Monday, January 14, 2013

CSI Agronomy

I hereby copyright  CSI Agronomy, Operation Stripe, and Living In Your Fields, HyMark Consulting LLC, 2013.  I really like these titles.  I dreamed about the  third one.  I got the idea from the first one from Dr. Jerry Hatfield at NNTC.  We pull plants, plunk them down on the table and try to figure out what killed them.  Operation Stripe is my term for planting 2 hybrids of dissimilar origin but 4 days apart in maturity side by side.

CSI Agronomy has shown we are not producing crops as well as we could.  The prognosis for American agriculture isn't very good unless we really get our act together.  We have beat the soil to death with tillage in this country and pretty much the world.  Genetic pools for crops have become very small as we have only selected a yield lines for yields and injected them with traits.  We have a crop production system that has failed us the last 3 years in weather stress.  We are going the wrong direction!

I showed a favorite picture of me pulling soil samples in wheat behind the house.  I got to thinking, that same spot looks 3 times greener and 3 times healthier today than it did a few years ago.  What is the difference?  Biological activity is the difference!  Keeping my soil covered each year has really increased my soil biological activity.

What if we have another 100 years of these strange weather cycles?  That's excactly what Dr. Hatfield's lab looked at and the likelihood is very large.   The outcome is not very good!  Will we have to rule that man can't till anymore?  I imagine that would create another Civil War.  That very idea is being proposed by some scientists and leaders in the world.  LuAnn saw the idea on Google World News last week.

We have to start somewhere to try and improve our soils and quit turning our rivers brown every time it rains.  We need to bring these dead soils back to life.  Who is going to do it?  Those 1250 farmers in Indianapolis last week represent the few that are leading the way.  They quickly learned the benefits of notill farming and now are adding cover crops at a rapid pace.  Why?  Not just because it is good but because it makes us money, too.

Yield is Genetics X Environment X Management.  We have a limited gene pool, we can't control the weather and now the government is going to tell us how to farm?  I think we better show them how to farm, first!  We can't show anything if we don't change and very few are willing to make these changes.

I am sure I just stirred up Crop Talk.  I posted this about the Farm to Plate Conference I attended in Riverside, Iowa.  I link you to a non GMO corn sample I was sent from my friend Keith.  I would imagine the non GMO corn was raised on soil that was GMO soybeans the year before.  My email and phone is already ringing from my sharing of this report.

How can we keep doing the same farming practices that are failing in front of our eyes and expect better results?

Ed

3 comments:

  1. I like the Crop Scene Investigation, but even if no bean is killed, there should still be a "post-mortem" of everything that happened, right or wrong. Do you feel the farm management tools are good enough to document all this kind of information?

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  2. They are changing so fast I do not know how human beings will keep up with it. I am a generalist but we all have a niche. I am constantly searching for a combination of the best so I try to look at everything and figure out the best plan for me. I have noticed that confuses so many people.

    Ed

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