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Prices and weather… weather and prices

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

May corn prices blew past $6, and then a few days later $6.50. Additionally, May futures gained on July futures by almost 10 cents this last week, which is huge, because in a normal week in a normal year a 1-cent move on that spread in a weeks’ time would be a big deal. Basis values across the US also increased another 5 cents this week. These are clear indications that the market is begging for corn and is unable to find it.

How much corn is left to sell by farmers?

The last USDA WASDE report showed on-farm cash corn prices unchanged at $4.30 from the March report, suggesting most farmers already priced the majority of their 2020 crop at lower values compared to today’s prices. Plus, elevator mangers across the Midwest are telling me that a lot of corn was sold around $4 futures and then most farmers sold another big portion of their production again in November when prices hit $4.50.… Continue reading

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Forecasting weather challenges ahead

By Jim Noel, NOAA

There are challenges ahead so we will break them into short-term and long-term.

Short-term

The recent snow was a rare event for the amount that fell across Ohio. However, the minimum temperatures in the 20s and 30s was not that far off of normal for last freeze conditions for Ohio.

The strongest typhoon ever in the northern hemisphere occurred east of the Philippines last week and this energy will come across parts of North America over the next week. When that happens weather model performance often drops. Hence, if you see more bouncing around of forecasts the next 10-15 days that may be one reason why.

We have a big warm-up the first half of this week ahead of a strong storm that will move through Ohio the second half of the week with wind and rain. We could see anywhere from 0.50 inches to over 2 inches across Ohio later this week but placement is not certain and seems to favor central and southern Ohio with the highest amounts.… Continue reading

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Testing a new way to kill harmful algal blooms

As the weather warms and draws people to the water, tests are about to begin on a new technique for killing off harmful algal blooms in Ohio’s streams and lakes. 

The technology being tested creates ozone and injects it into a waterway in the form of microscopic bubbles. Once in the water, the ozone can kill unwanted algae, destroy toxins, and boost oxygen levels, said Heather Raymond, director of the Water Quality Initiative at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

When these tiny bubbles of ozone called “nanobubbles” burst in the water, they produce hydroxyl radicals and peroxides. Those substances can further destroy harmful algae and possibly help cut off the algae’s food supply, thus preventing future blooms.  

How well this technology works to combat Ohio’s harmful algae will be tested in the lab, in test ponds, and in several state lakes and rivers.… Continue reading

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USDA awards 85 new partnership projects to help mitigate climate change

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. Projects are awarded through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). 

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnerships working at their best,” said Terry Cosby NRCS Acting Chief. “These new projects will harness the power of partnerships to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.” 

Across America, producers are seeing the impacts from climate change. Farmers, landowners and local communities can be a major part of the effort to combat climate change. 

USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air and water.… Continue reading

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Federal bills targeting carbon on farms

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

President Biden announced a major goal –— for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half over the next decade as compared to 2005 levels. Agriculture will play a key role in that reduction by “deploying cutting-edge tools to make the soil of our heartland the next frontier in carbon innovation,” according to President Biden. Several bills introduced in Congress recently could help agriculture fulfill that key role. The proposals offer incentives and assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to engage in carbon sequestration practices. 

Here’s a summary of the bills that are receiving the most attention.

Growing Climate Solutions Act, S. 1251

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee passed S. 1251. The bipartisan proposal led by sponsors Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen.… Continue reading

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Farmers provide pork to northern Ohio residents

As members of the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), Ohio pig farmers are pleased to support the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank in Toledo, Ohio, and their eight-county service area. The protein-packed donation from the Ohio Pork Council will provide over 17,500 wholesome meals to those in need.   

As part of OPC’s annual Pork Power program, Ohio pig farmers donated over 1,300 Daisyfield hams produced by J.H. Routh Packing Company in Sandusky. Hams donated to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will benefit residents from Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties.   

“Ohio’s pig farmers care about producing safe, wholesome pork, taking care of their animals and natural resources, and giving back to their communities. Through OPC’s Pork Power program, we’re able to give back to local food banks in Ohio,” said Rich Deaton, National Pork Board member and Ohio Pork Council director. 

In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, pig farmers in Ohio provided over 86,600 pounds of pork to local food banks.… Continue reading

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Low temperatures slowed planting progress

Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 87% adequate to surplus, up 5 percentage points from the previous week. Temperatures for the week ending April 25 averaged 8.5 degrees below historical normals, while the entire State averaged 0.46 inches of precipitation. There were 2.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 25.

Cold soil temperatures limited planting for farmers while orchardists assessed damage to fruit trees from hard frosts. Oats were 61% planted and oats emerged was 36%. Corn planted progress was at 8% complete while soybeans planted progress was also 8%; cooler temperatures hindered germination and emergence of both corn and soybeans. Winter wheat jointing was 61% and the winter wheat crop was rated 78% good to excellent condition.

For more from this week’s report, click here.… Continue reading

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Planters rolling beneath sunny skies

John Schumm

It is partly cloudy right now but it is supposed to be a good day today and a better day tomorrow. 

We had 4 to 5 inches of snow and I did see 24 degrees on my truck thermometer last week. We planted around 90 acres of beans early and we thought maybe we ought to stop. Looking back, I wish we would have planted a lot because it was perfect planting conditions. 

It was cold enough that I thought it could have done some damage but boy the beans look pretty good. I was surprised. We had a few beans that were just pushing dirt and I was concerned that really cold snap would just take them out. Walking across them yesterday, though, I don’t think the freeze touched them. I think we fared very well. I didn’t see anything turning black. We can see a lot of buttons on our beans and tomorrow they should be opening up.… Continue reading

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You need weather records to go along with those fertilizer application records

By Harold Watters and Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

With planting under way, a couple of reminders. Keep fertilizer application records to confirm you are following your nutrient management plan and to keep tabs on changes that may occur in your soil nutrient levels. This is a reminder of several good sources of weather information that can be used as part of your fertilizer application records.

  • http://weather.gov is the standard, and we have told you about this one in our fertilizer applicator certification meetings.
  • From the Ohio Department of Agriculture is the Ohio Applicator Forecast: https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/resources/ohio-applicator-forecast. This works for fertilizer or manure and gives a 12- and 24-hour forecast.
  • From OSU’s Byrd Polar & Climate Center: http://farm.bpcrc.osu.edu. This may be the simplest tool to use. It gives you a prediction and a red-light or green-light indication if it is safe to apply fertilizer. It can also provide historical data.
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Growing Climate Solutions Act introduced

The Senate Agriculture Committee last week approved a bipartisan bill that encourages farmer participation in the carbon credit offset markets.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, introduced earlier in the week by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would create a certification program at USDA to solve technical entry barriers that prevent farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. USDA’s certification program would provide transparency, legitimacy and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry-related practices.

The bill would also create an advisory council comprised of agriculture experts, scientists, producers and others, to ensure the certification program remains relevant and credible. National Pork Producers Council is among numerous agricultural groups in support of the bill — just as it backed the legislation last year— and believes it will ensure U.S.… Continue reading

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USDA seeks proposals for innovative approaches to conservation on agricultural lands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals through June 21 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials). On-Farm Trials, part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.

This program harnesses the expertise, resources and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help NRCS boost natural resource conservation on private lands and support climate smart agriculture. 

“USDA is a leader in using the latest science, research and conservation tools to reduce the impacts of climate change,” said John Wilson, NRCS Acting State Conservationist in Ohio. “We’re doing our part in helping America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the natural resources we all depend on, like clean air and water, while supporting the health and resiliency of their operations for the future.… Continue reading

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Dicamba training🎙

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Before applying approved formulations of dicamba, herbicide applicators are required to complete training. Bayer Crop Science is offering multiple options through the dicamba application season, including self-paced online training or guided webinar training.

“Dicamba training started in January and will run through end of June into July. We have seen really good participation in our weekly live webinars and also our online module, which is very convenient for an applicator. Over 18,000 have been trained, so that is really good,” said Mark Groth, North American commercial stewardship weed control manager for Bayer Crop Science. “You can sign up for the live webinars as well as the online module and do that at your own pace and whatever time you want. It is led by a Bayer weed science expert. The webinar is a two-hour slot but they typically run for an hour or an hour and a half and we want time left for people to engage.… Continue reading

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Assessing the damage from the late April snow

By Matt Reese

All types of farmers around the state are preparing to assess the damage from the snow and low temperatures this week.

Evan Hornyak from Geauga County has had some late nights trying to protect the Hornyak Farms u-pick peach crop near Chardon. They have been burning a handful of smudge pots and even built an air blast heater mounted on a tractor to run up and down the rows. 

“The past 48 hours we fought Mother Nature to try and protect our peach crop from the freezing weather, lighting 8 fires strategically placed around the orchard that we were feeding with excavators,” Hornyak said. “All this to just bump the orchard a few degrees and protect the vulnerable peach buds. We will find out in a couple of days by looking at the buds to see if our actions actually worked or not.” 

Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo toured a couple of Morrow County planted soybean fields with Golden Harvest agronomist Wayde Looker the day after the significant snow fall to assess the situation.… Continue reading

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Fish don’t realize they’re a dam site better off

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

It’s been almost three years since the Sandusky River’s controversial Ballville Dam near Fremont was removed, in part to allow fish species such as walleyes and white bass to move farther upriver to spawn. But so far, that’s not happening.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) figured it might take a few seasons for fish to make their way upstream during their annual spring spawning migrations, but they didn’t know how long the natural process would take. Since 2019, ODNR has been conducting post-dam removal studies to determine changes in fish populations.

Although the main obstacle for fish to move upstream has been removed, no walleye or white bass were found last spring or so far this spring during the spawning migration between the former dam site at Ballville and the first dam near Tiffin, according to Eric Weimer, fisheries biologist supervisor at ODNR’s Sandusky Fisheries Research Unit.… Continue reading

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Watch for problematic pasture plants this spring

By M. Luginbuhl, Extension Specialist in Goats and Forage Systems, North Carolina State University

As winter feed supplies run low and with producers eager to turn livestock out to pasture this spring, do yourself and your stock a favor by scouting for poisonous plants in your pasture this spring.

Factors contributing to plant poisoning are starvation, accidental eating, and browsing habits of animals. Starvation is the most common reason. Most woodland or swampy-ground pastures contain many species of poisonous plants. These are usually eaten only when animals have nothing else to eat.

Animals accidentally eat certain plants as they graze. A notable example of this is water hemlock. This plant emerges in wet areas, which are the first to become green in early spring. Animals eager to eat the fresh young grass may accidentally bite off the crown of this plant with fatal results. Another type of accidental poisoning occurs when large amounts of cockle are present in wheat, which is fed as grain.… Continue reading

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USDA expands and renews Conservation Reserve Program in effort to boost enrollment

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will open enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with higher payment rates, new incentives, and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation. Additionally, USDA is announcing investments in partnerships to increase climate-smart agriculture, including $330 million in 85 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects and $25 million for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement at the White House National Climate Task Force meeting to demonstrate USDA’s commitment to putting American agriculture and forestry at the center of climate-smart solutions to address climate change. 

The Biden-Harris Administration is working to leverage USDA conservation programs for climate mitigation, including continuing to invest in innovation partnership programs like RCPP and On-Farm Trials as well as strengthening programs like CRP to enhance their impacts.

“Sometimes the best solutions are right in front of you. With CRP, the United States has one of the world’s most successful voluntary conservation programs.… Continue reading

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Bayer carbon program expands access

Building on the success of the Bayer Carbon Program launched last summer, the company announced today enhancements to the program, providing new opportunities for U.S. growers to participate for the 2021-22 program season. 

Highlights include a significant geographic expansion, nearly doubling the number of states where growers are eligible to participate. For the first time, growers who have previously adopted some climate-smart farming practices also may be able to enroll those acres in the program. 

The Bayer Carbon Program takes a farmer-centric approach by offering growers simplicity, certainty and flexibility. By paying U.S. farmers for implementing climate-smart farming methods such as strip- or no-till and cover crops, which help sequester carbon in the soil, farmers receive guaranteed payments and are rewarded for how they produce, not just what they produce. 

“Farmers are at the center of the solution when it comes to helping sequester carbon and addressing climate change,” said Jackie Applegate, President of Crop Science, North America.… Continue reading

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No breaks for dairy farms on Earth Day

By the National Milk Producers Federation

Earth Day is just a few days away. And while it’s nice to have a day set aside to remember how everyone needs to care for, protect and, in some cases, restore our planet, please forgive dairy farmers if you don’t see much of a pause. 

That’s in part because dairy never stops. Dairy farmers produce a perishable product harvested around the clock, every day of the year. It’s also because dairy’s leadership in sustainable agriculture also happens every day. Promoting soil health, optimizing water use, improving water quality, and more, ensures dairy farmers can keep farming for generations to come. 

Dairy farming is an inherently renewable cycle. Cows eat crops and byproducts that humans can’t digest. They produce milk that nourishes people. And their manure provides nutrients to grow crops, which starts the cycle again. Dairy-farm livelihoods depend on healthy, vibrant ecosystems – and well-operated dairies of any size, in any region, enhance the ecosystems that surround them.  … Continue reading

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Meat export outlook remains strong

February exports of U.S. beef and pork remained below the rapid pace established in early 2020, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, exports were consistent with USMEF’s February projections and the federation still expects 2021 beef exports to increase substantially year-over-year, while pork exports are projected to narrowly surpass the 2020 record. 

Beef exports totaled 103,493 metric tons (mt) in February, down 8% from a year ago, valued at $669.5 million (down 2%). This was due mainly to a decline in variety meat exports, as beef muscle cuts were steady with last year in value at $597.9 million on a volume of 82,530 mt (down 3%). Through February, beef exports were 5% below last year’s pace at 208,540 mt, valued at $1.32 billion (down 2%). Beef muscle cut exports were down 1% to 163,928 mt and steady in value at $1.18 billion.… Continue reading

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