Sunday, May 2, 2010


Those predictions finally came true. It is sopping wet in southwest Ohio but worse elsewhere. I saw the floods in Tennessee with a fire truck on its side and cars on I-40 under water. It must have rained 10 inches around the Memphis area.

A consultant in Illinois came up with this NEXRAD tool I have been using to see rainfall around the area. Our farms and friends in the midwest had 2-4 inches in April, just about right. Now we have much more than that thanks to today and yesterday's rainfall.

So now a farmer wonders if it is better off in the bag, one neighbor has not started, or are we better off to have as much planted as we do? I guess we won't know the answer for a few weeks and maybe not til harvest.

Now you wonder how your fertilizer and herbicides and seed treatments are holding up. Are they still where you placed them to do their job? Again, we won't know for awhile.

We picked up supplies yesterday and drove over to our farm in Fayette County. I am glad those rolling hills are green from last fall's seedings. Not much erosion going on there!

Speaking of erosion, this just came out:

Soil Erosion Slows 40% In 25 Years

Soil erosion on cropland declined by more than 40% during the past 25 years, while more than one-third of all development of U.S. land occurred during the same period, according to Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.

The information was contained in the latest National Resource Inventory (NRI) for Non-Federal Lands, which was released at an event marking the 75th Anniversary of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

"The NRI results are significant because they provide a scientifically based snapshot of the nation's natural resources and the ability to track trends in natural resource use and condition," Merrigan says.

Key findings from the 2007 NRI include:
Total cropland erosion (sheet, rill and wind) declined by about 43%, from more than 3.06 billion tons per year in 1982 to about 1.72 billion tons per year in 2007. The reduction reflects NRCS's emphasis on working with producers and landowners to reduce erosion. Most of the soil erosion reductions occurred between 1987 and 1997.

Cropland acreage declined from 420 million acres in 1982 to 357 million acres in 2007, a 15% decrease. About half of this reduction is reflected in enrollments of environmental sensitive cropland in USDA's Conservation Reserve Program.

About 40 million acres of land were newly developed between 1982 and 2007, bringing the national total to about 111 million acres. More development occurred in the Southeast than in any other region. For the NRI, developed land includes rural transportation corridors such as roads and railroads, as well as urban and built-up areas which include residential, industrial, commercial and other land uses. The findings on development are important because development isolates tracts of former farmland, which degrades wildlife habitat and makes agricultural production inefficient.

There were 325 million acres of prime farmland in 2007, compared to 339 million acres in 1982. The acreage of prime farmland converted to other uses such as development during the 25-year period is greater than the combined area of Vermont and New Hampshire and almost as large as West Virginia.

The total area of developed land in all states, except Alaska and Hawaii, is approximately equal to the combined surface area of Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. Land that was newly developed between 1982 and 2007 covered an area slightly larger than Iowa. The largest increase in development was 10.7 million acres between 1992 and 1997.

Good job farmers and supporting agencies and companies! We farm for profit but this is icing on the cake for notill.

Right now, seedling and plant diseases will be the key to this year and you know those weeds will grow like crazy where there is no or not enough herbicide applied.

This is another interesting spring to contend with! The picture above is one I can't afford to let happen.

Ed Winkle