Featured News

Ohio hog inventory down 2%, U.S. up 1%

Ohio hog producers had 1.99 million hogs on hand March 1, 2011, down 2% from last quarter and from a year ago, according to the March 25 Hogs and Pigs Report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The number of market hogs, at 1,820,000 head, was down 2% from last quarter and from last year. Breeding stock, at 170,000 head, was unchanged from last quarter and from last year.

The pig crop during the December-February 2011 quarter numbered 837,000 head, unchanged from last quarter but 1% above last year. The number of sows farrowed during the December-February 2011 quarter, at 89,000, was unchanged from last quarter and from last year. Pigs saved per litter averaged 9.4, unchanged from last quarter but up 1% from last year.

Ohio producers intend to farrow 85,000 sows during the March-May 2011quarter, 4,000 head below a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the summer quarter, June-August 2011, is 88,000 sows, 3,000 head below the same quarter of 2010.… Continue reading

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Fungicide use on the rise

Crop prices coupled with demand and a growing population requires growers to examine how they can maximize the yield and quality of each acre. Often that requires additional inputs. Until a few years ago, the crop protection category dominated these inputs, absorbing nearly half of all costs paid by growers. But in recent years, other crop inputs, such as fertilizers, have been gaining ground in the production aides market.

The relative decline in overall crop protection spending hasn’t equally affected each segment of the arena. Whereas spending on herbicides — no doubt due to weed resistance concerns — and insecticides has dropped, the fungicide market share has been steadily increasing since the early 2000s.

“Commodity prices have put more focus on maximizing yield,” says Rex Wichert, fungicide brand manager at Syngenta. “As more producers participate in fungicide trials on their farms, they not only see the yield benefits, but they also see things like improved plant responses to stressful conditions and improved harvestability.”… Continue reading

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OSU cheese-making workshop

Dairy producers looking to expand their operations with farmstead cheese businesses can learn how at an Ohio State University cheese-making workshop.

“Hands-On Basic Cheese Making — Enhancing Dairy Profitability with Cheese” will take place April 27-29 at the Grindstone Creek Lodge at 4-H Camp Whitewood, 7983 S. Wiswell Rd., Windsor. Classes will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

This three-day class is designed for people who have never made cheese and those who want to improve their skills in order to enter the cheese business. Peter Dixon, one of the nation’s premier cheese-making instructors and operator of the Center for Farmstead Milk Processing in Vermont, will teach the course.

Workshop topics include milk quality, ingredients used in cheese making, cheese-making processes and techniques and tips for establishing a cheese-making business. Participants will have opportunities to make a number of different cheeses.

Registration is $550 per person and includes course tuition, resource materials, all workshop supplies, lunches and refreshments.… Continue reading

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Nitrogen recommendations for wheat

By Ed Lentz, Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

Wheat is already at greenup in the southern two-thirds of the state and is beginning to greenup in the northern third. We would recommend applying nitrogen between greenup and Feekes Growth Stage 6 (early stem elongation), which is generally the latter part of April. The potential for nitrogen loss will decrease by waiting to apply closer to Feekes 6; however, since we are at greenup, a common sense approach would recommend applying as soon as field conditions allow application equipment, particularly since days available for field activities may be limited between now and Feekes 6.

We would still recommend the Tri-State guide for N rates in wheat. This system relies on yield potential of a field. As a producer, you can greatly increase or reduce your N rate by changing the value for yield potential. Thus, a realistic yield potential is needed to determine the optimum nitrogen rate.… Continue reading

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Producing corn to feed the world

By Matt Reese

There has been much talk in recent years about the exploding world population. To feed all of these people, food production will have to increase dramatically and the world will be looking to the U.S. to shoulder much of the burden. In terms of corn production, experts think an ambitious, but maybe necessary goal is a national average yield of 300 bushels per acre by 2030.

“We know 300 bushels is an achievable yield, so maybe increasing the national yield to 300 bushels by 2030 is not so pie in the sky,” said Bob Nielson, Purdue Extension corn specialist. “To get 300 bushels, you need ears with 1,000-plus kernels — that is 18 rows by 60 kernels long. At only a modest 30,000 plants per acre and a modest 85,000 kernels per bushel, it equals 381 bushels per acre.”

Unfortunately, at the current rate of average gain in yield increases each year, the national average would only be at about 200 bushels per acre by 2030, far short of what the hungry world will be demanding.… Continue reading

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Sulfur for corn?

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Common knowledge for corn growers is that nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are essential macronutrients in grain production. Crop health and yield gains have long been observed by providing plants with adequate amounts of the macronutrients. Sulfur is another important but often overlooked nutrient required by plants in adequate amounts.

Recent yield responses of supplemental sulfur applications in some areas of the corn belt continues to gain attention by many industry experts and growers. Sulfur is a component of several enzymes that regulate photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. When sulfur is limiting, chlorophyll production is reduced causing younger leaves at the upper part of a plant to appear yellow.

Sulfur is different from nitrogen in that sulfur is not mobile in the plant while nitrogen is mobile. Nitrogen deficiency will be observed on lower leaves first. Typically, sulfur deficiency is not uniform across fields. Often times sulfur deficiency occurs in spots or streaks often associated with residue cover, organic matter content, compaction and/or drainage.… Continue reading

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Black Swamp Conservancy protects Fulton, Seneca County farms

Black Swamp Conservancy has entered into permanent farmland preservation agreements with four landowners in Fulton and Seneca counties.

Those agreements – known as agricultural easements – will ensure that 451 acres of prime farm ground are devoted exclusively to agriculture, forever. The easements will be co-held by the conservancy and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Black Swamp Conservancy preserves land mostly through perpetual land conservation agreements known as conservation or agricultural easements. Through such an agreement, the landowner gives up the right to develop the property – such as by constructing buildings, putting in roads or driveways or subdividing the land – in order to protect its conservation values, which includes its value as prime farmland or as habitat for native plants and animals.

“Agriculture is the #1 industry in northwest Ohio,“ said Kevin Joyce, the conservancy’s executive director. “In these tough times, it’s important to recognize that farm families’ commitment to keeping their land as farmland is essential to our community’s future economic prosperity.”… Continue reading

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NOAA weather update

By Jim Noel

The weather pattern looks to turn not quite as wet but cool over the next week. We expect some rain especially in the northern half of Ohio later Tuesday into Wednesday with average amounts of 0.5 to 1.0 inches especially in the north half. After that system we expect only minor systems into next week. Temperatures will be above average early this week except in the far north and then turn colder than average into early next week. The next major weather system after early to mid week will not likely occur until late next week.

Longer-range outlooks continue to show, as discussed last autumn, the trend for a cool spring with close to normal rainfall after the wet start. However, the frequency of rain will be quite active at least into the first half of April. It looks like the cooler than average temperatures will last into April with a gradual return to normal during later spring.… Continue reading

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USDA expands access to fresh fruits and vegetables for schools across the nation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), USDA will expand assistance to state agencies for schools operating USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in the 2011/2012 school year. The investment is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the health of our children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools and also serves as a valuable resource to schools that continue working to improve the health and nutrition of the foods they serve. The assistance will provide free fresh fruit and vegetables to children throughout the school day.

“Improving the health and nutrition of our kids is a national imperative and by providing schools with fresh fruits and vegetables that expand their healthy options, we are helping our kids to have a brighter, healthier future,” said Vilsack. “Every time our kids eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable, they are learning healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.”… Continue reading

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OFBF presidents make a difference in D.C.

By Matt Reese

The American Farm Bureau once again proved to be among the more powerful forces in Washington, D.C. last year as a number of votes went the way of the grassroots decisions made by members around the country.

The power of Farm Bureau is its people and their efforts with legislators. For the 65th time, Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents congregated in Washington, D.C. to learn and teach, celebrate previous success and pave the way for a successful future in farm-related public policy.

“This is an opportunity for Ohio Farm Bureau to bring its county presidents to D.C. to have that direct one-on-one opportunity to impact and build relationships with not only those who we elect to represent us here but with the agencies that affect what happens on our farms,” said Brent Porteus, Ohio Farm Bureau president. “We had a lot of discussion on the estate tax here last year and we did get a two-year bill achieving our goals.… Continue reading

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Seeing what a healthy woods can be

By Kyle Sharp

A couple times over the years, the small, 10-acre woods on my family’s farm has been logged. While this is not a problem if it is done properly, let’s just say, to be generous, leaving a sustainable forest behind was not what was going through the minds of the guys who hacked through our land. I wasn’t involved with the process, so I guess I can’t really complain too much, but seeing the aftermath that is still very evident years later is quite frustrating.

Leaving large gaps in the forest canopy allowed plenty of sunlight to reach the forest floor, and the result has been large clumps of grapevines and invasive species springing up that make it nearly impossible to even walk through the woods in many places. This has made it difficult for new trees to get established because they are crowded out by the shrubs and vines.… Continue reading

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Commodity prices back on the rise

Commodity prices are back on the rise after they fell quickly in reaction to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.

Corn fell 10% in the first few days after the earthquake and tsunami, and soybeans and lean hogs were down 6%.

“However, markets have recovered those early losses as the effects aren’t nearly as negative as we initially thought,” he said. “That’s due in part to the fact that Japan is a wealthy nation and its people will continue to consume their normal products.”

The impact on food likely will center on a reduction in Japan’s production. But Hurt said it likely will be small and mostly can be replaced by importing processed goods from other countries.

Japan is the fourth-largest buyer of agricultural products from the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Japan will spend $13 billion on U.S.… Continue reading

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New Ohio State Fair Commercial Pen of 5 Market Lamb Show

There will be a new class for the Ohio State Fair, a Commercial Pen of 5 Market Lamb Show.

Class Purpose:

  • Increase producer’s knowledge of carcass merit of the lambs they are producing
  • Provide carcass data to producers to aid in sire evaluations
  • Promote the high quality product being produced by the Ohio Lamb Industry
  • Expand the number of lambs available for the Ohio State Fair Lamb Sale to support the needs of the Kroger Company
  • Provide a greater opportunity for producers to participate in Ohio State Fair sheep activities

Rules for participation:

  • Open to any producer of market lambs – wethers and ewe lambs.
  • Entry Fee – $25 /pen of 5 – Maximum of 5 entries per family.
  • All entries must have a number one pelt (approx 90 days growth) with a fleece length of (one inch) 1” +/- ¼” (hair breeds will be allowed to show but no shearing will be allowed).
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Nematodes raising corn concerns

Nematodes are microscopic, worm-like soil organisms. Certain species can be detrimental to the growth and development of corn as well as other crops. While nematodes have typically been of minor importance, they have received more attention in recent years. In the past, insecticides have provided control of key corn pests. Nematodes are now being viewed as a more important yield limiting factor in corn production.

The presence of certain nematode species varies according to environmental conditions, soil types and actively growing plants. Nematodes can cause damage by feeding on corn roots. Nematodes feeding on root cells reduce the plants ability to uptake water and nutrients.

Damage caused by root feeding can further injure a plant by allowing fungal and bacterial pathogens to enter into the plant. Nematodes are also known to transmit viruses to the plants they feed on.

Symptoms of Nematode Damage

Symptoms of nematode feeding are most noticeable when environmental conditions cause plant stress.… Continue reading

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Natural disasters and conflicts affect markets

The corn market, along with most other commodity and financial markets, was negatively affected by the uncertainty created by the natural disaster in Japan and ongoing conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East. The Japanese situation is especially important for corn because Japan is the largest importer of U.S. corn, said a University of Illinois economist.

“Japan accounted for 33% of U.S. corn exports in 2008-09 and 30% in 2009-10, typically importing about as much U.S. corn as the next two largest importers, Mexico and South Korea, combined,” said Darrel Good.

The damage from the recent earthquake and tsunami has the potential to reduce Japanese feed demand and import capabilities in the short run. Most experts believe that long-term disruptions will be minimal and that Japan will continue to import large quantities of U.S. corn, he said.

New export sales of U.S. corn were large in six of the seven weeks ended March 10, averaging 41.6 million bushels per week.… Continue reading

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Friends of Ohio Barns to hold 12th annual “Ohio Barn Conference” in Fairfield County

Come join barn enthusiasts, barn owners and maybe even a few barn “huggers” at Ohio’s only annual barn tour and conference to be held in the heart of beautiful Fairfield County Ohio on April 29 and 30.

Join Friends of Ohio Barns for another barn adventure starting Friday with a daylong bus tour through Fairfield County to see and explore many wonderful historic barns. One stop will be the recently restored Rock Mill, a gristmill originally built in 1824 located on the Hocking River gorge. Other stops include two working barns, unique double forebay barns and an example of adaptive re-use by converting a barn into a home. Rudy Christian, Larry Sulzer and other barn detectives will be there to explain the barn structures and the unique aspects of the barns chosen for the tour. Lunch will be prepared by the Bremen Area Historical Society and served at the Bremen Museum and Community Center.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo highlights

More than 30,000 cattle industry enthusiasts attended the Ohio Beef Expo held March 18 – 20, 2011, at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. In its 24th year, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association hosted the annual event.

The major attraction on Saturday, March 19 was seven breed sales. More than 325 lots were sold with an average price of $2,565 and a gross of $838,665. Individual breed sales results were as follows:

Lots             Sale            Gross                        Total                         Bull                               Female

Average                        Average                        Average

Angus              56             $132,275                  $2,364                         $2,481                         $2,289

Chianina        28             $58,650                   $2,094                         $2,395                         $2,018

Hereford         35             $82,185                    $2,348                         $2,458                         $2,243

Limousin        17             $32,450                    $1,838                         $1,765                         $1,834

Maine-Anjou 82             $252,025                 $2,972                         $3,407                         $2,467

Shorthorn       51             $139,130                  $2,450                         $3,365                         $2,135

Simmental      58             $141,850                 $2,445                         $2,360                         $2,541

TOTAL          327             $838,665            $2,565


Managed by: Al Gahler, Graytown, Ohio

Auctioneer: Ron Kreis, Adamsville, Ohio

Total Number of Lots: 56

Sale Gross: $132,275

Sale Average: $2,364

High Selling Bull: Rains Powerstroke PSNIFPN (Lot 6) sold for $5,000 to Frank Rihaly, Cadiz, OH

Consigned by Dale Rains, Mercer, PA

High Selling Female: SSC Blackbird (Lot 60) sold for $4,200 to James Fielding, Sunbury, OH

Consigned by Davin Sherman, Eaton, OH


Managed by: Tyler Humphrey

Auctioneer: Ron Kreis

Total Number of Lots: 28

Sale Gross: $58,650

Sale Average: $ 2,094

High Selling Bull: LBG Top Gun 1CM (Lot 27) sold for $3,400

Consigned by Larry Garrett of Indiana

High Selling Female: BALD Penelope (Lot 1) sold for $3,600

Consigned by Jeremy Baldwin & Weber Show Cattle of Indiana


Managed by: Lisa Keets, Berlin Heights, Ohio

Auctioneer: Dale Stith, Guston, Ky.… Continue reading

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Ohio Stair Fair Jr. Fair gets budget cut from state

Gov. John Kasich cut all of the Ohio State Fair’s Junior Fair funding from his proposed budget, generating concerns from fair supporters and Ohio’s agricultural community.. The cut of the $252,000 junior fair budget was used for the youth livestock, 4-H, FFA, band and choir programs and other youth activities. Fair manager Virgil Strickler said he will work with the Fair Board to maintain the vital youth programs at the Ohio State Fair. For a complete story from the Columbus Dispatch, click here Complete StoryContinue reading

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Overseas customers tour Wooster wheat breeding program

From Chinese steamed bread to Middle Eastern flat breads to Latin American galletas, soft red winter (SRW) wheat is used around the world for the largest variety of end products of any wheat class. However, each end product requires different quality specifications — meaning it can be difficult at times for a customer to find just the right amounts of protein, water absorption or gluten strength.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) brought several overseas customers to Wooster last week to discuss SRW wheat quality targets with domestic millers and wheat researchers as part of the Overseas Varietal Analysis (OVA) program. Each of the participants is a cooperator for USW’s OVA program, which utilizes international millers and bakers to extensively test new varieties of SRW wheat for use in specific end products. Results are used by state wheat commissions to develop recommended variety lists for farmers and set quality targets for U.S. wheat breeders.… Continue reading

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Volunteer corn challenges

Volunteer corn has proven to be more than just a nuisance, with major yield reductions to both corn and soybean crops, said Purdue Extension weed scientist Bill Johnson.

Problems with the weed arise when corn kernels that dropped during harvest persist in the soil, overwinter and grow in the spring. With most of the annual corn crop resistant to glyphosate, or Roundup Ready, volunteer corn has become increasingly difficult to control.

“We’re rotating Roundup Ready corn with our soybean crop, which is typically 95 percent Roundup Ready,” Johnson said. “With glyphosate being the primary herbicide used on soybeans, we simply are spraying it on a weed that it was not designed to kill.”

With heavy, untreated infestations, the weed can cause up to a 40% yield reduction in soybeans or up to 30% in corn.

“Volunteer corn is more frequently a problem in fields where farmers use fall tillage, because it buries the corn seed and allows it to overwinter,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

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