Thursday, February 24, 2011
It is a big crowd today at the Conservation and Tillage Conference in Ada,Ohio. It has been held at Ohio Northern University as long as I remember, when my friend John Smith and I were agriculture extension agents in 1987.
John inherited the program when was hired as the new county agent in `987. He took it off and running.
Farmers are wanting to know more and more about the latest advances in conservation tillage. There are many continuous no tillers here.
Today is mainly cover crops, which there is much interest in. Many of these farmers have planted rye or radishes to get their hands on the benefits of cover crops. They want to know how to do better with their cover crops.
I am just happy to get the land covered with anything, then I can work my way up. The rivers are still brown so I know we can do better.
Covers are really paying off today as the ground in saturated and we are getting more rain. My friend Garth Mulkey from Oregon visited with me yesterday and we took a short drive to see all the bare ground with no over. Most of it is sloping land too, but farmers just wont cover crop it.
Garth raises cover crop seed in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Like many growers in Oregon he is struggling to make a living growing seed. He formed a new seed company and is here this weekend to answer questions at his booth at Ada.
LuAnn and I got to visit him and his wife in the fall of 09. I never saw such huge radish seed in my life, probably twice normal size. This makes it easier for the farmer to sow. Sowing small seed is real ticklish as I am sure you know. Small seed causes me to sow my lettuce seed too thick.
It is good to see conservation grow but it's sad it takes high input costs to force farmers to look at it. You would think we would know better but there are a few who farm like grandpa and do OK. My grandpa has a 5 year rotation and you don't see that anymore.
Now if they would chase the combine with a seeder they could make more money and build the source of their existence, the soil.
I am convinced a farmer should follow every harvest with fertilizer buggy and a seeder to prepare for the next year's crop.