Markets reacting to USDA reports

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Typically, the February USDA reports are non-events. However, grains all closed lower that day. The corn sell off resulted in 10 successive days of lower closes.

This month’s USDA reports included the monthly supply and demand reports. Corn ending stocks increased by 20 million bushels to 632 million bushels. Declining exports were to blame. They were lowered 50 million bushels to 900 million bushels. This is the lowest number since the early 1970s. The drought last summer as well as plentiful corn supplies from Brazil and Argentina has had a dramatic effect on U.S. corn exports. Mid-February they stood at just 326 million bushels. Last year at this time they were 741 million bushels.

Corn basis levels are at record numbers for this time of year. Central Ohio has seen values of 20 to 40 over March. The high corn prices seen since last summer have certainly had a dampening effect on ethanol production.… Continue reading

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Operating effectively in today’s business climate

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Ben Franklin once said, “Your net worth to the world is merely determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” Those are great words to live by in today’s Agricultural business environment according to Bob Campbell, Senior Vice President of Farm Credit Services of America.

Many things have changed for producers in the last several years from a business-operating standpoint. From the sheer amount of volatility that they face on a daily basis, to the amazing amount of capital that it takes to run their operation, farming certainly requires much more skill and a little bit more luck than it used to.

“The windows that producers have to make a difference to their bottom line are very narrow,” Campbell said. “That is one of the biggest differences in agriculture from only five years ago.”

Campbell said that lenders have been able to adjust very quickly to these changing conditions.… Continue reading

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General rules have exceptions, as a general rule

As parents, we have always stressed an across the board policy of openness and honesty with and for our children — no secrets. For many reasons, we believe this to be a very sound parenting policy, but we have found out that there are a few exceptions to this generally good rule.

It was our daughter’s fifth birthday party and she got the same very nice “Fancy Nancy” book from two different people. A couple of weeks later, one of her friends had a birthday party, and, rather than going to buy another gift, we simply wrapped up the extra book for the present to take to the party.

I took her to the party and she carried the wrapped gift. Upon entering the house, my daughter promptly told the birthday girl in front of her whole family, “Here is a ‘Fancy Nancy’ book. We didn’t get it at a store.… Continue reading

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Have water quality regulations gone too far?

By Matt Reese

Thus far, lawmakers in Ohio are making a concerted effort to prioritize reality, and not political perception, in the regulatory debate about water quality. This has often not been the case, particularly in watersheds in Florida and in the Chesapeake Bay that have received the most federal attention. There has been speculation that the Chesapeake Bay, in particular, could serve as a national standard for regulation across the country, and that Lake Erie is next on the list of federal regulators. Despite the national spotlight, Josh McGrath, associate professor and soil and fertility and nutrient management specialist at the University of Maryland, said the Chesapeake Bay nutrient management strategies are far from ideal because they too often favor the politics over the reality of the situation.

“Maryland is probably the most highly regulated state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is probably the most highly regulated watershed for agriculture in the country,” McGrath said.… Continue reading

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Waiting on ACRE decision may be best

By Matt Reese

Now that the window has opened for producers to once again consider enrolling in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, Ohio State University Assistant Professor and Extension Educator Chris Bruynis offers some advice — wait.

“Wait and see what happens during the spring. If we plant the country fence row to fence row in corn, the probability of an ACRE payment increases as prices will fall,” he said. “There is also a box producers need to check on the form when signing up for Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program that acknowledges that direct payments may not be made if there are insufficient funds.”

The possibility of insufficient funds for the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP) may make some farmers think twice about their decision to take the DCP payment and be done.

“The cost of ACRE is 20% of direct payments and with the possibility that 20% of nothing may occur, the cost is zero — on the average it would amount to $3.72 per acre,” Bruynis said. … Continue reading

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Communication is crucial in water quality debate

By Matt Reese

As Ohio faces mounting water quality concerns with agriculture as culprit on the “to blame” list, there will be an inevitable debate over the balance of political perceptions and actual edge-of-field reality in terms of how to address the problem.

The green, toxic scum in Lake Erie and other Ohio bodies of water puts the interests of potential sources of excess phosphorus (which includes agriculture) against the multi-billion dollar recreation/drinking water value of the state’s lakes and streams. Something must be done about the problem, but there is still much work required to determine exactly what that something should be.

An important step for agriculture took place last November with the release of the Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Practice Standard for Nutrient Management.

“In Ohio we’ve had 26 water bodies affected by the toxic algae. Last year there were three states that had cattle die from drinking water with these toxins.… Continue reading

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Leadership roles lead Vincents to Industry Excellence

By Connie Lechleitner, OCJ field reporter

Kris and Becky Vincent’s philosophy is that leaders should lead. When they see a void in leadership, they’re usually quick to step in — and so they have at the local, regional, state and national levels of the Ohio and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

As a result, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association recently recognized the East Canton couple as the Industry Excellence award winners.

“This award is nominated by your peers, so we had no idea,” Kris Vincent said. “We were totally shocked.”

The Vincents, 13 years ago, found that Stark County did not have a Cattlemen’s organization. They, along with 10 other area cattlemen, set out to change that.

“We were told that it had been tried before and failed,” Vincent said. “I knew there was a need for education and resources to help our industry improve, and that we could better reach out to consumers too.”… Continue reading

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Communicating food messages across four generations

By David White, Ohio Livestock Coalition

For the first time in history, four generations of grown consumers are working and communicating side-by-side — Traditionals, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y — and they all have different preferences when it comes to food and farming issues. Each group has their own set of values, expectations, perspectives and communication styles.

This presents a major challenge for Ohio agriculture. The first challenge is that we are facing an unprecedented number of individuals who are three to four generations removed from the farm and do not understand what farmers do and where their food comes from. The second challenge is that this is the first time we’ve had to develop and communicate our messages across such a wide generational gap to share our stories and educate them about farming. Acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, it is critical to understand who these generational groups are, what they value, and the best communication medium to reach them.… Continue reading

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Strong farmland values expected in 2013

We asked Douglas E. Walton, Broker, CAI Auctioneer with United Country Walton Realty and Auction Co., LLC in Upper Sandusky; Nick Cummings, with Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, Inc. in Columbia City, Indiana; and Mike Weasel, with Wilson National, LLC in Hillsboro about the outlook on farmland values in 2013. Here are their responses.


OCJ: There was a quite a bit of excitement with the flurry in farm sales late last year. Can we expect to see land sales dropping off since then, or is there still strong activity for the foreseeable future?

Douglas: There is strong activity in the land market yet, however, the supply is low, as far as land for sale, compared to the past 6 to 12 months.

Nick: As we have turned the corner to 2013, demand for cropland continues to be strong. The number of farms available has declined, likely due in part to the acceleration of activities at the end of 2012 as a result of expected changes in the tax laws.… Continue reading

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Meeting the “King” from “Swamp People”

By Kim Lemmon

I don’t like extreme heat or humidity, I hate bugs, and I’m not a fan of snakes either. If I ever actually visit the swamps of Louisiana and take a ride through the swamp in a boat, I will probably become motion sick so I doubt I’ll ever actually visit the swamp.

Regardless of my fears and shortcomings, every Thursday evening in February and March when I watch the “King of the Swamp” on “Swamp People” on the History Channel, I feel like I’m in the swamp as I watch my favorite alligator hunters catch gators during the month long-season in Louisiana.

When I helped Dale Minyo give a pizza party to the Logan Elm FFA chapter for winning our video contest, some members of the chapter happened to mention that some stars of “Swamp People” were coming to Ohio. They weren’t sure of the details, but a quick Internet search helped me hunt down “King of the Swamp” Troy Landry and his son Jacob as they made a brief stop on Feb.… Continue reading

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Cope wins big at National Farm Machinery Show tractor pull

Carlton Cope of Salem, the driver of Warpath was the only Ohio winner this weekend at the National Farm Machinery Show pulls. He took home top honors in the 10,200 lb Pro Stock Tractor class.

We spoke with the Warpath driver last week just prior to the pulls and he told us how he was mechanically getting ready for the pulls, but also how he had to mentally prepare.

Several other ohioans did well in Louisville. Here are the final results of the 2013 National Farm Machinery Show truck and tractor pull:

7,500lb Modified Tractors
Driver Name City/State VehiclePull Distance
Ricky Long
Joe Eder
Michael Stewart
Bret Berg
Kevin Criswell
Mark Cole
Glasgow KY
North Collins NY
Paris TN
Farmington MN
Marion OH
Pavilion NY
Lucas Oil / Mav-Tv
75Th Edition
Down & Dirty
Lg Seeds Money Maker
Non Cents
The Gambler
 240.60 Full Pull
9,300lb Super Farm Tractors top
Driver Name City/State Vehicle Pull Distance
Darrin Hunt
Norm Kavan
Russell Counce
Josh Miley
David M Batliner
Jon Mowrey
Chad Weitzenkamp
Justin Stryffeler
Herndon KY
Cedar Bluffs NE
Lawrenceburg TN
Franciso IN
Floyd Knobs IN
Milford IL
Hooper NE
Salem OH
Dreamin Too
Magnum Force
Dixie Deere
High Maintenan$E
Super Hick
Deal -N- Deere
Jd 4430
6,200lb 2WD Super Modified Trucks top
Driver Name City/State Vehicle Pull Distance
Doug Theobald
Timothy Fitzsimmons
Jeff Writsel
Rickey Long
Bill Oberste
Jared Nelson
Robert Zajicek
Keith Long
Tony Tatum
Shelbyville IN
Macon MO
Orient OH
Glasgow KY
Harrisonville MO
Altamont IL
Columbus TX
Glasgow KY
Bardstown KY
Country Heat
At It Again
Ridin Dirty
Missouri Gambler
Midnight Revenger
Mav-Tv/Bulls Eye
Parts City Auto Parts
 242.06 Full Pull
8,200lb Super Stock Tractors top
Driver NameCity/State Vehicle Pull Distance
Esdon Lehn
Steve Burge
Brian Shramek
Jim Schaendorf
David Siefert
John Raymond
Dayton MN
Lynn IN
Williamsburg MO
Dorr MI
New Washington OH
Caledonia NY
Red Line Fever
Lock N Load
Young Blood
Radical Red
Renegade Deere
Smoke N Mirrors
 241.72 Full Pull
 235.36 Full Pull
 207.05 Full Pull
8,000lb Super Stock Alcohol Tractors top
Driver Name City/State VehiclePull Distance
Terry Blackbourn
Kevin Campbell
John Strickland
Josh Blackbourn
Joe Kwiatkowski
Loren Gettinger
Newton WI
Washington PA
Clinton NC
Newton WI
Dorr MI
Hagerstown IN
Extremely Armed & Dangerous
Controlled Chaos
Armed & Dangerous International Threat
Taking Care Of Business
Lessons Learned
 247.23 Full Pull
10,200lb Pro Stock Tractors top
Driver Name City/State Vehicle Pull Distance
Carlton Cope
Ken Couch
Brad Moss
Steve Boyd
Paul Stone
Troy Bader
Greg Boyd
Ross Boersen
Lance Little
Kevin Schmucker
Tim Overmyer
Mike Linder
Salem OH
Jackson TN
Adairville KY
Washington IN
Greensburg IN
Monroe WI
Washington IN
Zeeland MI
Tuscola IL
Louisville OH
Monterey IN
Edison OH
Cotton Pickn Deere
Ts Performance Young Buck
Green Streak
Rollin Stone
Forever Green Edition
Green Streak Ii
Extremely Green
True Grit
Git Er Dun Deere
Sandhill Binder
Linder Brothers
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Temperature swings can hurt wheat

Extreme changes in temperature are the biggest concern wheat producers have for the development of their crop this season, a Purdue Extension agronomist said.

Temperatures in recent weeks have risen to between 50 and 60 degrees and then dropped to single digits.

“The cycling of cold to warm temperatures is a great recipe for freezing, thawing and winter heaving,” Shaun Casteel said.

Winter heaving occurs when moisture in the soil expands as it freezes and then contracts as the ice thaws. The soil gets pushed up and down, shoving young plants higher out of the ground and exposing roots. The plants’ lack of access to soil moisture and soil contact could result in stand loss, Casteel said.

Another weather concern is that there has been little snow to protect wheat from extreme cold.

“A lot of wheat fields no longer have a blanket of snow for insulation, and they’re exposed to the cold weather,” Casteel said.… Continue reading

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Seed treatments linked to bee deaths

By Matt Reese

Bees are big business, pollinating $15 billion in crops per year including apples, cherries and berries.

The dollar figures involved are generating significant concern as pollinator populations continue to decline worldwide. More people are demanding answers about the factors behind the colony collapse disorder blamed for bee deaths.

“We saw a 3% loss in hives per year from 2007 to 2012 in the U.S.,” said Christian Krupke, associate professor of entomology at Purdue University. “More and more of the arrows are pointing to pesticides in a more convincing way as a part of colony collapse disorder.”

Mites, weather and other factors are certainly involved in the decline in bee populations, but Krupke has found fairly conclusive evidence that the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in seed treatments for corn and soybeans is at least partially to blame in areas of production of those crops. Analyses of bees found dead in and around hives from several apiaries over two years in Indiana showed the presence of neonicotinoid insecticides.… Continue reading

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Big crowds gather at National Farm Machinery Show

By Matt Reese

A huge crowd gathered at an even larger venue at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville to see equipment that was just a little bigger (and a little more expensive) than last year. The latest in innovation, ingenuity and iron was all in the spotlight at the 2013 show. Matt Reese asked numerous farmers from Ohio who were at the event about their favorite highlights. The universal response was the new Kinze planter, specifically the accurate seed delivery it offered. A close second was the Gerringhoff prototype corn head. A video playing at the Gerringhoff display shows a combine harvesting corn in a “J” shape in a field of corn. Gerringhoff employees report unprecedented interest in a featured item at the National Farm Machinery Show.

There was also a fair amount of talk concerning the massive Balzer grain cart on four tracks. One farmer commented how the grain cart costs more than the first farm he purchased in the 1970s.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farmpark educates non-farm folks

By Kim Lemmon

A short 30-minute drive from downtown Cleveland sets a 235-acre farm dedicated to educating Ohio’s non-farm public about agriculture. The farm has been owned and operated by Lake Metroparks since 1987. It opened to the public in 1990.

Approximately 150,000 people per year visit the Farmpark to learn about life on the farm.

“We introduce hundreds of thousands of visitors and school children from urban and rural areas to farming,” said Andy Baker, Lake Metroparks, Farmpark Administrator. “We are able to introduce visitors to all facets of agriculture.

“They can see a variety of species of farm livestock and a variety of breeds within those species. They also discover a variety of ways of growing vegetables, including hydroponics. Visitors also get a sense of how agriculture has evolved in terms of technology and management.”

With today’s growing trend of fewer farmers with larger farms, it is important to keep all those that work and live away the farm educated about how their food, fiber and energy is produced.… Continue reading

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Nematodes to be discussed at CTTC

Amid growing questions about the impact of nematodes on corn yields, researchers with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) are in the midst of a multi-year project to sample soils in Ohio fields to determine whether the tiny, worm-like organisms are indeed damaging corn yields.

Using survey methods and advanced scouting techniques, researchers have spent the last three years conducting corn performance tests for nematodes to determine if the worms are causing problems for Ohio growers and whether seed-treatment nematicides are needed, said Greg LaBarge, field specialist in agronomic systems and one of the leaders of the OSU Agronomic Crops Team.

LaBarge, along with OSU Extension educator Alan Sundermeier, will present the most recent survey findings during the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference March 5-6, offered by OSU Extension and OARDC.

The conference will feature some 60 presenters and include information on nutrient management, soil and water, “Corn University,” “Soybean School,” crop scouting, no-till and seeding technology.… Continue reading

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For the love of pigs

By Matt Reese

At the Ohio Pork Congress there were a number of individuals recognized for their involvement with the swine industry in Ohio, including Blanche and Roger Lange from Seneca County. Anyone who has spent much time around Blanche and Roger knows that they love pigs, which is why the Ohio Pork Producers Council selected them as this year’s Pork Industry Excellence Award winners.

“You don’t get days off on the farm,” Blanche said. “You have to have a special place in your heart for animals when you’re dealing with livestock.”

The siblings grew up four years apart on their family’s farm that has been in the Lange family and a home to pigs for more than a century. Blanche and Roger gained their affinity for raising livestock through hours of laboring alongside their parents while growing up.

“Mom did the books and drove a tractor wearing a dress when she needed to,” Blanche said.… Continue reading

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Flexible cash farm leases: Are they worth a try?

By Barry Ward,
Department of Agricultural Environmental and Development Economics
Ohio State University Extension, Leader, Production Business Management

We have been preaching about flexible leases for years. Flexible cash leases are the answer to all problems plaguing farmers and landowners attempting to find an equitable cash lease each year. Right?! Well….OK maybe not. Flexible leases may not be for everyone, but they may be a tool you should at least consider as you try to manage the volatility in the crop sector these days.

Landowners and farmers have found it increasingly hard to agree on an equitable cash rent as crop prices and input costs have experienced a fair bit of volatility over the last several years. Cash lease rates aren’t public knowledge and don’t have any public clearinghouse such as a futures exchange so information on rates is often sketchy. The local diner does not qualify as a reliable information clearinghouse!… Continue reading

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Budget debated in Ag Day @ the Capitol

By Matt Reese

The Ohio state budget was the hot topic of discussion today at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) 2013 Ag Day @ the Capitol in Columbus. Two years ago, the state’s budget discussion was very different than today. Going into the last budget, Ohio faced an $8 billion budget shortfall. Now, even with a cut in taxes (including the elimination of Ohio’s estate tax), Ohio enjoys a $1.4 billion budget surplus in the Ohio “rainy day” fund and the state is the top in the Midwest for job creation.

Despite the success, there are budgetary challenges ahead and concerns from many Ohio constituents, including the OFBF, as the next budget moves forward. Governor John Kasich has released a more than 4,000-page two-year biennium budget proposal that will be debated in the House and Senate in the coming weeks.

“In the last week or so you have seen a roll out of our state budget.… Continue reading

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Do seed treatments pay for soybeans?

By Matt Reese

While 2012 offered ample challenges for farmers, it had its fair share of obstacles for plant pathologists as well. Drought conditions are just not conducive to most plant pathogens and led to limited results from research conducted by Ohio State University Extension plant pathologists. Last summer, Extension plant pathologist Anne Dorrance and company worked with 1,676 plots to evaluate material in 39 tests from 10 companies, in addition to other Extension field tests, at 11 field sites across 9 counties in Ohio.

One area of research was in the benefits and value of seed treatments in soybeans.

“There are a lot of seed treatment choices out there. I think as farmers are talking with their seed dealers, they are getting a lot of packages and they need to know what is in all of these packages. They have changed from the old days when there was just a little Captan and a little Metalaxyl,” Dorrance said.… Continue reading

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