Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sign of the Heart

A neighbor and I were talking last week and he told me about mowing Canada Thistle in the sign of the heart and the weeds dying.  I looked it up and here it is

"There are certainly many control methods offered by specialists and others who claim success in killing this weed.  If you’ve been around older farmers who follow moon signs, then you might have heard this one:  “Mow Canada thistle when the (zodiac) sign is in the heart and they will bleed out and die”.

Well, unfortunately there isn’t research to back up this method.  Some specialists offer that a combination of practices including mowing, tillage and herbicide application can effectively control Canada thistle.  Other ideas have been researched including planting Sudangrass in early June as a summer cover crop in areas heavily affected by Canada thistle.  There is on-going research by the University of Illinois with northern Illinois farmers planting Sudangrass.  Findings from this study are that the Sudangrass out competes Canada thistle because it grows taller and basically smothers it  .

Weed scientists do agree that an herbicide application to control Canada thistle is most effective in the fall.   This is because the plant is looking to recharge its root system for a flush of growth around the time of the first frost.  A systemic herbicide with active ingredients such as glyphosate, 2,4-D, dicamba, or aminopyralid applied at this time will move to the same plant parts as the carbohydrates needed for growth.

Some recent research suggests that fall applications of herbicides to control Canada thistle can wait until late October or early November.  Mark Loux, an Ohio State University Extension specialist, feels that herbicides are most active after a frost with perennial weeds.  He notes that Canada thistle should be 8 to 12 inches tall when applying herbicide in the fall (Ohio State C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2010-33)."

Canada thistle is making a comeback even though glyphosate seemed to wipe it out for awhile.  It hasn't been this heavy since we started using Basagran to control thistle 30 years ago.

I have a bunch to wipe out so I've been reading up on it and thought it might make a good topic today.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Farmers, paid scouts of all kinds and interested suppliers are scouting fields all over the world as I write this.  It's kind of amazing if you think about it.  We invest so much money in a crop, it behooves us to watch its progress to see how it is doing.  Plant stands have been taken now in America so I imagine most are scouting for weeds, insects, and diseases.  Now would be a good time to pull plant tissue for a plant tissue test in flowering corn, soybeans, spring wheat and other crops.

Corn pollination is being closely watched across the midwest.  Pollination is critical to full yield.  There are some problems but overall, pollination seems to be going pretty well.  Many notice some of the longest silks they can remember in recent history.  Excess water and temperature extremes have caused the corn plants to make sure there is enough silk for pollen to fall onto.

I just finished scouting 2,000 acres of soybeans bound for Asian delivery next year.  Overall that crop is in good shape.  The main reason I am there is to ensure the variety the buyer wants to buy is the one planted in the mapped fields.  I only found a couple of problems, probably due to seed mixups.  Clear or yellow hilum soybeans are in demand again around the world to make tofu and various foods containing soybeans.

While I am there, I check crop and field conditions, field borders, and identify every weed, disease and insect problem I find in that field.  Marestail and Giant Ragweed is marked in almost every field.  Most fields have only a light or low population but some are moderate populations and some fields have heavy areas of weeds where weed control failed.  I mark my scouting forms accordingly.

I've enjoyed walking fields since I was able to walk.  I like to teach others what I've learned also so I've trained many scouts.

How do crops look where you live?  The crop looks so good the market has taken $2 off the corn crop for fall delivery and $3 per bushel off the soybean crop.  This is cause for great concern when the farmers budget was predicting a higher price next year.  Extra bushels this year may offset this lost and it may not.

Scouting with the spray rig doesn't count.  You've got to get out and cover every acre of every field all summer if you really want to see what is going on in your fields.

That's the game of farming.

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 29, 2013

Support Your County Fair

Agricultural fairs have a rich history in the development of agricultural practices in the United States.  It's also always been a social affair to meet with family, friends and neighbors over a central theme, agriculture.

"The Greene County Agricultural Society is first mentioned in the Commissioners’ Journal in June 1833. It was through an order by the Commissioners that, “...notice be given in the Xenia Territory...that there will be a meeting held at the Court House in Xenia on the last Friday in June for the purpose of organizing an Agricultural Society to be entitled the Greene County Agriculture Society." Officially, the Society was organized on July 30, 1834.

While the State Legislature made fairs possible in 1837, the first recorded fair was held in and around the Court House square in 1839, which makes the 2013 Greene County Fair, the 174th one to be held. The Court House became too small to house all the displays of produce and needle work, so, during the second year of existence, the Society leased land near Xenia on Columbus Pike where the fair was held for the next 13-14 years."

This is a typical description of the evolution of county fairs in Ohio.  If you have followed me for four years now in this blog, you know my affection with the county fair.  It was where I learned to exhibit and increase the quality of my passion, production agriculture.  It is great to see grand children already enjoying the same thing I did.

I love to judge at county fairs.  Judging skills require study, experience and quick thinking that is valuable in any career today.  Today I judged produce at the Greene County Fair, something I really enjoy.  I have a feeling we may lose our county fairs or trim them down to try and keep them profitable.  All profits usually go right back into expanding a fair and making it better.

If you like something like the produce or flower or photography exhibits, let your fair board know.  It would make a great "letter to the editor" for your community to see.  I enjoyed these shows before I ever was asked to be a judge of one.  They are that educational to me.  4-H is a fantastic organization and yes I got my start in 4-H in the third grade.  I expanded and developed that knowledge through FFA.  Some fairs only have 4-H shows but I see the value in both junior and senior fair exhibits.  The whole family needs to be involved if they want to be.

Produce is a basic foundation of fairs that should never be lost.  I hope it never will be.  Every citizen has an opportunity to grow something and enter it no matter where they live or what they do for a living.  Food production is vital to our society and every citizen ought to be involved in it, even if it is in a small way.  If you don't like growing food, at least you can enjoy the work of those who do.

That's my take on county fairs, what is yours?  Let's all write a letter to the editor and contact our fair board about what we LIKE about our county fair.  They hear enough complaints.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weed Killers and Depression

This was posted in the Cafe.  "NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Farmers who used weedkillers were more than twice as likely to be treated for depression than farmers who didn't use the chemicals in a new study from France.

Whether the weedkillers are causing depression "is not clear," said Marc Weisskopf, the studys lead author and an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. "But (the result) suggests we should not be ignoring herbicides just because they're targeting plants."

Earlier research on depression and pesticides has focused on insecticides, particularly organophosphates, which are known to be toxic to nerve cells, said Weisskopf.

Monocrotophos, the insecticide that killed 23 school children in India this month, is an organophosphate, for example.

The use of pesticides has also been linked to Parkinson's disease among farmers.  As part of a study on Parkinson's disease, Weisskopf and his colleagues assessed the risks for depression with exposure to any kind of pesticide by surveying 567 French farmers about their use of fungicides, insecticides and herbicides."

I do have friends who don't spray their own crops because when they sprayed their own, they felt some pesticides compromised their health.  I've taught pesticide eduation since 1987 and the main thing you learn is how the label varies from product to product.  RTB as Richard Young says, or Read The Book.  The pesticide label is usually a million dollar investment or more of the company registering a pesticide with the EPA.

As a Commercial Pesticide Applicator in Ohio, I spend a lot of time reading pesticide labels.  I just put a heavy dose of Classic herbicide from DuPont on our double crop soybeans.  This was after spreading a ton and a half of Eagle high calcium lime in April.  I am more concerned about carryover of the herbicide to corn next year than I am of depression in myself.  The weeds are dying nicely this morning.

What do you think the worst health risk is on your farm?  Pesticides?  Your grain or hay storage?  Farm machinery?

We are looking at a record low of 54 degrees F. for the Cincinnati area tonight.

Have a blessed Sunday,

Ed Winkle

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Souped Up Farm Tractors

I've always liked souped up farm tractors.  My passion started as a child when dad's Oliver 6 cylinder 77 model tractor was the local pull out tractor when a neighbor got stuck.  We learned to pull about anything out.

After 10,000 hours of hard work, we had to do a valve job on it.  When I saw those big thick meaty sleeves inside the Waukesha, I always wanted to drill those sleeves out and install larger pistons with more compression.  I got to do that myself in 1973 when I bought an Oliver 88 that worked the ground where people play on the grounds of King's Island Amusement Park near King's Mills, Ohio, today.

I had met a Mennonite mechanic by the name of Lawrence Gingerich of Plain City, Ohio. and we learned that Deere had hired Oliver's best engineers away from Oliver.  The 4010 gas piston fit the wrist pin of the Oliver 88 so we kept milling down 4010 pistons to fit in my Oliver.  I ended up with a "square engine" of 4 inch bore by 4 inch stroke.  The compression went from 100 lbs to 260 lbs.  That tractor would squall and I had my souped up farm tractor.

I campaigned that tractor in the Ohio State Tractor Puller's Points race for several years.  I finally won the 7000 lb Out Of The Field Stock Class in 1977.  Visual modifications were limited to safety equipment so you hid your power under the hood.

My brother in law Tom Bow and his son Zach got to visit us this week on the way home to Scottsdale from Naples, NY where they have been working the past two months.  We took them to the Clermont County tractor pull for the farmer pulls.  There was my neighbor Marty Quigley with his beautiful stock looking 1175 Case that looks like it rolled off the showroom floor.

Looks are deceiving as that is one hopped up farm tractor.  He nailed the throttle, the smoke flew, he dumped the clutch, and a few seconds later he was sitting at the 350 foot marker.  His hair blew over his head and he was sitting there with a big grin.  That's my passion, right there.

I don't know what's under the hood, but I bet it's a lot of cubic inches fed with about double the fuel and air that tractor came out with.  He made the most outstanding pull of the night, by far.  People forgot about the T shirts the announcer was shooting out to the crowd with an air gun.

It was great to see my Tractor Trouble Shooting coach Richard Young presented a memorial weight scale at the fair last night.  He and many of my former students were honored for their dedication to making that pull happen.  For Richard, it was since 1976 when a friend and I won every class they had that year from 5000 lbs to 13,500 lbs.  It was quite a day.  We loved to soup up farm tractors back then and I still enjoy it today.

Did you ever soup up a farm tractor?

Ed Winkle

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wild Crop Cousins

"Wild cousins of 32 crops including wheat and sugarcane could add as much in $196 billion of value at the farm-gate level by boosting yields and resilience, according to research by PWC for Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.

The current value to farm crops from higher productivity and disease and stress resistance derived from wild relatives is now estimated at $42 billion for 29 of the world’s most important food crops and $68 billion when corn, soybeans and sugarcane are included, PWC wrote in an e-mailed report today.

Kew has set up the Millennium Seed Bank partnership to prepare for future climate change, and aims to store seed from 25 percent of the world’s plants suitable for saving by 2020. Between 60,000 to 100,000 plant species face a threat of extinction, according to Kew.

"Adapting agriculture to climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time," Ruth Eastwood, coordinator for Kew’s Crop Wild Relatives Project, was cited as saying in the statement. "Crop wild relatives are already being used to make improvements to our food crops right now, but they are underutilized."

These seed banks will be invaluable in my opinion.  Some seedsmen are having difficulty finding any seed that does not contain glyphosate.  When it rains, is it raining glyphosate?  The readings I am seeing tells me yes it is.

If you find pure seed, where can you grow it so it won't become contaminated?  I am not sure that is possible.  I am getting more and more questions from the public about GMO's and I can't answer their questions.  I can encourage them to shop at Farmer's Markets and produce all the food they can, even in a small garden.  Many won't take the time to do it like you and I do so they are dependent upon the food system to supply their food.

Seed banks will be very important to our children and grandchildren.

Learn more about growing food and how food is grown.  It behooves us to not take our food for granted.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Organic Religion

A farmer posted his view and questions about the "organic religion" in some parts and some families of America.  I started reading the various views and it made me wonder, at what point in time did food become inorganic or non organic?

"You got me thinking now. My food as a child was pretty much organically produced. We did not use commercial fertilizer or pesticide, merely crop rotation. We were probably some of the last people to use commercial fertilizer and pesticides. Pesticide choices were limited when I was a child and farmers weren't taught yet how to use them where I was raised.

We did start using commercial fertilizer, remember the 80 lb bags? That kept child labor at bay because we couldn't lift them until we were older. I remember using the first 2,4-D on the farm, not sure what year. I remember sucker control coming to the tobacco patch and di ethyl stilbesterol to the feedlot. That's about it."

If you follow the population curve, it started up before what I would call inorganic or non organic food production started.  The main problem in starving people has mainly been distribution over the ages.  Today's waste of food is unbelievable.  Man has migrated to food sources over the ages until mainstream agriculture brought food to where he lives.  Man could create non-food related jobs and the number of people who aren't directly involved in food production continues to rise.

I've been accused of the no-till religion but never the organic religion.  That may change.  The best food source we have is our garden and it's as close to organic food as anyone could find.

After learning "inorganic ways," I figured out we were raised like the Amish, we just didn't follow their strict religious beliefs.  Dad had a team of horses, we had one tractor and we farmed more like that sect than anyone does today except the Amish themselves.

LuAnn has been buying "organic milk" on sale.  She says the taste puts regular milk to shame.  When not on sale, it costs twice as much.  Some people buy organic every day, we don't.

It's an interesting debate among farmers.  I love any kind of agriculture, organic or not.  I respect those who do it and those who understand it.  Food production just really interests me, it's the staff of life.

Thank you Lord for our daily bread, spiritual and physical.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sick Corn

A local friend sent some pictures of his corn today.  It's that typical black lesion under the ear leaf we've been seeing now more each year.  You know what I think the cause of it, read my past blogs about it.  Take a look at Will's Interesting Links on the UK Farming Page, but you can spend a day on them!

My friend wondered what it was.  I didn't give him the big spiel, I just told him to get hold of some Procidic and get 2 ounces on per acre.  There is a whole recipe of chemistry being used on this problem in some of my friend's fields.

"The following would be my BMP (Best Management Practice)

1 qt/acre of household ammonia

2 ounces/acre Procidic

8 to 16 ounces/acre non EDTA micro nutrient package

4 ounces/acre Hydrogen Peroxide

1 lb/100 gallon of solution dry ice

16 ounces/acre Molasses"

This problem used to be isolated in GMO fields but now it has moved into non GMO corn also.  Scout your fields and look for this problem.  It is easy to find anywhere I go.

Every person who has asked me what are you scouting for gets this answer:  In corn, look for those black lesions on the stalk below the ear leaf.  When they leak plant milk, yields go down.  Corn will probably die immature.  Look for pink leaves as it senesces.

I would send stalk samples to the University of Nebraska Plant Pathology Lab or Michigan State here on the east side of the states.  Both labs know how to diagnose Goss's Wilt or similar diseases.

Are you looking at healthy green corn?

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Discover the Cover

I found a new catchy phrase for cover crops at a Soil and Water display yesterday.  It's called discover the cover and yes we are discovering!

Cover crops are the hottest thing to hit the countryside since we started no-tilling.  It makes sense to me as "soil was meant to be covered" and "tillage is a catastrophic event in nature."

"Cover crops can be an integral part of a cropping system. Cover crops can be managed to improve soil health, as they help to develop an environment that sustains and nourishes plants, soil microbes and beneficial insects.

Cover crops are typically planted in late summer or fall around harvest and before spring planting of the following year’s crops. Examples of cover crops include rye, wheat, oats, clovers and other legumes, turnips, radishes, and triticale. Planting several cover crop species together in a mixture can increase their impact on soil health. Each cover crop provides its own set of benefits, so it’s important to choose the right cover crop mixture to meet management goals."

The "tillage radish" lit the match to light the fire to discover the value of cover crops.  New Zealand brought us electric fencing, mob grazing and the tillage radish.  The tillage radish does things for the soil I can't describe in one blog.  Look back, and you will find many of my blogs on this subject.

I found a big healthy one on the edge of our sweetcorn patch yesterday.  We have the best looking garden in years, full of sweet corn and other vegetables with no purchased fertilizer or manure on.  Those radishes unlocked a bunch of needed nutrients to feed our crop.  It looks like I spread 150 lbs of nitrate on it but I didn't.

Now is prime time to sow radish and other covers.  Get a bag and start learning how they work.  Sow a field and compare to the non sown fields.  Split a field or alternate the passes if you really don't believe.  It will make a believer out of you in one year.

I need to discover the benefit of more diversity in the cover crop mix.  My friends who have tried cover crops say, "the more the merrier" in a cocktail mix.  It's been a challenge to cover crop ever acre I farm for 4 years in a row now.  The more radish I plant the better the soil gets.  You should see my 50 acre field that has rye and radish 3 years in a row.  That heavy rain went in with little runoff.

Discover the cover and discover your soil improving while your pocketbook grows larger.

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 22, 2013

Critical Stage

Corn is entering the most critical stage of its development across the country.  That is the 4 weeks after tasseling.

"Reproductive Stage

Silking:  Silks visible outside the husks. This the most critical stage in the development of the corn plant.

It takes 24 hours for pollen grain to grow down the silk and fertilize the egg. Generally 2 to 3 days is required for all silks to be fertilized on a single ear.

Number of eggs that are successfully fertilized will determine the number of kernels that develop on the ear.

Corn earworm moths may be laying eggs on silk."

The number of kernals around the cob and the length of the cob have been determined.  I would venture to say this has been maximized in southern Ohio.  I've said since planting, this has been a real corn growing year.  If a farmer broke rotation and planted everything to corn this year, he would be a happy camper here regardless of price.  Scratch that, we want our cake and eat it too, price is important to pay the bills regardless of yield.  Remember $2 corn?  It wasn't that long ago!

One of the corn exhibits yesterday had tremendous stalks and brace roots.  The others did not.  I wonder what was different on those stalks?

How is corn looking in your neighborhood?  Is it a corn growing year where you live, too, or is it "not so hot?"  Most of the corn you've sent me pictures of looks pretty good.  But how good is it?  What is it lacking?  How will it take the disease pressure and weather it gets before harvest?

There are a lot of unaswered questions yet on this 2013 crop but right at this point in time, Ohio farmers feel pretty good about it.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Your Favorite Blog Of Mine?

What is your favorite blog that I've written over the last 4 1/2 years?  Mine is still the Hybridization of Corn.  I've had blogs that were read more than than one, thousands of times over, but this one is still my favorite.  Read the blog again and click on the chart where the population curve goes straight up after the 1800's.

I bring this up because farmers in the Boiler Room were giving credit to genetic modification of plants as "the saviour of the world," or the best example of plant science feeding our growing and hungry mankind.  I don't think it is.

I think advancements in farm machinery are more important than genetic modification.  I was judging crops today at a county fair and a student and his advisor asked why plant sap was leaking out of a black lesion below the ear leaf of his beautiful, eared out corn exhibit.  I had a teachable moment and I made them think.

Still, US Farm Report reported today that 70% of all US corn this year is triple stacked!  I ask those growers to look at their corn stalks closely.  Many will find the leaking plant juice the FFA member asked about.  Heck, I even find it in non GMO corn but we've talked about that, too in my blog the last several months.

I have been concentrating on scouting soybeans for Asian shipment so hard, I haven't had time to scout corn like I'd like to.  Marestail and giant ragweed have large breakouts this year with the weather we have and pigweed isn't quite the problem I thought it would be.  There are some that will go to seed but the other two are the big problem here this year.

I don't think soybeans will touch corn or wheat here this year for net profit.  I hope I am wrong.  There are two critical months left unti harvest starts but the beans just aren't there.  We had a really good wheat crop in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania and I am expecting the same for corn.  Soybeans, I don't think so.

What is your favorite blog of mine?  I am curious.  I haven't checked in awhile but my wildlife and dog stories are very popular and even some of my glyphosate blogs have 1500-2000 views each.  I am always open to suggestions and email is always open.  The phone is when I can get to it, and that hasn't been very often the last two weeks.  I use it for necessity when scouting.

Have a great Sunday and blessings to you all.


Ed Winkle

Saturday, July 20, 2013

130 MPH Lawn Mower

I need to lighten up today.  Eric always kids me about taking my tractor skills to lawn mower racing.  He calls it Mow Winkle Racing.  Do you think this would be competitive?

With the weather and farming and scouting, I haven't even seen a good tractor pull this summer.  Uusually I have by now.  Our county fair and the Georgetown NTPA pulls got rained out and I've been busy for the others.

Today I did my annual crop judging at the Clark County Fair near Springfield, Ohio.  I saw some of the best corn you ever saw near Danny Dean's Farm on Dolly Varden Road near South Charleston.  It was thick with two big ears on it.  The crops on the OSU Experimental Farm looked very good.  I would have liked to have seen Dr. Mark Loux's weed control plots.  I've learned  a lot there over the years.  Mark is my go to guy for tough weed control answers.

I've told several farmers this week to read his recommendations for Marestail and Giant Ragweed control.  Both weeds are out of control on many farms this year.  Glyphosate and First Rate does not work on these weeds in many parts of Ohio and the US.

It was good to see my Extension friend clientele at the funeral visitation last night.  It was a sobering reason for doing it but there was a huge crowd.  We talked about crops and family and life and death.  We pray for the two remaining brothers because they both looked very concerned about their farm business.  They both said their brother was the visionary of the farm.

All in all it was a good day after a tremendously hot and stressful week.  I hope you all got as much done as I did and next week will be a brand new week.

Take care now,

Ed Winkle

Friday, July 19, 2013

Four Friends

I just learned of the death of a fourth friend this week.  First there was David who lived a pretty good life and was the father of three of my students in my early years of teaching.  He was a special guy, very quietly religious and was even a pastor over his lifetime.  He was a good neighbor 1/2 mile away for 17 years.

I got to spend a couple of hours with two of the children this week although his wife and one daughter had passed before him.  It was really good to hear my students quote me on things I still write here today.

"NoTill saves soil, oil, and toil.  Ignorance can be fixed but stupid is forever.  Your happiness and success are much determined by your career and your spouse."  The list went on and on.  I was informed of how valuable the lessons taught to me was valued by some of those I passed it on to.

I was saddened to learn that Jeffrey's dream of pulling a tractor never happened.  He always supported me at the pulls, why didn't I let him drive my tractor?  I've let others drive, there is one I missed.  I should have made that man's dream come true.

I told LuAnn about the death of our friend Kathy in Tennessee.  She said, I remember Kathy and I hadn't remembered she ever got to meet her!  Then she reminded me of our get togethers at Marvin's combine parts booth in Louisville and I remembered.  Her husband of 37 years is devastated and all we can do is pray up here in the north.  So many good people have crossed my path.

I just opened up the Cafe awhile ago and my friend Hud posted a link to the obituary of our friend Tom.  Shocked does not adequately describe our emotions.  He was one of the first farmers I met when I became Extension Agent in Warren County.  We ran conservation experiments on his farm.  He supported everything I did.  When I left Extension, he bought seed from my sons to support our family.  We had such a wonderful time at another friend's wedding in Illinois a year ago.  The last time I saw Tom there was he and my good friend Vincent at Dave Brandt's Field Day.

I told Shirley I've been quoting the scripture about your days are numbered like the hairs on your head way too much lately.  She is devastated, too, like a lot of us here in southwest Ohio.  We referred to Tom as Senator Spellmire because of his never ending quest for common sense legislation in agriculture.  He was tireless in his efforts and if he wasn't on a tractor he was at a meeting.

The Good Lord has brought me to many a good person, really, really good people, salt of the earth.  I also told Shirley a live person can only handle so much death but it's all around us.

Say a little prayer for my friends and their wonderful families and I will do the same for yours.

Thank you,

Ed Winkle

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Farm Kings

Have you watched Farm Kings on the Great American Channel?  I stumbled across it this winter and have been watching it ever since.

"“The oldest three boys—Joey, Timothy and Peter—own Freedom Farms,” their mother Lisa says in a premiere episode. “It’s their business. But we all still work as a team.”

That team includes nine brothers (Joe, Daniel, Pete, Luke, Sam, John, Paul, Timothy and Ben) and one sister (Elizabeth), ages 29 to 12, along with their mother … but, not their father.

“Ten kids and your parents get a divorce. It can make it tough,” oldest son Joe said in the film. “We had to move on from my dad after five to 10 years of failed attempts to try to do something together."

“We needed to start fresh and earn our own way. So now my dad is my competitor.”

The show reminds me of my introduction to the Warren County Fruit and Vegetable Association when I became their Agricultural Extension Agent in 1987.  Since I understood raising and marketing produce from my youth, we got along together very well.

Produce and orchard farmers are very entrepreneurial and independent people.  They usually farm near large population centers like Cincinnati and Dayton.  The Kings are located in Butler County Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh.

I was hoping to stop by and meet them this summer as I have had consulting work in Pa the last seven years.  This year that fell through and we really don't miss the trip but I would have liked to have met the Kings.

Running a farm and dealing with the public all day is too much exposure for most farmers.  Most farmers are happy to be alone in a tractor or combine.  That doesn't happen on a produce farm or orchard.  It's a lot more hand work and the market is usually your back door.  Today it includes memberships to buy your produce and farmer's markets nearby.

I admire these people because it takes a special desire and blend of talents to make a living doing it.  I like fresh food and I like to know where and how it was grown.  If I don't raise it myself, I like to buy local.

The King's do that and more.  Hat's off to you produce and fruit growers, I love your products and admire your talent.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Farmer Father

Here is another good one to share:

"My father is a farmer
His heart is in the soil.
Its there he finds his solace
Among the grimy toil
He plants the seeds in springtime,
The corn, the beans, the hay.
He prays that God will bless it:
"A harvest, Lord I pray."
He tills it and cultivates it,
Provides the tend'rest care.
He believes that come October
He'll reap a harvest fair.
Blue skies are his cathedral,
A tractor his alter of prayer.
God meets him in the cornfields;
They have communion there.
My father is a farmer.
That's all he'll ever be.
Values the land has taught him,
He handed down to me.
I love my farmer father.
I'm thankful that he's mine.
I pray that God will bless him,
Today and for all time. "

Happy belated birthday, Dad, July 2.  To describe me you would have to change the hay to "and with wheat he does play."  For the tillage, "he notill's it and fertilizes it," to fit the way I've adapted his and grandpa's methods.  The central thought and message is there.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Welcome follower number 111, you know what that means in bowling?  Who would have thought 4 1/2 years ago?  Keep posting comments and emailing questions and ideas.  We both learn from this.

Be careful out there, it's "hotter than a biscuit" here.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Test That SAP!

ClayAllOver or Mike as I know him linked a very good hour video to watch on plant sap testing.  I call it the SAP Test.  These fellows at Nova Crop Control in the Netherlands have developed a plant sap test that goes way beyond the simple Brix test you and I can do with a spectrometer.  I will never forget using Chris's hand held spectrometer on his farm in New Zealand in January and finding a Brix of 16 in his mother's plum fruit and only 6-7 in his corn.  Too much corn in the United States won't test above 7 and very little tests 10.

Brix is a measure of sugars.  When measured in plant sap, it is an indication of overall health, fertility and environmental conditions.  This Ohioline Bulletin on vegetables is a good read to get acquainted with brix levels in crops.  I had gotten interested in Brix levels in crops some years ago but put it aside as yields increased.  The Farm to Plate conference in Iowa in December got me interested after Joan's pronounced Johanne, presentation there.  The video is a good review of what attendees heard.

Every sample that has been analyzed are pretty much what I posted.  We tend to over nitrate every crop and under feed the other 16 nutrients or elements.  C, H, O are the foundation blocks and too many soils are deficient in Carbon and saturated or deficient in H2O most of the time.  How can we get the corn to test and respond like the plum I tested?

Every plan we make and every thing we do affects that Brix level which affects plant quality greatly and final yield.  Mike noted where he found soybean aphids, the soybeans were too high in nitrate.  They are probably low in some other elements, too.

We are pushing Jeff and George to get set up to do the same test in Minnesota.  They are so busy with glyphosate right now, I don't think they have the needed time to dedicate to it at this moment.  It will come though, knowing those two.

Until then, air freight your package of samples to
Magazijnweg 17-02
5071 NW Udenhout
The Netherlands
Joan Timmermans
Telephone: 0031 683220623

Label, crop, stage of growth and date of sampling.

Let's discover how to grow crops more efficiently!


Ed Winkle

Monday, July 15, 2013

When The Wind Blows

This is too good not to share on HyMark High Spots:

"Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the sea, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked him. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work. Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore.

Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get Up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!”
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir, I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured.

Everything was tied down.  Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life?

The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.
We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of God."

Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Catch Me!

LuAnn surprised with me with a good NFL tackle this morning.  I was going to my fellowship meeting and she asked to go along so she could work on her marketing course she starts teaching next month at the community college.

No problem, that is until she couldn't get her office door unlocked.  The lock assembly was loose and neither one of us could get the door unlocked.  She even tried other doors, but that key only opens the front door.

On the way back from trying another door, she tripped and knocked me to the ground in a second.  We were both stunned!  I hit the building and she fell on top of me knocking me into the gravel.  I was the only one bleeding.  Now I have two band aids and she has none.  She was thankful I was there to catch her fall though we didn't plan it that way.

When I fall, I hope someone is there to catch me, too!  She is often there to catch me but not always.  It can be a physical fall, a mental failing or a spiritual fall.  Just catch me!  Who depends upon you to catch them when they fall and who do you depend upon to catch you when you do?

If we had a video of that escapade I am sure we would all laugh.  We really all need each other because we are all human.  We all fail and we all fall some way or the other at some time.  Now I was happy I caught her fall because she would be one "skinned up monkey" if I hadn't.

I laughed at ourselves on the way to the meeting but when I got there, it quickly turned to tears.  One of our fellowship had passed away during the week and everyone was sharing their experience with that person.  I didn't know him, not sure I ever met him but I felt their pain.

Life is short and we have no idea how short it is.  It seems like time just flies the busier we are and everyone I associate with is extremely busy right now.  It's summer, it's hot, but the work must be done.  Learning how to pace yourself has never been a quality LuAnn or I possess.  The same is true of most of the people we associate with, but that's life.  There are no slackers in our group.

We are older now and we have gotten a little better at pacing ourselves but we still have that drive.  Our bodies can't keep up with it so well so we must learn to slow down and pace ourselves.

Yesterday we got to slack a little when two of the grand daughters crashed at our house Friday night.  They slept like little angels.  We all enjoyed a hearty breakfast thanks to farmerrob from Illinois who brought gifts of pork last month.  Then, Brian and Miriah from NAT stopped by on their way home to Indiana after visiting Niagra Falls, near LuAnn's old stomping grounds.  We talked and talked and next thing we knew it was 1 o'clock!

It's much easier when someone is there to catch your fall.  That's a great time to reflect upon what should I really be doing right now?

Have a blessed Sunday,

Ed Winkle

Saturday, July 13, 2013


There is nothing prettier than a combine full of grain.  This is a friend's picture of his combine full of wheat in southeast Ohio.  Combines were full of wheat in Ohio this month if they paid attention to planting date and fertilizer.

This field received 200 0-0-60, 150- 18-34-0, Dribble 28 30lb actual at flag leaf stage.  Compare that to the 100 AMS, 100 lbs. 11-52-0, 100 lbs 0-0-60 plus micronutrients mine received.  They both yielded in the 90's which is a good yield for soft red winter wheat here.  My topdress was 150 lbs urea and 100 AMS and a ton and a half of high calcium lime that tests 34% calcium and less than 1% magnesium in April on the standing wheat.

I know of wheat that made 50 bushels across the road of fields that made over 90 bushels.  The difference was planting date and amount and type of fertilizer applied to it.  Fertilizer makes that much difference here.

Fertilizer prices are a little "softer" here so one fellow asked on Crop Talk if that would encourage more fertilizer usage this fall?  I would think so, but my answer is I need to budget all the fertilizer my soil and tissue tests say I need regardless of cost.  "Don't guess, soil test and follow it up with a tissue test" has worked well for me.  It may be a dart board but I need that dart board to have any idea what to apply to meet my next crop's needs.

I can make more money by taking care of the ground I have rather than trying to farm the whole county.  Everyone is trying to do that now and 90% of them have more resources than I have. I must focus on what I have and what I can do.

One real estate agent called me about a nice 100 acre farm he just listed for $4000 per acre.  That is 2/3 of what a piece near it just sold for but that piece had 234 ac almost all tillable and this one only has 30 acres.  Even though it has lots of road frontage, it doesn't pencil out for me because I don't split up farms.

The point is getting a parcel of ground to cash flow requires the right payment amount and not too much debt.  I can't sacrifice fertilizer for rent or farm payments.  It just doesn't work out.

Ed Winkle

Friday, July 12, 2013

Who Will Farm?

The average age of a farmer is now 57 years old and the fastest growing group is those over 65.  Those alone are 25% of all farmers!  Why do farmers work past normal retirement age?

"Working beyond retirement is a fairly common refrain these days — but farmers seem to work longer than most. In the last Agriculture Census, 25 percent of all farm operators were over age 65 compared with 5 percent of the overall U.S. work force.

Why do farmers keep working? For one thing, modern machinery makes it easier to work longer.  “It’s more you use your mind rather than your back, so you can go longer,” said Mike Duffy, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University.

Duffy said there’s also an economic incentive. Many farmers are making more money today than just about any time in their careers thanks to higher yields and high grain prices.

But there’s something else about farmers. In surveys of farmers in Iowa, Duffy has learned that regardless of the money or new technology, some farmers will just never quit.  “Farmers are farmers,” Duffy said. “And that’s who they identify themselves as. They’ll leave horizontal.”

Bob Hawthorn is that kind of farmer. At 84, Hawthorn’s hands and face are weathered. This year, spring came late, so on a bright April afternoon he was in a hurry to get corn and soybeans planted on his 2,000-acre farm in the Loess Hills of western Iowa.

Hawthorn braced himself against the wind in the back of his red pickup and unstrung the top of a bag of seed corn. After nearly 60 years on the farm, he said, neighbors ask how long he plans to continue.  “They keep bugging me,” Hawthorn said. “They say, ‘When are you gonna quit?’ I think I’ll tell ’em I won’t quit farming till all hell freezes over. Something like that.”

I know how the man feels.  Dad sure felt like that and planned his next crop on his death bed.  Maybe I will do that, maybe not.  I like to travel too much so maybe one day I'll give it up.

I am already planning for next year so I guess not now.

Read more here:

Maybe little Joshua asleep on the seed bags will get his chance one day.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Flattened Corn

We normally don't get flat corn in Ohio, maybe once in awhile.  I bet there are a lot of damaged acres this morning after yesterdays storms.  We got 1.5 inches Tuesday then heavy storms came through yesterday with winds up 60 MPH, more like what they experience more often to the states to the west of us.  It flattened our beautiful garden and really tore it up.  It even pulled peas and beans out of the ground.

Nothing is rooted properly around here because of the weather extremes before and after planting.  We should not complain because parts of Ohio like Bucyrus is worse off than we are.  Northwest Ohio has had some pretty hard weather, too.

This morning it is very foggy from all the rain we've received the last 2 days and the cool temperatures that are here now.  The temperature has dropped 20 degrees overnight from the high humidity and 75 degrees dewpoint we had before it.  We went from tropical conditions to more normal conditions in one big storm.

I haven't been to the new farm to see if the bottom flooded.  It hadn't yet when Sable and I checked yesterday afternoon just before the big one hit.  We had to avoid tree limbs on the road just to get home 2 miles and I have more Pecan tree limbs to pick up before we can mow, whenever that happens.  The yard needed mowed before this and now it's really wet.  It's going to be hard to get back to normal after these storms.

I am most concerned about the soybeans.  Spray schedules are way off and weeds are everywhere.  We never got the critical burndown herbicide on our best 50 acres of double crop beans that are up in that wheat you can barely see in the background of the picture.  I am sorry the picture is so dark but LuAnn took them right after the storm let up and posted them on her Facebook.

I've got tons of fields to scout in the next month and they are all in bloom and ready to scout right now.  I will need waders to get started.

Things could be worse, much worse.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

So God Made An Ag Teacher

"If God made a farmer, it couldn’t have been too long after that he realized he needed an Ag Teacher.

He must have realized that he needed someone that could teach animal science digestion principles, read financial balance sheets, teach vegetative plant cuttings and differentiate the instruction for each of his students – all in a day’s work."  (from Kelly Rivard's post on The Face of Agriculture Education)

I was watching Ag Biz Weekly by Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong and right at the end of the July 4 show, Orion shared a speech he gave for the Illinois Association of the National FFA Organization.  I listened closely and remembered all the things I had done as an ag teacher and I felt very good about it.

Watching two grand daughters show their pigs at the Clinton County Fair this week reminded me of all the pigs my sister and I raised and showed.  I remembered all of the students, sometimes over 30 in one year, I taught how to raise and show a pig as a part of the Supervised Agricultural Experience.  I remembered the joys and challenges of helping my own three children learn the same thing.

Teaching agricultural education is the most challenging and rewarding endeavor I've ever undertaken.  It has given me a retirement where I've been able to do what I wanted to in the first place and that is to farm.  Teaching ag is a lot more than sows, cows, and plows, it's helping kids grow up with a set of skills and maturity most parents would envy for their kids.

I am proud to be an ag teacher.  I am more proud our oldest son is even a better ag teacher than I was.  That is what life is all about; eaching your potential in a positive, moral, grown up way.

Hat's off to agricultural education and the dear ag teachers that make it possible.

"My thoughts" on HyMark Highspots, July 2013.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


2013 was looking good for north Central Ohio.  Now some people have crops under water with record rains like we had in 1992.

This is a picture of good corn a week or two ago from that area.  I know from past trips up there this is some of the best in Ohio.  The field and the farmer has that kind of history.  That would not represent Ohio at all with wheat not harvested, rotting in the fields and corn and soybeans trying to grow but not far from the same rot and lack of oxygen.

Oxygenated soil is a huge undertaking and all tile does is lower the water table in a field so you might even have a better chance of creating it.  We've talked about lime and gypsum and cover crops and all sorts of ways to try to drive enough oxygen into our soils so we also can raise this kind of crop.

Rain makes grain alright but too much or not enough lowers the yield goal.  The yield goal has been lowered here and most of Ohio since planting time, whether you like to plant early like I do or like to wait until you get a week of dry weather like most farmers do.  We never got one good week of try weather to get everything done.  Tactics to plant a crop in decent conditions were very frustrating and impossible in many places.

I had to post the picture first to even get a cursor to type with.  I have a text editor error on blogger so it might be awhile until this blog returns to normal.  Be patient with us.  Like I said yesterday this is what you get when something is "free."  Even paid for websites have problems and I am no techie.  You know I like to write but not when it doesn't work right.  I am thankful though blogger hosted my thoughts the past 4 1/2 years.  Just this weeks comments from my blog have been encouraging.  Thank you.

This year is not too encouraging though crop wise and in many ways.  We just have to work through this one day at a time.  The rain makes grain thread is on page one of Crop Talk and I can't link to it with a broken page editor.

Have a good day,

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 8, 2013

Refuge Corn Twice As Tall

My friend John sent me pictures of corn in his area where the refuge strips and blocks are twice as tall as the traited corn. Amazing? Some farmers have been noticing this for years, others since traited corn first came out.

Why is this? We have discussed this in depth on this blog. Some say GMO corn is literally falling apart. This seems more noticeable in stress type soils but I saw it vividly the last few years on the richest soil in this country where Herman Warsaw used to farm and over in Iowa where my friend Keith Schlapkohl does now.

John is more concerned about soil nutrition, he thinks liquid fertilizer is a waste and all of his clients only use large amounts of ammonium sulfate and urea fertilizers, phosphate when needed and lots of potash. His program is all built around calcium though and more and more people have gotten on the calcium bandwagon. Most still say however, base saturation doesn't work because the land grant universities have proved it doesn't work. It's funny that many of them use soil tests based on CEC and base saturation of nutrients. Their replicated plots have not revealed to them these basic principles of soil nutrition and plant health through non GMO.

John also uses lots of micro nutrients. The Hefty boys pulled hundreds of tissue tests and found micro nutrients short also. I have used more micro nutrients in the last nine years than I have my whole life. Local dealers actually stock them now but they are often out of them because they can't anticipate the demand for them.

My studies show the problem is complicated and GMO trait insertion may be as much to blame or more than the lack of fertilizer. Most farmers use the mainstream approach though that traits are worth the huge extra cost and so are liquid fertilizers. $6 per gallon for the cheapest liquid blends and $400 per ton for liquid nitrogen will buy a whole lot of lime and granular fertilizer.

This is what I have learned and this is what I think.

What do you think?

Ed Winkl

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Too Hard To Watch

One of my friends on the Cafe forum just talked about the Iowa Public Television viewing of The Farm Crisis.  That era really makes me angry.  I saw good farmers go under for no good reason while the rest of us just watched.  Farm policies flat out failed in that era.

John Mellencamp's song, Rain on the Scarecrow epitomises the movment.  Those three young guys in the front of this video, I would really like to talk to.  They all have on the same seed corn hats but they speak a truth few of my neighbors had back in that day.  I guess that is why they are in the video.  They might be my age now and I know we could share some stories.

With the boom in land prices we have witnessed in the last 10 years or more, you have to wonder, will this repeat itself?  Now if you live northeast Ohio or North Dakota, the fracking we talked about yesterday might make farming more fun!

I think so, in some fashion.  I don't know how it will happen but I think it will.  The will of man is so greedy in the name of making a dollar at any cost, I don't see how human discipline can exceed human greed.  Do you?

The film notes that we lost half our farmers in this country in the 20's and another half in the 80's.  BTO's or Big Time Operators are everywhere.  Can this not repeat again?  $4 corn this fall and many farmers with little crop would take its toll.  Parts of Iowa and Minnesota don't look too good and we didn't see great crops on our 500 mile trip to New York.

Some STO's or Small Time Operators like me have done everything in the world to make a living but just farming alone.  I couldn't do what we've done the last nine years without my pension plus LuAnn's hard work.

Farming is hard again this year with too much water at the wrong time and not enough last year.  Those of us who have a good crop feel pretty lucky compared to all those who don't.

No one ever said it would be easy and it isn't.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Our Ohio featured an interesting piece how fracking for oil has changed the little town of Carrollton, Ohio, home of the Ohio FFA Camp.  Our son Matthew was there just last week with his students, like I did 30 and 40 years ago.  It showed a guy that reminded me of myself telling how fracking was making local land owners so rich so fast they didn't know how to spend it all.  Can you imagine an extra $5000 or $10,000 per month as a farmer or landowner?

This affects every business and institution, even public schools.  The rough necks who do this work "don't have a pot to pee in."

A search found this data:

•In 2011, the USA produced 8,500,983 million cubic feet of natural gas from shale gas wells - that's a value of about $36 billion.

•According to the EPA, natural gas-fired electricity generates half the carbon dioxide of coal-fired production.

•researchers must refine our thinking of the economic benefits of rapid expansion of energy production.
If an average American heard the word 'fracking' ten years ago, chances are he or she would have worried about the manners of the speaker. Today, however, opinions about fracking are solidifying, and battle lines are being drawn, even if understanding remains sketchy. For many on the American left, fracking connotes something dangerous, unhealthy - even, as in a recent Hollywood production, potentially nefarious. For those on the right, fracking is often regarded as the best hope for a struggling economy.

While the outcome of the policy struggle is impossible to predict, the economic stakes could hardly be higher.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is more commonly called, is a process that's been used to extract oil and natural gas since it was first introduced by Standard Oil in the 1940s. Over the past decade, as other technologies have combined with the use of fracking to make the tapping of shale profitable, it has contributed to a resurgence of oil production in the USA and a dramatic increase in natural gas production. Proponents of fracking have hailed it as a major development in the energy industry, one that has allowed for tapping of reserves of gas and oil that were previously prohibitively difficult to reach. In some parts of the country, most notably in North Dakota, this has lead to massive expansions of energy production, and gold rush level increases in economic activity."

When we drove to New York I was shocked to see gasoline at $3.35 per gallon in Erie, Pennsylvania when Ohio was still at $3.59.  New York has higher gasoline taxes and it was very little higher than what we paid in Ohio.  In 14 years of driving there, I've never seen this happen before.

Whether you believe in hydraulic fracking of oil from shale or not, it is having a big impact in regions close to me.  Our thirst for cheap oil or oil at any price hasn't dwindled in this country.

Ed Winkle

Friday, July 5, 2013


No one can accuse me of not providing an environment for wildlife around here.  I have never heard so many songbirds in my life and today I saw a weasal in my wheat field.  I have never seen that before.

"Whether you call it a weasel, an ermine, or a stoat, you can call the short-tailed weasel an amazing animal. The slinky weasel has sensational moves, a super appetite, and a slick coat that changes color with the seasons!

A Natural Athlete:  The short-tailed weasel's slinky body is slim enough to follow mice into their burrows, and its spine is flexible enough to turn around inside a tunnel! Above ground, this speedy weasel can travel through long grass at amazing speeds, take sudden leaps and bounds, and change direction altogether in an instant! At 7 to 13 inches long when full grown, the short tailed weasel is small, but mighty!

The short-tailed weasel can also climb trees like a squirrel, and swim like a champion. It’s not unusual for a short tailed weasel to swim across a large river or lake.  With all this activity and a heart rate of 500 beats per minute, weasels burn up a great deal of energy, so they need to eat plenty.

Snack Time:  The short-tailed weasel is an important predator that helps keep rodent populations in check. It is so fast, it can easily catch a young rabbit or chipmunk. It is so agile, it can slither into small burrows and nab mice, voles and shrews. By feasting on some pesky rodents, these weasels help protect agricultural crops and reduce the spread of diseases carried by rodents.

Like other weasels, the short-tailed weasel roams a variety of habitats, including open woodlands, grasslands, wetlands, and farmlands. They hunt and patrol their territory between dusk and dawn, and can cover up to 10 miles a night. "

A friend trapped mink across the road from me but I am pretty sure this was his cousin, the weasal.  They must be feeding on my famous notill voles!  LuAnn saw three "massive" coyotes in the south field on the way to work, they were working that field, too.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nine Month Baby

We just finished up cutting our nine month old baby today, July 3, 2013.  That is what I am calling my soft red winter wheat, a nine month old baby.  We started planting this crop into corn stalks the last day of September and finished up a couple of days later.  The decision to be made was plant something, plant anything to protect the soil.  So, buy the wheat seed for $50 an acre or buy rye for $20?.  Since it was record early for me to plant a winter crop, I chose the wheat.

It was an easy baby to tend to though I took really good care of it.  It got hundreds of pounds of nutrients and over a thousand pounds of calcium applied to it.  It came up thick and strong, never looked back, even though most of it was in corn stalks.  You shouldn't do that around here but my friend from Oakland City, Indiana showed me you can sure do it.  It didn't get enough weed killer but it got enough insecticide to knock down an aphid population that carries Barley Yellow Dwarf virus.  It had some scab but disease overall was not a problem.

Many times I wished I had planted it to corn especially or maybe beans in a corn soybean rotation but the weather was perfect at planting and I chose wheat.  I guess it was a good choice.  It yielded 93 bushels per acre, my best since 1985 when I broke 100 bushels for the first time.

Wheat is a precarious baby, it gets conceived and you have to nurture it along.  This baby turned out pretty well but I really wonder if corn would have made more money this year.  Any corn around here just looks fantastic but this soil will now raise about anything, especially a nine month baby.

Lots of guys have given up on wheat and I can see why.  But it fits my rotation so nicely.  It really brought the Marestail back, that stuff peppered the field.  I hope I can smoke it with my burn down pre-emerge  combo on Friday.  Since I don't spray my own, I have to rely on the man.  The man is not always available, I might not be either if I was in his shoes.  Today is the fourth of July and most people want to celebrate Independence Day with their family.

Yes that is John Deere in my fields again, my AGCO friends.  A man does what he has to do.  Grandpa said poor people have poor ways.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fall Applied Nitrogen

"Here is a pic of one of my fields v the neighbor. I topdressed 100# urea and 50# AMS. He put down 180# of fall NH3 + broadcast 18-46-0 this spring and some AMS. Both fields were soy last year. I have 175 total units of N and planted 2 days after him. My corn is about 6" taller and WAY greener. The pics don't do it justice. I take all of his water and mine still looks better. I am sure he has some DK number. Mine is Croplan 3899 double pro.

Mine is on the left, his is on the right.

I am a huge believer on IN SEASON N and no more fall stuff ever.( my advice is watch the never say never stuff, that has come back to haunt me LOL but I think this one is good advice.)   Gonna increase the in-season rate next year. AMS is an absolute must.

I wont show you pics of the rest of the field. Hoping for 140 BPA. Should make 180+ here. Lots of zero on the other side of the field (see emergence forum)

***Almost forgot. Almost no leaf burn. Used full rate of Agrotain on the Urea***"

If you read the thread, you can tell those who use this practice don't really want to talk about these results!  It takes a really open mind to change practices after 30-40 years of doing things one way.

Fall applied nitrogen was big in Iowa but never worked in Ohio.  We get too much leaching of nitrogen in our soils and the fall applied thing is dying a slow death like moldboard plowing did.

My friend John Haggard is making a good living helping farmers grow corn like that on the left or even better.  John uses Albrecht principles similar to those Neal Kinsey uses, the author of Hands On Agronomy.  That manual is a good read for any farmer or agriculturist.

John and Doug and Bill and I and whoever else might be interested in conversing about these topics comprise "the bunch," as Bill calls it.  They have all been to our farm which helps develop our pursuing of topics.

Yesterday I cut some wet wheat, talked to my neighbors and they said the heck with it, let's get it out.  It isn't going to dry down properly.  We don't have the equipment to dry it properly either.  Maybe I will get a picture posted tomorrow.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

98 Years

Our dad was born 98 years ago today!  That seems like a " long, long time ago, but I can still remember" 50 years ago like it was today.  I was 13, I earned my amateur radio license, WN8RQQ and I was off to the races.  I couldn't get enough radio time at that age so I would sneak out to the radio shack/corn sales shed dad built and operate all night.  S-38 Hallicrafters receiver and Ameco AC-1 15 watter connect to big dipole antennas.  That was OK as long as I could work properly the day after.

Our local amateur radio club had it's nationally known ARRL Field Day at a friends farm in New Vienna.  That farm recently received the Ohio Century Farm designation.  My family has lived on the same farm for 96 years but we won't get the designation because we didn't own it until 1990.

In 3 more years, after tons of nagging by me, dad took me to Mr. Wamsley's auto sales where we bought my first automobile, an ugly 1959 yellow, rusted out Chevy sedan with a big six cylinder and "three on the tree" for gears.  This was American Pie long before the song.

It might take me 98 years to control all the weeds around here.  Weeds and wildlife have just went crazy this year with the regular moisture and we are all talking about Marestail popping up in rows in and out of rows.  We thought we had it under control for awhile but you never really do.

My friend Paul Butler of Macon, Illinois got everyone's attention on Crop Talk with his hoeing crew.  A hoeing crew of people who like to drive pickups and tractors out hoeing soybeans?  Why?  Because we have weeds now that are easier to eradicate with a hoe than a herbicide!

Have to admit it was pretty shocking to see the post but we have been inching our way here each year.  We refuse to do the work it requires to keep really good weed control because the RR system was so darned easy to use.  People farm now who wasn't raised on a farm because of RoundUp Ready.  They are having a rude awakening right now of the power of Mother Nature.  No wonder farm margins of profit never went much about 5% as an average before and during my lifetime.

I am going to have to really stay on top of these weeds or they are going to stay on top of my profit.  I have driven my spray man crazy trying to figure out what to spray on our non GMO soybeans and our wheat going to double crop soybeans if they ever come off.

It is so foggy here on the hill at 8 AM that I can't see the tree borderline 1000 or so feet away.  Tara just reminded me that we are going to eat like Porkopolis watching the Cincinnati Reds the day after tomorrow.

You just watch, that will be the day I should be cutting wheat and planting double crop soys!

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 1, 2013


Lots of visitors are at our farm and the 32 or so Quilt Barn Trail Geocaching hunt here in Clinton County Ohio this weekend.  We have met very nice people already!  One visitor said we were the first family to come out and greet him and he is half done!  People are busy and I understand why some would not greet the visitors, they just don't have time to.  I take the time to do it.

I like to visit and welcome people and I like to talk about modern farming and my German Dutch Scotch Irish heritage.  It's been fun.

I also like to buy local and I like to see small business and small farms do well.  This is a good way to build business for many of our various types of farm markets in Clinton County.

I asked the first lady here what she was using to find the geo referenced points and she showed me a $550 receiver with maps and all kinds of capability!  See what happens when you sign up for a simple project?

The group had breakfast at Frisch's then met at the fairgrounds to launch the hunt.  250 tokens were handed out and some of the people I talked to here only had a couple more barns to visit and they would have all 32 tokens.

The farthest away person I met was from Massillon, Ohio, the home of football in America.  That's a good 4 hour drive from here so obviously the project brought people into Clinton County.  I asked one fellow here he was from and he said Cedarville.  I said my brother lives on Gravel Pit Road.  He said I live right around the corner from him on Trumbull.

I would love to do something like this in Iowa and get to see some of the covered bridges.  Or maybe a Dutch heritage tour in Pennsylvania, though we have been in almost every Pa county over the last 8 years.  We don't have to look for Amish in Pennsylvania because their sons and daughters moved to Ohio!

I wonder what the economic impact is for our county on this little project?

Ed Winkle