Marketing results of December options

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

As corn harvest finishes in many areas, and free harvest storage time is up, farmers need to decide if they will price grain now or pay for storage and wait for a rally. Given this week’s price dip, it seems some may have already “thrown in the towel” and priced some corn in commercial storage.

On a positive note, some end users across the Corn Belt increased corn basis bids 10 to 15 cents from last week. There are also some reports of free DP (deferred pricing) being offered in areas where corn harvest is finished, and farmers aren’t motivated to sell at these lower prices.

Bean futures are struggling with no China trade deal. However, since farmers aren’t selling, basis continues to climb. My local processor increased their basis bid another 5 cents this week. That makes it a 25-cent improvement in 25 days, while my local elevator is up only 7 cents in the same time period.… Continue reading

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2019 Ohio water quality update

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Lake Erie wasn’t as bad as expected. What? We missed 1.5 million acres of crops, and from my eye mostly in northwest Ohio. But here is the deal: you did apply fertilizer last year, and probably the year before. We farm in a leaky system and I learned this week that entropy is working against us — meaning it will get more random. So, yes it’s leaky and will perhaps get a little more leaky. We did not plant as many crops and yes we applied less fertilizer in the Lake Erie basin, but the leaks still happen even without the crop because we still have rain, and rain moves that little tiny bit of phosphorus off your farm and downstream.

This from NOAA about the Harmful Algal Bloom on Lake Erie, on Oct. 31, (

  • The Microcystis cyanobacteria bloom in 2019 had a severity index (SI) of 7.3, indicating a relatively severe bloom.
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A dairyman’s dilemma — How chemicals threaten a farm’s future

By Don “Doc” Sanders

You may remember that I’ve written a few times in this column about false claims made against Roundup — namely, that it causes cancer. In my most recent column on the topic, I wrote about how several respected health and environmental organizations have cleared the popular herbicide of these charges, like the Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada, the European Food Safety Authority and the German consumer health agency BfR.

Now I want to share with you a news report I recently ran across about how a New Mexico dairy operation is being threatened by cancer-causing nonagricultural chemicals that have contaminated the groundwater.

The chemicals in question are perfluoroakyl and polyfluoroakyl substances, a group of manmade chemicals that I’ll refer to by their acronym, PFAS. Since 1940 PFAS chemicals have been incorporated into products used all over the world. Some compounds in this group are familiar, such as Teflon, which keeps food from sticking to frying pans.… Continue reading

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Have you taken your Vitamin C today?

By Judit E. Puskas and Carin A. Helfer

Vitamin C is an essential ingredient for all living creatures. In humans, it is necessary for proper working of many biological processes, including intracellular respiration, i.e., the ways that cells transform nutrients into energy through a complex series of reactions. Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Hungarian biochemist, is credited with first isolating Vitamin C from adrenal glands while completing his Ph. D. thesis at Cambridge University in 1927. At that time, he did not know what the substance was — so he called it “hexuronic acid.”


Discovery of Vitamin C

The story of discovering Vitamin C is quite fascinating. Szent-Györgyi began investigating plant respiration, specifically the phenomenon of browning. Some plant tissues turn brown rapidly when cut and exposed to the air — everybody knows this from cutting up an apple. Plants containing certain chemicals known as peroxidase enzymes (for example, cabbages and citrus fruits), however, resist browning.… Continue reading

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Connecting customers with their food

By Matt Reese

It all comes down to providing the farm connection that consumers are seeking — that is why Brian and Stacie Anderson do what they do. The much sought-after connection of consumer to food takes quite a bit of extra work, but it has paid off for the small, but growing business of Anderson’s Farm Fresh Products just outside of Bowling Green in Wood County.

“We have been raising poultry, beef, egg layers and now turkeys here in Wood County for six years. We got started with a small-scale egg laying operation and have grown from there. The reason behind that growth is serving the local community that has a need and a want for locally sourced protein products. We are able to sell at the Bowling Green Farmers Market, we do direct sales to customers as well as partner with local businesses to share our products with people all around northwest Ohio,” Stacie said.… Continue reading

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Final thoughts for 2019 from Between the Rows

Lamar Liming

I need more tile. That is a big takeaway from 2019. It was a trying year but we were better than a lot of places. We had one of our Pioneer varieties that really stood out on soybeans that we’ll be looking at more this fall.

The weed control we used worked well this year. So many people were having trouble but we had great weed control. We do a lot of tillage with pre-emerge on the corn and we use Roundup for soybeans. We like to chisel the corn stalks in the fall. We mow the stalks and chisel, then hit it with another pass in the spring.

Hay always seems to be a challenge. This summer was better than some because we got some heat and dry weather.

The soybeans were about what I thought they’d be going into it. They ended up below average, but they are what they are.… Continue reading

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Correcting compaction infractions below the surface

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

It will come as no surprise to farmers that compaction issues will play a role in the future productivity of their fields after the last two growing seasons. Across Ohio, 2018 finished with a wet harvest with many farmers unintentionally committing compaction “infractions.” The equally wet spring of 2019 did not help heal the already injured soil profile, and in some areas, the fall of 2019 was also a challenge. Soil structure was severely damaged by multiple passes of heavy harvest and planting equipment. While many farmers attempt to follow controlled traffic patterns, it is not always practical when the weather only allows for brief windows of opportunity for field work.

This scenario was a text book example for both topsoil and subsoil compaction to occur according to research conducted by Randall Reeder, Ohio State University emeriti and Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State Soil Specialist.

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Plenty of steak at stake in alternative meat debate

By Matt Reese

I can very clearly remember the dietary craze of the days of my youth regarding low fat and fat free food products. It was an oft-touted “scientific fact” back then that the fats in meats and dairy were very detrimental to our existence. Products like whole milk, butter, bacon, and red meats were scorned while highly processed low fat and no fat products flooded the market.

As I grew older I realized the “science” behind the fat free hype was greatly skewed by marketing. As it turns out, I later discovered some of those low fat and no fat products were actually much worse nutritionally than the fatty products they were manufactured to replace. The stuff added to these foods was/is worse than the actual fat it is meant to taste like. Somewhere along the line, the fine farm folks woven throughout my upbringing convinced me of the folly of following food fats.… Continue reading

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Planning early is a key to effective on-farm research

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Most Ohio farmers will agree that 2019 will go down in the history books as a year with tremendous variability. For those who conduct on-farm research, variability is one thing they attempt to reduce. One way to help reduce variability is to have a plan before you go to the field. A plan that is designed to have multiple replications of the various components can give you options.

“If you have a plan, you will be more likely to implement it when you go to the field,” said Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension, Agronomic Systems Field Specialist. “If changes need to be made due to changing conditions, you will be more likely to have options available that allow you to maintain the integrity of the research and not compromise the reliability of the results.”

Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension Agronomic Systems Field Specialist

Hawkins feels that learning what works in different years is critical.

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Lackluster soybean yields for 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The 2019 growing season will be remembered for many things, though bin-busting soybean yields will probably not be one of them.

“Soybean yields in Ohio are going to be wide ranging. This is largely due to the soil moisture during the growing season, both excess and drought. Soybean planting date across the Midwest is still the No. 1 factor in soybean yields. With the late planting this year, that is very unfortunate. This year the excessive wet, followed by the dry also had a huge impact,” said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. “It started wet, was late planted and then some areas of the state just dried out. Wet soils led to poor root conditions, then dry conditions struck some areas, which just magnified the poor root problem. The lack of moisture during pod fill is probably a bigger issue where water and rainfall is concerned for soybeans.

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Market factors to watch

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Soybean basis continues to be on fire. My local processor increased their basis bid another 10 cents this week, totaling a 20-cent increase in the last 20 days. I’m seeing end users’ basis values increase in nearly all of the soybean growing areas. However, I have noticed that commercial storage locations are lagging the processors bids by quite a bit, my local elevator has only increased basis 2 cents in the last 20 days.


Storing and not selling

Based upon conversations with many grain traders across the U.S., farmers have sold very little of their 2019 bean production. Usually farmers store their corn at home and deliver their beans at harvest, but many this year are instead storing their beans waiting for better values. A lot of farmers still think a trade deal will happen soon and a big rally in prices will follow.… Continue reading

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Figuring out the 2019 lessons learned

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Sometimes the best lessons learned are from the times things do not go as planned. Most in agriculture will agree that 2019 is a year that in many aspects did not go as we had planned. The variability of planting dates and conditions throughout the growing season left many farmers scratching their heads, especially as it related to the final yields. In some cases, the yields were what was expected as a result of the late planting and given growing conditions this year. In other cases, however, the yields were surprisingly good. The Ohio State University is undertaking a project to try to better understand the yield impacts of the planting delays created by the 2019 weather conditions. A farmer survey has been developed, and researchers are asking for help.

Normal planting dates for Ohio range from mid-April to the end of May. This season was quite different when planting for both crops was delayed until late May and stretched into June and even July across many parts of Ohio.… Continue reading

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Soybean research addresses some of the challenges of 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

There were plenty of challenges for soybeans in 2019 and, fortunately, there are numerous research projects seeking some solutions.

Research has consistently shown the importance of planting date. In some cases in Ohio in 2019, planting date did not hurt final yields as much as would be expected due to a late frost and consistent moisture. This does not diminish the importance of planting dates for soybeans.

“Planting date is still the number one factor that influences soybean yield,” said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. “You don’t want to push it too early, because there can be issues on that end.”

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains Specialist

Research has consistently shown a yield reduction from late planting ranging from 0.25 to 1 bushel per acre per day depending on row width, date of planting, and variety. In southern Ohio, soybeans should be planted any time after April 15 when soil conditions are suitable.

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 129 | Trade Talk and Thanksgiving Preparation

Dale, Bart, and Kolt have returned from a week in Kansas City for the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention. They meet back up with Matt for the podcast brought to you by AgriGold. Dusty and Matt talk with Ben Frobrose of Wood County, Kolt catches up with Hannah Thompson Weeman of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, and Matt has an update from the Ohio Christmas Tree Association on Operation Evergreen.… Continue reading

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Understanding the Brazil corn crop

Even if the mere idea of visiting Brazil has never crossed your mind, you probably have listened to a song called “The Girl From Ipanema”, maybe in Frank Sinatra’s voice. And what does that song have to do with agricultural markets?

Nothing. But one of its composers, Brazilian Tom Jobim (who sings the song with Sinatra), once said that Brazil is not for beginners. That sentence became a famous and useful way to describe how difficult it is to understand Brazil’s peculiarities. And its corn market is one of them.

As you probably know, Brazil grows two corn crops a year. Well, since last October, it is officially three, but I will write about that third crop another time. For now, let’s stick to the two traditional crops. The first one is planted from September to December and competes for area with soybeans.

Considering that Brazil is now a soybean powerhouse, it is not a surprise that the first corn crop has lost millions of acres over the last two decades.Continue reading

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The top weeds for 2020

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader

After a challenging 2019, four specific weeds should be on every farmer’s radar for 2020: waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, giant ragweed, and marestail.

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth

Palmer Amaranth is an invasive pigweed. Get tips for controlling it from Ohio Field Leader.
                Palmer amaranth seed heads

In terms of waterhemp, there was significant seed production potential in 2019.

“I have seen an increase in waterhemp in 2019, especially with all the prevent plant acres, and that is going to mean big problems for some farmers in 2020,” said Kenny Schilling, retail market manager for FMC Corporation. “If you know you are going to have waterhemp issues in the 2020 soybean crop, a farmer needs to plan on using a dicamba or Liberty soybean in that field.

“It is recommended to use a Group 14 and Group 15 Family herbicide in the pre-emerge application and follow it up with a Group 15 Family herbicide again in the post-emerge application, combined with the chemistry from the herbicide resistant soybean that was planted.

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Do you know your SCN number?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader

What’s your number? While this question sounds like the latest campaign to monitor your cholesterol or blood pressure, it is actually talking about a different health measurement. The health and yield of future soybean crops will be impacted by the level of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) present in fields.

SCN damages soybeans by feeding on roots. This takes nutrients from the plant, and creates wounds for fungi to enter. The past few years the SCN Coalition, funded by the soybean checkoff, has been running the “What’s your number?” campaign to renew attention to the yield robbing pest. Presentations about SCN were common on the agenda of many farm programs in the mid to late 90s. The relative ease of Roundup ready soybean production increased the common practice of no-tilling soybeans back to beans, which created a wonderful environment for SCN populations to grow. In the years following, thanks in part to an increased awareness of SCN associated yield losses and the development of resistant varieties, SCN saw a decline in many Ohio fields.… Continue reading

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Farmers are soiling their undies and making strides with soil health

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The tidy whities hanging outside of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts display at Ohio’s largest farm show generated plenty of attention at the 2019 Farm Science Review and the sullied unmentionables inside the confines of the building were, well, almost unmentionable. But, mentioned they were. That, after all, is the point of the clever “Soil your undies” program.

“We are encouraging farmers around the state to ‘Soil their undies’ by planting 100% cotton underwear in their fields for about four weeks to see what the level of soil health and soil activity is within their fields. When you pull them up, if they look about like they did when you buried them, you probably need to go into your local SWCD office and start some conversations. If you pull them up and there is nothing left but elastic, you probably have some pretty good soil health,” said Janelle Mead, OFSWCD chief executive officer.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio strategies and farm practices outlined by Gov. DeWine

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine unveiled an overview of his new H2Ohio plan for water quality Thursday afternoon in Toledo. Backdropped by the National Museum of the Great Lakes, Governor DeWine presented basic details of the plan to an invited audience of over 100 farmers and legislators, as well as collaborators from farm associations, conservation groups, universities and research centers, agribusinesses, and public and government entities.

“H2Ohio is a dedicated, holistic water quality plan that has long lasting solutions,” said Governor DeWine. “It addresses the causes of the problems and not just the symptoms.”

H2Ohio will invest in targeted solutions to help reduce harmful algal blooms, ensure clean water in disadvantaged communities, and prevent lead contamination in daycare centers and schools. In July, the Ohio General Assembly invested $172 million in the plan.

“This is one of the most comprehensive data-driven planning processes in our state’s history.… Continue reading

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Changing weather patterns: The new “normal”

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

After enduring the spring of 2019, it will not take much convincing for many of you that precipitation extremes have become the new normal. It’s been said that if you want things to be different, just wait until next year. While this will likely be true, the trend of punishing rain events occurring more frequently is undeniable.

Impacts of extreme precipitation:

  1. Intense rains with increased atmospheric moisture = persistent risk of flooding
  2. Soil movement and topsoil degradation
  3. Decreased aggregate stability, lower soil O2 levels
  4. Sustained dry periods between rains
  5. Days to perform field work are limited.


Effective water use

While excessive water at any given time has many downsides, effective water utilization is critical to overall crop development and growth. Water is a fundamental component of photosynthesis. In order to maximize this critical resource, we must implement management strategies that allow our soils to both accept and retain more water to sustain us throughout the drier periods.… Continue reading

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