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Managing crop stress to maximize yields

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Matt Hutcheson

The 2021 growing season has already provided growers with several challenges. Learning from these challenges and making sound management decisions throughout the remainder of the growing season will be critical to achieving top-end yield potential. 

One important management practice that was highlighted this spring was timing of crop planting in relationship to weather. Agronomists and university experts occasionally discuss the timing of planting and the importance of the first 36 to 48 hours a seed is in the ground. The first 36 to 48 hours a seed is in the ground is a critical period of water uptake where the seed is sensitive to temperature extremes. In many areas we saw fields planted immediately before a cold rain even and seed/seedlings that exhibited imbibitional injury.

In areas where cold rain/snow events occurred this spring, observed soil temperatures dropped from the mid 50s to the lower 40s overnight.… Continue reading

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Ohio legislature passes solar and wind project siting and approval bill

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program 

It’s been a long and winding road to the Governor’s desk for Senate Bill 52, the controversial bill on siting and approval of large-scale wind and solar facilities in Ohio. The bill generated opposition and concern from the outset, requiring a major overhaul early on. A substitute bill passed the Senate on June 2 after six hearings and hundreds of witnesses testifying for and against the bill. It took the House five hearings to pass a further revised version of the bill, and the Senate agreed to those revisions the same day. Now the bill awaits Governor DeWine’s action. If the Governor signs the bill, it would become effective in 90 days.

S.B. 52 generates conflicting opinions on property rights and renewable energy. It would grant counties and townships a voice in the siting and approval of large-scale wind and solar projects, allowing a community to go so far as to reject facility applications and prohibit facilities in identified restricted areas of the county.… Continue reading

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Western bean cutworm monitoring underway

By Amy RaudenbushMark BadertscherJordan BeckFrank BeckerBruce Clevenger, CCACraig EverettJason Hartschuh, CCAAndrew HoldenJames JasinskiEd Lentz, CCAStephanie KarhoffCecilia Lokai-MinnichDavid MarrisonSarah NoggleLes Ober, CCAEric Richer, CCAClint SchroederMike SundermanCurtis Young, CCAChris ZollerKelley TilmonAndy MichelSuranga Basnagala, Ohio State University Extension

Figure 1. Average Western bean cutworm adult per trap (in blue) followed by the total number of traps monitored in each county (in white) for the week ending June 27th, 2021. Map developed by Suranga Basnagala, Ohio State University, using ArcGIS Pro.

Traps were deployed for Western bean cutworm (WBC) monitoring the week of June 14. The first trap counts were collected from June 21 to June 27, and monitoring counties reported a total of 16 WBC adults (0.25 statewide average moths per trap; Figure 1). There… Continue reading

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State budget includes funding for ag priorities

By Matt Reese

In the early hours of July 1, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the $74 billion state budget for Fiscal Years 2022-2023. The balanced, 3,300-page budget did not require dipping into the State’s rainy-day funds in spite of the challenges of COVID-19. 

“This is a strong budget focused on our future. Budgets always reflect priorities. Policy is driven so often through budgets. What you invest in is what you value and this budget reflects what we value,” DeWine said. “To think we have done this while coming out of the worst health crisis in 100 years — we have come out with this strong budget. We made the tough choices early on. We cut spending we froze hiring and we did what we had to do.” 

There were a number of highlights for Ohio agriculture.

“From rural broadband and local meat processing capacity, to funding for H2Ohio, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio State, lawmakers and Governor DeWine heard from Ohio Farm Bureau and our members and responded to the issues laid out in our Ohio Agriculture and Rural Communities Action Plan with this new budget,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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The O.G. of water quality

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

It is not often that a 90’s rap lyric is used to describe the status of water quality initiatives, however, “in the case of Grand Lake St. Marys in 2021, the O.G. (original gangster) terminology is fitting,” said Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Water Quality and Research.

This year has been a banner year for a body of water that has had the designation of a distressed watershed and issues with harmful algal blooms for the past 12 years. Currently the lake does not have a water quality advisory in place.

Jordan Hoewsicher, OFBF Director of Water Quality and Research, OFBF

“While a primary reason cited for the lower levels of algae is the low rainfall totals year to date, credit also needs to be given to the actions taken by the agricultural community and organizations that came together to work towards finding a solution to the algal bloom,” he said.

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Smaller summer harmful algal bloom predicted for western Lake Erie

NOAA and its research partners are forecasting that western Lake Erie will experience a smaller-than-average harmful algal bloom this summer. A relatively dry spring will lead to a repeat of last year’s mild bloom – this is the first time in more than a dozen years that mild blooms have occurred in consecutive summers. 

This year’s bloom is expected to measure 3, with a potential range of 2 to 4.5, out of 10 on the severity index — among the smaller blooms since 2011. Last year’s bloom was measured at a 3. The index is based on the bloom’s biomass — the amount of algae — during the peak 30 days of the bloom. An index above 5 indicates more severe blooms. Blooms over 7 are particularly severe, with extensive scum formation and coverage affecting the lake. The largest blooms occurred in 2011, with a severity index of 10, and 2015, exceeding the scale and measuring at a severity index of 10.5.  … Continue reading

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Early vegetative soybean defoliation

By Dr. Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N.  20-2021

Hail Defoliated Soybeans Photo Credit: Tony Nye, OSU

Reports from surrounding states suggest defoliation or stem damage in soybeans are less critical to yield if they occur in vegetative stages, with stem damage being more critical to yield loss than defoliation (Shapiro et al. 2009). Even if some nodes on the stem were damaged or lost, soybeans can produce branches from the remaining nodes to help recover after hail events. Similar to corn, soybean defoliation and stem damage during reproductive stages will be more impactful on yield than during vegetative stages.

Recovery of fields should be assessed 4-5 days after the storm events at the earliest, and you should plan to contact your crop insurance agent if applicable regarding damage assessment.

A good resource to determine soybean yield loss due to hail damage can be found at:

According to C. A. Shapiro, Extension Soils Specialist,  T.A.

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NWO Soil & Water Conservation Districts offer a Jr. Conservationist Program

The Northwest Ohio Soil & Water Conservation Districts are pleased to offer a free at-home “Do-It-Yourself” Jr. Conservationist summer program. The program’s hands-on activities and registration are online at

The Jr. Conservationist in training will have fun learning about soil, water, plants, animals, community, and nature exploration by completing the required number of activities in each category and submitting photos of doing the activities or photos of the completed projects by Wed., Aug. 25. Photos will be sent to your county’s local SWCD contact, who will send you a welcome message once you register. 

Upon completion of the activities, participants will receive a certificate. A Jr. Conservationist t-shirt is available for $10 (unless sponsored for free by your local SWCD), it will be invoiced and available for pick up at your SWCD office or can be mailed to you for an additional $5.00 fee. The Wood Soil and Water Conservation District  is offering a t-shirt free of charge for those who complete the program in Wood County.  … Continue reading

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June 30 numbers feeding the bull

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Both corn and soybean acres were below trade estimates. Corn touched up the 40-cent limit

This USDA report day features two reports: U.S. June 30 Acreage and U.S. Quarterly Grain stocks. Watch to see how those numbers compare to trader estimates. Today there are no USDA supply and demand tables published. Updated supply and demand tables will be released on July 12. 

Shortly after the report was released, new corn was up 39 cents, new soybeans up 72 cents, and wheat  up 20 cents. Just before the report release, new corn was down 16 cents, new soybeans were down 19 cents, and wheat was down 5 cents.  

The table below contains numbers for both the USDA June 30 Acreage Report and the USDA Quarterly Grain Stocks Report. The pre-report numbers have been provided by Reuters. The actual USDA numbers have been inserted in the second column. 

This morning corn and soybean prices were down double digits as a result of overnight weather forecasts indicating increased rain opportunities in the Dakotas and Minnesota after July 7.… Continue reading

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Rural landowner rights being voted away by Ohio’s legislators

By Matt Reese

If you own land in Ohio, your rights are being taken away at the Statehouse by your elected officials with Senate Bill 52. SB 52 has passed the House (on June 28) and the Senate (on June 2).

Here is the language from the bill

The board of county commissioners may adopt a resolution designating all or part of the unincorporated area of a county as a restricted area, prohibiting the construction of any or all of the following: 

      (1) An economically significant wind farm;

      (2) A large wind farm;

      (3) A large solar facility.

This gives county commissioners the authority to take away the rights of landowners to develop wind and solar development without the consent of those landowners. Even worse, they are not required to notify affected landowners directly. Let me reiterate, they are not asking, lawmakers who voted yes on SB 52 are TAKING. … Continue reading

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In defense of ag retail…

By Richard Strow, CCA, Ridgeville Elevator

In the June issue of OCJ, an article by H. Watters and G. LeBarge used a broad brush to paint Ag Retail as “just trying to sell something.” I take offense to the notion that unless an idea or product is endorsed by “university research” it is unworthy or a waste of money.

While “university research” was valuable in the 50s and 60s to promote and discover new ideas and innovation, today I believe it is the ag Industry that is driving innovation. It has been the ag industry that brought us Roundup Ready, Liberty Link, Extend, Enlist beans, double- and triple-stack corn, and genetic resistance to diseases in wheat.

I am a proud Beck’s Hybrids dealer and I have come to put much more faith and value in the ideas and products highlighted in their annual PFR Book. Ideas and products are tested on real world and real farm conditions, not your typical 10’ x 30’ plots used by universities.… Continue reading

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NPPC urges Administration to appeal damaging court ruling before Aug. 31

A federal district court ruling striking down faster harvest facility inspection speeds allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) goes into effect tomorrow, June 30, 2021. The Biden administration has until the end of August to file an appeal. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urges the administration to appeal this damaging ruling – which will quickly lead to increased pork industry concentration and packer market power – and seeks waivers for the impacted plants until a longer-term solution, acceptable to all industry stakeholders, is realized.

The ruling eliminates 2.5% of pork packing plant capacity nationwide and will result in $80 million in reduced income for small U.S. hog farmers this year alone, according to an analysis by Iowa State University Economist Dr. Dermot Hayes. Last week, more than 70 lawmakers sent letters asking Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Prelogar to appeal the court decision.… Continue reading

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Now’s a great time to plan, and assess forage inventory

By  Chris Penrose, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Morgan County

Since May 21t, I have had three great chances to make hay and was lucky enough to finish before the rains arrived, I was lucky. I know other areas have not had a chance or just got started. When we finish first cutting hay, it seems to me to be a great time to assess our pasture condition and hay supplies. We will now know how much hay we have and how much more we will need, plus a little extra just in case it turns dry. Do you or will you have enough once first cutting is finished? Are your pastures holding up well?

Options: If you are going to have plenty of hay, can you graze some of those fields? It is always cheaper to graze than to make hay. Speaking of hay, prices are good right now; if you don’t need the fields to graze, can you make some extra to sell if you need the income?… Continue reading

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Canada thistle rebounds

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

It can be nice to see old friends. Except when they cause crop and yield loss, refuse to leave after a few days, and don’t respond to chemicals. A while back we wrote about what appeared to be an increase in populations of dandelions and other winter weeds and made some guesses about why this was happening. Canada thistle has once again become a problem in some fields in a big way, probably for some of the same reasons that dandelion has. Our history with thistle during the past 30+ years is that it was a major problem before the widespread adoption of RoundupReady soybeans in the late 1990s. Back then we had to take advantage of specific windows in the cropping cycle to try to get control with glyphosate, and the rest of the time we just tried to keep it from getting worse.… Continue reading

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Can bean prices rally above $15, or are we on a path back to $10?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Last week the corn and bean markets were dominated by upcoming weather uncertainty and Friday’s Supreme Court ruling against the ethanol industry and potentially the entire renewable fuels industry. Plus, July options expired on Friday with some traders under water with their positions after this week’s price set back. 

Everyone is waiting for Wednesday’s USDA report, arguably the biggest of the year, that will provide estimated total planted acres and quarterly stock numbers. Once the market better knows planted acres and remaining old crop supply, balance sheet estimates become clearer. I am estimating 93.1 million planted corn acres, a 2.5 million acre increase from March, and 89.1 million bean acres, up 1 million from March. 

Beans — Comparing 2021 and 2014

The following chart shows a similar market situation developing between 2021 and the prices of beans in the summer of 2014.

Looking back to understand the price structure from 2014 one must first look at the 2013 bean crop.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 210 | Water Quality Progress

Matt, Dusty and Kolt are joined by Jordan Hoewischer, Director of Water Quality & Research for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Jordan talks about the progress the state of Ohio is making in water quality efforts. Plus, Dusty catches up with Dr. Laura Lindsey from Ohio State talking about double-cropping soybeans. Dusty also talked to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) about infrastructure. Matt catches up with Nate Douridas, CCA of the Farm Science Review.… Continue reading

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It’s time to talk noxious weeds law

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Poison hemlock and Canada thistle are making unwelcome appearances across Ohio, and that raises the need to talk about Ohio’s noxious weeds law. The law provides mechanisms for dealing with noxious weeds — those weeds that can cause harm to humans, animals, and ecosystems. Location matters when we talk about noxious weeds. That’s because Ohio law provides different procedures for dealing with noxious weeds depending upon where we find the weeds. The law addresses managing the weeds on Ohio’s noxious weeds list in these four locations:

  1. Along roadways and railroads
  2. Along partition fence rows
  3. On private land beyond the fence row
  4. On park lands.

Along roadways and railroads

The first window already closed for mandatory mowing of noxious weeds along county and township roads. Ohio law requires counties, townships, and municipalities to destroy all noxious weeds, brush, briers, burrs, and vines growing along roads and streets.… Continue reading

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Mental health training for rural Ohio and agribusiness

By Matt Reese

It is no secret: stress is a part of farm life. The unique challenges of a family farm can place huge burdens on farmers who often have little control of factors determining the success or failure of the operation that serves as their family heritage, livelihood and, often, their identity.

When times get tough, it is all too common that the unthinkable happens. There has been an alarming trend in America where rural populations have a significantly higher suicide rate than urban areas. Available information indicates the suicide rate among farmers is 3.5 times higher than the general population, according to the National Rural Health Association.

With these staggering statistics in mind, efforts are being made to change the conversation about mental health in rural Ohio. This, of course, includes the agribusiness community.

“The Ohio AgriBusiness Association recognizes that our member companies’ employees have deep, personal relationships with their customers that put them in a unique position when it comes to identifying and helping farmers struggling with mental health issues,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO for the Ohio AgriBusiness Association.… Continue reading

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A night at the drive-in: Banquet edition

By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter

Unusual times call for unusual measures and the Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter is no stranger to this fact. In an effort to maximize participation of students, parents, supporters and community members, their annual chapter banquet was held at the Starlite Drive-In in Amelia, Ohio.

“Typically, our school cafeteria is filled with over 400 FFA members and community members for our annual banquet to celebrate the success of our members. This year, our banquet took place at a local drive-in movie theatre,” said Luke Jennings, junior FFA member at Felicity-Franklin High School. 

This marked the second year Felicity-Franklin FFA held their banquet in this format. Despite receiving clearance to host their chapter banquet in the school cafeteria with a limited capacity this year, they decided to move forward with the drive-in option. Guidelines at the time of the decision would have allowed only 150 guests to be in attendance.… Continue reading

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