OPA honors industry standouts at annual banquet


The Ohio Poultry Association held its 27th Annual Celebration Banquet and highlighted the efforts of a number of industry leaders at the event.

The Hertzfeld family was honored with the Family Legacy Award for their long tradition of egg production. Currently, 15 Hertzfeld family members work to raise 1.3 million laying hens in their Grand Rapids Facility.










 … Continue reading

Read More »

Assessing frost injury in corn

By Mike Kavanaugh, AgriGold Agronomy Manager


As the first significant cold front of the 2012 growing season passes through, many

questions are arising concerning the fate of planted corn in the case of near or below freezing temperatures. With such a warm, early spring, many acres have been planted throughout the central and southern Corn Belt.

The key through the frost evaluation process is to understand the growth pattern of these small corn plants and give it at least a week for proper evaluation. Obviously, the bigger the corn is, the more susceptible it is to freeze injury. This is true because the depth of the growing point becomes shallower within the soil surface as the plant continues to grow. Keep in mind that the growing point or crown is located at approximately .75-inch below the soil surface, providing that planting depth itself was below 3/4 inch. The growing point does not actually reach the soil surface until the plant reaches the V5-V6 growth stage.… Continue reading

Read More »

Soybeans now driving market dynamics

A new report on world agricultural supply and demand estimates issued today by the Agriculture Department is setting up what could be an interesting new crop market dynamic, according to economic analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The WASDE report was largely unchanged on the corn and feedgrain side and was generally viewed as neutral, but on the soybean side, supply estimates were reduced and U.S. exports increased to help make up for smaller South American crops, according to AFBF Economist Todd Davis.

“We are looking at a situation where soybeans, rather than corn, could very well become the market leader in the U.S. grain and oilseed complex,” Davis said. “Typically, corn prices usually help drive the market prices for the other grain and oilseed commodities, but given what we now know, soybeans are ready to move to the forefront.”

Davis explained that the report, coupled with prospective planting estimates from late March, indicate the United States is in rebuilding mode in regard to the nation’s corn supply, as U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

First responders get animal handling tips

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Thursday, more than 150 first responders received training to understand how to handle livestock and wildlife during emergency situations during Ohio Farm Bureau’s Animal Agriculture 202: Farm Animal Handling for First Responders. Ohio State University Extension cooperated in offering the educational event, which was made possible with a grant from the Animals for Life Foundation.

Animal Agriculture 202 provided a basic understanding of farm animal behavior and handling for law enforcement officers, animal control officers, firefighters, response teams, vets, county emergency management officials and other first responders who may need to handle livestock during emergency situations.

“When you are in the face of an emergency, that is not the best time to be learning,” said Leah Dorman with the Ohio Farm Bureau Center for Food and Animal Issues. “This is really about how to keep the public and the animals safe and how to handle those animals to the best of our ability.”… Continue reading

Read More »

OCWGA sets sights on a bright future

A conversation with Tadd Nicholson, the new executive director of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA).


A conversation with Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association

OCJ: How do you see OCWGA evolving in the next few years to better serve Ohio’s grain farmers?

Tadd: As the industry organization for corn and wheat farmers, OCWGA is counted on to head off problems and create new opportunities for grain farmers. To accomplish this we will need to become even more proactive and visionary in our work. We will need to become creative in the ways we arm our members with information and tools to better represent themselves and our industry as a whole on very complex issues.


OCJ: Ohio’s grain farmers are facing a number of crucial challenges right now, including the battle over ethanol and the RFS. What are the key points corn growers need to remember on this issue and how will OCWGA be involved in this debate moving forward?… Continue reading

Read More »

An uncertain spring

By Matt Reese

It is a time of challenge, hope, hard work, long hours and preparing for the unknown months ahead. Anyone who combines the promise of a seed with the miracles of the earth and mystery of the weather ahead knows the excitement, doubt, worry, and, maybe a little fear, that sits like a knot in your stomach as the risk and enormity of the spring planting season set in. Everyone who calls themselves a “farmer” understands the simultaneous uncertainty and excitement of early spring on the cusp of a new growing season.

All of these emotions, and many more, were present a decade ago that marked the most challenging spring in the young life of Billy Pontius with a tragic story that started a year earlier. Pontius was in his senior year of high school and was preparing for college orientation at Ohio State on the day he got the life-changing news that his dad, hero, and mentor had a brain tumor and stage four cancer.… Continue reading

Read More »

Fear of frost looms large for fruit and veggie growers

Ohio fruit and vegetable crops are at risk for freeze or frost injuries, but according to an Ohio State University horticulture specialist, growers do have some options to protect them.

An extended period of unseasonably warm weather in March led vegetation to reach growth stages more than a month earlier than normal.

From row covers to wind turbines, growers are weighing their options because they still have several weeks to deal with the potential of a frost or freeze event. Fruit crops are in various stages of bloom and freezing temperatures are a concern, said Brad Bergefurd, noting that the temperature at which fruit buds are injured depends primarily on their stage of development.

“One really cold night could do many growers in,” Bergefurd said. “A lot of our fruit growers aren’t sleeping well and are a little edgy until we get through April and through the bloom period.

“Being as far advanced as we are now in the growing stages, the potential for freeze injury exists, which could result in misshapen fruit or low-quality fruit or the total death of the blossom.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA reports put corn on the defensive

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile 

The monthly supply and demand report on April 10 estimated corn ending stocks at 801 million bushels. That is unchanged from last month. The trade was looking for a drop to 721 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks dropped to 250 million bushels, down from last months 275 million bushels. Both soybean exports and crush were increased with the April report.

The trade is pretty disappointed with the corn numbers. With the lower than expected March 1 stocks that came out on March 30, traders were looking for higher numbers fed to livestock. China is probably getting ready to send their “thank you” note to USDA for not changing the ending stocks number, effectively stalling the corn rally at this time. Some are already suggesting July corn could trade back down to the $6.20 level after reaching $6.59 ¾ following the bullish March 30 stocks report.

Early grain calls following today’s report have corn and wheat 5-7 cents lower, with soybeans 3-5 cents higher.… Continue reading

Read More »

Between the Rows, April 9, 2012

Mark Dowden, who farms in Logan and Champaign County said, “We’re planting corn and beans. Last week, people started early and then everybody backed off a little. We planted couple hundred acres of soybeans last week and now we’re planting corn. We planted beans on Friday and Saturday and switched over and planted one field of corn on Saturday. If conditions are right, we’ll just keep planting until we’re done.

“It is going in really well. We have dry conditions and we’re putting seed down into the moisture. By the end of the week, it is supposed to warm up and hopefully it will really take off. Guys in the area were working ground last week and the majority of the burndown has been done around here. Today they are ready to go and guys are getting on it. I think some guys were a little gun-shy last week to get going because last year, the later planted crops did so well.… Continue reading

Read More »

Asian markets important for agricultural trade

By Matt Reese

In terms of agricultural bounty, the United States has been clearly blessed since its earliest days of domestic agricultural production.

“The U.S. is a country that has been remarkable in that we had a relatively sparse population, we had an abundance of natural resources, we were surrounded by two terrific oceans, and we were never relegated by having to deal with marauding armies coming through the countryside every three or four generations,” said Tom Dorr, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO. “In comparison, Asian countries have very dense populations without the natural resources to support them. Even though China has nearly the same number of corn acres that we do, they have four times the population. Even if they gain in productivity, they ultimately exceed their ability to produce and that provides opportunities for us.”

For this reason, when Dorr starts talking about the vast market potential in Asian countries, he just can’t help but get excited.… Continue reading

Read More »

Addressing early weed management issues

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

The warm and relatively dry weather has many growers chomping at the bit to apply herbicides now, whereas this might have been more likely to occur in several weeks in a more typical spring weather pattern. It probably makes sense to apply burndown herbicides now in many no-till fields based on the size of the weeds that are present.

Vegetation in no-till fields is larger than usual for this time of the year due to the warm weather, and lack of fall herbicide application in all but a few fields. Waiting several weeks to apply herbicides will only result in an even more challenging burndown situation. It can make sense to apply burndown herbicides now even where a field will be tilled later, in fields where there is enough vegetation to interfere with spring seedbed preparation.

This is probably the ideal situation for the use of the higher rates of 2,4-D ester in burndown treatments.… Continue reading

Read More »

Three fabulous recipes for leftover Easter ham

As a hog farmers daughter I feel compelled to tell you what to do with what’s left of your flavorful, juicy, pink centerpiece from your Easter meal.

There are so many better options than just making a plain, ole ham sandwich out it.  Here are three of my favorite ways to take the leftover ham and make three entirely new meals:

Ham & Cheese Crescents

1 pkg crescent rolls
1 cup mozzarella cheese
16-24 slices of ham (depending on thickness)
serve with macaroni and cheese

Open each crescent on a cookie sheet. Place 2-3 slice of ham on it, then sprinkle with cheese. Roll it up and then sprinkle the top with a little bit of cheese. Repeat for each piece of dough. Place in oven at 350F for 10 minutes or until crescent rolls are very lightly browned.

Their delicious with macaroni and cheese…..

Ham Rigatoni Casserole

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed ham
  • 8 ounces dry rigatoni pasta (or other short tube-shaped pasta)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 ounce white sauce or country gravy mix
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 10 ounce frozen leaf spinach, thawed and roughly chopped
Cook rigatoni according to package directions; set aside.
Continue reading

Read More »

Auctions reveal strong land and equipment values

By Matt Reese

A year ago, there was quite a bit of talk about the steadily climbing value of land.

“Prices are sky high everywhere and continue to increase,” said Barry Ward, OSU Extension’s leader for production business management, in April of 2011.

Ohio’s cropland values rose from an average $2,400 per acre in 2000 to $4,000 per acre in 2010, while land rental increases have been a mixed bag in the state, Ward said. Since then, prices have gone nowhere but up. For this reason, Ohio’s Country Journal is starting to gather land auction results from around the state and share them periodically to keep readers informed of land prices and equipment prices from auctions around the state.

The Donald and Janet Hockman Auction, just outside of Bremen in Fairfield County in late March, attracted 1,200 people. The beautiful 71-acre farm with nice buildings, grain bins and a ranch home sold for $470,000 at a Leith Auctions sale.… Continue reading

Read More »

Arson suspected in Central Ohio barn fires

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Over the past two weeks there has been a rash of barn fires, 5 in all, reported in Licking and Delaware Counties. Arson is suspected.

Thursday morning accounted for 3 of them, all within miles of each other in Delaware County. The calls started coming in to the Harlem Township Fire Department around 6am.

That is also when Linda Skinner’s phone started to ring.  Her father, 92 year old Shelby Garee, bought the 129 acre farm in 1950 when it was first used as a dairy.

For Linda, as the ashes still filled the air hours after the flames were put out, what had happened was just setting in.

“I can’t tell you the hours that my brothers and I spent in this barn helping milk cows, feed the calves, bed the cows and feed silage,” Skinner said. “I don’t understand how anyone would want to do this much damage.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Creative 4-H t-shirt to support Yes We Can in Highland Co.

We were excited to learn that the people from two of our most popular stories from the past six months have partnered together.

Sarah Young, the young 4-H member from the Yes We Can Campaign in Highland County has partnered with Erin Ehnle from the wildly popular, Keeping it Real:Through the Lens of  Farm Girl on a t-shirt about the importance of 4-H.

We first reported on Sarah when she donated the proceeds from her county fair lamb to the Highland Co. 4-H program, in an effort to keep the program in her county. Last year she created the Yes We Can campaign where she collected cans to raise money for the local 4-H program.

Erin is a very talented photographer and graphic designer who’s images and quotes promoting agriculture are shared throughout the internet daily. She created an image from one of Sarah’s quotes that not only went viral, but had people wanting to buy it.… Continue reading

Read More »

2012 Spring Dairy Expo

Dairy cattle breeders and exhibitors from across the state and around the country gathered at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus March 28-April 1 for the 2012 Spring Dairy Expo. Beautiful spring weather marked this year’s event, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s for much of the weekend, which is usually more known for snow than sunshine.

A total of 530 entries from each of the seven dairy breeds crossed the shavings over the duration of the show, up slightly from 508 animals last year. Judges Alta Mae Core of Salvisa, Ken., and Denny Patrick of Woodbine, Md., evaluated this year’s entries.

Core, a Jersey breeder who owns and operates Keightley & Core Jerseys in central Kentucky, judged the Guernsey, Brown Swiss, Jersey and Milking Shorthorn Shows, while Patrick, owner and operator of Maple Dell Farm, an Ayrshire and Holstein farm in eastern Maryland, sorted the Ayrshire, Holstein and Red and White cattle.… Continue reading

Read More »

Warm winter leaves stored corn at risk for mold

Before farmers go full throttle into the 2012 planting season, they would be wise to inspect what’s left of their 2011 corn crop for signs of mold, says a Purdue University agricultural engineer.

Richard Stroshine said he has heard scattered reports of farmers finding higher-than-normal percentages of moldy, discolored kernels when they’ve removed corn from storage facilities. Elevators and other buyers of corn pay less for mold-contaminated grain, if they buy it at all.

Corn stored in bins since the fall harvest could be at a heightened threat for mold, Stroshine said. The reason? A winter that wasn’t cold enough for long enough to protect the grain from fungal infection.

Moldy corn can contain toxins harmful — even fatal — to livestock.

“Farmers should constantly be checking their grain for mold growth,” Stroshine said. “If they find mold, they’ve got to get that corn out of the bin as soon as possible so that it doesn’t spread to other grain in the bin.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Did market moves make soybeans more profitable?

In the days following last week’s USDA reports for intended crop acreage this spring and corn and soybean stocks, the markets responded.

“In the reports last Friday, the USDA predicted a bean acreage that was lower than many expected and a higher corn acreage. This caused soybean prices to shoot up. At the same time, stocks were low for corn and beans, which added strength to cash prices of both,” said Jeff Reese, a grain buyer for Blanchard Valley Farmers Co-op. “The biggest thing is that beans went up so far, that corn had to increase a little to keep up. The report on Friday really changed the marketing game.”

It also may have changed the most profitable options for planting this spring. The resulting change in prices, and the steep input costs for corn, may make soybeans a better fit on some acres.

“It really is a matter of when you locked in your inputs, how much corn you have contracted and your yield potential.… Continue reading

Read More »

Breakfast with the foul-mouthed food blogger

By Matt Reese

With a poof of disdain amid a cloud of black language, the Backyarditarian stormed into the breakfast meeting of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance late last month.

At the Chicago meeting, food related bloggers were invited to meet with the nearly 20 farmers (including my wife, Kristin) at the event to share breakfast and open conversation. Because

Kristin represented by far the smallest farm there, all of the bloggers invited were tolerant of her, though some asked her how she could associate with these other large-scale farmers. The bloggers, in general, were very extreme in their disdain of “Big Ag.”

From their comments and conversations, it appears that the staunchest opponents of “Big Ag” at the event do not care about: food prices, farm profitability, a shortage of food in the absence of Big Ag, technology and efficiency, efforts to maximize animal care, or environmental stewardship efforts.… Continue reading

Read More »

Sprayer calibration saves money and pesticides

Spring is a good time for corn and soybean growers to calibrate sprayers to avoid wasting money and applying the wrong amount of pesticides, says an Ohio State University agricultural engineer.

Approximately 66 to 77% of all growers who spray pesticides spray too much or too little, which not only can waste money, but also cause crop losses, said Erdal Ozkan.

He said growers need to inspect sprayers for proper gallons-per-acre application rates, and calibrate them early and often.

“If you don’t calibrate your sprayer frequently, it’s as if you were driving your car with a speedometer that doesn’t work,” said Ozkan, who also is a professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a researcher with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “You assume you know what speed you are traveling at from habit, but you are not really sure. The problem with a sprayer is that nozzles wear out with use, application rates change with different field conditions, and traveling speeds also change.… Continue reading

Read More »