Featured News

Drought, wildfire smoke and GDUs at play in 2023 crop fields

By John Schoenhals, Pioneer Field Agronomist, Northern Ohio

There are many “adages” that fit all sorts of weather or farming situations, but one of my favorites came from my mom: “Normal is just a setting on the dryer.” Like most years, there has been nothing “normal” about the first half of the 2023 growing season.

Crop growth this year has been subjected to extremes in temperature, precipitation, and air quality/sunlight. The impacts of these extremes can be seen in the development of crops, and may continue having impacts on crops through the rest of the season.

John Schoenhals, Pioneer Field Agronomist in northern Ohio

Corn development is primarily driven by growing degree unit (GDU) accumulation. So far this year, GDU accumulation is near or below average. This is in contrast to several recent years in which GDU accumulation was above average for most of the growing season. While it may seem that the corn crop is “behind” where it should be based on calendar dates, most fields are at expectations based on GDU accumulation since planting.… Continue reading

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Crop growth and the wildfire haze in 2023

By Alexander LindseyLaura LindseyOsler Ortez, Ohio State University Extension

Smoke from Canadian wildfires in 2023 has been prevalent in Ohio this year, and it has come into the state earlier in the season than in past years (like 2021). This condition has potential to cause harm to plants, but the diffuse light (instead of direct bright sunlight) may help to offset or negate reductions in overall light intensity.

Some of the main concerns related to crops:

  1. Smoke reduces light availability, which could negatively impact photosynthesis in crops (process of converting CO2 into biomass). Reports have shown that reduced light intensity of 15% did not reduce corn yield, though yield losses have been evident when sustained shading (reduced light availability) of 30-50% was imposed.
  2. If present in sufficient quantities near where the plants are growing, gases like ozone can induce plant stress and cause issues in growth and development.
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Ban lifted on U.S. poultry exports to Columbia

Quick action by FAS, USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has resolved an issue that temporarily stopped U.S. poultry product exports to Colombia, the tenth largest market for these products.

Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture instructed all Colombian ports to deny import permits to any poultry products beginning June 1 on concerns of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Roughly $1.1 million in U.S. exports were impacted by the ban between June 3 and June 8.

FAS, APHIS, and USTR joined forces to leverage our free trade agreement to pressure Colombian officials to lift the ban. In parallel, USDA staff in Colombia directed U.S. companies, Colombian importers, local trade associations, and State Department Economic officials to communicate the impact of the ban on bilateral relations with Colombia’s Ministries of Agriculture and Trade.

These cooperative efforts brought a reversal on the ban to fruition on June 8.… Continue reading

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Pasture management in dry conditions

By Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County and Garth Ruff, Extension Field Specialist Beef Cattle

The some much-needed June rains brought some relief, Ohio has been showing up on the U.S. Drought Monitor already in 2023. With the potential for more dry conditions yet this summer and fall, there are management practices you can take to minimize damage to pastures, while maintaining cattle health and growth. Please consider the suggestions provided below if we continue to see dry conditions in 2023.

  • Do not overgraze. Plants require leaf area to capture sunlight to complete the photosynthesis process.  Overgrazing will diminish available leaf area and impact root reserves needed to maintain plant growth.
  • Depending upon forage species, plants should be approximately 8 inches to 10 inches tall before being grazed and follow the “take half, leave half” rule.
  • Consider using temporary posts and fencing to reduce paddock size to improve utilization with more frequent pasture rotations.
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U.S. Soybean Uses Development in Nigeria

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

From the soybean fields of Logan County to the other side of the world in Lagos, Nigeria, Bill Bayliss knows his soybeans. Bayliss also knows that soybeans have a role in improving the quality of life around the globe. As a member of the Ohio Soybean Council and United Soybean Board, Bayliss serves on the demand committees for both check-off funded organizations. In a recent trip to Nigeria, he had the opportunity to talk soybeans with buyers, importers, and government officials.

Traveling with the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), Bayliss along with three other midwestern state farmers and a soybean industry representative participated in four unique but interrelated conferences while in Lagos. “Nigeria is a country that is similar in size to the state of Texas, but it has a population that is ten times the size,” said Bayliss.… Continue reading

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Maumee TMDL plan moving forward

Ohio EPA has sent its plan for a Total Maximum Daily Load for the Maumee River Watershed to the U.S. EPA for consideration. The TMDL would create a blueprint for officials to develop and implement programs and policies to improve the quality of water within the designated area. The finalized proposal devised by Ohio EPA properly acknowledges the efforts already underway in Ohio, including the H2Ohio water quality initiative and federal conservation programs funded through the farm bill.

“Although a TMDL isn’t necessary in order for Ohio agriculture to move the needle on water quality, this plan does recognize the emphasis farmers in northwest Ohio are currently putting on nutrient management as a major factor in reaching the goal of a healthier Maumee River,” said Jack Irvin, vice president of public policy with Ohio Farm Bureau. “Equally as important, it points out that this TMDL will not be successful unless all sources of pollution do their part to reach the desired targets for clean water.”… Continue reading

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Syngenta celebrates grand opening of Seeds R&D Innovation Center

Syngenta leaders from around the globe joined with state, local and agricultural organization representatives for the recent Grand Opening of the Syngenta Seeds R&D Innovation Center in Malta, Illinois, a facility designed to bring farmers and researchers together to accelerate advancements in agricultural seed products and services.

“At Syngenta Seeds, we continue strengthening our R&D engine by orchestrating every process for speed, precision and power,” says Warren Kruger, Syngenta head of Field Crops Seeds Development for North America. “This new, state-of-the-art R&D Innovation Center is located in the heart of the North American Corn Belt, surrounded by farmers who now have a seat at our innovation table. Here, we will get real-time farmer feedback so that Syngenta researchers are developing the innovations and solutions they need, today and for the future.”

The Syngenta Seeds R&D Innovation Center is an 88-acre, 100,000-square-foot facility that reinforces Syngenta Seeds position as a global innovation powerhouse. It includes 32,000 feet for laboratories and over 18,000 feet of seed processing space, along with research fields.… Continue reading

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Cheesecake – a super delicious food

By Shelly Detwiler

Early June it’s grad party central and like many other Ohioans Paul and I headed off for a day of grazing. First up, Julia’s. Julia’s party food spoke to my foodie heart with 11 flavors of the most delicious four bite Cheesecake Girl cheesecakes. Big mistake! My friend had to hold me back as I wanted to try them all, however 11 was even a little much for me. I selected four and headed back to share with Paul. Our favorite of the day was the banana pudding. Cheesecake Girl has taken central Ohio by storm since opening up her first storefront in Hilliard in 2020. Another has opened in Dublin, New Albany, Budd Dairy-Columbus and as of the first of this year Cheesecake Girl ships nationwide with over 40 flavors. Note to self…when I have a party and choose cheesecakes, choose only three flavors, four max. Otherwise you’ll run out of the tasty treats when everyone has to try every flavor.… Continue reading

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Foundation golf outing outdrives fundraising goal

The 2023 Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Golf Invitational raised over $100,000 for foundation scholarships, grants and programs that help enhance agricultural communities and support careers in agriculture.

“The annual golf invitational serves as great exposure for the work of the foundation. We had a great day connecting with new and loyal supporters while creating awareness around careers in agriculture. Raising over $100,000 allows the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation to continue our focus to inspire and educate the next generation of agricultural professionals through scholarships, innovative programming and grants,” said Jenny Cox, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation board president.

The event was held June 26 at Pinnacle Golf Club in Grove City and hosted 156 golfers.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation offers a special thank you to the event sponsors, especially Nationwide, who served as the title sponsor for the event. This successful day would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors and participants.… Continue reading

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U.S. weather continues to see odd occurrences

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

U.S. weather continues to see odd occurrences this growing season. Here’s a perfect example. The first week of June frost warnings took place in the northern regions of Michigan while at the same time the Dakotas were experiencing temperature extremes in the 90s. In addition, Canada’s forest fires in the far eastern part of the country pushed smoke into Ohio and other states as it moved from the east to the west, a very odd movement of wind directions, resulting in air quality conditions for central Ohio to reach red levels.

Grain prices detonated, roared, and exploded into life the second week of June with continuous weather forecasts of dry conditions in expanding areas of the U.S. Midwest. Grains were sharply higher on June 16 compared to the previous week, old corn up 36 cents, new corn up 67 cents, old soybeans up 80 cents, new soybeans up $1.38, with wheat up 58 cents.… Continue reading

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A look at the June 30 numbers

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

The USDA report suggested farmers last spring paid attention to lower fertilizer costs and higher December corn values by planting more corn. Historically, when crops are planted quickly more corn acres are added at the expense of beans. 

Harvested vs planted acres

Digging deeper into the June 30 report, the USDA’s harvested acres as a percent of planted seems to mirror the average from 2013 through 2017 instead of the last five years. If the average of the last 10 years was used instead, there would be a 500,000-acre reduction for total production. If the average from the last five years was used, it would reduce harvested acres by 1 million. This could mean a potential carryout reduction of 90-180 million bushels or 5% to 10% decrease sometime in the future.

Sorghum

Sorghum plantings were up nearly 1 million acres from the spring estimates.… Continue reading

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2023 growing seasons: Challenging start

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc

The 2023 growing season started off in a challenging way for many growers. Learning from these challenges and making sound management decisions throughout the remainder of the growing season will be important to achieving the highest possible yield potential.

Although some growers were able to get crops planted early, wet weather caused delays for growers in many areas. Field work was delayed due to patterns of wet weather. In many areas of Ohio, corn and soybeans were not planted until the end of May. While early planting favors high yields, it does not guarantee them. Even with delayed planting growers can still achieve high yields depending on several other factors. The key to achieving the crop’s highest yield potential will be sound management.

Not only have adverse spring field conditions impacted planting and early crop development, but some issues that exist as a result of the wet weather will linger throughout the season.… Continue reading

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Planting Date and Soybean Seedling Disease Research

By Taylor Dill and Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension State Soybean Specialist, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-20

Jenna Moore is a Ph.D. student working with Dr. Horacio Lopez-Nicora in the Soybean Pathology and Nematology Lab at Ohio State. Her research focuses on the impact of planting dates on soybean and corn seedling diseases.

The OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team Battle for the Belt project structure provides a great opportunity to better understand how environmental conditions (e.g., rainfall, soil temperature, etc.) at different planting dates and soilborne pathogen diversity impact soybean and corn seedlings. Jenna Moore explains several methods used to isolate pathogens from seedlings and surrounding soil at the VE stage (emergence) for both crops. Soil baiting is a method used to isolate water molds (i.e., oomycetes), which includes common pathogens like Pythium and Phytophthora. A second method, seedling surface sterilization, and plating is used to isolate fungi (e.g., Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, etc.)… Continue reading

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Watch for dry weather pests

By Kelley Tilmon and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

While nobody knows what the future holds regarding weather, recent dry conditions have made people think about the potential for drought this summer. In field crops, certain insect pests tend to be worse under dry conditions — either because hot and/or dry weather favors their biology, reduces the impact of natural enemies that help control them [particularly insect-killing fungi], weakens the plants’ resistance to the insects or increases the physiological damage potential, or some combination of these factors. While you can’t control the weather, stepping up scouting efforts in drought conditions can help you control unexpected damage from these dry-weather insects.

In soybean, spider mites, and grasshoppers are commonly worse in drought. In corn, grasshoppers can increase but are unlikely to be numerous enough to affect yield; however, spider mites can be a problem. In alfalfa, potato leafhopper damage can be worse under dry conditions, largely because the plants are more prone to “hopper burn” when they are stressed.… Continue reading

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Farming with weather extremes

Weather is almost always a challenge for agriculture, from too little or too much rain, late season freeze conditions, and severe weather impacts. Yet, having good management strategies for dealing with water, weeds, pests, diseases, and stress is all part of being climate-smart. 

This year’s Climate Smart Conference brings Ohio State and Central State Extension specialists and local producers together to discuss these important interactions between weather, climate, and agriculture. The event will occur on July 20, 2023, at the Der Dutchman located at 445 S. Jefferson Ave in Plain City, Ohio. The event will open at 8:30 AM and run until 3:30 PM with both a continental breakfast and lunch provided.

Speakers and topics include: 

  • Weather and climate update — Aaron Wilson
  • Federal climate smart funding landscape with NRCS
  • Extreme weather and crop insurance — Margaret Jodlowski
  • Ag water management — Vinayak Shedekar
  • CSU applied research in Climate-Focused Areas
  • Panel — local producers, CSU specialist, Glen Arnold (Manure), Bridget Britton (Farm Stress), Elizabeth Hawkins (Precision Ag)
  • Insect Pest Management – Andy Michel and Maggie Lewis
  • Economics and grain market considerations – Seungki Lee

The event is free thanks to the following sponsors: Platinum – Ag Resource Management; Gold –AgCredit, Leist Mercantile, Ohio Corn & Wheat, and Ohio Soybean Council.… Continue reading

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Rain Brought Some Relief

Smoke from wildfires in Canada adversely impacted air quality in Ohio. This has led to air quality alerts for several areas. Farmers have had to take precautions. The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report showed 75.2 percent of the State as abnormally dry or worse, an improvement over last week’s 80.2 percent rating. Conditions matching the moderate drought rating were observed in 33.4 percent of the State. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 3 percent very short, 18 percent short, 68 percent adequate, and 11 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on July 2 was 71.9 degrees, 0.6 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 1.22 inches of precipitation, 0.04 inches above average. There were 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 2. 

Last week, most areas saw some much-needed rain. The southern regions were still very dry. Harvest was progressing nicely with the exceptions of those areas hit hard by the severe storms in the northern tier of the State last week.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybeans and Developing International Markets

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Bob Suver’s Family has been farming in Clark County for almost 150 years. The rolling hills with grass waterways on his farm protect both the soil and water quality. Located just outside of New Carlisle, Suver has been practicing No-till crop production for over 35 years. This progressive farmer and former Director of Job and Family Service in Clark County is also a world traveler advocating for Ohio Soybean Farmers. 

As a member of the Ohio Soybean Council, Suver serves on the Demand Committee. “Early on I had an opportunity to travel on a direct marketing trip to Japan, China and South Korea to promote food grade soybeans,” said Suver. “We met with processors and importers and had a booth at a tradeshow in Shanghai, China and had another event in Seoul, South Korea.… Continue reading

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Cost of Fourth of July cookout up 17%

U.S. consumers will pay $69.68 for their favorite Independence Day cookout foods, including cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream, based on a new American Farm Bureau Federation marketbasket survey.

The average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $69.68, which breaks down to less than $7 per person. The overall cost for the cookout is up 17% or about $10 from last year, a result of ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflation and the war in Ukraine.

Farmers are feeling the price-point pain too, like the people they grow food for, according to AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan.

“Despite higher food prices, the supply chain disruptions and inflation have made farm supplies more expensive; like consumers, farmers are price-takers not price-makers,” Cryan said. He added, “Bottom line, in many cases the higher prices farmers are being paid aren’t covering the increase in their farm expenses.… Continue reading

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Reflections on the 2020 Fourth of July and the Declaration of Independence

It was the year everything was canceled. At first, we started an online listing of all of the agricultural events that were being called off in March of 2020. Soon, though, it became apparent that everything was going to be canceled for the foreseeable future, so there really was not any point listing them anymore.

This went on day after day, week after week. The world as we had known it had shut down. By the time the Fourth of July rolled around, we were all pretty much getting used to the fact that stuff just was not happening. Like the day before, and the week before that, and the month before that, we planned on another quiet evening at home. But, as it turned out, the Fourth of July 2020 was going to be a bit different.

I’m not sure I’d ever been home on the evening of the Fourth of July before, so I really didn’t know what to expect.… Continue reading

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