Featured News

Federal court approves Lake Erie settlement agreement for TMDL

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

What is the key to resolving disagreements over water quality issues in Lake Erie? Cooperation, according to the federal court judge overseeing a legal battle over Lake Erie. The judge, U.S. District Judge James G. Carr, recently approved a plan that is the result of cooperation between the U.S. EPA, State of Ohio, Lucas County Commissioners, and the Environmental Law & Policy Center. For almost six years, the parties have been in a legal battle over how to deal with water quality in Western Lake Erie. But at the encouragement of the court, the parties developed and agreed to a Consent Decree to settle the case. Judge Carr approved the Consent Decree on May 4, 2023. Time will soon tell if the cooperation approach will satisfy the parties holding interests in Lake Erie’s water quality.… Continue reading

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Much-needed rain breaks up lengthy dry stretch

Lawrence Onweller

We finally got a rain last night. We got 3.5 tenths. That was the first rain we’ve had in around 35 days. I think it is a local record for dry spell or having the driest May on record. It was starting to hurt crops. It was a very much appreciated rain. We’ve got another chance on Tuesday to get some more rain, maybe a 70% chance. Hopefully we can get more rain this week.

The crops are still about a week behind. I like to see corn knee high by the 15th of June and it’s not. I think we’re only going to have one field around that tall. This rain will really help it, but we’re going to have a cool day today too.

The early planted corn, some of that got crusted in and it’s not quite as good of a stand. The later planted corn is all there and it’s a really good stand.… Continue reading

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Ohio agriculture pushing back on Senate budget proposal

By Matt Reese

The complexities of property taxes — with a focus on residential property — have been one target of the Ohio Senate in the current Ohio state budget process. The Senate’s proposed effort to minimize the increases in residential property would potentially result in a significant shift in the property tax burden placed on agricultural properties.

Brandon Kern, senior director, state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau, and his team have been working with Ohio senators to try to ensure the property tax measures are uniformly applied to agricultural ground.

“We’re seeing the Senate rolling out their first set of changes to the state budget bill and one of the things that the senators are trying to tackle is a concern across the state about increasing property values and the impact that would have on property taxes. Of course, that’s not a new issue for farmers across the state, but one of the proposals to try and address this for residential ratepayers is to try and smooth out the increases,” Kern said.… Continue reading

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Corn planting depth and emergence problems

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Determining seed planting depth is one place to start when diagnosing corn emergence issues. We can use the corn plant’s pattern of emergence and root placement to determine the seed depth placement of the planter. The mesocotyl is the white tubular stem-like plant part located between the kernel and the base of the coleoptile is the key to determining planting depth. The mesocotyl pushes the coleoptile or “spike” toward the soil surface. 

Growers can diagnose seed placement problems by digging up and observing the mesocotyl length after emergence. Since the plant places the crown at three-quarters inch deep, measure the length of the mesocotyl from the crown to the seed and add three-quarters inch to determine seed placement. The mesocotyl is pretty resilient. I have dug up plants in mid-vegetative to early reproductive stages and found the mesocotyl with the empty seed attached to the crown.… Continue reading

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Planting soybeans in June: What agronomic practices should I adopt?

By Fabio Colet and Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-16

As planting continues into June, farmers may want to adjust their management practices to maximize soybean yield.

Soybeans planted in June tend to be smaller and have fewer nodes and pods than soybeans planted in April or May. Therefore, the recommendation is to increase the seeding rate when the planting date is delayed. A small-plot field study conducted at Western Agricultural Research Station (WARS) in South Charleston, Clark Co., and Northwest Agricultural Research Station (NWARS), in Custar, Wood Co. for two growing seasons identified the agronomic optimum seeding rate (the seeding rate where soybean yield is maximized). For the first half of June, seeding rates should be between 150,000 to 180,000 seeds/acre. For the second half of June, increase seeding rates to 170,000 to 200,000 seeds/acre.

For soybeans planted in June, the recommendation is to use narrow rows (7.5 to 15-inch row spacings).… Continue reading

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AgTech Innovation Hub initial awards announced

Five innovative research projects have been awarded funding from the new AgTech Innovation Hub, a multimillion-dollar collaboration between The Ohio State University and Nationwide.

Nine researchers in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) were chosen to pitch their innovative research project ideas to be completed through the AgTech Innovation Hub, said Gary Pierzynski, CFAES associate dean of Research and Graduate Education.

Using a kind of “Shark Tank”-like format, each researcher pitched their ideas before a judging panel, and five were selected for funding. The goal of the research projects, each of which will last for one year, is to find a practical solution to a real-world problem in the agricultural ecosystem while better understanding, managing and mitigating climate risk, Pierzynski said.

The projects chosen include:

  • Drought risk reduction: With increased extreme weather events like flooding on farm fields, effective water management for farmers and producers often means installing drainage tiles on their farm fields.
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Neutral USDA numbers for corn and soybeans, negative for wheat

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

U.S. highlights: U.S. corn exports down 50 million bushels, U.S. corn ending stocks up 35 million bushels. U.S. soybean exports down 15 million bushels, crush unchanged, soybean ending stocks up 15 million bushels.

World highlights: Brazil soybean production 156 million tons, last month was 155 million tons. Argentina soybean production 25 million tons, last month was 27 million tons. USDA today projected China would be importing 98 million tons of soybeans during the current marketing year from September to August. Last month was 98 million tons. 

There is a very unusual, unheard of story line developing for soybeans to end the week. Soybeans are higher today on talk of U.S. grain commercials exporting U.S. soybeans into Europe for crushing. The soyoil would then be exported back to the U.S. to be most likely used as feedstock for biodiesel production. This process keeps the soymeal in Europe, helping to reduce excess U.S.… Continue reading

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Thomas family champions the small dairy farm

Step with us into the picturesque landscape of north Champaign County and witness the extraordinary journey of the Thomas family as they dedicate themselves to the small dairy farm.

Nathan and Jenny Thomas, along with their 35-cow herd at Triple-T Holsteins near North Lewisburg, have carved out a unique niche in the dairy industry. Focusing on show genetics and prize-winning cattle, they have earned a global reputation for their exceptional breeding program, all while participating in a unique milk market.

Join Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood to discover the relentless passion, hard work, and unwavering commitment of the Thomas family as they navigate the challenges of modern agriculture, showcase their cattle at prestigious events across the country, and uphold their deeply rooted values of cow care and sustainability.… Continue reading

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ODH encourages Ohioans to be aware of air quality issues from wildfire smoke

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, is asking Ohioans to be aware of possible health effects due to the poor air quality in the state caused by smoke from Canadian wildfires.

On Wednesday, the Ohio EPA issued a statewide air quality advisory, and said particulate levels are expected to be elevated through Thursday.

“Exposure to smoke can cause health problems for anyone, but certain groups are more at risk than others,” Vanderhoff said. “These include people with chronic heart or lung disease, children, the elderly, and pregnant women. It is important to take precautions until our air quality improves.”

Smoke from wildfires contains particulates. Particulates can be inhaled into your lungs and cause irritation of the eyes, nose or throat, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain; and can also aggravate chronic heart and lung conditions.

The most important precaution is to limit outdoor activity, especially outdoor exercise, and spend more time indoors.… Continue reading

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Heads-up for fusarium head blight

By Stephanie Karhoff, Ohio State University Extension

As wheat flowers across the state, and rain in the forecast this weekend, concern for fusarium head blight or scab rises. This fungal disease of small grains poses a significant threat to grain quality, causing reduced grain test weight and contamination with vomitoxin or DON. Spikelets of infected plants will prematurely die and become bleached or straw-colored after flower initiation. Residue from corn and small grain crops is the main source of fungal spores (inoculum). These spores are wind and rain-dispersed to open flowers and will then germinate and grow in developing wheat kernels. In a susceptible variety, the fungus will continue to grow and infect the remaining head and produce vomitoxin if weather conditions favor disease development. Infection risk is highest when warm, wet, and humid weather occurs during flowering. 

So, how do we manage scab and avoid quality loss? 

  1. The first step is to select a resistant variety.
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Zajkowski joins Ohio Ag Net

Jake Zajkowski is a sophomore at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. He is originally from the Buckeye State but now shares time in agriculture between both states. The Lucas County native is studying agriculture science with a concentration in policy analysis and minors in horticulture and applied economics and management. 

Zajkowski joined the Ohio Ag Net team in January of 2023. He grew up in the suburbs where car rides with the family would consist of country music, talk shows, and news — never a world he thought he would find himself working in. Zajkowski now works both as the afternoon farm broadcaster and summer intern for Ohio Ag Net. Throughout the week, he keeps up to date on markets and agriculture news and then produces, records, and edits farm shows for radio affiliates in Ohio. He also works on digital marketing campaigns, supports the video team and edits podcasts. … Continue reading

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Handling dry conditions

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

In 2023, Ohio experienced the 6th driest May since the 1930’s Dust Bowl.  The combination of cool May weather and mostly dry soil conditions delayed crop germination and has reduced crop growing conditions. Crops are already struggling to grow. 

Several factors are contributing to this dilemma.  First, the switch from a La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean to an El Nino usually means drier weather conditions in the Midwest.  When La Nina’s are strong and long, you can expect a stronger El Nino pattern.  El Nino’s may last 1-3 years on average.  Most weather experts expected drier conditions in late summer and early fall, but dry weather came earlier than expected! 

Second, along with weather patterns, solar sunspot activity is at a higher intensity. Solar sunspots normally peak about every 11 years with a solar sunspot peak expected in 2025.  The last few solar sunspot activity cycles have been mild to average, but the sunspot intensity is much higher this time around. … Continue reading

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Prop 12 ruling leaves plenty to sort out for pork producers (and consumers)

By Matt Reese

The long-awaited May 11 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on California’s Proposition 12 animal confinement law was not in favor of the arguments made by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“We are very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s opinion,” said Scott Hays, NPPC president, and Missouri pork producer. “Allowing state overreach will increase prices for consumers and drive small farms out of business, leading to more consolidation. We are still evaluating the Court’s full opinion to understand all the implications. NPPC will continue to fight for our nation’s pork farmers and American families against misguided regulations.” 

The groups initially petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take their case against California’s Prop 12 back in September of 2021.

The decision by the court was 5-4 with dissention from Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Ketanji Brown Jackson and Chief Justice John Roberts.… Continue reading

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Dry spring weather impacts on corn, beans and wheat

By Stephanie Karhoff, CCAOsler OrtezLaura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

In past years we dreamt of a dry spring. Guess we should be careful what we wish for as we face an early dry spell this season.

The CFAES weather stations on Wooster Campus and Northwest and Western Agricultural Research Stations reported 58% to 70% less precipitation in May than normal. Dry weather is not only a concern for Ohio now, but several other states are also facing similar or worse conditions, especially those in the central Corn Belt. Soil surface conditions are the most affected at this point. Moving a little deeper into the soil profile, better moisture is available. USDA-NASS reported subsoil moisture at 68% adequate and 3% surplus at the end of May. For topsoil moisture, 7% is very short, and 38% is short. So how will current abnormally dry conditions impact early corn and soybean growth and wheat grain fill?… Continue reading

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The Commerce Clause and Prop 12

By Matt Reese

The Commerce Clause is outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. The purpose of this clause is to give regulatory power over commerce to Congress. Based on this clause, Congress can regulate commerce, including commerce between states. It gives Congress broad power to regulate interstate commerce and restricts states from impairing interstate commerce. It also prohibits any regulations or laws at the state level that would interfere with Congressional authority.

Early Supreme Court cases primarily viewed the Commerce Clause as a limit to state power rather than as a source of federal power. In more modern times, it has been viewed as either a way to grant broad additional powers to Congress, or a way to limit state government economic authority.

The many debates surrounding James Madison’s Commerce Clause in the Constitution were a big part of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling favoring the State of California’s Proposition 12 over arguments made by the National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Mow pastures or not?

By Chris Penrose, Extension educator, Morgan County Extension 

A tough question developing on many farms right now is if we should start mowing pastures. Clipped pastures reduce eye irritation on the cows, makes for a less favorable environment for ticks, and stimulates new leaf growth. However, the pastures in my area are still green and if we mow them now without adequate moisture, I fear they will turn brown and go dormant sooner. Hay fields I have seen that were mowed last week are yet to initiate new growth and that could be the same case if we mowed pastures right now.

If we wait to mow, more vegetation on the surface will keep the soil cooler and hold moisture better and even have some mature forages that could still be grazed if needed. I am not sure what the right answer is for you but if the pastures have been heavily grazed and there are primarily weeds growing, I see an argument to mow pastures.… Continue reading

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Soybean meal powers swine diets to produce nutritious pork

By Matt Reese

While he enjoys most aspects of the farrow-to-finish and crop farm his family operates in Putnam County, Nathan Schroeder particularly loves the chance to work with baby pigs. 

“My favorite part is the nurseries. I enjoy getting a new group of weaned pigs in. I enjoy spending the extra time in there getting them going when they’re small,” Schroeder said. “We are contract growers for Hord Livestock, and we have 4,800 finishing spaces, so that’s two double-wide barns. We also have two nurseries, each holding 5,200 head. We are celebrating our tenth year with hogs. We are just the first generation with the hog farm and the fourth generation of the overall farm.”

Schroeder and his family had been renting their farm ground to a neighbor but decided to get back into crop production several years ago and expand with the contract hog operation.

“We decided we wanted to expand.… Continue reading

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Increase nutrition, minimize plant stress and make a difference

By Luke Schulte, CCA, Field Agronomist, Beck’s Hybrids

For most of you, late May and June have been well below normal regarding rain accumulation. As soils become abnormally dry, nutrients become more difficult to pull from the soil profile. This is due to several reasons. Nutrients like nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) are primarily taken in the plant with water. Potassium (K) becomes less exchangeable in dry soils. Nutrient conversion from organic forms slows as microbial activity is lessened in hot, dry soils.

As nutrient deficiencies are observed in the coming weeks, it’s important to remember that visual nutrient shortages do not necessarily mean your dry fertilizer and/or starter program were lacking. As dry as many of our soils have become, soil nutrition may be present, just not available for root uptake. Our plants have the ability to take up significantly higher nutrient volumes via the roots than they do through the leaf tissue.… Continue reading

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Bean basis review

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

It is amazing how quick a 2-week weather forecast change can impact corn prices. Friday morning weather reports showed possible rain, so the market was trading lower. Then by midday, precipitation was looking less likely over the next two weeks, and corn values increased 30 cents. This is what a weather market looks like. If you could predict the weather, you could predict corn prices too.

2022 crop marketing recap — Bean basis review 

As the 2022 marketing year ends, I like to review all of my trade decisions to evaluate performance and identify areas of improvement in the future. The following analyzes my bean basis decisions.

For background, my farm in southeast Nebraska is 60 miles from a processing plant and 10 miles from a rail-loading elevator. Due to long lines and increased freight costs during harvest, I built enough on-farm storage 10 years ago to store 100% of my corn and beans to maximize flexibility and profitability.… Continue reading

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Done with planting? Collect soil samples for SCN test and learn how samples are processed in the lab!

By Horacio Lopez-Nicora, OSU Extension Nematologist and Pathologist, adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-17

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) remains the most devastating and yield limiting soybean pathogen in Ohio and North America. SCN can cause over 30% yield reduction with no visible symptoms, therefore, early detection of this pathogen relies on testing your fields to know your SCN numbers!

Spring is a good time to sample for SCN. A soil test in spring will reveal if SCN is present and if so, at what levels. If you are planning to participate in an on-farm trial that requires soil sampling, a subsample can be used for SCN testing. Additionally, if you planted corn, a soil sample from that field will reveal if you have SCN but most importantly, how much SCN. Knowing your SCN numbers will help you determine the best management strategy.   

With funding from the Ohio Soybean Council and promoting the mission of The SCN Coalition we will process up to TWO soil samples, per grower, to be tested for SCN, free of charge.… Continue reading

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