Sunday, October 31, 2010

Osteo Arthritis

Osteo arthritis gets in your joint is about like a fungal rot in a corn plant. Once it gets down, you wonder if it can get back up again.

I feel about as mature as this corn crop is, ready to harvest. If it goes down, it is not getting back up.

I have been reading about my ailments and have surmised I have a pretty severe case of osteo arthritis in my joints. I like the way this piece explains it all.

My left arm has been a real loss the last five years and now the balls in my feet are. I have lost the spring in my step, oh my! I feel like I am walking with club feet too often anymore.

Some people just slide right into their next age bracket but it is more like I fell through the floor and here I am. Yesterday I was expanding the farm and today I am in rehab talking to people my age worse off than I am!

Those knee replacements, you hear so many good results but I sure have met lots of people in rehab who wish they never had them.

Now they have meal and diet tips for us arthritic people! I thought this was when you were 80 years old and couldn't move!

We better freeze more meals ahead when we we feel like it!

The very worst joint is the finger to the right of my little finger on my left hand, my ring finger. It is swollen and stiff most of the time regardless of exercises, diet, or medication. It hurts to drive, it hurts to do anything but type, so you are stuck with me! It is very UN nerving to not be able to use a limb. I don't like those claw exercises for my hand because mine looks like a very wicked claw.

Driving 3,000 miles in 8 days never helped any of this. I guess you come to a point that you just don't get as far because you can't.

I have a bigger surprise coming for you in coming weeks.

Stay tuned.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I doubt anyone could deny they have not thought about death. This is especially true as you lose loved ones and get old enough you have to reckon with life and death yourself.

So show a picture of life, just like we saw this weekend on another trip "up north."

We had a good friend who lost her dad and made a trip for the visitation and funeral. The look on her face when she saw us it was sure worth the trip.

I remember all the good friends who came to support me ten years ago when dad passed away. Dad could never talk much about death. He was too full of life. I think Robert was the same way.

Me, being a different sort, have thought about what happens when you die all my life. It is not something I want to dwell on but it surely isn't something I can ignore and just let happen.

My faith tells me to prepare in a certain way. I try to do that. I don't understand the people who act like they will live forever. My faith says you can live forever and I am trying to do my part to get there. Yes, I fail, and you do too so we have to help each other all we can.

I have been to so many funerals in my life, so many the last two years. Too many were farmers just older or younger than me that I know it could be me. I only have a few family members left who are older than I.

It's not a great discussion topic but perhaps the most important one you and I can discuss?


Friday, October 29, 2010

Why I Inoculate

Today I am trying to explain why I inoculate all my crop seed.

I inoculate legumes with the latest strains of bradyrhizobium.

I inoculate all seeds with the latest strain of trichaderma.

Why do I do that?

The short answer is it makes money. It is very sound biologically but very sound economically. Most agronomists agree that just inoculating your soybeans is a 300% Return on Investment. Spend two bucks, get 10 back.

Often times I get 5 bushel or more soybeans by inoculating the seed so my return is even better.

How does it work biologically? Remember science class and symbiotic relationships? I think LuAnn was talking during those lectures and I was busy taking notes.

Nitrogen is essential to plants

Nitrogen can come from commercial chemical fertilizer, dead plants, animal manure or can be reduced from the air by biological nitrogen fixation

Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF)
Bacteria, either free-living or associative/ symbiotic can reduce nitrogen gas from the air to a biological useful form.

Estimates are that about one-half the earth’s biologically fixed nitrogen comes from free-living sources like Azotobacter and blue-green algae

Legumes and Rhizobium bacteria fix the other one-half of available biologically fixed nitrogen.

Legumes are going to fix N whether I inoculate with fresh rhizobia or not. 100 years of study shows it pays to inoculate by increasing rhizobia production and efficiency.

That is probably enough for today! Later I want to get it into inoculating seed with trichaderma, a different biological process.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I NoTill

I could claim to be a great conservationist but the reason I notill is simple. I do it for dollars and cents.

Sure it is great to prevent erosion and build soil structure but how many people really care about anything more than making a living over 40-50 years?

For me, notill has to pay and it does. It costs so much less to plant a crop without separate tillage trips that the yields don't have to be as good to win economically. Still they come pretty close in most cases.

I remember working ground 13 times as a kid from disking stalks to plowing to disking, disking, disking, harrowing, planting, rotary hoeing about 3 times and cultivating about 3 times. We worked the ground to death. I saw the same thing in New Zealand this winter. They are beating their ground to death and notill is a whole new subject for them.

What prompted me to write this was an article in Ohio Farmer today from Tony Vyn from Purdue commenting that farmers should think twice before tilling this nice fall. I so much agree. Take a look, it is a good article.

If you have drainage problems and soil pH problems you have to address them for most economic benefit but tillage without a reason is a expensive recreational waste of money.

There are many fields that would pay to rip 10 or more inches but you can do that with a cover crop, smother weeds and improve the soil all at the same time. Tillage isn't for everybody. Is tillage for anybody? All the tillage I need is a double disk opener, some divited gauge wheel tires and spike closing wheels to plant my crop. I drag a chain behind it for about 1/100th of the cost of dad having me harrow the disked up field.

This in a nutshell is why I notill. Tomorrow I want to talk about Why I Inoculate my seed. I am warming up for my winter talks and you can help me fine tune them.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Responsible Nutrient Management

Agro Culture Liquid Fertilizer Company, a liquid fertilizer company from Iowa started a new award area for the National NoTillage Conference three years ago. The idea is to nominate a farmer who you think is most responsibile in the managing of his nutrient load on his farm operation, keep it in the soil and into the plant and not down the river.

"The third class of no-tillers to be named Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioners will be announced Jan. 14, 2011, at the 19th annual National No-Tillage Conference. But before we can announce the winners, we need your help in nominating deserving no-tillers.

Just visit for more details of the program and to cast nominations until Friday, Nov. 18. Please note that self-nominations are accepted.

Three no-tillers will be selected by an independent panel of nutrient experts. The winning no-tillers will receive free transportation, lodging and registration to the National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati from Jan. 12-15, 2011, in Cincinnati, Ohio, on behalf of Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers and No-Till Farmer, the sponsors of the Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioners Program.

If you highly respect another no-tiller’s work managing nutrients on their farm, please consider nominating them today. Thank you for your consideration."

Most farmers meet this criteria but some are super sharp at plant feeding with no waste. Notill practices, on planter fertilizing, cover crops and GPS controlled lime and fertilizer spreading are just a few of the many practices these farmers use to feed their crops responsibly.

I was looking at the first two groups of recipients and I nominated one winner in each group. I have my eye on a third nomination today. This guy is a class act in top notch farming on eroded hillsides with record yields on minimal fertilizer. He has taught notill farming with liquid farming on the planter to thousands of farmers and how to inject manure safely in a no-till situation. He would be so ashamed if did something wrong he couldn't live with himself so he never does anything wrong!

You are welcome to nominate someone, anyone can nominate a farmer and any farmer can be nominated. It's just a nice thing to do for a good farmer and brings positive press to a job well done in farming.

It sure beats going to jail for 3 months for letting liquid whey for one of his hog farms flood a creek twice. Just think , we are a few steps away from going to jail to getting an award when it comes to handling all the products it takes to grow crops and livestocks on a modern day farm.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Farm Facts

Here is where we were a year ago. This year we are finished with this farm and the crop was planted later because of double crop and cover crop. How much difference a year makes!
Last year was a little more yield, this year was a little better market price, I bet we as one operation come out about the same on net profit. At least we are talking net profit, not loss.
Here is the latest in Farm Facts in the world according to Monsanto I found on AGCO's Facebook website.
"U.S. Farm Facts
To keep up with population growth more food will have to be produced in the next 50 years as the past 10,000 years combined.

Today, the average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed just 26 people.

Today’s farmer grows twice as much food as his parents did – using less land, energy, water and fewer emissions.

American farmers ship more than $100 billion of their crops and products to many nations.
U.S. farmers produce about 40 percent of the world's corn, using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world.

Farmers are a direct lifeline to more than 24 million U.S. jobs in all kinds of industries.

In the past five years, U.S. farm operators have become more demographically diverse. The 2007 census counted nearly 30 percent more women as principal farm operators. The count of Hispanic operators grew by 10 percent, and the counts of American Indian, Asian and African-American farm operators increased as well."
If I really do feed 155 people with my products, I am very humbly proud about that. It's like my whole life's work was a Christian mission, teaching children and raising food. I like that. That fits me to a T.
The jobs fact is so important, thus my blog on Ethanol the other day. We really need it, just for jobs right now if nothing else!
I have several topics I would like to explore. The NPR deal, the Verizon Frontier deal, the election and a host of others are projects. What would like to hear?
My best readers give me feedback. My very best readers have a Google account and leave me comments on each blog. I really like that, it helps me see what you are thinking.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Short Rows

It's almost time to go the lake, we are down to the short rows! Wait a minute, I think we missed the weather for the lake!

It feels good to get a really challenging year wrapped up. There is lots to do yet before winter but the really big, bad jobs are done.

I will have 100% of land all covered Mr. Groff, the bank paid off and a little money for winter fun. Some days this year, it didn't look this good but I am so conservative I am blinded to reality worrying about the possibilities. Quite stupid, eh? It's been bred into me for centuries and pounded into my head for 60 years.

I owe it all to Les, Brad, my wife and my banker. I couldn't do this without you guys. I planned hard not to let you down but my marketing plan really stunk. I am tired beating myself up over those unforeseen blunders and ready to move on. At least we all made a profit and are able to keep going.

We have 2011 crop in the ground. That is exciting in itself. The grain people have no idea where this market is heading but the farmers have no idea how high inputs will go, either.

In a week this year is 5/6 history. Where did it go? Lots of big days and events coming up the last two months of the year. This year was a Turning Point for us, just like the name of LuAnn's 501C3.

Looks like changeable weather today through this week but the weather was really nice this weekend.

What a year!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to Connie, LuAnn's mom. As she said she is an octogenerian today.

Congratulations, sincerely. That is quite an accomplishment to acheive age and it takes more than good genetics to get there.

That is 4 close family members I have left in this age group. I really do praise you and I can appreciate how hard you struggled to get there. You are all role models for me.

The amazing thing is what you have seen change in society since your birth. All of you remember the Great Depression and here you are leaving us with what you started with!

Seriously, that is just how times evolved over your lifetime. Like anyone your age you have seen the best of times and the worst of times.

I was just thinking that none of you are the oldest of your family. Your older siblings are all gone. That sure makes one think as I have one older cousin left and one day you are the oldest of the group, the eldest of the family.

You have all done a great job doing your part of your family, your cut in life. I hope you find lots of joys and pleasures in the remaining years but I wish for the greatest treasure in the universe, Eternal Life.


Ed Winkle

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Money Wasted

I woke up this morning thinking about all the money I wasted this year. I know, you could call these investments or security or protection or investments that never paid. Yes, kind of like the stock market.

Our truck and camper is sitting on the banks of the Mississippi and that is not money wasted. I have enjoyed every penny and every minute of it.

The first money waster was crop insurance. I got to thinking of the tens of thousands of dollars I have sent crop insurance companies with no return on the investment. Now I know many farmers consider crop insurance a smart place to invest in your crop with so much at risk. But in 47 years of farming I have never really needed it. Oh, I had a couple of minor claims but they didn't help me out or save me. I had GRIP crop insurance pay off two times but to me that wasn't a good investment. Am I just good enough or lucky enough to not need crop insurance?

The second one was poor marketing or money that was never earned because of my poor marketing decisions. I wonder how the hedging farmers made out? Some of them live by the markets and spend more time in marketing than I do raising the whole crop. They stood to make some big money this year with the huge market swings. I could have easily earned a lot more money this year but was not willing to pay the fees.

The third is poor services and gouging the market. One field of corn was the worst I have had because the company did not do what I told them to do. They used a certain driver who has damaged every crop he has been in for me and they used a heavy machine to apply the chemicals I told them not to use. Where the wheels went the corn died and the grass took over. The booms are not very wide on that machine either. This really burns me. I paid top price for very poor quality service and they won't take any blame for it.

They always charge a little bit more than anyone else but the big problem is every time I have bought something there, the bill is always higher than what they quoted me. "Oh, the price went up", they say. This is poor business but there are only three suppliers to deal with and they all act a lot alike.

Another one is people who think your land is theirs. They throw out trash, start wild fires, run 4 wheelers through your property and always want to hunt there without anyone else being allowed to. Respect of property rights has really went down hill in this country.

I am happy to share my meager holdings with others but there aren't many people out there who would even ask to use your property if they the kind of people you would want there.

OK, I am done venting. I will bite my tongue and just let it all become a part of the past. It's expensive getting "older and wiser.!"

Did I get up on the wrong side of the bed?

Ed Winkle

Friday, October 22, 2010

HSUS Supports Strickland

I just read that headline and thought Bye Bye Teddy, that is your death knell.
If you want to stir up a fight amongst farmers and country folk, mention HSUS in Ohio. Oh my goodness, you would think you released the Black Plague on those poor people.

If you wanted support from voters in rural Ohio, you might has well had the Communist Party support your campaign.

Here is what one person wrote, I assume he is a farmer but I don't know. You can't be too careful these days you know and there is no Snopes on this one:

One man, Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District in California, thwarted the will of 7 million California voters by striking down the homosexual marriage ban they approved.
As your readers know, one man, Gov. Ted Strickland, thwarted the will of Ohio voters by undercutting the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

The farm community has to find a way, between now and November, to inform the public that Strickland, behind closed doors, in concert with a number of pliant Ohio agricultural organizations, and without public hearings or input by the voter-approved livestock board, caved to the threats of an Ohio nonresident, the fanatic vegan, Wayne Pacelle.

Wayne Pacelle is head of the radical anti-farm Humane Society of the United States.
Gov. Strickland arbitrarily agreed to measures that will further Pacelle’s radical agenda of one day seeing the elimination of dairy, poultry, beef and pork products.

When, in the coming months, the residents of Ohio find themselves livid over the increase in the cost of dairy, poultry, beef and pork products, they should think of three words; Gov. Ted Strickland.

Clyde Nehrenz

Now Mr. Clyde, I appreciate your fever and conviction but don't agree with your assessment, at least the last one. If my livestock based food prices go out the roof, the last person I am going to blame is Ted Strickland.

I have studied this race hard but I am voting for Strickland. He hasn't done a miracle job but I don't believe one could. He has done a pretty decent job in my mind in terrible conditions. Maybe Bob Taft made him look this votable? Remember Bob Taft?

Kasich scares me. Former Congressmen, Lehman Brothers, got rich, big war chest, terrible commercials on TV like we are idiots, Ohio Pensions bought Lehman Brothers and Lehman Brothers crashed, Goldman Sachs got saved, Ohio Pensions lost a half a billion dollars.
Somthing doesn't smell right.

But HSUS supporting you Ted? You have that many left wingers in Ohio? The polls say the middle guys will determine this race and most of them just swung the other way.

Oh well, another wasted voted. Not really. No vote is never wasted. Not voting is opportunity and responsibility lost.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Farm Improvements

I just read the European Ag Business Barometer and it is down. Way down. I would say the US Ag Barometer is just the opposite. Up, way up.

It is good to see all the farm improvements going on around here. Lime applications must be number one. I have never seen the evidence of so many lime piles in my life.

Drainage and water improvements are going on everywhere. You couldn't hire someone to tile for you now if you had to, you would have to buy your own tile plow and do it yourself.

When you come across a field wheat, barley or cover crop in this arid desert we are in, the color really stands out. I think we lost our last water pocket in June and I haven't seen one since.

I could have all my fields covered with a crop this fall. Last year I was at about 75% which was the most I had ever had covered. It was a wet year too, and a real challenge to get growing.

They recommend fall spraying to keep the weeds at bay but I can cover the ground with rye for about the same amount of money and get so much more benefit from it. That keeps me on my toes to kill the rye and put down my residual chemical before planting next spring or you can drill and roll the rye if it stays this dry.

Two neighbors are spreading poultry litter on every field, hauled 100 miles from Mercer County, Ohio's poultry capital. There is no excuse for full manure pits this fall!

It is good to see the harvest done and all of these farm improvements going on. That means we have good weather and a little money to invest.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I just read this story about a grandpa in South Dakota his grandson posted on Machinery Talk. I thought it was so good I would share it with you.

"So after my grandpa went home tonight I jumped in the tractor and was thinking i need to post this on agtalk.

Anyways I called grandpa to bring some parts out to the farm for the combine. He's been running grain cart for most of corn harvest. Keeping grain away from a 12 row head. I shall add he will be 88 here in month.

You can tell he's been liking getting out of the house and he asked me if i needed any help and I said no, (I just figured he can just go back home after the parts run) then I said unless you will run the ripper while i get the combine going and finish a couple patches. He said "sure." I said I am going to show you how to run the autosteer too, and he kind of chuckled and said no I don't think so.

So he gets out here while I was ripping and was pretty impressed with the autosteer, like he always is. So I said lets switch seats and just made a couple rounds with him. I showed him the resume button on the 8245 and he got that down. Then he noticed it was off a little bit the next round so I showed him how to shift the track 4 inches. HE HAD IT DOWN.

I thought it was just going to be too much for him, I've been frustrated enough with other people and trying to teach them but it wasn't bad. So I went and fixed the combine and kept an eye on him and he just went up and back for a few hours. I was just 1/4 mile away.

So i got done with the combine and said well did u just steer it like i said you could if you were having problems, and he laughed at me and said "ya right, I haven't the whole time." I was pretty impressed.

When he left he gave me a ride to my pickup and said well call me if you need help tomorrow. I called grandma after I knew he was home and asked her if grandpa told her about his day and she said "He walked in the door and didn't even say hi". He said "I had a lot of fun today."

Those were the first words out of his mouth. When she told me that, that made my day.

Here my grandpa his almost 88 and he helped me out huge today and still is able to say he had a lot of fun. It was one of those days. He is coolest most down to earth guy there is. What a man!"

Now that is the neatest story I have read about grandpa's in some time. You may have to watch us and worry about us some as we slip down our Golden Years but some grandpa's are so slick and sly they will surprise you!

My oldest grandson will be five next month and the stuff he comes up with, wow! I am blessed with four of the neatest little grandsons you could ever wish for. They are each unique and special in their own way, just like their dads and grandpa's.

Now those four little grand daughters, they will just melt your heart!

When we were coming home from the Brown County Fair after spending an evening with just Brynn, we were laughing so hard I could barely drive. Grandma said, Grandpa, you are a hoot.
Brynn latched onto that and must have said it 100 times. I won't forget that soon, just like the young farmer in South Dakota who took the time to share his story about his grandpa.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Physical Rehab

I am back in physical rehab for my left arm. This was my second day of it. The therapist went over all my arm and hand movements and put my hands in a chamber of finely shred corn husks. It is called FluidOTherapy.

It is a very neat machine. The machine warms up to 100 degrees F or so and you put your hands or feet in for 20 minutes and do various excercises based on your physical motion tests.

It felt great after yesterday's treatment but I feel the carpal tunnel working again just typing this. I had the most movement yesterday I have had in months.

My worst problem right now beyond lack of strength in my left arm is I can't move two fingers on my left hand. They are very rigid.

All of these treatments and excercises are supposed to help me regain some flexibility while losing some pain and they are doing just that. Not near normal but some improvement.

You can only do so much with an older, ailing body. I know I have to work with it all I can.

Enough about me. How are you? We are trying to combine our last beans in Clinton County so we can move to Fayette County and harvest my last planted soybeans.

This will take some time because it didn't happen overnight. It took 40 hard years of work to get here and many people make me look like a beginner

When I just turned the corner to home I saw my wheat nice and green sticking out of the good soybean field! That was such a pleasure just seeing that.

You can't reap if you don't plant.

It looks like our weather is turning to cooler with some moisture.


Monday, October 18, 2010


The EPA really missed the boat on the E15 ethanol decision. Our country is ready for more corn ethanol in our vehicles and in our economy. At least E12 as a mandate would have been positive direction.

But they waited too long to make a decision and when they did it was too little too late. And why did they approve E-15 in 2007 and later vehicles? That just confuses the issue even more.

I know some of you don't agree with Ethanol but I disagree with your conclusion. Ethanol is not a total solution to our dependence on foreign oil but an excellent way to produce jobs and rely less on foreign imports until we find a better fuel solution. We get cleaner air to boot! How can you argue against that?

Consider this:

Research shows a 35 to 46% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and a 50 to 60% reduction in fossil-energy consumption depending on the use of ethanol use in the regions tested.

The production and use of 10.6 billion gallons of corn ethanol in 2009 displaced the need for more than 321.4 million barrels of oil. (Those are very conservative governement figures as current ethanol applications are often more efficient than that.)

For every one billion gallons of corn ethanol produced, 10,000 to 20,000 American jobs are created that cannot be outsourced.

Corn ethanol fuel saved American consumers and taxpayers more than $32 billion in 2009
For every unit of energy required to make corn ethanol, 2.3 units of energy are produced, making corn ethanol "energy positive."
Some vehicles obtain a greater fuel economy using increased blends of corn ethanol compared to using unleaded gasoline. Many farmers and others blend a third of a tank of E-85 with their 87 pump octane gasoline which is normally 60 cents per gallon cheaper here with little difference in power and fuel efficiency.

I still don't see why all US gasoline vehicles are not flex fuel abled from the factory so we can choose which fuel we want to use. I see minute differences from flex fueled vehicles to standard gasoline vehicles.

When unemployment is our number one problem in our country right now I don't see why we don't use more ethanol to keep and increase good jobs in the US. No one can explain this to me. Even Brazil went to 100% ethanol to keep money and jobs in their country.

I can see the point of livestock farmers who have depended on cheap feed to produce economical meat and dairy products. But the age of cheap feed left before ethanol was much of an issue. I don't think it is their root problem.

Farmers who feed ruminant animals have always depended on cheaper roughage for the major part of their animal diets but they have used the cheaper corn in the past as a substitute for roughage. It was easier and just made sense at the time. Poultry and swine producers don't have as much of a choice as their animals can't digest roughage. But there are so many grain choices, corn was cheap so they used corn. Now corn is in such demand they have to look for cheaper grains.

I don't have all the answers but I know ethanol helps our country rely on our own resources with many benefits. Jobs, cleaner fuel, cleaner air are just a few of the benefits of the ethanol industry.
What do you think?
Ed Winkle

Sunday, October 17, 2010


You can see in the background we have a little fall color this year but not much. The trees are just so dry. The northern Pecan trees in the yard are the last to bloom in the spring and the last to turn in the fall. They just started turning color.

Usually our fall weather changes to windy and cooler so the leaves won't stay on very long. They still are not predicting much moisture for the coming weeks and everything is bone dry.

I wonder how the leaf peeping went this fall? I imagine those hurricanes blew the leaves off the trees in New England. A lady said the trees weren't that pretty at the Fall Festival of Leaves in Bainbridge, Ohio.

I usually write one piece on fall leaf color in Ohio. I had one a year ago that explained how our hardwoods change color.

One day last winter grandma talked to the older grand daughters about there being no green on the trees and the little one piped up, yes we have green trees grandma! They have conifers in their yard and yes they are green, Brynn. What a quick and astute comment on tree color.

The best green we have are the fields of cereal grains and cover crops dotting the landscape now in southern Ohio. It would be neat to see an aerial picture of them and I am sure Google Earth or some other Internet tool has them pictured.

I can't get Steve Groff's hat that says Soil Was Meant To Be Covered off my mind. He has become an expert at that with his cover crop ideas to save his soil in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The biological activity that goes on with that concept really changes soil chemistry and soil physical qualities.

I have been listening and learning and all my fields should be green this winter. I am trying to get and stay ahead of the weed population but I am gaining soil quality in this pursuit.

Steve has Field Day in late October and he will have several hundred farmers and land owners visiting his farm to see his experiments at keeping the soil covered.

"Our annual Cover Crop Field Days are quickly approaching!This year we will be expanding to a 2 day educational event- October 27th and 28th, 2010. The theme is: “Solving the Cover Crop Puzzle- Helping farmers fit cover crops into their management system.” We have a terrific line up of speakers, equipment demos, rainfall simulator demonstration, and 24 species of cover crops in field length plots, as well over 50 acres of cover crop cocktails/mixtures for you to tour and inspect. A registration fee for each day includes delicious meals and an information-packed 3-ring binder for use in planning cover crop rotations.Last year the event drew over 350 people from 14 states and 4 countries. Don't miss out!

Click HERE for all the details- directions, special van and bus rates, lodging, and registration. There are still some exciting details coming together and we’ll follow-up in a few days. Attached is the Press Release if you’d like to print out to pass along to others.Finally, please forward this invitation to anyone else you think may be interested.Hope to see you next week!Steve GroffCedar Meadow Farm
Holtwood, PA 175321-800-767-9441

It is paying good dividends to him and us that follow that concept.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Whew, Again!

That is about all I have to say after a wild Saturday.

I went over to work at the Ledford farm and there was Brett and his new Cocker Spaniel Phoebe. Sable and he chased around awhile and then he laid on the ground and played dead. I thought he was!

Brett and I talked and the pup never got up. I said is he breathing? Bret picked him up and he said I don't think he is! I said pick him up and feel his heartbeat and he did and said it was faint. I said rub his heart and get him back to life. He perked up a little after awhile but the poor pup was faint. Really faint, to a point near death.

That's all I need, my fearless Shepherd scares a pup to death! They called back and thought he was alright but it didn't look good to me.

I was waiting with seed to fill the drill and suddenly I heard sirens. Turned out the drill caught a light wire on 68 and pulled a pole down! Wow, that is REALLY all we need right now!
He had also pulled down a Time Warner cable to a house on a side road. The deputy got there in time to follow the drill into my field.
The drill was legal heighth, I measured it for him and he said I am not citing the driver but I have to file a report in case they take civil action. The being Time Warner or Dayton Power and Light, that is. Oh, wow, something else to worry about in the future!
At least I got the fertilizer spread ahead of the drill and it will all be worked in with the cover crop planting. I found whatever left over barley, oats and wheat I got find locally as it was a last minute decsion on my part but that farm is so wet you usually don't get a chance to plant anything there in the fall. With our extremely dry weather, I got the chance and took it.
I drove to Sardinia and jump started mom's old truck and then she calls back and said some light came on and ran the battery down again! That's 30 miles one way so I get to go do it again! I wonder what light came on? That must have been what ran it down the last time.
Oh well, that was my Saturday, how was yours?

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's a boy!

Our daughter Becky had her baby last night just before midnight. It's a boy and he was 8 lbs. 1 oz. and 22 inches long for those of you who like to know that stuff. I guess everybody does!

He will be named soon as Will and Becky try to pick an appropriate name for him. That's really a bigger task than you think, names really affect how people are treated later on.

He has a four year old brother Liam who is our really good buddy and a beautiful sister Caolin who is one year old. I wonder what Liam will think of him? He is very good with all children, especially babies.

Will and Becky wanted to be suprised this time and not know what the baby was until it was born. I think that is pretty cool. That makes boy, girl, boy, just like my parents had. I think it is easier for the middle child to be a girl than a boy.

I don't care what they name him and I don't care if he is boy or girl and I am just happy he is healthy. Nothing worries me more than sick children. I have a lot of them on my prayer list, I can't do much about it but just give it up and pray.

This baby has heard a lot of music from the speaker and from his mother's voice. All of my family was involved in music and I was encouraged to become a professional musician when I was in school. I loved agriculture too much and that just didn't happen. But music helped me be a better learner and appreciate life more.

You can see from the picture I love babies because I love children. It has always been my goal to help the little ones be the best they can be and happy and healthy comes first.

His older brother will soon be five but mom will have her hands full for awhile with two little ones!
That is 4 boys and 4 girls in our family of grandchildren, a nice even split.

Way to go, daughter, you did another great job!



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Last Rows of Corn

We have been looking for the last rows of corn. Here is where we were a year ago today near Lee's Creek and we are many acres ahead of that pace. That is all harvested and we are almost done here at home.

We got a shower at dark, hopefully enough to quelch those nasty field and combine fires once more. I have heard of five combines gone in our area and you will be driving along and there is a burnt field.

The fire departments, who are volunteer of course, have been great and we have all been covering each other's backsides trying to avoid but report field fires. Some one just had to rake leaves and burn them in a friend's field so they wouldn't blow back on his lawn and he burned my friends bean field to the ground.

I had a little Memorial Day replant corn as low as 13% moisture which is ideal for corn in a bin. I have never seen that before.

The grass on that farm cost me money. We got the worst shelled before it rained and I think the whole farm should have been resprayed. I found an acre or two that needed replanted that I missed. It is bare so the herbicide worked too well there.

I called the vendor and said I had grass escapes on that farm back when we replanted. He supposedly looked at it and said there wasn't enough to respray. Turns out he was wrong and there was enough grass to respray.

We will find those last rows of corn soon and then go find the last rows of soybeans that were planted after the corn. Then another harvest will be finished as we continue to finish marketing, paperwork, and planning for next year.

That little shower helped the fall plantings and applications no doubt.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Bit of History

I learned a bit of history in today's local paper. The idea of solid center auger bit came from a blacksmith right here in Martinsville!

"IRWIN TOOLS has a long and storied history stretching for over a century set against the backdrop of a young ambitious nation.This is the story of two men, from the American Heartland, who shared a deep belief in the idea that with imagination and determination anything could be accomplished.

In 1884 Charles IRWIN owned a pharmacy in Martinsville, Ohio. A local blacksmith who was a customer of Mr. IRWIN's came up with the idea for a solid center auger bit. He sold the rights to this invention to Mr. IRWIN and a year later, after patenting the Auger bit, Charles IRWIN, along with four other business partners formed the IRWIN Auger Bit Co.

About four decades later there was another blacksmith with an idea, this one in the small town of DeWitt, Nebraska. William Petersen was a Danish immigrant who invented the first locking pliers in his blacksmith shop, and began selling them from the trunk of his car to farmers and people in surrounding towns. He patented his new idea and called it Vise-Grip.

It was the beginning of what would become two tool industry leaders, joining forces to create one industry giant.In 1993 the company's histories would converge. Petersen Manufacturing, which changed its name to American Tool Companies in 1985, acquired the IRWIN Tool Company.

This strategy of growth through acquisition and innovation has been proven with an unparalleled history of breakthrough products. Today IRWIN Industrial Tools is a global company with a stable of brands that is the envy of the tool world. Our reputation as an industry leader rests on the foundation that Charles and William built so long ago.

IRWIN Timeline
1884 - Charles IRWIN purchases rights to solid center auger bit

1885 - The IRWIN Auger Bit Co. is formed

1924 - Bill Petersen granted basic patent for locking pliers

1934 - Petersen Manufacturing Co. formed to manufacture and market Vise-Grip locking tools

1938 - First official Vise-Grip tools plant opens in an old DeWitt, Nebraska drug store with a staff of 37

1945 - First National Hardware Show; Vise-Grip tools are there

1957 - Modern-design 10WR Vise-Grip locking pliers go on the market with curved jaw and wire cutter

1962 - Petersen Manufacturing opens a plant in Cumberland, Wisconsin for manufacturing twist drills

1978 - Petersen Manufacturing workforce expands to 637 people

1979 - Gorham, Maine plant opens, manufacturing Hanson and IRWIN branded tools

1985 - American Tool Companies, Inc. is formed by the Petersen family and acquires Petersen Manufacturing

1993 - American Tool acquires The IRWIN Tool Company, a revered manufacturer of power tool accessories and cutting tools

2002 - Newell Rubbermaid acquires American Tool

2003 - American Tool name officially changes to IRWIN Industrial Tool Company

Sadly the last entry on the timeline is last employees offered transfer to North Carolina as Wilmington will officially close. Irwin was a big part of Wilmington and Clinton County. Many good tool men trained and worked there.

I was interested to see there was even a Pharmacy in town about the time this house was built. A blacksmith, I am not surprised but a Pharmacy? Must have been a booming little town in the farmlands near the railroad.

I do remember dad's first Vice Grip pliers when I was little. What a fancy, handy tool that was!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I wonder if today is the last warm day of the year? It is still over 80 degrees each day and its been this way for a long, long time with very few breaks.

The big news is the drought that Cincinnati is in. We are about 8 inches below normal rainfall for the year. We normally have over 32 inches of rain by this date of the year but this year we around 25 inches.

A year ago we were over 8 inches more than normal at this date but amazingly the crops weren't that much better than this year's. But we have used up all the precious stored subsoil moisture and we are going to need it replenished.

The big ag news is that Kip Cullers of Missouri, the world holder of the soybean yield record broke his own record this year. It said he produced over 160 bushels per acre, double my best yields and mine are double average yields. That's a lot of beans!

His is irrigated which really increases yields usually but no one has ever come close to those numbers no matter how you produce them.

I bet the guys on Crop Talk will cussing and discussing that news!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Lime Questions

JFBW always challenges my thinking. He has raised some questions on my recent blogs on liming our new farm. He threw in that word HERE which farmers have debated about on AgTalk since its inception. A farmer will post his opinion and the response is it only works THERE, not HERE.

I take all that for granted and post what I think. I don't apologize if my posts don't work THERE. They work HERE. You have to figure out what works THERE because I am talking about HERE.

Take notilling for example. That only works THERE, not HERE. Liming soil is another one, well that only works THERE. But you have to figure it out!

It is a Universal Truth that liming soil works wherever the soil is too acid to give up the nutrients to the chosen crop that needs those nutrients and that pH, that soil nutrient balance for maximum growth. That means income to me.

I even cited the worn out farm south of us that produced 20 more bushels soybeans this year over it's best production in the past. No farmer wants to lose that much production and it is like WOW when you find it! The best part is lime is the cheapest input we have because they sell on tonnage, usually for roads in mass quantities, not pound of nutrient that is in that crushed stone.

Even my smart wife asked, why did you spend all that money on gravel? Huh? I told you we were were liming the new farm. I thought you were building a driveway, it says Hanson Aggregates on the check.

Honey, ag lime is stone crushed finer for soils instead of chunks for driveways. OK, I missed that point. They call it Ag Meal which is crushed to powder for soil absorption. Farmers also need to study the grade and try to figure out how quickly those powders and chunks will be absorbed.

So I keep soil testing and tissue testing and watching how the crop performs!

JFBW doesn't have to be concerned about calcium content like I do. His soil has too much calcium, mine has too little. Most of the soils I have tested from the Atlantic to Iowa needs to look at calcium. Some just look for pH but that is just a snapshot in time and soil moisture and a bunch of different conditions affect how pH ranges in one soil in one year. Mine is not constant, others are more constant.

" Allow me to modify the statement in your Blog.

Effect of pH on the Yield Potential of Crops. Most crops achieve optimum yields when grown in soils which are slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. HERE, Regular application of aglime is the best way to achieve and maintain the ideal pH.

HERE, Aglime Helps Improve Fertilizer Efficiency.

I will grant those two sentences are true for most farms, just not Universal Truths.

Now for the Question: My ignorance shows!

How high will pure Calcium Carbonate push the pH? I have long believed it was in the range of 8.0 to 8.3.

If that is really true and the pH of your lime is a 9 pH would this indicate your lime has enough Magnesium or Sodium or both to bring the Lime up to a 9 pH? (Bill, I don't know the actual pH, I was citing an example. I doubt you know the actual pH of yours either. These are talking points)

Will the 2 tons of aglime bring the pH up to your goal? Possibly 2 tons is part science and part cut and try. As my Son In Law puts it, Cut to approximate and beat to fit. (That's it, that is what I am talking about.)

If your crops are usually 0.8% Ca and 0.25% Mg, is there a point where your crop would benefit from a product higher or lower in magnesium?

Will more than 2 tons of aglime depress the uptake of potassium? magnesium? possibly sodium also?

Needing lime was something my Grandfather and Father talked of for Pennsylvania. HERE, people have unsuccessfully attempted to lower the pH. Oh a ton of Anhydrous will temporarily have the soil testing acid but in a few months the pH will be right back where it started. We have transplants with a burning desire to grow blueberries or azaleas.

Possibly grist for your Blog?

Soils are interesting.


Yes Bill, you are THERE and many of us are HERE. Part of the Midwest really needs to look at soil calcium.
You do bring up a good point about using some magnesium. Lime with more magnesium is better than no lime and can increase corn and wheat production in some cases. This where I rely on the soil test and mine tells me I don't magnesium as much as I need calcium. So I chose a lime souce high in calcium and low in magnesium. You could be correct, though, about that and the actual pH of my lime source. I used raw numbers.

Gee, I really wanted to talk about our grand kids today. We spent some time with three of them in the last week and of course it was GREAT! I have some good, new stories to write but my mind has been on crop production when they aren't here. But, pretty soon, number eight will be born and I will be talking about them again.


Sunday, October 10, 2010


I have never sold a tree in my life but we have a few trees that would make good timber logs. I imagine everything else is high but timber right now.

I have helped dad and guided other land owners through the process. There are two independent consaltants in the region who will measure the timber, give you a list of bids and buyers for a small fraction of the value of the timber sold.

There is a logger in town who doesn't cut many trees anymore but he said he would look at them for me. I have dealt with him before and he was good to deal with. He has lived here all his life so I do trust him. There sure needs to be trust in a deal like this. Timber used to be known for scam artists but that has become less of a problem over the years.

I would keep them but they are mature and will just fall down someday or get hit by lightning. They are so far back off a road that you would have to build a road to get to them to enjoy them and most of the summer the bugs would eat you alive there.

I am not interested in making much money on them, just harvest them before they go bad. I don't like to see good logs go to waste. There are some younger straight trees in that grove that could stand some growing room.

They are not the problem the grubby fence row is that I showed you here awhile back but they do have some value, I just don't know what that is. They are mainly oak and hard maple and I know both have some value but timber prices varies differently than other commodities. No one is building right now so they may not be worth cutting.

I guess I will look around and find out.

Hope you enjoyed a beautiful Sunday like we did.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beauty in Farming

Steve Groff posted this beautiful picture on Crop Talk of Marigolds being raised in the Canterbury Plains on the South Island of New Zealand. He is discussing the use of cover crops to control root rot nematodes and other damaging soil critters. We want the soil more full of benefical soil critters that enhances crop growth and this is another great benefit of keep your soil covered all winter.

I am pretty sure Mr. Lill took us down this road in February and the Phalacia and Crimson Clovers being grown for seed for cover crops. That road was so beautiful I told them they could charge admission to drive down these farm lanes and view the mere beauty of these crops. Put a little picnic area in and people could stop and eat their lunch there!

To a farmer in the midwest, we see beauty in the best fields of corn and soybeans we raise but our city cousins like a little color like this photograph! I can't blame anyone for preferring this picture over the many brown, harvested fields around here.
Thank you Google for the Save Now feature. Our power just went off again and I think this the third weekend this has happened. Dayton Power and Light? What is the problem? It's like everyone rolled out of bed and turned the lights on and poof there went the power again. Farmers are getting the big electric bills now with all these big 3-5 HP grain fan motors running and your circuits can't handle the overload.
I have replaced too many motors and appliances the last seven years here and some of it is due to these power shortages and the electrical surge that happens when the power tries to come back on. For what we are paying you, we need a little better service please!
That's the problem of technology on the farm. Great when it works, bad when it fails. I guess not keeping our fields green all winter is not using technology to its fullest, either. Every field needs to be planted back to something right now and most won't get it done. They say it costs too much, blah, blah, blah and then wonder why the crop doesn't reach it's fullest potential the next year. I don't farm in an arid region so fallow is not the best solution here. Planting something, anything, is.
Today we hope to plant more wheat laced with radishes. That was an accident we caused on the same field 4 years ago and the wheat made more bushels where we had accidentally filled the drill with wheat seed on top of radish seed that wasn't cleaned out of the drill.
Some farmer recommended this practice yesterday to another who is trying to grow wheat in the cooler, damper soils of Northwest Ohio, those tough lakebed soils. He said you can thank Ed Winkle for this idea, kinda makes you feel good. It was pure accident but it worked and now I and other farmers do it as practice.
The radish will drive off pests, scavenge nutrients and die around Christmas most years, giving up all that benefit to the new crop of wheat.
Might need a little rain to get this wheat out of the ground. Going to "dust it in" and try to burst the bins as the old addage goes.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Today we have to figure out how much we have sold in grain this year so far to what we have spent. I've sold the most grain I ever sold in my life but I spent most of it trying to get here.

I hope to need to put off some grain sales to 2011 and deal with the taxation in 2012 but it looks like tax rates will be up and it becomes pay me now vs. pay me later for Uncle Sam. It's a nice place to be where some farmers don't even have enough grain to fill their forward contracts. The more you farm the more you have to pay attention to what you sold versus what you spent. When you don't have enough grain it seems you are robbing Peter to pay Paul as the old saying goes.

Everything I buy has went up about 1/3 along with the grain prices this fall. I could spend all the profits on land improvements but I would like some left for us! The fields are all in better condition than when I started with them and we have enjoyed good yields for seven years.

I woke up early wondering what I need to spend on the wheat ground to keep it perking. 500 lbs of fertilizer could come up to $200 per acre quite easily so I have to figure how to just put on enough to raise a good crop. Even in good prices like we have you can spend all your profits building soil and then some.

The fella's who have invested in their own fertilizer storage can buy it by the truckload and do it cheaper than I am. I wish the manure piles were a little closer than 100 miles so I could use that cheaper fertilizer and gain the valuable humus in those piles.

My tissue test came up low in copper where the wheat is going and I have never had to put copper sulfate on that farm but I think I will spread a little with the dry to make sure the wheat isn't short on copper. A tiny bit of copper makes for strong stems which wheat needs to hold up a good yield.

I have taken a lot of grain off that farm and need to make sure I keep enough nutrients out there to take off more.

I found out yesterday that one driver took 3 loads of beans to the wrong terminal. It turned out OK but I have had this happen before. Communication and maps are essential to make sure the grain is going to the right place. I am dealing with eight different destinations now and some of the drivers get confused, they are used to hauling to one or two places and like them because they understand how they unload them.

I am getting behind again on my to do list but I have worked hard to get done what I did. Some days you just fall farther behind!

The weather is beautiful so we sure can't complain about that.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ohio Soybean Contest

I entered the Ohio Soybean Contest this year to see how I stack up against other farmers in Ohio. I had the chance to break 100 bu an acre and I hope some farmer did it.

There is a quality part of the contest to compare soybean protein and oil content which is valuable to our buyers. I think this is really good for Ohio farmers.

My 4.1 LL contest beans only made 82 at the house. I had 60 pods at 160K plus but now only 47 pods after heat and no rain in August and Sept. Headline fungicide did not keep them on, fertility was good, all I got was green stems from Headline and no yield increase. I have already heard big yield increases with Headline fungicide in other parts of the country. What happened?

That is still double county yield but I had 100 bu beans and lost them. What could I have done differently? The beans were probably 3000 seeds per pound and started at 2800 on the seed planted. I usually can make them bigger but not this time. I think it was just too hot and too dry too long. The weird thing is the worst soil in the field did the best and the best soil did less which is different from every other crop I have had in that field. I did a real good job leveling the playing field but didn't get my reward on my best soil. That patch of Brookston Kokomo usually outyields the Miami Russell slopes but not this year.

Croplan has already dropped this bean but we have the highest yields on poorer soils we ever had. I think a Pioneer or Asgrow would have stood better, this variety was leaning and lodged in some spots and starting to fall apart. The Asgrow 4006 and 3803's stood better but the 38's didn't have the yield punch they normally have. Got Pioner Y and M varieties across the road and not even as good as these but this is a little better soil with more crop rotation and structure.

This variety was rated Very Tall when I thought it was Tall when I ordered them. You can get beans too tall on good ground and I did just that. On the poorer fields, it wasn't as tall as they got here but they still yielded well.

'Bout the time you thought you had something figured out....

I would think someone in Ohio hit 100 and I really thought it could be me. I will be interested the quality check on oil and protein in that part of the contest, that I am usually very high in but maybe not this strange year.

I had almost identical yields in this field in 06 when it rained all summer and was cooler, at least it took the heat this year. I had 15 top varieties in this field and all high 70's low 80's.

I really wanted to raise 100 bu beans in my lifetime and I had it and let it slip away.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Lime

My peice on ag lime got a lot of attention and brought a lot of communication in 24 hours!

This little pile of lime weighs 40 tons. It takes five piles like that to properly lime the 110 tillable acres.

Liming is a basic chemical reaction between acids and bases. If that soil is 5 pH and the lime is 9 pH, the lab calculated that two tons of high calcium lime would raise the pH near 7.0, ideal for legumes like soybeans and for the release of most needed plant nutrients. That is why the fertilizer dollar is maximized and not tied up in unreleased nutrients.

This basic chemical reaction causes a huge shift in beneficial soil biology and reduces deadly anaerobic soil conditions throughout the year.

This chemical reaction also changes soil structure because with the higher pH, clay colloids can bond together and form more aerable, aggregated soil.

So this one application affects soil chemistry, soil biology and soil physics, all important for maximum crop growth.

I have studied this all my life and that is as simple as I can put it on one page. Here is another writer's perspective that may help reinforce what I am trying to say and do. Much has been written about liming soils, one of the first things ever discovered to improve soil qualities which increase crop yield and profit.

Mineral Resources

How Soils Become Acidic
Soil pH is the measure of hydrogen ion activity in the soil solution and reflects soil acidity. A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral; less than 7.0 pH is considered acidic. A pH greater than 7.0 is considered alkaline. When fields are not limed regularly, they become acidic. Erosion, leaching, acid rain, even the normal growing of crops all contribute. Erosion and leaching physically remove calcium and magnesium from the soil. In addition, plants naturally consume calcium and magnesium as they grow. Rain containing debris from the burning of fossil fuels deposits nitric and sulfuric acids into the soil. Although the annual application of nitrgen fertilizer is essential to the efficient production of many crops, its continued use actually promotes the development of acid conditions in the soil. The result...Indiana fields can quickly become acidic.

Aglime for Healthy Soils and a Better Environment
In addtion to neutralizing soil acidity, the benefits of the regular application of aglime often include the addition of needed calcium or magnesium. Further, the effectiveness of certain herbicides is enhanced and the total soil environment is made more favorable for soil organisms. All this leads to a more healthy soil condition where the potential for the leaching of harmful chemicals into your ground water is greatly reduced or eliminated. Aglime is especially critical in minimum tillage operations. Farmers who practice reduced tillage methods should test their soil and apply aglime more frequently in order to avoid surface soil acidity. This is essential to ensuring proper fertilizer efficiency and herbicide effectiveness.

Effect of pH on the Yield Potential of Crops
Most crops achieve optimum yields when grown in soils which are slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Regular application of aglime is the best way to achieve and maintain the ideal pH.
Aglime Helps Improve Fertilizer Efficiency
If the soil pH is not correct, applying more fertilizer will not optimize yields because the crop cannot fully utilize the nutrients in the fertilizer. Therefore, the application of aglime could increase yields as well as provide greater ferilizer efficiency.

Test Soil Regularly
Conducting soil tests on every field at least once every three years (and applying aglime when needed) is the only way to ensure that the fields do not become acidic. Aglime is not an instant fix. Depending on the gradation of the aglime available in a particular area, the time required for aglime to have its full impact on the pH of the soil may be one to three years. Soil fertility consultants or fertilizer dealers in particular areas can make aglime application recommendations for achieving optimum pH for crops in that area.
( But PLEASE use the right soil test!)

The Best Time to Lime
Fall and early winter applications are recommended even if tillage operations are not performed until the spring. Early spring is also a good time to spread aglime. Because aglime reacts with the soil on contact, applying it at anytime is better than delaying the application another year.

How Aglime Works
All limestones are composed of calcium and magnesium carbonates responsible for neutralizing acids in the soil. The CCE (calcium carbonate equivalent) represents the sum of the calcium and magnesium carbonates in a liming material. The higher the CCE, the more acid neutralizing power in the lime. In order for aglime to work to its maximum efficiency, the carbonates must come in contact with the acids in the soil. Therefore, smaller sized particles react faster to neutralize the soil.

Aglime can improve the physical structure of the soil by reducing surface crusting, increasing a soil's water holding capacity, and reducing soil erosion. This is largely the result of an increase in the organic matter content of the soil along with calcium saturated soil colloids. This allows crops to better tolerate drought and wet conditions by increasing both root penetration and water percolation through the soil.

Aglime reduces toxic conditions caused by iron, aluminum, and manganese. Manganese and iron exhibit toxicity to plants at a low soil pH. aluminum increases in solubility as soil pH decreases. Too much aluminum can restrict root and plant development.

Aglime can increase nutrient availability to plants. Soil micro-organisms are responsible for the breakdown of organic matter and for nitrification (the conversion of ammonia to nitrate for uptake by plants).

Aglime adds calcium and magnesium to soil. Most micro-organisms responsible for the conversion of ammonia to nitrates require large amounts of calcium. Magnesium is an essential component of the chlorophyll molecule neccessary in photosynthesis.

Aglime increases herbicide effectiveness by the removal of hydrogen from the soil site and/or an increase in the micro-organism activity.

Aglime is the most cost-effective method available to correct soil acidity, provide calcium and/or magnesium, and maintain a proper environment for organic materials to decompose.
The information on this page was provided by:

For more information about aglime, contact the Aglime Council at:
11711 N. College Avenue, Suite 180Carmel, IN 46032-5601Phone: (317) 580-9100FAX: (317) 580-9183

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ag Lime

I just ordered 200 ton of agricultural lime for our new farm. The soil test calls for 1-2 ton of calcium so I am putting 2 ton on all of it.
The base saturation test is not over 60% Calcium anywhere on the farm and some is 50%. The magnesium levels are all above 20-25% so I want high calcium ag lime. I found a source 30 miles away that is 31% calcium and 1% magnesium so it is what we call High Cal Lime. Funny thing it isn't far from the farm we were raised on near Sardinia and it costs some money to truck it up here but Hanson closed the good Highland Quarry so it's Eagle or waste lime like my neighbor put on this field next door a couple of years ago.
We put 2 ton on a run down farm south of here and it raised the best soybeans ever in its history. It usually made around 45 bushels but this year it made 65! The plants were healthier, the fertilizer dollar was not wasted and the weeds were controlled easier getting the calcium and pH up on that old farm.
I hope we can do that on the new farm, too and next April if it gets nice and dry like it did the last two years, we will go in there and drill the best soybean variety we can find, treat it with a good chemical treatment and inoculate it with the new RO9 or new strain of rhizobia and SabrEx, the latest trichaderma on the market. If we can control the weeds, we should raise 50 bushels of soybeans easily in a bad year and hopefully a whole lot more.
Then next fall we will plant it back to wheat and keep it covered all winter so those hills don't wash and plant it back to double crop soybeans right behind the wheat harvesting combine. In 2012 it should raise a good crop of corn or beans and I would like to go back to corn again as I know I can raise 200 bushels per acre on that farm.
Ag lime is the best thing a farmer can do if his soil test calls for it and this one does.
We have an unusual dry fall so it's time to get this done.
Good luck to all of us.
Ed Winkle

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eat Local!

Our state director of Agriculture asks us to eat local. We always try to but in the middle of winter, imported fruit and vegetables fills my fancy just fine.

Eating local makes good health and economical sense. I love to buy from my neighbors and we have some pretty good fruit and vegetable farms in southwest Ohio.

The last of the garden tomatoes is gone so all we have left is Red and Golden Delicious apples. They are the best I ever grew. I have red apples 4 and 5 inches in diameter! We talked about buying a cider press and an apple peeler but we haven't done it. Still, we have had some really good apple sauce and apple crisp out of them besides the apples we eat off the tree.

Here is what Mr. Boggs has to say.

"Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs has extended a challenge to all Ohioans to consume local foods during the week of Oct. 2 - 8. At a kickoff celebration at the Local Roots Market and Café in Wooster, Boggs encouraged citizens to support Ohio agriculture.

"With an abundance of local food products readily available, everyone in Ohio should have access to fresh and healthy food," said Boggs. "As the department kicks of its Eat Local Challenge Week, I encourage all Ohioans to plan and prepare one meal every day using foods that are made, grown or raised in Ohio."

From dairy products to meats to fruits and vegetables, Ohio is home to a large variety of products and produce that are available in grocery stores and farm and farmers markets located across the state. Visit the department's Ohio Proud website,, to search for market locations by county or by a specific product. In addition, the site features a recipe index that is searchable by commodity.

The Eat Local Challenge Week is annually celebrated to bring awareness to Ohio's agricultural producers who grow and raise more than 200 diverse crops, to focus on the importance of supporting the local community by purchasing Ohio products, and to highlight the state's No. 1 industry – food and agriculture.

For more information or to accept the Eat Local Challenge, visit the department's website at"

Eat local when you can. It is good for you!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

My NoTill Post

I have a friend who made a notill post about his half a corn crop and super weed crop this year in western Illinois where they got double normal rainfall this summer.

He asked what could he do to try and improve his overly compacted soil from all the rain that hurt his corn and caused the Tall Waterhemp to just go crazy.

I think it is a real good question lots of farmers are thinking about so I thought I would share my response with you. What do you think?

"Hi Paul, Hi Robert et. al.,

I think it is quite possible that you will have to do something more drastic if the air and water movement of your soil has been limited.

I would dig a few soil pits and get a good eye to come over and help me digest just what am I looking at.

You know everything we have bought or rented was beat to death when we got it but one. One was taken care of. It was notilled and rotated and improved, not tore down. It has always been our easiest farm to farm.

Some of these farms have been beat for 100-200 years and every last little bit of humus is burned up or washed away. When you started strip tilling your bandaid was big enough to cover the wound and hold it in place for you to make a profit and some progress until you got double the rainfall this year. Talk about a pounding, it got it.

Dig a hole or two or a whole bunch and run something down it that kind of imitates a tillage point going through it and feel the layers for yourself. I use the biggest straight blade screwdriver I have and you can feel the man made layers and the glacial layers. Look for roots and residue as deep as you can find them. A real healthy breathing soil will have a layer plenty thick for root growth with lots of pore space and the better the soil the deeper you will find it. If it is dead, it is dead and needs to be renewed however you decide to do that. A cover or combination would have really helped but that sounds out of the question. Healthy soil is a lot harder to build than any writing leads you to believe.

You couldn't control the amount of water you got, you have a little on what to do with it and thus your question. I will never forget doing this at field days and demonstrations and the owner watching intently and feeling every blow of my hand on the screwdriver has I forced it through those layers. Even 3 feet away, you can feel it in your feet as you force the tool through those layers and I have no doubt you have some.

Somehow you have to move water above field capacity down and away and create new channels for roots to start rebuilding those soils. Double rainfall could have been a catastrophic event on those soils. It was impossible for you to raise a full crop of corn with low weed pressure given your circumstances so now you are thinking how do I get this back in some kind of decent shape? It's a great question many of us have to try and answer to get back to profitability next year because no one can stand many years of this.

Get down there at eye level and study your fields and I think you will come up with answers.
The worst thing is getting it dry enough to do what you need to do to start the growth curve back the other direction. If you chisel you are going to leave a fairly new, tight compaction layer at the bottom of those chisel points. If it freezes deep enough I guess it wouldn't be as catastrophic as double normal rainfall and your layers all run together.

You are not alone in this problem. All those low yield reports tells you the soil wasn't able to handle the conditions Mother Nature and WE put them through.

I had this in a farm of RR soybeans in 99 when they couldn't go down get the deep water in the soil. I didn't get the right variety rooted to follow the moisture down on that droughty year after 4 years of excess water. This year all of my fields got down there and picked up the deep moisture and we had just enough rain to keep them alive and fresh through the drought of July through September.

I sure hope you and everyone who wants a better crop next year find your answers but a soil pit is the easiest way for me to try and understand what happened so I can avoid it in the future.


Does this make any sense to my savvy farm friends and city cousins? It is what I have learned after 60 years of digging and makes sense to me but may not to others. I don't know anyway at looking at your soil profile than at eye level and that means you have to dig a 60 inch pit so you can look and study and dig and learn. I do it every chance I get and I was so pleased when we repaired the broken tile on this farm a few years ago and I got down in the tile layer and studied what was above it. The old farmer had done a really good job and I got the chance to take what he built and keep it and maybe just build it a little more.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stone Marker

We found an old stone marker in a fencerow on the new farm. I can't see any writing on it but it is buried in thorns and I can't see the other side.

This big chunk of hand carved stone has to be almost 10 feet tall and over a foot wide and a foot thick. I can't imagine men carving that out of a stone quarry over 100 years ago and erecting it by horse and wagon and manpower at this location.

Clinton and Warren Counties were carved out of the old, huge Highland Territory when Ohio became a state and Clinton became a separate county 200 years ago.

Peter Winkle, six generations back, moved here from Virginia in the late 1700's before Ohio was a state. He had a son named George, then my great grandfather Isaac, then grandpa George, my dad Gerald, then me and my brother and sister and our children and grandchildren.

This stone is very near the present day Highland Clinton County lines in Highland County. I would like to erect it at the T where Fleming meets Horseshoe Road in honor of our early settlers.There is a very well kept family cemetery about a 1/4 of a mile east of that T where Horseshoe turns back south. It is a funny U shaped road that cuts off Panhandle Road, an east-west county road.

We have seen these type of markers in Indiana but I don't know of many around here although I am sure there are some around Chillicothe, the first capitol of Ohio.

It looks like a rare piece of history to me.


Friday, October 1, 2010

That Was HOT!

Our local and national news showed a hot air balloon that got tangled up in the electric wires in Jasper County, Iowa Wednesday.
The video showed a new looking Cat combine cutting the beans around the balloon. That's what our local TV lady said, too.
Not pretty boy Shepherd Smith on FOX News, he said the farmer was plowing around the balloon! I had to laugh like he thought he was doing something to protect them and doesn't know a combine from a plow.
He was probably trying to get the beans around the balloon before people came in mashing them all down trying to get the balloon off the lines.
At least all of you know the difference between plowing and combining, and I doubt much plowing is done on the eroded hillsides of Jasper County, Iowa. Iowa is big in notill and minimum till and I haven't seen enough plowing in recent years to shake a stick at. Some organic farmers do and that is about it. I have even seen notill equipment pulled by horses!

"What started out as a peaceful, relaxing hot air balloon ride turned into a potentially life-threatening situation and a few brief moments of sheer panic.

Newton resident Brenda Lamb was accompanying her father, Bill Jenkins, on a ride in Joel Worthington’s balloon Tuesday evening, along with a man from Montour and his two adult daughters. Lamb is a Daily News employee.

The balloon took off from Worthington’s farm south of Newton about 5:30 p.m., and began drifting slowly south.

As the balloon drifted east of Reasnor near the Lanphier farm, the balloon began settling down. Worthington hit the balloon’s burners to rise above the power lines, but a gust of wind sent the upper parts of the basket into contact with the lines.

“We heard a sizzling sound of the power lines and we saw some sparks,” Lamb said. “You know, I was scared for a brief minute, but there was really no time to be scared.”

As the balloon rebounded off the basket, Worthington tried to set the balloon down in the ditch, but the prevailing wind again took the balloon’s fabric into the power lines, and Worthington began deflating, to avoid further damage.

The balloon’s passengers were instructed to stay where they were until they could determine that the power to the wires had been shut off, so there they sat from about 6 p.m. until 7:20 p.m. when crews from Alliant Energy made certain there was no danger.

Worthington said there is noting in the balloon that is conductive of electricity. The basket is wicker and rattan, and the ropes are nylon-coated kevlar. After the incident, however, Worthington said he had the balloon safety inspected, and it was determined that no damage was done.

“If the wind dies down, we’ll be up again tonight,” Worthington said. “It’s time to get back on the horse.” Lamb agrees.

“We were very blessed and lucky,” Lamb said. “But I’m ready to go back up.” The ride was a Father’s Day present to her father, and Worthington said their next ride would be free."
I think I would pass on the free ride for awhile.