Watch for harvest issues after a challenging growing season

We began this season with the best-laid plans for our corn crop. April weather provided us with the optimism we were all looking for, but since then, it’s been difficult to keep our head above water — literally. As you know, 2017 has proven to be one of the wettest growing seasons on record for Ohio, with some areas receiving over 20 inches of rain throughout the month of June and similar amounts in July as well. The saturated growing season has resulted in much of our corn experiencing shallow and weak root systems, nitrogen (N) loss, and even impacted pollination in some areas. While some well-drained fields may have had sufficient nitrogen available to the plant, excessive rainfall moved the nitrate nitrogen below the concentration of roots — making it inaccessible as well.

Stalk strength will likely be a concern for some fields as we head into harvest. Not only has the wet weather led to significant N loss due to leaching in lighter soils and DE nitrification in heavier soils, but corn hybrids are also changing.… Continue reading

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Data offers more predictability for management decisions

The Ohio State Precision Ag team continues to tally up megabytes as the effort to gather a world record setting amount of data for a single corn plant (named Terra Byte). The project is also seeking out which data is most valuable for making agronomic decisions.

The effort includes a partnership with Integrated Ag Services (IAS) that develops seeding and fertility management zones called common production units (CPUs). CPUs were created to help make farming more predictable and, therefore, more profitable.

The CPU process starts with the IAS automated precision soil sampler that slices nearly seven inches deep for 30 feet in length, allowing for a soil sample that represents the entire soil profile. The soil samples are placed in cups where they receive a QR code and then sent to the lab. The automated sampler designed by IAS collects samples across fields much faster than standard testing and can complete the task in wider range of soil conditions.… Continue reading

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Learn how influenza topped fake news

Some of you may remember back to the fun days when taking a pig to the fair was the highlight of summer. Early on I wrote about my sons exercising their pigs in the roadside ditch when the pigs started chasing cars. Of course, the more the pigs chased the car, the driver slowed down which of course egged the pigs on to run even faster alongside.

Now the 4-H swine business has become a much more serious project. Readers may remember that it wasn’t only a couple years ago that all 4-H poultry projects in Ohio were banned from exhibition because of an epidemic of avian influenza — a disease that might have easily caused an epidemic in humans.

It wasn’t until the days of checking DNA and genomic testing did anyone realize the different “strains” of influenza. (I call it a strain even though a more appropriate term is genotype.)… Continue reading

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Bearish report for corn, soybeans, and wheat

Markets were shocked at both the higher than expected corn and soybean yields and production. Corn and soybeans fell quickly on the bearish news. Shortly after the report corn is down 10 cents, soybeans down 24 cents, and wheat is down 10 cents.

Finally, report day! The August USDA Supply and Demand Report has been anticipated for weeks. Weather across the Midwest this summer has been extremely variable and certainly volatile with too much or too little often taking place. Ohio, Indiana, and other areas have seen numerous, heavy rain this summer as some Ohio areas received over 10 inches in just the month of July alone. Other areas, especially in the Dakotas and the plains have been hampered with persistent drought conditions for several months.

U.S. corn production was estimated at 14.153 billion bushels, a yield of 169.5 bushels per acre, and ending stocks of 2.273 billion bushels. Traders had estimated corn production at an average of 13.855 billion bushels with a range of 13.59 to 14.07 billion bushels.… Continue reading

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Could civil asset forfeiture be an issue in agriculture?

Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to take property from citizens, regardless of whether the property owner is guilty or innocent — and without even charging the owner with a crime. Let’s look at a case that was recently declined review by the Supreme Court to see how this works.

On April Fool’s Day in 2013 (how appropriate), the Beaumont, Texas police pulled over James Leonard for a traffic infraction along a known drug corridor. During a search of the vehicle, the officer found a safe in the trunk. Leonard indicated that the safe belonged to his mother, Lisa Olivia Leonard. The police obtained a search warrant and discovered that the safe contained $201,100 and a bill of sale for a Pennsylvania home.

Texas filed for civil forfeiture of the money, claiming it was the profits from illegal drug sales, though Lisa Leonard said the money was from the sale of a house and had the bill of sale verifying the proceeds.… Continue reading

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Agri-Barrier a valuable Ohio-made farm product

Built and sustained with the hard work of rural west Ohio, Celina Industries is a unique company involved in nearly all facets of the custom textile business. One division of their diversified offerings is Agri-Barrier, a product that’s making a name for itself across the countryside for quality barn curtains with multiple technologies suited best for the conditions that farmers need it to weather.

In this video, we take a look around their hi-tech factory where their products are made, as well as a trip to the countryside to see their barn curtains in action.… Continue reading

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Crops looking average with pockets of damage

It appears the market is just waiting for the updated USDA corn yield estimate on 8/10/17. Once published, the market will debate why it’s incorrect. Generally the market is trading corn based upon a national yield assumption of around 165-166. With a surprise below 165, $4 corn is a possibility again. An estimate above 166, and $4 is unlikely until a future report shows significant decreased yield.

In the past two weeks I have travelled 1,500 miles around the Corn Belt.

Crop conditions — Southeast Nebraska to Minneapolis

Following highlights some observations during my drive from Beatrice, Neb. to Minneapolis, Minn.

Beatrice — Our farm’s dryland fields missed some needed rain the past few weeks. While fields with less drought-tolerant seed indicate some significant yield drag, fields with drought-tolerant seed are showing average yields. Irrigated fields are still producing well.

Council Bluffs, Iowa — The crops looked good. There were very few signs of any significant stress.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 21 | Reflections on the Ohio State Fair

The 21st episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast comes on the day after the Ohio State Fair has wrapped up its 2017 run. A time full of memories and busy schedules, the crew of Ty Higgins, Matt Reese, Bart Johnson, and Joel Penhorwood reflect on this year’s fair, the 50th Sale of Champions, and other unique happenings from the annual event.

Also in this podcast we talk advanced research going on right now with waxy corn, as well as the challenges involved in the barley malting world.

All that and more in the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, courtesy of AgriGold.

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50th Sale of Champions

The Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions livestock auction, held on the last day of the Ohio State Fair in the WCOL Celeste Center, showcased Ohio’s premium livestock, premier Junior Fair exhibitors and generous supporters. On the sale bill were grand champion and reserve champion market lambs, market barrows and market beef, as well as grand champion market goat, grand champion and reserve champion market chickens, grand champion market turkey and a block of Swiss cheese to represent the seven dairy champions. In full, the livestock was auctioned for a total of $284,000. This year’s sale broke one record: Reserve Grand Champion Market Barrow sold for $32,000, breaking the previous record of $31,000 set in 2013.

“The Ohio State Fair is rooted in agriculture, and each year we’re privileged to celebrate the hard work of our youth exhibitors. That’s what the Fair is all about,” said Virgil Strickler, General Manager. “I’m eternally grateful for our incredibly supportive buyers.… Continue reading

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Looking back through 50 years of Sale of Champions history

The Ohio State Fair is a little more than a week away from kicking off its 2017 run. Concluding this year’s fair is the 50th Sale of Champions, held August 6 at 2 p.m. at the Celeste Center.

Together with the Ohio Expo Center, we dug through our archives and found pieces of the rich history of the unique event down the years. Its tradition of being filled with lively individuals interested in the future of young people continues today.

This video sees appearances by the late Ed Johnson, Bob Evans, auctioneer Merlin Woodruff, and Governor James Rhodes. We also spoke with current SOC auctioneer Johnny Regula as well as Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler on the sale, its history, and its benefit to agriculture’s youth.… Continue reading

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Wildlife veterans ousted

Former Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife Ray Petering was recently fired and several other

veterans of the division were let go or offered other, lesser positions within the agency in a power play by the Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Most insiders say it was in retribution for their support of a plan to raise resident fishing and hunting license fees to help fund the Division’s efforts, a strategy backed by a dozen former division chiefs and a coalition of sportsmen’s organizations. Despite the support of sportsmen, Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer opposed the plan, and those key Wildlife Division positions are now being filled with appointees, according to reports, many of whom may not be qualified to assume the responsibilities of their new roles.

Miller named DOW chief

An exception is Mike Miller, a former wildlife officer with nearly 20 years of experience, who has replaced Ray Petering as the new chief of the Division of Wildlife.… Continue reading

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Have you thought about a cover crop?

We get calls most summers about growing cover crops in Ohio after winter wheat. Often in the past couple of years the calls have related to producing nitrogen after wheat for the next crop — usually corn. The short answer is that we have difficulty in Ohio, with our short season after wheat harvest, in growing that perfect cover crop. When my grandfather had a four- to five-year rotation that included two years of clover, then yes you could grow some nitrogen for corn. With our short rotations of corn, soybean then maybe wheat and the income demands of cash rent farming, it is difficult to allow any cover crop to grow for more than a few months.

The search is for that perfect cover that provides great cover, that is cheap and easy to establish and provides a benefit. I worked with winter peas over several years and have found it an easy crop to establish.… Continue reading

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Finding a place for ag in a mainstream science class

In a typical high school biology lab, microscopes, test tubes, beakers, and Bunsen burners are easy to find. Now thanks to Feed the World, an educational program designed to show science teachers how to use agriculture as a learning tool, an ear of corn will be part of the lab work as well.

“In these workshops, we are introducing science teachers from all over Ohio to topics that we know connect to their science standards in biology, chemistry, environmental science and in agricultural science to teaching things about ethanol, understanding food production, biotechnology, water quality, soil science and corn and the value that commodity brings to the state’s economy,” said Jeanne Gogolski, Founder and CEO of Education Projects and Partnerships.

The latest Feed the World workshop was held in mid-July at the University of Findlay. The teachers taking part — some with no farming background or agriculture experience — got a little dirty as they delved into the projects that included dissecting a corn stalk, which had been muddied by a very recent rain.… Continue reading

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The dicamba dilemma

With more acres of dicamba resistant cotton and soybeans growing in fields around the country, there is more potential for postemergence dicamba applications during warmer, more humid conditions and more chances for the controversial herbicide to move off-target.

The situation has been particularly heated in in the South. An Arkansas man was shot and killed in 2016 over a neighborly dispute concerning off-target dicamba damage. Missouri and Tennessee have also been reporting off-target dicamba damage on significant acres.

Available for 2017 planting were the Monsanto Xtend soybeans and cotton that are resistant to Monsanto’s XtendiMax with VaporGrip, which is also sold as FeXapan by DuPont. In addition, BASF developed the Engenia dicamba formulation. The long-needed new tools are finally available to help tackle tough weed control situations but are bringing with them (not wholly unexpected) logistical and management issues. Arkansas and Missouri have even banned any additional dicamba applications for the remainder of the growing season, although subsequent label changes will allow some continued use in Missouri.… Continue reading

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Watch for wet weather challenges

The growing season of 2017 continues to be a challenge for management and forces work to be done in between torrential rainfall events. Some areas of the state have already received more than 20 inches of rain since planting which is more than 8 inches above the 10-year average. This above average rainfall may seem like a huge relief, especially to those areas of the state that were in a drought last growing season, but it creates its own agronomic challenges as well.

In corn fields, the excess moisture and warm temperatures have created the perfect environment for fungal growth. Gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and common rust can be found in most corn fields around the state. With the disease present and a conducive environment, the last side of the disease triangle — a susceptible host — is also needed to drive rapid infection. Product disease ratings from the seed companies would be the first place to start evaluating which products in the fields may be the most susceptible to which diseases.… Continue reading

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Grand slams vs. strike outs in marketing

There is no doubt it will be hot for the next few weeks, it’s mid-July after all. However, it’s the extent of dryness that is uncertain. Every day weather models show varying possibilities, which causes market fluctuations. Iowa, for example, is living on subsoil moisture reserves for now. This may be depleted if it doesn’t rain in a week.

The recent USDA report did not show yield adjustments, only increased acres and feed usage reductions. So, the market will be able to handle some yield reduction. The recent rally after the report may have been overdone as prices seemed to settle back down to levels from two weeks ago before the USDA acres and stocks report on June 30.

Right now the market is estimating a national yield of 167. Some are arguing it should be 165, and a few bulls are calling for 160. When you consider the extra acres the USDA reported and plug in a 164 national yield, the carryout would still be over 1.7 billion bushels.… Continue reading

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Clinton County Fair swine flu frustration, misinformation and lessons learned

After long hours of work and extensive investment in time and money to get to the show ring, emotions can run high, especially when things do not go as planned. That was certainly the case when, unfortunately, swine influenza was lab confirmed at the Clinton County Fair in July.

The Clinton County Fair Board worked closely with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Clinton County Agricultural Society and local and state health officials to stop further spread of this virus in the hog population by making it a terminal show. State Veterinarian Tony Forshey said it was a tough, but necessary, decision.

“We have dealt with influenza for several years at county fairs so that is nothing new. This was a unique case. In this case, this pig came in on a Saturday and became feverish on the following Wednesday. Then we had several others get sick on Thursday so we knew we had a fairly high viral load there.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 18 | In the barn and out of trouble

Episode 18 of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast one of mixed emotions as we bring news of great gains at the Clinton County Fair through a unique program that allowed troubled youth to learn responsibility by raising and caring for a swine project. Ty Higgins is joined by Chad Mason to talk that unique program. The crew brings it back to the roundtable to also discuss the troubling news of swine flu at the same fair.

Many farmers have been looking at the growing puddles on their land wondering when the rains are going to take a break. Joel Penhorwood speaks with Ed Vallee of on the history, outlook, and challenges posed by this year’s wet times.

Matt Reese continues the dicamba conversation as he speaks with Ohio State Extension’s Mark Loux on the herbicide that’s raising eyebrows across the country.

All that and much more in this week’s podcast.… Continue reading

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