Featured News

GROWMARK acquires S.H. Bell terminals

Bloomington, Illinois-based GROWMARK, Inc., today announced it acquired the Little England terminal in East Liverpool, Ohio from S.H. Bell Company. The property is located northeast of GROWMARK’s current operation and has direct access to the Ohio River.

The transaction includes a river unloading cell, storage facilities, an office, scale, and crane. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Rod Wells, director, agronomy sales and operations, said the acquisition will enhance current operations, provide additional storage capacity, and improve overall operational efficiency.

“This will also give us another option to offload barges at East Liverpool, which is a high volume facility. Additionally, this will enhance our service to customers and those who are responsible for shipping product by truck from East Liverpool,” he said.

Wells noted the purchase is an additional component of a major upgrade to the East Liverpool facility, which began two years ago with the addition of new unloading equipment at the original Ohio River site.… Continue reading

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Phosphorus in Lake Erie will likely mean changes for ag

By Matt Reese

Ohio is unbelievably fortunate to have Lake Erie, the richest, most productive and most biologically diverse of the Great Lakes.

“Lake Erie is one of the most important lakes in the world,” said Jeff Reutter, director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie. “Lake Erie produces more fish for human consumption than the other four Great Lakes combined.”

Lake Superior has around 50% of the water and 2% of the fish of all the Great Lakes, while Lake Erie has 2% of the water and 50% of the fish. Reutter also pointed out that Lake Erie supplies drinking water for 11 million people, has more than 20 power plants, and a $1 billion sport fishery. In addition, Lake Erie is the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes, and the watershed is dominated by cities and agriculture, so it gets more sediment, more fertilizer and sewage and more pesticides.… Continue reading

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Do higher corn populations need more N?

By Robert Mullen and Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

We wrote an article discussing this issue last May, but we thought we would provide an update based upon information from the previous cropping season. As producers consider (or continue) pushing higher seeding rates for corn, the question often asked is, “Do I need to push higher N rates to exploit the higher seeding rates for more yield?”  Intuitively, it may seem logical that a higher population would require more N, but the scientific data being collected does not necessarily support the concept. Ohio State University has been conducting field research the last five years at the Northwest Research Station near Custar to determine if higher seeding rates require a higher N rate to achieve maximum yield.  Two different cropping rotations were evaluated – corn after corn and corn after soybeans. The two seeding rates used were 30,000 and 40,000 seeds/acre (in 2006 the highest seeding rate was 36,000).… Continue reading

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Wheat resistance genes failing, new approach needed to stop flies

Many of the genes that allow wheat to ward off Hessian flies are no longer effective in the southeastern United States, and care should be taken to ensure that resistance genes that so far haven’t been utilized in commercial wheat lines are used prudently, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture and Purdue University scientists.

An analysis of wheat lines carrying resistance genes from dozens of locations throughout the Southeast showed that some give little or no resistance to the Hessian fly, a major pest of wheat that can cause millions of dollars in damage to wheat crops each year. Others, even those considered the most effective, are allowing wheat to become susceptible to the fly larvae, which feed on and kill the plants.

Wheat resistance genes recognize avirulent Hessian flies and activate a defense response that kills the fly larvae attacking the plant. However, this leads to strains of the fly that can overcome resistant wheat, much like insects becoming resistant to pesticides.… Continue reading

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Mid-winter weather expectations

By Jim Noel, with the National Weather Service

The trend of below normal temperatures and near or slightly below normal precipitation and near to above normal snowfall will likely persist at least into early February.

The longer-range outlook calls for a change toward normal or slightly wetter than normal conditions later February into March and April with temperatures remaining at or below normal. This is supported by the ongoing La Nina (cooling of the eastern Pacific Oceans waters near the equator) and the negative North Atlantic Oscillation.

However, this trend may support a switch to a warmer and drier summer that we need to monitor.… Continue reading

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USDA announces decision to fully deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced its decision to grant non-regulated status for alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide commercially known as Roundup.

“After conducting a thorough and transparent examination of alfalfa through a multi-alternative environmental impact statement (EIS) and several public comment opportunities, APHIS has determined that Roundup Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary. “All of the alfalfa production stakeholders involved in this issue have stressed their willingness to work together to find solutions. We greatly appreciate and value the work they’ve done so far and will continue to provide support to the wide variety of sectors that make American agriculture successful.”

After releasing a final EIS in December 2010, USDA took another step to ensure that this issue received the broadest examination before making its final decision. USDA brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss feasible strategies for coexistence between genetically engineered (GE), organic, and other non-GE stakeholders.… Continue reading

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Improper cow nutrition proves costly for beef producers

Thin cows can be economically devastating as beef producers head into spring calving season, said Purdue Extension beef specialist Ron Lemenager.

“Spring calving cows need to be in moderate body condition at the time of calving because it has a pretty significant effect on how quickly these cows will return to estrus after calving, and subsequently, when or if they conceive,” he said. “If cows are thin at calving, producers can expect long postpartum intervals, which means they will calve later the following season.”

That means instead of having a 365-day calving interval, producers may face 13-14 month intervals and, ultimately, a loss of productivity.

Thin cows also tend to have lower colostrum quality, which means calves aren’t able to develop the passive immunity they need to protect them against disease, cold stress and other stress factors.

“In addition, these thin cows are going to have lower milk production, resulting in lighter weaning weights of their offspring,” Lemenager said.… Continue reading

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New Case IH tractors set records

Preliminary Nebraska Tractor Test Lab results indicate that new Tier 4A Case IH tractors with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology have set new industry records for fuel-efficient power.

In all, the tests confirmed several advantages for the new Case IH tractors, including:

· Record-breaking fuel efficiency of up to 12% advantage over competitors’

Tier 3 performance

· Up to 495 drawbar horsepower – a new record for handling today’s larger


· Lower operating cost through enhanced fluid efficiency

“These preliminary Nebraska Test results provide compelling answers to questions producers have asked about new Tier 4A emissions regulations,” said Tom Dean, high horsepower tractor marketing manager, Case IH North America. “Producers should be

reassured to know these answers translate to Case IH helping them reduce operating

costs – and increase power and productivity.”

While many competitors plan to merely match their existing Tier 3 efficiency performance, the Case IH Tier 4A tractors substantially exceed previous Tier 3 benchmarks.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Blogs: Click on Over

First it was Facebook, then Twitter. Now blogs are becoming a way the agriculture community communicates to the public and with each other.

At Acorns for Thought, hog farmer Charles Wildman uses his blog to communicate his views on food production to the public. He says Facebook, Twitter and blogs are all important. With limited characters on Facebook and Twitter, his blog allows for a fuller explanation of his thoughts.

His son Sam Wildman, a student at Ohio State ATI has also started blogging. Reflections from a Country Boy is where he shares his thoughts on issues affecting agriculture and their farm.

United Landmark agronomist Auggie Smith uses his blog to better communicate with his growers and provide up to the minute data on issues affecting the crop in his area. His biggest challenge though? Time. He tries to update his blog regularly, but admits sometimes its hard to find time during the busy growing season.… Continue reading

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Waterhemp found to be resistant to another type of herbicide

Waterhemp has done it again. University of Illinois researchers just published an article in Pest Management Science confirming that waterhemp is the first weed to evolve resistance to HPPD-inhibiting herbicides.

“A fifth example of resistance in one weed species is overwhelming evidence that resistance to virtually any herbicide used extensively on this species is possible,” said Aaron Hager, U of I Extension weed specialist.

Waterhemp is not a weed species that can be adequately managed with one or two different herbicides, Hager said. This troublesome weed requires a much more integrated approach.

“Large-scale agronomic crop production systems currently depend on herbicides for weed management,” Hager said. “A weakness in this approach lies in its strength; because herbicides are so effective, they exert tremendous selection pressures that, over time, result in resistant weed populations as natural outcomes of the evolutionary process.”

In an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Hager and Pat Tranel, a U of I professor of molecular weed science in the Department of Crop Sciences, shared the results of a survey of multiple-herbicide resistance in waterhemp.… Continue reading

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Small farm conferences coming up

Ohio State University Extension will host two conferences in March dedicated to small farm landowners.

The first conference is the third annual “Opening Doors to Success” Small Farm Conference and Trade Show to be held March 11-12 at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio. The conference will feature 38 breakout sessions and a trade show for small farmers.

The conference kicks off on Friday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. with a session, “Get Ready – Get Set – Get Market Ready” – an evening dedicated to investigating opportunities for marketing beyond the farm gate.

Saturday, March 12 will feature over 35 breakout sessions offered throughout  the day and will cover a variety of topics that will include such examples as: Growing Grapes/Making Wine; Agritourism; Bee Keeping; Poultry Production; Biosecurity for Livestock; Berry Production; Equipment Needs; Food Preservation; Food Safety; Cherry Production; Agricultural Law Considerations; Insurance Issues; Pumpkin, Sweet Corn and Tomato Production; Alternative Energy Sources; Meat Marketing, Pasture and Hay Production; Local Foods; Social Media Marketing; Financial Management; Organic Dairy: Livestock Production; Grants and Loans and so much more.… Continue reading

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Record U.S. soybean sale to China

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement on the reported one-day sale of 2.74 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans to China.

“Today’s sale of 2.74 million tons of U.S. soybeans to China is the single largest daily soybean sale since USDA began issuing daily sales reports in 1977. This is another strong sign that China continues to look to the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality products. This is great news not just for American soybean farmers but for the U.S. economy overall.”

The U.S.-China trade relationship continues to flourish, thanks in large part to agriculture. U.S. farm exports to China have grown nearly tenfold over the past decade, from $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2000 to $15 billion in 2010. Each $1 billion in exports supports 8,000 jobs throughout the supply chain, including rural growers, processors, shippers and others.

“China will continue to be a key trading partner as agriculture contributes to President Obama’s goal of doubling total U.S.… Continue reading

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Pioneer Hi-Bred establishes corn research facility in Ohio

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, has expanded its research program with a new research team and center located in Plain City, Ohio. This local presence will enable Pioneer researchers to focus their efforts on testing and product development in Ohio and the east-central corn belt.

“This new facility allows us to be closer to our customers and reaffirms our commitment to expanding Pioneer research efforts in this region,” said Randy Minton, Pioneer business director for the Northeast Business Unit (NEBU), which includes Ohio. “It also gives our researchers the opportunity to develop and test products that are specific to this area and allows us to place the right product on the right acre to maximize farmer productivity.”

The facility will initially bring together seven researchers working in three project areas. A team managing the current and expanding early-stage research locations in Ohio and two teams responsible for managing over 60 corn and over 40 soybean IMPACT™ plots (Intensively Managed Product Advancement, Characterization and Training), will ensure local testing and product development for Ohio and the eastern corn belt.… Continue reading

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U.S. edamame production takes a step forward

Edamame production just took a step forward, said Marty Williams, a weed scientist with USDA-ARS and the University of Illinois. Dual Magnum, an important herbicide, has recently been registered for use on edamame, or vegetable soybean.

“As I understand, this is one of the first herbicides receiving a federal label for use on edamame,” Williams said. “Edamame producers now have an additional, important tool to help suppress weeds that would otherwise severely limit crop yield.”

Edamame production in the United States has been in an infant stage for decades, Williams said. Federal registration of a key herbicide such as S-metolachlor (Dual Magnum) reduces one of several constraints to growth of this industry.

“Although soybean dominates the Midwest agricultural landscape, nearly all of the edamame we consume is imported from Asia,” Williams said. “One of the reasons why this occurs is because there have been few pesticides registered for use on edamame, limiting domestic, commercial production.”… Continue reading

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Attendance up at recent OPGMA Congress

More than 40 educational sessions, a 100-booth trade show, and thousands of inspirations for an improved competitive advantage were showcased under one roof when the Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA) hosted its annual OPGMA Congress in January at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio.

Vendors from across the country showcased the latest innovations in produce, equipment, products, and services in the sold-out trade show. When not on the exhibit floor, more than 700 attendees got answers to today’s most challenging business issues during three days of sessions, idea exchanges, and networking functions. Tracks of education included food safety, vegetables, tree fruit, small fruit, marketing, business management, soils, nutrition, pesticides, research updates, and more.

The 2012 OPGMA Congress will be January 16-18 at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Awards Banquet highlights

More than 300 beef producers gathered at the Columbus Marriott Northwest in Dublin, Ohio, on January 22, 2011, for the annual meeting and awards banquet of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA). The annual event featured policy development sessions, OCA’s annual meeting and the OCA’s awards banquet.
Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer opened the meeting and shared his plans for the future of the department. He is looking forward to chairing the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and hopes to have a lot of the committee work completed by March 1. He also shared that although Ohio agriculture is facing challenges of weather, land prices, animal rights and environmental issues; the future still looks bright for the industry.
Kristina Harris Butts, NCBA Executive Director of Legislative Affairs, gave an update on NCBA activities as well as discussed many of the issues NCBA is working on for the beef industry. Butts’ top policy areas included: GIPSA, food safety, antibiotic legislation, estate taxes, nutrition, trade, the upcoming 2012 farm bill and animal welfare.… Continue reading

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A conversation with Rocky Black, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture

OCJ: First, could you share a little about your background in agriculture and legislation that has helped prepare you for this position?

Rocky: I’ve had the privilege of working with the Ohio General Assembly for 25 years, since 1985, including working 6.5 years as Statehouse lobbyist for Governor Voinovich.

And I’ve worked in agricultural policy for nearly 9 years including as senior director of policy and political affairs for the Ohio Farm Bureau, and as senior policy advisor for the Ohio Soybean Association.

OCJ: Your duties include overseeing the ODA’s legislative efforts. What are the key opportunities and challenges in this area?

Rocky: We haven’t really identified an agenda per se, however some issues are sure to surface. First we have the enormous challenge of the state budget. Shoring up essential programs in food safety, livestock oversight, laboratory testing, and weights and measures is essential. Cutting some programs in areas with less overt impact on food and animal safety is probably unavoidable.… Continue reading

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Cattle groups may need to stand in the corner

Since remarrying this past summer, my house has become quite a bit busier. With my two kids and my wife’s three children, we now have three boys and two girls between the ages of 6 and 11. As you might guess, things can get a little loud sometimes.

The noise level particularly spikes when one of the kids feels they have been unduly wronged by one of the others. Then the finger pointing and name calling starts, as both parties frantically plead their case and try to blame the other for the sonic boom that has just occurred in the confines of our home.

That’s when my wife, Becky, or I have to step in and calm things down. Perhaps it’s time for someone to be confined to the couch, sent to a room, given a chore or sent to a corner for some calm, quiet time of reflection.

Sadly, the press releases that came through my e-mail this past fall as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and R-CALF USA locked horns over the USDA’s proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule changes made me feel like I was watching one of the childish episodes that break out periodically in my house.… Continue reading

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