Friday, May 31, 2013

China Buys Smitfield

"(Reuters) - China's Shuanghui International plans to buy Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD.N) for $4.7 billion to feed a growing Chinese appetite for U.S. pork, but the proposed takeover of the world's No. 1 producer has stirred concern in the United States.

The transaction, announced on Wednesday, would rank as the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company, with an enterprise value of $7.1 billion, including debt assumption.

As it stands. the deal is the biggest Chinese play for a U.S. company since CNOOC Ltd offered to buy Unocal for about $18 billion in 2005. The state-controlled energy company later withdrew that bid under U.S. political pressure."

The world just keeps on changing, doesn't it?  I remember when Smitfield was a fledgling little company gobbling up hog operations so quick you would have thought they would go broke before this would ever happen.

What do you think of a deal like this?  Most people I talk to don't like this at all and think big money and ownership is moving way too fast with our competitors.

I should have seen this coming years ago when I visited China and saw first hand their growing economy and understood their need and taste of protein.  A coop full of chickens or a hog strapped to a bicycle was common when I was there.

There is plenty of room for entrepreneurs to start a business like Smithfield did back in 1936.  I encouraged an email friend to look at expanding his meat business to a non GMO product and he is looking into it.  America's tastes are changing too, just like other parts of the world are learning what we did decades ago.

There is always opportunity if someone can figure out how to take it from paper and make it work.

It doesn't always take a 3-D printer to copy someone's product.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Am Getting Tired Of These Posts

I am getting tired of these posts about glyhposate.  Either you like and use it or you don't.  I am tired of glyphosate in the news every day but after the nation using it for 40 years I guess it's to be expected.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that test results of plant samples from an Oregon farm indicate the presence of genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. Further testing by USDA laboratories indicates the presence of the same GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states from 1998 to 2005.

APHIS launched a formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. There are no GE wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the United States or elsewhere at this time."

The seed supply seems affected from wheat to corn to soybeans.  You can find some non GMO in every GMO seed lot and you can find some GMO in every non GMO seed lot.

So what, isn't this OK?  I don't think so. I think we should have preserved our pure breeding lines and I am not sure we have done that.  I think we are going to need them in the near future, do you>

What do you think?  I am open to new topics, this one is getting old.


Ed Winkle

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Joe in North Carolina found this and sent it to me.  War over seeds and chemicals?

This report might be a little far fetched I don't believe it didn't happen.  There is so much going on in the world now we don't know about, probably for our own good.  The president's debacles include accusations much far reaching than this one for now.

This article is about bees and neonicotinides, the best insecticide I ever found for my corn seedlings.  I do have concern about it myself.  Some farmers can't keep it contained because of the design of the planter.  It blows the dust out onto the field and contaminate the bees.  The demise of the small family farm may have helped lead to this or even caused the demise of the small family farm.

How can we survive?  I don't know that we can, but I sure hope we can.  I notill non GMO seed into the best soil I can provide.  I lower the water table with tile and use calcium and gypsum to maximize air and water movement.  I can see so much improvement over the plow, disk, and manure we used in the 60's it isn't even funny. 

Do you think we will go to war over seeds and chemicals?  We could, but I don't think so, at least I hope not.

I am concerned about the bee depopulation and I am concerned about GMO's in our food system.  I can only do for either what I think is best for me.  That is what is best for mankind or I wouldn't do it.

It has always been a complicated world in my lifetime but it was a little simpler when I was a child.  I am sure my dad and grandpa said the same thing.

Our farm is all planted to non GMO seed.  Our soil is in place.  Our lime and fertilizer has been applied.  Our seedlings are all up or coming up and that is about all I can do but control the weeds and other pests here on out.

That is a war all within itself.

What about you?

PS Sorry about the poor graphics yesterday, I need to replace or repair that.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


A recently identified strain of potato blight, called "HERB-1," was responsible for mass starvation during the Irish potato famine in the 19th Century. At least a million people died of starvation at that time.

The precise strain of the pathogen that caused the devastating outbreak, which lasted from 1845 to 1852, had been unknown - until now.

"We have finally discovered the identity of the exact strain that caused all this havoc," study co-author HernĂ¡n Burbano, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany said.

Molecular biologists from across the world studied the historical spread of Phytophthora infestans, a fungus-like organism that devastated potato crops and led to the famine.

A Phytophthora strain called US-1 was at first thought to have triggered the famine. However, sequencing the genomes of preserved samples of the plant pathogen, the researchers discovered that a new, different strain the real culprit.

"Both strains seem to have separated from each other only years before the first major outbreak in Europe," Burbano said.

I think molecular biology will lead to many new findings in the near future.  The genome of wheat was recently completed.  There are so many little things in nature we still do not understand.

LuAnn brought in infected leaves of our blueberry patch and various trees and shrubs.  I said the apple trees have scab and she quickly identified all kinds of scab and rust fungi on those leaves she brought in, after doing some research with her Xyboard.

She found a biological fungicide called Actinovate.  I know nothing about it.  Do any of you?  I can't see where it will hurt anything but will it help anything?

SabrEx I know will help my corn, soybeans and wheat.  I have umpteen years of experience on those so I can't poo poo her desire.

The Irish potato famine is definitely in my background and is another reason I am who I am and why I am here.  I see the connection.

Ed Winkle

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 25

May 25 was a good anniversary for me.  Nine years ago we slept in this house for the first time.  Three years ago I was confirmed as a Catholic and we had our wedding vows renewed.  One month ago I had my knee operated on.

It wasn't a good day for Monsanto, though I suppose it wasn't too bad, either.  It was probably more like my knee operation.  On that day there was a little known to me, March On Monsanto globally.  Even in the great state of Iowa, their popular HyVee Supermarkets supported the campaign.

Farmers have been talking about it on NewAgTalk.  You can read it if you want and make your own opinion.  I see some guys who have an inkling of what is going on but most have their head in the sand.  I equivocate that to the knowledge of the American voter.  They don't understand what the heck is going on or simply don't care.

I can't imagine HyVee Supermarkets supporting the march though.  Does anyone have any information on that?  It really doesn't matter but it seems like a dumb idea to me for some grocery store to support a march on a major corporation whose genetics or chemicals are in maybe 75% of the stuff on their shelves and in their fuel tanks.  It doesn't make sense to me.

Looking at the Facebook link they didn't necessarily support it, one group just marched in front of their Springfield, Missouri store.  I guess that makes more sense.

I think you will see more of this but I don't know what it will amount to.  As farmers, what system makes you the most money and which one is best for the amount of time you expect to own or rent the farm you are using it on?

Glyphosate doesn't work on many farms in my area, you have to spray so many other chemicals to kill the weeds you might as well plant something else anyway.  I don't understand why so many keep doing the same old thing, expecting better results.

Our short term trend line in corn is down and everyone wants to blame the weather.

May 27 isn't too bad either.  We had nice little shower but it is still cool in Ohio.

Either way, a Blessed Memorial Day to you all.  Visit a cemetery and honor our dead.  Freedom isn't free.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Every Person

"Every person deserves the right to a good name."  I heard that this morning from a priest speaking on my favorite Catholic radio channel.  That sentence really struck me

All I have is my good name and we have all pretty well trashed it at times.  I personally  do not need any help in doing that..  Two times in the last 13 years two anonymous posters pretty well took me down to bare bones when they posted something really blasphemous about another person who posts there.  I thought I knew they were talking about me.  They had too many facts that seemed to apply to me.

They had too many assumptions, too.  They knew only a little part of me and my behavior or whoever they were talking about, not the whole person.  How could they pen something so poisonous they knew so little about?

I did enough wrong that I assumed I deserved it, accepted it and took my medicine.  It cut to the bone sometimes but such is life.  This may not be the kind of person I wanted to be known as.  Some days we can't help ourselves so we need external help.

Are you a taker or maker?  Are you a builder upper or a tearer downer?  Too often I have let myself fall into the wrong category.

No wonder I hate gossip.  It does no good.  It might seem like fun at the time but every person really does deserve the right to their good name!  Is what we say good for that moment or good for everyone concerned?

We watched a piece on Life On The Rock that showed how much some are giving for our freedom.  It is the story of Fr. Brian Kane as an Army Major Chaplain.  That is good to remember this Memorial Day weekend in America.

I hope you enjoy it and I wish you all a Blessed Weekend.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Keep The Disk Or Sell It?

I haven't heard this question in years.  Should we keep the disk or sell it?

We used to disk the hell out of the ground.  All we did was tillage to produce livestock feed but gasoline was cheap;  I think the oil embargo of 1973 changed all of that.  The early pioneers of no-till we met at NNTC in Indianapolis in January were well on their way to successful notill farming before the embargo ever hit.

I just hate to sit on the tractor every spare hour, disking and grinding clods into tiny pieces until I used my brain to figure out how not to do that.  Some enjoy doing that but that is un-needed recreational compacting tillage I can't afford to do.  Now if I was organic, the disk might be an important tool to me.

Do you still disk ground?  Do you enjoy it?  The notill planter and drill took that all away from me and I was quickly glad to see it go.  I can't remember the last time I disked a field but it's been decades.

NoTill is not easy, I've never said it was but it sure beats disking in my mind.  My disk is mounted on a notill planter and cuts a true Vee to plant the seed into or it is notill disk opener that cuts a nice slit to slip my seed into.  It works pretty well and I probably wouldn't be farming without it.

It's beautiful weather in southwest Ohio again today but it is cool and it is damp.  We have not had good growing weather yet weather you till or not.  Some of the tillage guys have big muddy messes on their hands and I know for sure that doesn't promote a good seedbed for a new crop.

The wheat is the best looking crop around this year.  Somehow mine has escaped serious disease pressure so far.  The cooler temperatures have helped but that soil oxygen thing might really be working.

Ed Winkle

Friday, May 24, 2013

Soil Web

"Beneath your home, below lawns, under asphalt streets, farms and natural areas there is a complex blend of minerals and organic matter that varies widely in texture, color and structure. Producing food, maintaining landscapes and building structures all depend on this little understood, but critical outermost layer of the Earth's crust - the soil.

Anyone can learn about the United States' diversity of soils using SoilWeb, a nationwide database of soil variability first developed in 2004. SoilWeb reached a new milestone this year when it was integrated with Google Maps and designed to scale across any Web-enabled device – desktop computer, tablet or smart phone.

SoilWeb has dozens of uses. The information can inform insurers about flooding frequency and builders about locations suitable for roads, basements or septic tanks. The agricultural real estate industry, farmland owners and farmers interested in renting or purchasing land commonly need information about soil productivity and land capability. Knowledge of soil is also important to home gardeners and landscapers."

"Our online soil survey can be used to access USDA-NCSS 1:24,000 scale detailed soil survey data (SSURGO) in many parts of the lower 48 states. Where this data is not yet available, 1:250,000 scale generalized soils data (STATSGO) can be accessed instead. An interactive map interface allows for panning and zooming, with highways, streets, and aerial photos to assist navigation (Figure 1). Soil polygons become visible near a scale of 1:30,000. Alternatively, a GPS point, Zip code, or a street address can be used to zoom in on a specific location. General usage notes and information on how our online soil survey work can be found here. Statistics on who is using our online soil survey can be found here. Technical details on SoilWeb can be found in this publication. Please note that we are currently transitioning to a new server, and planning to have our local copy of the SSURGO, STATSGO, and OSD databases updated in the coming months.

The SoilWeb app is a portable version of the UC Davis California Soil Resource Lab’s Web-based interface to digital soil survey data from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)."

Most people do not use SOILWEB and few of the few who do are trained in soil capability classes.  I guess I am one of the few who was and taught the principles for 31 years and have been curious every time I see a soil opened up with a backhoe or shovel ever since.

The information helps me improve soil drainage and that same soil capability.  I've seen farmers actually change the soil description with cover crops and other farming techniques.  If you've never seen it, it is something to behold.

I used it to look underneath the soil surface of the land I farm and tend to and to understand the tile I just installed from a scientific standpoint.  That is helpful to me.  It is amazing how diverse the land underneath the 48 states or anywhere varies and yet how similar it all is.  It all grows plants, just different ones because of its very nature and the climate involved in the development and change in that land over thousands of years.

Right now I would just take some good growing weather to bring those characteristics to full fruition.

How about you?


Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Coffee Grounds Do To Soil

"What do you do with your coffee grounds if you are a coffee drinker?   Those free grounds really are good for your soil.  What do your coffeepot's leftovers really add to the soil?

To find out, Sunset sent a batch of Starbucks' used coffee grounds ― the company gives them away for free ― to a soil lab for analysis. Turns out the grounds provide generous amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper.

They also release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade. And they're slightly acidic ― a boon in the Western climate.

Dig or till them into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

The following information was developed for Sunset by Soil and Plant Laboratory Inc., Bellevue, WA.

Summary: Use of Starbucks coffee grounds in amending mineral soils up to 35 percent by volume coffee grounds will improve soil structure over the short-term and over the long-term. Use of the coffee grounds at the specified incorporation rates (rototilled into a 6- to 8-inch depth) will substantially improve availabilities of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper and will probably negate the need for chemical sources of these plant essential elements.

The nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium "guaranteed analyses" would be as follows for the coffee grounds:
Nitrogen: 2.28 percent

Phosphorus: 0.06 percent

Potassium: 0.6 percent

Available nutrient levels: The pH or reaction of the coffee grounds is considered slightly acidic and in a favorable range at 6.2 on the pH scale.

Salinity (ECe) is a measurement of total soluble salts and is considered slightly elevated at 3.7 dS/m. The primary water-soluble salts in this product are potassium, magnesium, sodium and chloride. The potentially problematic ions in sodium and chloride are each sufficiently low as to be inconsequential in terms of creating problems for plants.

The availabilities of nitrogen, calcium, zinc, manganese and iron are quite low and in some cases deficient. Thus, the coffee grounds will not supply appreciable amounts of these essential plant elements when used as a mineral soil amendment.

However, the availabilities of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper are each sufficiently high that there will be a very positive impact on improving availabilities of these elements where the coffee grounds are used as a mineral soil amendment. The coffee grounds will negate the need for additional sources of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper when blended with mineral soils.

In summary, the available plant essential elements which will be substantially improved where the coffee grounds are used as a soil amendment, include phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper.

Total nutrient levels: Each cubic yard of these coffee grounds contains a total of 10.31 lbs. nitrogen, of which 0.01 lb. (0.09%) are available. Thus, even though available nitrogen is considered deficient in this product, there still remains over 10 lbs. of total nitrogen per cubic yard of coffee grounds. Thus, nitrogen is primarily bound in the organic fraction and is unavailable to plants until soil microorganisms degrade the organic fraction. Through this process, the nitrogen is converted to plant available forms. Over the long term the coffee grounds will act like a slow release fertilizer providing long-term nitrogen input which can then be utilized by plants.

Nearly all potassium and all magnesium are in the available forms. This means that immediate availability improvements for these two elements will take place when the coffee grounds are blended with mineral soils. About half of the copper and calcium are in their immediately available forms.

All other plant essential elements are primarily bound in the organic fraction and will thus be subject to slow release over time as soil microbes continue to degrade the organic fraction.

Physical properties: Virtually all particles passed the 1 millimeter (mm) screen resulting in a product which is very fine textured. Each cubic yard of the coffee grounds will supply an excellent amount of organic matter, measured at 442 lbs. organic matter per cubic yard. At the use rates indicated in this report, the input of organic matter will be substantial and will result in considerable short-term and long-term improvement of mineral soil structure.

Carbon/nitrogen ratio: On the basis of dry matter bulk density (452 lbs. per cubic yard), organic matter content (97.7%) and total nitrogen (2.28%), the estimated carbon/nitrogen ratio is about 24:1. This means that there is more than sufficient nitrogen present in the coffee grounds to provide for the nitrogen demand of the soil microorganisms as they degrade the organic fraction.

Use rate: Based on the overall chemistry and physical properties of the coffee grounds, they can be utilized at rates similar to other organic amendments when used in amending mineral soils. These data indicate that 25-35 percent by volume coffee grounds can be blended with mineral soils of any type to improve structure of those soils. "

I have been using coffee grounds to amend soil all of my life.  The baskets are easy for me to recycle but those little K cups seem to end up in the garbage.  They are too difficult to deal with.  Our gardens have responded to nine years of coffee grounds.  If you drink coffee or tea, do you recycle your grounds?


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


We finally got some good planting weather in southwest Ohio this week.  Everyone is going full tilt from what I can tell and I know I am tired after just a few hard days. 

I finally got some Apex soybeans planted from Keith Schlapkohl's farm in eastern Iowa.  I also planted a bunch of yellow hilum soybeans for the export market.  As woolly as some fields are around here I was thinking about my glyphosate post yesterday and how easy it would be to follow a Round Up Ready or Liberty Link system in Ohio this year.

Farming non GMO is just like going back to the early 90's chemical wise.  The labels and products have changed but we still pretty much have the same chemistry available as we did before Round Up Ready.  I have some fields that need a residual on before the next rain and I haven't even checked the weather yet.  It is pretty again here this morning so far and we did not get some of the predicted showers.

"Authority/Spartan contains the single active ingredient sulfentrazone. Authority/Spartan controls certain broadleaves, so tank mix to broaden control spectrum or use within a planned pre followed by post herbicide program. Do not apply Authority/Apartan if soybeans have emerged, otherwise severe crop injury will result. There are several other products that contain sulfentrazone such as, Authority Assist (Authority + Pursuit); Authority First (Authority + FirstRate); Authority MTZ (Authority + metribuzin); Authority XL (Authority + Classic) and Spartan Charge (Authority + Aim)."

I double inoculated this year as I have fields that are new to me and the fields I know from the past really respond to heavy rates of the new competitive strains of rhizobium.  I had Excalibre installed on the seed and topped the drill and planter with more GraphEx.  With all the lime I got on last month, I hope to build some big and healthy nodules that are blood red and pumping out nitrogen.

The soil has planted really nice but it is still wet underneath, I planted them as shallow as a half an inch while making sure I got all the beans covered.  There are very few beans on top of the ground and if it keeps raining like predicted they will all come up anyway.

It would be sweet if I could harvest a good crop in October and follow the combine with wheat or a cover crop mix to hold the soil and build the healthy organisms like I have in the past.  I've done what I can do so far, the rest is up to God.

He has never let me down though I am quite capable of letting Him down if I am not careful.

In one short month we could be cutting wheat and planting double crop soybeans.  I hope these "early" beans make about 20 bushels more than the double crop but I am shooting for over 50 bushel an acre on both.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with commercial crops grown around the globe. It was discovered to be a herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.[3] Monsanto brought it to market in the 1970s under the trade name Roundup, and Monsanto's last commercially relevant United States patent expired in 2000.

Called by experts in herbicides "virtually ideal" due to its broad spectrum and low toxicity compared with other herbicides,[4] glyphosate was quickly adopted by farmers. Use increased even more when Monsanto introduced glyphosate-resistant crops, enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops. In 2007 glyphosate was the most used herbicide in the United States agricultural sector, with 180 to 185 million pounds (82,000 to 84,000 tonnes) applied, and the second most used in home and garden market where users applied 5 to 8 million pounds (2,300 to 3,600 tonnes); additionally industry, commerce and government applied 13 to 15 million pounds (5,900 to 6,800 tonnes).[5] While glyphosate has been approved by regulatory bodies worldwide and is widely used, concerns about its effects on humans and the environment persist.[6]

Glyphosate's mode of action is to inhibit an enzyme involved in the synthesis of the aromatic amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine. It is absorbed through foliage and translocated to growing points. Because of this mode of action, it is only effective on actively growing plants; it is not effective as a pre-emergence herbicide.

Some crops have been genetically engineered to be resistant to it (i.e. Roundup Ready, also created by Monsanto Company). Such crops allow farmers to use glyphosate as a post-emergence herbicide against both broadleaf and cereal weeds, but the development of similar resistance in some weed species is emerging as a costly problem. Soy was the first Roundup Ready crop.

Monsanto developed and patented the glyphosate molecule in the 1970s, and has marketed Roundup since 1973. It retained exclusive rights in the United States until its United States patent expired in September, 2000.

What has Round Up done for your farm in 40 years?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Biological Farming

As you can see from yesterday's picture, this biological farming thing does have an effect on nature.  This morning, as my eyes were starting to pop open I told LuAnn I think I hear 30 different songbirds making their call.  We have a new Cardinal that is pooping all over our car mirrors if we leave the car outside any length of time.  He has marked his spots well.

It reminded me of finding that US Geological Survey guy at our farm on Horseshoe Road a couple of years ago.  He said we had some of the rarest Ohio songbirds he had found anywhere.  That farm is covered with headed out cereal rye with a tiny bit of Mother Nature's Cressleaf Groundsel or Golden Ragwort as they used to call it around here.  It looks like a meadow but it might be a soybean field one of these days if it ever stops raining in southern Ohio.

There are some corn fields up around a few miles away from here but here the fields are basically untouched.  We had just enough dry weather to treat the wheat fields and maybe kill down a cover crop earlier but it is pretty green and growthy around here.  It has not been a good year for gardening yet and it is getting late fast, Memorial Day is upon us!  I wonder if anyone will take Preventive Planting as our June 5 corn planting date may rush right by us again like it did 2 years ago?

We took our friend Marian to lunch yesterday.  She lost her husband on the day my dad passed away 12 years ago and now has buried a son, also.  I have known her since the 70's when we attended Marathon United Methodist Church.  She has done very well at taking care of others.  Her husband John was the best notill farmer I knew and their farms have the range of nature I see on ours.  Notill farming is definitely more biological than tillage.  We talked about farming back then like we practice today.  It just makes more sense to me and I wouldn't be farming much if any at all if I had to till everything.  I have never been geared up to do it because I couldn't justify it in my mind.

I parted with tillage in 1976 when we rented the new White 5100 no-till planter at the home farm in Sardinia.  We've had a lot of bumps in the road but that one action has led me to a lifetime of study of notill and biological farming and has had a direct impact on who I am married to, who my family and friends are and what I do today.

I can't think of any farmer that notill has had more impact on except maybe for my mentor, Paul Reed.  I heard them impact of notill and biological farming this morning when the songbirds helped me wake up.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Biologist's Reply On Deer Story

"Russel Stevens is a wildlife biologist with the Noble Foundation.  Here are his thoughts."

"It is not uncommon to see many deer (mainly does) here at night or twilight along the roadsides during various times of the calendar year, esp periods when native forage quality is limited. The first question we should ask is why deer are there along the roadside. Is the reason overly high deer numbers and poor native habitat condition? Or does the mowing which the ‘State’ performs create regrowth of lush high quality plants? I tend to feel it is both as deer numbers are at all-time highs nationally, deer have long thin muzzles for the purpose of selecting the most nutritious plant parts, and very little attention is given to improve the carrying capacity of native lands on a grand scale.

Modern farming and ranching tend to busily span fence-row to fence-row while native land improvement tends to ‘take the back seat’. Deer also quickly adapt to human presence in suburbia without much hint of danger (except for ‘fluffy’ on an occasional ‘bathroom break’). Hence, the ‘suburban deer herd’ has been fostered in a virtual ‘Garden of Eden’! I believe mainly lush plant growth found in suburbia and degraded conditions of adjoining rural areas attract whitetail to the city life. The risk of deer to man goes beyond the roadside!

So we have all these female deer (does) along the highway in fall and some folk know that ’where there are does the bucks will soon follow’. The primary whitetail deer breeding season across the majority of the US begins around the second week of Oct and ends about the second week of Dec with the peak in breeding generally between Nov 13-20. Mating itself normally occurs in isolated patches of thick cover or a wide open field AWAY from other deer and the roadside as the suitor attempts to protect the suitee from other male suitors. The last week of Oct and first 2 weeks of Nov is a time of chaotic activity in the deer herd….hints of estrogen are in the air, bucks are on their feet/aggressive/non-cautious, and about every female in the herd is harassed relentlessly (chased) by the male benefactor during those weeks.

The harassment can escalate to a level where does abandon normal routines and remain closer to security cover to elude potential suitors. If fall temperatures are abnormally warm, then deer with heavy winter coats of hair are going to frequent the roadsides mainly at night which is cooler. White light also impedes the night vision capability of deer, so escape from a vehicle path can be hindered. Normal deer behavior (chasing during breeding) which creates ‘chaos’ in the roadside deer herd is the prime cause of vehicle collisions with some conditions (warm weather, winter coat, and white light) increasing the risk thereof. Don’t believe me? Then ride with me down the AR/OK highways during those weeks and observe the ‘CSI evidence on the concrete’….ie blood spatter and hide! Lest we forget, highway speed-limits have been raised recently affording the driver less ‘reaction time’! The prevalence of ‘red pavement’ easily correlates within the few week long chase phase of deer breeding not within the several month long period of hunting season!

Now of course the increase in deer vehicle collision is quickly blamed by the media on the hunter. What did Don Henley sing about?....DIRTY LAUNDRY….”dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie”! I mean….come on…..A) deer season is open….B) deer hunters chase deer….C) then deer run into cars…that is the ABC viewpoint of the Yuppie! As a good friend often states, “Cause and effect and casual observation do not always lend universal truth!” We know in agriculture that chocolate milk does not come from brown cows, for example! Those who actually hunt deer soon learn that ‘chasing deer’ is an oft fruitless endeavor, unless A) one is blessed with ‘winged track shoes’, B) an endless supply of oxygen, and C) muscles immune to the ill effects of lactic acid buildup. That is the ABCs of a hunter’s viewpoint stemmed from experience. Don’t believe me? Then go run a quarter mile sprint through thick cover like a deer would do! A hefty bet says no human can run it in under 60 sec….while a deer can run it in under 30 sec if alarmed! I’ll gladly drop you off and pick you up from the pick-up truck and call the EMTs if needed! In a few states, deer drives or running deer with dogs is common place (some legal and some illegal) and yes the likely result may be more deer collisions with autos. We cannot deny that theory despite how insignificant it may be! However, the majority of hunters rely on stealth and/or ambush while hunting deer as did our Native American predecessors. Some Tribes chased the buffalo via horseback, but not whitetail, mule deer, pronghorn, or wapiti which are much more agile and shy creatures. Again, most deer hunting is a stealthy practice far removed from major sources of disturbance, such as noisy roadsides!

One obvious answer to reducing auto insurance claims of collision with deer is to reduce deer numbers (mainly does) to fit carrying capacity of the rural landscape….ie undoing some of the deer herd explosion seen during the 80s and 90s. Again, history indicates a trend of declining native habitat quality due to man’s failure to act (eg less timber stand improvement, less prescribed fire, etc). Outside of natural weather related disasters in timber (eg tornados, wild-fire, ice-storms etc) which stimulate abundance of quality forage at deer level, the native habitat trend will continue to decline unless MAN acts upon BOTH the land and the herd NOW. At some point as land stewards/hunters/non-hunters, we need to get away from ‘antler mania’ and the ‘Yuppie media’ and think through things for ourselves and for the betterment of the community or state, safety of our fellow man, sustainability of the native habitat, and the resident herds thereof!

Does may readily seek the cover, water, food, and space resources provided in suburbia if adjoining native lands do not provide for such needs.

‘Where there are does there will soon be bucks during the breeding season’ with car collision risk concomitantly rising.

Hunters can take direct action upon space requirements of overly dense herd numbers by harvesting surplus does while at the same helping future generations understand stewardship.

Both hunters and non-hunters can spend a few hours during a year to improve native land quality by thinning out cull trees in a forest (consult a qualified forester before beginning).

Such actions providing superb cover, food, and space for deer well away from the increased risk along roadsides or within suburbs.

An added benefit of both activities for the farmer may be a reduction in crop damage by deer.

Perhaps the same would also hold true for the suburban gardener.

Very seldom are simple observations a simple matter to understand…..a simple universal truth lying somewhere between the bounds of fact and fiction!

I didn't have a good topic today and found this in my draft file from a few months ago when we were talking about deer damage after a deer run in front of LuAnn's Buick on SR 28 east of SR 134.  Wildlife damage has already started this year on the few acres of new planted crop around here.  It's mainly ducks and geese from the wet spring we've had in southern Ohio.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sustainable Intensive Farming

We know the drill: 2050, 9 billion hungry people.

We think we know the solution: More conventional farming with higher yield.

Professor of Farming Systems Ecology Tittonell in Holland does not think so.

His views are that:
Increasing the efficiency of conventional farming alone will not be able to meet the quantity of food needed.

Intensified conventional farming is not sustainable in the long term.

Some of the farming should be transferred or developed from the Western world to the developing countries, where the food will be needed the most locally.

Over 90% of the ag research currently goes to conventional farming, more should go to sustainable farming.

So the solution is some form of intensive and sustainable farming, although the professor does not develop his thoughts on what he means exactly. He does mention organic and small scale farming, but it is probably not the whole solution either.

It is also not clear how the non-renewable oil would be used less in a sustainable but intensive farming scenario. Fertilizer such as nitrogen in its different forms hasn't been made from oil in decades, and diesel machinery will still need to till or no-till and plant and spray and harvest the fields, organic or conventional. Other fertilizers are mined or come from coal power plants, so I guess that's what he means, but some hard data would be welcome.

The Western world could indeed reduce farming "without affecting food security," but there would be other consequences, such as increased food prices, which Tittonell does not consider.

Besides Tittonell in Holland, the Imperial College in London and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which is having its Global Food Security Symposium in Washington D.C. next week are also supporting the notion of intensive sustainable farming as the best answer to address the food needs of the developing world, in a more practical and pragmatic way.

Meanwhile in Congress...

Oregon senator Schrader mentioned the "O" word. No, not our President, but "Organic," the Orror. What ensued was Owful. He Olmost got beaten to a pulp, as if organic farming does not exist or does not have a place in farming. So I'm guessing, no support for intensive sustainable farming in the U.S. for a while, Ow sad.

Othor of this post: Chimel.

Friday, May 17, 2013


I bought two tickets for the Powerball drawing this morning.  I don't believe in gambling at a Casino or a lottery but it's here in our world.  I can't win if I don't play and I really shouldn't play because I've already won my fair share.  Gambling is just one of life's games but it can become very addictive.  That's one addiction I don't own.

I told the cashier I know it's a snowball's chance but you can't win if  you don't play.  She and the others around the cash register agreed.

Once in a great while I like to dream what would I do if money was no object?  What if I won $500 million tonight?  I could build a farm operation built on solid principles that would be the envy of my competitors.  Is that really God's plan for me?  Would it ruin my life?

First I would take care of my church and my charities.  They would get most of it because my needs are not that great compared to their need and the needs of the world.

I would buy a new tractor with air conditioning and a new no-till drill to attach to it.  Then I would go look at planters and combines.  A new Apache sprayer would be great.  I haven't done any of this since I bought my only first new tractor in 1976.  I think it's high time I took care of myself.

I would take care of my grandchildren to make sure they all had the opportunity for a good education and a good start in life.  I would not want to hinder them, cripple them or make them lazy.  They are being raised right so this should be there when they make up their mind, not drive their decision.

Oh, it's fun to dream a little but I admit it's not always healthy.  You can't make those unforeseen things your goal.  I just like to play "what if" once in a great while.

I won $750 in a raffle a couple of years ago and gave it all back to the charity so that's more my kind of thinking.  If I had gobs of money I would give it all away but I would keep a little bit for Ed so he can help his family and the things he believes in.

I've been very blessed in life, how about you?


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Variable Rate Fertilizer

Someone asked my opinion of variable rate fertilizing this morning on Crop Talk. 

We basically do not use it here technology wise.  I know the technology is available and some swear by it but the few that use it often swear at it, especially when it doesn't work.

The appeal is great if you have variable soils across your field.  I hear $50 per acre for grid sampling and the equipment or fees to use and apply variable rates.  It sounds great to use less fertilizer, especially nitrate.  The SAP test results at Farm to Plate made me think how we generally over apply nitrate fertilizer to our crops and under apply the other 16 nutrients.  I am more concerned with nutrient balance to produce nutrient dense crops than I am to cut fertilizer rates using variable rate technology.

Years ago I saw how the Soil Doctor saved the Reed Farm in Washington Iowa tons of money by cutting nitrogen rates while increasing crop yields across the field.  The nitrogen application varied from 0-100 lbs of side dressed nitrogen across their fields while the yield monitor stayed much more constant during harvest.  I wish I had a rig with Greenseeker on it right now to touch up my wheat.  I have a few yellow spots.

$50 per acre will buy a lot of lime and fertilizer year to year.  I have had better results focusing on soil biology then cutting rates of fertilizer to save money while trying to produce the same or better yield.  I don't see better yields with less fertilizer, just less cost.

The algorithm can be set up based on nutrient removal, past history and a host of variables.  Which one do you choose?  If we had really good field history records, I believe we could use variable rates as well as any other method.  If the grid or harvest sample is flawed, then the algorithm is faulty.  I see this too often.

The Adapt-N program is very interesting to focus on managing one of the most important yield driving nutrients and that is nitrogen.  Dr. Michael McNeil showed us very interesting results of how the project is helping manage nitrogen usage by careful application of the nutrient when needed in Iowa and New York.

To the original poster, if you want to go this route, set your plan up carefully.  Get the help of experienced minds who have worked with it the last 10 years.  I work with professionals who can help you if need help.   I can't find that at the co-op or any local location.  It's going to take a lot of leg work and brain work but it can be done.

I am focusing more on the trinity of soil physics, chemistry and biology so one leg of the stool is not shorter than the other two.  I am also focusing on the trinity of calcium, sulfur and nitrate as a yield and profit driving leader on my farm and the farms I work with.

How can you use variable rate fertilizer programs to increase profit on your farm?

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"I Killed Her Garden!"

There is a really good discussion in the Cafe where the farmer, a Cajun member from Louisiana admits he killed the neighbor's garden with spray drift.  Although we are trained and certified and work hard not to spray in any wind, sometime that is all impossible and we get a little drift that dings, damages or destroys a garden.  Thankfully this is a rare occasion.

"Two weeks or so back, I was trimming a Milo field, atrazine and clarity and I was unfortunately not aware of the wind as I should have been. I smoked the tomatoes, melons, radish, and a host of other veggies. I know they don't have $100 in it, time is one thing, but it is worth only so much.

What do I offer? I am sure one of you have killed a garden, whether you know it or not.

What would you do?"

There are many replies and the way farmers address these issues is basically be sure to take care of your neighbor!  We already have enough challenges!

"If it was my wife's garden, she wouldn't be happy with a $1,000. Those gardens mean a lot to some people, so you can't just put a store price value on it. I sure hope you don't insult the gal by offering her a couple hundred.

If she smoked a couple acres of your corn, would settle for a hundred an acre? I'm sure that's all the seed cost you.  Do the right thing and pay dearly. I'm sure she'd rather have the garden than the money, no matter how much it is. Actually, be glad it wasn't my wife's garden, you'd be as dead as the garden."

Then JK tells us the rest of the story.  "We met, today and state ag drift man came also. She cannot come up with a figure. First, she is pissed about me dinging her Chinese tallow trees taking over her pasture, that most folks want dead.

Next, she blamed her mange infested dogs hair loss on me. This house is in deplorable order, and I promise you, 9 times out of 10 you pass by the local video poker joint, her truck is there.

Too ignorant to reason with, made an offer, state man said I was more than fair, offered an open ticket at local greenhouse, but she wants money, not replacement. Wants to buy cigs, meth, and poker.

So, I made my offer, she has not a lot of recourse, and I gave her until Wednesday at 4 to have a number, or I was walking away.

It really is worth only so much, and I can stomach dealing with these extraordinarily ignorant folk only so long, I can apologize only so much, it is what it is, and lets move on.

She also refuses to take a check, only cash. I want proof of payment.  So, there you have it"

Be careful around those gardens, fellas...


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vim, Vigor and Vitality

"Vim Vigor and Vitality:  Nothing in nature ever stands still. Things either progress, advance and develop, Or they degenerate and disintegrate." 

This is one of my favorite pictures because the Dutch people are full of vim, vigor and vitality.  They are strapping tall, active people with zest.  They work more, walk more, eat less and enjoy more.  They are examples of vitality.

 LuAnn and I were talking about young men that we know.  They are smart, caring, quiet and good workers but I said they have no "vim, vigor or vitality."

 LuAnn had never heard this expression so I thought I would expound on it.   Some of our best young men today are not self starters.  They've never had to figure out how to survive on their own.  On the other hand, the ones who have that vim and vigor often seem to drop out of school or not pursue a worthy dream.  They often fall into bad habits and bad things they never seem to be able to shake.  

You can point your fingers to a lot of things that have happened to them since they were born or even before they were born.  Their parents choices often reflect in them.  It's an observation of mine and nothing too critical because I surely am not perfect.   I've been able to work hard and accomplish something in my life without a lot of help, our children have too. 

I give credit to parenting from a long line of folks that were raised the same way.  We were taught responsibility at a young age and were corrected when we headed the wrong direction.  We seem to be a smaller and smaller minority all my life.   Maybe I am being to critical here but no wonder we see society struggling when too many depend on the government or someone else to provide their necessities. 

I think the caring of livestock and learning how to produce the feed them were critical points in my development.  Most people do not have this today, so how do we teach this without living on a farm?  Anyone in my county can have a garden and most of them can raise a pig or a chicken so they can learn these important life pieces through 4-H and FFA.  Still, so few of the worlds people have access to these programs.

The young men we were talking about will be OK as long as someone with more vim, vigor and vitality is leading them.  They are good workers, and that trait is more difficult to find all the time.  Ask any farmer or employer who tries to find good help.  

This long early spring has been hard on my vim, vigor and vitality.  I had to push myself  yesterday to get anything accomplished.  Saturday is Seed School at Ohio Seed Improvement Association so we will be discussing the vim, vigor and vitality of seed and crops in this blog.


Ed Winkle

Monday, May 13, 2013

Food Deserts

It's just amazing to me that "food" is  actually killing Americans while others starve to death and 26 million of our population live in a "food desert."  This news clip really caught my eye when the reporter pointed these facts out.  She interviewed a young man who really caught me off guard when he said raising your own food is like printing your own money!  Now that is a really catchy quote.

The lack of nutrient dense food and healthy diets in this country is appalling.  The land of the free, the home of the brave is slowly becoming fruitless.  This is why I am on this mission of soil health, food quality and how can we help each other do what we should have been doing all along?

Here is a very interesting article on the soil life under our feet.  He does a good job describing the declining biodiversity in our soil but he is not aware or want to touch the problem glyphosate is causing around the world, but particularly in the United States.  Not just poor worn out soils, but rich Illinois farmland now fails the Solvita quick carbon test.

"Forget the term “dumb as dirt.” The complex soil ecosystem is highly evolved and sophisticated. It processes organic waste into soil. It filters and cleans much of the water we drink and the air we breathe by retaining dust and pathogens. It plays a large role in how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. Soil, with all of its organic matter, is second to the oceans as the largest carbon repository on the planet. Annual plowing, erosion and other mismanagement releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, and exacerbates climate change. "

Gardening is the best thing I can pass on to our 12 grand children.  Knowing how food is grown and where it comes from has never been more important in my lifetime as it is right now.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dog With A Blog

Hello, this is Sable Von HyMark, the famous German Shepherd writing you from Martinsville, Ohio.  You haven't heard from me for awhile because the boss won't let me in the house.  Now that it's spring time, Mrs. Boss doesn't want to clean up my shedding fur and makes me stay outside until the boss goes to bed.  Man, he has been staying up too late!

Either way, I wish Mrs. Boss Happy Mother's Day and all of you mom's reading out there.  I don't get let in here too often so I have to make my wishes quick, succinct and sincere.

Happy Mother's Day all you moms.  Mrs. Boss, I really like the time you spend with me.  Sorry I got too excited the other day and almost drug you toward the animal farm down the street by the old covered bridge.  I love to go down there and sniff around and the only way I am allowed is if you find my leash and take me you with.

It's been pretty lonely around here with you two gone all the time.  I miss our rides together in the pickup truck.  You KNOW how much I like doing that but the new farm, I have hope.  You know I love to run around there and protect you both.

Until then I'll just keep chasing the birds and people away from the farm.  It's a pretty good place and I did win the doggy lottery.


Sable Von HyMark

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rye Contamination In Wheat

I have some rye contamination in a wheat field that is being grown for fine SRWW or soft red winter wheat flour.  I can rogue the heads out but how bad is rye contamination in a load of soft red winter wheat?  Is it a small problem or a large problem?

Rye contamination is not uncommon in wheat production.  Where we use so much cereal rye for cover crop, there is always the possibility that some rye could escape our management practices and show up in the wheat.  In certified wheat seed production, rye is a no-no.  The field must be rogued of the rye or the field is disqualified for seed.  If it's disqualified, it goes into the wheat supply.  How does the miller deal with it and how much of a problem is it?

Many wheat flours contain some rye and many rye flours contain some wheat.  It is not like the joke about garlic showing up in a load of wheat and should not be discounted because the miller can make garlic flavored crackers out of it.  It doesn't work like that.

"I am not sure if or how significant this problem might be in commercial wheat grain fields. Each year we receive a few calls on identifying Rye in wheat fields. This usually results from fertilizer spreader contamination in the course of top dressing fields.  Furthermore, over many years of attending the Soft Red Winter Wheat Researchers Conference, I have not heard research or technical papers presented on this issue. In commercial wheat, rye grain is a dockage contaminant and high levels result in discounts.

Rye flour has its own characteristics for baking and the baking industry obviously prefers uniform soft red winter wheat flour that has low or no problems with Mycotoxins (Fusarium) infested wheat grain and has other desirable levels of protein, break flour yield and cookie diameter quality factors. Lastly, the milling industry in Ohio, to the best of my knowledge, does not utilize Identity Preserved grain programs for field or post-harvest sample inspection, so OSIA has no file data on this issue. Another question relates to the potential and extent of  other GMO crop contamination in wheat grain, introduced by un-cleaned harvesting, storage and conveying equipment."

A farmer had a question about rye in wheat this morning.  I answered "There is more rye in wheat than usual this year. I was wondering what happens to the wheat flour if milled. Contamination is common and wheat is usually in rye bread and rye is often found in wheat bread. SRWW is pastry dough though so contamination would potentially be a bigger problem.

Volunteer wheat and rye is both fairly common around here. A shot of grass herbicide in the fall and early spring helps control it. Most rye kernals are smaller than wheat so they will be separated to a point but the contamination is going to be in the grain and in the field no matter what we do.

It's a big no no in seed wheat of course so the field is inspected for seed and will be rejected with rye heads at harvest."

Do you see any rye or other contaminants in wheat fields this spring?"


Friday, May 10, 2013

Glyphosate Effects

"Claims have been made recently that glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops sometimes have mineral deficiencies and increased plant disease. This review evaluates the literature that is germane to these claims. Our conclusions are: (1) although there is conflicting literature on the effects of glyphosate on mineral nutrition on GR crops, most of the literature indicates that mineral nutrition in GR crops is not affected by either the GR trait or by application of glyphosate; (2) most of the available data support the view that neither the GR transgenes nor glyphosate use in GR crops increases crop disease; and (3) yield data on GR crops do not support the hypotheses that there are substantive mineral nutrition or disease problems that are specific to GR crops."

"Since the herbicide glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) was commercialized in 1974, it has become the most widely used herbicide in the world, due largely to the wide scale adoption of transgenic, glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops after their introduction in 1996 (Figure (Figure1).1). In GR crops, this relatively high use rate herbicide (commonly 0.5 to 2.0 kg/ha/application) is often used multiple times in a growing season. Use of other herbicides declined steadily, while glyphosate use increased in the three major GR crops (Figure (Figure2).2). The increasing incidence of evolved, GR weeds, as well as weed shifts to naturally glyphosate-tolerant weed species, has resulted in increased use rates and numbers of applications of glyphosate, as well as other herbicides, per growing season in GR crops. Since its introduction, glyphosate has been considered a toxicologically and environmentally safe pesticide, due to its low mammalian toxicity, relatively short environmental half-life, and extremely low activity in soil due to its binding to soil minerals (reviewed by Duke et al.). Furthermore, only green plants, some fungi, and a limited number of microorganisms have the target site, 5-enolpyruvylshikimic acid-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS), of the herbicide. EPSPS is an enzyme required for synthesis of the essential aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan."

The scientific community is starting to get it.  It looks like they think the system is not corrupted as much as I think it is.  What you read in this article does not explain what I saw with my own eyes last summer and years previous.  There is an unknown Entity causing the GR system to unravel.

They may be right.  If we have good yields this summer with few problems, the system IS NOT as corrupt as I think it is.  That gives us more time to study the problems but also gives more time to ignore the problems of a GR cropping system.

I don't see as many Marestail escapes this spring as I've seen in the past.  Farmers are going back to residuals and more sprays per year to control GR resistant weeds.  About that time though the whole explodes in our face again.  I have seen way too many 20 bushel losses of yield to GR resistant weeds in soybeans.

This article alludes to the problems out there but does not pinpoint what I see going on.

What do you think?


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Phosphorous And Algae Bloom

Our fertilized world has caused some problems.  "Public attention on P fertilizer management reached a new high in 2011 when record rainfall in Ohio washed phosphorus from farmers’ fields into Lake Erie, feeding a toxic algal bloom that covered 1,930 square miles—the largest in the lake’s recorded history and more than twice the size as the previous largest bloom in 2008.

But by the mid-1990s, a strange new phenomenon occurred. The algal blooms that were once thought of as a thing of the past began reappearing. And, they were becoming more frequent and toxic.

The blue-green algae blooms made of potentially toxic cyanobacteria began returning in the western basin of Lake Erie at an increased frequency through the 1990s and into the 2000s. But all the while, farmers were becoming more efficient with fertilizer use and were applying at significantly lower rates than they were in the 1970s.

“We don’t see this as an over application problem just based upon the phosphorus being supplied and what’s being removed,” explains CCA Robert Mullen, director of agronomy at Potash Corp. in Wooster, OH. “I would guess that the issue is the general rule of 80–20—that 80% of the problem comes from 20% of the production system. There are times when applications are made in less-than-ideal conditions that can result in a fairly large amount of phosphorus being transported. But, it doesn’t look as if all farmers are the bad players, according to the data.”

It has been proved that wheat in rotation and cover crops alone greatly reduce the amount of Phosphorous in a watershed.  It doesn't only help, it really works.  Phosphorous is so expensive, we can't afford to let it get away but we don't want to see Deficiency on a tissue test, either.

I wish there was a way to correct the 20% and not penalize the 80% who are doing a good job of Phosphorous management.  The new Ohio Fertilizer Law doesn't do that and that alone is not the answer.  It just causes more distrust of government by good farmers.  There is no easy way out.

If every farmer in the watershed just read my daily blog about notill practices, lime and fertilizer management and cover cropping, I don't think there would be much of a problem at all.

Is the answer found in law and enforcement or education?

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fertilized World

"N. Nitrogen. Atomic number seven. Unnoticed, untasted, it nevertheless fills our stomachs. It is the engine of agriculture, the key to plenty in our crowded, hungry world.

Without this independent-minded element, disinclined to associate with other gases, the machinery of photosynthesis cannot function—no protein can form, and no plant can grow. Corn, wheat, and rice, the fast-growing crops on which humanity depends for survival, are among the most nitrogen hungry of all plants. They demand more, in fact, than nature alone can provide.

Enter modern chemistry. Giant factories capture inert nitrogen gas from the vast stores in our atmosphere and force it into a chemical union with the hydrogen in natural gas, creating the reactive compounds that plants crave. That nitrogen fertilizer—more than a hundred million tons applied worldwide every year—fuels bountiful harvests. Without it, human civilization in its current form could not exist. Our planet’s soil simply could not grow enough food to provide all seven billion of us our accustomed diet. In fact, almost half of the nitrogen found in our bodies’ muscle and organ tissue started out in a fertilizer factory.

Yet this modern miracle exacts a price. Runaway nitrogen is suffocating wildlife in lakes and estuaries, contaminating groundwater, and even warming the globe’s climate. As a hungry world looks ahead to billions more mouths needing nitrogen-rich protein, how much clean water and air will survive our demand for fertile fields?"

This is what our National Geographic friends are reading.  What do you think?  The lakes in Ohio have been in the news as the new fertilizer standards are discussed and adapted.  It is a slow process to change our ways.

The SAP test I saw from Holland at Farm to Plate confirmed to me what I've been seeing and that is we generally over nitrate crops and don't feed enough of the other 16 required elements for growing plants.

I have made a concerted effort to balance my soil fertility.  I have grown 200 bushel corn on 120 units of nitrogen.  That is excellent but my friends have done it with 80 units.  My cover crop friends have been able to accomplish that with no purchased nitrogen.

Ammonia nitrate is now blamed for the explosion in West, Texas.  What ignited it?  We need ammonia nitrate to grow food but accidents and algae will keep it high priced and remotely available.

Can we support this population without a 'fertilized world?"