Saturday, January 16, 2010

More NoTill

I can never get enough no-till. But it takes so much to build a farm for maximum benefit of any style of tillage and planting.

I didn't name Dr. Beck as a top presenter at Dakota Lakes research farm near Pierre, South Dakota. He is.

He teaches the philosophy of no-till as well as anyone I have ever heard. He does it in such a fashion I call him the John Wayne of no-till. It's kind of like give 'em hell Harry Truman. Harry said I don't give them hell, I just told them the truth and they thought it was hell!

Dwayne gave a really down to earth, simple Power Point on why you should notil and rotate your crops through diversification. That just what my grandfather George Winkle did, and my dad Gerald. I diversify as much as I can but the market place has made it tough to diversify without a whole lot of work to stay economically viable.

It's hard enough just farming and managing that farm. Dwayne showed his corn yield in a rotation of corn soybeans and wheat. His numbers almost matched mine hundreds of miles away so yes, Dr. Beck, we listen to you.

He has a big following and many of his farmer students were there and even threw out answers to questions he would ask during his power point. That has to be pretty gratifying to Dr. Beck, I know it is to me.

Now how can I turn this into profit? I have as much soft red winter wheat and barley planted as anyone in the region. It was just too late and wet and cold to plant the seeds of diversification but we got it done. Wheat prices got near $6 once recently, I could have sold more at $5.65 Monday and today it is $5.00.

Yes, Virginia, it drops that quickly. Marketing is like a separate profession within the profession. It is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do on the farm. This week we will be working with John Roach and his Roach Ag Marketing crew of Boca Raton Florida. This group of farmers will try and master some more marketing skills to increase their farm profit. At least my friend Steve Berger told me he and his wife went last year and said it was a great experience for them. That gave me some incentive and reinforcement.

You can see through my writing that my connection with others is very important to my success. I couldn't do this without all of you and I thank you.

This farmer couldn't farm to his ability without a network of key people. Today's photo is Howard Buffett in cental Illinois and his connection to South Africa. Did you ever hear that name Buffett?

Do you have that network?

Have a great week,

Ed Winkle

I am pretty happy with my marketing performance this year but I want to do better. My network of people helps me in every facet of farming.


  1. I read somewhere that there has been less acres of wheat planted this year. Possibly the lowest acreage in years.
    In days gone by-farms were more of a complete system or were in neighborhoods where there were local consumers. It is harder to rotate when you are growing commodity crops.
    For example we were trying go from Fescue (seed) to corn, to wheat or oats or barley to clover and back to grass. But now grass prices have crashed, the dairy is broke, feed grain prices are heading down. Since we farm a swamp half the stuff drowns out due to unexpected spring rains. So you kind of pull your hair out.
    Perhaps we need some upland ground. Then you talk to everyone else and they kind of laugh at the whole idea of rotations. You can still buy lime and fertilizer after all...

  2. So is Howard Buffett to farming what Ted Turner is to ranching?
    Certainly looks like he is doing his part to "Save the Planet"
    (I did a search on the name)