Beware the harvest ghost!

 This All Hallows’ Eve go outside and I swear,

If you look to the fields you’ll see them out there.

Spooks, ghouls and gremlins flourish in the fields,

that odd floating lights and low grumbles yield.

With their sharp gnashing teeth and sleepless vampires,

They revel in the crop fields ‘tween the telephone wires.

Haunting and howling with an unearthly glow,

They ravage the landscape between the fencerows.

At dusk rows of rustling crops stand stalwart ‘til last light,

Then the beasts roar in and feast through the night.

But it’s not those long evil autumn nights that scare me the most —

It’s the empty fields that remain filled with silent harvest ghosts!

Harvest ghost2Continue reading

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Ohio’s specialty crops had a great 2016

Ohio is home to a myriad of specialty crops, each having their own peculiarities with regard to the optimum weather and growing conditions.

Brad Bergefurd is an Extension educator specializing in agriculture and horticulture. He works with a wide array of Ohio’s specialty crops. As a result, he always has an interesting take on the growing season. Here are some of his thoughts about 2016 as the growing season comes to its conclusion.

“We’ve had some of the best yields in strawberries and asparagus. We did have a few late-season frost events in certain pockets in Ohio last spring, but even folks who got some of that damage still had pretty good strawberry yields overall both with matted and plasticulture. There was one picking of asparagus where there was damage and it had to be mowed. Then, rolling into the planting season, things were a little delayed because we were so wet early on.… Continue reading

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Should I sell beans for cash now or sell for July delivery?

Farmers have been more concerned with harvesting than selling lately, which contributed to last week’s rally. However, I don’t think many farmers took advantage.

I don’t know if the rally will continue as farmers finish harvest this week (we finished safely last Wednesday). Many may sell immediately after harvest to ease cash-flow concerns and limit storage fees. On the other hand, government payment checks were just issued, so cash flow may not be a concern for farmers. I expect the market to be range bound between $3.20 to $3.60 for corn and less than $10 for beans in the short-term.


Increased exports and demand for soybean oil helped beans rally. These events also helped corn and wheat. As long as bean demand is strong, prices should stay positive. However, if bean demand falters, the large crop will likely push prices lower.


Yield reports continue to be positive. Even areas affected by drought are better than expected.… Continue reading

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Buckeye Valley-DACC FFA well represented at National Convention

The 89th Annual National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana represents a new high water mark for the Buckeye Valley-DACC FFA Chapter.  The chapter represented Ohio well with a National Proficiency Award winner, and a 3rd place Career Development Event team.

Curtis Harsh of Radnor won the Beef Production Entrepreneurship proficiency area, coming out ahead of 3 other finalists from Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.  Harsh became eligible for the award after winning the Ohio state FFA competition earlier this year.  To finish out his FFA career, Curtis was also awarded the organization’s highest honor of the American FFA Degree.

Just prior to Curtis’ win, Buckeye Valley was pleased to learn that it’s Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management team placed 3rd nationally, competing against teams from 40 other states.  The team consisted of Macee Burke, Hannah Edelblute, Sarah Lehner, and Donnie Smith.  In addition to placing 3rd overall, Buckeye Valley won the team management event, and had the 3rd high score individual with Sarah Lehner. … Continue reading

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Are modern genetics worth the money?

At summer field days and then at Farm Science Review, I had the opportunity to talk with growers about crop prices and how they plan to cut back on costs for 2017. One topic that came up several times was to change their genetics to cheaper hybrids or companies. This thought somewhat concerns me.

I have conducted a number of trials and comparisons over the years and generally have learned that new is better when it comes to choosing a hybrid or variety for yield. One such comparison I have been making over recent years is of a modern hybrid to open pollinated corn varieties. I know this is an extreme comparison but I do actually have some folks tell me they are looking for a modern open pollinated variety so they can produce their own seed. For 2016, I compared a modern hybrid, a modern open pollinated variety and an older open pollinated variety.… Continue reading

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Prepaying farm expenses as a tax planning tool

Farmers typically pay for seed, fertilizer, and other inputs in one year and use the items in the subsequent year. There are many reasons to do so, such as: obtaining a lower purchase price, guarantee the availability of the particular item, and of course for tax planning purposes. Typically larger farmers can spend tens of thousands of dollars on year-end prepaid expenses in order to adjust taxable income to a desired level; therefore, it is extremely important that farmers adhere to the IRS rules regarding prepaid expenses.

The IRS allows farm-related taxpayers to deduct costs of farm supplies in the year the purchase is made versus the year in which such purchases are used; however, the prepaid purchases of farm supplies are limited generally to 50% of other deductible farm expenses (all deductions except supplies) for the year.

A “Farm related taxpayer” is someone who meets any of the following tests: (1) The main home is on the farm, (2) The principal business is farming or (3 ) a member of your family meets (1) or (2).… Continue reading

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Miami County FFA members succeed at National Convention

“Transform: Purpose To Action” was the theme of this year’s National FFA Convention. 27 members of the Miami East-MVCTC and Milton-Union-MVCTC FFA chapters were in attendance at the convention in Indianapolis. Those members included from Miami East-MVCTC FFA were Elizabeth Bair, Liza Bair, Ethin Bendickson, Kylie Blair, Keagan Carsey, Jessica Copeland, Luke Gilliland, Jessica Gillum, Jessica Hicks, Rachael Hodge, Weston Hodge, Savannah Holzen, Kearsten Kirby, and Abbey Koontz. From Milton-Union-MVCTC FFA were Daniel Albaugh, Destanie Brown, Joel Cress, Dylan Cross, Abby Hissong, Emily Hornberger, Jacob Hornberger, Webb Kress, Jessica Leffew, Eryn Oldham, Kamron Paulus, Liz Renner, and Rachel Thompson. Also joining the members during the trip was the Arcanum-MVCTC FFA Chapter and its members.

More than 64,000 members, parents, and guests were in attendance at the National FFA Convention. Previous conventions were held in Kansas City, Missouri and Louisville, Kentucky.

Convention activities included attending several convention sessions were members where inspired by motivational speakers such as the 2015-2016 National FFA Officers and motivational speakers author, and long-distance swimmer Diane Nyad, and retired NFL player and now farmer Jason Brown.… Continue reading

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So God made a grain cart driver

A few years ago, a Super Bowl commercial put the American farmer at the forefront of many conversations the following morning as Ram Trucks put Paul Harvey’s reading of “So God Made a Farmer” with a montage of pictures of farmers doing what they do everyday.

But, even with the farmer getting this much deserved recognition, there is still one group of workers on the farm that need some thanks and praise this time of year. This post is for them.

So God made a grain cart driver

On the 8th day, God looked at his paradise and thought…

“I need a man that can be responsible for the mistakes that everyone makes. I need a man that is expected to read minds and a man that is to be everywhere he is expected twice as fast as possible.”

So God made a grain cart driver.

God said…

“This man will have to be patient, for he will get his butt chewed like he’s a dog, for simply not being able to see because of the glare of the Sun.Continue reading

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Fifth graders on farm tour educated by Hiland FFA

On a brisk, cool morning the Hiland FFA Chapter went to the 5th Grade Farm Tour which was held at Spring Walk Farms in Big Prairie, Ohio.

The Holmes Soil and Water Conservation District sponsored the 5th Grade Farm Tour. The 5th graders had a rotation throughout the day, stopping at various stations. Each stop was only 20 minutes long. When the tour was over the students went to eat lunch.

The Hiland FFA members assisted with the soil station and helped the 5th graders make their own soil snacks to enjoy. The soil snack consisted of pretzel pieces represented bedrock, coco puffs were the subsoil, the granola represented the topsoil, raisins were the bugs, gummy worms represented the worms, and green sprinkles were the grass or crops. While the students were enjoying their snack, the Hiland FFA members talked to them about soil.

IMG_0208There were nine FFA members that took part in this activity which were: Ethan Drzazga, Bailey Engstrom, Natalie Lovell, Hayleigh Scheufler, Parker Stutzman, Heidi Troyer, Sheila Troyer, Tallie Troyer, Cheryl Yoder, and Diane Yoder.… Continue reading

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Time running out: Wear The Boots We Wear – 40-boot giveaway going on now

Work boots are a symbol of strength, determination, and resolve, much like the American farmer. They wholly represent the way of life found in the country.

We at Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal see firsthand the hard work going on in the farms and fields around the state and admire the undertakings we witness. We therefore want to recognize that around-the-clock effort by offering our readers and listeners a chance to wear the boots we wear.

From now through Oct. 28, Ohio Ag Net and OCJ, in association with LACROSSE Footwear, will be giving away 40 pairs of boots for free.

LACROSSE, established in 1897, specializes in footwear made to be dirty — whether that be in the woods, in the field, or hauling manure. The rubber and neoprene footwear are ready to wear.

As you can see, our staff members are active users of LACROSSE Footwear and hope you will be too.… Continue reading

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Soybean yields strong Between the Rows

We had two inches of rain on Thursday so we were out of the fields this weekend but this morning I am back to shelling. The ground is a little wet today so we can’t run our strip-tiller yet. We need to get it running around the clock because they are calling for rain again on Wednesday.
We were getting fairly dry but our wheat is looking beautiful. It is really growing. We finished up planting early last week.

Last Wednesday we finished beans and switched over to corn. We are a little over 400 acres into corn now and we are progressing pretty well. Yields on corn are about what we expected, around 150. We have been close to the farm running so far and we hope as we get further away yield will get a little better. As we went southwest cutting beans we got into some 69-bushel beans, so hopefully we’ll see better yields with corn too.… Continue reading

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Anthony Wayne FFA comptes in district Dairy Judging

On Thursday, October 13th, six Anthony Wayne FFA members competed in the District One FFA Dairy Cattle Judging Career Development Event. The members had to evaluate four classes of dairy cattle, scoring them on how well they appear to produce milk and calves. They also had to complete a written test, and evaluate pedigrees to rank cattle. The Anthony Wayne Dairy Cattle judging team placed 9th overall. Patrick Miller led the team, with other team members of Tayler Common, Lila Common, Claire Sample, Kelsey Arquette and Micah Arquette. Kelsey Arquette said, “It was a great learning experience for new contestants and freshman who are just starting CDEs.”

Overall it was a very successful competition and our members look forward to competing in the future.… Continue reading

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Go Ninjas!

Completely unrelated to Halloween, I recently found myself standing in a park wearing a ninja costume.

I had gone into the 2016 fall season of coaching U8 boys’ soccer feeling fairly confident in my youth coaching abilities. I had coached for four seasons of U6 and suffered only one narrow defeat. I was ready to take my coaching dominance to the next level in U8. Per tradition I had my young group of soon-to-be-soccer stars select their team mascot at the first practice: the fighting ninjas!

We were a very young team with multiple five-year-olds who would be playing against eight-year-olds. I knew we were in trouble when, during an early-season scrimmage one of my best scorers had a breakaway with an open goal in front of him. Just 10 feet from the unguarded goal he abruptly stopped and turned the other direction allowing the pursuing defenders to overtake him and steal the ball.… Continue reading

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It’s never too early to plan for next year: Now is the time to implement plans to ensure clean fields and maximum yields in 2017

For many of us, fall is about seeing the “payoff” from all our hard work during the past season. While harvest does allow us to make observations and summarize our findings from the past season, I’d encourage you to also consider preparing your seed bed for next year. For some of you that means tillage, for others who do not intend to till their acres, this means controlling those fall emerged weeds.

While this past growing season was hot and dry for many of us, the recent fall rains have provided the moisture necessary for winter annual and perennial weed populations to thrive. Those same weeds will not only be tougher to get sufficient control of next spring, but will inhibit us from getting our 2017 crop established and off to the best possible start.

Fall is an excellent time to control many of these troublesome winter annual and perennial weeds such as marestail, dandelion, chickweed, henbit, field pennycress and purple deadnettle.… Continue reading

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West Holmes dairy team finds success at Big E

In mid-September, the West Holmes FFA Chapter sent their Dairy Judging team to compete in the Eastern States Exposition (Big E) in Springfield, Massachusetts. The team placed 4th in the state last year and qualified to compete there.

The team consists of William Hughes, Logan Schlauch, Regina Miller, Alyx Morris, John Hughes, and Mikey Kick. While competing the members take a test, judge cows, participate in a team activity, and give oral reasons.

Individual placings were: William Hughes 14th, Regina Miller 15th, Alyx Morris 18th, and Logan Schlauch 21st. The team placed 3rd overall.

Congratulations to the West Holmes FFA dairy team.… Continue reading

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A brief history of National FFA Convention as it moves back to Indy

The National FFA Organization’s 89th annual National Convention & Expo is underway this week from October 19th through the 22nd. This time, it travels back to the familiar home of Indianapolis, Indiana. The return follows a multi-year stretch in which the convention moved back to its former home of Louisville, Kentucky through 2015. Indianapolis will now be the host city through at least 2024.

A growing organization is partially the reason behind the change back to our neighbors in the west. The National FFA Organization currently boasts a new record-high student membership of 649,335, a 3% notch higher than just a year before.

Well over 60,000 of those students are expected to be lining the streets of Indianapolis in blue corduroy jackets. As those students gear up for a busy week ahead, we take a look back at the change the organization’s biggest event has seen down the years, as well as what lies ahead.… Continue reading

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Anthony Wayne FFA competes in soil judging

Fourteen Anthony Wayne FFA members competed in the District 1 Agricultural and Urban Soil Judging CDE. The agricultural soils team consisted of Haley Schmersal, Madison King, Nicole McMullen, Dylan Stall, Kelly Rice, Morgan Fairchild, Patrick Wright, and Taylore Harman. The urban soils team consisted Kennedy Shartzer, Paige Miller, Lily Hassan, Carter Holck, Laura Caswell, and Maggie Burkett. The ag soils team placed 6th in their division and the urban soils team placed 8th in their division. Haley Schmersal placed 11th as an individual in the ag soils division and and Laura Caswell placed 17th as an individual in the urban soils division. Dylan Stall said “It was my first year competing and I learned a lot about types of soil. ”

It was a successful competition and the chapter plan’s to compete again next year.… Continue reading

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Maintain quality of grain in storage

As harvest is in full swing across the state, and fields of corn and soybeans are disappearing, grain bins are starting to fill up. All of the management decisions that growers made throughout the growing season are being evaluated as yield data is collected and analyzed. Also, growers marketing programs are in full swing trying to maximize the best price per bushel across an entire operation.

One factor affecting profitability is still at jeopardy; that is the quality and marketability of corn and soybeans before they are sold. Grain condition in storage is often overlooked until there is a problem as grain begins to be moved for sale. Grain quality and condition will never improve after it is put into storage, however, it can quickly decline to the point of dockage or rejection at a point of sale. Considering the following points when storing grain can help reduce potential grain quality issues.… Continue reading

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The intrigue of a2 milk

Ray Jackson and his family are dairy farmers in western Logan County looking to diversify their product with what may be a trend on the horizon for the industry — something called a2 milk.

“It’s daunting right now, but we’re excited for the possibilities down the road,” said Jackson, who is a sales rep for ABS Global, formerly American Breeders Service along with working on the small dairy farm.

Regular cow’s milk is about 85% water. The rest consists of lactose, fat, proteins, and more. About 30% of the total protein in that assembly is made up of beta-casein. Two variants of this protein are found in cow’s milk, a1 and a2. Cows are genetically predisposed to produce milk with either a1 or a2 proteins, though a new trend has recently raised the eyebrows of dairy farmers looking to cows that can produce a2 without any a1 beta-casein.

Like in nearly every sector of the food industry, consumer preference has permeated through the store shelves to influence production at the dairy farm level.… Continue reading

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