Featured News

Practical soil health tips

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Since I am on the road teaching, here are some practical tips from my factsheet: “25 Tips to Growing and Managing Cover Crops”.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Tip 1: Use cover crop mixtures composed of at least one grass, one legume, and one brassica or other diverse cover crop species to improve diversity.  Mix summer annuals with fall and winter annuals to increase crop diversity.

Tip 2: Select diverse species that maximize both sunlight and moisture interception.  At least 50 percent of cover crop species should be low growing, another 30 percent intermediate, and 20 percent tall growing.  Select cover crops that have a variety of taproots and fibrous root systems that incept moisture from different soil regions. The goal is to utilize 100% of available sunlight and moisture to minimize direct competition for nutrients and water.

Tip 3:  To determine initial seeding rate in cover crop mixtures, divide the full rate of seed needed for each cover crop in a monoculture and divide by the number of cover crop species planted. … Continue reading

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Soybean defoliation

By Kelley Tillmon and Andy Michel, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2022-24

Starting in July and through August, a number of different insect species (such as beetles and various caterpillars) can feed on corn and soybean leaves.  Foliage feeding in corn is almost never economic, though economic damage from silk clipping by beetles is possible (though rare).  Consider a rescue treatment when silks are clipped to less than ½ inch and, fewer than 50% of the plants have been pollinated, and the beetles are still numerous and feeding in the field.

Insect Feeding on Soybean Leaves

In soybean, while the defoliation damage from various species might look startling, it is rather rare that this reaches economic levels.  Soybeans are master compensators.  OSU agronomist Dr. Laura Lindsey reports that she has even weed-whacked large portions of soybean foliage and seen no difference in yield by the end of the season!  For defoliating insects in soybean, we usually use an overall defoliation measure as the threshold, regardless of what species is doing the feeding. … Continue reading

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Do healthier soils produce healthier foods?

By Matt Reese

The global population relies upon the often under-appreciated miracles of the soil for nourishment. A growing area of research is digging into the connections between soil health and the resulting health of the food produced from the soil.

At a field day on the farm of David Brandt in Fairfield County last spring, Rafiq Islam provided a broad overview of the work being done in this area of research. The overarching concept is fairly simple: healthier soils produce healthier and more nutritious foods, resulting in healthier people who eat those foods; healthier foods offer more value to society, potentially resulting in higher market prices for farm products and increased profitability for farmers working to develop healthier soils. 

Islam is a research scientist specializing in soil health with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“We have been thinking about this for a long time. Soil health, crop health, food quality, and public health are intricately connected.… Continue reading

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Winter malting barley information

By Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County Extension

Recently, Ohio became the first state east of the Mississippi to receive the Malting Barley Endorsement insurance rider approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. As a result, the FCIC offering has expanded to the 36 Ohio counties listed below plus two in Indiana. With double-crop soybeans now eligible for crop insurance coverage, the production of malting barley becomes perhaps an economically more viable crop alternative.

While not an endorsement, the malting company Original Malt is looking for more growers in Ohio and in addition to the attachment has recorded an informational webinar about growing malting barley for their company. This recording is well done and very informative. Regardless if you have interest in growing malting barley right now, you may enjoy learning about the process by watching this webinar at your convenience.

If you’d like to learn more about the malting process or growing barley, you may simply complete their “Prospective Grower Inquiry” form linked here.… Continue reading

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USDA begins issuing payments for Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is increasing the amount of funding available for the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP) and expects to issue approximately $62.8 million in pandemic assistance payments to hog producers starting this week. SMHPP assists eligible producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale from April 16, 2020, through Sept. 1, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) accepted SMHPP applications through April 29, 2022.   

“In order to provide more targeted support to hog producers affected by the pandemic, FSA was able to increase funding for SMHPP to provide full payments to producers instead of applying a payment factor,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “We are pleased to be able to provide more equitable opportunities for hog producers who were hard-hit by the pandemic.”

    

SMHPP payments 

SMHPP payments will be calculated by multiplying the number of head of eligible hogs, not to exceed 10,000 head, by the payment rate of $54 per head. FSA… Continue reading

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Variables currently impacting the market

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

While there has been widespread hot weather, only 25% of the Corn Belt is experiencing drought conditions. Based on what we know today, the national yield average could still hit the 177-trend line level.

Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey signed a deal allowing grain to be exported from several Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. The deal included conditions that require renewals every 120 days. Long-term this may create issues, but the market did not react all that negatively to it on Friday. Then on Saturday Russian missiles hit a port protected in the agreement. Today Ukrainians are claiming they will still try to export grain as the deal is outlined. This story seems far from over.

High gas prices have curtailed some usage, which means less ethanol consumption too. About a third of corn used for ethanol is converted to DDGs in the production process, which means some additional feed demand could be found. However,… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau Foundation YAP seat open

In 2020, the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation created a 16th seat on its board of directors, specifically for an active Young Ag Professional member who is passionate about Ohio agriculture, has an interest in the foundation and fundraising, and who would like to further develop their own leadership skills. 

This position is for a one-year term, voting member of the foundation board with the opportunity to serve a second year as recommended by the foundation board of directors. Apply today for the YAP foundation board position. Applications are due Aug. 1 by 5 p.m.Continue reading

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Risk management programs for dairy part of farm bill debates

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) commended farmers from member cooperatives who are speaking up for dairy’s needs at farm bill listening sessions held by members of Congress. 

“From sustainability and trade to providing an adequate safety net to producers of all sizes, dairy farmer voices are critical to crafting federal farm programs that serve the entire nation,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We commend the farmers who own our member cooperatives for sharing their insights. We also thank Congress for making sure that dairy is heard as the next Farm Bill begins taking shape.”

A session in Minnesota was held following an event in Washington state in July. Both are part of a series of sessions being held to prepare for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Farm bill safety net and risk management programs are critical to the economic viability of American dairy producers, farmers told members of the House Agriculture Committee during the sessions.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 262 | Dean’s Steer Show – Good Steers, Good Cause

Matt, Dusty, and Dale sit down with Dean Cathann Kress, who is the Dean of the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science at The Ohio State University to talk about the Dean Charity Steer Show at the Ohio State Fair. Dale also catches up with Kirt Walker, CEO of Nationwide, to discuss his role in the Dean Charity Steer Show. The GrowNextGen Staff of the Ohio Soybean Council talk with Dale about their activities at the Ohio State Fair. Matt then chats with Braden Moore who is a 4-H Dad in Fairfield County and Delaney Moore who is a 4-H and FFA Member also in Fairfield County about the importance of showing livestock amid growing input cost. All this and more thanks to AgriGold! 

0:00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update

0:25:19 Kirt Walker – CEO Nationwide

0:31:33 GrowNextGen Staff

0:41:43 Braden Moore – 4-H Dad

0:52:14 Delaney Moore – 4-H and FFA Member

1:00:42 Closing… Continue reading

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U.S.-Philippine project addresses ASF

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and leaders from the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to announce the launch of a new project titled “Capacity building in risk assessment to support safe international trade of U.S. pork products in the Philippines” to address challenges related to African swine fever (ASF). 

“NPPC is proud to have worked with the Philippine government, U.S. government, and the University of Minnesota to see this grant proposal to the finish line,” said Terry Wolters, NPPC president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, Minnesota. “Creating international partnerships provides further safeguards to keep American agriculture safe from foreign animal disease so U.S. pork producers can continue to provide consumers in both countries with safe and affordable pork products.”  

The Philippines has had ongoing ASF outbreaks and is seeking better ways to control the virus and the subsequent food price inflation.… Continue reading

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Soybean progress and pod set growth stages

By Dr. Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2022-23

Currently, most soybean fields in Ohio are at the R3 growth stage, meaning there is a pod at least 3/16 inch long (but less than 3/4 inch long) at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf. Some late planted fields may still be at the flowering growth stage while some early planted fields may be entering the R4 growth stage (pod 3/4 inch long at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf).

Soybean R3 Growth Stage

What does the soybean crop need to maximize yield during pod set? The number of pods per acre sets the maximum number of seeds per acre, which is the component most strongly related to final yield. Therefore, pod development becomes one of the most critical stages in the life of soybean.… Continue reading

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Rains bring relief to crops

Widespread rainfall early last week improved soil moisture conditions and supported crop progress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office.
Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 1% very short, 20% short, 68% adequate, and 11% surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending July 24 was 77.2 degrees, 3.3 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 1.60 inches of precipitation, 0.60 inches above average. There were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 24.

Activities for the week included fungicide applications on corn and manure spreading on wheat stubble. Corn silking progress was 55 percent complete, corn dough progress was 8% complete, and corn condition was rated 55% good to excellent. Soybeans blooming progress was 65% and pod setting progress reached 27%. 54% of soybean plants were reported as being in good to excellent condition. Oats were 95% headed and 27% harvested, with crop condition reported as 76% good to excellent.… Continue reading

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Crops looking better with more rain

Kurt Wyler

We’ve been pretty fortunate around here. There have been some timely rains in the last 2 weeks with a total of a little over 4 inches. All the crops were definitely needing it, especially the corn that is starting to tassel. Everything is looking pretty good at the moment.

We’re not going to complain if we continue to get more rain. We’re feeling a lot better than we did 2 weeks ago. We were really starting to sweat it then. Things definitely look better now. It appears the corn will not be as tall as usual this year. 

We were able to get all of the wheat off and get the straw baled before the rain. All the wheat ran really well. We didn’t have any vomitoxin and didn’t get docked anything there. There was a little straw around here that didn’t get baled. The majority of our wheat was running in the 90s.… Continue reading

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Water quality update for Ohio

By Matt Reese

The agal bloom predictions are again coming in low for Lake Erie in 2022, good news for the Lake, the people who rely upon it and the farmers who often get the blame for its problems.

The 2022 algal bloom is expected to have a low severity index of 3.5, according to the final forecast from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration released June 30. This forecast uses an ensemble of different models, which consider phosphorus loading into the lake during the spring and early summer.

If realized, this will be the fourth year out of the past seven that the algal bloom will be rated less than 4 on a scale of 1 (mild) to 10 (severe). NOAA will release the final algal bloom statistics for 2022 in September.

“For years the farmer’s work has been judged on whether a body of water is green or not, but it doesn’t represent the improvements being made year over year,” said Jordan Hoewischer, director of water quality and research with Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Beagle Brigade Act of 2022 gets NPPC support

The National Pork Producers Council signed a letter supporting the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022.

“Healthy animals ensure consumers have safe food and allow American producers, their communities, and the U.S. economy to thrive. That is why NPPC joined over 50 organizations spanning the entire agriculture sector in support of the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022. Early detection at our U.S. borders has never been more critical. Training canine teams against threats like animal disease and identifying potentially contaminated products at our nation’s ports of entry is critical to the safety of U.S. agriculture. We urge Congress to act fast,” said Terry Wolters, NPPC president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, Minnesota.… Continue reading

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Urban ag meeting with USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages urban producers and others to attend the second public meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on August 5.  The Committee will discuss new urban conservation practices, focus areas and priorities for the Commission, and the new Farm Service Agency (FSA) urban county committees, among other topics. 

“This Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is giving USDA valuable insights, feedback and guidance on how USDA can better serve producers in urban areas,” said Brian Guse, Director of USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP). “Working with the Committee, USDA will develop strategies to address the needs of  urban agricultural producers and promote innovative production, strengthen local food systems, and increase equity and access to healthy, local food.”  

The Committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Membersinclude agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing.… Continue reading

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Using scents to fool the noses of predatory varmints

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Animals, especially at night, rely on their noses to lead them to a broad range of food sources. Hunters take advantage of this concept to attract deer and elk that are searching for their next dinner.

Famous University of Sydney ecologist Catherine Price, PhD, and her colleagues have published a study that details how animals use their sense of smell to find food. She also researched how animal owners may be able to use odors to lead astray fox, coyotes, and other predators, to prevent them from killing their livestock and pets.

This study really hits close to home for me. A raccoon got into the chicken coop my late wife Kristen maintained. Her chickens were all wiped out in one night.

The study also brings back memories of my parents, who every year planted a half-row each of marigolds and chrysanthemums in their large garden. These flowers weren’t for decoration.… Continue reading

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Accelerating soybean yields

By Alexandra Stinemetz and Kyle Poling, Pioneer field agronomists

Soybean was brought to the United States in the late 1800s or early 1900s, first as a forage crop. Farmers soon learned that the protein from the seed was a much better feed supplement for livestock than feeding the whole plant. Growing soybean gained in popularity in the 1940s and is now the second largest row crop (based on acreage) in the country.

Plant breeding has significantly increased the yield potential in modern-day soybean varieties. Yield improvements in soybean is focused on (1) producing more seeds per acre and (2) larger seeds on each plant. In the process of selecting higher yielding varieties, soybean breeders have improved disease tolerance, stress tolerance, and altered growth patterns compared to older varieties. 

Today’s varieties spend 7 to 10 less days in vegetative growth and nearly 2 weeks more in the reproductive stages. This change in soybean growth habit has provided huge opportunities for increased yield compared to “the varieties that Grandpa grew.”… Continue reading

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