Webinar for 2021 ARC and PLC Program Year

OSU Extension will be offering two webinars this winter focused specifically on the ARC/PLC decision, reviewing decision-tool calculators available to evaluate options, and current market outlook. The dates for these webinars are January 13th from 1:00-3:00 pm and February 25th from 9 -11 am. Both programs are free to attend, but registration is required. Register online at: http://go.osu.edu/arcplc2021.

Additionally, OSU Extension and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE) are offering several webinars between now and the March 15th enrollment deadline for producers to get up to date market outlook information. For information about AEDE’s 2021 Winter Outlook Meetings, visit https://aede.osu.edu/research/agricultural-policy-and-outlook-conferences/county-meetings.

 

ARC and PLC Elections for 2021 Crop Year

This article was originally posted on the Ohio AG Manager Blog at https://u.osu.edu/ohioagmanager/.

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 changes to program elections are optional, producers must enroll (sign a contract) each year to be eligible to receive payments. What does that mean? Even if you do not change your program elections, you  still need to make an appointment at the Farm Service Agency to sign off on enrollment for the 2021 crop year by the 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. 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:

PLC payments are triggered by low prices. PLC is a disaster price program and pays when the marketing year average price is below a reference price. The marketing year average price (MYAP) is an average price calculated using cash prices across the nation over the course of a year. The 2021 marketing year for wheat is May 2021 – June 2022 and for corn and soybeans is August 2021 – September 2022. This means that the MYAP for 2021 for wheat will not be known until June 2022 and the MYAP for corn and soybeans will not be known until September 2022. PLC payments will only be triggered for a covered commodity if the MYAP published at the end of the marketing year are below the reference price. The reference price for corn is $3.70, for soybeans is $8.40, and for wheat is $5.50.

ARC-County payments are triggered by low county revenues. Revenues are calculated using the market year average price times the county average yield. When producers enrolled for 2019 and 2020, they were enrolling after the 2019 crop had been harvested. Yields for 2019 were known at the time of the enrollment deadline for that year. For the 2021 crop year, producers will be enrolling before the crop is planted.

Producers have less information about both price and yields for the 2021 enrollment period, compared to the last enrollment period. When producers enrolled for 2019 and 2020, we were more than halfway through the marketing year for each crop, so there was much more information on price expectation. For the 2021 crop year, producers will be enrolling before the marketing year begins.

The maximum ARC-IC payment is triggered in cases where an FSA Farm has 100% Prevent Plant acres. At the time of enrollment for the 2019 crop year, producers knew if they had FSA Farms that fit this description and were able to use that information to decide if ARC-IC was a good fit for a FSA Farm. For the 2021 crop year, producers will need to decide by March 15th if ARC-IC is still the right choice for those farms without knowledge of how many acres they will have in Prevent Plant. While some FSA Farms triggered large payments for ARC-IC in 2019, producers may want to re-assess this program election for the 2021 crop year if they do not expect to put those farms in 100% Prevent Plant in 2021.

For most producers, the number one consideration driving program election is the market. What are markets going to do? We will not know the MYA price for corn or soybeans until September of 2022, and a lot could change in that time.

OSU Extension and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE) are offering several webinars between now and the March 15th enrollment deadline for producers to get up to date market outlook information. For information about AEDE’s 2021 Winter Outlook Meetings, visit https://aede.osu.edu/research/agricultural-policy-and-outlook-conferences/county-meetings.

Additionally, OSU Extension will be offering two webinars this winter focused specifically on the ARC/PLC decision, reviewing decision-tool calculators available to evaluate options, and current market outlook. The dates for these webinars are January 13th from 1:00-3:00 pm and February 25th from 9 -11 am. Both programs are free to attend, but registration is required. Register online at: http://go.osu.edu/arcplc2021.

Soil Testing

What is one of the most helpful resources to use when establishing or maintaining a garden bed, lawn, landscape, or cultivated field?  A soil test!  For relatively little cost, soil testing labs provide invaluable information for homeowners, gardeners, and farmers by pinpointing nutrient needs and providing fertilizer recommendations or corrective actions for sampled soils.

Why should you test soil?  There are four main reasons to test your soil: 1.) to guide plant selection  2.) to maintain proper soil fertility 3.) to diagnose plant problems and 4.) to follow industry-accepted management practices, such as those used for tree care or for agronomic crop production.

What does a soil test measure? A basic soil test provides information on soil properties including soil pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), base saturation, lime requirement index, and levels of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Additional tests can measure soil texture and the amount of copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), soluble salts, nitrates, and organic matter in the soil.

Why is soil pH important? Knowing your soil pH is a cost effective way to match a plant’s pH requirement with that of the soil in which you are planting. Soil tests provide a pH value from 1 to 10, though soil pH rarely measures below 3.5 or above 9. Soil is considered acidic when it measures less than 7.0 and alkaline when it measures more than 7.0.

Many plants grow in a wide range of soil pH levels, while others have more specific requirements. For example, numerous ornamental flowering plants, fruits, vegetables, and turfgrass species grow well when the soil pH ranges from 6.2 to 6.8. Other plants such as pin oaks, azaleas and blueberries require a more acidic soil (5.5 to 6.5) to thrive in our area. When grown in a higher pH soil, they tend to exhibit nutrient deficiency symptoms such as leaf yellowing and/or stunted growth.

When should soil be tested? With the growing and harvesting season winding up in NW Ohio, now is a perfectly good time to soil test. Soil testing can be done throughout the year as long as the soil is workable to collect a sample. Since soil test results are used in planning what needs to be done with a specific growing area, they should be taken with ample time to evaluate and act upon the recommendations. Fall is an excellent time to make lime applications to raise soil pH, while spring is best to apply sulfur to lower soil pH.

How often should should soil be tested? For most garden, landscape and agronomic purposes, soil testing every two to three years is adequate to maintain soil fertility. More frequent sampling may be required when diagnosing plant problems or for nutrient-hungry plantings.

Where can soil be tested and how do you interpret results? While Ohio State University no longer provides soil testing services, we do provide soil sampling kits from Penn State University for $10 at the Extension office. After you collect and mail your sample to the lab, recommendations on how to improve soil fertility based upon the desired plants or crops to be grown will soon follow. While many online resources can help explain soil test results, you may also bring or email soil reports to the extension office for further interpretation.

 

 

 

Estimating Soybean Yields

Farmers are usually anxious to know how their crops have performed each year – well ahead of harvest. To help with grain marketing and harvest plans, now is a good time to estimate grain yields. Mid to late August is generally a good time to make corn estimations with soybeans occurring during this time or even later as pods continue to mature.

OSU Extension educators across the state have been out and about in fields the past few weeks providing early estimates of corn and soybean yields. As you might expect, reported yields have been variable – coinciding with whether crops received ample rain this season or not. Some areas in Ohio received timely rainfall while others received little to no rain throughout the summer.

A sample of early corn yield estimates have been reported virtually on the Ohio’s Country Journal website and ranged from 78 to 265 bushels per acre. Soybean yields have not yet been reported as the crop continues to mature.

How can you estimate soybean yield?

Estimating soybean yield is very similar to estimating corn yields but results can be more variable due to variable plant stands and seed size. Keep in mind that these estimates become more reliable as the growing season progresses. The optimum time to estimate soybean yield is at the R6 stage where flowering has ceased, the final number of pods are set, and seeds continue to fill.

For soybeans, four yield components are necessary to estimate yield in the field – number of plants per acre, average number of pods per plant, average number of seeds per pod, and average seed weight. As you can imagine, there can be considerable variability in each of these components. Remember that stress and early fall weather conditions can greatly affect seed size.

An average value for soybean seed weight used in the yield estimation equation is 3,000 seeds per pound in a 60 lb. bushel. When below normal rainfall occurs during seed fill this method overestimates yield as seed will be smaller with lower weights and more seeds per bushel (3,500 seeds per pound). When good growing conditions are present during seed fill, yield is underestimated as seed weights are higher with fewer seeds per bushel (2,800 seeds per pound).

To estimate yield, several small sections of a field that equal 1/1000 of an acre are sampled and averaged to give an estimated yield. The steps to estimate soybean yield are as follows:

  1. Count the number of plants in a length of row equivalent to 1/1000th acre. For 30” rows, this would be 17 ft 5 in or 34 ft 10 in for 15” rows.
  2. Randomly pull 10 plants within this distance, count the number of pods per plant with at least one seed, and determine the average.
  3. Randomly select 10 pods from harvested plants, count the number of seeds per pod, and determine the average.
  4. Calculate the estimated yield in bushels per acre by multiplying the number of plants, times the average number of pods, times the average number of seeds. Divide that total by (number of seeds per pound * 0.06).
  5. Repeat the procedure for at least four additional sites across the field.

An example for a field with 15” rows: You counted 120 plants in a row that measured 34’ 10” in length. Ten plants were pulled from this row with an average of 30 pods per plant with three seeds per pod. Pods have filled nicely, so an estimate weight of 3000 seeds per pound is used. The estimated yield for that site in the field would be (120*30*3) divided by (3000*0.06), which equals 60 bushels per acre.

 

Weathering the Wheat Crop

Putnam County has received roughly 8 inches of rainfall since the beginning of April, nearly 2.5 inches more than normal for this time of year. The timing and abundance of rainfall caused delayed fieldwork, considerable ponding in fields and some replanting. With more rain in the forecast for the week ahead, many are wondering if Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), more commonly known as head scab, will be a concern for the local wheat crop.

Head scab is a fungal disease that reduces yield and quality of grain. The fungus infects flowering wheat heads and can produce vomitoxin, a mycotoxin that contaminates the grain and reduces its marketability. The majority of wheat in our area has flowered or will continue to flower over the next few weeks.

Dr. Pierce Paul, OSU’s specialist in cereal crop diseases, weighed in on the potential for wheat in NW Ohio to develop head scab over the coming weeks and provided the following recommendations. The FHB forecasting system (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/) predicts the risk of scab by using the average relative humidity during the 15 days immediately before flowering. If 11-13 days during that 15-day window are cool and dry, then the overall risk will be low, even if it is wet and humid the remaining days. The risk for scab is low in northern Ohio for fields flowering at this time because conditions were relatively cool and dry last week, which likely reduced the risk of the scab fungus infecting wheat spikes. However, farmers should monitor the weather and forecasting system over the next week. Fields flowering at the end of this week through May 30 may be at risk for scab.

Other late-season foliar diseases on wheat have increased over the last week, including strip rust and Septoria. Scout flowering fields to see if your variety is susceptible to stripe rust, Septoria, or even Stagonospora. These disease develop under the cool, wet conditions we have experienced over the last two weeks. Strip rust is localized and restricted to a few varieties but could spread and affect grain yield and test weight in those varieties.

Dr. Paul recommends Prosaro and Caramba fungicides for excellent head scab, rust and Septoria control. Strobilurin fungicides should not be used when the risk for head scab is high because they have been linked to higher vomitoxin levels in the grain. Farmers should also take note of the pre-harvest intervals on any late-season fungicide application. The pre-harvest interval is 30 days for both of these products, so applications need to be made at least 30 days before you begin cutting wheat. It is likely too late to treat fields that are well into grain-fill.

Additional resources on head scab, wheat rust, and guidelines on how to use and interpret the scab forecasting system can be found at http://ohioline.osu.edu. To keep up with the many issues and developments related to agronomic crops across Ohio, subscribe to the OSU Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (C.O.R.N.) newsletter published weekly during the growing season. Go to https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter and enter your email to subscribe, or contact the extension office and we can subscribe you as well. For more information, contact the Putnam County Extension office at 419-523-6294, by email at scheckelhoff.11@osu.edu, or stop in at 1206 East Second Street in Ottawa. You can also find us on Facebook by searching for OSU Extension Putnam County.

 

 

Keeping up with Agronomic Crops

If you have driven around Putnam County this past week, you have likely noticed some significant changes in the fields.  Corn that was planted nearly three weeks ago can finally be seen poking out of the ground. Have you ever wondered why corn emerges shortly after planting in some years while in other years it may take up to 3 or 4 weeks to emerge? This difference in timing is due to differences in  temperature from year to year following planting. Corn seeds generally need to accumulate 100-120 growing degree day units (GGD) of heat before they will germinate. This number depends upon the variety of corn grown and can vary from 90 to 150 GDD.

Science has shown that corn will grow when the temperature is between 50 and 86°F and little growth occurs when temperatures are above or below this range. By knowing the outdoor daily low and high temperature, we can calculate GDD for that day. Adding or accumulating GDD over time provides information that is useful in predicting crop growth and development, as well as insect and disease activity.

So how does one calculate GDD? Farmers and gardeners alike can calculate the daily GDD by taking the average daily air temperature (high temperature + low temperature)/2 and subtracting the base temperature of 50°F for corn. When the daily low temperature is more than 50°F, and the high temperature is 86°F or less, then use the actual temperatures to calculate GDD. However, if the low temperature is less than 50°F, then 50°F will be used as the low temperature. Likewise, if the high temperature is above 86°F, then 86°F will be used as the high temperature.

Using two examples from this past week: On May 12, the high and low temperatures were 63°F/46°F. Because 46°F is lower than corn’s base temperature of 50°F, we use 50°F in the calculation. GDD for May 12 = (63-50)/2 = 3.5 GDD. On May 13, the high and low temperatures were 71°F/43°F. The GDD for May 13 were (71-50)/2=10.5 GDD. Over these two days, corn accumulated 14 GDD. By using this calculation, we can estimate when corn varieties will reach various stages of development, including tasseling and maturity.

To keep up with the many issues and developments related to agronomic crops across Ohio, subscribe to the OSU Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (C.O.R.N.) newsletter published weekly during the growing season. Go to https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter and enter your email to subscribe, or contact the extension office and we can subscribe you as well. For more information, contact the Putnam County Extenstion office at 419-523-6294, by email at scheckelhoff.11@osu.edu, or stop in at 1206 East Second Street in Ottawa. You can also find us on Facebook by searching for OSU Extension Putnam County.