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Season begins with low temperatures and dry

The 2021 growing season began with cooler and drier than the start of last year’s growing season, leading to more opportunities for fieldwork, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 87% adequate to surplus. Temperatures for the week ending April 4 averaged 4.7 degrees below historical normals and the state received 0.37 inches of precipitation. There were 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 4.

To start the season, producers readied equipment for planting, hauled manure, and performed tillage. Topsoil conditions were drier this year in comparison to last year. Oats were 9% planted compared to 8% last year. Winter wheat jointing was 3% while the winter wheat crop was rated 77% good to excellent condition.

This is the first weekly crop and weather report for the 2021 season. A series of weekly crop progress reports will be published each Monday at 4:00 p.m.… Continue reading

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The time is now to purchase the right nozzles for your spraying needs

By Erdal Ozkan

This is the time of the year you must complete shopping for nozzles because the spraying season is just around the corner. Each part of the application equipment plays a critical role in achieving maximum performance from the sprayer. Therefore, each component must be selected carefully and must perform successfully the tasks associated with it. Although nozzles are some of the least expensive components of a sprayer, they hold a high value in their ability to influence sprayer performance. They help determine the gallon per acre intended application rate. They also influence the droplet size, which plays a significant role in achieving improved penetration into crop canopy and better coverage on the target pest — both affect the efficacy we expect from pesticides applied. 

The wrong choice of nozzle may hurt in several ways, but here are the three most obvious.

We may end up with streaks of untreated areas causing non-uniform pest control; or simply complete failure or ineffective pest control which require repeat applications; and finally, we may end up losing a significant part of the pesticides applied in the form of spray drift.… Continue reading

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Early planting?

By Alexandra Knight, Ph.D., Pioneer field agronomist

As the sun is shining and the air becomes warmer across Ohio, growers continue to question if it’s time to get the planter in the field. The next question becomes, “Does it make more sense to plant corn or soybeans early?” While historically corn has been planted before soybeans, many growers have experienced that their earliest planted soybean acres also tend to be their highest yielding fields. Modern-day soybean varieties have a greater yield response to planting date than varieties grown several decades ago. Looking at corn, there is long-term data suggesting that mid-April to mid-May is ideal for planting. However, the recent past has shown that later planted corn can continue to yield well as our season seems to be shifting later. Regardless, planting either crop early comes with both risk and reward.

Alexandra Knight

When soybeans are planted early, they spend more time in vegetative growth giving the plants more time to add nodes.… Continue reading

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2021 Agronomy Week includes FFA scholarship support

Agronomy Week returns this season April 5-9, saluting agronomic professionals who play a key role in supporting farmer success. But this year’s weeklong celebration, hosted for the fifth consecutive year by the DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brands, will feature a new FFA scholarship program, culminating in an exciting live television event. 

 “The science of agronomy and the agronomists who bring that science to life are vital to our industry,” said Pete Uitenbroek, brand lead. “So, during Agronomy Week 2021, our brands will be sharing world-class agronomic advice and education, as well as recognizing those commendable professionals who have contributed so much to the advancement of this field.” 

Uitenbroek said new to Agronomy Week this year is the Agronothon, which will air from 9 to 11 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 8, on RFD-TV to raise FFA scholarship funds for agronomy students. Featuring entertainment and educational programming, the Agronothon will grant viewers the opportunity to call in and have their agronomy questions answered by the brands’ technical agronomists live on the air. … Continue reading

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OSIA LEAD Council sponsorship opportunities

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association LEAD Council would first like to express our appreciation for the journey that has occurred over the past 12 months. While it was an extremely difficult season for our organization, we are humbled and deeply proud of everyone who rallied and brought the LEAD programing to fruition in 2020. Despite disappointments, challenges and ever-changing hurdles along the way our organization was able to deliver an entire show season and a complete points program and that was once in danger of cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 reminded us to take nothing for granted and nothing is guaranteed. Without the support of the LEAD program partners, show managers, breeders and friends who stood strong and remained committed partners, this would not have been possible. We look back on the past year with extreme gratitude and thankfulness for the supporters of the LEAD Council.

As we look toward the 2021 show season, we are eager to begin a new and fresh start.… Continue reading

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United Producers, Inc. announces hiring of new senior regional credit officer

United Producers, Inc. (UPI), the Midwest’s largest livestock marketing cooperative, is pleased to announce that Brian Fracker will be joining the cooperative’s credit services division as senior regional credit officer.

Fracker will serve the financing needs of farmers and farming operations throughout Ohio, offering a full range of loan products and services to help them grow and succeed.

“We are pleased to welcome Brian to our team,” said Bob Siegel, Vice President of Credit. “His extensive experience in agriculture financing will be a tremendous asset to our current members, while also allowing us to introduce UPI to non-members who would benefit from our cooperative’s services.”

Fracker’s experience spans 30 years in banking and finance in Ohio, assisting clients in reaching their financial goals by helping them acquire real estate, equipment, and lines of credit for their operations. Fracker has loaned more than $300 million dollars in his lifetime and brings a wealth of knowledge and credentials to the UPI team.… Continue reading

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Boat engine cut-off switches now required

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

Here’s some breaking news: Anglers and other boaters operating watercraft less than 26 feet in length are required to use an engine cut-off switch as of April 1, when the U.S. Coast Guard implemented a law passed by Congress. There are a few exceptions, and I encourage you to click on the FAQ link at the end of this announcement.  

The engine cutoff switch (ECOS) and engine cut-off switch link (ECOSL) prevent runaway vessels and the threats they pose. The ECOSL attaches the vessel operator to a switch that shuts off the engine if the operator is displaced from the helm. The ECOSL is usually a lanyard-style cord that attaches to an ECOS either in close proximity to the helm or on the outboard motor itself if the vessel is operated by a tiller. When enough tension is applied, the ECOSL disengages from the ECOS and the motor is automatically shut down. … Continue reading

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Healthy plants create healthy soils

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Spring is a time for new growth by plants, animals, and microbes.  As temperatures warm, microbial populations double with every 10 degrees Fahrenheit increase in soil temperature.  As days get longer, the sun’s energy is captured by plants and that energy feeds microbes and almost all living organisms on earth.  Keeping ourselves well fed depends not only on the sun’s energy but also having healthy microbes, healthy plants, and healthy soils recycling soil nutrients.

When plants are healthy, they transmit more energy into the soil in the form of root exudates and sugars to feed the microbes.  Unhealthy plants do the opposite which means soils become unhealthy. In a typical unhealthy soil, plants are operating at about 15% to 20% of optimum photosynthesis efficiency so they are putting less energy in the form of sugars into the soil, the microbial population is lower and less diverse, which results in inefficient mineral uptake. 

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Turning a national focus to grain safety

By Lisa Pfeifer, Ohio State University Extension

Every year hundreds of employees are injured or die from preventable hazards while working in grain storage and handling. Stand Up 4 Grain Safety is an awareness campaign running this week to promote the safety of workers from hazards found in areas of grain handling facilities and on-site storage including grain bins and their surrounding area. The National Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week is sponsored by an alliance of agricultural industry groups, to provide a collective industry focus and commitment to safety. Everyone deserves to go home from work each day, to that end the industry alliance and safety professionals together recognize a stand for safety March 29 – April 2, 2021. Five learning sessions are offered throughout the week to highlight different aspects of grain handling, from the impact of grain quality on safety to planning and reporting. In addition to the daily live learning sessions, https://standup4grainsafety.orgContinue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau welcomes new leadership

Bill Patterson of Chesterland has been elected the 25th president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and now holds the highest elected office in Ohio’s largest and most influential farm and food organization.

Patterson was elected by OFBF’s board of trustees upon the resignation of Frank Burkett of Massillon, who left the OFBF board to stand for election to the Nationwide board of directors. He was elected to the Nationwide board of directors April 1. 

Burkett served as the organization’s president for five years where strengthening partnerships with key groups such as Nationwide was a part of his work. Ohio Farm Bureau founded the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in 1926, which later became Nationwide. Today, Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau maintain a close relationship and share a focus of providing valued services for farmers and agriculture. Nationwide is the No. 1 insurer of farms in the nation and supports agriculture nationally.… Continue reading

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USDA invests $3.6 million to improve rural community facilities and essential equipment in Ohio

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ohio Rural Development Acting State Director Beth Huhn announced that USDA is investing $266 million to build and improve critical community facilities to benefit nearly 3 million rural residents in 16 states and Puerto Rico. This funding includes $156 million to support health-care-related improvements and emergency response services that will benefit nearly 1 million rural residents in nine states and Puerto Rico.

“The Biden-Harris administration has made restoring the economy a top-priority and USDA is playing a critical role,” Huhn said. “Rural America needs safe, modern community infrastructure to help residents and businesses achieve greater prosperity. These investments are important upgrades for these communities to enhance their quality of life to build back better and stronger.”

USDA is investing in 41 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. The assistance will fund a variety of essential community services, including emergency response vehicles and equipment.… Continue reading

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Morocco bound: Ohio cattle in Africa

By Matt Reese

On Feb. 10, 80 heifers with the quality dairy genetics of Andreas Farms in Tuscarawas County boarded a ship named the Holstein Express — yep, really, Holstein Express is painted right on the side of the ship — bound for Africa. The Andreas heifers were part of a larger group of 1,750 cattle headed to Morocco.  

After recently expanding and updating their operation, the challenges of 2020 encouraged the Andreas family to get out of the dairy industry and transition to other agricultural endeavors on the farm. The farm’s 1,200 cows were sold in September of 2020.

“We are phasing out and still breeding and raising heifers we have left,” said Matt Andreas, who managed the dairy with his father, Dan. “We felt it was either time to expand again or maybe change directions. We’re lucky from that standpoint that there are a lot of different options for us moving forward.”… Continue reading

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Get a good start to a great growing season

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

 Spring is one of the most important parts of the growing season. Actions taken early in the year set the stage for the entire growing season and help to ensure crops maintain their yield potential. Getting crops off to a strong start will give growers the opportunity to have a productive and successful growing season.

With the great deal of field work that needs to be done in the spring in limited time, it is always important to keep field conditions in mind. In many areas, Ohio’s growers are facing lingering compaction from past fieldwork in wet soil. While spring is not the preferred time to attempt to alleviate compaction, growers must avoid performing field work in wet soils and creating additional compaction this year. One area of concern is the desire to plant early in the growing season. While it is widely discussed and understood that early planting is one management practice that leads to increased yields, planting date is just one of many factors that impact yield.… Continue reading

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Biosecurity considerations when transitioning newly purchased cattle

By  Steve Boyles, Ohio State University Extension beef specialist

The objective is to avoid new diseases introduced through replacement stock and airborne diseases. Typically, new animals are quarantined for at least 30 days and more typically for 60 days before being introduced into the herd. If on-site, the isolation area should be of some distance and downwind from other animals. Practicing all-in, all-out procedures will make it easier to clean and reduce opportunities by personnel to introduce contaminants to the main herd. Minimize cross-contamination of feeding/watering equipment.  Here are some suggested procedures:

  • Have a set vaccination program as part of the acclimation of new animals.
  • Have a written strategic vaccination plan.
  • Know when and how to use the vaccines listed in the vaccination plan.
  • Discuss the vaccination history of all cattle purchased before cattle arrive.
  • All incoming animals are unloaded and visually inspected during daylight hours, when possible. Isolation is maintained until inspection is completed.
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Ventilation system maintenance is critical to keeping cows comfortable


By Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Crawford County, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension

Spring is one of the most challenging seasons on the farm to keep barns properly ventilated. We often see temperatures in the teens and less than a week later see highs in the 70s. Our ventilation system recently roared to life as temperatures in the barn crossed 65 degrees F, reminding me that we still had not gotten around to winter fan maintenance as belts squealed and louvers hung half shut.

Fan maintenance is critical to keeping your cows cool and saving energy. Ventilation systems often consume between 20% to 25% of the total energy used on the farm. Lack of cleaning can reduce fan efficiency by as much as 40% — meaning that your electric bill stays the same, but there is less air is moving through the barn. Monthly maintenance through the summer is critical to keep fans clean.… Continue reading

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Talk of taxes on the radar for U.S. agriculture

As talk about taxes picks up in Washington, D.C., agriculture is watching. 

Since his time on the campaign trail, President Joe Biden has been talking about potential tax changes and now discussions are ramping up, as are concerns from the nation’s farm community.

There have been recent proposals by several lawmakers to tax unrealized capital gains at death and roll back the stepped-up basis on those capital gains. 

“Taxing capital gains when a loved one passes away would have a devastating impact on farm and ranch families, even more so if the stepped-up basis tool is taken out of the toolbox. Stepped-up basis encourages families to grow their businesses and pass them on to another generation, and elimination could force those families to sell their farms just to pay the taxes,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “The value of many farms is tied up in land and equipment. Cash flow on most farms is much too small to pay large capital gains taxes.… Continue reading

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How is the acreage battle shaping up in March 31 planting intentions?

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn locked up the 25 cent limit.

The report was bullish for both corn and soybeans. 

U.S. acres numbers for today: corn 91.44 million acres, soybean 87.6 million acres, and all wheat  46.35 million acres. U.S. grain stocks are: corn 7.701 billion bushels, soybean stocks 1.564 billion bushels, and wheat stocks 1.314 billion bushels. 

Watch the acres total for corn and soybeans. Early estimates had that total at 182-183 million acres. A number above that total will be difficult to actually achieve. Last year it was 173.9 million acres.

The corn and soybean price declines of the past two weeks has the potential to see this report set the stage differently compared to past March 31 reports. Some suggest neutral reports could yield price gains today. That is not normal.   

Just after the noon report release, corn was up 25 cents, soybeans up 60 cents, and wheat up 13  cents.… Continue reading

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Planting green: The effects on weed control and soybean yield

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

Weed control is one of the major challenges that soybean farmers face every year. Crop yields can be reduced by as much as 80% when weeds are left uncontrolled. In the Midwest, weed pressure can account for up to 39% yield loss in soybeans. On average, weed pressure impacts soybean yield more than pressure from insects, animals, and diseases combined.

Alyssa Essman is a Weed Science Research Associate at The Ohio State University, and has conducted research looking at the interaction between cover crops and weed control. She studied the impact of “planting green,” or terminating cover crops after planting soybeans, and the effect on weed control and soybean yield.

Alyssa Essman , The Ohio State University, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. Photo Credit The Ohio State University

When evaluating weed control programs in Ohio, producers often think about the “Big 5” weeds that are most troublesome.

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We need to do better with nitrogen

By Harold Watters and Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Making better nitrogen rate decisions can help the pocketbook and the environment. Nitrogen is one our highest cost variable inputs to produce an acre of corn with around 15% of the variable cost. Nitrogen also gets a lot of attention in water quality discussions. If we apply more nitrogen than the corn needs in a year, it is likely headed out the tile and downstream.

Long-term nitrogen rate trials conducted at OSU’s Western Agricultural Research Station and Northwest Agricultural Research Station show how variable the right N rate for corn is from year to year. Soil types at two locations are different with Western being a silt loam soil and Northwest a lake-bed clay. Figure 1 has a trend line drawn by location with all treatments shown by individual symbol at each rate. Note that the highest yield varies tremendously from year to year, varying by nearly 150 bushels per acre.… Continue reading

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Spring pesticide safety reminders

By Mary Ann Rose, Ohio State University Extension

You probably worked on your sprayer and other major equipment over the winter to gear up for pesticide applications. Have you put any effort into preparing for applicator safety? Here are some questions to ask yourself in preparation for the season: 

  • Do I have the required personal protective equipment on hand? Review your pesticide labels, and make sure you do. One of the new dicamba formulations used on DT soybeans requires a respirator — did you know that? Be sure you have whatever the label requires.
  • Are you sure you have the right kind of PPE? Let your pesticide label be your guide. Leather or cotton gloves do not protect you from pesticides — they absorb chemical and hold it close to your skin. One exception: certain fumigants do call for the use of cotton gloves. Otherwise these are not appropriate to use with pesticides.
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