Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June is almost gone

Can you imagine it is almost July?

Dad was born July 2 and Rebecca is due July 4.

She couldn't go for Miss Lilly so the little girl will be Caoilin.

I said Becky you will explaining this the rest of your life,

I know dad, but it is so Celtic like Liam and she will be a Celtic princess.

No doubt she will be a princess. A brother like Liam? Liam is the most interesting little boy I ever met. Those two could be trouble.

My brother's daughter Kelsey just graduated from high school. The Irish effect runs deep in our family and LuAnn's family.

I just pray that Becky and Caoilin are healthy through the birthing process. Joshua, Claire, Tyler, now Caoilin.

The family is growing.

Thank you, Lord.

Ed Winkle

Monday, June 29, 2009


Sable put her paws in Indiana this morning. I had a scouting job there and she couldn't wait to get out of my pickup.

She sniffed around and almost got angry. Was she too far from home?

It was 80 miles and a long ride, we were both anxious to get there but I was surprised to see her so uptight.

I drove up to my friend John R Halderman's place at College Corner Indiana north of Oxford. Yes, we drove over all those bricks in Oxford. She didn't like that either.

I looked at the display items and finally asked for John Halderman. He said, I just labelled files with your name on it!

I looked around and said why? I finally went to the Martin System I sell. After 19 years? Yes, I am a slow learner.

I was a slow learner, too.

Once I learned, I have been teaching it ever since.

Howard Martin, you have a good notill system.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wheat Harvest

Wheat harvest has started in SW Ohio. We raise Soft Red Winter Wheat that is used for baking sweets. Oreo cookies is one of the main users of Ohio wheat.

I can be fed to livestock too. We used to feed up to a pound per pound of corn when we were short of feed or wheat was cheap. Wheat never got over $2 per bushel for years and years so it became a sister crop or a forgotten crop.

When I was a child, I remember trucks and tractor and wagons lined down the road from Sardinia past our farm. Wheat was an important cash crop then because it was easy to grow, grew in the off months and everyone needed the straw for livestock bedding.

That has all changed. I am not sure what grandpa produced but I am sure it was at least 25 bushels per acre. When I was a child, 50 bushels was a good crop. Now if you can't raise 80 bushels wheat really isn't worth raising compared to corn or soybeans.

I raised the most I ever raised in my life last year because the fall of 2007 was so dry and I wanted a quick crop and ground cover. I got it. The price was excellent, the lowest I got all year was $6 per bushel. Better yet, we built organic matter and had a good cover crop of soybeans to sell afterwards.

Grandpa always said dust your wheat or plant in dry conditions and in my lifetime he has been right. The best yields I ever got was planted in dry falls like last year. Mudding cereal grains in just doesn't work for me.

This has been another interesting year so far.

You wonder what is next.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Church Suppers

We just ate too much at our church supper. You would have thought it was the last supper.

Two rows of tables 40 feet long with homemade dishes lined up on both sides of each row of tables. We tried, but we couldn't eat it all.

Every kind of fruit, salad, macaroni, potatoe, corn, beans, casseroles you can name. Dishes I never heard of. Fried chicken was the main course, not my thing but lots of other things to choose from.

Whoever made that sweet potato pie and pineapple upside down cake are first in my book but I never tasted one bad thing. I just ate too much, that is all.

They had all the ice water, tea, lemonade, and punch you would could want to wash it down. I think I better have some more ice water. Ice is a valued commodity today.

I have been to some large church dinners but I think that was the biggest spread of food I ever saw. All we had to do was bring a covered dish to share.

On the way home I saw wheat I think I would have had a combine into, perfect weather and it is ready.

I also saw too many ragweeds in bean fields like I have been fighting.

All in all a great day!


Spend Money

"To make money, you have to spend money."

We have spent more this year than my first year's salary times twenty or more.

Lots of people think it is going to be worthless anyhow so make it while it still has some value.

Ran across an article from Ag Professional that spurred this post because it makes so much sense.

"Too many organizations are obsessed with their profit and loss reports. It hasn't occurred to them that they might be looking at the wrong numbers. Let's look at some numbers that just might have a bigger impact on the profit and loss, then some of the numbers that are on the reports.

1. Increase the customer sales. What could happen if you were more passionate about increasing the volume of your customer sales as opposed to your number of sales. The president of a company in Utah sponsored educational sessions for his customers to bring them tools and knowledge that would help them grow their own business. His theory was that if he focuses on helping them grow their own business, then his company would grow their business as a result.

2. Reduce the total cost to the customer. A forklift distributor in Los Angeles, who sells and services forklifts to Lowe's, Home Depot and Costco among others, has adopted this strategy. A customer's forklift operator had run his/her lift into a post, damaging the lift cage.

The cage part of the lift was severely bent. The normal action by the technician responding to the call would have been to order a new cage. The cost of this part is substantial, not to mention the labor required to remove the damaged component and install a new one. The technician assigned to this customer, without consulting with his manager, went to an auto parts store and purchased a hydraulic jack for $200 with his own money.

The technician figured he could use the power jack to straighten the bent frame of the cage and return it to its original condition. His action was effective, and having saved his customer a large sum of money, will certainly have a huge impact to increase customer loyalty in the future. When these technicians show this kind of initiative, it is a fairly safe assumption that customers will spread the P.W.O.M. (Positive Word of Mouth), which can also contribute to an increase in sales for the company."

Any farmer who can't make a living with ten dollar beans this year, well, there has to be something wrong. I know we deserve fifteen and the market rewarded us last year but normally this doesn't happen.

Oil hit record highs when soybeans hit record highs so LuAnn and I have been talking about this a lot since we only have about half the crop priced.

I have been called the tightest corn cob you ever saw but when I want something or need something and think I can make a dollar, the dollar is my tool to get there.

You go to these estate auctions where they hoarded everything like the Great Depression. I understand that, I was raised that way.

But sometimes you have to spend money to make money.


Friday, June 26, 2009


Remember TGIF? I haven't heard that in awhile but it sure rang a bell when I was teaching.

Thank God It's Friday! Worked hard all week for the hope of a weekend. Then came the phrase Weekend Warriors. Boats, jet skis, motorbikes, all kinds of toys were sold to the weekend warriors.

Rainy weekends were a real bummer unless you had lot of money in a crop like I did as a weekend warrior farmer. Ever hear of a million dollar rain? I have seen it and boy is it good! A million dollar flood is no fun and they usually end up in the tens of millions in damage.

Last night several powerful storms blew through, I heard a little hail again but we got another .6 on this crop. I don't think man could irrigate better than Mother Nature is right now. Crops are perfectly green and watered, makes one very humble when you read about others suffering. One of my friends in Missouri has no crop and his wheat is about shot.

LuAnn works 4-10 hour days so it is really TGIF for her. She gets to garden, go to auctions, whatever she can talk me into. She is very persuasive!

We are both hot and sweaty today. One of those days you hit the shower more than once. I pulled all the peas from Brian Taylor and we have 3 big freezer bags full. Time for another shot of sweet corn seed, but almost time for radish too. I love building soil!

I have to finish spraying and get this crop laid by until harvest. Then the fun starts again. October should be busy but right now I need to focus on assessing and reporting this crop as it enters maturity.

It sure is a beautiful day, wind blew the pollution out, the air is so clean and cool and we have more rain for our crop.

I couldn't have done any better.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another Good Day

It has been another good day here in southwest Ohio.

I am trying to get the crops laid by for harvest.

Laid by means the final spraying for weeds or other pests before harvest.

The beans look good. Almost knee high and flowering, we are so blessed. You guys in Illinois have my sympathy but not enouch to share in your misery. You have some of the best soil I ever laid hands on.

The 30 corn plots behind the house look good. I need to schedule the Corn College if I can pull it off. Farmers are thirsting for the knowledge I have sought all my life.

There is so much going on around here you wouldn't believe it. I have learned to pace myself a little better so I don't beat myself down so hard.

It is great to be husband, dad and grandpa. I can't walk past the kitchen table without hitting the Liam Card, I love you grandpa, then I love you with my heart music. Is that Phil Collins and Generation? Mind gets fuzzy over time.

I have been listening to my favorite rock band the Who again. I must be reflecting of my past. That is still good music though.

I don't think Sable likes it when I hit the button, she seems jealous.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Has anyone looked into the new government program for a tax rebate on gas guzzling cars and pickup?

There needs to be a 10 MPG improvement and you can just about do that with six liter Chevy Silverado compared to a Duramax.

There have to be some loopholes so I am wary. Most locals laughed when they heard about the program. "What? I can't afford to buy anything!"

I would really like a 5 speed Dakota with Flex Fuel so I can burn the cheaper ethanol from Krogers. Duramax's are big rugged trucks and I don't need that for every day use. Typical day for me is 50-100 miles scouting fields.

We have finished up our certified wheat scouting and starting a new scouting program for Certified Weed Free Straw. That will be sold to landscapers and the Buckeye Express Pipeline project.

The cash crop for farmers though is soybeans and there are weeds in every field, regardless of program.

I doubt I will be driving a gas guzzler replacement to these fields but you have to explore every option.

If anyone has good insight on this new program, please let me know.

Guest bloggers welcome.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Scouting Antiques

LuAnn likes to scout antiques, particularly furniture. Tonight we picked up a China Cabinet I left a bid on Sunday.

I bid so many dollars and it sold to me for less dollars so my praises to John Hanes, auctioneer from Hillsboro. He never ran me up and let it sell for an honest auction price.

How many people will do that these days?

It is craftman's style simple woodworking probably near a hundred years old. It fits the style of this house nicely.

The real kicker is it has the original glass throughout! That is getting hard to find these days. We were careful to get it home safely.

That LuAnn has taught me a lot about antiques. I think I have showed her a few things about crop production.

Our crops look good. Thank you Lord and thank you Les and Brad.



I love crop scouting. Crop scouting is the walking or riding of crop fields to examine the crop from a big picture and to examine closely for insects, disease and weeds.

Weeds have always been the number one problem in Ohio but the control of them let us focus on insects and disease.

I started scouting crops as a child but I got good enough at it that I could earn a fee for it in 1985. I took my kids scouting. It was a great way to bond while we learned from each other.

There is a program called Weed Free Straw for landscaping and I was trained in it Satuday. I know how to identify the weeds, I just needed to know what they expect on certification.

The Buckeye Express Pipeline Project running through the north end of the county has brought a huge demand for clean landscape straw. Now local farmers can benefit from the sale and I can certify it.

The big thing in straw is being free of Canada Thistle. That stuff spreads like wildfire and people don't want it in their plant beds or where the pipeline runs through their property.

I had a friend who accidentally got some Jerusalem Artichokes in soybean seed. He fought that pest for years, his soybeans looked like a sunflower field. I am sure Ronnie took a lot of razzing about that one.

We inherted a great crop of Poison Hemlock on this farm. I have been fighting it now for 6 years. It is not in my field but it is still on the field borders, stronger than ever this year.

Crop scouting has been a great mental and physical relief for me. I love walking and I love crops.

The crops are absolutely beautiful right and it is not even the 4th of July.

I will have more corn tassled by then. This has been one crazy year.

Ed Winkle

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

I always thought that Mother's Day and Father's day was created to sell cards. Great idea but the reason was sales.

LuAnn's Mother's Day was Tara's Birthday. It turned out to be a bad day because she was hit in her car on SR 124 and Sharpsville Road. She never liked that road and we turned down a farm puchase on that road.

I always liked that old twisty turning road from Martinsville to Hillsboro, lots of lime quarries on it and that makes us money. You have to dig somewhere, right?

I had greetings from all our kids then Becky said she wanted to take us out for Father's Day. I got to thinking, we have fresh salad and berries and carrot cake, why not just come over with a Papa John's Pizza?

Liam just loves it here so I called her back and asked if she would just bring a pizza and Liam and Will.

They brought me a book on Kitty Hawk and the most awesome sound Greeting Card you can imagine. I heard LuAnn laughing with it this morning as we got ready for work.

Becky said Liam was in the pool with his cousin Shawn, whome he loves and when Becky tried to get him out he cried, No, I don't want to go. So she said do you want to go see Papaw Winkle? Bye Shawn, he was out of the pool.

You open the Papaw card with our picture of us messing around and there is Liam's voice, I love you Papaw! Then comes the music of I love you in my heart. I must have listened ten times this morning.

You guys made my day and I thank you for it. I think I will go listen to it again right now, you can't buy these moments, just build for it and it just happens.

It happened to me and I thank you!

This is the true meaning of life.

Ed Winkle

40th Anniversary

What do you give your wife on your 40th wedding anniversary?

LuAnn and I are celebrating our 40th today. Actually we have only been married 8 years but we figure years don't match quality of life so we multiply each year by five. I know some people who didn't live five years like we did on one.

I am not bragging, we both made enough mistakes in our early years and just hit it off instantly July 13, 1999. That date and October 10 and November 10 and finally June 22, 2001 became important dates in our life together.

In 8 years:
She moved 400 miles away
all of her children followed
our wedding and the wedding of six childrenn
our 6 kids and 6 grandkids now live within 80 miles of us
sold my place
bought this farm
went from 50 acres to 640 acres
buried both our dad's in grace and loving memory
camped in 48 states, many in a farmer's barnyard with friends I met on the Internet

Some amazing things have happened to us and I pray thanks for God's Graces every day. When things look bleak, and they have some days, we just look up and God shows up someone hurting more than we are.

Pretty amazing, isn't it?

I am really good at birthdays and anniversaries but I missed this one. Shannon called last night to wish me Happy Fathers Day and said, Happy Anniversary tomorrow, too! I had in my head it was next week because we were going to get married June 29 but we couldn't find a church or a place for the celebration. June 22 was open so we chose that day 8, I mean 40 years ago. What does man know about time anyway?

Russ and Linda drove all day to be a part of our celebration. The church was filled with children, future spouses, relatives, friends and farmers from the area. LuAnn had soil and water board members and friends from Erie County New York there to share our day. It seems like yesterday yet it seems like we really did live 40 years together since June 22, 2001, in a good way, too!

I will never forget the tears in Uncle Roys eyes after the Shawnee Nation story teller, our pastor Fred Shaw performed their tradition of mixing Mother Earth with the water of life. Uncle Roy said I wish your dad could have seen this. I just looked up in the church and said oh I don't think he missed a bit of it.

Thanks for 40 wonderful years, LuAnn. I wonder what God has in store for us next?


Your DH, Ed Winkle

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Early Days of Pulling

Seeing some of my old tractor pulling buddies at Wilmington last night reminded me of our early days in tractor pulling.

I remember getting an animal ready to show at the Brown County Fair when I was a boy and I heard this tractor screaming down the track and ran to see what was going on.

There was a 4010 John Deere, Bob Webb's from Wilmington, Ohio turning the tires in 7th gear and blowing smoke into the sky. I was hooked.

I had seen the neighbor Donald Dye whipping everyone with his little WC Allis Chalmers with a D-17 style engine in it for years.

In the early years they just pulled a dead weight sled so many feet, 20 became the standard. Then they lengthened the sled and made it long enough for a man to stand at every 50 feet and get on the sled as it drove by until the tractor stalled or took it out the end. Full Pull became the goal.

I know it was done with horses first to see which farmer had the most powerful team of horses then it soon adapted to tractors. The first one I saw was in the 50's.

By 1970 it became a very popular sport for farm people and started drawing non-farm people. I will never forget seeing dad's Oliver 77 with the head off for a valve job and looking at the big thick sleeves designed to make the engine repairable and operate for a long time. You can build a lot of cubic inches where thick sleeves sat.

Dad would have no part of me pulling, money was too scare and we barely had enough machinery to get by on 300 acres. I think it was 1970 when my friend Tom Salisbury let me drive his 77 at the Highland County Fair. I won second place in a hard class and was really "hooked" then.

We hosted our friends down from Williams County this weekend, almost in Michigan and Indiana.

Allen and I were lookin at Les's 36 foot John Deere Air Seeder and up pulls Greg Taylor on his newly restored 2010 John Deere. It looks really, really good. He was getting ready to haul it to Wilmington as a pulloff tractor with their Gator so his dad Bruce could ride around the fairgrounds he was secretary for so many years. One of those priceless moments, you know what I mean?

We oogled over the restoration and finally Greg said Ed, I have been wanting to talk to you. Down here, that means uh oh, what is he going to say?

He said I want to write a book about the early days of pulling but I can't do it. I thought and thought about it and decided you are the man.

Me? Little ole me? Sweat was running off my brow about that time.

He said he would provide me all the information and pictures he could gather but he wanted ME to write it! I first thought, why didn't I think of that, if I ever did I quickly put it aside. But Greg thinks enough of me to put his words into a book?

I always wanted to write a book. I have one now after 6 months on Google, thank you.

So I went to the pull wanting to see my old puller friends and the first I ran into was Ron Barga out of Rockford, Ohio, Mercer County.

I saw Ron crippling out of the pulling trailer and said, Ron, we are getting too old for this. Oh no he said, we are still good! Neither one of us can carry 100 lb IH suitcase weights like we used to.

We had a great chat and I finally said Ron, I have seen my dad and father in law pass, we are next. He laughed and said, yes, I know it but so what? Ron, it needs to be written down.

He looked all inquisitive and said his wife has been telling him that. I said we lived through a period of time where we learned to spend our extra every moment and burst of energy on pulling, like the early county fairs.

I said what got you into pulling? He said we put this 427 Chevy in our old Cockshutt 40 and I took it down to El Dora Raceway to pull it in 1970. He said I did lousy and a neighbor laughed and said that thing couldn't pull against a real farm tractor.

He knew it could so they made a bet. They decided on the Ansonia Fall Festival to have their grudge match, the big farm tractor against the little Cockshutt 40.

About that time his wife came and listened to every word we exchanged. She has been wanting him to get this written down for some time. I have watched Ron pull several hundred times in the past 40 years.

Ron said the other farmer said his tractor weighs 13,500 lbs. He said weight your tractor however and we will have a grudge pull and I will show you what wins.

Ron weighted that poor little 5000 lb Cockshutt with 13 sets of wheel weights and 47, count them, 47 suitcase weights and pulled against his neighbor.

The neighbor ran first and made it to 150 feet. Ron said he let out the clutch and thought the little Cockshutt would split but he got to the neighbors wheel tracks and he was still moving.

The whole community had bets on who would win, some even had counter bets! He said the flagman waved him on with his green flag like you, won, WhooHooe, lets see how far you can go!

Ron said he put the peddle to the metal and the Cochshutt went the Full Pull!

You can imagine how the adrenalin was flowing so Ron was hooked for life. So he and his boys were pulling in Wilmington last night.

I could hardly sleep on that story as I started pulling the same year.

If you have any pulling stories to share with me please send them.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lavender Fest

We just got back from a quick visit to the neighbor's Lavender Fest, first annual. Another neighbor was selling her alpaca wool rugs while the kids wove yarn on the spinning wheel.

It's a beautiful day but still a little humid. Very hot and humid and a fast moving thunderstorm in the the middle of the night. It knocked out the electricity for 8 hours.

We had friends down from Bryan, Ohio so we really didn't notice much in the middle of summer. I guess it is actually the beginning summer, the summer solstice. Had sweet corn tassles today and some soybeans flowering!

I had a good visit with an old friend today, got to see his refurbished 2010 JD ready to take the the Wilmington Grand National Pull tonight as a tow off tractor.

He asked me one hard question. He said we need a book about the start of tractor pulling around here. Would you be the general author and editor? I was flabbergasted! I also would like to see a history of tractor pulling here, mine started in 1970 and that was way after my early neighbors.

I am going to have to think about that awhile!

Corn is growing like weeds in this heat, fast and furious!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Community Garden

My wife and I are known to do things in a big way. It is just our nature.

Today's feature is the Turning Point Adult Learning Center Community Garden on Hobart Drive, just north of Southern State Community College in Hillsboro.

While I await my first guest blog, I will give you a few details of the garden.

LuAnn is completing her fifth year as Executive Officer of Turning Point. Turning Point has actually become a turning point for many, many participants in five years. The program helps people work off their welfare payments and helps ex-offenders get back into the work stream.

Turning Point often serves as a last chance to help people where we as parents, neighbors, friends and teachers have failed to help people adequately "who fall through the cracks" of society.

The participants are always friendly and courteous when I visit. LuAnn expects no less from them. Most of them call her Miss LuAnn. She helps them in every way possible but they pretty much don't cross her path or they are out the door back to the misery they came from. That is my assessment.

It was good to see five participants who earned their way to work outdoors tilling, planting, fertilizing, caging tomatoes and everything that has to be done in a good garden.

The green beans that Bird Hybrids donated from Rupp Seed Company is the most impressive crop out there right now but everything is coming on nicely.

In these difficult times it feels so good as a farmer and contributing citizen to see these people buy into the concept and learn things they will carry the rest of their lives and teach to others.

This is what people helping is all about out here in the country. We have problems just like the towns and cities do.

I hope LuAnn takes the time from her very busy schedule to write her view of this amazing story. I invite all readers to send me topics or write a blog to be considered for HyMark High Spots. Guest bloggers are welcome as there are so many good stories out there.

This definitely is a High Spot for me.

What do you think?


Ed Winkle

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


We have a few days left to comment on the E-15 docket at the EPA.

It makes sense to me though I know some of you don't believe in ethanol. I respect that. Given the money we have already invested in ethanol, this docket seems to make sense in increasing employment, improving the economy, cleaning the air and making our country more independent on foreign oil.

The infrastructure is in place, all we have to do is mandate it. It makes more sense than many of the bail-outs I have read about.

Our E-85 has been 10 cents cheaper at the local Kroger store so many people blend it themselves. That takes some effort and with E-15 the work is already done for us in the pipeline of fuel.

Farmers backed off corn this year from last because of economic reasons. It all seems to be working out in the marketplace.

I think we need a little more pressure to raise corn. Any market can be a bubble. The problem I can't resolve is the livestock market. It is in a mess. Livestock producers need cheap feed to make a buck and now the cheaper livestock prices have made that even more unfeasible for them. It is a real Catch 22.

I really don't see how livestock producers are making it or are going to make it with this given situation. You have to really love livestock to stay in business right now. They are out there in the cold and mud when crop farmers are sitting by the fire or living in Florida. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

Still, I think E-15 is a natural for the U.S. at this point in time. I could be wrong, I have been wrong before.

What is your thoughts?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Corn College

My friends have been pushing me to put on a corn college. That is an idea that Farm Journal does with Ken Ferrie from Illinois.

Basically it is a Field Day in a corn field. There is so much to know about raising corn and so much corn raised it draws a lot of farmers.

A good young friend in Iowa called me to see when he might take vacation to attend. I said wait a minute, it is not even on the books yet!

But he did get me thinking. As my test plot field has grown and changed color every day I got to thinking everything I did well and everything I did wrong. It is easy to see the effect of my practices on the 30 different corn hybrids.

I have some dead spots where we changed hybrids, one near the apple tree on the hill. Take a back hoe and make a root pit right there. Close to the house, shade, water, lots of parking. Lots to look at under the Russell Miami soils, too.

I did one in Northeast Ohio and one in Pennsylvania that turned out great. I know what to do and what is on farmers minds. They want the most corn for the least amount of money but they aren't afraid to spend it for the righ thing, either.

The best corn isn't usually raised by the shiniest tractor or the latest planter. Old tried and true modifications is what works best. The best corn I know of you wouldn't give the guy 10 cents for his equipment, looks like a pile of rust.

I know who I would get for the technical part. McGillacudy out of Illinois gives the best presentation on basic corn science I ever saw. Farm Journal ought to hire him but they won't, they already have a contract with Ken Ferrie. Ken is a nice guy but is really a tillage man from the black soils of Illinois. We are no-tillers on the brown, worn soils of Ohio.

If I dare have one I am going to have to get it on the calendar. I guarantee you though, I dig a soil pit and there will be pickup trucks stopping.

I will dig one for myself whether I have one or not.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Rainfall Variations

I have been trying to keep track of rainfall variations this year.

As you can see, it has varied quite a bit just 5 miles from here.

I always told farmers you need a rainfall measurement on each farm just to try and figure how how you got the results you did from farm to farm.

Mar 19 .3 (1 in other gauge)
Mar 25 .6, (.4)
Mar 26 .5
Apr 4 .9, Other 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
May 14 1 inch
May 24 .25
May 26 .15
May 30 .3
June 1 .3
June 3 2.0
June 9 .3
June 11 .5

It has been difficult to work in the garden, keep the yard mowed and more important tasks like spraying for weeds.

The main thing noticeable is the lack of extreme heat this spring. It has been very mild. The weather this week is calling for more of the same.

I expect to see tassles in a few weeks, hopefully soybean flowers at the same time.

Every year is different!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Aunts and Uncles

We got to see our kids being aunts and uncles last night. Eric was on the peddle tractor pulling his neices around on their bikes. Eric is just a big kid, reminded me of dad and myself.

I have written about my dad's family, uncle Paul giving me my Amateur Radio Novice exam, Aunt Florence, the matron of dad's family, her sisters Mildred and Claudia lived close by and I saw them a lot as a child. They were a strong, positive, fun-loving influence on me.

LuAnn had even more aunts and uncles than me and she has talked about their influence on her many times. When she graduated from Xavier a few years ago she wrote her Uncle Joe:

"I wanted to write and let you know how much I valued the support and encouragement you gave me over the years regarding completing my college degree. After 31 years (21 since I earned my Associates) I will graduate from Xavier University on May 19. A long time ago you began to chide me about going and you always asked about my progress and encouraged me to persevere. You may never have known this but your encouragement was very important and I always looked forward to the day when I could tell you I had finished. Well, I am 49 years old and my dream is finally coming true!"

Aunt Florence and Mildred had a similar impact on me. They always gave me scientific type gifts like a slide rule or gyroscope or books about science. I loved it and that encouraged my curiousity about science. Uncle Paul got me involved in a whole new world of electronics and communication which I use every day.

All of our aunts and uncles were good people but a few surfaced to the top as our role models and mentors. Now we see the same thing happening to our children. Remember that cycle of life I mentioned just a few weeks back?

Think about your aunts and uncles today and consider how you can help your neices and nephews as a Big Brother or Big Sister to a child. Potentially it has huge impact and great returns!

Ed Winkle

Saturday, June 13, 2009

H1N1 Again

I wasn't too far off with my posts below, was I?

H1N1 continue to disrupt Ohio and other swine markets.



COLUMBUS – The following statement was issued today in response to the announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise the incidence of Influenza A (H1N1) to a pandemic level. The statement can be attributed to Dick Isler, executive vice president, Ohio Pork Producers Council.

“Like all consumers, Ohio’s hog farmers are concerned about the spreading of the H1N1 virus and the announcement from the WHO today.

“That being said, we are troubled by the continued misnaming of this virus as the ‘swine flu’. The negative effect of the incorrect association of the influenza virus to hog farms has been devastating to our industry in terms of sales, exports and overall pork consumption. Ohio’s hog farmers are in jeopardy and many farms may be forced into bankruptcy if this crisis continues.

“It cannot be repeated enough – this virus has not been found in any pigs in the U.S., and groups like the CDC and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have called for the virus to be named by its strain, H1N1. Despite the fact that health and food experts alike have definitively stated that people cannot be exposed to this virus from eating pork products, overall pork consumption has fallen since the virus was found.

“Hog farmers are suffering huge financial losses – which increase every time the virus is incorrectly called the ‘swine flu’. Since the virus was found, average industry losses have increased by $10 per hog due to the misunderstanding about the relationship between pork and the virus.

“A report from the Congressional Research Service has found that misnaming the H1N1 influenza outbreak could cost the U.S. pork industry up to $400 million in the next few months. The National Pork Producers Council has predicted that the potential doubling of financial losses from the effect of the virus could cause enough hog farmers to go out of business to reduce the overall pork population by five percent.

“Ohio’s 4,100 hog farmers remain committed to producing safe, wholesome, high-quality pork for customers and being vigilant in protecting the health and well-being of our herds.”

FOR INTERVIEWS: Contact Hinda Mitchell or Diane Hurd, 614/224-0600, or Dick Isler at 614/882-5887. Council officials and hog farmers are available for interviews.

EDITORS’ NOTE: Ohio’s hog farmers urge you to modify your coverage of the H1N1 virus, if you have not done so already, to use H1N1 influenza virus references in place of references to the “swine flu”.

My neighbors and friends are suffering from this misnaming. It reminds me of Oprah and hamburgers, that cost my parents a lot of money right when they needed it.

Between HSUS and H1N1 Ohio hog farmers are being slaughtered financially. This is all out of media minsinformation and miscommunication.

It makes me sick and I don't mean H1N1.

Be a smart consumer, eat more pork, consume more milk, cheese and ice cream. Livestock farmers really need it right now.

LuAnn just went Krogering and brought home a bunch of half priced pork ribs. They will cook all day, we will finish them on the grill tonight and the family will love it.

I hate to enjoy off someone elses suffering.

Ed Winkle

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chevy's Response

I thought I would share Chevy's response to my letter to them about closing down good dealers. It is your standard response type letter but at least I voiced my opinion.

Service Request: 71-732315040
Customer Relationship Specialist: Jerry Robinson

Dear Mr. Winkle,

Thank you for contacting the Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center. We appreciate you taking the time to write us regarding your concern with the closure of Rose Chevrolet in Hamilton, OH.

We are always happy to hear from customers who have had positive experiences with their local dealerships. General Motors values all of its dealers; however, these are extraordinarily difficult times for GM, the industry and our dealers. Under the current market conditions, General Motors will have to change our business operations and our GM dealer network. These efforts will result in a reduction in the number of dealers in markets across the U.S. During this period, we will work with our customers and dealers to make sure that each and every customer has convenient access to vehicle service.

In these difficult times, your satisfaction as a customer remains a key mission to us at Chevrolet and General Motors. If your local dealership is closed and you are not sure where to take your vehicle, you can use the Dealer Locate feature online at Chevrolet.com.

You can locate a dealer of your choice by visiting our website at http://www.gm.com and selecting Vehicle Shopping and then Dealer Locator or by simply clicking on the following URL: http://www.gm.com/automotive/vehicle_shopping/dealer_locator/. You will then enter in the appropriate information to locate the dealer nearest to you.

As always, we at General Motors are committed to providing customers with an outstanding customer sales and service experience.

If you should need to contact us in the future, simply reply to this message or call our Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-222-1020. Customer Relationship Specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

For more information regarding the maintenance and care of your vehicle, please visit www.gmownercenter.com. This free online service offers vehicle and ownership-related information and tools tailored to your specific Chevrolet.

Again, thank you for contacting Chevrolet.


The Chevrolet Consumer Support Team

I wonder if Kehl Chevrolet survived in Mechanicsburg? Boy they sold a lot of pickup trucks. I bought 4 there myself.

LuAnn gets her car back this morning after that lady on the cellphone ran into her. LuAnn is still going to the doctor for her back and neck. Headlight assembly, $430! She will be so happy to get out of the Kia Rondo rental. What a tin can. The dealer she bought the Buick from went broke a year ago.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Farmers live by the weather. Your whole day is determined by what you find when you get up.

Today looks like a rainy one. We are afraid to have the rain switch turned off so we do something different, errands, work in the shop or try and get this office mess organized. Yuck. Lots of guys like to work in the shop but I don't share that blessing.

I sure don't like working in the office. I can count on one hand when LuAnn exclaimed your office looks good!

I have the bad habit of windshield scouting on a rainy day to see how the crops are doing. You get home and the shop and the office is still awaiting you.

It is dark and dreary here this morning, just what crops need in the middle of June. We sure could use some sunshine and heat but again we are afraid of that rain switch being turned off too long.

The power grid is offline in Hillsboro so LuAnn is doing the same thing I am right now, spending time on the computer.

I spend too much time here but it is the most fun thing for me to do. The deveil is the details so I better get to the details.

I got some good feedback on my blog yesterday about AgTalk.

If you ever wondered what farmers are thinking, it is a good place to start!

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How AgTalk Grew

I found today's topic in the Cafe on AgTalk today. AgTalk is short for NewAgTalk.

A poster asked a simple question, how did you find AgTalk?

A decade ago a bunch of us farmers were hot and heavy on Crop Scouting on AgOnline.

We had computers for bookeeping and other reasons and bought a modem and got on dialup. We discovered the Internet and quickly found the number one site on the Ag Internet, AgOnline.

One day Meredith Publishing, the owners of AgOnline and Successful Farming discovered we can sell ad space on our highly visited website!

Dialup speed went to a crawl and I mean a crawl.

Here is what I posted:

"There was a bunch of us who were still on dialup, about the only thing available in the country when Meredith decided to put banner ads on there site.

We were quite disgusted with this idea when Dave Orr stepped up and said I think I can do better than that.

Many years later, here we are!

Best ag page on the Internet. That was the goal and thanks to Dave and others it was obtained.

There is no better page to talk about farming and lif, share pictures and links, all from a Word page Dave created.

He has to be pretty humbly proud of that but he did it.

Thanks Dave!

This all grew from a pile of email and a guy willing to spend umpteen hours meeting our wishes."

I can't tell you the date of that first AgTalk page but it had to be in the 90's. I probably have the date around here somewhere but my computer isn't all that organized, kind of like my office!

More information has been exchanged in these years on these pages than one could imagine. I was able to sort out the good stuff so my experience has been positive.

The mid nineties were like this year, cold wet springs and I had to wait forever it seemed to notill my crops. I posed my question on Crop Scouting and a farmer in Iowa replied you need to take the notill coulter off.

That set me on to a whole new way to farm via notill and the rest is history. That one idea enabled us to plant again this year when others thought it was too wet to even work ground.

In January 2000 I picked up my friend Tim Reinhart from his college apartment in Champaign Illinois so I could speak at the National NoTillage Conference in Des Moines. We stopped and met with John Walter at the Meredith offices, still the editor of AgOnline and told him our problem.

He recognized our problem and did all he could to have AgOnline remain the farmer's favorite. It was obvious that his bosses wanted to put profit above simplicity and they stayed with the banner ads.

So farmers came up with their own webpage, NewAgTalk and here we are almost ten years later. So maybe it was 2000 that AgTalk was born.

It was born out of frustration and the thought we can do this better. AgTalk remains the number one ag forum because of popularity that grew out of sheer simplicity. KISS method. It is the easiest page to read and post links on but the picture uploads still have a lot of posters baffled.

All is well that ends well and this has ended up really good.

Now you know at least part of the Rest of the Story of AgTalk.

AgTalk gets tons of hits a day because of the simplicity to read what farmers are thinking and doing.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Blog Winners

I am sorry I am so late in announcing my blog winners. With this spring and trying to plant, the funerals, the new grandson and just daily life, it has taken me way too long to announce my winners.

First of all, you are all winners to me. The only ones I see are you that comment and you that email me. I am an open book, I don't try to hide too much.

It has been a good experience for me and I hope for you.

RS in California, Terry, RM in Illinois, BS and BT in Oregon, TS in Ohio. You are all winners. RS has picked his prize, I hope to be able to honor it. It is a major project for both of us.

Other winners, pick your prize. I have inoculant for double crop soybeans or next years soybeans if you want to select that. I have peat inoculant, GraphEx inoculant, MolySoyAlive and QuickRoots for corn and soybeans. If you would like something else, just let me know.

My MolySoil soybeans have beautiful color. You can see to the row where it was used, just like the new triple stacked soybean rhizobial inoculants. The QuickRoots treated seed is also impressive, all good choice.

BT in Oregon, our seed exchange has been good for me. We are enjoying great peas every other day or so, even some of the grandkids got to help pick them.

This blog has opened up a whole new world for me to share my thoughts and learn yours.

I can see you folks like most the writings of our daily lives here in SW Ohio as we explore old things, new things and wonder about our future. My view of politics and government action doesn't seem so popular, imagine that. I think we are all sick of talking about that and just want to get on with our lives, dreaming about the future and doing something about it as we address the challenges of each new day.

So let me know what you are thinking, otherwise you are going to read what I am thinking.

We just got another .3 inch rain this morning and everything is wet again. It would be nice if it keeps this up through crop flowering.

The moon is full and the summer solstice is up on us.

That alone will bring up new challenges.

Thanks readers,

Ed Winkle

PS I am always open to topics to talk about so send them. It also seems you just like to read what I am thinking. I am one average American trying to do better than average in my book.

Monday, June 8, 2009

60 Minutes

Did you see Bernanke's interview on 60 Minutes last night? I caught just enough to really intrigue me. If anyone has a thought or opinion of what he said, I would really like to hear it.

The interview went like this:

"CBS) Aside from the president he's the most powerful man working to save the economy, but you have never seen an interview with Ben Bernanke.

Bernanke is the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, better known as the Fed. The words of any Fed chairman cause fortunes to rise and fall and so, by tradition, chairmen of the Fed do not do interviews - that is until now.

The Federal Reserve controls the economy by setting interest rates. But after the crash of 2008, Bernanke invoked emergency powers, and with unprecedented aggressiveness has thrown a trillion dollars at the crisis.

Ben Bernanke may be the most important Fed chairman in history. The question is, can he help lead America out of this deep recession and when?

"Mr. Chairman, I'm gonna start with a question that everyone wants me to ask: when does this end?" 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley asked Bernanke.

"It depends a lot on the financial system," he replied. "The lesson of history is that you do not get a sustained economic recovery as long as the financial system is in crisis. We've seen some progress in the financial markets, absolutely. But until we get that stabilized and working normally, we're not gonna see recovery. But we do have a plan. We're working on it. And I do think that we will get it stabilized, and we'll see the recession coming to an end probably this year. We'll see recovery beginning next year. And it will pick up steam over time."

Asked if he thinks the recession is going to end this year, Bernanke said, "In the sense that this decline will begin to moderate and we'll begin to see leveling off. We won't be back to full employment. But we will see, I hope, the end of these declines that have been so strong in a last couple of quarters."

"But you wouldn't say at this point that we're out of the woods?" Pelley asked.

"No," Bernanke replied. "I think the key issue is the banking system and the financial system."

"Unemployment, as we sit here, is about 8.1 percent. I wonder, do you expect double digit unemployment?" Pelley asked.

"Well, it's hard to forecast exactly where we're going. Unemployment is rising. Job losses are still very severe. And no doubt, the unemployment rate's gonna go higher than it is. But I think, again, that if we do succeed in stabilizing the financial system, that we'll begin to see a slower pace of decline, and eventually, a stabilization that will set the basis for a recovery," Bernanke said.

"You seem to be saying that we're not heading into a new American Depression?" Pelley asked.

"I think we've averted that risk. I think we've gotten past that and now the problem is to get the thing working properly again," the chairman said.

Bernanke, age 55, has been chairman of the Federal Reserve Board since 2006. He had previously served as a Fed governor, then chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, before being appointed as Fed chairman by President George W. Bush.

For this interview, he opened up the Fed headquarters, rarely seen by the public. It's a monumental building along the National Mall. Construction started in 1935 in the depths of the Great Depression.

"You know Mr. Chairman I think the Federal Reserve, for most people, is a mystery," Pelley remarked.

"Well, it's an institution that people don't hear so much about but it's a very important one. It manages monetary policy for the country. It's one of the main tools we have for stabilizing our economy and keeping prices stable," Bernanke said.

Asked when it was founded, Bernanke told Pelley, "The Fed was created by Congress in 1913. And its original purpose was to deal with financial panics, which is what we're doing right now."

Bernanke's crisis started in 2007 with the mortgage meltdown; lenders began to fail. Bernanke cut interest rates repeatedly. In 2008, the Fed stopped the collapse of Bear Stearns by arranging a sale to another firm.

But then came the end of Wall Street as we knew it. Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were seized by the government. On Sept. 14, Merrill Lynch was sold in distress. The next day, the 158-year-old investment bank Lehman Brothers failed

"You didn't rescue Lehman Brothers. It set off a worldwide panic when it went bankrupt. And I wonder, looking back, whether you think that was a mistake," Pelley asked.

"There were many people who said, 'Let 'em fail.' You know, 'It's not a problem. The markets will take care of it.' And I think I knew better than that. And Lehman proved that you cannot let a large internationally active firm fail in the middle of a financial crisis. Now was it a mistake? It wasn't a mistake for the following reason: we didn't have the option, we didn't have the tools. All the Federal Reserve can do is make loans against collateral," Bernanke replied."

I don't know if he is right or not but he makes more sense than Greenspan to me. The message I heard was recent fiscal policy is a poor attempt to fix poor policy right before it. Two wrongs won't make it right, it makes it worse!

The open interview of a the fed monetary boss was revealing to me. These are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. One big mistake is really extraordinary!

One thing I bought up this morning was it cost $15,000 to bring Tyler into this world. I said to LuAnn, I think the health care costs in this country is part of this financial problem as people can't pay these bills and insurance has to pass it on to the employer and employee. That has been going on for at least two decades now. $4000 for Emergency Room just for early birth pains.

I hope I get time to read and learn more, right now, I am making my own financial decisions. Do we spray this, will it return, how much can we invest in this crop to get it back out financially?

We got behind an Amish carriage the other day and looked at each other as if to say, they got it right, we have made things way too complicated.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 7

We had a good Sunday. Went to church, LuAnn picked more peas and cut more lettuce, went went to Dublin to see Tyler and some little odd jobs. It was relaxing and rewarding.

Tyler has grown a lot in a short period of time. He and mom and dad are doing very well. That is good for grandparents to see.

We had another 200 mile tour, this time mostly windshield scouting and the crops are slowly coming along but not where farmers want them to be. Farmers are still trying to sidedress corn and there will lots of stands to assess and weeds to kill.

Such is a year of farming. All in all in could be a lot worse.

It is going to be a week of scouting and assessing crops.

Now the markets, that is a whole 'nother consideration!

I need to get hold of Becky and see if Liam can come pick strawberries some evening this week before they are gone. We love the fruits of the season.

There is nothing like fresh strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and their time is here or almost here.

How was your Sunday?


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dumping Good Auto Dealers

LuAnn, Sable and I scouted fields all over southern Ohio today. Listening to Mike McConnell on 700 WLW, we heard him interview the owner of Rose Chevrolet in Hamilton, Ohio.

The owner said they made the first round cuts but missed the second round. What? Rose Chevrolet is one of the top dealers in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Rose Chevrolet in Butler County was sixth in sales last year of 47 greater Cincinnati dealers. They were two sales away from number 4. They have notice that GM no longer needs them after October 2010.

They are rated at the top for sales and excellence.

What is going on here?

Is the Democratic controlled GM trying to get rid of all the good Republican dealers? I know it sounds absurd but could it possibly be true?

I figure the least we can do is bombard the cac@chevrolet.com email box.

I sent one, tell them your thoughts on eliminating GM dealers.

Makes absolutely no sense to me!

I told LuAnn not to buy GM stock yet until this shakes out. She has a little stock fund she is playing with to make up for last years losses.

She bought Ford though at $1.50 and now it is $6.00 Run and hide!

At least this good GM dealer is fighting for his rights which I think are well earned.

Take a look at his website, flood CAC's email box.

Might be a waste of time but it seems everything else is anyway!



Scouting Cereal

I became a pretty good cereal scout this winter. It got down to mini wheats and raisin bran, both are pretty hard to beat in taste. My heart and palate just can't take any more cheerios!

That is not my point though today. We are scouting on the cereal crops in Ohio that will be sold as Certified Seed.

Certification is 100 years old and guarantees that "what is in the bag is on the tag."

I was trained in 1985 in a fluke as one of my students couldn't take this summer job because he was offered to be paid to attend to Elsie the Cow at exhibits across the country.

It is a great part time job. You get schooling each year so you get permission to wander across other farmers fields! Actually it is primarily doing six different 500 plant counts or 3M for 3000 plants counted for seed certification. You compare what you see to the breeder's description.

We also note field conditions, border problems and try to identify any pest we find and a rating as to its threat. A producer really gets a good third party, independent evaluation of their fields for certification.

Hopewell and Bravo are two of the most popular certified soft red winter wheat varieties in Ohio. Bravo is an early beardless wheat that is allowed .5% awned or beardless blue-green or tall heads. We count those in our 3,000 head counts and make our report.

Hopewell is a dark green wheat that turns red at harvest. Hopewell can have up to 6/1000 bearded, tall or blue green heads and still certify.

Ohio is in oat, barley, spelt and wheat inspection right now as it is heading out as winter cereal grain crops do at this time of year. Harvest is right around the corn.

We will start flower inspection of soybeans soon. There are more acres to inspect this year because of the interest by farmers in non genetically modified organism soybeans.

Some of the certified scouts are pushing 80 years old because scouting is fun if you enjoy walking fields.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Floppy Corn Syndrome

"The curious phenomenon referred to as "floppy corn syndrome" reared (or lowered, as it were) its ugly head in some fields in Indiana and Ohio back in early June. The term "floppy corn" simply describes a young (V5 to V8) plant that has fallen over because of the absence of an established nodal root system at the crown of the plant. Affected plants may survive if the mesocotyl remains intact long enough for subsequent nodes of roots to establish themselves in moist soil. If the mesocotyl breaks before subsequent establishment of additional nodal roots, the plant dies. The causes of the poor nodal root development have been debated for years and, indeed, likely vary from situation to situation."

I created crappy corn with floppy corn syndrome. Oh my wife and good friends always say Ed you worry too much, your crops always turn out good. True, but as a farmer and consultant I am striving for better. That is our job, isn't it?

I think most of my floppy corn syndrome is due to my herbicide, acetochlor, sold generic as Volley and better known as Harness, Keystone and so many other brand names that are basically acetochlor, a cousin to alachlor and metalochlor found by Monsanto and others decades ago.

Basically it prunes the roots and the weeds die. Given the wrong recipe as noted in Crappy Corn by Bob Neilsen at Purdue, it does the same thing to corn.

It did it to my corn this year! That 2 inch storm on saturated soil bent too many of the plants over for my satisfaction. Oh the joy of harvesting floppy corn if it makes it that far!

Those nodes on the corn plants I damaged with chemical will be there all year. You get this skinny joint between the tall heavy plant trying to produce and hang an ear with the pruned roots that are trying to recover.

My sweet corn right beside my floppy corn is a good example. It is fairly healthy because it has no acetochlor and is taller than half my field corn. I till between the rows to control the weeds and don't depend on herbicide to control the weeds in the sweet corn.

Why don't you raise your corn like you do your sweetcorn you ask so you don't have floppy corn. We left the tillage, rotary hoeing and cultivating years ago in our corn because most years it doesn't turn out like this.

If you can raise organic corn for that small market, you can do it the old fashioned way. The marketplace only pays for high yields and the non-organic corn usually produces yield two times larger than the old fashioned way.

So, I am stuck with my floppy corn, a big old plant with limited roots and stalk to hold it up.

Chemicals are great until they damage the crop they are intended to protect.

Reminds me of the herbicide school I attended decades ago. They had pot after pot of corn sprayed with every labeled chemical compared to corn with no chemical. Every treated pot had smaller root mass than the control pot with no chemical.

How does the corn look in your area?


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Scouting Soybeans

I can't believe it is time to scout soybeans again. Another year has rolled by!

Sable and I scouted several acres in southern Fayette County. The soybeans over there are ahead of the ones where I live in southern Clinton County. I think the farmers there have done a really nice job. Many, many farms have soybeans in the first or second trifoliate stage.

Most of the planted aoybeans around here are from just planted to stage V5. Here is a good description from the American Soybean Association:

V2 Two nodes on the main stem with fully developed leaves. R4 Pod is 3/4" long at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf. R8 Ninety-five percent of the pods have reached their mature pod color.

Vegetative stages

VE Emergence Emergence of young plants through the soil surface with cotyledons (seed leaves) above the soil
VC Cotyledon The plant has emerged and cotyledons are fully unfolded
V1 first node The first node appears and the unifoliate leaves are fully developed opposite each other
V2 2 nodes Two nodes on the main stem with fully developed leaves
V5 5 nodes Counting the unifoliate node, there are four more nodes with fully developed trifoliolate leaves.
Vegetative stages V6, V7... Vn continue until the first flower appears. Some varieties may accumulate as many as 20 nodes during the vegetative growth stage.

Reproductive Stages

R1 Beginning flower Open flower at any node on the main stem
R2 Full flower Open flower at one of the two uppermost nodes on the main stem
R3 Beginning pod Pod is 5 mm (3/16 inch) long at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem.
R4 Full pod Pod is 3/4" long at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf.
R5 Beginning seed Seed is 1/8" long in a pod at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem.
R6 Full seed A pod containing a green seed that fills the pod cavity is located at one of the four uppermost main stem nodes.
R7 Beginning maturity One normal pod on the main stem has reached its mature pod color.
R8 Full maturity Ninety-five percent of the pods have reached their mature pod color.

The soybeans I have selected have a brown pod. They impressed me the first time I scouted them a few years ago. They are Ohio Stressland crossed with a Delta Pine Land cross. They may not be the highest yielder but they will never be the low yielder like I had with some GMO's.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


We had a big storm blow through last night. It rained and howled most of the night.

LuAnn and I always try to guess how much and I guessed .6 inches and she guessed three quarters. There was two inches in the rain gauge!

We have never had that kind of rain here in June since we moved here so Sable and I went to look at our crops. Went we crossed the covered bridge, I could see the Little East Fork was full. As soon as you crossed the bridge, there was corn under water everywhere.

That reminded me of 63 and 68 when we had corn under water from the White Oak Creek. Dad lost 100 acres of beautiful corn in 63, including my 10 acre FFA corn plot which was judged as the best project of the Eastern Brown FFA Chapter.

One of those two years, I can't remember which, the Equity Feed Mill gave dad all the corn cobs they had to help dad feed the cows. Those cows were skinny when they calved the next spring but he had 100% calf crop which is the goal the cattleman shoots for. Ground cob and molasses was about all those cows got with their hay. That taught me a lot about having too much flesh on females at birth.

We got the rain, now we need some heat. Sunlight and heat is the prescription for heavy soils. It doesn't look like that for a few days so disease pressure will be higher later on. Scouting won't end this summer until the combine rolls through and we will still be scratching our heads. What all happened this year?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Martinsville is full of wildlife, and I mean all kinds!

This evening I pulled into Brown's Distributor's, the Martinsville Mall as it is known here and suddenly Sable about knocked me through my door.

I looked up and there was a lady checking out inside and she had a baby racoon on her shoulder! I thought to myself, this is just wrong. Then I thought if Sable jumps through my window into the store, there will be a whole lot more wrong!

She bites at bugs, let alone racoons. She is more than interested in any other 4 legged creature, let alone a racoon.

Mr. Brown has a farm near us and it is full of wildlife. We hear his peacocks most everyday. Deer hunters knock on the door here all the time. Some I help, most I can't.

I do know the racoons around here ate more than their share of my sweetcorn field here in 2004. Since then, we have trapped out a bunch of them and they aren't the threat they were.

One day a sick one crawled up on the tire of one of the boys truck. He went to get into it and noticed the racoon sitting on his front tire. The coon had distemper and was very sick. The 22 soon put him out of his misery.

Most years you can see the deer come out of the woods to the west of us and munch on our crops south of the house.

I think Mother Nature is taking back her earth!


"The Llamas Are Out"

We were just getting into dinner tonight and our dear postmaster Sandy knocked on the door with a stricken look on her face.

She said the llamas are out, can you get them in?

Her brother is our neighbor across the road, they bought the old Ertel Farm. I said we would try so off we went.

I pulled my old hog showing cane off my office wall and headed to Gary's. Sandy said they were right here, grazing in the front yard!

A big thunderstorm was coming up so they were right by the gate they came out of. One of the kids must have left it unlatched or the llamas figured out how to open it. Sable has been doing that sort of thing.

I opened the gate and they walked right in. Would have been a neat time to see Sable's herding skills but it wasn't the right time for that.

It just made us feel good that our neighbors would ask us for help. My dad was the best animal husband I ever saw, so I had good training. I wish all livestock were as easy to handle as those llamas, they are so tame.

A thought came to mind when Sandy asked for help, oh no, livestock out. I have bad memories of chasing cows all over northern Brown and southern Highland Counties.

This was nothing like that. Still, it felt good to help a neighbor like this.

Again I say we have the best neighbors you could ask for here in Martinsville, Ohio. Best place I ever lived and that is saying some.

I need to write some blogs about my livestock stories but believe me they are a little hard on me! I guess it made me a better person and pointed me to soils and crops, my first love.


Crappy Corn

Lots of farmers across the midwest are evaluating "crappy corn" right now. Farmers hate crappy corn. They strive for beautiful corn. We want to do it right and do it once. Somewhere, every year, this doesn't happen.

My friend at Purdue University, Bob Neilsen has a recipe for crappy corn some of us are really good at.

The following recipe will prepare one helping of a crappy stand of corn. Add more acreage as desired.


One (1) field, level and poorly drained.
No-till is preferred, but conventional tillage will suffice if soil is 'on the wet side' when worked.
A hybrid of your choice, but poor seed quality and low vigor will ensure success of recipe.
Plant early, when soils have yet to reach 50oF.
Plant 'on the wet side' to ensure good sidewall compaction.
Do NOT add any starter fertilizer to the recipe.
Add a dash of seed rot or seedling blight organisms.
Add a pinch of wireworms or seedcorn maggots.
Flavor with acetanilide herbicides as desired.
Top off with a thick soil crust.
Add minimum of 0.5 to 1.0 inch of rain per week after planting.
Maintain average daily soil temperatures at 50oF or less for three weeks or more after planting.

Will serve 6 people: (farmer, dealer, industry rep, seed dealer, county agent, university specialist)

Corn replant decisions are amongst the hardest anyone makes. It is painful like cultivating corn for dad as a child. We rotary hoed and cultivated as standard practice until better pesticides came along. I have to learned to dread replant decisions just like dreaded cultivating corn.

Basically you are trying to get the stand to make the most total bushels of corn given your parameters of planting date, field conditions, hybrids available and many other factors.

But he also has some good information on replant decisions.

"Replanting of crappy (aka less than desirable) stands of corn occurs somewhere every year. A decision to replant a crappy stand of corn should be based on a number of criteria, but unfortunately the major influencing factor is often the emotion associated with looking out the kitchen window at the damaged field every morning or driving by the field every afternoon taking the kids to baseball practice. Even worse is the situation where the landlord is the one looking out the kitchen window every morning at the crappy stand of corn.

Make a wise decision about the merits of replanting a damaged field of corn requires more than emotions. In fact, I would rather that emotions be taken out of the equation entirely. Toward that end, I developed a replant decision-making worksheet that assists growers and farm managers in making that important replant decision. The worksheet allows you to determine the damaged field’s current yield potential (if left untouched), its replant yield potential, and the dollar returns (if any) from replanting the field.

The worksheet is included in a larger overall publication on corn replanting titled “Estimating Yield and Dollar Returns From Corn Replanting”.

Some of the information that is required to complete the worksheet originates from cropping records and history, including the original seeding rate and planting date for the damaged field. Some of the required worksheet inputs are frankly estimates, including what the field would have yielded under “normal” conditions if it had not been damaged and what market price you expect to receive for the grain after harvest. The expected replanting date and replanting costs are also required for the worksheet calculations.

Finally, some information is required from the damaged field itself. You will need an estimate of the surviving plant population that is representative of the damaged areas of the field. Depending on the nature of the crappy stand, you may also need estimates of after-damage stand uniformity and plant defoliation.

I will be the first to admit that it takes some time and patience to complete the replant worksheet; both of which are usually in short supply at the time the decision is being made. Recognize, though, that much of the replanting that occurs every year throughout the state is based primarily on emotion and not on estimates of economic returns. Taking the time to work through the steps of my replanting worksheet will help clarify the economic returns (or losses) to replanting and reduce the influence of emotions in this important crop management decision."

One thing I have learned is what Brian and Darren showed on Ag PhD last week. Anything off more than two corn stages is a weed. V-3 and V-4 are okay for your counts but V-2 will get so far behind and shaded out it is a weed.

Hope our decision is right!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Hard Times

It feels like hard times. I think we are being too hard on ourselves. So much is out of our control right now but so much still is.

We had just dozed off last night after 10 PM or so and both were awakened to this huge noise right in front of our house. We both looked at each and asked what was that?

I finally figured it out, someone had hit the curve sign right in front of our house. This morning you could see the tracks in the yard and the heavy sign bent double. Must have been a tough little car or truck to drive away from that!

I am surprised they never hit the Pecan tree or our mailbox. I barely heard them drive away but I know they did and saw the evidence of it this morning.

Neighbors have been calling each other around here as we see this kind of thing happen. I think it is worse than most years.

I blame it on hard times as people can't deal with what they are going through. Loss of jobs and the myriad of human problems are at a record high here as I also read they are many places.

Church attendance has been up around here so some people are turning a different direction for help, that I am sure of.

Got lots to do today so I better get running, have a good one.