Saturday, January 21, 2012

Crop(and other typesof) Scouting

Around this time in August, I found my first bacterial wilt on Prairie Road, just east of Wilmington. There began my search on what causes bacterial wilt's in corn like Goss's Wilt, that reduced U.S. corn yields so much this year.

Today is a poor day for crop scouting, even if you were looking for maple trees to tap for syrup. It is cold, windy, the ground is white and the north windows are covered with ice to the top. It's a moderately cold, blustery day in southwest Ohio.

Some guy ran out of gas between the house and the barn last night. He sat there and sat there and I finally saw a little flashlight shining up the sidewalk. I opened the door and he timidly asked if he could call for help. The answer was yes of course but the immediate thought went through our head, he doesn't even have a cell phone? Everyone has a cell phone thanks to our government!

He was my heighth and even bigger than me, a stout looking young man, guess around 30or more. I quickly noticed he had a navy blue work tee shirt and jeans and shoes, all full of holes. A rough looking character he was with thick dark hair and a very timid voice. I always wonder if such people are "God sent" and it was hard for me to imagine he was.

He made us both very uneasy and LuAnn was thankful it wasn't a week ago when I was in St. Louis. Sable didn't throw a fit over him so that added to the discernment. She thought I should have handed a phone to him on the porch but I invited him in to the kitchen where he called someone who showed up in another ragged old truck 15 mintues later or so. He had plenty of time to "case the joint" but was so timid and staring down I wasn't too worried.

He was out of gas he said and I told him I had just poured my last gallon into the log splitter. His buddy came and they got it running and off he went while the buddy just had to drive our circle drive in the barnyard and got stuck trying to get back on Martinsville Road. He finally burned his way out and was gone.

Back to crop scouting, the question was raised in the Cafe "how did you find AgTalk?" A couple of posters said "Ed emailed me about it" and half or so were renegades from I found the Crop Scouting page about this time in 1995 and that even changed my life forever. How I farm, what I teach, who I talk to and live with all came from that modest beginning.

By 2000 the forum was full of growing pains and broadband was not here in the country yet. Meredith Publishing decided to put banner ads on and that made the forum useless to us in the country on dial up connections. I won the NoTill Innovator of the year which was presented in Des Moines so I picked up Tim Reinhart from the University of Illinois and we drove to the conference. We met with John Walter, still editor of and begged him to take the banner ads down.

If they didn't we were going to start our own forum. Neither one of us really wanted that so he said he would meet with the company and get back to us. He did, and the answer was NO. So David Orr, of near Circleville, Ohio, volunteered to put up the first page and it was in June, 2000.

Lots has happened in over 11 years but is still here and now NewAgTalk is the number one farm forum in the world.


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