Saturday, July 31, 2010


Yesterday we judged the third day of the Clermont County Fair Flower Show. It took more time than the other days as the exhibits seemed to be more closely matched. The exhibits all looked good but you can see where the dry weather is setting in. Today I saw my first spider mites on the edge of soybean fields on Farmers Road.

We had quite a crowd watching as we got down to the Best of Show. The dahlias often win but yesterday there was a little too much damage from the drought on the foliage. We picked a baby's shoe full of a flower arrangement for Baby's First Steps or whatever they called that category. The theme categories are always interesting and the Midway them is shown in the big arrangements on the left of this picture.

Today I had to get a new padlock for the old barn and some rough service bulbs for the grain dump building. The Martinsville Mall didn't have any so Sable and I wondered over to the old Murphy Hardware store in Lynchburg managed by Charlie Spaeth and his daughter and grand daughter. Charlie used to run the only grocery store in town and knows Lynchburg as well as anyone.

Lynchburg has seen quite a demise over the past 50 years like most rural towns but a few good stores are holding on. I will have to go there more often as he said his business is off half from last year. The big box stores like Lowe's and WalMart has killed most of the mom and pop stores and I much prefer spending my money in the little stores.

They do have two good little diners in Lynchburg and we eat there once in awhile. Cantrell's First Stop killed off the good little Marathon station and has the only groceries in Lynchburg now. That's a similar story across the nation, no matter the town.

Tomorrow we go judge the Great Greene County Fair in Xenia. Xenia is famous for the tornado that almost destroyed it back in 1974 when I was a young teacher driving through Xenia to take an FFA member to the DP&L FFA Awards in Dayton. We made it but we were lucky to tell about it. Thirty something people didn't.

It's Xenia too, not Zenia. It is pronounced zenia like Xavier is pronounced zavier not X avier like lots of people do. Words that start with X really messes people up in English.

They had another tornado a few years back that just about destroyed the fairgrounds, too.

Such was the last day of July for us.

How was your day?

Ed Winkle

Friday, July 30, 2010


A farmer asked on AgTalk this week about GypSoil. He wondered if it was worth the money to try this product to improve his tough to manage black gumbo soil. The answer is gypsoil will help but what is the economic benefit?

My corn in the picture would benefit greatly from gypsoil, broadcast gypsum, pelleted gypsum, any kind of gypsum. All of these products are forms of calcium sulfate which occurs naturally in some formations of limestone or can be now be made synthetically by removing the sulfur from coal burning plant stacks using high calcium lime to scrub the stack walls.

"The benefits of gypsum use in agricultural production have been studied for many centuries. Recent research continues to substantiate earlier studies as well as find new benefits to gypsum use. Here is a summary of data in a concise format.

Benefits of gypsum include:

:1. Improving soil structure
2. Amend sodium affected soils
3. Improve soil infiltration
4. Decreases the swelling of clays
5. Offsets affects of aluminum toxicity in low pH soils
6. Helps curb phosphorus runoff from soils
7. Improves quality of several fruit and vegetable crops
8. Is an excellent source of plant available calcium and sulfur
9. Increases iron uptake by reducing the detrimental effects of bicarbonates
10. Serves to decrease the bulk density of soils
11. Useful tool in decreasing the negative effects of high magnesium in soils
12. Increases the efficiency of nitrogen applications
13. Increases the availability of potassium already present in the soil
14. Offsets ill effects of irrigation with poor quality water
15. Can serve as a tool to enhance iron, manganese and zinc availability
16. Aid to stop soil erosion
17. Decreases incidence of some diseases
18. This list could go on forever

Sounds like a miracle product, doesn't it? Ben Franklin painted words on the hills of Philadelphia with gypsum. The plants were so much more green where he applied the gypsum.

If I could get an affordable source I would apply a half ton per acre to all my land every year. It is that good. It increases water absorption in the soil that much.

What is affordable? That is a personal question. My budget would be $20 per acre. It might be worth $50 an acre but that is getting pricey in my budget.

You can't go to your dealer and buy it. The closest outlets here are probably Columbus, Ohio and eastern Indiana unless I am willing to pay a premium price for it. I could get it delivered next week from many sources if I am willing to pay double or triple the price at the source.

I am not willing to pay that at this time, perhaps some day I will. Everything I do today has been after years of seeing the effects of what I started. I just haven't started this one yet on a grand scale like liming or tiling or cover crops. It may be just as valuable or even more so.

That's the brief on gypsum. It works. Try some. Maybe you will want to build it into your cropping or gardening program.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Teachable Moment

Yesterday I had that teachable moment again. 42 French speaking farmers from Quebec visited our farm to learn more about no-till. As we walked down to the modified drill planter I whipped out LuAnn's Cybershot and took this picture.

Teachable moment. I showed them how the Martin system works on a drill or planter by tip toeing over the soil one trip and gently tucking the seed into crumbly soil that warms up quickly after the planting pass. It enables farmers to plant quicker than not no tilling and get back into the field quicker after a rain event. It really works well for us.

I explained how the Martin system was developed and how I almost quit no-tilling until I met Paul Reed on AgOnline. Paul and Keith Schlapkohl and many others are my mentors and I showed them my cell phone and how I could call any of 300 people for answers to my questions. One farmer quickly pulled out his wallet and asked, how much for your cell phone? We all had a good laugh with that one.

We talked much about conservation and nutrient balance. I shared my soil and tissue tests, my prize possessions I worked hard for because they were done right and really mean something to me. I stressed tp then to get the right soil test, follow it within your crop budget and spread a little of all the nutrients it says you need, not just the NPK we get in a fertilizer bag or mix. Follow it up with tissue tests as they are more accurate on what the plant got than the soil test says they need, especially on ratios and micro nutrients. Attention to calcium and secondary and mircro nutrients has made me a lot of money.

How do you explain what you have learned in 60 years in a 3 hour visit? You don't. You outline the major points, make bullet statements, answer questions, study your group while you are talking and make adjustments. That is the mastering of teaching in a nutshell.

Every classroom is different each day depending who is there and what mood they are in. These farmers paid to get on a bus and come to the states and learn and see how others do it so they can improve their own operations.

Speaking two different languages throws a real kink in the communication. Their leader, Odette Menard, did an excellent job interpreting. I would speak a bullet point, she would speak it in French and we would talk back and forth and fine tune the communication. I have done this in Europe and China so I had some experience in doing it.

I spoke of all our differences except for two things, we both grow soybeans and we both no-till. Right there we have much in common. So I focused on seed, treatments, biologicals, inoculants, pest control, harvesting and the like. The were very impressed with the nodulation on my crop and counted 60 pods on a 160,000 population.

A couple were pushing their calculators and showed me the number and it was so large I laughed and told them I would be very happy with half that many beans.

We talked about cover crops, we talked about double crops, we talked about tillage radishes, we talked about inoculants but it all centered around no-till farming. This is the ninth cash crop in this field in seven years and I have had some cover crops, too.

I am sure they learned new ideas and they gave me personal information and invited my wife and I up to see their crops and where they live. I hope we can reciprocate some day.

As they loaded up and were ready to pull away, the UPS truck pulled up and there was a new hat for each from NoTill Farmer Magazine thanks to my good friend Alice Musser. I said see, I told you I was well connected! They cheered and saluted Alice and waved goodbye going down the road.

Today they will get to see the work of my friend David Brandt in Carroll, Ohio. They had already visited our close friends the Dean's in Bryan, Ohio and we all share tips regularly and check up on each other.

July 28 was quite a day and a very teachable moment.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Free Breakfast For A Year!

"Ohio residents can register at to win one of two grand prizes of "Free Breakfast for a Year" at Bob Evans Restaurants. Visitors to the site will be guided through registration by an Ohio farmer, who will also explain how he or she produces safe, nutritious and affordable food. Consumers can register with each of seven farmers daily through the end of the program on Oct. 15.

"Ohio's farmers work hard every day to produce the food that feeds us," says David White, executive director for the Ohio Livestock Coalition. "Through this program, we hope Ohio consumers learn more about how the state's farmers provide safe, nutritious, affordable food, while caring for their animals, land, families and communities."In addition to guiding visitors through their registrations for "Free Breakfast for a Year," the website features beef, dairy, pork, lamb, soybean, egg, and turkey farmers from across the state sharing information about their farms and their families.

The site also features nutritious recipes and fun farm facts. "We take great pride in our company's heritage – founded by a farmer in southeastern Ohio – and we are proud to partner with Ohio's farmers to provide our customers with the opportunity to win 'Free Breakfast for a Year,'" says Mary Cusick, senior vice president of marketing, Bob Evans Farms. "Through this sweepstakes, we are helping our customers better understand where their food comes from and helping them meet the wonderful people who provide it – Ohio farmers."More information, complete rules and eligibility requirements for the sweepstakes can be found at"

How can you beat free breakfast for a year? That even beats my 50 cent breakfast so many of you nominated for my best blog! Kudo's to Bob Evan's Farms Restaurants for supporting this effort and Tim White and staff at Ohio Farmer for the great story and links.

Looks like we are headed to a local Bob Evan's for breakfast this weekend. Residents of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri can enter as this is Bob Evan's marketing area. You can meet a farm family in those states by clicking on that state on the entry form on the website.

Enter and learn more about farmers from those states!


Science Fair

Greg Vincent at Farm Journal interviewed a 7th grader about his science fair project. It was great. It sounded like an Ed Winkle story to me.

The farmboy entered the local science fair and wanted to do something on crops because his dad is a crop farmer. He decided to do it on corn or maize because his dad was always working with his corn. With side-dressing and weed killing corn requires a lot of attention before canopy to get those big ears at tassle time now.

His wise dad said why don't you do something with soybean inoculants instead? Something tells me he has heard the stories like mine where inoculants make money today, something I have been pushing since Leon Bird introduced me to the newer USDA strain patented by Dr. David Kykendall at Beltsville in the early 90's. Many farmers have went back to inoculating soybeans when for decades our land grant colleges said you don't need to inoculate soybeans if the field had soybeans in it before because of native rhizobia populations.

Dr. Dave was working with sugar beets when he discovered these advanced strains in the soil and started working with them and came up with the newer USDA strain. Thanks to Leon I got to meet Dr. Kuykendall and really got into inoculants. Grandpa had learned this in legumes as a farmer and the land grant system reinforced that idea when dad planted his first soybeans decades ago. It always paid on our farm so we did it.

HyMark started when the boys were in grade school and needed a good Supervised Agricultural Experience so we started HyMark Consulting in 1994 because I was consulting for a fee and scouting fields and my farmer friends in Warren County kept calling with questions when I moved from county agent back to high school classroom teaching in 94. The second boy is named Mark for the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. HyMark just stuck.

Matt and Mark helped me sell and deliver the products of Bird Hybrids in Tiffin, Ohio for extra money and the USDA strain inoculant was one of the products. When Mark needed a science fair project, soybean inoculants was an easy pick. In high school, the FFA came up with a new Emerging Technology SAE Proficiency and the science fair project was a natural fit. He won Ohio with it and became a National Finalist.

When you listen to the video, it reminds me of those days and my own science fair projects. The young man took his project to the finals and was awarded a $10,000 college scholarship! The neat part is at the end because he wants to go to Purdue University. I was in the same position in 1968 but I never won a scholarship there and in-state tuition was so much cheeaper at Ohio State.

So, this Buckeye never became a Hoosier, it just wasn't in the cards. It sounds a lot more plausible for the young man from Plymouth, Indiana in five more years.

My prize bean field points out the value of inoculants today. The first signs we posted on it was America's Best Soybean Inoculant which has raised a lot of eyebrows this summer. I got more tissue test results yesterday and the field treated with it is high in Nitrogen but the field where it and another new strain nicknamed R09 for Rhizobia 2009 is even higher in Nitrogen.

It all started with a science fair project decades ago.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I had my meeting with NRCS today for the Conservation Security Program. This is a relatively new program that encourages farmers and landowners to improve their land with no-till and other water and soil conservation practices.

The big stickler is getting your landlords to sign up for the five year program. That means you need a five year lease and 1-3 year leases are more common here. It is easier for the farmer to sign up who owns land.

I met all of the qualifications and made a goal to comply with the new EPA nozzle requirements for sprayers which I was going to do anyway. I want to keep every field green all winter and plant more cover crops as the seasons allow but didn't set that as a goal on paper. Two wet falls and it looks like you are not doing what you signed up to do.

Another big one is "are you using high efficiency electric motors?" Every one that I have replaced meets that requirement but a few old ones are still working. As they die, I will replace them with the new higher efficiency motors and fans and showed the agents that.

Channels or bodies of water in the farmland is another one and we walked to the creek on the new farm and the corn needed to be 30 feet from the edge of the creek. I wasn't positive on that one so I showed them and it was 66 feet from the edge of the creek thanks to the trees lining that creek. I need to plant alfalfa under the dripline of the border because it won't raise a crop anyway and I don't want to lose the trees anchoring the soil banks.

While we were looking we saw a lot of racoon and deer damage. The neighbors confirmed those critters have been active feeding on my corn. I would say we lost an acre of corn along the creek. That field corn must have tasted good in the roasting ear stage! We will leave a few rows of corn for them for winter against my desire but to keep the tree huggers happy. Most people have no idea how much damage wildlife do to fields.

I can check one more thing of my to do list and focus on the busload of Canadian farmers coming to visit tomorrow. We have the drill sitting out so we can discuss how to set up a drill or planter and explain how we use it to save soil and increase profits by notilling.

Should get interesting here tomorrow afternoon! They were impressed with my spatial rainfall data I get at and all of the farmers who have seen this site or my data are intrigued by it too. The data reflects my crop yields and how I manage my cropping system around rainfall events.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Rest

Yesterday we spent Sunday like you are supposed to. We took it easy and thanked the Lord. We spent the day more as a reflection of our hectic summer in this heat. It was a far cry from a few weeks ago when we shoveled out bins all day for shipment early Monday morning.

I went out every hour or so and moved the water hose from tree to tree. I am trying to keep our new apple trees alive and it is no easy job in the heat. Some years are easier to nurture new trees and this year was one of them until June.

I ought to fess up and show you the garden. We gave up on it. The weeds took it. I bush hogged the corn down yesterday after the coons and the weeds took their share. The green beans were pretty good but it got too hot for the cole crops. You had to be in your garden every spare moment this year when it didn't rain to have much of a garden. Since the first of June, you had to be there by dawn or you couldn't bear the heat.

I need to have it custom tilled or rent a big tiller, tear it up and plant some fall garden and the rest to tillage radishes to get ready for next year. I don't see getting that done in the next two weeks as every day is planned.

Mike Row of Dirtiest Jobs is speaking at the FFA Convention again this October. He has a new piece out on farmers and the HSUS repercussions and it is pretty good. It is several minutes long but a good listen. Basically, don't complain with your mouth full and the disparity between real labor jobs and the thinking, office type jobs, neither of which are there enough of in this country. Comments always appreciated and most of you never leave any which is discouraging to me. A handful of people keep me going, thank you guys.

Right now I have to go over my horticulture pictures and get ready to judge Clermont County in a few hours and dig into my fertilizer and spray records for tomorrow. Wednesday 42 farmers are showing up from Quebec to learn about our notill methods. Thankfully our fields look good enough to show and the farmstead is decent after getting ready for the Quilt Barn tour.

Did you see Undercover Boss last night? Rick Arquilla, the CEO of RotoRooter played Joe the Plumber undercover. It was quite touching. We need more stories like that in America!

Yesterday LuAnn put the shock color on Sable and was going to zap her when she chases my red truck down the road and she just sat there and never moved a muscle. Now tell me who is in control of that situation? That is a true LOL. The dog won!


Sunday, July 25, 2010


I left early yesterday to judge the crops and produce at the Clark County Fair. I knew it was going to be miserable so I wanted to be there when they were ready for me. Of course they weren't all ready to judge on time so it wore on into the hot afternoon.

The hour or so trip was a time to listen to the radio and think. I heard a preacher talk about human needs and he said the basic human need was the need to be loved.

I started thinking about all the people we have worked with this summer and why some have such unusual and unapproachable behavior. Some time in their life they really got hurt when they needed to be loved and formed this wound with bad behavior. They started dishing out what they had received and it became their habit and personality. Now these people get even less of their need because of their response to the lack of receiving their need. It made perfect sense.

For some it leads to divorce, poor parenting, even crimes that caused them time in the slammer. What a sad story some people have and it seems we run across them dailey in our lines of work and our desire to help those who seem to be crying out for help. It's kind of like learning to improve your ways of farming. I can't help you learn to change until you really want to learn and improve.

The crops looked good all the way up. I didn't see many seed company signs, though. I used to see a lot more. I saw a few Pioneer signs and a couple of Channel seed signs and one DeKalb and one Asgrow soybean sign. Monsanto didn't have many signs out, I guess they don't need to now with 85% or whatever portion of the US seed market they reportedly have.

I don't have any of the majors planted. Their company philosophy doesn't work for me so I am more comfortable working with the little guys. It's always been that way for me I guess because I am a little guy too. So I let the little guys put sings in my fields this year, normally I don't mess with it in recent years.

The crop shows were very good. Too many vegetables, though. Did you ever try to sort out 30 plates of green beans, tomatoes, or bell peppers when it is too hot to be comfortable? It is hard enough when the conditions are decent.

The church was full at five. Was that because it was the coolest place in town? The scripture was based on Sodm and Gomorrha where only Lot and his daughters were spared.

I hope we aren't coming to that for the lack of the most basic human need.


Saturday, July 24, 2010


It is so warm it is hard to find a cool spot. We found one last night at a family get together at Caesar Creek Park. It was just cool enough to eat and not sweat.

These warm nights are affecting our crops, too. Some of my corn has short ears in a long shuck and others have missing spots on the cob to stress. It isn't the bumper crop we had last year but some people have a pretty good crop.

"High night temperatures (in the 70s or 80s) can result in wasteful respiration and a lower net amount of dry matter accumulation in plants. The rate of respiration of plants increases rapidly as the temperature increases, approximately doubling for each 13 degree F increase. With high night temperatures more of the sugars produced by photosynthesis during the day are lost; less is available to fill developing kernels, thereby lowering potential grain yield. High night time temperatures result in faster heat unit (GDD) accumulation that can lead to earlier corn maturation, whereas cool night temperatures result in slower GDD accumulation that can lengthen grain filling and promote greater dry matter accumulation and grain yields.

Past research at the University of Illinois indicates that corn grown at night temperatures in the mid-60s outyields corn grown at temperatures in the mid-80s. Corn yields are often higher with irrigation in western states, which have low humidity and limited rainfall. While these areas are characterized by hot sunny days, night temperatures are often cooler than in the Eastern Corn Belt. Low night temperatures during grain fill have been associated with some of Ohio’s highest corn yields in past years. Last year, when the highest corn average yield to date were achieved, 174 bu/A, Ohio experienced one of its coolest Julys on record. The cool night temperatures may have reduced respiration losses during early grain fill and lengthened the rain fill period."

That's what Pete Thomison had to say this week in the CORN Newsletter. I do agree. I even saw planes applying fungicide to corn and soybeans east of here a week ago trying to reduce the ethylene gas production or dark respiration of crops last week. Many of us say this is a fungicide year which means the conditions are right to make foliar fungicides work. Time will tell but I would say they didn't waste their money. What their return on investment is will be revealed when the crop is harvested.

I started a real fire storm on a few threads I posted or emailed this week. If you want to see one of them, take 30 minutes to see what a good Australian farmer said at a meeting some time ago about controlled traffic and tramlines. I think the same applies to all soil management regardless of rainfall.

I can show you smaller crops and more weeds in every track in the fields.

I put the old Bird Hybrid sign up for prosterity. Leon merged with Denzler Hybrids in Indiana and now the company is First Choice Seeds. This hybrid was B-58 and now is FC 58. I hope and think I banked on the right hybrid this year but the combine will also reveal that, too.


Friday, July 23, 2010


Children are our most important crop on the farm. They are more important than anything else and we learned that in Sunday School. This piece caught my eye and I want to share it with you and all my neighbors and friends as I have to do this myself. Lord forbid we ever let a child get hurt in our vocation.

"STILLWATER, Okla. – Summer break is officially here and for many farm families across Oklahoma this is a busy time of the year. Parents need to take precautions to prevent their children from getting hurt on the farm.

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 300 people under the age of 19 die and approximately 24,000 people are seriously hurt on the nation’s farms each year.

Debbie Richardson, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension parenting assistant specialist, said while parents can teach children about farm safety, they also need to provide a safe environment.

“Parents are anxious for their children to start helping around the farm,” Richardson said. “Young children’s ability to reason and use logic is immature and they can’t apply what is learned in one situation to another situation. They are often overconfident and will do things beyond their abilities to imitate or please adults.”

Although it is not completely possible to child-proof a farm, parents should strive to make it as safe as possible.

Richardson said the key to a child’s health and well being is for parents to provide appropriate supervision.

“Toddlers should never be left alone and must be supervised at all times,” she said. “Even six-year-old children should be monitored from a close distance and checked on every 10 to 15 minutes.”

The NSC’s Agricultural Division encourages parents to not allow children to roam freely on the farm and design a safe play area near the house and away from work activities.

They also recommend the following tips to injury prevention on the farm:

Inspect your farm on a regular basis for hazards that can injure children wondering on the farm. Correct these hazards immediately.

Children who are physically able to be involved in farm work should be assigned age-appropriate tasks and continually trained to perform them. They should also be constantly supervised.
Equip all barns, farm shops, chemical storage areas and livestock pens with latches that can be locked or secured so children cannot enter.

Always turn off equipment, lower hydraulics and remove the key before leaving equipment unattended.

Do not expose children to hazards. Never carry them on tractors and equipment or invite them into the farm shop, livestock barns, grain bins, etc. We all bend this one but I think we use common sense when we do. Each place is a time for education.

“It’s also important to remember prevention includes preparation. Let your children know what to do in case of an emergency,” Richardson said. “The best safeguard against farm injuries is for parents to understand their children’s development and provide a safe place for them.”
By the grace of God none of us got hurt on the farm. Thanks mom and dad. Now stay on me so I make sure I do everything in my power to prevent this myself and help you do the same thing.
Accidents happen but many are easily preventable.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


There are no jobs. Well, there are few jobs. There are a lot of jobs but they are all taken. New hires are rare. There is some part time work out there but that reminds me of the weed crews in Arkansas.

Bernanke praised farmers yesterday because commodities are selling and farmers are doing everything in their power to produce them. The ag economy is pretty decent compared to many others. Agriculture is the one bright spot in our country right now as it always is but the light is more on us right now.

Vilsack and Strickland were at a neighbor's farm Tuesday and E. Gordon Gee was at another's yesterday. The big boys are coming to the farm, watch out.

The job market is hard on the young people coming out of college and high school. It is hard on those who lost their job or those of us who are able to draw our pittance of retirement and still are able to work and everyone can always use a little extra money.

There are a rare few like my school superintendent friends who are drawing $100,000 a year in their retirement because they got their education, fought their way up the ranks and took the risk of running a school. I guess that is similar to risk of running a farm but the grass is always greener on the other side.

The New York Times (7/21, Chan, 1.09M) reports that according to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, "the unemployment rate in the United States is likely to remain well above 7 percent through the end of 2012 and the duration of President Obama's current term, according to the Federal Reserve." In his "semiannual monetary policy report to Congress," Bernanke said that "it would take 'a significant amount of time' to restore the 8.5 million jobs lost in the United States in 2008 and 2009, and warned that 'the economic outlook remains unusually uncertain.'"

The Los Angeles Times (7/22, Lee, Hamilton, 776K) quotes Bernanke as saying, "This is the worst labor market, the worst episode, since the Great Depression. ... Not only for the sake of the unemployed and for the short-term strength of the economy but also for a long-term viability in international competitiveness, I think we need to be very seriously concerned." The Times notes, however, that "though Bernanke painted a bleak picture for the millions of jobless workers, he said the US economy was continuing to recover at a moderate pace."

AFP (7/22, Beatty) reports that the comments "kicked off two days of hearings in Congress, which is deeply divided over how to deal with high unemployment and a stuttering recovery." The Wall Street Journal (7/22, Reddy, 2.08M) runs a similar story under the headline "Bernanke Prepared, But Reluctant, To Act On Economy."
What do you think about jobs? I am thinking I can't even get all my work done and I have hired more help the last few years than I have in my whole life.
Like life, it's a delicate balance between prosperity and poverty. At least we have our life. The doctors took the breathing tube out of Gary Reece yesterday so he will soon be with his maker. What a life story he has. Thanks for praying for him.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


One friend threw at curve ball at me yesterday. He said Ed, you missed a big one around here and across the country. How about the weeds that hide in forage crops? They get chopped and the farmer doesn't see the weed again.

Many farmers at Respect the Rotation talked about their cattle operations and forages but no one connected the dot between forage weeds and their contribution to resistance.

We have a few hay fields around here and a few pastures and they are a haven for weeds, especially perennial weeds but also annuals and bi annuals. There is a source and a seed bank right there.

In areas where dairy is big or lots of corn and other crops are chopped, he is right. The weeds get chopped with the crop and hopefully put right back to another crop. You never notice the weeds. All of the resistant weeds hide very nicely in these forage crops. They go to seed before harvest and the seed bank is replenished without much notice by the farmer.

Pastures are a different problem. They get overgrazed then the weeds outgrow the pasture. Most pastures get mowed once here for iron weed and other weeds. The Hefty boys at Ag PhD talk about pasture weed management more than anyone I know of and they make a great point.

The point is weeds grow everywhere. They get attention only when they get noticed. Think of all the areas that don't get noticed. It is a huge amount of land in this country. We need to address that.

Monday was such a good day I knew Tuesday couldn't equal it. It didn't. A major fitting broke on the sprayer, we broke a belt on the farm mower and you can't read the part number. You take it to the parts store to try and match it up or go to Case IH and pay double for the belt you know they have, hopefully in stock. A landlord decided to make a new waterway through my double crop soybeans without asking and tore up another quarter acre of beans or more. It just wasn't a good day.

I settled up with a neighbor farmer who trucks a lot of grain for us and it cost me $3000 to haul 30,000 bu of grain 50 miles round trip. LuAnn and I thought that was pretty good, we can't own our own for that.

It turns out his daughter married a Kiwi she met in Cincinnati in Seminary school and she lives in Christchurch where we were in February. Hugh is a no tiller like me and he and his wife are going down under for 3 weeks around Christmas. I said you have to drive down the Canterbury Plains and meet AJ Lill at Norwest Seeds and get the tour we got.

That's it for today. Don't take those weeds for granted, the sneezin' season is almost here in Ohio. Ruminate on this one for awhile.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lessons Learned

Yesterday was quite a blend of farming to social life. The weather was favorable so Sable and I headed towards Dayton to inspect fields for seed.

Take this field for example, it is off color and has dead spots. What happened?

Take the Gulf oil spill, what will we learn?

Where I am today is after a lifetime of successes and failures. Did I learn my lesson? I just wrote a large email to a friend who is struggling with his notill yields. It fits perfectly with this picture, the oil spill and learning your lesson.

First of all, this field obviously has drainage problems. Every field that received too much water too fast has spots like this and the whole field may be "off color." I wouldn't trade any of my fields for this one. Drainage is expensive but they say you pay for drainage whether you implement improvements or not. Lesson learned. I have more work to do.

Second, I know after walking thise field for years that this field is not fertilized properly. I know how to improve the stand, the color, the yield and the resulting net profit or loss. That starts with a good soil test using the proper method and backing it up with a tissue test. This field is prime for tissue testing but I can tell you it is going to low in lots of things.

Third, it is not inoculated. I never plant a legume without the best strain of rhizobia bacteria I can find. I even add beneficial soil fungi to the seed to improve its chances of healthy growth. That field isn't healthy or happy.

Fourth, it is planted late. That is directly related to problem one, the lack of internal soil drainage. Here we use surface AND subsurface drainage and proper soil amendments make those improvements work even better.

In defense of the field, the weeds are controlled. It is not a healthy environment for anything to grow. My number one problem is weeds and you can see why. This field needs a lot of healthy competition!

I got to see old friends I haven't seen in awhile. I caught one in his shop, one in his barn and sat down beside the third at the Cincinnati Red's game. We were sweating to the music in Great American Ballpark when a Washington National hits a foul ball right at us in the third deck and the next thing I know, LuAnn has the ball in her hand! We were stunned.

Every day is chance to work and play and learn. That has always been my mission.

Yesterday was no exception.

Lesson Learned!

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 19, 2010


I'm mad. Another sick bias in this country was brought up on AgTalk yesterday. It seems some academia types think people like me and ALL MY FRIENDS aren't good enough for them to study, to lead or get this country out of this mess we are in.

Read this blog and tell me I am wrong.

"In Defense of the Future Farmers of America
Posted on July 14th, 2010 Uncategorized, freedom of association 9 Comments and 15 Reactions

I have a skeleton in my closet. Two decades ago I did something that could have threatened my college education and all that has followed. In a moment of youthful indiscretion, I associated with a group - even attaining a high ranking leadership position — that, although I did not appreciate it at the time, placed my future at risk. By the grace of God, I overcame this past and, against all odds, managed to be accepted at a top tier university and law school. My skeleton wears blue corduroy. I was the 1992-1993 State President of the Alabama Future Farmers of America.

I learned today that my leadership of a 23,000 student organization with a quarter million dollar budget, particularly when coupled with a similarly ill-considered officer position in 4-H, made it sixty percent less likely that I would be admitted to a top university. Over at Minding the Campus, Russell Nieli reports on a recent study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and his colleague Alexandria Radford of a number of highly selective public and private universities that demonstrates that while these schools aggressively pursue racial diversity – particularly as to African American students – they appear to have little interest in socio-economic, ideological, and other forms of diversity. In fact, the study revealed that poorer white students, controlling for SAT scores and other factors, were three times less likely to be admitted than more affluent white students. But poverty is only one strike against Caucasian students that is exascerbated by their leadership in the wrong kinds of groups.

Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. “Being an officer or winning awards” for such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and Radford, “has a significantly negative association with admission outcomes at highly selective institutions.” Excelling in these activities “is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission.”

The clear implication of this study is that top university admissions officers view participants in these groups – and particularly those who excel in them — as ill-fitting for their student bodies and their perspectives as unworthy of representation on campus. I dissent. With full disclosure of my pro-FFA bias, with respect to preparing students for life in any career path they may choose, the FFA is the corn gold standard. There are over half a million members in the FFA. Every FFA member is encouraged to develop for themselves a plan to serve their community and earn and invest money in an agriculture related project (for example, raising and selling your own vegetables). How can universities view this kind of entrepreneurship by middle and high school students in a negative light? Unless of course such capitalistic individualism is to be discouraged. My involvement in the FFA was primarily in public speaking and quartet singing. I didn’t excel in FFA public speaking (in retrospect my inclusion of a Boyz2Men soundtrack in my retiring address was not a great choice), but it did break my fear of speaking in front of crowds. And from my quartet singing experience I went on to co-found a UVA Christian a capella singing group that still serves the University today. And my lesson from livestock and land judging (and from showing a sheep at the state fair and having it escape my grasp – resulting in the need to tackle a prize sheep in front of 1,000 spectators) was a profound sense of humility.

These kinds of experiences should make an otherwise qualified student even more appealing to a university in search of a truly representative and diverse student population, not less. The FFA has produced such notable alumni as Jimmy Carter, Bo Jackson, Senator Sam Brownback (a former national vice-president) and numerous other members of Congress and cabinet secretaries, Taylor Swift, Don Henley (yes, that Don Henley – of the Eagles), Jim Davis (creator of Garfield), columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, and Napoleon Dynamite (actually, its writer/director Jared Hess). And yet, university admissions officers evidently view FFA involvement as an indicator of rubeness. I will concede that the blue corduroy FFA jacket (of which I own 3) is not particularly fashionable. But even the act of wearing the FFA official dress builds self assuredness (you have to be self assured when no when else around you will assure you that this is acceptable teenage clothing).

In my experience, FFA members (and this is largely true of 4-H and ROTC as well) value faith, hard work (physical labor included), and self sufficiency – values common to most Americans. Also, in my experience, these “conservative” values are in short supply on most campuses. The Espenshade/Radford study is a telling illustration of the mindset of university administrators, their concept of “diversity,” and a cultural bias that causes them to see the vast majority of America, the “bitter clingers,” as people in need of reforming and not a unique and valuable perspective on life that would benefit their universities."

The writer sounds like me. I am glad he posted this blog. Share this with anyone who needs shook up. We need a lot of shaking up in this country and Father Corapi and Dr. Stephen Powells and a host of others reminded me this week.

Way to go, Casey Mattox.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean really led the markets this week with the help of Mr. Wheat and Mr. Corn. Or maybe it is the other way around. The markets closed strong this week after a weak Friday close and have added a whole new look at 09, 10 and 11 year markets. Lots of grain bins got cleaned out last week but some folks have a few to go! The market got rewarded with lots of 2010 sales and some even got started on 2011. Farmers like me are sitting here and wondering what the heck?

I squeezed in a tour of the Delta this week with Bayer Crop Science and Mr. Bean. Mr. Bean is a nice young guy who was sweating like the rest of us in that picture. It would have been sweet to have the grandkids in hand when he got off the bus ready to start loading onto the Mississippi Queen for a river tour and dinner.

That wasn't fair to us or Father Corapi yesterday as we had to switch gears from dealing with a very unusual summer to dealing with a very unusual time for religious and non-religious alike with all the problems we have created as individuals and as a society. Father never let us down as he spoke on the social standing of the church in these wild times we live in. He had plenty of material to work with!

The seventh commandment means a whole lot more than not killing your brother Cain though he raises cane with you. One of the Respect the Rotation breakouts had us making absurd statements like "I would like to kill anyone who destroys my crop potential like not using a pre-emergence herbicide on theirs." The farmers who used glyphosate alone on RR crops have increased weed pressure on that wonderful herbicide to the point it doesn't work right anymore. Then we had to build statements that would encouragement people not to do the wrong and easy thing.

It was a good week. It was a very hot week across the nation but still a good week. As you can see I have and we all have a lot to think about today, from business to personal and from societal to spirtual.

It's a good time to take stock of what we have and what has happened to get where we are as we plan our day, week, month and future.

How does your plan look?

Ed Winkle

Saturday, July 17, 2010


The green weeds some of you have noticed in my pictures is resistant marestail. It is resistant to about everything but cold hard steel and we can't till those erodible hills so we will have to go another route.

I missed two days due to my trip to the Delta to see the following first hand.

"Resistant pigweed ‘blowing up’ in Mid-South
Jul 30, 2008 9:40 AM, By David BennettFarm Press Editorial Staff
For years, weed scientists in the South have warned that using a sole herbicide in Roundup Ready cropping systems would inevitably lead to a resistant weed boom. It was preordained by nature, they insisted. And, as more weeds were selected out for resistance, the scientists were proven correct.
Having developed an abundance of resistant pigweed and resulting problems, Georgia was the resistance trip-wire. But it turns out Georgia doesn’t have that much of a head start on the Mid-South. The increasingly common sight of chopping crews hoeing their way across Mid-South fields is testament to that.
Most years, Larry Steckel gets three to five calls on glyphosate failures. Earlier this summer, the veteran University of Tennessee row crop weed specialist was getting five per day.
“Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is blowing up, mainly in cotton and soybeans. Resistance was confirmed in three counties last year. We’re up to at least 10 counties now — all on the west side of the state.”
Tennessee’s Mississippi River counties were hit first. Now, the problem is moving inland with Crockett, Gibson and Carroll counties home to the resistant weeds.
Much of the resistance is being seen in scattered plants or, more typically, areas the size of a couple of pickup trucks. Pigweeds in such areas have been sprayed two or three times with Roundup and “aren’t even bothered.”
Does Steckel have a handle on the tolerance/resistance levels?
“That’s a huge concern. In the past, when you applied 22 ounces of Roundup WeatherMax to a resistant pigweed, it’d at least cause symptoms. Now, in some cases, we can spray 152 ounces and not see any symptoms.”
The rapid spread of the resistance has “absolutely shocked” Steckel. “It’s hard to believe how quickly and strong the resistance has become and spread.”
Having been an Arkansas Extension weed specialist for years, Ken Smith thought he’d “quit being surprised at what weeds are capable of. But, let me tell you, these resistant pigweeds are so much worse than we thought they’d be.”
(Editor’s note: for more on Smith’s resistance studies, see
And it isn’t as if growers aren’t doing anything to slow down resistance. Some producers “have done everything right and still aren’t able to manage these pigweeds,” says Smith.
“At this point, I suspect we won’t be able to harvest some fields. Other fields have pigweed-infested areas that will be left alone during harvest. Some cotton fields are severely infested. Combines will run through pigweeds better than a picker. Pigweeds and cotton pickers don’t mix well.”
Recently, Smith was in a Marianna, Ark., soybean field. “The grower had used only Roundup and probably got 30 to 40 percent control. Now, about 60 percent of the pigweeds in that field just kind of giggle at glyphosate.”
With resistance issues on the front burner, in mid-July growers and consultants traveled to central Arkansas’ Newport Research Station for a plot tour.
“The main reason I’m (conducting plot work here) is because this place is a pigweed-infested hell,” said Bob Scott, Arkansas Extension weed specialist, to the crowd. “It’s a carpet of Palmer amaranth where we work plots.”
The plots contain very few Touchdown or Roundup treatments.
“If we have a theme it’s ‘pigweed control without glyphosate.’ The reason for that is I’m up to about 12 or 14 fields that I’ve personally been called on where one or two applications of Roundup PowerMax or Touchdown have failed to kill pigweeds.”
Such incidents are well past the point of novelty, said Scott.
“Glyphosate-resistant pigweed is here in the state in a big way. (A chemical company representative) told me he knows of 40 to 50 fields that have been retreated with full rates of Flexstar following the failure of Roundup to kill pigweeds. Those fields are all over the state, not in one area.”
In the plots, viewed in a rain, Scott showed where a shot of Flexstar was applied to 8-inch pigweed.
“It was about 60 (percent control) and now is a zero — they just re-grew. It burned the tops out of the pigweeds and messed them up pretty well. They just turned around and came back.”
Flexstar is an “excellent pigweed material” if the plants are only several inches tall. “All these pigweeds we’re missing with two shots of Roundup PowerMax are being followed with Flexstar, largely because there’s no other choice. There’s nothing else to recommend other than a hoe.”
Also on the tour: several plots highlighting LibertyLink and Ignite.
“The main thing to check in the plots is that Ignite isn’t glyphosate. It is a replacement technology but it can’t be used the same way Roundup is used. You can’t wait to spray Ignite on larger pigweeds. They must be sprayed when they’re small. You can see that in the plots.
“That can be a challenge for growers — especially if you walk a lot of acres. There isn’t as much of a grace period. We’re heading back to 1996 when weeds had to be sprayed” when very small.
Observers also checked residual options in the plots — either conventional or LibertyLink.
“Valor and Prefix, two relatively new products, look very good on pigweeds. Using pre-emerge (products), there are some things we haven’t done and there are probably some younger farmers/consultants that may not remember having to use some of the residuals. If you aren’t familiar enough with them, get educated.”
Despite screening many samples, “we still haven’t confirmed any resistance to Ricestar or Clincher. Many things can make those chemicals not work properly — drought, weed size, rate.”
Scott and colleagues have also screened barnyardgrass for ALS resistance to Newpath. That’s a major concern, “but, so far, those have all proven negative. Currently, some barnyardgrass is being screened for glyphosate resistance. We’ve done the same before, but the grass has been susceptible. However, suspicious samples keep rolling in — we got some today.”
Steckel is currently looking at many tank-mix options with Roundup to control glyphosate-resistant pigweeds.
“In soybeans, Flexstar does a good job. If we catch them early enough — say 6 inches, or less — control will be close to 90 percent. Resource mixed with Roundup provides about 80 percent control. Blazer gives about 85 percent control.
“We also tried ALS inhibitors like Classic, Harmony and Pursuit. Those tend to provide a homerun or a strikeout. Some of these weeds are also ALS resistant, evidently.”
In Arkansas, glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is now widespread. Smith suspects flooding is a major cause.
“We were looking at the map where most of the resistance has shown up. I’m not suggesting this problem is being carried around exclusively by water. But it sure appears that the worst resistance populations are following the rivers. It would be interesting to do some sampling to see how many seed are in the rivers.
“With all the flooding we had this year, though, I’ve been apprehensive about seed traveling. Well, I’m afraid this resistance problem is about to get much worse.”
Steckel agrees. “After walking so many of these problem fields, I’m fairly confident much of this problem was spread through flooding. That isn’t the case everywhere but it certainly is in the river counties where the problem is most widespread.
“You can kind of follow the drift line to the problem — where high water reached. And growers who have never had this problem, after the flooding, suddenly have resistant pigweeds.”
Cropping scouts have done “great work” keeping growers updated on resistance issues, says Steckel. “They’ve done yeoman’s work. Several of them have told me that of the fields they walk, 50 to 70 percent have pigweed escapes.”
This cropping year has been tough so far, says Smith. “It’s been almost impossible to get all the herbicide applications out on time. So, I’m not sure how aware growers are about this resistance weed explosion. By harvest everyone will, though. By then, the magnitude of this will hit home.”
Another sign the resistance problem is growing: Smith has been asked repeatedly to provide contact information for chopping crews. “Growers want every chopping crew they can hire. But finding them is tough. Honestly, though, some of these fields I’m seeing are so overwhelmed with pigweeds even a chopping crew wouldn’t be enough. After you’ve sprayed a field three times with Roundup and still have a pigweed every square foot, chopping crews aren’t the answer.”
Steckel says he’s only seen a couple of fields that are “total train wrecks. One in Shelby County looked very similar to the hard-hit fields in Georgia. That field was sprayed three times with a 22-ounce rate of WeatherMax and had little success. They’ll try and salvage that field but it’ll be very difficult. Next year, I’m afraid there will be more fields like that.”
Chopping crews are also out in Tennessee.
“And in some areas, cotton farmers have sacrificed some of their crops. I know of a farmer with a large resistant area — maybe 100 yards long and 30 yards wide — and he applied Gramoxone and Caparol and took it all out.
“One of the biggest concerns with this is, quite frankly, it could run us out of cotton. In soybeans, at least we have some options. In cotton those aren’t there — once pigweed is up, it’s safe.
“That’s my greatest fear: losing cotton. Between commodity prices, plant bug numbers appearing to pick up and this resistant-Palmer amaranth explosion, cotton is an increasingly tough sell.
Of course, I’ve been checking with a lot of my counterparts in Georgia and North Carolina about this. They’re putting a pre down and, where it’s activated with water, it provides pretty good success. But in Tennessee we don’t have that much irrigation. It’s scary to think the pre activation is dependent on a timely rain.”
Those still able to control pigweeds with Roundup need to be extremely careful about being clean at harvest, says Smith.
“They don’t need one pigweed go to seed. There’s enough resistant pollen floating around in the state now to provide resistance to (progeny).”

This is a serious problem, friends. This is serious here, there and around the world. Dr. Powells at the University of Australia said we are going to lose the best herbicide ever found if we don't do something. That is glyphosate, better known as Round Up herbicide. He likens its discovery to penecillin, something every found every few hundred years.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pray for Gary Please

Intensive Care - Prayers Needed
Posted 29 minutes ago

Last night, Gary Reece was placed in intensive care at Christ Hospital. He is currently unable to breathe on his own and is now using a ventilator to survive. Doctors are mystified at his condition and unsure of what to do. They are awaiting test results to see if anything can be determined.

Please continue to pray for Gary's condition, as it is extremely grave. In addition, Gary's mother, who resides with them, is also in Christ Hospital suffering from chest pains. Of utmost importance are urgent prayers for Rita, as the stress of the situation is overwhelming.

Gary's favorite bible verse: 2Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Do a search on Gary Reece and learn of his miraculous story, sad, but there but the Grace of God goes you and I.




Saturday we are going to listen to The Truth. The Truth will truly set you free.

A few years ago I started listening to Father John Corapi on www.sacredheartradio. I had sat through so many Catholic Masses I wanted to find out what they were all about.

Every morning at 10 AM I would tune in 740 AM driving my pickup truck around while doing my various errands and chores. The more I listened the more I wanted to hear.

I would even plan stops so I could listen the whole hour. Now I have listened so long I remember the recording as soon as he starts talking. Once in awhile they will throw in one I haven’t heard but not many.

LuAnn got me tickets to listen to him two years ago and we saw him talk, teach and preach all day in Buffalo ending with Mass with over 10,000 people. You could have heard a pin drop.

That is the way it is when Father John speaks until he gets this grin on his face and shares one of his funny stories. I saw a commercial on his visit to Xavier’s Cintas Center this Saturday on TV and there it showed, Drug Addict Turned Priest. It was kind of shocking but it was true.

He made millions in real estate in California and lost it all, hit the bottom of the gutter and crawled out only due to the Grace of God. His Catholic upbringing from his parents to his grandparents saved him when he asked Mother Mary to intercede for him.

He has saved thousands now himself with God’s Help. He has every degree known in the church and knows Doctrine inside out. His greatest gift is he can put it in layman’s terms so you and I can understand and share it with others.

Like he says, it isn’t Rocket Science, it is truth right there in front of us. We can listen to truth or the father of lies too many people listen to. I know of that catbird the devil, he can lure you right in and make you think it’s right.

You ought to listen and see if you hear the truth I hear. I would be interested in your reaction. Give it some time, there is a lot to learn. Many of us who know God only now the Holy Bible, we don’t know Sacred Tradition. They both make the truth easier to understand.

You can listen online or on CD, DVD, EWTN TV or book or audio tape. I sound like one of the commercials.

In these times that bind, the truth could set you free.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


"Three weeks ago, the school system in Alexandria, Va., announced that 80% of the students who were about to graduate from T.C. Williams High School would be going on to college. That's an impressive statistic for a school that is 79% minority, with more than half its kids on a free or reduced-cost lunch program. But when one looks at just what "going on to college" means nowadays — and what it will mean a couple of years from now — we might do well to restrain our applause."

Is college overrated? Personally, I don't think so. It opened doors for its completers. I use Farm Management 410 I took in 1970 every single day. The problem is every decent parent and teacher want more children to set it as a goal when the child isn't sure if that is what they want to do or not.

I think the key here is building a thirst in a child to strive for what they really enjoy doing. I have always said the hardest thing for me as a parent, teacher and school board member was helping children find their way in life. Three things make me happy, spiritual, career, and spouse. Any one of those choices can make you or break you. For those who find all three, you see people that life just seems a breeze for. This was recently discussed in Women in Agriculture in a thread called Perfect Lives.

The way boys and girls mature and learn has always been a challenge. Too often I think we force children to do what we did at a time they are not ready or maybe they are that much different from us. Just think how hard it is to find that right thing at the right time in the life of someone else you care about and guide them and nurture them through that process.

LuAnn and I work with a lot of good people who are stuck financially, legally, emotionally and every other kind of problem at a spot that limits their ability. Does it all come down to good parenting and helping a child find what they are best at and happy with? So many many people, maybe all of us are limited by past choices and trying to fulfill the obligations we created for ourselves.

We finished cleaning out my 2009 soybean crop out of the bin yesterday. LuAnn found 4 young men from Second Chance who really need that second chance. They earned a little cash and met people and industry they have never worked with. It turned out really well and just involved a few hours of their life. I could see where there choices had put them in a place they don't really want to be in and I think they saw how I had a seemingly better way of life doing what I am doing.

I don't think any of them ever wanted to hit the books hard enough to do what I do yet their lack of education has left them in a spot where they need assistance. I don't think college would have been the best choice for them but now we live in an information age where education is valued at a premium.

Higher education is not the answer for every one. I don't think every school needs an 80% acceptance rate into college though it is admirable. Has our country lost too many skilled trade opportunities as companies shipped jobs overseas to people who are willing to work for less because they don't have near what we have?

It is a complicated issue but I think we all agree we need to do a better job guiding children from conception through the end of their lives.

Does it all start with birth, school days, relationships, maturity?

Sports are a great tool kids need but every child can't be an NFL starting player.

I think we need to make it a lot more simple than that.

What do you think?


Monday, July 12, 2010


The fireworks off the fourth are still shooting in farming. Between the weeds, the weather and the markets, it is pretty exciting on the farm around here.

Farmers are locking in bushels for 2011 and 2012. Prices are high enough to make you get started. Wheat for example, can be sold for $6 right now and it might have gotten there once this year.

We are a point in time where demand is eating up the extra bushels we grow. That is a good place to be as the naysayers said SELL a long time ago but the market came back and gave us another opportunity.

Weeds have been real firecrackers. They grew faster this spring than a man can spray. Thankfully I kept the farm in the picture pretty clean compared to some of the disasters around here. Farmers depend on RoundUp too much and it shows. I take a very rotational view to crop and production and the chemicals you use on them. It is paying off.

I just got my rainfall report from Spatial Rainfall Consulting and the pattern has changed. The south farm got the least amount this week, the far west farm, closest to the city got the most. Everything else was somewhere inbetween.

We are cleaning out the rest of the non GMO soybeans for GMO for the Japan contract and that is why I took this picture on the grain tower. You sure get another perspective up there. I saw planes flying on fungicide nearby.

Me, I would rather be offensive on yield than try to protect it with chemicals I may not need by taking care of the other plant health benefits. Those products really add to your cost and may be difficult to recover.

Time to head back to the Clinton County Fair and watch the grand daughters show their pigs.

See ya,

Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 11, 2010


It's pretty obvious we like photography. The digital cameras and computers make it pretty easy to take good pictures.

LuAnn decided to enter some of the pictures in the Clinton County Fair. We got to go see them this evening. There were ribbons hanging on ours!

I was bummed we never won the new ag division but I never had time to really to a good job of sorting them. I should have done that last winter. It seems like we have been busy every spare moment this year.

It was really interesting to compare our pictures to the ones selected and not selected. Camera quality really shows on an eight by ten. I see why I miss the Nikon 8800 Coolpix now, it took great pictures. I am amazed the Sony Cybershot won some awards since it is really for email and Internet posting which it is great for.

I saw the Saville name and the farmer name Schneider on many pictures. LuAnn even beat some local professional photographers! Landscape is my favorite category and the black and whites just don't do much for me but I see the artistic element. Flowers and kids are very popular subjects as well as country landscapes.

We need to dedicate one hard drive to our pictures as they are taking over two computers. I take pictures every week in the summer and share them here and with other farmers around the globe. Farmers and consultants do a lot of crop analysis with pictures too but it is not as good as being there and getting all your questions answered.

Maybe LuAnn can enter the Greene and Highland County Fairs and we can compare some more.


Saturday, July 10, 2010


Fish kills can happen and do happen every summer. Obviously the fish suffocate due to a lack of oxygen from something that upset the body of water they were in. What was it?

As a county agent as we called them in those days, I investigated many fish kills in Warren County Ohio when I served there. It usually occurred during or after a rain following a heat wave.

But this report speaks of an oily film on the water and the smell of sulfur. Was something flushed from the bottom or did it fall from the sky?

Tar balls were found on beaches off New Jersey. These stories haven't hit the mainstream news yet but you have to wonder when they will. Some of my friends think the gulf oil leak is already affecting our planet far from the source of the leak.

Has our greed for speed or carelessness brought us to this point on our planet? You really have to wonder. I have written about the decrease in erosion and improvement in our soils on this blog and then one oil leak and we have destroyed the place.

I think we all are on information overload and know enough to be dangerous. It comes down to those decisions we make every day, is this the right thing to do?

We can do everything right and one person or one corporation or one government can do one thing wrong and wipe out all the good and even make things worse.

These are tenuous times, for sure. I was hoping to write something more upbeat this morning but this got my attention and I thought I would share it with you. We did get a nice rain yesterday and it was needed. The air is much cleaner this morning. But the oil spill is there every minute.

What do you think?


Friday, July 9, 2010

Podded Up

Arkansas Plowboy posted these pictures on Crop Talk. Now this is what I am after!

Granted they are a month ahead of my first beans and two months ahead of most of them but look at those pods! These are actually his neighbors picture and he said he won the Arkansas soybean yield contest last year with 95 bu per acre. USDA numbers around here are 43-44 bushels per acre.

I wonder where he is located and if his neighbor is Hinkebein or one of those other famous southern growers? Profit is my main motive but it takes affordable yield to get there. Big yields aren't bad!

Every soybean grower like me wants all the details. We want to know the field history, tillage practices, lime and fertilizer, variety, crop rotation and the list goes on and on.

I have my own philosopy and I have shared it at National NoTillage Conference and many other places. This coming week I get to rub elbows with the best at Memphis, Tennesee. I know I will learn something, I always do.

You see this whole thing goes with the hungry planet I posted yesterday. Thanks for the positive email. One farmer said he printed off pages of the you tube to hand out to friends. Some of us are continually educating our non-farm friends and neighbors.

Marketing these beans are a whole different story. Our price in the states has stayed above anyone's projections as the South America crop has been slow to impact us and that hungry planet is hungrier than we thought.

Marketing is a key to the game of farming. Some of the most profitable farmers do not raise the best crops. You can take 10 bushels off and sell for a dollar more and make more money.

It is raining right now, Praise the Lord! The beans are flowering and podding and the corn is filling ears. Thankfully we have the weed and insect control caught up. Disease could rear up yet but that 90 degree heat killed a lot of disease.

Won't be long we will all be driving by fields that are all podded up, some will have more than others.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Hungry Planet

It's a hungry planet we live on. It always has been, hasn't it?

I wrote last year about how I taught about man's ability to produce food in my classes all my teaching career. The population curve is very flat until you get to the late 1800's when machinery became more mechanized and hybrid corn and variety selection became so intense.

A farmer sent me a new YouTube by BASF covering some of these changes in the past 50 to 2000 years. It's a good and quick snapshot of how farmers have provided our daily bread these many years and the challenges that lie ahead.

Some of the numbers stand out because there are so few farmers in this country today. One farmer easily provides enough total food for over 160 other people. The adaptation of technology has made it capable for one farmer to farm 2000 acres or more which has made our business very, very competitive.

I applaud you who make it on less or even a few acres. It's a love and dedication you don't find every day in every profession. Specialty agriculture is exciting but the bulk of daily commodities comes from the hands of a few compared to when I was a child.

I used BASF's new Corvus corn herbicide to protect my corn crop. It has done a good job and the corn looks very good. Many farmers are appling Headline fungicide today to protect many crops from disease which have exploded the past two weeks due to the weather and to take advantage of plant protection chemicals in today's crops. This is just one company of the major players who provide the crop protection products we use which are scrutinized like human medicines.

We had dinner with Eddie and Wilma from the Greene County Fairboard last night and talked about food and family. I can't have a conversation without food production coming up but that is my chosen profession. I love growing food and you and I profit from it.

Take a look at the short video and make your comments. There is a lot of untruth out there about farming but there is also a lot of truth for us to evaluate. Choose carefully who you listen to.

It is a hungry planet for sure but farmers work everyday to make our lives better. Many industries like BASF do, too.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I smell a new truck in my future. I am getting tired of the old daily ride, 01 Dakota. It sure has been a money maker or money saver, 190k on it. Dakota's fit me like a glove like they were designed for me.

The old girl has some electrical problems and showing her wear and tear. There is a little cancer around her fender wells. It still looks good for a nine year old truck that has seen too many fast lanes and farm lanes.

If you sit in the passenger seat, I have to raise and lower your window for you. I am adjusting the steering wheel all the time to keep the AC fan motor on high so you don't roast today. There is a bad wire in the steering wheel somewhere.

After I cashed my wheat check, I took a detour through a local Chrysler lot and there sat a new flex fueled crew cab 4WD and I got out to get my sticker shock, $31,000. Now I would be better off putting that on the 5 acres and 3 new barns for sale down the road but a guy has to have a good ride, right?

Chrysler wouldn't be my choice except for that one model. Their electrical parts stink. Where is Lee Iacocca when you need him? Old like me I guess but if it weren't for him they wouldn't even be around still.

The stock money is on Ford but they are still left handed to me. If I listened to Mike Rowe I would own one but I am a Chevy man at heart. Neither one make a Dakota.

If I would have started playing stocks when LuAnn did last year I could have enough in my fund to buy one cash outright. Ford won that battle.

Used makes so much more sense but good ones are needles in a haystack and I am running out of time to look for bargains. I just drive around doing my daily work and I run across them.

I hit enough websites last night I knew I would have email. Sure enough, the Internet department at Jeff Wyler had one sitting in my inbox early this morning. I knew it would come to this.

It's fun to dream a little in this day and age but I still smell that new truck smell.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot July

It looks like a scorcher this week with little relief in sight. How would you like to make your living with the 1953 New Idea baler in the picture? I miss the era of the 50's but not that much!

Farmers had a good display of old New Idea equipment at the Van Wert Farmers Old Fashioned Days at Van Wert. That is near Coldwater, the site of the old New Idea factory.

I have one farm with a few patches of giant ragweed I need to kill this week if possible. The ones I sprayed with my Banvel combination really look sick today.

Looks like we have went from saturated cool soil to baked off hard, hot ground in no time. That alone is stressful for plants. Lots of plants have little roots from trying to survive all that water in May and so they aren't doing too well in this heat. It feels like the dog days of summer in August and the cicadas and locusts are singing already, something I associate with the end of August.

This sure is a mixed up crazy year again. Everyone hoped that string was over but it isn't. The economy and weather just compounds a persons decision making process.

There is a lot going on this weekend. There are the pulls at Georgetown, a couple of auctions and the opening of our county fair. We entered the photograph competition this year so we already have over $100 invested in our fair.

I guess we are doing are little part in keeping the old fair tradition alive. So many fairs and festivals are struggling or don't exist anymore. It was good to see Blanchester have a good Bicentennial Fourth of July and associated events. I didn't get to see the tractor show though, I wonder who showed up?

Monday, July 5, 2010


Do we really understand independence? I don't think we do. Here is what my Senator Brown sent to his constituents.

Celebrating Our Nation’s Independence
Their names may not be remembered in the same vein as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, or George Washington, but Ohioans Hiram Powers, William Henry Powell, and Howard Chandler Christy each played a role in telling the story of our nation’s history.

Hiram Powers’ eight-foot high statue of Benjamin Franklin has stood a few feet from the entrance of the U.S. Senate Chamber for nearly 150 years. Directly across from this towering statue is another work-of-art crafted by an Ohioan. William Henry Powell’s 16 foot by 26 foot painting, “The Battle of Lake Erie,” depicts a pivotal moment during the War of 1812. It captures the moment when a U.S. victory protected the Great Lakes and our state from British invasion.

It was at the end of this battle when Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry notified General William Henry Harrison, future Ohio Senator and U.S. President, that “we have met the enemy and they are ours.” Both Powers and Powell were from Cincinnati. On the other side of the Capitol, just a few feet from the entrance to the floor of the House of Representatives, our Presidents have passed by Powers’ statue of Thomas Jefferson. Directly across the statue is a painting by another Ohioan, Morgan County’s Howard Chandler Christy. His 18 foot by 26 foot “Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States” depicts George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, among other founding fathers, enumerating the laws of our Constitution in Independence Hall in Philadelphia 1787.

This year, we celebrate the 234th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, preserved in the Constitution that George Washington first swore to uphold and defend. In doing so, we celebrate all Americans who have told the story of our nation – whether in sculpture or paint in the U.S. Capitol, on battlefields in foreign lands, or in factories and firehouses in our communities. In doing so, we reflect on the sacrifice of those who make our independence possible.

To all the men and women of our armed services, our veterans, and all of our military families – we owe you our gratitude and thanks. We know there are great challenges confronting our state and our nation – an economy to rebuild, national security to protect, an oil spill to be contained.

But this weekend’s celebrations embody the vibrant American spirit and rock solid patriotism that I see in communities across Ohio. As it has done throughout our nation’s history, Ohio’s talented workforce is building the cars and appliances of the 21st Century. Ohio workers are building the infrastructure – ports and bridges and highways and railways – that will connect our shores and expand our commerce. Ohio’s manufacturers, farmers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs pushed the boundaries of ingenuity and innovation to help turn our nation into an economic superpower.

Workers’ wages climbed as productivity increased and the ticket to the middle class – a stable, well-paying manufacturing job – built prosperous communities around the state. Today, we are re-tooling our manufacturers to compete in the 21st Century clean energy economy – and rebuilding our middle class communities along the way. The entrepreneurial spirit of our great state sent humankind into flight and space. It built the cannonballs and tanks to defend our nation. It helped navigate our great rivers and cultivate our vast fields.

And it will once again lead our nation toward a path for economic prosperity. And throughout our nation’s history, that path has always come through Ohio. Marietta was the first official town in the newly established Northwest Territory. The official public celebration occurred on Independence Day 1788, marking our state’s role as a gateway to westward expansion. For the more than two hundred years since Thomas Jefferson granted our statehood, our state’s history has helped tell the story of our nation’s history. One is reminded of this walking past Hiram Power’s sculptures or the paintings of William Henry Powell and Howard Chandler Christy.

And I am reminded of it as I meet Ohioans across our state, knowing that our nation and Ohio’s history have been, and will continue to be, shaped by everyday heroes in our communities. It’s an honor serving as your U.S. Senator and I thank you for being active participants in the story of our great state and upholding the ideals and limitless promise of our great nation. I wish you and your family a safe 4th of July holiday. "

Sounds real good, doesn't it? If you read it aloud it doesn 't make much sense, too many ands. I guess he is trying to be an orator. Everything he votes for goes against what he is praising here. He is a democrat but the republicans are no better. The power and the corruption of the two party system.

I am really giving up on our political process as no good person wants this job if he is in his right mind. I guess things really have to get bad before we straighten this mess out.

I have great hope in our country but none in the people elected to guide us.

Too many laws and too many lawyets and not enough common sense.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth!

Happy Independence Day! I feel more like independant, and that would be a pee ant if you know what I mean. Every person I talked to in the last 24 hours expressed the same sentiment.

Oh well, I am doing my part so let's be happy. We took a nice crop tour up to the Indiana Michigan line to enjoy dinner and fireworks with our good friends around Bryan, Ohio at the Hickory Gove campground. That farmer has really built a campground fast! I guess dairy farmers know how to do that.

I am humbly very blessed with my crop compared to what I saw. The Pro Farmer tour is going to get an eye full next month when they count cobs and pods on their annual tour. The farther north you got the later and worse the crop is and US 127 and SR 49 had some really bad crops, pretty much a disaster with stunted corn, no corn, empty fields and struggling soybeans. They are running wheat up there and it is a disappointment too.

My friend usually hits 90 bu and has averaged that on 800 acres and this year that 90 bu straw is yielding 65 bu and less with tons of dockage. With the low wheat prices that is a double whammy on those crops.

I feel very badly for those farmers as I know eastern Indiana is the same or worse. Huge parts of this country has poor crops and are overrated. That gives me hope for prices but empathy to those farmers involved.

We stopped in Van Wert to take a look at the old fashioned farmer days and saw some rare equipment you don't see anymore. Show numbers were down and money wasn't changing hands. I hope the show can survive. They are supposed to be having a major convention with their show next so maybe that will help.

One of our friends runs a parts department for Liechty Farm Equipment and took off today, Sunday and a holiday to service his customers. Now that is service we need around here. Guess I would be John Deere if I farmed up there.

They had a good fireworks show and I remembered the bombs bursting in air. Then I thought about all the blood shed for us and how we have to wear it everyday has citizens of this once great country.

I hope we can recover. Happy Independence Day.

Ed Winkle