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What to do with those “naked” corn acres

It seems that a very wet mid-May may cause some havoc when it comes to farmers missing the window of opportunity for a pre-emergent herbicide application. That means that there are a large number of acres of “naked” corn that will be anxiously awaiting some post-emergent help as it sprouts from highly saturated soils.

“Last week we experienced some really nice weather in my part of the state and corn that was planted a week or two ago is beginning to spike through,” said Chasitie Euler, a DuPont Pioneer Account Manager in the Northwest part of Ohio. “Many of those acres remain naked with no pre-emergent herbicide so that will definitely change many of my farmer’s plans.”… Continue reading

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Bee survey shows improvement

A yearly survey of beekeepers shows fewer colony losses occurred in the United States over the winter of 2013-2014 than in recent years, but beekeepers say losses remain higher than the level that they consider to be sustainable. According to survey results, total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 23.2% nationwide. That number is above the 18.9% level of loss that beekeepers say is acceptable for their economic sustainability, but is a marked improvement over the 30.5% loss reported for the winter of 2012-2013, and over the eight-year average loss of 29.6%.

More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators, such as bees, to reproduce, meaning pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat.

“Pollinators, such as bees, birds and other insects are essential partners for farmers and ranchers and help produce much of our food supply. Healthy pollinator populations are critical to the continued economic well-being of agricultural producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.… Continue reading

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Action being urged for EU cheese situation

A bipartisan group of 177 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged the Obama administration to use the transatlantic trade talks with the European Union (EU) to address a variety of export barriers hampering the U.S. dairy industry. Among the barriers are the EU’s recent efforts to prevent U.S. companies from using common food names like parmesan and feta in export markets, including the EU, and even in the U.S. domestic market.

The Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus co-chairs, led by Reps. Reid Ribble and Peter Welch, spearheaded the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In that message House members said negotiations with the European Union over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) offer a good opportunity to address protectionist measures that block U.S. dairy sales to 500 million consumers.

“We urge you to achieve a strong and beneficial outcome for the U.S.… Continue reading

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HSUS forced to pay in circus lawsuit

Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, received a nearly $15.75 million settlement from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal-rights groups that filed a frivolous lawsuit against them.

The lawsuits in federal court in Washington have dragged on for more than a decade. In 2012, a judge said the case, alleging abusive treatment of elephants, was frivolous and forced Virginia-based Feld Entertainment to spend millions in legal fees. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals already agreed separately to pay more than $9 million to settle.

HSUS said in a statement:

“The HSUS and The Fund for Animals fight tirelessly to prevent the abuse and mistreatment of animals, including elephants by circuses, and will be stepping up that work in the months ahead. Although The HSUS was never a plaintiff in the case against Ringling, we believe it was prudent for the parties to settle, because this court would never address the core claims of elephant abuse, and there would be significant cost in continuing to litigate.… Continue reading

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Mycotoxin levels may be rising in stored 2013 crop

After seven months of feeding the 2013 harvest to their herds, dairy producers may soon find their corn silage and total mixed ration (TMR) are not quite up to par, as many herds are now facing new challenges due to recent mold and mycotoxin growth in feed during storage.

“The U.S. crops varied considerably from farm to farm and even from field to field. These varied crops were all harvested at the same time and placed into storage, creating silage that is a mixture of maturity and crop stress,” said Max Hawkins, a nutritionist from Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team. “The effects of storage moisture and temperature, oxygen availability and forage management are now being discovered.”

Alltech has continued to analyze corn silage and TMR samples since the September harvest through their 37+ Program. The analysis is performed using LC/MSMS technology and considers the mycotoxin challenge in each sample as a whole, rather than looking at the individual mycotoxins present.… Continue reading

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First forage cutting coming soon

While we’ve all been focused on getting planting done between the rains, our established forage crops have quietly been growing rapidly. I hate to say this, but first cutting of forages is just about upon us. Orchardgrass was just beginning to shoot a head in central Ohio last Friday. The alfalfa stands that were not severely injured by winter are looking great and growing fast.

For high quality feed, such as for lactating dairy cows, pure grass stands should be harvested in the late boot stage just before the heads start to peek out. So for orchardgrass in the central and southern half of Ohio, that means harvest should begin as soon as the weather and soil moisture permits.

A timely first and second cutting is critical for high quality forage. Fiber accumulates faster in the first two growth cycles in May and June than it does later in the summer.… Continue reading

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Cattle prices moderating after record highs

Cattle prices have started to moderate after reaching unexplained record highs in the first four months of the year, says Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

He believes that the highest prices of the year are now likely in the past.

In the first quarter of 2014, Nebraska steers sold at an average price of $147 per live hundredweight — more than $20 higher than the previous first-quarter record price. Nationally, finished cattle prices were up 17% during the first quarter. With production only down 4%, the hike has been somewhat unexplained.

“It was not so surprising to have record-high cattle prices, but the real surprise was the lofty heights of those new records,” Hurt said.

While there are a few factors that could have played into higher prices, Hurt said none of them seem to have been big enough to force prices to the levels they reached. Some of those include overall low meat and poultry supplies, reduced beef production, low broiler egg hatchability and expected reduction in pork availability from the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.… Continue reading

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Heritage Cooperative announces plans for new facility in Marysville

Heritage Cooperative announced that it will construct a major agriculture campus and research farm in Marysville to serve its customers in the community and provide space for educational sites and test plots. The project, scheduled for completion by September 2015, is located on 277 acres just south of Route 33 on Scottslawn Road, where a groundbreaking event was held today.

“Heritage remains true to our mission to add value to our members and customers’ businesses and communities, and this project, which is one of the largest our cooperative has developed, is a direct reflection of that intent,” said Eric Parthemore, CEO, Heritage Cooperative. “We know that the needs of our customers and members have changed exponentially, and that requires us to evolve to ensure we can deliver the cutting-edge efficiency, access to markets and agricultural technologies that position them for success.”

The campus will significantly expand Heritage’s service capacity to its members in the Marysville area.… Continue reading

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Biodiesel boosts farm income

Last year’s record-breaking biodiesel-production total means record-breaking industrial demand for U.S. soybean oil and bigger profits for U.S. soybean farmers.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. biodiesel industry produced 1.36 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2013, 37% more than in 2012. The EIA says that production required the use of at least 5.5 billion pounds of U.S. soybean oil. 

That volume is the oil from more than 468 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.

Research has shown that the biodiesel industry’s demand for U.S. soybean oil increased soybean value by 74 cents per bushel between 2006 and 2012.

Rob Hanks, United Soybean Board director and a soybean farmer from Le Roy, Minnesota, says he’s thrilled to see biodiesel bring such a major return on investment back to the U.S. soybean farmers who helped start the industry and have continued to support it ever since.

“U.S. soybean farmers have been very supportive of biodiesel for more than 20 years,” he said.… Continue reading

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High oleic soybean motor oil drives innovation

A motor oil with a high-oleic-soybean-oil base just took the next step toward commercialization.

The oil, tested on more than one million miles in 100 Las Vegas taxicabs, delivered impressive results in tests by demonstrating the ability to extend the life of engines. 

Biosynthetic Technologies, the company that developed this technology for the past 5 years, recently achieved certification from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on a motor oil containing 35% of a synthetic ester, called an estolide, made from high oleic soybean oil.

This certification is expected to facilitate commercialization of the technology. Farmers and other consumers may see this high-oleic-soybean-oil derived product in stores in as little as two years.

“This is a great example of the innovation brought forward by high oleic soybeans,” said Lewis Bainbridge, farmer from Ethan, South Dakota, and chair of the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) Oil Action Team. “We have to be patient for these new products to come to the market, but this is certainly an encouraging step in the right direction.”… Continue reading

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National Corn Yield Contest online entry open

With planting well underway in much of the country, the National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 16, fees will be reduced to $75. NCGA reminds growers that a small time investment now saves money later this summer.

“While it may still seem a ways out, we all know how quickly the time passes once planting season starts,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Don Glenn. “Every year, we gain valuable data from the contest that help develop the production practices of tomorrow. I urge those who haven’t entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high-yield techniques as contest entrants in 2014.”

To enter today using the online form, click here.  NCGA will also release a version of the online form suitable for use on mobile devices in the near future.… Continue reading

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Protecting crops from black cutworms

Black Cutworm moths are starting to arrive in the Corn Belt with the recent weather fronts moving from southwest and we need to be ready with the rescue treatments if necessary. We need to learn about their habits and what to look for while scouting. Some of the important points about its habits are given below:

• Black cutworms can’t survive the winters in the Midwest. They fly south before the winter arrives.

• Every spring, moths come back with spring storms and lay eggs on grasses, weeds like mustards, chickweed or even winter wheat.

• It takes 40-50 days from egg-hatching to becoming adults. Their development depends on temperature and moisture. Warmer temperatures speed up their development.

• Corn and soybeans are not their favorite hosts. When weeds are destroyed, larvae start feeding on corn. Small larvae feed on leaves. If you see small, irregular holes in the leaves, start looking for cutworms.… Continue reading

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Black bear causes a stir downtown

A young black bear recently caused a stir when it took a stroll near downtown Youngstown on Mother’s Day.

Area residents were encouraged to stay indoors while Ohio Department of Natural Resources rangers worked to get the bear back into the woods. Wildlife officers estimated that the bear weighed between 115 and 145 pounds — likely a young male forced away by its mother.

Bear numbers are on the rise in Ohio.

“They are increasing slowly, and this is normal for black bear populations, especially recovering ones,” said Suzie Prange, Ohio Wildlife Research Biologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. “Most bears sighted in Ohio are likely young, dispersing males. They will settle in a territory in Ohio, but only if they find an area with a female. Because females tend to settle next to their mother’s territory, black bear range expands very slowly. Many of the young males we see each year in Ohio won’t find females and won’t stay.”… Continue reading

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U.S. pork now eligible for export to New Zealand

New Zealand announced that it will allow the importation from the United States of consumer-ready cuts of uncooked pork less than 3 kilograms. In response to pressure from the National Pork Producers Council, and in the context of trying to persuade the United States to commence negotiations on a free trade agreement, New Zealand undertook a risk assessment on pork, which found negligible risk of disease transmission from consumer-ready cuts of uncooked pork. The New Zealand Pork Industry Board (NZPork) had fought the move through the country’s court system. Most recently, in 2013 NZPork appealed to the Supreme Court, which found in favor of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and its Import Health Standard for pork products from countries with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), including the United States.

PRRS is not a food-safety issue, and there is negligible risk of PRRS transmission from the legal importation of pork from countries with the disease.… Continue reading

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Sheep producers and USDA officials share goals

Sheep producers from across the country met with officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week to hear the progress of sheep related programs within the department.

According to Jack Shere, DVM, associate deputy administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Veterinary Services, APHIS is committed to eradicating scrapie from the United States. The agency is also considering the proposition of a “negligible scrapie-risk” category to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The United States is still on track to eradicate scrapie by 2017, however, detecting the last cases of scrapie is always the most difficult and costly. Surveillance of goats, in particular, will need to be ramped up to accomplish this goal.

“The negligible risk category opened up many markets for the beef industry and our current thinking is that having such a category for scrapie could also be positive for the sheep industry,” Shere said.… Continue reading

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Big Ohio Sheep Sale show results

The Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton once again hosted the Big Ohio Sheep Sale on May 8-10, 2014. One of the top sheep sales events in the nation, the Big Ohio Sale showcased 11 breeds and auctioned off approximately 800 head. It was the National Sale for Southdown, Shropshire, Suffolk, and Natural Colored breeds and was the Eastern Regional Hampshire Sale.

Results for Grand and Reserve Champions are as follows:


Grand Champion Ewe: Birschbach Hampshires

Reserve Champion Ewe: The Hickmans

Grand Champion Ram: Jadewood Valley Farm

Reserve Champion Ram: The Hickmans


Grand Champion Ewe: Northern Starr Livestock

Reserve Champion Ewe: Pleasant Springs

Grand Champion Ram: Tom Willwerth

Reserve Champion Ram: Bill Leininger Southdowns


Grand Champion Ewe: Avery Shropshires

Reserve Champion Ewe: Avery Shropshires

Grand Champion Ram: City Limits Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ram: Avery Shropshires


Grand Champion Ewe: E.B. Suffolks

Reserve Champion Ewe: MacCauley Suffolks

Grand Champion Ram: Lyn Lee Farms

Reserve Champion Ram: MacCauley Suffolks

Natural Colored

Grand Champion Ewe: Wolf Brothers

Reserve Champion Ewe: Kuehne Coloreds

Grand Champion Ram: Wolf Brothers

Reserve Champion Ram: Pines End Natural Coloreds


Grand Champion Ewe: Winning Ways Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ewe: Apple Oxfords

Grand Champion Ram: Winning Ways Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ram: Daniels Oxfords


Grand Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Lobdell Oxfords and Dorpers

Grand Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms

White Dorper

Grand Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Grand Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms


Grand Champion Ewe: Spilde Cheviots

Reserve Champion Ewe: Rincker Land and Livestock

Grand Champion Ram: Katherine Kuykendall

Reserve Champion Ram: Spilde Cheviots


Grand Champion Ewe: S Bar S Ranch

Reserve Champion Ewe: Bruce Hoffman and Family

Grand Champion Ram: Bruce Hoffman and Family

Reserve Champion Ram: S Bar S Ranch


Grand Champion Ewe: My Montadales

Reserve Champion Ewe: Gann Farms

Grand Champion Ram: My Montadales

Reserve Champion Ram: Gann Farms


Hampshire Wether Dam Champion: Maddox Farms

Hampshire Wether Dam Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Hampshire Wether Sire Champion: Fleener Hampshires

Hampshire Wether Sire Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Suffolk Wether Dam Champion: Darrell & Pam Howard

Suffolk Wether Dam Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Suffolk Wether Sire Champion: Friesen Show Lambs

Suffolk Wether Sire Reserve: Wampler Suffolks

Dorset Wether Dam Champion: Myers Polled Dorsets

Dorset Wether Dam Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Dorset Wether Sire Champion: Myers Polled Dorsets

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Dam Champion: Lyn Lee Farms

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Dam Reserve: Jadewood Valley Farm

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Sire Champion: Derek Westlake

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Sire Reserve: Perry Club Lambs

big ohio sheep sale


 … Continue reading

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FSA announces SURE sign-up

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that sign-up has begun for 2012 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. The program, established by the 2008 Farm Bill, provides for one final period of eligibility for producers suffering crop losses caused by natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011, for crops intended for 2012 harvest.

“Most producers who suffered losses before Sept. 30, 2011, have already been compensated if they applied for SURE benefits for the 2011 crop year,” said FSA Administrator Juan M. Garcia.  “This sign-up period is only for those producers who suffered crop losses for 2012 crops before Sept. 30, 2011.”

To be eligible for SURE, a farm or ranch must have at least a 10% production loss on a crop of economic significance resulting from a disaster occurring on or before Sept. 30, 2011.  A crop of economic significance contributes at least five percent of the expected revenue for a producer’s farm. … Continue reading

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Push for broad land grant coalition to develop farm bill implementation tools

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack , the American Soybean Association (ASA) and six other national farm groups urged USDA to consider the needs of soybean growers and growers of all crops when awarding funds included in the 2014 Farm Bill to land grant universities for the development of websites and web-based tools to assist producers in deciding which of the new law’s farm programs to sign up for.

“Given the complexity of choices in the commodity and crop insurance titles of the farm bill, these tools will be critical for producers in our organizations to make well-informed decisions,” wrote the groups in the letter. “It is important that academic institutions representing different regional views on farm programs participate in this work. As a result, we urge you to select a lead institution possessing substantial experience with revenue-based risk management tools and representing a broad-based, national consortium of land-grant universities.… Continue reading

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Free public tour series features Ohio’s organic and niche farms

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has announced the farm tours and workshops that will be included in the 2014 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, featuring free public tours of some of Ohio’s finest sustainable and organic farms.

OEFFA has offered these tours for more than 30 years, providing unique opportunities for growers, educators, and conscientious eaters to learn about sustainable food and farm products in a real world setting from farmers with years of practical experience.

“Consumer demand for fresh, locally produced food and farm products continues to grow, along with the desire to understand how food gets from the field to the dinner table. Farmers know all the dirt and this summer, they’re sharing that knowledge about how sustainably produced food is grown,” said Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA’s Communications Coordinator. “The tours are also designed to help farmers and gardeners learn from each other so they can improve their production and marketing techniques and grow their operations.”… Continue reading

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