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Hog prices nearing their peak

The highest hog prices on record will soon be arriving, said a Purdue University Extension economist.

“These may be the highest hog prices for the next several years as well, especially if corn and soybean shortages can be reduced somewhat this summer with favorable growing conditions. On the other hand, if 2011 turns out to be a short crop production year, then the previous statement will be invalid as surging feed prices will force added liquidation of the hog herd this fall. But you already knew how much was riding on upcoming crops,” said Chris Hurt.

USDA’s March Hogs and Pigs report implied that pork supplies will be somewhat higher this year. However, demand factors are more important to hog prices now than supply. Those demand factors include the continued strong growth in export demand, the continued economic recovery in the U.S., and inflation in commodities, he said.

The report indicated that the market herd was up nearly 1%, primarily as a result of a somewhat larger-than-expected winter pig crop, he said.… Continue reading

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AFBF intervenes in pesticide lawsuit

The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with other agriculture groups, has filed a motion to intervene in federal court in a lawsuit aimed at imposing needless restrictions or bans on pesticide use.

AFBF filed in Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) lawsuit alleges that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing the use of nearly 400 pesticides without conducting consultations with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) regarding potential impacts on 214 listed species.

“This case aims to use the Endangered Species Act to impose restrictions, if not outright bans, on hundreds of pesticides,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “To protect the interests of growers nationwide who rely on the availability of safe, affordable and effective pesticides, we have sought to intervene in the lawsuit in order to participate fully in how the case is resolved.”… Continue reading

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Corn growers respond to attacks from Nestle chairman

Remarks made by the chairman of Nestle about the use of corn for biofuels production were not only wrong but dangerous, the president of the National Corn Growers Association said.  At a time of economic struggle for millions of Americans, any proposal that will kill jobs, damage the environment and raise energy prices needs to be opposed vehemently.

“It is scandalous, ludicrous and highly irresponsible for the chairman of a global conglomerate that tripled its profits last year to talk about higher corn prices forcing millions into starvation,” said NCGA President Bart Schott.  “Perhaps if Nestle is so concerned about food prices, its board will consider putting more of their $35.7 billion in 2010 profits back into poor communities. Just their profits alone represent more than half the entire farm value of the 2010 U.S. corn crop.”

Schott was reacting to comments by Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe at a March 22 meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations.… Continue reading

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Two Produce Safety Education Programs next week

Ohio State University will offer its Produce Safety Education Program twice next week: on April 4 in Clayton near Dayton and on April 7 in Piketon south of Chillicothe. It’s a workshop for growers on reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses from fresh fruits and vegetables. The program will be the same at both locations.

Among the topics: Water issues, soil amendments, traceability, consumer perceptions, Good Handling Practices and Good Agricultural Practices.

Registration costs $40 and is paid at the door, but a spot can be reserved in advance (guaranteeing both space and the program materials) by calling Ohio State’s Ashley Kulhanek, 330-202-3555, ext. 2918. Attendance at each location is limited to 50.

The April 4 program goes from 6-9 p.m. at Northmont High School, 4916 National Rd., Clayton.

On April 7, attend from 1-4 p.m. in room 160 of the Endeavor Center at the OSU South Centers, 1862 Shyville Rd.,… Continue reading

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“Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future” talk at OSU

Jewish environmental educator Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Bethesda, Md., and Rabbi Benjamin Berger of Ohio State University Hillel will present “Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future: Eco-Judaism from the Ground Up,” a free community forum, from 7-9 p.m. this Wednesday (3/30) in the Barbara Tootle Room of Ohio State’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., Columbus.

Ohio State philosophy professor Tamar Rudavsky will moderate.

There will be free organic tapas and local food samples at 6:30 p.m. plus free tomato and lettuce plants for participating.

The program is the first in the three-part “Abrahamic Faiths and the Environment” series sponsored by Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), the Ohio Council of Churches, and Ohio Interfaith Power and Light.

For more information, contact Ohio State’s Greg Hitzhusen at 614-292-7739 or hitzhusen.3@osu.edu or go to http://go.osu.edu/CWn.

SENR is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.… Continue reading

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"Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future" talk at OSU

Jewish environmental educator Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Bethesda, Md., and Rabbi Benjamin Berger of Ohio State University Hillel will present “Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future: Eco-Judaism from the Ground Up,” a free community forum, from 7-9 p.m. this Wednesday (3/30) in the Barbara Tootle Room of Ohio State’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., Columbus.

Ohio State philosophy professor Tamar Rudavsky will moderate.

There will be free organic tapas and local food samples at 6:30 p.m. plus free tomato and lettuce plants for participating.

The program is the first in the three-part “Abrahamic Faiths and the Environment” series sponsored by Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), the Ohio Council of Churches, and Ohio Interfaith Power and Light.

For more information, contact Ohio State’s Greg Hitzhusen at 614-292-7739 or hitzhusen.3@osu.edu or go to http://go.osu.edu/CWn.

SENR is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.… Continue reading

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Forages and nutrient management

By Bob Hendershot, State Grassland Conservationist, USDA-NRCS-Ohio

Forages can help in managing nutrients from manure applications.

Harvested forages can be used effectively to remove excess nutrients from crop fields and reduce water pollution potential. Harvested forages are very marketable, and should be considered as a way to transfer nutrients off of farms with excess nutrient levels. Forages also are excellent in improving soil conditions, reducing soil erosion and runoff that contributes to water quality concerns.

Forages can be used to draw down soil test phosphorus levels in fields with excessive soil test levels. Typically,

forages will remove 13 to 15 pounds of P2O5 per ton of harvested forage. Plants harvested earlier in their growth stage will have a higher concentration of phosphorus, but a lower yield per acre. Different forages remove different

amounts of phosphorus. Oklahoma research shows orchardgrass removing 50% more P2O5 than the same yield of

alfalfa, ryegrass or tall fescue; twice as much as red clover and three times more than sorghum-sudangrass or pearl millet.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog inventory down 2%, U.S. up 1%

Ohio hog producers had 1.99 million hogs on hand March 1, 2011, down 2% from last quarter and from a year ago, according to the March 25 Hogs and Pigs Report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The number of market hogs, at 1,820,000 head, was down 2% from last quarter and from last year. Breeding stock, at 170,000 head, was unchanged from last quarter and from last year.

The pig crop during the December-February 2011 quarter numbered 837,000 head, unchanged from last quarter but 1% above last year. The number of sows farrowed during the December-February 2011 quarter, at 89,000, was unchanged from last quarter and from last year. Pigs saved per litter averaged 9.4, unchanged from last quarter but up 1% from last year.

Ohio producers intend to farrow 85,000 sows during the March-May 2011quarter, 4,000 head below a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the summer quarter, June-August 2011, is 88,000 sows, 3,000 head below the same quarter of 2010.… Continue reading

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Fungicide use on the rise

Crop prices coupled with demand and a growing population requires growers to examine how they can maximize the yield and quality of each acre. Often that requires additional inputs. Until a few years ago, the crop protection category dominated these inputs, absorbing nearly half of all costs paid by growers. But in recent years, other crop inputs, such as fertilizers, have been gaining ground in the production aides market.

The relative decline in overall crop protection spending hasn’t equally affected each segment of the arena. Whereas spending on herbicides — no doubt due to weed resistance concerns — and insecticides has dropped, the fungicide market share has been steadily increasing since the early 2000s.

“Commodity prices have put more focus on maximizing yield,” says Rex Wichert, fungicide brand manager at Syngenta. “As more producers participate in fungicide trials on their farms, they not only see the yield benefits, but they also see things like improved plant responses to stressful conditions and improved harvestability.”… Continue reading

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OSU cheese-making workshop

Dairy producers looking to expand their operations with farmstead cheese businesses can learn how at an Ohio State University cheese-making workshop.

“Hands-On Basic Cheese Making — Enhancing Dairy Profitability with Cheese” will take place April 27-29 at the Grindstone Creek Lodge at 4-H Camp Whitewood, 7983 S. Wiswell Rd., Windsor. Classes will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

This three-day class is designed for people who have never made cheese and those who want to improve their skills in order to enter the cheese business. Peter Dixon, one of the nation’s premier cheese-making instructors and operator of the Center for Farmstead Milk Processing in Vermont, will teach the course.

Workshop topics include milk quality, ingredients used in cheese making, cheese-making processes and techniques and tips for establishing a cheese-making business. Participants will have opportunities to make a number of different cheeses.

Registration is $550 per person and includes course tuition, resource materials, all workshop supplies, lunches and refreshments.… Continue reading

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Nitrogen recommendations for wheat

By Ed Lentz, Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

Wheat is already at greenup in the southern two-thirds of the state and is beginning to greenup in the northern third. We would recommend applying nitrogen between greenup and Feekes Growth Stage 6 (early stem elongation), which is generally the latter part of April. The potential for nitrogen loss will decrease by waiting to apply closer to Feekes 6; however, since we are at greenup, a common sense approach would recommend applying as soon as field conditions allow application equipment, particularly since days available for field activities may be limited between now and Feekes 6.

We would still recommend the Tri-State guide for N rates in wheat. This system relies on yield potential of a field. As a producer, you can greatly increase or reduce your N rate by changing the value for yield potential. Thus, a realistic yield potential is needed to determine the optimum nitrogen rate.… Continue reading

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Producing corn to feed the world

By Matt Reese

There has been much talk in recent years about the exploding world population. To feed all of these people, food production will have to increase dramatically and the world will be looking to the U.S. to shoulder much of the burden. In terms of corn production, experts think an ambitious, but maybe necessary goal is a national average yield of 300 bushels per acre by 2030.

“We know 300 bushels is an achievable yield, so maybe increasing the national yield to 300 bushels by 2030 is not so pie in the sky,” said Bob Nielson, Purdue Extension corn specialist. “To get 300 bushels, you need ears with 1,000-plus kernels — that is 18 rows by 60 kernels long. At only a modest 30,000 plants per acre and a modest 85,000 kernels per bushel, it equals 381 bushels per acre.”

Unfortunately, at the current rate of average gain in yield increases each year, the national average would only be at about 200 bushels per acre by 2030, far short of what the hungry world will be demanding.… Continue reading

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Sulfur for corn?

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Common knowledge for corn growers is that nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are essential macronutrients in grain production. Crop health and yield gains have long been observed by providing plants with adequate amounts of the macronutrients. Sulfur is another important but often overlooked nutrient required by plants in adequate amounts.

Recent yield responses of supplemental sulfur applications in some areas of the corn belt continues to gain attention by many industry experts and growers. Sulfur is a component of several enzymes that regulate photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. When sulfur is limiting, chlorophyll production is reduced causing younger leaves at the upper part of a plant to appear yellow.

Sulfur is different from nitrogen in that sulfur is not mobile in the plant while nitrogen is mobile. Nitrogen deficiency will be observed on lower leaves first. Typically, sulfur deficiency is not uniform across fields. Often times sulfur deficiency occurs in spots or streaks often associated with residue cover, organic matter content, compaction and/or drainage.… Continue reading

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Black Swamp Conservancy protects Fulton, Seneca County farms

Black Swamp Conservancy has entered into permanent farmland preservation agreements with four landowners in Fulton and Seneca counties.

Those agreements – known as agricultural easements – will ensure that 451 acres of prime farm ground are devoted exclusively to agriculture, forever. The easements will be co-held by the conservancy and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Black Swamp Conservancy preserves land mostly through perpetual land conservation agreements known as conservation or agricultural easements. Through such an agreement, the landowner gives up the right to develop the property – such as by constructing buildings, putting in roads or driveways or subdividing the land – in order to protect its conservation values, which includes its value as prime farmland or as habitat for native plants and animals.

“Agriculture is the #1 industry in northwest Ohio,“ said Kevin Joyce, the conservancy’s executive director. “In these tough times, it’s important to recognize that farm families’ commitment to keeping their land as farmland is essential to our community’s future economic prosperity.”… Continue reading

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NOAA weather update

By Jim Noel

The weather pattern looks to turn not quite as wet but cool over the next week. We expect some rain especially in the northern half of Ohio later Tuesday into Wednesday with average amounts of 0.5 to 1.0 inches especially in the north half. After that system we expect only minor systems into next week. Temperatures will be above average early this week except in the far north and then turn colder than average into early next week. The next major weather system after early to mid week will not likely occur until late next week.

Longer-range outlooks continue to show, as discussed last autumn, the trend for a cool spring with close to normal rainfall after the wet start. However, the frequency of rain will be quite active at least into the first half of April. It looks like the cooler than average temperatures will last into April with a gradual return to normal during later spring.… Continue reading

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USDA expands access to fresh fruits and vegetables for schools across the nation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), USDA will expand assistance to state agencies for schools operating USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in the 2011/2012 school year. The investment is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the health of our children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools and also serves as a valuable resource to schools that continue working to improve the health and nutrition of the foods they serve. The assistance will provide free fresh fruit and vegetables to children throughout the school day.

“Improving the health and nutrition of our kids is a national imperative and by providing schools with fresh fruits and vegetables that expand their healthy options, we are helping our kids to have a brighter, healthier future,” said Vilsack. “Every time our kids eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable, they are learning healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.”… Continue reading

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OFBF presidents make a difference in D.C.

By Matt Reese

The American Farm Bureau once again proved to be among the more powerful forces in Washington, D.C. last year as a number of votes went the way of the grassroots decisions made by members around the country.

The power of Farm Bureau is its people and their efforts with legislators. For the 65th time, Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents congregated in Washington, D.C. to learn and teach, celebrate previous success and pave the way for a successful future in farm-related public policy.

“This is an opportunity for Ohio Farm Bureau to bring its county presidents to D.C. to have that direct one-on-one opportunity to impact and build relationships with not only those who we elect to represent us here but with the agencies that affect what happens on our farms,” said Brent Porteus, Ohio Farm Bureau president. “We had a lot of discussion on the estate tax here last year and we did get a two-year bill achieving our goals.… Continue reading

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Commodity prices back on the rise

Commodity prices are back on the rise after they fell quickly in reaction to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.



Corn fell 10% in the first few days after the earthquake and tsunami, and soybeans and lean hogs were down 6%.



“However, markets have recovered those early losses as the effects aren’t nearly as negative as we initially thought,” he said. “That’s due in part to the fact that Japan is a wealthy nation and its people will continue to consume their normal products.”



The impact on food likely will center on a reduction in Japan’s production. But Hurt said it likely will be small and mostly can be replaced by importing processed goods from other countries.


Japan is the fourth-largest buyer of agricultural products from the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Japan will spend $13 billion on U.S.… Continue reading

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New Ohio State Fair Commercial Pen of 5 Market Lamb Show

There will be a new class for the Ohio State Fair, a Commercial Pen of 5 Market Lamb Show.

Class Purpose:

  • Increase producer’s knowledge of carcass merit of the lambs they are producing
  • Provide carcass data to producers to aid in sire evaluations
  • Promote the high quality product being produced by the Ohio Lamb Industry
  • Expand the number of lambs available for the Ohio State Fair Lamb Sale to support the needs of the Kroger Company
  • Provide a greater opportunity for producers to participate in Ohio State Fair sheep activities

Rules for participation:

  • Open to any producer of market lambs – wethers and ewe lambs.
  • Entry Fee – $25 /pen of 5 – Maximum of 5 entries per family.
  • All entries must have a number one pelt (approx 90 days growth) with a fleece length of (one inch) 1” +/- ¼” (hair breeds will be allowed to show but no shearing will be allowed).
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