2050: The Year of the Vegetarian?

By Donald “Doc” Sanders

Naturally, this year’s drought conditions have brought concerns of water shortages to the surface. Some are predicting that a shortage of water, coupled with continuing increases in the world population, will cause large food deficits and increased hunger. The experts from the Stockholm International Water Institute in Sweden go so far as to say water shortages will force everyone to become a vegetarian by 2050.

It’s been widely reported that the world population will increase by two billion people to total nine billion by 2050. This prospect and the concern that we might run out of water has made water conservation the new buzz.

The Stockholm International Water Institute is concerned that livestock require too much water. And Newsweek magazine once reported it takes as much water to raise a steer to 1,000 pounds as it does to float a destroyer. Leave it to the media. Unless they are referring to a child’s bathtub toy, they are full of hyperbole.… Continue reading

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Farm bill failure not unexpected

The 2008 Farm Bill expired this week, a move that was not unexpected by many in the industry, an Ohio State University farm policy expert said.

It’s not surprising the 2012 Farm Bill didn’t pass before the current farm bill expired in such a politically divided Congress, which in turn reflects a divided country and a divided farm bill constituency, said Carl Zulauf, also an agricultural economics professor at Ohio State.

And the drought of 2012,which is one of the worst in the last 50 years, may have played a role in the bill’s failure to

pass, he said.

“The drought didn’t begin until relatively late into the (farm bill debate) process,” Zulauf said. “Disagreement may exist as to what kind of disaster assistance programs should be added into the bill or passed in separate legislation.”

Zulauf noted that it is not unusual for an existing farm bill to expire before the new farm bill is passed.… Continue reading

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2012 tough on apples (and apple growers)

By Matt Reese

Eating an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but growing apples can be hard on your health, especially in a year like 2012.

It was a stressful year for apple producers in many orchards in the eastern U.S., including Sage’s Apples in Geauga County, just a few miles south of Lake Erie.

“Normally Lake Erie is frozen and that usually holds the warm weather back for us in the spring,” said Bob Sage, who runs the business with his brother, John, and son Ben. “This year the Lake never froze all winter and, because of that, we warmed up when everyone else did. That was about two weeks early.”

The early warm weather pushed the apple blossoms that suffered from spring frosts, leaving apple growers to stress over whether their crop was done before it even got started. Fortunately for Sage’s Apples, things turned out better than initially expected.… Continue reading

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Corn stalks can stretch drought-reduced forage supplies

With forage supplies tight this year, Ohio corn growers could find extra value in their post-harvest crop residue as a supplemental livestock feed, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural and natural resources educator says.

Considering that an estimated 50% of the total corn plant yield remains in the field after harvest, those acres harvested for corn can represent a potential forage source that is often overlooked, said Rory Lewandowski.

That is significant, since the drought of 2012 has been one of the worst on record, leaving many livestock producers short on hay and silage. The lack of substantial rainfall, extreme heat and dryness left many producers looking for any alternative forage supplies.

“This corn residue is out there and sometimes not utilized at all,” Lewandowski said, calling it an “overlooked resource that, especially in this type of year, can be a significant benefit for producers.”

While most of the harvest residue is the stalk, there are also leaves, husks, some corn grain and cobs that remain, with the amount of corn grain left on the field averaging some three bushels per acre, he said.… Continue reading

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Those with bacon shortage concerns can still dig the pig

By Dave White, Ohio Livestock Coalition

We all have our favorite toppings for a sandwich. I’m not a mayonnaise or miracle whip kind of guy. My favorite toppings include avocado or guacamole, barbecue sauce, pickles and bacon.
So when one of my friends asked me about a television network’s morning news show reporting that a bacon shortage was forthcoming, it naturally got my attention.
Turns out it’s another thing we can blame on the British. The United Kingdom’s National Pig Association wanted its British customers to feel okay about the possibility of paying higher prices for pork. The opening paragraph of the pig group’s news

release got it all started, creating almost panic-like conditions on the Internet and a crazed frenzy in the world of social media: “A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable.”
With a nation full of bacon enthusiasts (one article about the shortage referred to us as “worshippers”), perhaps it’s no surprise that U.… Continue reading

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Watch out for shattering soybeans

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist

The extreme weather conditions this growing season are affecting soybean harvest. Soybean plants are shorter than normal resulting in pods that are closer to the ground. Additionally, some Ohio growers are also noticing soybean pod shattering during harvest.

Shattering is more likely to occur when pods are formed under drought conditions and re-wet later in the season. Short plants and shattering pods can increase harvest losses.

Four soybean seeds per square foot is approximately one bushel per acre yield loss. We found incidents of approximately 8 to 12 seeds per square foot (a 2 to 3 bushel per acre loss). Little can be done to prevent soybeans from shattering, but Iowa State University Extension offers some advice for harvesting shorter than normal soybeans at: .… Continue reading

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Feed outlook grim as slim harvest continues

By Matt Reese

The annual agricultural struggle between those who grow crops and those who feed crops has been intensified in 2012 due to the already tight supplies and the severe drought that ravaged yields throughout much of the Corn Belt.

Each year, it seems, there are winners and losers when it comes to crop prices. Dairy, pork, beef and poultry producers are feeling the pain of high crop prices this year, and stuck somewhere in between the producers and the consumers of crops are feed mills that are also facing challenges this year.

“In the last few years, it has been challenging for prices and the short crop this year will be the biggest challenge,” said Karl Keller, with Keller Grain and Feed in Darke County “We make money by selling on the basis and selling storage. We aren’t seeing many opportunities for that this year. And, ethanol is our biggest competition because they handle so much corn.… Continue reading

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Expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill

Today dairy farmers have lost a safety net because the 2008 farm bill expired without Congress passing a new Farm Bill, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Members of the House left Washington last month without completing work on the 2012 Farm Bill. Although Congress is expected to return to Capitol Hill after the November elections, the status of many farm and food programs is in limbo until then, along with the rest of the pending farm bill that contains a new and better safety net for dairy farmers.

“Dairy is among the first sectors in agriculture to feel the impact of Congress’s inability to reach accord on most anything, including a new Farm Bill,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “Had the House leadership brought the bipartisan farm bill to the floor, I believe we could have passed a bill containing the Dairy Security Act. Instead, we are in uncharted waters, and one of our life rafts has disappeared.”… Continue reading

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Ear rots a health and harvest concern

By Matt Reese

There have been reports of farmers getting sick from cleaning combines without wearing dust masks. This could be linked to the inhalation of dust from a number of different ear rots that are being discovered in the Ohio corn crop.

Ear rots in fields can present health and safety issues during and following harvest. Corn harvest and grain handling become very important when ear rots are an issue.

AgriGold agronomist John Brien pointed out a number of potential ear rots in Ohio this fall to watch for in fields.


Fusarium kernel rot

Fusarium is caused by several different species of Fusarium and is the most common fungal disease on corn ears. The Fusarium pathogen overwinters very well on corn and grass residue and is more often seen in no-till, minimal-till and continuous corn fields. The Fusarium fungus thrives in environments that are hot and dry after pollination.… Continue reading

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Stocks report gives bulls reason to push prices higher

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

This morning was the quarterly grain stocks report issued by USDA. Corn and wheat stocks were lower than traders had expected, while soybean stocks were higher than expected. The report indicated that the Sept. 1 corn stocks were 988 million bushels, soybean stocks were 169 million bushels, and wheat stocks were 2.10 billion bushels.

Ten minutes after the report came out corn was trading up 18 cents, soybeans up 2 cents, and wheat was up 17 cents.  Just before the report came out at 8:30 a.m., corn was down 6 cents, soybeans were down 1 cent, with wheat down 2 cents.

Seeing the corn stocks below one billion bushels will help give the bulls some reason for corn to move higher from these levels. Soybeans have been hit hard the past four weeks as they have dropped over $2.20 from their contract highs on Sept. 4.… Continue reading

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New drainage technology could address algae issues

A new field drainage technology could help reduce runoff from farm fields and reduce the risk of harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie and other Ohio lakes.

The system, called an Inline Water Level Control Structure, is designed to keep water and nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorus, on the land where crops can use them, Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review organizers said.

Working with the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association (OLICA), two new water control structures were installed at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center during Farm Science Review. The new installations bring the total number of the systems in use there to eight, said Matt Sullivan, Farm Science Review assistant manager.

He said the Molly Caren site serves as a model for drainage technology. The new control structures are part of the site’s comprehensive water management plan.

“We call them nutrients in the fields, but it’s called pollution when it’s in the stream,” Sullivan said.… Continue reading

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Weed management important before wheat

Proper weed management is important for the success of winter crops after the fall harvest, a Purdue Extension weed specialist said.

While the drought has led to a harvest earlier than normal, that also means farmers can prepare fields for winter crops, such as wheat, earlier this year.

“Farmers looking to plant wheat in the next couple weeks, as long as the crops are off the field, are in good shape. Now’s a good time to control weeds,” Bill Johnson said.

Recent rain has helped weeds thrive, and farmers will need to do additional work to prepare their fields for their winter crops.

“The drought has made weed management very difficult, but as for this fall, we actually have pretty good soil moisture right now, and weeds are growing, so the weeds are fairly sensitive to herbicides,” he said.

Two herbicides safe to use before planting wheat are glyphosate and gramaxone.… Continue reading

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Proper perspective important for rain, food perceptions

By Matt Reese

With the dry weather this season, some people see the rain gauge half empty, while others see it half full. Unfortunately, I hardly ever get to see it at all.

The trouble began in the spring of 2011 when I took my young children with me out into the yard to pick the best spot for the rain gauge. From that point on, I would rarely get to check the rainfall amounts that had accumulated in the gauge with any accuracy. The kids were so excited when it rained that they would almost always run out and “check” the rain gauge before I could. Sometimes this check would include filling up the rain gauge with the hose or the toy watering can and sometimes they would make note of the water level and tell me later. My daughter would tell me the range was somewhere between about .2 and 4.5 inches — not especially helpful.… Continue reading

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Green weeds complicate harvest

Fields with actively growing weeds from this summer’s drought and recent rains could create problems for farmers during harvest, a Purdue Extension weed scientist said.

That rain, along with early spring-planted crops and the drought have led to fields that contain green weeds along with mature corn and soybean crops.

“It’s a statewide issue,” Bill Johnson said. “Wherever we’ve gotten rain in the past few weeks we’re seeing weeds pop up.”

Late-summer droughts or killing frost usually dry out the ground so new, green weed growth isn’t a problem for farmers. But this year crops matured earlier than normal.

Johnson recommended that farmers use herbicides to get rid of weeds and dry out the ground to prevent future weed growth so they can have a timely harvest. But, he said, not many herbicides can be used soon before harvest.

“Herbicide application isn’t mandatory, but it’s good practice. If the weed growth is bad enough, it could create more wear and tear on machinery and hurt grain quality when harvesting crops,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

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Get more out of your combine by keeping more in it

By Matt Reese

With combines rolling around the state, crop producers are experiencing no shortage of aggravation resulting from the variation in the crops, particularly corn. Farmers are reporting that, even within just a few yards, corn yields can go from near zero to over 200, which makes setting up the combine to preserve as much of the crop as possible a real guessing game.

“Be patient and let the machines get filled up and make sure you have the rotors full so the rotors and cleaning system perform like they are supposed to,” said Andy Uhland, with AGCO. “With the drier conditions, it has been easier to get flotation pressure set and smoother hugging of header height control without having to fight mud and wet conditions.”

While some things do work better in the dry, low yielding conditions out there, there are some important adjustments to get more out of your combine by keeping more in it.… Continue reading

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Premature corn sprouting reported around Ohio

By Peter Thomison and Allen Geyer, Ohio State University Extension

We have received several reports of premature corn kernel sprouting across Ohio. A combination of factors, including erect ears, bird damage, ear molds, and wet weather, contribute to premature sprouting.

The problem is usually limited within fields but if it’s evident across a field, it has the potential to cause drying and storage problems. Fields showing widespread kernel sprouting should be prioritized for early harvest.

Kernel red streak is also present. With this kernel problem, red streaks form on the sides of kernels and extend over the crown; symptoms are most pronounced at the tip of the ear. Kernel red streak is caused by a toxin secreted during feeding by the wheat curl mite. Severity of symptoms varies among hybrids. The streaking develops in the pericarp but does not affect the feed or nutritional value of corn. The reddish discoloration is a cosmetic blemish, and may affect certain uses of food grade corn, and may thereby reduce premiums.… Continue reading

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Dry summer great for growing grapes and wineries

By Matt Reese

The drought and heat were tough on the endless fields of corn and soybeans and the countless livestock and poultry facilities in the heart of western Ohio farm country. But nestled in between the row crops,

pigs, cows and chickens of Darke County sits a small vineyard that was thriving in the tough conditions this year.

“Grape vines are not the typical crop around here, but they naturally handle drought conditions with their deep roots,” said Errol Threewits, the vineyard manager for the Winery at Versailles. “The grapes really like the heat and the dry conditions that reduce the diseases and the need for applications of fungicides. Normally we spray every seven to 10 days, but this year we were spraying every two or three weeks. And, dry years produce fruit that has more concentrated sugar and higher acid, which really helps fermentation.”

The heat did push the harvest earlier this year.… Continue reading

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Sept. 24 Between the Rows





Mark Dowden

Champaign and Uniion counties


“We’ve been shelling corn. Our combine broke down last week on Monday morning and we didn’t get it back until Saturday morning, so we had a whole week off. We started in some of the driest gravelly ground and we were averaging 75-bushel corn. We’re on some better ground now and we’re averaging right at 100 bushels. I still think we’re going to get closer to that 125-bushel corn or better as we get through the season.

“We had pretty strong winds that took some limbs out of trees, but so far the corn survived it. We also had an inch and a half to two inches of rain Friday night. We haven’t found any quality problems in the corn yet. We are maybe 10% done with corn. We lost a lot of ground with not being able to run last week.… Continue reading

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Manure applications need to be based on soil conditions

By Ty Higgins and Matt Reese

The recent rains have helped rejuvenate pastures and bolster a final cutting of hay, but the ground is still very dry and cracked in many parts of the state. The soil conditions will be important to consider as crops are harvested and manure applications take place this fall.

For Bob Carr, who farms in Licking County, the dry soil conditions will be ideal for applying poultry manure on his fields after corn and soybeans are harvested. He will be applying most of the dry poultry manure on his farm in the coming weeks following corn and soybean harvest on fields that will be planted to wheat this fall or corn next spring. Some of the dry manure has already been applied to wheat stubble as well.

“The majority of the manure is applied after we get the crops off. We do a lot of corn after corn and we primarily put it on the ground before we plant corn.… Continue reading

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The sky is the limit for cover crops

With an aerial cover crop seeding demonstration, nearly 400 attendees learned that the sky is the limit for no-till and cover crops at the Ohio No-Till Field Day this month on the David Brandt farm in Fairfield County.

Attendees got to see Butch Fisher aerial applying cover crop seed to a soybean field at the Ohio No-Till Field Day on Sept. 13, 2012 on the David Brandt farm in Fairfield County. Photo by Randall Reeder.

Other topics at the event included: planter and drill set up and adjustment; choices, benefits, and seeding methods of cover crops; soil pit; insect issues; soil compaction and controlled traffic; and USDA cost share. Keynote speakers included 
Gabe Brown, a nationally-known no-tiller from North Dakota who uses a variety of cover crops to increase crop yields and improve soil quality and Bill Lehmkuhl, a crop consultant who speaks nationally on corn planter setup and adjustment for optimum performance.… Continue reading

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