What’s new from crop and chemical companies?

By Matt Reese

If, going into the late winter meeting season, farmers in Ohio were not aware of the problems associated with resistant weeds they probably are now. Resistant weeds were the clear theme and the dominant topic of discussion in the numerous meetings and the

Commodity Classic trade show in Tennessee last month.

Driving much of the discussion was an unlikely pairing of former chemical giant rivals Monsanto and BASF that have teamed up on this daunting problem. BASF’s innovation in development, Engenia herbicide, is an advanced dicamba formulation with low-volatility characteristics for improved on-target application. Engenia will help control more than 100 of the annual broadleaf weeds that farmers are battling in their crops, including glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, waterhemp and marestail.

“BASF is dedicated to providing solutions, technical support and educational tools to help growers implement a weed management program based on herbicide best practices,” said Paul Rea, with U.S.… Continue reading

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Corn yield prospects for 2012

With 2011-12 marketing year-ending stocks of U.S. corn expected to be near pipeline levels, the size of the 2012 crop has substantial price implications, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good. Acreage intentions will be revealed in the USDA’s March 30 Prospective Plantings report, but much of the current discussion centers on prospects for the U.S. average corn yield.

Widely differing views of yield prospects for 2012 have emerged. A number of factors may contribute to the diverse views, but four have received a lot of attention. These include (1) the timing of planting, (2) the magnitude and potential change in the trend yield, (3) the expected summer weather conditions, and (4) the location and magnitude of acreage changes.

“The mild winter weather and early spring fieldwork suggests that the 2012 crop will be planted in a very timely fashion,” Good said. “There is a general perception that early planting results in a higher U.S.… Continue reading

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How early is too early to plant?

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

The unseasonably warm weather may have you contemplating a jump-start on spring planting. As of March 14, there was talk of farmers already planting in areas of Illinois and Indiana.

But, how early is too early? What could be the consequences of jumping the gun?

There are the obvious things to consider like soil moisture, soil temperature and equipment calibration. But, here are five things that farmers might not have thought of that need to be considered before dropping the planter in the ground early.

1. Crop Insurance

Jason Williamson at Williamson Insurance has received many calls over the past week from farmers asking how early they can plant.

“For most of Ohio, the early plant date is 60 days prior to the final plant date. This year that date is April 6 for corn and April 21 for beans,” Williamson said. “If you plant either crop before that date your crop insurance stands, but you have no replant coverage.”… Continue reading

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Bluegrass Farms poised for the future of ag exports

By Matt Reese

Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc. is opening up Ohio agricultural production to a world of opportunity with its Central Ohio Logistics Center in Fayette County. Bluegrass Farms has specialized in the shipping of identity preserved, non-GMO soybeans from its Jeffersonville facility to discerning Asian customers for years. The recent addition of the five miles of railroad and a container loading facility that comprise the Central Ohio Logistics Center have opened up some new and exciting possibilities.

“We need to minimize the amount of truck traffic we use because it is the most expensive and inefficient. The faster we can get our commodities on the rail the better off we are,” said Dave Martin, president of Bluegrass Farms. “We spent the last couple of years constructing this rail facility adjacent to Bluegrass Farms. This allows us to ship heavy-weight containers without hitting the road and ultimately lowering the cost and increasing efficiency to increase the value to the farmers in Ohio that we serve.”… Continue reading

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Beef Expo celebrates 25 years

The Ohio Beef Expo held a ceremony recognizing its 25th anniversary in Cooper Arena on the Ohio Expo Center grounds. Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David T. Daniels, Ohio Expo Center General Manager Virgil Strickler, Ohio Beef Expo Chairman and OCA President Sam Sutherly, Ohio Beef Expo Vice Chairman Bill Sexton, first Ohio Beef Expo Chairman Jim Rentz and 1988 OCA President Henry Bergfeld were all in attendance for the event.

The ceremony recognized exhibitors from the trade show and cattle events that have

participated in all 25 Expos, including Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net.

And, as the Ohio Beef Expo celebrates its 25th anniversary, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association would like to express its sincerest thanks to all of the volunteers who have been involved in this annual industry event. Each year, dedicated volunteers spend countless hours ensuring the success of the Ohio Beef Expo. In an effort to show the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s sincere appreciation for those who have dedicated themselves over the years, the Ohio Beef Expo Planning Committee presents the Friend of the Expo award to three worthy recipients who like many others have contributed to the success of the past 25 years of Expo.… Continue reading

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Ohio agencies announce water quality measures

The Directors’ Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Working Group spent months compiling their extensive findings on how agriculture is contributing to water quality problems and how this can be controlled. The group was assembled to aggregate all of the available information on the problem, organize it and present it to the directors of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, who will then make recommendations to the governor.

The three Departments today announced their recommendations for reducing excess agricultural nutrients from affecting or entering the western basin of Lake Erie.

“Our agencies worked with Ohio’s agricultural community to identify the best ways to decrease this nutrient loading into Ohio’s water bodies,” said David Daniels, director of the ODA. “The farmers, private companies, agricultural organizations, agri-businesses, environmental organizations and academic institutions were all asked to provide their best input, ideas, advice and guidance.… Continue reading

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Do bumper bugs foreshadow crop pest problems?

By Matt Reese

Is spring here? Based on the vast number of bugs on this just cleaned bumper after a 15-

minute Central Ohio drive, the insect population seems to think so. The sunny skies are warming soils fast, though more rain in the forecast could slow the warming trend.

In general, Ohio can expect more of the same in the coming weeks, according to Jim Noel with the National Weather Service who contributes to the Ohio State University Extension CORN Newsletter.

“Nothing has changed since our last update,” Noel said. “The outlook for the rest of March is for an active pattern with above normal temperatures, above normal rainfall and some risk of severe weather. What will be quite different in 2012 versus 2011 is that the spring will not be as cool. It also will be wet, but not as wet as 2011 and the wetness will likely end earlier than 2011.… Continue reading

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What are you doing for Ohio Ag Week?

By Matt Reese

To celebrate Ohio Ag Week (the second full week of March) at the Reese house, we made an all-Ohio meal. We used fresh eggs gathered from our own hens that day, bacon and ham from a hog we got from our neighbor, Snowville Creamery Milk from Pomeroy Ohio and some cheese. The cheese came from the local grocery, but we’re not sure about the exact origin of the cheese, so we fudged a bit there.

Our four-year-old daughter made the meal from the cracking of the eggs (she has been doing this since she was two) to adding the cheese, with some supervision from her mother.




The scrambled eggs were delicious and (almost) all from Ohio. It was a great meal, a fun family project, and a great way to help the kids learn about where their food comes from. What are you doing for Ohio Ag Week?… Continue reading

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Warm winter makes insect scouting more important

While the near-record warm winter will cause some insects to appear earlier than normal, whether the bugs negatively impact field crops will depend on spring weather, insect variety and planting dates, says an Ohio State University Extension entomologist.

Insects such as the bean leaf beetle, corn flea beetle and alfalfa weevil will likely be seen earlier than normal this year, said Ron Hammond, who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

This winter is the warmest winter experienced nationwide since 2000 and the fourth-warmest winter on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This was caused when the jet stream, which divides the cold air to the north from the warm air to the south, settled at a much higher latitude this year, the federal agency said.

The warmer weather will cause insects to come out earlier to feed and become more active in the months before spring, Hammond said.… Continue reading

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A last look at 2011 Ohio corn yields

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Corn yields are the holy grail of corn production, high yields are worthy of bragging rights at the coffee shop and low yields are all the more reason not to leave the shop during the winter. All growers strive for the highest yields possible, but after anytime of farming a grower quickly realizes that we are not in total control of the entire yield equation.

2011 corn production proved to be quite an adventure no matter where you lived. The weather was challenging early to almost the entire state and caused major delays and challenges to planting. To some growers the weather continued to be challenging all year long, while to other growers the weather later in the growing season was extremely rewarding. The old adage of “rain makes grain” held true again in 2011. As the spring of 2012 quickly approaches, a final look at how the 2011 corn crop makes a nice bookend to a year no one will forget.… Continue reading

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Mt. Hope Draft Horse Sale

By Kim Lemmon

Three times a year, masses of horse folks gather in Mt. Hope, Ohio, for the Mt. Hope Draft Horse Sale. The sales take place in June, October, and March and feature several days of auctions of all types of horses and horse equipment and tack. The most recent sale was March 6-9, 2012.

Tuesdays of the sale week are generally reserved for carriages, tack and ponies. Wednesdays are crossbreds which is just about anything you can imagine from light horses to grade draft horses to pricey Friesians to Spotted Drafts. Thursdays are reserved for Haflingers, Belgians and pulling horses. Fridays include Percherons and uncataloged horses.

It is an amazing event. Parking is free but scarce and there is certainly plenty of entertainment.

I attended the sale on Tuesday. Inside one building, there were three auctioneers selling tack and there were two more auctioneers in other buildings for a total of five rings at one time.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agriculture Week

It is Ohio Agriculture Week, which is celebrated the second full week in March to educate citizens about the importance of Ohio’s agriculture industry. Here is a piece written by David T. Daniels, the new Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, to commemorate the occasion:

As a kid, I used to deliver eggs to my neighbors from our family farm — that was the standard pace of a farming business back then. But when you’re a farmer, the only thing that changes faster than the seasons is the technology you use to advance your operations.

Today, agriculture tells a much different story than it did when I was growing up. Ohio farmers are on the cutting edge of technology. They are doing things faster and more efficiently, using precision equipment and GPS-guided tractors, and the effects are resonating far beyond Ohio’s borders and into a global marketplace.

Ohio farmers and agribusinesses are now sorting and sending thousands of bushels of identity-preserved, food-grade soybeans to Japan and Korea.… Continue reading

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A true grassroots effort: The 2012 OFBF Presidents trip

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

It is too bad that the word “lobbying” has become so negatively viewed by this country. Lobbying by its true definition is to try to influence the thinking of legislators or other public officials for or against a specific cause. In essence, the act of voting is in itself a form of lobbying. We choose the ones we want representing us based on their views and opinions matching up as closely to ours as possible.

In early March, Ohio Farm Bureau (OFBF) County Presidents from all over the Buckeye state made the journey to Washington to sit directly in front of their Congressmen and women and share their views and concerns. As you know, there are many issues inside the Beltway that are being reviewed by lawmakers that could have enormous impacts on agriculture, including the farm bill, child labor changes from the Department of Labor (DOL) and estate taxes.… Continue reading

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ATI and CAB team up to educate

Nothing can illustrate cattle comfort better than, well, a comfortable cow.

Even the best speakers can’t make an audience feel what it’s like on a farm. There are no words that can replace the actual experience of seeing cattle first hand — watching them roam the pasture or eat out of the feedbunk.

That’s why Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) has a newfound tradition of sorts. Nearly every time sales partners travel to the Wooster, Ohio-based headquarters for training and education, the company takes them on a field trip. The Grace L. Drake Agriculture Laboratory, part of the Ohio State University’s Agriculture Technical Institute (ATI), just miles from the CAB office, is run as a for-profit, working farm.

“The more our licensees know about the production side of the beef business, the better it will make them at selling and marketing that product,” said Margaret Coleman, CAB assistant director of education.… Continue reading

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Put on pants and go old school on weeds this spring

By Matt Reese

Technology can be a fantastic thing. A few months ago, we started having OCJ/Ohio Ag Net office meetings via Skype on Monday mornings. That way, wherever we were, we could fire up our computers and talk with each other over the Internet. There is something kind of nice about attending a meeting in your underpants from the comfort of your living room.

As things progressed, it became more apparent that in-person meetings were more productive, so we switched to that format. This required me to shave, put on my pants and take the time to face the traffic and the grim drive into work on Monday mornings. While this was rough duty, the in-person meetings have proven more fruitful. Technology can be great, but sometimes it is better to put on pants and be a bit more old-fashioned.

Getting back to old school weed control will be increasingly important as glyphosate resistant weeds continue to pop up and spread in Ohio fields.… Continue reading

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High prices could compete with conservation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s offer to pay farmers and landowners more money to stop farming their land to create additional wetlands and grasslands may not be enough incentive to get more growers to forgo planting crops that have fetched record prices in recent months, an Ohio State University expert said.

In a move to get farmers to enroll up to 1 million new acres of land into the federal Conservation Reserve Program, the USDA last week said it would increase a one-time signing bonus for the program to $150 per acre from $100. The increase will be available only to owners of approved land that features wetlands and benefits duck nesting habitat and certain animal species, including upland birds, the USDA said.

The offer comes as 6.5 million acres of land are set to expire from conservation programs this fall. That land could return to tillage at a time when high crop and land prices are enticing more farmers to put the land into production, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.… Continue reading

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Not a Picasso in Town

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

This week I traveled to Washington D.C. with The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation County Presidents. Every year they make the journey to lobby on behalf of Ohio agriculture as they visit with their district’s Congressmen and women.

The attitude toward our Nation’s Capital is far from favorable and no matter who you talk to inside the beltway, nothing of importance will get done the rest of this year.

I have now been to D.C. twice and to walk around that beautiful city can really inspire a guy. No, I am not running for office anytime soon, but seeing the historic buildings and hearing the great stories of how our Country came to be can put your imagination to work.

It is a city of power, too much some would say, but at one time that power was used to mold a country of great opportunities.… Continue reading

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Tough phosphorus problem has no easy solutions

By Matt Reese

At the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada this week, attendees were bombarded with photos charts and graphs illustrating the water quality problems in Ohio. A glass full of green ooze scooped out of Lake Erie, an algae

filled spray behind a jet ski, countless charts showing a steady drop then a sharp rise in phosphorus levels in Ohio’s waterways – there is no shortage of evidence that there is a problem. There is, however, a shortage of viable an across-the-board solutions to the problem.

“We know what the issue is, but we don’t know how to solve it. We need research on this. Environmental groups are just saying, ‘Well, stop using phosphorus.’ We know we can’t do that,” said Glen Arnold, with Ohio State University Extension. “We had the worst algal bloom in 40 years in Lake Erie that provides 5 million people with drinking water it and contributes $10 billion to the economy.”… Continue reading

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Death tax debate won't die in D.C.

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Everyone has heard the saying that there are two things that are inevitable – death and taxes. Leave it to our leaders in Washington, D.C. to skip some steps and just combine the two.

Estate Tax, commonly referred to as the “death tax,” is one issue that was put into focus as the Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents visited their Congressmen and women in the nation’s Capitol in early March. Individuals, family partnerships and family corporations own 98% of the country’s 2 million farms. When estate taxes on an agricultural business exceed cash and other liquid assets, surviving family partners may be forced to sell land, buildings or equipment needed to keep their businesses operating.

“Congress has the ability to keep the current rates in place,” said Pat Wolfe, Director of Tax and Rural Development for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “They need to get this legislation on the floor and vote to keep the higher estate tax exemption.… Continue reading

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Death tax debate won’t die in D.C.

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Everyone has heard the saying that there are two things that are inevitable – death and taxes. Leave it to our leaders in Washington, D.C. to skip some steps and just combine the two.

Estate Tax, commonly referred to as the “death tax,” is one issue that was put into focus as the Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents visited their Congressmen and women in the nation’s Capitol in early March. Individuals, family partnerships and family corporations own 98% of the country’s 2 million farms. When estate taxes on an agricultural business exceed cash and other liquid assets, surviving family partners may be forced to sell land, buildings or equipment needed to keep their businesses operating.

“Congress has the ability to keep the current rates in place,” said Pat Wolfe, Director of Tax and Rural Development for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “They need to get this legislation on the floor and vote to keep the higher estate tax exemption.… Continue reading

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