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Grazing management reminders

By Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Athens County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Plenty of moisture and favorable temperatures is a combination for rapid grass growth. May is generally the month when graziers struggle to manage the spring flush and stay ahead of the growth and seed head development. Here are some management reminders and thoughts related to this early season period.

* Manage beginning and ending grass height. In beginning level grazing schools we say to start grazing when plants are around 8 inches in height. Follow the take half, leave half principle and remove livestock from a pasture paddock when grass height is about 4 inches.

* When grass is growing fast, rotate fast. Under the good growing conditions experienced in the spring of the year, a healthy grass plant will begin to re-grow within a couple of days of being grazed or cut off. This new growth should not be grazed again until the plant has recovered back to the target beginning grazing height.Continue reading

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The shorter the better

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The title of this article could apply to many things in our everyday life if you think about it. Nobody likes a long wait at our favorite restaurant, a long visit at the doctor’s office, long lines while attending an amusement park, or the long number of days waiting on a potential tax-refund from the IRS. You get the idea. Something else that should fall in the “shorter the better” category for beef producers is the breeding season. Regardless of the size and scope of your operation or your preferred time of year to calve, there is little economic justification for a lengthy calving season. This topic has been addressed through countless articles in popular press and Extension meetings. The arrival of breeding season for many herds seems like an appropriate time to revisit this issue.

Regardless of whether you use a natural service sire or artificial insemination in your breeding program, there is little justification for a lengthy breeding season.… Continue reading

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Ohio third graders win field trip to Ohio livestock farm for entire class

The Ohio Livestock Coalition announced the winners of a statewide essay contest for third graders in response to the question, “How do Ohio farmers make sure we have good, safe food to eat?”

Mary Gray from Big Walnut Elementary in Sunbury and Alice Yang and Kerim Pintol from Granby Elementary in Columbus won the contest. They were selected from more than 20 essays submitted in the contest’s second year.

In addition, the following third graders received honorable mention awards:

* Alexa Cooper, Scioto Elementary (Pickaway County)

* Joel Krebehenne, North Union Elementary (Union County)

* Cara Sheets, East Elementary (Athens County)

The winners’ entire third-grade classes will be taking a free, all-expenses-paid field trip to an Ohio livestock farm, courtesy of the Ohio Livestock Coalition. Price Farms Organics, Ltd., a hog farm in Delaware, Ohio, will host the two third-grade classes.

The essay contest is part of the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s ongoing For Your InFARMation program.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance: What are the preventative plant rules?

By Chris Bruynis, Assistant Professor & Extension Educator; Greg Schiefer, Scheifer Farm and Family Insurance; and Marlene McCreary, Farmers Mutual Insurance

With the weather forecasters calling for more wet weather, farmers are starting to think about the preventative planting provisions in their crop insurance policies. Although most crop insurance policies have some preventative plant provision, neither GRP nor GRIP policies have preventative plant coverage, so check with your agent. One good thing is that farmers have choices and do not have to rush into any decisions but need to be aware of their options before getting to busy in the field. The target date for corn to be planted is June 5 and farmers can either take preventative planting, switch to another crop, or still plant corn with a reduction in coverage.

Claiming preventative planting probably will not be the first choice in 2011 because many farmers have already locked in favorable contract prices for their corn and will need to plant some corn to fulfill those obligations.… Continue reading

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OEFFA announces tour series featuring Ohio’s organic and sustainable farms

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has announced its 2011 series of free public tours of some of Ohio’s finest sustainable and organic farms. OEFFA has offered this series for the past 29 years, providing unique opportunities for Ohioans to see, taste, feel, and learn what sustainable food and fiber production is all about from the real experts—the farmers themselves.

Consumers interested in local foods, farmers and market gardeners wanting to learn more and network with other farmers, aspiring and beginning farmers, and anyone interested in learning more about the production and marketing techniques of sustainable farmers in Ohio, are encouraged to attend. 

“The food production system is a mystery for many consumers. This series of free tours shows that some farmers are eager to open their doors to share their experiences with other farmers and with the general public,” said Michelle Gregg-Skinner, Organic Education Program Coordinator at OEFFA.… Continue reading

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Growers make remarkable planting progress in key corn states

In the past week, corn growers nationwide hit their fields in earnest and planted more than a quarter of their 2011 crop, finally enjoying a break from cold, wet weather. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, as of May 8, 40% of the 2011 corn crop has been planted, compared to 13% May 1.

“It’s great to see our farmers get the chance to get out and plant,” said NCGA First Vice President Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Auburn, Ill., who reports that he is virtually finished with his corn planting. “We have several key corn states where our growers were able to take advantage of good weather to start catching up. It’s amazing to see how much they were able to accomplish in one week, something that would have been unheard of not too many years ago.”

The prime example, Niemeyer said, was Iowa, where 61% of the corn crop was planted last week, followed by Nebraska, where 42% of the crop was put in the ground.

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Weekly Crop Progress Report-May 9th


The average temperature for the State was 52.2 degrees, 3.7 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, May 8, 2011. Precipitation averaged 1.80 inches, 0.92 inches above normal. There were 43 modified growing degree days, 23 days below normal.

Reporters rated 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, May 6, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 9 percent adequate, and 91 percent surplus.


Temperatures were below normal throughout the state, but the state received above normal rainfall for the week. Field activities were very limited because of wet field conditions. Planting has stopped until fields dry up.

As of Sunday May 8, corn was 2 percent planted, which was 72 percent behind last year and 52 percent behind the five-year average. Corn emerged was 1 percent, compared to 35 percent last year and 17 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Ohio is sending its water downstream and causing flooding reports that, despite the recent trend toward less rainfall, there is no way to reverse the wave of flooding moving southward from Ohio through the lower Mississippi Valley.

As far as looking for a magic bullet to stop the surge of water flowing slowly downstream in the lower Mississippi Valley, there is none. The damage from two feet of rain in recent weeks in the region where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers come together has already been done.

A break of dry weather was not enough to stop rising waters along the lower Mississippi River and many of its tributaries. The practice of opening floodways took some of the pressure off the levees and will lower the height of the rivers in some cases, but it did not completely stop the slow-moving natural disaster from affecting areas downstream.

Levees or higher ground will allow some communities to be spared the worst of the flooding.… Continue reading

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New Holland Super Boom Road Show at Franklin Equipment in Columbus 

Franklin Equipment is hosting the New Holland Super Boom Road Show Competition at its Columbus branch on May 13. This event is one of several held at New Holland dealerships throughout the U.S. during the year at which heavy equipment operators compete for a chance to win a 2011 New Holland skid steer loader at the North American New Holland Super Boom Road Show Championship Event later this fall. The winner from each local show will be awarded a trip for two to the national event, to be held at the 2011 Green Industry and Equipment Expo in Louisville,

KY in October 2011. Each local winner will also receive $500 cash and a commemorative New Holland Road Show belt buckle. The new 200 Series skid steers and compact track loaders will be on display, and show specials will be available, along with equipment demonstrations.

“The competition is a terrific opportunity for operators in the area to show off their skills, represent us in the national show, and win some cash,” says Tony Repeta, general manager and managing partner of Franklin Equipment.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture accepting specialty crop grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting proposals for the 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which will provide funding for projects to enhance the competitiveness of crops such as fruits, vegetables , nuts, and nursery crops.

The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service will make approximately $600,000 of grant funding available to Ohio.  The deadline for online grant proposal submissions is May 27, 2011 by 4 p.m.  Grants will range from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $100,000. In addition, all applicants must provide a minimum match of 25 percent of the requested grant amount.

Project proposals are sought that will advance the long-term economic viability of the state’s specialty crop industry while increasing the marketability of specialty crops. Higher rankings will be given to projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry.

Food and agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions are eligible to submit specialty crop proposals.… Continue reading

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NCGA supports the Domestic Energy Promotion Act of 2011

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today praised the legislation offered by a bipartisan group of senators, led by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, to responsibly transition and transform current ethanol tax policy.  This legislation would reduce the current blender’s credit, also known as VEETC, for a two-year period before transitioning to a tax credit that would adjust based on the price of oil.  Importantly, this legislation would also improve upon current tax credits for the installation of blender pumps and ethanol fueling infrastructure.  Additionally, the bill would extend tax credits for small ethanol producers as well as for advanced and cellulosic ethanol.

The groups issued the following statement:

“The leadership of Senator Grassley and this distinguished bipartisan group of cosponsors has been and remains instrumental in allowing America’s ethanol industry to grow and evolve.   At a time of near-record gas prices and continued volatility in world oil markets, America’s growing production and reliance of domestic ethanol sources is creating jobs, keeping gasoline prices down, and reducing this nation’s appetite for imported oil. … Continue reading

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Wet fields leave some tough tillage decisions

As the wet spring continues to delay planting, grain farmers are faced with tough decisions about their intended tillage operations.

Once the ground is dry enough for farmers to work in the fields, some tillage operations may need to be sacrificed, said Purdue Extension agronomist Tony Vyn.

“The major question this season is, ‘How should my intended tillage program change in response to the current realities of saturated soils within fields, the weather forecast and the calendar?'” he said. “Overall, the most essential aspects of tillage management for corn planting in Indiana and surrounding states over the next few weeks will be to exercise caution, control weeds and enhance seedbed quality where possible.”

Important to choice of tillage systems is limiting soil damage and root-restricting soil layers during tillage or corn planting.

“It is essential to leave the soil condition with the maximum opportunity for unimpeded corn root development,” Vyn said.… Continue reading

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Growmark acquires Select Seed

Regional cooperative GROWMARK, Inc. today announced it finalized the acquisition of the assets of Select Seed, Camden, Ind. The transaction closed May 2, 2011; terms were not disclosed.

Select Seed will continue to operate as an independent brand within the GROWMARK family and Kevin Eggerling will continue to manage the company’s operations from their current headquarters in Camden, Indiana.

“Becoming part of the GROWMARK family of brands will enable Select Seed to continue to offer growers high-performing seed corn along with access to an even broader range of agricultural products and services to improve farm profitability – all with the level of quality and service growers expect from Select Seed,” said Kevin Eggerling.

GROWMARK Seed Division Manager, Ron Milby, agreed. “Select Seed and GROWMARK share a similar history of focusing on providing progressive growers exceptional products to increase their productivity and profitability.” He added the acquisition “supports GROWMARK’s strategies to grow in and from its core businesses, as well as to expand our marketing territory.”… Continue reading

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OPA announces award winners

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) recently announced its 2011 award recipients, named each year at the organization’s annual banquet in Columbus. These awards honor businesses, farms and individuals who have made significant contributions to Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey sectors.

“I am honored to work with so many talented individuals, farms and businesses who continually seek to go and beyond what is expected of them,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “This year’s award winners are no exception.”

Awards and recipients at the 26th Annual Banquet included:

Environmental Stewardship Award: Paul Dahlinghaus

The OPA’s Environmental Stewardship Award is given each year in recognition of a farmer’s commitment to his or her neighbors and to the environment as a whole. This year’s recipient is Paul Dahlinghaus of New Bremen, Ohio. The farm has taken a number of actions to make their operation more environmentally friendly. Some of these projects include installing waterways and filter strips to keep fertilizers out of stream waters, and monitoring streams and wells on a regular basis.… Continue reading

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Beck’s Hybrids expands facilities

Due to continued 20% growth per year for the past 20 years, Beck’s Hybrids is expanding operations by adding a Research Building at the Atlanta, Ind., headquarters. The new research facility will allow for future growth in testing the latest innovative seed technologies and germplasm from suppliers worldwide.

“Our continued growth and expansion is driven by the increasing demands of our customers, who want more high-performing products suited for their acres,” said Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids. “The new research building will provide the capacity to bring an increasing number of new, innovative seed products to our customers.”

The 100’ x 305’ Research Building is part of phase one of the $24.5 million expansion project. The facility will feature 13 offices, as well as the following areas devoted to research: a seed laboratory, climate controlled seed storage, automated processing equipment, and flat storage for equipment and experimental seed. A 400 person capacity meeting room will also be included in the facility.… Continue reading

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NCBA supports legislation to end ethanol subsidy, import tariff

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald said the Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would end 30 years and more than $30 billion of taxpayer support for the corn-based ethanol industry and would finally level the playing field for all commodities relying on corn as a major input. The legislation would repeal both the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the tariff on imported ethanol by no later than June 30, 2011.

“NCBA supports the development of renewable and alternative fuels and we know ethanol plays a role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. However, we don’t support forcing taxpayers to prop up an industry that should be able to stand on its own two feet,” said Donald who is also a cattleman from Melville, Mont. “Senators Coburn and Feinstein should be commended for their leadership on this issue and for introducing this commonsense legislation that will not only level the playing field for a bushel of corn but will also save taxpayers more than $6 billion annually.”… Continue reading

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Maintain a strong burndown program even with a late start

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Team Sales Agronomist, Beck’s Hybrids

So far this spring it has been quite the challenge to get in the field to get any work done. Very little herbicide has been applied to no-till or minimum till fields. Some of these fields are getting lush with winter annual weed growth. However, winter annuals are not the only weeds that are beginning to emerge. I have seen giant ragweed, lambsquarter, marestail (which is a winter annual but also continues to emerge in the spring and summer) and morninglory, rearing their ugly heads as well. By the time most of our fields in eastern Indiana and Ohio are dry enough to get back on them with spray equipment, weed density and height could be more than what we have seen the past several years. I am concerned about the temptation that may exist to take 2,4-D out of the recipe because of its planting restriction or ignoring the planting restriction all together.… Continue reading

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America’s Farmers Mom of The Year

Once again, Monsanto is recognizing America’s Farm Moms with the 2011 Farm Mom of the Year program.

Do you know a farm mom who amazes you every day with her contributions to her family, farm, community and agriculture? Nominate her for the chance to win $7,500.

Anyone can nominate an outstanding farm mom. She can be your mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend or neighbor. She can even be you!

How to Enter: Tell in 300 words or fewer how the farm mom you are nominating contributes to her family, farm, community and agriculture. Ready to nominate your mom? Tell us her story.

Timing: Nominations end May 8, 2011. Five regional winners will be announced in mid-May. An online vote here on will determine the national winner, which will be announced on May 27, 2011.

Prizes: American Agri-Women will select the five regional winners. Each winner will receive a $5,000 prize.

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America's Farmers Mom of The Year

Once again, Monsanto is recognizing America’s Farm Moms with the 2011 Farm Mom of the Year program.

Do you know a farm mom who amazes you every day with her contributions to her family, farm, community and agriculture? Nominate her for the chance to win $7,500.

Anyone can nominate an outstanding farm mom. She can be your mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend or neighbor. She can even be you!

How to Enter: Tell in 300 words or fewer how the farm mom you are nominating contributes to her family, farm, community and agriculture. Ready to nominate your mom? Tell us her story.

Timing: Nominations end May 8, 2011. Five regional winners will be announced in mid-May. An online vote here on will determine the national winner, which will be announced on May 27, 2011.

Prizes: American Agri-Women will select the five regional winners. Each winner will receive a $5,000 prize.

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May planting: What do I do now?

By Brian Essinger, DeKalb and Asgrow territory manager in northwest Ohio

It is natural for anxiety to increase a little each day as the rain drops hit our windows and windshields and yet the key to successful farming is to remain patient and stick to your plan. I have gotten some questions wrapped around what do to do while we wait. First and most importantly stay positive. There is still plenty of time and opportunity in this growing season as we begin May. Again, the key is to remain patient and stick to your plan. We will get a good opportunity to plant this crop. We will be ready when that time comes, and we need to enjoy doing it!

Best practices suggest not switching any maturities until Memorial Day (May 30).

1. Yield and drydown are greater functions of summer weather than planting timing. The key is getting the seed planted in as good shape as conditions will allow.… Continue reading

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