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Stewarding soybeans, livestock, and neighborly relations on the edge of suburbia

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

Perrysburg Ohio, with a population of over 25,000 is on the southeast edge of Toledo and is a booming community. The city’s water towers, new housing developments and warehouses are within eye shot of Eckel Grain Farm and Cattle Company. The Eckel family has been farming in northern Wood County for six generations. Nathan, Nick, and Nolan Eckel, along with the help of their grandfather, have been farming fertile lakebed soils since the boys’ father passed away in 2010.

The Eckels grow approximately 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and some hay, as well as have a feedlot for Holstein steers. Their operation stretches 20 miles (10 miles either way from the base of operations) with new housing developments and suburban expansion mixed throughout. One of the challenges they experience with urban sprawl is the traffic congestion and taking large equipment down narrow roads to travel from one field to another.… Continue reading

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Preparing planters for storage

Once spring planting has been completed and the planter has been put away in the shop or machine shed, it may be tempting to let it sit there until next season since there’s other work to be done. Planter experts, however, say that could risk having problems next spring.

“For your planter to run at peak performance, efficiency and accuracy, what you do now to properly store it is just as important, if not more important, than how you prepare for planting next spring,” said Brad Niensteadt, lead product specialist with Kinze Manufacturing.

Niensteadt offers this checklist for putting away the planter properly. Depending on planter type, not all items may apply.

• Store the planter in a sheltered area if at all possible. Moisture and planters are not a good combination. Plus, the trade-in value will be much better if you keep it inside.

• Remove all dirt and trash wrapped on sprockets and shafts.… Continue reading

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New online database boosts fertilizer knowledge sharing

When growing crops, fertilizer is a critical component. Too often, however, knowing what type of fertilizer to use, how much to apply, where, and when for peak crop production can be a major challenge for growers. 

Soil scientists and agronomists at The Ohio State University are part of a national team of over 100 agricultural professionals that has launched a new tool to pave the way for future advancements in crop nutrient management. The team represents nearly 50 universities, USDA, not-for-profit organizations, and one private sector partner. 

Manbir Rakkar, assistant professor of soil fertility and nutrient management in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, Environmental, and Environmental Sciences, is part of the team and is excited about the new online national soil fertility database and decision support tool, called the Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool (FRST). 

“FRST provides unbiased, science-based interpretation of soil test phosphorus and potassium values for crop fertilization from across the U.S.… Continue reading

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Consumer trends and promotion of underutilized meat cuts

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is looking for ways to build demand in international markets for beef and pork cuts that have limited domestic use.

USMEF director of trade analysis Jessica Spreitzer recently moderated a panel of USMEF representatives working in Mexico, South America, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, who highlighted marketing efforts showcasing the attributes of underutilized U.S. cuts. Spreitzer discussed USMEF strategies to develop demand for cuts specifically from the pork loin and beef round primals, pointing to estimates that loin exports now account for about 20% of U.S. production, up from roughly 10% five years ago. On export demand for underutilized beef cuts, she noted that export markets account for 42% of the total U.S. production of the gooseneck round, 30% of the chuck shoulder clod and 18% of top inside round.

“The export side adds pricing competition, potential customers and ultimately brings added value to these underutilized cuts,” Spreitzer said.… Continue reading

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Fundrasing efforts ramp up after devastating horse barn fire

A devastating barn fire in Logan County claimed the lives of 44 horses in June and one man was seriously injured at Brant Performance and Priest Performance Horses near Belle Center.

Eric Priest, the owner of Priest Performances Horses, suffered second- and third-degree burns, but is expected to recover. The 60,000-square-foot barn that housed around 85 horses and had employee living quarters is considered a total loss, estimated to be over $1 million. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but no foul play is suspected.

There has been a significant outpouring of generosity in the wake of the fire. GoFundMe pages for the involved families are (Brant) and (Priest). In addition, there is an auction fund raiser, Brant and Priest Family Fund Raiser, that will take place from June 24-26. They’re currently taking donations. From custom riding gear and training services to breedings and veterinary care, the community has been busy donating various items and services.… Continue reading

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It’s not too early to take action: Minimize vomitoxin at harvest

By Luke Schulte, CCA, Beck’s Hybrids

The wide planting window throughout the state has led to a large variance in the growth stage of our corn crops. However, for some, fungicide season will be here before we know it.

Over the years, vomitoxin (VOM) in corn has become increasingly more common. Much of this is due to the increase of relative humidity levels post-pollination. Vomitoxin begins as gibberella ear mold. The causal pathogen, fusarium graminearum, is present to some degree in most all fields but is especially abundant in fields with a history of gib ear mold, fields with minimal air movement, and often corn after corn fields.

Infection primarily enters the ear via silk channels, particularly the straggler green, unpollinated silks remaining after pollen shed has concluded.

Infection primarily enters the ear via silk channels, particularly the straggler green, unpollinated silks remaining after pollen shed has concluded. The fungus will attach and grow down the silk to infect the ear.… Continue reading

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Financial stress testing for farms

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

It is no secret that there are some economic concerns right now for many in the agricultural sector, and it may be a good time for farms to assess how they are positioned to withstand potential challenges ahead.

“The recent USDA report of net farm profits going down 27% definitely pushes us to consider stress testing,” said Brock Burcham, regional vice president of ag lending for Farm Credit Mid America (FCMA). “Stress testing is a way that you can model how extreme or unfavorable circumstances in the marketplace will impact a specific operation so you can be prepared for what you don’t know and play with the numbers. Three of the numbers that we like to focus on when we’re looking at stress testing are working capital, our interest expense ratio and our net farm income. All of our decisions can impact each of those three numbers and we encourage folks to look at those three to help make their decisions for their next purchase or investment.”… Continue reading

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Farmland losses far outpace preservation

By Matt Reese

Ohio farmland is a long taken-for-granted resource providing the very basis for our society, economy and culture; and we continue to rapidly pave over it with dreams of improving our society, economy and culture. 

With this in mind, I may be the only person who thinks about farmland preservation every time I hear the classic song “Just my imagination (running away with me)”by The Temptations. Specifically, the second verse of the song shifts my imagination to, in my opinion, the biggest challenge facing Ohio agriculture:

Soon we’ll be married and raise a family (Oh yeah)
A cozy little home out in the country
With two children, maybe three. 

The Temptations beautifully croon about part of the challenge of preserving farmland very clearly. It seems almost foundational to the American Dream to leave the confines of the city to build a home for a better life in the country.… Continue reading

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Bower elected NCGA vice president

The National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) Corn Board has elected Jed Bower, of Washington Court House, Ohio, as the organization’s next first vice president for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2024. 

 “It is an honor to be elected to this role by my fellow board members,” Bower said. “With a new strategic plan in place, this is an exciting time to serve in a leadership role on the board. I look forward to working with my fellow board members, in partnership with grower leaders and staff from across our national and state partner organizations, to lead NCGA toward a future that I am confident will best serve U.S. corn growers”

Bower raises corn and soybeans with his wife Emily and children Ethan and Emma on their fifth-generation family farm. Bower is a current NCGA board member, who serves as board liaison to the organization’s Stewardship Action Team, Field to Market and the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture research.… Continue reading

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A talk with Chris Winslow about what Stone Lab and the Ohio Sea Grant are doing for farmers

Ohio Field Leader’s Dusty Sonnenberg gets a behind-the-scenes look at the research going on at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab with Director Chris Winslow. They discuss the work being done by the Ohio Sea Grant to help inform farm practices and decisions through the H2Ohio program.

Ohio Field Leader is brought to you by Ohio soybean farmers and their checkoff.… Continue reading

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Is foliar feeding soybeans worth it given the current market?

Field Agronomist Luke Schulte joins us in the latest agronomy update from Beck’s Hybrids. In this video, we dive into what Practical Farm Research tells us about when foliar feeding soybeans is worth it – a timely consideration given current commodity prices. Tune in to learn more!

More from Beck’s online at reading

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A decade of the 4Rs

By Matt Reese

Though I can get there if I really think about it, it is hard for me to remember a time when I did not know what the 4Rs stood for. It seems for a while, the program founded on the principles of applying fertilizers at the right source, right rate, right time, and right place was an ever-present staple of just about every story I wrote.

Leading up to the Toledo water crises in August of 2014, the groundwork was already being proactively implemented by the agricultural community to address the role of excess farm nutrient runoff into Ohio waterways. Now commemorating 10 years of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, the simple, science-based 4Rs have proven to be effective as certified retailers have been working with farmers and crop consultants to put those principles into practice.

Among the first retailers to gain 4R Certification was the Legacy Farmers Cooperative with five agronomy locations in the Western Lake Erie Basin.… Continue reading

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Celebrating and selling Western-style and culture at (Mid)Western Second Hand

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

In 2003, Reid Curtis was looking for a place to live a quieter, more slow-paced life in rural Ohio that had open spaces and a close-knit community where he could raise some farm animals, in contrast to the environs of Columbus that he was leaving. He found Somerset.

With its quaint downtown featuring centuries-old buildings, brick sidewalks, and a statue of Civil War General and native son Philip Sheridan in the town center, the village of Somerset, nestled on the northern edge of Appalachia, was a perfect place to settle in and then later establish his business.

Coming from a high intensity retail work environment which he had been enmeshed in for decades, Curtis needed a change in work and lifestyle when he moved to Perry County and then opened (Mid)Western Second Hand in November of 2020 in downtown Somerset. His past experiences prepared him for running his own retail store and informed his philosophy for the store.… Continue reading

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The wily wandering ways of wildlife

By Barb Lumley

With the coming of spring and summer comes the emergence and appearance of bugs and animals of all kinds. Birth and reproduction occurs all over our country. As the various animals and creatures grow and mature they must seek their own place or natural habitat. Occasionally some of them do not wind up in the places where you would normally expect to find them.

A few days ago a friend of mine went down to her basement with plans to do her laundry. She noticed that her dryer vent tube was hanging down. Further investigation revealed that it was heavy. She noticed leaves on the floor, which was very weird due to the location of her basement next to the steps. She pulled the tube down, looked into it and it was plugged. She immediately pitched it out the basement door and when it landed a baby possum ran out the end that she had looked into and ran into the flowers.… Continue reading

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Neutral report as USDA punts again

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Report highlights: USDA punts…again!! No changes in corn and soybean, crush or exports.

Trade expectations: U.S. soybean exports or crush to decline while U.S. soybean ending stocks for 2023/24 increase. Lower corn and soybean production numbers for Brazil and Argentina were also anticipated.

Following the noon USDA report release, corn up 1 cent, soybeans down 4 cents, and wheat  down 12 cents. Just before the report was released, corn up 2 cents, soybeans down 1 cent, and wheat down 10 cents.

US 2023/24 ending stocks: corn 2022  billion bushels, last month 2.022 billion bushels; soybeans  350 million bushels, last month 340 million bushels; and wheat 688 million bushels, last month 688 million bushels.

Trader estimates for 2023/24 ending stocks were: corn 2.009 billion bushels, soybeans 346 million bushels, and wheat 688 million bushels.

US 2024/25 ending stocks: corn 2.102 billion bushels, last month 2.102; soybeans 455 million bushels, last month 445 million bushels; and wheat 758 million bushels, last month 766 million bushels.… Continue reading

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Big report day June 28

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

This week we saw the first crop conditions released, and the assessment was the crop is starting off in really good shape. Additionally, the market senses the corn crop will get planted, but how many acres will there be?

Corn acre estimates for the June 28 report are ranging between 87 million and 93 million, which is a very wide spread. Assuming 180 bushels can be raised on each acre, that is a 1-billion-bushel production difference.

A 1 billion bushels change in carryout could mean a 2.2 billion carryout next year and would likely send December corn below $4.00. However, having only a 1.2 billion carryout could send December corn to $8.

This means the June 28 report will likely be the most important USDA report of the year.

Can trendline yield still happen?

Many market participants are saying a trendline yield is no longer possible; however, I think it is way too early to say that.… Continue reading

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Right foot, left foot

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

This was a column I never expected to write, or thought I could, sharing my grieving with the sudden loss of my wife Cindy in May.  

Cindy encouraged me immensely in writing the Ohio’s Country Journal columns. It allowed me the opportunity few writers have, just write. Her objective was to make sure the content made sense. If it didn’t make sense to her, I knew I needed to provide clarification. She did not want confused readers.

It has been my highest privilege to share thoughts about Ohio’s agriculture over numerous columns which have spanned 20 plus years. Some columns flowed easily when there was much to share about Ohio and U.S. agriculture, detailing that grain prices were intertwined with local and global events. Others came with great difficulty even staring at a blank screen at times.

Shortly, after my columns began, Cindy pointed out that other Ohio’s Country Journal columns would often begin with a personal story.… Continue reading

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Statewide Slug Monitoring Project

Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2024-17 by Dr. Kelley Tilmon

As we move into June, we continue to receive reports of slug damage on soybeans across Ohio. Slugs are more likely to be found in no-till fields where cover crops are grown. Slugs feed directly on the soybean, causing both seed and foliar damage that can result in complete loss of the plant. Because slugs are nocturnal, when you scout your fields, slugs may not be present; however, you may see signs of slug feeding such as holes in the cotyledon or slime trails. You are more likely to find slugs actively present in your field if you scout early in the morning or on cloudy/rainy days.

Soybean fields that were planted within the last 2 weeks into no-till fields should be scouted for slug damage. Slugs can cause significant damage to young soybean plants at the VE stage compared to older plants that can outgrow the damage.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awarded $57,000 in scholarships

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded over $57,000 in scholarships to students across the state. Annually, the foundation recognizes Ohio students for their academic effort, community engagement and career interests that link agriculture to community service, education, or scientific research.

According to Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Board President Amy McCormick, the foundation has been unwavering in its commitment, placing an intentional focus on its mission to inspire and educate future leaders in agriculture. It’s a commitment that goes beyond mere words; it materializes in the form of financial support through scholarships, directly impacting the lives of students.

“The stories of these scholarship recipients aren’t just impressive — they’re a testament to the vibrant future of farming and food production,” McCormick said. “Every application we review showcases the dedication, ingenuity and leadership these students will bring to agricultural careers. It’s our privilege to support their growth and watch them blossom. This isn’t just investment; it’s an investment in the very fabric of Ohio’s thriving agriculture scene.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 351 | Diving into water quality, cute sheep, and dairy month

In this episode, Matt Reese dives into the issue of water quality with Jordan Hoewischer, Director of Water Quality and Research for Ohio Farm Bureau. They discuss the 2024 algal bloom forecast, the importance of the 4Rs in farming, the latest Lake Erie lawsuit, and strides in water quality progress.

Matt also chats with Paige Scott from Legacy Farmer Co-op about the practical applications of the 4Rs, and Fred Hayes from Portage County shares insights on the world’s cutest sheep breed.

Meanwhile, Dale Minyo celebrates June Dairy Month in a conversation with Scott Higgins, highlighting an update of dairy farming in Ohio.… Continue reading

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