Saturday, November 2, 2013

John, Dear

I spoke at a cover crop field day in Dearborn County Indiana today.  We had a great group of 120 farmers together to talk all about how to make more money with cove crops.  I had to use the facilities and there was a long line to the PortaPot so I walked behind the barn and there was the farmer's outhouse.  I stepped in and this sign was on the wall:

"John, Deere, just in Case you are wondering where I am, my cousin Oliver told me you have been messing around with Allis Chalmers.  Here I thought you were on the FarmAll this time!"  I had a hard time hitting the hole!  If you say it just right, it's very funny to an older farmer who remembers all those brands of machinery.

One speaker told us that palmer amaranth has been confirmed in 17 Indiana counties now.  Cover crops is one of the best way to combat resistant weeds.  Cereal rye is the best control of Marestail I have found.  Did you know weeds are not really resistant to the tank cleaner called glyphosate?  They can assimilate it better than GMO or non GMO crops can!

When I walked into the shop, I saw Marshall's planter was converted to Martin Till.  I asked how many where at the planter clinic I taught a couple of years ago and many raised there hands.  Marshall said it was the best change he had ever made to a corn planter.  I told them I would not be able to farm the way I want to without that planter setup but now I was using the tanks to apply calcium nitrate and water instead of just nitrogen and sulfur plus popup.  John's method of fertilizing works better.

We talked about all of the benefits of cover crops but I think the main message was unlocking nutrients and keeping applied nutrients like sulfur in the root zone while the cover is growing.  We discussed the documented yield increases with and after using cover crops.  I told them about Matt VanTilburg and I planting radishes in double crop soybeans and how mixing radish with wheat was an accident.  Even USDA is interested.

My main point was how to get this marvelous thing done.  Plant some cover, even in your garden or around your fields and watch them grow.  Once you are convinced and you must be convinced or you won't carry through, this is how you do it.  Always have seed on hand and before you fire up the combine, load the planter or drill.  That is how I got that nice letter from NRCS stating I was the only farmer who got every acre covered three years in a row.  The letter was great but better yet was the great crops I got from doing it.

There is another good meeting coming up in Fort Wayne, Indiana November 20-21.

What is your cover crop plans for the rest of this year and next year?

Ed Winkle


  1. Ed, Good yields come from good fertility management, Keeping the ground covered.And some timely rains.
    Soil temp plays a big roll in how much we harvest.Don't want it too hot or to cool.Luke warm would be nice.

  2. Ed, My father was at this cover crop meeting and talked highly of you. I was wondering if you had an email address that I could send you some questions? My email is Please send me an email if you have time.