Featured News



Does foliar fungicide increase yield?

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics & Technology for
Seed Consultants, Inc.

Plant breeders try to develop new varieties with highest yield potential and select for disease resistance at the same time. However, it is almost impossible to develop resistance to all of the prevalent diseases while developing new varieties or hybrids. We have created some excellent genetic traits for insect tolerance but disease organisms are constantly changing and by the time breeders develop varieties resistant to certain disease organism, the pathogen changes. Nature has its own “breeding program” for the survival of its species. In order to maximize the potential yield of our crops, we need to protect them from diseases also and use of fungicides is one way.

Different disease organisms become more prevalent in certain growing conditions, for example, gray leaf spot likes high humidity and high temperature. Conservation tillage has also increased the incidence of many diseases.… Continue reading

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Soybeans aphids on the move to Ohio

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

Back in April of this year, we wrote an article where we predicted that Ohio would see soybean aphids this summer, albeit that we could not say if any part of the state would actually experience outbreak conditions. We can report that the prediction of having aphids might become true. States and provinces to our north and northeast (Michigan, New York, Ontario) are starting to report seeing soybean aphids in numerous fields at low levels, and we can report that we know of at least a field each in Wayne and Wood Counties in Ohio (early planted soybean fields), that have small aphid populations.

Because we feel that most of Ohio’s problems in later summer come from aphids that migrate from northern areas, conditions are beginning to occur that might provide us with larger populations in a month or so. … Continue reading

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The Country Chaplain

By Tim Reeves

In 1835, a Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States of America. A historian, philosopher, writer and an early social scientist, de Tocqueville wanted to discover what made America America. For nearly a year, he traveled across the country, interviewing and studying Americans of all races, classes, ethnicities, etc.

After all that work, he wrote a compilation of what he learned, titled “Democracy in America,” which has been described as the most comprehensive analysis of the character and society of America ever written. He painted a true picture of America that went far beneath the red, white and blue of patriotism, the “green” of commerce, the spectacular vistas of natural beauty that grace this land, and the popular images.

Alexis de Tocqueville created a true picture of what embodied the American spirit.

His introduction bears reading. “Upon arrival in the United States of America, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention.… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Day July 16

Ohio needs more sheep. That’s the conclusion of Ohio State Extension Sheep Specialist Roger High, coordinator of the annual Ohio Sheep Day slated for July 16 at Blue Heron Farm in Columbiana County.

“This year at the American Sheep Industry Association convention in Reno, we developed and implemented an expansion plan for the sheep industry,” High said. “One of things we’re going to focus on is expanding the flock in Ohio.”

High said the strategic plan, and renewed focus on expanding the Ohio flock, is a result of a significant imbalance in supply and demand of lamb. Demand for lamb is strong, and supplies to fulfill that market are very tight.

Naturally, a growth in demand without a corresponding result in supply leads to strong prices. The problem, however, is a long-term concern over having enough lamb to fill the market.

“If we don’t get some sheep numbers back into the industry, our infrastructure will not be able to stand those lower numbers,” High said.… Continue reading

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A feather in agriculture’s cap: A surprising way to fight foreign oil dependence

By Doc Sanders

A new raw material has been discovered for making thermoplastics — and it comes from a source you may not expect. When I tell you what it is, you may say, “Horsefeathers!”

Traditionally, crude oil is the key ingredient of thermoplastics, which can be molded into any shape when heated. You find thermoplastics around home in everything from toothbrush bristles to car bumpers. It can be made tough enough to manufacture armor plating for a military tank — not that you’re likely to find one of those at home.

So, what’s the new raw material for making thermoplastics? Here it is: chicken feathers. Honest!

Chicken feathers have had few practical uses, except to keep chickens warm. And to stuff pillows. And they used to come in handy for chickens when they escaped my mother’s chicken house and evaded my grasp by flying up into a nearby tree. Plus, our old rooster seemed to take great pleasure strutting around and waiting for an opportune time to “flop” me as a little kid with his massive wings.… Continue reading

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AFBF applauds FTA progress

Statement from Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation president: “The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased both the Senate and House committees have approved the Korea, Colombia and Panama free trade agreements through the mock markup process. The process toward finalizing these important trade deals is heading in the right direction.

“The next step is for the administration to send the implementing legislation to Capitol Hill for a Congressional vote. It is imperative that the process promptly move forward to ensure the agreements will be completed by August recess. Inaction on these trade agreements over the last four years has opened the door to our competitors in these markets. Further delay will only exacerbate the losses for U.S. agriculture and the U.S. economy.

“Combined, the three FTAs represent nearly $2.5 billion in new agriculture exports and could generate support for up to 22,500 U.S. jobs. These gains will only be realized if the three agreements are passed by Congress and implemented.”… Continue reading

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Manure Science Review set for August 16

Ohio’s annual Manure Science Review, featuring new and better ways to manage farm manure and wastewater, takes place in the state’s west on Aug. 16.

Speakers from Ohio agencies, the farming community, and Ohio State University highlight the program. Both morning presentations and afternoon field demonstrations are part of it.

Organizers say the event has a double focus: to put waste to good use — to fertilize crops, cut disposal costs and save farmers money — and keep water supplies safe.

New technologies and alternative methods are some of the topics, with an emphasis on reducing runoff risk and nutrient loss. Of note are sessions on separating dairy solids and on using those solids as alternative bedding for cattle.

The program takes place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Winner Family Farm, 4317 State Route 47 West, in DeGraff in Logan County.

Registration costs $30 by Aug. 8, $35 afterward and at the door, with members of the Midwest Professional Nutrient Applicators Association receiving a $5 discount.… Continue reading

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Managing corn diseases

By Jerron Schmoll, Agronomy Research Manager, Pioneer

The practice of managing diseases with fungicides in corn has increased significantly in the last few years as commodity prices have made this practice more economically viable. As we approach tasseling, many growers will be considering whether or not to spray their acres. Let’s review what we have learned from previous seasons, and what is different about 2011 that might help guide our decisions.

Before we dig into the data, let’s review the primary diseases that we are managing with fungicides: gray leaf spot (GLS) and northern corn leaf blight (NCLB). GLS causes rectangular shaped lesions that turn gray as the disease progresses, while NCLB causes gray-green elliptical or cigar-shaped lesions. Both diseases are favored by prolonged periods of leaf wetness in the form of prolonged dews and high humidity, and both can produce substantial yield losses, particularly on susceptible hybrids. Increased stalk lodging can occur with both diseases as the plant “cannibalizes” carbohydrates in the stalk to fill the ear instead of relying on green tissue to photosynthesize carbohydrates.… Continue reading

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New Orleans set to sample Toledo-based sauce

It all started from just one unique, tasty bottle of barbeque sauce. That was two

years ago, and now has expanded to an impressive seven varieties located in dozens of stores across Ohio and Michigan. Taking a step even further as they prepare to move their product nationally, the northwest Ohio creators of Black Swamp Gourmet Barbeque Sauce are headed to a place where they know a thing or two about sauces: New Orleans, Louisiana.

They will join other vendors from across the country at the New Orleans Hot Sauce and Gourmet Food Show, July 16-17, 2011, which happens to be one of only a few such hot sauce conventions held in the U.S.

Originally from Lima, Ohio, Bob and Karen Basel have been Toledo, Ohio residents for nearly 20 years – and their love for northwest Ohio is far reaching. Not only does their Black Swamp Gourmet Barbeque Sauce contain a name with ties to the area’s history, but the frog caricature on the bottle’s label is a nod to their affection for Toledo.… Continue reading

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HSUS teams up with industry to push for federal legislation of egg production

The United Egg Producers has joined with The Humane Society of the United States to announce an unprecedented agreement to work together toward the enactment of comprehensive new federal legislation for all 280 million hens involved in U.S. egg production. The proposed standards advocated by UEP and HSUS, if enacted, would be the first federal law addressing the treatment of animals on farms.

The proposed legislation would:

• Require conventional cages (currently used by more than 90% of the egg industry) to be replaced, through an ample phase-in period, with new, enriched housing systems that provide each hen nearly double the amount of space they’re currently allotted. Egg producers will invest an additional $4 billion over the next 15 years to implement the change;

• Require that all egg-laying hens be provided, through the new enriched housing system, with environments that will allow hens to express natural behaviors, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas;

• Mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens,” “eggs from hens in enriched cages,” “eggs from cage-free hens,” and “eggs from free-range hens”;

• Prohibit feed- or water-withholding molting to extend the laying cycle, a practice already prohibited by the United Egg Producers Certified program adhered to by a majority of egg farmers;

• Require standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanasia for egg laying hens;

• Prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses;

• Prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.… Continue reading

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Gleaner Road Show

During the 2011 Gleaner Road Show, producers will be able to see how the new Gleaner S7 Super Series combine works on the inside as the combine smoothly glides through a field during harvest. Using an AgCam mounted inside the machine, the Gleaner Road Show team will capture video of the combine’s natural-flow two-stage feeding system and transverse rotor as it processes and cleans the crop. The video will be displayed on field-side monitors. The 2011 Gleaner Road Show is occurring from July through November, moving northward with the small-grains harvest and then through the Corn Belt.
            


“We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of our natural-flow two-stage transverse rotor system, and now we’re literally showing it in action,” says Kevin Bien, product marketing manager for Gleaner. “By mounting one of the cameras beneath the accelerator rolls, we’ll be able to show producers how the grain is pre-cleaned before it reaches the cleaning shoe.… Continue reading

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Are higher commodity prices here to stay?

Higher commodity prices might be the rule rather than the exception in the coming years, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

While prices regularly rise and fall, they have trended upward in a way that suggests they’ve reached a plateau, said Mike Boehlje. He attributed much of the price movement to bullish export markets, weather-shortened supplies and the effect monetary policies have had on interest rates and investors.

“This higher level may be the new normal,” Boehlje said. “But volatility has increased significantly for agricultural prices, as well as for agricultural inputs. In terms of corn, for example, it’s not unusual in the futures markets to see prices moving 30 cents or more on a daily basis. And although prices may be higher, so are costs to producers. So margins are not likely to stay unusually high.”

Corn and wheat in recent weeks have been trading in the range of $6-$7 per bushel and soybeans above $13 a bushel, about double the prices five years ago.… Continue reading

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Anderson’s Greenville Ethanol Plant Taking Wheat

The Andersons Marathon Ethanol plant near Greenville has been surprising wheat growers by using the crop for the production of ethanol.

“We are open for wheat during harvest here. It is the starch in the corn kernel that we convert into sugar and ferment into ethanol. There is also starch content in wheat,” said Mike Irmen, director of ethanol services for The Andersons, Inc. “There is not as much starch in wheat as there is in a corn kernel, so we know we won’t get quite the ethanol yield per bushel that we get out of corn. But our test results show us that if we can buy wheat at approximately $1 less than what we have to pay for corn, which is the current market difference, then we think we can still come out ahead. We’re willing to give it a try to see what we can learn.”

The 110 million gallon ethanol plant currently has separate hours for taking wheat and is testing for vomitoxin.… Continue reading

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Anderson's Greenville Ethanol Plant Taking Wheat

The Andersons Marathon Ethanol plant near Greenville has been surprising wheat growers by using the crop for the production of ethanol.

“We are open for wheat during harvest here. It is the starch in the corn kernel that we convert into sugar and ferment into ethanol. There is also starch content in wheat,” said Mike Irmen, director of ethanol services for The Andersons, Inc. “There is not as much starch in wheat as there is in a corn kernel, so we know we won’t get quite the ethanol yield per bushel that we get out of corn. But our test results show us that if we can buy wheat at approximately $1 less than what we have to pay for corn, which is the current market difference, then we think we can still come out ahead. We’re willing to give it a try to see what we can learn.”

The 110 million gallon ethanol plant currently has separate hours for taking wheat and is testing for vomitoxin.… Continue reading

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Vilsack on the U.S.-Mexico Agreement to resolve the cross-border trucking dispute

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the agreement signed by Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute:

“The agreement signed today between the governments of Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute is a major win for U.S. agriculture, American jobs and our nation’s economic prosperity. President Obama and President Calderon announced a path forward in March to resolve the dispute, and today the U.S. Department of Transportation — after months of hard work with Mexican counterparts — closed a deal that will provide tariff relief for numerous U.S. agricultural products and manufactured goods.

“This dispute has cost U.S. businesses more than $2 billion. For U.S. farm exports to Mexico, exports of affected commodities were reduced by 27%. But today, thanks to the persistent work of the Obama Administration, we have an agreement that not only will ultimately eliminate punitive tariffs, but it also provides opportunities to increase U.S.… Continue reading

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Cover crops and prevented planting

Farmers who were unable to plant their corn and soybeans because of bad weather might consider planting cover crops this summer to build soil quality and prevent erosion, a Purdue University Extension specialist says.



Cover crops usually are planted in the fall to protect soil over the winter and replaced with corn and soybeans in the spring. But an exceptionally cool and wet spring kept many farmers from planting, leaving fields fallow.

Because many fields were left bare by prevented planting, Purdue Extension soil scientist Eileen Kladivko recommended planting a cover crop to avoid soil erosion and build soil quality. Cover crops can increase a farm’s long-term productivity by loosening soil structure, reducing nitrate leaching and adding organic matter, Kladivko said. 



“There is no reason not to do something in the summer,” she said. “Soil quality increases by growing things in it.”



Ohio State University cover crop specialist Jim Hoorman said cover crop roots might create pore space, increasing the soil’s water storage capacity.… Continue reading

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New Holland announces Boomer 555 contest to win a 5-year tractor lease

What would you do with a New Holland compact Boomer 30 tractor and loader? Dig a pond? Plant a food plot to attract the biggest buck? Till a prize-winning garden to feed the hungry? Make your neighbors jealous?

To find out, New Holland has announced the Boomer 555 Contest. For the next five months, legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (except Quebec) can enter to win a five-year lease of a New Holland Boomer 30 compact tractor and loader with the industry-leading Boomer Guard5 limited five-year warranty.

To enter, just visit the contest’s website at www.boomer555.com and describe how you would use a New Holland compact tractor. Unique ideas and inspiring stories count! Qualified entrants, 18 years or older, can enter by submitting their most dynamic, creative entry in words, photos or video.  Entries can also be submitted via e-mail to boomer555@newholland.com or mailed to Boomer 555 Contest – MS#208, c/o New Holland Agriculture, P.O.… Continue reading

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Wheat yield and quality update

By Matt Reese

Dan Wagner farms in Hardin and Hancock Counties and started harvesting his wheat crop last week. He feared that both quality and yields would be poor this year. Though he is still disappointed with his wheat crop, it was not as bad as he initially feared.

“The wheat was off last year and this year the disease levels seem to be better, but the yields are worse,” Wagner said. “Wheat looked great coming into May, but then we started seeing the tile lines and I knew it was too wet. The water killed it in the low areas and in other places there was a head, but there was nothing in it. The yield monitor spiked up to 72 bushels in areas where it should’ve been 100.”

This year, fungicide again proved itself, but application at the proper time was also very challenging.

“We sprayed Prosaro, but I think we missed the ideal timing by about three days,” Wagner said.… Continue reading

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The Ohio Crop Progress Report – July 5th, 2011

Temperatures across the state were slightly above average for this time of year, and precipitation was below normal. Most field activities included winter wheat harvest, cutting hay, spraying herbicide and side-dressing corn. As expected, late planted corn is showing better stand counts than that of early planted acres. Reporters in the South Central district report that some stands of winter wheat are showing signs of head scab, the infection rate is low to moderate. Vegetable producers in the South East district have begun harvesting of tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers and sweet corn.

As of Sunday July 3rd, 95 percent of soybeans were emerged, two percent behind last year and four percent behind the five-year average. One percent of the soybeans were blooming, compared to 16 percent for both last year and the five-year average. Fifty-six percent of the winter wheat was ripe, 34 percent behind last year and 4 percent behind the five-year average.… Continue reading

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