Grain marketing has become increasingly important in these times of tight profit margins and market volatility. How do you develop a grain marketing strategy? What do you need to know to market grain effectively? What kinds of marketing options are available and how do they work?
A grain marketing program, sponsored by Wayne County Extension, Byrne Agricultural Marketing and Gerber Feed Services, will be held Feb. 27 from 7-9 p.m. at the Wayne County Schools Career Center, 518 W. Prospect St., Smithville. The program will take place in the Adult Education Building conference room. The Adult Education Building is located off the west end of the Career Center. Take the driveway past the Adult Education Building, passing beyond the chain link fence, and park in the large parking lot that belongs to the Administration Building.
The program will feature Matt Roberts, former OSU Economics Department professor and grain marketing specialist. He will cover the basics of grain marketing and provide insight into what is needed to develop an effective grain marketing strategy for the farm. Roberts' presentation, "Marketing Triage," will cover what to do with old crop stored in bins as well as early pricing on new crop 2017. Jim Byrne of Byrne Agricultural Marketing will cover some of the grain marketing risk management services his business offers including hedging with futures and options. Byrne's presentation is "Utilizing Futures and Options to Boost Farm Profitability." He will talk about typical seasonal grain price patterns and how to take advantage of them using marketing tools. Gerber Feed Services will provide an update on services they offer to help with marketing decisions.
There is no charge for this meeting, but preregistration to the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 is requested by Feb. 23 to help with planning handout materials and refreshments. Preregistration can also be made by sending an email to Lewandowski.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frost seeding with a drill
Typically the period between mid- to late-February and the end of March can work well to renovate and improve pastures by frost-seeding clover with a broadcast spreader and then letting the freeze/thaw cycles that occur work that seed into the soil to get good seed-to-soil contact and a good stand established. However, this winter's weather to this point has been anything but typical and we may not be able to count on those freeze/thaw cycles. Wayne Shriver, OSU Eastern Agricultural Research Station manager in Belle Valley, offers the following modification of traditional frost seeding.
"Here at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station at Caldwell, we manage our pastures in an effort to keep them sustainable by including legumes. Sometimes, producers can get too wrapped up in choosing the right legume when the real issue is just getting something that will thrive. Here, we have some ladino clover, red clover, bird's-foot trefoil and a little alfalfa. I like all of them and want between 25 percent and 40 percent legume plants in our pastures.
"We very seldom renovate a pasture from scratch. Rather, we inter-seed into pastures and hayfields to get new legume growth. If we completely tear up a field to renovate and then have a very wet spring, we could end up with not much growing there. If we inter-seed, we will at least still maintain the old growth.
"A favorite technique is to frost-seed with a no-till drill when the ground is still frozen. Some might think the drill wouldn't go into the soil, but all we care about is scratching the surface and putting the seed in soil contact. When the ground thaws, it will close over and give seeds a chance to germinate. We think the drill gets 25 percent to 50 percent better germination than broadcast seeding. Of course, the drill takes more time and is more of an investment in equipment. That's the trade-off.
"As for fertility, we like to soil-test and to apply nutrients to pastures in the fall. When we inter-seed in the spring, the fertility is in place to help the new growth get going."
Manure from large livestock and poultry farms can be an asset as an organic fertilizer when handled and recycled properly. It also can be the largest liability for a farm if handled incorrectly. The Certified Livestock Manager training is for any farmer, producer or custom applicator who needs to get certified by ODA, or those who just want to learn more about best manure management practices. It will cover nutrient management, water quality issues, biosecurity protocols, record keeping, manure technology and equipment, spill response, safety issues and a review of the rules and regulations concerning manure handling.
The CLM training is scheduled for March 1-2 at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg. Cost is $30 per day and registration deadline is Feb. 24. More information, including a detailed agenda for each day and a registration form, is available online at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/dlep/dlep_news.aspx.
Rory Lewandowski is an OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.