Sunday, May 31, 2009

Close call last night

We noticed the thunderheads about bedtime and started watching TV before we went to bed. About that time an alert goes off and funnel clouds were spotted in our county and all over SW Ohio.

We looked out the window heading up the stairs and there sat the storm spotters in the curve of Martinsville Road from the local fire department.

It was eerie calm here with a few gusts of winds and finally another .3 of rain. We have been getting nice showers since planting but that is not the way you want to get them!

We left the TV on upstairs and dozed off. When we woke up to turn of the TV the warnings were called off.

It turned out that the one that touched down did it right on NOAA's property about 8 miles north of us! I didn't see any wind or hail damage today thankfully but that was a close call!

Our kids accuse of heading out of town everytime a big storm comes through like the tornado that went through our property on Good Friday of 2006. We were in NY and when we got home, there sat the two car garage right on top of the bushes! I cleaned up that mess all summer!

I am very happy we were luckier this time. Hope you were too!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

My corn doesn't look too hot

Of course it has been a challenging growing year. My best field I pushed the window a little too hard and have Sonic Herbicide carryover from last year. It hasn't killed it but it doesn't look to happy. There is your problem with Non GMO's right there and a reason why the invented RR Soybeans and RoundUp to spray on it.

To add insult to injury I decide to plant a 30 variety test plot in that field. Well I did it and found every variation ever seen by man. Each one expresses its own characteristic to the carryover, the notill and especially the weather.

I love it when a plan comes together but this one never came. I just hope it doesn't fall apart. I am pretty hard on myself and I have seen worse corn, at least it doesn't have to be planted over.

When I used Sonic to control my roundup resistant weeds last summer, I said hmmm, I wonder if this will carry over to next year's crop? I even used a lower rate because it was late and it sure controlled last years weeds. The only weeds I have this year are perennials.

It sure is a good herbicide but you better study and follow the label!

How many mistakes can a man make in one year? I guess a whole bunch!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Crazy Weather again

It got cool and damp again, it is almost June.

Perfect for bringing new seedlings out of the ground but it time for some heat. The summer solstice is almost upon.

But the weed scenarios could drive farmers nuts. You spray too much and everything is hurt, you spray too little and the weeds overtake the crop.

Then there is the possibility of soybean rust making a statement in the states. Now that would really send the markets up.

Farmers and suppliers have seem to given up hope for a good year, we soon want to end this one too and just give us 2010.

2010, is that possible?

I was born in 1949 so 2010 seems like a big number. It isn't, just another year and another notch in the belt.

Did Al Gore study his creator when he spoke of Global Warming? Everyone laughs about that around here.

These are crazy times we live in folks, but probably overblown in the media.

Man has withstood the tests of time.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Topdressing Corn

It's been years since I topdressed corn. Urea is "on sale" and it costs less to put it on yourself.

What we applied last night went right into the ground with the humidity and dew. Ideal with to topdress corn.

Corn takes anywhere from .7 to 1.2 lbs of Nitrogen per bushel of corn. This has been well researched and much disputed.

Most of my best farmer clients are down on the low end of that range because their soil is healthy, they are in a good rotation, and they are very timely at doing things. .7 is the best I have done, 2004 and 2007.

Nature is all about timing. There is a time to plant and a time to reap. Lately I have felt like casting stones but it is not the right time for that.

You can test soil for N and tissue test for N but all tests are a snapshot of that moment. They help me figure out what is going on. Old farmers know what to do, they are very savvy.

I decided to topdress corn this year because it felt right. The weather is perfect for melting urea into the earth to feed the corn. The microbes will be busy.

Funny thing, I found out neither 1655 has the right wheel spacing for 30 inch rows. Can't find our 3/4 inch drive socket set so have to go buy another one. I will set one if not both tractors for 30 inch wheels but they both pull so well at the wider wheel spacing right now.

We took a bucket of the urea and sidedressed some sweetcorn, hoeing it in. Now that is how you make good sweet corn!

I could eat a few fresh ears right now, not that nasty Kroger stuff shipped in from the south, yuck, that is cow corn.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chuck Elking

When I took mom to the dentist this morning I looked over to the guy beside me and said is that you Chuck Elking?

He looked up and down at me but said yes, like who are you?

Ed Winkle, remember me?

He burst into laughter and said yes! Ed, how are you doing, I think of you all the time! It has been years since we saw each other.

I met Chuck in the 80's when I was teaching ag at Blanchester and his steopson Shane enrolled in my class. I made sure I met all the parents of my students.

Shane was a hard case of divorce but thanks to Chuck, he turned out to be a real good man. Chuck said he just returned from his second tour in Iraq.

It was funny, we were going to church Sunday and drove past Chuck's old house in Midland. I told LuAnn the story of Chuck Elking again and how he helped so many kids, especially his stepkids.

Chuck is a German Catholic whose family farmed near Chickasaw Ohio in Mercer County. That is the county of Ohio where there is a Catholic Church every quarter mile or so.

Chuck befriended me when I was hurting in the late 80's and we took our kids to the Bowling Green tractor pulls and stayed in a tent all weekend while getting to know each other.

He will always be a dear friend and we let too many miles pass between us. He is like a sponsor, elder, role model to me. He looked good and I told him so. Three knee replacements in the right knee, one in left and both shoulders. He crawled under GM diesel truck for a lifetime for Norwood Auto Transit, then Complete Auto Transit. Best diesel mechanic I ever met, so meticulous.

He said he has 28 grandkids and 8 great grandkids. Now there is the salt of the earth for you.

That man is a saint, I guarantee you.

Wish I had a picture of our tent to show you, I know Matt still remembers.



We all hate going to the dentist. We know we need good teeth for good nutrition but the scary thought of having your teeth worked on has been past down a long time.

I am sure part of our longevity is due to dentists. My parents took me as a child to Dr. Roy Rogers in Hillsboro. He is no relation to the Roy Rogers we knew as kids but he had the picture with him and Roy signed and hanging in his office.

Today I took my mother to another dentist in Hillsboro for three hours of dental work. She never got in to see a dentist after dad died in 2001 so it was no easy task.

They had planned an IV sedation but the dentist said her veins are shot, literally that is what he said so he ended up giving her a half dose IM or Intra Muscular.

He got done quicker than expected but she just looked terrible. She hung like a rag doll all the way home off the seat belt in the truck.

Got to Sardinia and she popped right up. Time to feed my dogs. No mom, you are to lay down and take it easy for 24 hours. 24 hours, you kidding me? I got dogs and cows to feed!

Parents, God love'em. That would include me and LuAnn when we tell our children things they don't want to hear. This time the kids have to tell the parents what they don't want to hear.

We have both been doing this now since I met LuAnn. Since then both our dad's have passed away and we are dealing with our mothers. They raised us up and are still willing to take us out!

I have not been looking forward to today for a long time and she did a good job making my fears come to life.

We have 70 acres of beans to plant yet and start scouting everything we already planted.

Tonight is the Mass for LuAnn's dad at the local church.

I just want to get back to "normal." What is normal these days?

I sure hope you all had a better day than I did.

I leave you with a beautiful picture of my friend's winter barley, won't be long until its harvest.

Ed Winkle

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

The history of Memorial Day is interesting.

"Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Sharpsburg, Maryland, located near Antietam Battlefield; Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Petersburg, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days."

It was still called Decoration Day when I was a child. We would take time each Decoration Day to decorate graves of the fallen soldiers. That usually gave us time to reflect on the lives of our relatives who passed also and it became popular to decorate all graves at the cemetary.

If I am done planting I always go to observe the holiday by visiting friend and family gravesites. My favorite was always Grandpa and Grandma Winkle at Mowrystown. There are more Winkle gravesites than any cemetary I have ever found at Mowrystown. They have the prettiest site under a big old shade tree at the edge of the cemetary overlooking the whole field.

There are lots of Kier's buried there too and that was Grandma's maiden name. Kier and Winkle on dad's side, Carrington and Gray on mom's. LuAnn likes to bring rags and soap and water to clean the stones. I like to bring flowers according to cemetary rules.

I haven't had too much luck keeping flowers on those sites so I must have good taste. If you come back a week later they are gone. I can't believe people bother other people's decorations but I think they do.

My feeling today is to do everything in my power to make this country better, not worse. I don't like the path our society has taken and join the common people in keeping our country free and good.

We have six children and their families to watch over and they are all doing a great job. We are very proud of every one of them.

I hope everyone in our country takes time this weekend to celebrated the same.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

The ground is so hard

I have been scouting since we got home and the ground is so hard.

It was as nice as I can ever remember March 15 when we started planting the garden but that soon changed.

Since then the rain and cold night air has turned it into concrete. Only the weeds are flourishing and they even aren't doing that well.

Usally this happens in April and I can plant. It happened in March this year though and the calendar told me it was too early. The garden showed it, too, the sweet corn didn't make it.

I would really like to know more about the science of how ground turns off hard like that. We have our calcium up but the clay particles still shrank and stuck together like glue. Everyone's ground is about the same, I don't see a whole lot of difference. I need to go look at some ground that has had gypsum over the years and see how it compares. That is the softest soil I have ever seen.

This has made farmers spend a lot more money on fuel trying to loosen the ground back up to plant. Cover crops helped but there are not that many of them around here yet. We are trying to change that because it makes sense and cents.

I don't like planting into hard ground but there isn't much choice now. They make equipment heavier and wider and that doesn't help the problem.

The certified seed wheat fields are as hard as the ground that doesn't have it. You would think it would be softer with the roots growing in it.

I am betting we don't break any yield records this year. This will just be a year to get by. I do hope we make a profit. The season is young yet so we have time but this wasn't the ideal way to start.

That's the way it is on the farm on Sunday May 24, 2009.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The County Agent

Here is what our county agent has to say this morning. County agent is an old term for Extension Agent in Agriculture.

"Ah, just what the doctor ordered, several days of wonderfully dry, sunny, warm weather. A perfect prescription for farmers to get most of the remaining crops planted for 2009 in Clinton County.

Once planting season concludes though there is no rest for the weary. The schedule for farmers is ongoing with many activities. Farmers will need to get busy with hay making, wheat harvest is right behind that, spraying against competitive weeds, and weekly monitoring of fields for insect and disease pressure. Along with that, farmers will watch the daily grain markets trying to decide the right moment to market their grain. Farmers will also be making their final decisions on what part of the Farm Bill they will sign up for such as the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) versus the traditional Direct Counter-Cyclical (DCP) payment.

Some analysts believe the U.S. Government gave farmers a gift by extending the deadline to sign up for DCP and ACRE elections from June 1, 2009 to Aug. 14, 2009. The added time through late July and into early August will provide farmers more information critical to determining which program will be better in 2009."

He has it right, that is about it but that new ACRE program befuddles everyone. They take one look and say Oh that is too complicated! Some farmer somewhere though will figure how to make an extra $5 per acre out of this. All this red tape for little results!

I can see why people want simpler and smaller government. Back when the County Agent was established we had fought WWI and technology was advancing faster than we could get it to the people. The county agent was supposed to connect the Land Grant University and the research arm station to the people with practical information.

For over 50 years he did. Now the beauracracy is so large and information is so widespread you can't find him or if you do you don't really listen to him.

Twenty years ago my clients watched my every word. They would challenge me to the max and I kept delivering. They still comment on my work, we definitely had the best of times then.

I will have to write more on the County Agent. He was the respected farm guru when I was a kid and I just had to be one.


Friday, May 22, 2009


It is another Good Friday just like a few weeks ago.

Farmers can farm, gardners can plant and what is planted is growing like a weed.

I don't envy custom applicators, they have had their hands full the last month and it culminated into a really busy week. They are trying to apply fertilizers and chemicals under every condition you can think of.

I talked to one of our custom applicator sales agronomists this morning and he was just shaking his head. He said you guys are so easy to apply for, you know what you want and you lay it out. We go do it.

Others change their minds or get upset when a boom sprays onto a waterway. You won't every make those people happy though you try.

I have always tried to make people happy but you know, a lot of it is in their own hands if they would just look into the mirror.

I have come to the place I will do everything in my power to do things right but some things I won't do right. I am human and I fail, though I try too hard, often too hard for my own good.

Had a dear friend gentleman call last night just needing a bag of corn to finish. I can have something up there first thing tomorrow, Francis. That would be great he said.

Francis has been offered $30,000 per acre for his farm near the cities. He won't sell. You have to admire his spunk. All he ever wanted to do was own and farm that farm and he did it and is still doing it.

I looked all over and found three bags of test seed I never got planted. Then Les told me he had planter clean out sitting in a barn 20 miles east of here and you can give it to him if you go get it.

I drove the extra miles and took the leftover seed to my friend. You would have thought you gave him a winning lottery ticket!

We poured the seed into his old Deutz Allis planter, which I had encouraged him to buy years ago, and off he went planting. Such a joy to see, it truly was.

It is so good to help people who ask for help and you have just what they need.

That is what life is all about, isn't it?


Thursday, May 21, 2009

What a life

In the past three weeks we have witnessed living and dying and living.

First, my dear cousins Michelle's husband diead at age 54. He suffered so much with MS and final spinal cancer. The Catholics would say he paid his Purgatory here on earth.

Michelle looked to be doing great after the turmoil. We had lunch with her on High Street or SR 23 in Worthington at a French Bistro last week. It was so good to see her doing well.

Then LuAnn's dad passed away at age 85, just like my dad. I will miss talking to him and all his stories of the past from Ellenville NY to Indiana to Naples NY. He was quite a guy and left a loving spouse of 60 years and three children and their children and their children.

In the middle of this his grandson David Bow was raised to Staff Sargent in the US Army. Congratulations, David. He and his wife Jenny will be adopting children this summer. We pray for them.

Gordon's funeral was Tuesday. It was wonderful, such a tribute to a man. Remined me of Dad's, we did the very best we could under the circumstances.

This ordeal has made us look at our own estate more carefully. There are so many rules and regulations to be followed.

It is easier to live than it is to die in the United States!

Living is hard enough but man when you throw all these regulations at us...

I have to go fill a seed tender, we are planting as hard as we can.

Thank you Lord for planting days in May. I wanted to be done by May 5 but that went by the wayside.

We are just very happy to be planting today.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Finally planting

Farmers are finally able to plant in this region. It has been a long, hard struggle.

I wanted to be done May 5 but missed that by two weeks.

The market has responded, we have barely profitable margins now.

How much will we have to market? No one knows, but it is better than it was two weeks ago.

I will try to catch up on the next rain. We have wanted dry weather so long, the next thing we will need is rain.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big Day

It is always a big day when you say goodbye to a loved one, especially your dad.

We will be going to the funeral Mass and graveside services soon.

It is a somber day but not a bad day. We are past the pain for now. It is a beautiful day here,

Now we have a new grandson to take Gordon's place.

As one good friend called and said yesterday, you will miss them more in one year from today. For me, I think it was the second year.

I can't believe it has been eight years for me. I wonder what will change in the next eight years?


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Circle of Life

We went through the circle of life the past two weeks.

LuAnn's dad had a massive heart attack, actually three or four and passed away early Thursday morning. Within 48 hours another great grandson was born to take his place.

After a long labor, Stacy gave birth to Tyler James Cleveland first thing Saturday morning, and I do mean first thing. His birth day could have been May 15 but he was born after midnight on the 16th.

Eric did a great job as first time dad. He said something yesterday we won't forget. He said he woke up and realized that now they aren't just a couple, they are a family.

Tyler is the prettiest little guy you ever saw. No blemishes and a head of dark hair while his mom and dad are both blondes.

Thanks sincerely for all the prayers for both and I know many of you did. It has been quite some two weeks trying to do our work and give proper attention to both. Without our close family and friends and partners here we couldn't be where we are!

I quickly found two appropriate poems, I need to write my own.

Circle of Life
by Shelly Middleton

The leaves have turned from green to brown,
those have fallen to the ground.

Some are orange and some are red,
those still linger over head.

The air has turned from warm to chilled.
The harvest sets out in the field.

Soon the trees will all be bare.
The winter chill will soon be here.

The snow will fall and cover the land,
a beautiful white like ocean sand.

Nights grow long, days disappear.
But hope falls eternal, spring is so near.

Flowers will bloom in the defrosted ground.
A seasons renewal, rebirth will be found.

Then summer burns the daylight bright.
Children play into the night.

Circle of Seasons from dark into light,
remind us forever of the circle of life.

And this one reminds me of my Native American friends:


Circle of Life

We sit in the circle,
The circle of fire
Visions appear in our minds,
burning in the fire light
It was power we possessed
Each of us make our own circle
of birth to death
It’s complete before it starts,
reborn to die again

We feel the power
as we see the future
and the past
We are the visions
appearing in the fire light
The ashes blow into the sky
The dust of earth is stirring
Our souls arise from within
The circle of life

©Dale CJ Clark

A blessed Sunday to you all!

Ed and LuAnn

Saturday, May 16, 2009


We got more rain the last two days. Not a flood like many have had but just enough to keep us from planting soon. This week looks iffy again.

I haven't walked the 50 acre corn plot again but there are some weed escapes. Overall, the corn looks amazing for little heat and too much rain for the residue we have.

I really wonder how will this crop turn out?

As I have said, it is a very unusual growing year. It is too cool and damp to even set tomato plants out. Since corn is a tropical crop, I am surprised it looks as good as it does.

I saw my first good field of soybeans today near Plain City, Ohio. They are in 30 inch rows.

I was at the annual Certified Seed School which started at the Ohio Seed Improvement Association and ended up with lunch and training at the Der Dutchman II at Plain City south on US 42.

Cerfified wheat acres are down over last year but non GMO soybean acres look to be up considerably from last year. This is in response to market premium for non GMO soybeans.

We have had a tumultous two weeks here we will share with you when I get time.

The Circle of Life seems to be an important blog I need to make.

Right now I am more interested in resting up and getting ready for next week.

I could have written a book yesterday on our experience in Columbus but we didn't bring LuAnn's notebook computer with us. We never dreamed what happened did.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Our rainfall data

Finally took some time to see why the ground gets saturated every time it rains. We have had cool, wet weather since last fall's harvest. Mother Nature has caught up!

Jan 7 .5 2009
Jan 10 .5
Jan 27 storm 10 inches snow 2 inches ice
Feb 3 inch of snow 1.3 inches in gauge
Feb 13 1.3 inches from wind storm
Feb 18 .2
Feb 27 .8
Mar 8 .1
Mar 19 .3 (1 in other gauge)
Mar 25 .6, (.4)
Mar 26 .5
Apr 4 .9, other farms 1.0
Apr 6 .4, other 1.0
Apr 14 1 inch, other 3 inches!
Apr 20 .4, other 1.2
May 1 inch, other 4 inches
May 6 1 inch, other 3 inches
May 14 1 inch

You can see the variation in rainfall with 1, 5 and 30 miles but the short answer is it is all soaked! There have really been few days for field work, maybe a week total this season.

We just need some heat now to make this new crop grow! Sure has been a good year for winter annual crops and weeds!

I think I have a long summer of scouting ahead!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Record Weather Years

This spring is making me wonder how many springs we have like this in Ohio. I haven't found the data yet but I did run across this interesting list of record weather years in Ohio. I bet Nancy in Wilmington has the best list of data for here.

"Climate and Weather
Ohio's generally mild climate has been a major factor in its rich agricultural heritage. Nevertheless, the Buckeye State annually experiences extreme temperatures, sometimes ranging from below 0 to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. On less frequent occasions, Ohio has been subjected to severe weather events such as floods, blizzards, and tornadoes, which have resulted in loss of life and property.

1886 Xenia Flood
The deadliest flash flood in Ohio history roared through Xenia late on Wednesday, May 12th, 1886, killing 28 people. . . .

1886: Ohio's Deadliest Tornadoes of the 19th Century
May 1886 was a deadly month in Ohio weather. Floods killed 28 people at Xenia on May 12th and two days later, on May 14, 1886, Ohio’s deadliest tornado outbreak of the 19th century occurred. . . .

1907 Southern Ohio Floods
All rivers flowing southward into the Ohio River reached flood stage during March 14-17, 1907. . . .

1910 Ohio Statewide Snowstorm
Snow began in Ohio late on February 16 and continued for two days. Most of Ohio received 10 to 20 inches and winds of 40 mph created drifts 10 feet deep. . . .

1913 Ohio Statewide Flood
The Flood of 1913 is known as the greatest natural disaster in Ohio history. At least 428 people died during the Flood of 1913, and more than twenty thousand homes were totally destroyed. . . .

1915 Cincinnati Windstorm
A vicious wind and rainstorm swept southwestern Ohio on the evening of Wednesday July 7, 1915. The death toll of 38 at Cincinnati is the greatest known in Ohio for a windstorm in which no tornadoes were involved. . . .

1918 Ohio Statewide Blizzard
This storm was compared to the New Years Blizzard of 1864 and was not matched in Ohio until the Blizzard of 1978. . . .

1920 Western Ohio Tornadoes
The Palm Sunday 1920 tornado outbreak of 30 tornadoes across eight states killed 153 persons, ranking it among the deadliest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. . . .

1934 Ohio Statewide Heat Wave
The summer of 1934 ranks as the hottest in Ohio since temperature records began in 1883. . . . I am remember dad and grandpa talking about that year! I think the corn crop was a failure...

1950 Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm
The Thanksgiving snowstorm of 1950 was the deepest in Ohio’s history. . . . I was a year old but dad was at the Great Ohio State Michigan Snowbowl and barely made it home. The sacks of feed in the trunk and chains did the trick...

1959 Ohio Statewide Flood
Rains of 3 to 6 inches fell on snow covered frozen ground, producing the most destructive flooding in Ohio since March 1913. . . . The White Oak was out of its banks big time, I was 10...

1965 Palm Sunday Tornadoes
A wide outbreak of 37 tornadoes killed 256 people, mostly in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana on Palm Sunday 1965. . . . That was the first one I remember seeing....

1969 Independence Day Flood
The most devastating summer flooding in Ohio history struck north-central Ohio during the state’s stormiest Independence Day. . . .

1977 Ohio Statewide Blizzard
National Weather Service forecasters called for a blizzard warning across Ohio early on Friday, January 28, 1977. . . . We burned the most wood this winter since 77-78!

1977 Ohio Statewide Cold Wave
The winters 1976-77 and 1977-78 were the two coldest winters recorded in Ohio. . . .

1978 Ohio Statewide Blizzard
In January and February 1978, a series of three storms hit the United States Midwest or the Northeast. These storms were some of the most severe winter events to occur in recent history, and collectively are known as the Blizzard of 1978. . . . I think we went to school through June!

2008 Ohio Statewide Snowstorm
The statewide snowstorm of 2008 was a record setting event that occurred on Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, 2008. While this event has been called the Blizzard of 2008, technically the storm did not have sustained winds of at least thirty-five miles per hour, a requirement of a blizzard. . This was bad enough for me!

It sounded like a winter storm here the last day or so.

Very unusual weather!


Too cold for corn

The corn in our area can't grow properly. It has been too cold and plenty wet enough.

My picture today shows about my best corn yield for a farm average at one location. I don't think we are going to see this right year.

Right now I am just concerned in paying the bills.

"The optimum planting date varies by latitude in the United States. The majority of corn is grown in the Corn Belt and optimal planting ranges from April 15 in the southern Corn Belt to May 7 in the north. Planting dates are much earlier further south. Soil conditions with temperatures near 50°F are ideal for seed germination. Be aware of frost free dates in your region. Check with your insurance company to ensure that you have coverage when planting early.

Field corn can be planted too early. Imbibitional chilling, sub-lethal chilling, and frost can be problems when corn is planted too early. In general, research has shown that frost does not cause significant yield impacts even when leaf tissue is killed by frost two times or more. Less information is available regarding imbibitional chilling and sub-lethal chilling, but stand reductions have been observed with imbibitional chilling. Another issue is development of disease pathogens. Corn usually evades pathogens by growing and developing faster than the pathogen. Growth of corn is relatively slow at cool temperatures, while pathogen disease growth and development can be relatively greater and overcome the corn seedling."

This describes what we are seeing. The ideal planting date wasn't ideal this year.

I am not sure Memorial Day will be, only two weeks away!

Global warming has sure created controversy and misunderstanding.

""Global warming is raising temperatures in Wisconsin and across the nation. Global warming will mean lower yields for corn, and eventually the rest of agriculture," says Dan Kohler of Wisconsin Environment in an interview with the Wisconsin Radio Network.

Corn's ideal temperature range for maximum yield is about 64 - 72F. Above that range, higher temperature shortens the reproductive life-cycle of the plants, giving the grain less time to grow and decreasing yield.

A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Carnegie Institution found that climate changes since 1981 have already cost corn producers world-wide about 1.2 billion a year.

You can read the report titled "Hotter Fields, Lower Yields" right here.


Not so fast, according to Dr. Matt Roberts, an associate professor in the department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics at Ohio State University.

Roberts disagrees with the study and says the study ignores the factor of supply and demand.

Roberts also says that corn yields have been increasing, not decreasing as the study says.

You can read more about Roberts response to the Wisconsin Radio Network right here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Busy time in southwest Ohio

Farmers are trying to patch around without making a mess but the weather folks are calling for rain again tonight or tomorrow.

My corn stand doesn't please me, it was just too wet and too cold. Spraying in the rain missed some perennials, big green patches but everyone has some.

50 degrees just feels cold for the middle of May! The moon was cold and bright last night.

Gordon is hanging in there.

Tyler is just waiting to be born!

Airplane traffic has really picked up at DHL, the new repair service must be busy, there sure isn't much freight moving out of there.

One more note. We all need to learn about estate planning so you can use your assets and still qualify for Medicaid. I can't believe what LuAnn's family has went through with two situations going on at the same time.

We have made dying too complicated.


Monday, May 11, 2009

I got behind

I see how difficult it is too keep this going! I missed a few days, there isn't enough hours in the day right now.

I see my friend Eric in Kansas is trying to quit chewing tobacco. I commend him for that. Some pretty powerful drugs are too easy to purchase like tobacco.

I got to see Mark's house. He moved only 5 miles away in the country. That house is right across the road from the farm we bid on a few years ago. Good thing we waited for this one. It should make a fine place for him and his wife and hopefully more grandkids some day.

The family worked for DHL and lost their job and their house. It is nearly new but had a lot of damage so he was able to pick it up for really good price.

Eric has a Latin saying under his signature. Let's see if this copies here:

What does the phrase uva uvam vivendo varia fit mean?

The Latin phrase that appears on the Hat Creek Cattle Company sign in "Lonesome Dove" is a garbled corruption, and there's no direct translation. It derives from the scholia to Juvenal 2.81 which cites the proverb "uva uvam videndo varia fit" This means something like "a grape changes color [i.e., ripens] when it sees [another] grape"

Novelist Larry McMurtry probably intentionally misused the Latin, perhaps to make a point about Augustus McCrae's tenuous understanding of the language.

From there, any number of interpretations have arisen to explain why McMurtry chose to communicate that particular idea. Probably the soundest theory is that the phrase serves as a metaphor for the group's journey, as many of the story's characters go through a process of personal maturation and development. Much like grapes ripen in the presence of others.

Lots of people really got into the Lonesome Dove series.

I am behind on my reading and my ag TV shows.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Still Can't Plant

Farmers aren't worth a hoot when they can't plant. They get all itch and nasty, no fun to be around.

It rained so much yesterday my little corn got covered in the bottom ground. I think I need a load of lime or gypsum dumped in that one spot. We sure need some heat on the whole thing.

A driver was helping us load out corn yesterday. I said my corn is up and he looked over and said he didn't know it was planted. That is the ultimate compliment to a no-till farmer. We tip toe in and we tip toe out. David is a tractor puller and I love watching him and his buddies pull like I used to.

On a very sad not, my cousins husband died Tuesday. He suffered so long with MS and then with spinal cancer. His funeral is Saturday. My cousin is the youngest of ten cousins on dad's side, I pray she has a life after all of this.

LuAnn's dad had a massive heart attack yesterday. She is with him now. Gordon is tough and I don't think this is his last. He cried when he shook my hand Saturday because he knows he is close. I will cry too.

Mike Lutmer came to help haul corn, our clutch is out and the contract needs to be filled. He is so young and energetic, he took my mind off a lot of things.

Tom Rhodes came from Greenfield to figure out how to wire the old hog barn again. It sure is a puzzle, been disconnected for 30 years. I am tired of looking at it empty for five years. We will park small stuff in it and leaved the big barn to big machinery. There is too much small stuff in there.

I wish I could do that stuff, there is big money in that. No I have to farm, the lowest paid position on earth if you can make it. I just got a $35,000 fertilizer bill.

Tomorrow the sun will come up and go down whether I make it or not.

Think about that.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I have always enjoyed walking fields figuring out what caused what I am seeing. That is rewarding when you raise a good crop but scratch your head when it doesn't. There is real money in scouting on the crop end.

I started scouting for a fee in 1985 when I lined up a job for one of my students for the summer while going to college. He called me and said he had an offer to tour with Elsie the cow all summer and part time and couldn't take the job I lined up for him.

So, I took the job and still scout for Ohio Certified Seed. I taught the boys to scout with me even though they were little and it grew into a full time business by 94 when Mark needed an SAE for FFA and HyMark was born. It took him through high school and the stage at Louisville as National Emerging Technology Finalist.

An old nemesis was on the interview committee and Mark never won but he was one of 4 National Finalists. Mark was sure he won after the questions he was asked and Mark answered. The nemesis was a high flying agronomist at the time and now is out of business. Hmmm...

Just got home about dark last night and a neighbor called. He asked if I would look at his Orchard Grass planting and help find out what is wrong with it. I said, "sure, we might be able to do one more field before dark." I pulled the tissue samples while he pulled the soil samples in an X pattern. I posted the problem on Crop Talk after I got home last night.

"Sable and I just scouted the nastiest looking new stand of orchard grass I ever saw. It was planted last year and is as yellow as can be, ankle to knee high, looks like it might have been injected with a poison like stinkbugs do or something like that.

Does Timothy mite infect orchardgrass? The old stand is beautiful.

We pulled a soil and tissue sample but it has me stumped. Looks denitrified and almost stunted to me, color is poor, 4 out of 10.

Any ideas out there from my forage friends?

RR beans before it was planted so no carryover concerns.



Even though we were all tired, Sable was ready for one more jaunt through a field. She had a blast chasing bugs and rabbits. She is a great scouting dog, surveys the area just ahead before you get there, always stays near but just far enough away.

This morning I see I have a bunch of good suggestions for my problem. The Internet Forums have become invaluable for troubleshooting ideas.

You can say crop scouting changed my life. It led to changing the way I farm and how I help others to farm successfully and even led me to LuAnn. Seriously, it did.

That is another long list of blogs I am not prepared to share at this time.

Farmers and gardeners, hope you can plant soon if not today.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Swine flu my rear! The more I watched the news last night the angrier I got. H1N1 has never been found in swine. It is H1N1 originating from Mexico City.

This reminds me when Oprah killed the beef industry with her anti-hamburger tactics years ago. Many farmers and buyers never recovered from this irresponsible reporting.

I wonder how many hog operations will be lost in this ordeal? Hogs won't get butchered, their owners will!

The media is out of control. You can't even find facts from them, just bits and pieces used to contrive a belief I don't agree with.

At least this reporter got it right but she is in Iowa and no one listens to her even if they are running for president:

"Swine flu is the new scary disease affecting the world. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between regular influenza and the newest variety. Symptoms include cough, chills, achiness, vomiting, and diarrhea. At this point, Iowa has not experienced any case of the swine flu physically. Financially speaking, however, things are much different. The swine flu is a risk to the Iowa economy as well as the health of it's inhabitants.

Swine flu fear
Many people fear that eating pork will expose them to swine flu. In fact, this is not the case. The pork National Pork Board in the United States says that this particular strain of the flu will not spread through meat consumption. Since Iowa is the number 1 pork producer in the country, people are now looking here for answers.

Effect on Wall Street
Not only did the price of pork dropped suddenly on Monday, there was also a ripple effect for the rest of the agricultural economy. In direct response to the pork stock prices, corn and beans also dropped. This is not a good time for Iowa farmers.

Swine flu myth
At this point, there is absolutely no evidence that this viral strain even came from a pig. Even though this is true, it's hard to convince a country of scared people that they won't get the swine flu eating Iowa or USA pork products. By all means, keep your family safe, but feel rest assured that your pork is not infected with disease."

I wonder what the next story will be they blow out of proportion?

Can you imagine getting put out business by the media alone?

My pork producing neighbors don't deserve them. Support them the next time you eat out or shop at the grocery store.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Heavy Mind

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago but the theme is getting the beans planted. This could be the week.
I have got a lot on my mind this morning but it is all good stuff. This could be the week for soybeans. This could be the week that determines our profit on this farm this year.

I feel so blessed to be in this situation. I sold my NH-275 hay baler yesterday to a nice guy not far away. He wants to bale 10,000 bales this summer and this baler will do it for much less than a new baler price. It turned out we have a lot of the same friends. This is one of those good deals for both parties. I love it when that happens as it always should in my way of thinking.

LuAnn and I picked up 10 bags of corn seed for an old friend Saturday. He called me and said he planted the $200 plus seed last year and it didn't make any more than the $100 seed I had gotten for him years before. I found some for him and picked it up and need to deliver it this week.

I would do anything for Francis. He is up in years and has new homes all around his farm. He won't sell out. His daughter was my secretary in Extension for years and we became good friends.

The boys have the four bins down to two. We would like to get that delivered to the river this week before planting takes all our time. You have to keep busy when you can't plant. I need to find enough trucks to haul 15,000 bushels today and all the trucks are busy doing the same thing as we are.

The former owners stopped by yesterday afternoon. LuAnn finally got to show Betty what she had done to her house. Betty was more than pleased and told her she was ready to move back in. LuAnn has been able to do what Betty wanted to do for years.

I had a good talk with Phillip. I know he is very proud of his son and grandson. He should be. They are good farmers and model citizens. Again I am so blessed to get to work with such fine people, the kind of people I like to be around. That makes life sweet.

Sable was sure happy to see us The lady at Happy Tails greeted me and said look at Sable. She was outside with the other dog guests and walking stride in stride over a small dog. She never even heard me come in or noticed my voice, she was so much into the other dogs there. It was pretty cool.

It should be an interesting week here. Hope it is a good one for both of us.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Too wet to plant

We heard at church this morning that the 25,000 acre family to the south of us haven't planted a seed. I can see why!

There are a few thousand acres planted in the county but not much around here. I just hope the Gramaxone in the herbicide mixed killed our cover crop of wheat. LuAnn assures me it did, but... you know how farmers question some things and take others as they come. At least the first fields look a whole lot better than they did two weeks ago!

Soybeans have went up in response to market conditions including late planting this week. They are up over a dollar this past week and many farmers are wondering when to "pull the trigger." My bids might get taken this week. I hope so but don't want to miss future price gains either. We all want to avoid the market lows we expect this fall when things are said and done.

At least we have time to clean up some of the messes we have made around here already. When we got home the grass was tall and I got it mowed again although the forecast was rain. Today it was supposed to be clear but it is sprinking!

I don't like to plant on Sunday but it doesn't look good for Monday or Tuesday, either. The magical planting date of May 1-5 will have slipped by us.

I did tell farmers to get their soybean inoculant bought because it looked like there was record interest to use it this year even though there were record supplies available. Guess what, some are sold out right now so if you didn't buy yours you have to wait to get it if you can or plant without it.

With the saturated soils prevalent over the corn belt again this spring I wouldn't trust the rhizobia populations out in the fields. This was good advice not heeded by some again.

Everyone is wondering now if we can enjoy the good yeilds the late plantings enjoyed to the west of us again this year. I guess we won't know until harvest!


Saturday, May 2, 2009


We made a quick trip to New York and back. We went to Mass with LuAnn's parents dedicated to their 60th wedding anniversary. That was quite a treat. We had a good chat catching up on everything that had happened in the last few months.

It was interesting to see the retired folks in their parish and their response at a typical daily Mass at their church. They couldn't agree on which songs to sing!

The elderly priest was doing well even though he could barely walk for over two years. His recovery is quite amazing.

I saw several corn fields planted on the way up and the way back. Still, there isn't much planted for the first of May.

We will try to hit it hard this week if the weather permits. I had one inch in the rain gauge but I am sure there was more not too far away.

I did get the yard mowed after we got home but it will need to mowed again soon. It is growing like gangbusters!

I would write more but I am tired.

Talk to you all later.