Farming and agriculture notes – June 7

HOW TO IDENTIFY EMERGENCE ISSUES IN CORN – With much of Ohio corn now planted statewide, growers who can identify any emergence problem early on will likely have a better chance of coming up with a successful solution to the issue, said an agronomist in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Troubleshooting emergence problems early in the growing process is critical, said Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist. OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of the college.

“Corn may take up to three to four weeks to emerge when soil conditions are not favorable such as temperatures below 55 degrees or if there is inadequate soil moisture,” he said. “But as long as stands are not seriously reduced, delayed emergence usually does not have a major negative impact on yield.

“However, when delayed emergence is associated with uneven plant development, yield potential often can be reduced.”

Statewide, for the week ended May 31, corn is 93 percent planted and 83 percent emerged, according to the June 1 U.S. Department of Agriculture crop progress report. That compares to corn at 85 percent planted at the same time last year, with 59 percent emerged during that same period, the USDA said.

“Heavy rainfalls were observed, especially later in the week, leaving standing water in some areas,” the federal agency said in a statement. “Some hail was reported.

“Warmer than normal temperatures helped emergence and growth, but some replanting will be needed in drowned out areas. Despite widespread rains over most of the state, some areas remain drier than average.”

Some common emergence problems Thomison said growers could encounter include:

· No seed present: Thomison said this might be caused by a planter malfunction or the result of bird or rodent damage. If a bird or rodent causes the issue, signs of digging or seed or plant parts will be near the site.

· Coleoptile or shoot unfurled, leafing-out underground: These issues could be due to premature exposure to light in cloddy soil, planting too deep, compaction or soil crusting, or extended exposure to acetanilide herbicides under cool, wet conditions. Extended wet conditions alone could also cause the problem, he said.

· Seed that has swelled but not sprouted: Poor seed-to-soil contact or shallow planting could result in a seed that has swelled then dried out. Growers should check seed furrow closure in no-till.

· Skips associated with discolored and malformed seedlings: This could be caused by herbicide damage. To assess the issue, take note of the depth of planting and herbicides applied compared with injury symptoms such as twisted roots, club roots or purple plants.

· Seeds hollowed out: Seed corn maggot or wireworm could cause this issue. Look for evidence of the pest to confirm.

· Uneven emergence: This may be due to soil moisture and temperature variability within the seed zone; poor seed-to-soil contact caused by cloddy soils; soil crusting or shallow planting. Feeding by various grub species can also result in uneven emergence.

“Depending on the magnitude of the problem, some of these emergence issues may warrant replanting,” he said. “Growers who are facing replanting later in June may want to switch to soybeans unless they need to plant corn for a particular field or may have used chemicals that may lock them into planting corn.”

YOUNG FARMERS AWARDED FREE USE OF KUBOTA TRACTOR – The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) Outstanding Young Farmers Kelly and Michelle Abfall of Albany recently received a Kubota M-Series tractor to use for 250 hours, one of the prizes for being named the 2014 state contest winner.

“It is great when a business like Kubota supports young farmers, and show they care about helping the next generation,” Kelly said.

The Outstanding Young Farmer award recognizes successful young farmers for achievements in the business of farming and leadership in the agricultural community. The Abfalls also competed in the national Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher contest at the American Farm Bureau annual meeting in San Diego in January.

“Kubota is committed to making investments in the agriculture industry as we continue to expand our business. What better investment than to support and promote young people who are on the cutting edge,” said Dan Jasper, Kubota regional sales manager for eastern Ohio.

Kelly and Michelle are members of Athens-Meigs County Farm Bureau, with Michelle serving on the board of trustees. They operate a 1,030 acre grain farm, where they raise corn, soybeans and wheat. They also raise beef cattle. Both have bachelor’s degrees in agriculture from Ohio State University and are active members of St. Paul Catholic Church.

Their 250 hours free use of the M-Series tractor is courtesy of Kubota Tractor Corporation. They also received an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau annual meeting courtesy of OFBF and $1,000 in Grainger merchandise courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America.

“Kubota is a valued supporter of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals and I would like to thank Kubota for its continued support for the Outstanding Young Farmer award,” said Melinda Witten, Young Ag Professionals program director. “This donation is a highly valued prize. We appreciate Kubota’s contribution as we recognize Ohio’s top young farmers.”

CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS LAUNCHES CROP INSURANCE REFORM INITIATIVE – The Center for Rural Affairs announced the launch of an initiative aimed at reforming federal crop insurance programs.

The time has come for crop insurance reforms that emphasize conserving soil and water, put real limits on subsidies to the nation’s largest farms, and ensures these subsidies are transparent to taxpayers.

Traci Bruckner, Center for Rural Affairs

“Here at the Center, we’ve heard from farmers across the Midwest and Great Plains about the negative impacts of federally subsidized crop insurance for over a decade,” said Traci Bruckner, Senior Policy Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. “A farm safety net is important to help family farmers mitigate risks, but there are real concerns with the current crop insurance program.”

According to Bruckner, the federal government subsidizes crop insurance, paying 62% of premiums, on average, in 2012. Insurance policies are sold and completely serviced through 19 approved private insurance companies. Not only does the federal government pay the majority of producers’ premiums on every single acre, regardless of how large they are or how much money they make, insurance companies’ losses are also reinsured by USDA. In addition, the federal government reimburses the insurance company’s administrative and operating costs. In total, these insurance companies have lobbied and negotiated for guaranteed profits approaching a 14 percent return on their investment.

“The current government subsidized crop insurance program is working against the very farmers we all believe deserve a safety net,” Bruckner added. “The program is not transparent, props up private insurance company profits, and puts our natural resources at risk.”

Moreover, unlimited crop insurance subsidies result in mega-farms driving up land costs, driving their smaller neighbors out of business, and barring the next generation of family farmers from even getting a start, Bruckner concluded.

For more information the Center for Rural Affairs Crop Insurance Reform Initiative, go to or contact Traci Bruckner, [email protected] or John Crabtree, [email protected]

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