Day 4 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

On the fourth and final day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, the western and eastern legs of the Tour converged in Austin, Minnesota to compile the results. The touring agronomists found an average corn yield of 175.93 bushels per acre for Minnesota and 164.62 bushels per acre for Iowa. Pod counts in a 3’x3’ square totaled 1,124.20 pods in Minnesota and 1,221.94 pods in Iowa.

Jerome Lansing, Pioneer agronomist, found a dichotomy of a year in Mower County Minnesota.

“Growing conditions started out relatively wet during planting. Planting was drawn out-ranging from two weeks to six weeks in length. May held colder temperatures and July brought hot temperatures,” he reported. “Reduced solar radiation coupled with lack of rainfall with 5-6 weeks is why we speculate seeing some kernel abortion in corn. Right now crops are at a standstill with moisture, and we’re seeing shallower kernel depth due to lack of moisture.… Continue reading

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Increased scrutiny offers chance showcase conservation


By Matt Reese

There are few places more scrutinized than a livestock farm in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed, which has captured national attention with its toxic algae horror stories. There is no question that a problem exists and, right or wrong, the blame often falls animal agriculture in the Watershed.

“We’re 3 miles from the lake and we live on a major state highway, so people watch us pretty closely,” said Lou Brown, who runs Brownhaven Dairy with his brother Alan. “The town people are very upset about farmers polluting their lake and they will tell you about it.”

But rather than try to avoid all of the unwanted attention directed at animal agriculture in the area, this year’s Dairy Environmental Steward Award winner, presented by the Ohio Livestock Coalition and Ohio Dairy Producers Association, welcomes the chance to show others the extensive measures that have been taken on the farm to benefit the environment, including the notorious waters of Grand Lake St.… Continue reading

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Pro Farmer Crop Tour- Day 3

Day three of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour finished Illinois and went through part of Iowa.

On the eastern leg Illinois corn averaged 155.00 bushels per acre. The three year average is 166.88 bushels per acre. Soybeans had an average of 1,196.04 pods per three by three foot square.

Katie Micik of DTN saw fields ready to harvest in Mason County, Illinois. She said the the sandy soils allowed for early planting and the warmer temperatures sped up maturity.

Chip Flory of Pro Farmer reported corn in the Fremont County, Iowa area looked steamrolled and the some of the beans were hailed down to the stem. Final numbers from Iowa will be released on Thursday evening.

 … Continue reading

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John Deere has largest ever launch of new equipment

Today in Indianapolis, John Deere is unveiling its new ag equipment for 2012 as part of the largest, most significant product introduction in the company’s 174-year history. Significant improvements in power, comfort, and performance are the hallmarks of the new machines including the S-Series Combines with larger corn heads and platforms; high-horsepower 4WD and track 9R/9RT Tractors; 6R Series row-crop tractors and 5 Series utility and specialty tractors.

According to Barry Nelson, manager of media relations for John Deere Ag and Turf Division, these products greatly extend the company’s broad portfolio of equipment products for use in all types of farming, livestock and specialty crop operations, as well as for commercial and property maintenance businesses.

Nelson visits with Ty Higgins about Wednesday’s product unveiling.

JD Barry Nelson

In addition to new John Deere combines, headers and tractors, the company recently introduced its new 7R Series Tractors for the row-crop market; its largest, most advanced self-propelled 4940 Sprayer with 1,200-gal.… Continue reading

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Day Two of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

Today’s eastern leg of the 2011 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour went from Fishers, Indiana to Bloomington, Illinois. The western leg of the Tour moved from Grand Island, Nebraska, to Nebraska City, Nebraska.
In Indiana, the corn yield average was 143.1 bushels per acre, well below the three-year average of 162.74. The soybean pod count in three square feet was 1,137.56 pods, also below the 3-year average of 1,244.
Pioneer agronomist Mike Hellmer said that, with all the stress this year, ear shanks and stalks will likely be as weak. The next few weeks are the best time to evaluate the stalk strength. Hellmer was also surprised to find some diplodia ear mold in some hybrids despite the limited moisture. This is probably due to the stressful conditions during pollination and the heavy dews in the morning.
The corn in Nebraska had an average yield of 153.7 bushels per acre, which is just above the three-year average of 152.98 bushels.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-August 22nd

“That June corn looks respectable considering the conditions. I checked some of the pollination and it looks decent. There are no zipper ears that I could find, and I moved around through the field quite a bit.

“We got those showers, not any big rains, and we got cooler weather, which really helped. It is not going to be too far off of nor- mal, I think. The May corn, though, is probably only 50% of normal yield. It is extremely short, uneven and hurting.“The worst parts of the county are on our west end where we are and the southeast part. Last week around Sherwood, about 5 miles from us, got 2 to 4 inches. We could see it from our house. We just didn’t get it. Then, in the southeast around Ayersville, it is terrible and the beans are really short.

“Our beans are short and we have sprayed at least 80% of our beans for either aphids or spider mites.… Continue reading

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Pro Farmer Crop Tour kicks off in Ohio

Aug. 22 kicked off the four-day Pro Farmer Midwest Crop tour where expert agronomists start on opposite ends of the Corn Belt and work their way to the center, evaluating crops along the way. The tour began with Pioneer agronomist Justin Welch heading up the Eastern Route with teams in Columbus, Ohio and Pioneer account manager Tim Lewandowski who started in Revenna, Nebraska. On day four, both routes converge on Austin, Minnesota where notes from the span of the Corn Belt will be compared, compiled and shared.

There were around 12 teams working their way through Ohio’s crop fields on the first day of the tour. John Leighty, with Trupointe, was with a team that visited fields in 18 counties in western and northwestern Ohio.

“We saw a crop that still has a long way to go. It is a crop that would still benefit with more rain and a crop that will be reduced substantially if it turns off dry for the rest of the summer,” Leighty said.… Continue reading

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Rocking the Defiance County Fair

By Matt Reese

In the past, when there was a major event really rocking the grandstand at the Defiance County Fair, the grandstand was really rocking, and not is a positive way.

“The stands creaked and groaned. People were actually scared to go in them, and if you saw what it looked like underneath them, you’d have been scared too,” said Earl Klepper, Defiance County Fair Board member. “It was around 135 years old and it was on its last legs. It had been condemned by the state multiple times and every year we were trying to patch up the old grandstands.”

The aged structure with hand-hewn beams held together with pegs had plenty of memories tied to it, but it was time for it to go according to Klepper and many in the community.

To quantify the growing concern about the old grandstand, the Defiance County Fair Foundation took a community poll to determine where to focus their fund raising efforts.… Continue reading

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Will the corn crop mature?

By Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology, Seed Consultants, Inc.
Corn growth is driven by heat units or growing degree days (GDDs). The corn hybrids used in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky range in relative maturity of 105 to 117 days or 2,400 to 2,900 GDDs. We subtract 50 from the average daily temperature to get the GDDs for each day, with the limitation that if the low temperature falls below 50 degrees F, we use 50 as low. If the temperature goes above 86, we use 86 as the high for that day. By adding the GDDs of each day from planting to physiological maturity or “black layer” (about 32% grain moisture), gives us the growing degrees needed by the hybrid. The Black layer is a very thin line, which is formed at the tip of the kernel at physiological maturity, after which no more dry matter goes into the kernels and the process of dry-down begins.… Continue reading

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Planning for a successful future on the farm

By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, N. Ohio

There is a constant battle raging in each one of us between planning and “going with our gut.” It is an extremely difficult battle because the business decisions we make on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis are full of emotions and forces we cannot control. Focusing on getting the most out of crops/business, being cost conscious, and understanding the marketplace can be both daunting and frustrating. Yet while both approaches have some validity and may lead to positive results, only planning accomplishes goals consistently.


First, lets dispell a few myths about creating decision-based plans before reviewing planning:

Myth #1. It’s too early to start planning for 2012, 2011 isn’t even complete.

Fact: Production agriculture is a 24/7/365 multiyear business process and changing this myth is critical to adopting the notion you run a viable business. It is never to early to start planning ahead.… Continue reading

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Field demos at FSR are a go

By Matt Reese

After the late planting this spring, there was some concern about crops being ready for harvest in the field demonstrations at the Farm Science Review. On Aug. 19, the FSR field demo committee spent the day evaluating the corn and soybeans in the demonstration plots to determine if they will be mature in time for harvest during the Farm Science Review.

The crops look great after the late start thanks to rapid heat unit accumulation, consistent rains and cooler temperatures during grain fill. The maturity of the soybeans will be close, but whether they can be harvested during the review has yet to be determined.

“They’re going to be close,” said Nate Douridas, farm manager. “If they miss it, it will only be by a week.”

The soybeans are desiccated every year, but they have to already be maturing and turning yellow. Once they start yellowing they can be desiccated, and they must be desiccated 15 days before harvest, which is just two-weeks away.… Continue reading

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Consumers and farmers finding “CommonGround”

By Matt Reese

The old saying, “behind every great man there is a great woman,” is not inaccurate. In fact, the saying may be even more applicable for farms because of the myriad of contributions women make to agriculture, from off-farm income to get through the lean years to the daily tasks of driving tractors, keeping the books and feeding farm families.

And, through the CommonGround program sponsored by the United Soybean Board and the National Corn Growers Association, farm women are filling another vital role for agriculture by reaching out to consumers. Because those of the fairer sex make most food purchasing decisions, positive messages from strong farm women are powerful tools for reaching the most important consumers.

“CommonGround is made up of a group of farm women who are starting conversations between the women who grow food and the women who buy it. These women are volunteers who are passionate about agriculture and setting the record straight on the facts about farming and food,” said Jennifer Coleman, with the Ohio Soybean Council that is working with CommonGround Ohio.… Continue reading

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County Fair fun from around Ohio

There are so many great sounds, sights and smiles at Ohio’s fantastic county fairs. Send us some of your favorite photos to feature in the OCJ and on the Web. Send your favorites to and we’ll pick a winner at the end of the year who will get a pass to every county fair in the state for 2012! Be sure to check out our photos from the Ohio State Fair as well.… Continue reading

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What a difference a month makes

What a difference a month makes. Roger Zeedyk sent this photo to show the big change in his corn crop. This photo was taken on Aug. 15, not even a month after the previous picture of the same field was taken on July 19. With rains and cooler temperatures, this corn has made unbelievable progress.  For more from Roger about his Defiance County corn crop, see the latest Between the Rows.

Photo taken July 19 in the same corn field at the same location.… Continue reading

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New permanent grain bin rescue training center in Sidney

Twenty four firefighters from around the state came together for a three day, 32 hour training for grain bin entry and technical rescue. This training is the third annual training in Ohio designed and led by firefighters from the Safety and Technical Rescue Association (SATRA). The training was held at Trupointe Cooperative’s Sidney location in the new permanent training center.

“We have recognized that the agriculture industry has an issue with rescues and responding to medical emergencies,” said Steve Queen, safety and risk coordinator for Trupointe. “This training, specific to the grain industry, will give rescuers in depth and hands on experience with grain engulfment’s and high angle rescues that will, when required, lead to a successful outcome”.

Trupointe and the Seaway Chapter of Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS), have been working together with SATRA to design trainings and provide real-life situations for firefighters around the state. This year is the first training to take place in the new, permanent facility.… Continue reading

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Better weather keeps hopes alive for a good crop in 2011

Late planting conditions coupled with high heat and below-average rainfall throughout June and early July could have spelled disaster for Ohio’s corn crop this year. A reversal of meteorological fortunes during critical phases of the growing season, however, means a near-trendline yield is still possible, according to Ohio State University experts.

“Over the past three weeks I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how good the corn looks,” said Peter Thomison, Extension corn specialist and professor of horticulture and crop science. “We’ve managed to get some timely rains, and by and large we’ve been pretty lucky.”

While acknowledging that pockets of the state have missed key rainfalls and may be more of a “mixed bag,” Thomison said his overall impression of the crop has improved in recent days with improvements in weather conditions.

He said that the lack of moisture during the first six weeks of the already-late growing season, plus periods with sustained 90-degree temperatures, was particularly concerning.… Continue reading

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Was corn ear development affected by heat and drought?

By Dave Nanda, Ph. D. 
Director of Genetics & Technology 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

While scouting the corn fields in August, I noticed there were many plants with two or more ears with silks, in spite of the heat and drought we were experiencing. Why was that?

There were 32,000 to 34,000 plants per acre. Well, it indicated that those fields had sufficient nutrients and plenty of moisture from rains in the spring months and the soils had good water retaining capacity. The question is, “Would the second ears contribute to yield?” It depends on whether we get some rains soon and we return to normal, cooler temperatures. If so, the top ears should develop fully and the second ear-shoot might also contribute to yield.

The plants are still in a “luxury mode” where they are trying to produce the maximum number of kernels they can within the limits of their genetics and environmental conditions.… Continue reading

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USDA report confirms the tight corn supply

As expected, the Agriculture Department lowered the corn production forecast in its August crop report released today due to heat stress over much of the Corn Belt.
Economists with the American Farm Bureau Federation continue to stress that tight supplies mean the U.S. needs every bushel of corn that farmers can produce this year.
“Analysts were expecting to see a drop in both average yield and production compared to the July report, but the yield and production numbers actually came out lower than what market watchers were anticipating,” said Todd Davis, AFBF crops economist. “This tells us we still have a very tight supply situation in corn this year. We will need a good harvest this fall to meet market demands and add to our very tight stocks.”
USDA forecast corn production at 12.9 billion bushels in its August report, which is 4% larger than 2010 production, and if realized, will be the third largest corn crop on record.… Continue reading

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100-bushel beans?

A hungry world is waiting to be fed in coming decades and growers of every crop will need to expand productivity to meet the massive needs of the growing population. A little closer to home, bumping up per acre profitability never hurts the profit margin.
With continuing improvements in plant genetics, biotechnology and farm management, producing high-yielding soybeans is more attainable than ever, according to one Ohio State University Extension expert, but growers must first master the basics of soybean production.
“We’ve been pushing for two or three years now yield goals of 100-bushel beans and 300-bushel corn,” said Harold Watters, assistant professor and coordinator of the university’s Agronomic Crops Team.
Watters said while producing such productive soybeans is possible, producers have a tendency to look for additional, or “alternative,” management practices before having fully mastered the basic tenets of raising beans. Those basics boil down to four key management practices: planting date, row width, seeding rate and weed control.… Continue reading

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