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NRCS extends sign-up period for conservation stewardship program applications

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the ranking period cut-off date for producer applications in NRCS’ Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to January 7, 2011. “We’re extending the deadline for applications to CSP to provide agricultural producers more time to complete their applications,” White said. “This will help farmers, ranchers and forestry producers by giving them more time and hopefully allow even more producers to participate in this program.” CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off dates for ranking periods. The program provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancement and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change. All producers are encouraged to apply for CSP. The program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship.… Continue reading

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Beware of planting wheat after corn

Ohio growers following wheat planting after corn harvest should be mindful of the potential for head scab development in their crop.

Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, said that recurring disease problems — ear rot and stalk rot in corn in 2009 and head scab in wheat in 2010 — may pave the way for continuing issues if weather conditions favor head scab development during the 2011 growing season.

“Wheat and corn are both members of the grass family, and as such, are affected by some of the same pests and diseases, one of which being head scab,” said Paul, who also holds an Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center appointment.

Head scab, a major disease of wheat that affects the crop during the flowering stage, is caused by the same fungus (Fusarium graminearum) that causes ear and stalk rot in corn.

“So even if the cornfield into which wheat is planted did not have a major ear rot or stalk rot problem this year, the fungus still is present in the corn stubble left in the field after harvest.… Continue reading

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Wheat recognized during National School Lunch Week

A campaign designed to educate students about the importance of nutritious school lunches also highlights the role of wheat and whole grains.

National School Lunch Week is October 11-15. The tribute raises awareness about how healthy food options for elementary and secondary students at lunchtime improve their academic potential and wellbeing.

Wheat is a staple ingredient in school lunchrooms nationwide because of its many nutritional advantages. It contains large amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Research has shown its influence in reducing the risk of diabetes, breast cancer, gallstones, inflammation and several cardiovascular conditions.

Whole grains are becoming more integrated in school menus. Wheat is one of the most widely grown and most preferred whole grains available for consumption in the world. In fact, wheat is America’s most consumed grain and is also the principal ingredient of flour.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) released a study June 30, which included responses from 538 school nutrition directors managing school-district foodservice operations in 44 states, that revealed 95 percent of schools districts are increasing offerings of whole-grain products.… Continue reading

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Green stems slowing soybean harvest

The 2010 soybean harvest looks promising for many growers, but green soybean plants and stems may reduce harvest speed this fall.

“Green stems, sometimes referred to as ‘green stem syndrome’ or ‘green stem disorder’ occur when stems remain green even though pods and seeds yield and mature fine,” Vince Davis, University of Illinois Extension soybean specialist. “The condition can range from a nearly normal number of pods on a plant with green stems, to entire plants that remain green with few pods and no seeds developed.”

Entire plants that remain green can easily persist until a killing frost occurs, he said. These cases can also range from entirely genetic to entirely environmental causes.

“Genetic causes in nature are due to male sterility, causing plants to set about 85% fewer pods resulting in 4.5 times greater carbohydrate concentrations in the root, stem, and leaf matter,” he said. “In 2006, Curtis Hill and fellow researchers evaluated 1,187 different MGI and MGII cultivars in Illinois from 2001 to 2004 and found some relationships between percentages of green stem to certain cultivars suggesting better variety selection may be possible.”… Continue reading

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Protect pasture leaf area in the fall

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County, Buckeye Hills EERA

I’ve gotten some questions recently about pasture management during dry fall conditions. Specifically, how will future pasture production be affected by grazing off pasture leaf area now, in the fall? The short answer to that question is that pasture production will be harmed by grazing off leaf area at this time. Now, let’s examine the reasons behind the answer and some management options.

Fall is the time when the perennial plant prepares for winter. As a perennial plant, the root system remains alive over the winter and depends upon stored carbohydrate reserves to survive and to regenerate new growth the following spring. Manufacture of those carbohydrate reserves depends upon photosynthesis. Photosynthesis depends upon leaves capturing sunlight. More leaf area equals more sunlight captured, higher photosynthetic rates and higher levels of carbohydrates produced for winter storage. As we go farther into the fall, grass growth rate slows down considerably, but photosynthesis can still occur at productive rates, provided there is adequate leaf area.… Continue reading

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Early harvest leaves time for cover crops

With harvest already out of the way for some Ohio corn and soybean producers, there may be ample time this fall to repair compaction-damaged fields.

Randall Reeder, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer, encourages growers to explore cover crops (legumes or grasses) as a way of alleviating compaction issues.

“Subsoiling is an obvious and common technique to break up soil and smooth out rutted fields,” said Reeder, who also holds a research appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “But cover crops are a natural biological plow and may be an attractive option to solve some compaction issues, while getting the added soil and environmental benefits that cover crops bring to ag production management.”

Ohio State University Extension research has found that cover crops incorporated into a continuous no-till field crop rotation can produce enough nitrogen to complement, or in some cases, replace corn nitrogen fertilizer applications. In addition, cover crops improve the soil structure, support microbial diversity, facilitate drainage, reduce soil erosion, reduce nutrient leaching, store carbon, suppress weeds, enhance wildlife and serve as a forage product.

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Federal Court decides Ohio dairy labeling case

By Peggy Hall, Ohio State University Extension

The federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled in International Dairy Foods Assoc. v. Boggs, a controversial case long anticipated by Ohio’s agricultural interests.  At the center of the controversy is Ohio’s dairy labeling rule, adopted  by the Ohio Department of Agriculture in 2008.  Prior to the rule, many dairy producers who did not use the genetically engineered hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) included language on their product labels that indicated the product as “rbST free” or “from cows not treated with rbST.”  Many others in the agricultural and dairy industries objected to such language, claiming that it was false and misleading and suggested that  “rbST free” dairy products were superior to others.  In response to such concerns, Governor Strickland directed the ODA to “define what constitutes false and misleading labels on milk and milk products” and to require dairy producers claiming that they do not use rbST to submit supporting documentation and create labels containing representations consistent with the Food and Drug Administration’s findings that there is no significant difference between milk from rbST-treated and untreated cows.… Continue reading

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OARDC tornado damage video on the Web

Ohio State University tree experts show tornado damage to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and its Secrest Arboretum in Wooster in a new video posted Oct. 1 on YouTube.

The images come from areas that continue to remain off-limits to the public — the main OARDC campus and its 120-acre arboretum — following a Sept. 16 tornado strike.

Part one is at

Part two is at

Narrators Jim Chatfield, an Ohio State University Extension horticulture specialist based in Wooster, and Bruce Cubberley, an assistant professor of horticulture technologies at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), also in Wooster, look at which trees were lost, which ones survived, how to know if a damaged tree can be saved and more.

“It’s about mourning, but it’s also about learning and looking to the future,” Chatfield says in the video.

“We will put this material to use” — with ATI horticulture students, in OSU Extension outreach programs — “because that’s what we’re about: bringing knowledge to life.”… Continue reading

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The market for club pigs: This little piggy sold online

By Brian Roe and Tim Wyszynski, Ohio State University

The performance of brick and mortar institutions relative to Internet alternatives is of increasing interest for agriculture.  With Internet penetration rising steadily among US farm households (59% in 2009 vs. 29% in 1999), online markets hold great promise for increasing market efficiency, particularly for items where local markets are thin and search costs are high.  However, online markets must overcome issues of trust (Does the item meet its description? Will the seller actually send it?).  Furthermore, Internet markets are newer and need to attract enough buyers and sellers away from traditional markets in order to have a liquid market.  Once these barriers are overcome, questions still remain about whether online prices are comparable to prices in traditional markets.  For example, Ohio State research found that used tractor prices on eBay were 30% lower than similarly described tractors sold in traditional auctions.

One place where Internet sales have developed a foothold is in the club pig market. … Continue reading

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Ohio Weekly Crop Progress Report for October 4th


This week was dry and cool throughout the state, except for a day of rain mid-week. Dry field conditions allowed producers to harvest grain, fruit and vegetable crops, and plant winter wheat.
As of Sunday October 3, 90 percent of corn was mature, compared to 43 percent last year and 71 percent for the five-year average. Thirty- six percent of corn for grain has been harvested in the State, compared to 4 percent last year and 8 percent for the five-year average. Ninety-five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 86 percent last year and 93 percent for the five-year average. Soybeans were 80 percent mature, which was 32 percent ahead of last year and 17 percent ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans harvested were reported at 43 percent, up 34 percent from last year and up 23 percent from the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Renowned Corn Breeder Joins Seed Consultants

Dave Nanda joins Seed Consultants Inc. as Director of Genetics and Technology. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from around the world to the Eastern Corn Belt. Before coming to the United States, he worked with the Rockefeller Foundation in India collecting corn and millets germplasm.  He holds a PhD in Agronomy and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and also worked closely with Dekalb Seed Operations in Argentina, India and Europe.

Throughout his career he has focused on plant breeding, product development and selection. He looks forward to helping Eastern Corn Belt farmers with agronomics, corn genetics and new technologies. “With the fast changing world of genetics and technology, I think a company such as SCI needs personnel who can communicate with other scientists, seed consultants and farmers.” Dave has been communicating with farmers as a consultant to Prairie Farmer magazine since 2007 and he’s known as CornDoc1 on Twitter, a social network.… Continue reading

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The Man Behind the Mask, Hiding From Responsiblity

By Ken E. Knight (posted with special permission)

As the state and county fairs around the country complete a very successful year, for many, the first in several years, and for some a complete turn around from the brink of extinction to a new found hope, it gives us a chance to reflect back on a very pivotal time in the life of 4-H.

After completing a series of several 4-H articles that addressed the concerns of a program that wasn’t being funded or even supported, it was obvious that we had made considerable progress in bringing attention to the plight of 4-H. But, unfortunately there were several county commissioners in cooperation with state officials that had officially decided to discontinue 4-H at the end of this past year. These are the people that have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the importance of 4-H. This kind of decision making is irresponsible and falls into the category of hiding behind the mask.… Continue reading

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Agriculture Director Challenges to Eat Local

Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs today extended a challenge to all Ohioans to consume local foods during the week of Oct. 2 – 8. At a kickoff celebration at the Local Roots Market and Café in Wooster, Ohio, Boggs encouraged citizens to support Ohio agriculture.

“With an abundance of local food products readily available, everyone in Ohio should have access to fresh and healthy food,” said Boggs. “As the department kicks of its Eat Local Challenge Week, I encourage all Ohioans to plan and prepare one meal every day using foods that are made, grown or raised in Ohio.”

From dairy products to meats to fruits and vegetables, Ohio is home to a large variety of products and produce that are available in grocery stores and farm and farmers markets located across the state. Visit the department’s Ohio Proud website,, to search for market locations by county or by a specific product.… Continue reading

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Strickland Secures Federal Assistance for Ohio Farmers

Governor Ted Strickland today announced that farmers in 79 counties are now eligible to receive disaster assistance after U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack declared 41 Ohio counties to be primary natural disaster areas and the additional 38 as contiguous disaster counties.

Strickland requested a disaster designation from the USDA due to state agricultural losses caused by several natural disasters in 2010.

“Ohio farmers faced economic losses and personal hardship as a result of these weather disasters, and I saw how important it was to help secure available aid,” said Strickland. “I am grateful for Secretary Vilsack’s decision to provide some relief for the members of our agriculture community. This assistance will help our farmers make Ohio’s $98 billion food and agriculture industry even stronger.”

The available assistance includes Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in these eligible counties have eight months from the date of this disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance.… Continue reading

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What can we learn for next year by analyzing potential 2010 corn crop losses?

By Eric Anderson, Syngenta agronomist, CPAg

With summer over and fall in full swing, most growers have turned their attention toward harvest, which has started in earnest in some areas throughout the Great Lakes District. Looking back, spring planting was ideal (at least early on) and environmental conditions were mostly satisfactory, leading the USDA to predict near-record yields for much of the area. However, some growers who have begun harvest are finding a little different story, with lower than expected yields, especially for corn. Let’s look at the year and examine probable causes for potential corn yield loss in 2010 as well as possible solutions for future reference.

2010 Corn Crop

1.) Too much rain – One obvious cause for overall yield loss in 2010 was too much rain early on. Most areas had an over abundance of rainfall from mid-May through mid-July. Many growers experienced some flooding, at least in low-lying areas, and consequently had drowned out areas where corn was completely killed.… Continue reading

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County fair novel winning accolades for Ohio author

By Matt Reese

It is no secret that the general public is disconnected from agriculture and plenty has been said about the need for those involved with agriculture to share their farm-related stories with others. Michelle Houts did just that and her story has been published into an award-winning book — The Beef Princess of Practical County.

“This particular story came from my kids and their friends showing at the county fair. Not coming from a livestock background myself, I really had no idea how much time went into raising a market animal and how much emotion went into letting go of it,” Houts said. “I realized how much hard work, courage and dedication and guts went into getting out there and showing the animal and then parting with it at the end. Nobody has really told that story in a middle grade novel form. Charlotte’s Web is a great county fair story, but in the end, it doesn’t tell the story of raising livestock and what the kids learn when they raise market animals.… Continue reading

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Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting will be February 11, 2011 from 8:30 to 4:00 p.m. The focus will be “The Plant and How It Grows”.  Dr.Glen Schmaker, Forage Specialist, Extension Assistant Professor from University of Idaho will do sessions on making hay, understanding how to maximize grazing based on the time of day and cool season plants. Dr. Marvin Hall, Penn State Professor of Forage Management will have sessions on plant growth and how animals utilize the plants. Besides the keynote speakers, Ohio producer panel will share their observations and experiences with plant production and harvesting practices.   The meeting will be held at Ohio Department of Agriculture at Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  For more information, call Leah Miller at 740.545.6349.… Continue reading

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VeraSun attorneys retract demands for farmer payments

Corn growers who faced a legal deadline to repay money from corn sold in 2008 to the bankrupt ethanol producer VeraSun received some good news — the attorneys are dropping their questionable claims for payment.

“This is great news for farmers at a time when we need to focus on bringing in our crops,” said National Corn Growers Association President Darrin Ihnen. “We’re glad the lawyers saw the light and realized they had no legal justification to go after us. We had an excellent team working on this to make sure we had the right information, and to present our case.”

Because of bankruptcy law, attorneys representing VeraSun creditors were able to seek repayment from farmers and others who received money from VeraSun within 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing.

In late August, hundreds of corn farmers received letters from attorneys threatening legal action. The letters offered to settle the matter with a payment equal to 80% of what the farmers received for their corn sales to VeraSun.… Continue reading

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