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OSU’s eFields program looking to expand on farm research further in 2019

By Matt Reese

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand the challenges of agricultural crop research. Different soil types, constantly changing weather patterns, different plant hybrids and varieties, and human/equipment error are just a handful of the vast number of variables in agricultural research that can make it difficult to find real, reliable answers to important crop production questions.

Replicated trials on small plots help account for the variability, but every farmer knows there is nothing more relevant than research conducted at the field scale on their farms, in their management systems, with their weather, and their soil types. Researchers know the value of these on-farm research efforts as well, and they are looking to do more in Ohio.

Paul Ralston in Hardin County has conducted his own research on his farm for several years to hone his production practices and was quick to start working with Ohio State University Extension researchers when he had the opportunity to participate in the eFields program.… Continue reading

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Ag groups weigh in on beginning farmer bill

By Matt Reese

Legislators heard from Ohio agriculture yesterday in a hearing for House Bill 183. The bill was recently introduced by state representatives Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) to create a tax credit program that would incentivize retiring farmers to sell or rent to beginning farmers in Ohio.

Nathan Brown, Highland County, and Rose Hartschuh, Crawford County, representing Ohio Farm Bureau, testified as proponents of the bill. Bennett and Liza Musselman, part owners/operators of Musselman Farms in Pickaway County, also testified on behalf of the bill.

“The agriculture industry is extremely difficult to break into if you or your family do not have a background in farming. High amounts of capital are needed to invest in land, equipment, labor, crops or livestock, financial management plans, and compliance with regulations just to get started. New farmland is not readily available, so there is restricted access to the ground required, adding yet another barrier to individuals who are looking to start a career in farming,” Brown said in his testimony on April 30.… Continue reading

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Tackling human resource management challenges in Ohio’s agribusinesses

By Matt Reese

Whether it is a small farm business with a handful of employees or a large corporation with many, human resource management has become a significant issue for Ohio’s agribusinesses.

“This may be the No. 1 challenge for Ohio’s agribusinesses. Every business is a little different and there might be a few issues that rise above human resource issues, but it is a major issue. Not only is it important in filling the positions, but the human resource aspect of business also includes the opioid epidemic and drug issues. As a business, how do you provide the resources for employees to deal with that? What about workers comp claims? How do you make sure you are providing a safe and secure work environment for your employees? There is a whole slew of things our HR professionals deal with on a regular basis,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association.… Continue reading

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Farm takes proactive steps to address undercover activists

By Matt Reese

On these wild weather spring days we’ve had, if I see the western sky darkening and the winds start picking up, I’ll run out and close the west-facing barn door, secure anything that might be prone to blowing away and put items under cover that I do not want to get wet. The coming storm is out of my control, but I can be proactive by taking measures to try to mitigate the damage it may cause.

The same strategy should be used with an impending public relations storm.

Animal agriculture is once again bracing for a storm in the form of possible fallout from an undercover video effort seeking to portray livestock production in a negative way. This time, the deceptive work of animal rights activists recently took place at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, one of the top agritourism destinations in the country. The working farm was designed with transparency in mind to showcase modern dairy production to curious consumers.… Continue reading

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Workshops give youth experience in the construction and AutoTech trades

By Amanda Forquer, 4-H Educator

Thirty-five youth participated in the Career Exploration Workshop for Construction and Automotive Technology on April 13 at the Tri-Rivers Career Center. The participants learned valuable life skills and skills they could potentially use in a career in the construction or automotive technology (AutoTech) career paths.

A number of skills taught at the workshop presented challenges many adults struggle to complete. For example, in AutoTech the participants rotated and balanced tires, changed automotive oil, completed a multi-point inspection, studied auto electronics, changed belts, and many more related tasks. The workshop was challenging, but enjoyable for those involved.

“Overall, I really, really liked the workshop,” said Cole Perkins, an 11-year-old participant of the AutoTech workshop.

In the construction workshop the participants built frames for pouring concrete walls, framed wood walls for a storage shed, built their own toolbox with nameplate, operated large equipment (e.g., skid-steer or excavator), among other things.… Continue reading

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Wheat disease monitoring

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

We are monitoring wheat disease in an effort led by OSU Extension wheat specialist, Pierce Paul.

We follow growth stages of wheat to know when to apply herbicides safely but also to know when, or if, we should apply fungicides. Growers who rely on the height of the crop as an indicator of crop development may miss Feekes Growth Stage 6, a critical growth stage for herbicide application, and Feekes GS 8, a critical stage for managing foliar diseases with fungicides. Do not rely on the height of the plants or calendar dates alone (especially this year) to make your management decisions. Walk fields, pull tillers from multiple places, remove the lower leaves, and examine these tillers for the presence of nodes and the emergence of the flag leaf. At Feekes GS 8 the tip of the flag leaf, the fourth leaf above the first node, is visible.… Continue reading

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Experiences from life on a Demonstration Farm

By Duane Stateler, Stateler Family Farms, Hancock County

It has been quite interesting being a part of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms in ways that I would not have originally imagined.

To set the stage, we had a visitor last week who had been contacted to visit the farm after he was quoted in a recent local newspaper article with some information that upset quite a few members of the agricultural community. We were asked if we were open to him coming to visit and, of course, we agreed because we have found over the past 3 years that the 98% of the population that are removed from the farm have no idea of today’s farm is compared to the Charlotte’s Web storybook. My son Anthony and I enjoy being an open book and answering every question they pose while looking into their eyes and witnessing as they are seeing, realizing and experiencing something completely different than what they have been told.… Continue reading

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Raise your hand for Ohio 4-H!

By Matt Reese

Albert Belmont Graham, known as the founder of 4-H, was born March 13, 1868  and went on to help change the lives of countless young people by starting the now internationally known program in Clark County near Springfield. As the home of 4-H, Ohio has been well represented during the previous years of the National 4-H Raise Your Hand Campaign, winning both years.

Through its “Raise Your Hand” campaign, National 4-H wants members, advisors and alumni to sign up for their state. The state with the most weighted votes by May 15 will bring home $20,000 to use towards 4-H programming.

I remember watching in awe as something I built as a nine-year-old launched into the heavens. One of my first 4-H projects was rocketry and I still remember the euphoria as I gazed skyward at my rocket soaring over the Hancock County corn fields. That project was by no means the most influential part of 4-H for me, but a fond early memory from the program that was a part of my life for many years.… Continue reading

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Stickel Farms pieces together the puzzle

By Matt Reese

Being an environmental steward on a farm is all about carefully arranging the pieces of a complex puzzle in the hope of ending up with a profitable business and a minimal environmental footprint to leave the land better for the future.

Through trial (and some admitted errors) the Stickel family is working to accomplish these goals on their Wood County farm. They have been recognized as the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association 2019 Environmental Steward Award winners for their efforts.

“We are very appreciative of the recognition. In the Lake Erie watershed environmental stewardship and water quality are some of our top priorities of what we are doing on the farm,” Andy Stickel said. “We want to continue to be good stewards of the land.”

Andy and Brian Stickel, though still in their 30s, have been working to piece together their farm puzzle since they started with cattle in junior high through 4-H.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 102 | Talking turkeys on the tailgate

The Ohio Ag Net Podcast, brought to you by AgriGold, joins Dale and Joel outdoors (as you can hear from the singing birds) as they recap this week in agriculture.

Interviews in this week’s podcast include a chat with Tom Fontana regarding Ohio Soybean Council Foundation’s numerous scholarships awarded to promising students. Dale also talks with Wilmington College’s Jenny Shaw following their recent spring visit day where young people took a look at what the school has to offer in agriculture. Joel recaps a recent tour of the Anheuser-Busch Columbus Brewery where the company is putting on display their active use of agricultural commodities (including corn) from Ohio farmers.

Also turkey season starts up and Dale details some tips for hunters in the crowd. Tune in to the Ohio Ag Net Podcast!… Continue reading

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Uniformity – Setting the stage for high corn yields

By Kyle Poling, Pioneer Hi-Bred Field Agronomist

“Variability” is not a word any farmer wants to use to describe one of their corn fields. While uniformity during the periods of germination, emergence, and nodal root formation is the goal, there are many management practices and environmental conditions that can impact this objective.

Corn germination is triggered by absorption of water. Corn kernels must absorb approximately 30% of their weight in water before the germination process begins. A seeding depth of 2 inches has often been found to provide the most consistent combination of moisture, temperature, and seed-to-soil contact for uniform germination and emergence. Inadequate seed-to-soil contact, a dry seedbed, or a rapidly drying seed zone may provide less than optimum absorption of water, causing the germination process to slow or stop completely. Additionally, corn kernels that absorb excessively cold water (less than 50 degrees F) during the first 24 to 48 hours of germination may experience serious injury or death, resulting in erratic emergence.… Continue reading

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Anheuser-Busch Columbus Brewery staying busy using Ohio commodities

In this special report, the Ohio Ag Net travels to the Anheuser-Busch Columbus Brewery for a behind the scenes look at how some of American’s favorite beers are made. The process is rich in agricultural product usage, including corn from Ohio farmers. Senior General Manager Josh Zabek and Brewmaster Matt Kaminske take us through the plant’s history with Ohio ag and the unique process seen everyday to create Budweiser.

Take a look at this video with Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows: Slow planting progress

Andrew Armstrong – Clark County

We did get all of the burndown accomplished and the sprayers are cleaned out and ready for post- applications now. Some fields didn’t look too bad but we knew there were weeds sprouting out there that were going to give us a run for our money if we didn’t get them controlled in time.

Planters are unfolded, triple-checked and ready to roll. We are keeping an eye on the forecast for how much rain we are going to get and for how long. The forecast is changing to lesser amounts. We are thinking about putting seeds in the ground today if we don’t get any rain. There are a few places around that got some rain last night and early this morning. We are fortunate where we are right now. The fields we are interested in starting in are pretty dry.

There are a couple of guys who started yesterday or last night.… Continue reading

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Plenty to ponder as planting progresses

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Fieldwork for much of Ohio finally returned the second week of April. Producers were aggressively applying fertilizer and spraying herbicides for corn and soybeans. In addition, repairing dreaded tile blowouts as well as installing new tile were in the mix of work being completed. Corn and soybean planting was taking place in very small amounts as evidenced by the April 9 weekly Crop Progress Report as it detailed planting progress across the country. This report had U.S. corn planted at just 2%, matching the five-year average. To no surprise, this report had zero corn planted in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and South Dakota. The European and American weather models were in huge disagreement in their weather forecasts for the last half of April. The American model indicates a warmer and drier outlook. In sharp contrast, the European model has showers continuing for that timeframe for the Delta, central Midwest, and eastern Midwest.… Continue reading

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Friends stepping up to help after tornado rips through Richland County

By Dale Minyo and Matt Reese

On Sunday, April 14 an EF-2 tornado with winds up to 125 miles per hour hit Richland County leaving a half-mile wide swath of destruction over 17 miles.

Included in the area hit by the tornado was the home of James Bly.

Bly has been quick to help others in the past — particularly in his role as a superintendent of the Richland County Fair hog barn — and he found out that others were quick to help him too, even from a county away. Around 100 people showed up in the hours and days following the storm to help with cleanup.

Jason Snyder, who serves on the Richland County Fair Board, was among the group helping out.

“Back in September, the Wayne County Fairgrounds was potentially going to flood and they were going to evacuate all of their hogs. We offered up our buildings to house the hogs and let them have their hog show.… Continue reading

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A look at corn basis values

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The futures market continues to face an uphill battle with demand while the USDA’s reported supply indicates carryout could be back to burdensome levels. This is keeping a lid on futures prices.

 

Corn basis values

Right now, farmers are unhappy with cash prices, so they aren’t selling. This is making basis stronger. End users can’t control futures prices any more than farmers. The only way an end user can control how much supply they can source is to adjust basis. When supply is easy to source (i.e. harvest time), they’ll lower the basis bid. When it’s difficult meeting demand (i.e. planting time), they will increase it.

The basis market can be as complex as the futures market for two big reasons. One, there are many companies trading grain by basis and moving product by vessel, barge, rail or truck from one basis market to another looking for inefficiencies in the cash market and trying to maximize profits from it.… Continue reading

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Farm income averaging can be a useful planning tool

By Brian E. Ravencraft

As we all know too well, farming incomes can fluctuate from year to year depending on yields, market conditions, and of course the Ohio weather. In certain years a farmer could have large profits subject to higher tax rates, while in the following year have a loss or little profit that results in a minimal tax liability. Due to the uncertain variables that affect farming, farmers should consider using farm income averaging.

 

What is farm Income Averaging (FIA)?

Farm income averaging (FIA) is a tax management tool that can be elected after the end of the tax year. In simple terms, farm income averaging allows you to spread a certain amount of your farm income over three years. If you are in a higher tax bracket in the current year and the three preceding years in a lower tax bracket, you will be able to reduce this year’s federal tax liability.… Continue reading

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Warm weather boosts fieldwork in Ohio Crop Progress

Temperatures were about 8 degrees above normal for the week, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending April 14. Fields were still soft, but operators were able to spray weeds, spread manure, and apply top-dressings to fields before rain fell Sunday. Fruit trees were beginning to bud and winter damage assessments were being made. Cold season vegetables were reportedly going into the ground as soil temperatures began to increase. Oats were planted at a quick pace compared to the 5-year average while weather conditions allowed. Winter wheat continued to green up. Conditions improved slightly with 33 percent of wheat rated good to excellent condition.

Click here to read the full reportContinue reading

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2019 Cab Cam | A unique kind of fieldwork in Logan County

Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood catches up with Skyler Foos of Integrated Ag Services as he’s out in the field doing some soil sampling in a Logan County field, near Rushsylvania. The two talk the unique equipment and the current status of Ohio farm fields in this video, sponsored by Homan Inc.

“We are doing a high density soil sampling. We are out here in the field doing half acre grids,” said Foos.

He also contributed some thoughts as far as fieldwork progress.

“Down around where we’re from, the Urbana area, guys are getting out in the fields. I know they’ve been working a lot of ground and I even heard somebody planting some beans last week. Things are starting to come around — it’s going to get busy pretty soon.”… Continue reading

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