Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Starting Farming

This is a really good story about a young man starting farming. 

"True story: 3 years ago I had a young boy (family friend) approach me during a 4-H show and tell me that he would like to be a farmer but he didn’t know how to drive a tractor. I told him, “if you want to be a farmer, you just need to figure it out”. A few months past and we spoke again.

Next thing we knew he was at our house learning to drive our utility tractor. I preached SAFETY with every breath. It was his first steps in his path to farming. We decided together that baling hay would be the easiest route for him to take and it could help him support is 5 goats. The sad thing was, to many folks were telling this boy that he would fail! Each time he was told he would fail, I replied, “only if you decide to”.

The next step, he needed hay to bale but didn’t have any land. I told him have his mom drive him around a 1 mile square and look for little 1-3 acre patches of grass. After finding a few I told him to go up to their house, knock on their door, explain what he was doing and ask if he could bale their grass. Yep, everyone gave him that chance.

The next step: we did cash flows then his father took him to the FSA office to complete an application for $5k for a 4-H project. The only thing they needed was a letter from me that I was willing to continue to help give him guidance which I did.

Within a few months he had bought a little Ford 861 (cheap, live power and low to the ground), NH haybine and hay baler before he ran out of money. I supplied the wagons and another neighbor supplied the hay rake.

I would like to point out that with every ‘next step’ he made, the same people that told him he would fail, noticed and jumped in to help. I was beside him a short time with each process. 1 day he called and told me that his baler had quit. I couldn’t be there for him but ask 1 simple question: Who else in the area bales hay? He ended calling a few folks before he found someone that could help him get going again. At that time I felt it was an excellent time for him to figure it out on his own rather to rely on me for most hiccups.

He started to bale hay on a small scale and started to get calls for custom work. His business grew faster then I would have ever dreamed! FYI: He graduates high school next week and his equipment was paid for through his hay baling! To me what is most important is the life lesson he learned. What I learned: how many people don't know what a 'lock washer' is.

This same principle could be used for cattle, dairy, row crop or asking a girl to go out on date. You just have to get off your butt and do it! "

This story distinctly reminds me of one of my students years ago.  He started about the same way though he was one of many children on a small dairy farm.  He sells hay from his hay business this day and it's been over 40 years since he started this business like the one described.

I think I could  help a young person take a UTV like our Mule and a seeder and start farming today.  Almost every farmer is interested in sowing cover crops and I think I could help someone start a business doing that to generate cash and increase their acceptance into the farming world.

If you are a farmer, how did you get started in business?  If you are not a farmer but always wondered if you could farm, what has kept you from starting?


Ed Winkle

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nitrogen On Soybeans

I saw another great question on Crop Talk this morning, how much nitrogen do soybeans need?  Do you apply any nitrogen to soybeans?

"The soybean needs 4-6 lbs nitrogen per bushel depending on your soil which depends where you are at.

The best bang for the buck I ever found was inoculation. The ABM strains have worked best for me. Every good soybean grower I know uses something like that.

The next thing is we don't feed enough nutrients to our soybeans. How does your soil provide the 17 known and needed nutrients would be my question to you.  We in agriculture tend to over feed nitrate and under feed everything else.

Not knowing anything about you or your conditions I would say that MAP has given me good N for soybeans. AMS has also. I want my soil around 50 lbs nitrate when planting soybeans, that's a 100 ppm but I have high yield goals and I am trying to feed everything else with it.

If you are N deficient, a post of 15-3-3 plus micros has done really well for me to get plant height to set nodes. This would be late planting for me which we are looking at, or double crop or old farms that haven't been taken care of.

If you have done your background work and have plant heigtht, then you need less nitrate and more of everything else.  To make one recommendation for you not knowing this background would not be wise of me.

I am looking for balance of nutrient in my soybeans and getting better but not there yet.  Every field is different.

For my non farming friends, some of us are trying to figure out how to raise the most healthy crops to our food system, yet they must be profitable.

Does this make sense to you?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Here is a pretty good picture of what our soybean stubble looks like with no-till corn.  The weeds and cover crop have been killed, the path has been swept by the row cleaner and we have a good stand of corn where there was well digested soybean residue.

Another question popped up on Crop Talk to me from a fellow who calls himself dieselade about my statement on a post.  I had stated under a picture that the earthworms would have eaten up all the residue that farmer was planting into.  Dieselade wondered what was I talking about?

It all came from this post.  If you read through it, it's a pretty good discussion about raising notill corn into stubble, especially soybean stubble.  This video called the smoke test, shows how much earthworms can aerate soil.

Continuous notill builds earthworm populations, especially if the rotation is high in soybean production like mine is.  We live in a very good region to produce soybeans of all kinds.  Soybeans yield well, make a good profit and are higher in oil and protein than soybeans produced in other regions of the world.

We learned several years ago here if you don't plant a cover crop into soybean stubble, the stubble won't hold because it is all eaten up by earthworms.  The residue I saw in the picture in the link above showed little earthworm activity on the existing mulch.  Here we would have nothing but earthworm mittens.  The mulch would be gone.

I enjoy participating in these questions.  If you have topics to discuss, please comment or email me.


Ed Winkle

Saturday, April 27, 2013


It's getting late to start planting and farmers have questions.  This the best notill corn crop I ever grew but I have had others that really did better because growing conditions were not as perfect.

"we have some 125 to 160bu APH timber soil that we would like to Notill, but not had very good luck. It takes for ever to dry out and then it is hard. we did plant some peas and radish last fall with plans of notill corn this year. how is the best way to get to notill without giving up bushels. the ground is not tiled. thanks"

My answer is "I have not invested in much tile, mainly tile repairs but mine is mostly rolling to flat ground which had tile blowouts. I repaired all of those and keep repairing them.  Surface and sub surface drainage is key to any farming activity, especially notill planting.

I lime and fertilize according to a Midwest soil test and tissue test. I probably fertilize a little heavier than some but I know I have put on as much micronutrients as anyone has, probably approaching 10 lbs of actual boron, manganese, zinc and a little copper. This came from my tissue test and from talking to my mentors and seeing what they do.

I think the Martin system is key to planting corn the first day the ground is ready. Last year that was March 18, the year before was June 1 and the year before was early April. It varies that much around here and nothing is really planted in my area yet so we are looking at least May again this year. Another thing is you can plant quicker after it does rain without waiting for a coulter to cut a slice or tillage to dry it back out.

I think if you talked to Jeff Littrell at FHR or John Haggard or someone like that, you could raise your yields on low yielding ground. What these guys are doing is amazing and I talk to them often. Just adding that calcium nitrate U trough to a planter could give you 20 bushels as I have seen on so many farms. I see guys going away from RR back to non GMO and raising yields 20 bushels. Many of these are strip till setups others are more pure notill like I prefer. I can't say cover crops have increased my yields but they have controlled my Marestail which made bushels and my soil structure keeps improving which helps my corn under stress.

There is no easy simple way to grow more corn but it is very possible and many on here are doing it. I think you can too."

I see all these crops and crop pictures of crops grown in soils that are not oxygenated.  Good soil has at least 25% atmospheric air in it which is mostly nitrogen.  C, H, O is the basis of all life on earth and it takes so little oxygen to provide life to plants and animals.  Cut that down just a bit, and you have less than thriving plants and animals.  Remember oxygen is two parts oxygen one part carbon for the gas plants thrive on.  If they are not running at maximum efficiency we don't get the yields we should have and humans don't get the air they need.  Just think of the oxygen you feel in a long term forest.

Gypsum oxygenated Midwest soils as well as anything I have seen.  It's growth has been tremendous in 10 years but we still have barely scratched the surface.  There should be a good home for every ounce of coal we burn to scrub the stacks to clean our air and oxygenate our soils.


Friday, April 26, 2013


I just found out I am going to be a grandpa again for the 12th time.  I can't explain to you how much joy that brings me.  Now my prayers are increased.  This made me wonder, what is a grandpa?

A grandpa is a son and a father and now a grandfather.

A grandpa had to be a husband in order to be a father.

A grandpa had to have effect on his children to become a grandfather.

A grandpa believes in live and perpetuation of it and now he has proof.

A grandpa can be the grandchild's best friend and their mom and dad, too.

Grandpa's always get questions, how did you do that?  How do you do this?

A grandpa knows how to make a living.  He prospered in something.  What is his trade?

Grandpa's have wise advice about living and their trade.

Every grandpa I ever met loves his children and his grandchildren.  I hope he can show it.

I am blessed to be a grandpa again.  It's the greatest thing in the world because I worked so hard to get here.  I always loved children and I love life.  The Lord taught us early to never keep the children from Him.  I have worked hard to do that but it comes very easily and naturally to me.

I come from a long line of Grandpa's.  Most of them worked in agriculture, education or some kind of trade.

We went shopping at our favorite farm store, Grant's Farm near Williamsburg.  I bought two new apple trees for the last two grand daughters, Katherine and Deirdre.  For some reason I wanted to buy four instead of two.  It was just grandpa's instinct I guess.  I know where two find two nice Gala's to go with the two Honeycrisp's we bought.

Grandpa work is hard work but it's fun work and easy work for some of us.

I would do just about anything for my grand kids because I love their parents that much.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Knee Surgery

The old man is going under the knife early this morning.  I am writing this now as I am still sane as I can be.  Some of you know how insane that can be.

I depend on my legs.  That right knee has sampled a lot of soil.  I have read when your wheels fall off which means you quit walking, the average person lives 10  years.

I finally decided I have to be able to walk better to do what I want to do.  The MRI showed I still have a good knee with lots of "junk" under the kneecap.  There is so much it hides the meniscus tear so you couldn't tell how bad it is unless you scoped it.

I went to Dr. Brain S. Cohen at Chillicothe 5 years ago for a shoulder tear.  I found out it also was in decent shape and was not bad enough to replace or operate on.  Dr. Cohen is well known for shoulder repairs, I suppose knee repairs pays the bills.

I was referred to his associate Dr. Aaron Roberts for therapy.  Dr. Roberts has done well for me, keeping me going without surgery.  This time the joint got so bad I felt I had to do something.  I talked myself out of it at least 5 times.  Planting time is a bad time, it's not really that bad, every excuse in the book, I used.  When I prayed about it and saw the purple cross in the sky Sunday morning I knew everything was going to be OK.

Turning your life over to the care of God is no easy thing for me.  We went to church and we prayed hard but how well can you know your Creator?  Not so well some days I find.  Two years ago I got so sick I was willing to give up but that wasn't the answer either so I started praying the Rosary.  Mother Mary sends my prayers right to the heart of her son.  That is really worked for me.

I was thrilled they told me to be at the hospital at 6:40  AM this morning.  Less time to worry and less time to fast, LOL.  I soon remembered the first time I met the surgeon Dr. Cohen.  We waited 3 hours to talk to him 3 minutes.  I was so mad and tired we didn't have a good talk.  We had dinner at the wrong hour and got to sleep by midnight that night.

We sat there an hour this morning and finally they took me in.  The staff promptly got me ready for the surgery and he was able to start at 8:40.  By 9:40 I was ready to walk out on my own!

I know, it was only a scope, 3 holes and clean out the crud and make evaluations for the future.  But it's my knee, and it has carried my rear end around for 63 years!  You read how many are worse after surgery than before.  All the ratings I read said he was a brilliant surgeon, trained at Sinai in New York City and has so many patients here you can barely get in to see him.

The only thing I didn't like was he did not come in to tell me what he found.  I have to got back May 2 to find out.  I know he didn't hurt anything though and I think a lot of pain is going to be gone.  I am walking quite well for 3 holes in my knee.

Chasing Cecilia Parker in third grade and hitting it on the edge of a concrete sidewalk started a lot of this mess.  That, and the fact my Winkle right leg is shorter than my left.

Oh well, I survived.  Let's see what the coming weeks bring.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Gossip is a venial sin I try to avoid.  I have done more than my share of it and am a much better person without it.  I ran across this writing of mine over a year ago and thought you might get a kick out of it today.


Today I found myself the subject of gossip. I was sitting in a local diner minding my own business, eating my breakfast, thinking about everything I had to do and wanted to do today.

Three "old timers" were sharing stories when I heard one that sounded familiar. "A farm sold near me two years ago and this fella bought it, he was an ag teacher at Blanchester." That limits the audience right there.

"He bought that farm outside Martinsville as you go to the covered bridge." "The Ertl farm one old bird asked, no, not the Ertl farm", the other one piped up, "yeak, he writes sports articles for the News Journal, no that isn't it," he replied. That guy was talking about neighbor Darryl. They mentioned the 3 big two story houses on these 3 farms trying to figure out which was which and who was who.

Well, he tore out a fence row and you know that son of mine burns wood so my wife called him if we could buy the logs. She got hold of his wife and she kept asking, what's the point? What's the point? I have no idea what he was talking about but I do remember LuAnn told me some lady offered $100 for our pile of logs and I said it's worth more than that to us to burn and LuAnn said we will have one heck of a bonfire before we sell them for that.

"You know I always said that is the best farm in Highland County" and immediately all the farms I thought were better ran through my mind. But I appreciate him thinking so. It is a good farm and we have been blessed with two good crops on it.

He went on about how we farmed with fancy machinery and I thought now that is a stretch, and how I worked for ASCS which I never have and how I brought my German Shepherd to his house which panicked his little dog and so forth and so on. That one is true, I have to be careful about where I take her.

He did seem a little jealous or proud of my crops though as he told about us spreading lime, planting a cover crop and all this "new fangled stuff." Paul Reed taught me to speak with my fields, that is the only way you can show the neighbors a better way to farm and ever have a chance to teach them if they want to change and farm better.

I just couldn't bring myself to holler, hey, I am right here, do you want the truth or just tell stories? I let them go on and on and finished my breakfast and walked within 10 feet of them to pay my bill and they never stopped or blinked an eye. They just kept gossiping.

LuAnn is right, old men, old farmers are worse than a bunch of hens cackling. I was reminded of the times I have gossiped and it bit me in the rear. Gossip is not good but today it was kind of fun. Is that sick?

Cows may come and cows may go, but the bull around here goes on forever!

I can't wait to go back and tell the waitress that was me they were talking about. She will get a real kick out of that.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Every Day Is Earth Day

If you are a good steward of the land, every day is Earth Day.  Earth Day came and went and here I am bringing it up.  My little piece of  earth looks so good I even called in an aerial photographer to take pictures of it.

The picture above shows what you get for "free."  This is mucipal lime sludge being spread at no cost to the land owner, paid for by every one who pays their monthly water tap and useage free.  The picture below shows what I used, I paid every penny for it.

In the nine years we have lived here, this is the greenest most lush I have ever seen this land.  We have 100 acres of beautiful wheat here at the top of the hill near Martinsville.  We needed this in 2011 when it rained 25 inches in spring. Half of those acres were planted to wheat or cover crop.  The other half washed away.

What is Earth Day?  To me, Earth Day is leaving this planet better than we found it.  I am not sure that is possible because we don't work in God's time, we work in Man's time.  What we see as all wonderful is not so wonderful a few years down the road.

I think the best thing we have done is no-till.  There is definitely less soil in the rivers and the ocean thanks to no-till.  Many have tried no-till, if not most.  Probably over half of those farmers went back to some kind of tillage because they were not satisfied with the results.

Still, there was and is biology lacking.  The best thing I have done for my soil is to plant a cover crop every time I take a crop off.  That requires more labor and more plant food.  The more I put into it the more I get out.  Everything needs to be in some kind of balance so I soil test regularly, once per crop rotation cycle at least and tissue test every crop at fruiting.

The phrase "Soil Was Meant To Be Covered" is very applicable to me.  If I don't do it, Mother Nature will.  Mother Nature raises some beautiful covers like Purple Dead Nettle or Cressleaf Groundsel.  Since I am here for such a short time, I prefer the intensive way, that is me planting the cover crop I choose as I discover what I need.

Fertilizer is the same way.  It has greatly changed the way we farm.  The more I address my soil test, which I consider as good as any and the more I address my tissue test, the prettier, healthier, more profitable my crops become.

Does GMO fit into my success?  No.  Does glyphosate, the miracle weed killer fit into my scheme?  No.  I have learned what they offer does not give me success.  They will send me the wrong direction with chelation and increased pest resistance while needlessly driving up my seed costs.   I see this happening to so many other farmers..

Every day is Earth Day.  What have you done to preserve your little piece of earth?


Monday, April 22, 2013

Old Pictures

Finally, I have some old pictures to post.  This is a picture of dad's family, probably when Uncle Roy was about 10 or so in the front to dad on the back right in his 20's I think.  You notice Grandpa George B. Winkle with his 'spenders on beside Grandma Mamie, surrounded by the famous seven sisters, Florence on the left, Mildred, Ruby, Claudia, Betty, Jane, and Winnifred Winkle.

This is Aunt Jane who passed away this spring at 90 years old.  I think the picture says 1944.  This is the Farmall Regular dad learned on and always talked about.  I see they used stale seedbeds and she must be harrowing for planting.  I don't know where there is a field that is flat.  I wonder how much erosion has occurred.  I always thought dad did a good job with that!

This is my Aunt Jane holding me as a baby in front of the house I was raised in Sardinia, Ohio.  This should be 1950 and that is my room at the top left and I think Linda was in the top right.  Maybe she can correct me on that if I am wrong.  We called this the Civil War house on the Bare Plantation.  It was torn down in 1956 or so.

This is my dad on the left, me in the middle and Uncle Roy on the right.  Jane is talking to us at some family get together at the Zimmerman house on Miami Road, Cincinnati and I don't know the year.  I have that ugly Ohio Certified Seed Inspection hat on as LuAnn calls it.  I never looked good in John Deere colors!  I started there in 1985 so I know it is after that.  This will be my 29th year with them and that does not seem possible.

Thank you cousin Jenny Wilkerson, Jane's youngest daughter for sharing these from California.

Now you know some Winkle family history in Brown County, Ohio!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Purple Cross With A Red Tail

I awoke in time this morning to catch a beautiful purple cross with a red tail in the sky right out my north window.  I suppose two jet trails crossed and caught the moisture in the sky and then the sun started to come up and lit it up in a brilliant red for several minutes.  LuAnn was able to see it too.  I have never seen anything quite like it and it answered my prayers this week.

What are you doing this beautiful but cold Sunday morning?  It isn't time to plant here but the wheat has all been fertilized and looks excellent.  More farmers are fearing the loss of their wheat crop due to the cold temperatures.  We have a freeze warning here and it is 33 degrees at our house at sunrise.

My friend HP in Illinois showed his wheat top dressing buggy.  I think it is really neat, take a look.  It's a good thread too about spreading dry fertilizer as topdress on wheat.  A farmer could spread all his nitrogen and other needed fertilizers this way or fill in any skips or wet spots that got missed or banded improperly and really boost his yield.  I have told you the only time I broke 100 bushels, sad to say, was in 1985 when my FFA students and I spread ammonia nitrate in the spreader middles with a Cyclone seeder.  I intend to do a little more of that too my wheat soon though it looks evenly spread.

Speaking of ammonia nitrate, what caused that terrible explosion at that fertilizer plant in West, Texas?  We really need to know so we make sure that never happens again.  Ammonia nitrate is hard enough to source now and we don't need any more problems.  Those people and others have suffered enough already.  There are many threads on NAT already.

We got to see Brynn's Kindergarten program this week and Liam's second grade program Friday night.  Brynn made the best mother duck you ever saw and Liam spoke out in that beautiful God given voice of his over the microphone.  He said it scared him to hear his voice bounce off the wooden walls of that room.

The best part was when we got to Cleveland and was there awhile, just chatting with Becky and Liam.  Finn woke up from his nap, came down the stairs and opened the door.  He saw me and I grinned at him and he grinned at me and ran at with such impact it nearly knocked me over.  Wish we had a picture of that, let alone a movie clip!

Have a great Sunday and a good week!


Saturday, April 20, 2013


"Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases

Anthony Samsel 1 and Stephanie Seneff 2,*

1 Independent Scientist and Consultant, Deerfield, NH 03037, USA;

E-Mail: anthonysamsel@acoustictracks.net

2 Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: Seneff@csail.mit.edu;

Tel.: +1-617-253-0451; Fax: +1-617-258-8642.

Received: 15 January 2013; in revised form: 10 April 2013 / Accepted: 10 April 2013 /Published: 18 April 2013

Abstract: Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, is the most popular herbicide

used worldwide. The industry asserts it is minimally toxic to humans, but here we argue

otherwise. Residues are found in the main foods of the Western diet, comprised primarily

of sugar, corn, soy and wheat. Glyphosate's inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes

is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in

biology, one of which is to detoxify xenobiotics. Thus, glyphosate enhances the damaging

effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact

on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular

systems throughout the body. Here, we show how interference with CYP enzymes acts

synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria,

as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport. Consequences are most of the diseases

and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders,

obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s

disease. We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease,

and we show that glyphosate is the “textbook example” of exogenous semiotic entropy: the

disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins.

Keywords: glyphosate; cytochrome P450; eNOS; obesity; cardiovascular disease; cancer; colitis; shikimate pathway; gut microbiome; tryptophan; tyrosine; phenylalanine; methionine; serotonin; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; autism; depression."

What is entropy?

This abstract explains a lot of the questions my doctors and their friends have had for me this past year or two.  I am passing this on for their review.  I want to get to the bottom of this together.   This is some of my non GMO corn in 2010 which yielded well but showed some of the signs that lead to this entropy later on.  There were some black lesions leaking plant milk, dwarf mature plants and kernals that looked funny, though I raised it as pure as I could.  It followed RR soybeans that had been raised on this farm for several years.

If you want a copy of the document, email me.  I may post more parts of it for discussion.

 What do you think?   Ed

Friday, April 19, 2013

Breaking News In Corn Fertility

"Fertility needs in high-yielding corn production

URBANA – Although advances in agronomy, breeding, and biotechnology have dramatically increased corn grain yields, soil test values indicate that producers may not be supplying optimal nutrient levels. Moreover, many current nutrient recommendations, developed decades ago using outdated agronomic management practices and lower-yielding, non-transgenic hybrids, may need adjusting.

Researchers with the University of Illinois Crop Physiology Laboratory have been re-evaluating nutrient uptake and partitioning in modern corn hybrids.

"Current fertilization practices may not match the uptake capabilities of hybrids that contain transgenic insect protection and that are grown at planting densities that increase by about 400 plants per acre per year," said U of I Ph.D. student Ross Bender. "Nutrient recommendations may not be calibrated to modern, higher-yielding genetics and management."

The study examined six hybrids, each with transgenic insect protection, at two Illinois locations, DeKalb and Urbana. Researchers sampled plant tissues at six incrementally spaced growth stages. They separated them into their different fractions (leaves, stems, cobs, grain) to determine season-long nutrient accumulation, utilization, and movement.

Although maximum uptake rates were found to be nutrient-specific, they generally occurred during late vegetative growth. This was also the period of greatest dry matter production, an approximate 10-day interval from V10 to V14. Relative to total uptake, however, uptake of phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), and zinc (Zn) was greater during grain fill than during vegetative growth. The study also showed that the key periods for micronutrient uptake were narrower than those for macronutrients.

"The implications of the data are numerous," said Matias Ruffo, a co-author of the paper and worldwide agronomy manager at The Mosaic Company. "It is necessary that producers understand the timing and duration of nutrient accumulation. Synchronizing fertilizer applications with periods of maximum nutrient uptake is critical to achieving the best fertilizer use efficiency."

Jason Haegele, another co-author of the paper and post-doctoral research associate at the U of I added, "Although macro- and micronutrients are both essential for plant growth and development, two major aspects of plant nutrition are important to better determine which nutrients require the greatest attention: the amount of a nutrient needed for production, or total uptake, and the amount of that nutrient that accumulates in the grain."

Study results indicated that high amounts of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), P, and S are needed, with applications made during key growth stages to maximize crop growth. Moreover, adequately accounting for nutrients with high harvest index values the proportion of total nutrient uptake present in corn grain), such as N, P, S, and Zn, which are removed from production fields via the grain, is vital to maintaining long-term soil productivity.

In Illinois, it is common to apply all the P in a corn-soybean rotation prior to the corn production year.

"Although farmers in Illinois fertilize, on average, approximately 93 pounds of P2O5 per acre for corn, the estimated 80 percent of soybean fields receiving no additional phosphorus would have only 13 pounds per acre remaining for the following year's soybean production," said Fred Below, professor of crop physiology. "Not only is this inadequate for even minimal soybean yield goals, but these data suggest a looming soil fertility crisis if fertilizer usage rates are not adjusted as productivity increases."

Integration of new findings will allow producers to match plant nutritional needs with the right nutrient source and right rate applied at the right time and right place. The same team of scientists is collaborating on a follow-up study investigating the seasonal patterns of nutrient accumulation and utilization in soybean production.

"Although nutrient management is a complex process, a greater understanding of the physiology of nutrient accumulation and utilization is critical to maximize the inherent yield potential of corn," concluded Bender.

"Nutrient uptake, partitioning, and remobilization in modern, transgenic insect-protected maize hybrids" by Ross R. Bender, Jason W. Haegele, Matias L. Ruffo and Fred E. Below was published in the January 2013 edition of Agronomy Journal (105:161-170). It is an open-access article available at: https://www.agronomy.org/publications/aj/articles/105/1/161. An abbreviated version of this article, entitled "Modern corn hybrids' nutrient uptake patterns," was published in Better Crops with Plant Food (available at: http://www.ipni.net/publication/bettercrops)"


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sugar Email

I posted a piece from NoTill farmer this week on sugar.  An email thread has since evolved from my colleagues.  Today's picture is my current screensaver to remind me I did good!

Question:  "This spring I have a company wanting to put a starter fert plot on my farm, I have never used starter. It will be NPK with molasses. I have heard of others using molasses.

The purpose being for a carbon source? Anyone care to explain how this works?"

Replies:  "Soluble sugars stimulate N fixation in soil by actinomycetes. This could also explain some soil benefit beyond rhizobia from incorporated clover leaves which are low in fiber and high in soluble sugars. Clover does some neat things to soil N economy.

Some also see improved stand ability/stalk strength from the sugars in say fertigation program.

Like in the rumen of the cow, soluble sugars are part of a balanced diet for soil microbes. Back in the day we observed that soluble sugars in the diet stimulated protozoal numbers/activity...not aware of this proven in soil microbes....but it would certainly be a benefit to soil nutrient recycling....the rumen and soil are so very similar!

As a side note...rumen Protozoa are like an alarm clock in the cow...their activity and numbers increase about 2 hrs before a meal. It may very well be that increased salivation in anticipation of a meal is the stimulus for Protozoa. They feed for about 4 hrs then nap until the next meal. Neat observations and u don't need a high magnification scope to see them!"

"Very well said.  I would imagine the company is trying to help the microbes break down the liquid fertilizer as John says, it turns into dry fertilizer as soon as it hits the soil. Think how little nutrient you are putting on with a little liquid compared to the 400 lb dry spread I am normally applying.

The amount of P needed to fix maximum corn rows around the cob is a minute amount and usually only happens in cold or very low P soils which I do plant into. I have used liquid and I have seen a color and health boost but no real yield boost. My yields come from a total soil program, not a little liquid with Molasses.

I stimulate actinomycetes with cover crops, calcium and lots of fertilizer. Build a great big cow rumen in a healthy soil and that tiny amount of liquid won't mount to a hill of beans.

I am not against it but I am not for it, either. Invest that same money in a little calcium and the other 16 nutrients on my soil each year and I get much greener, healthier, profitable crops.

Calcium is King AND Queen here."

I thought many of you would enjoy this conversation.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How Much Did It Rain?

The question of the day is, how much did it rain?  I walked into Clinton Soil and Water early this morning and that was the first thing the technicians ask me.  How much did it rain at your farm, Ed?  When you have farms scattered over several or tens of miles, it is hard to answer, how much did it rain?  It depends where you are talking about!

We had a big system blow through the Ohio Valley last night with 2 inch hail just west of us.  The first big wave went just north of us up Interstate 71.  I think they got more than I did.  Soon it started raining north and south of that line with heavy thunderstorms.  How do I know how much it rained on each farm?  I don't have time to track down rain gauges in every location every time.

My rainfall man is Dr. Bill Northcutt, whose work I found as good as the rain gauge and a lot better than me trying to track down rainfall.  "We are making the website so that everything is automated... The package you choose, paying with Paypal, setting up all of your locations, putting in the email addresses you want it to go to, etc... all of it. That is planned to be done in about 2 weeks. The new website is ag-informatics.com. Not a whole lot to look at right now - it will be looking better in a couple of weeks."

His tabular feature anyone can use shows 8 inches of rainfall on this farm since January 1.  We just added an inch or so to that total in the last 24 hours.  That is still a little below normal what we normally receive at this location although that varies, too.
Have you gotten enough rain?  This will push our planting date to May 1 at best, just like I had expected.  I never got into a rush to plant early this year.  It might be a good time to plant trees.  I never got any ordered because I have been too busy tearing out the unwanted trees or grubs that grew up naturally.  I don't have enough time left to thin them all out and they were growing on crop land.

Soil and Water said they had 8 black walnut seedlings left.  I called LuAnn to see if she thought we should plant them but she was busy and I had to leave a phone message.  I know they would grow well in the deep rich black land of the newest farm but I couldn't think where we could plant them and protect them.  Black Walnut is not my favorite specie though it will grow in this region in certain places.

"Choosing an appropriate site is the most important step in the successful establishment of a black walnut plantation. Black walnut will survive on a wide range of sites; however, to achieve best growth, walnut requires high-quality sites. Failure to select a proper site will lead to poor tree performance, if not outright plantation failure.

Black walnut grows best on moist, well- drained soils that are deep and fertile. Ideally. soils should be at least 36 inches deep and high in organic matter. Loams or sandy loams provide the best combination of moisture holding capacity and drainage. Black walnut does not tolerate flooded or saturated soil conditions well, nor does it perform well on dry south or southwest facing slopes, or on ridge tops where soils are commonly thin. Black walnut often performs best on moist bottom land sites where drain- age is adequate to prevent soil saturation."

That last paragraph describes our best available land to plant into.  I don't think it would be a good location to plant those seedlings.

Do you have any black walnut trees?  How much rain did you get, if any?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's Been A Hard Week

I wrote about The Hairs On Our Head, little knowing four other acquaintances were passing from our lives this week.

I just told my daughter Becky it's been a hard week, lost 4 men I knew. Larry Overbeck was a very special special ed teacher at Blanchester, he was good to me and good to my family.  Johnny Hardin lived in a wheel chair for 61 years at Marathon not far from Wolfers.  His dad was the best notill farmer in Clermont County and a best friend at church for 25 years.  His dad and my dad passed away on the same day, January 3, 2011.  I lost the two men I respected most the same day.

My Catholic Prayer Group asked for prayers for a popular basketball coach here in Clinton County.  I don't know him personally but everyone else seems to, he is that well known around here.  There is always someone in need, how do we respond?

Then we have this tragedy in Boston, months after the huge one in Connecticut, years after 9/11.  People ask where was God in those tragedies? I say He was right there with all those emergency people and everyone who helped the victims. God didn't want that to happen but the devil is unchained, people choose to do bad or good.  We have free will.  I do believe we will be held accountable for what we do.  God always takes something bad like that and does something really good with it. That's how I see it.

Still, we have to grow food.  Planters have not hit fields here yet in southwest Ohio but I am sure it won't be long.  Seriously I could be 100% planted but I haven't felt the need to.  Spring here seems to be winter mixing in with summer, we need more continuous good weather.  It's chilly outside this morning, even spring flowers are stagnant.  Seeds can't grow in these conditions.

One of my friends made a great post about cover crops on Crop Talk.  "What is the net of nutrient import to and nutrient export from the farm?

Is water being used efficiently (all seasons) to supply the crop with the nutrients needed and prevent leaching?

Is it about managing water or managing nutrients?
"After 30-70 yrs of no-tillage pasture and a good portion of those years with annual ryegrass and a lot of 'other stuff' growing including native plants similar in function to current 'cover crops', soil P status was 2.5-5 ppm in 2004, K was mid to high 200s when I took over the ranch. So is it just no-tillage and a bunch of mixed plant species and then 'boom' we have high soil fertility and soil function?

No...not IMO not all soils/areas....the soil physics, chemistry, and biology and the grazing system/land use practice and the water cycle all have to play together to recycle nutrients properly! Misuse water then misuse nutrients! Inherently low or high fertility soils both cycle nutrients if managed properly, but that doesn't mean that each will cycle at a rate conducive of requirement for each plant to be grown nor to replenish annual crop removal....that doesn't mean the system won't 'leak' either (eg soil restrictions to root growth)!

The best way IMO to build soybean P K status is using pre-digested grain/crop/forage/cover crop residue (eg import and spread a manure source/s) then use cover crops (plural) to recycle the surplus nutrients and use the surplus water efficiently! Manure OM can stimulate the soil biology and MAY make some unavailable nutrients more available, but manure alone may be too slow to improve deep soil physics and chemistry before soil nutrient losses occur....one may need a mixed source Ca program to compliment the nutrient/water system at sub topsoil depths."

I have some very smart friends.  It hard to say goodbye as they leave us one by one.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Septic 101

30 million homes in America do not have municipal sewer service.  These homes have to process their own sewage, commonly though septic systems.  Here is a good explanation of how a system works via a man selling bacteria to enhance a septic system.  Here is Mike Rowe doing this dirty business.  When you open up a tank for inspection, this is what the pool should look like.

Most people never do that until the system is plugged and water or sewage backs up into the house.  Some localities require a tank be pumped every three years because of smaller drain fields and/or slow air and water movement in the soils in the area.  Most people don't do that either unless they are checked upon.  The last thing we thing about is what happens when we flush the toilet until it doesn't work anymore.

Here is a point I had forgotten.  "Homeowners and residents have a great effect on septic system performance. Using more water than the system was designed to handle can cause a failure. Also disposal of chemical or excess organic matter, such as that from a garbage disposal, can destroy a septic system. The following maintenance tips can help your system provide long-term, effective treatment of household waste."  Too much organic matter in an anaerobic tank is going to cause failure."

I was taught a properly designed, used and maintained system never should need pumping.  That is not reality.  In reality we often overload a system and wonder why it fails later down the road.  Do additives to a system work?  There is research pro and con.  The best results are obtained from a well designed system that is not overloaded but well maintained.  They have the proper amount of tank size, input and output with the maximum amount of anaerobic digestion going on.  Any improved results we get from an additive is a bonus and still not fail proof.

It always amazed me no one thinks what happens when you flush the toilet.  We always leave that to somebody else.  Teaching a family proper habits regarding a sewer system is no easy task.  Someone has to do it though, so we all have a cleaner environment and avoid that dreaded announcement, "the sewer is backing up into the house!

Welcome to Septic 101, for my farm and farm loving friends around the world.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Power Of The Ringtone

I think we have all heard ringtones that reflected the personality of the owner or made you say, what in the world?  I have a simple ringtone like an old telephone.  LuAnn's new phone sounded almost like it so she could never tell which phone was ringing.

She had been trying to find a different ringtone and none of the standard ones on her Droid suited her.  She finally got online with her phone and picked out a new one that suits her.  It is a string quartet playing Ode to Joy.  She says that makes her hum the song and soon she is praying.  I call that the Power of the Ringtone.

"NEW YORK - The next time someone interrupts a meeting with a bleating cell phone ring, listen carefully. They're not just showing bad business etiquette--a person's choice of ringtone might speak volumes about his or her personality.

Most folks pick one of the default ringers that come with their phone or just leave the thing on vibrate. But increasingly, users are paying a premium--usually a buck or two a pop--to download custom songs, jingles and sound effects, turning their mobile phone into a pocket jukebox."

All of my Ohio State friends have had the Buckeye Battle Cry for their ringtone until they got tired of hearing it.  Some never have got tired of it.  Me, I want my telephone to sound like a telephone, not a musical instrument.  I told you I was old school.

Some people even have a special ringtone for individual people in their directory.  Some husbands have a shocking ringtone that indicates their wife is calling and they better answer!  The funniest thing was when LuAnn got a new smartphone and I called her and my picture came up on her phone!  She wondered how in the world did they do that?  We are so connected on the Internet and social media my picture might show up where I don't want it to!

What is your ringtone?  Does it reflect your mood or personality?

Ed Winkle

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Spraying sugar on crops has been a cussed and discussed topic on NAT.  Here are other discussions of spraying sugar on crops.  We started doing this in the 80's when batches were available for free or low cost at our local corn wet miller.

On-Farm Research Results: Sugar Applications To Corn And Soybeans   Source: University of Nebraska

From: Jenny Rees, Extension Educator; Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator; Keith Glewen, Extension Educator; Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Extension Plant Pathologist; Casey Schleicher, Plant Pathology Extension Technologist; Todd Whitney, Extension Educator

April 4, 2013 -- Using the application rates that Missouri farmer Kip Cullers uses, one Clay County producer applied 3 lb of sugar per 10 gallons of water at V7-V8 on corn in 2010 and 2011.

(He purchased a pallet of cane or beet sugar from the local grocery store.) While Cullers tanked-mixed the sugar solution with a post-herbicide application like glyphosate, the Clay County producer opted not to. To simulate any effect from the water application or driving through the field, he drove through the untreated check spraying water only.

Two years of research results showed no significant increase in yield. However, there was a noticeable difference in standability at harvest. This producer did not apply a foliar fungicide either year. When it came to harvest, this producer needed the reel in 2010 for the untreated check. Stalk rot ratings were taken using the pinch test two weeks prior to harvest. To him, the $1.25/acre of sugar was worth it to improve standability, even if yield was not significantly improved. The full study can be viewed here.

Several York County producers also tested this with one producer finding a non-statistical 2 bu/ac yield difference with the check yielding better while the other producers found a statistically significant 2 bu/ac increase to the sugar treatment. Another producer in Hamilton County is testing this using the corn product he grows. He is using 1 quart of corn sugar (high fructose corn syrup) per 10 gallons of water applied at V7-V8.

In 2012, a small plot study was conducted at UNL's South Central Ag Lab near Clay Center to determine any differences between sugar application, fungicide application, and untreated check in corn. All treatments were applied at R2. Because of the drought in 2012, there was minimal disease pressure, thus there were no significant differences between the three treatments regarding area under the disease progress curve. The untreated check did show the most stalk rot (via the push lodging test). The sugar application reduced the lodging rating by half and the fungicide application showed the lowest lodging rating. For yield, there were no significant yield differences with the untreated check yielding the most, followed by the fungicide and sugar applications. The entire study report can be found here.

In soybeans we have had producers apply 3 lb of sugar in 10 gallons of water at R3 (beginning pod). In all years, there have been no significant differences in yield. Lodging ratings were not taken as that can be variety and water dependent.

Additional Research

Other research has shown that applying sugar to crops increases the numbers of beneficial insects in those fields. South Dakota research entomologists showed that lady beetles benefited from a combination of prey and non-prey foods. In a follow-up study, these entomologists applied sugar sprays to soybeans and quantified the frequency of sugar feeding by analyzing the gut contents of common lady beetles in three states. They found all the tested lady beetles regularly consumed sugar-like nectar in soybean fields, even when it wasn't applied as a supplement. They also found more lady beetles in the sugar treated plots compared to the untreated plots.

At this time we can't explain the stand ability effect we're seeing from our sugar applications to corn. Our hypothesis is that early application of sugar to corn is increasing beneficial microbes that may be keeping the exposed brace roots and stalks healthier. We hope to conduct more research in the future to answer this question.


The application of sugar to corn and soybeans has not always shown increased yield; however, in nearly all of the corn studies, sugar treated plots have shown increased stalk strength at harvest. Research has also shown an increase in the number of beneficial insects in fields where sugar was applied. Further research is needed to understand the interactions aiding stalk strength in corn.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why Farmer's DON'T Plant GMO

Welcome to my 101st Follower!  I saw that a young friend posted a link to an article "Why Farmer's Plant GMO's."  I thought, what?  How about us that don't plant GMO?

I can see why the average farmer would plant GMO, that is 90% of the market share and about all you can buy most places.  A few vendors will offer a non GMO or two for their customers who want a choice but those choices are limited.  Then you have companies like the new Genesys Seeds starting this year in Illinois and Spectrum Seed in Indiana. All they offer is non GMO seed.

If you observe anything on your farm, you either like GMO or you don't.  It made farming the easiest thing since sliced bread the first few years.  All you had to do was pick out a trait to combat the pest you were fighting.  I watched closely and the traits did not provide the needed control for the dollar invested.  I had lots of tests but GMO rarely won its consideration for a place on my farm and even then it was questionable.

Suddenly tech fees went up and yields didn't.  Weed resiistance built up.  Wait a minute, do I really need GMO?

Then I saw wierd things start to happen.  Plants did not emerge evenly.  I found stunted corn with tassles.  Plant milk started oozing out of black lesions on the shank of the stalk.  Corn started turning pink before it died which meant the plant sugars were not flowing properly.  Corn was diagnosed with Goss's Wilt when it may or may not have it.  Pest resistance went through the roof.  How can GMO make us more money when it is sick?

I started to write this some days ago then this post popped up this morning.  The farmer asked a simple question about finding glyphosate in his manure.  I asked the simple question what if you found that level in non GMO hog feed corn in Iowa?  It was found in January and is symptom of our problem.

"That's when the fight started."  I have been thinking, if I can't farm without GMO, am I really a farmer or just a contract grower?  Think about that.  There is some good discussion in the thread but it's mostly about name calling and misunderstanding.

I don't think farmers understand.  The picture is my corn in 2007, non GMO of course.  See how the sugars can't get to the ear?  I didn't know what I was looking at that year but in 2009 I started searching and now you can find lots more of my findings in the last 3 years of HyMark High Spots.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Hairs On Our Head

Our days are numbered like the hairs on our head.  Before I went to bed last night I caught this man's plight in the Cafe.  I was reminded of many such situations in the past, including my own.

Another friend posted this about her brother.  This July will mark 30 years he has been gone and the family still remembers.  Wow, that is a long time to not forget so vividly.  I remember the tractor pull that night on the King's Island football field, a first and only.  I remember getting the sad news the next day.  I sure remember the funeral where I spoke in this young man's behalf and met Father Jim.  I wish I still had those words I delivered.

"So hard to believe it.....But my brother would have been 50 Years Old today on April 9... I just cannot believe so much time has past by since we celebrated his last Birthday here with us... He had just turned 20 and his life was just beginning.. I remember him talking about his plans and how excited he was to purchase his own farm and start his life with his daughter.. For all of you who think for one minute, that you have all the time in the World or it could never happen to you..this is living proof of how wrong you truly are...He left the house after cultivating his crops in the field and was wishing for rain, due to it being so dry and never returned..never returned to help bale his field of hay he left behind and was anxious to get in.... never returned to hold his daughter one more time and tell her how much he truly loved and adored her... she was his life! Do you think for one minute that if he knew he would never return, that he would have left without a warning, a fight or his fields left undone or the biggest thing of all.... his daughter being pryed from his arms... life is too short, so precious and unpredictable so make the most of it and enjoy it while you still can with the ones who mean the most to you..."

I couldn't summarize the situation any better than this man's sister.  I had all four children in my ag classes and they were all outstanding students.  They were a family you liked to be with, full of life.

If a family ever wanted to be together for Eternity, this one is it.  They are the closest I've ever met in my life and I have met some close families.

All I can say is, be careful out there.  Even if you are very careful you don't know if you are down to your last hair.

Like my friend in Kentucky, we are hangin' on like hair on a biscuit, whatever that means.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Insecticide, Bees and Trees

A group of farmers are talking about a problem in the Cafe.  "Rent two farms from a a guy who owns a commercial apiary. He has requested that if I wish to continue to rent these farms that he has bee hives on I would need to address the exhaust of my corn planter vac.

So does anyone have pics, or any practical idea's for vac deflectors for a 16 row 1250 Case IH planter that would work without effecting the vac performance. Just looking for a solution not an debate on the issue, I just to need to address my neighbourly relations."

A friend in NW Ohio mentioned this website.  Take a look at it.  Obviously it is funded by the makers of those insecticides but these insecticides are legal according to label directions in many if not most countries.  They are very important on crop seedling emergence to protect them from predators.

Bee colony collapse has been blamed on many things.  First there was the Varohha Mites, then the African killer bees, and then everything known to man killing our honeybees, needed for pollination of plants.

I liked Still Learning's answer, "A solution reducing the drift of pesticide dust from planters is required in many countries in Europe.

Technically it is quite straight forward to solve the problem on a vacuum planter. Connect a large hose to the outlet of the fan. This hose ends with an "inverted funnel" close to the ground. This means that dust (including some chemicals from the seed treatment) will exit from the machine close to the ground with a low airspeed and thereby most of the particles will stay on the ground. Maybe this is good for the tractor driver too, but that's another topic.

What do you think?


Monday, April 8, 2013

Feeding Blueberries

Our daughter Becky made me think about growing blueberries.  Hers looked good last summer.  Now we have 50 plants and 12 of them are eaten off.  I thought deer might have gotten them but see no tracks.  We have lots of rodents around this grain farm.

It is time to feed our young blueberry plants.  How should we feed them?  This link shows the fertilizer I need is the one I feed every one of my crop fields with.  That is Ammonium Sulfate.  That blend of fertilizer with calcium in the soil or added calcium feeds most crops as well as I know to.  This program has worked for me but blueberries are a little different.

They like acid soil.
"Sunlight - Fruit need plenty of sunlight, whenever it begins to branch or bramble.

Soil - Almost all fruits do best in slightly acidic soil, somewhere between a pH of 5.5 and 6.5. Blueberries prefer a soil of even greater acidity of between 4.09 and 5.0.

Drainage - Adequate drainage is important. Find a suitable site, avoiding low lying areas the collect water or are slow to drain in the spring.   Ours are situated on a ridge right above a 15 foot or so drop.

Pollination - Most fruit trees, including blueberries have both male and female organs on the same flower, but not all are self pollinating. The best bet for blueberries is to have different varieties of blueberries within 100 feet, so bees can travel and cross pollinate. Blueberries cannot be fertilized by their own pollen "

This piece made a lot of sense to me.  ""If you're lucky enough to have a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5, then you can grow blueberries all day long," he says. "But most don't, so you really need to add an amendment that acidifies the soil." To do that, he suggests cottonseed meal or blood meal."

This one says about the same thing.  "Native to eastern North America, blueberries thrive in soil conditions that suit rhododendrons and azaleas, to which they are related. Plants require sun and moist, well-drained acid soil (pH 4.5-5.5). Where soil pH isn’t acidic enough, create proper conditions by adding sulphur and sphagnum peat moss."

I will pick up a bucket of ammonium sulfate from my fertilizer dealer and a big bag or two of spanghum peat moss and start from there.  I will update you from time to time.


Sunday, April 7, 2013


I found this in my draft file and it may be a repeat but it's worth repeating, like this picture of Gleaner combines working in Kansas nearly 100 years ago..  We had the best time with God this morning at my Sunday morning group and at Mass.  It is was special.  I have so many special times in my life.

"It's time to pack up and head for Indy.   Indianapolis is such a wonderful city.  When I get west of it I am in real farm country.  Part of me doesn't want to go.  Can you believe that?  Yes, it's a lot of work and responsibility.  So, LuAnn, yes, even little ole me doesn't even want to leave home some days!

I wrote that Tuesday January 8 or whatever date that was.  I am glad I went because I got to be part of one powerful conference.  A record 1158 people showed up and 530 were newcomers!

It was so humbling to have young and old farmers look me up just to say I wanted to shake your hand.  After all the blogs and all my posts on NewAgTalk, I have stimulated a few farmers to think outside the box.  They really appreciate that, especially when they find a new farming method or find out why something isn't working on their farm.

Ed Harnish of Pennsylvania was one of those.  I looked at him and would have bet money we had met before.  He said we hadn't.  The neat thing was his son reads my words too and they discuss it as a team.  That is really cool.

I heard this time and again.  It is amazing how that conference has blossomed in 21 years to the premier NoTill Conference of the world.  I became a tiny part of that when a farmer from Illinois nominated me for NoTill Innovator of the Year and I was selected.  My life has never been the same.  All this work helped me to be asked to come to New Zealand to help teach the notill concept and refine it.  Now I get to come back again and visit Australia for the first time!

I can't say much of me wants to stay in Martinsville today!  Sable will be cozy at Cozy Pets in single digit weather next week and the house re-modelers and sheriffs will be taking over the farm while we are gone.  Thank you Lord for answered prayer!  Everyone did a good job!

Shannon always tells us she hates to see us go because the weather always goes to hell when we leave!  Some of our worst winter storms seems to come when we travel and the same thing happens to LuAnn while I am gone.

What can I share with you that will make you money or make your life easier this year?  What can you share with me?  I will be answering a few emails while we are gone but mostly we will be clear and free of any contacts.  That's the only way I can really appreciate travel and that is to focus on it.  So, if you have a question, write it down and work on it and maybe we can refine it in March.  Remember a year ago some of our best planting days were in March!

Blessings to you the minute your read this.  Just think, I may be reliving the picture in Chris's field when you read this!"

That all actually happened!

Ed Winkle

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Estate Planning

"If you're like most, the new year's resolution you made at the beginning of the week is quickly becoming a distant memory. Waylaid by real life, pressing responsibilities and crisis moments, our best intentions can become the seeds of our greatest guilt. But we don't have time for that, either...

Decide now to make this the year of legacy. It starts with a commitment. Simply stating what you want to accomplish, by a specific date, is enough to get the ball rolling. Following through and taking the next steps will make all the difference.

1. Call a family meeting.

2. Write an agenda.

3. Discuss your cares and your concerns.

4. Ask others to weigh in.

5. Settle on a next step—and commit to continue until you have a plan that will help you achieve your dreams and leave a lasting legacy.

If you're not ready, or perhaps are beyond these initial steps, attend a workshop, engage an adviser to help you through the process, or dig into the Legacy Project website. It's laid out with you in mind. Whatever you do, don't fret about resolutions. Instead, take action. "

LuAnn and I have discussed estate planning.  We have joint wills and wishes filed with the courts.  We do not have an estate plan explaining how we would like our assets shared at our death.  We haven't even picked out our cemetery plot or headstone!

Where in the world do we start?  I think I will start by calling our attorney who specializes on these matters this week.

How about you?


Friday, April 5, 2013

The Man In My Window

We put new windows in our main bedroom and I just had to take this picture.  "The man in my window."  It turns out he has tried his hand at agriculture, too, and found out he can make more money installing windows.

How do we find our careers?  How do we pay the bills?  We've all got a story, I am sure.  I wanted to be a "county agent" like Jim Wells or Al Rhonemus but the ag teaching job came up at Blanchester 42 years ago and I interviewed for it.  I got that job, and the rest is history as they say.

I just wanted to farm.  I just didn't have the guts or connections to do that.  I had a degree and an opportunity.  I could have built a farm that would sustain itself while teaching but never had the support to plan and do that.  I guess I just didn't want it bad enough.  I see young farmers asking every day, how do I start?

It is not easy to start and run a successful business.  It takes a lot of character traits, some of which I am lacking.  You need a solid partner who has the traits you lack.  You must be able to get along and make good business decisions.  Usually that is a woman for a businessman and you know the business is only as good as that woman.  You can paint that anyway you want but it takes two for tango, at least for me.

I have seen many bachelor farmers do very well but I wouldn't trade my family for what they have.  Family is important to me and surely enters into the business.  You can paint that a lot of ways, too.

So what do you see in your window today?  A person who can farm and grow things or a dedicated worker who needs direction and discipline?  I think I was the latter guy in my early years and many young men are the same way.

That's where mentors come in.  That was a popular blog but what's up with my Planter Is Worth More Than My Seed blog?  Did that go viral?  It has over 850 views!  I have never had a blog get that many and none ever so fast!

Have a great day, it's a good day in southern Ohio to take out fence rows and cut up trees.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

High Speed Rail

What do you think of high speed rail?  We have taken the train while visiting other countries and ours in the US is a snail's pace in comparison.  Will high speed rail work?  Did we wait too long to decide if it would?

"“Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system, and everybody stands to benefit,” declared President Barack Obama when he released his strategic plan for a nationwide high-speed rail system in April 2009."

LuAnn found this topic interesting in her Topic News at work and sent it to me.  I haven't thought about rail since we took a train on the coast of New Zealand to Christchurch in January.  It was a pleasant ride and the best way for us to get where we were going.

I was impressed with the train from Amsterdam to Berlin.  I was very impressed with the train across China and that was years ago.  I have not been so impressed with AmTrak.

I think we waited too long to build a better rail system in America.  I can't see it happening can you?  I can't imagine how bad it would have to get when people would ride a train instead of their automobile, can you?

I took delivery on seed from my friend Keith in Iowa.  Why couldn't the rail have delivered it just as quickly for a tenth the fuel?  What is that commercial about how little fuel the train uses per ton of freight per mile?  We've got a huge, busy country that is crippled by debt and cost when we didn't develop things like rail right before our eyes.

I have read about the turmoil over water and rail in the development of of our country's infrastructure.  Both are important, but Ford and Getty sold the idea of our very independence to haul everything we need.

I am not so sure that was wise this morning, do you?


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Seed Is Worth More Than The Planter

I came across this post on Machinery Talk and that this was a very quotable post.

"The seed is worth more than the planter."

I am not sure I've ever done this but probably I have.  When I had six units full of $159 seed corn on a 40 year old White 5100 no till planter, I may have been coming close.

In recent years, when I put 30 bags of it in a $30,000 12 row planter I wasn't coming close.  I hope my planter was always worth more than I seed I  put into it, but that's a good question.  Is your planter worth more than the seed you put into it?

Whatever it costs, I need the best planter I can find that will do the job I need it to do.  That was a 1976 White 5100 planter, modified greatly.  That planter lasted me for years.  I should have kept it for a HyMark Ag Museum but I passed it on to another young farmer instead.  I needed a little bigger planter, an 8 row, a 12 row and last year we used a 24 row.  That was a little too big for this little guy.

I need the best seed I can find to put into it, that was First Choice and Porter corn hybrids.  Another group of friends are introducing Genesys Seeds where the farmer owns the company and controls the shots.  Whatever you choose, make sure it does the job you need it to do.  I am so amazed so many farmers buy so many traits I really don't think they need.  They get hooked on the salesman and the company he represents rather than the product that represents them.  Thankfully, I tested and tried every seed and trait known to man early on and learned they didn't have one thing over what I was already planting.

Yesterday I took delivery on some 40 year old genetics from my friend in Iowa.  Those pictures of soybean florets in my posts are now seed in my barn.  Dr. Richard Cooper developed them at OARDC for his 100 bushel soybean experiments in the 70's.  He bred semi-dwarf soybeans that would yield well and not fall down.  I need them to make at least 70% of what they made as seed for a good profit.  I don't forget those 100 bushel beans right beside 20 bu GMO fields.

That makes $1000 worth of seed in a $40,000 drill or planter for me.  I am not so concerned who made the planter as I am who bred the seed and who produced it.

I think there is a whole lot of unknown value of seed.  You can see the planter but you can't see inside the seed's history unless you look real hard.

Billions of dollars worth of seed is poised to go into the ground right now.

Is it really the best seed for that farmer or has he been lead down the path of the machinery salesman?


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Doctor Asked ME A Question

My doctor asked ME a question this morning.  He didn't say Mr. Winkle, he said Ed, I have to ask you about Obama signing the "Protection Act" about the legislation that protects biotech companies from being sued.

We discussed the whole ordeal.  I hope my knee got enough attention.  I will have it "scoped out" as I have a huge buildup under my kneecap from osteoarthritis.  That I expected.  I never expected the concern over our food system as I heard from my doctor.

I told him about the pink leaves in corn today from coast to coast because the plant can't transfer enough sugars to the ear.  I told him about the black lesions on stalks with plant milk leaking out.  I told him about the deformed plants I see, and on and on.  He just shook his head yes the whole conversation.  I encouraged him to share the things I have learned through good sources to his sources.  The doctors want to know how they see what they see in patients that correlates to the food system and to science.

Autism was an early warning sign, ADHD was on the news last night, stomach problems are record high and even things like me knee is blowing out of proportion?  Could these problems be linked to our food system?  They sure could, but what's the truth?

The truth is we don't know but the pioneers of bioseeds are so afraid of litigation they got the "Monsanto Protection Act" passed under HR933.  Does that tell you anything?

Did GMO open the Pandora's Box?  I don't know but it sent me running and screaming for non GMO seed and better soil fertility and biology.  Is GMO killing that?  I don't know that either but I am going to stay with what I have been doing.  It is working better.

I really want to leave this place better than I found it.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Proposed Ohio Fertilizer Law

Ohio farmers, have you read this?  We discussed this topic this week on Crop Talk.

"It would give Ohio Department of Agriculture rule-making authority to develop a fertilizer application certification program, and require anyone who applies fertilizer for ag production on areas of more than 10 acres, to be certified by ODA.

It also would expand ODNR’s authority through the Division of Soil and Water Resources, to develop operation and nutrient management plans for commercial fertilizer, in addition to manure, sediment and materials attached to sediment.

These plans would address the “methods, amount, form, placement and timing” of all nutrient applications.

Fertilizer as ‘pollutant’?

The proposal also effectively classifies nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as “agricultural pollutants,” according to the OFBF summary.

The question with fertilizer is always, “when does it become a pollutant?” He said it must be remembered there are many factors affecting fertilizer and where it ends up, as well as naturally occurring levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus from plant decay.

Two watersheds.

The proposal also allows the ODNR to classify two types of watersheds.One type, the “critical natural resources area,” would result in the following actions:

• An analysis by ODNR of the watershed, to identify sources and causes of ag pollution.

• A watershed management plan that would address the causes and sources of ag pollution, which may include requirements for storage, handling and land application of manure and fertilizer, as well as erosion control.

• Encourage all farmers to voluntarily develop and operate under an approved operation and nutrient management plan.

A second type of watershed, the “watershed in distress,” would result in most of the same actions, except there would be more emphasis on “requirements.”  I am aware of Lake St. Mary in Auglaize County and Lake Erie being watersheds in distress.

Farmers would be required to follow an approved operation and nutrient management plan, and to establish a schedule for implementing this plan."

Fertilizer is a pollutant?  That is going to go over big!