Gibberella Ear Rot and Vomitoxin in Corn

Source: Dr. Pierce Paul, OSU

If your grain was harvested from a field with Gibberella ear rot (GER), it is more than likely contaminated with mycotoxins. Deoxynivalenol, also known as vomitoxin, is one of the mycotoxins most commonly produced by the fungus Fusarium graminearum that causes GER. Another name for this fungus is Gibberella zeae, hence the name of the disease. Before storing grain harvested from GER-affected fields or areas where conditions were favorable for the disease, pull a sample and test for the presence and level of contamination with vomitoxin. Mycotoxin tests are either qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative. Qualitative tests provide a yes/no answer for the presence of the toxin and are useful for initial screening. Semi-quantitative tests estimate whether the toxin is at or above certain levels (>5 ppm) or within a given range, whereas quantitative tests provide more precise estimates of contamination. There is a trade-off between precision, price, and speed. Quantitative tests tend to be the most precise but are also more expensive and take longer to complete than the qualitative or semi-quantitative tests. Semi-quantitative quick-test kits are very common and relatively easy to use and inexpensive. They are often very specific for one particular toxin. A test developed specifically for Aflatoxin or Fumonisins will work for vomitoxin.

Unfortunately, there are no commercially available treatments to reduce vomitoxin levels in stored grain.  Poor storage may cause toxin levels to increase. Warm, moist pockets in the grain promote mold development, causing the grain quality to deteriorate and toxin levels to increase. Aeration is important to keep the grain dry and cool. However, it should be noted that while cool temperatures, air circulation, and low moisture levels will minimize fungal growth and toxin production, these will not decrease the level of toxin that was already present in grain at the time of storage.

  • Dry and store harvested grain to below 15% moisture of lower to minimize further mold development and toxin contamination in storage.
  • Store dried grain at cool temperatures (36 to 44°F) in clean, dry bins. Moderate to high temperatures are favorable for fungal growth and toxin production.
  • Periodically check grain for mold, insects, and temperature.
  • If mold is found, send a grain sample for mold identification and analysis to determine if toxins are present and at what level.
  • Clean bins and storage units between grain lots to reduce cross-contamination.

Several companies sell test strips for mycotoxin analysis, including Romer Labs (http://www.romerlabs.com) and Neogen (http://www.neogen.com/). These tests are fairly easy to use once you read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully.

More information on sampling, testing, and storage can the found in factsheet # PLPATH-CER-04 (http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/plpath-cer-04).

Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage for the 2021 Crop Year

by: Mary Griffith, Chris Zoller, Hallie Williams, OSU Extension Educators

Enrollment for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year opened in October, with the deadline to enroll and make amendments to program elections on March 15, 2021. This signup is for potential payments for the 2021 crop.

If changes are not made by the March 15th deadline, the election defaults to the programs selected for the 2020 crop year with no penalty. While it is optional to make changes to program elections, producers are required to enroll (sign a contract) each year to be eligible to receive payments. So, even if you do not change your program elections, you will still need to make an appointment at the Farm Service Agency to sign off on enrollment for the 2021 crop year by that March 15th deadline.

Producers have the option to enroll covered commodities in either ARC-County, ARC-Individual, or PLC. Program elections are made on a crop-by-crop basis unless selecting ARC-Individual where all crops under that FSA Farm Number fall under that program. These are the same program options that were available to producers during the 2019 and 2020 crop years. In some cases producers may want to amend program election to better manage the potential risks facing their farms during the 2021 crop year.

As you consider amending your program choices, here are some important reminders:

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Reminder! Register for Precision University Today

Source:  John Barker, Amanda Douridas, Ken Ford, John Fulton, Mary Griffith, Will Hamman, Elizabeth Hawkins

Tackling Spring Operations with Reduced Working Days

January 5, the first virtual Precision University event, is quickly approaching. Be sure to register today so you do not miss out on important information to help you improve spring performance. The 2021 focus is “Tackling Spring Operations with Reduced Working Days.” Speakers from around the country will share their research and experience centered on the challenges farmers face during spring with changing weather patterns.

January 5 – Gambling with Planting Decisions – Dr. Aaron Wilson (Ohio State University Extension) and Dr. Bob Nielsen (Purdue University). 1 CCA CM Credit.

January 12 – Improving Fertilizer Efficiency with the Planter Pass – Matt Bennett (Precision Planting Technology) and Dr. John Fulton (Ohio State University). 1 CCA PAg Credit

January 19 – Pre-season Crop Protection Decisions – Dr. Mark Loux and Dr. Scott Shearer (Ohio State University). 0.5 CCA PM and 0.5 PAg Credits.

January 26 – Sprayer Technology to Improve Field Performance – Dr. Joe Luck (University of Nebraska-Lincoln). 1 CCA PAg Credit.

There is no cost to attend Precision University, but registration is required. For more information or to register, visit http://go.osu.edu/PrecisionU. If you have any questions about the Precision U sessions, please feel free to contact Amanda Douridas (Douridas.9@osu.edu).

 

Updated Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations Now Available

After 25 years, the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa has been comprehensively updated and is now available. The full version can be downloaded as a free pdf, or a printed copy can be purchased: https://extensionpubs.osu.edu/search.php?search_query=974&section=product

A summarized version of findings can be found here: go.osu.edu/fert-recs

The recommendations are based on more than a decade of field trials evaluating N, P, K, S and micronutrients, including over 300 on-farm trials across 41 Ohio counties. This work confirms that the original Tri-State recommendations provided sound guidelines for nutrient management. However, some changes in the recommendations have been made to keep pace with contemporary practices in Ohio’s field crops. This new guide provides an objective framework for farmers to manage nutrients as judiciously and profitably as possible.

Red counties reflect the Ohio counties where fertilizer trials were conducted (2014 – 2018).

Winter Application of Manure-Remember Setbacks

Source:  Glen Arnold, OSU Extension

Some Ohio livestock producers will be looking to apply manure to farm fields frozen enough to support application equipment. Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Thus, this article is for non-permitted livestock operations.

In the Grand Lake St Marys watershed, the winter manure application ban from December 15th to March 1st is still in effect. Thus, no manure application would normally be allowed from now until March 1st. The ban also prohibits surface manure application anytime the ground is frozen or snow-covered in that watershed.

In the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) watershed, the surface application of manure to frozen and snow-covered soils require there to be a growing crop in the field. This could be a pasture, alfalfa, clover, wheat, or a ryegrass crop. There must be enough vegetation visible to provide a 90% cover of residue and growing vegetation. Radishes and oats would not qualify as a growing crop as both are typically winter killed. Manure can be applied to fields without growing crops if the manure is incorporated at the time of application or incorporated within 24 hours of application.

The rainfall rule for surface manure application in the WLEB is a weather forecast saying “not greater than a 50% chance of a half inch or more of rain in the next 24 hours”.  It is advisable to print out the weather forecast when you start applying manure so you have the needed proof if an unexpected storm drenches the area. Weather.gov is the most commonly accepted website for this forecast. On this web page, you can type in the zip code and get a seven-day forecast. On the lower right-hand side of the seven-day forecast page, is an hourly weather forecast that will provide a 48-hour weather forecast graph.

Winter manure application rates should follow the NRCS 590 standards, which limit solid manure application amounts to five tons per acre and liquid manure application amounts to 5,000 gallons per acre. The standards have 200 foot setback distances from ditches, streams and creeks and must be on slopes of less than 6% and less than 20 acre areas in size without additional buffers. These setbacks exist because as snow melts, it can carry manure to streams and ditches. These 200 foot setback distances apply to both liquid and solid manure application. In recent years there have been several fines levied against livestock producers applying manure too close to ditches and streams.

As always, examine fields for tile blowouts, monitor tile outlets before, during, and after manure application.

 

Dicamba Approved for Over-the-Top Use 2021 and Beyond

Source: Agweb.com

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will approve three of the new dicamba formulations for over-the-top use for five years, according to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The herbicide is labeled for use in soybeans and cotton with the trait that confers tolerance to dicamba.

The specific formulations include Xtendimax VaporGrip Xtra, Engenia and Tavium. The registration starts next year (2021) and runs through 2025. The administrator said they opted for a five-year registration, which is typical for pesticides, instead of a two-year like dicamba has experienced in the past because they had more data to base this decision upon.

“EPA will register dicamba for over-the-top use on dicamba tolerant cotton and soybeans, this decision provides a five-year registration to provide certainty to growers,” Wheeler says. “EPA. has determined that these registrations address the concerns outlined in the June 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.”

The administration said it reviewed 65 new studies when making this decision, reviewed all literature and consulted with experts before making this decision.

In approving the herbicide for use in cotton and soybeans, EPA provided the following changes to the herbicide labels. These changes, and all label instructions, must be followed for legal use:

  • Downwind buffer of 240′ is required and a buffer of 310′ required where listed species are located.
  • Over-the-top application of dicamba of soybeans prohibited nationwide after June 30, and after July 30 in cotton.
  • An approved pH buffering agent will be required to be mixed for application to lower volatility. Buffering agents are registered with the EPA and must be documented each use.
  • Opportunities for growers to use hooded sprayers to reduce buffers.
  • States can expand over-the-top use to meet local needs by working with EPA.

“All of these efforts will help ensure there are not negative impacts on other farmers’ lands,” Wheeler continued. “States can further restrict, but they have to work with us and file the appropriate requests with EPA. We’re trying to have a national program here, we’re responding the the court’s concerns with a national cutoff.”

Dicamba’s use was hotly contested earlier this year. An appeals court vacated the product’s use in early June, which was followed by an exemption for use of stocks on-hand for farmers by EPA. The announcement brough confusion and brought dicamba’s compliance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) under the microscope. EPA took those concerns into consideration while making this decision.

“The economic damage that would result from not being able to use dicamba herbicides would be tremendous,” said Ken Fountain, National Cotton Council chairman. “We greatly appreciate EPA’s timely issuance of a new five-year label for the critical crop protection product for cotton farmers.”

Some have already expressed concerns about EPA’s most recent announcement.

“Rather than evaluating the significant costs of dicamba drift as the 9th Circuit told them the law required, EPA rushed re-approval as a political prop just before the election, sentencing farmers and the environment to another five years of unacceptable damage,” said George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety. “Center for Food Safety will most certainly challenge these unlawful approvals.”

This story will be updated with quotes and information as it becomes available.

Governor signs Ohio coronavirus immunity bill

Source: Peggy Kirk Hall, OSU

What does H.B. 606 mean for agricultural businesses?

The new law provides certainty that agricultural businesses won’t be assailed by lawsuits seeking damages for COVID-19.  A person claiming harm from exposure to COVID-19 at an agricultural business will only be successful upon a showing that the business acted recklessly and with intentional disregard or indifference to the possibility of COVID-19.  That’s a high evidentiary standard and burden of proof for a claimant. 

It took five months of negotiation, but the Ohio General Assembly has enacted a controversial bill that grants immunity from civil liability for coronavirus injuries, deaths, or losses. Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 on September 14, stating that it strikes a balance between reopening the economy and keeping Ohioans safe.  The bill will be effective in 90 days.

The bill’s statement of findings and declaration of intent illustrate why it faced disagreement within the General Assembly.  After stating its findings that business owners are unsure of the tort liability they may face when reopening after COVID-19, that businesses need certainty because recommendations on how to avoid COVID-19 change frequently, that individuals who decide to go out in public places should bear responsibility for taking steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19, that nothing in existing Ohio law established duties on business and premise owners to prevent exposure to airborne germs and viruses, and that the legislature has not delegated authority to Ohio’s Executive Branch to create new legal duties for business and premises owners, the General Assembly made a clear declaration of intent in the bill:  “Orders and recommendations from the Executive Branch, from counties and local municipalities, from boards of health and other agencies, and from any federal government agency do not create any new legal duties for purposes of tort liability” and “are presumed to be irrelevant to the issue of the existence of a duty or breach of a duty….and inadmissible at trial to establish proof of a duty or breach of a duty in tort actions.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland), refers to it as the “Good Samaritan Expansion Bill.”  That name relates to one of the two types of immunity in the bill, a temporary qualified immunity for coronavirus-based claims against health care providers.  In its original version of H.B. 606, the House of Representatives included only the health care immunity provisions.  Of interest to farms and other businesses are the bill’s general immunity provisions, however, added to the final legislation by the Senate.

General immunity from coronavirus claims

The new law will prohibit a person from bringing a civil action that seeks damages for injury, death or loss to a person or property allegedly caused by exposure to or transmission of coronavirus, with one exception.  The civil immunity does not apply if the exposure to or transmission of coronavirus resulted from a defendant’s “reckless conduct,” “intentional misconduct,” or “willful or wanton misconduct.”  “Reckless conduct” means disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that conduct or circumstances are likely to cause exposure to or transmission of coronavirus and having “heedless indifference” to the consequences.

Government guidelines don’t create legal duties

Consistent with the bill’s stated intent, the new law clarifies that a claimant cannot assert liability based on a failure to follow government guidelines for coronavirus.  The law states that any government order, recommendation or guideline for coronavirus does not create a duty of care that can be enforced through a civil cause of action.  A person may not admit such orders and guidelines as evidence of a legal right, duty of care or new legal cause of action.

No class actions

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