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Wet fields still foiling farmers

Farmers who can’t get into their cropfields to work because of excessive June rainfall shouldn’t surrender to Mother Nature, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service specialists say.

There was no shortage of  in the month’s first 23 days, leaving thousands of acres of corn, soybeans and hay either in standing water or in drenched soils, and producers desperate to tend to their crops.

There’s still time for growers to work their fields if weather conditions improve and soils dry, said Tony Vyn, cropping systems specialist.

On the positive side, the rain, heat and humidity has accelerated corn crop development — so much so that many crops have outgrown the ability of some insects to feed on them, Vyn said. That rapid growth, however, is quickly making weed control more difficult and delaying necessary nitrogen fertilizer applications.

“I would encourage farmers not to give up on those applications and to keep trying,” Vyn said.… Continue reading

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OSU Research Points to Benefits of Drainage on Field Crops


For every $1 spent on drainage technology, producers get $3 to $4 back in corn and soybean profits, according to long-term Ohio State University research.

Twenty-five years of field studies (from 1984 to 2009) at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) Northwest Agricultural Research Station in Hoyvtille showed that subsurface drainage significantly improved corn and soybean yields on poorly drained soils. Add crop rotation and some sort of conservation tillage practice and production just keeps getting better.

“Overall, a farming system that includes subsurface drainage, crop rotation, and no-till, or other conservation tillage system, provides the best long-term economic and environmental benefits for the farmer,” said Randall Reeder, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer.

Reeder said that the long-term research was designed to evaluate the effects of drainage, tillage systems and rotation on corn and soybean yields to provide a better understanding of how to increase yields while maintaining sound conservation practices.… Continue reading

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Soybeans find their way into OSU printers

Ohio State University kicked off a new “Soy Toner Alliance” to celebrate its use of soy-based toner in many of the university’s laser printers.

The effort has been spearheaded by the university’s printing facility, UniPrint, which maintains about half of the estimated 7,000 printers on the Columbus campus. UniPrint will be using soy-based toner in any printer it maintains for which cartridges are available, currently totaling about 700. Those printers print about 800,000 pages per month.

“It is not simply about using a new product,” said E. Gordon Gee, university President. “It’s about staking our claim that this university and its leadership role in this state is making sustainability a very important part of who we are.”

The event was held at the university’s first LEED-certified “green” building on campus, the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center. The 4-H Youth Development program is part of Ohio State University Extension, housed in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).… Continue reading

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New tool for retiring farmers to transition CRP land

The State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Steve Maurer, would like to announce a new program available for retired or retiring owners and operators who are willing to sell or lease Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to beginning or minority farmers.  The Transition Incentive Program (TIP) provides annual rental payments to the retired or retiring landowners for up to two additional years after the date of the expiration of the CRP contract, provided the transition is not to a family member.  Sign-up for the new TIP program began in May, at your local FSA office.
To be eligible, TIP requires that the retired or retiring farmer:
§  Have land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that is in the last year of the contract.
§  Agree to allow the beginning or minority farmer to make conservation and land improvements.
§  Agree to sell, or have a contract to sell, or agree to long-term lease (a minimum of 5 years) the land under CRP contract to a beginning or minority farmer by Oct.
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Sustainability research results shows progress in the U.S.

New research shows nearly 70% of U.S. consumers consider sustainability when choosing food products at the grocery store. What’s more, 78% of consumers consider the sustainability of farm-produced ingredients when buying products on the supermarket shelf.

To measure U.S. consumers’ perceptions of sustainable farming, the United Soybean Board (USB) fielded an independent quantitative study in early 2010. When American consumers think about sustainable farming, they most often refer to a way of raising food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, provides a fair wage to the farmer and supports and enhances rural communities. They highly rate the nation’s soybean crop, which produces soyfoods like tofu as well as soybean oil for fried foods, baked goods, salad dressing and cooking oil (where it’s often labeled “vegetable oil”).

In the USB study, 72% of consumer participants agree U.S. soybean farming is sustainable. Asked what country leads in sustainable farming, respondents rate the U.S.… Continue reading

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Breeding Sheep for a More Profitable Flock

Breeding sheep for a more profitable flock will be the focus of a comprehensive seminar on defining and selecting traits that can increase profits in sheep production. OSIA in conjunction with the American Sheep Industry’s genetic stakeholders committee has planned a two day regional genetics symposium for July 10 and 11, 2010 at Riverwood Farms, Powell, OH.

This conference will feature three of the most nationally recognized sheep geneticists in the United States: Dr. David Notter, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Kreg Leymaster, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and Dr. David Thomas, University of Wisconsin. The Saturday morning session begins with a focus on the basics of animal breeding which will include a discussion of cross breeding systems and their ability to enhance performance through increased hybrid vigor. Followed by a discussion of sheep breeds, both hair and wool, and how they function within the wide variety of sheep production and marketing systems that are found in the Midwest.… Continue reading

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Forage Focus: To Bale, or Not to Bale

BY Victor Shelton, NRCS Grazing Specialist

The past week or so I’ve sure seen a lot of hay being cut; some even went through some wash cycles. I too had some down and had planned on baling it up in small bales until rainy looking weather made as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room of rocking chairs, so it quickly got rolled up. I think every producer stresses over making hay at least part of the time.

I’m often asked the questions, “to bale or not bale” or “should I put up hay or just buy what I need?” Good questions. I think everyone, no matter how efficient or type of grazing system, should have some hay on hand. It is your insurance plan; your contingency plan. Feeding less hay is a good thing though, at least it should be — meaning that you hopefully grazing more.Continue reading

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Agriculture needs to renew its social license

By Matt Reese

It is easy to romanticize agriculture’s past. The water was clean, the air was fresh and the sun always shone (except when a rain was needed). There were pigs, geese, horses, cattle, sheep and chickens all residing in a quaint red barn that offered no unpleasant odors. All creatures lived in harmony and farmers had a nearly unlimited social license with the general public to run their operations with freedom from excessive regulations.

Well, times have changed for the reality (or the perception) of the farm and in the minds of the general public with regard to the general public’s social license for agriculture. This social license long granted the privilege of operating with minimal formalized restrictions based on maintaining a trust with the public; if people think farms are doing the right things, then there is no need to regulate them more formally.

Though people may used to think that way, it seems that they do not any longer.… Continue reading

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Properly Harvesting and Testing Scabby Wheat Important to Minimize Vomitoxins


With wheat harvest now under way in Ohio, sampling and testing for vomitoxin in head scab-infected wheat is vital to prevent further losses and avoid potential health problems in humans and livestock.

Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist and small grains specialist, said that grain elevators will likely be testing every lot to ensure that any vomitoxin in infected grain stays below the acceptable limit of 2 parts per million.

“It’s important that the testing be conducted correctly to avoid overestimating or underestimating vomitoxin in the grain,” Paul said.

Wheat in some portions of Ohio is experiencing upwards of 60 percent incidence of head scab — a disease that attacks the wheat during flowering under wet, humid conditions. The disease can impact yields. In addition, the fungal pathogen that causes head scab produces several mycotoxins, including vomitoxin, that affect grain quality. Feeding infected grain to livestock can be harmful, and using infected grain for bran, flour and germ can be unhealthy for human consumption.… Continue reading

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Soybean Growers: Keep an Eye Out for White Mold

Ohio soybean growers may not have to worry about soybean rust, but they should be keeping their eyes out for potential white mold developments.

“The weather conditions over the past few weeks are very similar to last year. If it stays cool and wet, then white mold will be the next issue to monitor,” said Anne Dorrance, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Last year, rainy weather and cooler-than-normal summer temperatures resulted in the first major white mold outbreak in Ohio in nearly a decade.

White mold, also known as Sclerotinia stem rot, is a common fungal disease that spreads by infecting old, decaying soybean stem tissue or blossoms prior to flowering (R1 stage) and during flowering (R2 stage). The fungus invades the plant by producing a compound called oxalic acid, which kills plant tissue and allows the fungus to take hold.… Continue reading

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Jason the mechanic: Air brakes and the simple explanation

When we get in our semis and straight trucks to haul grain, we are glad when we hit the brake peddle to stop and we stop. The air brake system on our trucks is actually pretty simple and works the same on almost all trucks.

All air brake systems use air pressure to apply the brakes when you step on the pedal. The air is stored in a series of pressure tanks on the truck. The air is pressurized by the air compressor on the

truck’s engine. The pressure is regulated by the air governor on the air compressor. Most, if not all systems, work on 120 psi of pressure.

Some systems have an air dryer, which dries the moisture out of the air to keep it from freezing in the winter time.

The air dryer has a cartridge in it that should be changed once per year. The air is pressurized by the compressor,

passes through the air dryer and into the tanks.… Continue reading

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June 21 Crop Progress Statistics are Out

Released June 21, 2010, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service
(NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA).

Special Note

NASS is in the process of modifying report layouts in order to improve
readability. This issue is produced using the new layout. This report will be
published weekly using both layouts through June 28, 2010. Beginning July 6,
2010, Crop Progress will only be produced using this layout. The previous
layout is available on the NASS website:

Corn Condition – Selected States: Week Ending June 20, 2010
[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2009
planted acreage] —————————————————————————–
      State      : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                 :                          percent                         
Colorado ……..:     –           2          12          67          19    
Illinois ……..:     3           7          21          52          17    
Indiana ………:     2           8          22          49          19    
Iowa …………:     2           5          18          52          23    
Kansas ……….:    … Continue reading

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Supreme Court overturns judge in major win for biotech crops

The Supreme Court over-turned a lower federal judge’s ruling that farmers could not plant a biotech alfalfa variety while the U.S. Department of Agriculture prepared a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment on the crop. In a major win for biotech crop breeders, the Supreme Court held by a 7 to 1 majority in Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms that the federal district court judge abused his discretion by refusing to permit any planting at all, despite the USDA’s 2005 approval of the variety.

The news was welcomed by a coalition of agricultural organizations who had filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court in support of the petitioners in the case. The brief was submitted by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association (ASA), National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance (NAFA), National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), National Cotton Council and National Potato Council.… Continue reading

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USDA reports to provide key information for corn and soybean markets

Three upcoming USDA reports will provide important information for the corn and soybean markets, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good. The quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report will be released on June 25, and the quarterly Grain Stocks and annual Acreage reports will be released on June 30.
“The quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will reveal the inventory of market hogs as of June 1 as well as producers’ production intentions for the last half of the year,” Good said. “Last week’s Cattle on Feed report showed a large year-over-year increase of placements into feedlots during May. The information in the hog report will provide further insight into potential feed demand for the last quarter of the 2009-10 marketing year and for the 2010-11 marketing year.”

The quarterly Grain Stocks report will reveal the level of inventories as of June 1. “For context, it is useful to estimate the magnitude of June 1 stocks based on known use during the previous quarter and on USDA projections for the year for use that is not yet known,” Good said.

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United States Cattle on Feed Up 1 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for
feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.5 million head on
June 1, 2010. The inventory was 1 percent above June 1, 2009.

Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.02 million, 23 percent above
2009. Net placements were 1.92 million head. During May, placements of cattle
and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 445,000, 600-699 pounds were
405,000, 700-799 pounds were 537,000, and 800 pounds and greater were

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.87 million, 4 percent below
2009. This is the lowest fed cattle marketings for the month of May since the
series began in 1996.

Other disappearance totaled 102,000 during May, 1 percent above 2009.

 Number of Cattle on Feed, Placements, Marketings, and Other Disappearance on
         1,000+ Capacity Feedlots – United States: June 1, 2009 and 2010
                                     :          Number           :  Percent of 
                 Item                :—————————:             
                                     :    2009     :    2010     :previous year
                                     :   —– 1,000 head —-       percent   
On feed May 1 …………………..:  … Continue reading

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Between the Rows kicks off summer

It is June 21, the Summer Solstice and the official start of summer. Most farmers are probably glad that spring is behind them after a soggy stretch that dampened many high hopes after a great early start to the planting season. Now we can only hope the rains continue now that most of Ohio’s crops have finally been planted for the first (and sometimes second) time. Here is today’s report from the “Between the Rows” farmers from around Ohio.

– Matt Reese

Jeff Roehm

Highland County

The crops have responded well to the high temperatures and plentiful moisture, but the rains have made field work challenging. “I think everybody has done the sidedressing they can do. Everybody was running late because of the wet weather. I know I was leaving ruts when I finished the sidedressing.”

Overall, through, the crops are in nice condition. “We’re getting a little dry, but things are still looking great.… Continue reading

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USDA Moves to Restore Competitive Markets in Livestock and Poultry Markets

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released new rules today that propose a host of reforms necessary to help restore competitive markets and contract fairness to livestock and poultry markets.  The new rules directed by the 2008 Farm Bill, promise to outlaw preferential pricing, expand producer rights to sue over unfair and deceptive practices and compel greater contract fairness for poultry producers.

Under the proposed rules, independent family farmers who meet the same quality standards as mega feedlots must be paid the same price.   The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said those standards must be transparent and made publicly available.

“These rules are crucial to restoring a level playing field for independent family farmers” said Martha Noble, Senior Policy Associate with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  “Undue and unjustified price preferences for industrial scale factory farms have caused substantial harm to markets, small and mid-sized farmers, and rural communities,” said Noble.

“Family farm advocates have called for an end to unjustified price preferences for decades and perhaps we have arrived at the point where the government will get serious about enforcing the law,” added Noble. … Continue reading

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Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board Launches Website

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board today launches its website, The website informs and educates Ohioans about the activities of the board.

The interactive site features meeting notices, past meeting minutes, frequently asked questions, updates, contact information and more. It also provides an opportunity for visitors to offer direct comment to the board.

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is charged with establishing statewide standards governing the care and well-being of livestock while promoting food safety, preventing animal and human diseases and encouraging local food production.

For more information about the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, visit, or e-mail at reading

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Western Bean Cutworm Among Insects to Monitor in 2010

Insects are always a problem in fields during the summer, but the best way to control them is by simply watching for them.

One, the western bean cutworm, fairly new the region, said Christian Krupke, a Purdue University entomologist. In addition to monitoring fields for western bean cutworm larvae, farmers can set pheromone traps to tell if female moths are in the area. Field scouting helps as well. Scouting should include at least 20 plants throughout the field, and if 5 percent of the plants scouted have been infected by the insect, Krupke advises spraying.

Farmers also should look for corn rootworm, the larvae of which can damage the roots of corn plants. The corn rootworm can harm cornfields if not controlled by using insecticides or Bt hybrids labeled for rootworm control.

The soybean aphid is the most likely pest to be in soybean fields this summer. The largest populations fly in from Wisconsin and Minnesota to colonize in Indiana and move into Ohio.Continue reading

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Learn How Drip Irrigation Can Boost On-Farm Profits at July 15th Workshop


Specialty fruit and vegetable crop producers looking to gain a better understanding of how drip irrigation can boost on-farm profits have the opportunity to attend an Ohio State University Extension drip irrigation workshop on July 15.

The workshop will be held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at OSU South Centers in Piketon, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, Ohio. Registration is $5 per person.

Brad Bergefurd, an OSU Extension horticulturist, will discuss drip irrigation techniques, implementation and management. Topics include: why you should drip irrigate, the benefits of drip irrigation, what parts are needed for a system, what water sources work, how to install a system, how to fertilize with drip irrigation, and drip irrigation scheduling.

“Drip irrigation is an insurance against periods of dry weather or drought. Specialty crops are such short-lived crops that they cannot go without the necessary 1 inch of water per week or else quality and yield will be lost,” said Bergefurd.… Continue reading

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