Slider

Defunct Super Committee farm bill had some new concepts

By Kyle Sharp

 

When the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly referred to as the Super Committee, was formed this summer and charged with developing a plan by Thanksgiving to trim $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years, they asked all the Congressional committees to submit proposed savings packages. The House and Senate Agriculture Committees were the only combined committee to complete that request, submitting a complete farm bill package toward the end of the week of Nov. 14.

That effort was all for not, as the Super Committee members announced Nov. 21 that a compromise would not be reached. Ohio’s sole member of the Super Committee, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), said he was “deeply frustrated” by the outcome and believes “both sides will regret this lost opportunity.”

“We failed to reach agreement because, despite good intentions on both sides, we simply couldn’t bridge fundamental policy differences that reflect a broader disagreement in the Congress and country as a whole over the size and scope of government,“ Portman said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn yields overcame late start

By Matt Reese
Fortunately, general yields for corn and soybeans have been pleasantly surprising after the late start in 2011, said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist.
“The yields are a testimony to the fact that farmers are selecting good genetics. Well over 50% of the yield improvements we’re seeing on a yearly basis are due to genetics and agronomic practices in tandem. Obviously we’re pushing plant populations in corn. Growers did their homework and made good decisions to spread their risks by going with some earlier hybrids that still had high yield potential,” Thomison said. “Even in Western Ohio that had far from ideal rainfall distribution, we still managed to harvest very respectable yields in our corn performance test planted in late May. That was not always true across the landscape with different soil types, but I think even in the driest areas there were quite a few growers expecting lower yields than what they ended up with.… Continue reading

Read More »

Research to reduce gas emissions from animal facilities

By Lingying Zhao, Ohio State University associate professor and Extension agricultural engineer

Mitigate gas emissions from animal facilities

As animal farms evolve toward larger and more concentrated operations, animal barns and manure storages become significant sources of carbon and nitrogen gas emissions. These air emissions include odor, ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Ammonia emission results in rising environmental and health concerns. Methane and nitrous oxide emissions are known as greenhouse gases (GHGs) causing climate change concerns. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 27% and 76% of the total anthropogenic methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3) emit from agricultural animal production activities. To achieve sustainable animal production, effective technologies to mitigate or recover ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions from animal facilities are needed.

In reviewing the existing air emission abatement technologies, impermeable covers and bio-digesters are used to collect and produce methane from manure storages, biofilters are studied to effectively reduce odor emissions from swine buildings and manure storages, and wet scrubbers are developed to recover ammonia emission from animal buildings and manure storages.… Continue reading

Read More »

Profitable pork production in 2012?

The pork industry is expected to have a profitable year in 2012. In fact, the level of profitability could be the most favorable during the high-priced feed era, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist.

“Profits in 2012 are currently forecast to be near $17 per head, which would be the highest since 2006. That was the last year of the low feed-price era when corn prices received by farmers averaged about $2.30 per bushel for the calendar year and estimated hog profits were $27 per head,” he said.

Although a return to profitability is welcome news, there are deeper and more important implications, he said.

“The first is that the pork industry, like most other animal industries, has made the adjustments necessary to live in a world of high-priced feed. The second is that the pork industry probably has turned the corner on high feed prices as we look to 2012 with abundant and cheap feed wheat, prospects for moderation in the rate of growth in corn use for ethanol, the potential for a larger South American soybean crop, and hope for a return to higher U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

Talkin' turkey

A conversation with Jim Chakeres, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Poultry Association

OCJ: You prepare turkey quite often around the holidays. What do you look for when selecting your turkey?

Jim: Thanks for allowing me to talk turkey. I usually prepare 4-5 turkeys each holiday season — two for my family to enjoy and 2 or 3 for different presentations.

Many choices are available to the consumer. Frozen turkeys are most abundant this time of year in local supermarkets. Fresh (not frozen) turkeys are also an excellent choice. Both should yield a plump, juicy and flavorful holiday meal. You need to remember that turkeys take up a lot of space in the refrigerator. A frozen turkey will need to be in the refrigerator several days to thaw, while a fresh turkey may be purchased the day before. Frozen turkeys are also more economical. You may need to order a fresh turkey a couple of weeks in advance.… Continue reading

Read More »

Talkin’ turkey

A conversation with Jim Chakeres, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Poultry Association

OCJ: You prepare turkey quite often around the holidays. What do you look for when selecting your turkey?

Jim: Thanks for allowing me to talk turkey. I usually prepare 4-5 turkeys each holiday season — two for my family to enjoy and 2 or 3 for different presentations.

Many choices are available to the consumer. Frozen turkeys are most abundant this time of year in local supermarkets. Fresh (not frozen) turkeys are also an excellent choice. Both should yield a plump, juicy and flavorful holiday meal. You need to remember that turkeys take up a lot of space in the refrigerator. A frozen turkey will need to be in the refrigerator several days to thaw, while a fresh turkey may be purchased the day before. Frozen turkeys are also more economical. You may need to order a fresh turkey a couple of weeks in advance.… Continue reading

Read More »

Kudzu spreading north into Ohio

An invasive species synonymous with the South has taken root in the Eastern Corn Belt, but according to Ohio State University field crop pathologist Anne Dorrance, it doesn’t yet present quite the headaches for farmers above the Mason-Dixon Line as it has below.

“I first became aware of this plant back in 2005 when we started getting an assessment of how much kudzu was around and how close it was because it is an additional host of the soybean rust pathogen,” said Dorrance, who is also a soybean disease researcher at OARDC. Dorrance said in her studies of soybean rust, she traveled extensively in southern Ohio searching for patches of kudzu, learning how the plant overwintered in the relatively colder climate of the Buckeye State.

What she learned over the past six years, coupled with the work of other soybean disease researchers across the country, is that not all kudzu is hospitable to soybean rust.… Continue reading

Read More »

There is plenty more to do after harvest is complete

As farmers wrap up harvesting corn and soybeans across the Eastern Corn Belt, the work is just getting started on many farms, with fertilizer, herbicide and tillage applications planned in the waning weeks of productivity for 2011.

“As we finish harvesting soybeans, farmers have started putting on phosphorus and potassium, mostly during the past two weeks,” said Harold Watters, with Extension’s Agronomic Crops Team. “Custom applicators were ready to go into the field for a long time, and we are glad to finally see them moving.”

Watters, a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) and coordinator of Extension’s CCA-targeted education efforts, said despite the lateness of harvest and seemingly frequent precipitation, farmers have been remarkably productive this fall.

He noted that in addition to fertilizer applications to improve the fertility of the soil, timely herbicide application is also an important fall activity.

“As quickly as farmers finish harvesting corn, they’re going to have sprayers in the field spraying purple nettle, marestail and chickweed to get those out of the way for next year’s soybeans,” Watters explained.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn insect management

By Harold Watters, Champaign County Extension

In the past, Corn Rootworm (CRW) was the costliest insect in corn production. With the advent of first soil insecticides, then widespread use of crop rotation and then the use of CRW genes in our hybrids all of that has changed.

But nature (at least insects) has a way of fighting back. Ron Hammond and Andy Michel our Extension Entomologists have written a couple of articles this fall on that topic. This one on Picking Your Transgenic Hybrids for 2012 is a must read and outlines the developing resistance problem in the western Corn Belt.

An issue facing corn growers this fall and winter when purchasing corn for next spring centers around the recent announcement of western corn rootworms developing resistance to Cry3Bb1. The trait is one of the rootworm-control Bt genes that has been incorporated into various corn hybrids including YieldGard VTRW and YieldGard VT Triple, and in the pyramided hybrid SmartStax. … Continue reading

Read More »

Between the Rows- November 17, 2011

“We’re done with soybeans and we started with corn last week and we’re about 20% done with it. We just ran a number of moisture checks and they were all coming in at 24% to 24.5% moisture. We’re going to drag our feet a little bit and wait to see if the corn dries down anymore. We got an inch of rain and it is not conducive for shelling just yet. We have well over 1,000 acres to do yet, but we’re going to go slow with the corn. It is still standing really well.

“Yields have been excellent. It is amazing. We had the wettest April on record and 50% above normal moisture in May and one of the wettest years on record. Then we had the very dry summer, and to get the yields that we have is amazing. Corn yields so far have been average or just a tick below, which is very good considering the year.… Continue reading

Read More »

EPA regulations threaten farms

In just the last three years, the Environmental Protection Agency has set in motion a significant number of new regulations that will significantly change the face of agriculture. The coming changes threaten the continued operation of family farms and ranches, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Testifying on behalf of AFBF before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, Carl Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, said EPA proposals to exert greater regulatory control over agriculture will drive up the cost of producing food, fiber and fuel.

“EPA proposals are overwhelming to farmers and ranchers and are creating a cascade of costly requirements that are likely to drive individual farmers to the tipping point,” Shaffer said. “The overwhelming number of proposed regulations on the nation’s food system is unprecedented and promises profound effects on both the structure and competitiveness of all of agriculture.

“In contrast to EPA’s heavy-handed approach of issuing crushing regulatory burdens, agriculture and the Agriculture Department have worked together over the last few decades to make enormous strides in agriculture’s environmental performance by adopting a range of conservation practices and environmental measures,” Shaffer said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Demand strong for U.S. soybeans

Federal government figures show U.S. soy continues to be in strong demand among international customers.

Buyers outside of the United States purchased 1.5 billion bushels of whole U.S. soybeans in the latest marketing year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That makes U.S. soy one of the largest agricultural exports.  And U.S. agriculture continues to lead all economic sectors with a positive balance of trade.

“Increasing demand for U.S. soy abroad has been the cornerstone of the soybean-checkoff-funded marketing efforts for the past 20 years,” said Jim Call, a soybean farmer from Madison, Minn. Call also chairs the United Soybean Board (USB) International Marketing program. “We focus not just on China, but on increasing sales in other international markets, as well.”

“The soybean checkoff helps fund market-building activities like hosting international buying teams and conducting poultry and livestock feeding demonstrations abroad that prove the advantages of using U.S. soy,” Call said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Harvest progress still slow going

By Matt Reese

It seems as if Mother Nature wanted to make up for the general earliness and good weather for planting and harvest in 2010 by soaking the state in the spring and fall of 2011. It seemed that for every bit of cooperation the weather held for making 2010 one of the earliest planting seasons and harvest seasons in history in 2010, less than timely rains averaged things out in 2011.

The soggy spring, summer blessed with steady rains for much of the state, and waterlogged fall made this year one of the wettest years on record in Ohio. Jim Noel, with the National Weather Service, said that depending on rainfall for the remainder of the year, some sections of northern and southern Ohio will have the all-time wettest year on record, while the central section of the state will likely be the top five wettest years. The Cincinnati area has already set the all time record with 60.71 inches of rain, beating the previous record of 57.58 set in 1990.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA Crop Report offers little excitement during harvest

Amid a long harvest of endless hours sitting in a combine seat staring at rows of corn and soybeans, farmers got little from the November USDA Crop Report to generate much excitement.

Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts described the report as “pretty boring.” The grain markets, for the most part, are watching other markets, awaiting thoughts of buying acres for 2012 production.

“The grain market overall did not look at the report as particularly bullish or bearish,” Roberts said. “The market, over the past few weeks, has been much more influenced by the outside markets, primarily equities and the European debt situation. Those have been much bigger factors than grain market fundamentals.”

Roberts said USDA’s latest crop production figures and estimates of supply and demand yielded few significant changes.

The report, released Nov. 9, showed a decrease in corn production of 1.4 bushels per acre, down to an average yield of 146.7 bushels.… Continue reading

Read More »

Kasich appoints Zehringer Director of ODNR

On Nov. 15, Governor John R. Kasich made an official announcement that Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Jim Zehringer will become Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).  Dr. Tony Forshey, the state veterinarian for the past six years, has been named interim director of ODA.

As Director, Zehringer replaces David Mustine who now oversees energy development efforts at JobsOhio.  Assistant Director Scott Zody has served as interim director of ODNR since Mustine’s departure on September 7.

Prior to his service at ODA, Director Zehringer was the State Representative for the 77th House District and is the former owner and operator of the Meiring Poultry and Fish Farm in Fort Recovery, Ohio.

Dr. Forshey has 27 years of service in veterinary medicine, is on the Board of Directors of the United States Animal Health Association and the National Institute of Animal Agriculture, and is a past recipient of the Ohio Veterinarian of the Year Award from the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn prices sideways and sliding

Corn prices have traded in a sideways pattern since mid-October, but are currently in the lower end of the recent range, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“Soybean prices have trended lower over the past month with January futures now back near the early October lows,” said Darrel Good.

Corn prices received little support from last week’s USDA Crop Production report containing a lower forecast for the size of the U.S. crop. The U.S. average corn yield is projected at an eight-year low of 146.7 bushels, 1.4 bushels below the October forecast, he said.

“The potentially positive price impact of that reduction was muted by USDA’s judgment that feed and residual use of corn will only reach 4.6 billion bushels during the current marketing year, 100 million bushels below the October forecast,” he said.

The forecast is 192 million bushels below the surprisingly small estimate for the previous marketing year, he added.… Continue reading

Read More »

Costs squeezing bottom line for dairy producers

With high forage costs and grain prices threatening profit margins for dairy producers, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist says it’s important to keep an eye on the bottom line.

The preliminary U.S. all milk price for October 2011 was estimated at $19.90 per hundredweight, which is a decrease from September but up about $1.40 from October of 2010. Despite the strong prices, soaring feed costs still threaten dairy producers’ profits.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s milk-to-feed price ratio for October 2011 was estimated at 1.79, down from a revised 1.84 in September 2011,” Nicole Olynk said. “Despite higher milk prices in 2011, rising feed costs have caused the decline in the milk-to-feed price ratio from 2.40 in October of last year.”

Part of the challenge for dairies has been corn and soybean prices. But October soybean and corn prices were down from September, averaging $5.92 per bushel for corn and $11.90 per bushel for soybeans.… Continue reading

Read More »

Costs and profits on the rise for crops in 2012

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Ohio State University Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

 

Crop profitability prospects for 2012 are positive for the three major row crops in Ohio. Input costs have increased from last year but high futures prices for 2012 crops allow producers to plan for positive margins for next year. OSU Extension Enterprise Budget projections show positive returns for corn, soybeans and wheat in 2012.

But, with that in mind, it is also important to note that OSU Extension Budgets show projected variable (cash) costs for corn, soybean, and wheat production to all be 10% higher in 2012 versus 2011. The higher commodity prices and higher costs lead us to a riskier production year as the cash investment in an acre of corn will top $400 (excluding land, machinery and labor costs) and in some production scenarios be closer to $450 per acre.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm bill proposals mark “evolutionary change”

After analyzing 10 major proposals circulating for the 2012 Farm Bill as of the first week of October 2011, an Ohio State University farm policy expert said the proposals reflect a striking commonality in the philosophical changes underlying the debate over federal farm programs.

“I’m not saying there aren’t differences, but if you look at the proposals in their entirety, there is a large amount of overlap,” said Carl Zulauf, a professor with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “If you focus on the differences, you miss what is a striking amount of similarities in the direction of policy change.”

Zulauf evaluated 10 Farm Bill proposals, looking at those similarities and differences using information from the Congressional Research Service and documents publicly released by the proposal’s author.

All but one of the proposals had a shallow loss component, addressed multiple-year risk, were oriented to revenue, discussed the need for coordination of the program with crop insurance, had an individual crop orientation, and required a loss for a farm to receive payments.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm bill proposals mark "evolutionary change"

After analyzing 10 major proposals circulating for the 2012 Farm Bill as of the first week of October 2011, an Ohio State University farm policy expert said the proposals reflect a striking commonality in the philosophical changes underlying the debate over federal farm programs.

“I’m not saying there aren’t differences, but if you look at the proposals in their entirety, there is a large amount of overlap,” said Carl Zulauf, a professor with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “If you focus on the differences, you miss what is a striking amount of similarities in the direction of policy change.”

Zulauf evaluated 10 Farm Bill proposals, looking at those similarities and differences using information from the Congressional Research Service and documents publicly released by the proposal’s author.

All but one of the proposals had a shallow loss component, addressed multiple-year risk, were oriented to revenue, discussed the need for coordination of the program with crop insurance, had an individual crop orientation, and required a loss for a farm to receive payments.… Continue reading

Read More »