Saturday, March 31, 2012

1946


"I keep hearing that 2012 may be the largest corn acres year since 1946. I realize that was the year following WWII & the US govt wanted food production to get back up. But, I really question the acreage thing. 1946 was 2 yrs before I was born. But, in my recollection of the early '50s, it just doesn't seem possible that USA farmers could've had that many corn acres in 1946.

I realize we have lost acreage due to urban sprawl, but still, the acres in the '40s & early '50s were split between cash grain & animal production...at least in our part of the world, NE IL. Also, there are many parts of the USA that weren't capable of growing corn then ('40s) that may be now due to irrigation.

And, I think there were other crops such as cotton, vegetables & fruit crops that also impeded on the corn acres, but were necessary nonetheless. I wasn't a world traveler then or now, but I'm guessing much of the US had similar per farm acre balances. Soybeans weren't a big cash crop in Illinois in the late '40s yet, in fact I understand that we first grew them for hay in our area.

Still, there was a good percentage of ground growing oats back then. Oats for the food value for livestock & humans & the straw needed for bedding...again for livestock, and then oats was also the starter crop for the new hay needed. Then, another good portion of the farm was dedicated to the alfalfa, timothy or whatever hay crop. Then a smaller, though still significant portion of the farm was devoted to growing nothing at at all. It was known as "pasture". Again, for the animals.

With all those secondary crops, I doubt that left 1/2 the acreage for corn...here. So, was this just a Chebanse thing? Or did the rest of you grow corn fencerow to fencerow in '46? If so, how did you handle the harvest & where did you put the ear corn?

I'm skeptical of the numbers."

How about you? Are you skeptical of the reported USDA numbers Friday? I guess I am not. All of the above points make sense but since there were so few soybeans and no CRP in 1946, I am guessing the USDA has a pretty good estimate on acres of corn to be planted.

Ed

Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30


96 million acres is a lot of corn! Everyone has been waiting for the March 30 USDA Report to come out and it is here. The stocks are bullish though, so a good yield is needed to make that number have impact. I am not sure it will, guess we will all know in a year from now!

I see farmers and others are asking if there is enough quality seed to go around. Probably not, there is plenty of seed, but I am not sure what the quality is of that seed or the hybrid it is supposed to produce.

I wonder how much is in the ground already? I have a gut feeling it is at least one million acres already and could be closer to three. It really doesn't matter, one bad weather snap and that production could be damaged and planting halted. Things won't get roaring across the midwest until this coming week and next. Many farmers wait until Easter Sunday to plant corn.

Hearty congraulations to our son-in-law Kevin Abt. I opened the electronic edition of the Wilmington News Journal last night and there he was in a picture of educators from Clinton County. They were reconized at the regional meeting for educators recently. We have two fine educators in the family, Kevin and our oldest boy Matt. Keep up the good work, guys!

Ed

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29


We only got .06 inches of rain so that is enough not to plant our heavy soil, let alone what I mentioned yesterday. The Farmers Almanac says seeds will rot planted today and tomorrow so I planted some to see if they would this year or not. I have done that in the past and I would say they have at least a 50% chance of rotting underground under these conditions.

Do you plant by the signs? I can't find hardly anyone who does. Every farmer or gardener I know plants when the soil conditions are right. They have been lately.

The signs use lunar gravity and other effects on the seed in the soil to maximize or reduce their growth. There are signs of good days to plant like next week and days when they are not, like today. I have watched the signs on cutting hair and weaning calves and they are pretty accurate so why shouldn't seedling germination be the same?

Most farms are built around speed and efficiency today so you plant when you can get over it and the weather forecast looks pretty favorable. Three inches of rain in the next three days is a big no-no but rarely predicted, and doesn't happen 50% of the time when it is.

The big thing this year is I noticed that seed and chemical companies are dragging their feet on delivery. They don't want you to make a mistake. They want you to do it once and do it right.

That is a good motto to have but probably a few million acres have been planted across the country and the grain merchants are dying to know what USDA will report tomorrow. If you look at their bids, they are thinking negative or bearish numbers.

Ed

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28


March 28 and 29 are poor days to plant seeds, according to the Farmers Almanac. They claim the seed will rot in the round. I have 50 acres ready to plant but the weatherman is calling for rain so I won't plant until the signs improve.

Planting time is here. Now, it's pick your day. Keep busy until you pull the planter into the field. It is too late to worry if the planter is ready or not, it is time to use it. If it is not ready, you have a few days until crop insurance will pay for your mistake.

We don't want any mistakes. We want to do it once, so we have to do it right. Reader Rob was asking me about open pollinated corn compared to hybrid for sileage and I told him I didn't think open pollinated would compare. I wuold love to plant a row of Bloody Butcher beside Reid's Yellow Dent though, and select ears from those rows for next year's planting. I would have my own first hybrid seed corn, just like Grandpa did.

This blog will be short for two weeks.

Ed

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mentoring


"Mentoring is usually a formal or informal relationship between two people-a senior mentor (usually outside the protégé's chain of supervision) and a junior protégé. Mentoring has been identified as an important influence in professional development in both the public and private sector."

A young man posted this on Crop Talk this morning: "The farmer I work for on weekends and summer breaks offered me a job after college running the sprayer and handling all agronomic side of the farm. Scouting, application, soil tests, recommendations, etc. I am really interested in pursuing this offer but the overwhelming fact of scouting 7000 acres a growing season fresh out of college with no past agronomy scouting is a bit intimidating. Anyone have any ideas on how to approach this and be able to manage all the acres in 2 or so years after college?

I have thought about maybe start scouting a few fields this summer and compare my findings with our current agronomist or something like that. Just a huge responsibility and alot to understand and know to be as good as a full time agronomist. Any ideas are greatly appreciated!"

This is how I replied: "I feel your fear, Zach. Let's look at the bright side, it is a great opportunity for you to build your skill list. Many your age is chomping at the bit for your opportunity. It is good you ask but remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.

The main thing is to learn how to spray first, study and get your commercial license if possible. That alone is a big task. At least do the study for it even if you don't have to take the test. Learning how to spray and what to spray is two entirely different things.

You need mentors. Could you apprentice with a young spray guy a little older than you somewhere? Spend at least a day or two with him and just get a feel for what he does to take the spray order, mix it, and apply it?

Identifying pests and correlating that with a spray order is a whole different set of thoughts and skills. Here you need someone to teach you how to scout enough to get a feel of what pests you are up against so you can come up with a spray mixture to apply. If you were close, I could put you through a quick course and be there for your questions but there are guys like me scattered all over the country if you find one to work with.

So to me you really need two mentors so you won't feel lost and confused. You have a big opportunity with a big undertaking but you can do it!

My email is open if I can help any. I started scouting for a fee in 85 and it took a couple of seasons to understand the pest side to understand the spray side.

Take each lesson in stride but don't be hard on yourself."

Mentoring and apprenticing are great opportunites to fill the information and skill gaps between young and old today.

Ed

Monday, March 26, 2012

God's Country


I found links to a series of videos taken by a family that moved from Europe to America in the 1970's. What a story! The series is named God's Country. It will take a week to watch all these videos if you just watch one when you are taking a stint at your computer. Part 3 is almost ten minutes long so that will give you an idea what you are getting into when you click on my link.

You will see parts one through nine on the right side of your You Tube viewer page. Watch any and all that you choose and leave a comment on what you think. It is a very interesting report of starting a farm in Minnesota in the 70's and reporting more what happened during the 80's.

A friend sent a much deeper piece on the future of agriculture, climate, and the world called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It also is very interesting and intriguing but takes us from the farming in the 70's in Minnesota shown in God's Country to what God might have in store for us. Neither one is required viewing of course, unless you are a very curious person like I am! Your comments and email also will be appreciated on this deep subject. It's all just "food for thought."

CBS Sunday Morning had several good pieces yesterday. I really liked this one on Columbus Ohio, "The World's Marketplace." You can see other stories on this list of links. The Fiesta dinnerware and the Goya Brands were very interesting to me, too. I got hooked on that program when Charles Kuralt travelled America in an RV. Yesterday was one of the better shows since those times.

I had a good early question this morning from a young farmer in Virginia who was considering putting Capture insecticide on his no-till corn on corn. He already has 2 X 2 fertilizer on the planter where he puts down nitrogen, sulfur, boron and zinc off the side of his highly weathered soils.

I told him to go for it.

Ed

Sunday, March 25, 2012

China


Steve Groff is finishing his trip to China with his daughter and her school choir. LuAnn and I have been following his excellent email reports of his great adventure with the kids across China. I am always interested in this subject because I had the opportunity to be one of the first American citizens invited to the country in 1985 after travel there was opened.

We were talking this morning, how could a farmer go away this time of the year and focus on the trip during the beginning of spring? For Steve, it was a great opportunity for his teen age son to "take over" while dad is gone. How do you focus on what needs to be done or what you could be doing when you are away?

It's easy for some. Steve has made it look easy this past week when others were reporting planting from all over the U.S. and even Canada! He has been eager to learn how our trading partners live and work and was willing to share his experience to anyone who would "listen." If you would like his email review of his trip to China, drop me an email or comment at the bottom of this post.

I can see that a lot of things have changed in China since I was there in 1985 but a lot of things have stayed the same. The average person had no transportation, just their own two legs. Even though we hear of the traffic jams in China and world demand for fuel while we are cutting back, most of them still walk or ride their bicycle.

Steve did get to see John Deere building tractors in China, something most of us will never see. One question was raised, is their quality and tolerances as good as the USA or Europe? China is considered the source of "junk" we don't need and throw away. But they have come a long way in quality of their products which is reflected in the way people live there now.

China is a whole new world that has changed ours. Is China on your "bucket list?"

Ed

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Lloyd Company


We like to drive to Bainbridge, Ohio in Ross County. The Ross County area was one of the first settled in Ohio in the late 1700's and Chillicothe, to the east was Ohio's first capitol.

The Drummond family started a farm machinery business there in the early 1900's and expanded to Chillicothe, Portsmouth, Washington Court House and Hillsboro. Mr. Drummond sold Oliver and Massey Harris farm equipment and later added John Deere.

He was instrumental to bringing the World Plowing Championship to nearby Adam's County in the 1950's. I remember the tractors and plows coming from Cincinnati east past our farm in Sardinia to those plowing matches.

Oliver Corporation built two 99 Oliver tractors to display at the matches with chrome grills and trim. When they were ready to take them back to the factory, Mr. Drummond told them, oh no you are not taking those back and he bought both of them. One was sold to his brother and they both are still in southern Ohio.

When the first Massey Harris twine tie balers were being built, the dealers were asked how many they would take. One dealer said he would take one, one said two and one said four. When Mr. Drummond's turn came, he said he would take 100! That is the kind of man he was, a big thinker well ahead of his time.

I tell you all of this after hearing the story again from his grandson, Byron Lloyd. Byron was here yesterday delivering LuAnn's second new matching Lane chair for our living room. He had told me these stories on the last trip here and I had to hear them again so I could share them with you.

The Lloyds have a nice hardware and furniture store in Bainbridge. Yes, hardware and furniture! I imagine the hardware is carry over from the old Drummond days and Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd added the furniture as they grew their business.

Mr. Lloyd just bought an Oliver 77 pedal tractor built for Oliver Farm Equipment in the 60's for his grandson. That reminded me of the Super 88 pedal tractor and matching trailer with tear drop fenders I bought at an auction 30 years ago. People talked as I bid $230 for the pair but it is worth thousands today.

If you ever drive through Bainbridge, Ohio on U.S. 50, be sure to stop at Lloyd's adn say hi. They are great people to deal with.

The picture is a field in Ross County in the 1800's. See how tall the open pollinated corn grew!

Ed

Friday, March 23, 2012

Those Decisions..


To plant, or not to plant, is that the question? More farmers took the bait and planted this week. One farmer planted 800 acres of corn in our county but he has the ability to withstand the loss if it wasn't a good decision. My intuition, my gut feeling is we just had 3 good days to plant corn.

We will have more but will they be as good as these three? We can argue about that a year from now, or earlier! Corn was planted from Minnesota to Ontario to New York this week as farmers looked at the soil, the trees, the signs and decided, "the calendar is wrong."

My friend Chris Bruynis at Ohio State wrote a good piece on this question this week. "Unseasonably, warm, dry weather has prompted farmers to think about planting. If one looks at Mother Nature and the development of the tree leaves along with the current soil temperature, it is time to plant. But if one looks at the calendar and reads the provisions of their crop insurance policy it is not. So what is at risk?"

My risk is my seed and the cost of planting. Everything else has to be done anyway. The nitrogen is still there, the herbicide is still there. My risk is less because it costs about $15 an acre to plant and my seed is $150 or so, or less than $50 per acre. It adds up to a lot of money but so does the potential loss by missing the 3 best days of planting corn this year.

If my cost is $60 per acre, I have to gain 15 or so bushels an acre for planting early. Throwing out last year, normally I gain 15 bushels each month planting April through June. I have seen that replicated most years of my life.

I wouldn't worry if I planted this week and I wouldn't worry if I didn't but it's time to plant. The day I pick sets the maximum yield that field will make given all the other variables. Farmers time their crop to nature. It all comes down to experience and what you are comfortable with when it comes to risk.

I bet those soybeans are up I wrote about recently.

Ed

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Decisions, Decisions!


It's a good thing we have been talking about how we make decisions this week. Here it is Thursday already, spring is here, spring has sprung, and the decisions never end! We have tied or broken every temperature record for our location in history which is better than breaking all the precipitation records last year!

It caught us all a little off guard. We thought, this heat will end and spring couldn't possibly be here yet. We were wrong and the calendar was right for once! It is more like May here than March.

We tried to rip some compacted soil areas yesterday and that never got finished. The volunteer wheat and planted rye is growing faster than we are getting it sprayed. The tractor got hot, the sprayer started leaking oil out of the plug where the pyrometer gauge screws into the block and various other problems popped up.

What do you do? You go to fixing them one at a time. You quickly learn where your preventive maintenance program is lacking. A farmer in Georgia couldn't keep his planter in the ground so I offered some tips to him this morning. Inability to maintain planting depth can be worse than my tractor problems because I set my maximum yield the day I plant. I want to do it right.

I was going to put some urea and ammonium sulfate down ahead of my corn but the price shot up to $625 per ton for urea and that puts a unit of nitrogen over 70 cents a pound a breaks my budget. 28% urea ammonium nitrate is still $330 a ton so that is over ten cents a unit savings. That adds up with a final goal of 160 or so pounds of nitrogen.

I would rather have some dry fertilizer down but that's too much for me so I will go to plan B, put it down with my herbicide and then side dress the rest. I don't like putting off tomorrow what I can do today.

I did get the garden plowed and tilled and it just fell apart. We also got some sweet corn and onions planted with more today and tomorrow if we can get it done.

Don't let decisions get you down, I am trying hard not to!

Ed

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good Morning, World!


This weather is making flowers bloom just like this short video. Isn't that an amazing array of colors popping onto your screen? It's like they are saying, "Good morning, world!" It seems that life pops just as quickly!

Today a friend is stopping by to plow our garden. I have 50 lbs of fertilizer I want to spread for "plow down" just like we did in the old days. We used to think we were feeding the plants but now we know we are feeding the living soil that digests the acidified rock into soluble nutrients the plant roots can take for nourishment.

"Soil SecretsGardeners add fertilizers to the soil to feed the soil microbes, which control the flow of sulfur, nitrogen and other nutrients to the plants.

Soil isn’t just dirt. It is alive, teeming with tons of organisms per acre. Earthworms come to mind first, but in spite of the fact that we cannot see them, microorganisms comprise a greater weight per acre than worms! Without these microbes, life as we know it would not exist.

Soil microbes control the flow of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and other soil nutrients. Microbes flourish when the soil nutrients are in balance. Essentially, when we add fertilizer to our soils, we are feeding the microbes, which then release nutrients to, or “feed”, plants. Some soil microbes even produce substances, which help to control plant diseases. Provide the microbes in your soil with a balanced diet of nutrients, and they will feed your plants with a balanced diet of available nutrients. Strangely, it possible to apply too much compost!

Soil science is extremely complex. For every action there is a reaction. For example, for every 1% increase in the base saturation of calcium, there is a 1% decrease in the base saturation of magnesium. The levels of other nutrients impact each nutrient’s availability. By adding too much of one nutrient, you are almost certain to reduce the availability of one or more other nutrients.

Even compost, revered by gardeners as a super soil builder, can be over-applied! Too much compost can make potassium so high that boron and manganese are less readily available to plants."

I hoped to get some rotted cow manure to "plow down" but I will depend on commercial fertilizer to break down the mass of living and dead material in the garden plow layer to feed the microbes. Inverting the topsoil is a big shock to the soil I can stand in my garden but can't afford to do to my fields.

Maybe I will learn to grow a beautiful no-till garden? On the other hand, I might keep my soil inverting activity to the garden and landscape for transplanted species.

Can you believe this weather?

Ed

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wheat Has Jointed

Instead of writing about decisions, I should have been making them! I noticed my volunteer and cover crop wheat has jointed and I should have my burn down on. It hit me that this early spring has everything far advanced and I should be taking my own advice. Make some decisions!

Wheat is hard to kill after it's jointed. One year it took a lot more glyphosate to kill it than I wanted and now I am trying to not use glyphosate on it so my burn down should have went on yesterday and even that might be late for the big stuff. I saw a piece that the cherry blossoms in DC are a month ahead of some years and the park ranger noted that since the trees were planted 100 years ago the average bloom date has increased 5 days earlier than they used to be.

CBS showed the park ranger, Bill Line, walking with the reporter and LuAnn exclaims "that's the guy who helped me find those books hidden in boxes for the grand children!" Of course the liberal media was trying to tie the story to global warming. Most people I know think this early year is due to cycles that were set in motion thousands or millions of years ago.

The calendar also snuck up on me. Today is the first day of spring! Happy spring, everyone! It's time to stand an egg on end without it falling over, just like we will be able to do July 20.

With the summer like temperatures, nature is advancing quickly. The little bit of wheat in Ohio has jointed on its way to an early harvest once more. That has implications to us no-till cover croppers to get our cover crops killed in preparation of planting. I wouldn't be surprised to see the best corn and beans yields happen in March this year unless we get a really cold, hard weather spell at a critical time in its development. Our highest corn yield was March 30 and 31 of 1999, and this year looks like it could do the same thing. I just hope we don't have the drought in southwest Ohio we had that year, and the weather patterns looks like we won't.

There is a big storm in the south central part of the United States and I have friends who won't plant until it is past. Those who have planted are concerned of flooding.

It's time to use yesterday's blog and make some decisions. My intuition says I am right. If my intuition is wrong, it's easier to forgive myself. If I act on impulse because everyone else is spraying or whatever and it is wrong, it is easier to be hard on myself. My wheat plants say I am right!

Ed

Monday, March 19, 2012

Should I?

Should I take this new job? Should I marry this person? Should I buy this farm? We have answered those questions in our lives and we sometimes get asked, what would we do?

We develop a set of reasoning's or procedures to answer the question, "what should I do?" from birth. What are yours?

Most of us obtain all the facts we can and list the pro's and con's of each situation. Often times we overlook potential major obstacles that will arise when we make various choices.

Some of us rely on our mental powers and others lean more to spiritual answers. I have many friends who use both. If you are Christian or if you are religious, you will ask yourself somewhere in the discourse, what is God's Will for me?

I have one successful young farmer friend I chat with often who is very spiritual and very religious. He would answer my question this way:

I think it's important for family members to stay in the same area of other surrounding family if at all possible. Life is hard and having the loving support structure of other family members to lean on, I believe I can make this life a little bit easier, but I know this isn't always the case for all families. Use wisdom to weigh the pros and cons.

Using these 5 Biblical tools listed below will help one to gain clear wisdom in understanding God's desire/will in a decision that is in need of being made.
~Prayer
~Fasting
~Reading Scripture
~Asking for advice/wisdom from close family members and friends that wants God's best for you.
~Dreams/Visions

This works very well for him but another person who is not so trained, so believing and so spiritual will not understand his way of making decisions. They will use much more pragmatic ways to make decisions.

How do you make a decision? And how will you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is the right one? There are so many ways to make decisions but I think it comes down to your core beliefs.

If you enjoy success, you probably have a learned process that works well for you and you will depend on it to make your decision. Many people's decisions in the past haven't turned out that well and they may find themselves questioning if they should change to a new way of arriving at a conclusion. What do eat today is entirely different than those 3 questions I asked in the opening line.

A year ago, I decided to change the way I live and make decisions. I find myself doing a lot of things I do today the same as I did before a year ago but I have changed many things I do and how I think about them.

After following my own set of decision making skills today and helping family and friends figure out what to do when they ask me my thoughts on their big decision, I have changed.

Have you? How do you make big decisions?

Ed

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Down On The Farm


Bob Evans had a snappy song to advertize his sausauge and his restaurant, "Bob Evan's, down on the farm." I enjoyed some of that this morning.

Yesterday the family enjoyed some down on the farm. We all got together to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day again with green clothes, green food and the question, are we Irish? Much of the family has a little Irish in them.

Rollan Lehman asked if Saint Patrick used the 3 leaf shamrock to represent the trinity, why we do we recognize the four leaf clover as being lucky and the the three leaf not? Good question, I don't know the answer.

I do know that Eric's new Can Am extended four wheeler is the nicest one I ever drove. The long wheel base gives great stability and a smooth ride and it turns pretty well for a longer wheelbase. Who would think you need 82 hp to power a four wheeler? I think that is as much horsepower as my little Chevette Isuzu diesel engine had! It's farm ready and will tow 1300 lbs, as much as my little Dakota will safely!

The rides revealed a lot of flaws in the field. My fields are more beat up than I thought. There is more washing of soil and residue since harvest than I thought. The wheat, barley and rye is spotty, heavy in some spots and non existant in others.

I need to get on my burn down chemical as soon as it is dry enough. We are saturated after the past two rains. My plan is 20 gallons were acre of acid water containing 8 ounces of Gramoxone or diquat, 4 ounces of Sencor or Metribuzin and maybe some atrazine and or simazine per acre.

I wish had some shamrocks or clover out there to build some nitrogen but my program has not encouraged that. Like Robert Schuller's empire, it can be built over decades and gone overnight. I used to listen to that man!

It was good to have a meal with family and play with the kids. They sure have fun "down on the farm." I could justify this place and all the work for no other reason but it is our home, business, and God' gift to us.

"God's farm, temporary caretakers."

Ed Winkle

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Real Saint Patrick


From my readings and radio stories about todays Saint, this account sums up the life of Saint Patrick quite well. I am not sure the "snakes" he supposedly ran out of Ireland are the snakes some of us are afraid of.

"St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep and swine. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote "The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock?
Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

In His Footsteps:
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission."

Humble, pious and gentle, those are needed qualities in today's society. Do you know anyone like that? Little Caoilin reminds me of these characteristics.

Ed

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cover Crops


Today I participated in a cover crop workshop near Brownsburg, Indiana. There were lots of questions and good discussions on which cover crops to use, how to plant them and what they do to the soil. We had a good chance to see annual ryegrass from Oregon that needed killed so we could talk some about tank chemistry.

The host, Mike and Dave Starkey, had a good soil pit dug to show the roots had gotten over 50 inches deep in their soil. The seed was aerially flown into corn before harvest to give it a good start before winter. Aerial seeding is hard to time and get good results so many farmers do not aerial seed. If you can get the timing right before rain at the proper plant stage of growth, you can seed a lot of acres in a hurry. One panelist had gotten 1000 acres sown on one day and it all came up.

While I was there, I was called about burn down for farmers ready to spray. We talked about using 4 ounces of Sencor or metribuzin to fry the winter annuals that have survived this warm winter.

I was impressed with Mike's panel from 3 different counties and not from his county. They are all using the same planter setup I learned to use many years ago and now we are learning together how to raise cover crops to increase our crop growth through soil health even more.

The cover crop man was there from Oregon and works with my friend Garth Mulkey, who started the Nitro Radish production and education. His slides of "swamp buggies" they use in Oregon was interesting, basically two big inner tubes mounted as a tire on a tractor or spray rig rim. They were left over after the Viet Nam war where so many aircraft inner tubes were used. Someone bought a container or two full of them and the farmers learned how to make the "duck" tires as they call them.

You always learn something at one of these get togethers and this one was full of innovators from near and far away.

Ed

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pesticide Regulation


I just posted the contents of an email of a long time friend and reader on Crop Talk. I am seeing more and more evidence of government scrutiny and regulation of all things environmental, which does affect agriculture greatly.

Would you, the average farmer or spray operator apply for this permit? We all spray near potentially running water and therefore I think we are all subject to the ruling. Even a "dry ditch" becomes a tributary in a heavy rainfall event.

I really don't want to apply for another permit and I imagine most will not. I do want to be covered in any "investigated report" that we may have sprayed near a body of water where pesticide could be claimed to cause damage to the quality or contents of the stream. The potential is there.

The potential should be very small most of the time so most won't concern themselves with this. Most of the herbicides we use only affect plants to any extent so I am not too concerned about fish kills or other wildlife effects.

"In accordance with the 1990 Farm Bill, all private applicators are required by law to keep record(s) of their federally restricted use pesticide (RUP) applications for a period of 2 years. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Pesticide Recordkeeping Program administers the Federal pesticide recordkeeping regulations through compliance and educational outreach activities."

We are licensed and we do keep records. We can always improve the record keeping and I need to ask the first point contact, our Ohio Department of Agriculture pesticide person what they look for in a spot check or investigated report.

I will keep you abreast of what I learn on the subject.

Enjoy the warm weather!

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crop Insurance Revised


How many of you are impacted by crop insurance? I think it affects us all as it subsidized by our Federal Government but really only impacts my farmer readers directly. Thursday is the last day to sign up for the product.

I never used crop insurance until we bought our first farm large enough to need to address our risk of putting out larger acreages of crops. That was 2004 and some of those fields have produced 11 crops in 8 years through my double cropping practice.

There are several different products available, GRIP, GRP or commonly called group and CRC which is also a revenue product today. This one is most common in crop producing areas.

Basically, I need a history of 4 corn crops on a piece of ground to get full benefit of the product I select to insure it. I have that on some, not on all. I can buy $900 worth of income protection for $38 on my longest history ground and only $600 for $24 on my short history farms. It adds up to thousands and dollars of insurance but tens of thousands of income protection.

The meeting between my young banker and agent went well. After an hour and a half of discussion, my brain wandered off thinking, these guys are having old home day and I only wanted us to agree on my risk! I guess we accomplished our mission.

Today I am trying to figure out how to best get my nitrogen in place for that corn crop while getting the ground in shape for production. There is always some land shaping to do, even in "no-till."

My friends are emailing each other about red meat consumption in the news and pink slime while the front page of the paper is about surplus salt sitting in all the county warehouses from the record warm winter.

Weather is the news today as we will approach the record high of 79 degrees and farmers are itching to get in the fields. One farmer in Indiana is planting soybeans today.

"The next few weeks weather forecast has farmers shining up their planters and looking to the fields. Just a reminder, see below for the earliest planting dates for corn and soybeans in your area.

Corn and Soybeans planted before the earliest planting date will still be insurable, but our underwriters cannot authorize a replant payment on acreage initially planted before that date. Acreage planted before the earliest planting date must be replanted if authorized by an adjuster, in accordance with the RMA Loss Adjustment Manual, to remain insurable. Acreage that is replanted after the earliest plant date may be eligible for a replant payment on the second replant.

Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, & Illinois
Corn Early planting date - April 5th
Soybean Early planting date - April 20th

Missouri & Iowa
Corn Early planting date - March 25th
Soybean Early planting date - April 15th

Ed

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Plant Identification


Plant identification is an important part of the study of just about any field of agriculture. It's a basic part of any agronomy class because we need to know what plants we are dealing with.

The Internet has expanded my scouting to the state next door to around the world. I get all kinds of plants and pictures emailed to me. I got this one in yesterday's mail and it stumped me for awhile.

It's in a lawn in Arkansas that looks like a pasture field. I saw the purple dead nettle, a relative of Henbit in the background and the flower resembles it. But the plant looks more like a grass than a broadleaf, the two major plant classes, so the blue flower on the green stem confused me.

Opening the picture up, it looks like an onion plant. I don't know if they have blue blooms but it sure looks like onion. What is your identification of this plant? An application of 2,4-D or TriMec lawn weed killer would help control these weeds in this "au naturale lawn" but we better plant some grass seed to fill the space!

Any of the fescue type lawn grasses work well here to the south. Fescue has been credited to saving more soil in the south than any other plant introduced to the region.

So how is your plant identification and weed id? Who do you go to for identification? As an ag teacher and county agent, I have been looking up plant names all my life.

I started a bad thing today, I mowed grass. Mowing stimulates growth and now it will be mow, mow, mow all year!

Ed

Monday, March 12, 2012

Maine


I'm getting the bug to travel again. LuAnn suggested I relive our trips by writing about a different state each week, like States of America, every Saturday or Sunday. How about Monday? It's more like it might happen when the mood hits me!

For some reason I thought of Maine this morning. I saw my friend Andy in St. Louis, he grows sweet corn and fresh market produce at County Fair Farm. He was one of the first fellows I met who wanted to raise sweet corn without tillage. His old Maine farm has plenty of drainage and too many rock and reduced tillage made sense to him.

We finally made it to his place on one of our trips up the east coast around ten years ago. He has made a lot of improvements to his farm since our trip. He was excited about his son graduating from college and coming back to the farm to help manage the challenging task of marketing their fresh market produce. Andy is the farmer and one person can't handle all the tasks well.

Maine is known for timber, potatoes and maple syrup, among other crops. Fresh market produce has grown in rapid acceptance, a trend we see across the United States. Agriculture is important to Maine's economy, like it is in every state.

The lobster and sweet corn is terrific, but I love the sweet Maine shrimp. I can't get enough of them when we are there. Maine is a beautiful place to visit and we vividly remember the bed and breakfast south of Jefferson, Maine that had the outdoor shower. There is an Italian restaurant on the ocean, kind of in the middle of nowhere we visited on two different trips that is as good as they come.

One time we drove all the way through Maine on the way to Nova Scotia. We had the most beautiful weather you can imagine right before a major hurricane came up the east coast. Our first trip was over ten years ago for an east coast soil and water meeting and the boat trip to an island lobster bake was so foggy you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.

You don't hear much about Maine or Mainelanders, they keep to themselves. They don't keep their hospitality or beauty of their state when you visit.

Ed

Sunday, March 11, 2012

News


What should I write about today? So many different things are in ag and other news. People I network with are discussing so many different things from somatic cell counts in milk to rehashing ethanol as a fuel. Here is a good link on somatic cells, or white blood cell counts in milk.

I only try to write about something I am passionate about and lately I am not passionate about anything but being a good person, helping others, and thinking about my work list before spring planting.

Tomorrow I have an important crop insurance meeting with my young banker and my young agent. I don't know why I did this but trying to decipher from one and explain to the other, I gave up and thought I will just try to get all three heads together at once. I have no idea how it will work out but I will let you know. It can't be any worse than trying to pick a policy the last 8 years, can it?

I am trying to help several part time farmers raise corn by email. Now talk about a challenge, one is retired like me but hasn't raised corn before, the others only know what they have learned since they were little and spend most of their energy on their full time jobs.

At least I got them all soil testing. I had to have a basis to start with. We have addressed CHOPKINSCaFeMg(mightygood)food recipe for corn. That is calcium, mangesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, zinc, boron, copper, manganese. Now, how much nitrogen do we put on and how do we do it?

The easiest way is to put half on with the planter and half side-dressed. This requires tanks on the planter and longer fill-ups some farmers won't put up with. Most small farmers don't have proper side dressing equipment so they hire it done and worry they are getting ripped off or losing nitrogen.

Another way is to put a smaller amount with the planter or before the planter, a third or so with the chemical and a third or so side dressed. Any way can work, some are easier to do and others are more efficent but require more investment.

Two years ago I hired it all put one preplant with anhydrous ammonia and N Serve, a nitrogen stabilizer. That worked very well, let me focus on planting and the tissue test and yield said it was the right thing to do. Last year there was no time to do that so we put a big shot on at planting and tried to get the rest side dressed.

This year my soil nitrate is around 50 ppm so I will put on about a third with the herbicide and dribble the rest on before a rain. 28% UAN was $330 a ton three weeks ago at our lowest bidder it will be $400 a ton a planting.

That's what's in the news at HyMark Consulting LLC today. It looks like rain tomorrow then a chance all week. There is lots to do, so have a good week!

Ed

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bt Resistance


I posted links on Facebook and Twitter to a story that National Public Radio picked up about researchers across the United States who wrote to Monsanto about resistance to certain Bt events. Bt stands for Bacillus thurengeinsis and was found by a Japanese scientist in 1901.

Our daughter Becky asked my opinion about the story so I thought I would explain it today. I basically said don't believe everything you read and hear. I say that because there is so much not known about genetically engineered or modified organisms you will see the extremes first. You will hear everything from it's the greatest thing since sliced bread to it is killing us. The truth is probably somewhere inbetween.

The first Plant Variety Protection Act was approved in 1970. Before the first genetically modified seed was released to the public, the Plant Variety Protection Act was also modified in 1994 to protect "scientific property," even though many finds were at tax funded Land Grant institutions. Many were not. The first thing farmers learned that they could no longer save seed because of the complexity of these laws. That threw up a big red flag but most drove right on past to gain the productive advantages of less insecticide for corn or less chemical for soybeans.

Genetically modified seed made it so much easier to farm that these seeds took over 90% of farmers purchases by recent years. Now, 18 years later, we find rootworms resistant to the Bt in early genetic events and "super weeds" that are very difficult to control. It's easy to say it failed, it's failing or we never should have gone that route.

Some farmers never saw the need for the more expensive seed and kept using what they had been, non genetically modified seed. Since 1994, very little of my seed has been genetically modified. I had to prove it to myself. GMO corn never made more profit in my trials but Liberty Link soybeans are a very easy way to control the resistant weeds around here.

I work with farmers who are 100% GMO and 100% non GMO. Most best management practices aren't any different on either type of farm.

So I guess it comes down to your belief on which way to go. Either way is feasible and either way can work or fail.

It's up to us to obtain the information we need to make that decision. Those scientists are asking companies to proceed cautiously. Those companies will have to make and live with their own decisions.

Ed

Friday, March 9, 2012

Responsibility


I take what I write pretty seriously. I like to have fun like everyone else and some people have the talent for humor and light heartedness. Somedays I am more so than others, but I take my blog pretty seriously. Blogging is a responsibility to me.

Thanks to Google, NewAgTalk, and now FaceBook and Twitter, more and more people read what I write. The most difficult thing about blogging for me is to find a subject I am passionate about every day. 365 days a year is a lot of passion but I have been able to accomplish that for three years.

Today this blog is featured on FarmnWife's Blog. She invited me to answer a few simple questions about myself a week ago and it is published today. You can read it here.

Thanks to Judi and all of you readers for getting the word out to obtain this recognition. I wrote the blogs, you read them and you spread the word. I thank you for that.

Keep sending me questions, ideas, comments and email. I try to answer every question I receive because if you have that question, someone else in the world has it, too.

I consider myself a pretty average person, no better or worse than you but I have never met an average person in my life. Each is a distinct creation with gifts and talents and tales and experiences. Meld them all together and you get a picture of a very interesting person.

My blog arose from my passion from teaching agriculture, farming and helping others. That is what I am here for. So, keep reading, asking and making HyMark High Spots a well known agriculture blog. You don't have to agree with me but if you take time to read it and comment, we both can learn from the experience.

For me, that makes blogging gratifying.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, March 8, 2012

National Agriculture Day


National Agriculture Day was traditionally observed on the first day of spring. This year, Congress was not going to be in session that day so the powers that be changed it to today, March 8.

I used National Agriculture Day to help my agriculture students learn how to communicate to others about agriculture. Since man started bartering food for goods and services a long, long time ago, the need to educate others about how it was raised and what its value is has been sought after.

In modern times, it has been used to show how many people don't have to produce food to enjoy it. That comes at a cost, the cost of production and a margin of profit. You will see all kinds of figures like "one U.S. farmer feeds 166 people" or whatever, depending on how you figure it.

The basic idea is agriculture is important because food is necessary. It is easy to take for granted. Todays farm is nothing like my dad's farm which was different from his dad's farm.

"We are living in a time of record land prices and good profits from agriculture. Today agriculture employs 14 percent of the U.S. workforce and agricultural graduates have multiple job offers. There is an increased recognition of the importance of farmers and food. Even Bill Gates, the second-richest person in the world, is now devoting his wealth toward improving agricultural productivity.

Polls show strong support for agriculture. Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe it is important to grow food domestically. And more than 80 percent of Ohioans say they have a positive view of agriculture in the state.

The temptation on National Agriculture Day is to sit back, decide things are going well and enjoy listening to the good things being said. The challenge is to appreciate the compliments while continuing the hard work that brought agriculture to where it is today."

Today, I salute all of you who work in the field of agriculture. It has always been a good field to work in and I hope it always will.

Ed

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

SabrEx


Back in the 90's, I got very interested in biological products when Dr. David Kukendall at the USDA Lab in Maryland discovered competitive rhizobia baceterial strains while researching sugar beets. I helped to facilitate the commercialization of the strain and soybean inoculation has never been the same since.

While doing that, we found that Dr. Gary Harmon at Cornell was trying to hybridize beneficial soil fungi called trichaderma and on the 22nd try, it worked. T-22 was created and I got even more plant benefits from it than I did with USDA bradyrhizobia inoculant in soybeans!

A company called Advanced Biological Managment was formed to market these new discoveries. I have become one of the main farmer type on the ground people to explain how these work to farmers. My phone and email is very busy this time of the year. How to use these discoveries hit Crop Talk quite often and here is a reply of one dealer-farmer I got started in the 90's on how SabrEx works.

"In my observations, Sabrex performance is affected by several factors: Soil type, hybrid root strength, hybrid relative maturity, fertilizer management, water availability, and disease pressure.

Soil type: the lighter the soil, the more likely you are to see a yield increase. I have seen yield increases in black soils, but the bump is due to one or more of the other factors.

Hybrid root strength: hybrids with weaker root systems respond to Sabrex. Sabrex increases root mass and stalk diameter and enables these hybrids to uptake more nutrients, especially when disease pressure is higher.

Hybrid maturity: shorter season hybrids show more responce to Sabrex because their "window of opportunity" for peak yield is smaller. Again, I have seen it work well in long season hybrids too, but it is due to one of the other factors.

Fertilizer management: Sabrex helps scavange nutrients and therefore will show more response when nutrients are normally placed farther away (broadcast fertilizer or manure) than compared to banding nutrients close to the row.

Water availablitity: Drought during critical times (pollination or grain fill) can limit yields if the roots cannot access enough water. If water is abundant during these times, then Sabrex won't boost yield unless other factors come into play.

Disease pressure: Corn on corn and heavy manure applications will elevate fungal diseases of both the leaves and roots. Fungicides like Headline can help with the leaves, while Sabrex can help with the roots.

Sabrex is not a cure all. Occasionally, it will actually reduce yield due to the fact that root growth can take away energy from grain fill when all other stresses are low. The graph below shows three years of data on Sabrex and yes it does show an occasional yield reduction. But overall the yield average is very positive. A plot on your own farm will determine if the hybrids and the management that you are using will be a good match for Sabrex."

I used the graph for today's picture. I put SabrEx on every seed or plant I plant or transplant. The science is that good.

You can find out how to order yours by calling ABM in Van Wert, Ohio at 877-617-2461.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Meatless Mondays

As many Catholics observe meatless Fridays during Lent or all year long, I thought this might be a good subject this morning. This is about school programs that are considering or have gone to "meatless Mondays" and I wanted your comments on it. I received this in an email this morning.

"I thought this might interest some of you.

We are seeing the Meatless Monday program promoted in Lewis County MO schools. A brochure promoting Meatless Monday was sent home with 2nd graders promoting this program. (Copy of the flyer sent home is labeled scan0017.) As you can see at the bottom it is “brought to you by your school food service department.”

This program is an attack on animal agriculture, and not truly an dietary program as it is presented through the school lunch program. I know several people have already been in contact with the Lewis county school district administration to visit about this and the school has apologized and agreed to send home information with kids next month promoting the benefits of a balanced diet that includes meat proteins.

I share this with each of you for multiple reasons.

1. As a person involved with agriculture we should properly educate those in our local communities (schools in this situation) on the professional practices we use to provide safe healthy food for them and their children

2. As a person involved with agriculture in a rural community you likely support your local school district with significant property tax revenue and you should be aware of the information your school is sharing.

3. We all want the children in our communities to have a safe and healthy diet. This dietary information should be based of scientific fact and not a groups political motivations.

I would encourage each of you to keep an open dialog regarding these type of issues with local school board members and school administrators on topics such as this. The link in the letter below has good info regarding this as well.

Have a great week and a safe spring.

Chris Robnett

1891 Maine St Suite 6

Quincy, IL 62301

Office 866-795-6188

Dear,

Dr. Elizabeth Parker, our immediate past chair, forwarded me your email with the scanned document on Meatless Monday, suggesting I get in touch with you. The Animal Agriculture Alliance, along with a coalition of industry stakeholder organizations, developed a number of resources to specifically address the Meatless Monday campaign – which you probably know was created by long-time NY animal rights activist & heiress Helaine Lerner and her husband and marketing guru Syd Lerner.

Attached is a 4-page brochure in .pdf format we developed specifically on this campaign, and you can find many additional resources on our website at this link.

All of these materials are free and downloadable, and we encourage you to share them with your school administrators and all others you feel could benefit from having these resources. This campaign has been around about 8-9 years, but has only become trendy and has experienced fairly rapid growth in the past 2 years.

We appreciate your interest and your willingness to share the facts about this campaign and its efforts to limit choice as well as to move people – children in particular – to a vegan diet. I’ve cc’d Sarah Hubbart & Kerry Lynch in our office on this email so if you need anything additional or have further questions, please give one of them a call as I’m out of the office until Friday at various meetings. Sarah can be reached at (703)562-1413 and Kerry at (703)562-1411.

Thanks and we’d love to hear what feedback you receive after meeting with the school administrators.


Best regards,

Kay Johnson Smith

President and CEO

Animal Agriculture Alliance

703.562.1412

Monday, March 5, 2012

Election


I just deleted another five robocalls off the answering machine. No wonder everyone has lost interest in political races, even this important one coming up. I sent this piece to LuAnn and she said "I regret that I am a bit like some of the comments that basically say….we have been broadcast to death by these folks….has it brought jobs? No."

Ohio is a Super Tuesday state with the second most delegates available behind Georgia. I voted early before the polls closed Friday here at 6 p.m. LuAnn will vote in Martinsville tomorrow on the way to work. We are never so complacent we don't vote because every time I hear of a soldier hurt or lost, I have to vote. I just have to.

I supported Mike Huckabee last year. I really like the man and wish he was president now. He was in town Friday for the taping of his third show on the Republican Primary, this one on jobs.

It was appropriate he come to Ohio and to Wilmington to talk about jobs. We are still hurting from the loss of DHL and the 9000 jobs there and the huge rollover effect it has on our 3 little rural counties of Clinton, Highland, and Fayette and even neighboring counties.

None of the candidates made a personal appearance that I know of. They blew in, taped the show and blew out. Ron Paul didn't even take the time to come to Wilmington.

The program is running on FOX News and was first aired Saturday evening at 8 p.m. Just the beginning of the show alone reveals the enormous loss of a like-new $300 million dollar facility sitting empty. DHL invested $3 billion in improvements before closing it. It's beyond understanding but gives a clue of how tough economic times are in the United States compared to 2007. I encourage you to at least watch the beginning of the program.

The interview went well too but it really was the same old questions and the same old answers. The candidates look tired. Maybe this is not the way to elect a president. There were a couple of twists though from the locals asking questions and I thought it shed light on the best candidate.

LuAnn's right though, they have beat this thing into the ground. I will just be happy when the TV commercials and robocalls stop. It's more fun watching tulips blooming.

Ed

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gardening To Do

Steve Boehme at Good Seed Farm got me to thinking about getting ready to garden and all of the things I need to do for our landscape. We were near his place yesterday but didn't know if he was open yet. Sure enough, he was.

Our friend Dutch in West Texas was running the tiller in his garden and I told him we could be doing that here, too. It's time to start thinking about gardening and time to get some onion and lettuce seeds planted. I might even plant some very early sweet corn!

Our garden is the only place I don't notill and some of my friends like to tease me about that. I till because I don't spray the garden and tillage is my main source of weed control. In the field, it is cheaper, more profitable and more resourceful to not till and run the big sprayer to raise crops.

I didn't drive my Dakota to Cleveland so I never had the tool box with my soil probe in it. Becky mentioned they wanted their soil tested and it was so wet there, a probe would have worked best instead of a shovel to obtain the samples. They hope to plant blueberries and peach trees as they are so close to Lake Erie. I have no idea what their soil is like but their weather is conducive to those fruits that are hard to grow here.

As growing degree days advance, I really need to kill all the broadleaf weeds in the lawn so my grasses have a better chance to compete. There is always so much to do on a 5 acre landscape with all the bins, barns and driveways. The semi's have cut deep ruts into the yard on the edges and there is lots of repairing to do.

The garden needs to be plowed first so I hope to call the fellow tomorrow to plow our garden for the first time. It's only been tilled the few years we have gardened here and the weeds really need to be buried so we can start with a clean slate. A good dose of manure would be nice to plowdown too but I have plenty of residue to turn under. It almost looks like a notill garden because it has been managed pretty close to that with only a little tillage between the rows after the plantings.

This could be an early year to plant as the ground has been fit for tillage a couple of times already as I have mentioned in recent blogs. We saw a big patch of daffodils in full bloom near my mother's farm yesterday in Sardinia. They are on a protected southeast facing slope and they could fool you that "spring has sprung."

Actually we are still in "sprinter," not spring and not winter. It got down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit last night after the big storm came through. There are snow flakes blowing in the chilly air but it will be 60 again in a few days. The wood and pellet stoves are going full blast.

Maybe we can duplicate that good garden we had six years ago. What's on your gardening to do list?

Ed

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tornado Warning!


This morning the first news I read was at least 28 people are reported dead after a massive but predicted storm system roared through the Ohio Valley yesterday. I started watching the weather sources at 2:30 p.m. As one of the first tornados touched down in Kentucky, there was quickly 69 reported tornados on the ground within an hour or so.

How do these people get caught off guard with the warning system we have now? Do some people not use the available technology that predict and report dangerous weather? Obviously, yes.

I went to the chiropractor early yesterday and there was an Amish couple getting adjusted. I asked John how he got Amish clients and he said one of them found me and then they pass their results by word of mouth. He said on big days the hat rack is full of Amish hats.

He had concern they wouldn't hear about the tornado warnings because they don't use media. I explained that some bishops use a weather radio to warn their church about coming severe weather but word of mouth may not get to all the church members.

I am sure there are other reports out there but I am watching this report from MSNBC that we didn't see yesterday. All of the Cincinnati TV stations pre-empted their national news coverage that comes to us at 6:30 p.m. each evening for their own weather coverage. Each channel had teams of 3 who reported radar and other reports starting with local news at 4 p.m. and after.

I will add more as it comes along but we quickly learned that two died in Holton, Indiana where I was teaching a week ago, 2 in southern Ohio and 2 in northern Kentucky. Here is what Google news has so far for tornado news stories. One man was found dead on SR 133 outside of Bethel, Ohio and his mobile home was destroyed. Marysville, Indiana, a town of 1900 is reported as completely destroyed.

AM Sunshine asked in the Cafe what was in our "safe room" so I went down and took pictures. I found nothing but a dehumidifier and a furnace!

People do get caught off guard so we all need to stay abreast of the weather. Now they are predicting snow for these devastated areas!

You know, after watching all of these video coverages and talking to survivors, I think this is where the billionaires of our country could spend their money. Instead of giving it to our failing government, why not give it to these people who are in such need?

Ed

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mentors


My mentors are my trusted friends, counselors, teachers, and fellow farmers. I am blessed with some of the best mentors in agriculture, savvy fellows who share my passion for the truth and expressed in farming.

A farmer asked on Crop Talk this morning for books or resources to learn more about crop fertilization. After earning two degrees and a lifetime studying soil and crop science I suggested he find a mentor. I have planted my own crop since 1963 and more so in "retirement" the past eight years.

My best course and highest degree doesn't answer the nuts and bolts of planning, planting, nurturing and harvesting a crop. Hand's on experience can't be beat and there are hundreds of ways of doing it, though we have melted them down to a handful.

Two mentors called me on the phone this morning. We discussed fertilization, the weather and our families. Several others have emailed as we exchange the latest information we are reading, digesting and applying to our lives on our farms.

I have to go to Iowa once each year to see the application of the highest knowledge about agriculture I am interested in, though my trips to other states and conferences help fill the gap. I travel to Pennsylvania each year to see the latest in cover cropping and to Iowa for the latest in notilling and soil and crop fertilization.

When younger people ask me about my work and my happiness, I usually remind them that two things have been key to my happiness and those I have studied. One is the career they choose and the other is the spouse they choose. Those two crucial parts of life pretty much take up every waking hour of every day for me.

I am quite willing to share my experience in this blog and share my mentors where I feel they can help you when you ask a question I think they answer.

Who are your mentors? Who do you go to share your most personal or specific questions with?

My mentors help guide me in answering my questions and evaluating what went right and what can be improved. It's a big responsibility to mentor others when they come to you for answers. I don't take that lightly.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dicamba Resistant Soybeans


Most Certified Crop Advisers in Ohio attended one of the Monsanto Resistant Weed meetings held at 3 different locations this week. I attended the one in Columbus and I thought Dr. Mark Loux gave the best summary on the resistant weed situation I have heard anywhere.

It's in most states and weeds have developed resistance to many different types of chemicals. The worst weeds like Palmer Amaranth or smooth pig weed, tall waterhemp, another pig weed and marestail are almost uncontrollable in many locations now.

I was surprised Monsanto had a farmer from West Tennessee on the program. He said Round Up had no value as a herbicide on his farm but admitted he was using the new dicamba resistant soybeans on his farm. They are not approved yet in the U.S. but should be by 2014 according to a news release issued today. They were developed at the University of Nebraska.

I don't see how this will improve the long term problem with resistant weeds. It looks like the horse is out of the barn on resistance and now weeds build up resistance to chemistry very quickly since they have conquered glyphosate. Dow will have 2,4-D resistant soybeans even sooner. I can't imagine spraying either chemical in mid summer around here with the problem of drift and succulent non target plants in susceptible condition. They claim we can control the drift with their expensive new versions of these chemistries.

Bayer published a guide called Herbicide Resistance Management Guide that lists the chemistries and label names and what weeds are resistant to them in the U.S. I would suggest you contact your Bayer representative and study it and these links.

Ed