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Ohio State University Extension


C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2004-35

Dates Covered: 
October 12, 2004 - October 19, 2004
Barry Ward

Corn Stalk Quality and Lodging Potential

Authors: Patrick Lipps

Dry weather and rapid harvesting of the corn crop are making corn stalk quality issues less of an issue. However, as the harvest season progresses the risk of corn lodging before it is harvested increases. Gibberella, Diplodia and anthracnose stalk rots are very common in Ohio and one or more of these diseases can be found in most fields, but certain hybrids have more of these stalk rot problems than others. If you have a lot of acres of corn yet to harvest, t it may be wise to visit fields during down times and squeeze a few stalks above the brace roots. If a high percentage of the stalks are soft then the lodging potential of this field is high. Standability may not become an issue until Ohio experiences some wetter weather and wind, but try to avoid losses by prioritizing harvest of the fields with the weakest stalks. Reported yields are excellent which means heavy ears. If the stalks become wet for a period of time the stalk rot fungi will grow rapidly and make stalks even more soft causing the heavy ears to increase leverage to make plants fall down, especially if assisted by high winds. The best advice right now is to keep the combines working and harvest the crops as soon as possible. Only bad things can happen to the corn crop left in the field from here on out.

Soybean Aphid – 2004 and 2005

Authors: Ron Hammond, Bruce Eisley

Now that we are at the end of the 2004 growing season, we can finally say with confidence that the soybean aphid population was extremely low this past summer! We continually saw low numbers this past growing season, and had expected them to remain low; however, we were careful not too make to many predictions. But based on low numbers of winged soybean aphids in the fall of 2003 (having seen high numbers and many problems in the summer of 2003), many of us had predicted the low populations that we experienced this past year. It was good that most growers did not assume they would have problems, and kept waiting and reading this C.O.R.N. newsletter for up-to-date information on the aphid situation. By following this newsletter and sampling fields, growers in Ohio were able to save enormous amounts of money by NOT spraying.

So what is happening this fall, and any predictions yet for 2005? Well, current observations in the Midwest, especially from Illinois, shows large numbers of winged soybean aphids being caught in suction traps, which is similar to what happened in the fall of 2002. And what followed in the summer of 2003? Significant soybean aphid problems! Thus, we believe that the potential is there for problems with aphids in 2005! But remember, it is a POTENTIAL, not a certainty! Researchers and extension personnel from across the Midwest will be meeting this coming winter to discuss what might happen next summer, and information from those meetings will be distributed widely. But the early indications do suggest that soybean aphids will become a problem once again.

What can growers begin doing now? You should begin by making plans on how to best manage the problem IF it occurs. The first thing to do is to plan on keeping abreast of the situation through this C.O.R.N. newsletter and winter meetings. Gain as much information as you can! Growers who experienced a problem in 2003 might want to consider using tramlines or skip-rows when planting to make it easier to treat by ground application if it becomes necessary (we will have more information on tramlines/skip rows in future newsletters). Although information is not yet clear on this, early plantings appear to often have fewer problems than late plantings. Growers should decide how they will scout their fields, whether to do it themselves or with a crop consultant. The only way to determine whether a field will need treatment is to scout each field on a weekly basis and use thresholds. By keeping abreast of the situation, gathering all the information available, and scouting your fields next year, you can successfully manage this pest!

Fall Treatments and Dry Weather – To Spray or Not To Spray

Authors: Mark Loux

Parts of Ohio are currently extremely dry, and we have received numerous questions about the effectiveness of fall herbicide treatments on drought-stressed weeds. Specifically, producers want to know whether it is cost effective to apply herbicides this fall for control of winter weeds when dry weather may reduce control. The short answer – we are unsure of the effectiveness of fall herbicide treatments under dry conditions, but the most effective fall treatments in OSU research have been consistent in their control of winter annual weeds across a range of weather conditions and application dates (see articles in previous issues of C.O.R.N. for a list of these treatments). Has our research been conducted under the type of dry weather that some producers are experiencing? Probably not. Ideally, we would suggest that producers wait for a resumption of rain that would presumably result in the increased susceptibility of weeds to herbicides. We hesitate to make this recommendation, however, because a sudden switch to very wet conditions could result in an inability to apply herbicides for the rest of the fall. In that case, it would have been better to apply earlier in the fall even if control was somewhat reduced due to dry conditions. The bottom line - fall herbicide treatments are the most effective means of remediating a heavy infestation of winter annual and biennial weeds and dandelions. Spring herbicide treatments can be extremely variable in their control of dandelion. Spring treatments may not control overwintering vegetation rapidly enough to solve the problems associated with this vegetation – increased insect populations, slow soil drying and warming, and interference with tillage and planting. So, in our opinion, the benefits of the fall treatment outweigh the possibility of reduced control due to dry conditions.

Seed/Variety Protection Laws

Authors: Jim Beuerlein

The development of new plant varieties and hybrids requires a great research effort, lots of time, and is a very expensive activity. Because the seed of many crops is easily reproduced and sold, it is often difficult for developers to recover their development cost, much less earn a profit. Without incentives to develop new varieties, our country, and farmers in particular, would not have the many new varieties developed to date and could not expect to receive the benefits of future variety development.

The principal incentive for research and development of new varieties is granted in the exclusive right to reap the financial rewards of that effort for a number of years. There are two methods by which developers of plant varieties may profit from their development effort. These methods are 1) protection through a certificate of plant variety protection under the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) and 2) a utility patent.

1)The Plant Variety Protection Act:
This act was developed to promote the development of new varieties. It allows plant breeders to determine who can sell seed of the varieties they develop, which helps them recoup the funds expended to develop improved varieties. This system provides farmers with a continuous stream of improved varieties with increased yield potential and resistance to insects and diseases, and improved adaptation to adverse growing environments.

The Amended Plant Variety Protection Act became effective April 4, 1995, and covers all crops included in this guide except hybrid corn. The following actions are prohibited without the authority of the owner of a variety:

  • Selling or offering a protected variety for sale

  • Sexually multiplying the variety as a step to marketing it for seeding purposes

  • Using seed marked or labeled "propagation prohibited” to propagate the variety

  • Dispensing the variety to another person without telling that person the variety is protected

The law specifies how a farmer whose primary occupation is growing crops for food or feed (not growing crops as a source of seed to sell) may use seed. Seed protected under this law must be sold by variety name (except for turf, forage crops, alfalfa and clover). A producer who has obtained the seed with the authority of the owner may use the seed for growing a crop and save the seed that results from that crop for his/her personal use. He/she may not sell this reproduced seed to a second producer.

Title V: This option of variety protection allows for the sale of seed by variety name only as a class of certified seed. Non-certified sales are prohibited. Seed may be called “Certified” only after meeting all the requirements and standards of an Official Seed Certifying Agency, which in Ohio is the Ohio Seed Improvement Association.

2)Utility Patents
Utility patents are a means of protection for varieties with special characteristics, especially those developed through genetic engineering or biotechnology. Examples are Roundup Ready and Glyphosate Tolerant varieties and hybrids, Liberty Link varieties and hybrids, Yield Guard Plus, Hercurlex, and Clearfield Hybrids.

Table 1 shows what activities are permitted and prohibited by farmers and seed conditioners under the different seed protection laws.

Table 1: Seed Protection: Rights and Responsibilities

'94 PVPA
Allowed to save seed
Allowed to sell seed (noadvertising)to neighbor if in compliance w/ state laws
'70 PVPA

Condition varieties for farmers
Store seed for farmers
Clean or stock as step in marketingvariety
Deliver or load seed to a third party
Advertise farmer saved seed
Sell or act as broker for farmersavedseed

*Limited to the amount of seed needed to plant a farmer's own holdings
(land owned,leased or rented).

Proper Grain Storage, Part 1

Authors: Dirk Maier, Linda Mason

The time to start thinking about this year’s harvest is upon us, and the management practices that we utilize after harvest are just as important as those used before. Farmers and elevator managers are in a unique position to apply integrated stored-grain management programs successfully, if they take advantage of the ability to control the critical system parameters such as grain temperature and moisture content, storage time, market destination, and pest movement into their facilities.
Temperature Management Practices
One of the primary management practices to maintain quality is aeration. For aeration to be successful the grain has to be level and at moisture contents safe for storage because normal airflow in storage bins, silos, and flats is not enough to dry the grain. Go to GQ-12.html for information on recommended maximum moisture contents for aerated grain storage in Indiana and the recommended airflow rates in upright and flat storages. Non-uniform temperatures in the grain bulk generate air currents that can lead to moisture migration when the stored grain is cooling. Most storage problems result from improperly cooling the grain in the storage bin. The most common mistake is to stop running the aeration fan before the cooling front has moved through the entire grain pile. This can lead to condensation and crusted layers of spoiled grain in the bulk. In the fall it may take up to two aeration cycles to cool the grain to below 45°F by mid November. At 0.1 cfm/bu it would require 150 hours per cycle regardless of grain depth. For winter storage in Indiana, the grain should be cooled below 35°F before the end of December. The fan operation time depends solely on the airflow rate in the storage bin. An aeration fan is usually sized for about 1/10 cfm/bu, while an inbin drying fan is usually sized for 1 cfm/bu. It is very important to recognize the difference in order to operate the fans long enough to move the cooling front completely through the bulk, and yet not so long as to waste electricity.

Temporary Grain Storage Considerations,

Authors: Dirk Maier, William Wilcke

Indiana is expecting large corn and soybean crops this fall. Given the low commodity prices, much of the harvest is expected to be carried into next spring, and possibly summer, in hopes of higher prices. Additionally, there is an estimated 125 million bushels of carryover corn, soybeans and wheat on farms and at commercial elevators from the 1997 harvest, which will contribute to a shortage of available storage space. The Indiana Agricultural Statistics Service reports 356 million bushels of available storage capacity at elevator facilities and 650 million bushels on farms. With the carryover and a projected crop of 1020.4 million bushels, this would leave Indiana short of storage space by about 139 million bushels. Reports have been received from numerous storage bin manufacturers that requests for construction of additional storages has been high, but the sales have not been able to satisfy the demand due to a shortage of millwrights and construction crews. This means that Indiana elevators and farmers will need to utilize some temporary storage of grains in outdoor piles and suitable existing structures. Numerous requests have been received to assist with the sizing of aeration equipment (ducts and fans) for converting existing buildings and silage silos for dry grain storage. This fact sheet reviews key considerations when selecting a temporary grain storage structure:

Reconditioning Overly Dry Soybeans

Authors: Michael Montross, Dirk Maier

Using aeration technology to manage the moisture content of a stored grain mass for the purpose of raising its moisture content has long been a controversial subject. Frequently, soybeans are harvested at low moisture contents (8 to 10%), and during artificial drying, corn is frequently overdried. Crops sold at less than market moisture weigh less and thus provide less revenue than crops sold at market moisture. Any moisture added back to overdried grain increases the weight of the grain sold. Direct addition of water to any grain for the purpose of increasing its weight for marketing is considered an illegal adulteration by U.S. regulatory authorities. Incidental addition of moisture during aeration and intentional conditioning of grains and oilseeds to optimum moisture levels for processing have not been challenged.

There are significant economic incentives to recondition grain to higher moisture contents for producers and elevator managers. Conditioning of low moisture grain during periods of high humidity is economically desirable, but has been considered by many as technically infeasible. A temperature front moves through grain about 20-30 times faster than a drying or wetting front. Thus, a typical aeration airflow rate of 0.1 cubic feet of air per minute per bushel of grain (cfm/bu) that is adequate to complete a temperature change in one week of fan operating time may take six months to complete a desired moisture change throughout the same lot. However, research reported by Purdue University and the University of Minnesota shows that it is technically feasible to increase moisture contents in grains and oilseeds using automatically controlled aeration systems within a shorter time period.

A primary motivation for research into the conditioning of grains and oilseeds stems from the need of processors of popcorn, food corn, soybeans and other crops to achieve moisture contents that are optimum for processing. For example, in popcorn, the popping volume is maximized when kernels are uniformly conditioned to around 13.5% moisture, while soybean processors prefer an optimum moisture content around 10.5% for the flaking of beans for oil extraction. A recent Purdue University study confirmed that overly dry soybeans are undesirable for soybean crushers because they result in poor cracking and flaking performance and lower oil extraction yields.


Reconditioning soybeans using aeration and an automatic fan controller is technically and economically feasible. For the scenarios evaluated, average net economic gains varied from 0.051 to $0.43/bu when reconditioning 10% soybeans. The ability to recondition is dependent on location. The Western Corn Belt is less conductive to reconditioning than the Eastern Corn Belt. The average moisture content increase in soybeans was 0.5 to 0.6% percentage points less at low airflow rates for Des Moines than for Indianapolis. Large yearly variations are to be expected in the net economic gain when reconditioning soybeans in the farm bin with only a single unload and low airflow. A shallower bin is more economical for reconditioning than a deeper tank because greater grain depths require disproportionately higher horsepower fans to achieve the same airflow rate, which negatively affect the net gain. For further information and the complete factsheet go to the website:

Archive Issue Contributors: 

State Specialists: Pat Lipps, Anne Dorrance and Dennis Mills (Plant Pathology), Ron Hammond (Entomology), Mark Loux and Jeff Stachler (Weed Science), Jim Beuerlein (Soybean Production), Ed Lentz (Agronomy & Seneca County), Dirk Maier & Linda Mason (Agricultural & Biological Engineering,Purdue), William F. Wilcke, (Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering,U.Minn.), Michael Montross, (Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering,U.Ky.) ; Extension Educators: Glen Arnold (Putnam), Roger Bender (Shelby), Mark Koenig (Sandusky), Barry Ward (Champaign), Dusty Sonnenberg (Henry), Howard Siegrist (Licking), and Steve Foster (Darke).

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.