Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I drove through rain most of the morning to get to St. Louis. Traffic was highest around Cincinnati and other than that it wasn't too bad. Downtown St. Louis was rather empty at noon.
OnStar didn't recognize the Hilton at the Ball Park so it took me to one two blocks down the street. When I tried to get my room, they had no reservation so we figured out I was at the wrong hotel. I called OnStar back to make sure they don't route other attendees that way.
A farmer from North Dakota explained how cover crops saved his farm after 4 years of no crop in the 90's. He said God through Mother Nature made him completely change the way he farmed to survive. He showed more diversity of crop mixes than anyone I have ever listened to and he took Dr. Dwayne Beck's comments to the max or past it! He grew corn for $1.10 per bushel this year so it was quite impressive.
Warren Dick then spoke an hour on gypsum, reciting many of the things I have been teaching the past 11 years but he explained some chemically I had not heard. A ton of gypsum for a couple of years will really improve almost every farm I know of before we back off the rate because we won't need as much. He proved to me why it works.
Then the Australian NoTillBill (Twitter) Crabtree showed what he had learned around the world. He bought 4,000 acres of unproductive land for $100 an acre to prove what he had learned. He had very good wheat crops this year on hardly any rain.
The AgTalk crowd met at a nearby restaurant for dinner. I met Laurent Lorre from France and a group of Ontario farmers asked if they could tour our farms this summer. We had a lively group with lively conversation. Check out was a bit of hassle for host Adam Lemler when they brought the $500 bill and he thought they were billing each of us separately! They turned to me for help and I said NO, it was not my deal as I am not good at collecting money and I know I would have gotten stuck with part of the tab. It all worked out for the good.
Dr. Lloyd Murdock talked about forms of nitrogen in his University of Kentucky plots. It was quite interesting. I know not to use the cheapest form of nitrogen this year, urea, without imcorporating it or getting a rain in 48 hours. The third day bad things start to happen.
A fellow from Kansas went over proper phosphorous use as it is a big topic across the country. The following speaker, Joe Nester, showed how green Lake Erie was December 11 and it was worse January 4 last week. The lake will support a can of beer in some places! Divers found algae 65 feet deep!
Joe did a really good job explaining the need for soil testing but how we can totally miss the boat using it. He had me laughing on the reasons why VRT do not work. I have to get his big points and share them here. They are really good.
It's bedtime so I will sign off and report back tomorrow. We have the annual Syngenta breakfast first thing in the morning and then a very full day of discussions.