Monday, December 15, 2014

The Last Time Oil Crashed

The last time oil prices dropped this fast was in 2008.  Remember 2008?  We have not recovered from it, if we ever will.

I posted this article in Market Talk and got some great feedback on the article.  We are all enjoying cheaper fuel at the pump right now as that frees up money for other purchases.  When gasoline drops in half in a short period, that event is going to affect a lot of other things, too.  It could also be a sign of some very bad things to happen.

"There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months.  The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months.

Well, now it is happening again, but this time the stakes are even higher.  When the price of oil falls dramatically, that is a sign that economic activity is slowing down.  It can also have a tremendously destabilizing affect on financial markets.  As you will read about below, energy companies now account for approximately 20 percent of the junk bond market.

And a junk bond implosion is usually a signal that a major stock market crash is on the way.  So if you are looking for a “canary in the coal mine”, keep your eye on the performance of energy junk bonds.  If they begin to collapse, that is a sign that all hell is about to break loose on Wall Street."

E-85 is $1.79 in Blanchester.  That's about as low as its ever been.  My picture shows what it was not too long ago!

The discussion on market talk is very interesting.  I have a lot of farmer friends who post there I trust.  They all have some interesting points.

The point is we are all enjoying this reprieve in fuel prices.  What are the consequences?  In our tightly connected world market, when one thing goes down, so do other things.  Those things may impact our income and even our retirement.

It all looks scary to me.

Ed

Sunday, December 14, 2014

History of EWTN

I watch and listen to a lot of EWTN TV and radio.  EWTN has a very storied history.  It falls under the miracle category, too.

"When Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) was launched on Aug. 15, 1981, many felt there would be little demand for a Catholic network. In fact, when Mother M. Angelica, a cloistered nun, fulfilled a promise to our Lord in the early 1960s by founding Our Lady of Angels Monastery in Irondale, Ala., she had no idea she would one day found the largest religious media network in the world.

Who could have imagined that a cloistered nun would found a global television network? Who could have predicted that a network funded entirely by donations from “people in the pews” instead of advertising would become the largest religious media network in the world? Yet that is the story behind the EWTN Global Catholic Network.

The future Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN, was born on April 20, 1923 in southeast Canton, Ohio to Mae Gianfrancesco Rizzo and John Rizzo. The couple named their daughter Rita Antoinette Rizzo.

Realistically, no one could have expected the child to amount to much. Her parents were not religious. In fact, when Rita was only 7-years-old, her abused mother filed for divorce, which was quite a stigma in those days. Rita was so poor and her mother so mentally fragile that the child had to go to school and run her mother’s dry cleaning business at the same time. As a result, she was distrustful of outsiders, never made friends and never dated.

But Rita experienced two miracles in her pre-convent days, which changed her life. The first occurred in 1934. The 11-year-old adolescent went running for a bus – and missed seeing an oncoming car. When she finally saw the car, she froze. However, “two hands” pick her up and placed her on the median. The bus driver would later say he had never seen anyone jump so high.

Her second miracle occurred in 1942. For years, the teenager suffered from ptosis of the stomach, which made her hands shake, her left arm go numb, and her stomach spasm, which made it hard to eat or sleep, But after a visit with Mystic Rhonda Wise, Rita experienced a miraculous healing. That healing made her realize that God loved her personally – and she began to love Him back. Her love became such that on Aug. 15, 1944, she entered a Cleveland convent and became Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, a Franciscan Nun of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The order would later change its name to the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration."

Look how the prayers of one woman changed people's lives to such a great extent by doing the impossible and going out and actually doing what the answers to those prayers said to do!

Blessed Sunday to you all,

Ed Winkle


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Improve Your Soil With Radish

We've talked at great length about cover crops on this blog, especially radishes.  This article and video reminded me of the great topic of radish.

Over the past decade, radishes have been redefined; once known almost exclusively as a pungent vegetable, radishes have recently gained recognition for their cover cropping potential. After reading this article, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether cover crop radishes are worth a try on your farm.

Radishes have made rapid inroads as a cover crop for several reasons. First, the radish phenotype is well suited to perform many valuable cover crop functions—provide soil cover, scavenge nutrients, suppress weeds, and alleviate compaction—while creating few of the residue management challenges associated with many other cover crops.

Second, recent research including many on-farm trials has documented beneficial effects of radish cover crops on soil properties and subsequent crops. Third, the seed industry has ramped up production of radish seed, brought new branded products to market, and promoted radish as a cover crop. Fourth—but perhaps most important in terms of the exponential growth in interest by farmers—radish cover crops have become a hot topic of discussion in rural coffee shops and on-line agricultural forums. Between 10/1/2011 and 12/1/2011, there were 51 threads about radishes in the Crop Talk forum of New Ag Talk, with over 500 responses and more than 240,000 views.

Radish have been one of the fastest adopted ideas I've seen in my lifetime.  There must be good reason for so many to try them and keep planting them.  When an old friend even plants them on his alfalfa hay farm, you know their characteristics must have spurred some interest.

We've been blessed to travel around the world to see radish seed production and meet the producers.  We haven't made a one of them rich but we have made their industry viable just like they are improving our crop production and soil health.

When I planted garden radishes as a child I never would have dreamed that plant family would have turned into something like this!

Ed

Friday, December 12, 2014

US 52% No-Till

"Soil health improves when farmers refrain from disturbing the soil. While no-till production systems are increasingly used on land in corn, soybeans, and wheat -- the three largest U.S. crops by acreage -- they are not necessarily used every year.

Field-level data, collected through the Agricultural Resource Management Survey, show that farmers often rotate no-till with other tillage systems.

Farmers growing wheat (in 2009), corn (in 2010), and soybeans (in 2012) were asked about no-till use in the survey year and the 3 previous years.

No-till was used continuously over the 4-year period on 21 percent of surveyed acres. On almost half of the cropland surveyed, farmers did not use no-till.

Some of the benefit of using no-till, including higher organic matter and greater carbon sequestration, is realized only if no-till is applied continuously over a number of years.

Nonetheless, because tilling the soil can help control weeds and pests, some farmers rotate tillage practices much like they rotate crops."

That's higher than I would expect, especially with all the tillage you read about and see.  If this is true, it is a good trend for soil conservation.  With the Marestail problem, I know a few who have went to some tillage just to try and control it.

I can see where today's economics help push no-till, because it's a potentially less expensive way to farm.  Less trips means less inputs into growing a crop.

Do think this number is fairly accurate for your area?

Ed Winkle

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Global Meat Demand

Highlights from presentation by Brett Stuart, Global AgriTrends.

Demand side
·         Asia has more people than the rest of the world combined.  This population continues to grow and their income is also growing quickly as they become economic powers.

·         China has recently passed the US as the world’s biggest economy.

·         Demand comes from an increase in population and an increase in income – both are happening in Asia.

·         We (farmers globally) will need to produce more food in the next 50 years than the total food that has been produced over the last 7,000 years.

·         Global need (demand) will be 9 million more tons of beef over the next 10 years.

·         China has 300 million people in their middle class (equals total US population) and this will double by 2022.

·         Sheer numbers – the wealthiest 10% of China’s population represents more people than the total population of Japan

·         The Middle Class is globally 2 billion people today and is expected to be 4.9 billion by 2030.

·         The demand for beef is not only steady but growing.  As people move into the middle class, they want to buy beef.

·         China’s own beef production has kept up with demand in the past.  This is no longer the case.
o   Because of income growth, demand for beef is up 42% in China over the last 2 years.

o   Chinese consumers want to see white fat beef, not yellow fat beef, so they want grain fed and not grass fed beef.

o   China’s corn policy has their corn prices at $9.70/bushel to encourage their farmers to plant corn – this is forcing their own livestock producers to cut back production.
·     

I thought this was pretty interesting stuff, hope you enjoy it!  My livestock friends have been quietly and modestly happy because they quickly remember how it was before $8 corn.  Cost of production is still an issue and we haven't seen people rush in to produce much more yet.

Ed


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

60 Years Left

"ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said on Friday.

About a third of the world's soil has already been degraded, Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) told a forum marking World Soil Day.

The causes of soil destruction include chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation which increases erosion, and global warming. The earth under our feet is too often ignored by policymakers, experts said.

"Soils are the basis of life," said Semedo, FAO's deputy director general of natural resources. "Ninety five percent of our food comes from the soil."

Unless new approaches are adopted, the global amount of arable and productive land per person in 2050 will be only a quarter of the level in 1960, the FAO reported, due to growing populations and soil degradation.

Soils play a key role in absorbing carbon and filtering water, the FAO reported. Soil destruction creates a vicious cycle, in which less carbon is stored, the world gets hotter, and the land is further degraded.

"We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming," Volkert Engelsman, an activist with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements told the forum at the FAO's headquarters in Rome.

"Organic (farming) may not be the only solution but it's the single best (option) I can think of."

Now I know most American farmers don't trust the FAO but you really have to think about their point.  The point is we still lose too much topsoil even with the advancement of reduced, minimum and no tillage.  I can lose a ton of topsoil a year with my no-till method but cover crops helps reduce that while providing other benefits.

You and I don't have to be overly concerned about 60 years from now but I do have 12 grand children.

I do care and I am concerned.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Indiana Illinois Farm Show

Next week is the Indiana Illinois Farm Show at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.  It is held Tuesday through Thursday just like other farm shows like Farm Science Review.

"36TH INDIANA-ILLINOIS FARM SHOW SET FOR
DECEMBER 16 THRU 18 2014
WHEN THE 36TH EDITION OF THE INDIANA-ILLINOIS FARM AND OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT SHOW MOVES INTO THE WEST PAVILION OF THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS, INDIANAPOLIS, FOR ITS ANNUAL 3 DAY RUN, TUESDAY THRU THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16 THRU 18, IT WILL GIVE AREA FARMERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE EVERYTHING THAT’S NEEDED FOR THEIR FARM FOR THE NEXT PLANTING AND HARVESTING. THE SHOW WILL FEATURE OVER 350 COMPANIES SHOWING EVERYTHING THAT’S NEW; LONG LINE FROM YOUR JOHN DEERE, CASE AND CAT DEALERS, SHORT LINE, SEEDS, SUPPLIES, CHEMICALS, LIVESTOCK EQUIPMENT, GRAIN HANDLING, STORAGE, BUILDINGS, REPLACEMENT PARTS AND ALL THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES SO VITAL FOR PROFITS FROM COMPUTER SOFTWARE TO GPS SYSTEMS, PLUS GREAT DISPLAYS OF SELF-PROPELLED SPRAYERS, SEED TENDERS AND AN OUTSTANDING SELECTION OF OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT.

ACCORDING TO SHOW MANAGER RICHARD SHERMAN, “ALL OF OUR EXHIBIT SPACE IS SOLD OUT, THE FULL 170,000 SQUARE FEET, WITH SOME COMPANIES EXHIBITING FOR THE FIRST TIME,

WE WILL AGAIN HAVE A GREAT FREE SEMINAR SERIES COORDINATED BY GARY TRUITT OF HOOSIER AG TODAY, WHICH WILL FOCUS ON TWO OF THE HOTTEST TOPICS IN AGRICULTURE TODAY, DRONES AND THE NEW FARM BILL PROGRAMS. HOURS ARE FROM 9:00 AM TO 4:00 PM ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY AND FROM 9:00 AM TO 3:00 PM ON CLOSING DAY, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18. SHOW ADMISSION IS FREE BUT THERE IS A $5.00 PER VEHICLE FEE TO PARK ON THE FAIRGROUNDS."

I will be talking about gypsum and anything you want to talk about at the AgroSoil booth, so look us up!

Ed

Monday, December 8, 2014

Save Your Own RR Soybeans

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has released its first soybean variety that features Roundup Ready technology.

Division soybean breeder Pengyin Chen said the new variety, called UA 5414RR, offers the weed control advantages of Roundup Ready soybeans without the added cost of technology fees. He said growers could also save seed from each harvest for planting the following year.

Monsanto’s patent on the first generation of Roundup Ready products expires in March 2015, Chen said, and the company shared the breeding material with public breeding programs, including the Arkansas program directed by Chen. He said UA 5414RR fills a niche for growers who want to use the Roundup system of weed control but don’t want to pay the higher cost of the next generation Roundup Ready 2 Yield technology.

Chen said Monsanto’s first generation Roundup Ready products have been replaced by Roundup Ready 2 Yield products and will no longer be offered.

I am surprised to see this with all of the discussions that have been made on Crop Talk.  I know its only one variety that is planted in an area where Liberty Link soybeans have really taken over their market, but still it is notable.

However, this Monsanto release says: 

"Farmers and Saving Seed
The first possibility of planting seeds saved from Roundup Ready soybean varieties will occur in spring 2015 (using seeds from the crop planted and harvested in 2014). Farmers who are interested in replanting saved Roundup Ready soybeans will need to check with their seed supplier to find out if the variety they are interested in can legally be saved and replanted. In addition to the trait patent, most Roundup Ready soybeans are protected by other forms of intellectual property, such as varietal patents. These variety patents will continue to be valid after (and usually long after) the Roundup Ready trait patent expires.

Farmers will not be able to save seed from Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans, either now, in 2015, or for many years beyond that. The Roundup Ready soybean trait and Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean trait are protected by different patents. The trait patents on the Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield trait are not expected to expire until near the end of the next decade."

Will you plant these soybeans and save your own seed or have you switched to other systems?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Adopt A Family For Christmas

LuAnn works with many poor and down and out families at Turning Point.  In recent years, our children has adopted one of those families for Christmas.  They teach their own children the value of helping others and the grand kids get involved.

This year our family lives in an old hotel in Hillsboro.  They are a young couple with a seven year old from a previous relationship and a newborn.  They have basically nothing on this earth.

When LuAnn's staff member asked them if our family could adopt them for Christmas, the young couple just bawled.  "No one has ever helped us" was there response which we hear too often here in southwest Ohio.

Good jobs are few and drugs abound in rural Ohio and many states.  There are a lot of innocent people who suffer because of this and even when the family is in recovery, it's difficult.

I am so proud of my family for thinking of others before themselves.  They find it easier to help a stranger than try to decide what every family member might appreciate from them.  We keep our gifts modest and special.

We give to many good local charities but this is one little special thing our family does in style.  I know they are touching people, I see the result.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate Christmas with blessings our family has.

Have you ever considered adopting a family for Christmas?  There are many LuAnn's in every county who can help you find someone really in need.

It's one of the neatest things I've ever saw.

Blessings,

Ed Winkle


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Inoculate


A new report published by Markets and Markets projects the agricultural inoculants market to reach $398.56 million by 2019 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5 percent from 2014.

“Agricultural Inoculants Market by Type, Source, Mode of Application, Crop Type, and Geography – Global Trends & Forecasts to 2019,” projects that Latin America will emerge as the fastest growing region with a CAGR of approximately 10 percent from 2014 to 2019.

According to the authors, “agricultural inoculants are gaining popularity because of their multi-functional benefits to plants in sustainable agriculture.” Growth of the agricultural inoculants market is primarily triggered by factors such as rise in cost and demand for chemical/mineral fertilizers and pesticides and increasing awareness about the organic farming practices.

“Even though there are number of products available in the market, the inoculants market is under-explored,” report the authors. “Lack of awareness among the farmers and prevailing problems within marketing and distribution are restricting the availability of inoculants at the farm level.”
The report is available for purchase by Markets and Markets.

The company I have always used most is ABM or Advanced Biological Management in Van Wert, Ohio.  Their inoculants have made me and my friends money and they continue to lead the field with new products.

I studied inoculants very diligently for many year but found what I liked and kind of gotten complacent the past few years.  I trust my sources and you can't find a better inoculant than ABM's in Ohio.  There are probably several as good today but I have not kept track of them.

Do you use inoculants?  I am not sure I know many who do not today.

Which have you settled on?

The seed dealers have captured a market by selling the farmer a deluxe seed with inoculant, fungicide and even insecticide sealed on every seed with a polymer.

Don't speculate, inoculate!

Ed Winkle


Friday, December 5, 2014

OSU Soybean Performance

The 2014 Ohio State University Soybean Performance Trial results are out.  It looks like we may indeed have a winner with the new Clermont soybeans introduced by the university last year.  Their single year and combined results are impressive.

Clermont is a new 3.9 soybean for the southern tier.  I was impressed with them the first time I walked them in the summer of 2013.  I knew I had to try them.

I did try them this year and they looked good from the day they emerged.  They are just one of those good thriving soybean varieties here and the results in the links proves their potential.  It's really good when a bean looks good and the performance matches their looks.

If you can plant a 3.9 non GMO soybean, I encourage you to try them.  I can connect you with my local soybean seed provider if you are interested.

Look at the yield range from top to bottom!  There is a huge difference between the top yielding soybean and the lowest yielding soybean in these trials.  It behooves the farmer to really seek out the best varieties for his farm!

I have a leg up on you, I walk seed varieties every year and follow their performance.  You need to find someone you trust who does what I get to do.  There are many good people out there but many are stuck selling what they raise or what their employer raises or recommends.  I don't have to do that.  I find them and try them on my own farm.

Consider Clermont soybeans in your lineup next year.  I think they have earned their place to be there.

Don't forget today is World Soil Day.  It doesn't matter what you plant if you don't know your soil.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Have To Get Tougher

I have to get tougher about this farming business.  2013 caught me off guard and I lost money.

Losing money farming is not unusual but when you've really never lost at this game before, it can wake you up.  It woke me up.

What I did wrong is I planted one farm to corn and never priced it.  At planting, I never dreamed corn would go to $3 but it did.  I was distracted for sure but that's no excuse.  Either you are farming for profit or you are not.  I farm for profit but I let my guard down.

I got complacent, money was fairly easy to make farming the past ten years, at least for me.  Everything I spent returned a dividend.  This year it did not.

We made our most money on soft red winter wheat this year and you know how poor that market has been.  I have a lot of interest in our excellent non GMO soybean seed so it may make up some of the difference.  Our loss is in corn and even if I had priced it early, I would not quite made back what we invested in it.

Even if I hadn't planted corn or gambled and sold my production before planting, I would not have broken even.  Inputs were just too high priced this year for the returns.  This is with really good yields, too.

It is impossible to show a profit for corn for 2015 also.  I wonder how much that will affected planted acres.  It really doesn't matter what you plant next year, nothing is very promising.

I hope this all turns around for the young guys because we need them.

No one can work for a loss very long, though.

Ed


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

3 Million Pageviews

We quickly jumped from 2 million to 3 million pageviews of this blog this year.  I personally thank every single one of you who believe in me to read a snippet of what I think.  That in itself is very humbling.  I don't know if you can see this or not but I will link the total here.

I started this blog six years ago come January 1 on a dare from my wife LuAnn.  I didn't even know what a blog was.  I think she was tired of hearing my stories and wanted me to put them on the Internet so she could distract me!

It's a cold old nasty almost winter day in far southwest Ohio but we are toasty warm with our Merrimack insert and Countryside corn burner.  We like to keep the propane delivery visits down to a minimum and we have done that but that propane furnace and heat pump has kept this old 1880 4 brick home comfortable until I tend the stoves.

I got the Merrimack the hottest I have in its short life here in Martinsville last night.  It was so hot I had problems putting more wood in like I used to on the old Defiant wood stove before we retired to bed.

I have been crunching numbers this morning and trying to figure out how I dig myself out of the hole I dug this year.  My corn crop was lousy, just too much rain.  I should have made that gut decision I had in April to switch to soybeans.  That would have been a good move.  I never anticipated the $3 corn we had this year and never dreamed our good country could raise 175 bu per acre nationwide but we did.

I am not sure how we are going to do this.  Many farmers are planting all beans next year but that is not what the market is saying either.

I am prepared to plant beans or corn depending on what happens between now and planting time but it is leaning strong towards beans today.  If I can them in on time, I have enough good wheat seed to plant more wheat next fall.

3 million pageviews just blows me away.  That's a few more than the students I taught over 31 years.

Is that anything like 3 million corn stalks?

Ed Winkle


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This Ticks The Farmer Off

Farmers are ranting about this article on Crop Talk this morning.  Even if there is a grain of truth in it, it does not represent what most of us posters on Crop Talk do or believe in.

"This has got to be the dumbest Article I have ever read

So your telling me that it takes $435000 to put a yield monitor and auto steer in a combine. HUH. I was thinking more like under $15000

And what's so special about the Tim Kip d bag

I can count 5 operations within 30 miles of my operation that are running 12-20K and I know for a fact not a single one of them would say technology is what puts bushels in the tanks. It's weather. Heck half the time these big guys don't farm a piece of ground long enough to ever get enough data to switch management decisions on fert (LOL if they even use P and K), seed. Etc

There are also farmers in that 1000 or so acre and under category that have more toys and technology than the guys twice or three times their size. WHY you ask. Because the smaller guy is probably pulling down 200K of off farm income with benefits and retirement, owns most or all his land, and needs that technology because he has less time to be in the field

There are smaller operations netting 2-10X more per acre than the bigger guy down the road. When your equipment is lean and mean and paid for, and the land you farm is paid for and in great shape you have a competitive advantage for sure

The article totally missed the trend in AG. The little guy is still going to be around. Matter of fact those 1000-1500 acre and smaller crowd is growing. And yes the big guys are getting bigger and consolidation is happening too. The guy that's going to get squeezed is the all cash, non diversified, very little equity middle sized guy that can't afford to grow any bigger because of the huge capital infusion but is too big to be lean and mean like the little guy "

One of the largest farm operations in Ohio is cashing out this month.  The partners want a new life compared to chasing acres from Liberty Indiana to Madison County down to the Ohio River.  They were always near the top of EWG's famous farmer slam rankings.

This is occurring in other places too and the article doesn't get near that topic.

I vote for the little guy, I always did and yes I am one.

How about you?

Ed Winkle

Monday, December 1, 2014

Scout Your Fields One More Time

I found this article thanks to my friends at AgFax and I like it.  It is about scouting your wheat fields one more time before winter sets in but I think it really applies to any field.  It's the first article in the link but there are several good articles there.

The more time I spend in my fields, the easier it is for me to answer the question of where do I spend my money for next year's crop.  I like the way my fields look today.  I have plenty of residue and few weeds from last year.

Today would not be a good day to this in Ohio.  You might get shot!  It's the first day of deer season and I hope Eric gets one this morning.  He heard some shots close to the farm he is hunting this week last night so I went to check it out.  Whoever shot their gun was gone by the time I got there.

It was hard to pick out just where to put his deer stand but we know the deer's walking pattern on that farm.  There are lots of good spots near the one creek that goes through it and there are several.  It's in a 30 acre woods overlooking a 30 acre bottom.

I liked what I saw on the ground and we covered most of it.  The wheat crop residue is melted down very well with nice soybean stubble sprinkled on top of it.  It is ready to no-till into corn or soybeans.

My corn residue looks good too but it looks old fashioned compared to some of my neighbors.  I have a lot of corn stalk mass sticking up in the air and covering the ground.  You have to scratch to find the soil and I like that.  It can slowly rot all winter until it warms up next spring.

Some neighbors have a chopping corn head now and their fields have no stalks sticking up.  It looks like it has been chopped to the soil surface.  It looks pretty but is not as nice to no-till soybeans into from my experience.

What do your fields look like today.  Are you ready to go planting in April 2015 if weather allows?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent

We cannot believe the first Sunday of Advent is here.

You, LORD, are our father,
our redeemer you are named forever.
Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you,
while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for,
such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you
doing such deeds for those who wait for him.
Would that you might meet us doing right,
that we were mindful of you in our ways!
Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful;
all of us have become like unclean people,
all our good deeds are like polluted rags;
we have all withered like leaves,
and our guilt carries us away like the wind.
There is none who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to cling to you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us up to our guilt.
Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.

That is Old Testament.  Advent awaits the coming of Jesus who changed all of that.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

We have lost family members and neighbors this week and this year.  We watch, we truly watch.  Doing it with a great family makes it all the easier.

A blessed Sunday to you all,

Ed

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Colonoscopy

Five years ago I had my first colonoscopy.  A local surgeon perfomed it at our local hospital, Clinton Memorial.  It was easy, it was quiet and serene, and I felt like a new man after the procedure.  I thought I could be the poster boy for the procedure!

I finally summoned the courage to schedule my second one as directed.  This time was a whole different experience.  The first surgeon quit doing them because he left Clinton Memorial and could practice more valuable skills in Dayton.  I almost begged him to perform this one but he said no and recommended "the best endoscope guy in Dayton."

The doctor is good but what I went through is what I would call a butt factory.  They lined up victims on gurneys and ran us through like cattle in a stockyards.  The facility was great, the people were wonderful, the doctor really knows what he is doing.  This procedure put me in the worst pain I think I've had all my life.  It's been a week from hell, not just because of the procedure.

I have concluded they pumped me too full of carbon dioxide gas so they can do the procedure quick and easy.  That gas did the same thing to me it did to LuAnn when she had her gall bladder out on September 20.  She had severe pain the week following and so did I.

Carbon dioxide kills cells and irritates the nerve endings.  I did a few Google searches and found the same sad stories we both went through.  We felt like we were going to die!

If you have not had the procedure done or its time for another one, don't let me discourage you.  Get it done.  I have lost 3 close friends because they never had it done and they died of even more painful colon cancer.  There is no sense in this.

But ask questions.  Make sure you know how they are going to do it.  I thought the prep solution made me sick at first, that big jug of PEG 3350 they have you drink the hours before the procedure.  The first time was his own recipe and I had no problems with it, just Miralax and other laxatives.  I intend to have mine done differently in 3 years as prescribed.

I am just starting to feel normal after starting this procedure a week ago.  Ask questions and make sure you can tolerate the Carbon Dioxide gas or ask for a different way of performing it.

It's an important procedure that has saved many lives but there has to be a better way of doing it.

Ed Winkle

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ohio State Vs Michigan

The third Saturday in November is reserved for the greatest rivalry in sports I have ever been part of, Ohio State versus Michigan.

This video shows many of the things I've seen and many of the things I've learned.  It's a long movie so set aside some time if you choose to view it.  It has offensive language, also.  You probably need to be a Buckeye or a Wolverine to really appreciate it but there is so much history in it I saw unfold during my life.

Basketball was the big sport in Sardinia when I was a kid. Ohio was a football state but Brown County didn't know it.   Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek probably had more influence on me than any other Buckeyes.  I don't remember that many Ohio State football games on our black and white TV as a child but there was some Ohio State basketball aired out of Cincinnati and we could catch a little Columbus TV 100 miles away.

My first real exposure to Ohio State football was in the summer of 1968 when I met team members like Timmy Fox.  I almost became a roommate in Ohio Stadium but I chose not to stay in the Stadium dorms when a "cheaper" deal arose.   I was working at the Ohio State beef barn right across the river from the stadium so I was pretty close.

W8LT, the Ohio State Amateur Radio Club was my ticket to a padlock inside a stadium gate.  That brought me very close to the weight room and Ohio State football players.  Their enthusiasm really rubbed off on me and soon I was a dedicated Buckeye fan.

I attended every year until 3 years ago when my priorities changed.  I use to live and die Ohio State wins and losses but I mellowed over time.  It's just a game, but it's a damned important game Woody taught me!

Ohio State didn't teach me what to learn but how to learn.  The Ohio State LEAD Program changed my life, 60 days of intensive study over the years of 1992-93.  I met life long friends there I would do anything for.  My Master's degree really improved my life and my ability to help myself, my family and others.

Ohio State will always be important to me, win or lose.

Ed Winkle



Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Give Thanks

Today I give thanks.  I give thanks today for our children and grand children. I give thanks for all my relatives, some are very close to me but I love them all.  I give thanks to all the spouses who do their share in their relationships.

Our family is going through some very trying times right now and family makes all the difference.  I see those with no family or no caring family and it makes me sad.

It's great to see the huge food efforts put on by local charities, neighbors, friends, churches and groups.  I've followed the huge FFA campaigns to feed people today via Twitter.  I followed the huge Ohio State effort to feed thousands of people today there too.  It's wonderful to see but I hope those people who get fed find a friend with their meal.  Being alone or down is not good and not what we should do as people.

I give thanks today for everything good and the blessings we have.  I wish we could all share in them equally.  Our country has never needed more togetherness than we need today.  It starts with choosing to do good over not doing it.  It starts with not being selfish or neglectful.  I've seen both this week and I see it every day.

Our country has become divided and really needs to be together for the good of all.  I've seen great strides to bring us together this week and great divisiveness to tear us apart.

Only we can make a difference but not all people want to.  I see great need for healing in every family.  I am pretty proud of the Winkle family today because I see the love and kindness that makes me proud to be one.  Every family has challenges and problems and sometimes someone else can make a difference to that family.  Those people are treasured friends and I've seen that this week, too.

In Gratitude
Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

Amen.

Happy thanksgiving to you all,

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Is Your State's Official Soil?

What is your state's official soil?  Do you even have one?  Is there one state official or recognized soil type in your state?  How do you farm it?

Kathy Voth has written a short article about state soils On Pasture.

This is a good topic as a farmer asked how to tile Zook Silt Loam on Crop Talk.  I gave him my best answer.  For any poorly drained or very poorly drained soil, you can't afford to get tile lines close enough to drain them properly if you have an outlet.  If you don't have an outlet, you are very limited in tiling and its resulting lack of production.

Miami Series was pushed as Ohio's State soil but it never got enough attention to be recognized as our state soil by law.  I guess they had better things to do and most people wouldn't know the difference anyway.

The whole point is do you know your soils?  They are difficult to study because they are so complicated and lie below our feet!  Break it down into little segments you can understand and keep adding to your knowledge.  Soil history in your lifetime is extremely important.

The best way to know your soil is dig it deep, down 5 feet or more.  That is preferably done with equipment!

Once you have the soil opened up, you need an experienced person who had studied soils most of their life to help you see what you have, what may have caused it and what you might do in the future to improve it.  I really enjoy doing that and remember the soil pit near Paul Butler's house while our new lifelong friend Chris Pellow from New Zealand was present.  It was pretty awesome!

Any soil can be saved and improved.  I always felt like that was my number one duty on earth.  Save the soil.  This leads to why I learned to no-till and add amendments that improves soil function.  Healthy soil is the root of all man's successes.

It's just ground up rock, it doesn't make that much difference, does it?

Everything that has happened to a soil dictates it's value to man today.

We need to figure out what to do with it within our budget.  The simplest things can yield the biggest results.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

30 Years Ago

A farmer made this post about something big that happened in agriculture 30 years I had forgotten about.  International Harvester as we knew it was never the same.

CHICAGO, Nov. 23— Tenneco Inc. will soon conclude an agreement to buy the International Harvester Company's farm equipment division, according to a spokesman for independent dealers that market Tenneco's agricultural equipment.

Tenneco's farm equipment division is called J.I. Case, and Jim Sommer, the president of the J.I. Case and J.I. Case Canada Joint Agricultural Equipment Dealers Council, said that he had received reports that the agreement would be announced Monday.

One source at Case said Tenneco was expected to pay about $420 million for the division, of which $120 million would be in cash and $300 million in debentures.

Any agreement would have to resolve responsibility for the unfunded pension liabilities held by Harvester, and the costs of any closings of Harvester plants. 

The deal reduced the companies tractor building capacity by 40%.  The farm crash was in full swing and we lost half our farmers in this period.  Size of farms sky rocketed after this with less need for smaller tractors.

I remember one friend who I always thought wore "red underwear."  He is a businessman first and traded every piece of red equipment for green when this was announced.  He still farms with green today.

That day was as sad as the day Oliver Farm Equipment closed the doors and White picked out the profitable goodies like Tenneco did with IH.  I will never forget a farmer who didn't even use Oliver farm equipment tell me it was a sin to bury the Charles City, Iowa plant.  It would be a great museum today and more.

I guess we can say that about every old farm name that disappeared.  Each one affected us each differently when it happened.

Hats off to International Harvester, a great name in farming history.

Ed Winkle

Monday, November 24, 2014

How Do You Keep Your Pellet Stove From Squeaking?

It's cold one or two months early for grandpa this year so we have two stoves going again.  It's mid November!.  I am learning how to use a new wood stove fireplace insert that weighs 450 lbs!  It went in smooth as silk thanks to a hydraulic dolly.  It doesn't put out the heat the old Vermont Defiant did but it is much more attractive in some aspects and a whole lot safer.  The fire is inside the fireplace now and not sitting out in the dining room.

We bought a Magnum Countryside pellet stove after we bought this farm and old historic farmhouse.  We have gotten our good out of it after ten seasons and finding the right pellet and keeping them dry is really important.

Still, the stirrer in the burning pot is squeaking and squawking the day after clean out.  This Greenway oak pellet from Tennessee is one of the best I've found but the pot sounds dry and not lubed enough.  I am trying to figure out how to keep it from squeaking so I am open to any suggestions from my readers.

I think the soot needs to be cleaned off the stirrer when I clean out the stove but I don't know what to do to accomplish that.  A wire brush works pretty well but that is a lot of work a week because it is noisy so often.

I think it needs to be disassembled and cleaned from the flue to the burning pot.  If I had a corn dryer, I would be burning dry shelled corn but my corn is too wet to burn from the bin.  10-12% dry corn burns best and anything higher than that causes even more clinkers in this stove.

It's so windy today it is really too windy to be burning it with gusts up to 50 MPH right directly into the flue pipe.

There is no cheap way to heat but it's been a pretty "green" and cheap stove for us.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Sheep And The Goats

It's a good day for a Sunday drive.

The parable about the sheep and goats is in many churches Bible readings this weekend.  I remember that story from childhood and never liked goats but never liked sheep, either.  We were raised on a hog and cattle farm with a few chickens!

"In Matthew 25:31 we hear "When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his throne of glory; 32 and all the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left."

Ok, question from a newbie farmer: What did Jesus have against goats!? I have acquired 5 sheep and 2 goats this summer, and I've had a blast learning how to take care of them. I have learned that sheep are not "stupid" like I've heard for years, but they are flighty and don't warm up to people very easily. They are also a bit dirty and smelly, though. They are rather fragile and easily injured, too. Now the two goats (Willy and Billy) are much more friendly (more like dogs), warm up to humans much faster, and will even eat out of my hand. They run to me when they hear my voice (so will the sheep though- they DO know their Mistresses voice)! I'm sure in Jesus' day, people "got" the sheep and the goat example, due to their experience with both animals. However, I don't understand why the goats get the bad rap in the parable, either. Can someone tell me what I'm not getting?"

Personally, I always thought that the goats always got the bad half of the deal because the sheep inevitably had to be the good ones (given the amount of religious symbolism associated with sheep and lambs, etc. ) But I looked it up in the Orthodox Study Bible and it says:

"Christ uses sheep to illustrate the righteous, for they follow His voice and are gentle and productive. Goats indicate the unrighteous, for they do not follow the shepherd and they walk among cliffs, which represent sin. "

I guess the cliffs things makes sense because cliffs are where you fall from, and I feel like I've heard several prayers talk about not falling or getting lost among the cliffs. I also found something else online:

"Much has been written about the humbleness of sheep as compared to the stubborn pride of the goat, and no doubt this has much to do with why Jesus chooses to call these people by these names. It does reveal to us, however, that one of the criteria Jesus uses to separate the two groups is by their disposition. Yet, while Christ certainly knows the heart, the Scriptures here and in other places indicate that the means by which Jesus Christ judges is by their works, which reveal their heart's disposition. A tree is known by its fruit, says Christ. St. Cyril also states it thus:

How does the shepherd make the separation? Does he examine out of a book which is a sheep and which a goat? or does he distinguish by their evident marks? Does not the wool show the sheep, and the hairy and rough skin the goat? In like manner, if thou hast been just now cleansed from thy sins, thy deeds shall be henceforth as pure wool; and thy robe shall remain unstained, and thou shall ever say, I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on? By thy vesture shall thou be known for a sheep. But if thou be found hairy, like Esau, who was rough with hair, and wicked in mind, who for food lost his birthright and sold his privilege, thou shall be one of those on the left hand."

When the final inventory is taken, will be with the "sheep" or the "goats??

Ed Winkle

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mistake On The Lake?

Cleveland got labeled as the "mistake on the lake" and the Cuyahoga River became famous for catching fire.

Is Buffalo New York the real mistake on the lake?  Anyone watching the weather channel this morning(November 19, 2014) would have to wonder!  Feet upon feet of snow in the middle of November has fallen already!

Those people are geared up for it as LuAnn taught me 15 years ago that her town of East Aurora normally gets 140 inches where Cincinnati only gets 20 inches per year.  I personally hope they keep that north as our 40 inches or double normal snowfall really made winter a challenge last year.  It's starting awfully early this year!  Our driveway looks like only some Januaries!

It is notable that Buffalo was the first Porkopolis as America grew and spread in the early days.  As more people migrated south to Cincinnati, the Queen City took over the title of Porkopolis, shipping salt pork all over the world.  The German Brewmeisters made their mark too until Prohibition changed everything.

The real mistake on the lake is what humans have done for algae growth on Lake Erie and other bodies of water.  Now I have to obtain a license to purchase or spread fertilizer on our farm?  Get serious, are we that dumb?

Yes we are!  Besides of all of the other pollution man has created, it looks like we spread too much manure on frozen ground in the north part of the state and we got caught.  Have we really learned how much erosion tillage causes?  Do we understand how mobile phosphorous is?

Obviously not, now we have to be legislated by our peers for our refusal to understand.  It's really basic agronomy.  Any major tillage causes 5-10 tons of soil loss per acre and even no-till is not perfect at around one ton per acre.

The biggest mistake I see is too much tillage.  I still see some but most have went to reduced tillage now and no-till conferences and field days are never ending.  I sure enjoyed the Ohio No-Till Field Day back in September.

We can't prevent mistakes on the lake but we can prevent soil and nutrients from getting INTO the lake.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle


Friday, November 21, 2014

Scott Strazzante

There is a nice big buck crossing the corn field outside my window.  It's 16 degrees this morning and it still isn't Thanksgiving!  I like this piece from CBS Sunday morning I thought I would share today.

Farm families and suburban familes actually share a lot of common ground -- and photographer Scott Strazzante has the pictures to prove it:

On July 2, 2002, Harlow Cagwin, a month shy of his 80th birthday, watched as the farmhouse that had been his home since childhood was reduced to rubble.

The day marked the end of Cagwin's decades of labor and, also, the conclusion of my eight-year photographic journey with Harlow, his wife, Jean, and their herd of Angus beef cattle.


I first set foot on the Cagwins' 114-acre farm in the spring of 1994, to snap some photos for a newspaper story about people who raised farm animals in suburban Chicago. But as I photographed Harlow and Jean, something told me I would return.

And I did return, again and again.

Over the years, there were many stories . . . about the changing landscape, about aging, about the economy, and, of course, about the disappearing family farm.

When urban sprawl finally forced the Cagwins to sell their farm to a developer, I thought that would be the final chapter.

I was wrong about that.

In early 2007, when I presented my farm essay to a photo class, one of my students shyly raised her hand. She told me she and her family lived in the Willow Walk subdivision, which was built on the land the Cagwins had once farmed.

By week's end, I stood on a cul de sac called Cinnamon Court, as Amanda Grabenhofer, her husband Ed, and their four children joined other young families for an Easter egg hunt.

At the time, I wasn't sure my photographs of one family's suburban life had anything in common with those of two senior citizen farmers, but I was glad to be back on a piece of land I knew so well.

On my second visit, I photographed Amanda and Ed's oldest son, Ben, as he wrestled with his cousin, C.J., on the front lawn of their home.

There was something about it that seemed familiar.

Then it hit me.

I went into my archive and pulled out a photo of Harlow Cagwin struggling to lasso a day-old calf.
I put the two images side by side. And something magical happened.

I had discovered their common ground.

Really good story and pictures!

Ed

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Is Wheat Going To Handle This Lovely Weather?


I am at the dentist office this morning  because a hard kernel of popcorn got me at the movies Friday night.  I am really careful with popcorn now but obviously not careful enough.  I broke a tooth.  That's not uncommon at my age, they are getting kind of brittle.

Did you know the average American eats 54 quarts of popped popcorn each year?  Wow.

My dentist is an avid hunter and loves to talk farming.  Why do the deer love these beans?  What does that monster combine cost?  Did you hear the story about the record deer in Brown County?  Wait a minute, that is where I was raised.  Just fix my tooth, Doc.

I get a text from a High Spots reader and my wheels start turning.  "How is wheat going to handle this lovely weather?"

Now I know this reader is a really good farmer and his wheat looks good.  Still he is young in the game and has concern, like I have all my life.

Number one, wheat is hardy and we have snow cover.  You should be fine.  If wheat goes into dormancy early as it as this year, I would not be too concerned.  Another reason to plant the last 3 days of September at my location.

Number two, the soil didn't saturate enough to heave this young wheat out of the ground.  You should be fine.

Number three, the beauty of wheat is that it covers the soil all winter and if it fails, you can convert it to another crop.

Number four, you got wheat planted and I am jealous.  I have enough seed left to plant 300 acres and its really good seed that should have gotten planted.  I dropped the ball.

The main thing is don't worry.  I used to loose sleep over these things.  I usually don't anymore.  It all depends on my perspective on a well laid out plan.

Don't worry young man, you will be fine.

That's my famous radish picture in wheat by accident years ago.  It still amazes me.

What did we learn yesterday?

Ed Winkle


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Frigid!

We nearly broke some long time low temperature records for southwest Ohio last night.  It was 12 when I got up this morning and I don't remember it ever being this cold on November 18.  In a month it will be my birthday and most years it is near this cold this early!  The wind blew the wind chill below zero.

I have to admit the snow was pretty yesterday and the road was clean to Blanchester until the wind started blowing and blew snow everywhere.  It felt more like January in Ohio.

I feel for those guys who don't have their crop out because it s NO fun trying to harvest with these kinds of weather challenges!  There are still a lot of corn acres not harvested in Ohio and other states and still soybeans out, too.  I remember shelling corn in January around 1996 and trying to cut beans in the early 2000's.  I even had double crops out until almost February a few years ago so sometimes it just happens, no matter how well we planned at planting time.

The main talk I hear is how in the world are we going to turn a profit next year?  One friend said the suppliers are worried that farmers won't be buying near as many inputs next year.  We can't, they just don't pencil out.  How do we raise a profitable crop on a shoestring budget?  That is what all my discussions are about at this time.

I am thinking if we have five more months of this I am not sure I even want to try to farm.  I am set up to grow a good crop on the cheap next year but winter weather is not high on our agenda at this stage in our life.

We don't have enough money to go away all winter like the snowbirds do and would have to make some major adjustments to live the kind of life we would really like to live.  Scottsdale was beautiful last January, even though we were there for the wrong reason, the care of LuAnn's brother.

We are going to have to figure out our priorities and figure out how to get there.

Just like trying to pencil a profit next year.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Learning To Farm Via YouTube

Jason Brown gave up the NFL to become a farmer.  He wasn't raised a farmer so he is learning to farm via YouTube!

Jason Brown was once one of the most reliable centers in the NFL.

These days Brown spends his time farming and harvesting free food for the hungry. In 2009, the Rams signed Brown to a five-year $37.5 million contract with $20 million guaranteed. Three years later the team decided to go another way and released him. Instead of going to another team, Brown decided to try his hand at farming. He purchased a 1,030 acre farm near Louisburg, N.C. and uses it to feed the needy.

"My agent told me, 'You're making the biggest mistake of your life," Brown told CBS News. "And I looked right back at him and I said, 'No I'm not. No I'm not."

Brown is confident in his decision even though he had never farmed before. He learned all he knows from watching videos on YouTube. This past weekend, Brown gave away 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10,000 pounds of cucumbers.

It's a great story with a good video, too.

An NFL center who was offered a $35million contract to play for the St Louis Rams gave it all up to start a farm near his home.

Jason Brown, 31, left football behind to grow sweet potatoes in his home county of Louisburg, North Carolina - despite being ranked one of the best players in the league.

Brown decided his Christian faith would be better served by growing food for the needy than throwing balls on a pitch - and told his stunned agent he was turning down the lucrative deal with the Rams in April 2012.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2836363/From-half-time-harvest-NFL-center-walked-away-37million-football-contract-farm-sweet-potatoes.html#ixzz3JHPp2Zdx
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This was a really good story on CBS Sunday Morning November 16.

I hope you enjoyed it!

We need more people like Jason!

Ed Winkle

Monday, November 17, 2014

Solvita C02 Soil Health Test Webinar Nov 19


Dear Ed,
Thank you for registering for "The Relevance Of Soil Biology In Assessing Fertility & Soil Health".
The subject of soil health is capturing everybody’s attention. The big question is whether no-tillers can test and measure the health of their soils and determine how it might be impacting their yields and the supply of nutrients to their crops. Get an understanding of how soil labs are working to integrate carbon dioxide respiration tests with common nutrient tests as a means of providing a broader picture of soil fertility through our upcoming No-Till Farmer webinar sponsored by Woods End Labs on Wednesday, November 19, at 10 a.m. Central time.

Here’s what you’ll learn:
• How soil biology directly and indirectly can influence crop growth
• How soil biology analyses fit in with the testing of soil nutrients
• Examples of how soil biology is related to fertility and soil management
• How to use soil respiration in soil testing to improve nutrient recommendations and potentially save on nitrogen costs without sacrificing yields

Will Brinton, the inventor of the Solvita® CO2 soil test, will help no-tillers understand the relationship between soil biology and efficient nutrient uptake from the soil profile through this 60-minute webinar. For more information about this upcoming No-Till Farmer webinar sponsored by Wood End Labs, call Lucas Rumler at (800) 451-0337 or email him at techsupport@solvita.com.

Please send your questions, comments and feedback to: meetings@lesspub.com
I plan to attend and you can sign up yet today or tomorrow.  I encourage you to do that so we can work on this together in the next year.

Why measure CO2 respiration?

Soil and plants interact in the search for and supply of nutrients. Soil provides the environment for plant growth while plants participate in building and sustaining soils by releasing exudates and leaving behind their own residues. This dynamic cycle is best described as the soil-plant system. In the process, humus is formed and carbon dioxide (CO2) is released due to microbial activity. The relationship between these processes is an important indicator of soil fertility.
Declining rates of CO2 respiration are associated with intensive tilling, compaction and over fertilizing. These soil practices are potentially destructive and inhibit the soil’s ability to sustain its humus content, the natural reservoir of organic nutrients and soil life.  As soil declines,  microbes starve for food and the rate ofh CO2 respiration decreases, indicating deteriorated soil quality.
Being able to evaluate the turnover of organic matter via CO2 respiration is important for a number of reasons:

Lets see what we can learn!

Ed Winkle

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Troubled Souls

I mentioned the words "troubled souls" one Sunday.  Kevin asked how do we console "troubled souls?"  That got my wheels turning and I sent him two broad search links on the topic.  What did Jesus teach us about tragedy?

First of all I have to be spiritually fit to even consider such ideas.  I do that by praying for God's Will for me all day and praying for the same for all people I come across who are troubled or might not be in the right place during the day.  Those people are all around us and the more spiritually fit I am the more I recognize it and can turn it over to God, who has the final say.

Still I have to do what I can do.  Readings and meditation have become part of our daily ritual.  That gets our mind off us and helps us be ready to do God's Will each day.  It is uncommon for us to not find something we read happen that day or soon after.  The readings help us understand what to do and not be focused on ourselves.

Meditation is hard for some people.  I must do it every day.  Our fellowship was discussing this one Sunday and some said counting their breathing helps them to clear the fog in our minds.  One mentioned he couldn't even county 20 breaths when he started this technique.  The first time I tried it I made it to 60 fairly easily.  That made me feel maybe I am not so crazy and self focused myself although I often catch myself in it.

Our prayer list is long.  We have and have had a lot of tragedy all around us this year.  We can't let it get us down.  We must work through it.

Our daily readings, meditation, and practicing the principles taught the past 2014 years help us do our work.

Is there tragedy in your life?  Do you know a troubled soul?

Ed Winkle

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Liam

We drove to Cleveland for Liam's ninth birthday.  Liam is our oldest grandson and we don't know where those nine years went.  We remember staying at Top Sail Island in North Carolina when he was born this day while his dad was serving in the Marines.

We took the oldest three to see Alexander's Really Bad Day and just had a blast all day yesterday.  We are really silly and joking and rhyming when we are together.  Finn's new saying is Oh For The Love Of Winkle's!

I was overly anxious about driving up there and back after we listened to Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel.  They were predicting their usual doom and gloom and we really didn't have a problem except for getting back to their house from the theater.  We had to drive five miles on I-480 that seemed to take an hour with rush hour traffic.  We were safe and that is all that mattered.

Deidre really liked her Little People horse track deal we gave her for her present, thanks to LuAnn, my super shopper.  Becky put it together because I don't have the patience and we played and played with it.  It's pretty cool how the princess rides down the track on a horse clippety clop.

We can never stay very long because of our duties but we always stay over night because it takes 4 hours usually just to get there.  Liam had a super birthday party today and we were able to get home after visiting with uncle Roy and grandson Tyler on the way home.  We even got to watch the Buckeye's play Minnesota at Roy's and Eric's until they won the game.  It was a pretty good weekend.

Only the Lake has snow and the rest of the state was dry and harvesting the last fields of corn and soybeans.  There are several fields of corn left and a few fields of soybeans but we are finally getting to the end of this harvest.

We are thankful for all we have, a good harvest, sons and daughters who make us proud and their sons and daughters we just adore.

We are very blessed.

Ed Winkle


Friday, November 14, 2014

Beans In Kansas

A little discussion with a farmer in Kansas I thought you would find interesting:

Ed -- My comment on Resnik beans might need some explaining. The area 
I live is fairly rolling farmland with small creek bottoms every 
5-8mi. If you remember the pre "Freedom to Farm" days; this area was 
mostly winter wheat,a little alfalfa,some grain sorghum and almost no 
soybeans. After the "Freedom to Farm" bill passed the farming in our 
county changed rapidly. Wheat gave up a huge chunk of acres to 
soybeans and later on corn, and the trend seems to be here to stay. 

Up until that time the few acres of beans that were raised were only on 
prime river bottom ground. 

There are lots of fields being planted to 
beans now that 20 years ago we wouldn't have even considered beans an 
option.We raise most of our beans on very rolling ground with some 
pretty steep slopes and lots of terraces;The soil is a very tight clay 
over limestone rock. At places where erosion has been excessive the 
limestone is showing thru. It was into this environment that a whole 
generation of farmers started raising beans with almost no local 
expertise available..We were still all conventional till.
 

We raised a lot of 15-25bu/a beans in those years;round up ready was unheard 
of,weedy fields were common;clean fields were the envy of 
neighbors.... but we were still ahead of the game because after a year 
or two of beans we could go back to continuous wheat and yields were 
improved greatly. It was in this era that we started planting Resnik 
beans; most everyone was planting early group 3's......If beans were 
raised only as a break from wheat it made sense;plant a group 3 May 1 
and harvest by first week in Sept and right back to wheat! 

  Things have changed much since then: we have been 100% no till for 
almost 20 years and cover crop rye ahead of beans going into our 3rd 
year. Bean maturities have steadily gotten longer;4.7 - 4.9 is the 
norm and I'm guessing we may soon see 5's.Our yields have not only 
improved but also seem to be less erratic then they used to be. We 
used to plant group 3's in early May; now we plant late 4's in mid 
June. The improved consistency has earned beans a lot of respect they 
didn't used to have. Beans used to be what was planted as a rotation 
when  cheat grass got out of control in continuous wheat;now they are 
considered a regular crop. 

  Don't get shook up thinking we are going to swamp the markets 
anytime soon; our weather is a huge determinate in our production as 
well as the marginal ground that so much of our bean production is on. 
The  harvest we just finished was a typical year ; my best beans on a 
85a farm consisting of about 60% river bottom and 40% hilly upland 
made 47 bu/a which I considered very good.The 140 acre field around my 
house consisting of mostly steep slopes, some are quite eroded, made 
36bu/a ; which I also consider very good for soil type.
 
I have farmed 
this field for 20+ years and probably had beans on it 5-6 different 
times. This last year's yield would be one of the best, if not the 
best on this field. My lowest yields were in the 25 - 28 bu/a which 
would have been somewhat better had I planted 2-3 weeks later. This 
was the poorest ground I farm;first year I'm farming it. It's been 
abused something awful;I would expect that  5 years of high residue no 
till, cover crops,lime and added soil fertility will make a marked 
difference. 

  Back to the Resnik beans; I have often wondered if we grew them 
today;considering all we have learned in the last 20 years, if we 
might be surprised what they would do if given a second chance.  Maybe 
I'm starting to get sentimental about the good old days.... 

Boy, isn't that the truth!

Ed