Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Hundred Dollar Gilt

In 1990 my children were 13, 10 and 8 years old. I really wanted one of them to win the county fair market hog championship.

So I bought a beautiful female pig from Art Meranda near Georgetown. She was half Hampshire and half Duroc, some call a Karate cross pig, the knockout kick of crossbred pigs.

The oldest boy got to show her because we knew he would go to college first. A few extra dollars never hurts in college.

I wish he could write this blog from his perspective. We worked so hard but we had so much fun with six pigs. You could tag in in two pigs for each child. There wasn't a bad pig in the bunch and they all placed.

Tom Farrer, the swine judge from Indiana, fell in love with that pig from the first time she walked out the gate. That is very important in swine judging and in life, that first impression.

When we unloaded her from the trailer, one of our competitors saw her and said where in the hell did you find that pig? Brown County, I answered.

Brown County is an Appalachian County that some people in Clinton County wanted no part of. Yet a part of those counties border each other.

The hundred dollar gilt was judged Reserve Champion of 900 pigs in the show. That show was so big and so popular that one local grocer bid $2700 for her. I put that check in a capital investment that grew to $27,000 by the time the money was used for college.

Never be afraid of spending a hundred dollars on a pig or anything you need want to invest in. Groceries are one thing but hundred dollar pigs are another.

That brings up a new blog, what it costs to raise a pig.

I hope I get a chance to write it, it is almost time to plant corn.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Planting A Profit

Choosing what to plant this year is difficult. You would think it would just be automatic but that isn't so.

Corn has always been king in our country. Native Americans taught us that.

Then the world needed more protein and soy was introduced to our country from Asia. This year the US harvested as many acres of soy in this country as we did corn. I have friends who don't own a corn head or a grain bin. South America has grown to our equal in raising soy.

Wheat was king in Europe, where many of our farm people came from. It fit their growing conditions.

Those settlers brought wheat and barley and rye and spelt to our region. Those were all grown in their homeland.

One of the neatest pictures I ever seen was one of Grandpa George driving an International 8-16, pulling a McCormick wheat binder. The picture was taken in the summer of 1920. Aunt Florence is on the back running the tie that holds the shock together and dad is about 5 years old, smiling, as usual beside grandpa.

In those years our family planted in a five year rotation. Corn, wheat overseeded with clover and cut as hay for three years.

I think I will just stick to my crop rotation of corn, soybeans and wheat. Every farmer I talk to is concerned about our market situation and what to plant.

Farmers feed the world but we sure can't control it.


Monday, March 29, 2010


An old saying here is Let Us Plant Lettuce. I want to plant a little today.
"Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a temperate annual or biennial plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable. In many countries, it is typically eaten cold, raw, in salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, tacos, and in many other dishes. In some places, including China, lettuce is typically eaten cooked and use of the stem is as important as use of the leaf. Both the English name and the Latin name of the genus are ultimately derived from lac, the Latin word for “milk”, referring to the plant’s milky juice. Mild in flavour, it has been described over the centuries as a cooling counterbalance to other ingredients in a salad."

Lettuce is a cole crop so it likes cool weather, 45-65 degrees. That is where we are temperature wise. Nothing grows well but weeds in this muddy condition but I bet I can find a spot to sow some on.

I always plant too thick and plant too much. If you rub it between your thumb and forefinger it works better. It would be neat to watch them plant it commercially. I assume it would be a Monosem planter because it handles the smallest seeds pretty well.

I might put it in a flower bed because I think that will be the driest spot I can find. And, the lettuce will be gone by the time we put in some pretty flowers.

Have you ever had fresh Buttercrunch with cottage cheese and pineapple? That is a tasty treat beyond compare.

I would like to see lettuce commercially grown and harvested. I like to see what makes things tick.

I hope I have enough of the right seed. There is drawer full of garden seeds but I sowed so much last time I am not sure I have enough for today. A farmer should always have a stash of fresh seed.

A BLT would taste really good right now, what a combination of flavors.

It all starts with a little seed.

Somewhere on this computer I bet I have a picture of a lettuce bed. I will probably end up with a picture not of my own.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, March 28, 2010


March is going out like a lion. It has been roaring in our windows the last two days.

People seem itchy about this weather, I know I am. I guess we just want spring to be here. The grass is going to be tall again when I get to it. It is so wet, I don't even like walking across it.

April is here this week. I planted notill corn on April 6, 2005? That was a beautiful week of weather, it could be this year too but I won't be planting notill corn. It is just too wet. I am sure the sump pump has not shut off the past two weeks. The creeks are full, not like 2005.

Sable has been a little edgy too. Dogs know these conditions way before we do.

Dear Friend Pastor Fred Shaw, Neeake sent this to us yesterday:

I was photographing cheetahs running and playing for a child's book a few years ago, when Kathleen Stewart of Ancient Voices Productions commented it was a shame that my people (Shawnee) couldn't have had a story about cheetahs. I replied, "Well, we're not dead yet."

I discovered that the cheetah originated on the North American continent. The result was a story about the creation of the cheetah. That led to my creating a story board with more of my photographs and a film by Pat Story of Ancient Voices. "The Running Wind" video went to the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, but didn't win since it is not "science." However, it had a wonderful impact.

Ancient voices hopes that by placing it on the Internet many will better understand and appreciate the beauty of this wondrous creature through it. You can see the film at I like the video and want to show it to the grandchildren.


Fred Neeake

One time I got him to do a men's retreat at the 4-H camp near Clarksville. He was dressed in his Shawnee attire. He told us he had to get ready and then he was gone in the woods. Some time passed by and suddenly he blew his old animal horn behind the trees and that shot shivers up white man spines.

Our people may have won the battle but his people is winning the war.

Fred has proved we can live and work together.
When this kind of weather blows through I try to picture how his people survived in this cold, desolate place that can be.
Have a great Sunday, the weather people are predicting 70 by the new month!
Ed Winkle

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dealing with hard people

Some of us, if not all of us are dealing with some hard people right now.

It is very frustrating to deal with hard people. They want it one way, you think it should be another.

The closer you are to them the more frustrating it is. Otherwise, you just say what the heck and walk away.

It is difference in opinion. It is all about reconciliation.

Here is one author's view:

"Question: "What is Christian reconciliation? Why do we need to be reconciled with God?"Answer: Imagine two friends who have a fight or argument. The good relationship they once enjoyed is strained to the point of breaking. They cease speaking to each other; communication is deemed too awkward. The friends gradually become strangers. Such estrangement can only be reversed by reconciliation. To be reconciled is to be restored to friendship or harmony. When old friends resolve their differences and restore their relationship, reconciliation has occurred. Second Corinthians 5:18-19 declares, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”The Bible says that Christ reconciled us to God (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:20-21).

The fact that we needed reconciliation means that our relationship with God was broken. Since God is holy, we were the ones to blame. Our sin alienated us from Him. Romans 5:10 says that we were enemies of God: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”When Christ died on the cross, He satisfied God’s judgment and made it possible for God’s enemies, us, to find peace with Him. Our “reconciliation” to God, then, involves the exercise of His grace and the forgiveness of our sin.

The result of Jesus’ sacrifice is that our relationship has changed from enmity to friendship. “I no longer call you servants … Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Christian reconciliation is a glorious truth! We were God’s enemies, but are now His friends. We were in a state of condemnation because of our sins, but we are now forgiven. We were at war with God, but now have the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

This is one Christian's view of reconcilation. Whether you are christian or not, this can help getting along with hard people.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Seeds of Deception

I have a few friends whom I consider very smart and adept and they are recommending I read these books.

One is Seeds of Deception and another is Seeds of Destruction. My friend Jim sent me the second link and I was commenting on my friend Daniel's blog when this link to Maria Rodale's book showed up on the top of the screen.

I read Robert Rodale's Organic Gardening for years and practice it in my garden. I never practiced it fully on my farm although we share many similar principles in crop nutrition. Maria must be his daughter? One time a bunch of county extension agents loaded up a van and traveled to their research farm in Emmaus, Pa.

I must admit our own vegetables beat anything I ever bought. There is a difference. People know it. There has been a large surge to grow your own. But that pesticide thing, it is just too easy to control pest with low doses of them. The LD50 tells me I am more likely to get hit by a bus than die of overdose of them.

The organic people were considered a bunch of kooks in agriculture and still are. But now they have a whole produce section of organic vegetables in our local Kroger store 6 miles west of us. I never thought that would happen.

I mean, every farmer uses chemicals, right? No, not all.

Suddenly one corporation gets our government to change the Plant Variety Protection Act for their genetically modified seed. That was 16 years ago. Today they rule the seed industry as seedsman after seedsman sold out or gave up to them. Do you like those RoundUp commercials to kill the weeds in the cracks of your driveway?

I remember taking my ag students to Monsanto corporation for their tour on the way to our National FFA Convention in Kansas City Missouri. I remember the early gene gun which was a wooden 22 caliber pistol they actually used to push genetic material through growing plant cells. Man was starting to manipulate creation right there and probably before? Man is more sophisticated in his gene transfer now.

I have nothing against Monsanto Corporation, they patented the business of making money with seed. I still have a small choice to not increase their bottom line if I want to plant another GMO or none at all.

I still have the choice as a farmer. But they rule the roost for sure. Some say that roost has more than chicken manure on it.

I am just a lowly farmer, what would I know.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Million Minds

There have been songs written about a million miles but I like this million minds campaign by Time Warner.

WHIZ-TV Zanesville, OH (3/24, Kensicki) reported, "Time Warner Cable is kicking off their Connecting One Million Minds Program to promote learning today at their Zanesville call center." Manager of Community Partnerships Elizabeth Boyuk noted,
"Eighty-four percent of kids would rather take out the garbage, clean their room or go to the dentist than learn science or math. We're trying to encourage the problem solvers of tomorrow." Boyuk added that "the curriculum is designed for middle schoolers and focuses on the science of cable." The company has pledged to support the program for five years, in which time it hopes to connect one million children to STEM fields.

The Lincoln (NE) Journal Star (3/24, Reist) reported that a group of middle schoolers in Lincoln learned a lesson in STEM from Time Warner Cable employees earlier this week as part of the company's Connect a Million Minds Campaign, which will also "include public education announcements, online resources and grants to support local nonprofit groups," among other initiatives. "A Web site -- -- includes a link at which people can pledge to connect young people to those industries, then display pictures and descriptions of their efforts. It also includes 'The Connectory,' a resource through which parents and students can find science and technology learning opportunities by ZIP code." During the Lincoln event, students used Q-tips, a bucket and a straw to gain a better understanding of how satellite signals and reception work. "
What's wrong with these kids? I would rather build a crystal set than take out the garbage! Are we that lazy today?
Every little bit helps thanks to programs like this and we all need to be dedicated to bringing up our children right. That includes a good education.
I remember my own picture of this shot of the Huntsville Alabama stop on the Interstate south.
Thanks Mrs. Alexander and all of my wonderful teachers.
I know two master teachers and they are really, really good. I hope you two read this and take some pride in your accomplishment. The value of a good teacher is immeasurable, isn't it? The good ones are so humble, they are difficult to honor.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 31

I am writing these big checks this morning to keep this farm going and we got the second phone call before 7 AM. Rather odd. It's Dave Brandt, says he wants to make sure I am up, no kidding Dave.

He has some new nitrogen fixers to show me. So we agree to travel to this thing.


Cover Crops Field Day

March 31, 2010
1:30pm to 3:00pm
Cedar Meadow Farm, Holtwood, PA (Lancaster County)
The winter survival critique!
30 species, Several mixtures, 3 planting dates last fall, over 75 plots in all!
Plus acres of various cover crops to observe in the surrounding fields.

Dr. Ray Weil, University of Maryland
plans to facilitate the observation of how the cover crops survived the winter. Dr. Weil has been doing cover crop research with his grad students for the past 15 years here at Cedar Meadow Farm. He has global knowledge and experience and is well respected among farmers for his practical approach to the use of cover crops. Dr. Weil has been cooperating with Cedar Meadow Farm for the past 9 years in the development of Tillage Radish®-one of the fastest growing new cover crops ever to hit the market.

Test your knowledge of cover crop seed identification. Winner gets a 50lb bag of Tillage Radish®!

Preliminary observations
show that early planted clovers survived while vetches planted at the same time have winter-killed. How does this affect selection of covers? A new oat variety is greening up! Observe how tillage radish® controls winter annual weeds. See 15 acres of a cover crop cocktail of 9 species. Also, check out a small plot of cereal rye that was broadcast seeded into soybeans just before leaf drop.
Click here for a complete listing of all cover crop species, directions, and a few pictures

The event is free and there is no registration
Please forward to those who may also be interested in this event!

Steve Groff
679 Hilldale Road
Holtwood, PA 17532

I like to travel alone but I can't afford to with these gas prices. Besides, David is a wealth of knowledge. You name it, he has tried it. He kinda made me feel bad when he told me he had peas and potatoes planted but he has sandier soil than I.

That old bird raises the biggest potatoes and radish you could imagine. I have to tell you though David, mine are tastier. Biggest isn't always best.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have been trying to explain to a WDW, that is Walt Disney World media person how The Land exhibit is out of date. It shows farming from about 1930 to 1970 with nothing before or after. I am after the after 1970.

We don't farm that way anymore. We couldn't afford to. Like it or not, we are the world's greatest conservationists. We make land produce more than ever dreamed possible.

That made me think of the Green Revolution and Dr. Norman Borlaug. Now there is a man who really earned the Nobel Peace Prize.

What do you think?

Background Information onHigh-yield Modern Agriculture

Agriculture poses one of the greatest threats to natural species biodiversity since clearing land for farming destroys natural habitats. This threat will continue to grow as the world's population increases and becomes more affluent, unless we double the yields and productivity of our existing farmlands and managed forest areas.

We invite you to learn more about High-yield Conservation by reading the articles below.
Norman BorlaugForgotten Benefactor of HumanityNorman Borlaug, the agronomist whose discoveries sparked the Green Revolution, has saved literally millions of lives, yet he is hardly a household name.

Billions Served (Interview)Three decades after he launched the Green Revolution, agronomist Norman Borlaug is still fighting world hunger -- and the doomsayers who say it's a lost cause.
Feeding the World in the 21st Century: The Role of Agricultural Science and TechnologyA speech by Norman Borlaug given at Tuskegee University -- April, 2001.

Patrick Moore
Click here to hear our radio ad featuring Dr. Patrick Moore.
Dr Truth (Interview)New Scientist interviews the co-founder of Greenpeace who supports logging and condemns the protests against genetically modified foods.

Save the Forests, Not Each TreePolitically correct activists want every tree spared, but our society needs both wilderness and wood.

Green Bans won't Save the ForestsThe environmental movements opposition to forestry is squarely based on their contentions that it is the main cause of forest loss (deforestation) and of biodiversity loss (species extinction). They are wrong on the facts on both these charges.

Eugene Lapointe
Respect for Traditional KnowledgeAmong the world's challenges today and into the new millenium is how to integrate global trade among developing and developed nations with the moral, ethical, and scientific imperative to protect nature's precious resources. The two are compatible.

Animals Help Make The Outdoors GreatI and others in my organization promote the conservation of habitat and wildlife resources. We advocate the use of science-based wildlife management techniques. And we wish to see the humane, ethical and fair treatment of all people whose customs and traditions involve the sustainable use of wildlife resources.

The Plus of Conservation: When Hunger RulesFinding new sources of food is an absolute necessity and everyone's responsibility. Depriving starved human beings of an abundant source of food is a crime against humanity.

Dennis Avery
Do We Want Food, Forests or Wildlife?We often ask the question, "How will the world feed nine or ten billion people?" The real question is, "How will we save the wildlife when nine or ten billion people are feeding themselves?"

Would Organic Farming Unleash a Billion Cattle on US Wildlands?Without chemical nitrogen, our crops would need the manure from another 7-8 billion cattle. (The world now has about 1.3 billion cattle.) That means at least another two billion acres of U.S. land for forage crops -- an area qual to all the land in America except Alaska.

Why Greens Should Love PesticidesHigher crop yields have saved more than 15 million square miles of wildlife habitat from being plowed for low-yield traditional farming. That's equal to the total land area of the U.S., Europe and South America. We got those higher yields with hybrid seeds, irrigation, chemical fertilizer -- and pesticides.

Scarcity or Abundance: It's Our Choice"High-yield agriculture has saved a billion people from starvation and as much as 20 million square miles of wildlands from low-yield farming."

Saving People and Wild Lands with Global Modern AgricultureWhat if a far-sighted UN Environmental Commission in 1947 had asked a panel of world farming experts to develop a model world agriculture designed to enhance consumer safety and environmental sustainability rather than profits? The answer: the best possible agriculture would look amazingly like modern, high-yield, technologically-supported farming - only more so.

Looks pretty good to me!


Pine Tree Crosses

A dear old friend sent me this one today:

"Last Spring on a Sunday afternoon we took one of our "nowhere" drives thru the country. My husband was quietly driving along some back roads. I was occupied in the front passenger seat watching out the window as the scenery went by.

I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my husband was straining to look out my window. This startled me, since his eyes should be on the road in front of him. I asked him what he was looking at out the windows, and he quietly replied, "Nothing. " He could have said he was looking for pine tree crosses for Easter. His eyes went back to the road in front of him.

After a few minutes, I looked over at my husband and noticed a tear running down his cheek. I asked him what was wrong. This time he told me, "I was just thinking about Pop and a story he had once told me." Of course, because it had to do with his Pop I wanted to know the story, so I asked him to share Pop's story with me.

He said, "When I was about 8 years old, Pop and I were out fishing and that's when he told me that the pine trees know when it is Easter."

I had no idea what he meant by that, so I pressed him for more information.

He continued on... "The Pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter -- if you look at the tops of the Pine trees two weeks before Easter, you will see the yellow shoots. As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form pine tree crosses for Easter. By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the Pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest pine shoots."

I turned to look out the window and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a week before Easter, and you could see all of the pine trees with the tall yellow shoots stretching to Heaven.

The tallest ones shone in the sunlight like rows of tiny golden crosses."

Another good friend passed away yesterday. My uncle Charles was buried Saturday. These old friends are someone's dad. I know how hard it is to lose dad. In our family, he was everything.

Always working, always caring, always loving, always joking, always watching out for you.

Today the crop adjustor comes to look at my wheat. Yes, it is that bad but probably not bad enough for a payment. This is only the second time I have had one out and both times it was wheat. It is like admitting guilt from doing something wrong to me.

Dad would have no part of that.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Upside Down

I just opened this message from a friend:

"Just now, at 11:45 pm on a Sunday night, we have lowered our flag to half mast and turned it upside down. The congress and white house havedecided to turn our country and our rights upside down. Turning ourflag upside down is our only way of demonstrating our disgust and frankly the disgrace that they bring to the many millions of good men and women who died making this the former land of the free. If you agree, join us, turn the flag over at half mast"

This shares the utter disgust I hold our Congress in.

The upside down U.S. flag is an official signal of distress. It is not meant to be, and is not officially recognized as any type of disrespect when so displayed for the right reasons. To the contrary, here is the relevant part of the US Code of Laws regarding how to fly the flag when in distress:

THE FLAG CODE Title 36, U.S.C., Chapter 10 As amended by P.L. 344, 94th CongressApproved July 7, 1976§ 176. Respect for flag: No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. Most individuals who have served in the military service of our nation will (or should) recognize this signal.

As a result of the many traitors and enemies we as a free people have, both foreign and domestic, as a result of the many unconstitutional acts, legislation and atrocities passed and/or committed against US citizens and their life, liberty and property, and as a result of policies that have allowed (and continue to allow) enemies of this nation to enter in large numbers through a porous border policy, I believe the life, liberty and property of US Citizens are in dire danger and distress.

From what I have read, 49% of us did not agree with the health care package, 40% did. 11% couldn't be found or don't give a damn. Thus my friend's appeal to fly your flag upside down at half mast.

It doesn't matter now, it is a done deal. But done deals fail and fall apart and are not honored. This may be another one but at great cost to our country. I really don't know how far we can go but we are on the path to find out.

It does matter now and you will find a brave few who stand up and fight. I wonder what we can accomplish?

Most won't care until it is too late to care and I have no idea if and when that will happen.

When I read this message I felt anger, then it quickly changed to fear.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Found In Farmer's Fields

We have all found things in our fields. Arrowheads, balloons from parties, old horseshoes, all kinds of metal and other objects. The worst I ever had was a rabid skunk following me across the field.

One of my friends found an odd object in his field, an airplane. He lives near Mr. Lane's airport north of Lebanon and an experimental plane didn't make it but the pilot was lucky to land it in my friend's field.

"We had a little excitement here at the farm yesterday morning. A plane lost oil pressure causing the engine to lock up so the pilot was trying to land in the back hay field. He went under the phone and power wires but caught the fence between the pasture and the hay field. If not for the fence the plane would have probably been undamaged. The pilot was unhurt and he and several other people had the wings off and hauled away in just a few hours. The pilot was from Cincinnati and flew out of the Warren County Airport."

I would say that pilot was skilled but very lucky.
If a balloonist landed in our fields and offered the toast, we would enjoy it. The air traffic above our fields now is unbelieveable.

We find the oddest things in our fields but this takes the cake!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Growing Kids

I have been thinking about the grandkids all week since Becky announced the coming birth of our eighth grandchild.

Farmers always say that kids are the best crop you will ever grow. I sure agree. Children are our future and I have always been a "big kid."

Helping a child learn and grow and find what they are best suited for is the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken as a parent, teacher, schoolboard member and now grandpa.

The oldest grandchildren are doing well in their progression in life. You can see their traits coming out. You can even see some in the little ones but you never know how they will work out. It takes a good support system to help them achieve their part in the chain of life.

I wonder if they will all graduate from college? We all know not everyone is best suited for college but that diploma runs strong in our family and everything learned to achieve it is used in some good way.

I can see Madison teaching like her dad or working in business like her mom. She is curious and a good leader. She is a really good oldest grandchild. Liam loves music and speaks in big sentences with his musical voice. Corbin could be the tractor cowboy with my love of machinery that runs through his background.

Brynn is a little big eyed actor and is really forming her personality. She has left the terrible two's and seems to be happy all the time. I am sure she as her moments as we all do. Claire could be anything, it will be interesting to see how she progresses. Tyler is athletic and into everything, Caolin is a very happy baby and observes everything you do.

They are all so young, they have a lot of growing to do. Who knows, I don't know what they will do but you can see the pathways forming. That is the fun part of life. Once you get there, there is so much to do in that path you are in.

I wish them all well always and will do everything in my power to help as will their whole support group of family and friends.

How is your "crop" growing?


Friday, March 19, 2010


Today is a hodgepodge of ideas.

I am thinking about so many things it is hard to focus on one. I try to catch the NCAA scores, keep hearing about the health care plan coming up this weekend, keep thinking about my wheat, a whole myriad of things.

So I just focus on Lent and LuAnn. That keeps me focused. I can't do anything else about the other concerns right now so I might as well focus where it works.

Matt called and ran into one of my old college roomates, who I haven't seen in years. I am sure Matt got an earfull. He is busy being husband, dad and ag teacher while trying to restore the IH 706 he bought last fall. I can't wait to see it. He is more particular than I am so I know it will be like new.

One of my suppliers called and we are trying to figure out when and what to do with my crop.

I am working on cleaning fence rows again so y ou have your normal challenges with that. Mud, trees and try not make too big a mess so close to planting time.

Another supplier called and needs aerial maps of the farms I want to spread lime on.

I will add more to this blog as I think of it but right now I am just tired and waiting for the Buckeyes. I hope Turner is up to par tonight, he is a key part of this good team's success.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brackets, Blogs and Business

Do you have your NCAA brackets filled out? I know not everyone does but even the president did his live on ESPN today. I guess that is more important right now than the business at hand. He must have the votes for his health care or knows he can't do anything about it.

I like reading and writing blogs. Have you dug back and found my best blogs? I have some that really stand out, like anyone's writing, I guess. People ask me all the time about subjects I have already commented on here.

Have you read my blog reading list? From Kelly and Paul in Illinois, to the Blog Fathers in Cincinnati, to Nancy's blog in Louisville and from all over the land, including Canada, I like to see what others are doing and saying. Budde Shepherd is a good read for anyone, especially farmers and he has been a great help to me.

My big business decision now is to decide whether to keep my wheat or barley or kill it for a good cover crop and plant a full season crop. I can sell fall soybeans right now near $9 and many think it won't be that high at harvest.

I need to make a decision as soon as I determine the final stand before Feeke's growth stage 6. That will be late this year, at least the end of April but the quicker you decide and kill the plants already out there, the easier it is to kill.

Kill a good crop, are you crazy? No, farmers do it all the time and that is the advantage of planting a crop in the fall. You hold the soil and pick up nutrients that can be released now.

I don't think that will happen with wheat near $5 per bushel and with the stand I think I have but I will know better next week. Still, I have the option of going to a full season crop. The wheat fits better in our rotation and spreads our workload out which is becoming an important consideration, especially in years like these.

Kansas is the most popular pick for the tournament, wheat is the most popular pick for my crop and I don't know if the government will force a health care package down our throat or not.

Maybe blogging is the safest bet today.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Things

It's St. Patrick's Day and I see some people wearing the green today!

The Emerald Isle has lots of parades and celebrations this week to bring attention to the six million population.

The grass is getting greener and early flowers are greening up. The little bit of wheat around here is trying green up but it is very soggy. You can't walk on most fields without sinking in so we still can't get needed nitrogen fertilizer on them.

It will be a few weeks until we really start spending the green to try and green up our fields! You keep thinking isn't that far away but you walk outside and think differently.

The greenhouses are full of green growing plants to sell to us by Mother's Day.

Many of you are doing the green thing by doing things that help the environment and keep it green. The price of fuel is cutting trips just because of the cost but we can all do a little with Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.

I wonder how many green parts Deere and Company are cashing in on today? I bet it's a bundle of green!

I know my Pioneer dealer is busy selling the green with his line of seed.

The first green hat I saw this morning reminded me of all things green.

In agriculture, that is our business.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


We got to see some high tech hydroponics today. It is amazing what they can do with this very specialized way of growing food.

Hydroponics have really come along the past ten years but they are still used in conjunction with sunny climates and where heating bills are less. A source of warm water like a manufacturing plant like ADM's plant near Decature, Illinois is a big plus.

It is a great addition to a school setting where science and/or agriculture is taught. I had the aquaponics lab up and running at Clermont Northeastern when I retired there. The fish make fertilizer that is cycled to the roots of the plants above.

The one I saw and many use a trichaderma fungus in the fertilizer water as an IPM method to control root dieseases, just like I do on our farm. Intergrated Pest Management is a key concept to reduce production costs and pest problems from greenhouse to farm field.

If you are interested in what this fungus can do for your plants or farm, look around I have been using the biological fungus since T-22 was introduced in 1995.

If you have any questions on it, you can comment on this blog or email me directly at If I don't have an answer, I probably know someone who does.

If you are interested in hydroponics, that is out of my line of work. One website I found is From hydroponics to your gardens to our farm fields, there are many principles shared in common.

Good seedstock
Good fertility program
Pest identification, management and control

The steps in creating a beautiful lawn or golf course is not that different from farmers trying to produce corn.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Todays Farmer

I have been thinking about todays farmer and came up with this:
National Ag Week is being celebrated March 16-22 all across the U.S., and March 20, has been designated National Ag Day. It is a good time to reflect on all the traditions and advancements that help make the U.S. agriculture industry second to none! Following are some interesting statistics about today’s agriculture industry:

The top five agriculture products in the U.S. are cattle and calves, dairy products, broilers, corn and soybeans.The U.S. produces 46% of the world’s soybeans, 41% of the world’s corn, 20% of the world’s cotton and 13% of the world’s wheat.

· It takes the average American about 35 days to earn enough disposable income to pay for all the food that is consumed at home and away from home during the entire year.By comparison, it takes consumers more than 100 days of earned income to pay all federal, state and local taxes each year.

· About 19¢ of every consumer dollar spent on food actually goes to the farmer.The other 81¢ is spent on processing, packaging, marketing, transportation, distribution and retail costs.

· One acre of wheat will yield about 35 bu./acre and will produce about 1,960 loaves of bread – about 56 loaves of bread/bu. of wheat.A three-fold increase in the price paid to a farmer for a bushel of wheat from $4/bu. to $12/bu. only increases the wheat cost for a loaf of bread by 14¢/loaf.

· The U.S. agriculture industry employs more than 22 million Americans to produce, process, sell and trade the nation’s food and fiber.This represents approximately 16-17% of the total U.S. workforce.

· The soil erosion rate on U.S. cropland has declined by over 40% since 1982. Today, conservation tillage methods are utilized on approximately 103 million acres of the total of 281 million crop acres in the U.S.

· Fresh beef sold at the retail meat counter in the U.S. has 27% less fat content than 20 years ago.Today, an average pork tenderloin only has about 1 gram more fat than a skinless chicken breast, which is considered among the leanest of meat products.

· One dairy cow produces enough each day for 7 gal. of fluid milk, 2.9 lbs. of butter and 6 lbs. of cheese.This daily production is accomplished by the dairy cow’s average daily consumption of 35 gal. of water, 35 lbs. of hay and silage and 20 lbs. of grain and concentrates.

· Today’s modern combines, harvest about 900 bu. corn/hour, or 100 bu. every 7 minutes.By comparison, in the 1930s, before modernized harvesting equipment, a farmer would harvest about 100 bu. of corn in a 9-hour day.

· Some other interesting facts regarding today’s farmer:

The average U.S. farmer produces enough food and fiber for about 150 people. This number was 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960 and 115 people in 1980.

99% of all U.S. farms are family farm businesses owned by individuals, partnerships and family corporations. These family based farm enterprises account or about 94% of all the U.S. agricultural products that are sold each year.

The average age of the U.S. farmer is 55 years. That proves I am over the hill!

From 1997 to 2002, the number of farms operated by women increased by 12.6%.

There are 2.13 million farms in the U.S. today. This compares to a high of 6.8 million farms in 1930, 4 million farms in 1960 and 2.4 million farms in 1980.

Today, about 65% of farms have computers, and over half of all farms have Internet access. Almost 90% of farmers use cell phones.

I need to make my own comments on every point that I scavanged off the net. The numbers I found seem sound to me and ones I believe in.

Prove me wrong!



Grandchildren may be God's greatest creation.

Grandparents are old enough and hopefully wise enough to give the little guys the perspective we never had time for as parents.

Sorry, children, we were busy raising you and making a living.

Now we have some breathing space and can really look at the little ones in our farm in a whole new light. Not that we don't love you but now we have time to give your children things you can't give them.

How many people you know who just adore and respect their grandparents? I can think of many right of the top of my head. There arandsons who get along with their grandad better then their own dad and I can thing of many women who had a very special relationship with a grandmother. That is really cool.

But yet many people don't have that and it is another sorespot in family life. I never had it with any of my grandparents. I don't resent that I didn't but I am sure not missing this opportunity with my grandchildren.

My clock from yesterday just lost an hour and those little guys are changing between each time I see them. Those three babies from 2009? You ought to see them now! They are forming their personalities.

I praise all the children, I think they are doing a great job raising their children, probably better than I did but I sure tried. The success and respect they all have makes my buttons burst a little bit.

I sure love kids and intend to continue to be one when its time to have a little fun with the third generation...


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Time Change

I have always been very aware of the effect on me at changing the hour on the clock. The computer and cell phone changes automatically and so do two Atomic clocks. The rest have to be changed.

The clock says 7 and my body doesn't know what that means but it is too early.

Man lived centuries without a clock or by living by sunlight but that all changed with fire, light and electricity.

"Americans will set their clocks ahead by an hour this weekend, as daylight saving time begins Sunday. "Springing forward" creates another hour of sunlight in the evening. It also has some effects on health and public safety that many people are unaware of. Interesting facts about daylight saving time include:

1. Officially, it's "daylight saving time," not "daylight savings time." But don't feel bad if you thought there was a final "s" on "saving"; far more people Google the incorrect phrase than the correct one.

2. Daylight saving time has mixed effects on people's health. Transitions into and out of DST can disturb people's sleeping patterns, for example, and make them more restless at night. Night owls tend to be more bothered by the time changes than people who like mornings, Finnish researchers concluded last year.

3. There's a spike in heart attacks during the first week of daylight saving time, according to another study published last year. The loss of an hour's sleep may make people more susceptible to an attack, some experts say. When daylight saving time ends in the fall, heart attacks briefly become less frequent than usual.

4. People are safer drivers during daylight hours, and researchers have found that DST reduces lethal car crashes and pedestrian strikes. In fact, a study concluded that observing DST year-round would annually prevent about 195 deaths of motor vehicle occupants and about 171 pedestrian fatalities.

5. A U.S. law signed by President George W. Bush in 2005 extended the length of daylight saving time by four weeks. It now begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March. It ends on the first Sunday in November.

6. Also in 2005, Kazakhstan abolished daylight saving time, citing negative health effects. The country's government reportedly calculated that 51.6 percent of Kazakhs responded badly to the time change.

7. Many other countries observe daylight saving time, but not all do so on the same day. That can create confusion for international travelers, business communications, and more.

8. Daylight saving can also cause confusion close to home. In March 2007, a Pennsylvania honor student was mistakenly accused of threatening his school with a bomb. He had actually called an automated line to get info about scheduled classes. Someone else made the bomb threat an hour later.

9. Two states—Arizona and Hawaii—and four U.S. territories—American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—don't observe daylight saving time. Indiana adopted DST in 2006.

10. Local time determines when DST begins, so America's eastern time zone makes the switch before the rest of the country. This Sunday, cities like New York and Atlanta will be two hours ahead of the central time zone, instead of the usual one-hour difference, from 3 a.m. to 3:59 a.m. EDT. New York City will be four hours ahead of Los Angeles—instead of the usual three—from 3 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. EDT.

11. Daylight saving time was first used during World War I, as part of an effort in the United States and other warring countries to conserve fuel. In theory, using daylight more efficiently saves fuel and energy because it reduces the nation's need for artificial light.

12. The first American to advocate for daylight saving was Benjamin Franklin. He realized in 1784 that many people burned candles at night yet slept past dawn in the summer, wasting early-morning sunlight. (So old Ben did this to me!)

13. The effect of DST on energy use has changed over time and varies from place to place. Experts even disagree on whether DST still saves the nation energy. But so many people like to "spring forward" that it might be hard for officials to end the tradition, even if they determined it's wasteful."

The best part of farming is not living by the clock but that all changes when the parts store closes at 5.

The calendar is little measure on the quality of life too.

Man and his big dreams and schemes!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

St. Patrick traditions

It looks like the St. Patrick's Day parade in Cincinnati is a very wet one. We sre are in a rainy period in southern Ohio and dreams of fertilizing wheat and planting crops get pushed back further each day.

"The First Parade :

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called "Irish Aid" societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.

In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world 's oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants.

Each year, nearly three million people line the 1.5-mile parade route to watch the procession, which takes more than five hours. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Savannah also celebrate the day with parades involving between 10,000 and 20,000 participants."

Me, I like the bagpipes but I thought that was a Scottish tradition. That's close enough to Ireland I guess but the call of the parade brings out all the ancestrial traditions. I remember the pipes playing in parades from Buffalo to Cincinnati.

I wonder where the tradition of corned beef came from that is often served during Lent?

"Why do they Call it "Corned" Beef?The term “Corned” comes from putting meat in a large crock and covering it with large rock-salt kernels of salt that were refered to as “corns of salt” This preserved the meat. The term Corned has been in the Oxford English Dictionary as early as 888 AD.

Irish Were the First Exporters of Corned BeefIrish were the biggest exporters of Corned Beef till 1825. The English were serving corned beef but also the Irish. In this day and age corned beef and cabbage is not very Irish, but corned beef is. The area of Cork, Ireland was a great producer of Corned Beef in the 1600’s until 1825. It was their chief export and sent all over the world, mostly in cans. The British army sustained on cans of Cork’s corned beef during the Napoleonic wars."

Corned beef is not my thing but that's the beef that "What's for dinner?" tomorrow. Cabbage? I like crisp folding money but cole slaw is the best use of cabbage I ever tasted.

Happy St. Patty's Day March 17.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Fish Fry

It's the Lenten Season and time for those Friday night fish fries. Have you ever been to one?

My grade school served fish only on Friday. Well maybe some other days to get rid of the order but you know what I mean.

Here is a quote from a young writer on the evolution of fish fries in Wisconsin:

"However, strict interpretations of such a unique tradition are not satisfactory to many folklorists, who dig deeper and insist the fish fry evolved from the meshing of many cultures. Janet Gilmore, who has a Ph.D in folklore believes the fishing culture of the Ojibway tribe played a major role in the evolution of the fish fry.

The only way for the Ojibway to survive here was to eat white fish and lake trout, which they dried so they could make it through winter,� she says.

Then all these immigrants descended on the area-Scandinavians, Belgians, French, Germans, Poles. They intermarried with each other, and with the Ojibway, and everyone kept on fishing (Martell, 2002, Aug., 5, D1).

However, eating battered fish in bars and restaurants did not become a social tradition in Wisconsin until around the time of Prohibition, Gilmore notes. These establishments had to find a gimmick to replace alcohol to consistently draw crowds. Offering fish fries on Friday nights was affordable for the whole family, which made Wisconsin one of the only states where entire families attend taverns together. Since then the standard fare for the fish fry is battered or deep-fried fish accompanied by a potato (baked, mashed, French fries, etc.) and cole slaw. By the time Prohibition was lifted, the tradition had already been cemented in Wisconsin and now a favorite beer could be ordered to wash down the fish (Martell, 2002, Aug., 5, D1)

Not one of the interviewees mentioned Prohibition as a reason for the popularity of fish fries, probably because it was before their time, but many noted the hand-in-hand relation of fish fries and beer. This could point to a relationship between the lifting of Prohibition and fish fries, but could also reflect Wisconsins overall love for beer."

I guess I have always liked fish on Friday, thanks to my childhood. That was all we had to eat at school on Friday. Remember the loaves and fishes? Fish has been connected to spiritual food for thousands of years.

The fish fry is big in New Zealand. It is still big here, too.

Our friend Scott Mires gave us vacuum packed fresh Walleye from Michigan lakes in exchange for hunting that white tailed deer on our farm.

It's been a good exchange and tonight it is time to taste another one of his catches.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, March 11, 2010


There is a growing concern in the use of glyphosate on farms.

Here is a quote from :

"Let’s begin with the claim which French scientists and regulators have officially disputed. Glyphosate is bio-degradable. Many producers have made comments that there seems to be some residual activity with the chemical. Here is a quote from Huber and Johal from the European Journal of Agronomy 31 (2009) 144–152. ( Dr. Don is a good man and respected scientist, another farm boy who really studied his lesson.)

Detoxifying glyphosate in root exudates may occur in highly calcareous soils or soils with high levels of soluble metal nutrients through chelation to reduce its impact on soil organisms. Toxicity of glyphosate to Mn-reducing and synergistic nitrogen-fixing organisms in the rhizosphere can have serious consequences for sustainability of legume production.

The toxicity of the chemical you see is not limited to the chemical contained in the spray tank solution which unavoidably comes into contact with the soil. The toxicity Huber refers to here is in the root exudates or jelly-like substances that are excreted from the root of the plant which is sprayed with glyphosate. It has mistakenly been thought this reaction takes place only with GT (glyphosate tolerant) plant tissue. Huber again

. . . root rot is more severe when glyphosate is applied to soybeans under weedy conditions even though the weeds may not be hosts for Corynespora cassiicola. The weeds serve to translocate and release more glyphosate into the rhizosphere environment to reduce the population of Mn-reducing organisms and increase Mn oxidizing organisms. This change in soil biology limits manganese availability for plant uptake and active defense reactions, and acts synergistically with Corynespora to increase disease ( Huber et al., 2005 ).

So, even the weeds or other non-gmo plants which are sprayed with glyphosate give rise to soil contamination of the chemical. That contamination changes the ability of the soil to make certain key micro-nutrients available to the plants and soil microbes."

I know Jim personally and he is avid about the use of glyphosate on soil and willing to testify in Congress on its pitfalls. I have other highly regarded friends who won't recommend or use glyphosate on their farm.

I quit using glyphosate when it wouldn't kill the weeds around here anymore. Also I got tired of the Manganese difficiency it causes in legumes. That yellow flash may just be the tip of the iceberg.

People like me were used to sell the attributes of RoundUp, the first brand of glyphosate many years ago. Even though it is broadspectrum as a weed killer, the LD50 and half life is low. "Safer than a cup of coffee or aspirin" they would say.

Maybe that part of a half life remaining really messes up soil biology?

Genetically modified corn, that's a whole 'nother issue, digestion, liver problems etc in dairy cows to humans. I do know New Zealand didn't allow it in their country and the Japanese paid a nice dividend on my non GMO soybeans for tofu.

It is all controversial and not mainstream. Most of the food coming out of our country is genetically modified and most of the soil is treated with glyphosate to control weeds.

Maybe it's an attempt to bring down Monsanto. I don't think so, I think it is just science evolving as it always does.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pounding the ground

Last night's conversation got my notill juices up again. I just spent weeks trying to explain these concepts in a foreign land. I just wrote a notill blog for

One name came up who farms a lot of ground very successfully. They are the best maintenance of any group I know. They travel a long distance and pound the roads and pound the ground when they get there and make it work.

I will never hold a candle to them and I don't want to. That just isn't my thing but they have made it work. I respect them and hold them in very high regard. You have to find your comfort zone in anything you do.

They get good yields pounding the ground, I just can't justify it or afford it. Any extra trip to make a good seedbed is just wasted in my mind. I remember that fellow telling me he worked a field 13 times this season and my jaw dropped and my mind went back to 1963 when I was a freshman FFA student.

They started notilling beans years ago and eliminated a lot of trips. 70% of the beans in this country are notilled but only about 25% of the corn. They haven't either so I am in the minority.

I will never forget that rolling, eroded hillside across from the house notilled into corn last year. It was the best crop it ever raised, pushing 220 bushels per acre.

The most we worked rough ground this year was 3 times and one trip notill made the most money. You have to get these old farms level, you know.

Rototilling my garden is one thing but I can't afford that on 1000 acres. I can't afford to pound the ground to pieces.

So what is your take on this?


Ed Winkle


A family friend called and has an opportunity, one I and most of us never had. He has the chance to take over the family farming operation.

Wouldn't you know the battery died on the phone. That happens to us a lot. You think maybe we talk too much?
We finally got back together and started talking notill. I could quickly tell he has studied his lesson and had a good plan for this year. He said all the right things and asked thr right questions. I think he needed approval from someone he knows. I know he respects my opinion and that is a high honor and challenge for me. If I give advice, I want it to WORK.

I had my little opportunity at age 54 and put my ideas right to work. And they have worked, enabling us to expand by planting right, quicker and taking on more acres.

The first question he raised, raised my eyebrow. He is in ag sales and has the flexibility to do this and farm. So he knows all the major programs out there and asked about two that I question.

They are very good companies and might really help him. I don't use them because I can duplicate their program for much less cost with basic, sound agronomy. Soil test and tissue testcomes right up in these discussions because we get lazy and don't do them. Then some bright young, aggressive salesman wants to sell you this fancy product you may not need.

You have read my stand on notill, balanced fertility and profit. That is the easiest way to make money growing crops. Sounds like it is time to invite the young man over and maybe go see a couple of planter setups.

I forgot to ask him about crop insurance. Is he going "naked" this first year? That means no coverage. If you have to borrow much money it is usually demanded. If you don't, it can still be a good tool. The new enterprise units have brought our cost way down on this farm.

Marketing the crop is the most challenging to me. We never got to talk about that either but there is enough to learn with the planter and the soil test for basics. That's an all week seminar right there.

I love a challenge. Sounds like I have another one.

I love helping young people and this one will do it right.


Monday, March 8, 2010


Cooperatives have had impact around the world. I taught the principle in high school all of my career. Each year we would have a competition between FFA Chapters to see which students had learned the most about their cooperative study.

There are four very basic ways of operating a business:



company or corporation


The cooperative as a modern business structure originated in 19th century Britain. The Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on the way business was organized and on the working conditions and economic situations of many people. In response to the depressed economic conditions brought forth by industrialization, some people began to form cooperative businesses to meet their needs. Among them was a group of 28 workers who were dissatisfied with the merchants in their community.

They formed a consumer cooperative known as the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in 1844. They began by opening a cooperative store that sold items such as flour and sugar to members, and the Society quickly grew to include other enterprises. The founders also established a unique combination of written policies that governed the affairs of the cooperative. Among these rules were: democratic control of members, payment of limited interest on capital, and net margins distributed to members according to level of patronage. Based on its success, the Rochdale set of policies soon became a model for other cooperative endeavors, and became known as the general principles that make a cooperative unique from other business structures.

Co-ops as farmers call them here quickly became established in America. I don't know where the first was but I know our family did business with supply cooperatives. The Capper Volstead Act was important in the formation of agricultural cooperatives today.

Now as a farmer I do business with a supply co-op and they bid on my grain as a marketing cooperative. One complaint of modern co-ops is they have gotten huge to stay in business and some farmers think it is due to their inefficieny.

Here is a list of possible reasons for success or failure.

Why Cooperatives Fail
poor selection of directors, especially those who fail to support their cooperative

members who join but never use their cooperative and bypass it for a small gain elsewhere

members who use cooperatives but fail to take responsibility. Each member must be ready to accept responsibility when asked, or as the need arises. Every member should have an equal opportunity to be president of the cooperative.

members who never ask questions and who let a few persons make policy
members who don't attend annual meetings and directors who fail to attend board meetings
lack of consistent membership education about the problems cooperatives face and the challenges they must meet

not supporting the cooperative with enough money (risk capital) to get the job done
low-cost management - it's the most expensive item for a cooperative. High-priced management is usually the least expensive item.

not closely watching the formation of cliques and special interest groups within the cooperative
concealing facts about a cooperative. All facts, both good and bad, should be placed on - not under - the table.

errors in financial policy, such as over-extension of credit, too little capital, poor accounting records, lack of a financially sound, systematic program for reimbursement of equity
errors in educational and social work. This begins by failing to teach cooperative ideals to members unfamiliar with how cooperatives function, neglecting general educational programs, failure to develop member loyalty or countering the development of factions within the association.

management errors, such as inadequate inventory, poor location, improper equipment, neglected appearance of physical facilities, employee dishonesty, ineffective management, incompetent directors, nepotism, poorly conducted meetings, admittance of disloyal and dissatisfied members.

Why Cooperatives Thrive
providing only the goods and services members use

financed by the members. The greater the financing (risk capital) supplied by the members, the more efficient the cooperative.

using all major fixed assets at the 75 percent level, or more

members who do the majority of their business with the cooperative

low administrative and overhead costs

more individualized and specialized services, particularly in the marketing area

maintaining an open line of communication with members. Individual members will then become more influential

selecting and developing a quality management team.

placing more emphasis on electing business-oriented directors

developing and implementing a systematic method of cooperative education for members, employees, directors and paid management

aggressively positioning for changes in operations, markets and member needs.

It looks to me like the cooperative principle has a better chance with strong local control. I think that may have left a long time ago.


Sunday, March 7, 2010


We were just picking up around the yard and looking at green sprouts and the lack of the. We sat on the garage bench and I looked up above the house to see a cloud form right before my eyes. You don't see that happen every day.
"The formation of clouds relies heavily on the Earth's rotation and positioning with the sun. Water from the ground, puddles, lakes and other areas is released to the atmosphere and turned into a cloud. The first step in the process involves the heat from the sun. When sun rays hit the water, it slowly evaporates and turns into air.

Warm air is carried up into the atmosphere and rises. As the warm water vapor rises through the air, a cooling process begins that forms tiny water droplets. All of these droplets expand together and form visible clouds that we see in the sky.

Lower clouds like stratus clouds, cumulus clouds and nimbostratus clouds have the highest density and can mix with enough warm air to form fog at a ground level. Cold areas in middle clouds like Altostratus form with a mix of ice crystals. These clouds cover a large area and are often darker and stormy.

The clouds that form the highest include cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds. Cirrus clouds form in streak-like patterns and are composed of heavy ice crystals that are higher than the middle layer of clouds. The low amount of moisture in the upper section of the atmosphere make the formation of these clouds very thin.

All of these processes that form clouds is also known as convection. Convection takes place when heat naturally rises. You can re-create this process and see how a cloud forms in a bottle of water to fully understand the process. Place a little warm water inside a clear plastic bottle and then dump the water out so that water droplets are left inside. Light a match and drop it in the bottle. Cap and shake the bottle so that the smoke mixes with the water droplets. Squeeze the closed bottle multiple times and a cloud will form. "

I've done similar experiments in ag science class with students.

I always liked the study of weather and clouds I think a farmer learns most of it from experiencing it because we are outside so much and I like to look up.

I looked up and see these clouds forming and can see the rain coming this week.

Next Saturday there may be little snow left on the ground but we still have some big piles to melt down.

Here is a picture of clouds down under versus ours today on your left.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring Fever

My dear blogger asked me to write about my severe case of spring fever. After a month in New Zealand with fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers and a crop nearing harvest, coming home to snow banks was a shock to the system. But three days of sunshine has brought me out of a state of shock and into a state of anticipation.

Maybe it is noticing the longer days, the warmer sunshine or the seed catalogs. Maybe it is the NCAA basketball March Madness bracket announcement coming up next weekend. Maybe it planning for our annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Whatever it is, spring is definitely in the air and I have spring fever badly.

In NY I was not a big fan of spring. In fact, it was probably my least favorite season. Even after months of long winter nights, and snow on the ground since the previous Thanksgiving, I just hated the on and off, muddy, snow-when-you-thought-it-was-all-over days. It was a rare year that snow didn’t fall on or about Easter and I recall one Mother’s Day when we got 8 inches of heavy wet snow. That storm threatened to disrupt the children’s First Communion Sunday, a very important day at all Catholic churches. Imagine the little girls in their white dresses and veils…and BOOTS!

But here in SW Ohio it is different. Spring means spring. Since we don’t get nearly as much annual snowfall, the springtime is less muddy. We often have daffodils, narcissus, tulips, crocuses, jonquils, and other spring blooming flowers in SPINGTIME. When they are supposed to be here. Here in Ohio we don’t have to wait for Lake Erie to lose its ice pack to warm up our spring days. Here in Ohio we get our gardens planted before Memorial Day. Here in Ohio I love spring.

And I am ready for it right now! I can smell it. I can hear it. I can feel it. Next week I have a conference to attend in Orlando. By the time I get home it will be calendar spring. I usually undertake a number of activities that mark the sign.

I do an old fashioned spring cleaning. I move our winter clothes out of the closets and bring in a few spring items….gradually moving all. I wash the windows that have gathered their share of winter dust and grime from the westerly winds that buffet the house on the hill. I change out wool throws and goose down comforters for lighter cotton in lighter colors. I pore over seed catalogs and plan my garden. I start seedlings indoors and dream of the day when I will have a small greenhouse. I nudge my dear blogger to attend the Cincinnati Home and Garden Show to get ideas for my annual outdoor project. This year will be an overhaul of my water garden.

Can you tell I am full of ideas, anxious to get started and ready to welcome the move to outdoor living? I hope, wherever you are, that spring is at your doorstep. I hope you are getting those urges to clean, change, start, plan and plant. I hope that you are experiencing the annual malady known as spring fever that seems to afflict all of us who survived another winter! 13 more days until it is officially spring! Get well soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010


It's time to topdress wheat. This will interest the farmers and the send the non farmers away. It is hard to write across a wide audience.

I bring it up because I have lots invested in cereal grains that need food real soon.

Grass loves N and lawns will need it as soon as my wheat does. Some people take real pride in their yards and I do too, I just don't need a lot of fertilizer in my good lawn soil to make myself mow all summer.

The number of emerged and surviving tillers indicate how much nitrogen farmers need to apply. I have no idea how many tillers I have under that snow but the little I have dug seems to be 5-7 tillers per seed.

This means I need more nitrogen on the crop now. The fewer tillers you have now means the crop needs more nitrogen to make bigger heads for the less heads per plant. The more you have, the less nitrogen you need now.

I had hoped to apply ammonium sulfate and urea as my form of nitrogen by now but it was too early I thought in January. Maybe I should have sold it all and fertilized it all right then, the years are different now.

Nothing has been applied around here that I know of. I talk to suppliers and they haven't moved anything yet.

Not sure what I am going to do now, maybe a plan by Monday. Our sales agronomists are busy and one is expecting their first child. I want the wheat to look even better than my May 2008 wheat picture.
The weather looks good next week but it will get what we call greasy on top like Kelly's pictures in the link. I think he did real well to get his winter crops rolling.


Thursday, March 4, 2010


I woke up at five with Mr. Moon hitting me in the eyes from the southern skies. I must have dreamed about school because I woke up thinking about what became of my classmates? I know one is a lawyer and one is a retired school superintendent and a few still farm but that's about it.

The class of 68 at Sardinia was a great one. The competition for grades, sports and music was fierce. When they mixed us up with Fincastle, Russellville and Decatur it got worse and not for the right reasons. School consolidation has been a failure in my experience.

Grades and music came easy for me, sports I liked, basketball in the winter and baseball in the summer. Wasn't great at either one but I could always outrun everyone.

I didn't take grades seriously enough to make the top ten. I learned what I wanted to know, emphasis on me. The poor old algebra teacher in ninth grade ruined me, that was it. I didn't care, I would rather help dad farm than write formulas and wasn't taught the difference.

Actually I think I liked lunch time best. Those old farm wives cooked pretty well, nothing like a cafeteria today. I hated the bus ride the most, too much on a bus and I had short route compared to some. Wasted time when the old school was in walking distance.

I wondered what happend to crazy Charlie Swagger, the band director? He was nuts but he made us play our hearts out. I remember the concert we put on in my ninth and tenth grade the most, I must say it was good for farm kids.

In the 11th grade I busted my lip in half in an accident and that was the end of my trumpet days, it never healed right until I graduated and boy did it hurt. Still music got me through Ohio State as well as biology.

Mr. Sam was a great biology teacher. He was also raised poor and got us prepared for college classes whether we made it there or not. I got A's in biology, it came so easy to me. Chemistry was only challenging because of the darned formulas.

Thankfully my English teachers taught me enough to express my thoughts and here I am using them today. Hello, am I getting through?

I write about things that will help you and no comments. I copy and paste a list of things your mother said and you comment. People are funny. I guess you few readers want to be entertained!

Actually I probably have a lot of readers like NewAgTalk. That is where I picked up many of you with the link to my blog on every post I make and boy do I like to post! Like my response to the question on high yield beans:

planting date notill balanced fertility inoculant weed control!-----

AgTalk has become a pretty classy place to as long as the natives keep it civil. My friend Dutch in Texas made the millionth post around Christmas and there are over 15,000 registered farmers now. I wonder how many more just hang around but don't register?

I am glad my class had some class. Little Eastern Brown in little Brown County Ohio. I will always consider the Sardinia school a better school.

I don't have a picture so I will share one of the old Martinsville School.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Enough of the science right now, back to other things. I was going to write on Google, Kansas but you probably heard it in the news.

My sister sent this one and I am sure our mother wrote it:

"I Owe My Mother ....

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE . "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside.. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION. "You better pray that will come out of the carpet.."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC. "Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC . "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY. "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS . "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA . "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. "If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION . "Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY. "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. "Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING . "You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP. "Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR. "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT . "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS. "You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. "Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM. "When you get to be my age, you'll understand." And my favorite:

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE . "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you !"

author unknown (probably someone's mother, I am sure it was mine)