Palmer amaranth breaching Ohio’s borders

By Matt Reese

Farmers have read about the horrors of hiring hand-weeding crews to clean up fields where herbicide resistant weeds have run rampant. They have heard the stories of failed crop fields due to weed pressure and there are plenty of tales of woe from the South about weed nightmares.

While there are many seedy weed characters behind these scary stories, there is one that rules them all. A dark general of weeds that can seize ahold of fields and rule with an indomitable iron fist that can wipe out farm profitability and productivity, glyphosate resistant Palmer amaranth has breached Ohio’s southern border on its destructive march to the north. Earlier this summer, this nightmare weed was spotted in a large field near Portsmouth in extreme southern Ohio. The weed, which has typically been prevalent in Southern states, is moving north, with several other suspected cases statewide. New infestations of Palmer amaranth have also been found farther north, in Michigan and Indiana.… Continue reading

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Even after 20 years, OCJ is a dream come true

By Tim Reeves, former OCJ editor and current OCJ contributor as the Country Chaplain

The beginning of Ohio’s Country Journal was, literally, a dream come true; a dream that took more than two decades to evolve.

The late Ed Johnson and myself first birthed the idea of the OCJ as a magazine

dedicated entirely to Ohio agriculture over a pizza in 1975. I was an agricultural communications student at The Ohio State University, working for EJ’s Agri Broadcasting Network (ABN). My job was both easy and simple: I sent pre-recorded noon broadcasts out to radio stations via telephone.

One day after I was done sending the broadcasts, EJ was in the office eating a late lunch (Tommy’s Pizza, naturally) and he invited me to share it with him. Since I didn’t have any classes that afternoon, and being an always-hungry college student, I accepted. We talked about many things, but eventually we started talking about the future of agricultural communications/media in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Monsanto and Pioneer continue court battles

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth, Mercer County attorney

A huge agricultural case recently made the news. After over three weeks of jury trial, Monsanto was awarded $1 billion in damages for patent infringement by DuPont Pioneer. Eight jurors in U.S. District Court in St. Louis deliberated for less than an hour.

All I know about the case is what I was able to obtain from some on-line research. And I am no expert in patent law. But I would have loved to have spent a short time listening to dark suited litigators argue about stacking. There’s nothing funnier than a common farm term being discussed to death by legal orators and experts.

Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, both distinguished companies, together share about two-thirds of the North American corn and soybean seed markets. As rivals, they are more like a biotech version of the Hatfields and the McCoys, only the weapons of choice are experts, money and attorneys and the fight is over Roundup Ready technology.… Continue reading

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Overview of 20 years of the OCJ with publisher Bart Johnson

A conversation with…

Bart Johnson, publisher of Ohio’s Country Journal 

OCJ: First, congratulations on 20 years of Ohio’s Country Journal. What went into the decision for you and your dad, Ed Johnson, to expand into print when the company was already so successful with ABN radio and television?

Bart: In the early 90s we identified the need for a publication to exclusively cover Ohio’s Agriculture. The magazine/newspaper landscape was changing and most publications had moved to more of a national focus. At the same time, Tim Reeves, who was our first editor, was the editor of a group of farm papers in North Carolina but was looking to move back to Ohio. So those two things, a lack of Ohio coverage and a proven editor who knew Ohio’s agriculture made the decision pretty easy.

OCJ: Looking back, how challenging was it to convince advertisers to pay for advertising before the publication had a proven circulation?… Continue reading

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Cover crops 101

By Matt Reese

With more talk about the incredible range of benefits of cover crop use, even some stalwart holdouts are considering trying a few cover crop fields this fall.

But, like anything else, there is a learning curve with the management challenges of cover crops. Many cover crop veterans feel the easiest way to get a start in cover crops is cereal rye followed by soybeans.

“If I had a 40-acre field, I would allot maybe 10 or 20 acres and try cereal rye or wheat.

Wheat is a little cheaper and guys tend to have more knowledge about it,” said Greg McGlinch, technician for the Darke County Soil and Water Conservation District at a Miami County cover crop field day. “I would go with 35 to 50 pounds an acre with the cereal rye and maybe mix in 1.5 to 3 pounds of radishes with that to create a little drainage in the soil.… Continue reading

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OCJ covers tell their own stories (the second 10 years)

By Matt Reese

To commemorate 20 years of Ohio’s Country Journal this month, I thought it would be interesting to let the covers tell their unique stories through the years. I pulled out the binders holding a copy of each issue and stacked them up on the desk at the office and started with 1992 and worked my way through 2012.

It took awhile, as I found myself leafing through the pages to see the familiar faces and catch up on ag news of the days gone by. I was reminded how rich Ohio agriculture is in terms of the soils, the productivity and, maybe most importantly, the people. Ohio is home to so many great leaders in agriculture, promising young people and great farmers. Ohio has also been a battleground for some of the most pressing issues in food production as we have Corn Belt values colliding with East Coast mentalities all in the same great state.… Continue reading

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Corn harvest has started with very mixed results

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn harvest has begun around the country. Some of the nation’s first corn came off in Arkansas and surrounding areas. They are among the most fortunate producers this growing season. They are enjoying the rare combination of great yields and high prices. During pollination, they also missed the 100 plus degrees seen in much of the Midwest during that very critical period. They are seeing some fantastic yields coming in near 170 to 200 bushels per acre. However, with good yields, the basis can be pretty wide as they were seeing numbers of 50 to 70 under the December. With the drought of the Midwest, we have seen some rather strange

events taking place. One of those is the extremely low water level seen on much of the lower Mississippi River this summer. With those lower water levels, drafts on barges headed for New Orleans were affected.… Continue reading

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OCJ covers tell their own stories (the first 10 years)

By Matt Reese

To commemorate 20 years of Ohio’s Country Journal this month, I thought it would be interesting to let the covers tell their unique stories through the years. I pulled out the binders holding a copy of each issue and stacked them up on the desk at the office and started with 1992 and worked my way through 2012.

It took awhile, as I found myself leafing through the pages to see the familiar faces and catch up on ag news of the days gone by. I was reminded how rich Ohio agriculture is in terms of the soils, the productivity but, maybe most importantly, the people. Ohio is home to so many great leaders in agriculture, so many smiling young people and many great farmers. Ohio has also been a battleground for some of the most pressing issues in food production as we have Corn Belt values colliding with East Coast mentalities all in the same great state.… Continue reading

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Many changes in 20 years of Ohio’s Country Journal

By Matt Reese


“Mark Thomas raises corn and milks cows in Stark County.

In that respect, the Louisville-area farmer is no different from the hundreds of other farmers in the Buckeye state.

But Mark Thomas is uniquely different from any farmer in Ohio.”

These were the first lines of the first cover story of the first issue of Ohio’s Country Journal 20 years ago in September of 1992. That initial issue featured Thomas, his love of life on the farm and his tireless promotion of ethanol through his success on the race track behind the wheel of an ethanol-powered hot rod. By 1992, Thomas had won three International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) world championships and he had been successful at using his success to talk about his favorite fuel — corn ethanol.

Thomas grew up learning to love the farm and race cars. When he was in the sixth grade he had to write an essay about what he considered to be a perfect day.… Continue reading

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Record losses loom for pork industry

The nation’s pork industry will continue to experience some of its worst economic losses in recent history as record-setting drought decimates feed supplies, said Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

Producers could lose about $30 per head this summer and nearly $60 per head during the final quarter of the year as continued liquidation of herds drives down market hog prices and drought drives up feed prices. This exceeds the previous record quarterly losses of $45 per head in the final quarter of 1998.

In the next 12 months, losses could average $33 per head, meaning about $4 billion in losses for the U.S. pork industry.

“A tsunami of red ink is about to wash across the pork industry, which is facing losses unseen even in the fall of 1998 when hog prices approached zero value,” Hurt said. “Stressors include more hogs than expected in the market, rapid sow liquidation and record feed prices.”… Continue reading

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Deadlines are made to be broken

By Matt Reese

I do not know where they learned this, but my children are experts at stall-tactics to delay bedtime. The kids’ bedtime is usually around 8:00. Sometimes we make this deadline and sometimes we do not, but my precocious stallers of slumber have the ability to push back bedtime 10 or 15 minutes, maybe even a half an hour, through various schemes.

After getting bathed, dressed and saying prayers, I will tuck my son into bed and he will look at me with the saddest eyes he can muster, conjure up his sweetest little boy tone and say, “Daddy, I’m hun-gy.”

He knows I am a sucker for this and I will inevitably go get him something semi-healthy to munch on. Then, after the snack, “Daddy, I’m firsty.”

If I have reservations about putting my child to bed hungry, I am certainly not going to put him to bed thirsty.… Continue reading

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Weekend rains could help and hurt struggling crops

By Matt Reese

With the chance of hurricane inspired rains moving their way into Ohio this weekend, many producers are interested in how the weather could impact their stressed crop fields.

Soybeans could still benefit from the rains.

“On average, there are 2,500 to 3,000 individual soybean seeds per pound. Soybean seeds produced during drought

conditions tend to be smaller compared to seeds produced under normal conditions. Small seed size reduces yield,” said Laura Lindsey, OSU’s Extension soybean specialist in a recent CORN Newsletter. “The influence of late-season rainfall on yield depends on soybean growth stage. If soybeans are at the R5 or R6 growth stage (seed filling), August rainfall will increase soybean size. However, if soybeans are at the R7 growth stage (one normal pod on the main stem has reached its mature pod color), rainfall (or lack of rainfall) will have little influence on soybean yield.”

The rains could be very beneficial for the soybeans, but any accompanying winds and downpours could cause significant problems.… Continue reading

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Preparation of storage facilities for grain harvest

By Curtis Young, Ohio State University Extension

After the long, stinking hot, droughty summer, expectations for poor to seriously poor yields are running high. Thus, protecting every bushel that gets harvested should also be high on everyone’s priority list. Protecting grain quality and ultimately the economic value of the grain begins long before the first acre is ever harvested. This pre-harvest activity is to prepare grain harvesting, handling and storage equipment and structures for the soon to be harvested corn and soybeans.

All pieces of equipment used in harvesting the grain should be cleaned, inspected, and repaired several weeks prior to the beginning of the harvest season. And the harvest season is rushing at us at an accelerated pace this year. Soybean fields are changing colors and corn kernels are dented and rapidly drying down even though in some fields the stalks and leaves are still fully green. Like in real estate where the mantra is Location!… Continue reading

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What not to miss at the Farm Science Review

Buckeye Application

Will owning a sprayer add to your bottom line? Ask Buckeye Application at the Farm Science Review and they’ll help you calculate if it will. Or, are you looking to upgrade your application equipment? They make it simple, since application equipment is what all they do. They’ll have Apache sprayers, which are easy to operate, easy to maintain and easy to own on display. See how less weight, less money and less fuel means a bigger return on your investment.


Heritage Cooperative

See Heritage Cooperative to learn about their new “Cattleman’s Edge” Program.  They will also ahve hourly prize drawings plus a major prize drawings for a 42” TV, a Holland Grill and an I-Pod! See them at booth #364 Farm Avenue (SW corner of Farm Ave and Wheat St).


At the  CASE IH  lot you’ll see the all new, much anticipated Steiger Rowtrac tractor along with the 25th year anniversary Magnum tractor and 2013 model year Axial Flow combine.… Continue reading

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Drought dictates feed ration creativity

The worst drought on record in Ohio has forced many livestock producers to choose between culling their herds or forking over significantly more money to feed their cattle. But a pair of Ohio State University Extension experts said that producers might want to consider “outside-the-box” management ideas to try to minimize the economic losses.

The extreme heat and dryness have left many producers short on hay and silage supplies, and thus, at a loss for how to best manage their feed rations, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for OSU Extension. But producers who are open to nontraditional ideas might be able to save money and save their herds.

“This year has posed some significant challenges that increase the need to think of solutions that are more outside of the box than what farmers may do in a typical year,” Grimes said. “I think the key for any operation is to get as much production as we can off of an acre.… Continue reading

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Locks and dams key to the future of Ohio ag

Locks and dams key to the future of Ohio ag

By Matt Reese

Along with its rich soils, gifted farmers and thirst for innovation, America has long been

home to the best transportation infrastructure the world has ever known. This has been a tremendous advantage those who want to export anything on the world market.

This is especially true in Ohio, where the transportation infrastructure has helped make agriculture the No.1 contributor to the state’s economy. However, aging and decaying infrastructure, including locks and dams, is threatening statewide jobs and economic growth.

Today, Ohio Soy 2020 and the Ohio Ag Transportation Coalition are hosting the Locks and Dams Forum to educate participants from the agriculture and transportation industries about the condition and importance of transportation infrastructure to Ohio’s economy.

“In the transport business, time is money,” said Rick Calhoun, with Cargill Cargo Carriers. “But we have a system where more than 60% of the locks are more than 50 years old, and they were not designed to last 50 years.… Continue reading

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Hot, dry summer heats up the battle over ethanol

Ethanol is the subject of hot debate as it is gobbling up corn bushels in the third consecutive year of tight supplies and high feed prices for livestock producers.

The U.S. Agriculture Department forecasted that corn production this year will drop 13% to a six-year low as a result of the historic drought nationwide, the calls to divert more corn for food versus fuel are likely to grow more urgent, Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts said.

The USDA said it expects corn growers to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 24 bushels from last year. In Ohio, those numbers translate into a projected 126 bushels per acre, which is down 32 bushels per acre from last year for corn.

For livestock producers already suffering because of poor pasture conditions and high hay costs from the historic drought, that means higher feed costs and the potential that more of them will be forced to sell their herds because they can’t afford to feed them, Roberts said.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-August 27th

Billy Pontius               Fairfield County

“There is good corn and there is bad corn. Pollination is not really good, but it is better than I thought it would be. We are going to have small ears, which is a given, but the ears are pretty well pollinated. It will be tough to judge yields until we actually get out in it.

“I checked the moisture this morning. It was at 25% or 26% moisture, so I would say in 10 days or so we’ll start shelling some to see what it really is. I am a little concerned about ears dropping and falling off the stalks. The plants gave everything to the ear and I am hoping we don’t get a hurricane wind blowing on this stuff out here and bringing a bunch of moisture while we’re trying to harvest.

“We had some rains that helped the beans. I am really impressed with how the beans filled out, even the earlier beans.

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Is egg bill a wise compromise or a slippery slope?

By Matt Reese

Which came first, the enriched chicken cages or the egg bill?

The answer depends on the individual producer, for now, as enriched cages and other housing systems are voluntary, but that could be changing.

In what remains a shocking paring, animal rights advocates and the nation’s leading egg organizations (most notably the United Egg Producers) have teamed up in support of HR 3798, the “egg bill.” The proposed bill phases in federally mandated standards for laying hen housing, including enriched cages with perches, scratching pads, nesting boxes and other features that allow the hens to express natural behaviors in a group colony setting. The proposed U.S. House bill (with a very similar measure in the U.S. Senate) would basically double the existing per bird space.

As it currently stands, a version of the egg bill has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and 130 co-sponsors.

“There was talk of attaching it to the farm bill,” said Jim Chakeres, executive director of the Ohio Poultry Association.… Continue reading

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Pro Farmer’s Final 2012 Yield Estimates

2012 U.S. corn crop at 10.478 billion bu.; avg. yield 120.25 bu. per acre
+/- 1% = 10.374 billion bu. to 10.583 billion bu.; 119.05 bu. to 121.45 bu. per acre

2012 U.S. soybean crop at 2.60 billion bu.; avg. yield of 34.8 bu. per acre
+/- 2% = 2.548 billion bu. to 2.652 billion bu.; 34.1 bu. to 35.5 bu. per acre

NOTE: Pro Farmer made some adjustments to the acreage assumptions. Based on FSA certified acreage data they anticipate increases in planted acreage for both corn and soybeans. However, they are anticipating a harvested acreage percentage of 89.5% for corn and a slight downward adjustment in the harvested acreage percentage for soybeans.


Ohio: 124 bu. per acre. The Midwest drought started in northwest Ohio. South and east of there extreme moisture and heat stress will guarantee below-average corn yields.

Indiana: 101 bu. per acre. Eastern Indiana showed extreme drought stress.… Continue reading

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