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White mold resources

A new online resource called is now available for soybean growers seeking timely information and disease prevention strategies to stay one step ahead of white mold this year.

Developed by MANA Crop Protection, growers can utilize this exclusive online resource and enroll for Soybean White Mold Weekly Updates by accessing URL address, or by simply typing into their Internet browser.

Dave Feist, Project Development Leader for MANA Crop Protection, said the new online resource was created to deliver highly relevant information to soybean growers seeking disease management insight behind the complexities of white mold.

“Growers who have soybean in high alert areas for white mold are encouraged to utilize the information to gain an understanding of the disease’s profile and proliferation trends, ways to minimize spreading between fields, evaluate its economic impact on yields, and learn preventative approaches to minimize risk,” he said. “Also, growers can opt to receive a weekly email update which will give additional insights during the season, along with regional planting progress and outbreak reports.”… Continue reading

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Federal grants aim to bring local food to school tables

The United States Department of Agriculture announced new funding that aims to provide fresh, healthy food for children in schools across America, and to bolster and sustain local farmers and ranchers.

The agency said that $3.5 million in new funding will be available to help local school districts organize and implement new Farm to School programs. Those critical initiatives seek to educate children about where their food comes from and improve the quality of school meals. At the same time, they also improve local and regional food systems and create new markets for local food producers.

“The local and regional food sector of agriculture is growing rapidly, as are Farm to School initiatives,” said Helen Dombalis, a Policy Associate for National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “While there is now at least one Farm to School program operating in each state, there is lots of work to be done to deepen and extend these programs, especially in more disadvantaged communities.… Continue reading

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Ag groups speak out about estate tax

A group comprised from the commodity, dairy, livestock and specialty crop industries in urging the House and Senate to enact legislation before the end of the year to provide permanent and meaningful estate tax relief. The group supports permanently keeping the current exemption at $5 million per person and retaining the top rate of 35%.

The American Soybean Association (ASA), that is a part of the group, believes it is also imperative that the permanent estate tax law index the exemption to inflation, provide for spousal transfers, and include the stepped-up basis.

If Congress does not take action on ASA’s recommendations before the end of the year, the exemption will drop to $1 million and the top tax rate above the exclusion amount will increase to 55%.

“If estate taxes are allowed to be reinstated at the beginning of 2013 with only a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55%, the negative impact on our industry will be significant,” stated the groups.… Continue reading

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Soybean population considerations

By Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology for 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

There are several factors that affect soybean populations. Soybean plants have a great flexibility to adjust to plant populations. Unlike corn plants, soybeans have a tremendous ability to adjust to variations in population density. Soybean plants adjust by producing more branches per plant, and by increasing or decreasing the number of pods on both the main stem and branches.

Depending on the variety, each plant uses about 6 to 10 inches of space in all directions. There is little change in size of the beans and in number of beans per pod. If the population is too thick, plants will grow taller, pods are placed higher and there will be fewer pods on individual plants with fewer branches. Taller varieties will yield less if there are too many plants.

For double cropping, seeding rate should be increased following wheat because establishing stand may be more difficult.… Continue reading

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Corn seeding depth more important in dry conditions


Corn seeding depth can play an important role in plant germination and could become even more vital if soils remain dry in the coming weeks, says a Purdue Extension agronomist.


Soil moisture levels and uniformity at planting depth can determine how rapidly and uniformly seeds germinate and eventually emerge. Even so, farmers often are content to leave planters set to the same seeding depth as the previous year — something Bob Nielsen said they might want to reconsider.


“Many agronomists agree that a seeding depth of 1.5 to 2 inches is a fairly all-purpose range that works well in most situations,” he said. “However, certain conditions merit consideration of changing seeding depth, the most common of which is soil moisture at seed depth.”


The recent warm, mostly dry weather have helped farmers to complete tillage and herbicide, nitrogen and fertilizer applications, and have sparked optimism about a rapid planting season.… Continue reading

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Tight corn stocks pushing wheat as feed

The 2011/12 marketing year will end May 31, a point at which most analysts expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make only minor changes to its year-end supply and demand estimates. USDA did make mostly small changes to wheat production, world trade and beginning stocks estimates in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report released April 10. However, USDA sharply increased projections of wheat used for feed. Generally, a spike in feed use would indicate quality issues, but other market factors are driving the feed wheat use higher than ever this year.

Driving feed wheat demand is the very tight supply of corn. Despite five consecutive years of record corn production, projected 2011/12 world ending stocks are 2% lower than last year and 7% lower than the five-year average. USDA currently projects U.S. ending corn stocks down 29% in 2011/12 to 20.3 million metric tons (MMT), 46% below the five-year average of 37.8 MMT.… Continue reading

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Will there be a soybean aphid problem in 2012?

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, OSU Extension entomologists

We had reported the lack of eggs at most buckthorn sites last fall, but we did find lots of eggs on buckthorn at Mirror Lake on the OSU Campus in Columbus.  We sampled these various sites  over the past few weeks and did not find any aphids following the leafing-out of the buckthorn, including the Mirror Lake buckthorn where masses of eggs were found.

However, in looking at the eggs that were still there, it was observed that the eggs, while still present, were all shriveled. Having talked with people more in the know, these eggs were perhaps not fertilized last fall, maybe from a lack of males.

Based on these observations and past history, we predict that Ohio, and only speaking for Ohio, will experience a “low aphid” year.  We expect aphids to be hard to find through most of the summer, and will only rise in numbers in late summer/early fall prior to migrating to buckthorn. … Continue reading

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KSU study finds antibiotic use overestimated

A study conducted by Kansas State University shows that opponents of antibiotics use in livestock production wildly overestimate the amount given to food animals.

Using data from a 2006 U.S. Department of Agriculture swine survey and a 2009 survey of swine veterinarians, KSU found that annually about 1.6 million pounds of antibiotics are used in pork production for growth promotion/nutritional efficiency and disease prevention. A 2001 report, “Hogging It,” from the Union of Concerned Scientists claimed that 10.3 million pounds a year are used.

“The UCS report should have been titled ‘Fabricating It,’” said National Pork Producers Council President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C. “Pork producers do not overuse antibiotics. We work with veterinarians to carefully consider if antibiotics are necessary and which ones to use.”

The KSU study, which was published in the March issue of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, found that 2.8 million pounds of antibiotics were used for growth promotion/nutritional efficiency, disease prevention and disease treatment.… Continue reading

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Beef industry concerned with FDA measures for antibiotics

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its intent to publish in the Federal Register on Fri., April 13, 2012, its final Guidance 209 and a draft proposed rule on veterinary feed directives. Tom Talbot, a California beef producer, large animal veterinarian and current chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee, issued the following statement.

“Raising healthy cattle is the top priority for cattle farmers and ranchers. They work with veterinarians and animal health experts to implement comprehensive herd-health plans, which include the judicious use of antibiotics to prevent, control and treat any cattle health issues. NCBA is pleased that FDA has resisted unscientific calls to completely ban the use of antibiotics and antimicrobials in cattle and other livestock species. However, we remain concerned with regulatory actions that are not based on peer-reviewed science or that set the precedent to take animal care and health decisions out of the hands of veterinarians.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agriculture Director Daniels Announces Senior Staff Appointments

Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director David Daniels today announced several new appointments to the department’s senior management team: Howard Wise, assistant director; Michael Bailey and Janelle Mead, deputy directors; Denise Franz King, executive director of the Office of Farmland Preservation; Traci Orahood, human resources chief; Erica Pitchford, communications director; and Erin Honnold and George McNab, legislative liaisons.

“We have assembled a great executive team of professionals who have wide array of experience in agriculture, public administration and public policy,” said Daniels. “I look forward to working with everyone to continue our daily work of assisting farmers and protecting consumers in the State of Ohio.”

Wise will oversee the department’s day-to-day regulatory operations and laboratories, in addition to the department’s policies and procedures. Prior to his this recent appointment, Wise served as the department’s assistant director from 2004 through 2006.  From July 1999 to June 2004, he served as the executive director of the department’s Office of Farmland Preservation. … Continue reading

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Buying local getting more popular

Buying local is a fast moving trend across the U.S., but no other industry has experienced the benefits of this recent movement more than agriculture. Within Ohio, countless roadside stands, farmers markets, wineries, garden centers and U-pick locations all face strong competition from larger operations, but they have a big advantage by providing some of the freshest fruits and vegetables around. The distance food travels, or simply, food miles, is almost irrelevant when buying local.

To explain more about the buy local movement, the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum will host Janet Cassidy, senior director, marketing communications, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), Thursday, Apr. 19 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, Ohio.

OFBF has some excellent tools to link consumers with local growers.… Continue reading

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Eighth-grader makes grain elevator music video

By: Heather Hetterick

Eighth-grader Spencer Channell had to choose an invention from the Industrial Revolution and make a presentation out of it for his history class at Olentangy Orange Middle School. Having no agricultural background, he choose the grain elevator, because it sounded neat to him. He didn’t make a presentation though, he spent two weeks writing, recording, filming and editing a music video about the grain elevator. He even went to a Heritage Cooperative location to film in front of their grain elevator.

Channell tells us it’s exciting to see all the attention the video is getting. Even for those who do have an agricultural background its educational and entertaining.

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Spring insects of concern

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, OSU Extension entomologists

Black cutworm – We have had heavier weed growth because of earlier warm weather, especially chickweed growth.With this extra growth comes the potential for greater black cutworms problems. Added to this is that adult cutworms are already being collected in the Midwest. When corn gets planted and starts to emerge, cutworms might already be at damaging stages. Thus, there is a greater need to pay extra attention in those fields conducive to cutworms problems, namely no-till and/or weedy fields.

Slugs – Warmer weather and soil temperatures will be causing slugs to hatch earlier and will result in slugs beginning their heavier feeding earlier. If planting times are normal, slugs will be a bigger and larger threat than normal. If planting early, perhaps the slug feeding will be more similar to normal conditions. If planting is late, slugs will be relatively larger and capable of even heavier feeding.

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Corn is up in Ohio!

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

As of this week, 2 percent of Ohio’s corn crop is in the ground.

After planting his corn on March 21st and 22nd, Fayette County farmer Greg Bentley’s corn is up!

“I knew that the extended forecast was for above normal temperatures,” said Bentley. “I was just taking a chance and then they changed the forecast on me.”

That they did, as forecasters are now calling for cooler temperatures in April than what we had in March. Bentley knew planting so early was a gamble, but he still thinks it will pay off.

“I’m not sure if I have a perfect stand everywhere or not,” said Bentley. “I know corn can have a frost on it and as long as it doesn’t kill the growing points in the ground it should be okay.  I am not afraid of it being frosted a time or two.”… Continue reading

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DDGs gain foothold in Saudi Arabia

In a country largely dependent on oil exports, the ethanol industry is often maligned and a large target of contention and discomfort in Saudi Arabia. However, as Venezuela overtook Saudi Arabia to become the owner of the largest share of the world’s known oil reserves in 2011, Saudis are now focusing on the need to diversify their economy, with agriculture garnering significant interest as a new revenue stream.

Already home to the largest dairy integrations in the world, the country once opposed to ethanol now cooperates with the U.S. ethanol industry to satisfy feed demand with ethanol co-product distiller’s dried grains.

The U.S. Grains Council, which has operated in Saudi Arabia for decades, recently undertook a unique challenge as it launched efforts to expand market access for U.S. DDGS, which are derived from the prohibited alcohol production industry. While initial efforts were met with trepidation, the Council persevered, successfully gaining placement for distiller’s dried grains with solubles on the much desirable “feed ingredient subsidy list.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Progress Report for April 9th


The average temperature for the State was 49.4 degrees, 3.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, April 8, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.18 inches, 0.75 inches below normal. There were 40 modified growing degree days, 8 days above normal.

Reporters rated 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, April 6, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 21 percent surplus.


Temperatures were above normal and precipitation below normal throughout the state. There were freezing temperatures recorded throughout the state on Friday and Saturday nights, which may negatively impact this year’s apple and peach crops and set back the growth of hay and winter wheat crops. Other field activities for the week include field application of manure, anhydrous, and fertilizers. Fields are much drier than normal for this time of year, which allowed operators much earlier access to fields with farm machinery.… Continue reading

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Should Ag break away from food companies?

An influential food policy commentator has some advice for advocates of conventional agriculture: disassociate yourselves from food companies.

Wellesley College political scientist Rob Paarlberg says a lot of the critics of modern farming are scoring points with consumers by pointing to the processing practices of food companies.

“When agriculture commodities leave the farm they are not laden with excess sugar and excess salt”, said Paarlberg. “Those bad things done to our national food supply aren’t being done on the farm, they are being done downstream by food companies.”

But Paarlberg – the author of “Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know” – says consumers don’t make the distinction.

“If I were in agriculture I would want to create some safe distance between my conduct on the farm and upstream from farms versus the companies that are formulating unhealthy foods,” said Paarlberg.

Speaking to an audience of food activists and researchers in Washington – Paarlberg said conventional agriculture is paying too heavy a price in the culture war over farming for what he calls the misdeeds of the food industry.… Continue reading

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