Sunday, June 30, 2013

More Goss

Our good poster friend John Hall in Arkansas posted about his corn that is sick.  I am sure he wonders what that cause is and how he can prevent and cure that problem.

  It is the kind of sick corn we have talked about here the last 3 years or so.  You can't tell from a picture but it help explains the story.  I sent the post to our friend Dr. Huber, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University.  He said "At this distance it looks like 'classic' Goss' wilt at this stage of growth/environmental conditions. It only gets worse. Check with Elisa test (Bob Streit or Amie Bandy), or U. Nebraska Lincoln Plant diagnostic lab. If Goss' confirmed, take remedial action as soon as possible since this is a systemic bacterial disease."

In my experience, it does only get worse.  If those plants aren't already, they will start leaking plant milk and it all goes down from there.  It can't ever heal itself.  There are some curatives that include citric acid but prevention is the best goal as all diseases are.

They are far enough ahead of us in Arkansas that their corn is in the proper stage to see these results.  I will be looking for similar lesions and problems in Ohio corn and neighboring states  I watched out for Stewart's Bacterial Wilt for years as I saw corn highly affected by it but now it is these black lesions on the stalk that start leaking white sap and salting out the plant juices right down the stalk.  I sure think this problem was part of the 125 bu national yield last year and I am very concerned about it this year.

There isn't a doggone thing I can do about it but keep learning about how to keep a non GMO seed clean, how to find it and plant it and how to nurture it once it's in the ground.  That's all we can do.  If I have to spray a curative, which I will, the horse is already out of the barn.

Oh, I wish we didn't have these problems to deal with but we do.  If USDA thinks there are really that many acres of corn this year and it is going to yield blank bushels like their report says, I really wonder what they are smoking up there.

That report is no where close to reality in my mind but I do really hope they are closer to being right than I am.

My corn was sick five years ago but I didn't know what I was looking at.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The First GMO Was Tobacco

A friend on Crop Talk mentioned the first GMO was done with tobacco as the host plant.  I had forgotten that and had to look it up.

"The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1982, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant.[13] The first field trials of genetically engineered plants occurred in France and the USA in 1986, when tobacco plants were engineered to be resistant to herbicides.[14] In 1987, Plant Genetic Systems (Ghent, Belgium), founded by Marc Van Montagu and Jeff Schell, was the first company to develop genetically engineered (tobacco) plants with insect tolerance by expressing genes encoding for insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).[15] The People’s Republic of China was the first country to allow commercialized transgenic plants, introducing a virus-resistant tobacco in 1992.[16]

The first genetically modified crop approved for sale in the U.S., in 1994, was the FlavrSavr tomato, which had a longer shelf life.[17] In 1994, the European Union approved tobacco engineered to be resistant to the herbicide bromoxynil, making it the first commercially genetically engineered crop marketed in Europe.[18] In 1995, Bt Potato was approved safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, making it the first pesticide producing crop to be approved in the USA.[19] The following transgenic crops also received marketing approval in the US in 1995: canola with modified oil composition (Calgene),

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn/maize (Ciba-Geigy), cotton resistant to the herbicide bromoxynil (Calgene), Bt cotton (Monsanto), soybeans resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (Monsanto), virus-resistant squash (Asgrow), and additional delayed ripening tomatoes (DNAP, Zeneca/Peto, and Monsanto).[14] As of mid-1996, a total of 35 approvals had been granted to commercially grow 8 transgenic crops and one flower crop of carnations, with 8 different traits in 6 countries plus the EU.[14] In 2000, with the production of golden rice, scientists genetically modified food to increase its nutrient value for the first time.."

GMO vs non GMO keeps coming up in farmer conversations as the events fail or have problems or people start questioning the science.  Another reader sums it up well:  "think it is the keep your head in the sand and it will go away syndrome, Ed. Too many don’t want to believe the reports like you have shown me with high levels of Formaldehyde in it after using RU.

Not only that if they believe it then they will be forced to do something about it and quite frankly RU made farmers out of people who have no clue about it. Some here will still spray 4 or 5 times with RU so long as Monsanto throws in something extra like generic select for the “escapes” I believe it is affecting our food. I think all GMO is. It just a quick and easy way to overcome short comings instead of learning proper agronomy and respecting plant breeding.

There are too many physical changes happening to plants and animals to explain it any other way. Is RU the sole cause? I doubt it but it is a serious contributor just because of how much is used. And I think it stacks itself for each GMO event you add to the mix. [ I don’t think that is what they were meaning when they came up with the term stacked traits]."

What do you think?

Why do you farm, anyway?

Ed Winkle

Friday, June 28, 2013

Corn Fungicides May Not Pay

As farmers work to increase the productivity of their fields, a study found that fungicides may not pay.  "Unless a corn crop is at risk of developing fungal diseases, a Purdue University study shows that farmers would be smart to skip fungicide treatments that promise increased yields.

Kiersten Wise, an assistant professor of botany and plant pathology, said fungicides used in fields where conditions were optimal for fungal diseases improved yields and paid for themselves. In fields where fungal diseases are unlikely to develop, however, applying a fungicide is likely a waste of money.

"About five years ago, we never used fungicides in hybrid corn. Then there was this push to use fungicides for yield enhancement, even without disease problems," said Wise, who collaborated on findings that were published as an American Phytopathological Society feature article in the journal Phytopathology. "We found that you would have to get a substantial yield increase for a fungicide treatment to pay for itself. We didn't see that yield increase on a consistent basis, and it wasn't predictable."

I worked on a project for BASF when Headline fungicide came out and we found fields that yielded up to 45 bushels more with Headline fungicide.  A neighbor had those same results in a nearby field in 2011 but that is not the norm.

A fungcide does kill the flora and fauna of the soil and many of those are beneficial organisms in a healthy soil.  Healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy livestock and healthy humans is our goal.  Farmers that use calcium nitrate beside the row have healthier crops.  I saw that in Keith's 250 bu corn last summer right beside 50 bushel dead corn.

Do you use a fungicide?  I don't and I don't plan to.  I am striving for a better balanced soil and a better fertility balanced crop.  High calcium lime is a key component to that for me here in Ohio.  I spread several hundred tons of it this spring and my crop looks good.  Tissue testing is revealing what I am deficient in so I can add the nutrients they need.

We tend to over nitrate our crops in America and underfeed everything else.

Every nutrient in balance is a key.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Growing Older

As I was lying around, pondering the problems of the world, I realized that at my age I don't really give a rat's ass anymore.  This summarizes how I felt lately!

.. If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.

.. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.

.. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while  .. A tortoise doesn't run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years. And you tell me to exercise?? I don't think so, but I know I better.

Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Now that I'm older here's what I've discovered:

1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes or raisin bran.

3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.

4. It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get wiser.

5. Some days, you're the top dog; some days you're the hydrant.

6. I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.

7. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.

8. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.

9. It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.

10. The world only beats a path to your door when you're in the bathroom.

11. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees.

12. When I'm finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.

13. It's not hard to meet expenses . . . they're everywhere.

14. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

15. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . .I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm "here after".

I needed to "lighten the load" today and this was my way of doing it.

Got any good ones to add to my list?

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Goodbye 806

This thread caught my eye this morning.

"There is also a rake hooked to it and a mx170 with a Nw Holland br7060 baler down the hill from it. Roads are all closed and cant even get to them to move them. I'm guessing with the 2 inches weve gotten in the last hour that they are under again."

I can see why he would think goodbye 806 International Harvester.  That is the tractor I pulled 40 years ago with a P pump, big injectors and a Schwitzer 3LM turbocharger.  That tractor would compete and out pull about any tractor at the time. 

I remember we were pulling it in the 13,500 lb class around 1975 in the town I would become ag teacher.  We had weights piled all over that poor little 806, it looked like a toad.  I think I pulled in High First and when I hit the spin out tracks, the front end lifted up higher than your head and the tractor walked right past all of those holes.  325 hp was considerable in those days.

I remember the disgruntled looks from the Case and John Deere drivers there who managed big farms with their equipment in that area.  No, I remember outright cursing.  My friend and I had won every farm class that day.  We had it dialed in perfect!  We picked up a case of Schloening Little Kings on the way home.  Do you know how drunk you can get on ale?

The poster is from SW Wisconsin and they had a big rain come upon them too quickly in a flooding area.  I guess they shouldn't have parked the machinery there before the storm.

I remember when  a flood caught dad in a similar situation and he barely got his Super 77 Oliver out of a flooding field.  This picture reminds me of the 60's when I was a teen.  Weather forecasting was not so great then and I wonder if it is any better now.

We had a thunderstorm overnight again but I don't think it rained much.  My Spatial Rainfall Consulting report should be coming any minute.

I want to cut wheat and plant soybeans.  That will have to wait another day or two.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Goss's Wilt?

"On Tuesday, June 18, samples were taken from corn fields in Madison Parish that had both classical leaf symptoms and disease spread pattern of Goss’s wilt in the corn hybrid DK 6694. Unless I have skipped something in the literature and assuming a positive identification of the bacterium, this is the first report of Goss’s wilt in Louisiana.

Why here and why now?  "Suspected Goss’s wilt in corn in Madison Parish Louisiana in June 2013.

During the 2011 corn growing season, there were reports of Goss’s wilt in northeast Louisiana. But upon further investigation, the symptoms were identified as fertilizer burn, herbicide burn and drought symptoms that were widespread that year."  Was the symptoms correctly identified?

This year, the approximately 50-foot-diameter circles of symptomatic plants were found by a local aerial applicator who flew over the field in question"

Why here and why now?  Could it be trait insertion?  Has the molecular pathway for nutrient flow been disrupted?  Is xylem and phloem not working properly?  These are the questions I would ask.

I have reported pink leaves on corn before it dies prematurely coast to coast for three years or so now.  It's in my county and just about everywhere I scout corn.  I have even found it on my own pictures of my own crop and other men's crops years earlier.

After watching the spring of 2013 evolve and seeing the problems of the past show up in different fashion, I am convinced we have a problem with our corn crop.

I have my suspicions but I am afraid we will have to endure a few more or a whole lot more crop crashes before we wake up and really investigate the symptoms and link them to real problems.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Monday, June 24, 2013

Crop Scouting Tour to the Northeast

We left our farm bright and early Friday morning for a 1200 mile crop tour to NY state.  The best crops we saw were right here in southwest Ohio, perhaps one of the garden spots of the nation this year.

The earliest corn is chest high in Fayette and Clinton County.  As you drive north, it gets smaller and smaller with more denitrification and drowned out spots.  The soft red winter wheat all looks good and some is almost ripe but the farther north you get the greener it is as you would expect.  Soybeans are not out of the ground to the second trifolitate, the farther south the better.

We scouted fields in Genessee and Niagra County New York and only half the crop is planted.  Only the driest fields got planted and they have drowned out spots with yellow corn.  We didn't see many soybeans in Pennsylvania or New York this year like we have in the past.  It is too late to plant many of those vacant fields we saw but I am sure some will be planted on a huge risk.  It all depends on the year.

We are getting ready to harvest my soft red winter wheat here on the farm and immediately plant it to double crop soybeans.  We will put the head on tomorrow and adjust the combine and take a swipe each day and go to our local buyers and see what they think of it.  Whoever says here is the price and we agree to it we will deliver to.

The price has been floating under $7.  We could have sold it all for $9.89 last fall but we only took a little.  The last time I did that was 2011 and we had to have others help us fill our contracts.  That is a very risky proposition and I don't like to depend on others for my needs.  I should be self sufficient.  This time I should have sold more than I could raise and helped others with a good price but I didn't know that when I planted this crop.

Posts about wheat have been many this winter and spring and now summer on Crop Talk.  There might have been a few more acres of wheat planted here in the east this past fall and farmers have been sharing information about it before it was planted.

We had a very good trip for our 12th wedding anniversary.  I have a great partner to share my love of family and farming with.  We are very blessed.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our 12th wedding anniversary.  Happy anniversary, LuAnn.  It's been 12 interesting years to say the least with all of life's joys, sorrows and life changing events.

Nearly 14 years ago we found each other thanks to our passion for agriculture.  We still share that and now share it with 11 grand children.

It is interesting to walk down memory lane with you at Geneva on the lake.  We camped here on the weekends 13 years ago as we got to know each other.  Now the state of Ohio has built a beautiful lodge where we first walked together.  The swimming pool would be a great place to bring the grand children.  My how things change in 12 short years.

Thanks for the chance to expand my interest in farming.  I can never repay you for that.  It's wonderful to walk our own crops together, something very special to me.

We have camped in the 48 states and visited all of the National Parks except a couple in Alaska and the mainland.  We have visited all 50 states and Canadian Provinces and many foreign countries on several continents.  I never would have dreamed we would do all of this though our desire was there.

We worked hard to do it together.  It's amazing what a couple operating on the same page can accomplish together.

Happy Anniversary, LuAnn and here's to many more.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Race Across America

The bicycle race across America is creeping by our farm again.  It seems like they are dead tired when they pedal up our hill past our place.

I saw a camper van turn onto our road this morning and motioned them onto our driveways.  The team was from Germany and they were trying to figure out where to meet their cyclist.  One competitor was from Cologne and the camper driver from Hamburg.  We talked long enough to discuss my German background from the Black Forest.  A third was asleep in the back of the van.  The plates said Washington on it so they must have rented it on the West Coast.

The winner already made it to the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland in record time.  He averaged 15.5 MPH coast to coast!  That is pretty good for a bicycle.  These guys and gals are serious cyclists and are lean and mean.

I need to do some cycling myself but haven't been able to convince myself to do it.  I am thankful I can still walk and I can't even do that as far as I used to.

It's time for me to start racing across America doing crop scouting and consulting.  I don't have as much planned as last year when we traveled across Canada.  Many of the beautiful places we saw are currently flooded.

I posted a picture from AgTalk onto my Facebook account where they were rescuing people in the grain bin of a Massey combine near Calgary.

That was something else.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Obama Divides

President Obama has the lowest popularity as a president in history, just like I thought he would.  He has broken President Bush's dismal record which is really going some. That is saying something.

Now he has reportedly offended the few Catholics left in the United Kingdom.    Obama continues to divide but it will be awhile before we see what he conquered.

United Kingdom, think of the word.  The dome of kings.  Have we really outperformed the United Kingdom without a King?  I think we have but I sure don't like the direction our country is going.  How is our economy even functional with this amount of debt.  The world leaders have agreed we can never pay of our debt and will run until it collapses?

Oh well, it's summer solstice already and my soybeans are not ready to flower.  I like to time that pretty close to today.  The longest day of the year has come and gone already but we will have many long nights of growth left this summer.  I can try to time my crops to the seasons but you really couldn't even do that this year.  I can't change the president, either.  All I can do is the best I can.

We have 1000 miles of crop scouting to do this weekend so I am not sure I will get another post on before Monday or not.

If I don't, have a great weekend and I hope we both get a lot done.  It is time to catch up on spraying before the crop canopies over.


Ed Winkle

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Planting Into Rye

This is a picture of my friend Lucas Criswell planting corn into tall cereal rye near Lewisburg, Pa a month ago..  I like the warning he gave our friends "this is not for flatlanders."

I met Lucas at a meeting I was teaching at years ago in Maryland I believe.  He was young and asked lots of questions.  I can see he is really doing well with notill and cover crops.  That is evident after following his posts for many years and watching his progress.  I usually see him at the National NoTillage Conference each January no matter where it is.  I know he was in Indianapolis for the last one.

His post has 22,000 plus views at last count.  That's because lots of guys are watching him and lots of farmers are adding cereal rye to their cover crop rotation.  Conservation Cop said "he is proving those wrong who say this can't be done.

Conservation Cop is Brian Sneeringer, a savvy soil and water man who took a gamble on me about the same amount of years ago to speak at their annual conservation training meeting.  The place was packed and Lucas was sitting near the front row taking notes and asking questions.  Golly, I've had a good life!

To see this younger guys excel just warms my heart.  While I am writing this, my friend Jules in Missouri emails me this.  You can see why some farmers want no part of government programs and how government programs aren't exactly taylored to the way Lucas and others farm today.

As you can see from the picture, Lucas' number one problem is erosion.  The soils I've seen in Pennsylvania are more eroded than mine and mine is eroded way too much.  Read the thread and get a jist of the questions and answers.  Lucas does a good job.

zkeele complimmented Lucas on his Agco tractor.  I wanted to write "guys who drive other colors don't do things like this" but that isn't true either.  You have to be a little rebel to try things like this as Lucas is but only because it can work, it saves soil and there is profit in it.  How else would you farm erodible soils, with a plow?

That didn't work 100 or 200 years ago so here we are notilling into rye so big you can't see over the hood.

I like that.

Good job, Lucas Criswell and good luck at the pulls this summer if you have time to pull.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

$106 Trillion

Nearly half of our national debt is money that "just disappeared."  Our national debt is around $17 trillion and 9 trillion is missing.  How could this be?  Why don't people care?  Brazil has riots over a 10 cent bus fare increase.  China's credit bubble is unprecedented in world history.

How much is $106 trillion?  I have no idea but I feel pretty certain it will eventually crash our economy.  Some say it already has, we just haven't felt the effects of it yet.

"The figure of $106 trillion is only the medium estimate, or $106,954,000,000,000. Even the lowest, extremely conservative estimate comes in at $72 trillion. The highest debt estimate is over $120 trillion.

In the meantime, White House chief of staff Dennis McDonough, congressional liaison Rob Nabors along with other Obama officials has reiterated that U.S. President Barack Obama's position that the purported $4 trillion in deficit reduction would basically solve the problem for now.

GOP deficit projections, as prepared by Johnson and obtained by National Review Online have revealed the true size of the problem. It's disconcerting considering the many seasoned budget negotiators involved.

The deficit amount is so huge that some controversial reforms appear inconsequential in comparison. Take Obama's "chained CPI" proposal: it would save an estimated $89 billion over ten years, or 1.3 percent of the total deficit over those same ten years.

The Senate GOP projection is for 30 years, which encompasses the retirement of the baby boomers, a far more significant problem than the deficits of the past few years.

"In all of these budget negotiations, we're really trapped by this ten-year budget window, which, truthfully, minimizes the problem," Johnson said.

CBO's long-term budget outlook offers two estimates: the "baseline" scenario and "alternative fiscal scenario."

What do you think?  How does our economy continue to limp along?  What will cause it to crash?  I read John Burns from Kansas on Market Talk and no wonder some farmers are squirreling away cash in a form they think will be useful.

Your thoughts and feelings are always treasured here.  Blogger says I have nearly 800 page views per day right now.  I thank all my readers.  Keep emailing and commenting, please.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Aussie Cover Crop Blog

I encouraged a friend in Australia to keep up his new Aussie Cover Crop Blog.  New Zealand and Australia brought us hot wire fencing, mob grazing, turnips, radishes and a whole host of good things to America.  We were blessed to get to see this again this winter.

There are lots of good cover crop blogs and articles available on the Internet.  It is the hot item here in the states.  My friends Dave and Steve has grown a full crop of corn with no purchased nitrogen.  That is pretty amazing when you think about it.  When you walk on their farms, you can tell from the driveway they don't farm like their neighbors.  I will attest to the fact they have both improved the soil tilth, aeration and health.  Their soil was once worn out and plowed to death and now they are living, healthy and sustainable.

I wonder how many cover crop blogs I have written in the past 4 1/2 years?  I bet several hundred of the 1617 blogs I've written focus on or refer to cover crops.  Steve's radishes really got me going when I sowed them with my wheat several years ago and saw the color change at green up.  I increased yield by 12 bushels 3 times in a row and you can still see that first patch on the yield monitor here today.

"An especially interesting part of the workshop for me was the talk on the cover crops as biofumigants in vegetable production. Brassica cover crops including radish, mustard and turnip can suppress pests such as insects, nematodes, weeds and fungi. Because of the ability of brassica cover crops to produce toxic compounds that are effective for suppressing pests, they are called biofumigants. Biofurmigation refers to the process of breaking down brassica cover crops, releasing toxic compounds and incorporating them into the soil.

However, simply planting brassica cover crops does not automatically improve everything, of course. For example, while brassica cover crops improved yields for celery, onion and eggplants in some studies, Dr. Ajay Nair at Iowa State University talked about the study in which musk melon suffered lower yield after brassica cover crops. The cause, he explained, was most likely because the period between biofumigation and melon seeding was too short. Also, when using brassica cover crops as biofumigants, Ajay reminded the workshop attendees to remember to mow all the time as mowing gives biofumigation capacity."

This is just one tiny thing cover crops do for soil, affecting it for years later.  The way some of the guys I've met completely changed their NRCS soil type description is no less amazing.

Every thing we do today affects our productivity tomorrow.

I was taught to leave things better than I found them.  Are we doing that today in modern agriculture?

250 bu green corn with brown husks last year in the center of 5 miles of dead 50 bushel corn tells me we are not.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Monday, June 17, 2013

Preventive Planting Insurance

"A couple of BTOs in my area have planted tiny percentages of their acreage and are talking PP on nearly all their land, sit back , do nothing and draw a big check. It is pretty apparent they have not tried to plant that hard as others in the area such as myself are almost done planting. It has been a very challenging year and I have a few wet spots and some replant on some flooded out acres but I am getting there. Will they be allowed to do this? I guess with the right agent and adjuster it can happen. It just don't seem right. If enough people do this seems like it could ruin the system." Are we "drunk on insurance?"

Preventive planting insurance hit our area in 2011.  It looks like it is hitting again.  We counted 20 fields near us not planted and I don't know if they will go to beans or not.  It looks like not.

Right near those fields others busted their butt to get something planted.  Who was the dummy?  The guy for planting or the guy taking the insurance check?

In any of these situations, each one is entirely different in my mind.  Just do the math and you can see no two farmers are alike in how they try to plant or how they use insurance to offset their risk.

Our good planting days came and went with showers and not much heat.  Stands here look pretty good but there are many empty fields.  I don't know who is right but as the thread suggests, this kind of tactic can't go on forever.

Will large claims cause insurance change?  It always does.  It just bugs the farmers who plant to watch others not plant.

Preventive planting acres are a great place for a farmer to learn how to use cover crops to control weeds, build soil properties and a whole host of things.  Many took advantage of that here in 2011, our record year for cover crops so far.  I asked my friend Bruce, a local Pioneer dealer and go to CCA how his worked?  He said I didn't get a good comparison run but I can't honestly tell you the radishes and peas etc made any difference.

So, is preventive planting insurance worth the cost nationally or is is abused beyond its intent?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father Loss

Yesterday we talked about soil loss, today let's talk about Father Loss or those with no dad around.  I clicked on the Google image just now and there, it was, it's Father's Day!  But one statistic says one out of three Americans have no father in their life.  That's a sad report on our country. 

A radio piece I heard yesterday was worse.  It linked 60-70% of the major problems our society faces to no dad in the picture.  Earlier in the week, the national media showed this guy who has 22 children with 14 wives and he is in and out of jail.  How are we supposed to pay for that as a society?  How are those women and children supposed to cope with no bread winner as the head of household, let alone as physical and spiritual leader?

"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America -- one out of three -- live in biological father-absent homes.  Consequently, there is a "father factor" in nearly all of the social issues facing America today."

"Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.  Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.

In 2008, American poverty rates were 13.2% for the whole population and 19% for children, compared to 28.7% for female-headed households.  Source: Edin, K. & Kissane R. J. (2010). Poverty and the American family: a decade in review. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 460-479."

I know my dad wanted a son and I did my darndest to be a good one.  Sometimes I failed but overall it worked out pretty well.  I know LuAnn's dad wanted a daughter and her brothers still call her "Suz" because their dad did.

What if the other party didn't really want the responibility of that child?  Wonder if the child wasn't wanted at all?  Do they run around in this life with no purpose in life?  Look at all many million of unwanted pregnancies has been terminated over the ages?  Or is it billions of people?

If you have a dad that cares about you today, I say thank the Lord.  I hope you plan something nice for your dad even if it is going to the cemetery where he is buried and just say thank you dad, I love you.  That's the best I can do this week if not today.

Happy Father's day to you dads.  I personally know there are a bunch of good ones who read this page.

If you can't do that, I say a little prayer today for you and your dad.

Saint Joseph was a pretty good dad even though he wasn't the father of his son.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Soil Loss

Our young friend Cody threw out a good topic for this blog, Soil Loss.  "Soil Loss. NRCS "acceptable range" was 2 ton/ac/year when I worked for them. I always thought that 2 tons was still a heck of a lot. I have never ran any figures, but if you could put a price on the nutrients lost/acre/year I bet it would be an eye opener- especially if you compared no till with covers to conventional tillage. Can you put a value on organic matter? Would the quality of organic matter vary from place to place?"

That is an excellent but very difficult question to answer.  I was taught that a well managed notill farm still had up to a ton of soil loss per acre per year.  Yes, that is a heck of a lot of topsoil to go into our tributaries, 2000 lbs of the best soil we have, lost each year, even doing a good job!

With tillage, that figure goes to 10 tons or 20,000 lbs per acre per year very easily.  That is not tolerable to me.  It's not good for my farm, my country or my kids and their future.  Soil loss is heavy again this spring with heavy rains here and worse in much of the Midwest.  Are we entering the tipping point?  Is some of the blame of the three year national slide in yield due to soil loss?  I think the main problem is our narrowing yet contaminated gene pool in our seed which made the weather look more to blame than it was.  A declining soil base to handle crop production at high levels could be third.

How bad is the soil loss in your area this year?  Do you think we have lost too much topsoil?  Are we doing all we can to prevent it?  I have noticed the tributaries are still brown here and were muddy this last big rain we had this week as that storm rolled across the northern tier and touched our area with an inch or more in one overnight storm.

I still remember Dr. Jerry Hatfield talking about the soil loss in one inch rain over 24 hours last year in Iowa.  He called it a slow soaker and yet he saw the tons of soil loss the equations and pictures predicts.

We struggle to put a value on the organic matter or how it varies place to place.  Many farmers will sell off the straw that could be organic matter on their farm in the next month.  Livestock men need the straw but how do we redistribute that properly with manure applications?

I guess I've raised more questions from Cody's question than I answered.

Ed Winkle

Friday, June 14, 2013

Local Harvest

Robb King from Mt. Orab sent me this good link.  It is called Local Harvest and lists many local farms who are trying to make a living providing food and food products to us locally.  I see that as so much better than shopping at my Kroger store.  Kroger has the advantage, they are nearby and have everything I need.  Is it really what I want?

The best local harvest is our own garden.  LuAnn has done a super job trying to get our garden going in this wet year.  She added raised beds this year but all we've had from it is a little onion and lettuce.  Is it really worth the effort?

You have to be dedicated to your garden or your farm.  It must almost always take precedence over other things you have or want to do.  How to seed, fertilize and control weeds is critical to your success of course, that is why gardening and farming are sciences and art and can be down on a low level or a very high level of production.

I had a friend call last night and ask about organic hay production.  He has a neighbor who wants him to help him seed one by doing the tillage and planting.  He said the fellow wants to plant now but my friend suggested they moldboard plow it now and seed it late summer or early fall.  I agree.

I said "'don't guess, soil test," and plow under the lime and manure or any acceptable organic practice of feeding the hay crop.  That can get intense, too.  Do any of you raise any organic crops?

Raising non GMO soybeans for a premium is enough of a challenge for me.  The company I deal with wants all records and maps so they can have them inspected by someone certified like myself during flower and/or at harvest.  We make sure the variety stated is in the field and it has been properly tended to.  No, I can't certify my own so another scout I train with each year would have to inspect my production.

Most GMO companies have abandoned third party inspection and I think that is a problem in the industry.  They say it isn't.  A company rep is going to do everything possible to get the grower's seed production into the system if needed where as third party simply reports what they see by the rule.  I don't disqualify many fields unless they are totally out of compliance but we do often eliminate overlapping borders and note heavy pest problems.  Borders can require and Affadavit that makes the grower and seed producer acknowledge they agree to not put the seed in question into the seed system.

I hope you enjoy and use Local Harvest.  It's a great way to get fresh food and buy local instead of the grocery store.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Story

I love this picture of Aunt Jane holding me in the late winter of 1949, early 1950.  I wish I had a close up.  That sure looks like Jane but that sure doesn't look like me in my mind.

Heinrich Winkle made the big trip from Europe to Virginia in the 1700's. He later moved to Tennessee and his sons Henry and Peter made another big trip to Highland County Ohio in the same century. I am a descendant of Peter, George, Issac, George, and Gerald. They all farmed in Highland County until grandpa George Winkle became the tenant of the Bare Plantation in Sardinia, Ohio in 1918. My dad Gerald was 2 years old.

I was born the last few days of 1949. My dad had purchased his first new tractor, an Oliver 77 that year. He and my mother took over the tenant farming of the Bare Plantation and us three kids helped farm it until we left the farm after our high school graduation to attend the Ohio State University. We all received our Bachelor's Degree there.

I remember grandpa George showing me the difference between a Silver Certificate dollar bill and a Federal Reserve Note. I remember him warning us to to not trust anyone who sawed up your timber or cut up your meat from livestock, and "don't let those damn pinhooker's get you."  They were people who traveled from farm to farm and would buy up your livestock or just about anything for less than it was worth because you needed money at the time. He died when I was 8 years old in 1958.

I did learn from dad, Gerald, or Bucky as they called him that grandpa learned how to plant Reid's Yellow Dent beside Bloody Butcher and obtain a primitive F1 hybrid. They picked out the best ears and kernals to plant the next year. My family raised some of the best corn I knew of in Brown County Ohio. They later planted the first hybrids of US 18 and C-38. One of dad's cousins operated Winkle Certified Seed in nearby Mowrystown Ohio and we planted that until dad planted Moews, Jacques and Pioneer hybrids.

My family has a passion for agriculture, for people, and for education. It is deep in my roots and I saw it first hand when I was able to travel to Europe. I never found where Heinrich came from but Winkle is pronounced Vinckle and our root name is Winckel. Winkel means shop in Europe and you see it everywhere.

I have told these and many stories in my blog on for the last four years. Our family has done very well and I hope you enjoy these stories.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Share Your Story

Share Your Story is an interesting way to preserve the knowledge of your farming family history at the Smithsonian.  Here is picture of this place, nearly 100 years ago.

Here are a few highlights:
"Personal Experience: Changes in agriculture have affected people living on farms, ranches, suburbs, and cities. Have you ever talked to your grandparents about how food is different today? Even if you don’t have a family connection to farming, have you noticed changes in agriculture affecting your own life or the landscape of where you live? Do you think food has gotten less expensive? Do you eat out-of-season fruits and produce?

Technology: What is the role of technology in modern American farming? How has GPS and precision farming changed the way you work? When did computers first come to the farm? Do you have photos or stories about how things have changed?

Biotechnology: What has biotechnology and new hybrids meant to American farmers? Do you have photographs of “walking the beans,” detasseling corn, selecting seeds, and other such experiences? Has the expense of hybrid seeds been worthwhile? When did you first bring new hybrids to the farm?"

Do you think your writer can answer these questions?  Oh, I think he has a few stories to share!  I did submit a short story on my knowledge of the Winkle family history of farming in the US.  I will probably share that tomorrow.

You can see this piece is aimed at Americana but I think we as farmers with some known history about our family history in agriculture should be shared.  I admit this would be a better winter project and it's too busy on the farm right now to do much writing about it.  There are many questions to answer and I did not answer them one by one, though I would like to.

Many of my readers are excellent writers and I encourage to submit an essay about your family history in agriculture in America.  I would love to read your essays.


Ed Winkle

Here is a picture of how this place looks today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


"As dissatisfaction with the U.S. public school system grows, apparently so has the appeal of homeschooling. Educational researchers, in fact, are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years, as more parents reject public schools.

A recent report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year.

As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.

Any concerns about the quality of education children receive by their parents can be put to rest by the consistently high placement of homeschooled students on standardized assessment exams. Data demonstrates that those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile. In addition, achievement gaps between sexes, income levels, or ethnicity—all of which have plagued public schools around the country—do not exist in homeschooling environments."

An increase of 75% is a massive change, that is a lot of children.  As a public educator, bus driver and school board member, the change in attitude is impressive.  This started over 20 years ago in my later years of service.  As a school board member, we did everything in our power to keep our numbers up by offering the best programs with the best teachers we could find.  Our programs were so good that Open Enrollment made our numbers surge.

Remember the vouture discussions?  Public education brought this distrust and failure upon itself but it is not all its fault, either.  Family disintegration started the problem and the recent school shootings have made more parents take on the responsibility of the entire school system.  That is something few can manage well.  We all pay for public education yet fewer are using it.

The problem I see in home schooling is social contact with their peers.  Some of the peers the parents are trying to avoid at an early age, the child will have to deal with when they go out into the world.  How do you get a well rounded, socially involved education?

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Monday, June 10, 2013


"Whenever I look at society, there is one aspect of it that really makes my blood boil! It just sets me on fire. No, it isn't the messed up political system, it isn't heartless corporations hell-bent to make a profit, and no, it isn't our fiat currency that may soon take a tumble. Actually it is a lot closer to home. When I look around my community and see people dying from cancer and other degenerative diseases I get angry--really angry. This shouldn't be happening!

The nutrient delivery system from geological deposits, going to soil, into our food, and finally nourishing our bodies has been broken. To properly function, this nutrient delivery system must begin with ...Calcium.

Calcium is such an important mineral and is absolutely vital to all biology.  Soils display various patterns based on geographical region and past history. I also shared that one of the most common patterns I see in soil is a lack of calcium. I related low calcium to America's faltering health due to low nutrient density of foods. In this email, I want to make the case that if you ignore calcium you do so at your own peril.

Before I jump in, I must say that the pattern of low calcium soil is not universal. There are some soils well supplied with calcium. They may consistently show 5, 10, even 15 thousand lbs. of calcium per acre on the Morgan test. These types of soils are usually found in Colorado, northern Iowa/southern Minnesota, Montana, and a broad selection of Texas. These soils have other problems to deal with like low phosphates and tied up trace minerals. Outside of these areas most soils struggle with low calcium.

Calcium has a tendency to sink out of the root zone and into the subsoil. This problem is exacerbated by high rainfall. Rain is nature's distilled water. As this water comes in contact with soil, its weak acid dissolves a small amount of calcium and carries it into the subsoil. This is why application of various calcium compounds such as limestone and gypsum are needed on an ongoing basis.

Calcium is by far and away the most deficient nutrient in most soils. For most crops I like to see at least 3,000 lbs. available per acre though certain crops such as soybeans prefer less than this. Let's put this in perspective by looking at the units required in lbs. per acre for various nutrients.

Trace Minerals - ones

Nitrogen and Sulfur - tens

Phosphorous, Magnesium, Potassium - hundreds

Calcium and carbons - thousands

While calcium is needed most in the soil in terms of weight it is also most abundantly supplied by calcium deposits all around the world. When I see such a great need and then see such a widespread supply, I see the wisdom of the Creator. All that is needed now is your stewardship. Somehow the calcium needs to be taken out of the ground, processed, and applied on your soil.

Let's look at areas that calcium plays a significant role in:

Soil Calcium to Magnesium ratio - The ideal is 7:1. When it goes lower, the soil becomes sticky. A low ratio also dissipates nitrogen back into the atmosphere causing a need for additional nitrogen. (Corn growers pay attention to this one.) Ca X 1.40 = Calcium Carbonate CaCO4

Needed to Move Trace Minerals - When calcium is abundant in soil and in the plant, its energy helps move trace minerals from the soil into the plant.

Calcium Determines the Volume of Yield - This needs more explanation, but tomorrow's email should help.

Needed for Cell Wall Strength and Integrity - Good quality produce comes from having healthy cells. This same mechanism helps plants ward off insects and disease.

Calcium is Needed by all Biology. In fact, every living cell requires calcium in its structure to be healthy. This includes soil microbiology. If calcium is low, both the plant and the soil microbes compete for the calcium and plants will suffer in the short term.

One of the least understood areas where calcium influences crops and soils is in the area of growth energy." This deserves a future discussion.

My neices husband has been picking my brain a little about calcium and soybean production.  Why do my students do better than I do?  They are younger and more abt to try what I preach even better than I do.

That is great thing.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Soybean yields?

Otto from south Africa posted this on Crop Talk.

"1. Yield variation of less than 2t/ha to 4.5t/ha on the monitor. What really gives me some issue is that good yields are in poor CEC soils (5-7 cec) and the good CEC soils (10-15) (give good corn and wheat crops and good residues). "

Yes, we seem to get as good soybean yields in our poorer soils as we do our better soils. Some speak of ground better suited for soybeans and some suited for corn or wheat or other crops.

I do get as good a soybean yield in my low CEC soils as I do the higher ones. The higher ones seem to out yield the lower CEC soils in corn. CEC may not be the factor.

Remember soybeans originated from China and never got here until my childhood in the 1950's. I remember our first soybean yields in the 1970's and we thought they were big yields, 50-70 bushels per acre. Soybeans thrived here and some of my neighbors have made a living off soybeans their whole lives. We struggle to stay at or get above these yields.

2 ."Calcitic lime seems to have helped and may be has meant more freely available calcium in the low CEC land. How many recommend shooting for 65-70% Calcium saturation over and above getting acidity sorted out. "

I have correlated soybean yield to base saturation calcium and generally the higher the calcium level, the higher the yield.

3.  "I apply 200kg/ha of granular 10:18:24:7s and then 100kg/ha AS. I also did some bands across the field with UREA at 100kg/ha and seem to be able to see that on the monitor. I consider my general fert programmes quite generous and would not say this is low testing ground. I put this urea on late because in our experience too much N early can cause too much vegetative growth-hence v.poor yield."

I can yield an economic return from fertilizer to soybean yield and profit on any soil. They need to be treated as a first crop, not a second crop. I am using 100 lbs AMS to melt down residue and feed microbes with a similar amount of phosphate and potassium fertilizer per crop with good results. Better than when I don't use any but I cannot show you exact figures. I add micronutrients from the last crop tissue result. Still, we seem to be stuck in a rut yield and profit wise.

If I add 100 lbs of calcium pellet lime to urea or AMS, I seem to stimulate the calcium nitrate sulfur complex with AMS and the soil looks and acts healthy and the crops are good.

4. "ABM innoculant does not appear to work (planter box graphex) even at double rate. Care has been taken to put no moly on seed-could be the syngenta Apron Star? I do put moly in foilar sprays. Leaf tests at flowering show no obvious deficency-although N is on the low side."

This is where we are really different as I've seen good results from every ABM product. What is the difference? I do not know.

What causes your 4.5 tonne yields compared to your 2 tonne yields? What causes my 70 bushel yields from my 50 bushel yields? Everything I wrote above seems to get me closer to that 70 bushel or his 4.5 tonne yield level.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Root Development of Field Crops

Chimel posted this link in a discussion we had on Raising Organic Matter on Crop Talk.  It's a good primer on root development of various crops.  This helps me understand why I grow certain crops and when I grow them.  Cover crops has greatly modified this root development in soils the past few years.  Soybeans were not prominent in the US when the book was written so its root development is not included.

If you read how they did these studies, you can see it was hard, tedious work!  I do the same in poor fashion when I can find someone willing to run a backhoe for me.  That is usally when I am repairing tile and I can get to the depths the author discusses in this book.

We have been talking about rye this week so let's look at its root development from the book.  "Rye (Secale cereale) is an annual and, like winter wheat, makes a good growth when planted in the autumn. Only rarely is it sowed in the spring. Upon germination, it rather regularly produces a whorl of four roots which constitutes the primary root system, thus differing from the other cereals which usually have only three. The mature root system is very similar to that of oats and spring wheat.

Mature Root System.--Plants were grown near Lincoln on rich silt loam soil underlaid with a moist but hard clayey subsoil. The tops at harvest time were 5.5 feet tall and the maximum root penetration was 5 feet. Relatively few roots extended so deeply and the working depth was about 4 feet. Similar depths of penetration were found for Rosen rye growing in an adjacent field, although the tops were 6.5 feet tall. In both cases, the roots were exceedingly well branched to the working depth. In fact, branching is usually better developed in rye than in wheat or oats when growing in the same kind of soil and under the same conditions of moisture. This is one reason why rye is adapted to drier climates than wheat and will thrive on poorer and sandier soils than any of the other cereals. It sometimes produces a fair crop under adverse conditions where other small grains would fail completely. In this connection, the work of Nobbe (1869) is interesting. 147 He compared, measured, and counted the roots of winter wheat and rye plants grown in soil when 55 days old. He found that the roots of the first to the fourth order numbered 16,000 in rye and 10,700 in wheat. The combined lengths of these roots measured 118 and 82 meters, respectively."

Let's contrast that to wheat as I have used both crops heavily to protect and build my soil.  "Development of winter wheat under measured environmental conditions has been thoroughly studied at Lincoln, Nebr. 226 A strain of Turkey Red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), known as Kanred, was grown. It was drilled 2 inches deep in fertile silt loam soil on Sept. 20, and the growth both above and belowground recorded at 10- or 15-day intervals. Growth conditions were very favorable during both years of the experiment, and the crop developed normally.

Early Development.--Ten days after sowing, when the second leaf was about half grown, the roots were excavated (Fig. 64). The number of roots varied from two to five, but nearly all of the plants had three. The primary roots were deepest, extending to maximum depths of 8 to 9 inches. While these roots took a rather vertically downward course, the others usually ran obliquely outward, often later turning downward. The fairly abundant supply of laterals was scattered quite irregularly, the best-branched portions of the root giving rise to 12 or more per inch.

Mature Root System.--At maturity, winter wheat has a very extensive root system. As with other cereals, the abundance of roots, lateral spread, and amount and length of branching, as well as the depth of penetration, are quite variable in different kinds of soil and under different climates. A representative specimen of the Turkey Red variety is shown in Fig. 73. It was grown in moist, rich, silt loam soil near Lincoln. The tops were 3.8 feet high and the heads were well filled. Most of the numerous thread-like roots penetrated rather vertically downward, others ran obliquely downward but seldom reached a greater spread than 6 to 8 inches from the base of the plant. Still others ran out parallel with the soil surface for short distances before turning downward.

The working depth was found at approximately 4.4 feet, and the maximum root depth was 6.2 feet. Beginning just below the surface and extending to a depth of 4 feet, numerous profusely branched laterals filled the soil. These light-colored roots showed very plainly in the black earth. They were covered with dense mats of root hairs, the rootlets intercrossing in the jointed subsoil in such a manner as to give a cobwebby appearance. It is quite impossible to show these finer roots and all their branches in the most detailed drawing. Below 4 feet, the roots were less abundant but still well branched and supplied with root hairs.' The last 6 inches of the deeper ones were poorly branched with laterals which were only a few millimeters in length."

This makes me want to dig up my wheat crop as it fills kernals.  What have I done compared to these old studies and how has wheat and rye changed in 75-100 years.  Our yields have went up but how has the plant changed to accomplish that?  I don't see our soils changing that much and I am just getting them back to where they might have been 50 years ago when they were plowed and rotated.

It's an interesting piece and I struggle to improve yields and profit while trying to improve my native soil after the way its been treated at the same time.

Ed Winkle

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rolling Rye

Rolling down a rye cover crop is an effective way to control glyphosate resistant weeds.  This is an interesting video about using rye ahead of cotton but those principles will work on other crops like soybeans or corn.  If you watch this video for two minutes, you will see smut on rye like we find in wheat or barley.  Look for the black heads  This will not be a disease problem for the crop following like cotton or soybeans.  The principles in this video are worth studying and considering.

Rye is the number one cover crop I've seen in my area this year.  There are more acres of rye than any other cover, though if it had radish in it, the radish is long gone and the most you might find is the holes the tubers disappeared into.  This has saved millions of tons of soil like fescue has been credited for in the south since its introduction.

Even our smallest vendors are selling every bit of rye they order here.  You have to get your order in early if you want to plant cereal rye as a cover.  I got mine up in October last year but many years you won't even see it until it warms up in late winter and spring.  It has been headed for over a month here.  It's amazing how many more acres there are of cover crop in southern Ohio.

Rye has been my number one control of the dreaded Marestail here.  Marestail is pretty much gone in my fields if I can keep staying ahead of it.  It quickly costs 10 bushels of soybeans per acre and 20 with a bigger infestation in southwest Ohio.

We are going to have to stay on top of our control of rye if we use it.  It doesn't mix well in rotational plan using wheat.  I've never seen so much wheat with rye in it, either.  There are problems with any system you can come up with but the advantages of rye far outweigh the disadvantages of using it.  I reserve the right to change my tune, though.

We have enough rye here someone should probably try to harvest it and sell it for seed.  The problem is it only make 25-40 bushels per acre.  It is not a high yielder but the last rye I saw sold for $17 a bag, cleaned.  That is getting close to a good profit and you could still take off the straw and/or drill it to double crop soybeans or plant a soil builder to raise corn the next for practically nothing.  No purchased fertilizer is a big boon to good crop production.

What is going on with rye in your area?

Ed Winkle

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mud Pies

Do you remember making mud pies as a child?  I do and I think my sister will too.  Lots of farmers made mud pies in their crop fields this spring across the US.

Our daughter Becky showed this picture of our grandchildren making mud pies of themselves near Lake Erie, the place where all the algae is.  I really liked it so I included it today.  You can easily tell our daughter doesn't mind a little dirt in exchange for childhood memories.  That almost makes me wallow in the mud myself though that would be the picture of a fat hog in mud.

Do you have mud pies or dry soil?  We have been a little wet all spring so planting is just finishing up in southwest Ohio and most fields can be rowed now.  That's a lot better than we were a month ago.

My friends in Iowa and Minnesota are fighting to even have a crop.  Many acres will be not be planted because the Preventive Planting insurance pays better than the possible risk of planting in these areas.  Still, a farmer plants and most my friends will plant until it is way to late and take their learning curve blows as they happen.  That's what farmers do is plant but insurance has changed that a little in recent years.

One fellow even asked about mudding in beans with a drill versus the row unit pressure of a corn planter.  That's how wet it is in many parts of the midwest.  We had a light shower last night, just enough to keep me from planting my last 10 acres.

City people may not like our mud pies on the farm.  We can't help it, we have to like them, they are a part of life.  Relations with neighbors can be a problem so today I am thankful we have good neighbors.  They like our mud pies and understand country life.

My advice today is if Mother Nature throws too much rain at you today, make a mud pie!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One Big Tree

Tonight I showed LuAnn the tree I can't reach half way around.  I think it is an ash tree over 200 years old.  Those are rare around here and probably rare anywhere.  The picture shows the leaves up about 80 feet off the ground and you can see a big limb has been blown out of it.  It must have a 30 foot log about 170 inches around or more.  I used the telescoping lens to take this picture from the ground!

The Ash family is in the Olive family of trees.  They thrived here until the Emerald Ash Borer has about wiped them out.  We were walking at Cowan Lake and the campers were sad the the state is taking out all the ash trees because of the borer.  The campground will be naked.

What is the biggest tree at your place?  I bet those trees could tell a whale of lifetime of stories if they could talk.  I know this one could.

"Ohio’s Big Tree Program is a voluntary endeavor to locate, measure, record, and appreciate the largest tree species in our state. The Ohio Division of Forestry is pleased to provide a mechanism that promotes these living monarchs and their environmental legacy. Designation as a Big Tree, through this program, does not confer any special legal status, ownership, or protection.

You can help.

Ohioans can help find more champion-sized trees in back yards, community parks and cemeteries across the state. Big Trees are generally found in yards, parks, arboretums and cemeteries where their size stands out. They are less frequently found in dense forests where trees have much more competition for growth.  The Division of Forestry accepts nominations for potential champions. Anyone can nominate a tree. When two trees of the same species are within 5 points of each other they are considered co-Champions. The deadline for entry is July 1 each year.

Nominating forms for Ohio’s Big Trees are available on this site.

Ohio is currently home to 10 national champion Big Trees on the Big Trees registry maintained by American Forests, a conservation organization based in Washington, D.C. Since 1940, American Forests has documented the largest known specimens of every native and naturalized tree in the United States. Each Big Tree receives a score based on trunk circumference, crown spread and total height."

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Focus on Wheat

I just got back from crop scouting from here to Chillicothe and back on various roads.  I can report there are good stands of corn and soybeans along SR 28 no matter which road you drive.  Today my focus is on wheat, my next crop to harvest.

We raise SRWW from Missouri to the Eastern Shores.  It is a soft, doughy wheat used for pastry flour and crackers.  Ohio used to be known for the wheat in Oreo cookies, though I am not sure that is true today.

The wheat all looked good during my journey.  It is well pollinated and looked golden from my windshield but greenish when I stopped to look at it.

Now if we would have all sold it for $9.89 before planting, that wheat just my have paid to plant.  Since we didn't, we have to take what the market bears.  That is about $7 per bushel around here today.

That GMO wheat in Oregon was just enough to scare an over laden wheat market, no matter the type, to not increase in price when other fundamentals says it should.

I had the choice of planting $20 worth of rye seed on some of my acres last fall or $55 per acre for wheat seed.  Since it was early, I chose the wheat seed.  I thought I might sneak an extra crop into my rotation without punishment and so far I have.

The punishment is usually disease and so far we have escaped most of it, though we could have had a lot of Barley Yellow Dwarf and and a whole host of other disease.

I am pretty happy where I am so I won't raise a stink here.  Things could always be a little better but they could also be a whole lot worse.

I love this picture a farmer posted on Crop Talk a while back about down wheat.

I haven't made wheat fall down ever so this makes me feel really good.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Commercial Farming?

I noticed from Gorges comment that his interpretation of the purpose of my blog is to talk about commercial farming.  Commercial farming?  If I give off those airs then I am not doing a good job.

If you asked me why I write this blog, it would be to share my passion of farming.  As I age, my passion wanes.  As I get more grand children, my focus wanders.

I do try to focus on hot farming topics and my dealings with them.  My personal problems or family matters nver got many hits, but write something like the seed is worth more than the planter and you go from 50 hits to 1000 hits.

I am not here to produce numbers but I figure the more people who read a story get more encouragement from it.  That may not be true at all.

What is commercial farming anyway?  You have Parker Brothers across the street, a family farm around 2500 acres.  You have Cochran Farms the other direction, dad and son.  You have a lot of small farms around me, some rented out, some still farmed by the owner.  What is commercial farming, anyway?

Farming is a very broad subject.  I tend to focus on corn, soybeans, and wheat and the way I produce them, which is notill or non tillage production of these crops.

Commercial farming has gotten a bad name.  I think people confuse it with corporate farming.  Corporate farming to me is when the seed company I buy seed from competes with me for land to farm.  Most people see them as people only interested in the money from the operation, not the feeling or esthetics of farming.

When I chose my career of agricultural education, at least I gave myself a chance at farming.  I know many ag educators who have little to do with the land and others who seem like teaching is a second career to farming.  Those are rare.

What do you think of when you here the words, commercial farming?  Is that like commercial fishing?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Thank You Jerry

This last week or two I have been wondering, why do I even write this blog?  I see the readership numbers  but do they really know how I pour out my heart, soul and prayer on this effort?  Do they really read it and get anything out of it?  I started writing this for my own therapy and if it helps one soul, I guess it is worth it.

Some days, many days, it is difficult to come up with a topic.  Other days I hear something or see something and voila, there is my topic!

I got a phone call from Jerry in Iowa yesterday.  I called him back today and he reminded me why I do this.  It is not only therapuetic to me, but to others, also.

I write to give you encouragement.  That goes for Jerry and everyone else reading this blog.  I encourage you to give me topics and ask questions!  Jerry has been reading for awhile and we know a lot of the same people so we talked about almost everything I've written here in 4 years.  I ask Jerry and all readers to go back and read the older blogs, they are still current today!  Some things have changed because we learned more and other things haven't, we just need to put them into practice more.

One thing we did talk about was this calcium, nitrate, sulfur relationship.  We need to try the proven programs and experiment a little and find out what works best for us.  I still don't have a constant source of ammonium nitrate so I am fudging a lot.  That is why I went to Midwest Labs, because the popular Mehlich III soil test results were confusing me.  The numbers have too many fudged numbers in them because of that quick and dirty soil test.  I like the slower, higher priced extraction method better.

I've not seen anything more effective for the dollar or the effort than Jeff's 2 gallon of liquid calcium nitrate applied 2 inches off the row with 8 gallons of structured water.  The farms that switched to that one little  idea reported 19 bushels more corn per acre.

Thanks Jerry for the encouragement back.  That will keep me going awhile and I hope to see you before the Farm to Plate Conference in Riverside, Iowa December 10-14.

Today's picture is 3 years ago today.  There isn't any corn around here that size today but unlike some of the midwest we do have it planted.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tracking Phosphorous

Drain tile have worked overtime in much of the midwest this spring.  "But this pipe is different. It is fitted with a tube that sucks a portion of the drain water into a sampling bottle.

A few yards away is another device that samples stormwater that flows along the top of the field toward the same ditch.

For at least the next three years, rainwater runoff from this field and 29 others across Ohio will be collected and tested. They’ll help a team of scientists from Ohio State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture measure how much phosphorus it contains.

Phosphorus is a byproduct of manure and fertilizers in farm runoff water. It’s the stuff that is finding its way into Ohio lakes, including Lake Erie, Buckeye Lake and Grand Lake St. Marys, where it helps blue-green algae grow into toxic blooms that threaten wildlife and billions of dollars in tourism.

The study could be key to devising plans to reduce phosphorus runoff from farms.Farm groups, including the Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, have matched a $1 million USDA grant to fund the effort."

All drain tile do is lower the water table so we can do a better job of farming.  I am glad someone like Terry is helping demonstrate how much phosphorous does come out of drain tile so farmers can learn how to use only what their soil can store.

Most of my soils are phosphorous deficient according to my Midwest soil test results.  To over apply phosphorous, I would have to spend more money than I am willing to spend on my crop.  That may not be true to those in heavy livestock areas where it is a challenge to find enough acres to spread all the manure that is generated.  It's a distribution problem as much as anything.

The algae bloom didn't happen by itself.  Unlike climate change, I think we have had our share of impact on this problem.  What do you think?

I think Terry and farmers like him can help teach others how to reduce nutrient flow into our lakes and streams that do cause algae bloom.

Ed Winkle