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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 154 | Winter in May

This week during the quarantine chronicles, we have Matt, Kolt, and Dusty host Adam Sharp from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation while he talks about their response to COVID-19. Interviews by Matt this week include Charlie Kail, Mark Loux, and Sam Custer. We wrapped up the Ohio FFA Celebration last week, and our fantastic Student Reporters talked with National FFA President, Kolsen McCoy after his keynote speech.… Continue reading

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May 11 shows some planting progress despite cold weather

Farmers made planting progress last week despite temperatures averaging more than 10 degrees below normal, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Freezing temperatures late in the week endangered crops already emerged and caused damage to fruit trees in bloom. The entire State averaged less than 1 inch of precipitation. There were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 10.

In addition to planting farmers installed tile, tilled soil, sprayed herbicides, and applied fertilizer. Sixty- nine percent of pasture and range was considered good or excellent compared to 51 percent last year. Oats were 46 percent emerged compared to a five- year average of 48 percent. Corn planted progress was 33 percent, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average. Last week, farmers in Northwest Ohio pushed their planters hard, planting corn and soybeans at a rapid clip.

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Cold weather and frosty fields

Charlie Kail

I work with several guys who have 200 or 300 acres who have the crops in the ground. We’ve got 25% of the corn and beans in the ground right now around here. I haven’t heard of anything not growing. I had corn spiking on Saturday that had been in the ground for 10 or 12 days. That was on sandy ground. The guys on sand are getting things in the ground and up. The heavy clay guys haven’t been doing too much.

In some of these areas the ground is either going up or it’s going down. These hills are nice to you when it comes to the showers because they run off. If you give us a day we could run again after the rain this weekend.

There are a pile of acres sprayed in this area. It might not have been really warm but we have been running dry fertilizer hard here too.… Continue reading

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The high costs of lost lasts

By Matt Reese

I was a bit surprised the other day when my 10-year-old son, who regularly complains about all things related to school, was lamenting the fact that he will never get to participate in his fourth grade class talent show. The event is one of the last things the students do before the end of the school year as a sort of graduation from elementary school.

I was whisked back to a couple of years earlier when my daughter participated in her fourth grade talent show. She spent many hours with her friends preparing a unique routine that was a real hit. All parties still have fond memories of it.

While the lack of opportunity for fourth graders to develop and act out a skit, or sing a solo, or carry out a dance routine will likely not have much impact on their future (and in fact may be a small act of mercy for parents and teachers alike), it is, however, an unfortunate lost last that can never be replaced or replicated.… Continue reading

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Soybean seeding rate considerations

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

The spring planting season in 2020 has started very different from that of a year ago. In some parts of Ohio, planting is well along, while in others, it is just getting started. As farmers head to the field to plant soybeans, the low commodity prices are in their minds. One way farmers have been attempting to reduce the cost of production is by lowering seeding rates for soybeans.

“Ohio State University Extension has been doing a good deal of soybean seeding rate research across the state for the past three years with the e-Fields program. Research has been done for 6 or 7 years in Western Ohio, and what we are finding is that farmers are typically moving that seeding rate down to a population of around 120,000 seeds per acre at planting, across the state,” said Sam Custer, assistant director for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Ohio State University Extension educator in Darke County.… Continue reading

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Soil inoculants

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As planting season starts, some farmers are applying soil bio-inoculants to promote improved plant growth.  Dr. Jay Johnson (retired), former OSU fertility specialist, touted inoculating soybeans with Rhizobium bacteria yearly to increase soybeans yields 1-2 bushels. The Rhizobium bacteria increased nitrogen in soybean nodules which improved crop yields. Today, many farmers are experimenting with soil bio-inoculants with variable results.  Evaluating and using soil inoculants requires some careful management to be successful.

Underneath a single footprint exists more soil microbes than humans in the world!  Soil microbes and plant roots evolved together, feeding each other, and  require certain environmental conditions to flourish.  Most beneficial soil microbes and plants require well aerated soils with high levels of soil organic matter (SOM).  Farmers converting from conventional tillage systems to no-till generally get the most benefit from soil bio-inoculants.  Conventional tilled soils may be too wet, lack enough oxygen or be low in SOM to support the soil microbes long-term. 

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Meristem gears up to help American farmers compete

Improved crop performance, high-quality inputs, and cost-cutting are the key drivers behind Meristem Crop Performance Group, LLC, a new start-up officially launched in Columbus by crop input channel veterans Mitch Eviston and Rob McClelland, principals of the new company.

After a year of pilot-testing on more than a half-million acres with hundreds of Corn Belt growers, Meristem Crop Performance is ramping up to provide their unique high-quality, no-frills approach to select American farmers.

“Top farm businesses clearly understand the need to reduce costs if they are to successfully compete in today’s global grain trade,” said Eviston, Meristem founder and former senior vice president of WinField. “We’ve set up Meristem to be the lean provider of high-quality crop input additives to help these global players cut costs and increase yields.”

Eviston said nearly 200 such growers have already experienced the Meristem advantage.

“We are building the most efficient, direct-to-farm system which allows us to provide high-quality products that can save farmers up to 30% compared to conventional suppliers,” he said.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA State officers announced

The new leaders of the Ohio FFA Association were announced on the final day of the Ohio FFA Celebration. Newly retired State FFA President Holly McClay read the names of the new team of Ohio FFA state officers on Friday via Facebook.

President: Bethany Starlin – Chief Logan

Vice President: Paige Teeters – Fairfield

Secretary:  Joe Helterbrand – Hillsboro

Treasurer:  Allison Engel – Ayersville

Reporter: Bailey Lowe – Felicity-Franklin

Sentinel: Victoria Snyder – Lincolnview

Vice Presidents at Large:

  • Olivia Coppler – Carey
  • Kyra Davidson – Felicity-Franklin
  • Kyle Hicks – Amanda-Clearcreek
  • Jacob Zajkowski – Anthony Wayne-Penta
  • Riley Jacobs Bell – Tri-Valley
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Trades don’t always work like you think they will

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The export market heated up this week as China bought U.S. beans for August/September shipment, but then the President suggested the trade deal could be secondary to China, who might be responsible for the coronavirus. Could this mean that the trade war is not yet behind us?

As stay at home orders have started to ease, gasoline usage has increased. With that increase, ethanol stocks have dropped from their record highs too. While still far from normal, both are moving in the right direction.

U.S. beans continue to be crushed at high volume, which is a positive. However, the Brazilian Real’s currency value continues to decrease relative to the U.S. dollar, hampering upside in the bean market here in the U.S.


Previous trade detail: Dec. 27, 2019

I sold 25% of my 2019 beans in the July ’20 contract at $9.75 while the March soybeans were trading at $9.50 on the same day.… Continue reading

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Cold weather weed concerns

By Matt Reese

As wet, cold, windy weather lingers into May for much of Ohio, there are growing concerns about the growing weeds in unplanted fields.

“We always get questions about the cold weather. We had a warm winter and we actually have winter annuals larger than they have been in other years. I have been hearing about chickweed that is 8 to 10 inches tall, which makes for a really challenging burndown situation. A lot of times, you can take those down really fast in warm weather with the right herbicides,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University herbicide specialist. “Cool weather is a big concern and then wet weather is another challenge. It is hard to give really concrete guidelines in this situation. If it is hitting freezing at night, cloudy in the day and 40 or 50 degrees, that is obviously not a good situation to spray and you probably want to wait that out.… Continue reading

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LEBOR dead in the water

By Matt Reese

After contesting a late-February decision that the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) was invalid, the city of Toledo abandoned its appeal on May 5.

“The United States District Court found that LEBOR violated Drewes Farms’ constitutional rights and that it was not a close call for the Court. The District Court also found that LEBOR ‘flagrantly’ violated Ohio law,” said Tom Fusonie, with the law offices of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. “After aggressively defending LEBOR and appealing the decision invalidating LEBOR, Toledo has now abandoned its appeal. On behalf of our client, Drewes Farms, we are pleased that Toledo has dropped its appeal that would only have caused more legal fees to be incurred. The District Court’s Order protecting Drewes Farms’ constitutional rights and defending the rule of law stands.”

On Feb. 27, 2019, Wood County farmer Mark Drewes filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and legal status of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension to continue teleworking arrangements

By Cheryl Buck, Ohio State University Extension communication manager

Ohio State University Extension will continue operating via its teleworking plan for all employees and will keep physical OSU Extension offices closed to the public until further notice.

This remains in accordance with The Ohio State University’s decision that all university employees, with the exception of essential facilities workers, are to continue teleworking and remain off campus, physical distancing and taking all other precautions to stay safe.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton recently extended Ohio’s Stay Safe Ohio order through May 29. While some businesses and organizations in the state are starting to reopen as of early May, the guidelines for reopening offices via the governor’s office require personnel to work from home when possible.

OSU Extension has invested in technology that allows personnel to work from their homes. Programs intended to be held face-to-face have been adjusted to a virtual format, and personnel can still be contacted by phone or email.… Continue reading

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Crunch time for Ohio’s fair season

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

Howard Call, executive director of the Ohio Fair Managers Association (OFMA) testified before the Ohio Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee May 6, presenting a plan to hold Ohio’s 94 county and independent fairs. According to Call, OFMA also presented the plan to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s staff on May 1. The plan lays out how fairs will be able to operate while abiding by social distancing and all other health department guidelines.

“That’s going to be a big job,” Call said. “It’s going to take some effort and some oversight to get people to do that.”

County fair season in Ohio is quickly approaching, with the Paulding County Fair set to start June 13.

“I am very concerned for that county, for its residents, and for those youth and participants,” Call said. “We are just trying to get them to hold on.”

On May 6, Harrison County announced an “abbreviated fair.”… Continue reading

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Cold weather continues into May

By Aaron Wilson, atmospheric scientist with Ohio State University Extension

Temperatures in April were about 2 to 5 degrees F below the long-term mean and included three major freeze events that brought some horticultural damage across southern counties and scattered minor reports of burned tips on alfalfa and wheat.

Precipitation varied significantly across the state. Unlike much of the spring of 2019, lighter amounts fell across northwest Ohio compared to southeast Ohio. Only about 1 inch of rain fell in southern Fulton/northwest Henry Counties for the month, with more than six inches in parts of Adams, Monroe, and Belmont Counties. These totals are about 1 to 2 inches below the long-term mean in the northwest, with most counties southeast of I-71 showing surpluses of 1 to 4 inches for the month.

This past weekend, many areas throughout Ohio hit 80 degrees F for the first time this season, but those conditions are gone and not likely to return for a while.… Continue reading

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MRTN — Maximum Return To N

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Current recommendations from Ohio State University use an economic model to set our corn nitrogen rate. The Maximum Return To N (MRTN) concept was developed by soil fertility specialists from across the north central region as a Corn Belt wide approach to nitrogen rates.

For us we use data from trials in Ohio so we also have our weather included as part of the equation. And we factor in the price of nitrogen and the value of corn to bring in the economics. I see that our best economic return to nitrogen for $3.50 corn (I’m still optimistic) and $0.40 per pound of N is about 168 pounds of N/A. With a range of about 15 pounds to either side giving us about the same economic return — within $1. You may also gain efficiency by delaying the bulk of you N application until side dress timing.… Continue reading

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Europe rebuked for unfair dairy trade practices

The U.S. dairy industry applauds the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for firmly rebuking the European Union (EU)’s protectionist dairy trade policies in its annual U.S. Special 301 Report.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) endorse USTR’s findings that the EU has erected a complex regime of trade barriers that harm opportunities for U.S. exports to Europe. In addition, the EU has aggressively sought to restrict U.S. exports in global markets by weaponizing geographical indications (GIs) protections and blocking the ability of U.S. suppliers to use common names to market cheeses such as fontina, gorgonzola, asiago and feta.

“USTR has rightly taken Europe to task for their destructive and unfair campaign against American-made dairy exports, and in particular the high-quality cheeses produced by the dedicated men and women of the U.S. dairy industry,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “I commend USTR for its recent actions to defend U.S.… Continue reading

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How and When to Plant No-till Soybeans

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Services

Planting no-till can be tricky and scary! Successful no-till depends on having fully functioning healthy soils and efficient nitrogen (N) recycling.  Fully functioning soils have higher soil organic matter (SOM) especially the active carbon, sugars, and root exudates  from live roots that allows the soil to crumble.  This leads to good soil structure, improved  drainage, increases water infiltration, and higher soil gas exchange. This aerobic (more oxygen) environment plus the food source (live cover crop (CC) roots) changes the microbial community from one dominated by bacteria (conventional soils, often anaerobic (no oxygen)) to a balanced system with beneficial fungi (mycorrhizal), good nematodes, healthy aerobic bacteria, and protozoa.  The “no-till time line” or transition period is often 3-7 years depending upon how fast and aggressive cover crops, continuous no-till, and manure have been used to promote a fully functioning healthy soil.

Soybeans are hardy, easy, and most simple crop to no-till. 

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Tyson to re-open Indiana plant

Following a plant tour with local health and government officials, a union representative, and medical professionals, Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced its plans to resume limited production at its Logansport, Indiana, facility this week.

“We’ve taken additional precautions to reassure team members that they are returning to a safe work environment and have made additional changes to continue supporting them during this global health crisis,” said Todd Neff, senior vice president of pork at Tyson.… Continue reading

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Head scab on wheat

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

It is still too early to apply a fungicide to manage head scab. Use the scab forecast system (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/) to monitor concerns. If you plan to spray for head scab, Prosaro or Caramba may be your fungicide of choice. The new fungicide, Miravis Ace, which seems to be just as effective as Prosaro and Caramba based on a limited number of trials, may not yet be widely available. STAY AWAY from the strobilurins when it comes to head scab management. These fungicides tend to increase rather than reduce vomitoxin contamination.

I know that the idea of “protecting the crop” with a “preventative treatment” seems to suggest that the fungicide has to be applied before the crop reaches the critical growth stage — flowering in the case of wheat. But results from more than 20 years of scab research show that you are better off applying a few days “late” rather than a few days “early.”… Continue reading

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