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ODA planting season assessment meeting

By Matt Reese

After another round of showers soaked the state, the Ohio Department of Agriculture called together an expert panel to assess the impact of the extreme wet spring weather.

At the top of the agenda was assessing how wet it really has been. In the last three months, Ohio has received half of its normal annual precipitation. So far in May, rainfall totals are 177% of normal for the month. The wet May followed the wettest April since Ohio has been keeping records. Ohio got 215% of normal rainfall for April. In addition, March had 150% of the normal rainfall and February got 205% of the normal rainfall.

James Ramey, the director of the Ohio Field Office for the National Agricultural Statistics Service, said the numbers regarding the corn planting progress are a clear reflection of the wet spring.

“In the history of the Ohio progress report, corn planting has never been this far behind. … Continue reading

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Grow Forward Program Partnership Between Ohio Agriculture & Ohio State Athletics

The Ohio State Athletic Department’s Buckeye Club has initiated a new program to engage one of Ohio State’s most loyal and passionate fan bases: Ohio Farmers. The “Grow Forward” program is a partnership between Ohio Agriculture and the Buckeye Club with an ultimate goal of fully supporting Ohio State’s student-athlete scholarship fund.

“The Buckeyes are Ohio’s team and we want to make sure rural communities are represented in the Horseshoe,” Jordan Birkemeier, Director of the Buckeye Club, said. “With our tremendous fan base inside the state, we want to make sure supporters know how they can make an impact on Ohio State student-athletes and receive access to season tickets. This initiative hopefully will educate people on how they can do both by joining the Buckeye Club.”

The Buckeye Club has partnered with four key organizations in Ohio to raise awareness of the Grow Forward program: the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA), the Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Corngrowers Association and the Ohio Farmers Union.… Continue reading

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Grow Forward Program Partnership Between Ohio Agriculture & Ohio State Athletics

The Ohio State Athletic Department’s Buckeye Club has initiated a new program to engage one of Ohio State’s most loyal and passionate fan bases: Ohio Farmers. The “Grow Forward” program is a partnership between Ohio Agriculture and the Buckeye Club with an ultimate goal of fully supporting Ohio State’s student-athlete scholarship fund.

“The Buckeyes are Ohio’s team and we want to make sure rural communities are represented in the Horseshoe,” Jordan Birkemeier, Director of the Buckeye Club, said. “With our tremendous fan base inside the state, we want to make sure supporters know how they can make an impact on Ohio State student-athletes and receive access to season tickets. This initiative hopefully will educate people on how they can do both by joining the Buckeye Club.”

The Buckeye Club has partnered with four key organizations in Ohio to raise awareness of the Grow Forward program: the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA), the Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Corngrowers Association and the Ohio Farmers Union.… Continue reading

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Funds to restore Great Lakes available to Lake Erie Watershed farmers

Farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin have the chance to sign up for a special program to improve water quality in the Great Lakes.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will pay a portion of the cost of conservation practices that keep sediment and nutrients on the land and out of the Lake.

“Impacts on Lake Erie water quality from harmful algal blooms and excessive sedimentation are a real issue to Ohio residents,” says Terry Cosby, NRCS State Conservationist.  “Water in the Lake Erie watershed provides drinking water for 11 million people. Over $10 billion is spent on recreation and tourism in the Lake Erie region every year.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding will be available to Ohio farmers through existing NRCS conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Through these programs, landowners receive technical and financial assistance to implement conservation activities on their land that conserve soil, water, air, and wildlife resources.… Continue reading

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Summer gas prices will likely stay under $4

Drivers have something worth honking their horns over: Summer gasoline prices likely will remain below $4 a gallon, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

Market conditions that caused oil prices to shoot past $110 a barrel have improved in recent weeks, pushing oil back under $100 a barrel, said Wally Tyner, an energy policy specialist. He cautioned that pump prices could rise again if oil production is interrupted.

Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of the summer driving season.

“If crude oil stays below $100 — meaning that there are no further production disruptions in the Middle East or elsewhere and we have no further weather conditions or other factors that cause refining outages — we have seen the worst,” Tyner said. “We can hope for steady or even somewhat falling prices over the next few months.”

Motorists have experienced severe gas pains this spring, with pump prices in some places topping $4.25 a gallon.… Continue reading

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Syngenta Launches New Seed Treatment

Syngenta announced today the launch of VIBRANCE™, a proprietary seed treatment fungicide based on the new active ingredient sedaxane. VIBRANCE, which has been tailored specifically for the seed treatment market, protects major crops against a wide range of diseases carried in soil and air as well as against seed infection. Its properties also result in outstanding protection of the entire plant root system.

John Atkin, Syngenta COO, said: “Research is increasingly focusing on the ability of roots to efficiently use water and nutrients as a key to further improvements in crop productivity. VIBRANCE is a major step towards integrated root health solutions and will play an important role in enforcing Syngenta‟s global leadership position in seed treatment.”

Recent results in the field demonstrate that VIBRANCE delivers enhanced root health leading to improved crop performance under a wide range of conditions. VIBRANCE is now available in Argentina for the coming growing season.… Continue reading

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Corn market continues to focus on production prospects

Two weeks ago, corn prices were declining rapidly, and experts pondered the likelihood of a recovery similar to those of September 2010, November 2010 and March 2011. The answer came quickly, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“By May 23, July 2011 futures traded within 14 cents of the contract high, and December 2011 futures traded within 7 cents of the contract high on May 19,” Good noted.

From the low on May 12 to the recent highs, July futures increased by one dollar, and December futures increased by 58 cents. Although the larger increase was in old-crop prices, the recovery was driven by concerns about the new crop. The price behavior was an attempt to slow consumption of old-crop corn in the face of concern about new crop supplies, he said.

“Domestic consumption of old-crop corn is likely proceeding at or above the rate projected by the USDA.… Continue reading

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New USDA guidelines lower pork cooking temperature

New cooking guidelines from the nation’s food-safety agency confirm Pork Checkoff research that shows pork can be consumed safely when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest time. The guidelines were announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).

The new recommended temperature is a significant 15 degrees less than what was previously recommended and typically will yield a finished product that is pinker in color than most home cooks are accustomed to.

“Our consumer research has consistently shown that Americans have a tendency to overcook common cuts of pork, resulting in a less-than-optimal eating experience,” said Dianne Bettin, a pork producer from Truman, Minn., and chair of the Checkoff’s Domestic Marketing Committee. “The new guidelines will help consumers enjoy pork at its most flavorful, juicy – and safe – temperature.”

The revised recommendation applies to pork whole-muscle cuts, such as loin, chops and roasts.… Continue reading

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Looking ahead for dairy farms

Midwest dairy managers continue catching up economically after a disastrous 2009 and 2010 business year, said Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois professor of animal sciences emeritus.

“Illinois milk producers need $17.00 per 100 pounds to cover feed, variable, fix, and labor costs with a modest return on assets,” Hutjens said. “Currently, milk prices have been favorable, but dairy managers need a full year of these margins to replace lost equity in 2009-2010.”

Several factors will be critical to maintain a successful 2011 dairy business model.

Hutjens said milk prices will depend on supply and demand with more than 13% of current U.S. milk solids being exported. World demand is important to keep supply and demand balanced, which may be impacted by the financial problems in some European countries and unrest in the Mideast.

“Corn price will also impact profit margin,” he said. “Late planting of corn in the Midwest, flooding along major rivers such as the Mississippi, and drought in the Southwest will impact corn and feed price.… Continue reading

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New Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarship Program created

Friends of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation (Foundation) are creating an endowment to recognize the career and life accomplishments of one of its most popular leaders. The Cindy Hollingshead Scholarship Fund will begin offering awards during the

2012-13 academic year.

“Cynthia (Cindy) Anne Hollingshead pursued a career and provided volunteer support for community activities during several decades of profound change,” said past OFBF Executive Vice President and Scholarship Committee Co-chairman C. William Swank.

Many farm and agribusiness leaders remember Hollingshead for her 39 years of service as OFBF executive secretary. She helped the organization transition from one that originally involved farmers and rural residents, to one which includes suburban and urban neighbors.

Residents of Groveport, Ohio knew Hollingshead for her work on the village’s charter committee and zoning board. She helped village government create planned growth strategies that balanced small town quality of life with the opportunities the larger, neighboring Columbus metro areas offered.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report-May 23rd

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 58.6 degrees, 3.9 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, May 22, 2011.  Precipitation averaged 0.99 inches, 0.19 inches above normal.  There were 70 modified growing degree days, 27 days below normal.

Reporters rated 0.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, May 20, 2011.  Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 14 percent adequate, and 86 percent surplus.


FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY MAY 22, 2011

Temperatures were below normal throughout the state, and most of the state received above normal rainfall for the week.  Rainfall kept farmers out of the fields.  Rainfall has been affecting everything from planting to hay harvest to fruit pollination.

As of Sunday May 22, corn was 11 percent planted, which was 76 percent behind last year and 69 percent behind the five-year average. … Continue reading

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Is late planting a reason to switch to Bt corn?

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D., Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc.

One of my customers producing non-GMO corn for premium recently expressed some concerns that later planted corn will get more corn borers. Should he switch to a Bt hybrid?

It is known that late plantings of corn are more subject to corn borer infestation than earlier plantings. However, those fields are more vulnerable when everything else around them is planted earlier. Then the moths are attracted to the later-planted fields because they prefer that stage for laying eggs.

One should also consider how often the corn borer is an economic factor. While it’s a factor almost every year in Iowa and the western Corn Belt, it’s a major factor only two to three years out of 15 in Indiana and Ohio. The risk of corn borer pressure would be higher this year due to later planting of all corn, but risk is relative and difficult to quantify.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance questions?

The incessant rain is putting Ohio corn and soybean producers in a tight spot this spring. As more soggy fields sit idle, the only things emerging are questions about how to handle the exasperating situation.

The potential for profits this year is still there, but at what point does delayed corn planting tip the scales in favor of preventative planting crop insurance options? What are those options? What about getting crops in the ground to feed a nearly unprecedented world demand? What could lower yields from late planting this year do to the farm in future years with regard to government farm programs and crop insurance coverage? How will farmers meet the feed demands of on-farm livestock or fill contracts that have been sold for strong prices?

These are just a few of the many quandaries facing Ohio agriculture as May (and the optimal corn planting dates) pass by. What are your top questions regarding crop insurance and Ohio’s record-breaking wet spring? Continue reading

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Mechanicsburg FFA Wins National Syngenta Video Contest

Mechanicsburg FFA in will be honored with a $3,000 prize for winning the Grand Champion first-place award in the Weeding out Hunger with Halex® GT FFA Video Challenge, sponsored by Syngenta. Mechanicsburg FFA competed against FFA chapters nationwide to become a finalist in the competition.

South Central High School FFA in Greenwich, Ohio, received a $500 prize for most original entry.

This is the first year Syngenta has hosted the Weeding out Hunger FFA Video Challenge. In January, National FFA chapters were invited to upload a short video through the Weeding out Hunger Facebook page describing the importance of FFA and agriculture in their community, and in providing for the food, fiber, fuel and feed needs of the nation.

After online voting and judging from a select panel including Syngenta, FFA and agricultural media representatives, Mechanicsburg FFA was chosen to receive the top prize. Students who participated in the video challenge will be rewarded with a pizza party on May 26 where Luke Lathan, local Syngenta sales representative, and Carroll Moseley, Syngenta herbicide brand manager will present the check.… Continue reading

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White-nose fungus infected bats and impact on agronomic crop pests

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

Recently, white-nose fungus was detected among bat populations in Ohio. White-nose fungus is a new disease of bats that is expanding westward across the country. It is a very serious pathogen that tends to awake bats during hibernation. Infected bats are then unable to hibernate and cannot survive the winter, causing massive mortality in bat populations. It is feared that white nose fungus will lead to local extinctions. Losing native bat populations is serious in of itself, but many species provide a valuable service — devouring insects. Most of what these bats eat includes mosquitoes, flies, and even some agronomic crop pests such as European corn borer and various corn rootworm species. Bats are an important part of a group of general predators that include both insects and vertebrates. For example, birds have been known to remove corn ear worm or western bean cutworm from infected ears.… Continue reading

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Late corn planting does not necessarily mean lower yields

Rainy weather is resulting in major delays in corn planting throughout Ohio. But farmers can still hold a sliver of hope that late planting won’t put a big dent in yields at harvest time.

Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist and scientist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and research associate Allen Geyer, examined trends related to planting dates and yields stretching back three decades. They reported their findings this week in the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (CORN) newsletter, available online at http://corn.osu.edu.

As of May 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that only 7% of Ohio’s corn crop had been planted. That’s 76% behind last year, and 63% behind the five-year average. Indiana farmers were faring a bit better, with 29% of the corn crop planted — but that’s still 56% behind last year and 37% behind the five-year average.… Continue reading

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A Tragic Loss for Ohio Agriculture

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Statement from Ohio Agriculture Director James Zehringer

“The World needs more great communicators like Lindsay Hill, Dale Minyo, and Gary Jackson.  The loss today of Lindsay’s passionate and articulate voice is a loss for agriculture and all Ohioans.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Lindsay and her family.”

By Ty Higgins

It seems that the Agriculture industry here in Ohio and around the Country is constantly trying to find a voice to combat naysayers and activist groups that want nothing more than to put Ag out of business. Thursday the Agriculture community’s voice became quite a bit quieter as Lindsay Hill, formerly of The ABN and current National Association of Farm Broadcasting President, was tragically killed in an auto accident.

I had the privilege, and I do mean privilege to work with Lindsay at the ABN.

She took her job as a Farm Broadcaster very seriously, almost as seriously as Buckeye Basketball.… Continue reading

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Will pricing 2011 corn now reduce downside revenue risk?

The bottom line is that 2011 is likely to be a profitable year for farmers. Determining just how profitable involves a complicated equation that includes number of bushels per acre, price per bushel, level of Revenue Protection (RP) and hedging. An issue of University of Illinois Farm Economics Facts and Opinions looked at some of the possible scenarios to help farmers juggle the numbers and the risk.

“Most people are buying Revenue Protection insurance products,” said U of I agricultural economist and farm management specialist Gary Schnitkey. “We wanted to know if you had to hedge grain now, what its impacts would be at several levels of RP and at no insurance just to get a feel for how much risk is mitigated by different amounts hedged.”

Schnitkey compared the RP at 85% coverage level, 75% coverage level and 65% coverage level and no insurance for a central Illinois farm with a 184-bushel average yield.… Continue reading

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Despite the rain, corn is still king

By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, Northern Ohio

As I sit in my office overlooking the yard and the wheat field across the road, I hear that all too familiar sound of raindrops hitting my window. The calendar says May 17 and once again we are in wait mode. Now I am a positive guy and I learned a long time ago do not curse the weather. In fact, if you ask my kids they will tell you daddy says, “Never buck the rain.” But it takes every fiber in my being not to get down, anxious, and downright frustrated.

With that being said, I believe my job is to give you the facts, help you build a successful production plan, and above all be your optimistic point of view. So hear are some tips to think about, focus on, and overall stay positive.

Don’t give up on corn. It is still king.… Continue reading

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