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Wineries developing a new generation of wine drinkers

By Matt Reese

Ohio has a long history of grape and wine production, particularly along the Ohio River and Lake Erie. As it turns out, Ohio is a great place for growing grapes.

The trouble in terms of wine is the grapes that readily grow in Ohio are sweet varieties that do not produce the fine dry wines revered around the world.

That is changing, however, as Ohio’s wineries have made great strides in recent years in vinifera grape production. The grapes are growing, the wines are improving, but changing Ohio’s reputation as a sweet wine state may take a while.

“Ohio still has a stigma for only having sweet wines,” said Bob Guilliams, owner of Raven’s Glenn Winery in Coshocton County. “People are reasonably open to the product once they try it and Ohio’s wine quality is improving every year, but the bar is set pretty high with Europe and California.… Continue reading

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Wheat shortage creates opportunity for U.S. farmers

Russia’s ban of wheat exports is giving U.S. farmers the opportunity to produce more of the crop to meet demands around the world, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

Chris Hurt predicts there will be an increase of 50-75 percent in the amount of wheat planted in the Eastern Corn Belt this fall over 2009, a record low year. Indiana farmers last fall planted 300,000 acres of wheat, which annually is the state’s third-largest crop, behind corn (6 million acres this year) and soybeans (5.3 million acres).

Because of the expected increased interest in wheat, Hurt recommended that farmers contact seed suppliers now to secure the varieties they hope to plant. “Seed availability may be the limiting factor on how many acres of wheat get seeded this fall,” he said.

Drought and wildfires greatly reduced wheat supplies in Russia — the fourth-largest wheat exporter in the world — and in neighboring Ukraine and Kazakhstan.… Continue reading

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Christmas trees part of a long line of agriculture on the Bailey Century Farm

By Matt Reese

In 1829, Isaac Bailey came to Lordstown in Trumbull County with $4.50 to his name. According to historic documents from Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, “by hard work, rigid economy and frugal living” he came to acquire 100 acres of land. Bailey was a religious man and was said to have walked, with no shoes, with his first child to the nearest church for baptism, a 30-mile round trip.

A Lutheran church was eventually added on his property and he became very active in every aspect of the neighborhood that would eventually be known as Bailey’s Corners. As the Bailey clan grew in subsequent generations, Isaac (I.E.) Bailey III bought 21 acres in 1900, some of which had been previously owned by Baileys. I.E. was a noted carpenter like the Isaac Baileys before him. His hammer that was used to build the church and many of the homes in the area hangs on a plaque on the wall in the home today.… Continue reading

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Tree farmers promote conservation in NW Ohio

By Matt Reese

In 1966, Walt and Donna Lange moved from Toledo to the rich farm country outside of Swanton. Walt was a Math teacher for the University of Toledo and was looking for a place to relax, enjoy the countryside and do some hunting. Their 33 acres was mostly in cropland, with around 10 acres in trees.

“In the winter, I can remember the blowing sand drifting onto the road instead of snow,” Donna said. “We started planting a windbreak in 1971 to try and stop some of that blowing sand.”

The initial planting of trees apparently appealed to the Langes because they have not stopped since. The couple was named the 2010 Ohio Tree Farmers of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, which is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“We’ve probably planted more than 10,000 trees through the years,” Walt said. “Planting trees is our labor of love and we are planting trees someplace every year.”… Continue reading

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Pasture management in the fall

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

The fall period, particularly the months of September and October, is an important time to manage pastures. Specifically, pastures must be managed to insure that the desirable grass and legume plants are able to build up and store carbohydrate reserves for the winter period. It is this ability to store carbohydrate reserves and thus keep a root system living over the winter months that distinguishes a perennial plant from an annual plant. It is during the short day, long night periods in the fall of the year that flower buds are formed/initiated on the crown of the plant. While the leaf tissue dies during the winter, the buds and roots of the plant remain as living tissues over the winter and continue to respire and burn energy. If root reserves are insufficient the plant may die over the winter. If the plant survives but root reserves are low, spring re-growth and vigor of the plant is reduced.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report, Sept. 7

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 5, 2010

Cooler weather provided relief for livestock and crops. Farm activities included tillage, installing tile, hauling grain, hay bailing, and field application of fertilizer, lime and manure.

As of Sunday September 5, 80 percent of corn was dented, compared to 49 percent last year and 64 percent for the five-year average. Corn was 24 percent mature, which was 21 percent ahead of last year and 17 percent ahead the five-year average. Corn for silage was 53 percent harvested compared to 20 percent last year and 25 percent for the five-year average. Twenty-nine percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 8 percent last year and 14 percent for the five-year average. Ninety-five percent of the third cutting of alfalfa hay was complete, compared to 86 percent last year and 87 percent for the five-year average. Thirty-six percent of the 4th cutting of alfalfa hay was complete, 16 percent ahead of last year and 11 percent ahead of the five-year average.… Continue reading

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The Belmont County Fair finds a new home

By Matt Reese

“It is the same old thing, but this time it is all new.”
Jerry Campbell, president of the Belmont County Fair Board is excited, nervous and scared all at the same time as he leads the effort for yet another Belmont County Fair beginning on Sept. 7. In many ways, it will be the same as past fairs in the county, with junior exhibitors, events, and a community that is always supportive of the event. But this year, it will be the first time at a new location.
The Belmont County Fair long called a 17-acre site in St. Clairsville home, but the location offered no room to grow. This year will be the first fair at the new 162-acre location just outside of East Richland, 5.5 miles west of the previous site.
“That is a huge difference,” Campbell said. “We sold the former fairgrounds four years ago and had the fair there through last year while we worked on the new site.… Continue reading

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Valuing manure nutrient resources

By Robert Mullen and Darlene C. Florence, Ohio State University Extension

A fundamental question often asked by agricultural producers is how do I value my manure as a nutrient resource? This essential question should be asked by those that have access to manure because it allows a way to quantify the economic value of that material. If this question were directed at commercially produced materials, the answer would be straightforward. With manure, however, a number of parameters need to be considered including the composition of manure, the source variability, and the need for the nutrients based upon soil test information.

The first step in valuing manure as a nutrient supplement is to have the material analyzed to determine which nutrients are present and in what amounts. This information, combined with a recent soil analysis, can tell you how much manure should be supplied to meet the nutritional needs of a crop.… Continue reading

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Be skeptical of side-by-side comparisons this year

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Team Sales Agronomist for Beck’s Hybrids

Take caution in putting too much stock in a side by side this year, especially if large yield swings exist in that trial. I say this for multiple reasons.

1. Consistency in hybrid maturity exists within a seed company but not necessarily among seed companies. Beck’s 109-day will be earlier than our 110-day. However, Beck’s 110-day and Acme seed brands 110-day could be different. Why would that matter?
2. If you are doing any side by side and have 108 versus 110 or even 110 vs. 110, two different companies, timing is everything. I have been in plots where one hybrid was tipped back 3 inches and the one beside it only 1 inch. Silk death had occurred on the hybrid that was attempting pollination at a slightly different time. That silk death was more due to “bad 90+ degree timing” than it was to the hybrid itself.… Continue reading

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Now that the dust has settled, how does “the agreement” impact animal ag?

By Kyle Sharp

The agreement between Ohio agriculture and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been the source of controversy, scrutiny and grumbling on both sides of the issue. Here are some perspectives from leaders in the sectors of agriculture that will be most affected.

Impact on pork
Chuck Wildman operates a 650-sow, farrow-to-finish hog operation near South Charleston. He was not thrilled when the agreement with HSUS was reached. But after considering the political strategy of how the agreement bought the OLCSB time to work and established the Board as the governing authority for livestock care standards, he said it now seems like it was the right thing to do.
When people say to him HSUS came out ahead in the agreement, Wildman has an interesting way of describing this thoughts.
“If you’re in a bar fight and one guy lays down his weapon and leaves the bar for a while, and the other guy is still standing there in the bar huffing and puffing, who won?”… Continue reading

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Diagnosing stalk rots

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold agronomist

There have been numerous cases of anthracnose stalk rot moving into corn fields throughout the area. Unfortunately, stalk rots are often misunderstood. Many times when stalk rots move into a field, an assumption is typically made that the particular hybrid had bad health and poor standability, but in reality that assumption is not always correct. To understand stalk rots and why they affect certain hybrids, fields or even certain plants, an investigation into the entire stalk rot cycle must occur.
One of the most important facts about stalk rots is that they are opportunistic pathogens. Being opportunistic means stalk rots very seldom affect healthy, non-stressed corn, but instead attack corn plants that have a weakened defense system or are under some other stress. There are many different issues that can cause a corn plant to be susceptible to stalk rots, but this article will focus on the stresses causing the stalk rots this year.… Continue reading

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Corn and soybean harvest expectations

By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, Northern Ohio

Harvest is rapidly approaching and overall in 2010 we will all have a lot in which to look forward. But before I get to that, let’s start off with the most important harvest message: Be safe. Each spring and fall I e-mail my growers this same message because it holds the most importance. Please take that little extra time to do whatever your doing the safe way. Walk around not over, turn it off even when you are just taking a look, slow down or stop when your tired, and think about who you get to come home to so it stays first and foremost in your mind. We have all had to visit those who lost loved ones or who were injured during the fall. So be safe, I always enjoy sitting down and visiting with you, and I would like to keep it that way this fall!… Continue reading

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Late August report from Between the Rows

As the 2010 crop rapidly nears harvest, everyone wants to know what it will yield. Rains have been more cooperative as of late, but there are still dry areas in the state where soybean yields in particular are likely struggling. Here is the latest report from the Between the Rows farmers on what is happening on their farms.

Matt Bell
Muskingum County
“We have not been getting rain. We’ve had .7 or .8 of an inch in the last two weeks. The beans do not like this, but the corn still seems OK. Harvest is going to come quickly. We’ll probably be in corn in two weeks. That is earlier than we thought, but we’ll get fresh corn to the hogs sooner that way.
“The early planting and the heat really gave the corn a boost. When it gets this dry, you know the plants are really taking everything out of the stalks.… Continue reading

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Estimating corn yields

By John Brien, CCA, regional agronomist for AgriGold

The Yield Component Method is one of the most versatile and utilized methods to estimate yields. It allows growers to estimate their corn yields as early as 25 days after it takes into consideration the key components that determine grain yield. Yield components include the number of harvestable ears per acre, number of kernel rows per ear, number of kernels per row and kernel weight. The first three components are easily measured in the field while the value for kernel weight for ease of computing is a predetermined factor.
When estimating yields with the Yield Component Method there are several key points to keep in mind. When rainfall during grain fill is below average, the yields will be overestimated, while good grain fill conditions will underestimate yield.
Below is an example of the Yield Component Method to estimate grain yield.
Step 1. Measure a length equal to 1/1000th of an acre.… Continue reading

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White mold could be a problem again in 2010


By Matt Reese
Chances are looking all too good for another bout with white mold this year in Ohio soybeans.
Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, said if the white mold producing material (Sclerotinia) is in a field, conditions may be right for it to be there again this year.
“Sclerotinia white mold, also known as Sclerotinia stem rot, has a very interesting disease cycle. The inoculum comes from very small fruiting bodies called apothecia that form from the sclerotia. They puff their spores up onto the stems and infect the old blossoms and they can kill the plants in the bottom third of the stem,” Dorrance said. “We have historic fields that have had white mold since the early 90s and late 80s. Every once in a while we get a blow up. Last year conditions were perfect and this year conditions are good again.”
The moisture this year has been favorable for the development of the disease.… Continue reading

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Corn closing in on maturity

By Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension
Ohio’s corn crop continues to develop rapidly as a result of this season’s early planting and above average temperatures. According to the NASS (www.nass.usda.gov), as of Aug. 15, 82% of corn was in dough, compared to 43% last year and 59% for the five-year average. Thirty-four percent of corn was dented, compared to 4% last year and 10% for the five-year average. In many fields, corn in full dent has achieved the half-milk line stage (also referred to as the “starch line”). Thermal time from half-milkline to physiological maturity (“black layer”) is approximately 280 GDDs (http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/GrainFill.html), which corresponds to about 10 days if we accumulate at least 28 GDD daily. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, the NASS has forecast Ohio’s corn average yield at 176 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from last year’s record yield of 174 bushels per acre. If these estimates for maturity and yield come to pass, we may be looking at a very large, early maturing crop.… Continue reading

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Medina County man is the neighbor every farmer wants to have

By Kyle Sharp

It’s a horror story often heard within the agricultural community. Land next to a working farm is sold to non-farmers who move in from town and start complaining about the equipment, noise and periodic aromas that come with the rural landscape.
Fortunately, the Boyert family of Seville in Medina County has not had that problem.
In fact, when Don Diefendorff and his wife, Beth, purchased the old farmhouse and 6 acres across the road from the Boyerts in 2004 and moved from near Akron, Diefendorff quickly became a friend and extra farmhand.
“Shortly after moving in, he came over and introduced himself to us,” said Matt Boyert, 25, the second-oldest of six children raised by Mike and Patti Boyert. “Since making our acquaintance, he has readily come over and assisted us with our outside chores. He has even reached a point where he has helped pull a couple of calves and came over to watch a veterinarian perform a C-section.”… Continue reading

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Crops, heat and rain: August in Ohio

It is hot and, in many places, dry around Ohio. Corn is curled and firing where it is too dry and diseases are a concern where it has been too wet. Mother Nature has kept Ohio’s farmers guessing once again during the 2010 growing season. Here is the Between the Rows report for early August. – Matt Reese

Kevin Miller

Williams County

“We need rain. We’ve had two-tenths in the last couple of weeks. South of me, one of my farms got a half-inch. We’re pretty dry. The corn is curling and starting to fire up from the bottom. The beans seem to be taking it a little better than the corn, but they are filling pods and we need rain for that.

“The crop condition really varies by ground type and water holding capacity. In the lower ground, it looks like really good corn and when you get into the drier stuff it really varies.… Continue reading

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Wheat’s wild ride boosts fall planting intentions

Wheat farmers throughout Ohio could be planting more wheat this fall, as the demand and price per bushel has increased because of a recently announced ban on wheat exports from Russia. 


Drought and wildfires are becoming common terms in Russia, as the wheat harvest is on the line. Approximately 20% of Russia’s wheat, a combination of hard red winter wheat and hard red spring wheat varieties, has been destroyed because of these natural occurrences.


In 2009, Russia was the world’s third-largest exporter of wheat, only trailing the United States and the European Union.

“It’s very likely that overseas buyers will turn to the U.S. in the short term to fulfill their needs,” said Dwayne Siekman, Ohio Wheat Growers Executive Director. “It’s too early to estimate the impact that it will have on planting decisions this fall for Ohio farmers; however, Ohio farmers are up for the challenge.” 


Ohio is the nation’s leader in growing soft red winter wheat, used in pan breads, general-purpose flour, cookies and crackers.… Continue reading

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Wheat's wild ride boosts fall planting intentions

Wheat farmers throughout Ohio could be planting more wheat this fall, as the demand and price per bushel has increased because of a recently announced ban on wheat exports from Russia. 


Drought and wildfires are becoming common terms in Russia, as the wheat harvest is on the line. Approximately 20% of Russia’s wheat, a combination of hard red winter wheat and hard red spring wheat varieties, has been destroyed because of these natural occurrences.


In 2009, Russia was the world’s third-largest exporter of wheat, only trailing the United States and the European Union.

“It’s very likely that overseas buyers will turn to the U.S. in the short term to fulfill their needs,” said Dwayne Siekman, Ohio Wheat Growers Executive Director. “It’s too early to estimate the impact that it will have on planting decisions this fall for Ohio farmers; however, Ohio farmers are up for the challenge.” 


Ohio is the nation’s leader in growing soft red winter wheat, used in pan breads, general-purpose flour, cookies and crackers.… Continue reading

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