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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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FDA ordered to act on antibiotic use in livestock

A New York Federal Judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to complete a regulatory course of action it set in motion 35 years ago to discontinue the use of penicillin and tetracycline in livestock feed. FDA says it’s studying the Judge’s opinion and considering appropriate next steps.

 Ironically – the ruling comes as the agency prepares to implement industry-supported steps to curb antibiotic use in food-producing animals.

“For two years the FDA has been working on a collaborative process with stakeholders to eliminate some therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics and increase vet oversight,” said Ron Phillips of the Animal Health Institute. “What this does is distracts FDA from that process.”

Back in 1977 – FDA notified the public of its intent to hold hearings on proposals to ban penicillin and tetracycline as growth promoters in cattle, hogs and chickens. No hearings were ever held and the agency took no action until last December – when it withdrew the original notice.… Continue reading

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Growth regulator herbicides for burndown applications

Weeds can be controlled prior to planting corn or soybean by using preplant tillage, herbicides, or both, according to Aaron Hager, associate professor of weed science at the University of Illinois.

Weed control may be improved when more than one active herbicide ingredient is included in the burndown application. Burndown applications often include growth-regulator herbicides, such as 2,4-D. Both amine and ester formulations of 2,4-D are labeled for preplanting burndown applications, but the ester formulation is usually preferred over the amine formulation.

“The low water solubility of an ester makes it less likely to be moved into the soil by precipitation, where it could injure germinating crop seeds,” he said.

Also, esters are better able to penetrate the waxy surfaces of weed leaves, so they provide better control of large weeds, especially when air temperatures are cool. Some 2,4-D ester formulations can be applied without a waiting period before planting corn, while a seven-day wait is recommended for others.… Continue reading

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NASS discontinues Dairy Products Prices Report

Effective this month, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is no longer releasing its weekly Dairy Products Prices report. Going forward, these data will be collected and published by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as outlined in the amended Dairy Product Mandatory Reporting Program, required by the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010.… Continue reading

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Forage growth is exploding

By Victor Shelton, NRCS Grazing Specialist

Forage growth, soil temperatures and even mushrooms are all early this year. The warm weather and soil have many producers scratching their head trying to figure out what is best to do. Weather patterns are certainly a lot different than they were last year and at least for the moment, it is a dry spring.

Forage growth is just exploding. It is at least three weeks early in most of the state and pushing us in making decisions about getting livestock grazing earlier than ever on new growth. Forages seem to be denser than normal. Most of region did not have the normal freezing depths this winter and I’m not sure that some areas ever did freeze up completely; that is most likely having an impact on the growth also.

Most pasture fields that had good residual left over winter and sufficient fertility have rebounded extremely well and are ready for some early grazing.Continue reading

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Multiple verses effective modes of action

Interest in using multiple modes of herbicide action in weed management programs is increasing, according to Aaron Hager, University of Illinois associate professor of weed science.

However, each component of a herbicide premix or tankmix with multiple modes of action is not necessarily effective for every weed or under all application conditions. For example, giant ragweed, a large-seeded, summer annual, broadleaf weed species, can be difficult to control with a single herbicide. Because of its extended germination and emergence characteristics, farmers may have to use more than one herbicide or multiple herbicide applications.

While herbicide resistance has been found in giant ragweed populations, it is not as common or widespread as herbicide resistance in other weed species. Many soil-residual herbicide premixes containing two or more active ingredients are available to farmers who want to be proactive and use multiple modes of action to reduce the selection for herbicide resistance in giant ragweed.… Continue reading

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FSA CRP general signup deadline extended to April 13

Steve Maurer, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, announced that general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will be extended to April 13, 2012. During this extended signup period, landowners may offer eligible land for CRP’s competitive general signup at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring on September 30, 2012, may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this signup are scheduled to become effective October 1, 2012.

FSA, which administers the CRP, will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) that shows the environmental benefits of enrolling land in CRP. There are six factors that make up the EBI: wildlife, water, soil, air, enduring benefits and cost. Decisions will be made following the end of the sign-up period and after analyzing EBI data on all of the offers.… Continue reading

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Broin steps down as POET CEO

Jeff Lautt was named CEO of POET, the ethanol company announced today. Lautt has been with POET since 2005, serving most recently as President of the company. Company founder Jeff Broin will step down after 25 years as the CEO but will continue managing and leading the company’s board as Executive Chairman.

“For the past 25 years, Jeff Broin has led POET and the entire ethanol industry,” said Lautt. “He has grown POET from one small plant to a leadership position in the global renewable fuels industry. With the help of the entire team at POET, I will do my best to continue building on the success the company has achieved.”

Jeff Lautt has been with POET since early 2005 and has served as its President since 2011. Prior to that, he was the Executive Vice President of Corporate Operations. In that position, Lautt was responsible for all operational business units within POET.… Continue reading

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National Corn Growers set membership record

The National Corn Growers Association reached a new record high number of members, 37,231, at the end of March.  The previous record of 37,160 was set in August 2011.

“It is inspiring to see the level of support for our programs and activities that this new membership record suggests,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, who farms near Auburn, Ill. “This increased level of involvement makes obvious the value members believe NCGA staff and grower leaders provide to them and to the industry as a whole.”

NCGA membership offers many benefits, including leadership opportunities, academic scholarships and discounts.  Members play an active role in organizational leadership by shaping the direction of activities and influencing public policy that affects all farmers.  Additionally, membership provides valuable discounts with companies such as Office Depot, Dell, Cabela’s, Ford and Enterprise, and special access to official NASCAR information, including discounted tickets and merchandise.

In addition to representing individual members, NCGA is part of a federation in cooperation with  the many state-level grower associations and checkoff boards. … Continue reading

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Seedstock Improvement Bull Sale

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is hosting a Seedstock Improvement Bull Sale scheduled for Saturday, April 14 at the Union Stock Yards Company in Hillsboro. The sale starts at Noon. This sale offers an affordable way to buy bulls from multiple breeds in one location and on one day. Buyers have the assurance of buying bulls with known genetics, a completed vaccination protocol and a breeding soundness exam. This year there are 51 bulls consigned to the sale at the Union Stock Yards.

Catalogs are now available for the sale at The bulls in the sale range in age from one to two years and are all registered and have Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs.) The bulls are placed in sale order based on a within breed evaluation star system using EPDs for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk, marbling, and rib eye area. Breeds represented are Angus, Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, and Sim-Angus.Continue reading

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More pesticide concerns with bees

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

Over the past decade we have discussed the need for growers to be careful when applying foliar insecticides to their crops because of the potential for harming bees that might be foraging for nectar if the crop or nearby plants are in bloom, and to manage their applications carefully to reduce the possibility of drift.

Recent articles in the popular press and newspapers, including Saturday in the Columbus Dispatch, bring up another possible concern, that being the use of a relatively new class of insecticides, neonicotinoids, which are related to nicotine found in tobacco.  In field crops, their main use is as seed treatments, and includes the insecticides clothianidin (Poncho), thiamethoxam (Cruiser), and imidacloprid. Recent studies out of Purdue and labs in Europe suggest that the use of clothianidin as a seed treatment might impact bees, either by causing mortality or more likely affecting their behavior and preventing bees from returning to their hives.… Continue reading

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E15 takes the next step

At a time when gas prices are on the rise, the approval today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of E15 blended fuel, with 15% ethanol, is a good milestone of progress for the industry and a boon to the U.S. economy, according to the National Corn Growers Association. EPA approved the first applications for registering ethanol for use in making E15; however, there are other steps that must be taken at the federal, state and local levels before it will be seen in gas stations.

“We’ve been working for a long time to make E15 a real choice for drivers, and we’re happy to see this step forward,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “We hope that within a matter of months we can get this important blend into vehicles to help decrease our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and help bring gas prices down.”

Click here for information from the EPA on E15 and an explanation of the thorough registration process.… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Progess Report for April 2nd


The average temperature for the State was 48.6 degrees, 2.9 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, April 1, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.30 inches, 0.46 inches below normal. There were 43 modified growing degree days, 11 days above normal.

Reporters rated 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, March 30, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 29 percent surplus.


Temperatures were above normal and precipitation below normal throughout the state; however a heavy freeze during the night of March 27 may negatively impact this year’s apple and peach crop. 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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Timely engagement important to good neighbor relations

By Dave White, with the Ohio Livestock Coalition

A recent, real-life Facebook conversation began with a post by a woman whose home butts up against a farm field near a medium-sized town in the Midwest. The early spring weather had farmers in the field sooner than usual and likewise, rural residents were happy to be able to open their windows to enjoy the fresh country air:

“Last night the person who farms the 10 to 20 acres behind us sprayed an ammonia substance that left us running to the windows to close them as quickly as possible. For hours my eyes were burning, my throat was sore, and every joint in my body ached. The kids were so miserable that we left for several hours.”

Friend #1 replied:

“I feel for you. You … can be the manpower behind protecting your kids. Get a petition going at minimum. Either for organic farming or to set specific spraying times so everyone can be prepared.”… Continue reading

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Sprayer calibration saves money and pesticides

Spring is a good time for corn and soybean growers to calibrate sprayers to avoid wasting money and applying the wrong amount of pesticides, says an Ohio State University agricultural engineer.

Approximately 66 to 77% of all growers who spray pesticides spray too much or too little, which not only can waste money, but also cause crop losses, said Erdal Ozkan.

He said growers need to inspect sprayers for proper gallons-per-acre application rates, and calibrate them early and often.

“If you don’t calibrate your sprayer frequently, it’s as if you were driving your car with a speedometer that doesn’t work,” said Ozkan, who also is a professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a researcher with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “You assume you know what speed you are traveling at from habit, but you are not really sure. The problem with a sprayer is that nozzles wear out with use, application rates change with different field conditions, and traveling speeds also change.… Continue reading

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Cover crops worth considering

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Associate Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc.

At a recent Conservation Tillage Conference, Dave Robison gave an interesting presentation about legume cover crops. While farmers are beginning to work with and see the benefits of cover crops, they may want to consider adding legumes into their mix of cover crops.

Legumes will fix N, can have a deep fibrous root system, and will cause an increase in soil biological activity. As one speaker at the conference said, cover crops can be like “giving your earthworms Red Bull.” For interesting information on the benefits of no-till and cover crops check out this article on Robison’s website.

Some legumes you may want to consider for cover crops are medium red clover, crimson clover, Austrian winter pea, cowpea, and hairy vetch. It is important for producers to select the right cover crops that will benefit their specific management practices. Below are some possible benefits of growing legume cover crops:

  • · Some legume cover crops can fix 90+ units of N
  • · Small top growth can still result in 20 to 30 in of root growth
  • · Deep fibrous root systems will improve soil quality and promote biological activity
  • · Other cover crops (such as radishes) will have better growth when planted along with a legume cover crop.
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