Friday, November 30, 2012

The Permafrost Is Melting

I saw on the news a report that said the permafrost is melting.  I don't know how many of you have seen it but is just what I would call permanent frost in the ground in the coldest areas.  It makes sense to me that would move around and change over time.  It got warm enough to make glaciers cover North America around 10,000 years ago, you know?

It did that again 100,000 years ago and both glacial soils hold up our house.  They do a great job of producing and holding up our crops, too!  The foundation sits on old cut bedrock but I have no idea what era that stone is from.   I do love these Wisconsin aged soils but they are quite erodible where I live.

Yet, this morning, my friend Eddie says it's minus 52 degrees in Chicken, Alaska.  Frozen Chicken, get it?  So who is telling the truth?

I assume both things are happening at the same time, so I wouldn't sweat it too much.  If we look closely at ourselves I do believe we have "bigger fish to fry."

It's the last day of the 11th month.  Where did that go?  Tomorrow is the first of December and Advent is upon us!

LuAnn is preparing the house for Advent.  We have no tree up yet and won't until Steve comes back and replaces the rotten timbers near the front door.  That part of the front room is where the tree is going to sit this year if we get it done in time.  If not, we will celebrate some other way!

All of her Chinese special artificial trees have bit the dust so I have been bargaining for a cut tree or a live tree.  Either one is a mess but we can plant a balled tree on the new farm.  I think that may happen though we have not shopped for one yet.

What do you think of this piece I just received?

If you live in the states, I would also encourage you to complete this survey for my friend, Mike Huckabee.  I already completed it so let me know if this link doesn't work for you, I can't tell from here.

I might add more later but need to get on to other tasks so I wish you all a blessed end to November!  The moon sure has been bright and pretty and all of the kids and inmates have been running wild this week!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hot Cider And Firewood

We must be approaching 10 cords of wood cut and split this fall.  That's the most wood I have processed in a long time.  It's good to be able to get out in the fields and cut wood.  It's even better to have the energy to be able to do it.

I do need a good firewood cutting buddy though, hopefully younger and more mechanical than I am.  My sons are so busy they don't have time to help dear old dad so I beg and borrow and steal just like my dad did.

I stuck my saw into one of those ash logs yesterday and the chain went instantly dull.  Sparks flew off like it was petrified.  They don't make cutting chain like they use to but the same thing happened 40 years ago!  Catching wood in the right state to cut is a wood cutter's task, there are days to plant days to not and days to cut and days and days to burn!

The electric bill should be low this month and the propane needle hasn't moved from all this firewood activity.  We have our energy useage down to a formidable challenge.  I know what it takes to heat and cool this 1880 house now affordably, all 330 square foot of her.

I tried a new hot cider recipe tonight.  It got thumb's up from the head cook.  I put allspice, cloves, brown sugar, a pinch of nutmeg and a whole sliced orange into the basket of the coffee maker.  I poured in 2 quarts of apple cider and let it brew.  You could tell by the smell it was going to be good but the taste was even better!

I picked up a ton of wood pellets for the Countryside stove on sale at TSC for Black Friday, less than $4 per bag.  Of course they were selling the low bidder so I don't know what I bought but I will soon find out.  It is a hardwood pellet made by American Wood Fibers out of Columbia, Maryland.  They claim the world's largest wood chipper and wood flour maker.  I never heard it called wood flour before, I think they mean sawdust.

We made the trip southeast last night for my sister's birthday.  It's been too long since we have been there but everyone is so busy in their own lives today.  Her principal came into her classroom yesterday to annouce she was 72!  Yes, he is still alive but you know about paybacks.  He kept asking if the class had sang to her yet and they were confused so they started chanting something about passing their math requirement!  I thought that was pretty funny and priceless.  I think some students won some brownie points!

It was good to see Lisa and Joshua and Fred.  My neice is a principal herself now so our family keeps advancing in the field of education!  It's good to be outstanding in your field!

Today is another great day to be out standing in my fields, so I better get to it.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Organic Matter

Darren and Brian Hefty discussed a great topic on Ag PhD this week, organic matter.  Farmers like to talk about organic matter because it does matter!

Each one percent of soil organic matter allows it to hold 4% more water.  That was critical in this year's drought.  This is what farmer's call "good land" or better land because it yields more.  Each one percent also holds 20-30 pounds of nitrogen so a 5% organic matter soil can provide 100-150 pounds of nitrogen to the crop produced on it.

Each percent also holds a few pounds of phosphorous and a little less sulfur, all valuable nutrients to produce a crop.  All those tons of plant material on top of the soil may turn into a tiny bit of humus, or soil organic matter over time.  It all depends what you do to it.

A main benefit of notilling is to slowly increase organic matter content of soil over time.  This is why I feel soil should never be tilled unless you just have to or don't know any better!

"•Nutrient Supply

Organic matter is a reservoir of nutrients that can be released to the soil. Each percent of organic matter in the soil releases 20 to 30 pounds of nitrogen, 4.5 to 6.6 pounds of P2O5, and 2 to 3 pounds of sulfur per year. The nutrient release occurs predominantly in the spring and summer, so summer crops benefit more from organic-matter mineralization than winter crops.

•Water-Holding Capacity

Organic matter behaves somewhat like a sponge, with the ability to absorb and hold up to 90 percent of its weight in water. A great advantage of the water-holding capacity of organic matter is that the matter will release most of the water that it absorbs to plants. In contrast, clay holds great quantities of water, but much of it is unavailable to plants.

•Soil Structure Aggregation

Organic matter causes soil to clump and form soil aggregates, which improves soil structure. With better soil structure, permeability (infiltration of water through the soil) improves, in turn improving the soil's ability to take up and hold water.

•Erosion Prevention

This property of organic matter is not widely known. Data used in the universal soil loss equation indicate that increasing soil organic matter from 1 to 3 percent can reduce erosion 20 to 33 percent because of increased water infiltration and stable soil aggregate formation caused by organic matter."

This is about as simple as I can show you, don't till!  I have to watch myself driving down the road and see some poor soul fall plowing.  I have uttered the ugly words, "damned tillers!"

Tilling releases that precious carbon in organic matter to the atmosphere.

Lord knows we don't need any more carbon in our air.

Whether or not  you're a row crop farmer, plant trees so we can breathe!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Land Capability Classes

The subject of land capability classes came up in the comment section.  What are they?  Basically, soil scientists have divided all types of land into VIII or eight major classes, all based on slope but two.  Flat land can be very productive or be so wet has to be called swamp land.

This is how I taught them as recent as 10 years ago, though the system has been modified over the years.  This PDF file of the Ohio Land and Soils Conservation Judging Scorecard will show you what I am talking about.  Here is another simple scorecard that can help you evaluate your land.

The new farm has about every land class on it, from flat, fertile, well drained bottom soils to soil that is so hilly steep and erodible, a mountain goat would be needed to cross it.  That is where the deer hang out.  We farm classes I-IV which are basically broken by slope.  We can pasture class VI land and the rest is not too useable for a farmer except to look at it every so often.

Class V is flat, wet swamp ground and we do have some of that.  We could barely walk across it in this drought.  Class VII and VII is that mountain goat ground.

The class IV and VI type soils on this farm are signed up into CRP, the Conservation Reserve Program.  That is a good way to get a little payment on hard to farm ground so we plan to leave those soils in that program.  These soil have heavy grass, some Scotch Pines and wild cedars on it and we like the look of it.

The first thing I did was soil sample the tillable ground and sent it off with my crop history and planning sheets to Midwest Labs.  I will discuss the results with lab agronomist John Menghini and my network of soil fertility friends.  I suspect it needs every crop nutrient in a better balance like other soils I have sampled here.

The second thing is to repair the tile lines and build a road to the back of the farm.  The recreational land is not accessible unless you have a drought like we are currently in.  That will be expensive, the last road I put in was around $13 per lineal foot with excavation and stone.

I found 3 different tile breaks so far so repairing them will really help the drainage.  You wouldn't believe how much better our other fields work just by doing this and farming them to the best of my ability.

We are planning a pond and a basement for a log cabin in the future.  The land does not offer itself that well for a pond.  The cheapest way to build a pond is dam up a narrow point where the water flows from a large area.  This is more a smaller funnel running into a wide open creek area so the dam would have to be much wider.  That gets expensive.  I don't even know if we can do that yet but money fixes everything you know.  Some are just cost prohibitive.

It was all in corn last year so I plan to plant it to soybeans, plant wheat on the erodible ground and plant a cover crop on the bottom ground.  That is subject to change of course as winter comes and leaves.

I am sure it will need lime so I really want to get that done first.

Knowing your land capability is a very important concept to understand.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Diner, Not Designer

When I made coffee this morning, the Eight O'Clock coffee was sitting there to use so I made coffee with it.  The last time we had it, LuAnn said that was diner coffee.  Coffee like you get in the many diners we have eaten at.  I said this is definitely diner coffee this morning and she said yes, it's diner not designer.  You should blog on that!

Are you a diner type person or designer?  I would bet I have some of both reading here but I would think there would be more of us diner types.  I do like to eat at the diner once in awhile, I even took my good friend Mr. Wilson and his wife there for lunch!  In fact I've taken many of my visitors to the little Lynchburg diner.

Designer is Starbuck's and Panera Bread type outfits to me.  I do like to stop there once in awhile, too, but I am too cheap to visit often!  My tastes were formulated on "barely getting by" and I never had anything very expensive until I got out on my own.  Victoria Station was a real treat in the 70's but the bowling alley near Mt. Orab was just as good and a more regular hangout for us.

My discussion group talked about our faith in tomorrow and the future.  I have met several struggling with faith in the last couple of weeks.  Our daily devotional included the following this morning and it summarizes it all for me.

"It's easy to lose faith when we are troubled.  As we are buffeted about by life, we may feel the faith we once had has slipped away.  We begin to feel anger towards God or life in general."

Simon Peter had his ups and downs with God.  On the night Peter would betray him, Jesus said "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have pleaded in prayer for you that your faith shall not completely fail.  So when you have repented and turn back to me again, strengthen the faith of your brothers."

Life is surely being sifted like wheat, the chaff blowing in the wind and the good kernals drop straight down.  After 62 years, I've had a lot of chaff sifted!  My family looks like pretty good kernals left.  That strengthens my faith and what I have done.  I can't give you faith, I can only share mine with you.

It's good to share my faith with you here, at the diner or at one of those designer places.  You pick the place.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Land Bid

I started playing with the Land Bid calculator before bed last night.  I see I could have paid more than we did for the farm we bought last week.  That's good, I am within my safety zone.

It worked just like it did 25 years ago.  I remembered sitting down with farmers in the extension office and grinding out numbers from "what if?" questions.  I also remembered really discussing and analyzing the terms learned in my agricultural economics classes at Ohio State.  I remembered Professors Warren Lee, Himes and McCormick!

The eleven factors LANDBID ask for are:

1. Price of recent sales is a reasonable estimate of the fair market value of comparable quality farmland in the surrounding area. The model uses this value as the base for the future growth in land value, depending on the rate specified in factor 10 below.

2. Opportunity cost is the annual, after-tax rate of return you can receive on your equity in an alternate investment of comparable risk. A good benchmark for the minimum rate is the after-tax interest rate on a first mortgage loan plus a risk premium.

3. Planning horizon is the number of years into the future for which cash flow projections are desired. Typically, 10 to 30 years is used for long range forecasting. This value must be 30 years or less.

4. Net income is the anticipated annual net return per acre. It equals gross income less all fixed and variable expenses except land debt servicing expenses. The going cash rental rate minus property tax and other ownership costs is also a good estimate of net income.

5. Marginal tax rate is the rate at which the next dollar of net income will be taxed, including federal, state, and social security taxes. Consult IRS and Ohio income tax tables for current rates.

6. Growth in income is the average annual rate at which you expect net income to grow over the entire planning horizon.

7. Proportion paid down equals the down payment as a percent of the land purchase price.

8. Mortgage interest is the effective interest rate you will be paying the lender.  Include the effects of closing costs, appraisal fees, stock, etc… on the effective cost of funds.

9. Loan amortization period is the number of years that it will take to repay the loan.

Standard terms are between 15 to 30 years. If the loan amortization period exceeds the planning horizon, the outstanding balance of the loan is repaid when the land is sold. This value must be 30 years or less.

10. Land inflation is the average annual rate at which you expect the land value to increase.

11. Capital gains tax rate is the rate at which any gain in value will be taxed upon the sale of the land.

Take some time and think these over.  If there are any you would like to discuss, let me know.  We could debate the future all day but we have to come to some agreement and conclusion before bidding on land.

One thing not to forget is soil test the farm before bidding!  This is often hard to do but will give you a much better idea on the productivity of the farm and what you will need in expenses to meet your goals.

We will discuss soil test results again soon in a future blog.  What's these woods worth to a grain farmer?


Ed Winkle

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Making A Farm Cash Flow

Yesterday we talked about how do you decide what you can pay for a farm.  I see the old Land Bid spread sheet is still available from Ohio State.  This is the program I used to help clients decide what to bid on a farm.  I have not "played" with it yet so someone let me know how it works for you.

How do you make a farm cash flow for purchase?  It all starts with net profit per acre.  From the link we can see the Ohio State University budgets calculate a $400 per acre return to labor and mangement for corn in 2013.  We assume the buyer as the ability to make this happen through his own efforts or through custom operators and advisors.

If the farm has been in soybeans the last year, it is easy for me to transition to notill corn.  This is exactly what a lot of my neighbor's fields needs, a rotation to corn for 2013.  Many farms will already be in corn and be ripe to go to notill soybeans.  This reduces cash expense and could be profitable for 2013.  From the link we see that soybeans can make us another $50 per acre with less cash expense.

This is only one year.  A farm mortgage is typically a 30 year mortgage so what about the other 29 years?  Farmers do not expect that kind of net income every year and I remember plenty where half that profit was about all I could milk out of the soil and marketplace.  So pick a figure you are comfortable to build a repayment schedule for your purchase.  There will be good years and bad but the purchase must cash flow.

There are so many other variables from farm to farm and person to person, you really need to be able to analyze the variabilities.  This is where a consultant like me with 40 years of experience can help with your decision making.  I am not advertizing myself but stating a fact.  It's taken me a lifetime to be able to do what I am talking about and trust myself to share my knowledge and experience with others.  There are many people out there with my experience who can help you.

Take a look at your personality, net worth sheets, ability to manage money, your past history and your potential to get a better handle on your ability to pay off your purchase.  I know now I could have done this 40 years ago but it's taken me a lifetime to get to a place where I feel comfortable in buying and selling land.  I was not taught this and it did not happen overnight.

The picture shows a farm with some CRP and woodland.  It will not return much profit, if any.  This is where your taste, needs, and financial ability to enjoy non-farmland come in.  If you have a big family like ours, a farm with all tillable land is not as enjoyable as a more diverse piece of land but it doesn't cash flow, either.

What questions do you haveWhat topics would you like to discuss?  This blog is here for you as much as it is for me.  I enjoy doing this stuff, I hope you do, too.


Friday, November 23, 2012

What Is Your Motivation To Buy Land?

"ie what is your reasoning on a purchase or what details do you consider on a potential purchase?

I ask out of curosity. Have been contemplating another farm, unfortuantly, I as of yet have not figured out a way to make one pay. Need the land but snowballs chance in hell of actually renting land around here, only alternative is purchasing, which is more attractive and equally unfeasable at the moment. I just wonder what the rest of you consider in a land purchace, what motivates you?"

My response-"My reason was I had none. I owned very little in fact and one needs land to farm. Land has always been difficult to rent here so owning is about the only way to get in. Now making it pay as you said, is a whole different ballgame.

Wanting is one thing, necessity another but it must cash flow. You must figure out a way to cash flow it to finance it since most of us can't buy it outright.

The best thing we have going for us is high grain prices, fairly stable inputs this year and the lowest interest rates I've seen in my lifetime. That also is true for all of my competition so someway I must figure out an edge on them and make it work.

Another motivation is I trust my ability to produce income from land more than I do the bank, stocks, machinery or any other investment out there.

Producing a profit is what Ag Talk is all about to me, with some good friends on here, too."

Let's look at land from strictly a payback proposition for farmers.  How do you figure what it takes for land to cash flow?

This was one of my jobs as an Extension Agent in the 80's and 90's.  I was able to write a grant for a laptop computer that I took to the University where it was loaded with software, mostly written by Extension professionals.  One of those programs was one where you entered your data and came up with the maximum amount you could afford to bid on a piece of land, rental or ownership.  Of course, the output was only as good as the input and this could be done on legal pad.

Most programs only figure your payment.  They are basically a mortgage calculator.  The important part is how much income you can produce from a piece of land and how accurate is your forecast.

We will discuss this tomorrow.


Thursday, November 22, 2012


For some reason today I got to thinking about some of the things I did 35 years ago.  We had the worst winters I've seen in my lifetime.   Matthew was Deirdre's size and I am now my dad's age when all of this happened.  I won the state tractor pulling championship(that's the tractor and me in the top left corner( and my eye was one year healed from surgery.  My, things do happen.

I was in my sixth year of teaching at Blanchester.  I had finally learned how to teach and maintain some kind of semblance of classroom control.  I had two really good students, Randy and Brett that made teaching fun.  They actually helped me be a better teacher by setting good examples and being strong role models.  No one messed with them.  My, things do happen.

We had built a profitable school farm of 80 acres with a good line of machinery.  I was really into mechanics and ham radio at the time.  We lived at Fayetteville where I go to church now and Matthew teaches.  I had a new Kenwood TS-520 and could talk to about anyplace in the world I wanted to.  The Radio Shack CoCo or color computer and the Model I and III were about to show up and take over that world.  My, things do happen.

It's funny how you remember this working outdoors.  I've had a lot of peaceful moments in the fields where I can think.  I cleaned out a pile of cedar posts I have been meaning to clear 3 years ago.  I get such great satisfaction from such little things.  My two good men showed up at 2:30 p.m. and I gained new life.  I sawed wood like I did 35 years ago.  I still have 20 logs to saw up but the pile isn't so big now.

I have been in a wood sawing frenzy since this good weather just keeps coming.  Tomorrow might be the end of it but still the forecast isn't that bad.  TSC has Carhartt winter coats on sale for 50 bucks for Black Friday morning and Poulan Wild Thing chain saws for $99.  I might pick up one of each.

A bug went through the family after First Communion and LuAnn spent the day on the couch.  She found out the communion family had it first.  Wouldn't you know she asked me how much sick leave she had used this year last night.  I guessed 14 hours, she said the answer is 11.  She almost doubled that today.

So what are you having for Thanksgiving dinner?  Turkey and all the trimmings?  That is all that has been on TV and how many hundreds of thousands of meals that have been given away.  That didn't happen 35 years ago.  We all stood on our own two feet, at least that we knew about.

Now HOPE Emergency feeds 400 people right down the road where we used to live.  I can't say the world is a better place 35 years later but it is what it is.

What do you out of the states readers do today?  I don't remember being in a foreign country on Thanksgiving to see what it is like somewhere else.  Maybe we were a few years ago when we cruised the Danube but I don't remember.

I do give thanks today for what we have and what has been sacrificied, just like I did in 1977.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

100 Today

"Today my dad turned 100. He was born a mile North of where I live on the family homestead. He is the oldest of 6 children. He has one surviving sister. He served in World War II. He was drafted into the army in 1942. After boot camp he was assigned to Battery C of the 692nd Field Artillery Battallion at Fort Sill OK. He landed in Normandy France in August of 1944. From there they moved inland and fired their first 105mm howitzers shells in combat at Borne Holland. His unit supported the 84th Infantry Division at the Battle of the Bulge. After the Bulge they crossed the Siegfried line into Germany.

After the war he returned to the family farm. In 1960 he married my mother. I am the youngest of his five children. I was born in 1967 a month before he turned 55. He has 11 grand children. The oldest is 25 and the youngest is 12.

In 1997 he had an asthma attack and quit breathing. I was a few miles North of where they lived when my wife called to tell me. I was able to get there in time to perform CPR on him and revive him. 15 years of life that he would have missed. I am glad I was there.

This weekend we hosted a family dinner and open house for him. We had over 135 people attend. It was a good weekend. All of my family was able to attend as well as several cousins. It was good to see everyone.

This afternoon we took him over to the house where he was born a 100 years ago and took his picture. After that we came back to my house and had a small birthday party for him with two of my sisters and their family. My second cousin from Edmond, OK made the birthday cake we had tonight. I don't know how many layers it was but it was rich.

My dad was a simple dirt farmer. He has lived his life with a strong faith in God, a willingness to help his fellow man, and a thirst for knowledge. He may be 100 years old but he still reads books and wants to learn."

Happy Birthday Mr. Sanders and thank you for your service!

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Good Men

I need two good men today.  Anyone available?  All my part time help is busy doing other jobs.  Maybe 2 men and a truck are available.

I just sent a garbage bag full of jackets and winter coats to Turning Point this morning.  LuAnn has a good worker who doesn't have enough (any?)coats so I fixed him up.  Tractor Supply has a sale on Carhartt's this week and I love new Carhartt's.  It's amazing what you accumulate over time.

Everytime we travel west or east to Pennsylvania we stop at Cabela's.  I usually end up buying a coat on sale.  The next thing you know, they won't all fit in our mudroom closet.  I just cleaned mine out and it is still pretty full.

I need to do that with shoes, too.  I have a bunch of good workboots I can't wear comfortably anymore and there is always someone around here who can use a pair.  10 years ago you couldn't give away this stuff and now it's in high demand.  There is the American economy for you in Ohio right there.

HOPE Emergency does a good job of distributing these goods to local, needy people.  We like helping them.  This is their busy week to try and get a Thanksgiving meal to all of their families.  I think the number is around 400 right now.  The local churches and other groups have been accepting donations for a month or so now.

Those barns housed a lumber store years ago that should have never been built out in the country.  It went belly up and a friend of mine bought it.  I forget the story how the sisters ended up with it but it must be on their website somewhere.

This was brought up on ag talk this week.  "Had a little farm got sold today 67 acres +or- only 52 tillable in 4 fields with a power line running through the biggest field is 17 acres and the smallest is 7 acres trees on 3 sides, a farm place in the middle of it that is sold to someone else no tile and light soils and rolling ground sold today for around $9700.00 an acre tillable and the farmer that bought will have to buy new equipment to farm it because his equipment is to big for it. The 2 guys that bid against each other I heard do not like each other. I wonder who one the fight?"

There are others who have been reporting actual fist fights over land rental and purchase.  That's not a good sign!  I told them to come to poor old Ohio where 84 acres sold for $3250 per acre last week and 440 acres of rough ground only brought $500,000.  Some people can't believe that but it's true.

I better get to work.  You have a good day.


Monday, November 19, 2012


First of all today I want to say a special prayer for Irv.  I found Irv last night.  He is fighting a tough struggle with pancreatic cancer.  The numbers are not in his favor but we know with God all things are possible.  I just don't know what God's Will is for Irv so I have to pray they come true.  We know all things turn out good in the end if you are on the right side.  There are a lot of friends hurting right now and we pray for their peace and their healing.

We got to witness our oldest grandchild receive her First Communion yesterday.  The church was packed to Standing Room Only as family and friends gathered for the celebration.  Hearing that little girl, now young lady say she came on her own free will just made our hearts sing.  You couldn't force her to do something she didn't want to if you tried.  She knows right from wrong.

We got to see almost all of our grandkids this weekend.  Baby Deirdre is the quietest little newborn you can imagine.  Liam tickled us though, he said "Now if it were just Deirdre and me, life would be so much simpler.  That Caoilin and Finn, they are always into trouble!"  He grows so many ways every time we see him.  I think he will be a better big brother than I was.

Baby Katherine will be baptized in two weeks.  That will be a very special day for all of us.  She is one of those babies who could compete with the famous Gerber babies for cute and adorable.  LuAnn has each grandchild's picture hung up the stairway to the top floor so we get to see them every morning and every night.  Every one of them fit that category to us.  We have a handsome set of grandchildren!

We have so enjoyed the weather this month!  It has been pretty much gorgeous in southwest Ohio.  I hope to keep replenishing my firewood supply as winter draws near.

Farmers who are still shelling corn are very lucky compared to last year.  This fall is more like 2010 which seemed to go on forever.  However, this gives the tiller guys too much time to tear up ground while the rest of us work on fencerows, lime and tile issues.  I imagine everything that is going to be planted this fall has been planted.

Some things to ponder this winter:
Soil Health and Civilization
Modern Day Challenges
Solvita Soil Health Test
Rick Haney's Work With Soil Health
Soybean Inoculation
Naturall Inoculant

This should be enough good work to keep the blessings flowing!

Have a great week,

Ed Winkle

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Deer Hunters

The deer hunters are starting to swarm the area.  It's deer hunting season again!  This 32 point buck was taken by an automobile on US 35 near Jackson, Ohio!  Not!  That's what a gullible friend put on Facebook.  This is actually it's story.

A 22 pointer was taken in Highland County and made the local paper.  I don't get too excited about deer season because I am not a hunter.  I gain new friends at this time of year and all year long just because we own a little land.

I hunt for quality soil like some guys hunt 4 legged deer.  A friend sent me this new piece on soil quality.  I have a lot of reading and testing to do this winter and in the future.  I also received a pdf file I haven't found on the web by Rick Haney, soil scientist NRCS in Temple, Texas.  If you would like a copy, just send me your email address and I will attach the file to it.  It is very interesting and makes a lot of sense to me.

I like the work of Steve Hartman on CBS.  He had a great story about a couple in Minnesota who are watching their 12th son finish his high school football career!  The best part was when Steve asked the mother if she was glad to see it over.  She looked him right in the eye and said NO!  Then he mentioned their 49 grand children!  I thought 11 was quite a score!

I started two blogs the last two days but Blogger is now dating them the day I press Publish.  Maybe it's always been that way, I forget.  I am getting caught up on my blogging after the farm auction, a trip to Cleveland and so many things this week. 

This morning our oldest grand daughter receives First Communion.  I have been up early praying for her and just giving thanks for everything that has happened this week.  We are truly blessed.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Land Auction

We went to a land auction last night at the Elk's Lodge.  We saw something that we and the auctioneer and I assume everyone there have never seen before.

The piece of land was a scenic 84 acres near us.  We pass the property nearly every day or whenever we go to Wilmington, our county seat of government.  It's scenic because it is very rolling with 26 acres of woods on it.   The woods is split by a creek, Little East Fork of Todd's Fork, that runs through the farm(and also this farm).  It does have some excellent bottom ground on it.

We walked into the room and there were about 8 potential bidders sitting there.  We looked at all the maps and papers and confirmed what we had seen that afternoon walking the property.  We didn't take the time to walk the far reaches of the back of the parcel with our little creek that becomes a mighty river during heavy rains. 

We saw what we needed to see, though and the maps confirmed it.  It is over half tillable with Sloan, Ockley, Miami and Xenia Silt loams.  12 acres of it is in CRP and the rest is creek and woods.

Soon the bidding began and someone opened with a reasonable $2500 bid and the bids quickly went to $3,000 per acre before the bidding slowed down.  The auctioneer started taking $50 bids and it got to $3250 per acre when the bidding stopped.  The auctioneer went into his close looking for someone to up the last bid.

There was an elderly couple sitting behind us.  The gentleman raised his hand to bid $3300 when his wife exclaimed, what are you doing?  I am not signing any papers!  This caught the auctioneer and the crowd off guard so the auctioneer suggested they discuss it.  She said even louder, I am not signing any papers!

I think that ended the bidding!  The auctioneer sold it for the $3250 per acre bid.  I have never seen anything like that and the auctioneer said the same thing.

Who do you think the final bidder was?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Seed Story

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different.  He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued.. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.  I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew  Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.  By now, others were talking about their plants,but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing  Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.  Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.

But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful - in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified.. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed,   Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim.  He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!

His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.

"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it,and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust

* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends

* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness

* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective

* If you plant hard work, you will reap success

* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Think about this for a minute.

If I happened to show up on your door step crying, would you care?

If I called you and asked you to pick me up because something happened, would you come?

If I had one day left to live my life, would you be part of that last day?

If I needed a shoulder to cry on, would you give me yours?

This is a test to see who your real friends are or if you are just someone to talk to you when they are bored.

Do you know what the relationship is between your two eyes?  They blink together, they move together, they cry together, they see things together, and they sleep together, but they never see each other; that's what friendship is.

Your aspiration is your motivation, your motivation is your belief, your belief is your peace, your peace is your target, your target is heaven, and life is like hard core torture without it!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


A newly hired, young ag teacher asked this question on Crop Talk.  Since I had that decision to make a few years back I thought it was an interesting topic.

"I know that there are some people on here that knows about Greenhouses and Hydroponics. I have recently been hired as a high school agriculture teacher and I am looking to see which hydroponics systems are the best, easiest to use, and the best/cheapest place to purchase. I have been looking at a few: General Hydroponics Rainforest 318, General Hydroponics AeroFlo2 Hydroponic Systems 60, Bontanicare® Aerojet,and Bontanicare® Econojet. Any help would be appreciated."

Which one would you choose?  If you are interested, click on the links and make a suggestion to the young man under comments or email and I will get them to him.

Crop King is the one of the first companies I saw to sell hydroponics commerically.  "Hydroponics, simply defined, is the growing of plants in a water and fertilizer solution containing the necessary nutrients for plant growth. It is not a new science, with work being done by researchers as early as the 1600's. In the early 1930's, W.E Gericke, of the University of California, put laboratory experiments in plant nutrition on a commercial scale. In doing so, he termed these nutri-culture systems "hydroponics". The word was derived from two Greek words, hydro, meaning water, and ponos, meaning labor, or literally, water working."

Before I retired I tried some hydroponics we the students.  It turned out we got funding for an aquaponics unit so we went with that.  It was quite a learning curve for this old teacher but the kids and I learned a lot and it became the center of attention for the whole school.  Almost every child in the district was brought to the FFA Shop to see what my students were up to.

The best thing I did was befriend the night janitors who watched after the fish and lab at night while we were gone.  They loved to feed the fish and if you've ever dropped food pellets into a fish tank or fish pond you know what I mean.  They tended to overfeed them but it was OK.  Everyone enjoyed the fish fry at harvest.  Their "manure" made tasty vegetables we enjoyed, too.  Lettuce was easy to grow and we even got beans and peas to grow but tomatoes took so much extra heat to produce.

I thought it was a neat topic for today but mainly, it brought back many memories for me.  I hope you found it interesting, too.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

So, What IS Your Fertilizer Doing For You?

Our friend Mace Bower made a powerful post on Crop Talk.  One of my mentors called and said it's the best piece he has read on there.  My friends and I are discussing this mind tingling post.  It's more than worth discussing today.

"I kind of had an AH HA moment recently. I add this to contribute based on the recent discussions on adding Fungi of some name brand as a root growth promoter or for whatever reasons they are sold, and apparently have quite a following lately. As you learn, it is important to understand that there is more to science than just buying cleverly marketed inputs.

Well in January, one of the funniest things at National No-till Conference was Gabe Brown picking on Dave Brandt that he needed to "take out the pacifier" if he wanted to get his soil biological system working correctly. The scenario is that Brandt uses 60 lbs of Nitrogen to grow his corn crops that are otherwise grown with legumes/cover crops/organic fertilizer etc, and that he obviously sees a positive net return to this (60 lbs) input. Gabe is saying, that he has learned, the addition of this fertilizer is really holding back the biological soil/plant/microbial system from its potential. Or that the "cost" is greater than the nitrogen alone. So, lots of people don't "see" or believe what Gabe is saying, that is fine. It is what he has been taught/believes/is selling/whatever.

More recently, I am currently in a Soil Microbiology class (PhD). We had a guest lecturer, who specializes in mychorrhizal fungi (those that operate as root extensions, they use the plant for Carbon, and contribute other nutrients to the plant). I took some bullet notes and will share those, they are something that is definitely worth thinking about. Much of this is economically irrelevant in times of high grain prices, or low fertilizer prices, as profit trumps science every time. But if you are interested in the soil as a biological system, some good points.

-Phosphate critical for living cells. ATP

-Mychorrhizal associations contribute 20-80% of P needs.

-Plants without mychorrhizal association explore 1-2 cm3 of soil around roots.

-Plants w/ myc ass. explore 12-15 cm3 of soil around roots.

-When P or N is limiting, plants support mychorrizal association.

-High concentration of P or N in plants create more demand for Carbon. Then plants reduce C contribution to mychorhriza or eliminate association.

-Plants spend less energy in the mycorrhizal association than producing root mass for nutrient uptake.

-Hyphae (structure) reach up to 10 cm from roots.

-Phosphorus is largest nutrient uptake by mychorrhizae fungi to host.

-Other nutrients taken up N, K, Mg, Ca, Mn, Zn, Cu

-Increase plant tolerance to water stress. Hyphae extract water from small pores.

-Suppress root disease, improve plant health, mechanical resistance.

-Produce Glomalin to bind soil particles.

-Excess fertilizer leads to less myc association. 45 lb/A/Yr reduced colonization by 50%

-Negative correlation to high P

-Plants depend on myc to different level. Flax 90%, Corn 80%, Sorghum 60%, Wheat 30%.

-Brassica's are non-host of mychorrhiazal fungi.

The speaker's belief or prediction also included that political tensions will build over phosphate rock. The world would move from an oil economy to a phosphate economy. That is worth a whole discussion itself, as I have seen several scientists present that same view with hard data."

So the question is, when a friend produced 300 bushels of corn this year on 80-90 pounds of purchased nitrogen, how much were the above factors working in his soil?  I am thinking greatly but don't know how you would ever quantify it.

As I build my soil with more air and carbon from crop and cover crop root mass, I can see I am on the right path.  This strays from current adopted agricultural practices so it must produce beautiful crops that are efficient and profitable to get notice.

"Speak With Your Fields."


Monday, November 12, 2012

Tree Is Gone

Did you ever have a tree in the middle of the field you had to drive around every year?  I had one and it is now gone, the tree is history.  Why kill a perfectly good tree?  It was in the way of tractor traffice and it had little value, even for firewood or shade.  It had seed pods on it and some big thorns and reddish wood inside but I am not sure what it was.

The picture shows the missed stalks as I had to drive the combine around it.  I hand husked the corn and gave it to the guy helping me to feed his critters.  I call livestock critters but a neighbor actually named his son Critter!  Is Jeff Foxworthy reading because we might have a redneck!

I am tickled how the spot looks now.  I sowed double passes of rye through the spot to help it get covered to stabilize the soil.  I don't know why I didn't do that the first year when we took out 1000 feet of fencerow only a 100 feet west of it.  I guess we just got tired and forgot about it and quit.  It's amazing how such a small project can give me so much satisfaction.

We also found the mysterious old clay tile under it and it started running again after we pieced in a section of solid tubing between the clay tile.  Water running through a tile is always a good thing!

We finished sowing rye on that farm yesterday so I once again have all my acres seeded to a cover crop!  That is quite an accomplishment for me.  The week's rain report from Bill Northcott showed why, too, we had zero rain at my locations in southwest Ohio last week.

A lot of farmers got finished with soybeans but there are still a few out there!  There are more acres of corn left to harvest but the number gets smaller every week.  I saw three farmers cutting their last soybeans within a few miles of where this picture was taken.

My crop adjustor showed up this morning very promptly.  I was 150 bushels short of a good APH on one farm so I get a small check.  I told him I would much rather have the APH as my yield for that field!  He laughed as he agreed.

He is from a small farm family east of here and I went to college with his Uncle Paul.  His dad suddenly passed away from an unknown heart ailment last year and it was very sad for everyone involved.  I am so blessed to have had my dad for 85.5 years.  LuAnn feels the same way about her's.

We are all praying for our friend Dutch who lost his son recently from a similar event.  He was doing what he loved, driving a John Deere pulling peanuts in West Texas.  I know Dutch and Katie are taking it very hard.  Some people never recover from an event like that but I pray they do.

We are getting rain on our new planted rye as another system blows through and fall adjusts to winter.  I hope it isn't a hard one but it is what it is.  I am so thankful we had last week to get so much done.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day Speech

Redleg from Illinois posted this speech which encapsulates Veteran's Day for me.  This is LuAnn and I's 14th Veteran's Day together.

"Veteran's Day Speech 2012

I was honored to have been asked to give the Veteran's Day Speech. The following is what I presented.

Good afternoon and thank-you for inviting me to share in today’s celebration. Recognize special guests – Mayor Cooper, Commander Orion American Legion and Sherman J Sagadin VFW Post and a special thanks to the Orion Community Band. I must say Orion schools prepared me for the army life having spent the first years of my education at Andover; then Lynn Center; back to Andover; then onto Osco; and oh yea back to Andover; then to Orion Cr Hannah; then to Orion Middle School and then we moved from the farm West of Lynn Center, to the home place now south of Andover and I graduated from AlWood High School 1977….So thank-you for teaching me all about adjusting to change!

When the cannons of World War One were silenced, we thought we had fought the “war to end all wars,” but as history proved, we still needed our Soldiers. We are here to celebrate the strength, courage and dedication of our veterans who not only wield the hammer of conflict but also shape the world for lasting peace. The brave actions of our veterans endure in the pages of history. Today I want us to not only remember their gallantry on the battlefield; we must look at the lasting legacy of strength and service they brought with them when they returned home.

It takes a profound strength to wear this nation’s uniform. Though one day those who serve our nation will eventually remove this uniform, no amount of time, nor strife can sever the golden thread uniting these veterans in a unique and everlasting bond. Once a Soldier, a Soldier for Life. This uniform has changed many times in the last 237 years. What hasn’t changed has been the determination and spiritual strength of the men and women willing to serve this nation. The image of a veteran, as well as the uniform, has changed over the years. Almost half of those serving in the military today are between 22 and 30 years old.

Now, America has the largest population of young veterans since the Vietnam War. During Vietnam, the strength of our Soldiers and our veterans was no different than it is today – what changed was the public’s attitude toward them. That generation remembers returning from war to a country so divided and distracted by internal politics the public had little interest in what our veterans had been doing for the nation. These attitudes and misunderstandings about veterans during the Vietnam era were misguided and unfortunate towards many members of one of our greatest generations of heroes.

Just a little over a month ago, I attended a memorial service in Western Township cemetery at the gravesite honoring SGT Michael W. Lief. A Vietnam War Hero recognized by his community by naming his home front road in his honor. A true American hero who gave his life serving his country and what a great and noble undertaking by his grateful community recognizing one of their own. And today it is about celebrating our heroes: coming together to honor all those who served.

Serving in the Armed Forces of the United States has always been a noble calling. Since the shots at Lexington and Concord were fired and our Revolutionary War began, the American Soldier has been the defender of liberty and democracy. Since their humble beginnings in 1776, the American Soldier has fought and died on battlefields here and abroad to defend our rights and freedoms. We have gathered today to do honor to those who served to protect our nation and our homes. For some, the supreme sacrifice was made on the battlefield; others have since passed. This is the one day of the year that is set apart for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have sacrificed so much and expected nothing more than a thanks. They offered their lives and made sacrifices for the sake of humanity.

I cannot recount all their deeds or valor or bravery. These are recorded in the pages of our country’s history, and forever engraved upon the monuments throughout our land. Let us also remember our future veterans who are serving today -- writing a new history. Because today where ever Old Glory flies at a post, fort, base, ship or installation at some near or far country, you can rest assured there is a soldier, airman, marine or sailor willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for you and I. And just like every Service member before them, when they do lay down their life, the flag is draped across the coffin symbolic of your country’s appreciation, for now it is our responsibility to carry on after the loved ones who grieve their loss. We should remember that Veteran’s Day is more than just another day off from work. It is more than an insert in the paper announcing a special sale. It is a day to remember those, who’ve served in America’s Armed Forces for their country and our freedoms.

They served at places like Shiloh, Antietam, Andersonville and Gettysburg. They fought died in the mud and blood in the trenches of World War I. They served at Pearl Harbor, Bataan, North Africa, Anzio, Salerno, Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. They fought in the cold and misery of Pork Chop Hill and at Chosin Reservoir. They fought in the jungle heat on the ambush trails of Vietnam; the sands of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in Desert Storm; in the cities, villages and country sides of Iraq and yet still in Afghanistan. They fought on land, from ships and submarines at sea…fighters and bombers from the air; using the tools they were provided in this new profession of war or preserving peace.

In those distant places, in harrowing times, these ordinary people from the cities, towns and villages of America, and here in Orion, have performed extraordinary deeds. Some of those heroes I spoke about are here with us today and some are gone now. And in a few minutes I will ask each of them to stand or wave, so we can all recognize them and again tell them thanks. Memories of their acts of heroism must never "fade away", as has been said of old soldiers. It is our task to remember what they said and what they did. We MUST never forget! We gain strength from what our heroes have done. All too often when we leave a Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day commemoration -- we take for granted or even forget for a time all of those who have lost their lives or sacrificed so much to ensure we have the homes we live in -- the freedoms we enjoy -- the privileges we have -- or take for granted those men and women who are still deployed today, away from their families and friends -- who remain in harm’s way.

We are blessed with many privileges -- do not forget! President Kennedy once said “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” Of course today we equally honor service men and women, but the sentiment remains crystal clear. A key component of our nation’s greatness lies in our ability to honor, appreciate, and cherish, through our actions and our memories, all those who died or served to ensure our freedom.

We often hear that freedom has a price and that each generation pays its due. Today is our day to say thank you to those who for generations have foot the bill; to those who have paid so dearly. And to their families and friends whose lives are forever changed, and to whom we owe an enormous debt. Today, military support groups, veterans associations, and everyday Americans make sure that we pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed.

By honoring our men and women in uniform, groups like you keep alive the memory of those who paid the ultimate price. So I want to thank those of you responsible for putting this ceremony together reminding us to pause and honor our veterans. God Bless America and thank-you for allowing me to share with you on this Veteran’s Day! Can I ask all the veterans to stand or wave so we can all tell you thank-you and I SALUTE You!

LTC Daniel M. Swanson


A Wonderful Day

Yesterday was one of those days where everything came together. It was almost too much for one day, but I will take it. The weather was perfect, the help was fantastic and there were no major breakdowns. Everything worked pretty much like clockwork.

We started early tearing out a tree I wanted removed 3 years ago. Low and behold, we found an old drain tile underneath it! Jack tore that tree out in less than an hour, ran to get some solid wall tile to patch the line and we were off to the next project.

My load of number 4's showed up and I had the driver spot the pile near the fence row in a low but dry spot. Any left over gravel will help fill the spot.The driver was a really rough looking character but a really nice guy.  "He doesn't look like he's from around here."  We talked about retirement and grandkids then he was off on his way.

One tile blowout turned out not to be one. It was an old flat stone laid up hand dug well! It is dry now so we dumped some number 4's in it and filled it back up.  Maybe it will show up again but it was not a tile line blowout.

I took our Mule to scout tile hole repairs and marked them as I went. There is one big blowout near the creek and I am not sure what we will get into on that one today. There are a few more lesser blow outs in the same line towards the hill to the west.

Soon a friend came to help cut up logs we cut out of a fencerow(above) 2 years ago. I didn't have enough time to spend with him. Then I got I picked up some rye seed and the neighbor boys to help me fill the notill drill. Another friend ran the tractor while the boys and I loaded up a load of cut up firewood and headed back to the house.

The Emerald Ash Borer dried out some of those logs too quickly and they should have been burned last year.  We got sawdust in our eyes loading the wood.  The borer holes aerated some of the ash a little too quickly but it will still make a good fire.

The boys and I unloaded the wood and we loaded another load of seed. Soon we will have several pick up loads of big cut up logs to split.  We have 4 big loads in a pile now and Graham said that was the biggest pile he had ever seen.  Me too except for piles where guys sell firewood as a business.

It was just a wonderful day but I was so busy I didn't get to appreciate it like I would have liked to. I could have just sat there and watched everything going on but there was too much to do.

I am very thankful for days like this and very thankful for my friends.

It was a wonderful day in a pretty wonderful life.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

How Do I Make My NoTill Planter Work Better?

I got another good email question yesterday and thought I would share how I answered it.  He stated where he farmed and described his planter and I took it from there."

"I used to report to the Extension office in Trotwood. I have a friend Tom Hertlein there I haven't seen in a long while but I do see the Stebbins brothers on County Line Rd and buy some chems from our good NAT friend Philip Huffman nearby.

"I have read many of your posts on new agtalk forums, and others too, mainly referring to your white 5100 planter. A little over a year ago I bought my first planter, a white 5100, from a former customer of mine. I have gleaned a lot of information about this planter from your posts. I am writing to you just to get, first hand, any recommendations that you might have for me. I am interested in your thoughts about what is needed to make this as near as perfect as possible no till planter."

For me, the Martin setup works best on that planter. The full Martin setup costs $1000 per row or so unless you can buy some parts used cheaper like the row cleaners.

"For a little background my planter is an 8 row 30" vertical fold. No starter of any kind right now, when I plant my corn in 2014 I will probably do some type of in-furrow set up. It has yetter frame mounted no-till coulters."

My partner Les had one but he traded it off before I could Martinize it.

"It has keaton(that is Eugene Keeton, Howard Martin's friend, Keeton works in the trench, rebounder works above the trench)s on 6 rows and schaffert rebounders on row 7 and 8 for a comparison. I had to switch them out any way due to damage. It was already converted to 2 - 12 inch closing wheels so I changed them out for two 13 inch Martin spade wheels."

That's a good move, that is superior to any closing system I have seen.
"I didn't run a drag chain last year but I can see how it would help in certain situations."

I like that extra 20 inches of crumbling and leveling in all conditions offered from the 40 inch long, 3/8 inch square chained looped and dangling behind the spading, tilling wheels.

"I have been very impressed by the dawn curve tine, but new ones are expensive and used Martins are cheap, just more contankerous depending on soil conditions."

The Martin row cleaner is the best I have found and the small row cleaner reversed as a spading, tilling, closing wheel makes the best closing wheel I have ever seen.

"I would like to have row cleaners but this year's crop didn't do well (12 Bu beans) so that is for another year."

Get Martins someway somehow when you decide to put row cleaners on your planter.

"I've been thinking about the RID gauge wheels,"

Case IH invented those gauge wheel tires and made the Early Riser planter famous.  Those will allow you to plant in near tacky condtions, the whole system is designed to plant when others are working ground so you gain planting days and yield.

The best thing I ever did was take the coulters off and use a single disk opener 2 plus inches off the side to put N and S off the row in corn or calcium nitrate and water beside corn or beans.

"especially since a 20/20 and Air Force aren't in my budget right now. Any advice and suggestions would be very much appreciated."

Look at Jeff Littrel's principles, they use the Martin planter with fertilizer openers on both sides in the U trough system, best corn and beans I saw in the US.

You can see my old planter at Jim Smith's near Ft Wayne, I can arrange a visit.

New Carlise has good prices on parts but Dave Moeller in Iowa is the most knowledgeable sales source/mechanic/trouble shooter I have met.

You are welcome here anytime.


That planter is the very best, high yielding notill planter I have ever operated.  I have witnesses, too.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Three Good Days

We are probably having the last three good outdoor work days left in 2012 here in southwest Ohio.  I have so much to get done.  We both slept like a rock last night.  I left our bedroom window open yesterday so we went to bed to crisp, cool air and slept so good under those blankets.

Right or wrong I am goin to drill the rye I bought on my last acres.  Just maybe I will have everything sown the way I want it be when these days are gone.  I may not see that rye until next spring but I know it will be there.  That farm looks ragged anyhow with weeds grown around the edges and there is nothing like the look of a farm to me that is all drilled down with tons of residue.

I keep trying to melt that residue back into the earth it came from.  I am trying to increase biological activity on the good side.  Jack is coming out to take out the last tree in the middle of one field which will be a big job.  I hope he can dig on one side and we can push it over and cut it up.  I will mark some tile holes to dig up while he is there so we can see what the tile and subsoil looks like on that farm.  If you read my blog you know how I love doing that.

I've taken a tremendous amount of crop off that farm in three years.  It has to produce a good crop to make the payments.  Still, it has a lot of interest as I have several people interested in buying that farm.  We need something a little closer to home so I don't know how that is going to work out.  I have been looking at 1031 exchanges and other properties we could invest in.  I will have to turn that over to the Lord and look to His guidance.

He sure has taken good care of us both and all our kids and grandkids.  We give Him great thanks.  Now we have to be open to do His part, not ours.  I have a talk scheduled tonight with my fellowship group and that will surely come up.

The neighbor boys helped me get the first load of cut up logs off that farm last night.  We have several more to haul out of there.  This morning though, the Chevy will be tied up hauling rye seed.  I have a busy weekend scheduled for that truck this weekend.

All the friends we meet aren't talking about the election.  They quickly grumble and we change the subject.  The leaders we wanted for this country didn't quite get elected after billions of dollars wasted trying to elect them.  I heard something like 3 billion was spent on these campaigns?  I don't know if that is true or not but we know it was a ton of money that should have been put to better use.

Only the media got rich off this deal.  Maybe we need a law to limit campaign funding even more than what we have.

Say a little prayer for us and we will for you.  Have a great day,


Thursday, November 8, 2012


Markets are reacting to the election.  We saw the Dow go right down a record 313 points for the year.  The grains have reacted favorably but haven't started their move up yet, which I think they will do.

"There is talk on the newswires and on the trading floor that the US ARmy Corp of Engineers could close the Missouri River into the Mississippi on December 10th, in order to help northern areas. The floor is looking at the impact as a spread rather than flat price issue if fallout is felt."  That can't be favorable for corn and soybeans as so much of it takes that path.

One of my former students was in line at Croton Egg Farm this morning and we got to chatting on Facebook.  My question was how high do eggs need to sell for to make a profit at $7.50 corn?  If anyone has an opinion on that, post it here!

Our local dairman friend is milking gungho so prices for raw milk must be better than $7.50 corn.  He feeds a lot of sileage, though.  He had the best double crop corn after wheat this year I believe I have ever seen.

My last field of wheat hasn't come up yet and I can't figure out why except the cold nights.  It's been in the ground since October 23 and I thought sure it would be up by now.  I did see a few sprigs today but not the nice even stand we have behind the house.

Darren Hefty was talking about how to control Creeping Charlie(ground ivy or Creeping Jenny) around the house and farmstead on Ag Ph. D. this week.  It is difficult to identify from round leaved Mallow.  LuAnn looked up at the TV from her Xyboard and exlaimed that's the weed that is taking over our yard!  I said yep, that is what I spread that high priced bag of TriMec weed and feed for!  It didn't do a thing to the Creeping Charlie so I am going to have to spray a high rate of 2,4-D with a sniff of dicamba in it to knock it back.  It looks like it's been here since 1880 when the house was built!

The big news here is Deirdre Jane Peters.  That is as hard to spell as Caoilin so we are having a good itme with that, all in fun.  I tried to explain it to Uncle Roy on the telephone last night was was having trouble explaining the name on the phone!  Just try to write if if you think that's bad!

She is beautiful and her big sister Caoilin is estatic with her new baby sister.  Poor little Finn though doesn't look too impressed with the deal!  Deirdre is very feminine with dark hair and the tiniest head and body of the 4 but she is a healthy 7 lbs and 6 ounces.  I always said kids were your best crop and it's been a great crop year, 2 grand daughters in 3 months!  Hard to top the 3 three year olds though!

Thank you Lord for all our Blessings,