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Honeybee gene can fend off varroa mite

Purdue University researchers are zeroing in on genes that help honeybees defend against varroa mites, one of the largest factors in bee population declines.

Varroa mites are parasites that attack honeybees and infect them with viruses that cause death. The mites can infest and kill entire bee colonies.

But certain honeybees have developed defensive behaviors that allow them to kill the varroa mites or disrupt mite reproduction. Greg Hunt, a professor of behavioral genetics, and Jennifer Tsuruda, a Purdue postdoctoral researcher, are searching for the genes that provide those defenses and believe they’ve narrowed the options considerably.

“Bees are fighting back. They’re getting rid of the mites themselves,” said Hunt, whose findings were published in two papers in PLOS ONE. “We can select for these traits now, but it’s tedious. If we can identify the genes that influence these traits, we could develop better methods to screen for these genes and speed the process.”… Continue reading

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Turkey cost up slightly in 2012 for Thanksgiving dinner

The retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased less than 1% this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF’s 27th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.48, a 28-cent price increase from last year’s average of $49.20.

“At just under $5 per person, the cost of this year’s meal remains a bargain,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas. “Our diverse farm and ranch families are honored to produce the food from our nation’s land for family Thanksgiving celebrations. During this holiday season, I am encouraging farmers and ranchers to reach out to consumers in-person or through social media, to answer questions about the food that they grow or the livestock and poultry they raise.”… Continue reading

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Select Sires offering two internships to dairy students

Select Sires Inc. has announced plans to offer two summer internships at its headquarters facility in Plain City, Ohio, during the summer of 2013. Positions are available within the sales and marketing and communications departments, with applications due by January 1, 2013.

“Both practical work experience within the industry and networking are extremely important in helping college students prepare for full-time employment upon graduation,” says David Thorbahn, Select Sires president and C.E.O. “That’s why Select Sires offers hands-on internship opportunities each year. These internships help introduce students to the industry side of agriculture, while they contribute to the day-to-day operation of the Select Sires federation.”

College students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in dairy science, animal science, agricultural economics, agricultural communications or related agricultural fields may apply for these internships. Applicants must be familiar with cattle pedigree information. Previous dairy judging team experience is an advantage. While important for all internships, strong writing and computer skills are a requirement for students working in corporate communications.… Continue reading

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Results NAILE dairy shows

Junior Ayrshire Show

Senior & Grand Champion: Mill Valley Rosels Ginger, first place aged cow, exhibited by Trevor Greiwe, Sidney

Reserve Senior & Reserve Grand Champion: Mill Valley Rosette’s Ronda,  second place aged cow, exhibited by Trevor Greiwe, Sidney

Junior Brown Swiss Show (Judge: Eric Topp, Botkins)

Senior & Grand Champion: Aldens Prunki Precipitation, senior two-year-old, exhibited by Daniel Alden, Danville

Junior State Herd: Ohio, first place

Junior Guernsey Show

Reserve Junior Champion: Hearts Desire Jackpot Sweet, fall calf, exhibited by Marshall Overholt, Big Prairie

Junior State Herd: Ohio, third place

Junior Holstein Show

Junior Champion: Starmark Jordan Princess, winter calf, exhibited by Brandon Sugg, Wooster

Junior Jersey Show (Judge: Chris Lahmers, Marysville)

Junior Champion: DKG Motion Nancy, spring yearling, exhibited by Trevor Greiwe, Sidney

Junior State Herd: Ohio, first place

Junior Red and White Show

Junior Showmanship: Kiersten Sugg, Wooster, first place

Junior Milking Shorthorn Show

Junior Showmanship: Sam Rhoades, Greenville, first place

Intermediate Showmanship: Hannah Rhoades, Greenville, first place, Sarah Rhoades, Greenville, second place

Junior Champion: Buckeye Knoll Plamazing, winter calf, exhibited by Sarah Rhoades, Greenville

Open Ayrshire Show

Reserve Junior Champion: Mill Valley Supreme Lorraine, winter calf, exhibited by Mill Valley Farms, Sidney

Reserve Senior Champion: Mill Valley Rosels Ginger, first place aged cow, exhibited by Trevor Greiwe, Sidney

Exhibitors Herd: Mill Valley Farms, Sidney, first place

Premier Breeder: Mill Valley Farms, Sidney

Open Brown Swiss Show

State Herd: Ohio, second place

Open Holstein Show

Junior Champion: Express SMD Braxton Devin, winter yearling, exhibited by Stan-Mar-Dale/Express, Urbana

Open Jersey Show

Reserve Junior Champion: DKG Motion Nancy, spring yearling, exhibited by Donna Greiwe, Sidney

Intermediate & Grand Champion: Cascadia Iatola Puzzle, senior three year old, exhibited by Gene Iager, Pleasant Plain

State Herd: Ohio, second

Open Milking Shorthorn

Intermediate Champion: Spring Meadows Spark Hatti, senior two year old, exhibited by Spring Meadows Farm, Urbana

Junior Champion: Blue Spruce Megad McKenzie, fall yearling, exhibited by Jason Robinson and Blue Spruce Farm, New Holland

See the complete dairy resultsContinue reading

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How much fertilizer does it take to move soil test levels?

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Phosphorous and potassium exist naturally in the soil as a part of rock, clay and other minerals that make up soils. Levels of phosphorous in the soil can be between 100 to 3,000 pounds of total P per acre. Potassium exists in higher quantities of 10,000 to 50,000 pounds of total K per acre. These levels are substantial but plant available P and K are the important measures in crop production. Due to the buffering of the soil solution quantities of nutrient from these sources along with the associated fixation and release with fertilizer addition or crop removal does not affect soil test level on a 1:1 basis.

The buildup formulas for P and K fertilization found in the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa give us some indication of the amount of fertilizer needed to change soil test levels 1 part per million (ppm) for both P and K.… Continue reading

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National Pork Board meeting this week

The worst drought to hit the United States since the 1950s is prompting the National Pork Board to consider adding some marketing muscle to its 2013 budget before giving it final approval next week.

“The drought has changed the landscape for pork producers,” said National Pork Board President Conley Nelson, an Algona, Iowa, farmer and pork production executive. “Record-high corn and soybean prices have driven hog-production costs to record levels, resulting in significant financial losses. As a result, many farmers have marketed some of their animals earlier than they would have otherwise and kept fewer young female pigs for breeding.

“That means there is more pork on the market now than normal and that by spring there will be less pork on the market than usual. The National Pork Board is in a position to help its farmers now and in the spring with some additional promotional support, and that is what the board will address next week.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau “Friends” fared well

Ohio Farm Bureau “Friends” fared well in the election. Out of the 137 total Congressional, General Assembly, and Ohio Supreme Court seats up for election this year, Ohio Farm Bureau’s Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee (OFBF-AGGPAC) designated 127 candidates as Friends of Agriculture or Friends of Farm Bureau. In addition, 121 of the “Friends” (95%) won their races for election or re-election.

The high success rate of Farm Bureau endorsed candidates is a point of pride for the organization, said OFBF’s Executive Vice President, Jack Fisher. Fisher added that Farm Bureau will work closely with all of the state’s elected officials to develop policies that benefit the state’s economy and communities.

“Our members understand the importance of political involvement. They work hard to find the best candidates Ohio has to offer, and then support them in their campaigns. It’s a great feeling for our members when voters agree with our opinions,” Fisher said.… Continue reading

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Beekeeping tips for winter

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) would like to encourage beekeepers to make sure their bees are properly fed this winter. Due to drought conditions experienced in Ohio this year, stored food sources might be low for some bee colonies.

A lack of stored food for bees could be attributed to the drought and lack of nectar and available water, both necessary components to produce honey. Honey and pollen are needed to feed bee larvae. With little available nectar to make honey and poor pollen production from dry soil, the queen bee slows egg production and the larvae present are fed any available stored honey and pollen remaining from the spring. As these food sources become low, it is important for beekeepers to ensure their bees have a sufficient amount of food stored to survive the winter.

If a beekeeper feels it is necessary to feed their bees, ODA would like to offer the following tips when doing so:

· Lift the back of the hive.… Continue reading

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Ag congratulates Obama

Farm groups today are offering congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election, as well as those candidates elected to serve during the 113th session of Congress.

“A number of important issues lie ahead of us, both for our nation, and for American agriculture. It is vital that, under the president’s leadership, all our elected officials come together in a bipartisan fashion to resolve the challenges we face,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Farmers and ranchers, like all Americans, have a list of issues that they are relying on the administration and Congress to address. But we cannot wait until 2013 for the action to start. Serious work on the farm bill, the fiscal cliff and critical tax policy fixes all must start during the lame duck session of the 112th Congress.”

There are some very clear challenges in the near future to address.… Continue reading

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Ohio State researcher to re-write Ohio’s phosphorus index to improve water quality

An Ohio State University researcher has launched a $2 million project to evaluate and, as necessary, revise the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service Ohio Phosphorus (P) Risk Index to better predict the risk of phosphorus moving off of farm fields.

Phosphorus is the pollutant most often implicated in the degradation of Ohio’s fresh surface water, with use of phosphorus fertilizer on farmland as a contributing factor. Grand Lake St. Marys has lost an estimated $60 to 80 million in tourism due to harmful algae blooms. And in 2011, algae blooms covered 990 square miles of Lake Erie’s surface area – the largest in the lake’s history.

Elizabeth Dayton, a soil scientist in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, garnered a $1 million USDA Conservation Innovation Grant and $1 million in matching donations from Ohio agribusinesses to complete the project.

Her goals are to make the Ohio P Risk Index accurate, add more best management practice options for farmers, and create an interactive web-based tool so farmers can calculate their P Risk Index scores, evaluate management options and make informed decisions to better manage phosphorus.… Continue reading

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Farmland value and rent outlook

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

Cropland values in Ohio have increased again in 2012. Data from the Oho Ag Statistics Service shows an increase of 13.6% for bare cropland in Ohio for 2012. According to their data, bare cropland averages $5,000 per acre, up from $4,400 per acre the previous year.

An OSU Extension survey conducted in December 2011 estimated that the increase in value of Western Ohio cropland in 2012 would be 7.5% to 9.1% depending on region and land class. The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank and Purdue University both conducted surveys in June 2012 and found that cropland values in Indiana had appreciated 10% to 18.1% from one year ago.

Crop profitability prospects were positive in 2011 as they have been for the most part since 2007. Profit margins in 2012 were highly variable across Ohio due to moderate to severe drought.… Continue reading

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Rabbit chili warms hunters

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

As the sun sets on a wintry Middle American landscape, bringing a brisk chill to the violet air, the rabbit hunt is concluded and leg-weary hunters and their brush-beaten beagles contentedly stagger back to the comfort of the indoors. Once the bones are warmed and the dogs are fed, there is no better way to end a successful hunting expedition than to share in the bounty of the harvest with friends and family. The following wild rabbit recipe will warm hunters up on a winter evening and have hunting buddies asking for another hearty helping:


Spicy Rabbit Chili—Feeds 8-10


Backstraps and leg meat of (4) four rabbits, deboned and cut into bite sized pieces

2 cans Diced Tomatoes

2 cans Crushed Tomatoes

3 cans Kidney Beans (Drained)

2 cans Pinto Beans (Drained)

1 Can Black-eyed Peas (Drained)

1 small can Sliced Mushrooms (Drained)

1 small can Diced Green Chilis

2 Cups Cooked Sweet Corn

1 Cup Sliced Jalapeno (Fresh or Pickled)

1 large Bell Pepper, chopped

1 large Red Onion, coarsely chopped

1 large dehydrated Cayenne Pepper, whole

¼ Cup Chili Powder

Cooking Directions:

  1. Fry rabbit pieces in oil or butter in a large cast iron skillet until browned.
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Beet burger beats competition

Apparently, it’s hard to beat a burger made of beets.

On Oct. 1, the “UnBeetable Burger” with a soft gourmet pretzel bun won the Student Product Development Competition of AACC International, a professional association specializing in cereal grain science.

The product was created by a team of Ohio State University students in the Department of Food Science and Technology. The UnBeetable Burger also took third place earlier this year in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association and Mars Product Development Competition.

“We wanted to create the first frozen microwavable ready-to-heat vegetarian burger with a bun,” said Liz Green, a third-year undergraduate and captain of the 16-member team. “We looked at what is already on the market and wanted to create a product that would fill a market niche.

“We found Frozen White Castle Burgers, but they’re not vegetarian. We found lots of frozen vegetarian burgers, but nothing with a bun that you could just take the package, stick it in the microwave and eat.”… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – November 5th, 2012



The average temperature for the State was 39.5 degrees, 9.7 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, November 4, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 1.87 inches, 1.20 inches above normal.  There were 1 modified growing degree days, 40 days below normal.

Reporters rated 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, November 2, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 48 percent adequate, and 42 percent surplus.


The remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew through Ohio earlier in the week and produced a significant amount of precipitation.  Producers were able to get in some field work beforehand, including harvest of corn and soybeans, and fall tillage.  Afterwards, fields were too wet for any work to be done.  The rain helped restore topsoil moisture, and may have slightly improved subsoil moisture as well.… Continue reading

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Ohio bull wins World Champion Texas Longhorn

The world’s largest horned cattle gathered October 26 & 27, at the Cox Center in downtown Oklahoma City, OK for a horn measuring championship — over 400 of them.

Normally cattle of this breed with a Texas origin, are assumed to grab the spot light — not so this time.  The young bull “Clear Win” was the World Champion Tip To Tip with 81.25″ for Div. III – A. He is a product of Dickinson Cattle Co Inc (DCCI) of Barnesville, Ohio.  While in the especially designed side squeeze chute his base circumference was measured at 19 13/16″ and his complete horn (calculated with all four measurements) earned another World Champion bronze, a record for age, a whopping 209 7/16.”

The Texas Longhorn Marketing Alliance and International Texas Longhorn Association joined forces to stage a 5 ring circus style event like no other in Texas Longhorn history.  TLMA measures horns for 4 different divisions and awards a huge bronze to the best of the best. … Continue reading

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Fall populations of soybean aphids non-existent

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel, Ohio State University entomologists

As anticipated, soybean aphids were at extremely low levels in 2012. Indeed, most growers saw no aphids at all. We have been sampling buckthorn in the fall of 2012 to determine the overwintering levels of the soybean aphid. These observations are to determine if we can make a prediction as to the potential for problems in 2013.

Normally in late summer of a low aphid year we would expect an increase in aphid numbers and a move to buckthorn in the fall. However, we have seen no soybean aphids, either individuals or eggs, on any of the buckthorn that we have sampled throughout the state. The lack of aphids is also the norm across the Midwest. Thus, at this time, we are holding off any predictions for this coming summer although the possibility exists that next year might break the two-year low/high aphid cycle. … Continue reading

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Thick-cut pork promotion in Japan

Thick-cut pork chops and roasts are a staple of the American dinner table, but thinly sliced meats are more the standard for chefs and homemakers in Japan. To introduce consumers to new pork cooking techniques that work for larger cuts, U.S. Meat Export Federation-Japan hired popular cooking instructor Rika Yukimasa to develop U.S. pork recipes — including some for microwave cooking — that will be introduced during a two-month promotion that runs through the end of 2012.

“While pork is a popular choice for Japanese meals, thick-cut pork is not familiar to Japanese consumers or retailers,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, senior marketing director for USMEF-Japan.

USMEF introduced thick-cut U.S. pork at the spring FoodEx food show in Tokyo, and followed that with a promotion with Japanese retail giant Aeon at 2,000 stores across the country. Influenced by Aeon’s success, other nationwide and leading regional supermarkets have begun promoting U.S. thick-cut pork as well.… Continue reading

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USDA offering assistance after Hurricane Sandy

As the East Coast continues cleanup efforts from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced mobilized assistance. In addition, the USDA urges farmers to record losses from the historic storm.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week,” National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson said. “The past year has been a difficult one for farmers, and we are pleased to see continued support by the USDA. While we realize many farmers have finished harvesting corn on the east coast, the assistance provided by the USDA goes far beyond those with crops. We hope everyone in need finds some relief.”

USDA personnel are reaching out to all telecommunications, electric and water system customers in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy to assess any damages and offer full and immediate assistance where necessary. In addition, a list of available housing and emergency shelters has been given to FEMA. … Continue reading

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ARS research reduces piglet mortality

To help increase the survival of newborn piglets, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a new method that predicts animals’ mortality and nursing ability.

Physiologist Jeffrey Vallet and his colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Neb., call the measuring technique the “immunocrit,” which determines whether preweaning piglets receive adequate colostrum from the sow. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Preweaning mortality costs the U.S. swine industry an estimated $1.6 billion each year, and one of the contributing factors is deficient colostrum intake by piglets. The colostrum produced by a sow after giving birth contains immunoglobulins, or antibodies, which help build immunity against bacteria, viruses and other foreign elements. Piglets that fail to nurse and receive enough colostrum from their mother within the first 24 hours after birth usually die.… Continue reading

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