Cover crop and fertilizer management tips for this spring

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Cover crop dos and don’ts

As I sit here writing it is cold and wet. I have seen several planters out in the barn lot for a check-up but no one is seriously talking about planting yet. I do know that many are wondering when to terminate their cover crop, even though we haven’t had much growth yet. I like Austrian pea, it is easy — just apply your normal burndown of glyphosate, atrazine and favorite pre-emergent grass product for corn. I also like oats and will often use them in the fall to give me some cover after soybeans — they die on their own, but some folks will pasture them into December. I just started a multi-year cover crop research trial that includes crimson clover after wheat harvest. We will go to corn this year with cereal rye following, then to soybeans and after that back to wheat.… Continue reading

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Report negative corn and wheat, soybeans neutral

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Friday’s USDA Prospective Plantings report was negative with corn stocks 325 million bushels above trade estimates. This is still way too early to say this, but you have to wonder if the 2018 corn yield will move higher later this summer.

Corn stocks were 8.6 billion bushels, soybean stocks were 2.72 billion bushels, while wheat stocks were 1.59 billion bushels. Corn acres were 92.8 million acres, soybean acres were 84.6 million acres, and all wheat acres were 45.8 million acres.

Today is all about quarterly grain stocks in the US as of March 1 along with planting intentions for US grains in 2019. Traders will be paying more attention to grain stocks as they gauge demand and disappearance. US acres are in the mix today. They will be noted with a checkmark. Yes, they were released. Traders will easily answer, “Who cares?”

Just ahead of the report, grains were all lower with corn down 3 cents, soybeans down 2 cents, with wheat down 5 cents.… Continue reading

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Last minute planter checks can pay off big prior to planting

By Matt Reese

The sun is out, the skies are blue and the spring breeze is blowing, but the fields are not quite ready. What are some last-minute things to double (and triple) check on the planter before heading out to the field for the first test run?

Some of the most-common panicked springtime farmer phone calls to dealers involve the technology and planter monitor set-up questions. Many monitors can run self-checks on things like the row clutches, sensor readings and seed tubes, but the key is getting a start on this before heading to the fields to kick off the planting season, said Jeff Garrabrant, lead technician for Evolution Ag in Plain City.

“It is still wet and we still have some guys trying to get some corn off in the area. A  week or two before you are ready to go plant, the biggest thing is to get the fields and the farms put into the monitor properly and make sure you have the seed meters, the overlaps and all of the calibrations set,” Garrabrant said.… Continue reading

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Should I continue farming?

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR-Tuscarawas County
It’s no secret that all of agriculture is suffering from years of low commodity prices and rising input costs. The economic struggles have affected you financially and physically. You’ve looked at the numbers, met with advisors, and talked to family. The thought of selling part or your entire farm brings with it added worry and concern. What can you do?
Find someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing your situation. This person may not have many answers to your questions, but they can listen to your frustrations and worries. They may be able to help you sort through the confusion and develop a course of action. Think of your situation as a picture — a set of eyes looking at the picture from the outside may see things you can’t because you are caught up in the picture.… Continue reading

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Proverbs 3:27 at work as Ohio agricultural relief efforts head to Nebraska

By Matt Reese

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. That is the very clear message from Proverbs 3:27.

It can’t be certain this verse is top of mind for the many in Ohio’s agricultural community who are dropping what they are doing to donate, travel, work, and serve their fellow farmers across the country, but they certainly are demonstrating it.

Terrible flooding in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri has left farms swamped and devastated generations of work on the land in recent weeks. One Ohio group of six tractor-trailers and 11 trucks and trailers filled with food, clothes, hay, feed, and hygiene products donated from farmers, businesses and church leaders from the Norwalk, Monroeville, Ashland, and Mansfield areas left earlier this week for Verdigre, Neb. An additional group from Ohio plans to leave next week. Another group leaves March 29 in an effort being organized by Greg and Rose Hartschuh in Crawford County through Ohio’s Rural America Relief.… Continue reading

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Breaking the stigma of mental health in farming

By Joel Penhorwood

Agriculture can often be seen as an idyllic community of people working the land that are too tough to be bothered by the stresses of the outside world. Unfortunately, that’s not true, and more farms and rural areas are being affected by something that is all too often ignored — mental health.

It’s not an easy time to be in agriculture. Low commodity prices and other challenges are altering what it’s like to be a farmer. This puts stress on mental health, which often goes unaddressed and can sometimes lead to dire, but avoidable, consequences.

Steve and Debbie Terrill founded the 501(c)(3) volunteer organization Mindful Minds, hoping to challenge the stigma and silence surrounding mental health through education and community engagement. The Terrills are residents of rural Logan County and active in the Indian Lake community. From their perspective, quite a few of the current shortfalls in society come back to mental health.… Continue reading

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Dangerous career choices

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

Being a state wildlife officer is an occupation I often regret not pursuing. I’ve gotten to know several officers, active and retired, during the quarter century I’ve been covering outdoor topics here in Ohio and have yet to meet one I didn’t like, respect and admire for the services they provide.

I shared a fishing camp with a former Marine a couple years back, and I asked him of all the U.S. service branches, Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard, which he felt was the most dangerous to choose. He replied “wildlife officer.” He explained that only wildlife officers, as a part of their daily duties, are regularly coming in direct contact with people carrying a firearm. The second most dangerous on his list? U.S. Coast Guard — for the same reason.

We welcome 10 new state wildlife offers to the field here in Ohio this season.… Continue reading

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Lessons learned from the farm help CCA serve others

By Matt Reese

It is not that books, research and coursework are unimportant for agriculture — they certainly are. The best agronomists, though, are able to combine those book smarts with real lessons learned from hands in the dirt on a working farm.

With nearly 40 years of crop advising service in the Hancock County area, agronomist Don Boehm combines knowledge gained while managing his own farm to best serve the customers he works with as the crop protection manager at Legacy Farmers Cooperative.

Boehm, from Findlay, was recently named the 2019 CCA of the Year by the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser Program at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference.

“The thing that has been the most rewarding to me is that God has blessed us with the opportunity to farm, so I get to use a lot of these same things I talk about on my own operation. I have learned a lot on my farm to help educate others.… Continue reading

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Sub-surface nutrient placement options

By John Fulton and Trey Colley

Sub-surface placement of nutrients is a best management practice (BMP) in an effort to reduce off-site transport of P and N. There is variety of placement techniques and equipment which becomes important information as farmers decide a solution or suite of solutions to adopt. Frequently, it is unclear which types of implements are best suited to meet the nutrient management goals for a farm operation. Equipment capable of sub-surface placement can vary in horsepower requirements, placement options, and the level of surface disturbance. The “right” implement will vary from farm-to-farm based on the differing management strategies.

An Ohio State University Fact Sheet (Opportunities for Sub-surface Nutrient Placement in Ohio) has been developed to help review and understand specification of different implements for sub-surface placement of fertilizers. This publication can be accessed at To help identify which implement(s) is best suited for your farm, the Ohio State Precision Ag Team compiled a list of sub-surface placement benefits and categorized available equipment options.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 98 | Sending help to Nebraska

Rose Hartschuh joins Matt and Joel for the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, brought to you by AgriGold. They’re talking the relief efforts by Ohio farmers to Nebraska though Ohio’s Rural America Relief.

Other guests include Muskingum Co. Pork Producer Matt Bell, Grain Merchandiser Jon Scheve, Laura Lindsey from OSU Extension on Barley, and Chris Baker of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. Tune in!… Continue reading

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How has flooding impacted grain markets?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

It would seem that the market hasn’t really reacted to the massive flooding throughout the Midwest. This is likely because the amount grain affected, currently estimated at $500 million in Nebraska alone, is relatively small. While that sounds large, the total U.S. corn crop is valued at about $60 billion and the bean crop at $40 billion. So, losses may only total about 1% of the crop across the entire Midwest.

About 13% of ethanol production was estimated to have been halted last week. But that demand is small, 2 million bushels per day, relative to the estimates of what have been lost so far of maybe 250 million bushels of corn. However, if those plants stay off line for more than a couple months then the issue could become a bigger problem. Unfortunately, that lack of demand can’t be made up. It’s lost forever because most plants were running at near full capacity.… Continue reading

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The importance of documenting loan receivables from a tax perspective

By Brian E. Ravencraft

If you have ever purchased a farm, a house, a tractor, or any other item that required financing, you know that there are many documents that must be signed when financing a purchase. Chances are you have signed documents with all kinds of terms related to principal amounts, interest rates, due dates and penalties. Although reading these documents can be somewhat terrifying, especially when reading the penalty provisions, these documents serve a purpose.

For farming businesses that make loans to other family member or customers, these documents are the legal proof that establishes that they are entitled to money and how they are to be repaid. When a business goes to court to get a judgment against someone who has not paid them, they are expected to produce those documents to prove that they are owed money from a specific person. And the truth is we would not have it any other way.… Continue reading

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What’s a picture worth? The time is now to share your story

By Matt Reese

A few weeks back I got nominated to do this “farming family challenge.” I groaned out loud at the thought of it. Basically, the challenge required that I post an image on Facebook every day for 10 days showcasing farm life without any explanation.

This challenge was posed during the very busy stretch of mid- to late-winter meetings. A 10-day picture posting challenge on social media was not a welcome addition to the already heavy work load that time of year. I issued forth another audible groan later that night when I opened up the “Reese” file on my laptop and began sorting through many family and farm pictures. I surely didn’t have time for this.

About an hour later, though, my mood had changed. I’d gone from sort of grumpy to a bit misty-eyed as I scrolled through pictures highlighting generations of my family, many showcasing work on the farm.… Continue reading

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Ways to make a buck on soybeans for 2019

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Planting date was the biggie. We had our annual Soybean School at the Conservation Tillage Conference recently. Three of our speakers said that planting date was the most important item that growers could change to improve yield. Plant in April if possible or early May if not.

Last year in this column I noted that Fred Below crop physiologist from the University of Illinois at Commodity Classic said the number one influence on soybean yields is the weather. I do have to agree with that — just look at 2018 and you will see how great this influence is.

Variety selection? From Fred’s list of last year, I think genetics is number two (although he did not put it at the same ranking). In looking over the soybean varieties entered in Ohio’s 2018 Soybean Performance trials ( — there are big swings. Averaged across two sites from 2018 at central Ohio trials for late maturity the highest yielder is 61.7 bushels per acre and the low is 44.8.… Continue reading

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Strange bedfellows in border wall suit

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

In his play The Tempest, William Shakespeare said it best: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”

That is an apt description of the various plaintiffs who have filed suit against Trump’s emergency declaration regarding the border wall. California and 15 other states (Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia), the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Public Citizens (a liberal watch dog group) and Texas landowners (typically conservative farmers and ranchers that are supportive of the current administration).

The first lawsuit challenging the emergency declaration was filed on Feb. 15, 2019 by four plaintiffs — three landowners from Starr County, Texas and the Frontera Audubon Society. These plaintiffs object to the process that the President used to gain the funding after Congress largely denied it to him.… Continue reading

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2019 Ohio Beef Expo recap

In another incredible event focused on the beef industry, the 2019 Ohio Beef Expo drew more than 30,000 participants to Columbus from March 14 to 17.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) hosts the annual event that provides opportunities for beef producers to learn and enhance their operations through a multi-day trade show, cattle sales, youth events and quality assurance sessions.

The event this year was accompanied by some positive signs for the beef industry.

“Today’s cattle industry is good despite the mud. The markets are looking good. The grass is starting to come and feeder cattle are trending up, fat cattle are trending up and so are cull cattle,” said Sasha Rittenhouse, OCA president. “The Ohio Beef Expo is the largest event for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. It was huge this year.”

One highlight for Youth Day on Friday — sponsored by the Gallia County Cattlemen’s Association and the Fayette County Cattle Feeders — was the judging contest, where over 560 youth tested their ability to evaluate cattle.… Continue reading

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