Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Holy Family

Do you understand who the Holy Family is?  It is Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit, his mother Mary who was conceived without sin, and his "step" father Joseph, a Jewish carpenter who followed the advice of the angels in his dreams.

Father Hank talked about the Holy Family Sunday.  Are we part of a holy family, of The Holy Family?  There seem to be three requirements:

Obedience to God
Mutual love
Service to others

When I looked at our own family, I just smiled and gave thanks.  Our family is pretty obedient to God.  Oh yes, we could all do better on all of these virtues but I am humbly proud of my family.  They are all obedient in their own way whether it is service to their church, their family, friends or neighbors.  Our children and grand children all show mutual love.  I am part of a very loving family.

All of my family serve others.  Just one small example is the needy families we all brought gifts to for Christmas.  Tears of joy were shed when these families saw what others had brought to them.  It was a wonderful moment, just a tiny part of their needs but the love and obedience and service was there.

We celebrate Christmas through Epiphany which is always January 6, thus the 12 days of Christmas.  Easter will be coming fast.  Today is the last day of 2013.

Was it a good year for you?  It was a very good year for our holy family.

Blessings,

Ed Winkle

Monday, December 30, 2013

Seed Quality

Many readers wonder why I harp on seed quality so much.  Here is a list of links to posts I've made on Crop Talk regarding seed quality.

Benefits of using quality seeds
1. They are genetically pure (true to type).
2. The good quality seed has high return per unit area as the genetic potentiality of the crop can be fully exploited.
3. Less infestation of land with weed seed/other crop seeds.
4. Less disease and insect problem.
5. Minimization of seed/seedling rate i.e., fast and uniform emergence of seedling.
6. They are vigorous, free from pests and disease.
7. They can be adopted themselves for extreme climatic condition and cropping system of the location.
8. The quality seed respond well to the applied fertilizers and nutrients.
9. Uniform in plant population and maturity.
10. Crop raised with quality seed are aesthetically pleasing.
11. Good seed prolongs life of a variety.
12. Yield prediction is very easy.
13. Handling in post-harvest operation will be easy.
14. Preparations of finished products are also better.
15. High produce value and their marketability.
 The problem is that many people do not understand these 15 items.  They may not know how to seek out the highest quality seed for their farm.  I have planted seed since I was able to walk.  I have looked at, tested and planted seeds all my life.  I've been a certified seed inspector since 1985.  I've met the best seedsmen in the business and I look for quality, not quantity, traits or what every one else plants.  I am very picky about my seed.  How and where my seed was produced and handled is extremely important to me.  The same corn pedigree varies significantly from company to company because of this.
I can usually pick out good seed by opening a bag and inspecting it.  I've never seen poor seed meet those 15 criteria.  Can you identify good seed?  Do you trust your seedsman to deliver the very best seed for your farm?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Long Live The Family Farm(three years later)

I had a great day in the woods with Eric and grandson Tyler.  Eric helped me change the oil in our 550 Kawasaki Mule and we headed for our woods to try out my gift from Santa.  It's a 40 volt Ryobi chain saw.  LuAnn had doubts it would do what we needed done but Eric and I quickly saw the advantage of a battery powered chain saw.

That little saw looks like a "best buy" to me.  We cut Ohio wild grapevine all afternoon, some bigger than 6 inches in diameter.  Yes you can burn them like firewood and I've done that but a man has got to be pretty desperate to burn grapevine!

We have all of these black walnut, maple, cherry, oak, ash and other trees being choked out by grapevine.  LuAnn and I cut all of the little ones we could cut this fall with heavy duty, long handled, ratchet pruners.  These vines are so big you need a chain saw and I didn't want to carry a gas powered saw all over that woods.

So I asked Santa for a battery powered chain saw and as usual, Santa stepped up to the plate.  I opened up my new 40 volt Ryobi chain saw, took the batter out of the charger, filled it with bar oil and headed for the woods.  We had fun cutting vines, showing Tyler how to swing like Tarzan and identifying trees.  I need to bring a tree bark ID guide with me because he started asking lots of questions.  Eric and I want to know anyhow so it's good for all of us.

 I have cut several hundred vines so far so I expect to see a lot more tree growth soon.  I bet I paid for that little saw in one day's cutting, that is how invasive that vine is.  We need to practice more safety though, we accidentally felled an old limb on top of Sable that knocked her to the ground.  She looks a little rough this morning but she acts like she is OK.  You can never be too safe in the woods or anywhere, but she loves chasing the Mule through the creek and exploring the woods.

It's raining this morning so I am very happy all we got done today.  Eric needed a day in the woods and so did I.  Long Live The Family Farm!  I have lots of links in that blog and I hope you enjoy the text and pictures!

Ed

Saturday, December 28, 2013

July 18, 2010

Our crops were looking very good at this date when it stopped raining for that growing season.  Here is what I was doing that day:

"I was invited to Memphis last week to share my dealings with glyphosate-resistant weeds and to see the South’s problem with resistant pigweed firsthand. It was a rewarding trip.

The best thing is I met a lot of good people with strong minds who are aware of this problem. Dr. Stephen Powles from Western Australia University was one of those people. He has talked about this problem since his first battle with resistant ryegrass in Australia and New Zealand in 1983. Some farmers are still afraid to plant annual ryegrass as a cover crop for fear of introducing another resistant weed!
 
The main point he shared at this Bayer Crop Science sponsored event made good sense to me. Get your resistant weed populations down before tackling resistant weeds with glufosinate ammonium, formerly Liberty and now Ignite herbicide. We have lost too many good chemistries already, as retired Extension weed specialist Ford Baldwin lamented, and many farmers remembered the loss of cyanazine or Bladex in corn. The loss of the wonder herbicide glyphosate was compared to losing penicillin to fight human diseases.
 
The big question was, how do you get resistant weed populations down? The nasty word “tillage” was brought up and many farmers shuddered. I can’t do that in southwest Ohio. My soils are too fragile and erodible, and I have spent considerable effort and money in trying to save them and build them without tearing them apart again.
 
So, I thought of my crop rotation, spray schedule, chemical rotation and cover crops. The first thing that popped into my mind was that I always have less weeds with cover crops, especially with radishes. I have set a goal to cover all my fields after harvest this fall and try and keep them covered.  I intend to smother out my weed population.
 
There are always escapes. I will carefully use the existing products to kill my weed escapes and always use a residual with glyphosate- and glufosinate-resistant crops. This is working pretty well for me, but I have to get serious about this. Farmers are going to lose their farms and their career if they don’t get a handle on this — seriously.
 
One farmer we visited had spent $50 on herbicides alone and the soybeans were taken over by resistant pigweeds. The pigweed family, which includes redroot here, tall waterhemp in Iowa and Palmer amaranth in the South, have male and female plants. You can kill the the male, but pollinated females that escape produce thousands of seeds. The seed bank is huge.
 
Do you have any idea how big your weed seed bank is? You got a glimpse of it in this crazy growing year called 2010. There isn’t a clean field in Ohio that I have seen. There are always escapes, even in the so-called clean fields. Are they resistant? They probably are and if they aren’t, it takes more broad-spectrum chemical than ever to kill them. They will soon be resistant.
 
We got a good view of the resistant weeds around the world by focusing on the huge Palmer amaranth problem in the Mid-South’s Delta region. Those weeds are out of control. We have to be careful not to ruin Ignite herbicide trying to save Roundup Ready crops.
 
What I heard and saw made me happy that I have stayed with non-GMO corn and switched back to non-GMO soybeans for a more total weed control solution. I see where wheat and a cover crop are key in my rotation.
 
This is going to take a farmer-wide and industry-wide effort to avoid the huge problem the South is experiencing, what I see locally and in the Midwest, and even down under in Australia and New Zealand. We have weeds and we have too many resistant weeds!"
 
Let me ask you, how far have we come in 3 1/2 years?
 
Ed Winkle

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mr. Earthworm

I am reminded today of my neighbor Jon.  Jon is a no till farmer and when he was in FFA he was a national finalist for crop production.  Not knowing how to start the interview, he said, "I am a no-till farmer and Mr. Earthworm is my friend."  He and his family escaped "Rain On The Scarecrow" in the 1980's.

This early video from 1937 show us much more about Mr. Earthworm.  He's gained a lot of respect for a "lowly" worm to be called Mister.

Earthworms are still getting attention on the national and world ag talk scene.  Our friend Odette Menard, "the queen of Quebec agriculture," did a great job showing the benefits of earthworms in no-till farming success.

"How many earthworms are in your field? Likely only a few farmers can answer that question. Maybe the better question is – how many farmers should care about the number of earthworms in their fields?

According to Odette Ménard of the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the answer is, all farmers, because earthworms are vital to maintaining and establishing healthy soils. “We need to feed the soil if we are to feed men,” she says, explaining earthworms can offer simple solutions to combat issues with compaction, improve soil structure and 
reduce the vulnerability of the soil itself.

“Soil health isn’t just about the chemical make-up,” says Ménard. “The challenge is to talk about the soil with respect to its physical and biological properties.” And that’s where earthworms become important. These creatures help to aerate the soil, build and maintain soil structure, increase hydrology, improve nitrogen efficiency and reduce pests and diseases. 

Ménard says farmers often worry earthworm tunnels will increase the chance of nutrient leaching within their soils, but that’s not the case. In fact, since earthworms stay close to living plant roots – often within one inch – their tunnels support overall root development. “More holes in the soil means the soil is actually in better shape,” she says. “And the better the soil, the more root development, counterbalancing leaching.”

Does Mr. Earthworm live on your farm?  He really likes no-till, cover crops and agricultural limestone.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Day After

We had our Christmas miracles, yesterday.  I picked LuAnn up at Dayton International and we were home by 4 PM.  She said don't ever let anyone kid you that travel is less on Christmas Day.  She said Denver was a zoo and they couldn't take off in time because they had to have a second stewardess to fly and she had been stuck in Toronto this week because of the ice storm.  She finally got to Regina and down to Denver but she couldn't clear customs.  The flight was almost cancelled over that!  When the gal finally got through she got a standing ovation!

We had 11 of the 12 grand children playing in our house last night for Christmas.  I got to hold Emily Elizabeth the night before.  It was truly wonderful, a sight to behold.  They loved their gift and played and played and played.  Robots and zombies chased each other through this 1880 farm house.  Our girls put out a fabulous spread of food the kids actually ate.  I just found a half eaten mozzarella stick in my chair.  Half eaten apples were strewn all over the house.

When I walked into my office beside the living room I found curtains missing.  I couldn't type, my keyboard was dead.  The little monkeys took the batteries out of my keyboard!  Grandpa forget to buy a big supply of batteries for many of those gifts and these little guys know how to improvise!

I couldn't be happier.  Zach called and Tom had a great day yesterday.  His voice went from a whisper to that booming voice we all recognize.  We ask for prayers for LuAnn's brother Tom who was diagnosed with lymphoma of cerebral part of his brain.  A true Christmas miracle happened in our family for sure yesterday.  It reminded me of dad's last good day on this earth, Christmas 2000.  LuAnn and I drove from Buffalo New York to Sardinia, Ohio that day for that Christmas miracle.  We had his service two weeks later.

LuAnn is still purring in our big bed.  The sun is bright but she is worn out.  I am thankful for what we got to enjoy together as a family yesterday.

It was our Christmas miracle.  I hope you had one, too.

Ed Winkle
The picture is 2010.  Things have really changed since then.  I will post newer pictures when I find my batteries.:)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The True Meaning Of Christ Mass

It's been a long journey for me to discover what Christmas really means.  Today I have been wishing friends and family a Merry Mass of Christ, or Christ's Mass.

When I was little it meant a tree with presents around.  It still does but now it means so much more.  It's the celebration for the birth of our savior from a scared but faithful young Jewish girl named Mary.  That girl has become a source of prayer and inspiration now as she intercedes my prayers to her son, Jesus.

"Christmas refers to Christ’s Mass. It is the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord. However, there are those who like to point out that “Merry Christmas” is actually stating Merry Christ’s death. This is an isolation of the part of the Mass where we celebrate a portion of the Eucharist. In following the words of Jesus we partake in the Eucharist, at every Mass, in memory of Him (John 6, Luke 22).

The Mass doesn’t just include remembering the sacrifice of Christ, it includes His Glorious Resurrection. In the Penitential Rite we ask God to bring us to everlasting life. The Nicene Creed, which is our profession of faith, and our Eucharistic prayers look forward to and proclaim His Second Coming. Finally, we are dismissed with the words of “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Do these sounds like words of death? These are words of life!
The term Mass is from the Latin missa meaning to dismiss or dismissal. In following the celebration established by Jesus at the Last Supper, we enter into the mystery of our salvation. The sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Christ is renewed and accomplished. The Mass renews the paschal sacrifice because we are told to do so by Christ. How appropriate is the dismissal or Mass? It is quite appropriate because we are sent on a mission of service to God. This is how the liturgy is concluded. It is a continuance of spreading the Good News and God’s offering of eternal life."
Now you get a better idea of what I've learned over my lifetime and especially the last ten years or so.  We've enjoyed a spiritual advent of Christ at church these past weeks.  I hope you have, too.
A very merry Mass of Christ to you and your friends and family today and forever.
Ed Winkle

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Two Cent Corn

I just watched one of my favorite TV shows called Ag PhD.  It's all about the antics of Brian and Darren Hefty and how they share with us viewers their effort to farm better.  They have been calling me once or week or so, or I should say Janell does for them.   We talk a minute or two on an agronomy topic on their Back Forty Show on Sirius channel 80 Rural Radio.

Today on the TV program they showed where they hosted 100 kids on a field trip at their farm and Brian invited them to take an ear of corn home so they would really get the feel of their lesson!  As you can imagine, the corn kernals was strewn all over the bus and the school and the teachers asked that maybe they should carry the ears back to school next time!

I had to laugh out loud.  If those were my high school students, there would be bruises and maybe some teeth knocked out!  Seriously, teaching was that unpredictable when I taught.

The interesting part was they showed where an average ear of corn is worth two cents!  On a good marketing year like last it might be worth three cents but you get the picture.

"We have to harvest lots of pennies to make a profit," Brian said and that is ever so true.

So how are you going to keep up with low prices this year?  Are you going to try to raise more ears of 2 cent corn or try to hit 3 cent corn or raise either one of them cheaper?

Most of the discussion in Crop Talk the last month has been discussing how to do it cheaper.  I always had to do it cheaper, now how do I do it better and more efficiently?

Merry Eve of Christ's Mass to the world!

Ed

Monday, December 23, 2013

Corn

"The chart tells a nice, short story of U.S. agriculture — particularly corn, one of its most important crops. For most of the 19th century, American farmers were able to produce more and more food by planting on ever more acreage.* By the late 1800s, however, yields had stagnated. Policymakers got nervous, and the federal government undertook a series of initiatives to boost U.S. food production — irrigation and dam projects to bring farming to desert areas, railroads to transport food to cities.

The major gains, however, began in the 1920s and 1930s, when scientists began breeding hybrid strains of corn with bigger ears that could bunch more closely together in the field. New industrial fertilizers that could satisfy corn's voracious appetite for nitrogen were also developed. Tractors and other mechanized tools appeared. As the chart shows, yields began skyrocketing. Corn could now be grown in areas that were once unthinkable, like parts of the Great Plains. As Paul Roberts explains in The End of Food, "between 1930 and 1940, the number of bushels of corn per acre doubled, and then continued to rise each year."
As the chart above also shows, however, even after the explosion of corn production, the agricultural system is still sensitive to extreme weather events. The drought in 1988 caused corn yields to take a big hit. This year's drought has caused another steep drop.(2012)
So far, these lurches haven't been a fatal problem. For the past half century, droughts in the United States have actually been relatively short and infrequent, thanks to increased rainfall driven by natural ocean cycles. Globally, meanwhile, agricultural yields have been growing at a stable rate. Technology has helped farmers overcome nature. "
Hybridization of corn is still one of my favorite blogs I've ever written.  That population curve amazes me every time I click on it.  Adapting those technologies enabled my family to buy the tenant farm they farmed and got me started on my own farm here, finally, ten years ago.
Reid's Yellow Dent played a big role in this technology.  It takes two really good, dissimilar inbreds to make a great F1 hybrid.  That's only the start of this revolution. 

Ohio enjoyed a very good crop of soybeans this year at 49 bushels per acre, according to my USDA report yesterday.  We were one of the best corn yields in the nation at 174.  Still, US production tops out around 160 bu and beans continue to stay in the 40's.  We raised those kinds of yields in the 70's here.

Have we really advanced that far in 40 years?

This guy doesn't think so.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December

I share my grandson Liam's December poem:

December
The cold winds in the night
Do not quench the firelight,
And when dawn comes,
The ground is white,
With Christmas snow,
To all's delight. --L. Peters

He has such diction, such language for an eight year old.  We talk like old buddies, he just doesn't have my experience so I try to share it in little dabs.  I sure remember the things Grandpa George Winkle taught me in eight years.

December is a hard month for me.  I like to see things growing, not dormant.  Getting to see Chris's crop in New Zealand in January two times in the last 4 years has truly been a blessing.  The long nights of December works on my mental condition because I need lots of sunshine to thrive and just enough darkness to sleep.

I am amazed at all of the well wishes and birthday greetings I have received.  Liam called to sing "happy birthday to you" to me this morning and that just made my day!  LuAnn's family has that tradition and I've passed it on to mine.  It's a really good tradition for us, even my eight year old grandson is singing to me!  Thank you children and grand children for your help and well wishes!

The full moon has woke me up once again this week and reminded me that even though December is long and has long nights, we are at a turning point.  That reminds me that our nation, and you and I are at a turning point.  Which way will we turn?

Right now we focus on the "real reason for this season" and these powerful storms affecting so much of the United States.  We escaped pretty well but it sounded like the roof was coming off at any time last night.

Enjoy a blessed Sunday and a hearty welcome to our new followers!  The days get longer now for the next six months!

Ed

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Luddites

I came across this term and had to look it up.  It was used in this context on my friend Nathan Brown's Facebook page.  My picture from New Zealand has nothing to do with this story, I just like it!

"Plans to build new, major shipping terminals in the Pacific Northwest that would boost our ability to increase exports are under government scrutiny, not because anyone is opposed to providing new facilities for shipping agricultural goods to Pacific Rim nations, especially China, but because they will also move domestic coal to fuel Chinese power plants. Environmentalists who oppose carbon-based energy, led by organizations like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, are fighting to a stalemate against unions, regional shippers and the broader business community. Agriculture and all other exporting industries are collateral damage.    
                                                         
But American farming's prodigious output is possible because American biotechnology leads the world. The green revolution will rival and surpass the industrial revolution for its effect on the everyday quality of life of billions of people who live at or below subsistence levels.

In addition, biotechnology married to agriculture means we use less fertilizer and make fewer passes over fields with heavy equipment, and better soil conservation while producing bigger yields.

Yet American agriculture has become a magnet for negative attention from the professional, activist left. As a nation, if we are not careful, this underappreciated economic gem will cede its future to antibusiness activists who use a variety of political and regulatory ploys to substitute scare tactics for science in our food systems."

That is exactly what I am trying to do.  I may use biotechnology differently than the average farmer but so far that is OK.  However, it was not a good year for Liberty.

John points out many things that I believe are leading this country in the wrong direction for the good of the people, especially my kids and grand kids.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Friday, December 20, 2013

What My Soil Is Telling Me

Anyone who has read my blog or wants to search my archives, you know I have been listening to my soil all my life.  There is so much life under our feet!

My soil could be rented, the best part is when I OWN it and I can do whatever I want to it.  With ownership comes a huge responsibility.

Our friend Bill included this link I think it is very worthy for discussion on this blog.

What is your soil telling you?  If you click on the link, you can download a very good 2.3 MB slide show on what is my soil telling me?

When I stop, look and listen, my soil tells me tons of information.  It responds to every good thing I do to it.  If I don't plow it and keep it covered, it starts to heal.  When I apply lime and fertilizer according soil test recommendations, it produces big, healthy crops.

If you have read this blog you know I use the Midwest soil test.  That tells me very basic information, more than just guessing what I should do to feed a crop.  You also know I learned to pull tissue samples at flower to get a better idea what the crop is seeing.  It tells me what my balance levels are and what my micronutrient deficiencies are.  It all varies year to year and crop to crop rotation.

The Brix test helps me evaluate how healthy my crop is.  I am getting Brix readings now closer to 12 when they used to be 5.  That difference in sugar comes from a much healthier mass flow of nutrients in to my plant sap.

I like talking soil and I like helping others.  Nothing gives me more joy that standing in a root pit or where we are repairing or installing field drainage tile.

I hope the next guy who farms this place appreciates what he is getting because I have put my heart and soul into building this farm and it's no average piece of ground anymore.

My yields prove, I can hardly believe what we've taken off this farm in ten short(long) years!

What is your soil telling you?

Ed Winkle

Thursday, December 19, 2013

64 And Many More

If I wake up tomorrow, I will be 64!  Can you believe that?  I know it's true because I lived every day of it but it still astounds me.( I did wake up and I am 64)

I ask for your prayers today for my brother in law Tom Bow of Scottsdale, Arizona.  Tom became ill yesterday and now has been tested for every brain and spinal ailment known to man.  You know the routine.

I don't know my brother in law so well because he lives so far away.  From the stories I've heard and the days I've spent with him, he is a really good guy.  He needs our prayers.  He severely needs our prayers!

I pray for Tom and Zach and all of the very concerned family.  I pray that those two top neurosurgeons figures out what is wrong and gives Tom a miracle.

Even Google sent me a birthday present, I am not sure if this will work if you click on it or not but here goes.

Dr. Weber called and thinks I will benefit from carpal tunnel surgery.  Have any of you had it?  He recommended a surgeon I don't know but I trust my life with Dr. Weber.  He has been great to me and my family.  I credit him for saving me, two daughters and a grand daughter from a lot of suffering and perhaps worse.

A friend helped me work up a truck load of wood yesterday and my right arm is on fire.  I can barely type this morning.

I just read the market prices and you know I think it's being highly manipulated.  It won't go up because it is driven down and and it won't go down because there is such demand.  Farmers are good at producing food but this just doesn't explain itself.

Have a great day, 12/19/49 was for me.

Ed

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mount Olympus

I found this in my drafts folder and thought I would share it today.

We wandered up where Chief Seattle tred along time ago, Mount Olympus. What a beautiful site on a beautiful day!

"Mount Olympus (Greek: Όλυμπος ; also transliterated as Ólympos, and on Greek maps, Óros Ólimbos) is the highest mountain in Greece at 2,919 metres high (9,577 feet).[1] Since its base is located at sea level, it is one of the highest mountains in Europe in terms of topographic prominence, the relative altitude from base to top. It is located in Macedonia, about 100 km away from Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city.

Mount Olympus is noted for its very rich flora with several endemic species. The highest peak on Mount Olympus is Mitikas at 2,919 metres high (9,577 feet), which in Greek means "nose" (an alternative transliterated spelling of this name is "Mytikas"). Mitikas is the highest peak in Greece, the second highest being Skolio (2912 m).

In Greek mythology the mountain was regarded as the "home of the gods", specifically of the Twelve Olympians, the twelve principal gods of the ancient Hellenistic world.[2] Any climb to Mount Olympus starts from the town of Litochoro, which took the name City of Gods because of its location on the roots of the mountain."

Thank you again, Wiki.

We took the ferry on Route 20 across Pugent sound for $13, saved a lot of gas.

We are in Burlington tonight. The Cascades tomorrow and Mt. Rainier then rest up for the trip to Alaska Saturday.

Yippee!

I think that was a few summers ago.  I do know that was a great trip, when we met our NAT friends from Oregon and Washington.  Grasseed, Orin, Budde and a whole lot more friends were met.

Ed and LuAnn

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Snow

I am not a professional forecaster but I predict we go over our annual snow fall amount of 20 inches this winter.  I think we will be to that total soon, we have another inch this morning.

I am not complaining though, LuAnn was checking in with her friends in East Aurora NY last night and they already have four feet!  We watched grand daughter Brynn perform Seven Feet Of Snow at the 12th annual Murphy Theatre Christmas Show Friday night.  Her little hands would be doing the same thing in New York where her mom and family hails from!

We haven't had the snowmobile out yet but we could.  We had enough snow last weekend to ride but every one's been busy just doing their daily routine.  I sure don't have the time and energy to fool with it right now but maybe we will soon.

Does it snow where you live?  I would assume about half my readers are in the north where it snows and about half are in the south where it doesn't.

It's been cold, too!  It's been as cold as since LuAnn moved here in 2001.  I mostly only remember "post LuAnn," now, not much before!  She's occupied all my time since 1999 but I think the snow in East Aurora has followed her here now!

Actually, we all know it's cycles, it isn't global warming or some dreaded thing, it's been going on "forever."  When one year varies from the last year or so, people get all excited.

I've already burned a ton of wood pellets keeping our 1880 farm house warm, and it looks like the one in yesterday's painting.  I have also burned most of the wood on the wood porch twice already and it holds 3 big pickup loads.  Now wonder my arms are giving me problems.

Today I get my "pins and needles" or EMG test on my right arm to determine how much nerve damage I have.  It's given me fits some nights sleeping and fallen "asleep" during the day.

My arm and this weather has changed a lot of my travel plans and I am not happy with that but I am more at peace with it than you might imagine.

If I get too tired of snow or heating this house, I do have the means to go where I don't have to concern myself with either!

Hmmm, a year ago we were heading for New Zealand and I was in Chris's corn field on a warm sunny day in January.

Now, that is appealing!

Ed Winkle

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thank You Followers!

I am honored to have 121 "Followers" today on HyMark High Spots.  I never dreamed of anything like that when I started this blog nearly five years ago.  This is how our house looks today just like it did five years ago when this was painted by our neighbor.

What is a "Follower?"

A "Follower" is someone who follows my blog.  You can become an "official" follower by following the steps described above in the link.

You can see who I follow by reading about me on my blog description.  Gorges, Budde and are a few if the blogs listed that I follow:


I didn't even know what a "blog" was until my wife LuAnn challenged me to write one five years ago.  I took up her challenge and here we are five years later!

Blogging is very challenging but very rewarding.  Even my own children have told me they learned things and learned things about me by reading this blog.

Blogging is great if you like to write a little each day to share a little bit about your life.

I thank all of my followers, especially the ones who signed into Google to proclaim they follow me!

It is quite a responsibility!

When will we hit 200 followers?  There are many blogs with less than 200 followers and HyMark High Spots is one of those today.

I never set out to have so many followers, so I thank you!

Ed Winkle

Sunday, December 15, 2013

30 Things We Need

And 30 things we don't. I think this is a pretty good list, don't you? Today's picture is from a Cathedral taken during Holland in Bloom.

30 Things We Need — and 30 We Don't
 The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Lessby Tony Schwartz
Do you have the feeling, as I do, that in the tsunami of everyday life, we're getting too much of stuff we don't need, and not enough of what we do? Herewith my first set of suggestions about how to redress the imbalance:

WE NEED LESS: WE NEED MORE:
Information: Wisdom
Shallow billionaires: Passionate teachers
Self-promotion: Self-awareness
Multitasking: Control of our attention
Inequality: Fairness
Sugar: Lean protein
Action: Reflection
Super sizes: Smaller portions
Private jets: High-speed trains
Calculation: Passion
Experts: Learners
Blaming: Taking responsibility
Judgment: Discernment
Texting: Reading
Anger: Empathy
Output: Depth
Constructive criticism: Thank-you notes
Possessions: Meaning
Righteousness: Doing the right thing
Answers: Curiosity
Long hours: Longer sleep
Complaining: Gratitude
Sitting: Moving
Selling: Authenticity
Cynicism Realistic: optimism
Self-indulgence: Self-control
Speed: Renewal
Emails: Conversations
Winning: Win-win
Immediate gratification: Sacrifice

I am try to be more on the right side of this equation and I really struggle with some of these!  However I would rate myself as having gone more from the left side of these word equations to the right side of them.  It's been a natural progression for me over my lifetime experience of trying to do what is right and compared to not living like I should.

As far a material goods, there are a bunch of things that would make my life easier and rewarding but not really a thing I need.  I do see I am going to need another load of wood on our wood porch in the next week or so and that's about it!

The long nights and short, dreary days give me more time for reflection.  In a week, we will turn the corner and start to move the other way!

I think I or any pastor could write a sermon over about anyone of these, don't you think?

Have a blessed Sunday,

Ed Winkle

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Seed Espionage

"DES MOINES, Iowa -- A corporate agriculture espionage case announced Thursday by federal prosecutors offered a glimpse into how at least seven Chinese men allegedly traveled across the Midwest to steal millions of dollars in seed technology.

The investigation revealed how the men used counter-surveillance techniques to shake FBI tails, but still had the seeds confiscated by law enforcement authorities as they tried to leave the country.

Mo Hailong, also known as Robert Mo, is accused of stealing trade secrets worth at least $30 million to $40 million, said Nicholas Klinefeldt, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. It's the first corporate agriculture espionage case of its kind in Iowa, officials said.

"The point is to call people out on this type of activity," Klinefeldt said. "So that people know about it, and so companies can take the right precautions to prevent it from happening again."

Mo, the only person charged or arrested, used an alias to tour DuPont Pioneer's headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, and Monsanto's research facility in Ankeny. He also attend a state dinner in which Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad welcomed Xi Jinping, the then-future president of China, back to the Iowa. Mo and others often met at farm in Illinois bought by Kings Nower Seed, a Chinese seed company for which they were spying, court documents show."

My thinking is this kind of thing is going to progress as we learn what really is good food and how to do we produce it?  We are into a whole new realm of technology with more mouths to feed. 

How do we best do that?  Each one is going to have his own idea on that but for me, I need to produce the highest quality non GMO food products I can produce at the lowest cost.  I need to market those products for what they are really worth because me dumping a healthy, pure non GMO into the local generic soybean seed pile is money and effort wasted.

I am not surprised to see this, other countries have been "stealing" our technology and ideas for a long time time and reproducing them at a lower cost than we can.  They don't end up with the same quality, but the world economy doesn't seem to matter.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

Friday, December 13, 2013

Do The Amish Pay Taxes?




A friend and I were talking about the state of the nation and the question arose, do the Amish pay taxes and what do they pay?

"Q: Do the Amish pay taxes?


A: Yes. They pay all the taxes—income, property, sales, estate, corporate, school—that other people do. In fact many of them pay school taxes twice—for both public and private Amish schools. The US Congress exempted the Amish from participating in Social Security in 1965 because the Amish viewed it as a form of commercial insurance, which they opposed.

They believe that members of the church should care for each others’ physical and material needs. Thus, most of them do not pay into Social Security or receive payments from it. In some states, the Amish have also been exempted from workers compensation (insurance for on-the-job injuries) for the same reason. See Government for more information."    

So yes, Amish do pay the same tax you and I pay except for Social Security.  They were able to opt out on this one, just like I was as a teacher.  I did not pay into Social Security as a teacher but I did pay into it on my all my other work in farming and consulting.  I would receive full benefit if I had not taught in the public system for 31 years.  Therefore I have basically no benefit from SS though I am fully vested.  It affects LuAnn's retirement too, as she will receive 2/3 of my pension at my death until her death.    

We saw our parents depend on their Social Security for their retirements where in contrast, we basically never planned to do that.  They paid so little in compared to what they got out but when you figure inflation, I don't think they got a great deal either.  Things were so cheap when they paid in 1950 and were so inflated by the time they retired at 1990 or whatever the year.   They learned to live on little because they were children of the Great Depression.  

Our government has raided Social Security so much that is why it will go broke, not because of the system that was set up.  FDR has been applauded and ridiculed for coming up with SS, so take your pick.  I never believed the government could take better care of me than I could myself.   Remember "Born Free and Taxed to Death?"  Render under to Caesar

what is Caesar's is Caesar's and pay to God what is God's.  

Ed

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Generation

What do you think of my generation?   Is it OUR generation?

"Fact: It was the Baby Boomers who, despite being raised by the Greatest Generation somehow parlayed the wealth of the Greatest Generation into creating and raising a generation of overweight, narcissistic, tuned-out, video game players."

My generation "got rich" way too quick.  Even though I didn't have all the luxuries, I have enough to make me realize the difference.  When you are poor, you really don't know what rich is.  I feel really rich today.  I woke up too early at 4:30 AM and walked outside to see the stars.  The Little Dipper was just east of our house.  It was so beautiful!

I took another look at our new farm this morning.  I think Sable agreed we don't have any less beans as neighbor Ed to the north.  His RoundUp Ready Soybeans did not surpass my non gmos.  They were good, though.

We are very, very blessed in this country.  You don't have to go far to see it, either.  I remember driving west on Interstate 10 in Texas and on the right hand was riches and on the left hand was poverty.  Shanty's and shacks dominated the landscape to the south.

I wrote this some months ago before harvest, counting my blessings.  Tonight I count them even more.  We had a good year.  Just bringing Keith, Jeff, Dr. Cooper and all you readers to our farm was worth every bit of my efforts, even more.

I would love to be in charge of distributing wealth.  I think I might be quite good with it.  I know right now all the places I would hit in southern Ohio, our state and our nation.  I even know where to distribute some wealth overseas.

What would you do if you "hit the lottery?"  Money has never been a driver for me, I can't work without it but I only need so much.  I've been given enough of it, so now how do you distribute that wealth?  Money is just a tool for me to use my talents, you don't need much.

Catholic charities impress me very much.  They exude the word charity with humbleness and meekness.  Our local charity, HOPE Emergency is run by two sisters of the faith and they are feeding and clothing close to a 1000 families in southwest Ohio right.  There are so many like that, I could spend, I mean invest millions there if I had it.

A few of my generation have been very benevolent but I think greed has pretty much become a representative word of my age group.

What do you think of my or "our generation?"

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Season On The Farm

This was shot with a GoPro camera in Western Canada.  The music sure sounds like work, doesn't it?  Work, work, work!  Can anyone identify the white granule fertilizer being loaded into the big air seeder?

We really enjoyed our tour across Canada a year ago and wish we could do it again.  Canada is a huge country and is so different than mine, though we are neighbors!  You really have to experience Canada to appreciate it.

We drove from Steelhead Lake south of Glacier National Park, through Glacier on the "going to the sun road" right north into Alberta.  You don't have to drive very far from Glacier before you are in Canada.  That was still a pretty lonely little border patrol station.

Farmer Derek Klingenberg's farm videos are much lighter and fun to watch.  Even the grand children like his videos!  I remember bumblebees in the hay!

What does the farmer say?  This one says it's too darned cold and he's tired of burning wood already and it's not even Christmas!  Today's picture was taken a month ago and there was already snow on the ground.  Now everything is totally white!  That's unusual for southwest Ohio since we have lived here.   "How is the weather at your place?"

Have a great day!

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Highland Soybeans

I was surprised to find a new soybean from Ohio's soybean breeding program on my scouting packet this summer.  Since I am close to Highland County, which it is named after, it was being grown for Ohio Foundation Seed at Croton, Ohio on Steritz Seed Farm 5 miles southeast of me.  That farm is on the Illinoian Glacial Till which is what our farm is located on or buried just under the Wisconsin Glacial Till Moraine.

The 2013 Ohio State Soybean performance trials and Highland produced 85.2 bushels per acre, right at the top of the trial.  I was impressed with this new bean as soon as I pulled into the driveway of that farm.  It looked as good as anything they had growing.  It is similar to the private Jacob soybean they already raise for non GMO planting.  The five acres of Jacob I had this summer did as well as anything on our farm.  They out yielded the yellow hilum food grade soybean right beside it.  They are a cross of Dr. Cooper's Stressland with a Delta Pine and Land variety.

Highland is a 3.9 maturity with white flower, light tawny or gray looking pubescence with a brown pod and black hilum.  It has great potential for my area and many other areas similar to mine west and east of me.  I plan to raise them in 2014.

"To meet the demand of conventional soybean growers in Ohio and neighboring states USDA-ARS, Wooster has released more than 30 high-yielding non-GMO soybean cultivars with improved insect and disease resistance over last 30 years and continue to develop top performing cultivars. Stressland, Apex, Croton3.9, Stalwart, Wooster, and Prohio are few of the latest releases from this program. We also released germplasm with multiple pest (e.g., Phytopthora rot and beetle) resistance to be used by public and private soybean breeders in USA.

Apart from releasing cultivars for growers and germplasms for plant breeders, we conduct research on emerging and urgent problems damaging soybeans in Ohio. We use state of the art DNA technology to pyramid multiple disease and insect resistance in high-yielding and value added (e.g., high protein) elite soybean cultivars. These soybeans with multiple pest resistance and value added traits will lead to a reduction in the use of pesticides and aid in environment friendly, sustainable and profitable production systems. Our research will also make US soybeans more competitive in international markets. On-going Research projects include varieties like Highland and other varieties bred for Ohio conditions to meet market demand."
 
It's exciting to see my tax money at work helping Ohio farmers and the population who consumes Ohio grown products.
 
What new variety will you plant in 2014?
 
Ed Winkle
 
 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Treating Aluminum Rich Soil

Aluminum is not an essential plant element and can be harmful to crop growth.  One of my young friends called this week and we talked about what we would do to raise our crop yields.  He had tried gypsum but did not notice results.  Fly Ash Gypsum from scrubbing coal powered electric plant stacks is helping keep fly ash our of our landfills and onto our soils.  Are we scrubbing the aluminum off the clay particles for better soil air and water movement and less damage from aluminum?  This is probably ten years old but I get these questions almost every day.

" Researchers at Ohio State University have found a way to use waste products from utility companies to stimulate plant growth in aluminum-rich soil, soil that's found on some farmlands and on strip-mined areas.

The technology could reduce the amount of waste products shipped to toxic landfills and thereby decrease the cost of compliance with clean air legislation, said Richard Stehouwer, a senior researcher in the School of Natural Resources at Ohio State University. He works at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster.
 
The waste is a byproduct of a new type of sulfur scrubbing technique used by Cinergy(now Duke Energy), a gas and electric utility company in Cincinnati. If field tests of the byproduct yield successful results in treatment of acidic soil, the process could be adopted by other utility companies.
Scrubbing is done by utility companies to remove sulfur dioxide from exhaust gases that are produced by burning coal. In most scrubbing systems, calcium hydroxide is injected into the flue gas stream and forms a calcium sulfite byproduct.
 
In the new process, developed by Dravo Lime Company in Pittsburgh, waste water from the scrubber is oxidized and combined with lime to produce gypsum and magnesium hydroxide. The new process could allow companies to recover usable products from the waste water.  "Magnesium hydroxide can be used within the power plant or marketed commercially," Stehouwer said. "The company hopes to market the recovered gypsum to companies that produce drywall and similar products."
 
But not all the gypsum can be separated from the magnesium hydroxide. This is where the process developed by Ohio State researchers could be useful, Stehouwer said.
 
In a greenhouse study of spoil from an abandoned coal mine, scientists found that the magnesium hydroxide enriched gypsum neutralized much of the toxic aluminum found in the soil samples. Soil aluminum poses little health threat to humans and animals but can devastate plant growth.  "In the top layer of our pots, where we applied the magnesium-gypsum treatment, we found a drastic reduction in the levels of aluminum," Stehouwer said.
 
But more surprising was the reduction of aluminum even farther down in the soil sample, indicating the magnesium treatment could travel easily through soil layers.  "In untreated soil samples, we found 500 to 600 parts of exchangeable aluminum per million parts of mine spoil," Stehouwer said. "But at depths of one to two feet below the surface where the treatment was applied, we found levels of 100 to 300 parts of aluminum per million parts of spoil."
 
Most plants require an aluminum level lower than 200 parts per million to thrive, Stehouwer said. Increasing the amount of calcium or magnesium relative to aluminum will also help to alleviate aluminum toxicity.
The greenhouse study also included soil samples from farmland in Ashtabula County in Northeast Ohio that had naturally occurring high levels of aluminum. Researchers grew a test crop of alfalfa in soil that had been treated with the gypsum-magnesium byproduct and found good levels of plant growth.
"What we're hoping to find in all plant growth on these treated areas is root extension below the treated depth of the soil," Stehouwer said. "Drought causes a problem for all plant growth, and strip-mined areas are especially prone to drought conditions in the summer. But if plant roots are able to extend beyond the surface treated depth, they can access the water supply deeper in the soil."
Researchers began field studies of the gypsum-magnesium soil treatment mixture last fall at three sites in Ohio. Studies of plant growth in two abandoned mine locations in Southeast Ohio and farmland in the Northeast part of the state showed good yield results this summer.
 
"There are around 900 abandoned coal mine sites in Ohio alone," Stehouwer said, adding that Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana and Illinois also have many of these sites.
"If this material works as effectively as we hope, it will help in the effort to return these areas to a healthier environment for plants and eliminate the detrimental effects of acid mine drainage."

This program has finally hit mainstream Ohio agriculture since the Clean Air Act was enacted!

Ed

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Be Not Afraid

Tonight we sung this beautiful hymn at church"

You shall cross the barren desert
But you shall not die of thirst
You shall wander far in safety
Though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands
And all will understand
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow Me
And I shall give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters
In the sea, you shall not drown
If you walk amidst the burning flames
You shall not be harmed.

If you stand before the pow'r of hell
And death is at your side
Know that I am with you, through it all.

Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow Me
And I shall give you rest.

Blessed are your poor
For the Kingdom shall be theirs
Blest are you that weep and mourn
for one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked men insult and hate you
All because of Me
Blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow Me
and I shall give you rest...


I really, really enjoyed this hymn and it seemed so appropriate for this season.

Ed

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Congratulations To Ohio's Outstanding Young Farm Couple!

My friends Nathan and Jennifer Brown were named Ohio Farm Bureau's Outstanding Young Farm Couple last night in Columbus.  Here is the video they presented at the annual conference where they were named as the winners of the selection.

I think I first noticed Nathan at our farm on Horseshoe Road near Hillsboro, although I am sure I met him before then.  He stopped to talk one day when I was working there and we've been friends ever since.  I asked him how he got his start in farming, as it is so hard to start a farm operation as a young man with little help.

I asked who his ag teacher was and I remembered him from FFA years before.  He told the story of signing up for agriculture class and then finding out he wasn't included on the roster.  He told a mentor friend what happened and the next day he suddenly was on the ag roster!

Since then he has worked up a sizeable operation for a young man.  We still visit from time to time and I keep up with him on Facebook.  I love to drive by his good looking fields with his and his wife's name proudly displayed on each field with their phone number.  No one does that around here unless they are selling something!

My sincere congratulations to Nathan and Jennifer for their outstanding work!  Their honor is well deserved!  I dedicate this neat video of Mount Victoria in New Zealand to their achievement!

Ed Winkle