Monday, May 31, 2010

Cover Crops

This is a field of phacelia LuAnn and I saw in New Zealand in February. It is used for a cover crop all over Europe and is being studied here in the states.

It is a blue daisy dicotyledon plant in the aster family.

My friend Steve Groff in Pennsylvania is one of those people, in this case a farmer studying the advantages and disadvantages of using this cover crop in our soils and farming practices.

The Ohio Farmer just came out with a new article on cover crops this morning and I found it worthy of today's blog.

"Seven years of research at Ohio State University's South Centers at Piketon have found that cover crops such as cow pea or winter pea worked into a corn/soybean/wheat rotation can produce enough nitrogen to support at least 150 bushels of corn per acre.

The findings indicate farmers can save money on spring nitrogen fertilizer applications while reaping the environmental benefits of cover crops. "Cover crops produce enough nitrogen to where farmers many not need to add nitrogen fertilizer to their corn crop, but if they want to be sure of maximizing their yields, farmers can supplement the cover crops with 25 to 30 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer," says Rafiq Islam, an OSU Extension soil scientist. "That's more than enough a farmer needs to support the corn crop."

Continuous no-till is a challenge for many Ohio farmers because of the hits they take in yields, soil compaction, weeds and other environmental difficulties."No-till farmers face yield reductions right off the bat – 20 to 25% – and those yield reductions last a good four or five years until the soil adjusts to the new production system," says Islam. "

Also, they face compaction issues, weed control problems, wet fields, and the immobilization of nitrogen because of the increased carbon being stored in the surface soil."Throw cover crops into the production mix and the time it takes to recover from yield losses is cut in half, he says.

In addition, cover crops help alleviate environmental problems. For example, including a few pounds of oilseed radish with legumes can substantially improve the benefits of cover crops. "The roots of oil seed radish can reach deep into the soil – as much as 30 inches – breaking up compacted soils (natural strip tillage), supporting microbial diversity, facilitating drainage and improving soil structure," said Islam.

"If you grow a legume cover crop along with oil seed radish, you don't need to subsoil or deep plow. The crops work together as a natural biological plow." OSU Extension is releasing a series of cover crop fact sheets throughout 2010, as well as provide production information during workshops and field days. A plethora of cover crops fact sheets are available on OSU Extension's Ohioline at Search for "cover crops."

Look for more information at the Midwest Cover Crops Council web site at"

We are looking for cover crops that can be "easily" introduced into the typical corn soybean rotation in the midwest, control pests and produce nutrients for the next crop.

Dave Brandt's use of the White corn and soybean planter with Tillage Radish in one row and Austrian winter pea in the other has worked about as well as anything I have seen so far. Finding the right combination more farmers will use is what we are after and we have just started this search in the states in recent years.

For me, cereal rye or wheat or barley or oats is the easiest crop to plant after corn going to soybeans and Tillage Radish is the easiest and best thing to plant after soybeans going to corn if you can get enough growth after soybean harvest. This requires early planting of soybeans and perhaps a shorter maturity crop than some of us use.

Others like Steve and Joel Gruver are trying "everything under the sun." Each year we get a little better or we hope a little smarter and then Mother Nature throws a curve ball like this year and the past two years.

The main thing is I know anything is better than nothing. Bare rolling hills was not a good thing last winter. Erosion was rampant again.

That flat black soil in Illinois? I will leave that to Dr. Gruver!

Ed Winkle


Yesterday we scouted corn all the way down to Mike Wolpert's near Buffalo West Virginia. Most corn is ankle high, some will be knee high by the 4th of June. Farmers always strove for corn to be knee high by the fourth of July, a phrase I bet all of you have heard.

"Corn is much more than great summer picnic food, however. Civilization owes much to this plant, and to the early people who first cultivated it.
For most of human history, our ancestors relied entirely on hunting animals and gathering seeds, fruits, nuts, tubers and other plant parts from the wild for food. It was only about 10,000 years ago that humans in many parts of the world began raising livestock and growing food through deliberate planting. These advances provided more reliable sources of food and allowed for larger, more permanent settlements. Native Americans alone domesticated nine of the most important food crops in the world, including corn, more properly called maize (Zea mays), which now provides about 21 percent of human nutrition across the globe.

But despite its abundance and importance, the biological origin of maize has been a long-running mystery. The bright yellow, mouth-watering treat we know so well does not grow in the wild anywhere on the planet, so its ancestry was not at all obvious. Recently, however, the combined detective work of botanists, geneticists and archeologists has been able to identify the wild ancestor of maize, to pinpoint where the plant originated, and to determine when early people were cultivating it and using it in their diets.

The greatest surprise, and the source of much past controversy in corn archeology, was the identification of the ancestor of maize. Many botanists did not see any connection between maize and other living plants. Some concluded that the crop plant arose through the domestication by early agriculturalists of a wild maize that was now extinct, or at least undiscovered.

However, a few scientists working during the first part of the 20th century uncovered evidence that they believed linked maize to what, at first glance, would seem to be a very unlikely parent, a Mexican grass called teosinte. Looking at the skinny ears of teosinte, with just a dozen kernels wrapped inside a stone-hard casing, it is hard to see how they could be the forerunners of corn cobs with their many rows of juicy, naked kernels. Indeed, teosinte was at first classified as a closer relative of rice than of maize.

But George W. Beadle, while a graduate student at Cornell University in the early 1930s, found that maize and teosinte had very similar chromosomes. Moreover, he made fertile hybrids between maize and teosinte that looked like intermediates between the two plants. He even reported that he could get teosinte kernels to pop. Dr. Beadle concluded that the two plants were members of the same species, with maize being the domesticated form of teosinte. Dr. Beadle went on to make other, more fundamental discoveries in genetics for which he shared the Nobel Prize in 1958. He later became chancellor and president of the University of Chicago.
Despite Dr. Beadle’s illustrious reputation, his theory still remained in doubt three decades after he proposed it. The differences between the two plants appeared to many scientists to be too great to have evolved in just a few thousand years of domestication. So, after he formally retired, Dr. Beadle returned to the issue and sought ways to gather more evidence. As a great geneticist, he knew that one way to examine the parentage of two individuals was to cross them and then to cross their offspring and see how often the parental forms appeared. He crossed maize and teosinte, then crossed the hybrids, and grew 50,000 plants. He obtained plants that resembled teosinte and maize at a frequency that indicated that just four or five genes controlled the major differences between the two plants.

Dr. Beadle’s results showed that maize and teosinte were without any doubt remarkably and closely related. But to pinpoint the geographic origins of maize, more definitive forensic techniques were needed. This was DNA typing, exactly the same technology used by the courts to determine paternity.

In order to trace maize’s paternity, botanists led by my colleague John Doebley of the University of Wisconsin rounded up more than 60 samples of teosinte from across its entire geographic range in the Western Hemisphere and compared their DNA profile with all varieties of maize. They discovered that all maize was genetically most similar to a teosinte type from the tropical Central Balsas River Valley of southern Mexico, suggesting that this region was the “cradle” of maize evolution. Furthermore, by calculating the genetic distance between modern maize and Balsas teosinte, they estimated that domestication occurred about 9,000 years ago.
These genetic discoveries inspired recent archeological excavations of the Balsas region that sought evidence of maize use and to better understand the lifestyles of the people who were planting and harvesting it. Researchers led by Anthony Ranere of Temple University and Dolores Piperno of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History excavated caves and rock shelters in the region, searching for tools used by their inhabitants, maize starch grains and other microscopic evidence of maize.

In the Xihuatoxtla shelter, they discovered an array of stone milling tools with maize residue on them. The oldest tools were found in a layer of deposits that were 8,700 years old. This is the earliest physical evidence of maize use obtained to date, and it coincides very nicely with the time frame of maize domestication estimated from DNA analysis.

The most impressive aspect of the maize story is what it tells us about the capabilities of agriculturalists 9,000 years ago. These people were living in small groups and shifting their settlements seasonally. Yet they were able to transform a grass with many inconvenient, unwanted features into a high-yielding, easily harvested food crop. The domestication process must have occurred in many stages over a considerable length of time as many different, independent characteristics of the plant were modified.

The most crucial step was freeing the teosinte kernels from their stony cases. Another step was developing plants where the kernels remained intact on the cobs, unlike the teosinte ears, which shatter into individual kernels. Early cultivators had to notice among their stands of plants variants in which the nutritious kernels were at least partially exposed, or whose ears held together better, or that had more rows of kernels, and they had to selectively breed them. It is estimated that the initial domestication process that produced the basic maize form required at least several hundred to perhaps a few thousand years.

Every July and August, I thank these pioneer geneticists for their skill and patience when I enjoy ears of hot sweet corn. Then we enjoy the frozen corn all winter. In October we harvest field corn that is turned into products unimaginable, the fuel in my truck to little platic bags that melt in the rain. The food chain aspect of corn is the largest part, feeding billions of people.
Thank you God for soldiers on this 2010 Memorial Day and all the liberties they provide, even the growing of corn to feed the people.
Ed Winkle

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Farmers are trying to get to the fields with lots of Memorial Day weekend traffic. We saw a motorcyle and a semi stopped on SR 32 surrounded by police and State Patrol cars, the Appalachian Highway. I hope the guy was OK.

I doubt I will ever use my motorcycle endoresement again unless I am riding the moped down the county highway. Even then it's risky. Two wheels against four wheels just isn't a fair matchup. Still many people love them and keep taking that risk.

I suppose you saw the electric car about the size of a suitcase between two gravel trucks that made the email and Internet tour a week or two ago. I know that person didn't walk away.

You would think unemployment wasn't high by the volume of traffic we saw although it wasn't as bad as some recent years. Gas prices ranged from 241.9 in Wilmington to 279.9 near the river today. Now why did they go to the .9 cent instead of a full penny again?
At least the farmers are getting a break in fuel prices too. What is up with that with Gulf oil crisis? Usually they jack up fuel prices this weekend but not this year?

The crops are coming into their own but they don't look as good as last year. They are a little uneven, some places way uneven and there are drowned out spots in almost every field. Any corn that didn't get a big dose of nitrogen at planting looks yellow and we saw some herbicide damage on several fields. It's just that kind of year.
The field we see evey day behind the house is really looking good. It won't be long until it fills the rows, my goal by Summer Solstice when we maximize solar energy collection. I feel sorry for my neighbor planting beans across the road from ours but he could buy me out 100 times over so the sorrow ends. I always try to plant this field first and best because it drains, slopes to the west and I have to look at it every day.
Ed Winkle

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Got the planted beans sprayed Tuesday and finished the first crop bean planting today finally. What a spring!

I have been asked often about the John Deere drill setup with the Martin closing wheels. Today I made a video that might give you a better idea how they work.

They leave the seed trench like a garden tiller. They cost $6000 for a 36 foot air drill last year but they have already paid for themselves in increased emergence and earlier planting and getting back into the fields quicker after a rain. The crumble the soil nicely in about any condition.

They were working great in the killed barley and wheat stubble where you might think they would wrap up. They don't. The beans we planted yesterday were swollen just now and the hypocotyl was busting to send the shoot up and the radicle root down.

There have been a lot of "scooters" on the road and in the fields today. These are BIG scooters as you can tell. 1000 gallon sprayer holds at least 5 ton of spray material besides the weight of the sprayer.

I just got a mailing from the Scooter Store! AARP was bad enough but the Scooter Store? "I ain't ready for that!" Gee whiz, the scooter store. How humiliating. I did find a lady worse off than I am this week.

She asked about the armband I wear to strengthen my tennis elbow. We got to talking about our age and our pains and turns out she has had both knees replaced, spine fused and looking at a hip replacement at my age. We agreed we would pray for each other and so I am.

I wonder if she got her mailer from the scooter store yet?


Friday, May 28, 2010

Teaching in Alaska

I have a good Christian friend who is an educator and counselor. He has been offered a job to teach school in Alaska which would be a huge change for he and his wife from the life in southern Ohio.

He asked me for prayer and opinion so I made it my blog today.

"If you received this e-mail, just know that you are very special to me, and that I'm entrusting you to pray for Larissa and I right now.

On Tuesday, May 25th, I got a phone call about a job offer to work as a school counselor (Grades K-12) out west... way North and West!

The position is to be a school counselor in a remote region near Fairbanks, AK, working in a 5 village area centered in Nulato, AK. I would be working with a student population that is 95% Athabasca Native American. I would be working with 5 village schools with as few as 12 students and as many as 60, with a total work load of about 110 students. Much of my itinerant travel would be either by sea plane (bush plane as they call it inland), snowmobile, ATV, or truck during warm weather. I would have to travel on occasion to the district headquarters in Fairbanks (about the size of Loveland or Batavia/Eastgate) for debriefing and evaluation. The schools are fully powered and have wireless internet capabilities.

Much of the learning is computer and distance based, which is great during the winter months. There should also be no problems keeping in contact with everyone. My pay would be comparable to what I currently make (I currently make $64.5K. They're offering $66K), housing would be provided by the school (only 60 feet from the school itself and at no cost), I would have great benefits, and I would be a part of a team of three other counselors.In addition, I asked if any teacher assistants were needed at the Nulato school, which would be our home base, in order for Larissa to work. The contact person said yes, and she would be much needed. Larissa would start out at $8-9.00/hour for two months, then be paid $15/hour afterward.

The contact person is originally from Ft. Wayne, IN, and her mother lives in Loveland, OH. She knows our area, and knows it would be a dramatic change of lifestyle for us, just as it was for her 8 years ago. While some groceries and supplies would have to be mailed or shipped to us (things do cost higher there), the town of Nulato has a store for more perishable items, the locals are, for the most part, great in sharing game meat, or we could purchase some, or hunt for ourselves, and we can bring back other supplies from Fairbanks when we make trips there (though sea plane space would be limited).

As for church, we might very well be the only Jesus they may see. It will be like being a missionary. Our contact person said that it was "third-world America." The way of life is simple, but our contact person enjoys it nonetheless. Many of the native people life within their means, but appreciate it when others help their children with school supplies and opportunities to learn, while still respecting their traditions and culture.

Right now, with not many opportunities made available in our area in eduation, Larissa and I are at peace with this, and believe that it would a an opportunity of a lifetime to BE Christians, and not just talk the talk to the people of Nulato. Sure, it will be different, to say the least. Yet, aside from trying to figure out what to do with our house and some of our possessions, we believe that we can face the challenge, as well as enjoy it. For now, it would be a one-year commitment, pending observations and how we deal with the climate and other factors. Would it be worth it?

We believe so.I need you to pray. Time is a premium. I will need to contact the people in Nulato/Fairbanks on Friday to set up an interview. While I know that I love our church, Living Word Fellowship, would miss it and will still be a part of it, Larissa and I also know that if God is for us in this, who can be against us? We just need prayer and for God to confirm it to us.

Please don't share this openly for right now. I just chose you all for the moment in order to pray. I need people we can trust in this who know how to pray, and hear the voice of God through His Holy Spirit.Better go for now. Please reply back soon with your feedback."

LuAnn and I know them better than you do. Our initial reaction is go for it. They are that kind of people, young, energetic, no children, full of Christ and good educators. It would be a huge change, one that could be good or not so good.

What do you think?


Thursday, May 27, 2010


We are finishing up our wheat scouting for this phase. We will evaluate crop and seed quality before and during harvest.

Farmers really need to scout their fields right now as they make planting, spraying and replanting decisions. Good agronomists are very busy making these decisions for their customers.

The picture is a nice field of Certified Hopewell soft red winter wheat for seed. Sable loves running through these fields scaring out birds and bugs. She was totally wore out last night, like me.

You have to look into the canopy but this field has quite a bit of Septoria leaf spot which could become Staganospora glume blotch. There was more cereal leaf beetle larvae damage to the leaves than one would like but this year it was very trying to evaluate and spray as needed. The weather just didn't cooperate.

Still, this will be a good seed source. There won't be much of it available in our region. It is a top variety from here through Michigan. I notice that 2011 wheat is a little over a dollar more per bushel today than July 2010 wheat. Generally the wheat really outgrew the weeds after it broke dormancy, fields are about as clean as ever. Just a few bugs and diseases to deal with.

Full tillage wheat is the worst, it got heaved out this winter and most of it was killed and put into another crop. There is another advantage to no-till. Yet the pathologist at Penn State says full tillage is the best disease control practice. The two don't mesh.

Farmers are slowly getting into planting soybeans again, hoping to finish before June. I don't know if that will happen. Some Memorial Day plans will change. I really want to mow and decorate graves as the cemeteries don't have the funds to do it like they normally have. The well kept for cemeteries really stick out here.

The little corn replanting that needs to be done can't be because of moisture. They are just too wet to tear up or spot in seed.

This warm weather is really making crops jump in size. Finally summer weather is here. It is warm and humid and I saw heating and air conditioning service trucks everywhere yesterday.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As you know, we are very involved in soil conservation while trying to make a profit with no-till farming practices. We also want our land to be more sustainable for the coming generations.

Trying to figure out where to plant to finish up and set this crop aside for the growing season really makes you look at what you have done to get here.

I see more and more where we as farmers just start notilling without really setting the land up for notill. Drainage, lime, pest management, crop rotation and nutrient balance has to all fit together to make any practice work and no-till is no exception.

Here is a good piece on the subject from Karen Scanlon at CTIC, just released today.

New Booklet and Web Site Detail Biotechnology's Role in Farm Sustainability

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Keeping agriculture environmentally sustainable while improving productivity is a growing challenge, and a new report shows that agricultural biotechnology is a key tool in overcoming it.Biotech crops help growers around the world increase yields, improve crop quality and characteristics, and adopt sustainable farming practices such as conservation tillage — all vital to keeping up with the world’s growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber. The booklet — “Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology” — was developed by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) to dig deep into the data surrounding the adoption of biotech crops.Among many important statistics, the document describes:

The projected growth of the global population to 9 billion by 2040

The 69-percent increase in no-till farming since the 1996 introduction of herbicide-resistant crops

A drop in herbicide usage of 47.4 million pounds of active ingredient where herbicide-tolerant soybeans or cotton were planted in the U.S. in 2007

The replacement of 8.67 million pounds of insecticide active ingredient in 2007 where U.S. growers planted insect-resistant cotton and corn varieties

Reductions in soil loss of 90 percent or more, and reduced movement of phosphorus by more than 70 percent where no-till is used

The capture of billions of pounds of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in conservation-tilled soils across the U.S.

The new document is the latest in a vast library created by CTIC throughout its 25-year history as a repository for information on conservation farming practices. “As crops emerge across the country, this is a great time to consider what it will take to feed the earth’s growing population while safeguarding our natural resources,” says Karen A. Scanlon, executive director of CTIC in West Lafayette, Ind. “What we found in developing this report is that agricultural biotechnology — by allowing growers to reduce tillage and reduce their use of crop protection products — offers significant improvements in soil, water and air quality. Biotech crops can help farmers meet the projected demand of 9 billion mouths to feed while also helping the world address issues like reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and improving water quality.”

The United Soybean Board (USB) funded the paper, which updates a document prepared by CTIC in 2003. Collecting data from researchers around the world in a single, concise, readable document provides growers with important talking points about the benefits of their management choices, says Dr. Rich Joost, director of production research for USB in Chesterfield, Mo. That insight can help other stakeholders understand the dramatic improvements in environmental sustainability and productivity over the past several years.

David Wilson, a farmer from Lincoln, Ala., USB’s sustainability committee chair, puts it in personal terms. “We started no-tilling in 1974, and we did it because the savings in fuel and the savings of horsepower per acre,” he notes, pointing out that the current focus on greenhouse gases highlights an unforeseen benefit of those reductions. “We figure we’re saving approximately four gallons of fuel per acre, and that amounts to about 22 pounds per gallon of carbon that’s not put into the air.”

People both on and off the farm often overlook the environmental benefits of biotech, adds USB director Mike Thede, a grower from Palmer, Neb. “Biotechnology has increased the ability of the nation’s fields to be able to continue to produce on a high level, and has reduced the amount of environmentally negative impacts,” he points out. The new document delivers data to support the point, as well as a detailed list of academic references.

The paper, which was reviewed by a multi-disciplinary panel of experts, is available online at or in hard copy by calling CTIC at (765) 494-9555. The new document complements other elements of USB’s extensive online library of information on agricultural biotechnology, which is accessible at

Hope you enjoy this work as much as I do.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Real Estate

Real estate has been a hot topic since the stock market crash in 2008 and all the financial problems and foreclosures since. With all the trouble, savvy investors have seen the time to put their savings into real estate.

A friend sent me this article and I immeadiately thought of our six children and how well they have invested and managed their money.

"Lindsay Binegar was 14 the first time she spent any winnings from years of showing hogs. She bought a purse. The second time, at 18, she splurged. She bought a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a two-car garage. And she paid in cash.

"I've never heard of a teenager buying a house," said Nikki Gasbarro, spokeswoman for the Ohio Association of Realtors. "Smart girl."

The Greenfield teenager has been saving money since she was 4 years old and won $100 showing a hog.

"I didn't get the money; it went to the bank," said Binegar, now a 19-year-old freshman at Ohio University's Chillicothe branch.

And so the pattern began. She'd raise a few hogs every year on the family farm in Highland County, show them at competitions and add any winnings or sales proceeds to her savings account.

"She's pretty tight," said Lindsay's dad, Gary. "She's always been big into 4-H, and every penny she made she just banked."

That included $15,540 for showing the reserve champion and grand champion hogs at the county fair in recent years.

By the time she graduated from Greenfield McClain High School last June, she had saved more than $40,000 for college.

But her parents had a proposition: They'd pay for college if she'd live at home and commute to Ohio University's Chillicothe campus.

The idea appealed to Lindsay's thrifty, practical side but left her wondering how to invest the money she'd saved.

Her dad, who runs Binegar Auction Service, had a suggestion. "I said, 'You should buy a house,' " Gary Binegar said. "I was like, 'Oh, Dad, that's a lot of money,' " she said.

But in August, Lindsay bought a house when her dad was auctioning one as part of an estate sale. She paid $40,000.

After painting the inside of the two-story frame house and adding new carpeting, Lindsay rented the house to a great aunt and uncle who wanted to relocate to Greenfield.

Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, said it's extremely unusual for a teenager to buy a house.

Lindsay's dad, it turns out, did something similar - but not as grandiose - when he got out of high school. He bought a house, too.

"I paid $7,000 and there was 3 feet of snow in the living room," he said.
He fixed it up, rented it, then sold it and bought the farm where he, his wife, Mandy, and Lindsay now live.

Mr. Binegar, 44, isn't sure why his daughter is so fiscally responsible at an age when many teens spend every cent they get.

Then again, it fits her personality. She's always been at the top of her class academically. She volunteers each Friday at an elementary school to further her dream of becoming a teacher. She has been involved in 4-H for 11 years, was a cheerleader and was crowned homecoming queen her senior year of high school.

"We tried to lead her in the right direction and make her know the value of a dollar," her father said.

Lindsay said she hopes to finish college in three years, get a teaching job and raise a family in her hometown.

"I would never move out of Greenfield," she said. "I just love everybody here."

She's saving the $450-a-month rent payments from the house so she and her 22-year-old fiance, Heath McNeal, can buy a small house when they get married in 2011.

Eventually, the couple wants to buy land and build their dream home on top of a hill.
Her father has no doubt that'll happen.

"She's got a really good head on her shoulders," he said. "She's the perfect girl."

Ed Winkle

Monday, May 24, 2010

May Monday

One more Monday in May. Memorial Day. Decoration Day it was known as here when we decorated graves and everyone marched to the cemetery to honor the soldiers and our loved ones.
The older you get the more people you know there. I have a visitation for a 56 year old friend who passed away Thursday. What if that was our last day? I wouldn't be writing this, for one.
It seems like so many have died this past two years. I know a lot of people but if you live long enough, you get the chance to honor them. I guess I am happy to be in that category.
On a more lively note, you can see the drill kind of spewed soybeans here and there in places but they are good if we can get the weeds killed this week. Sable likes to show off while I am looking so she is jumping in the Golden Delicious tree, running out the birds. So many bugs are out now that she is snapping at something all the time. She can wear you out watching her.
Maybe this week we can kind of put the crop to rest for awhile so we can focus on other things. Life is fast enough and it just speeds up when your work is outdoors and it's good weather. Looks like a high of 85 all week, going to get hot to sleep upstairs. The full moon is coming again so the critters howled all night though I didn't hear them.
The humidity will stay high, too after all this rain. It has hovered between 50-90% for weeks and around 75% this morning. That's pretty typical here. I bought a new AccuRite gauge to measure humidity. Hay Wilson would use it for hay conditions, for me it is grain bin moisture.
My to do list is long again this week. I am sure yours is too.
We need a good week so we can take Memorial Day off but we well could be still planting. I know some farmers will be.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Makin' Hay

My friend Hay Wilson in Texas sent me this. It reminds me of my hay making days. It's pretty good.

"Ed I do not know if you can do anything with this.

Today was a big hay day here, and I got to considering how the Here - There differences are mentioned but not demonstrated.

So I used SW NM as one example and SW OH as the other example.

Southwest New Mexico Monday TuesdayAverage Value 05/24/10 05/25/10------------- -------- --------Lowest Relative Humidity % 7 8 Hours of Sunshine 14 13 Morning Wind Dir/Speed MPH W/13 E/09 Afternoon Wind Dir/Speed SW/12 SW/09 Pan Evaporation (Inches) 0.37 0.40 Drying Potential VERY HIGH VERY HIGH Solar Radiation (Watt-Hrs/SQ M) 8387 8389 Dew Intensity/Dryoff Time NO DEW NO DEW

Southwest Ohio Monday TuesdayAverage Value 05/24/10 05/25/10------------- -------- --------Lowest Relative Humidity % 38 40 Hours of Sunshine 12 12 Morning Wind Dir/Speed MPH SE/05 SE/06 Afternoon Wind Dir/Speed E/08 N/05 Pan Evaporation (Inches) 0.27 0.27 Drying Potential HIGH HIGH Solar Radiation (Watt-Hrs/SQ M) 6940 7534 Dew Intensity/Dryoff Time MODERATE/ 8AM LIGHT/ 7AM

There is a major difference in lowest RH for the days.

The pan evaporation may not look like much but those numbers are significant.

Hopefully a chart I use to estimate curing time nicely demonstrates the advantages of a wide swath in the Humid East but the hay dropped into a windrow by the swather works just fine in the Arid West. In fact, though the Arid west has sunshine in abundance they really do not need the drying assistance of the sunshine. Hopefully the pan evaporation chart will work. (I can't get it to copy out of the email so I will post it when and if we figure out how to share it with you. I get the concept but need to share it with you.)

This chart is telling us how much pan evaporation will be required to cure alfalfa to close to a baling moisture level.

Assuming a 2.5 T/A cutting. Figure a half day effect for the day the hay is cut.

In our humid east example 0.27" /day For 0.13" day one, plus 0.27" for each following day.
In our Arid West example 0.37" /day For 0.18" day one, plus 0.37" for each following day.

Day one at .13" + day two .27" = .40" + day three .27" = .67" + day four .27" = .94" + day five .27" = 1.21"

So in theory the hay will be ready to bale during day four the hay will be ready to bale using a full 100% (tedded) swath.

Hay dropped into a windrow will not be ready to bale until day six. Maybe
A 3 ton cutting will take even longer.

Day one at .18" + day two .37" = 55" + day three .37" = 92" + day four .37 = 1.29" so their hay can be baled the night of the fourth day. Even a 3 ton cutting will be ready to bale the night of the fifth day. Even if dropped in a windrow behind the swather.

I may have become a bit confused with the numbers!

Bill "

No, I think you are right on, Bill. I had this in ag engineering class over 40 years ago, kinda rusty but it looks right. Several have emailed whether to cut hay or not in case it doesn't dry enough by the next predicted rain on Friday. Your numbers show it is iffy!


PS, I liked this one on tedding:

A tedder is a good tool but is not magic.

There are a few rules we must work with to cure hay.First is 75% of hay curing is with sunshine on the hay. Yes hay will dry in the dark with a good breeze and almost no humidity.

Second the 25% of the remainder of the curing effect is from wind, low humidity, dry ground, and some other factors.

The first big moisture loss (30%) is the first day, with the moisture going out the openings in the leaf underside. This is true as long as the leaves are in sunlight. Put the leaves in the shade and the stomata (leaf openings) close. This is the reason we want to drop the hay in as wide a swath as possible. This is also why the ideal time to use the tedder is right after cutting.

Conditioning has little or no effect here. Where conditioning comes in is with the sunshine directly on the stems the moisture is warmed in the stems and this builds vapor pressure and forces the moisture out the nearest opening. This effect is seen not only on the first day but on following days.Another rule we need to work with is there is leaf shatter, total dry matter loss, & quality loss if raked or using a tedder when the hay's moisture is below 40%. We can assure we have this moisture in the few hours after mowing, or if the relative humidity is at or above 90% (at ground level!). (You gain by quickly getting the hay down to below 48% moisture because this is where the cells die and quit burning up energy. The hay will have more energy and as importantly be accepted better by the animals.)

The graph on page 9 is very instructional. You will notice how much more pan evaporation is required for a narrow windrow than for a full width exposure. This graph is also a good tool to estimate how long it will take for the hay to cure. Allow me to say again this is all driven by the power of direct sunshine. It really applies to hay put up in our humid climate.

Our friends in the Arid West with their climate have different problems. There the hay will be too dry to rake within hours of mowing and the humidity will never be high enough to allow raking with minimal leaf shatter. Their almost zero humidity and almost sure good breeze means they do not NEED the direct sun shine to cure the hay. They probably have in excess of 0.50" of pan evaporation. That is a climate where rain evaporates before it can reach the ground! At least during the summer. All the above is what we must work with just to get hay dry enough, where we can safely bale, with out heating or molding.

There are no strict rules on using a tedder. I do not use the tedder when the yield is less than 2 Tons/A. When the yield is down close to a ton/A I will drop the hay in a wide windrow rather than a wide swath.


On the left is a field before the rain, the center after the rain, the right shows the rain gauge. What a mess.
Some have it worse so I better not complain.
That was quite a storm that blew through here, heard a funnel did touch down near Buford and trees were down and roofs were off.
We had that Good Friday 2006 so we did miss that this time.
It is time to to start scouting but we still have beans to plant, weeds to spray and corn to spot in.
A week from tomorrow is Memorial Day! That reminds me I need to decorate the graves and mow them.
Now is prime time to pull flag leaves on cereal grains for tissue testing. The crop looks pretty good but the nutrient balance will give me a clue what to do this fall and next spring.
Then corn and soybeans will need to be tested for nutrient balance. This has been a key to my agronomic practices so I have to get it done. I may have to hire help again this year, it is a big enough job just to coordinate the pulling, labeling and mailing of samples.
I scouted 35 miles long yesterday west to east and the rain varied from less than an inch to over 3-4 inches. That will make a big difference on the mix of things and how fields turn out and need to be managed.
I can't even keep the grass mowed but today we are going to a big graduation party where they will have 5 gallons of gumbo, prime rib and all the trimmings. Just what my stomach needs!
The sun is out and it is going to get hot this week. I hope we don't get plant scald. At least all the Cereal Leaf Beetle larvae drowned.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Deere Diner

It is hard for us to imagine the technology around us until we see it. Facebook has exploded with farmers, neighbors and farm groups.

We had dinner last night at Randy Staeling's Etta Lee's restaurant in Blanchester. A big storm rolled through, the tornado sirens went off and it rains so hard water was boiling back up out of the street gutters. Some got over 2 inches, we had less than one inch.

We could read her Blackberry and see where the storm was and read all the warnings. The storm was splitting south and north. We didn't do that just a year ago.

I saw Factory Farmer posted the picture above in Kitchen Talk. Some farmers with RTK have a diner in their tractor or combine cab now. You eat while techology does the work. It is truly amazing.
"Real-time kinematic (RTK) networks continue to drive adoption of sub-inch machine guidance in major farming areas. Many first-time ag GPS buyers are going directly to high-end RTK systems. RTK systems now provide coverage on millions of acres of U.S. farmland. That area is greater than 2007 planted acreage of all U.S. corn, cotton, peanuts, potatoes, rice, barley and oats.

Many farmers are now realizing the need for GPS implement control to complete the sub-inch RTK guidance package. We are seeing a high level of interest from growers for new implement steering systems.

Customers seem equally interested in both the economic and environmental benefits of precision spray control for both boom switching and rate.

A change to more cab consolidation enables growers at all technical skill levels to expand precision farming practices by providing fast, easy access to GPS guidance and various application controls through a single cab display.

Water management is a growing issue in many countries, including various U.S. growing regions. Accordingly, one of the most promising growth areas for Trimble is water management, in the U.S. and globally — especially in developing nations. Systems with laser and GPS applications are available for drainage and land leveling to improve water utilization as well as crop yields and quality.

Farmers are facing higher production costs. With GPS guidance, payback is easy to understand and calculate. Key savings opportunities are with fuel, inputs, time and labor; more efficient use of existing vehicle fleets; and operating longer hours at critical times. In many areas, growers are substituting investment in GPS automated steering for hard-to-find skilled farm equipment operators."

The reduced wear and tear on the body makes the farmer more productive. The accurate strips, when they work and you know technology does fail sometimes, saves seed, chemicals and makes for a more even crop. It isn't GrandPa's old excuse, " you get more acres with crooked rows."

I am still back in the stone age with the crooked rows but more and more farmers are using technology to get more done in a day and do it better than they did without the technology.
Have you eaten at the Deere Diner yet? I haven't.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Grow Communities

Monsanto Corporation has a new program where you can nominate a community organization of your choice. You don't have to buy anything to enter and the organization could get $2500. I chose the local FFA chapter of course but you could nominate a 4-H group or quilt block group or anything you chose that helps your community grow.

Take some time and enter today or this weekend. We have so many deserving organizations in Clinton County it is difficult to pick just one. The organization has to been in the county of your address so those of us who farm in other counties or live near a county line, it is more difficult to choose one.

Speaking of Monsanto, one of the children called and asked me about the video Food, Inc. Her and her husband watched it and she had questions. I answered them as scientifically and non-biased as I could. Basically, many people are still afraid of genetically modified food by gene insertion because they don't understand the risks. Most science says it is OK or we are not sure yet. 85% of American corn or soybean crops are now GMO.

I wonder how many people who don't trust the food believe in birth control, prochoice and a host of other alternatives? It is a huge political division and most everyone has a viewpoint but some just don't care.

It rained again so we can't plant or spray. My beans have weeds and some bean leaf beetles and my wheat has cereal leaf beetle. I have corn to replant and some weeds in one of those fields and a schedule that just won't quit. Farming in a year like this is really challenging but you look around and see people worse off than you are. Some farmers have had it worse than I have.

We have friends and family with problems too. We pray over it and help where we can. One is having surgery, one is having problems with children, many have health factors like high blood pressure or diabetes or depression. Everyone has a problem but too many can tip the ship. Keep your ship balanced.

We can grow our little community of family, friends and neighbors and we don't need a gift of $2500 to do it. Money helps, but it is not the answer. That gift would be great but there is nothing like the gift of love, health, help and thoughtfulness.

We have got to tackle the old barn before the quilt barn tour June 12-13. I know what I want to do now, just have to get the neighbor boys to help get it done. Mowing, spraying and cleaning around here just never ends!

That's it for today. Hope it is a good one for you and a great weekend. Looks like summer is coming next week!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's Not About The Tea

Do you think politicians miscalculated the people's anger? Even the ignorant have limits on how many times you can fool them.


Americans are getting serious. I think this link puts it all in perspective. It is mostly the lack of jobs that is bringing this about, increased by Internet communication. Take some time and watch that link a couple of times to get a grasp on what has evolved the past two years.

Last time I looked, Nevada wasn't considered a "Southern Redneck State."

The people need a good job.

The crowd in the pictures was taken at Searchlight Nevada, March 27, 2010.
This could be anywhere in the country right now. Probably 20,000 people have little to do within 20 miles of me in counties with 40,000 or so population.
With all our problems, unemployment is our number one problem right now.
I have been saying Rome wasn't built in a day and it won't fall in a day. LuAnn says you can dig a big hole fast but you have to get yourself out one shovelful at a time.
This has been evolving for some time. I know how the story ends in the Bible but I don't know how this story ends.
What do you think?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flip Side

On the flip side of yesterday's post and the day before, I read this analysis that is a whole lot more tolerable than the gloom and doom forecasts.

By Linda H. Smith

As the U.S. economy emerges from recession, prospects for a rural rebound in 2010 are rising, says Jason Henderson, vice president and Omaha branch executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “By the third quarter of 2009, economic gains in developing countries, coupled with a weaker dollar, strengthened U.S. ag export activity. Signs of a national recovery in the second half of the year included a modest rise in U.S. food expenditures. Meanwhile, stronger crude oil prices helped lift ethanol prices, profits and production.”

In March, housing construction posted its first year-over-year increase (1.6%) since June 2006, reports Ann Duignan of J.P. Morgan. Nonresidential construction continued to decline, on the other hand. “However, construction machinery orders were up 271% in March year over year construction machinery shipments posted their first year-over-year increase since November 2008—up 4%.”

April housing starts, announced today, were up 5.8% from March and 41% above a year earlier. Building permits were 16% above last year, the government announced.

The improving economy, combined with increased exports, should support farm income and profits and lead to improvements in the rural economy, these analysts say.
For More Information
Housing report

Henderson analysis

What do you think? There are still those who think differently. I take it all as food for thought and am not willing to take a position either way but trying to be ready for the worst and take advantage for the best.

I guess that is life, isn't it?


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Yesterday's post raised a few eyebrows. Ed is thinking about this? Whoa! There isn't much we can do about it now, most of it is out of our control and we have laid the path to where we are today personally and as a nation.

Many people are in a doldrum.

(dldrmz, dôl-, dl-)
pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. a. A period of stagnation or slump.
b. A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.
2. a. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls.
b. The weather conditions characteristic of these regions of the ocean.

The weather doldrums aren't helping. The early planted crop can't grow properly and lots of acres are left to plant with some replanting needed many places.

The market doldrums aren't helping either. They have been down the last week and the first good news today was my DTN email saying markets are trending higher today. There is lots of ground to recover since early January and it probably won't reach those highs for some time.

What's a fella to do? In a doldrum we keep putting off the big decisions and try to function within the little daily decisions. It's much easier with a daily job where you show up at a certain time and go home the same. There is so little time left in the day you don't have time to concern yourself with the doldrums.

Throw in some aches and pains. My arthitis has really kicked in this spring.

If you have arthritis, you may experience:
Joint pain
Joint swelling
Reduced ability to move the joint
Redness of the skin around a joint
Stiffness, especially in the morning
Warmth around a joint
Treatment of arthritis depends on the particular cause, which joints are affected, severity, and how the condition affects your daily activities. Your age and occupation will also be taken into consideration when your doctor works with you to create a treatment plan.
If possible, treatment will focus on eliminating the underlying cause of the arthritis. However, the cause is NOT necessarily curable, as with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment, therefore, aims at reducing your pain and discomfort and preventing further disability.
It is possible to greatly improve your symptoms from osteoarthritis and other long-term types of arthritis without medications. In fact, making lifestyle changes without medications is preferable for osteoarthritis and other forms of joint inflammation. If needed, medications should be used in addition to lifestyle changes.
Exercise for arthritis is necessary to maintain healthy joints, relieve stiffness, reduce pain and fatigue, and improve muscle and bone strength. Your exercise program should be tailored to you as an individual. Work with a physical therapist to design an individualized program, which should include:
Low-impact aerobic activity (also called endurance exercise)
Range of motion exercises for flexibility
Strength training for muscle tone
A physical therapist can apply heat and cold treatments as needed and fit you for splints or orthotic (straightening) devices to support and align joints. This may be particularly necessary for rheumatoid arthritis. Your physical therapist may also consider water therapy, ice massage, or transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS).
Rest is just as important as exercise. Sleeping 8 to 10 hours per night and taking naps during the day can help you recover from a flare-up more quickly and may even help prevent exacerbations. You should also:
Avoid holding one position for too long.
Avoid positions or movements that place extra stress on your affected joints.
Modify your home to make activities easier. For example, have grab bars in the shower, the tub, and near the toilet.
Reduce stress, which can aggravate your symptoms. Try meditation or guided imagery. And talk to your physical therapist about yoga or tai chi.

Now that list is enough to cause a doldrum. My family suffers from osteo arthritis and I am at the ripe old age to really feel its pain.

I just had a physical recently. My doctor said, you are in pretty good shape for your age but you have obviously worked hard all your life and it has taken its toll. The Meloxicam he perscribed for my arthritis hasn't helped much but the swelling in my right hand has went down some. It still hurts.

Today I need some sunshine and heat like my corn does but it's not in the forecast. I had a wood fire last night on the 17th of May! Whoa!

Are you in a doldrum? Maybe we can help one another out of it.


Monday, May 17, 2010


Maybe this isn't the place to share these thoughts but you know I tell you just about everything I think about. Have you wondered what will become of our deplorable financial position?

I sure have. I don't fret or worry too much because that is antiproductive and there is not much I can do but react to what happens.

Reading these thoughts made me wonder what to name today's blog. What popped into my mind is when Grandpa and Dad tried to get the Jim and Jane, their team of Percheron draft horses stop pulling. Whoa! they would cry out.

These people below agree, right or wrong that we are coming up to a big Whoa! in our financial positions. It's pretty much gloom and doom but you have to admit it is possible. We just don't know so we keep on our merry or not so merry way each day.

If this has no place here, tell me. Post comments, email me, call me, I want to know your position and how you will react to it. That 1000 point drop in the Dow in 3 minutes could be an indicator. No one knows.

"Pick the ones you like best, some of the author you may recognize, but note how the majority are all running in the same direction....note the dates on some and that the present situation in Europe is sort of the precursor for what will shortly be unfolding here...If you want to know who some of these people are, google their names. I did not make up this list, but received it from a friend I listen to.

Subject: Predictions for the rest of the year Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 08:40:19 -0500 Bob Chapman

First 6 months of 2010, Americans will continue to live in the 'unreality'...the period between July and October is when the financial fireworks will begin. The Fed will act unilaterally for its own survival irrespective of any political implications ...(source is from insider at FED meetings). In the last quarter of the year we could even see Martial law, which is more likely for the first 6 months of 2011. The FDIC will collapse in September 2010. Commercial real estate is set to implode in 2010. Wall Street believes there is a 100% chance of crash in bond market, especially municipals sometime during 2010. The dollar will be devalued by the end of 2010.Gerald CelenteTerrorist attacks and the "Crash of 2010". 40% devaluation at first = the greatest depression, worse than the Great Depression.

Igor Panarin In the summer of 1998, based on classified data about the state of the U.S. economy and society supplied to him by fellow FAPSI analysts, Panarin forecast the probable disintegration of the USA into six parts in 2010 (at the end of June – start of July 2010, as he specified on 10 December 2000NeithercorpsHave projected that the third and final stage of the economic collapse will begin sometime in 2010. Barring some kind of financial miracle, or the complete dissolution of the Federal Reserve, a snowballing implosion should become visible by the end of this year. The behavior of the Fed, along with that of the IMF seems to suggest that they are preparing for a focused collapse, peaking within weeks or months instead of years, and the most certain fall of the dollar.WebbotsJuly and onward things get very strange. Revolution. Dollar dead by November 2010.

LEAP 20/20 on 2010 Outlook from a group of 25 European Economists with a 90% accuracy rating- We anticipate a sudden intensification of the crisis in the second half of 2010, caused by a double effect of a catching up of events which were temporarily « frozen » in the second half of 2009 and the impossibility of maintaining the palliative remedies of past years. There is a perfect (economic) storm coming within the global financial markets and inevitable pressure on interest rates in the U.S. The injection of zero-cost money into the Western banking system has failed to restart the economy. Despite zero-cost money, the system has stalled. It is slowly rolling over into the next big down wave, which in Elliott Wave terminology will be Super Cycle Wave Three, or in common language, "THE BIG ONE, WHERE WE ALL GO OVER THE FALLS TOGETHER."

Joseph Meyer Forecasts on the economy. He sees the real estate market continuing to decline, and advised people to invest in precious metals and commodities, as well as keeping cash at home in a safe place in case of bank closures. The stock market, after peaking in March or April (around 10,850), will fall all the way down to somewhere between 2450 and 4125 during the next leg down.Harry Dent (investor)A very likely second crash by late 2010. The coming depression (starts around the summer of 2010). Dent sees the stock market--currently benefiting from upward momentum and peppier economic activity--headed for a very brief and pleasant run that could lift the Dow to the 10,700-11,500 range from its current level of about 10.090. But then, he sees the market running into a stone wall, which will be followed by a nasty stock market decline (starting in early March to late April) that could drive down the Dow later this year to 3,000-5,000, with his best guess about 3,800.

Richard Russell (Market Expert)(from 2/3/10) says the bear market rally is in the process of breaking up and panic is on the way. He sees a full correction of the entire rise from the 2002 low of 7,286 to the bull market high of 14,164.53 set on October 9, 2007. The halfway level of retracement was 10,725. The total retracement was to 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009. He now sees the Dow falling to 7,286 and if that level does not hold, “I see it sinking to its 1980-82 area low of Dow 1,000.” The current action is the worst he has ever seen. (Bob Chapman says for Russell to make such a startling statement is unusual because he never cries wolf and is almost never wrong)

Niño Becerra (Professor of Economics)Predicted in July 2007 that what was going to happen was that by mid 2010 there is going to be a crisis only comparable to the one in 1929. From October 2009 to May 2010 people will begin to see things are not working out the way the government thought. In May of 2010, the crisis starts with all its force and continues and strengthens throughout 2011. He accurately predicted the current recession and market crash to the month.Lyndon LaroucheThe crisis is accelerating and will become worse week by week until the whole system grinds into a collapse, likely sometime this year. And when it does, it will be the greatest collapse since the fall of the Roman Empire.

WALL STREET JOURNAL- (2/2010)"You are witnessing a fundamental breakdown of the American dream, a systemic breakdown of our democracy and our capitalism, a breakdown driven by the blind insatiable greed of Wall Street: Dysfunctional government, insane markets, economy on the brink. Multiply that many times over and see a world in total disarray. Ignore it now, tomorrow will be too late."

Eric deCarbonnel There is no precedence for the panic and chaos that will occur in 2010. The global food supply/demand picture has NEVER been so out of balance. The 2010 food crisis will rearrange economic, financial, and political order of the world, and those who aren’t prepared will suffer terrible losses…As the dollar loses most of its value, America's savings will be wiped out. The US service economy will disintegrate as consumer spending in real terms (ie: gold or other stable currencies) drops like a rock, bringing unemployment to levels exceeding the great depression. Public health services/programs will be cut back, as individuals will have no savings/credit/income to pay for medical care. Value of most investments will be wiped out. The US debt markets will freeze again, this time permanently. There will be no buyers except at the most drastic of firesale prices, and inflation will wipe away value before credit markets have any chance at recovery. The panic in 2010 will see the majority of derivatives end up worthless. Since global derivatives markets operate on the assumption of the continued stable value of the dollar and short term US debt, using derivatives to bet against the dollar is NOT a good idea. The panic in 2010 will see the majority of derivatives end up worthless. The dollar's collapse will rob US consumers of all purchasing power, and any investment depend on US consumption will lose most of its value.

Alpha-Omega Report (Trends Forecast)Going into 2010, the trends seemed to lead nowhere or towards oblivion. Geo-politically, the Middle East was and is trending towards some sort of military clash, most likely by mid-year, but perhaps sooner...At the moment, it seems 2010 is shaping up to be a year of absolute chaos. We see trends for war between Israel and her neighbors that will shake every facet of human activity...In the event of war, we see all other societal trends being thoroughly disrupted...Iran will most likely shut off the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. This will have immense consequences for the world’s economy. Oil prices will skyrocket into the stratosphere and become so expensive that world’s economies will collapse..There are also trend indicators along economic lines that point to the potential for a total meltdown of the world’s financial system with major crisis points developing with the change of each quarter of the year. 2010 could be a meltdown year for the world’s economy, regardless of what goes on in the Middle East.

Robin Landry (Market Expert) I believe we are headed to new market highs between 10780-11241 over the next few months. The most likely time frame for the top is the April-May area. Remember the evidence IMHO still says we are in a bear market rally with a major decline to follow once this rally ends.

John P. Hussman, Ph.D. In my estimation, there is still close to an 80% probability (Bayes' Rule) that a second market plunge and economic downturn will unfold during 2010.

Robert PrechterFounder of Elliott Wave International, implores retail investors stay away from the markets… for now. Prechter, who was bullish near the lows in March 2009, now says the stock market “is in a topping area.”predicting another crash in 2010 that will bring stocks below the 2009 low. His word to the wise, “be patient, don’t rush it” keep your money in cash and cash equivalents.

Richard MogeyCurrent Research Director at the Foundation for the Study of Cycles- Because of a convergence of numerous cycles all at once, the stock market may go up for a little while, but will crash in 2010 and reach all-time lows late 2012. Mogey says that the 2008 crash was nothing compared to the coming crash. Gold may correct in 2009, but will go up in 2010 and peak in 2011. Silver will follow gold.

James Howard Kunstler (January 2010)The economy as we’ve known it simply can’t go on, which James Howard Kunstler has been saying all along. The shenanigans with stimulus and bailouts will just compound the central problem with debt. There’s not much longer to go before the whole thing collapses and dies. Six Months to Live- The economy that is. Especially the part that consists of swapping paper certificates. That’s the buzz I’ve gotten the first two weeks of 2010.

Peter Schiff (3/13/2010)"In my opinion, the market is now perfectly positioned for a massive dollar sell-off. The fundamentals for the dollar in 2010 are so much worse than they were in 2008 that it is hard to imagine a reason for people to keep buying once a modicum of political and monetary stability can be restored in Europe. In fact, the euro has recently stabilized. My gut is that the dollar sell-off will be sharp and swift. Once the dollar decisively breaks below last year's lows, many of the traders who jumped ship in the recent rally will look to re-establish their positions. This will accelerate the dollar's descent and refocus everyone's attention back on the financial train-wreck unfolding in the United States. Any doubts about the future of the U.S. dollar should be laid to rest by today's announcement that San Francisco Federal Reserve President Janet Yellen has been nominated to be Vice Chair of the Fed's Board of Governors, and thereby a voter on the interest rate-setting, seven-member Open Markets Committee. Ms. Yellen has earned a reputation for being one of the biggest inflation doves among the Fed's top players." Schiff is famous for his accurate predictions of the economic events of 2008.

Lindsey WilliamsDollar devalued 30-50% by end of year. It will become very difficult for the average American to afford to buy even food. This was revealed to him through an Illuminati insider.

Unnamed Economist working for US Gov't (GLP)What we have experienced the last two years is nothing to what we are going to experience this year. If you have a job may not have it in three to six months. (by August 2010). Stock market will fall = great depression. Foreign investors stop financing debt = collapse. 6.2 million are about to lose their unemployment.

Jimmy "Doomsday"DOW will fall below 7,000 before mid summer 2010- Dollar will rise above 95 on the dollar index before mid summer 2010- Gold will bottom out below $800 before mid summer 2010- Silver will bottom out below $10 before mid summer 2010- CA debt implosion will start its major downturn by mid summer and hit crisis mode before Q4 2010- Dollar index will plunge below 65 between Q3 and Q4 2010- Commercial real estate will hit crisis mode in Q4 2010- Over 35 states will be bailed out by end of Q4 2010 by the US tax payer End of Q4 2010 gold will hit $1,600 and silver jump to $35 an oz.George UreMarkets up until mid-to-late-summer. Then "all hell breaks lose" from then on through the rest of the year.

I hope you already had breakfast. If you have a better forecast, I would like to see it. My personal concern is my retirement fund and grain prices. Those are my main economic drivers.

Best luck to us all. We will need it.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I don't like signs. They clutter up the landscape. The prettiest state we have been in is Oregon where they really limit signs. The big highway with the famous dead man's curve we drove on a few years ago practically has no signs posted on it. There are a few road signs and that is it.

I have to go down 28 and take down Dave Daniels political signs. I let him put signs up but he never came to take them down. That's rude. Susan Armstrong came and picked up Wanda's signs the next day. They are the only two candidates that I allowed to put up signage. In fact I invited them both.

I don't allow signs on our property unless they ask first. By law we own to the center of the highway and I like our property clean. That is my responsibility. The county and state used to keep it mowed nicely but with the hard times, they have mowed only one time and with all the rain the roadside got quite tall and grassy. I haven't put the bush hog on the tractor yet.

One person kept putting up Stewart signs. They are in my barn if you want them. They are going in the trash this week. He never asked and I would have said NO if they did ask because I didn't support his campaign for commissioner. He got voted off once and then weazeled his way back when no one ran against him. I don't think he will ever get back on now so he won't need those signs. I have a nice collection of real estate signs, too.

I can scrap the wires the modern day election signs are made of. Just one big wire bent twice to make a two legged sign. Plastic or cardboard slips over the square it makes. Lots of them blow off or become damaged in the wind and rain during the course of an election. I throw them away if the campaign doesn't keep them up. Armstrong kept theirs up. Daniel's signs are all beat up so I suppose they hung them once and forgot them.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blockin' up the scenery, breakin' my mind. Do this, do that, can't you read the sign?

I don't like signs unless I am looking for a turn or an address. Bad curve ahead signs are real handy. GPS has lessened the need for all these signs.

This is God's farm and we are just temporary caretakers.


PS Jim Chakeres has a good article on egg farms in today's New's Journal.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


The handful of wheat fields in Ohio is flowering in southern Ohio and will soon be in northern Ohio.

This is the lowest seed wheat acreage in Ohio Certified records kept since 1953 when I was 3. That year there were 14,000 seed acres, this year, only 10,000 acres.

Pioneer 25R47 continues to lead the pack with Certified Hopewell close and some newcomers right behind. This is the lowest commercial acreage since 1913, only 800,000 acres in Ohio.

The few fields that are out there look better with every dry, cool, sunny day which wheat thrives on. It likes good drainage and that is about the only fields it got planted in last fall when it was so late and the soybean crop was so far behind due to the cool, moist summer we humans enjoyed.

The major diseases are barley yellow dwarf virus, powdery mildew and Septoria leaf spot and Staganospora leaf and glume blotch. At this point they are very hard to find which is good for wheat growers. Smut and scab could still be a problem but each passing day like I described makes them less of a threat, too.

The worst thing is the market, hovering around $4.50 per bushel when it takes $6 to make a decent profit. The best thing wheat does it provide lots of straw for baling or composting and increases corn and soybean crop income following wheat.

There is good demand for weed free straw and there is a Certified program for that too in Ohio with record interest in that small market. It looks like the old straw barn will be empty again this year with straw worth more to me for compost than for selling. There are lots of nutrients in straw.

I spent 8 hours in wheat school today and wouldn't you know it is one of the prettiest days of the month. May is almost half over!
I saw some new variety releases from AGI or AgriGenetics Inc in Ohio, Beuerlein, named after our Professor Emeritus, the leader in soybean inoculant trials in the U.S. His wife still works for Ohio Seed Improvement Association. The new Bonifide and Branson looked good, Cooper and AgriPro's(Syngenta) W1377. There is a new red chaff soft red winter wheat like Hopewell is called Ruby Red. I think that is a Michigan release.

The beans behind the house will need to be sprayed soon and the corn we looked at yesterday will need a little replanting but it looks better every day. The low spots drowned out with the rainfall we received I gave you two days ago.

That's the way it is down on the farm on May 15.

Have a good one,


Friday, May 14, 2010

Things aren't what they used to be. Will they ever be the same? It seems to me since the market crash, people are grumpier and you have to watch what you say.
People are fed up with other people whether they are online or work for the government. Actually, neighbors seem more friendly.
Do we take our anger out on people we don't have to put up with each day?
I guess things are just unsettled. I wonder if they will ever be settled. It doesn't look like it in the near future. I get the most joy from family, friends and church. That's a bold statement where I need to spend my time, isn't it?
To lighten up a bit, the weather is the main topic for farmers and that is where I spend most of my time. I called the crop insurance adjustor to get another view of my corn crop. You can see from yesterday's post that the days to plant, not listed, came in chunks. Even if you hit some good days, the weather since then is not favorable for growth.
LuAnn keeps praising me on the garden but it looks like some of the fields, it is uneven and not growing right. I have to have the faith it will get better but it is what it is. It is uneven. I have replanted many rows and the beans never came up. Yet the soybeans right beside it planted on a different day came right up. It's that kind of a year.
The market highs are still there from January, way before it was time to plant. I have no idea whether the market will return with a "weather bubble" or we watched the best prices of the year go right on by. I had all those dreams where to spend the extra money I thought I might get.
Kind of like people's attitudes. Here and there and everywhere.
Will it even out?

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A fellow shared his rainfall data website on Crop Talk awhile ago. I got to playing around with it and found it pretty close to my data. Any of you can access it for free for your location. Here is mine for 2010:

There are countless uses for NEXRAD rainfall data from precision agriculture and irrigation, crop insurance, gardening, watershed hydrology, environmental studies and education. So what are you using it for?

Coming soon you will be able to store locations, derive average rainfall over an area. Let us know if you are doing any modeling work with something like SWAT, HEC-HMS, or SWMM and we can help you out!To export the data on this page, just select the values in the table and cut and paste them into something like Microsoft Excel.Check out the user's poll on our front page to let us know how you are using the data! Latitude: 39.326463 Longitude: -83.83169
state: OH

The closest NEXRAD cell centroid to you is 513701 at a distance of 1.77651539901 km.

Summary of Rainfall from NEXRAD
Rainfall (in)

Now nothing beats an old fashioned raingauge and a legal pad written by hand for authenticity. I hope I am beyond that now. This is a pretty good tool I am sure many of you can use.

At least compare it to yours, if you keep one and let us know how close it is.


Ed Winkle

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe appeared on the TV scene a few years ago with World's Dirtiest Jobs. The few I have seen have been interesting. He has worked as a meat packer to a farmer and many other jobs. He put up a really good piece on the Future of Farming, well worth your read.

The last time I was in Indianapolis was the summer of 2003. I remember it pretty well because I was still sulking about The Colts being moved there without my permission and not quite over their inglorious departure from my hometown of Baltimore twenty years earlier. My bitterness melted away however in nearby Plainfield at The National Chimney Sweep Training School, the site of my very first Dirty Job. There, I was instructed in the fine art of “flue maintenance,” and engulfed in flames while attempting to extinguish a raging creosote fire from the top of a rickety demonstration platform. Things went downhill after that and by the time I finally left town I was unrecognizable, concealed under a thick layer of ash and soot, with no plans of ever returning to The Crossroads of America.

Of course, in those days I was unrecognizable on a daily basis. Dirty Jobs would not debut for another six months, and I had no reason to think that anyone would watch when it did. I was wrong about that, and I’ve been wrong about a great many things ever since. A few months ago in fact - proving once again that my plans and my life have little in common – I returned to Indianapolis a lot cleaner, and a lot less anonymous, to deliver the keynote address at The 82nd National Convention of The Future Farmers of America (10/21/09).

For those of you who don’t know, The FFA is an organization of 500,000 teenagers, most of who look like they fell off the front of a Wheaties box. Wholesome, polite, and impossibly well mannered, these are the kids you wish you had, diligently pursuing an adolescence of agricultural acumen. Unfortunately, I arrived at their annual convention with the same level of planning and forethought I brought on my last visit, (i.e., none,) and found myself pacing in the wings twenty minutes before my appearance, trying to arrange my thoughts into an “inspirational and G-Rated message.” Luckily, I happened to glance down at the “FFA Briefing Packet,” recently handed to me by one of the organizers, and found some inspiration on page 4.
“The FFA currently faces an image and perception problem. The previous name of the organization, “Future Farmers of America,” lends itself to stereotyping by the public. The FFA faces a continuing battle to redefine itself against narrow perceptions of “agriculture,” “vocational” and “farmers.” The name “FFA” is now used instead of “Future Farmers of America.”

Incredible. Have we really become so disconnected from our food that farmers no longer wish to be called farmers? Apparently, yes. The FFA has determined that most Americans think of farmers like those actors in Colonial Williamsburg – smiling caricatures from Hee Haw and Green Acres, laboring quaintly in flannel and denim. From what I’ve seen, they’re right. Over and over I hear the same thing from farmers I’ve met on Dirty Jobs. Technical advances in modern agriculture now rival those of Silicon Valley, and today’s farms are more efficient than ever, but no one seems to have gotten the memo. No one seems to care.

The question is “why?” and fifteen minutes later I was on stage, trying to provide a sensible answer to an audience of 55,000 future farmers who preferred to be called something else. I talked about the power of labeling and the dangers of typecasting, from Hollywood to Iowa. I relied upon my own mistakes and misperceptions to make my points, (no shortage there,) and told some stories about the education I’ve received in the course of shooting Dirty Jobs. I don’t know that I was “inspirational” per se, but at the conclusion I was presented with some lovely parting gifts, and left the stage to thunderous applause. In short, I had a blast, and think the kids did as well.

Later that night though, I discovered that there had also been some grown-ups in attendance. Some very serious grown-ups who run the kinds of organizations that actually put the food on our plates. People like Chad Gregory. Chad’s a big shot with The United Egg Producers, and claimed to have enjoyed my comments immensely. He is also convinced that the PR challenges facing groups like The FFA are not only real, but critically relevant to anyone addicted to chewing and swallowing things.

Chad believes we have started down a slippery path that will forever change our nation’s food supply. He talks passionately about the need for people to get educated about the realities of feeding a growing population, and foresees a time when our country imports more food than it ships out. Chad says that without massive awareness and sweeping change, egg production in California will be all but eliminated by 2015, and that thanks to recent ballot initiatives, the process has already begun. He points to the confusion around the “free-range” issue, and the power of groups like The Humane Society, who have taken their agenda to a whole new level. According to Chad, one of their intended goals is now the elimination of all US animal-based agriculture.

Chad wasn’t alone. Walking around Indianapolis I had dozens of similar encounters with a variety of people, all deeply concerned about the future of food production in this country, and frustrated that the relevant issues have been framed by well-funded political organizations with very specific agendas. I listened to stories from agri-scientists about environmental groups fiercely opposed to biotechnical and chemical breakthroughs that would dramatically increase food production worldwide. I saw literature from PETA that likened beef production to “genocide.” And a young farmer named Travis told me about a $1,200 fine levied by OSHA, because the bottom rung on one of his ladders was bent.

As I spoke with various farmers that evening, I realized that I had asked the wrong question. “Why?” is too easy. Obviously, today’s farmers need a PR Campaign because they are beset by an army of angry acronyms, each determined to change modern agriculture in a way that better reflects their particular worldview. The better question is “How.” How is it that 300 million Americans – all addicted to eating – have become disconnected from the people who grow our food? What new priorities have captured our shared concern?

The answer depends entirely upon whom you ask. PETA has one response; The Sierra Club has another. The Humane Society might see it differently than The EPA, and Greenpeace has a different reply than OSHA. Fair enough; it’s a free country. But how did these organizations get so much power? Are their arguments really that compelling? Are their leaders really that charismatic? Are their members really that enlightened? Or has our prosperity created a toehold for ideas that would have simply died on the vine one or two generations ago?

Imagine The HSUS successfully closing down California egg production back in …1960. Or in the same year, imagine OSHA fining a family farm $1,200 for a bent ladder. Imagine telling hungry Americans decades ago that environmental policy would make it impossible to maximize food production. I’m not looking for a fight – really, I’m not. I understand that different things are important to different people, and I don’t begrudge anyone’s right to champion the issues that matter most to them. But what’s more important than eating? What’s more important than feeding a hungry planet, and supporting the people who grow our food?

On Dirty Jobs, I’m no expert, and I’m even less of one here. But I have a theory, and it goes like this – all jobs rely on one of two industries – mining and agriculture. Every tangible thing our society needs is either pulled from the ground, or grown from the ground. Without these fundamental industries there would be no jobs of any kind. There would be no economy. Civilization begins with miners and farmers, and polite society is only possible when skilled workers transform those raw materials into something useful or edible.

I started, because I think we’ve become disconnected from that basic premise. I think we’ve simply forgotten about the underlying industries upon which all else depends, and as a result, created for ourselves a vocational identity crisis. Our collective definition of a “good job” has evolved into something that no longer resembles Work, and that has detached us from a great many things, including our food, and the people who provide it.
Could this be the root cause of the FFA’s “perception problem?” Could our warped view of the modern farmer be just another symptom of our warped relationship with work in general? It’s just a theory, but how else can we explain a country that marginalizes and stereotypes the very people we depend on most? From what I’ve seen, most people like farmers. Most people like food. The problem is Work. We’ve spent decades trying to distance ourselves from traditional notions of Work. And who embodies Work more than The American Farmer?

If Chad’s right, U.S. animal agriculture is under siege, and we’re well on our way to getting our eggs from China and our beef from Brazil. Perhaps this would please The Humane Society. Perhaps PETA would like to see those items removed from menu’s altogether, and that’s fine. People often disagree about important matters, but without context, the bigger issue gets lost. This is our food supply we’re talking about – not the size of a chicken’s cage, or the resistance to chemically enhanced soil. We already rely on the world for our energy. Do we really want to rely on them for our food as well?

I auditioned the other day for the voiceover on a TV commercial about the American Farmer. (Yeah, I still audition.) I don’t recall the whole thing, but it started out like this – “Every year we demand more and more from our farmers. More food from less land. More food from less energy. More food from less labor. And every year our farmers deliver.”

I believe that to be a true statement. I also believe that as a country, we haven’t made it easy for them. Two percent of our population provides the rest of us with all the food we need, and we behave as though it’s our birthright. Like nothing we do can threaten the abundance. It seems to me that as a country, we could do a better job of supporting the people who feed us. And we could start by acknowledging the incredible challenges facing The American Farmer.

All I really wanted to do was congratulate The FFA for their good work, and thank them for inviting me back to Indianapolis. I spend a lot of time these days talking about the importance of getting dirty – mostly with white-collar workers who don’t really know what I’m getting at, which is fine. Preaching to the choir doesn’t do much but bore the choir, so I rarely take the opportunity to talk to groups who already “get it.”

However, there is something to be said for occasionally finding yourself in the company of like-minded people. And every so often, if you can get your thoughts organized in time, it’s fun to address the rafters and deliver a message that gets 50,000 enthusiastic future farmers to stand up and holler back with unbridled gusto.

Such were my last three days in Indianapolis. Good for the spirit, good for the ego, and far superior to crawling down a flaming chimney.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

- Mike

You know my love for farming and the FFA by now. It is my lifeblood. I read this morning in the February issue of Successful Farming or the Farm Journal, I forget which now about the debate over how we produce food, like we do now versus organic. Walmart organic sales have sky rocketed but is still a pittance of total food sales. How can we argue food production when one third of the world goes to bed with no food or still hungry? A billion more mouths to feed soon on top of that?

The real debate is the Future of Farming. Our sector is working hard to stay alive and meet these goals.

Ed Winkle