Featured News



Protect pasture leaf area in the fall

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County, Buckeye Hills EERA

I’ve gotten some questions recently about pasture management during dry fall conditions. Specifically, how will future pasture production be affected by grazing off pasture leaf area now, in the fall? The short answer to that question is that pasture production will be harmed by grazing off leaf area at this time. Now, let’s examine the reasons behind the answer and some management options.

Fall is the time when the perennial plant prepares for winter. As a perennial plant, the root system remains alive over the winter and depends upon stored carbohydrate reserves to survive and to regenerate new growth the following spring. Manufacture of those carbohydrate reserves depends upon photosynthesis. Photosynthesis depends upon leaves capturing sunlight. More leaf area equals more sunlight captured, higher photosynthetic rates and higher levels of carbohydrates produced for winter storage. As we go farther into the fall, grass growth rate slows down considerably, but photosynthesis can still occur at productive rates, provided there is adequate leaf area.… Continue reading

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Early harvest leaves time for cover crops

With harvest already out of the way for some Ohio corn and soybean producers, there may be ample time this fall to repair compaction-damaged fields.

Randall Reeder, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer, encourages growers to explore cover crops (legumes or grasses) as a way of alleviating compaction issues.

“Subsoiling is an obvious and common technique to break up soil and smooth out rutted fields,” said Reeder, who also holds a research appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “But cover crops are a natural biological plow and may be an attractive option to solve some compaction issues, while getting the added soil and environmental benefits that cover crops bring to ag production management.”

Ohio State University Extension research has found that cover crops incorporated into a continuous no-till field crop rotation can produce enough nitrogen to complement, or in some cases, replace corn nitrogen fertilizer applications. In addition, cover crops improve the soil structure, support microbial diversity, facilitate drainage, reduce soil erosion, reduce nutrient leaching, store carbon, suppress weeds, enhance wildlife and serve as a forage product.

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Federal Court decides Ohio dairy labeling case

By Peggy Hall, Ohio State University Extension

The federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled in International Dairy Foods Assoc. v. Boggs, a controversial case long anticipated by Ohio’s agricultural interests.  At the center of the controversy is Ohio’s dairy labeling rule, adopted  by the Ohio Department of Agriculture in 2008.  Prior to the rule, many dairy producers who did not use the genetically engineered hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) included language on their product labels that indicated the product as “rbST free” or “from cows not treated with rbST.”  Many others in the agricultural and dairy industries objected to such language, claiming that it was false and misleading and suggested that  “rbST free” dairy products were superior to others.  In response to such concerns, Governor Strickland directed the ODA to “define what constitutes false and misleading labels on milk and milk products” and to require dairy producers claiming that they do not use rbST to submit supporting documentation and create labels containing representations consistent with the Food and Drug Administration’s findings that there is no significant difference between milk from rbST-treated and untreated cows.… Continue reading

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OARDC tornado damage video on the Web

Ohio State University tree experts show tornado damage to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and its Secrest Arboretum in Wooster in a new video posted Oct. 1 on YouTube.

The images come from areas that continue to remain off-limits to the public — the main OARDC campus and its 120-acre arboretum — following a Sept. 16 tornado strike.

Part one is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVMjWhx7TA&feature=player_embedded.

Part two is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdfKJZ0u1aY&feature=related.

Narrators Jim Chatfield, an Ohio State University Extension horticulture specialist based in Wooster, and Bruce Cubberley, an assistant professor of horticulture technologies at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), also in Wooster, look at which trees were lost, which ones survived, how to know if a damaged tree can be saved and more.

“It’s about mourning, but it’s also about learning and looking to the future,” Chatfield says in the video.

“We will put this material to use” — with ATI horticulture students, in OSU Extension outreach programs — “because that’s what we’re about: bringing knowledge to life.”… Continue reading

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The market for club pigs: This little piggy sold online

By Brian Roe and Tim Wyszynski, Ohio State University

The performance of brick and mortar institutions relative to Internet alternatives is of increasing interest for agriculture.  With Internet penetration rising steadily among US farm households (59% in 2009 vs. 29% in 1999), online markets hold great promise for increasing market efficiency, particularly for items where local markets are thin and search costs are high.  However, online markets must overcome issues of trust (Does the item meet its description? Will the seller actually send it?).  Furthermore, Internet markets are newer and need to attract enough buyers and sellers away from traditional markets in order to have a liquid market.  Once these barriers are overcome, questions still remain about whether online prices are comparable to prices in traditional markets.  For example, Ohio State research found that used tractor prices on eBay were 30% lower than similarly described tractors sold in traditional auctions.

One place where Internet sales have developed a foothold is in the club pig market. … Continue reading

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Ohio Weekly Crop Progress Report for October 4th

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY OCTOBER 3, 2010

This week was dry and cool throughout the state, except for a day of rain mid-week. Dry field conditions allowed producers to harvest grain, fruit and vegetable crops, and plant winter wheat.
As of Sunday October 3, 90 percent of corn was mature, compared to 43 percent last year and 71 percent for the five-year average. Thirty- six percent of corn for grain has been harvested in the State, compared to 4 percent last year and 8 percent for the five-year average. Ninety-five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 86 percent last year and 93 percent for the five-year average. Soybeans were 80 percent mature, which was 32 percent ahead of last year and 17 percent ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans harvested were reported at 43 percent, up 34 percent from last year and up 23 percent from the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Renowned Corn Breeder Joins Seed Consultants

Dave Nanda joins Seed Consultants Inc. as Director of Genetics and Technology. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from around the world to the Eastern Corn Belt. Before coming to the United States, he worked with the Rockefeller Foundation in India collecting corn and millets germplasm.  He holds a PhD in Agronomy and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and also worked closely with Dekalb Seed Operations in Argentina, India and Europe.

Throughout his career he has focused on plant breeding, product development and selection. He looks forward to helping Eastern Corn Belt farmers with agronomics, corn genetics and new technologies. “With the fast changing world of genetics and technology, I think a company such as SCI needs personnel who can communicate with other scientists, seed consultants and farmers.” Dave has been communicating with farmers as a consultant to Prairie Farmer magazine since 2007 and he’s known as CornDoc1 on Twitter, a social network.… Continue reading

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The Man Behind the Mask, Hiding From Responsiblity

By Ken E. Knight (posted with special permission)

As the state and county fairs around the country complete a very successful year, for many, the first in several years, and for some a complete turn around from the brink of extinction to a new found hope, it gives us a chance to reflect back on a very pivotal time in the life of 4-H.

After completing a series of several 4-H articles that addressed the concerns of a program that wasn’t being funded or even supported, it was obvious that we had made considerable progress in bringing attention to the plight of 4-H. But, unfortunately there were several county commissioners in cooperation with state officials that had officially decided to discontinue 4-H at the end of this past year. These are the people that have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the importance of 4-H. This kind of decision making is irresponsible and falls into the category of hiding behind the mask.… Continue reading

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Agriculture Director Challenges to Eat Local

Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs today extended a challenge to all Ohioans to consume local foods during the week of Oct. 2 – 8. At a kickoff celebration at the Local Roots Market and Café in Wooster, Ohio, Boggs encouraged citizens to support Ohio agriculture.

“With an abundance of local food products readily available, everyone in Ohio should have access to fresh and healthy food,” said Boggs. “As the department kicks of its Eat Local Challenge Week, I encourage all Ohioans to plan and prepare one meal every day using foods that are made, grown or raised in Ohio.”

From dairy products to meats to fruits and vegetables, Ohio is home to a large variety of products and produce that are available in grocery stores and farm and farmers markets located across the state. Visit the department’s Ohio Proud website, www.ohioproud.org, to search for market locations by county or by a specific product.… Continue reading

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Strickland Secures Federal Assistance for Ohio Farmers

Governor Ted Strickland today announced that farmers in 79 counties are now eligible to receive disaster assistance after U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack declared 41 Ohio counties to be primary natural disaster areas and the additional 38 as contiguous disaster counties.

Strickland requested a disaster designation from the USDA due to state agricultural losses caused by several natural disasters in 2010.

“Ohio farmers faced economic losses and personal hardship as a result of these weather disasters, and I saw how important it was to help secure available aid,” said Strickland. “I am grateful for Secretary Vilsack’s decision to provide some relief for the members of our agriculture community. This assistance will help our farmers make Ohio’s $98 billion food and agriculture industry even stronger.”

The available assistance includes Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in these eligible counties have eight months from the date of this disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance.… Continue reading

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What can we learn for next year by analyzing potential 2010 corn crop losses?

By Eric Anderson, Syngenta agronomist, CPAg

With summer over and fall in full swing, most growers have turned their attention toward harvest, which has started in earnest in some areas throughout the Great Lakes District. Looking back, spring planting was ideal (at least early on) and environmental conditions were mostly satisfactory, leading the USDA to predict near-record yields for much of the area. However, some growers who have begun harvest are finding a little different story, with lower than expected yields, especially for corn. Let’s look at the year and examine probable causes for potential corn yield loss in 2010 as well as possible solutions for future reference.

2010 Corn Crop

1.) Too much rain – One obvious cause for overall yield loss in 2010 was too much rain early on. Most areas had an over abundance of rainfall from mid-May through mid-July. Many growers experienced some flooding, at least in low-lying areas, and consequently had drowned out areas where corn was completely killed.… Continue reading

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County fair novel winning accolades for Ohio author

By Matt Reese

It is no secret that the general public is disconnected from agriculture and plenty has been said about the need for those involved with agriculture to share their farm-related stories with others. Michelle Houts did just that and her story has been published into an award-winning book — The Beef Princess of Practical County.

“This particular story came from my kids and their friends showing at the county fair. Not coming from a livestock background myself, I really had no idea how much time went into raising a market animal and how much emotion went into letting go of it,” Houts said. “I realized how much hard work, courage and dedication and guts went into getting out there and showing the animal and then parting with it at the end. Nobody has really told that story in a middle grade novel form. Charlotte’s Web is a great county fair story, but in the end, it doesn’t tell the story of raising livestock and what the kids learn when they raise market animals.… Continue reading

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Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting will be February 11, 2011 from 8:30 to 4:00 p.m. The focus will be “The Plant and How It Grows”.  Dr.Glen Schmaker, Forage Specialist, Extension Assistant Professor from University of Idaho will do sessions on making hay, understanding how to maximize grazing based on the time of day and cool season plants. Dr. Marvin Hall, Penn State Professor of Forage Management will have sessions on plant growth and how animals utilize the plants. Besides the keynote speakers, Ohio producer panel will share their observations and experiences with plant production and harvesting practices.   The meeting will be held at Ohio Department of Agriculture at Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  For more information, call Leah Miller at 740.545.6349.… Continue reading

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VeraSun attorneys retract demands for farmer payments

Corn growers who faced a legal deadline to repay money from corn sold in 2008 to the bankrupt ethanol producer VeraSun received some good news — the attorneys are dropping their questionable claims for payment.

“This is great news for farmers at a time when we need to focus on bringing in our crops,” said National Corn Growers Association President Darrin Ihnen. “We’re glad the lawyers saw the light and realized they had no legal justification to go after us. We had an excellent team working on this to make sure we had the right information, and to present our case.”

Because of bankruptcy law, attorneys representing VeraSun creditors were able to seek repayment from farmers and others who received money from VeraSun within 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing.

In late August, hundreds of corn farmers received letters from attorneys threatening legal action. The letters offered to settle the matter with a payment equal to 80% of what the farmers received for their corn sales to VeraSun.… Continue reading

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Seed Consultants celebrates 20 years since “crazy” start

By Matt Reese

Sometimes, being a little crazy can be a good thing.

People in the seed business and on the farm thought Chris Jeffries and Dan Fox were a little crazy 20 years ago when they started a seed company from scratch.

“Nobody really knew what the heck we were doing. No one does that,” Fox said. “Everybody thought we were crazy. No one just starts up a seed company.”

No one except the founders of Seed Consultants, Inc., that is.

“Chris and I worked together at Super Crost Seeds. They did not have a line of beans and Chris actually started a line of beans and he called it ‘Seed Consultants,’” said Fox, the vice president of Seed Consultants. “In 1989, ICI bought Super Crost Seeds and Chris had always said that if something happened, he wanted to go on his own and start his own company. I told him that if he ever did that, I wanted to go with him.… Continue reading

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Winter wheat needs a clean seedbed

The most important thing farmers can do to control weeds in the 2011 wheat crop is to provide a clean, weed-free seedbed before planting, Purdue Extension weed scientist Bill Johnson says. Few herbicides are available for wheat, so getting rid of weeds before the seed hits the ground will help eliminate crop injury and problems with yields. “If wheat seedlings are emerging and they are competing with standing, live weeds in the fall, we run the risk of wheat not tillering,” Johnson said. “If wheat doesn’t tiller as well in the fall, we will have fewer plants in the spring to crowd out other weeds and ultimately fewer grain heads for production.” Minimizing or eliminating the competition from weeds in the fall will give wheat the chance to take up moisture and soil nutrients and to absorb as much sunlight as possible, Johnson said. In addition to a clean seedbed, Johnson said wheat farmers should wait to plant wheat until after the average Hessian fly-free date for their area.… Continue reading

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New option for multi-pest control available for 2011

Every year there are a host of pests that reduce the yield of Ohio’s corn crop. In the past however, many of these pests never received much attention simply because there was just not much that could be done about them.

Among the most damaging of these pests is the corn earworm. Damage from corn earworm (CEW) is caused by the larvae as they feed on leaves, silks and developing kernels. The pest was present in higher numbers than usual in some parts of Ohio this year and damage varied significantly throughout the state, according to Syngenta agronomists.

“CEW is a serious pest that is present in Ohio every year. The pest overwinters in some parts of Ohio and is present throughout the state on many crops including field corn, sweet corn, popcorn and many vegetable crops. Trapping data from Ohio State University indicates that while 2008 and 2009 were relatively low years for CEW, 2006 and 2007 were strong peak years in moth trapping programs,” said Jason Fettig, a Syngenta agronomist.… Continue reading

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NPPC Wants Restrictions On Cuba Trade Lifted

U.S. pork exports to Cuba will more than triple if restrictions on travel and export financing for products going to the Caribbean island nation are lifted, according to an Iowa State University analysis.
The National Pork Producers Council is urging House lawmakers to take up legislation (H.R. 4645) that would let U.S. citizens travel to Cuba and allow direct transfers of funds from Cuban to U.S. financial institutions for products authorized for sale under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. That law granted exceptions for agricultural and medical products to the unilateral trade embargo the United States placed on Cuba in 1960 after that country nationalized the property of U.S. citizens and corporations.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to mark up the bill tomorrow. In a letter sent today, NPPC asked the panel’s members to support H.R. 4645 and to oppose any amendments to it.
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