Hibernation a way of life for February’s favorite mammals

This time of year, to cope with the climatic changes they face, some animals hibernate and some migrate, while others stay put, growing thick coats and consuming extra food. Hibernation is one of the most intriguing methods animals use to survive cold weather. When an animal hibernates, its heart rate, body temperature and other life processes slow down, putting them into a kind of a “deep sleep.”

February’s favorite mammals, groundhogs, are popular hibernators, according to Geoff Westerfield, a wildlife biologist with the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

“Groundhogs hibernate nearly the entire winter,” Westerfield said. “They won’t reemerge until the first few weeks of February, when some signs of spring begin to show.”

During a groundhog’s hibernation — which lasts an average of five months — its body temperature lowers by almost half and its heart slows down from 160 to four beats per minute.

When outside temperatures drop dangerously low, skunks, raccoons, chipmunks, and opossums are known to go into a temporary hibernation.… Continue reading

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Finding marketing opportunities

Conflicting government information affected the markets late last month. First, the U.S. Treasury Secretary said he was hoping for a weaker dollar. Then 24 hours later, the President said he favored a stronger dollar. Exports are sensitive to exchange rates, so these conflicting statements caused some market volatility.

Constantly changing weather forecasts in South America also continue to help move markets in both directions. On Jan. 26, corn traded at its highest level since late summer and after a few wild weeks beans also increased to levels unseen in the last month. With these price increases, several grain buyers throughout the Midwest reported the most farmer selling they’ve seen in months.


Beans — 2018 sales

With the strong rally, I hedged some 2018 beans. On 1/22/18 I sold Aug futures at $10.06 and on 1/25/18 I sold more Aug futures at $10.20. Each of these sales represent 25% of my 2018 crop, so that makes me about 50% sold for 2018 with an average price of $10.13.… Continue reading

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Pleasant Valley Poultry: An Amish processor to crow about

Nestled in the hills of Amish country outside of Baltic, Pleasant Valley Poultry meets a variety of needs for both poultry producers and meat shop patrons. Owned and operated by Aden Troyer with his wife Wilma, and their children Marion, Daniel, Emma, and Leanna, the custom processing facility and retail store have flourished from the onset of the business.

The Troyers are part of the local Amish community, and when Aden first opened Pleasant Valley Poultry, he was looking to save costs on processing his own birds that he had raised for years and he wanted to help his neighbors out with their own meat processing needs.

“I was previously a farrier, and as I got older, I was looking for something not as strenuous and was looking for something for extra work and income for the girls,” Troyer said, “I started chickens as a sideline business, but within six months, it became full time.… Continue reading

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Update on Miami Valley Feed and Grain spill cleanup efforts

The Sutherly family owns Miami Valley Feed and Grain in New Carlisle where a grain tank collapsed late on Jan. 21, spilling around 365,000 bushels of corn worth over $1.25 million. The wave of corn knocked out power and buried State Route 571. Sam Sutherly was kind enough to offer an update on the progress since the spill.

OCJ: What is the status of the cleanup effort?

Sam: The corn was cleared off of the road on Wednesday, Jan. 24, but State Route 571 remains closed by the City of New Carlisle. They decided that it would be easier for the utility companies (AT&T and Dayton Power & Light) to reset the utility poles without the normal flow of traffic. With the extra days, the machinery and semis had better access to the corn nearest to the road. The corn is being loaded quickly and safely to be shipped. The road is supposed to officially open for public use on Jan.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 42 | Biodiesel, NFU Policy and A Mess of Corn

This week on the Ohio Ag Net Podcast Dale Minyo gives his takeaway from last week’s National Biodiesel Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas and you’ll hear his conversation with Wade Thorson from Benchmark Biodiesel. Matt Reese shares what was address at this year’s Ohio Farmers Union Annual Meeting with Joe Logan and Rob Larew and Ty Higgins posts his visit with Sam Sutherly, the owner of the grain bin that busted in New Carlisle, Ohio last week.
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Ohio Farmers Union sets policy for 2018

The Ohio Farmers Union members gathered in Columbus on Friday and Saturday and covered a broad swath of issues pertaining to Ohio’s family farmers in its 84th annual meeting.

OFU passed two “special orders of business” — or policy priorities for 2018 — concerning Lake Erie water quality and nutrient management.

The Wood County Farmers Union brought up concern about what should happen if federal and state officials declare the open waters of the western basin of Lake Erie “impaired” — a federal designation that would lead to the establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads for nutrients like phosphorous emitted from watersheds draining into Lake Erie.

“We know a lot about nutrient management and water quality now but we don’t know everything. There is an impatience among many communities, mostly non-farm communities, about making sure we move that needle and so far that needle has not moved much. The pressure is up and we may have to start thinking of new ways to approach this,” said Joe Logan, Ohio Farmers Union president.… Continue reading

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The politics and economics of crop insurance in 2018

Crop insurance critics have a blind spot.

That sentiment comes from former Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator Kenneth Ackerman, who is now an Of Counsel attorney at OFW Law, concentrating his practice on Federal crop insurance and agriculture programs.

“Crop insurance is a very important part of the farm bill and one of the very few issues that almost everyone in the farm community agrees on,” Ackerman said. “It’s grown substantially over the past few years and as a result it’s become something of a target.”

Crop insurance is the largest core agriculture support programs with an estimated price tag of $7.7 billion per year, which has the attention of budget cutters’ in Washington.

“Over the last several cycles of farm bills and appropriations bills, we have seen people looking to take money away from crop insurance to spend someplace else,” Ackerman said. “We’ve already seen for 2018 a number of reports coming out of different ‘think tanks’ suggesting cuts to crop insurance.… Continue reading

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Artificial intelligence being applied on farms takes data to the next level

It was not long ago when the term “artificial intelligence” was something largely reserved for sci-fi movies. But, increasingly, daily life is being influenced with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

“AI is changing everything from the way we shop with products like Amazon’s Echo using voice commands to initiate the purchase of products while other AI devices like Nest keep our homes safe and comfortable,” said Christopher Wiegman, a graduate student in the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. “These devices represent a new type of ‘smart’ technology that utilizes AI or machine learning. Machine learning distills large amounts of input data into algorithms based on patterns. The amount of investment in the field of AI has grown substantially spanning all economic sectors ranging from industrial to consumer goods, health care and even banking. Technology titans such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are committing heavily to continuing development of AI.”… Continue reading

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National Biodiesel Conference celebrates 25 years of accomplishments

Producers, marketers and aficionados gathered in Fort Worth, Texas in late January for the 25th National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

Attendees got to learn about the latest policy developments related to biodiesel, see a hot-off-the-line B20 ready diesel Ford F-150 pickup truck, visit a Vehicle Showcase featuring offerings from General Motors, John Deere, Caterpillar and Optimus Technologie, learn about a semi-truck that runs on 100% biodiesel, and enjoy the Biodiesel Ride & Drive that allowed attendees to take a spin in new diesel vehicles around Fort Worth.

Though the focus of the conference was on fuel, it has very agricultural roots. Soybean farmers were instrumental in the initial push for biodiesel and the start of the conference 25 years ago.

“We need to remember that we have a tremendous product that can produce meal, oil and we are very competitive around the world,” said Dave Dotterer an Ohio Soybean Council board member from Wayne County who attended the conference.… Continue reading

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The weather, China and Donald Trump will have to all cooperate to offset ample grain stocks

The Jan. 12 USDA report day was neutral for corn and soybeans, bearish for wheat. The good news from that report for corn and soybeans — it was not a bearish report. The bad news from that report for corn and soybeans — it was not a bullish report. The Jan. 12 report day has been long anticipated in the market to provide additional insights into price direction for corn, soybeans, and wheat. The trade had expected the U.S. corn yield to increase while the U.S. soybean yield was expected to decline. Both took place as expected. USDA put the U.S. 2017 corn yield at 176.6 bushels per acre, up from the November estimate of 175.4.

That same report had the U.S. soybeans yield reduced slightly to 49.1 bushels per acre. Soybean exports were cut resulting in an increase for ending stocks. All three events were anticipated, providing no surprise for the markets.… Continue reading

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Drainage water management (controlled drainage) update

In 2015 we estimated more than 200 Drainage Water Management (DWM) structures had been installed in Ohio. At this time we estimate as many as 500 have been installed or are to be installed this spring. Many of these are have been installed in Northwest Ohio, in the Lake Erie Basin. A substantial number of structures have been installed to reduce liquid manure discharges from the application of liquid manure on subsurface drained cropland all across Ohio.

The primary purpose of DWM is the reduction of soluble nutrients discharged from subsurface (tile) drainage systems to ditches and streams. Soluble nutrients move with the water, so to reduce nutrient discharges, it is necessary to reduce the discharge of water from the subsurface drainage system. Extensive research from Ohio and across the Midwest indicates that DWM can substantially reduce the discharge of drainage water during the non-growing season compared to free drainage at drain depth.… Continue reading

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Pence named Miami East FFA Member of the Month

The January 2018 Miami East-MVCTC FFA Member of the Month is Paige Pence. She is the daughter of Brent and Christine Pence of New Carlisle. She is a freshman and first year member of the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter.

Paige has accomplished much in her brief membership in the FFA Chapter. She was a member of the District Novice Parliamentary Procedures Career Development Event Team,  was one of the top seller in the chapter fruit sales fundraiser with over $1,000 in sales, and was the overall winner in the chapter’s Corn Contest for high yields.

Her Supervised Agricultural Experience consists of market goats and market steers. She exhibited the Grand Champion Market Goats at the Keystone International in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri. Just recently she was named the Intermediate Showmanship winner in the market goat show and exhibited a class winner in the market sheep show at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.… Continue reading

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Does market volatility matter?

Bean prices bounced off the recent trading lows this week. While this was positive for farmers, there still remain several unknowns. Dry weather throughout the Midwest has many in the trade concerned and wondering what summer time weather will be like and if yields will suffer. Also, it’s uncertain how many acres farmers will plant this spring. This may ultimately mean some speculators will exit their short positions with some profit now and look for other opportunities down the road.

With farmers generally not selling, basis and short-term corn spreads have narrowed throughout the Midwest until late this week. Then the corn market moved to the top of a narrow 10-cent trading range, which encouraged some farmers to sell some of their grain. I expect small fluctuations like this to continue in the short-term but I’m not expecting there will be a big rally unless something catches the market completely off guard.… Continue reading

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Clean up continues after massive grain spill in New Carlisle

Late Sunday night Sam Sutherly got a catastrophic phone call he never wanted.

“When I got the phone call I just said, ‘Oh that’s nice.’ I turned to my wife and said, ‘I really don’t want to go.’”

The Sutherly family owns Miami Valley Feed and Grain in New Carlisle where a grain tank collapsed late on Jan. 21, spilling around 365,000 bushels of corn worth over $1.25 million.

“The tank gave way and the impact of the corn caused the nearby transformers to explode,” Sutherly said. “Our renters there at the elevator — there is a house on the grounds — said it sounded like a jet airplane was coming in and she looked out and all the corn was laying on the ground. The tank was built in 1968 when the government wanted to do some government storage. It was full. It was 72-feet tall to the edge and then an additional 20 feet tall to the peak of the cone.”… Continue reading

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Million dollar corn spill devastates New Carlisle grain elevator

A grain bin at Miami Valley Feed and Grain in New Carlisle collapsed Sunday evening spilling more than 21 million pounds and well over $1 million of corn across Route 571. The road had to be closed as a result of the spill, according to the New Carlisle News.

Neighbors reported hearing an explosion around 11:30 p.m., likely the result of transformers blowing. The cause of the collapse of the structure is still unknown. The collapse and resulting corn spill damaged two other buildings and caused several power lines and poles to fall down. Power was lost but restored fairly quickly. No employees were present at the facility at the time and no injuries have been reported.

All of the other silos at the grain elevator are full. The silo that collapsed was built in the 1950s or 1960s, according to the New Carlisle News.

silo2Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 41 | Farm Starts, Beef Policy and Farmland Values

This week on the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, brought to you by Agrigold, Ty Higgins and Matt Reese are joined by Abby Motter. Abby will be joining the team as an intern for the first few months of 2018! This week, learn more about Farm Starts as Joel Penhorwood visits with Helene Bergren about the program helping young and beginning farmers. Matt talks beef policy with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s VP of Government Affairs Colin Woodall and Ty calls up Randy Dickhut from National Farmers Company to visit about farmland values in Ohio and the Midwest.

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet highlights

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet was held in January in Lewis Center at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center. More than 200 attended the event that offered educational breakout sessions, several new youth opportunities, the annual meeting, and evening banquet.

“We got an update from Washington, D.C. We heard about where we stand on the electronic logging devices, which is a big issue for a lot of our members and we talked about water quality issues. We also had our first annual youth quiz bowl and we had 42 individuals participate. We are trying to get some more of the youth involved in what we are doing here,” said Sasha Rittenhouse, the new Ohio Cattlemen’s Association president. “One of the biggest things I am looking forward to as president is giving back to an association that I truly believe benefits every single beef producer in the state.… Continue reading

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Concerns with continuous soybeans in 2018

With corn prices looking grim and the likelihood of 2018 farm economics again favoring soybean production, soybeans being planted after soybeans could be on the rise this spring.

With consecutive years of soybean production, yield potential declines and the potential need for additional inputs and precautions increases.

“Agronomically, we never like to see beans after beans, but when it gets into your back pocket sometimes we have to do some things differently,” said Mike Earley, Seed Consultants, Inc. agronomist. “We need to make sure to not plant the same variety in the same field back to back. If we get into continuous beans for multiple years we need to do a lot more scouting and chances are we are going to need some fungicide applications because of a lot more disease pressure in the fields.”

In addition to increased potential for soybean issues including Phytophthora, white mold and frogeye leaf spot, more soybeans could also mean more yield loss to soybean cyst nematode (SCN). … Continue reading

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Sidedressing manure into corn continues to have promising results

Ohio State University Extension has conducted manure research on growing crops for several years in an effort to make better use of the available nutrients. Incorporating manure into growing corn can boost crop yields, reduce nutrient losses, and give livestock producers or commercial manure applicators another window of time to apply manure to farm fields.

The manure research trial in Table 1 was conducted over six years at the Northwest Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Hoytville station. The swine manure application rate was 5,000 gallons per acre to get 200 units of nitrogen. The dairy manure application rate was 13,577 gallons per acre to get 130 units of nitrogen. The dairy treatments received additional nitrogen as incorporated 28% UAN just prior to the manure application to reach the 200-unit goal. The 28% UAN treatments also received 200 units of nitrogen.

Pre-emergent applications of 28% UAN, swine manure or dairy manure were made within five days of corn planting.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet this weekend

It is the time of year when the thoughts of Ohio’s cattlemen turn from frozen pastures and feeding hay to state policy and an annual celebration of success. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet is this weekend in Lewis Center at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center.

“We’re looking forward to our Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday. We try to encompass all of the state’s beef industry at the event. It is a day of business through the policy meeting and it is also a celebration of Ohio’s cattlemen through the banquet in the evening,” said Stephanie Sindel, director of member services and youth programs for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. “We have some brand new youth programs with a youth quiz bowl in the morning and some quality assurance sessions as well. We have some industry resource speakers for cattlemen coming in including Dr. Alvaro Garcia Guerra with Ohio State talking about pregnancy loss in beef cattle and how to prevent that.… Continue reading

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