, plan to dry lower quality grain one or two points lower than the normal 14% to 15% often recommended for long-term storage. This is because of greater variations of moisture content within the grain mass and increased physical kernel damage and broken cobs, which could magnify mold problems.

High temperature drying causes stress cracks in the kernel, which allows more breakage during handling and storage.… Continue reading

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Taiwan commits to purchase $4 billion in U.S. farm products

The Taiwan Feed Industry Association on behalf of the Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission signed a letter of intent with the U.S. Grains Council on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, committing to purchase 5 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of U.S. corn in 2014 and 2015. In addition, 0.5 million tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) will be included in the memorandum.

“Over the last 40 years, Taiwan has been one of the most import export markets for U.S. coarse grains and products,” said Julius Schaaf, USGC chairman. “With Taiwan producing less than 1% of its needed grains, the United States is able to be a major supplier to the nation. In 2011-2012, Taiwan was the sixth-largest U.S. corn market, the third-largest U.S. barley market and the seventh-largest U.S. sorghum market. The Council is proud of the partnership we have had with Taiwan for many years and are excited for the possibilities that continue to grow from this partnership.”… Continue reading

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Report numbers mixed, corn bearish, soybeans bullish

The corn numbers are bearish as the production and yield was increased from last month. Soybeans are bullish due to a smaller than expected ending stocks at 150 million bushels. Traders were surprised with the higher, not lower corn yield. Today’s numbers could well point to a retest of December corn contract lows of $4.45 ¾.

Just before the report release, December corn was $4.67, down  5 ½ cents, while November soybeans were 13.49 ½, down 8 ¾ cents. Shortly after the report was released, December corn was $4.59, down 13 1.2 cents. November soybeans were $13.62, up 3 ¾ cents.

The ending stocks for soybeans looks to be the more watched number and not the actual soybean production number. Soybean ending stocks were estimated by USDA at 150 million bushels, down from last month’s 220. Just two months ago, the July report had ending stocks at 295 million bushels. At that time weather was not an issue with yield prospects increasing.… Continue reading

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Online meetings explain rising CAUV rates

Landowners in 23 counties with property enrolled in the current agricultural use valuation program (CAUV) will once again see a rise in CAUV values, likely increasing what they pay in taxes. Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) members are encouraged to attend one of four online meetings to hear OFBF Director of Legal Education Leah Curtis explain the program and the calculation that is used to value farmland.

Remaining meetings will all begin at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24, Oct. 9, Oct. 21 and Nov. 12.

These meetings are free for Ohio Farm Bureau members to watch, but they must register online at to do so. Members will be able to submit questions through the registration process, and during the live presentation at each meeting.

County auditors are currently sending notices to landowners about property tax reappraisals/updates that are underway.

Counties that will see new CAUV rates on the 2013 tax bill arriving in January include: Adams, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Columbiana, Fairfield, Hancock, Hocking, Holmes, Lawrence, Logan, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Miami, Monroe, Paulding, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Union, Washington and Wyandot.… Continue reading

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Block to COOL implementation denied

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, would have blocked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from implementing and enforcing its revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations until a lawsuit filed July 8 is concluded.

The National Farmers Union was pleased with the decision.

“The judge’s ruling to deny the injunction on COOL regulations continues to reinforce NFU’s positive position on COOL. We have long supported COOL and the consumer’s desire to know where their food comes from. We are pleased that the packer-producer organizations and foreign interests’ attempts to thwart COOL have been denied. We are committed to defending COOL and will continue to do so throughout this legal process,” said Roger Johnson, NFU president. “I am thankful for the support of other organizations, our members and others who have supported the U.S. COOL Defense Fund. This undertaking has not been taken lightly and we appreciate those who have helped provide funding to ensure that we are represented in the most effective manner.”… Continue reading

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