Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cover Crop Vaccine

"Vaccinate your soil with a cover crop" is this new catchy ad from NRCS.  Is that misleading?  By planting a cover crop we really don't add anything but a seed that will give off root exudation as it sprouts and grows.  By inoculating or vaccinating your soil with these new gases, we do cause many beneficial organisms to repopulate or expand their population.  The result is a healthier place for our intended crop to grow.

I heard a fellow say no wonder SabrEx works so well, everyone uses glyphosate and glyphosate kills beneficial trichaderma fungi.  There are other ways to promote beneficial trichaderma and other bacteria and fungi.

"At the end of the growing season you may be ready to rest, but your soil is not. One final effort can make a big difference: cover cropping. Even small gardens will benefit from the use of cover crops, or "green manures". Tilling, weeding, harvesting and foot traffic of most home gardens tends to destroy soil structure. Planting cover crops is an easy way to revitalize the soil, and help soil tilth and subsequent plant growth. Cover crops are planted in vacant space and worked into the soil after they grow instead of being eaten. They provide a number of advantages to the otherwise wasteful use of space during your garden's off-season.

Cover crops help to retain the soil, lessen erosion, and decrease the impact of precipitation on the garden by slowing the runoff of water. They also reduce mineral leaching and compaction, and suppress perennial and winter annual weed growth. The top growth adds organic matter when it is tilled into the garden soil. The cover crop's root system also provides organic matter and opens passageways that help improve air and water movement in the soil.

Success in the growth of cover crops requires proper selection of the kind of cover crop, correct timing of seeding, and good management techniques. There are many traditional cover crops to select from, including annual ryegrass, winter rye, winter wheat, oats, white clover, sweet clover, hairy vetch and buckwheat. Grasses are easier to grow than legumes such as clover because they germinate more quickly and do not require inoculation. Small seeded crops are more difficult to establish than large seeded types such as oats and buckwheat. In poorly drained areas, grasses may be easier to get started. Winter rye and ryegrass grow in a very dense habit and are much more effective at shading out weeds than oats or small seeded legumes. Availability of seed and cost are other important considerations.

It's time to start vaccinating your soil if you haven't already!

Ed Winkle

Friday, August 30, 2013

What Harvest?

What harvest?  Wheat harvest!  Leave out the e and wheat becomes what?  What happened is what I wondered as we flew home from Seattle through Minneapolis.  We had a pretty clear afternoon for viewing and I was amazed at the number of wheat fields, the lack of corn fields, especially good looking ones and the severe lack of soybean fields!

What I saw across those 1000 miles really made you wonder how accurate the USDA numbers really are.  A few people I know thought wheat could rally big after the record corn rally last fall but it never happened.  The opposite happened and I saw evidence of it from the airplane.  We saw so many wheat fields across the US yesterday!

This picture from last year in Minnesota is more what I was expecting to see.

I started writing this because I found this incredible and unusual video of wheat harvest.  My favorite is still the Glenvar harvest video in Australia.

Our own wheat harvest here and in this region was excellent.  I hope it doesn't turn out to be the best crop we raised this year.  It was so good our dear USDA sent a special survey in yesterday's mail to see how good ours was!  I wonder how many people got that same mailing?

My dear salesman Leon said he had a wheat for me that yielded 128 bushels per acre for our friend in upstate New York.  After this year's results, I wonder, should we try it?

If you have enough acres, I suppose any acres, wheat is a good rotational crop.  The extra residue and coverage over winter is enough to make it pay if the double crop soybeans or radishes after it pan out.  They always have for me, so I suppose there is no reason for me to not consider wheat.  At today's corn, soybean and wheat price, I see no reason to not consider wheat in my situation.

It's time to order wheat seed and past time to order radish, although it is always a good time to order either one.

What are you planning on sowing this fall?  It's always a good time to sow something.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, August 29, 2013

$800 Cruise

We usually take a trip in August and we were running out of time.  I offered to swing by LuAnn's mother's place on the way to Quebec.  Those farmers came to visit me a few years ago and invited us up to their farms.  We have friends in West Bend Wisconsin we've been wanted to visit since they have been to our house.  We could go to the Upper Peninsula on the way which we also like.

LuAnn said that sounds too much like work and we've worked hard since February.  She got on Norwegian Cruise Lines and found a balcony cabin to Alaska for $800.  I forced my credit card into her hand.  In an hour, we had the trip all set up.

Our first trip to our 49th state was this time in 2009.  It was a very special and memorable trip and just the thought of it made me jump at the chance to do it again.  It's the perfect time to visit Alaska temperature and I think beauty wise, too.  This time she wants to hire a float plane to go look for Grizzly's.  I asked, are you sure?  The last time we were in a single engine plane I thought she was going to throw me out the door of it.  Our pilot friend asked if we wanted to see anything else and I said "swing down over mom's farm 20 miles away."  I didn't know she was sick in the back seat but I quickly found out!

It's been a very busy year and we are both ready to get away.  There is so much beauty in the world it is hard to stay home all the time but it's beautiful here, too.  Late summer and fall is special in the Midwest and I do love it.  It's pretty nice anywhere north of the equator this time of the year, too.  We will be closer to the Arctic circle and the North Pole and it's a great time to be there.  My friend Eddie the school counselor can have it the rest of the year!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Crop Tour 8/26/13

My friends Jeff Littrell from Minnesota and Keith Schlapkohl from Iowa stopped by for a quick local crop tour yesterday.  They left their homes Sunday to visit people like me to the east.

I think we answered this post on Crop Talk:  "With the current heat and lack of rain in most of Illinois seems like a lot of corn is denting early anyone else seeing the pale set up?

OK kernel numbers just seeing affects of varying N application timing and when the corn wants to fill from the stalks and leaves early. Beans running out of time to max pods and seeds."

The poster, IlliniCCA summarized what they said they saw and what we saw yesterday.  We didn't find a field of corn that didn't have symptom's of Goss's Wilt in it.  If you don't understand the massive Goss's Wilt problem in US corn, you could go back and read some of my previous blogs about it.  It's been discussed many times on HyMark High Spots.

It doesn't matter if it is GMO corn or non GMO corn, it all has the symptoms.  It started from the seed up and first appears as a few black dots on the third or fourth joint of the corn stalk.  Now, as the season and disease progresses, it shows as sickened, yellow leaves that many misdiagnose as a lack of nitrogen.  The more advanced fields has the famous pink leaves I've spoken of.

To reinforce the belief there is not enough nitrogen, we saw several fields where the corn is black green and not dying where the nitrogen was doubled applied or 300 lbs plus of nitrogen.  So, nitrate is involved but extra nitrogen is not the solution to the problem.

The 250 bushel fields people thought they had will be lucky to break 200.  The 200 bushel fields will be closer to 150.  Since the national average was 124 last year we will actually be closer to that number than 200.  Dr. Mike Cordonnier is guessing 154 bu national average after his own crop tour.  We think you can take 10-20 bushels off that.  He might be right and I hope he is but the crop is sicker than anyone understands.

Keith and Jeff understand and are trying to teach people like me.  Right now all we can do is get people to see the problem.  We have all winter to discuss how to address the problem.  We will continue to address it here.

I started to talk about the problem in earnest 3 crops ago, this is 2011.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Holy Cow, What A Haul!

I am trying to catch up from our trip to Alaska and found this buried in the bottom of my Facebook pages.  Holy Cow, What A Haul!  I notice the garden is looking a little ragged in this picture but the little girl and produce speak for themselves.  This much produce has been taken out many times this summer.

I sure wish I could have been there to help Katherine pick and talk about crops.  Papaw loves to talk about crops and loves to talk to kids!

We are blessed with 12 beautiful grand children.  I find myself asking now how old is this one, when is their birthday?  Ariana will be two years old Saturday, we almost got a September birthday with her.  We have so many birthdays in August from two of my children to three grandchildren now.

What you see in the picture is a fraction of what our 40 by 60 garden has produced so far.  We are way over 1000 pounds and a 1000 dollars return so far.  We just put up another ten pounds of sweet corn last night.  The best thing is I know exactly where the seed came from and exactly how this food was grown. There is no commercial fertilizer applied, just what the radishes took up. You can't get any better than that!

It's time to get these kids into our HyMark Master Gardener program as grandma and grandpa need help!  If we can get it planted timely and in good condition, and keep those blessed weeds out for a month, this is what you get!  I call this our radish garden and there are baby radishes starting in it right now as the crop is senescing or reaching its maturity.  Those big tubers we grew last fall are what made this garden what it is today.

If you need help with feeding your garden, just ask.  Our email is always open and I think most of you know that mine is edwinkle at now as we left Frontier and that old email address is gone.  It is still floating around in many of your address books so delete the old one and put the new one if you like!  I have an account at Midwest Labs, 11085, and if you use Midwest to send your soil and tissue tests in I can help you fine tune your program.  We have a few years of experience here if you want to tap into it!

I have to thank all of my mentors who keep me on track, challenged and thinking.  We all need mentors and I figure I have the best in the whole wide world!  The job of passing it on is never ending and I enjoy it all.  I am waiting for two mentors to come visit from Iowa and Minnesota right now.

That's why I try to write a blog every day and still enjoy growing gardens and fields and talking to those who do.

Ed Winkle

Monday, August 26, 2013

When Moms Talk Back

"With Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair set to kick off today and with a Chicago mom blog making the news recently, it feels like a good time to talk a little about Illinois Farm Families.

It was three years ago on this day that five Illinois farm and commodity groups announced they had banded together to form the Illinois Farm Families program. At that time, it was a first-ever coalition of farm groups: Illinois Pork, Illinois Beef, Illinois Corn, Illinois Soybean and Illinois Farm Bureau. They pooled their resources, hired a marketing agency, researched consumer beliefs and then launched a campaign. Their goal: reach the people who make the food buying decisions."
The cool thing? They learned: A) the people making the food buying decisions in a household are most typically women and often, a mom. And B), those women are most likely to listen to and be influenced by another mom. So Illinois Farm Families recruited a handful of Illinois farm wives to be "Farm Moms." They created an initial meet up in Chicago, which by our standards, seemed ridiculously successful.
From there, they started the Field Moms program. In year one, they took 10 Chicago moms out to farms. They rode in tractors, saw GPS, learned about precision farming, went in a hog confinement, saw a cattle feedlot, talked steak, watched cattle be ultrasounded, walked into a dairy and learned about hormones from a dairy veterinarian. Then they went back home and blogged about what they learned. Even better, those of us who go to know those Chicago moms formed real relationships with them; we've become Facebook friends and we follow each other on Twitter and Instagram. I see pictures of their new babies; they see pictures of our new baby calves. It works out pretty well.
This year, they expanded the Field Mom program and are in the middle of bringing 25 Chicago moms out to farms. They've done several farm tours already and have a couple more to go as harvest kicks off."
I think moms need to talk back more about our food and the system that provides it, don't you?  What can you and I do to inform them and invite them to "talk back?"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two Million Bikers

"KATIE PAVLICH- By now you’ve probably heard about the “Million Muslim March” coming to Washington D.C. on 9/11. Last week Chris Phillips, the organizer of the march, appeared on Hannity and refused  to condemn hateful groups like the Muslim Brotherhood while arguing the  U.S. government has been hateful toward Muslim-Americans since  9/11/2001.

Now in response to the march, bikers are also planning to show up in Washington D.C. on 9/11….with two million people.
Thousands of America’s patriotic bikers are organizing an enormous counter  protest to the planned Million Muslim March on DC this Sept. 11.
The Facebook Page, “2 Million Bikers to DC,” has over 18 thousand “likes,”  as of Thursday morning and individual state chapters of riders have  launched pages on Facebook, as well.
The bikers are riding “To  remember those who were killed on 911 and honor our armed forces who  fought those who precipitated this attack,” the Facebook page said.

Read more at "

I doubt there will be two million bikers or one million Muslim followers rallying in our nation's capitol on September 11 but you get the idea.  I told LuAnn I still have my motorcycle endorsement on my driver's license so maybe I could rent a bike near DC and participate.  Of course I said that in jest and quickly added that probably wouldn't be a good idea for grandpa as I would probably end up with tread marks of some kind on me.

I do miss riding a motorcycle from time to time when I have a long walk between fields or have fields with nice big spaces in them to ride through.  A two wheeler can get you to a spot in a hurry but it would probably just get me into one!

I am sure the sentiments behind these "rallys" are much stronger than I portray here.  I won't get into that because you already know how I feel about our country and how I feel about freedom if you have read this blog very long at all.

Isn't that true?  Somewhere in this blog I think I used a picture of a "Harley dude" talk


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mule, Gator or Ranger?

"Been living last 6 years with two 4-wheelers-one (350 Bruin) work machine to spray and spread grass seed with, etc. One (550 Grizzly) we keep real nice just for play and scouting crops.

Borrowed neighbors gator a couple weeks ago and really liked it-bed is so much nicer than cart we drag around-and nice sitting side by side. Thinking of trading in Bruin on a used gator or mule or something.

Seems to be 3 price levels:
1) Basic slow <20mph 2wd 3k->5k
2) <20mph 4wd slow 5k->6k
3) Fast 4wd 6k->out of my budget

My farms at home are all within a mile-and don't see driving it to 25 mile away remote farms. Main uses will be wife around the yard, scouting crops with Dad, throwing a couple bags of seed or tools in to run out to field.

I am thinking 4wd slower version would do for me.

Can anyone talk me into spending more for the faster model, or talk me out of 4wd and saving some money? I have no experience with them other than one weekend-but I know a lot of people use them daily around the farm. Oh yea, no livestock here-just grain farm. Really like the bench seat ones so you can squeeze in 3.

Any input would be appreciated."

I thought Big Norsk gave an accurate reply from my experience:
"A lot of what works for you comes down to do you have the discipline not to drive into almost impossible situations and can you sometimes take an extra minute without having a heart attack.

First UTV I had was a mule and 25 mph wasn't all that bad except when doing longer road distances.

Have a 2 wheel Ranger. I get stuck a couple of times a year, I get my 4 wheeler stuck just about as often. I always carry a suitable anchor I can screw into the ground and both have winches and it's a few minute job to get out of any mistake. With the mule, I had put on a 3 inch lift kit and 27 inch mud tires and I never did dare drive into anything it didn't just drive right through.

Find the winch handy so I wouldn't want to be without one anyway and just carry the anchor with and it's really no big deal to me.

Kawasaki makes that small 4x4 I think it's called the 610 and it's a pretty good value. Limitation is I think two people is all.

For scouting, the big Rangers are actually kind of a pain due to the wheel spacing. If you go with what they now call a midsize, the same as my 2 wheel drive, then it's no big deal to drive 30 inch rows. I think a new midsize 4 by 4 can be found for just a bit over $7000. They don't sell well because people want whatever is most expensive. If you find a used midsize, you can often get a very good buy."

What UTV or 4 wheeler do you use?


Friday, August 23, 2013

Why China’s farming sector is failing

Industrial China made it tough for farming: Between the pollution in the ground, in the water and in the air, erosion and the increasing industrial land use, maybe the only safe places left are these mountain terraces.

This article takes a look at some of the issues with China and farming. We usually only hear about things like avian flue from chicken farms  or the sick pigs that are dumped into rivers instead of being properly disposed of.

Why China’s farming sector is failing

One troubling fact from a recent FAO report is that at 0.22 acres of arable land per capita, China has six times less arable land per capita than the United States. That and the higher return from factory plants compared to farming plants might explain the development priority put on industry, but this sector has already started slowing down while the population is ever increasing, so a real food policy and protection of the farming sector from the irresponsibility of factory owners and local government seems to be in order.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Brown Revolution

LuAnn and coworkers hosted U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown last week in Hillsboro.  That is not the kind of Brown Revolution I am talking about!

Faculty call for 'brown revolution' to promote soil health

Peter Hobbs, adjunct professor of crop and soil sciences, is coordinating a Sustainable Land Management group on campus to help foster a "Brown Revolution" to improve soil health worldwide.

The solution to climate change mitigation and global food security could lie in the soil beneath our feet, said Peter Hobbs, Ph.D '72, adjunct professor of crop and soil sciences.

He invites fellow Cornell researchers to join him in fostering a "brown revolution" that promotes conservation agriculture, which involves minimal soil disturbance and the use of cover crops and crop rotations to naturally control weeds, pests and diseases. And he hopes many will become part of multidisciplinary collaborations as part of a new Sustainable Land Management group that he works with.

While the so-called green revolution transformed agriculture with fertilizers and pesticides, improved seeds and modernized farm management that led to huge jumps in production and yields, it also contributed to environmental degradation, Hobbs said. Soils in many parts of the world, such as South Asia, have suffered from excessive tillage, leading to erosion and nutrient mining. With the increased reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, such biological amendments as manure and compost have not been added back to the soil, Hobbs said.

He hopes to improve soil health and reverse such land degradation by incorporating conservation agriculture. Healthy soils are essential for future productivity, Hobbs said. They have structure, aeration and water retention, fewer pathogens and better biological activity resulting in improved nutrient recycling needed by plants.  "Business as usual will not get the job done," Hobbs said. "Soil health has to become part of the equation."

What are you doing for the "brown revolution" in agriculture?

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ancient agriculture

Sixty-foot-tall sulfur vat in Hoskins Mound, Texas (May 1943)
A post on NAT about an antique sprayer led to a question about when pesticides were first introduced in agriculture.

Turns out that even chemical compounds have been used by Sumerians about 4,000 years ago! They were ground minerals like sulfur or later on, mineral poisons such as arsenic, mercury and lead, or organic ones such as nicotine extracted from tobacco.

"Ancient" agriculture in the U.S. colonies started back to the drawing board, taking their cue from the Native Americans, with the hand-held tools of the farmers from several thousand years ago, as draft oxen and horses were not imported for some years, and yet it was critical for the new colonies to be able to grow food and be autonomous rather than wait on supplies from England.

As colonist Captain John Smith (really? ;) from Jamestown, Virginia wrote in a 1608 report: "Our next course was to turne husbandsmen, to fell Trees and set Corne. Fiftie of our men we imployed in this service."
Note that "corne" here is wheat, not maize. A source of English language confusion that persisted until WWI or II, when the U.K. asked the U.S. for a food aid in corn, and received a shipment of maize instead of the expected wheat...

Before that time, Native Americans had already domesticated plants such as sunflower, tobacco, squash, pumpkins, wild spinach, cotton, agave, beans, plums and little barley, and switched from sumpweed to corn long ago. Irrigation canals were used near Tucson, Arizona over 1,000 BC, where they were also using stones as "mulch", to protect the soil from the arid conditions and erosion, and to retain moisture.

Chimel. (Ed is on a break this week.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Renewable Fuel Standard

I just saw this topic in a commercial on my local news channel, a CBS affiliate.  I heard it on WJR radio on the way to Cleveland, too.  The commercial is full of falsehoods like E-15 will damage your engine, the standard will make food prices go up and blah, blah blah.  It mentions the support of AAA and I am a member.  I don't like that reference.

What's the truth?  "Oil companies don’t like biofuels very much. The reason why is pretty clear. Right now, 10 percent of what would have been gasoline sales is now being diverted to biofuels, primarily ethanol. Oilmen particularly don’t like the renewable fuel standard (RFS), which legally requires that gasoline producers include a minimum percentage of ethanol in every gallon sold, an amount that could grow to 15 percent in the near future, and eventually might go as high as 30 percent. By 2022, that means that 36 billion gallons will come from bio-based sources, though a maximum of 15 billion gallons can come from corn, a move intended to limit interference with the food supply.

That is why, both the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers group are pushing hard for a complete repeal of the RFS.

Two oil companies, BP and Shell, however, have broken ranks with these trade groups, saying that they, “generally support” the legislation. Those are the words of John Reese, Shell’s downstream policy and advocacy manager. He does feel that the mandate could use some revision. Likewise, according to spokesman Matt Hartwig, “BP supports the goals of the RFS program to stimulate the development and deployment of biofuels technologies. There are challenges with the standard that must be addressed, and we continue to work with regulatory agencies to address these issues."

As a corn grower, I haven't seen ethanol damage an engine or make my food bill go up.  Fuel costs and other inputs drive the price of food, not ethanol.  You stand on one side of the issue or the other or you just don't care.  I care.  I support the idea of burning corn ethanol.  I burn lots of it.  I like the jobs it creates and the lack of dependence on foreign oil.  Still, we are now a major export of gasoline because of the fracking industry.

I admit farming was more stable at $2 corn but it made sense to distill a crop we can grow so much of.

You either agree or you don't or you just don't care.

Ed Winkle

Monday, August 19, 2013

Radish Powered Garden

Last year the pigweeds took our late garden so I planted a heavy stand of radishes.  I tell you there is something great about those radishes whether you like Groundhog, Nitro or Tillage Radish.  We have probably our best garden ever and we didn't apply any fertilizer.  The radishes pulled up the nutrients, kept down the weeds, insects and diseases and made the best quality garden you ever saw.

The weather wasn't conducive to planting early so we planted in May, most around the 15th and 21st.  Those are also the two best dates I've seen local crops planted and I have scouted a few hundred fields this summer.  Planting date was extremely important but raising a garden without fertilizer or other amendments is truly amazing.

"Daikons are huge radishes, upwards of 18″ long, that grow down into your soil and mine for nutrients. As they descend their taproot into the soil, they are tapping into nutrients that aren’t available in the top few inches of topsoil. Perhaps more importantly, they are capable of penetrating all but the hardest of hardpan layers in the soil. In case you’re not sure what “hardpan” is, it’s a layer under the topsoil that inhibits moisture penetration and prevents plant roots from being able to access the soil beneath. It’s often formed from frequent tilling which is only able to fluff the top 8″-12″ of the topsoil. In suburban and urban areas, it’s often a consequence of construction and other earth moving activities. This is where the Daikon Radish is able to work its magic; the long taproot is able to break through the hardpan which allows moisture and nutrients to percolate downwards. So how does this build soil, you may be asking yourself?

Instead of harvesting the radishes to eat, you allow them to stay there and be killed by the fall frosts. What is left behind is a “carbon pathway”. I love that term…it’s such a great description for what roots can accomplish if left to their own devices. As the Daikon Radish roots decompose, they are adding organic matter to the soil as well as leaving a pathway for water and roots for the subsequent generations or other plants that you may plant the following year. And what happens to the green leafy tops? If they are left to decompose as the roots are, you have a rich mulch for the soil that is full of the nutrients that the taproot was able to mine. As the tops decompose, these nutrients are now available for the next plants that enter the system. Pretty cool how it comes full circle, huh?

If you have land that you would like to improve, consider a mass planting of Daikon Radishes. Or plant patches in your veggie garden that would otherwise go unused. Sure, they may compete with your tomatoes or cucumbers in the beginning but as they establish themselves and send their taproots deeper and deeper, they will be harvesting water from a depth far greater than your “desirable” veggies. If you are a fan of radishes, they certainly can be harvested for your dinner table…check out some ways to use them here. The seeds are available from various sources, including High Mowing Organic Seeds. I’m curious to know if any of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers have any experience with growing Daikon Radishes for soil building."

It's time to go plant radishes!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Farmers Talking Markets

JonSCKs posted his crop projection numbers on Market Talk.  I think he did a really good job and it makes a lot of sense.

From what I've seen and heard, his yields for Ohio and neighboring states look pretty accurate.  The big question is total acres which no one agrees on.

LuAnn asked me what it cost to grow an acre and I told her $500 before land, machinery and other costs.  I think she didn't believe me.  Maybe I grow crops too cheaply!

He adds, "The whole industry has underestimated the yield drag of added acres.

If you just look at a trendline of yields.. and look at 2009's 164.7..  and add a couple of years.. "sure we can do 160"  Seems like "no problemo.."

However, we've ADDED 10 myn + acres.. since then...  and they're (mostly) NOT TOP YIELD potential... there's a reason they were in pasture.. or CRP.. or another crop.  Now granted some of the added acres.. such as irrigated cotton in the south and other area's will ADD to the national yield...  However, ALOT came from the fringe area's.. and THIS is what I believe the market is missing.

A 152 yield is still "pretty dang good" when you ADD that many acres...  with all the problems that we had this year.. wet early.. dry middle.. (and in some area's like the Western Cornbelt still ongoing..) etc..

I'm not saying this is EXACTLY how you get there.. but the point of my break down is to show.. that you don't have to tweak numbers much... snip a little prevent plantings.. and reduce yields a smidge..


That is 1.0255% of your 2009 yield..  Here.. I'm gonna do about.. 82% of my 2009 yield.  What are your yield prospects vs that record year.. USDA has us at 1.0511%... busting 5% over the best ever.. THIS year...???

In 2009 Kansas Averaged 155 bushels.. we had DRYLAND here in the SC part of the state doing 200 (I only did 188.68 but) "dang good."  It just flat out POURED OUT.. So I'm still saying that we will beat that year nationally..  just not everywhere.  We're gonna be tickled pink to pump out a 473 myn bu crop here.. and that's no small miracle.. it could have been a lot lower.. (see last year..)

Now next year.. as maybe we continue to recover..  and everyone gets off to a better start.. maybe we do push.. 155.. 158.. ??  etc.. but it just didn't happen this year.

as always.. "I could be wrong."

We are all pretty wrong about now.  What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Is Soy Really A Good Food?

"We have placed soy foods (such as soybeans) on our "10 Most Controversial WHFoods List." This list was created to let you know that even though some foods (like soybeans) can make an outstanding contribution to your meal plan, they are definitely not for everyone. Soy foods can be difficult to find in high-quality form; can be more commonly associated with adverse reactions than other foods; and can present more challenges to our food supply in terms of sustainability. More details about our 10 Most Controversial WHFoods can be found here.

What's New and Beneficial About Soybeans

  • We recognize that soybean consumption is a matter of much current debate. There has been much written about it on the Internet, with claims that eating soybeans can endanger your health. To provide you with a comprehensive perspective on this topic, we have reviewed the research on soybeans. Throughout this food profile we have addressed the key controversial issues, focusing on them especially in our Health Benefits and Individual Concerns sections. Reading through this food profile you can explore our discovered insights into this traditional food, including how the research is quite different when it comes to whole soybeans versus isolated soybean derivatives and how fermented soybean foods may provide more benefits than unfermented ones. Read the full profile for more details.
  • Researchers have recently asked a very simple question about soybeans: what would happen in terms of nutrition if U.S. citizens replaced their current intake of meat and dairy products with soy? Using previously collected information on the U.S. population and average U.S. dietary intake, these researchers determined that replacement of meat and dairy with soy would result in significantly improved intake of folate and vitamin K; larger amounts of calcium, magnesium and iron; and 4 additional grams of fiber per day. At the same time, replacement of all meat and dairy with soy would lower average cholesterol intake by 123 milligrams per day and lower average saturated fat intake by 2.4 grams per day. Protein would decrease somewhat (by approximately 8 grams per day, or 9% of average protein intake). Given the relatively high average daily intake of protein in the U.S. (which in some cases, is nearly double the Dietary Reference Intake level), this 9% decrease in total protein intake does not seem problematic to us—making this "soy substitution" seem like good nutritional trade-off. We're not advocating replacement of all meat and dairy foods with soy! High-quality meat and dairy foods can play a very supportive role in many diets. But alongside of the many controversies swirling around soybeans and health, we think it's important not to lose sight of the strong nutritional value of this legume.
  • Soybeans have long been recognized as a plant food that, when compared with other plants, is relatively high in protein. Protein is the reason that soybeans have historically been called "meat of the field" or "meat without bones." But only recently have researchers taken a very close look at the protein content of soybeans and arrived at some fascinating conclusions. Even though soy protein is a plant protein and typically lower in certain amino acids (protein building blocks) than animal proteins like those found in chicken eggs or cow's milk, once adjustments have been made for digestibility and other metabolic factors, soybeans turn out to receive a protein quality rating that is equal to the ratings for egg or cow's milk. Along with this increasing interest in soy protein has come the discovery of very small and unique proteins in soy, typically referred to as "peptides." Examples of unique peptides in soybeans include defensins, glycinins, conglycinins and lunasin, and all are now known to provide us with health benefits, including benefits in the areas of improved blood pressure regulation, better control of blood sugar levels, and improved immune function.
  • Because research studies have provided some mixed results about the impact of soy consumption on our cardiovascular system, researchers in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky recently analyzed results from 43 previously published studies involving on soy protein and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). What they found was an overall decreased risk of CHD when approximately 30 grams of soy protein was consumed on a daily basis. Decreased LDL cholesterol was found to be an important part of this lowered risk. While we think it makes the most sense to consume soybeans in their whole food form (versus soy protein alone), and that daily protein intake should come from a variety of different foods, the findings in this study lend support to the conclusion that soy can play a beneficial role in support of cardiovascular health.
  • When we think about antioxidant foods, the first foods that come to mind are usually vegetables. But recent research on soy has underscored many of the impressive antioxidant benefits that we get from this legume. No phytonutrient in soy has received more widespread attention than genistein—an isoflavone that has been extensively studied in relationship to cancer risk. Yet, genistein is a soy component that could easily be singled out for its antioxidant properties! Increased activity of antioxidant enzymes—including superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and glutathione reductase—has now been linked to intake of genistein from soy. Another group of antioxidant phytonutrients called phenolic acids has also been recently investigated in soybeans. When we enjoy this antioxidant-rich legume, we also benefit from its phenolic acids, including caffeic, coumaric, ferulic, and sinapic acid.

  • So, is soy really a good food or have we messed this natural food up, too?  What do you think, HyMark readers?  What is the food quality of typical U.S. soybeans?

  • Ed Winkle 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Vinegar On Soybeans

Many farmers ask how can I shorten the nodes on soybeans so they don't get so tall they lodge?

"Question: I've heard you mention the use of vinegar to help keep plants shorter. At what rates do you apply it and at what stage? Does it work consistently? Very interesting concept.
Kip: We normally apply about 8 ounces of vinegar per acre through our pivot irrigation system several times per season. We think this helps keep soybean stem internode growth in check but we have not done any side X side checks to test this theory out. We think the mild acidity or some other property "shocks" the plant. Excessive vine growth was a major challenge this year, so we may need to rethink our vinegar strategy in terms of rate, number of applications or even using other growth inhibiting products."

"Kip: We carefully follow all pesticide label instructions. We do use foliar applications of small amounts of vinegar, especially on our soybean crops. Not everyone agrees that this practice does anything, but I feel that it does help keep the soybean crop from growing too "rank". We do feel that the slight acidity of vinegar mildly "shocks" the plant to keep it blooming and setting pods without growing so tall. With our high levels of fertility and frequent irrigation, our main concern with our soybeans is excessive plant height and lodging."

"Question: Foliar feeding fertilizer. Pros and Cons?
Kip: I use foliar feeding of various primary and micro-nutrients throughout the growing season. These are typically N and S plus Mn, Mo, Cu, Zn and B. My reason for applying these to my contest fields is simple. I want to maintain a high yield potential and I apply these nutrients to supplement the supply coming from the soil via root uptake. I don't put any P and K on with foliar applications but rely on soil applications of poultry litter to supply those critical nutrients. The only time I don't like to apply much of any foliar sprays is during pollination. At that time, all I apply is irrigation water as needed to eliminate drought stress."

Many farmers do not foliar feed.  "But we think many acres of 90-110 bu. Soybeans  will be harvested on our Clients fields.

No inoculant, Fungicide nor insecticide is ever used on these large family farms.
No Liquid or bandaid fertilizer is ever used.

One can see why the nations average soybean Yield is 36 bu. when the issues that make the BIG profit
for the individual farmers is not ever discussed."

Healthy soil produces healthy crops which feeds healthy livestock and humans.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fall Fertilizer

Regardless of price, I depend on my fall spread to supply most of the nutrients I think my crop is going to need the next year.  This year I am looking at 100 AMS, 100 MAP or 11-52-0, 200 potash, 100 lbs pellet lime and the amount of micro nutrient I think each field needs from the summer tissue test.  My tests finally came back Sufficient to High on the Midwest test so I am in pretty good shape for micro nutrients after years of applying nutrients.  My glyphosate amounts are nearly non detectable now after getting away from glyphosate and glufosinate which highly chelate minerals.

Our reader and follower Brad Law in Missouri posted this on Crop Talk and I though it deserves sharing.So I got to wondering and reading and reading this info.

Look how the roots span out....if you place it roots will get there? Too little too late?
Lots of farmers are asking questions about fall fertilization.  Potash could be cheaper with the Russian control breakup in the news last week.  I haven't priced it yet to tell.

Other notes from my reading:
Ammomia sulfate only accounts for 2% of all N fertilizer sold in the us....
Ammomia sulfate is (NH4)2SO4

Soil organic matter

Nutrient Supply. Upon decomposition, nutrients are released in a plant-available form. While maintaining current levels. Each percent of soil organic matter in the top 6 inches (15.2 cm) of a medium textured soil (silt and loam soils with a bulk density of 1.2) releases about 10-20 pounds of nitrogen, 1 to 2 pounds of phosphorus, and 0.4 to 0.8 pounds of sulfur per acre per year.

SOM - soil organic matter

An acre of soil 6 inches (15.2 cm) deep weighs approximately 2,000,000 pounds, which means that 1 percent SOM weighs about 20,000 pounds per acre. Under average conditions it takes at least 10 pounds of organic material to decompose into 1 pound of organic matter, so it takes at least 200,000 pounds (100 tons) of organic material applied or returned to the soil to add 1 percent stable organic matter under favorable conditions.

The original poster was concerned about soil phosphorous.  John has taught me that my potassium and boron are more critical to my plant health and yield.  I can stand low to sufficient in phosphorous but not in potassium and boron here.

What are your fall fertilizaton plans?  If you have radish planted and growing now, that is an entirely different subject!  Radish releases more nutrient than any crop I have planted and the more you plant them the better the release gets!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

118 Bushel Soybeans

Dr. Cooper mentioned he visited Louie Rehm's 118 bushel soybean field near Orrville, Ohio last year.
  1. My compliments to Louie Rehm’s on his record 118 bu/a yield.
    Before my retirement from the USDA/ARS and OARDC in 2003, Dr. Norm Fausey, USDA/ARS Ag Engineer at Ohio Sate University in Columbus,and I, conducted several years of cooperative research at the OARDC at Wooster, OH, on subirrigation/drainage management, using drainage lines and control stands to maintain a constant water table.

    Results from this research indicated that when combined with solid seeding in 7-inch rows and lodging resistant semi-dwarf soybean varieties, 90 to 100 bu/a soybean yields were possible using this
    water table management system.

    If lodging of taller, conventional indeterminate varieties can be
    avoided (absence of a rain and wind storm that would flatten the
    taller plants), these high yields can also be obtained with
    conventional varieties. However, lodging can significantly lower the
    yield potential of these taller varieties.

    I believe another factor contributing to Rehm’s record yield this year was the early warm spring temperatures that resulted in the soybeans flowering (entering the reproductive period) much earlier in the growing season than normal, when the day length was longer and the light intensity is higher (i.e., more light energy available).

    Results from 18 years of soybean irrigated maximum yield research at
    OARDC indicated a strong positive correlation between average May
    temperature and the maximum yields obtained. The warmer the temperatures in May the earlier the onset of flowering and the higher the maximum yields obtained.

    Mr.Rhem’s record yields indicates the potential for well managed
    sub-irrigation/drainage systems to increase soybean yields in Ohio and
    the Midwest."

    I and many of the followers of this blog are trying to do the same thing!  Keep learning, sharing and promoting high yield, high profit crops.  "Teach with your fields," as mentor Paul Reed from Washington, Iowa says.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dr. Richard Cooper

Richard Cooper, professor emeritus from Ohio State came down to visit my field of Apex soybeans.  He started breeding semi-dwarf soybeans in the 70's in an attempt to produce a sustainable 100 bushel yield goal in soybeans.  Varieties like Elf, Strong and Charleston are his breeding.  Apex is a semi dwarf variety which was bred to be shorter with nodes closer together and was released 10 years ago.  Soybeans were too tall and leggy in those days to ever think about getting over 60 bushels.

He also bred one of my favorite varieties from the 90's.  That variety is Stressland which was bred for the stresses of southern Ohio.  It is a 4.3 maturity and was always my best bean on poorly drained low fertility soil.  I've had it make 50 bushels when others wouldn't make over 30 bushels.  It really responded to the new USDA inoculant back in 1994 and I've had it increase Stressland yields by 5-8 bushels with that inoculant.

Stressland was used as a parent for the Jacob soybean I plant from Steritz Seed farm nearby.  I was able to show Dr. Cooper the Jacob bean and the new Foundation seed of Highland variety on the Steritz Farm.

He and fellow breeders had great impact on Ohio crop production.  I am completing my 29th year as a certified seed inspector and have had the opportunity to inspect foundation seed at introduction through replication in farmer's fields.

"Cooper says. “In years with a warm early spring,
the experiments have yielded 90 to 100
bushels per acre for soybeans.”
“These results demonstrate the value
of long-term high yield research. Without
the long-term data and the removal of
other yield-limiting factors, it is doubtful
the delayed flowering barrier to higher
soybean yields under normal spring
temperatures would have been identified.
“As a result of this new knowledge, I
anticipate a major effort will be made by
soybean breeders to select for earlier
flowering,” Cooper says.

It was a pleasure to have the actual breeder of a soybean on our farm today.  Dr. Cooper and fellows like him improved farm technology through their lifetime of effort.

Ed Winkle

Monday, August 12, 2013

Emily Elizabeth Winkle

We got to meet our newest grand child, Emily Elizabeth.  She is Mark and Anna's first child.  She is very wiry and can really turn her head for a new born!  She has very delicate and feminine features.  She is going to be a pretty little girl like her mother, her mother's baby pictures look like Emily.

Saturday we got a picture of nine grand children on the same couch!  I will post it as soon as I get a copy off LuAnn's camera.  This closed a very special week of a very special month this year.  Now we have, in chronological order:


Everyone loves to look at their pictures up and down our staircase.  I admit they are pretty impressive!  I didn't write these to brag, but to try and remember them in order!  Now I can look these up anywhere I go!  I must admit I am a proud grandpa because they all call me that except for the last three who can't talk yet.  Now we have enough kids to play the Irish Cups!

Kids are the best crop I ever grew and now we have a big crop of them!  I bet our parents never imagined this when they had us?

Welcome to our 114th Follower, where ever you may be!  Email and Comments are always welcome.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Very Good Dinner

We had a very good dinner here on the farm Friday night with our city cousins.  Country folk and town folk alike enjoyed a good meal and good fellowship here on God's Farm where we are temporary caretakers.  The heavens cleared up and we had a beautiful, peaceful evening with no one getting stuck in our yard!

My sister was able to come from Gallia County and son Eric and family and Jack and Marsha from Grove City.  Four grandchildren were present thanks to their good parents.  I saw a fellow with an Oliver hat and of course we talked Oliver tractors.  He was from DeWitt Township, Clinton County, Michigan!  I was a big jealous of  his collection of 11 Oliver tractors.

Fred Ertel was raised next door and Roger Achor just up the road.  I got to tell a little history about the river boat captains in the Turner family who established these three farms here on the hill.

Doctors, lawyers, presidents, CEO's, family, friends and neighbors celebrated the American Farmer and his work to feed us all around the world.  It truly was a memorable night.  We even made front page of the Wilmington News Journal yesterday!

Leadership Clinton prepared marinated vegetables, tomato slices with cheese. relish trays and a great bean salad with corn chips to dip them with.  The main course was green beans cooked in huge pieces of ham over and open fire with potatoes, grilled sweet corn, Cole slaw and beef, chicken and pork.  Dessert was peaches and ice cream and a pie or cake if you bought one in the auction after dinner.  The cherry pie brought $310 and most brought $50. Some desserts were affordable at $5 and $10.  The auction raised $1900 alone for Leadership Clinton on top of the 250 people or so who paid $25 per plate for their home grown and home cooked meal.

I was recruited for Class 27 starting in September as Class 26 just graduated.  I probably should do it but I haven't decided yet.  OSU LEAD Class IV sent me on an adventure after graduation in 1993.  My class members are still some of my best, trusted friends.

We were happy to participate in such a fine event but honestly we are glad it is over!  I've never worked harder making the old place look as good as it does.  People appreciated our work so it was worth it.

Anything we as farmers can do to keep the world in touch with how their food is grown is worth it.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Almost Dinner Time

It won't be long until a few hundred people descend on our farm for Dinner in the Fields.  This morning we woke up to rain, fog, no tents, and no one working.  We got so jittery thinking about what if we were in charge, we went out for breakfast far away from the farm.  That was a good idea!

I found this cute little Kinze 2000 double framed planter on Cedric Surber's farm that will be auctioned off in two weeks.  There is a Winkle in the Surber family history somewhere.  The planter was sold new as a 38 inch corn planter with 19 inch soybean splitter rows.  It has two liquid tanks with a John Blue pump that would neat for putting down calcium nitrate beside the row.  Matt Winkle found it and it would make him a nice planter, too.

There are 4 Olivers selling too, if anyone is interested.  There is a 1755 diesel, 1750, 770 and 77 gas tractors.  You know how I like Oliver's.

When we got back from breakfast and scouting, the tent was up, the food was ready to put out and cook and the fires were going.  So we really didn't have any worries, this their fifth annual dinner and their volunteer crew know what they are doing.  I don't know where they are going to park 100 cars on this farmstead but I am not going to worry about it.  It rained 1.6 inches just north of us and 2.6 just south of us.  We got .4 so our sod is still pretty firm.  I hate ruts, especially if I have to mow over them.

There was Froggy Fisher I pulled against over 30 years ago.  There was Jeff Murphy, where Rich Werner kept his daughter's 4-H pigs.  The list of local people I've met and not seen in years goes on and on!

I am pleased my sister is coming from Gallia County and our 3 children and their families are coming as far away as Cleveland.  It is emotional to think where we came from and what our parents and grandparents would think of this.  I think we have accomplished a little of just what they dreamed of.  We don't take that lightly.

We thought about how hard they all worked to make a living farming without the technology we enjoy today.  LuAnn's family dug potatoes and my family raised livestock.  We come from long lines of very hard workers.

I need to go get some pictures for this blog and for our history but it is dark again like it is going to rain.  It is supposed to fair up by dinner time.


Friday, August 9, 2013


This is a rhizopogon. It has the following characteristics:

- Fruiting body that turns from white to purple in about 5 minutes.
- a rhizopogon is a false truffle.
- Has a thick rind
- is like a potato in appearance
- cut it open and is jelly like inside.
If you are really interested, see below.

Small to medium-large underground or erumpent fungi found mainly under confiers. FRUITING BODY round to oval or irregular (potato-like), variously colored. Peridium (skin) present, often firillose, felty, or overlaid with rhizomorphs (mycelia strands). SPORE MASS (Interior) Spongelike, i.e., composed of minute chambers; firm, crisp, rubbery, ior cartilaginous when young, sometimes becoming soft or gelatinous in age; usually cinnamon-brown to dingy olive-brown or grayish at maturity (but often white when young). STALK and columella typically absent.

THESE dingy, unattractive, potato -like fungi are the Russulas of the underworld- unappreciated except by squirrels, but ubiquitous . The 100+ known species are differentiated primarily on chemical and microscopic features such as whether or not the spores are pronged and what color the hyphae of the peridium stain when mounted in potassium hydroxide. However, the sameness and mundaneness of the hizopogon make them relatively easy to recognize as a group. The fruiting body usually has a tough or rubbery ("better bounced than trounced") consistency and the interior is composed of tiny chambers that give it a spongelike appearance (use a hand lens !). Also, the exterior is often overlaid with mycelial strands (rhizormorphs), there is no stalk or columella (or rarely a rudimentary columella) inside the spore mass, and the pores are typically smooth, Finally, nearly all Rhizopogon are mycorrhizal with members f the pine family. (One unidentified local species seems to grow only beneath cow patties or rneadow muffins: but still may be mycorrhizal.) In some species the pore rnass becomes soft or gelatinous in old age, but the chamber are never filled with a gel as in Alpova and Melanogaster nor are they separated by pallid veins, nor does the spore rnass become powdery as in the puffball and earthball .

Rhizopogons are not only the most ubiquitous of all the hypogeous (underground) fungi, they are also among the rnost visible. Ma ny are erumpent (i.e., they burst through the surface of the ground at maturity); others are excavated by squirrels. A few species (e.g., R. occidentalis J R. smithilii) are edible, but rnost have not been tested, and as already pointed out. identification is very difficult. My own experience with them is limited. Not only do I have an 'allergy" to microscopes. but I just can't seem to get excited about the dingy, dumpy, dirty "small potatoes "of the mushroom microcosm when there are so many boletes to be picked and Russulas to be kicked.

Thanks Brent Harzman for today's blog!

Ed Winkle

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Meals In The Fields

Finally, the big day is here.  Tomorrow we are hosting up to 300 folks we don't know for Leadership Clinton's Dinner In The Fields.  It came from the Dinner In The Field idea that started out west, I think California or Colorado.  I keep calling it Meal in the Field for some reason.

Actually I bet we do know a lot of these people, we just don't know who is coming yet.  The volunteers will be preparing beef, pork and chicken and all the side dishes from Clinton County production.  That is a neat concept in itself, talk about buying local!

It must have been a weak moment or too much pride when I convinced LuAnn we could do this.  This is the fifth annual event and they have been asking us to participate the last two years.  We finally succumbed to the offer.

I have to say the 1880 farmstead has never looked any better since we've lived here, although I still have 4 buildings that need paint.  The double rainfall of 2011 really took a toll on the paint and there is some green at the bottom.  The landscape is about as good as I can get it and take care of.  Thanks to Graham, Luke and all who have helped!

I wonder who we will meet on our farm?  I don't have up my sign yet that says, God's Farm, Temporary Caretakers so I guess I will have to say it verbally.  The gardens and grounds look pretty good but a few buildings and the paint could stand paint.  I just can't get that all done in one summer.

I am sure they will enjoy this place though just like we have.  Even if it's pouring down rain, it's a pretty cool place to live and meet.  Urban meets Rural tomorrow and we have done our best to make them welcome.

I turn this all over to you dear Lord as you are always in charge anyway.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

36 Bushels?

US soybean yields have been hanging around the 36 bushel area.  I woke up this morning thinking dad and I raised our first soybeans at Sardinia with a worn out John Deere Van Brunt drill and made over 50 bushels on highly eroded worn out ground.  We didn't understand how to fertilize like I do today.  Why can't we raise better soybeans today?

Many ag talkers have been asking about raising better soybeans.  Some have emailed me.  I have offered to show my crop to any lookers.  I have a few coming to look.  I hope I don't disappoint them and I don't think I will.

Some of the best beans in the county are across the road from my farm.  Neighbor Ed has done a great job and got his planted before I did.  If I remember right, he hit that first of May planting area when I was not ready to plant yet.  I was spraying burn down then and I included 2,4-D

Inoculant is one thing but good soybeans won't be "fixed" by inoculant alone.  It takes a total program of fertilizer to feed a crop.  We used to let the beans scavenge a heavy corn fertilizer program but that doesn't seem to work well enough anymore.  Many good soybean producers are feeding nitrogen to their soybeans today.  I am one of them.  The soil must have enough calcium and nitrate to nodulate properly.  Maybe that is why the fellow in the link has yellow leafed soybeans.

Tissue testing has given me a lot of clues as to what to do.  90% of all tissue tests come up short in at least one nutrient.  Sometimes it is there and the plant can't get it.  How do we release the nutrients that are in the soil and should be available to the plant?  NoTill and cover crops increase soil health for me that it makes it easier.  Fungicide on crops has not been the answer for me.  Soil health and quality better address those issues.  Foliar feeding is a band aid unless you have a solid program of the 17 known and needed nutrients.  Remember C, H, O is the first three and we don't apply them as fertilizer.

Soybean methods in the Midwest are not up to par if we can only raise a 36 bushel national crop.  I don't care how bad the soil is or how little it rains in some areas.  We can do a lot better than 36 bushels.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Quick Test For Goss's Wilt

Keith called me to tell me about his new quick test for Goss's Wilt.  "Pull the ear leaf off with the ear. Instead of the normally white tissue, look for tannish, discolored tissue.  If the disease has advanced, it will stink becayse if the amalayse sugars fermenting at the base of the ear.  Many fields have double ears again this year and if the disease is advanced, the second ear will be similar to the first ear as the plant as accumulated too many sugars it cannot use.

You can verify with a quick test kit and then have that verified at a University Plant Pathology Lab like Nebraska's or Michigan State's labs.  90% of these samples have tested positive for Goss's or similar wilts in corn this year.

"Goss’s wilt of corn often is most severe after fields are exposed to high winds and/or hail damage, because the causal bacterium, Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis, readily infects corn leaves through wounds.  With the recent storm activity across the state, growers should be on the lookout for the appearance of Goss’s wilt symptoms.  Goss’s wilt lesions on the leaves generally have wavy margins with a water-soaked appearance on the edges of the lesions.  Dark spots, known as “freckles”, almost always can be found within the lesions.  The affected areas of the leaves will have a shiny appearance when observed in the sunlight, and bacterial exudates may be on the leaves that resemble drops of maple syrup"

"The causal agent is Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis and is one of only several plant diseases caused by a Gram positive bacterium. The pathogen can cause two major types of symptoms, a systemic wilt and leaf blight. The leaf blight phase of the disease is the most common and can cause the development of lesions with wavy margins similar to some other diseases. Two characteristics can be used to distinguish it from other diseases. The first identifiable characteristic is the development of dark green to black discontinuous water-soaked spots, sometimes called ‘freckles’ because of their appearance (photo), near the edges of expanding lesions. The bacteria can also create an exudate or ‘ooze’ on the surfaces of the leaf which is the second identifiable characteristic. When dried the exudate may glisten and appear shiny on the leaf surface similar to varnish (photo). The disease can also have a systemic wilt phase in which the bacteria infect the vascular system and move within the plant. Infection may cause discoloration of the water-conducting elements (photo) and eventually a slimy stalk rot that can lead to wilting and plant death (photo).

Watch that word clavibacter.  I've read and heard it too many times in gmo vs. non gmo discussions.

If we don't figure out how to combat the potential massive problems in crop production, we will have less to ship to our buyers.  Who do you sell to?  One of my buyers is CGB, one company I am not afraid to DP to.  Their financial statement is probably the best in the business.  I didn't know whether you get their newsletter or not but many of you farm near the locations they buy grain from.

Walk your fields and tell me what you find.  I haven't heard from many of you.  I think when the price dropped $2 everyone said the heck with their corn fields.


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Pig Of Pampering And Prayer

Grand daughter Madison raised a very unique pig this year.  It is a Spotted Poland China, which has its beginnings right here in southwest Ohio.  "The present day Spots descend from the Spotted hogs which trace a part of their ancestry to the original Poland China, which consisted of six separate breeds and was referred to as the "Warren County Hog" of Ohio. One such breed imported into Ohio in the early 1880's was a breed called the "Big China", mostly white in color, but having some black spots."

Three men from Putnam and Hendricks Counties, in Indiana, brought boars and sows back from Ohio from time to time to cross with their own good hogs; and thus developed a breed all their own from this background which kept the characteristic color of large black and white spots. At this time, two hogs imported from England, known as "Gloucester Old Spots" added a wonderful stimulant to the breed in the form of new bloodlines.

The pig nearly died early in the project so it became the pig of pampering and prayer.  When you get a pen or barn full of sick pigs, especially the children's project pigs, it's a really bad deal.  I remember we had that one year in the late 80's or early 90's.  I think I spent more on medicine and veterinarian bills than I did on feed.

One lady called Madison's pig a designer pig.  That's a pretty good description of it.  It looks like the spot colors of old but I never saw a Spot built like this one.  We saw it show at our county fair and at the Ohio State fair which ended Sunday.  Every judge liked it and it placed at the top of it's class every time.

Her cousin Cameron showed a Hereford hog at the State Fair.  I remember the Bratton's of Mowrystown showed them when I was a young man.  Spotted pigs and pigs that look like cattle aren't my deal but they add value to the industry.  Inbred traits can be used to improve other breeds by cross breeding.

The F1 hybrid from to separate but pure inbred lines changed the world, just like hybridization did to corn.  That one principle is probably why you and I are here today.  Farmers learned to feed a much larger world than anyone ever dreamed.


Sunday, August 4, 2013


Legume nodulation is not well understood.  Word processors don't even recognize the word nodulate.  Definition: 
  1. to cause the formation of nodules on or in nodulating
several different legumes>. intransitive verb. : to form or multiply in nodules ...

"Nodules on many perennial legumes, such as alfalfa and clover, are finger like in shape. Mature nodules may actually resemble a hand with a center mass (palm) and protruding portions (fingers), although the entire nodule is generally less than 1/2 inch in diameter. Nodules on perennials are long-lived and will fix nitrogen through the entire growing season, as long as conditions are favorable. Most of the nodules (10-50 per large alfalfa plant) will be centered around the tap root.

Nodules on annual legumes, such as beans, peanuts and soybeans, are round and can reach the size of a large pea. Nodules on annuals are short-lived and will be replaced constantly during the growing season. At the time of pod fill, nodules on annual legumes generally lose their ability to fix nitrogen, because the plant feeds the developing seed rather than the nodule. Beans will generally have less than 100 nodules per plant, soybeans will have several hundred per plant and peanuts may have 1,000 or more nodules on a well-developed plant."

"Soybeans have a high demand for nitrogen. Approximately, five pounds of nitrogen is required to produce a bushel of soybeans. Fortunately for soybean producers, most of this nitrogen is provided through biological fixation of atmospheric nitrogen by bacteria living in colonies (nodules) on the soybean roots. Biological fixation accounts for 50 to 75 percent of the soybean crops’ total nitrogen requirement. The remainder is obtained from the soil.

Because biological fixation is the major source of nitrogen for soybeans, producers should evaluate a few soybean plants in each field to determine if nodules are present in sufficient numbers and actively fixing nitrogen. This is easy to do and the information gained can be used to correct an in-season nitrogen deficiency or develop strategies for improving nodulation the next time soybeans are grown in the field.

Begin checking roots for nodules about five to six weeks after planting. The nodules should be large and active by this time and supplemental nitrogen fertilizer can still be applied if needed. Always use a shovel to carefully remove as much of the root system as possible from the soil. Dig up at least 10 plants from representative areas in each field and immerse the roots in water to remove the soil. 

Yesterday on our scouting trip we found everything from no nodules to a few small gray ones, to 10-20 large healthy nodules per plant.  I like to see a cluster of nodules on a large root just below the soil and a smaller ones scattered among a healthy root system.  A soybean should not easily pull out of the ground and should require digging at 8 weeks.  Some did yesterday and some you could pluck right out of the soil.

My question for you today is how are your legume crops nodulating?  From garden peas to soybeans, do you have the best environment for nodulation?

Ed Winkle