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Nutrient management important for future of ag

By Matt Reese

The monumental problem of phosphorus fed algal blooms in Lake Erie creates conflict between two powerful forces: food and agriculture versus drinking water

for 5 million people and a $10 billion recreation industry. Ohio agriculture continues to sit and wait (maybe somewhat nervously) on the inevitable announcement from Governor John Kasich concerning the 35-page summary resulting from the Phosphorus Task Force investigation into the recent surge of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

“The Phosphorus Task Force started back in August. The Governor wanted a panel on this issue and there were 125 different groups represented,” said Karl Gebhardt, chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference (CTTC) in Ada. “The report has been submitted to the Governor and we feel pretty certain that he will be accepting most of the components of that plan.… Continue reading

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OFBF tackles child farm labor in D.C.

By Ty Higgins

This week, the County Presidents of The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation are making the annual trek to the Nation’s Capital for the 66thtime. The one thing that has not changed since the inaugural trip is that there is never a lack of issues

on The Hill that could have huge implications for agriculture.

One such issue is child labor. A proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to revise regulations on youth employment in agriculture could affect family farms across the country. Last September, the DOL published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend and expand a number of existing hazardous occupation orders as they pertain to the employment of youths under the age of 16 on farms.

Paul Schlegel, with the American Farm Bureau Federation, said this is one issue to keep a very close eye on.

“The Department of Labor received over 10,000 comments, most of which agree with our perspective,” said Schlegel about the overreach of authority of the proposed rule.… Continue reading

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New Ohio Ag Net Soy Biodiesel Truck hits the road

By Matt Reese

After long weeks of waiting for the final details to be finished, Dale Minyo has finally hit the Ohio roadways with his newest Ohio soy biodiesel truck. The fourth Ohio Ag Net Biodiesel Truck is a 2012 Ram with the 6.7 Cummins engine that will be hard to miss on its routes to Ohio county fairs and ag-related events in coming years.

“Unlike my previous trucks, this one has an automatic transmission and I am getting used to the idea of not having a clutch,” Minyo said. “This truck is a three-quarter-ton crew cab with the 8-foot bed and cap which allows for more room for messaging displays on the exterior. The new truck is brighter and bolder than before and will be in service for around 250,000 miles, or about 6 years.”

The new truck has a 55-gallon additional fuel tank in the bed and will get running boards later this week.… Continue reading

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Farmers find plenty to discuss at Commodity Classic

By Matt Reese

David Miller from Fairfield County and his son, Jon, got their seats early for the general session at Commodity Classic held in Nashville this year. The then half-empty auditorium sprawled out in every direction from their seats near the center of the room.
“I can remember when this was just the corn growers and we’d only need a quarter of this room for everyone to sit in,” David said. “This event has really grown since those days.”

Now, the Commodity Classic is shattering attendance records with more than 6,000 participants gathering for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), and the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) meeting to set policy and learn at a wide array of sessions and events. And, soon enough, the wisdom of the Millers finding seats early was revealed as the steady crowd filtered in to fill the chairs.… Continue reading

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Transferring seed technology after patents expire

Farmers from across the United States learned about the nuts and bolts of the transition from patented to generic biotech events at the 2012 Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tenn.

In 2014, the first widely grown plant biotechnology event will lose patent protection with more to follow in the coming years.

“This creates a challenge for the industry,” said Bernice Slutsky, American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) vice president of science and international affairs. “Even though an event comes off patent here in the United States, it’s still highly regulated around the world.”

A mechanism needed to be developed to ensure that international regulatory approvals and proper product stewardship is maintained so that U.S. commodity exports are not impeded.

Working closely with its stakeholders, ASTA and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) decided to take a proactive approach to help address this challenge.

The two organizations put together a joint working group comprised of seed companies big and small, trait providers and those who license traits.… Continue reading

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Vilsack announces conservation expansion

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the opportunity for producers to enroll a total of 1 million acres of

land in a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) initiative to preserve grasslands and wetlands at Commodity Classic. USDA’s CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States. Under the Obama Administration, USDA has enrolled more than 8 million acres in CRP. The goal of the new CRP grasslands and wetlands initiative is to increase enrollment of environmentally sensitive land through targeted signups. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers CRP, will set aside acres within the 32-million acre program for specific enrollments that benefit duck nesting habitat, upland birds, wetlands, pollinators and wildlife.

“By focusing 1 million acres of CRP on grasslands and wetlands, this initiative will have enormous benefits for farmers, sportsmen, and all Americans,” Vilsack said.… Continue reading

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Weed resistance solutions a hot topic at Commodity Classic

If farmers in Ohio were not aware of the problems associated with weeds that have developed resistance going into the last month or so of late winter meetings, they probably are now. Resistant weeds were the clear theme and

the dominant discussion topic at the Commodity Classic trade show.

Driving much of the discussion was an unlikely pairing of former chemical giant rivals Monsanto and BASF who have teamed up on this daunting problem.  BASF innovation in development, Engenia herbicide, 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.

“As the industry leader, 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, Vice President, U.S.… Continue reading

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Beef breeding programs help producers capitalize on prices

Artificial insemination breeding programs can help cattle producers capitalize on prices that are at an unprecedented high, a Purdue Extension beef specialist says.

While many cow-calf producers shy away from artificial insemination because of the extensive management requirements, Ron Lemenager said incorporating an estrous synchronization program into the breeding plan can reduce time spent detecting estrous and increase the number of cows bred in the first week of the breeding season.

“Cow numbers are the lowest since 1952. This puts the cow-calf producers in the driver’s seat if they play their cards right,” he said. “A bred cow is worth about twice as much as an open cow, so it’s important to get these cows bred as early as possible.”

Getting cows bred the first week of the breeding season helps ensure that calves are older and heavier at weaning. It also means more uniform calves.

Lemenager recommended that producers consider an estrous synchronization program such as the 5 Day CO-Synch + CIDR.… Continue reading

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Ruts, weeds, and bugs: The challenges of a wet, warm winter

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Associate Agronomist for Seed Consultants, Inc.

The 2011 growing season offered many challenges. While that difficult season is behind us, 2012 could also be challenging due to lingering effects of 2011, and an unusually warm winter. Some of the challenges farmers may face this year include ruts, compaction, early weed growth, insects, and disease.

As a result of 2011’s wet harvest, farmers may be facing ruts and compaction this spring. In no-till fields, management options will vary depending on the severity of ruts. Light tillage should be used for ruts that must be filled before planting. No-till farmers should perform tillage only where ruts are present, not disturbing the rest of the field. Performing unnecessary tillage to an entire field will be detrimental to the long-term benefits of continuous no-till. Tillage should be performed only when soil conditions are favorable. Tillage under wet or “marginal” conditions will only make compaction problems worse.… Continue reading

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Sheep and goat health issues addressed in WebEx series

By Breanna Pye, OCJ field reporter

The mission of Extension is to disseminate the vast and detailed research information generated from land grant universities, which has not changed in 150 years. The delivery of that information, however, has changed. A recent example of this change was the four-part WebEx lecture series that offered in depth coverage and insights on sheep and goat health issues via the Internet.

Ohio State University Extension, in conjunction with and the Ohio State University Sheep Team, teamed up with the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) to sponsor the new WebEx series that replaced the more traditional district programs. Instead of speakers traveling across counties to attend the district meetings, the new Web series consisted of a centralized “live” site in Knox County, with 13 other viewing locations positioned in various counties across the state and the chance for online users to listen in as well. A combined average of 200 producers attended each session of the series that finished up earlier this week.… Continue reading

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Turkey Run Angus Farm moving seedstock forward

 

By Matt Reese

Back in the 1950s, the $12-per-acre going rate for land in Adams County caught the attention of Frank Bauman. The land prices were low enough to entice him to move from

his home in Indiana and settle down on 400 acres among the rolling hills of southern Ohio. For years after that, tobacco was the main focus of the farm, with Angus cattle and other crops as well.

This, of course, has changed in recent years. The farm’s tobacco production acreage has steadily declined since it was up to 61 acres in 2001. Since then, Frank, his son, Kent, and daughter-in-law Joy, have been transitioning the farm to a focus more on the registered purebred Angus seedstock that has been a part of the farm operation since 1956.

“We have been able to build our herd through cost-share assistance from the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) with grants for our farm over the last 10 or so years that have helped us grow our herd and expand that business by building a new calving barn and buying new equipment,” Joy said.… Continue reading

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Be proactive to manage weed resistance

By Matt Reese

Devastating stands of suffocating weeds, $100 per acre in weed control costs to avoid significant yield loss, and hand chopping weeds for clean fields are just some of the herbicide resistance horror stories from the southern U.S.

Ohio farmer Mark Dowden, from Champaign County, got to see these challenges first hand on a recent trip to Tennessee.

“In the south, they couldn’t kill weeds that were taller than a couple of inches tall. After being down there and seeing it, I wanted to come back and tell people, ‘Hey look, we have got to start using these residuals to control this problem in Ohio,’” Dowden said. “We’ve all got to work together on this because, even if I’m doing things right, if the guy down the road is not doing things right, it is all coming our way. It is just a matter of time. We just don’t want this problem.… Continue reading

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Demand growth for corn and soybeans could slow

By Matt Reese

Farmers are used to the inconsistencies of the weather. They know how to handle bugs and weeds and they are used to rolling the dice in the gamble of agriculture each year on their farms. But in 2012, the profitability of corn and soybean growers may depend more on European financial ministers, Chinese pork demand and biofuel politics.

Ohio State University economist Matt Roberts shares the bearish sentiment of many economists for the coming year due to factors very far removed from the farm fields of Ohio. He feels, for several reasons, those factors are aligning in favor of lower prices for corn and soybeans.

“The amount of demand growth we have seen in the last 20 years is unprecedented. It is driven by Chinese demand for meat and U.S. demand for ethanol,” Roberts said. “Meat demand in China is driving oilseed demand. Globally we’re growing 40% more soybeans than we did 10 years ago at nearly triple the price.… Continue reading

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Intensive soil sampling makes dollars, and sense

By David Scheiderer, Integrated Ag Services

Traditional soil sampling is done on a 2.5-acre grid or more, and its effectiveness relies heavily on whether or not the person doing the sampling does a good job. This reliance on human precision leaves room for error. Such errors are unacceptable for many farmers trying to manage record high fertilizer prices against unimaginable volatility in the commodity market. There is the opportunity to gross $1,000 or more per cropland acre, and a farmer wants to capture as much of that as possible by applying costly fertilizer and lime at peak efficiency.

How a soil sample is taken can greatly impact the results. If the soil is wet, soil will compact inside a traditional soil probe, making it difficult to clean out between samples. As the person sampling travels through the field taking core samples over a period of hours, the effort it takes to keep  the probe unplugged can become frustrating.… Continue reading

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Family continues sweet tradition in the winter woods

By Matt Reese

There is something special about winter in the woods on the Herring Farm in Wyandot County. The crunch of snow underfoot muffled amid the trees, the red flash of a winter cardinal, the tracks of wildlife — the Herring woods have all the same appeal as any other. But as the temperatures begin to warm in late winter, a flurry of activity takes place as it has for centuries before among the trees on the wooded hills of the farm.

“Around 1850 my great, great grandfather started making maple syrup here and the Indians had been making syrup before that,” said Dave Herring, who grew up learning the details of his family’s tradition in the winter woods. “My family has made syrup ever since then on this farm. I am the fifth generation and my boys are the sixth generation. It was all done with buckets back when I was young.… Continue reading

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Self-proclaimed goat midwife

People who knew me in my youth would have never guessed I would have babies of any species born on our property let alone assist with the births. I never had a strong stomach for blood or body fluids.

About 7 years ago a friend from college was buying pygmy goats at the same time I was and she talked me into sharing a buck and starting a breeding program. I had originally planned to just buy a couple of wethers to serve as pets. It has been an adventure ever since.

As all livestock caregivers find out eventually, there are many things you need to learn to do yourself. I love my vets but there are only a few of them in the county that handle large animals, and it seems that usually when I have a kidding emergency, they are all out on other emergency calls.

A few years ago, a group of goat friends and I started our own little maternity group.… Continue reading

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Ending FFA week with a bang

By Ty Higgins

Earlier this year, one of Ag Educator Jeremy Ryan’s FFA students at the West Muskingum Chapter, approached him about a restoration project. Sure, Ryan has heard of restoring a

tractor or maybe an old cabinet, but he has never been a part of a project like this.

Chapter President Jordan Glosser took on the challenge of restoring a cannon.

“My first thought was holy cow,” said Ryan. “It was definitely something that I have never been around and once I got over the fact that there was going to be a cannon in my shop, I thought it was pretty cool.”

Glosser, in an age where video games and television rule the majority of a teen’s life, is quite the history buff. In fact, he is heavily involved with Civil War reenactments, which is where he first fired off this particular piece of artillery.

“When I first started being a part of reenactments, it was just about firing the cannon and making it go boom,” Glosser said.… Continue reading

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Don't poke the bear: Market crops with care

By Matt Reese

It is never a good idea to poke a bear. Maybe that is why so many economists are encouraging farmers to watch closely for marketing opportunities for their 2012 crops. Ohio State University economist Matt Roberts shares the bearish sentiment of many economists for the

coming year.

“Corn inventories are very tight because we have had two consecutive below trend, disappointing yields and that is why we have tight supplies and high prices. This is the first time since 1980 there have been two consecutive below-trend corn yields,” he said. “I don’t think that most producers are putting enough weight on the fact that we are in a short crop year. All it takes to lower prices is a normal year. I think there is a tremendous amount of downside risk here.”

With this in mind, Roberts outlines three possible scenarios in the markets.

“If we hit 165 bushels per acre, it would be a solid year, but not a great year,” he said.… Continue reading

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Don’t poke the bear: Market crops with care

By Matt Reese

It is never a good idea to poke a bear. Maybe that is why so many economists are encouraging farmers to watch closely for marketing opportunities for their 2012 crops. Ohio State University economist Matt Roberts shares the bearish sentiment of many economists for the

coming year.

“Corn inventories are very tight because we have had two consecutive below trend, disappointing yields and that is why we have tight supplies and high prices. This is the first time since 1980 there have been two consecutive below-trend corn yields,” he said. “I don’t think that most producers are putting enough weight on the fact that we are in a short crop year. All it takes to lower prices is a normal year. I think there is a tremendous amount of downside risk here.”

With this in mind, Roberts outlines three possible scenarios in the markets.

“If we hit 165 bushels per acre, it would be a solid year, but not a great year,” he said.… Continue reading

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