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Ohio No-Till Conference draws a crowd

Problems and issues with weeds, slugs or planting into cover crops were all covered at the Ohio No-till Conference on Dec. 6

Steve Groff, Bill Lehmkuhl and Bret Margraf led a discussion covering a broad array of equipment challenges. Attendees learned how to set closing wheels for green covers and how to eliminate hair-pinning (for either green or dead covers). A pusher bar is recommended for tall cover crops. For planting cover crop seed, a planter works best for a single variety. Or with individual hoppers, you can have two varieties in alternate rows, such as Austrian winter pea and oilseed radish. A drill works best for multi-species covers.

“Battling slugs, voles and other varmints that love no-till and cover crops” kicked off the day and attendees learned from the experiences of consultant Mike Daley and Neil Badenhop with Valent. Slugs, voles and other pests can become problematic in the cover of long-term no-till fields with cover crops.… Continue reading

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Capturing market carry

With too much supply in the U.S. and around the world, corn isn’t likely to move in the short-term without a big event.

With 30 to 45 days of the major soybean producing areas of South American growing season left, there is still a lot of weather premium potential left in beans right now.

 

Capturing market carry

After Dec options expired on 11/24/17, it left me short several Dec future contract positions. Since Dec futures go off the Board of Trade soon, I have to move them to a future contract month. I want to make sure I maximize my market carry opportunities with these trades, but also consider practicalities, like when I will have to core my bins centers out. I selected March ’18 futures.

Unfortunately many farmers don’t take full advantage of market carry. This is a shame, because it’s a relatively easy, low risk way to add profit to a farm operation.… Continue reading

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Do woolly worms really predict the winter ahead?

Imagine yourself as a student on the campus of The Ohio State University. It’s a nice, sunny day outside. Students are walking to class, others are having conversation beside Mirror Lake, and in the distance, you see your entomology professor running around with a crazed look in his eyes while waving a comically-sized insect net.

Yes, the latter really happened. The man in question is known as the BugDoc, professor emeritus of entomology at The Ohio State University, Dr. David Shetlar. I had the pleasure of visiting with him recently to ask him something that bugs my brain every year at this time, no pun intended.

Old wives’ tales are something of a hobby for farmers in Ohio it seems, especially when it comes to predicting winter weather. Everything in the Lord’s creation is up for grabs when it comes to telling us how bad the upcoming winter will be. Whether its corn husk thickness, leaf amounts, or wool growth on sheep, something somewhere will tell us winter is coming.… Continue reading

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As health insurance costs rise, more consider shared health programs

It is the time of year when thoughts turn to the joys of giving, family, and unfortunately in recent years, rising health insurance costs.

Around Ohio, those who are self-employed or working at a small business are getting the news that their health insurance premiums will be getting another healthy increase for 2018. Ohioans purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act will see average premium increases of 34% in 2018, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance. In addition, the insurance policies might not cover certain providers and may have higher co-pays. There will also be a shorter period to enroll in plans this year in some cases with a deadline of Dec. 15, compared to last year’s enrollment deadline of Jan. 31.

The growing health insurance frustration of many people in rural Ohio has them searching for other options, including Christian medical cost sharing programs. Michelle and Mitchell Stammen of Mercer County made the decision to switch after Michelle left a corporate job that gave their family of four very good insurance, and started working from home.… Continue reading

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Where are the “You Been Farming Long” boys now?

This picture is one of the most iconic pictures in the history of agriculture. Back in the early 80s you couldn’t go to a farm house, implement dealer or sale barn without seeing this poster somewhere on the wall. Seeing it recently for the first time in a long time piqued my curiosity and I wanted to know what ever happened to these two boys (who are in there 40s now)? So I Googled it. Here is what I found.

One of the first links that popped up was a Pinterest posting from 2009. The mother of the two bib-donning photo stars, Deni Overton, wrote about how the picture came to be and the interest it garnered for years to come. She wrote:

Have you seen this picture before?

I took this picture of my twin sons in September, 1978.

Did you know that it is one of the most recognized posters in history?Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 36 | Woolly Worms, Sheep, and CAUV

Ohio Ag Net’s 36th episode of the podcast, brought to you by AgriGold, has a wide range of topics from host Ty Higgins, Bart Johnson, Dale Minyo, and Joel Penhorwood.

The recent Buckeye Shepherd Symposium brought in sheep producers from around the region to discuss farming practices, market trends, and recognize outstanding individuals in the industry. Joel Penhorwood catches up with OSIA’s Roger High on the event and the state of the Ohio sheep industry.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Leah Curtis updates the crew with the latest on CAUV and what farmers need to do now that reform is in place.

And with the winter weather settling in, we look at old wives’ tales that claim to predict the months ahead. The BugDoc, David Shetlar, entomologist and professor emeritus at The Ohio State University, spoke with Joel Penhorwood about the predictive ability of woolly worms (woolly bear caterpillars) and other insects supposedly able to tell the future by the color of their bodies and other activities.… Continue reading

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Kin Corriedales bloodline goes well beyond the state line

What started as a livestock project back in 1944 has become a multi-generational legacy for an Ohio family that has built a reputation across the country in the Corriedale sheep breed.

“This farm started as a general livestock farm with Shorthorn cattle, Poland China hogs and a few sheep,” said Al Kin, the eldest member of the Wyandot County family. “After a few years with Hampshire and Shropshire lambs, my dad was looking for a breed that had more wool and was easier to lamb with, so when my brother got into FFA he took on a Corriedale sheep project. Dad liked the results so much he bought a ram and started a purebred flock.”

After over seven decades of hard work, dedication and success, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program saw it fit to name Al Kin, along with his sons Jim and Phil, as the 2017 Charles Boyles Master Shepherds of the Year announced at the Shepherd Symposium last weekend.… Continue reading

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Are soybeans responsive to nitrogen fertilizer?

Soybean plants have a high demand for nitrogen as soybean grain contains a large amount of protein. An 80-bushel per acre soybean crop requires approximately 302 pounds of N per acre. As soybean yield increases, many farmers question if nitrogen supplied through fixation and the soil is adequate to maximize yield.

With funding from the Ohio Soybean Council, the soybean and small grain production lab at The Ohio State University evaluated nitrogen fertilizer application to soybean in eight Ohio counties in 20 separate trials. Various nitrogen sources (urea, slow-release nitrogen, and foliar nitrogen) and application timings (pre-plant, at planting, and R3 soybean growth stage) were evaluated. Overall, four out of 20 trials resulted in a soybean yield increase with nitrogen application. At today’s soybean price, nitrogen application to soybean had a positive economic return at one location out of 20.

Recently, these results from Ohio State were included in a synthesis analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to determine soybean response to nitrogen application across the United States.… Continue reading

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Living in yesterday’s science fiction: Artificial intelligence in agriculture

In today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, one increasingly common theme continues to be Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its role in our society. 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. 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.

To follow are three examples of how AI or machine learning is applied in other areas and how it could be used by producers in the near future.… Continue reading

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2017 Ohio water quality concerns

I wanted to share a couple of items on water quality. Generally I think we are headed in the right direction, now to move forward.

  1. We now have 17,000 folks certified to apply fertilizer in Ohio. That’s a good thing. It means you are thinking about crop production improvements but also about how you nutrient losses affect the environment outside your farm boundaries.
  2. Lake Erie responded to the weather this year, and so did the Gulf of Mexico. Any water with excess nutrients in the Lake Erie watershed goes north to that water body, and the rest of Ohio ships their excess to the Gulf of Mexico. The HAB for Lake Erie this year was the third or fourth largest in recent memory (Figure 1), but had less toxins. For the hypoxia area in the Gulf of Mexico, it was the largest ever (Figure 2).

 

 

We still have work to do.… Continue reading

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Things to remember as first CAUV reform benefits take effect

Ohio’s farmers and rural communities will benefit from reforms to the state’s farmland tax policy, culminating a three-year effort that ended with the new state budget signed by Gov. John Kasich last summer. The budget legislation contained changes to the Current Agricultural Use Value formula, which in recent years has caused farmland owners to experience tax increases of 300% or more.

“It’s taken three years of grassroots action to fix the flaws in the CAUV formula, and our members should be proud of this significant accomplishment,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President.

Sharp said the reforms are being phased-in over two reassessment cycles (six years) in order to assist local communities and schools to transition to the more accurate CAUV formula. Under CAUV, farmland is taxed at a rate that reflects its value for agricultural purposes instead of its value as development property. Ohio voters originally enacted the formula in 1973 as a means to preserve farmland.… Continue reading

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Big cats, badgers and coy wolves: Will a snowy winter offer wildlife tracking opportunities?

As we settle in for what many believe will be a cold winter, I am ready for some snow.

After limited snowball fights, almost no opportunities to take the kids sledding and nary a snowman in the last couple of winters, I am hoping for some snow and frosty weather in the months ahead. Along with opportunities for some outdoor fun, I always am fascinated to walk the fields surrounding my house to look for wildlife tracks with the children.

What seem to be empty fields during daylight hours turn into wildlife highways by night around my house. I never realize how much critter traffic there really is until I pull on my boots and take a crisp winter stroll in the snow and see the vast array of tracks from opossums, raccoons, skunks, mink, fox, and coyotes (among other things) that have traveled the landscape the previous night. My son, especially, loves to find and identify the tracks, and I am always surprised about the volume of them out there.… Continue reading

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Elimination of Section 199 proposed in tax reform

While a myriad of details are currently being hashed out in Congress regarding the tax reform measures that are a priority for the Trump Administration, there are some concerns in rural America concerning the debate. Language in the House version of the tax cuts includes eliminating the Section 199 deduction. The Section 199 deduction (or Domestic Production Activities Deduction) was enacted in 2004 as a part of the American Jobs Creation Act. The deduction applies to proceeds from agricultural products that are manufactured or marketed through cooperatives. The majority of co-ops pass the benefit through directly to their farmer members.

The House has passed H.R. 1 that includes the repeal.

“The deduction returns nearly $2 billion annually to rural areas across the country, so it has been good for agriculture and for rural America,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. “In its current form, H.R. 1 repeals Section 199 with the assumption that cooperatives and their members would benefit from the proposed reduction in corporate and individual tax rates.… Continue reading

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What farm moms want for Christmas

Farm women can be hard to shop for. This brings up many challenges around Christmas time. While practicality is nothing to frown at, this mindset makes it hard when asked what one wants for Christmas.

I’ve delved in to my resources (o.k. my group of awesome dairy ladies) and picked their brains as to what great gifts for them would be this year. Some involve the home, some are self pampering and some people just want to have a scraper for cow poo they never lose again!

img_2400Car care

The farm mom mobile is often used to haul kids to school and then an occasional load of feed and maybe a calf or two in a pinch. Give gifts to help mom keep her car presentable!

  • Car detailing
  • Seat covers
  • Air freshners
  • Floor mats

img_2767InstaPot or crock pot

There is nothing better than coming in from the barn to an already made meal!… Continue reading

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Harvest wraps up Between the Rows

As long as everything goes as planned, today will be our last day of harvest. I have 55 acres of beans to cut and we are done. We are beyond ready for it to be done. It has been a roller coaster of a year and a downhill roller coaster of a fall. We are not that upset with how the yields turned out after the weather we had but there have been little issues with things going wrong along the way and we are definitely ready to be done.

Planting date was very crucial this year. The later crops were not nearly as dry and that was a lot more money in drying costs. There was quite a bit of re-adjusting the machine from the early corn to the late-planted corn and it slowed down the harvest.

The double-crop beans needed August and September rains that they didn’t get. The yields were all over the place.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 35 | Livestock robotics, Christmas trees, and veal

Ty Higgins, Bart Johnson, Joel Penhorwood, and Matt Reese come together to talk agriculture and the Ohio State win in episode 35 of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, brought to you by AgriGold.

A number of topics in this weeks meeting, including Ty Higgins with Jeff Sizelove of Zoetis talking developments in agriculture, partly the further involvement of robotics down the road.

Matt Reese hears from Al Divencenzo, president of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association.

Joel Penhorwood talks upcoming veal housing requirements ready to go into effect January 1, 2018. He hears from Dr. Marissa Hake of the American Veal Association.

All that and much more in this week’s edition of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast.

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Corn yields a pleasant surprise for many in 2017

There have been pockets of lower than expected corn yields around the state where the full force of 2017’s broad challenges came to fruition, but corn has generally been a pleasant surprise for many farms, said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist.

“Planting progress curves showed planting at about the five-year average this spring. If you just looked at that it would suggest there were not problems as far as the planting, but the National Agricultural Statistics Service doesn’t factor in replanting,” Thomison said. “Some counties had 20% or more of the corn replanted. Seed company reps said that this was the most replanting they had experienced on record in some areas. In northwest Ohio there were people I heard from that replanted three times with corn. When I hear a report about issues like this from more than two or three people, I suspect it is the tip of the iceberg and there is much more of that going on.”… Continue reading

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Cranberries a holiday favorite with health benefits

Nothing screams the holidays more than cranberries. Their red brilliance and tangy flavor are featured ingredients in holiday punches, sauces, salads, muffins and breads just to name a few. Spiced cranberry sauce has always played a significant role at my family’s table since I can remember.

Paul and I married and at the Detwiler Thanksgiving, sauce became relish or salad, as some people call it. One holiday season when we were having a Strep marathon at the Detwiler house, I was unable to create the dish for the big Detwiler gathering. Paul took the reins. Easy instructions and reassurance were given to Paul, “Read the back of the package.” I settled in for my long Thanksgiving nap. In the many years since, we have been unable to live down the year Paul and Shelly (I had nothing to do with it, I was sleeping!) brought the cranberry relish and forgot to put the sugar in it.

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Maneuvering though the Medicare maze

Taxes come into play with more expenses — including healthcare. This month, let’s talk Medicare. Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people

of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) but it works like no other insurance you have known.

Medicare is not a one-size-fits all system. Rather, it is made up of several parts with each part covering different aspects of health care costs. There are many decisions to be made and much to understand with regards to deciding if and/or when to sign up for the various parts of Medicare. There are also various deadlines for enrollment for the various parts with potentially expensive and permanent penalties for failing to meet them.

A good place to start is an overview of the various parts and what they cover.

 

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover:

  • Inpatient care in hospitals and certain limited skilled nursing facility care including services of professional nurses, semiprivate room, meals, other services provided directly by the hospital or nursing facility including lab test, prescription drugs, medical appliances and supplies and rehabilitation therapy
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care.
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National Anthem delays feast, but offers one more reason to be thankful

Last Thanksgiving, some of you may recall the football game that kicked off with what may be the longest-ever version of the National Anthem. Though it is typically around two minutes, legendary singer Aretha Franklin stretched the song to a full four minutes and 35 seconds before a matchup between the Lions and the Vikings.

On that day I was at the end of the line for a Thanksgiving feast and very hungry. The television was on in the background leading up to the game when I had finally gotten my massive plate full of Thanksgiving food and sat down to eagerly feast.

I didn’t even notice what was on the television across the room, and neither did anyone else, except for my seven-year-old son. I shoveled the first heaping fork full of food into my mouth to kick off one of my favorite meals of the year.

I quickly scooped up my next fork full but stopped with the food halfway to my mouth when I saw my son, sitting up on his knees in his chair beside me with his hand over his heart watching the waving American flag on the television.… Continue reading

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