Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rent A Coop

RentACoop's offers an exciting, fun and educational 4 week chicken experience! Whether you're looking for a unique pet with a ton of personality, want to educate your children about where food comes from or are just excited to have the freshest organic eggs available to you every morning, Rent-A-Coop is the way to go! 
What is Included in our RentACoop Program? 
- A strong, durable chicken coop that was designed, built and painted by us and is 100% predator proof. 
- 2 hens that are of laying age (at least 5 months old)- with each one laying about an egg a day 
- Enough organic chicken feed and bedding (pine shavings) to last your entire rental period
- Recycled Feed and Water Bowls
- 24 Chicken Hotline where you can call or e-mail us with any questions or concerns that you may have
- Informational Chicken Care Pamphlet   

 I saw this on CBS Sunday Morning and thought it was pretty cute.  I think our daughter Becky needed this, but too late, she is already a chicken farmer!  I opened Facebook to find these grand children are already in business! 

I think it would work around here if someone wanted to start such a business near Cincinnati or Columbus, probably Cleveland, too!  I think my sister Linda and I would pass on this opportunity!  We have too much experience, thank you Mom! 

Ed Winkle


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

19% Of The Corn Planted

USDA reports corn planting made a solid advance over the past week, but the pace remains slower than average due to rain and cool soil temperatures in some key growing areas.
As of Sunday, April 27, 19% of corn is planted, compared to 6% on April 20, 2014, 5% on April 27, 2013 and the five year average of 28%, while 3% has emerged, compared to 2% a year ago and 6% on average.
Soybean planting is just underway at 3%, compared to 4% on average.
33% of winter wheat is rated good to excellent, down 1% on the week, with the poor to very poor category at 34%, up 1%. The fair category was unchanged at 33%. 18% of winter wheat has headed, compared 13% last year and 26% on average.  I can sell July wheat for nearly $7 so it's a good thing for me, not for those in the drought areas.
18% of spring wheat is planted, compared to 11% a year ago and 30% on average, with 5% emerged, compared to 3% last year and 9% on average.
Next week’s national crop report is expected to have the first condition ratings of the year for pastures and rangeland..  Pastures look good here, especially if they were limed or fertilized before this weeks rain.
I am 100% done but my guess is maybe 5% is planted locally.  I farm less acres and was able to get everything planted the few good hours we had last week.  I was ready for a break in the weather and took it.  If it rains all week as predicted, I may have to replant or spot in but so far so good.  My gypsum applications has kept the surface soil dry enough to plant, not pack and should allow the seeds to germinate.
Our sweet corn planted 8 days ago is just cracking through.  We hope to have a sweet corn picnic in July!
The picture gives you an idea what many fields looked like around here before the rain.
Ed Winkle

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornado Drought Over?

We were sad to see the devastation in several states from the very recent tornado's.  I hope the tornado drought I wrote about recently is not over.  This could spell a change in weather patterns again.

I have been away from the computer the last several days and got a lot accomplished.  Once in awhile, you have to do that.

I have thought about slowing down on the writing or even quitting but I enjoy writing this blog and will try to keep it going.

Corn planting has started here and I imagine it is finished in several places.  I am behind on any news, even agricultural news.

I will see what I can put together for tomorrow.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Do We Need RR Alfalfa Or Wheat?

A food safety group filed a lawsuit in hopes of forcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release documents in court that could explain why the federal agency approved genetically engineered alfalfa despite its misgivings about environmental safety.

The Washington-based Center for Food Safety said Thursday the USDA may have come under pressure by seed giant Monsanto Co. to grant approval of its Roundup Ready alfalfa, which is designed to withstand multiple applications of herbicide.

“USDA determined Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa posed significant environmental and economic harms and initially proposed placing restrictions on it. Yet the agency went ahead and granted full unrestricted approval one month later,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for the Center for Food Safety, said in a prepared statement. “Did the White House intervene? Did Monsanto pressure the agency? The fact is we don’t know, and unless the court orders USDA to hand over these documents we may never know.”,0,6462829.story#ixzz2yOjh7Z7l

I don't feel I need RR wheat or RR alfalfa.  I am one person and from the old school when RR was not even existent.

Do we need RR alfalfa or wheat?  Will either one improve anything?

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Next 40 Years

We need to grow as much food in the next 40 years as we did the last 8,000 years!  Sobering thought?

What would it take to grow enough food to meet human needs in 2050 while reducing environmental impacts of agriculture?

We have to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000. That’s the challenge. And if we want to do it without expanding further into the environment, we’re going to have to produce twice as much food on the same amount of land. Where do we invest our time and money?

Where do we?

We need to look at which crops have the most to gain from genetics. It’s not going to be corn and soybeans, because the big gains have been made there. We haven’t even really started work on palm oil, cassava, cocoa yams, sweet potatoes, peanuts, bananas or plantain, and sorghum—those are the ones that we really need to work on. And why? We know that the average production on an average farm in Costa Rica in bananas produces 20 times more calories than the average corn production in Iowa on the same unit of land.

Speaking of Iowa, where production is advanced, aren’t there gains to be made in Eastern Europe or Africa, where farmers are using practices from 50 years ago?

We know globally that the best practices, the best producers in the world, are 100 times better than the worst. But what we’re finding is that that’s actually true in what we think of as homogeneous places. In a three-county area of northeastern Nebraska, some producers use inputs 10 times more efficiently than others. The only way we can move the bottom is to take the principles of what we’re doing with the top producers, and begin to push the bottom—get them on a stepwise approach to improve production.

I was 5 counties north yesterday and the planters and tillage equipment were rolling.  No-Till looked dead in the part of Ohio I was in.  I thought about this article and what happens to our corn and soybeans?  Most of it goes to fuel or feed, very little of it goes into direct consumption?

"During the last year I've been following a bushel of corn through the industrial food system. What I keep finding in case after case, if you follow the food back to the farm — if you follow the nutrients, if you follow the carbon — you end up in a corn field in Iowa, over and over and over again.
Take a typical fast food meal. Corn is the sweetener in the soda. It's in the corn-fed beef Big Mac patty, and in the high-fructose syrup in the bun, and in the secret sauce. Slim Jims are full of corn syrup, dextrose, cornstarch, and a great many additives. The “four different fuels” in a Lunchables meal, are all essentially corn-based. The chicken nugget—including feed for the chicken, fillers, binders, coating, and dipping sauce—is all corn. The french fries are made from potatoes, but odds are they're fried in corn oil, the source of 50 percent of their calories. Even the salads at McDonald's are full of high-fructose corn syrup and thickeners made from corn."
I have more questions than I have answers.  Is this sustainable?  Can we feed the world in the next 40 years?
Ed Winkle
pictures are a year ago this week, things haven't changed much!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

China Contaminated

Unbridled industrialization with almost no environmental regulation has resulted in the toxic contamination of one-fifth of China's farmland, the Communist Party has acknowledged for the first time.

The report, issued by the ministries of Environmental Protection and Land and Resources, says 16.1 percent of the country's soil in general and 19.4 percent of its farmland is polluted with toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and arsenic. It was based on a soil survey of more than 2.4 million square miles of land across China, spanning a period from April 2005 until December 2013. It excluded special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.
In a dire assessment, the report declares: "The overall condition of the Chinese soil allows no optimism."

The Associated Press writes that the report was "previously deemed so sensitive [that] it was classified as a state secret." The official Xinhua news agency blames "irrigation by polluted water, the improper use of fertilizers and pesticides and the development of livestock breeding."
Xinhua says: "In breakdown, 11.2 percent of the country's surveyed land suffers slight pollution, while 1.1 percent is severely polluted." (Update at 12:06 p.m. ET. Earlier, we were citing numbers from The Guardian, but these figures from Chinese state media are being more widely cited.)
Most of the contaminated farm land is on the highly developed and industrialized east coast, but heavy metal pollution was especially bad in the country's southwest, according to The Guardian.
The newspaper says:
"In January, an agriculture official admitted that millions of hectares of farmland could be withdrawn from production because of severe pollution by heavy metals. And last December the vice minister of land and resources estimated that 3.3 million hectares of land is polluted, mostly in gain producing regions."
According to the AP, the report "also points to health risks that, in the case of heavy metals, can take decades to emerge after the first exposure. Already, health advocates have identified several 'cancer villages' in China near factories suspected of polluting the environment where they say cancer rates are above the national average."

As we've reported in the past, China's air pollution has become a real health concern in major urban areas.

I wondered about this when our group of 30 agricultural educators visited for the month of October, 1985.  Pollution was as bad then as what they show on TV today.  It's a major problem.  We need to be careful and I think we are.

Some say we are too careful with too much regulation and others think we are not careful enough?

What do you think?

On this "Earth Day" Celebration, doesn't the rest of the world need to be more concerned about their doings than we?

Ed Winkle

Monday, April 21, 2014

God's Not Dead

We rarely go to the movies but we went to see God's Not Dead in Hillsboro Saturday night.

"Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words "God Is Dead" on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at acrossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future.

Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that "God Is Dead," he must prove God's existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God's existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes.

Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn't it just be easier just to write "God Is Dead" and put the whole incident behind him? GOD'S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions. --(C) Official Site"

This is a well written story with some humor provided by Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty Commander fame and others.  It's a pretty serious movie though, the whole concept has been questioned since time began.  It focuses on a modern day college campus and the way the writers weave the characters to the end is very compelling.  The apologetics are very well substantiated and made the movie real to me.

I enjoyed the movie and think you might too unless you don't believe in God, don't want to believe in God or even hate God like one of the main characters.  The Newsboys Christian rock group really puts the finishing touches on the end of this movie.

Now we want to see Heaven Is Real.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Memorable Easters

Easter Sunday April 7, 1958, our family woke early to a huge train wreck about a half mile from our farm in Sardinia, Ohio.  The Pocahontas Trail of the Norfolk and Western railroad still runs through the farm that connects Norfolk, Virginia to Cincinnati, Ohio.  Maybe my sister remembers but I think we went to church that Sunday but we sure couldn't get to the Sardinia First Presbyterian Church the normal way, a half mile east on State Route 74 as it was called then.  The road was blocked from the two huge trains that hit head on that morning.

I remember the wreckage but couldn't find any pictures or a complete story online.  I think at least two men were killed in the wreck but I don't remember all of the details.  I know it made travel difficult for quite a time until they got the cars and engines moved off the two crossings on State Route 74 in town, the one near us and the one east of town to Ellis Feed Mill.

I would have been 7 years old and Linda would have been 4.  Our brother Jeff would have been a newborn, born the month before.  We had just moved into the new ranch style house that was built on the Bare Plantation farm.  Mom still lives in that house and it became the Winkle Farm in 1990.  Grandpa moved into the old plantation house in 1918 when dad was almost 3 years old.

"Frank W. Hunter (1874-1939) lived in Arizona, and his wife, Lila, inherited.
Frank was married several times and had three children that I read about. The one I have written about before was Ralph “Phoy” Hunter (1908-58), who was a fireman on the N&W Railroad and was in the train wreck at Sardinia Easter Sunday, 1958. Ralph and his wife are buried in the Mowrystown Cemetery."  That is also where grandpa and grandma Winkle are buried.

I can't remember if those were steam engines or not when diesels came in around that time?
I imagine most of you can remember an Easter Sunday in your past.  I think my friends in Minnesota still have snow on the ground and it is getting close to planting time!
I leave you on this note, "Easter is not only the greatest Christian feast; it is the fulfillment of our faith as Christians. Through His Death, Christ destroyed our bondage to sin; through His Resurrection, He brought us the promise of new life, both in Heaven and on earth. His own prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven," begins to be fulfilled on Easter Sunday."
Happy Easter!
Ed Winkle

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Way To Go, Lucas

I met Lucas Criswell from Eastern Pennsylvania some years ago at a field day I was presenting near Hagerstown, Maryland.  Here he is being recognized as someone to follow.

"CEDAR FALLS — Farmers started the soil health movement that Ray Archuleta, a conservation agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Greensboro, N.C., sees as the solution to energy, climate, air and water quality and human health issues.

"Farmers are learning to farm in nature's image, and they are healing the land," said Archuleta during a recent workshop at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He also gave the Shivvers Lecture at Iowa State University.

"No more diapers, no more bandaids," said Archuleta, who is known as the "Soil Guy." "The only way to heal the land is through understanding."

Archuleta said desperation led him to question if there wasn't a better way. He worked for the NRCS in Oregon, lived in Idaho and drove across the Snake River to work. He noticed that when farmers turned on the irrigation water every summer "that beautiful emerald river turned to chocolate."

"We were putting millions of dollars into conservation, and that river was still chocolate, and that bothered me, but what resonated even more was that I had a hard-working, frugal friend who farmed 600 acres of prime Idaho land, and he couldn't make it and bring his son into the operation."

When Archuleta started working on the NRCS Soil Health and Sustainability Team, he began to understand the problem. He wasn't taught the things he since has learned about soil health, and neither were most people who studied soils at universities.

Lucas Criswell no-tilled corn into standing cereal rye on his steep Pennsylvania farm ground and grew 170-bushel corn. North Carolina farmers are growing no-till cotton, tomatoes and potatoes with cover crops. Kansas rancher Michael Thompson grew 58 bushel corn on 7 inches of total rainfall using no-till with cover crops."

We really need to think outside the box for maximum profit from maximum soil health.

Lucas is doing that.

Ed Winkle

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Legend Of The Weeping Willow Tree

A legend or fable is a story that doesn't pretend to be historical, but simply teaches a lesson.  The events surrounding the suffering and death of Christ gave rise to many legends.

The Legend of the Weeping Willow
Why does the weeping willow bend its branches and leaves downward?

According to one legend, the tree "weeps" because it was the tree upon which Judas hanged himself. 
Another legend says its branches were used by the soldiers to whip the imprisoned Jesus.

Even earlier people had viewed the weeping willow as a grieving tree because of Psalm 37: "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.  There on the willow trees we hung up our harps."  Some scholars believe the trees were actually poplars.

"But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit."  Matthew 27:50

Life is usually pretty noisy but sometimes becomes deathly silent.  On this day in 2006, we were visiting LuAnn's parents near Naples, New York.  We had just laid down to sleep when our son Eric called and asked his mother if she was sitting down?  We had just went to bed so now she was sitting on the edge of the bed.

He said a terrible windstorm had come through at dark and he thought the garage was moved off its foundation.  He was living with us at the time as he was starting his career after college.  He said he had tried to lock the barn doors down but the wind sucked them right off the barn.  Was it a tornado we asked?

He didn't know.  The main thing was he was safe but had put himself in harm's way!  By this time we knew we couldn't sleep so we got dressed and drove all night to home.  We got to Martinsville about sunup and never saw anything until we ended Greene Road and State Route 28.  Limbs and wires were strewn everywhere, we knew it was a bad storm and were anxious about the damage.

We live one mile east of that intersection and when we pulled into the drive we saw the devastation.  The 26 foot beams on our front porch were blown off and wedged behind the wheels of his Dodge Dakota!  The garage was sitting 3 feet farther east, straddling the bushes beside it.  The garage contents including years of soil test records were strewn from the garage to the house across the road a half mile south of us.  Almost every bin and building suffered damage.  Shingles were scattered across the countryside.

All was still but 12 hours earlier was sheer turmoil.  It took me all summer and $30,000 to put the place back into original condition.  It was the Good Friday we will never forget.

Today on Good Friday all is quiet.  It sure wasn't eight years ago.  I imagine any weeping willow would have been pointing to the sky.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Corn Growing Moving To Canada

"The snow is piled waist-deep outside the Southern Manitoba Convention Centre as more than 400 farmers gather to consider the once-unthinkable: growing corn on the Canadian prairie.

At one end of the packed auditorium last month in Morris, home of the Red River Wild hockey club, an Ohio farmer brought in by DuPont Co. (DD) is making a presentation with a slide that reads “Ear Count 101.” At the other end, Deere & Co. is showing off tractors and other equipment from a booth while Daryl Gross explains planters and corn-dryers to curious men wearing seed caps.

“This is here to stay,” said Gross, who sells CNH Global NV tractors for Southeastern Farm Equipment Ltd. in nearby Steinbach. His customers are increasingly devoting acreage to corn. “There are a lot of guys who are experimenting with it and looking at it,” he said.

Corn is the most common grain in the U.S., with its production historically concentrated in a Midwestern region stretching from the Ohio River valley to Nebraska and trailing off in northern Minnesota. It had been ungrowable in the fertile farmland of Canada’s breadbasket. That is changing as a warming climate, along with the development of faster-maturing seed varieties, turns the table on food cultivation. The Corn Belt is being pushed north of what was imaginable a generation ago."

I've seen this shift over my lifetime and saw it first hand on our trip across Canada in 2012.  Corn and soybeans in Canada!

I wonder what other shifts we will see?

Ed Winkle

The only good pictures I have of the province is from a little farm museum we found on the TransCanada Highway because we drove through a horrible windstorm in August 2012 that nearly blew the slide in camper out of the pickup truck bed!  They better have some standability in that corn and alternative ways of harvesting corn, which they do.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Land That Made Me, Me

A friend sent a poem written about us "baby boomers" who grew up in the 50's and 60's.  It is called The Land That Made Me Me.  It reminded me of where we came from and where we are today.  I am sure my grandfather could have written such a poem about his days, too.  I am also sure that my grand children could write a similar poem when they are my age.

That middle one when asked by her Great Uncle if she is the second of her family, she insisted than no, she is third!  She considers cousin Liam as her brother!  That is about the most adorable thing I ever heard from a child.

I had my six month checkup with my dentist this morning and couldn't get away.  Old Cliff wasn't busy and wanted to talk the day away.

About the Nevada takeover and how our country has went to hell
and if our farm has turkeys so he could shoot them like ringing a bell

And how do you make it farming with all the risk and such,
I said it keeps on ticking and what I do doesn't matter much.

But we both know we make an impact sometimes for good or bad,
And when we make bad decisions, isn't it just so sad.

Unless we learn from our mistakes and share our little good,
We can be the best guy around us or noted in the neighborhood.

"If you buy one of those million dollar combines that drives itself across the field,
I want to ride beside you so I can see the yield."

I said you won't be riding with me ole Cliff for that money never came,
But you can ride beside me anyway and see the yield the same.

My generation should be happy with all the things we got,
But it seems we're never happy whether we have it all or not.

Happiness is found in the simple things, green corn fields or a calf,
Mine is found in my grandchildren, especially when they laugh.

This land is filled with blessings, just look, they're all around,
But if you cannot see them, I pray for you right now.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


"When I was in the USN I was stationed in Key West, FL. I worked at the clinic at Naval Air Station on Big Coppitt Key just a few mile north of Key West. The hospital at Key West was for out patient only for retired armed forces personnel that lived in the area. If you needed to be hospitalized you were sent to Homestead AFB Florida. I had the day off and just went inside the hospital(Corpman barracks were next to hospital). There was a retired navy man that worked in the lab and he was very interesting gentleman to talk with. He was a retired biochemist from the USN. he asked me what was going on that day and I  said I had the day off. I wish I was working as the crew on today was taking a sailor to Homestead as he had a very bad kidney infection.
Now this elderly gent told me the man should have eaten more asparagus and  he wouldn't have that problem. I asked why? I'll never forget him saying do you eat asparagus and I said yes, I love them.
He replied you notice how your urine stinks after eating asparagus? I said well I never thought it was what I ate but yes it does have a pungent odor. It is because it is detoxifying your body of harmful chemicals(toxins)!!!
This was back in 1986 when I was stationed there and to read this email again I had to share this story...Eat more asparagus my friends.
Asparagus -- Who knew?
My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style asparagus, pureed it and took 4 tablespoons in the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day. She did this for over a month. She is on chemo pills for Stage 3 lung cancer in the pleural area and her cancer cell count went from 386 down to 125 as of this past week.
Her oncologist said she will not need to see him for 3 months.

Several years ago I met a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer. He gave me a copy of an article, entitled "Asparagus For Cancer" printed in the Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me: I am a biochemist, and have specialized in the relation of diet to health or over 50 years.
Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on his project. We have accumulated a number of favorable case histories.
Here are a few examples:
Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated.  Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.
Case No. 2, A successful businessman, 68 years old, suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years.  After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he began taking asparagus.  Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

Case No. 3, On March 5th 1971, a man who had lung cancer was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable.  The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the Asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it. By August,
x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared. He is now back at his regular business routine.
Case No. 4, A woman had been troubled for a number of years with skin cancer. She developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by the acting specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after beginning asparagus therapy, the skin specialist said her skin looked fine with no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease, which had started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus treatment.
I was not surprised at this result as `The elements of materia medica', edited in 1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania , stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. Note the dates!
We would have other case histories but the medical establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to spread this good news and help us to gather a large number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.
For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using. Fresh or canned asparagus can be used. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives.

Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree. Store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening.
Patients usually show some improvement in 2-4 weeks.
It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink.
This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.
As a biochemist I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can prevent.' Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner.  I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold.
For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our regular checkups. The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional approach to health, showed substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink.
As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better with the latest theories about cancer.
Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normalizer. That accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance.
The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good. It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that  asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants."

I like these stories and some are just that, stories but we have been eating more asparagus lately and that one comment about your urine made me think!  One website also linked asparagus to gout symptoms so that sounded contradictory to me.

What do you think?


Monday, April 14, 2014

Two Pass Corn Herbicide

"In 67% of the trials, the highest corn yields were obtained with a two-pass program that consisted of a pre-emergence herbicide followed by a post-emergence herbicide. A one-pass post-emergence program that also contained a residual herbicide provided the highest corn yields in 28% of the trials, whereas in 5% of the trials a one-pass pre-emergence herbicide program provided the highest corn yields."

Even though I got a fall herbicide on and my fields are cleaner than ever, even my problem fields, I can lose yield with a one pass program.  I thought in the past I could do it with one pass but now with the evolution of weeds against how we've not treated them, tells me I need at least two passes in growing corn.  A timely post spray of the right herbicide can give corn a post as the exudates of the dying weeds are sent to the roots of the corn.

My goal is to do a better job of controlling weeds in my crop.  My heavy fertilizer program has made my soil a great place to grow many different kinds of plants and I am focusing on one crop in a field at a time.

I have fairly weed free soil today to produce a weed free crop this year but my post spray on the wheat and the burn down and pre emerge is critical to my spring planted crop.

I get a lot of good questions about rotating herbicides when the farmer as had success with one program for years but most of the understand they need to change the chemistry and maybe the timing to keep their crop ahead of the ever changing weed population we all have.

Everything I do today affects what I am going to have tomorrow and years down the road.

What are you doing differently this year?

My big change started last year and I see good results so far from that change.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mercy From Percy

Percy Julian returned to DePauw University, where his reputation for inventing was established in 1935 by his synthesizing physostigmine from the calabar bean. Percy Julian went on to become director of research at the Glidden Company, a paint and varnish manufacturer. He developed a process for isolating and preparing soy bean protein, which could be used to coat and size paper, to create cold water paints, and to size textiles. During World War II, Percy Julian used a soy protein to produce AeroFoam, which suffocates gasoline and oil fires.

Percy Julian was noted most for his synthesis of cortisone from soy beans, used in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. His synthesis reduced the price of cortisone. Percy Julian was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990 for his "Preparation of Cortisone" for which he received patent #2,752,339. Dr. Percy Lavon Julian was born on April 11, 1899, and died on April l9, 1975.U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater had this to say about Percy Julian:
  • "Those who had earlier sought to keep their slaves in chains were well aware of the threat education posed to their 'peculiar' institution. Consider what happened to the grandfather of Dr. Percy Julian, the great Black research chemist who, over his lifetime, was awarded 105 patents--among them a treatment for glaucoma and a low-cost process to produce cortisone.

  • When Percy Julian decided to leave Alabama to go to college in Indiana, his entire family came to see him off at the train station, including his ninety-nine year old grandmother, a former slave. His grandfather was also there. His grandfather's right hand was two fingers short. His fingers had been cut off for violating the code forbidding slaves to learn to read and write."
If it had not been for cortisone, I am not sure I would be here.  I had asthma so bad as a teen that those injections kept me alive.  My lungs would shut down from ragweeds.

Remember I said I hate ragweeds?  They actually nearly killed me.

God Bless Percy and all of the scientists like George Washington Carver, the inventor of peanut butter.  I think LuAnn would like thank him for that!

Ed Winkle

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Genetically Modified Wheat

Slightly more than six years ago, the baking industry and Monsanto, St. Louis, MO, one of the world’s largest seed producers, agreed to abandon efforts to develop and plant genetically engineered (GE) wheat for a host of reasons. Some bakers expressed concern about consumer acceptance. Others worried about the millers’ ability to segregate biotech wheat from non-biotech wheat. Simply put, a vocal core of bakers quietly argued behind the scenes that there were too many uncertainties and unknowns to take the risk at that time. 

Now, Monsanto Co. said it has moved from the “proof of concept” phase into the “early development” phase for its herbicide-tolerant wheat, a move the St. Louis-based company said brings it closer to its goal of introducing a bioengineered wheat variety. Despite the progress, Robb Fraley, executive vice-president and chief technology officer, said a product launch is still “several years away.”

“We have field tested and advanced one of the first wheat biotech products based on improvements in weed control,” Mr. Fraley said during a Jan. 8 conference call to discuss first-quarter results. “From an overall market perspective, the grain industry and the wheat industry — specifically the wheat trade industry — has remained very interested and supportive of biotech advances.
“A wheat farmer generally is also a corn and soybean farmer, and they understand the benefits of the technology, and the wheat industry has watched the benefits that this technology has brought to both corn and soybeans. And so we continue to make advances.
“We are still several years away from a product launch, but it is nice to see those products in the pipeline.”
The herbicide-tolerant wheat product was designed to give growers another broad spectrum weed control option for weed management with glyphosate tolerant wheat. Monsanto said field trials were conducted last year in Fargo, N.D.

Ed Winkle

Friday, April 11, 2014

Identifying Weeds

A farmer asked how to identify weeds and it made me think how I learned.  Probably thistle is one of the first I learned because you got pricked if you tried to pull it!  That made it a "weed to hoe" type weed right off the bat.

Ragweeds have caused me and many of my family and friends more human suffering than any other weeds.  We are allergic to them.  I hate ragweeds.

Johnsongrass cost dad 3 farms or something like that.  From his stories, hog cholera wiped his herd out twice but Johnsongrass cost us more money.  Remember MDM hybrids?  Maize Dwarf Mosaic was a major problem in the 60's.  We planted the worst fields to alfalfa and basically grazed and baled the grass to death.  Fusilade herbicide was a savior when it came out.

There are so many ways to learn.  Right now is a good time to start to learn a few new weeds as it warms up and the first weeds emerge.  We have so much poa annua around here my visitors last weekend were sure they were intentionally planted cover crops!

Here is a pretty simple web guide to weeds from the Farm Journal people thanks to BASF.  BASF has weed guides and about any chemical company has free guides to use.  I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a formal textbook unless you "must have one" for your library.  A day in the pickup with a guide and someone who knows more than you do will help identify your weed population better than a dusty book on the shelf.

The Weed Guide to the North Central states is excellent but old black and white drawings that go in to great detail.  It is not color pictures and memorization, it is how to identify weeds by shape, size, color, pubescence and the like.  I would need a magnifying glass today to identify the difference in some grass weeds.  Most of us don't know green from yellow from Giant foxtail, we just treat them all like foxtail.

If you use a smart phone every day, there are plenty of "app's" and easily available resources like the BASF one, Ag PhD and others.  The thing is to take time to learn what is in your fields and the next weed cycle is here.  Spring has finally sprung here in southwest Ohio!

Can you identify poison hemlock?  Do you know dock from curly?

Ed Winkle

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We Can't Afford Our Health Insurance

"Make no mistake, the U.S. health care system is a mess. It’s a stubborn mess that has resisted attempts to clean it up. For one, the sheer cost of the U.S. health care system today is simply staggering.

Our national health care expenditure (NHE) is about $3.6 trillion a year. We spend more than $10,000 a year on health care for every man, woman, and child in the country. It represents about 18 percent of our gross domestic product, and our NHE is growing at a rate of about 5 percent every year. 

As Lynn Jennings, CEO of WeCare TLC, said last year, “When an employer sits down with his health care providers – the broker, the health plan, the physician, the hospital, the drug and device firms – everyone in the room wants it to cost more, and they’re all positioned to make that happen.”1 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will not, as it currently stands, have a substantial positive effect on our NHE. For the first few years, NHE will be basically neutral, maybe slightly positive.2 By 2017, NHE will again grow for no other reason than the fact that the country is aging at a rate of 10,000 people hitting age 65 each day for the next 15 years.3 "

Folks, we cannot afford our health insurance.  It should not cost 20% of our income or whatever it is over our lifetime.  Are we supposed to go without?

What do you think about this whole mess?  We are running doctors out of practice.  I was raised beside three good doctors who gave us excellent care.  They made more money than anyone else in our community but I can't say they died rich.

The greed in this country and putting me in front of you has really increased our cost of living.  The best thing I can do is try to live as healthy as I can because I can't afford to get sick!  Some of us have health problems from birth, though and that cost must be passed on.

I never worked this long and this hard to leave my 12 beautiful grand children in the mess they inherit.  It is wrong, sinful, and disgraceful.  The president doesn't have a very good track record but this could be his biggest failure.  Pass a 2500 page  bill before you study it?  What a joke and what a mess.

What say you?

Ed Winkle