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Know your adversary

By Kyle Sharp

For those of you wondering how the Humane Society of the United States could be causing such negative consumer confidence related to modern livestock production, here is a link to a video you may want to watch:

http://player.vimeo.com/video/32578865?autoplay=1&fb_source=message

Needless to say, once you’ve watched it, you’ll probably need to do some very physical exercise of some kind to release the anger it generates, because the false accusations, sensationalism and misinformation is abundant. But the point is to recognize the message that is being delivered.

This is Paul Shapiro of HSUS delivering a presentation to college students and others at a gathering in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is polished, confident, very matter of fact and most importantly, nobody is there to refute a word he says. I wonder how many times he has given that presentation in the past year, and to how many people. If you were the typical consumer, with very little to no knowledge of how your food is raised and produced, and you sat through that presentation, what thoughts would be going through your mind on the drive home?… Continue reading

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Low linolenic beans testing too high

By Matt Reese

Dean von Stein, from Hancock County, got an unpleasant surprise this fall when he hauled in some of his low linolenic soybeans to the elevator and they didn’t pass. Von Stein had taken every precaution and necessary step to properly produce and segregate the soybeans and could not figure out why they did not have a linolenic level less than 3% to meet the requirements for the premium.

“My other varieties passed, but then I took a load in that didn’t pass. Then another didn’t pass and I heard about others that didn’t pass in the area,” he said. “And, so far, I am not getting the 55-cent premium because the linolenic level was too high. We did everything in our power we could do and it ended up that about 5 or 6 of our semi loads didn’t pass.”

The only variety von Stein had problems with was a late season soybean that accounted for the majority of his low-lin production this past season.… Continue reading

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Make mine an orange Julius!

By Doc Sanders

For several years some dairymen have been feeding their dairy cows citrus pulp and peel, the remains of squeezed oranges. In most cases, the pulp and peel are pelleted to make it easy to handle, transport and incorporate into cows’ total mix ration (TMR). This is just one more example of cows’ unique ability — as I’ve covered before in my columns and TV commentaries — to put to productive use food byproducts and waste that otherwise would be discarded. 

Orange peel and pulp provide high energy to fuel fermentation in the cow’s rumen. Plus, it offers an economic bonus for the dairy farmer: It partially substitutes expensive nutritional components such as corn and dietary fat.

Another advantage of adding orange peel and pulp to the TMR: Cows love it. They go after it like children eating chocolate chip or M&M cookies.

So, orange pulp and peel help make certain cows take full advantage of the nutrition carefully formulated by a nutritionist in the TMR.… Continue reading

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Improvest research shows benefits for hog production

By Kyle Sharp

Ohio State University animal scientist Dustin Boler has been working on research on Improvest, a new injectable product developed by Pfizer Animal Health that offers an alternative to physical castration in male pigs.

“This product definitely has some advantages in production and carcass cutability, so if it is priced reasonably there are some advantages to its use,” said Boler, who has done meat quality research on the product.

The conclusions were that Improvest did not affect eating quality of fresh meat, has minimal affect on pork quality parameters, increases carcass cutability and does not affect the characteristics of further processed pork products. However, the bellies of treated pigs are thinner and softer, which provides some challenges to bacon processors, and treated hogs are slightly leaner, which means a slight reduction in marbling, Boler said.

Improvest is a protein compound that suppresses testicular function in male hogs and controls the impact of “boar taint” on pork quality when used on intact male hogs.… Continue reading

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Ohio pork producers hear industry updates at annual meeting

By Kyle Sharp

About 60 Ohio pork producers heard about a new product that could offer some benefits on their farms during the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) Annual Meeting, held Dec. 13 at the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City.

The evening meeting included a presentation by National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) CEO Neil Dierks.

“He gave an update on many of the exciting things NPPC has done over the past year, including trade agreements, fighting unreasonable regulations and other things going on in Washington,” said Dick Isler, OPPC executive vice president.

Isler also reviewed the many OPPC activities of the past year and recognized new and retiring members of the OPPC Board of Directors. Retiring from the Board after completing four-year terms were Duane Stateler, McComb; Jean Bell, Zanesville; and Dave Grauer, Shiloh. Joining the Board are Kyle Brown, Marion; Connie Surber, Sabina; and Rich Deaton, New Madison.

OPPC activities highlighted included presentations on pork and pork production in 217 high school family and consumer sciences classes reaching nearly 4,700 students just since September, and more than 8,900 students reached last school year; pork-related educational kits sent to 620 second-grade teachers, reaching 15,500 students; participation at the Preble County Pork Festival, with 150,000 people attending; more than 238,000 views of OPPC-produced videos on YouTube; three new videos/television ads produced featuring Ohio pork producers; a consumer e-news e-mail regularly sent to 10,500 subscribers; 30,000 pounds of ground pork donated in 1-pound packages to Ohio food banks during October Pork Month; and two annual trips to Washington, D.C.,… Continue reading

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Farm bill getting tougher amid budgetary woes

By Matt Reese

Every political road leads directly to the budget in Washington right now.

“The budget is driving the farm bill process. It is a black hole that is sucking all the air out of Washington, DC,” said Joe Shultz, senior economist for the U.S. Senate Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “Congress invented the Super Committee with expedited powers to address the budget deficit.”

Of course, this effort did not work out as planned, but Shultz is proud to point out that only agriculture rose to the challenge.

“Only one committee in the U.S. Congress stepped up and worked to create a reasonable plan to save money – the House and Senate Ag Committees,” he said to the crowd at the 2011 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium. “The thing that makes me proud to work in ag is that we were the only committee to come together on a bipartisan basis and give our fair share.… Continue reading

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Prices have downside potential

By Matt Reese

Prices have been strong but there is a lot of downside potential, according to Matt Roberts, Ohio State University agricultural economist.

“We have a supply driven market, not demand driven,” Roberts told attendees at the 2011 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium. “Crop carries are small, and we are not going to see the scramble for bushels next summer. I would be moving my old crop when opportunities arise. If you see $6.30 or $6.40 May Corn futures, take it.”

Ethanol use, feed use and exports have all declined in response to higher prices and global supplies. The lesson, especially for corn, is to take marketing opportunities when they present themselves, Roberts said.

“Next year if we have trend line yields of 161.3 bushels on the 94 million acres that a lot of people are talking about, we’ll get 13.9 billion bushels, which is a lot of corn,” he said.… Continue reading

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Farmers demonstrate Christmas spirit all year

By Kyle Sharp

The Christmas holiday typically sparks a spirit of giving to those in need throughout Ohio and across the country. But through the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program (OACP) and other hunger relief efforts, Ohio’s agricultural community is increasingly sharing its bounty with hungry families throughout the year.

OACP is a statewide program that works with Ohio farmers and commodity groups to provide foodbanks with surplus and unmarketable agricultural products at production cost. OACP was established in 1999 and is funded by the Ohio General Assembly, administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and operated by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASFB).

Gov. John Kasich allocated $12.6 million to OACP this past year, with farmers typically receiving about 20 cents per pound for donated food items, to help offset their cost of production. The program runs out of money before it runs out of available food to purchase, said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, OASHF executive director.… Continue reading

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Flood waters make for soggy Christmas tree sales

By Matt Reese

Christmas tree farms have to deal with the weather twice – once during the growing season and then again during the sales season. With just a few short weeks of marketing for Christmas trees from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the late fall/early winter weather can make or break the entire year.

Despite the soggy weather, Christmas tree sales were up for many Ohio choose-and-cut farms and sales increased nationally as well. This has been the wettest sales season we have ever had on the Reese family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County, but we were fortunate to have some nice weekend days between the incessant rainfall that flooded fields, muddied boots and made for generally miserable tree cutting conditions. We are blessed to have loyal customers, though, who were willing to brave the soggy situation and still come out to get a tree amid the mire.

It is my job to crawl underneath the trees in the mud and cut them down.… Continue reading

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Research on rates of seed treatment

By Anne Dorrance and Clifton Martin, Ohio State University Extension

We evaluated the rate and efficacy of numerous seed treatments this past year. For the vast majority of these trials, there was no significant difference in 2011.

When we could get into the fields, conditions were typically very good with warm, dry soils. Our irrigated field study, at Northwest branch, showed resistance levels to P. sojae in the variety was the most important factor this year.   

We evaluated the 0.16, 0.32, and 0.64 fluid ounces per hundredweight of Apron XL on Sloan (moderate partial resistance), Conrad (high partial resistance) and Kottman (Rps1k, Rps3a plus high partial resistance).  Fungicides had no effect this year on early stand or yield at two locations (P>0.3). However, variety was highly significant (P<0.0001) for final yields. Yields of Kottman were greater than Conrad, which was greater than Sloan. Resistance to P. sojae provided from 30% to 65% more yield in the resistant varieties compared to the susceptible variety at these two locations in 2011. … Continue reading

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Don’t forget to “Buy Ohio” for the holidays

By Kyle Sharp

With job security and the economy on top of everyone’s worry lists this holiday season, more than 18 local Ohio-based consumer products companies such as Hoover-Dirt Devil, Scotts and Nutek have joined together as Buy Ohio, a group designed to spur awareness to purchase products made in the Buckeye state during the holiday shopping season.

Many of these Ohio-made products are closely tied to agriculture, Ohio’s oldest industry. Agriculture has played a strong role in the state’s heritage and still contributes $107 billion annually to the economy, said Howard Wise, Ohio Department of Agriculture assistant director.

“A lot of agricultural products are inputs to non-agricultural products,” Wise said. “The Holiday season is a great time to remind people of Ohio’s many businesses.”

The 18 companies participating in Buy Ohio are located throughout the state, and vary in size and type of consumer products and services. A list of more than 200 consumer products produced in Ohio can be found at the Ohio Department of Development’s website development.ohio.gov/research/documents/b700000000.pdf.… Continue reading

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Don't forget to "Buy Ohio" for the holidays

By Kyle Sharp

With job security and the economy on top of everyone’s worry lists this holiday season, more than 18 local Ohio-based consumer products companies such as Hoover-Dirt Devil, Scotts and Nutek have joined together as Buy Ohio, a group designed to spur awareness to purchase products made in the Buckeye state during the holiday shopping season.

Many of these Ohio-made products are closely tied to agriculture, Ohio’s oldest industry. Agriculture has played a strong role in the state’s heritage and still contributes $107 billion annually to the economy, said Howard Wise, Ohio Department of Agriculture assistant director.

“A lot of agricultural products are inputs to non-agricultural products,” Wise said. “The Holiday season is a great time to remind people of Ohio’s many businesses.”

The 18 companies participating in Buy Ohio are located throughout the state, and vary in size and type of consumer products and services. A list of more than 200 consumer products produced in Ohio can be found at the Ohio Department of Development’s website development.ohio.gov/research/documents/b700000000.pdf.… Continue reading

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Preparing for a tight spot

The Waldo Firefighters Association hosted a training program for its volunteer firefighters on a new Grain Rescue System. The system was purchased with help from a $2,500 donation through Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which gives farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their favorite local nonprofit organizations. This system uses four interlocking panels lowered in the grain surrounding an entrapment victim to help remove the grain, which releases the pressure being applied to the victim and creates a more secure area around the victim for the rescuers to work.

The donations are available through the Monsanto Fund. Susan Schweinfurth was the winning farmer for Marion County and chose to direct the $2,500 donation to The Waldo Firefighters Association.

 

 … Continue reading

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Is your equipment ready for winter?

With harvest finally wrapping up in many parts of the state after a long, wet year, now farmers need to turn their attention to preparing equipment for storage in the winter months. Here is an excerpt from a Q&A with Jason Damron from Delaware County, a professional equipment mechanic and farmer, on winterizing equipment. For the complete interview with Damron see the Mid-December issue of Ohio’s Country Journal

OCJ: With winter on the horizon, what concerns should farmers have regarding their equipment?

Jason: Winterize everything that needs to be winterized because of the freezing temperatures. Anything that has airbrakes on it should have the air dryer cartridge changed on it once a year, preferably before winter. Drain any excess moisture from the air tanks. Remember to check air pressure in all tires because the pressure will drop when the temperature drops.

OCJ: What should farmers do to winterize their equipment?… Continue reading

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SDS research

By Anne Dorrance and Clifton Martin, Ohio State University Extension

The Ohio State University Soybean pathology lab evaluated a number of different components of soybean production this past summer for Ohio producers. Among the research efforts was some work with sudden death syndrome (SDS).

This fungal pathogen infects roots early in the growing season during wet conditions. However, symptom development does not typically occur until the plant reaches the end of its reproductive phase, unless inoculum levels are high, and weather is especially favorable. 

This past season we planted a set of lines that were identified in Illinois as susceptible, moderately susceptible, resistant and highly resistant to this fungus. The location used also has soybean cyst nematode, which is another key pathogen that when SCN and the SDS fungus are both present, symptoms of SDS become well developed. Symptoms of SDS developed prior to flowering this year in the field. This was due to the continued heavy rains shortly after planting. … Continue reading

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MF Global leaves ag in limbo

By Matt Reese

Many farmers and agribusinesses that traded on the futures market with MF Global have been left in limbo since the recent bankruptcy of the firm was announced.

“MF Global is a futures commission merchant, they executed trades and helped client accounts and client funds for trades on the futures markets,” said Matt Roberts, an agriculture economist at Ohio State University. “A couple months ago, it became known to the market that MF Global had taken a large position, about $6 billion, on European sovereign debt in some of the relatively risky countries. When the market found out about this, some people became very concerned about MF Global being able to survive potentially large losses there. That caused some people to start withdrawing money and that caused a reduction in their credit rating, which caused others to withdraw their money. MF Global had to put up more collateral on their trades and it very quickly turned into a death spiral for MF Global, causing it to declare bankruptcy roughly a week after this became known.”… Continue reading

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The Christmas pony

By Kirby Hidy

 

I was about 4 years old when I sat on my first horse. Mom and Dad took my brother and me to a local rodeo and horse show. An uncle and several other local cowboys and cowgirls competed in various events from rough stock to wild cow milking (my uncle’s event) to various pleasure horse and youth classes.

As my family and I walked around the grounds, I was fascinated by the horses and, as far as I was concerned, REAL LIVE COWBOYS! Even at 4 years old I was quite a fan of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the myriad of TV Westerns that were on the air in the 1950s.

Among the contestants were local friends, Virgil and Nellie Hardman. Virg’ was a roper and Nellie, as I recall, showed horses in a “pleasure” class. When we saw them, Mom and Dad stopped for a chat, which gave my brother and me a chance to get up close and quietly pet the horse.… Continue reading

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Does all the rain have you in a rut?

By Randall Reeder, Ohio State University Extension

            “I’m in the combine cab, driving through water to get the corn picked,” said the voice on the other end of a cell phone call today (Dec. 2). Then the long-time no-tiller from Hardin County added, “I’ve got some ruts, but nothing like the neighbors who tilled last fall. What a mess.”

            Yes, even fields that are never tilled likely had some rutting and compaction damage in 2011. But nothing like fields that were plowed a year or two ago.

            Remember last fall? In 2010 corn and soybean harvest was finished about a month early. Too many Ohio farmers “took advantage” of a warm, dry fall to get out an old chisel plow or perhaps buy a new combination tillage tool to work up their corn AND soybeans fields. Research (and recent history) have shown that soybean yields after corn are equal or better with no-till than  with tillage.… Continue reading

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USDA implements provisions from GIPSA

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA has published the Final Rule implementing the 2008 Farm Bill provisions under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

“As I travel throughout the countryside, I often hear from farmers and ranchers about their concerns with the marketplace becoming more concentrated,” Secretary Vilsack said. “While concentration certainly comes with some efficiencies, Congress recognized in the 2008 Farm Bill that additional protections for producers are warranted. Today’s rule will implement these targeted protections and help provide more fairness and transparency in the marketplace.”

The provisions being finalized by the Department today were required by the 2008 Farm Bill and have been modified from the June 22, 2010 proposed rule. These sections include criteria the Secretary may consider when determining whether a live poultry dealer has provided reasonable notice to poultry growers of any suspension of the delivery of birds, when determining whether a requirement of additional capital investments over the life of a poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract constitutes a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act and when determining if a packer, swine contractor, or live poultry dealer has provided a reasonable period of time for a grower to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to termination of a production contract.… Continue reading

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