Thursday, May 31, 2012

Survey, Call, Protest!

Did any of you farmers get this survey by email? I completed it and wondered what you thought about it. It's from a non profit called Protect Ag Futures.

I got another email I am responding to because I believe in the cause. "Time is running out to prevent the EPA's regulatory onslaught, which is poised to drive up energy costs; destroying American jobs in pursuit of a radical environmentalist agenda.

The EPA's reckless "Utility MACT" regulation threatens Ohio's electricity grid with double-digit cost increases, and will kill jobs across the state with higher energy prices for all Americans.

The good news is that this EPA train wreck can be stopped" I am calling each Senator about this impact on my electricity bill because I don't believe we can afford a "better way" right now when we are so cash strapped, I mean BROKE.

Now this next one may have some scientific effect and may not. A farmer posted this on Crop Talk, and my first thought was, "this is just another old wives tale." Then I read some links and maybe it does have some merit although I don't see how the cost outweighs the benefit.

"Has anyone seen changes in the weather that could be due to windmills?

We were sort of joking around about it at work one day but the more I look at it the windmills really seem to be stopping the rain right to the east of them.

There is a new windmill farm about 30 miles west of us right now and every time a storm moves across it the clouds seem to break up (but not to the north or south of it) and then seems to form back up about 60 east of them.

Shot in the dark maybe but I was curious if anyone else has seen this trend as well."

The replies are interesting, you ought to read them if you get time. Some of us have more time than others, I understand.

I hope I didn't just kill a field of corn. I sprayed Capreno and Status on it trying to control the foxtail and the vines. It was spread with hog manure every chance the farmer had years ago and it sure grows good weeds. The corn is pretty sickly looking to start with so it was let the weeds take it or spend money and take the risk of doing the job for them!

I did get to meet the new Bayer rep though in the deal, he is Carl Hamman's son and I was at Carl's field day last August and wrote about it here. Looks to me like Bayer added another good young person to a field of good people.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


There is a lot of science in farming. I have always been interested in the science end of it. This morning our Michigan, Ohio and Indiana ABM sales rep met with me and we dug corn. We were looking for why corn in the same row varies in heighth so much. My question was did the trichaderma in SabrEx seed treament not get colonized on some seeds for some reason?

ABM has a microbiologist so Bruce offered to have her look at my corn roots to see if they were colonized. They can't do this for farmers as a service as they are not equipped to but Bruce offered to find out for me since we are both curious.

The bigger plants are going into vegetative stage V8 and look well colonized to me. When we pried the knee high plant out with a spade, a big long tap root came with it 20 inches long or so. I should have had my camera with me. The smaller, yellower, shin high plant did not have the tap root or it broke off. The sickest little ankle high plant, what we would call a weed in a corn field, had barely any roots but they did look white and healthy.

The seed treatment should give the plant 21 days or so protection and by then the trichaderma should be well colonized for season long control of pythium, fusarium and rhizoctonia. These are the major plant diseases. I think the Cruiser Maxx seed treatment washed off in the heavy rains and I didn't get 21 day control until the trichaderma colonized. I am not sure if every seed got colonized, so now maybe we will find a clue to "what happened?"

I got a test back on my 28% urea ammonium nitrate. It was a little shy of the advertized product. It came back at 25% so I was shorted 3% which would add up over a lot of acres. I have a little bargaining power now with the vendor I bought it from. If you are ever in doubt, I would send a sample to a trusted laboratory and we have one within 25 miles of our farm. They only need a cup of 28 to test but I usually take several samples from one load in a 2.5 gallon jug. I mix the remainder with water and put it between my sweet corn rows or other plants.

There are 7 terminals where 28 or 32 is picked up near the river in Cincinnati. If you buy 28 and they received 32 they add water and the process is pretty precise but mistakes are made. Most terminals induce the water into the tanker before the 28 is inducted and it mixes on the way to your farm or the fertilizer plant. Intentional mistakes are criminal and that's the job of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to handle that sampling and investigation. They are under staffed of course so a lot goes unnoticed and a lot is taken for granted as the system is built around trust. A bad skunk is flushed out pretty quickly and taken care of.

Mostly everyone is trying to get their work caught up, no matter what it is and hoping for a rain. If this weather persists the corn will be well ahead of last year but the soybean crop won't be much farther ahead.

I leave you with the big trees at Fort Salem. I am still thinking about that place and the trucker just reminded me because he lives near there. Tractor pulling season is here, too.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29

We had a good but busy weekend, I hope you did, too. Most farmers are wanting a good rain on their crop right now but the green radar has not brought much if any. It is a critical time for moisture to get the soybean crop up and corn requires plenty of water but not too much!

I see 2013 wheat is over $7 today. The buyers are already bidding a profitable price for soft red winter wheat even though much of this year's crop hasn't been harvested yet. Harvest is as far north as Missouri though and it won't be long. I expect small grain harvest to be record early this year and the hot temperatures the last few days should really bring it to maturity.

Farmers are busy finishing up soybean planting and side dressing corn hard. You can see all your problems if you drive through your corn slowly and there are plenty of problems to look at in most fields. Pythium is still affecting corn from Iowa to Ohio and many stands have went down hill. Every little thing we did right or wrong shows today and the biggest thing I see is planting date.

The farther your corn is planted after the crop insurance date of April 5 for here, the worse the stand is in general. So corn planting date was critical again this year and only for a few days of planting does the corn stand and color look right.

This question was asked today. "I've got a part of a corn field that has been damaged by pythium, but to date the corn has survived. The infected corn plants are probably 8" shorter than the same variety of corn planted the same day and are probably two leaves behind. The stand is still OK. I'm seeing stand counts from 20-30K. When I dig the plants the seedling root is still viable, but the nodal roots have shown little activity and the crown is slightly brown on some of the plants. We've also been very dry which hasn't helped these plants in the least, but a good chance of rain is in the forecast for Thursday.

The question is this. Does anyone have experience with this corn through a growing season? If I leave this corn will it eventually start growing normally and produce an ear? If the stand was inadequate it would be a no-brainer, but I hate to tear up a decent stand and start over.

Any management ideas or help will be appreciated."

My answer was "We are going through the same thing here. This may be the worst pythium hanging on problem I have ever seen. Normally the plants tend to grow out of it, at least to some degree but these are new genetics, new chemistries and I am not sure what to expect. We know those sick plants won't make full yield.

The big question is will spotted in or replant pay? What I have seen replanted so far, the stands are better and more consistent but they are later and won't be as high yielding as the better early stands, probably. It's almost June 1 and this isn't 2011 when our June 5 corn could make 200 bu. That was unheard of.

You just have to walk it, talk about it, think about it and pray over it and decide I am replanting this or I am keeping it.

I think God gave me the chance to test 300 bu corn this year maybe and I missed it by not planting in March. But some March corn still has pythium in it so I don't know.

Know that sick corn will never make full potential and go from there. Will you make more replanting it or keeping it?"

I hope I gave good advice. I leave you with another picture from Fort Salem of Bill Bare's property. He answered my email and I hope to stop and chat and catch up on old times.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Fort Salem Indian Mound

I took the back roads to meet my sister at the cemetery Friday evening. I took Certier Road off SR 131 near Pricetown in Highland County and turned a big curve in the road and found a big surprise! The scenery changed and the old road didn't look familiar anymore, I seriously thought I had made a wrong turn.

There was an old grown up woods on a hillside turned into a beautiful showplace and a new sign like you see at scenic parks saying "Fort Salem Indian Mound." I grew up near that remote area but I hadn't heard it had been reclaimed. When I stopped, the sign and pictures and details on how the mounds were restored.

Local resident Bill Bare known for Bare Mechanical among a lot of other things, bought the property and sold it to an archaeological conservancy group. Between them, they raised enough funds and labor to restore the woods overlooking bottom land. They cleared the brush and little trees and limed, fertilized and seeded the woods and mounds. Pictures are never quite as good as being there and mine aren't either but you get the idea.

The old hard and silver maple grove is full of trees over 200 years old, or virgin timber when the white man settled the area in the late 1700's. Old timers like dad always prounced Certier as Searchy Road, we pronounced it Cer T er and of course the French pronounce it Cer T Yea. No matter how you say it, I can't find a link on the Internet, it is that new. I entered about every combination I could think of so far and no luck so I reveal it to you today!

I would love to have a family picnic or a quiet picnic with friends there. We only saw two picnic tables when I took LuAnn and Sable back Sunday evening. It is remote and suited to smaller groups. She was astounded and amazed to see it as I was to find it. She said this is the place my friend was talking about, she lives around here somewhere! It is not that far from our place, only 15 miles south or so and on my way to my mother's.

I have contacted the Archaeological Conservancy office in Columbus, Ohio. I think this may be the group who were involved with the project. As you can see by their new acquisitions, they are quite active although Fort Salem is not mentioned there. I also ran across this piece while searching for more information about that project.

Whiteoak High School is not far away I can just imagine a nice school here like I saw on Rural TV about Locust Trace High School near Lexington, Kentucky in Fayette County. My imagination runs pretty quickly when I find something like Fort Salem near my old home area. Dad would really like what Bill Bare and Archaeological Conservancy has down in Highland County.

That was my find this Memorial Day weekend. Farmers are busy trying to finish up soybean planting and then it will be the task of "laying the crops by" for the summer growing season. It's been really hot here and we nearly broke the record high of 95 degrees F. It got to 93 on our thermometers.

Happy Memorial Day to you all,

Ed Winkle

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Good Corn?

Have you seen any good corn? There isn't much around here! This picture is from a friend 100 miles away or so and it has 300 lbs. of AMS per acre spread before the twin row corn was planted. The herbicide was applied via water, not liquid fertilizer. I think it looks pretty happy and healthy.

We have some fields in this region, probably, almost that good, but see that dark green color already? Most of our fields look yellow and that corn had the same cold stress and maybe a little less water than we had here.

Farmers have been posting their corn woes on Crop Talk all spring. Dry weather seems to be the problem for most farmer but many got caught in that cold snap April 12 and another one the first of May. That really derailed a lot of potential good corn like this picture shows.

We have been near Chillicothe to Georgetown, up to Lebanon and Waynesville to Washington Court House and Greenfield. You can count the really good corn fields on two hands. Most fields are still brown and are being planted to soybeans. I don't think we will end up with record corn acres in Ohio. Crop insurance paid out a record $12 billion last year and some people do not understand this important part of our production system.

Pretty soon we will be talking about soybeans, wheat harvest and what goes on in our gardens. I saw one of the best fields on Harveysburg Road where a friend of mine notilled beans into Highly Erodible Lands early and those beans have several sets of leaves on them. They are loving this heat and gravity is pulling those roots to water as it goes down the water table. Those roots are highly nourished and well fed.

I have learned a lot since 1963 when dad helped me plant my first field of corn. That field of corn got washed away in the 63 flood but I never gave up hope of growing good corn. This year I didn't plant when my gut told me too. Those few days in March were the best corn planting weather all year, I even mentioned that in an earlier blog but I wasn't ready when those days came and I let them slip away. Logic and calendars got in the way of the right time to plant this year.

So I take the lemons I planted and try to make lemonade out of them. I don't have an oil boom for extra income. It's time to side dress and spray the corn we have and be thankful for it. Lots of corn got replanted, lots of corn needed replanted and never got it and every problem written in books have happened to our corn this year.

I hope your crops and gardens are doing well. Keep sending pictures and comments like the one I show today and we will keep discussing how we all do it.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend and thank you soldiers of war who keep us free and soldiers for Christ who do the right thing.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, May 26, 2012


My sister and I met at the Cemetery where our dad is buried last night. It is a long drive for her and we haven't got to see each other for awhile so it was good to do that.

Do you visit the cemetery or does it "creep you out?" I played taps at various cemeteries when I was a kid every Memorial Day and for other occasions. We were taught to honor the dead and to show respect and prayer to your deceased loved ones. But I know some people never go "until it is their turn."

While I was waiting for her to get there, I visited all my aunts, uncles, former friends and neighbors buried there. We tried to remember where they put me the years the director wanted an echo player and I was the kid back in the woods somewhere. Every cemetery I have driven by is very well kept this year, even a little nicer than some former years I remember. This is kind of surprising in the depressed economy with every government and non profit struggling for funds.

I saw a car that looked liked my sisters and walked that way when an older Chevy truck drove through with a little gray haired man passed by. We waved and it struck me that was one of my classmates so I yelled his last name and he backed up. I hadn't talked to him in 10-20 years, I don't remember the last time. We talked about where the other guys were we grew up with. Most of the class went their own way and hadn't kept up with each other.

It is amazing to see how many people are gone who are your age or even younger. Several of my classmates never made it to 60. In my family,one aunt was 86, one 85, dad was 85 and Uncle Roy is 85 and Jane is 90. Grandma Winkle was 84 and Grandpa 74. The rest didn't live quite that long. My mom is 85 so my line has lived a little longer than some of the others. I wonder what that means for me?

In our church we pray for the dead in hopes they will one day meet the Lord if they have not already. Trends have changed for funerals and such in these "face paced times." It's a subject most of us put off until we have a life changing experience that makes us plan right then, or we let our loved ones take care of it.

This is not meant to be a gloomy subject but as a matter of fact we all must face. Many farmer friends talk about times when they know their dad is with them or looking out for them and I have felt the same way many times.

I am thankful for the many soldiers who have kept our land free and very thankful for the Christian souls who worked hard to do the right thing.

How do you honor the dead this holiday?

Ed Winkle

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good Sleep

I am a very curious person who likes to understand what makes things works and how things tick. I spent my first 21 years studying and working, 31 years working and learning and the last 10 years traveling and observing. Through all those years I was never a steady sleeper. Any project, stress or distraction would wake me up. It took me 60 years to learn how to sleep all night.

I have slept 8 houts a night or more for the last 14 months. That amazes me. Maybe I finally got to a point in my life where there was more security than upheaval but we did simple things to sleep better.

The big thing for me is my routine. I always knew I was sunrise to sunset person but I didn't always live that way. Having a set routine or "ritual" is key to my good sleep. I wake up when the sun rises and I get sleepy when the sun sets so I just encourage that a little by eating 3 meals a day around 8, noon and five or six. I keep busy in the hours inbetween.

The bed has become key to my sleep. We found Hampton Inn's by Hilton 10 years ago. I have never slept at a Hilton that didn't have a good bed without good sheets, covers and pillows. Our bodies just "melt into" those coverings. The room is dark and the room is cool. We go to sleep listening to the news or weather or not at all. LuAnn is a reader, I am a thinker so she reads a little and I try to go over my gratitudes for the day. The next thing you know it is 8 hours later and we wake up pretty refreshed.

That last statement about gratitudes gives you a hint of my spiritual program. I finally faced the idea that I only have so many days on this earth and I am going to do my best and leave the rest to whoever is in charge of this universe. That person I call God and I have accepted the teachings of the church, the universal church called Catholic. I know I have a soul and I want it to be at peace when my days here are over.

So my spiritual program is THE key to this whole thing about sleep. I know who I am and I know what I have to do. I think a lot of people do not. Like me, they struggled their whole life and may still struggle or unlike me they figured this out a long time ago.

I can't tell you how good it is to be at peace and be able to sleep all night. I am "out of sorts" if I don't do this. The very best thing I can do for you is share this with you and hope you have found it or find it soon.

Life is so much easier this way.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


I am getting more and more calls and emails asking "what is wrong with my corn? or "how bad is the pythium in your area", Ed? Some are asking what is working and what is not. It is good we review what it is, first.

Many seedling blights can infect germinating plants at this time of the year. One of the most common and earliest groups of fungi that attack corn and soybeans belongs to the genera Pythium. Fungi in the genera Pythium are called "water molds" because they thrive in soils that are wet. In addition, these fungi are earliest and very common because the various species are active over a wide range of temperatures and moisture regimes. In fact, Pythium spp. are often grouped by the temperature regimes that induce optimum infection. Cooler soils (50 to 60°F) favor three species (P. debaryanum, P. torulosum, and P. ultimum) that are more common in northern areas, particularly in early-planted fields. Several other species, including P. aphanidermatum, have higher optimum temperatures (86 to 97°F) for infection, but they can also be present in the field at temperatures as low as 60°F. These species of Pythium cause problems in more southern areas and in late-planted crops.

Pythium fungi overwinter in the soil and in plant debris as oospores. Moisture is necessary for oospore germination and provides a medium for movement "swimming" of the germinated motile spores, called zoospores, which infect the plant root system. Three to four hours of wet conditions can be sufficient for initiating zoospore production. Exudates from seeds and roots also induce fungal spore germination, hyphal growth, and penetration. Damaged seed encourages increased fungal attack because damaged seed leaches root exudates into the soil, attracting fungi, and the wounds provide entry for pathogen penetration.

Although Pythium may cause minimal damage to germinating corn, this fungus can infect a substantial portion of the developing root system including the mesocotyl. Infection of the mesocotyl can result in loss of the primary root system, causing the developing seedling to die, unless adequate secondary roots have developed. Corn plants during the first few weeks after emergence may grow more slowly and appear less healthy when only their primary roots are infected with Pythium. Root tips or the entire root system of the corn plant can become infected with Pythium, appearing brown and becoming soft-rotted and water-soaked. Often the outer tissue of the root is infected and may peel off, revealing a white stele. On severely infected plants, symptoms may include root system discoloration along with yellowing and stunting of the aboveground plant.

I am no plant pathologist but I do understand this much. We treat seed to prevent these disease outbreaks. Usually they work but sometimes they fail. Like any other organism, pythium develop resistance to our best plans. All species seem to be resistant to every seed treatment we have in this severe a situation. Everything failed to some extent but the best stands have some bean guard on them with SabrEx. Captan in the bean guard helps and if SabrEx can colonate(50 degrees or so), we get season long control of pythium, fusariums, rhizoctonias and other soil borne diseases. Oxygenation of soils is critical so drainage and soil fertility balance becomes important.

We will probably be talking about this problem throughout the growing season.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Leadership Clinton

Yesterday LuAnn had the high honor of being asked to host the annual Leadership Clinton "Meals in Fields" meeting for 300 people at our farm in August. We prayed about it last night and we have to turn down the offer.

We have worked hard together to make this place somewhere people would want to visit. The first year I had guests from all over the country walking our plots. We have hosted barn tours, parties and guests from all over the world. We are very honored. We just can't quite pull this off without getting stressed and derailing our current program.

We have children and grandchildren to tend to, a new grandchild in July, and committments throughout the summer. I judge several county fairs, scout crops all summer and visit field days. I have my own crop to tend to and it has been a rough start on that deal.

This reading puts it in perspective for me;
"It is very difficult for me to come to terms with my spiritual illness because of my great pride, disguised by my material successes and my intellectual power. Intelligence is not incompatible with humility, provided I place humility first. To seek prestige and wealth is the ultimate goal for many in the modern world. To be fashionable and to seem better than I really am is a spiritual illness.

To recognize and to admit my weaknesses is the beginning of good spiritual health. It is a sign of spiritual health to be able to ask God every day to enlighten me, to recognize His will, and to have the strength to execute it. My spiritual health is excellent when I realize that the better I get, the more I discover how much help I need from others."

If I try to do too much, this goes you know where. If we both try to do too much it really goes you know where and this is a team effort and we have to be on the same page.

Sorry, Leadership Clinton, but we cannot accomodate you this year. We are so very highly honored you would ask. Maybe next year?

There is lots of good topics that caught my eye on NewAgTalk. This pythium seedling blight in corn across the country is bigger than many people know or understand. It is linked to the problems we have talked about in the past on this blog. There is lack of oxygen in the soil and our current programs for growing corn do not address this issue. All the chemicals in the world won't fix sick corn from lack of oxygen. Tile along is not the answer either but it helps.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Storm No Storm

We had a big storm just east of us in Highland County last night. We haven't gotten a drop here so far. It looks like it could be a "storm, no storm" summer again. Who knows, the weathermen and climatologists can't agree if it is going to be a hot one after record January and March temperatures or a dry one after a year of record rain. No doubt it is going to be drier here than it was last year.

I see lots of farmers in the I states finishing up. Planting is at a harried pace here with lots of April corn to be spotted in yet and soybean planting rushing past the halfway mark. That mean spray schedules are all over the place but lots of spraying and scouting needs to be done.

The cool breeze was so nice last night we slept and slept and slept. It was hard to get up this morning, grandma and granpa are feeling their busy weekend and Monday. It's all good and we just keep thanking our blessings.

Today our youngest is 28 and our oldest will be 35 this fall. That's a real blessing and we are feeling the wear that got here! That's all good, too.

Others are not so fortunate. I saw a thread on suicide in the cafe. It's a deep and serious question why anyone would do that and what happens to their soul when they do. I am sure we all have our own feelings about it but those closest to a suicide definitely have a more experienced view than those who never have.

Terry Taylor posted his corn pictures planted into killed cover crop. I hope mine look half that good in a month. He has a field day at his farm in August and I just got invited to the second annual meeting at the Rulon's on August 21. That is another child's birthday, and she will be the big 3-0!

It looks like rain as I close this and I hope we get a little but not like the link in my opening sentence. Have a good day and keep posting comments and sending email for topics and discussions.


Ed Winkle

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dear Papaw Winkle

My mom is not sick any more. I got your letter in the mailbox. How are you?

We have made lots of fires(I assume it's been chilly in Cleveland and they burn woood in the fireplace.) Our blueberry plants are doing good. We will have blueberries soon. Maybe you can sneak over to my house.

Have you planted any vegetables or fruits? Do you have any funny stories to tell me?

Love you,



Now that is the best mail grandpa can get! We got a great big stack of junk mail and tucked in it was this fine letter from our six year old grandson Liam. After this crazy morning, that just makes my day!

Well Liam, this morning one of our helpers ran the truck out of fuel by the covered bridge. He almost made it to our house! Then, papaw went to look for him and he was out in the field counting corn. I didn't know that until I got back near the house. He was looking for my phone number and had yelled at me when I found the truck with no driver! I guess I couldn't hear him.

I drove through a ditch and punctured one of my BFG Long Trail tires. The little red Dakota is sitting by the air compressor with one bad leg! I will take it to Wilmington tomorrow to get the tire replaced or put a tube in it, but it is brand new and I think guaranteed for road hazards.

I finally got the tiller going so the weed patch beside the house almost looks like a garden. We have corn, tomatoes, green beans, onions, and other vegetables growing. Your apple tree has lots of apples on it so I expect the June drop will be heavy. It still should have plenty of fruit on it.

I picked up some seed and chemicals this morning and everyone was talking about dead or dying corn. There are lots of problems in the late April planted corn around here. Pythium, flea beetles and chemical injury are all being blamed but the real culprit was that cold snap with 5 inches of pounding rain on the soil.

Sable wanted to jump out of the truck and chase the squirrels, cats and other dogs we saw but I told her to stay and she stayed in the truck. She did not want to obey, but she did. A neighbor stopped by to talk and we were standing under the pecan trees when a big fat robin pooped on my nice clean shirt!

That's the way it is today, down on the farm. I hope you have lots of blueberries but I am afraid they will never make it to the house with you and Caoilin picking them!


Papaw Winkle

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God Loves Humility

"Oh Lord, it's hard to humble, when you're perfect in every way." Remember that country song on the radio? I listened to a program on the radio on how God loves humility. Jesus is the most humble man I ever read about. Still he got angry and frustrated at times, especially at the hard hearted Saducees and Pharisees, money changers and the like.

Yesterday was a day full of humility. Every person I was in contact with is a very humble person. That is quite something to be around humble people all day because know-it-alls are everywhere. I have to be wary of that because as a teacher I became a kind of know-it-all and authority over my students. Teaching no-till farming practices to a bunch of thirsty farmers is an easy boost to my ego, too.

Every crop scout and teacher yesterday are very humble servants. Even the bride and groom and all in attendance were quite humble yesterday to celebrate the joy of the committment of a marriage.

Humility is quite a virtue to possess or strive for. I was humbled last night when the father of the bride reminded the wedding party what I had told him when we first met in Ohio State's LEAD Class IV in 1992. We always talked about our children because we were away from them 60 days over a two year period. That was quite a committment.

I always said that kids are the best crop we farmers will ever grow or tend to. I have always believed that and I think that was passed down for generations in my family. It is good to enjoy and savor your accomplishments a little, whether you are 8 or 80. You process it and put it in its proper place because "pride comes before the fall."

Yesterday was a good sense of what has been accomplished and what yet needs to be done. It was a great reminder that God truly does love humility.

Doing things for others is a good way for me to "stay out of myself." This week I would like to do some good things for some people who aren't expecting it. It's easy for me to focus on my own problems and forget about others but if I put others first, my problems will be solved and melt away.

This isn't intended to be a sermon or homily but a "note to self." What can you do for another person this week?


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Whew, What A Day!

It was a good day but a long day. I left the house before seven to attend the annual Ohio Seed Improvement training session. Over 25 scouts showed up from all over Ohio and my friend Bob Miller was recognized for 50 years of scouting! That is quite a record. This is my 28th so I have awhile to go to catch him!

We learned that Ohio has the lowest amount of seed wheat acres in history although it is expected to rise this fall if better planting weather persists. That never happened last fall with Ohio planting only about a half million acres instead of the nearly one million acres annually. I see my neighbor taking off 50 acres of wheatlage to feed his dairy herd so the acres keep going down. I did see the weaker stands killed and planted to corn or soybeans.

Sunburst is the number one Ohio Certified wheat variety in acreage this year. It is a new variety used north of Columbus. I have not seen it in my area. My area is Ohio Certified Malabar or a Pioneer or other company variety, what little there is.

I had lunch with a scout from Defiance County and he said it was so dry there the planted soybeans would not emerge. We changed and went a friends wedding at 3 and heard the same thing. They are from nearby Williams County. It was a beautiful wedding in the Trinity Episcopal Church on Broad Street in downtown Columbus. The carvings and stained glass in that church really caught my eye.

Then we we changed and went Tyler's big third birthday Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party nearby. All the little ones were having a great time playing and never even paid attention to the adults sitting around talking and watching. I love it when that happens.

Soon it was time to change again and go to the wedding reception at the Venue, formerly Smith's Hardware, on North Fourth in Columbus. They had a Latin American food them on one end of the hall and an Asian theme on the other. I tried a little of just about every dish and it all was very good.

It was good to see our friends from northwest Ohio. When our friend Allen made his toast, he quoted what he and I had talked about when we first met in Ohio State LEAD Class IV. I always say "kids are the best crop we will ever grow and tend." He remembered after all those years.

I saw lots of planters running all the way up and all the way home. A few fields of corn are knee high in Ohio but most is small or just being planted.

It was a good day but a very tiring day. We couldn't have worked one more thing into our schedule. Three events on one day is a little much for us, folks!


Friday, May 18, 2012

So Many Questions

Farmers have so many questions this week. Those who have planted are fighting weeds and insects and replant decisions. Those who haven't probably have just as many questions.

What is the weather going to be like the rest of the year? Wouldn't we all like to know! It sounds like the popular Dave Murray in St. Louis and our local guy, Steve Horstmeyer in Cincinnati thinks we are going to have rain all summer. That greatly affects replant decisions today, because the replant this date two years ago didn't make much. It quit raining here after July 17.

How much do we bank on these guys? They aren't the highest paid people on TV. Many of them were teachers or are trained to be and salaries aren't that different from teachers. Long range forecasting is so improbable they turn out to be just personalities you like or don't like and it's hard to bank the farm on that.

Then we get down to agronomy. How well do you know your agronomy? Who do you turn to? The best minds I rely on talk to others like me and we try to assess each situation before lumping most problems in a group. Around here, you have a good corn or soybean stand or you don't, and what do you do about it?

Each problem is unique with all of the products and programs farmers are using. Two kinds of GMO seed and non GMO make three unique programs with all kinds of variations inbetween. No wonder I didn't chose to be in the seed business.

I wish I was a little younger or had better "wheels." Walking rough fields takes a toll on my legs quickly. 4 wheelers make it easy but hauling them from one farm to another is no easy deal, either. I could have a larger company and more eyes to scout but that costs money too and you end up managing a work force more than you do the crops. I decided against that too after the boys went to college.

The farmers north of here are finishing up and south of here are just starting. This is going to be one busy upcoming week for sure with warm temperatures and less chance of rain than early May.

I hope this finds you well and not too many questions. That makes for less sleep or quality of it and we really need to be rested for the work and questions ahead.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Out of Sync

I feel out of sync with Mother Nature. I have to replant some corn because the day I planted wasn't a good day and I should have stayed out of the field. I planted into soil barely warm and dry enough to plant right before two weeks of cold, wet weather. I am not alone. Many farmers were out of sync with her, too.

When you drive and scout our area, you find a handful of fields with good stands and a bunch with questionable stands. Some fields "are going backwards" in this cool weather and a few are not.

The crop insurance adjustor said replant it, the seed agronomist did too though he came up with higher counts. More had emerged in the few days between. The seed that didn't sprout looks mummified. It isn't really rotten, the few dead seeds won't sprout and most of it has a tiny white root trying to emerge from the kernal.

I did verify that the Poncho treated corn stayed protected a little better than the Cruiser Maxx. They are sister neonicotinoid insecticides mixed with sister asoxystrobin fungicides. Cruiser is more water soluble than Poncho so Poncho stays more intact with heavy rains and Cruiser takes less moisture to work in dry soil.

At least I am not like two of my friends replanting 1000 and 1500 acres each. Replanting today is worse than planting late. It is starting over a month later and replant insruance doesn't cover all the costs and hassle of replanting.

These things can cause resentment. I just detest being out of sync with anything or anybody. "Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others are just two currents in the same river. When the dam of resentment is lifted, both currents can flow." I can't tell you how many times I have seen that this week!

Reading that made me wonder how many people are hindered by resentment and the lack of forgiveness? Resentment seems to eat up some people and some cultures. Some cultures are full of resentment and ours seems to be more hedonistic. I will never forget one friend looking at the first plane flying into the World Trade Center and saying, "boy have we ever upset Islam!" That proved to be very true, at least for the vengeful side of Islam.

So I will try to get back in sync with nature so I can take the next lumps of coal she throws so I can make some nice warm heat of it. If I can stay calm and do the right thing, I will hear God's great advice to me from the mouths of other people.

I can't believe I forgot to blog yesterday! I got so busy the whole day just passed me by, but we did get to see Brynn's pre-school graduation. We didn't get to wish Tyler Happy third birthday in person yesterday but we will on Saturday.

Things are a little busy, down on the farm!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Aging Gracefully

This morning I was talking to a friend and our age came up. I told him I was trying to "age gracefully." That brought a good chuckle from us both.

The opportunity to age is a big responsibility. People look up to you for advice, people look at you funny and some people don't pay any attention to you at all.

So I must focus on those seeking advice and a little wisdom from my mistakes and all I have seen. Thankfully I have built up a cadre of smart people I call my friends and mentors. They usually make me look smarter than I am.

Aging gracefully physically is no easy job. I broke a tooth eating salad of all things and got it repaired today. A piece broke off the border of one of my many gigantic fillings. I told that to one friend and he admitted he would rather have open heart surgery than go to the dentist. He said he is wringing wet when he leaves and I thought to myself he must have the wrong dentist!

It's amazing how they can "weld in" a new piece, if you are lucky that is. Mine broke at the right spot so it was fixable. But it all rememinded me, damn, my body is deteriorating! The last five years or so have been nothing but fix or repair! It's easier working on one of these confounded pieces of new machinery they design than a human being! Either one can break the bank so I won't say which is cheaper.

I do know which is more important though, and that is my health. There are a lot of babies I want to hold yet and little kids I want to hold hands with and a whole bunch of scenery I haven't seen yet or want to see again.

So I better take care of myself. The boss bought a new fancy dancy electronic scale that does everything but cut your hair. It knows your weight, age and heighth and spits out your weight, body fat and water content like a high speed computer. I thought what the heck, might as well break the thing right now, and dang, that nice little machine said I lost weight and body fat! My water content is still pretty high though, always was. I probably drink a gallon a day. I would be no good in the desert. I have proved that point, too.

The worst part of physical aging is my stride. I am losing my stride and have to take baby steps sometimes to keep from falling and killing myself. Stepping down steps in the wrong light with my lack of depth perception is a problem.

One UPS ages very quickly every time he visits. He is deathly afraid of Sable although all she wants is his treats. I didn't get to him in time this morning and she had him pinned on his van step and I heard him say, "that's all I got, I don't have any more!" I laughed but I felt sorry for him as he was once mauled by a customer's dog.

I counted and dug corn until I was blue in the face today but all in all it was a good day.

I aged rather gracefully today, thank you.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Cold Inhibition

Corn in these parts suffered from a phenomena called cold inhibition of germinating seed. When you click on the link, you see two good pictures of baby corn with its roots wrapped tight around the seed. The one picture even looks like a grubworm wrapped around the seed but it isn't. It's the baby root thick and gnarled around the seed like a little kid shivering in the cold.

I think there is a lot of this corn in the US this year. We had quite a cool and even cold April with some damage to the wheat crop. When farmers talk about not planting corn so it's first drink is a cold one, I think it is more than that.

The corn actually drinks the soil solution. That solution becomes very fluid when it rains enough to run water past the corn seed. The seed swells and that baby radial root takes up that fluid. Research shows little difference in the temperature of that fluid but there hasn't been much research done to corn that compares to what we have this year.

I think this took some bushels off our final yield. I am guessing 10 bushels but it could easily be over 20 bushels per acre lost to cold inhibition. This is another reason I demand good seed lots treated with the best treatment money can buy. From the digs I have done, the Poncho Votivo corn looks superior to everything else. Some of the Cruiser Maxx seed I have dug needs to be replanted.

I am not making a blanket statement that Poncho Votivo is superior but it looks better to me this year. Mucor fungus is rampant in cold notill soils and perhaps it is a little better on that pathogen. Captan was our very best defense against it and you don't see much of it anymore with the worker protection problem it had a few years ago.

There are many things interacting in our scenario but the main one is cold or fluctuating soil temperatures enough to cause this phenomena. This is why many farmers don't risk planting early or being "the first in the field." Timing planting to catch optimal growing conditions is impossible on today's big farms so many have to start early so then don't end up planting late. That and we are all impatient to some extent and not pulling the planting trigger early is impossible for some of us to do.

The big numbers of planted corn you read and hear about doesn't mean it's all in great shape. A good, atively growing stand is one thing and cold inhibition is a whole 'nother story. It hasn't been good growing weather here since late March and I know that is true in many other places.

The way we are going we will be lucky to get the corn up in May and will be planting soybeans in June.

This month is half over.


Sunday, May 13, 2012


Dear Mom,

Thanks for bringing me into this world so I can "pass it on." Thanks for feeding me, clothing me, patching up my scratches, bumps and bruises. Thanks for sending me to church. I learned a whole bunch there and that has carried me into grandpahood. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

Thanks for sending me to school and demanding I be the very best student I could be. That taught me how to learn, get a job and how to make money so I could provide for myself and my family. That also has "done me well" over the years.

This sounds funny, but thanks for taking me to the dentist. I have went every year or so most of my life and I have a good set of teeth! That is key to my health to chew my food so I can do all those other good things. That is also key to my longevity.

I do miss your cooking though. You really learned how to cook. Your macoroni, chili, salads, and that pounded fried steak you made is something I can't find just anywhere. Some come close, but aren't quite as good!

I didn't care for those stewed tomatoes we had with those foods. In fact I got quite sick of eating them but I see now we were really blessed to learn to live from our garden we all worked in. It was really good for me and taught me a lot of great things. I still eat lots of tomatoes to this day.

Your pies and cinnamon rolls are sorely missed. I don't need them in my older years but I sure miss them sometimes. Remember when you showed up the ladies at church and won all of those ribbons for your baking at the county fair?

Thanks for insisting we all get a college education. You should be proud that tenant farmers helped all their children graduate with a college degree that means something to this day. That helped us get our kids oriented to a world of work and learn and they will pass it on to theirs.

We all learned to work hard and no one has ever accused any of us for being lazy for very long. It is amazing what I have been able to do in my life, let alone my brother and sister and all our kids. Everyone has chores to do whether it is tending to animals or the house they live in.

Thanks for not taking me out of this world even though "you brought me in" to it. You clobbered me good sometimes and I deserved it and a lot of other times you didn't. I learned respect of discipline at an early age.

So here's to you mom, on Mother's Day. I hope you have a real good day and are proud of your three kids,eight grandkids and all those wonderful great grandchildren.

Today's picture is your mother, grandma Carrington holding a cousin.

Your son,


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

Farming has been herky-jerky this spring. A few farmers planted in March, most tried in April but not all, and the crop is all over the place. We have wheat pollinated to just heading, corn that is about ready for side dressing and fields that haven't been touched. There are a few fields of beans up but serious soybean planted has not started here yet. I think the last two years have made local farmers very hesitant. It's been hurry up, then wait, and mostly wait.

I am an impatient person sometimes(most of the time), so I don't particularly care for "hurry up and wait." Part of me doesn't mind and part of me just wants to start a job and finish it. I suppose a lot of us are that way. We have adjusted to waiting in airports for long flights because the outcome has always been worth waiting for.

Cropping was that way last year, too. Waiting until the first of June worked out real well for everyone around here but this year isn't quite the same. "No two years are the same" has sure been true this year. In 2010 it worked out to plant before the all month May rains and this year it hasn't. Some have planted everything, most have planted something and some haven't planted a seed around here yet.

I guess that gives agronomists and consultants plenty to think about. Next Saturday is my seed inspection school and I already have wheat fields pollinated to go look at. Crop adjustors have already been in some fields where the corn didn't come up as expected and I have heard about and seen counts as low as 7,000 plants per acre. That's a replant in the middle of May in anyone's book.

This morning's sky reflected the hurry up and wait weather. We have a couple of nice days then a front moves through and it gets cool again. It got down in the 30's here in places and saw farmers talking about lows in the 20's in parts of Nebraska. That isn't any kind of crop growing weather.

So we take our lumps as they come and keep trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I imagine some of the dads and sons will be planting somewhere.

This quote from the Cafe sums up the frustration of balancing work and family, though I don't think any of us call the USDA family: "SO tonight, I was redoing the U-Joint job I just did on the 895 because I realized I had the joints out of phase and was getting a vibration when turning when the phone rings. I normally do not stop to answer it but due to several family health issues in the last week, I dropped what I was doing and picked it up.
On the other end was "Laquesha" with the USDA asking if I has recieved my rent survey. I just hung uo the phone and went back to work and no more than got my hands full of tools when the phone rang again.
Sure enough it was Laquesha saying "we must of got disconnected." As my blood began to boil, She asked if I had got my survey?
I replied "Yes".
"Have you filled it out and returned it?"
I replied "No but let me ask you, What is todays date?
She replied "May 10th"
"Do you know what farmers do on May 10th ?" I asked in my calmest voice. " they plant corn is what we do on May 10th, I am elbow deep in a tractor trying to fix it so I can do just that and I would think the USDA would have better things to do than bother farmers in the middle of the busy season about a survey that was voluntary."
She replied " i am just doing my job"
I replied "So am I" and hung up the phone.

She didn't call back a third time.
End Rant "

I think you moms will get a little more attention than that!


Friday, May 11, 2012


Today's post was going to be Murphy. Murphy has been hitting us hard in southwest Ohio. We have had a beautiful spring but our best weather was two weeks in March. Then it got cold and wet and five inches of pounding, cold rain in one week.

One day I was scouting one of our fields and found a brand new Kubota stuck in the drainage ditch inside a tile blowout. Someone had broken into the machinery shed on that farm, cleaned out the former owner's tools and new 16 foot trailer and stuck the tractor trying to take it to the road to laod it onto the trailer. The theif was right, it is 4WD but it has little tires too that fell right into that big hole.

Yesterday I noticed on one bill I was billed for a corn herbicide I never saw in my stash. We have looked all over and no one knows where that case of herbicide disappeared to. It's worth over $2000.

I went to plug in something and the fire flew so the electrician is going over the wiring. Thank God for Jim, he has kept this farm going the last five years. There are about 100 other things like that so you can see why I was going to title this blog Murphy.

Then I got an email from a young farmer we met while traveling through Oregon in 2010 and that all went away. He made my day. His name is Orin and he had to show me the post he made on NewAgTalk.

On that trip we met BuddESheperd at The Lazy Farmer, Orin, and one of the best radish growers I know, Garth Mulkey. This all happened within a few days, thanks to NewAgTalk, the National NoTill Conference and email.

Orin grows fescue for the Oregon Ryegrass Commission, Christmas trees and anything to turn a profit on his Bellfountain farm. I won't forget the surprise cookout we had on their lawn with his wife, then little boy and his dad. It was great fun to meet farmers like that you read about on NewAgTalk.

So thank you Orin for replacing Murphy today, the Good Lord speaks to me through other people.

You did just that.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Scouting Corn

All of the corn that has been planted so far this year needs to be scouted now. I wonder how many acres or what percentage actually get scouted by the farmer, the tractor driver, the ag supply company or the hired scout or consultant?

As usual, everything you did or didn't do shows in the fields right now. My carefully selected seed lots with the best treatment I could buy planted properly looks pretty good for what it's been through. I give the 24 row Kinze A marks on spacing and C plus on amount of soil above the seed. I might be low on the latter grade.

Planting date is critical. The best stands I have seen are the 3 good days in March and a couple in April, one near the first and one around the 18th. The week of the 23rd is not as good but still coming. It seems to have the most uneven emergence so far.

Beyond the stand and emergence, the most troubling thing I have found is the amount of flea beetle damage. All planting dates are affected somewhat but the week of April 16th seems to have the most damage. Flea beetles chew up baby corn and infect it with Stewart's Wilt. Most hybrids have some resistance to Stewart's but that plant is also opened up to Goss's Wilt and other bacterial diseases this summer.

Six ounces of a pyrethroid insecticide like Permethrin insecticide broadcast or a few ounces in the popup fertilizer will usually control flea beetles. This was not the year to not pay attention to this small detail but most serious corn growers take care of their potential insect problems through seed applied insecticide and in furrow applications of various chemicals.

Weed control seems to be pretty good but that varies across the country, also. Most fields have had enough time and moisture to allow enough weed growth that a second application will be required as a post emergent application by or before vegetative stage 6 or V6. The nozzles need to be dropped by using "drop nozzles" by that stage to get the product on the target and not on the corn leaves.

That is about it for today. Take time to scout your acres!

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


So many things to talk about it's been hard to pick one. You readers have been quiet. That's good, that means you have been outside. But I do need some input. What would you like to talk about? I have been struggling to pick one topic each day this past week.

Today I chose our friend Sparky. Sparky makes things go and he has for over 100 years now. I am talking about spark plugs. Since I decided to replace the ones in the Buick, I got to thinking how much longer they last than when I was a kid. They were lucky to last 10,000 miles in 1966. This set had 135,000 miles on them and 5 years of weathering on them but they didn't look too worn.

They gauged about .005 inch wider than factory specs. That is not much wear after all those sparks!
1500 RPM divided by 6 cylinders, and... that is a lot of lightning strikes inside that cylinder. The plugs were $9 so I thought I better change wires while we're at it. They looked and felt new but they have carried a ton of voltage over 5 years. Ever see an old car or truck or tractor engine running at night and you could see the wires light up? I don't want that after the effort of changing the plugs.

On the Rendezvous, you have to unbolt the engine mount and pry the engine as far as it will pry to get to the back 3 cylinders. The flexible exhaust connector won't let you pry the engine any farther. It's a nightmare under there. Don't complain when you get your shop bill, believe me. It's worth every dollar they charge in my book.

About the only way these plugs can fail is if the resistor inside of them burns in two pieces. The tip is made of titanium and is about indestructable so I imagine many if not most of these engines go to their grave with the original plugs in them.

The engine fired quicker than ever and I could feel the difference. It runs smoother and you can feel it from the moment you start right into high gear and road speed. I am sure I picked up one or two more miles per gallon.

The Dodge has 100,000 on its plugs again so I might change them. They are much easier to change because of the size of the engine compartment. It runs so much smoother after I cleaned the battery terminals it isn't funny. These engines are so sensitive, just a volt or two makes a big difference in performance.

The best thing about the old Delco HEI distributor was we didn't have to gap and replace ignition points any longer. It's amazing what these systems do today. A friend told me we are all driving what Indy or NASCAR had in the 60's, about one horsepower per cubic inch. That's a pretty good analysis.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Road Trip!

I was reading the New Ag Talk Cafe this morning and came across a thread about a young man taking a road trip with his dad. Road trips with my dad might be as far as the feed mill in town, or once a year to the county fair and the Ohio State Fair!

I wonder what my boys remember of their "road trips?" I took them as far and as much as I could because I love to travel and I loved being with my kids. Road trips led to "Field Trips" as a teacher and parent. I love field trips too!

His story made me think of my many road trips and field trips, especially the last 20 years. Iowa over 10 times, every state and most National Parks was a blast! Right now would be a great time to go see that tall corn(via email this morning) in central Illinois and eastern Iowa. Work and gas prices are good excuses not to go but it sure would be fun!

It looks like most of our corn is going to make it. It's amazing what these "fancy" seed treatments do on good seed lots these days but it is really amazing to see what trichaderma fungi eat in this cool mud! I had enough soil moisture and temperature at the right time to colonize these fungi and when the chemical treatment runs out about now, that fungus will sit on the root hairs just gobbling up all that pythium, fusarium and rhizoctonia that could kill my crop!

A good friend is visiting this weekend from Iowa so I won't venture too far. Just scouting my fields each day keeps me pretty busy as well as gardening, mowing, telephone, email and NewAgTalk. I might get some of each done!

There are too many eroded fields here again. I have been reading about erosion and residue anywhere it has rained much and desperation wherever it hasn't.

"Sounds like here. You painted the picture properly.

Yes the notill washed but there are tilled fields here with the topsoil GONE.

Wonder why the rivers are so BROWN?

"$800 an acre to grow corn" down the Mississippi!"

That's not a good trip for our soil! What do you think my friend is holding in his hand? It will keep the soil from washing!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Is Tuition So Expensive?

K-12 and college tuition continues to increase while the economy struggles to support it. $225 was a huge amount of money when I attended Ohio State but that won't even buy a good textbook, now.

Since I mentioned some statistics in a recent blog, I have been thinking, "Why is tuition so expensive?" Are teachers overpaid? Many think so but many always did. It's not as easy as it looks. In my experience, I never felt was paid as much as other professions with my skill but that was just me. College professors often don't make that much either.

Blogger Sue has a good report on this. Read her perspective here.

Tenured college salaries were not that overly high when I was an assistant professor at Ohio State. Salaries were frozen and I made $10,000 more going back to the high school classroom.

I think colleges and universities have to "spend beyond their means" to get the press and presence to stay in the limelight and attract new students. I am sure there some who do not and I would like to hear about them.

I have been asked to teach at local colleges but the pay wasn't worth the hassle for me. I can make more raising soybeans.

College costs have put a non-saving country in more debt. It shocked me to see seniors owe over a billion in college loans and were mad their SS benefits pay their debt before they could receive benefits.

A program said recently the average debt was $44,000 per student and the parents borrowed another $16,000 or so on top of that for a total of $60,000 per students.

Thankfully none of our children owe that and the loans are about all paid off now.

If you are a veteran, there are many ways to get help for training but even some of these fine people are not assisted enough. The Aurora foundation is one of many groups who can help.

Why is tuition so expensive? There are many reasons and some of them may not seem "educational" oriented enough to those paying tuition.

I can't argue with that.

You may have to work in a "night shop" or quit buying there to support your educational goals.


Sunday, May 6, 2012


The "southern tier" is really wet now. Seems like I have used this title before, WET. I couldn't find a blog of mine titled Wet. Can you? If you do a Google search, I sure use the word wet in my blog many times!

The ground is saturated, so it's a good time to plant trees and shrubs. We are planting some more to fill in. We made a trip to Dublin, Ohio yesterday and the fields were soaked all the way up the Interstate. The storms have followed the normal path up I-71 and more. The eastern region is pretty wet. Corn that is up is a little yellow but looks good. The older and more nitrogen it has the greener it is, of course. Just a handful of soybeans are poking up now. It's a long way to go to finish planting and it well may be June again, who knows!

Shannon just finished the Flying Pig Marathon. She did pretty well for hardly being able to walk a month ago. She and I go to the same Chiropractor, Dr. John Albino at Total Health Chiropractic and her hips were out of balance and he got her healed enough to run again.

We had first communion for the second graders at St. Patrick's this morning. Six little boys and seven little girls had their first communion. I pray for the little ones and hope they always value what happened this morning.

The good news is Madison is ready for her first communion. Her instructors said she is full of the Holy Spirit so she doesn't have to wait a year for her first. She truly is full of the spirit and is such a blessing to everyone around her.

Did you see the "super moon" last night? It was big and beautiful but I think it has looked closer here before last night.

I saw a new procedure for aching backs that need surgery on CBS Sunday Morning. I wonder if that could help people I know? There are 3 times more back surgeries each year in this country than heart by-passes!

If you go to that link, you will see one near it on Axis Sally. I had heard of her English transmissions to the United States from Nazi Germany years ago but had forgotten about them.

For my airplane enthusiast readers, here's a link to a German Radio Controlled plane that is really cool! I think R/C planes will find their way into more and more agricultural uses.

Our garden is officially a mess again. I guess I shouldn't try to garden? I don't take care of it. It is infested with weeds and every time I have time to weed it's too wet to walk on. That same thing has become a recurring proposition the last few years of our gardening. Everytime it is dry enough to work I am off doing something else. It's a little frustrating and very embarrassing.

The first peonies have bloomed and already taken a beating by Mother Nature. Here's hoping your fields and gardens look better than ours,

Ed Winkle

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Did I Miss My Planting Window?

Did I miss my planting window? That's a hot topic of discussion around the country today as corn and soybean planting stopped before it really got started in many places. The rains since May 1 have had farmers like my friend Lucas in Pennsylvania asking this question.

That's a really good question. Our best planting window was the middle of March and no one was ready to plant. Those who did saw corn and beans emerge just in time for the frost that hit parts of the midwest around April 12. You don't hear much from those people but the corn planted early here looks pretty good.

We have had over 4 inches this week across much of the cornbelt and I picked up another inch to two inches last night. There won't be any planting around here for at least a week and this pattern seems to be here for awhile so it might be June 1 before we talk about planting again.

In other news, I see EJ Potter, "The Michigan Madman" passed away. He was a guy who liked to go fast and "put engine where they weren't intended to be." He stuck a V8 Chevy in a motorcycle and was clocked by the state patrol at 146 MPH in the 60's. He understood about any kind of engine and loved the Allison V12 aircraft engines and even named his daughter after them. His Double Ugly twin V12 Allison tractor was far advanced in those days and he usually won first place, even after blowing a connecting rod on one pass.

We had a great time at Brynn's Grandparent celebration at Sonshine Preschool yesterday. It was broken into 15 minute stations of all of the kinds of fun and learning she had at Sonshine. The pastor quoted from the Bible how we as elders have the responsibility of passing down the wisdom we have gained in our lives. Everyone went home with a really good feeling about learning and parenting.

I have been thinking of writing about ethics in computers. I am talking about the ones in our automobiles. Flo on the Progressive commercials is promoting cheaper car insurance rates if you snap their computer monitor into your module.

Do you think that is ethical? Would you do it to save money?

Ed Winkle

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mother Nature's Cover Crop

I see lots of fields full of Mother Nature's Cover Crop around here. Cressleaf groundsel, a yellow plant that every one calls wild mustard, yellow rocket and everything else is in full glory. I snapped a picture this morning to show you. I have to clean my camera lense right now as the piece of dirt on it really shows up in this picture!

We didn't go 100 yards and the next field on the other side of the road was snow white! I tried to figure out what herbicide turned what weed white? I assume it's roundup on a grass that looks like downy bromegrass but that is not a common weed around here. I wondered if they sprayed liquid lime on the field but didn't see it all tracked up which it would be the last few weeks.

Now, would you rather have Mother Nature's Cover Crop or this pretty picture posted by Gary Fennig in western Ohio? He planted 3 lbs of radish and 25 lbs of oats last fall and the result is beautiful!

I have been talkling about notill and cover crops since the day I started this blog, January 1, 2009. They are the most exciting things in production agriculture I have found in my lifetime. They combine soil improvement with grain production which is something very difficult to do otherwise.

Think hard about my question and tell me what you would do.

Would you plant a cover crop or spray herbicide in the fall that might let your soil wash or would you do neither and let Mother Nature plant your cover crop?


Ed Winkle

PS Don't you love what Google has done to its bloggers? I have to know HTML to center the picture without the editor they used to provide. The blogosphere will never be the same!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

National Prayer

This is our National Day of Prayer.

"National Day of Prayer Observance: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Aimee Herd (May 3, 2012)
"America is desperately in need of a spiritual renewal; may it start with us." -Dr. David Jeremiah

Every year the National Day of Prayer is important. However, it seems lately, like the need for prayer in and for America is becoming urgent.

In a promotional video, Dr. David Jeremiah, Honorary Chairman for this year's National Day of Prayer Task Force, notes that the theme for this year-"One nation under God"-comes directly from Psalm 33:12 which says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."

He adds that especially in this time in which we live, our hope as individuals and as a nation "can only be found in Almighty God. America is desperately in need of a spiritual renewal; may it start with us."

If you cannot attend a prayer meeting in person on Thursday, May 3rd, there is another option; the National Day of Prayer 2012 Observance will be broadcast live from 9am to 12pm ET from Capitol Hill in Washington, DC."

As a good friend says when I share my prayer list, "Lord, hear our prayers."

We are waterlogged and everything is at a standstill so we are trying to get all of the equipment ready for the final push. Most of the fields in my neighborhood remain pretty much untouched. There is everything from wheat in head to corn with 4 leaves within miles of here to basically nothing done. I haven't rowed a field of beans anywhere yet though I hear there are some if you travel far enough.

I found some great pictures of the making of the M Farmall, "the tractor that changed the world," or something like that, according to my NAT friend Mark Schlagel near Greens Fork, Indiana.

John Deere changed America forever with the steel plow but Charles Oliver refined that. Oliver also saw the need for live PTO and 6 cylinders long before most people did. At least the plow unleashed the power of the prairies but set up the need for Soil and Water Conservation and a whole host of programs to repair the damage of the plow!

Somehow, I just knew the Chen case in China would turn out this way.

Oh well, all I can do is pray anyway.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Farming in the 50's

A fellow asked a good question Machinery Talk yesterday. He asked "what's the oldest thing you can remember" as a child. I would word that, what is the earliest things you remember on the farm?

I grew up in the 50's and 60's but I remember back to when I was two and shoveling dirt in my mouth with a spoon beside the old house that is gone now. Mom and dad were getting ready to take me to the county fair and I got all dirty while they were getting ready!

I answered "The oldest thing I can remember is Elmer Yochum cutting dad's wheat with a pull type IH on dad's Oliver 77. That same tractor picked our corn with a number 4 Oliver corn picker with flatbed wagons, shoveled off. I remember the lines of wheat to unload in Sardinia in front of our house, 100 bu was a big load then.

Dad still cultivated corn with his team of Percheron's, Jim and Jane, when I was little but they were old and clumsy and stomped down too much corn. I do remember picking by hand and making shocks a year or two before dad bought the picker.

I distinctly remember dad buying the Oliver 50 twine tie baler with no one to drive, mom hated doing it so he put 5 year old me on the seat! About all I did was steer while he stacked and ran several marathons between the wagon and tractor. I remember being a little scared of making a mistake but I thought I was king!

An NAT friend asked what a Go Devil corn cultivator was and I found the picture and posted it there and for today's picture. I would hate to have to use that tool very long, but it sure beat hoeing in the early days!

Now farmers in the south are hiring hoe crews to chop out resistant weeds in their fields! I hope we are not going back to that or food will get MUCH higher! I have lots of blogs about resistant weeds the last 3 years, especially in the last 6 months if you care to browse.

So what are your earliest memories on the farm?

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shoots, We Have Shoots!

I was hoping I would find these this morning, and I did! That's a May Day present as nice as homemade basket of flowers hanging on the doorknob! We have baby corn shoots emerging from planting two weeks ago tonight. For the cool temperatures we have had, that is pretty good. Corn planted a week before that is no farther along in most places.

My little picture shows every blemish, the melting clods, the dying weeds and even a rock in the foreground. That's a problem with ripping, it brings up loose rocks. I have more soil disturbance than I would like but the new corn will soon anchor the soil in place. We just had too much hydraulic compaction in this long term no-till field behind the house after the record rain events since the fall of 2010. 80 inches of water is massive tonnage per square foot.

The spacing is good, less than 7 inches for 32,000 plants per acre in 30 inch rows. That shows you how much this picture is magnified because it looks farther than that between plants. The emergence is what I am looking for. We need all the plants to emerge at the same time as much as possible. I would like them all up in 24 hours and 48 hours at the max. Anything beyond that and the corn plant tends to become a weed with a smaller ear or no ear at all.

If all my corn comes up like this, I will be very happy. Now I have to start scouting for insects as cut worms and army worms are being reported with patches of wire worm and sod grub worms and web worms. I probably need to add more insecide to my post herbicide spray or I may not. I need to get the control down with the seed and I think I have done that. I rarely spray corn twice but I am really trying to get ahead of these resistant and reoccuring weeds. Fall panicum and other weeds have cost me yield before. I won't know until I scout and IPM says I only use the pesticide I need to save money and protect the environment.

So that's good news today. There is lots of ag news like the record corn purchase by China, the government backing off the teen labor farm law, and record planting pace(which is stalled in the east as we speak.)

I caught this interesting thread on Machinery Talk about rebuilt transmission and engines.

Have a great day,