Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just what I imagined...

I finally made it home from NNTC. What a great conference!

It was so good to see my friends and make many new ones. I can't start mentioning names or I will leave someone out! I will mention some of the presenters who caught my attention.

I finally got to meet Neil Kinsey after reading Hands On Agronomy several times and meet Dr. Darrell Norton, soil scientist at the National Soil Erosion and Research Laboratory housed at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

They were just what I imagined! Neil is a southern Missouri farm boy who after many decades of practicing soil fertility consulting is hot on the lecture circuit and busy with his clients all over the world. He showed crops and places most of us have never seen, let alone understand.

He showed how he learned to feed the soil that feeds the plants that sustains all animal life on this planet. Feeding the soil, not just the crop takes in the physical, chemical and biological aspects of soil. He learned the concepts from Dr. Albrecht at the University of Missouri.

The theory has been much discussed, much misunderstood and even disputed. Still, many farmers and those who work with farmers have seen the effects of these principles in farm fields.

Dr. Norton, on the othe hand, is a true scientist. His presentation fit right in with Neil Kinsey's showing what gypsum is, how it is made synthetically to clean our air and feed our soil. His room was so packed farmers were standing anywhere they could stand and sitting cross-legged on the floor and in the aisles. Good thing the fire marshall didn't show up!

Many people don't like his dry, scientific method of presenting the facts as he has discovered them but I found myself writing as fast as I could, ready to order the audio CD, and waiting for the show in the CD Lessiter Publications will send in coming weeks. After the first annual meetings, the conference offered audio tapes, then CD's and now shared copies of power points thanks to exhibitors, sponsors and requests of lots of attendees.

The most powerful points that hit home to me was when Ken Rulon of Rulon Farms in Indiana told the audience that we worry too much about the top end of the crop which is 20% of farm income and not enough about farm management which is 80% of farm income(or something close to that, this is what I came away with.) Another gasp came when Marion Calmer of Alpha Illinois shared data from a farm he purchesed in 1983 and how all the fertilizer he applied in broadcast phosphorous and potassium never showed a good rate of return, yet his corn yields started going up when he quit spreading all that dry fertilizer. Folks will be talking about this one for weeks, months, and probably years!

It will be interesting to see what is reported on NewAgTalk. You wouldn't believe how many people read this page! Everyone will have their take on the presentations and you can't possibly see all the sessions because some on are on-going.

I will be curious to see what others learned from David Hula, champion corn grower from Charles City, Virginia. I had a good visit with David and we had dinner together at the Brazilian Steak House. How unique that setting was with all the different salads and sides and 15 different meats brought out hot off the grill on skewers.

Specialty Fertilizer Products was a big part of the conference and taped interviews and other shots for the upcoming no-till video to be shown on RFD TV on February 16. The young people at Osborn and Barr did an excellent job setting up and hosting those interviews. They are some of the sharpest folks I have met in awhile! It will be very interesting to see how this turns out!

It seems like this is often the coldest week of the year and I hope it turns out that way again! Record cold across our country was NOT enjoyed this week! Hats off to all the spouses who "kept the fires burning" at home while farmers joined to learn and share and hopefully bring home some tips to make more money in this and future years!

I had a great week and hope you did too, even with all the problems from the weather. Now it's time to get back to work!

Have a better week,

Ed Winkle


  1. Ed, sure enjoy your blog. On NAT, you mentioned last winter you planned on planting some OP corn like your granddad did, did you ever do it? How did it turn out? Just curious. Russ

  2. Russ, I never got the Hickory King or Bloody butcher purchased so I never got it planted. Where does time go? All these big plans and I get a few things done! Maybe this year!

    Glad you like the blog. I never really knew what one was but sure enjoy sharing my stories when I get time! Stay in touch now...