Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vote For Your Favorite Photo

I entered some pictures this morning in NCGA's Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest.  I would appreciate your vote but please vote for your favorite!  There are five different divisions and I have entered 3 of them so far.

The link should take you to Growing Corn photo's and I entered my favorite.  It may not be my best but is my favorite and I have posted in various places since 2010.  It is a picture of my 200 bushel corn on Horseshoe Road in Highland County, the best crop that was ever raised on that farm according to its neighbors.

That was the year our last rain was an inch around July 17 and it still yielded a record crop on that farm.  We shelled that corn in September and that gave me time to work on that farm all fall.  It never rained that fall and wheat and cover crops were hard to establish that year.  The best thing I did was spread two tons of high calcium lime per acre and that paid me back in two crops.  I am learning the effects of gypsum on my own soil after working with it on others for many years.

I really need to manage my pictures because my pictures are managing me.  I have so many crop pictures mixed in with people pictures.  In a few years most of the crop pictures start to look the same.

There is so much to do right now, I am not sure how we are going to get it all done before winter.  Speaking of winter, these cool days and nights remind us of that a little too much!

To my blog experts, I just accidentally wiped out a week of blogs by deleting Industrious Woman under my draft file.  One delete deleted a week's work.  How did I do that, how did they get linked together and published and drafted at the same time?  I think it has been since I started entering key words again?


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Champion Shorthorn Bull At The Ohio State Fair

My brother and sister in law showed the Champion Shorthorn Bull at the Ohio State Fair this week.  I know our dad and grandpa are proud!

I think dad told me that Grandpa George Winkle bought a Shorthorn herd nearly 100 years ago.  That old Shorthorn based herd was the genetics for the farm I grew up on, a general livestock farm in Brown County, Ohio.

I can't forget the white steer calf dad picked out for me when I was a child.  I showed him at the Brown County fair.  He was wild with blue eyes and I try to forget him dragging me through the show ring and running up the grandstand with women screaming and purses flying.  You know why I love crops so much that feed the livestock.

Charolais cattle had just come to the states and everyone thought this white steer might be a Charolais.  He wasn't, he was an offspring of Grandpa's Shorthorn herd.

Dad and grandpa loved their cattle because they used the pasture and hay we could raise on that farm without erosion and they helped pay the bills.  Beef has always  been a high choice for meat consumption in the US and I always figured they always will.

It takes a long time to build up a good herd so Jeff and Susie have done a spectacular job building their herd to the point they could produce a Champion Bull.  My hat is off to them, I know what hard work it is.

Cattle are record high prices and feed is cheap this year.  The livestock men and women just might be having their best year ever and it was hard earned and high time for it to happen.

Showing livestock taught my children a lot of good things I see in their families.

Grandpa had no idea what he was starting, did he?

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cool Weather

It does not feel like the last week of July here in southwest Ohio.  I bet many of you are thinking the same thing.  We seem to be going through a cycle that is much different than I remember most of my lifetime.

You have record warm on the left like 2012 and record cool on the right, 2014, just like the crops in my picture show.

The 70's had times like these but I was a young man full of vim and vigor and didn't pay much attention to it.  I just tried to respond to it like I am today.

The lack of solar activity and everything man has done to Earth has an effect.  No one knows how much.  What is coming?  What should we prepare for?

I am hoping I have enough heat this summer to mature my double crop Clermont and Jacob soybeans into seed good enough to plant next year.  If I don't, my seed supplier's crop looks good and they were planted before mine, though not very much sooner.

The markets are low and if cash is short I can plant soybeans next year and benefit from all of the crop rotation and soil amendments I have applied.  I am at a different stage and position in my life than anyone else and I really can't compare myself to anyone.  I have to do what's best for me.  I have a lifetime of experience to base it on but it's hard not to do what the neighbors are doing sometimes.

As I have said, this weather is great for scouting and I've had plenty of fields to scout.  It's been fun this summer with some days of too much water and a little too warm but overall, pretty cool scouting weather.  That signals in my brain that crops aren't growing like they normally do.

The local fairs are doing well because of this cool weather.  I am very happy for them because I love state and county fairs!  This surely must be one of the coolest county fair temperatures this week.

I have enjoyed judging at local county fairs this month and I hope you all did well.

These record low temperatures have us big picture people wondering what is next!

Have a great day,

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why Didn't We Learn Our Lesson?

"NGFA recently released a pair of economic analyses that estimate up to $2.9 billion in economic losses have been sustained by the U.S. corn, distillers grains and soy sectors in the aftermath of the enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy on Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera™ MIR 162 corn technology in U.S. export shipments to China, where the trait has not been approved yet for import as food or feed.

But according to a second NGFA analysis, U.S. growers, grain handlers and exporters could sustain an even greater economic impact – up to $3.4 billion – during the 2014/15 marketing year that starts Sept. 1 given Syngenta North America Inc.’s decision to launch seed sales of its new Viptera Duracade™ 5307 biotech-enhanced corn well before the earliest regulatory-approval timelines in key U.S. corn export markets (including China). Syngenta has said seed sales of Duracade 5307 are expected to result in the planting of between 250,000 and 300,000 acres in portions of as many as 19 U.S. Corn Belt states.

The NGFA stressed that it strongly supports agricultural biotechnology and other scientific and technological innovations that contribute to efficient production and availability of a safe, abundant, affordable and high-quality food and feed supply for U.S. and world consumers. In addition, the NGFA said it is working in tandem with the North American Export Grain Association; corn, soybean and other grower organizations; biotechnology providers; and the seed industry in trying to improve the timeliness and synchronization of U.S. and foreign governmental approvals of biotech-enhanced traits.

However, the NGFA said its economic analyses of the impacts of the trade disruptions resulting from the detection of unapproved Agrisure Viptera MIR 162 provides a “case study” on the ramifications of commercializing crop biotechnology before securing import approvals from major U.S. export markets – particularly foreign countries with a zero-tolerance policy for the presence of unapproved biotech-enhanced traits.

“Regaining and maintaining access to the Chinese import market, as well as preserving access to other U.S. export markets, is critically important to the short- and long-term prospects of U.S. agriculture,” said NGFA President Randy Gordon. “These export markets are key drivers of producer profitability, current and future economic growth for U.S. agriculture, and achieving global food security.”

The NGFA noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently forecasts China’s corn imports will increase from 2.7 million metric tons in 2012 to 22 million metric tons by 2023, accounting for nearly half the projected growth in world corn trade over that time span. For the current 2013/14 marketing year, USDA had projected before the trade disruption that the United States would be the principal corn exporter to China – at an estimated 7 million metric tons. However, U.S. corn export shipments to China reported on an aggregated basis to the NGFA by U.S. exporters have amounted to only 1.23 million metric tons thus far.

The NGFA’s study found that in the aftermath of the disruption in U.S. corn shipments to China that began in November 2013 following the detection of MIR 162, financial losses to the U.S. corn, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and soybean sectors are estimated to range from $1 billion to $2.9 billion. U.S. corn trade with China has come to a standstill since then, and trade with China in DDGS and other U.S. commodities is being conducted in a riskier market environment. For instance, U.S. exporters have reported that China has detained and tested several shipments of U.S. soybeans following the detection of MIR 162, and that some U.S. soybean sales to China have been reduced or canceled as a result. China has responded by significantly increasing imports of U.S. grain sorghum, originating corn from Ukraine and utilizing its domestic stocks. Most recently, Brazil and Argentina were granted approval to begin exporting corn to China.

Meanwhile, the NGFA analysis estimates that U.S. corn prices would have been 11-cents-per-bushel greater if the MIR 162-related trade disruption with China had not occurred. The study found that applying this price-depressing impact across U.S. corn production amounts to a $1.144 billion loss for U.S. corn farmers over the last nine months of the current 2013/14 marketing year. At the time NGFA conducted the analysis, it was uncertain if and when China would approve MIR 162 corn for import during the current marketing year that ends Aug. 31."

Farmers are really going to need that $2.9 billion after this years losses.

Maybe we will learn our lesson, it's a global marketplace.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 27, 2014

September 9, NoTill In Ohio

No-Till acres in Ohio

What percentage of Ohio cropland is no-till? Would you believe 40%?

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, on Ohio’s 10,700,000 total acres of cropland, 20,700 farmers were using no-till on 4,300,000 acres which is 39.8%.

Among the major states in the Corn Belt, Nebraska had 43% no-till, Indiana 39%, Illinois 25% and Iowa 26%. The total for all 50 states was 25% no-till.

Based on your observations, do you think 40% of Ohio cropland was no-till planted this spring?

The Census also asked about cover crops. In Ohio, 6500 farmers reported using cover crops on 360,000 acres. This acreage has surely increased since 2012. By comparison, Indiana had almost 600,000 acres.

(This data was tabulated by No-Till Farmer, and will be published in an upcoming Conservation Tillage Guide.)

Sept. 9 No-till field day program

The field day is presented by the Ohio No-Till Council and is co-sponsored by the All-Ohio Chapter of the Soil & Water Conservation Society (SWCS).

The morning program kicks off at 9:00 a.m. and features three nationally known speakers. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

  1. Secrets of success for no-till corn and soybeans; Barry Fisher, Indiana NRCS State Agronomist
  1. Putting the entire soil profile to work for you; Hans Kok, Coordinator, Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative
  1. The importance of continuous no-till and ideas to make it even more successful; Ed Winkle, HyMark Consulting, Martinsville, Ohio
During lunch, Clark Hutson, president of the All-Ohio Chapter SWCS will briefly discuss activities and goals of the chapter.

The afternoon program includes a new (concurrent) item that will be especially appealing to Master Gardeners and anyone with a backyard garden: Gardening with Cover Crops. Ann Brandt, Walnut Creek Seeds, will discuss the value of cover crop blends for building garden soil. Then participants can walk through two plots with cover crops specifically blended for gardens.

At 1:15 p.m. most participants will go to the field for 4 stops, 30 minutes each.

  1. Precision poultry manure application; Brad Mattix, M&W Farm Supply
  2. Cover crops (above ground benefits); David Brandt, no-till farmer
  3. Cover crops / soil pit; Hans Kok
  4. Soil pit (probably in corn); George Derringer, USDA-NRCS
Cover crops at Farm Science Review

At Farm Science Review, Sept. 16-18, there will be multiple locations to see cover crops. As visitors walk from the parking lot to the Exhibit area, they may go past 3 or 4 strips planted to cover crops. These will be scattered among the antique tractors and test strips of corn and soybeans. (One demonstration plot, south of Friday Ave., will be no-till soybeans drilled into a cereal rye cover crop, with gypsum applied at 2000#/acre. This is funded by Ohio Soybean Council.)

Along Rt 38 just north of I-70, cover crops will be planted after wheat harvest. The seed for all these plots is funded by the Ohio Soybean Council.
Ed Winkle

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tissue Sampling

Prime time for tissue sampling crops is here and will soon pass us.  Pull your samples the next two weeks using this guide.

When and How to Sample Plants
Table 1 and Figure 1 outline the proper stage of growth, plant part, and number of plants to

sample for major agronomic and horticultural crops. Similar information is depicted in figures

on the last page of this publication. If a crop is sampled at other times in the growing season, the

analysis will be provided but may not be interpreted on the University of Wisconsin plant

analysis report. However, when plant analysis is being used to confirm a suspected nutrient

deficiency, the samples should be taken as early int he season as possible so that the deficiency

can be corrected and minimize the potential yield loss. Plants showing abnormalities usually

continue to accumulate nutrients even if growth is impaired by some limiting factor.

Samples should not be taken from plants that obviously have been stressed from causes

other than nutrients. Do not take samples from plants that —

· Are dead or insect damaged;

· Are mechanically or chemically injured;

· Have been stressed by too much or too little moisture (i.e., flooding or drought);

· Have been stressed by abnormally high or abnormally low temperature.

Sample Normal and Abnormal Areas
When a nutrient deficiency is suspected (even without visual symptoms), or there is a need

to compare different areas in a field, it is recommended that similar plant parts be collected

separately from both the affected plants and adjacent normal plants that are at the same stage of

growth. In this way, a better evaluation can be made between the nutritional status of healthy

and abnormal plants of the same variety grown under the same conditions.

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Bent My Brand New Blade!

I keep a woodpile near the hog barn where I unload firewood from various places.  It's coming from the Greene Road farm the last two years because it was so overgrown.  Taking out a quarter mile each of two fence rows made quite a pile over there.  We keep cutting it up and hauling it to that woodpile when we take time to do that.

I put 3 brand new and expensive blades on the DX-24E early this spring.  I had it cutting perfectly.  I needed it too because I've cut as much grass as I ever have here on Martinsville Road.  Every three days, I better be out there mowing again or I can't keep the 5 acre farmstead looking nice.  This is a beautiful place and I like to keep it mowed up.

I had been careful around the woodpile as to not hit any firewood.  I finally got the pile cleaned up and decided it was save to mow the weeds where the pile had been.  Big mistake!  Somehow I dislodged a strip of oak hardwood and it wedged a blade against the deck.  It took me nearly  a week of pounding and prodding that piece out!  I know, I am getting old but I didn't want to do more damage than I had to.

It was time for Tommy and Zach to come back through to Arizona from New York so I saved it for them.  They helped me pound a little harder.  Zach and I was prying up on the whole deck and mower and we rocked the tractor so hard it looked like we were going to roll it on its side.  Tommy burst out laughing and we couldn't work for several minutes.

We did get the piece out and I could not find the socket that fit the head.  1 1/4 was too big and 1 1/8 was too small.  I could not find 1 1/16 or Metric to fit it.  I went to the Equipment Superstore and  got what I thought was the right blade.  I still didn't have the right socket so  I borrowed one the next day and got the blade off.  Sure enough, they gave me the wrong blade.  That's happened two times in ten years!  Remember what you teach, Ed, RTB!  READ THE BOOK!

LuAnn came home that afternoon and texted Tommy, "mower is fixed and the lawn looks beautiful."


I would have rather been out joy riding our farm on the Mule!

Ed Winkle

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Crop Report

Yesterday the phone rang all day.  People wanted to know what I've seen around here.  Here is a summary of my crop report.

Corn has looked fantastic.  Lots of fields have that full, level pollen top across the field.  The only problem is in the drowned out spots and that varies greatly from county to county and region to region. Some counties will be up to near record high yields or may set new ones, but will have to factor in the drowned out areas. It’s just a great-looking crop.

Although there is some leaf disease, because of the commodity price, people aren’t spraying fungicides or adding much cost to their crop like they normally would consider doing. Insects haven’t been bad. We had some earworms in the sweet corn, which is an indicator that we will see them in the field corn.
“Soybeans are all over the board. Planting date was critical. If you planted in April, you’ve got pretty good beans. If you planted in May, you’ve got average beans. Most of the beans in southern Ohio were planted in June or July and they will be below average. Anything planted after June 4 is short, water-damaged, and lagging behind.

“Resistant weeds are a real problem in the soybeans, whether it’s Roundup Ready or non-GMO. Liberty Link is the only thing that seems to be controlling the weeds. The acres I have been into or scouted completely look fairly clean but there are resistant weeds in every one of them. I can’t say that there’s a 100% clean field anywhere. Common and giant ragweed have been difficult to control. Lambsquarters have been an issue in a few fields. Anyone who didn’t have a marestail program is going to pay the price. These weeds are showing resistance to 2 or 3 modes of action. We have a lot of acres of beans, but they just aren’t good beans overall.”

How do things look in your neck of the woods?


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Next Five Years In Ag

"The leaders of giant corporations have to have great vision to be able to lead these companies in the right direction.

If you could talk with the president of Monsanto or DuPont, what would you ask him, specifically about the next 5 years?

I need to come up with something intelligent, they don't want any venting/bitching/whining.

Can some of you guys help me out?"

I thought this was a well thought out reply:

"The OP's question has more facets than a diamond.
The big ag companies are fighting a many headed monster (along with us) of a Niagara Falls of regulations coming out of state and federal governments.
They are also being demonized over GMO crops, pesticides, herbicides, etc. etc.
Their customer base is us and we are changing rapidly and radically.

The small family farmer is dwindling and is being replaced by larger operators (our local BTO's - the 6000 to 40000 acre guys).

The BTO is easier to deal with when he replaces a dozens of pig headed farmers. But he also is a bigger customer and it hurts more when they lose him to the competition.

 While the BTO is being replaced by the medium size corporation that is more vertically integrated - such as owning the local elevator and the machinery dealerships, etc. These guys have real clout and the ag corporations dealing with them have to sharpen their pencils to a fine point to get the business.

Where I see this going is where it has already gone in a few select markets such as Pineapple where a few corporations own most of the business from the land to processing to shipping to the can on the supermarket shelf - think DOLE, etc.

We have that locally where a single family of 3 brothers went from general farming 30 years ago, then added on growing pickles for a local pickle plant, then to doing business with a national pickle company, then got into fermenting tanks and shipping the fermented pickles to the national company, and now have an integrated operation from growing to fermenting to processing to canning and finally to marketing their pickles to buyers who put their own labels on the cans.

I see greater integration of grain farming coming here in NA where corporations will own large tracts of farming land and operate like a business as opposed to the family farm. You will hire on as the janitor sweeping the shop and move up through the ranks - loading trucks, cleaning machines, running the grain wagon tractor, then tillage, then combining, then supervision, etc. etc. No different than a factory.

The losers in the end will be the family farms - who cannot acquire the capital to expand from a few hundreds of acres, to thousands of acres, to tens of thousands of acres, to owning the storage and shipping and marketing facilities for their grain."

DuPont did call me today.  We had a very good chat and they took good notes, they repeated the gist of what I thought.

What will we see in agriculture in the next five years?

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cold Winters

"Ten days ago, the sun was quite active and peppered with several large spots. Now the sun has gone quiet and it is nearly completely blank. It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive.

It looks as if this solar cycle is “double-peaked” (see below) which is not all that uncommon; however, it is somewhat rare that the second peak in sunspot number during the solar max phase is larger than the first. In fact, this solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles.

The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase. For this reason, many solar researchers are calling this current solar maximum a “mini-max”.

Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, there were almost no sunspots, a very unusual situation during a solar minimum phase that had not happened for almost a century."

I was hoping this winter would be warmer than last, like we discussed in an earlier article this year.  It still could be and I hope it is.  If you believe in the effect solar cycles have on weather, then the outlook in our lifetime is not so good!  Not good unless you enjoy cold winters, that is!

At my age I still like the four seasons but I am not crazy about cold winters, especially if they are long like this year was.  This past winter started reminding me of 1977 and 1978!  Those were the hardest winters of my lifetime and the weather definitely affected my activities.

At this point in my life I have a choice.  I can get away part of the winter if not all of it and we just may do that.

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 21, 2014


"War, famine, mass extinctions and devastating plagues - all of these are coming unless some kind of miraculous solution is found to the world's rapidly growing water crisis.  By the year 2030, the global demand for water will exceed the global supply of water by an astounding 40 percent according to one very disturbing U.S. government report.  As you read this article, lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers are steadily drying up all over the planet. 

The lack of global water could potentially be enough to bring about a worldwide economic collapse all by itself if nothing is done because no society can function without water.  Just try to live a single day without using any water some time.  You will quickly realize how difficult it is.  Fresh water is the single most important natural resource on the planet, and we are very rapidly running out of it.  The following are 25 shocking facts about the Earth's dwindling water resources that everyone should know...

#1 Right now, 1.6 billion people live in areas of the world that are facing "absolute water scarcity".
#2 Global water use has quadrupled over the past 100 years and continues to rise rapidly.
#3 One recent study found that a third of all global corn crops are facing "water stress".
#4 A child dies from a water-related disease every 15 seconds.
#5 By 2025, two-thirds of the population of Earth will "be living under water stressed conditions".
#6 Due to a lack of water, Chinese food imports now require more land than the entire state of California.
#7 At this point, the amount of water that China imports is already greater than the amount of oil that the United States imports.
#8 Approximately 80 percent of the major rivers in China have become so polluted that they no longer support any aquatic life at all.
#9 The Great Lakes hold about 21 percent of the total supply of fresh water in the entire world, but Barack Obama is allowing water from those lakes "to be drained, bottled and shipped to China" at a frightening pace.
#10 It is being projected that India will essentially "run out of water" by the year 2050.
 LuAnn flew over the Everglades last weekend and was shocked at all the dried up holes.  In January, we could not understand why there was not more concern about the scarcity of water in Southwest.
Google the phrase "water crisis" and you get over 180 million results!
What do you think, readers?
Ed Winkle

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oil Field Workers

I know little about the subject but I think we are all interested in some degree.  This was posted in the Café and I thought it was interesting enough to share.

"A public service announcement for those considering relocating for a job in the oilfield: To be sure, there is money to be made in the oil producing regions of West Texas, South Texas and North Dakota. To be sure, as well, there are groups from the well intentioned to the full blown idiots who come to the shale play areas to get rich quick.

 As it happens from time to time, when one wears the uniform of the seasoned oilfield hand, he is inundated at a convenience store by questions bordering on the absurd. Someone once said: there are no stupid questions, just stupid people who ask them.

 So if you are not from a shale play area, and you are thinking of uprooting the family and coming here, or to one of the afore mentioned places, please let me take this opportunity to offer a public service.

  First off, the oilfield of today is not the oilfield of the 1980’s. If you have a drug problem or if you just partake occasionally…..well you are **** out of luck. Let me go over your head here: Sarbanes Oxley, yeah that goes over most people’s head.

 Sarbanes Oxley is an insider trading law that has so overstepped its bounds that it governs every aspect of the way a publically traded company does business. That includes insurance and drug testing. So how does that affect a non-publically traded company, well, if you want to do business with a publically traded company, then the company that you work for must comply with Sarbanes Oxley as well. In the oilfield there is a term called “the majors” and if a company is a “major” then you can bet they are publically traded.

 Drugs = no job, not even at the fast food place. And there is a system in place called ISNetworld that will make sure that no contractors who do not comply will work for a publically traded company. If you can’t work for a major, then your company will make no money and not pay the employees worth a ****.

 The next thing you need to know: experience. If you don’t know anything about the oilfield, then you will not get hired. You will make better wages in the fast food and retail business than you will make back home, but you will not get rich quick, or ever.

 Welders: if you own your own welding truck and your welds can pass an X-Ray test, come on down; however if you don’t own your own equipment or are a shop welder, then stay at home in your union job. The shop is never going to pay you enough to buy your own rig, because if they do, you will quit and go to work in the field and you might make a little more money in the short term, but you will more than likely be in a dead end job.

 Heavy equipment operators: if you possess a Class A commercial driver’s license, then come on down and make some cash, but if you can’t haul you own equipment, you are out of luck. Other truck drivers, you had better have a Class A with a tanker and hazmat, but at least a tanker. Class B: if you don’t have both tanker and hazmat, then have fun driving that concrete truck, cause that is all you will be doing down here.

 On the bright side, there are plenty of concrete truck jobs, because they don’t pay. If you are educated in a highly specialized field, you might do well, but if you move down here and don’t know the difference between a pipe wrench and a crescent wrench, you need not apply. If you don’t know what any of these terms are, STAY HOME: roustabout, drilling rig, roughneck, frac, pressure pumping unit, CDL, DOT, pumpjack, location, H2S, JSA, wireline, hot oil truck, treater truck, pulling unit, kill truck, downstream, upstream, midstream, Chemtrec and the list goes on and on, but if you got lost with this list, STAY HOME!

 Oh and then there is the cost of living…..RV Space $1000 per month, and you choices are RV space or under the bridge. Be careful before you leave home…..You may not find what you are looking for here, however if you don’t have a job in a few weeks, then you ain’t looking!"

We saw the crowds in North Dakota two years ago and again coming across Canada.  They were booming, but I've never needed money that badly!

Ed Winkle;

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Good Scouting Days

We have enjoyed many good scouting days this week.  The weather is pretty good and the crop is advancing quickly.

I scout soybeans for Asian shipment about this time of the year for the last many years.  The high dollar soybeans are Pioneer 93B82 and Porter Hybrids 4389N which is eMerge 389 clear hilum soybeans.

The few acres that went in the ground in April look excellent and everything else looks good.  Farmers mainly tried to catch the few planting days in May this year,  As always, there are some fields that don't look good and there are some not even planted south of me.

As always, I get the problem fields.  That is my job, trouble shooting problem fields.  A farmer usually asks if fertilizer or fungicide will "fix it" but my first recommendations around here is a ton of gypsum.  I am seeing good results with gypsum.

We are enjoying record cool weather which is great for humans but not great for these young soybeans and corn crops.  Will we have enough heat to mature these crops and have a successful harvest?  In Ohio and north, that may be a problem but it is what it is.

Today I just enjoy this beautiful weather and scouting.  Today's picture is scouting a field of Porter Hybrids 4366 soybeans, a  non GMO program soybean for world markets.

Ed Winkle

This is one of six blogs that were accidentally deleted with one keystroke.  I want to see where blogger puts this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Carbon Dioxide or Oxygen?

Do your plants need more CO2 or does your soil need more oxygen?

Soil CO2 respiration should be center-stage in the emerging Soil Health discussion, according to Brinton who addressed the recent Soil Renaissance gathering in Oklahoma City. He showed early data from the Swedish soil ecologist Lundegårdh who quantified plant CO2 demand due to photosynthesis and contrasted it with soil CO2 respiration. A biologically active soil was able to cover the plant’s carbon budget but depleted soils did not come close. Air CO2 must make up the deficit. Calculations show that wheat at full growth would need to filter 10 cubic acres of air (and corn 38 cubic acres) to support an acre of carbon yield. This means CO2 could be a temporarily limiting nutrient like nitrogen or phosphorus,- but nobody thinks of it that way.

While many assume carbon is simply coming from the air Brinton stressed that “we’re overlooking the role that healthy soil respiration plays in directly sustaining plants with sufficient CO2 for photosynthesis – and right where plants need it”. Lundegårdh complained in a 1926 Soil Science article that “unfortunately mineral nutrients are getting all the attention”- still true today. During intense plant canopy development it is possible that biologically depleted soils do not furnish sufficient CO2 from soil efflux for the full crop potential. Combine this with recent evidence that plant nutrient uptake – especially nitrate – comes at a biological CO2 cost, and soil-plant respiration emerges as a vital indicator of a truly productive soil crop system.

 In this way Brinton thinks CO2 respiration may be of central significance in plant productivity, “separate and above” other soil biology or soil health parameters that are being proposed. Brinton developed Solvita as a means to enable more cost-effective measuring of soil CO2. “Now, if we can grow yields by healthier soil-plant CO2 exchanges, that’s a huge benefit all by itself,- but we won’t do it overnight”.

On July 1, 2014  Brinton presented this topic in a SSSA hosted Webinar on Soil CO2 Respiration.  Lots of talk about the greenhouse conditions across the Midwest this summer, but some soils have more oxygen than others.  I am not talking about tile lowering the water table, I am talking about soil containing 50% atmospheric air.  That does not happen near enough.

Take a look at gypsum to increase your air and water movement.  I've written a lot about it and I can see it's advantages.  Here, it is the cheapest two nutrients a farmer can buy, calcium and sulfur.

Six dollars a ton picked up at the plant, what a deal!

The straw is so heavy in today's picture, we are going to have to discuss how to break this straw down.

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 14, 2014

Boron Toxicity In Wheat

"Australian scientists have identified the genes in wheat that control tolerance to a significant yield-limiting soil condition found around the globe – boron toxicity.

Published in the journal Nature today, the identification of boron tolerance genes in wheat DNA is expected to help plant breeders more rapidly advance new varieties for increased wheat yields to help feed the growing world population.

The researchers, from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus within the University's School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, say that in soils where boron toxicity is reducing yields, genetic improvement of crops is the only effective strategy to address the problem.

"About 35% of the world's seven billion people depend on wheat for survival," says project leader Tim Sutton, Ph.D. "However productivity is limited by many factors such as drought, salinity and subsoil constraints including boron toxicity.

"In southern Australia more than 30% of soils in grain-growing regions have too high levels of boron. It's also a global problem, particularly in drier grain-growing environments. Boron tolerant lines of wheat, however, can maintain good root growth in boron toxic soils whereas intolerant lines will have stunted roots.

"Our identification of the genes and their variants responsible for this adaptation to boron toxicity means that we now have molecular markers that can be used in breeding programs to select lines for boron tolerance with 100% accuracy."

Sutton says wheat has been difficult to work with in genomics. The wheat genome is very large, with about six times the number of genes as humans. This complexity has meant that genes controlling yield and adaptation to environmental stresses have remained extremely challenging to identify.

"Advances in molecular biology and genetics technologies of the past few years, coupled with the extensive collections of wheat genetic material available around the world, have paved the way for a new era in the analysis of complex genomes such as wheat," he said.

In this study, the researchers tracked these specific boron tolerance genes from wild wheats grown by the world's earliest farmers in the Mediterranean region, through wheat lines brought into Australia more than a century ago, to current day Australian commercial varieties."

I learned about boron and other micronutrients as a county extension agent.  I knew Boron was an important micronutrient as a child but I never learned its importance, even today.  Twenty Mule Team Laundry detergent works very well and someone calculated that the 40 ounce box has about a half pound actual boron in it.  Two boxes could treat an acre for an actual pound!

Maybe this is why Ohio Certified Lion wheat responded for me so well.  Perhaps it is more boron tolerant.  Our soils are very deficient in boron and the University of Kentucky was the first to recommend an actual pound per acre on alfalfa.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Israel is spending too much time in bomb shelters.  Do we really care?  Robert sent me this piece on Israel agricultural technology which we have covered in HyMark Highspots previously.

"Rising mercury, growing populations and loss of land mean a higher demand for food quantity and quality in the future. The Israel Business Conference in December enlisted experts from the World Bank and The Economist along with world-renowned researchers and investors to find ways to feed the future. ISRAEL21c was there.

The week before, the second annual Agrivest event in Israel showcased the up-and-coming Israeli agriculture technologies for multinational food and seed companies to follow. ISRAEL21c was there, too.

To help bring the world up to speed on agri-tech advances from Israel, we’ve spoken with the who’s who in the field and curated a list of the top 12 companies from Israel.

The companies chosen represent a wide range of Israeli expertise from seed technology, the dairy industry, biological pest control and aquaculture. Most of them are proven in the market, are innovators in their field, and are changing the way we produce food to achieve more with less.
We consulted with heads of the Israel Export and Trade Institute, the Volcani Center, Trendlines Agtech and GreenSoil Ventures. GreenSoil is the only venture capital firm in Israel focused solely on Israeli agricultural technologies.

You’ve probably heard about Israeli drip irrigation and cherry tomatoes. Here are technologies you might not have heard about –– ones to make old farms futuristic."  Click on this link to see these technologies!

It's hard to talk technology when the world is in turmoil but that is the way you and I live today.  It seems that man is always one step from a disaster.

I pray for Israel and I pray for this world.  All I can do is "the next right thing" every hour of every day.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What Is Humus?

A fellow on Crop Talk asked what is humus?  My friend Jeff Littrell gave this very good answer:

"HUMUS is the brown jelly like material that acts as a glue to hold our soils together

Organic matter is added from crop residues, animal manure and green manures, which then decompose in the soil.

 An important part of soil organic matter in the HUMUS.

Earthworms and soil microbes live on organic matter and turn it into humus, which then helps feed the plant.

 Organic matter improves soil structure (tilth), reduces erosion, increases aeration and improves water intake and retention.

 A large percentage of our nitrogen can come from humus, earthworms and microbes.
Our main goal is to provide the proper environment for soil life and to discontinue using toxic fertilizers that destroy soil life."

What is a toxic fertilizer?  Short answer is any fertilizer that kills soil life to give off nutrients to the soil and thus, the plants it feeds.

Anhydrous ammonia grows great corn but it kills everything in about a 6 inch or so circle where it is knifed in the soil.  Really healthy soil can tolerate this once a year or once a crop rotation but I would classify it as a toxic fertilizer.  Much safety has to be exercised just to apply it.

Potash would be less toxic than anhydrous but it's still toxic.  Does that mean I shouldn't use it?  No.  It is still the most used source of potassium for crops.  If you want a less toxic source, you would need to apply potassium sulfate which is more expensive and difficult to source from most fertilizer dealers.

How can I learn more about such things?  Here is a note from my friend Joe Glassmeyer:

"I attended another excellent program and field tour at The OSU South Center in Piketon Ohio.
Dr. Rafiq Islam hosted a Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Field Night.  The first objective was to explain currently developing technology to absorb excess phosphorus and remove it from water run off from agricultural fields. It could than possibly be reused as fertilizer in subsequent years.  His research is sponsored by Battelle and The Ohio Soybean Council.

 The process is to chemically treat soybean hulls to enable them to capture phosphorus.  Then they are processed into pellets and placed into long socks. These are installed to the sources of phosphorus runoff to absorb that material.

 Phosphorus runoff has been a horrendous problem for certain bodies of water in Ohio.  After the soybean hulls deteriorate they could be land applied the next year as a fertilizer source.

 Dave Brandt was next on the program. His talk was on cover crops and how to plant, nurture and terminate them for the benefit of the cash crop to follow. He had numerous pictures of various cover crops in different stages of growth. He truly is the guru of cover crops and combines a keen sense of humor in his presentation to keep the audience tuned in. If you have a chance to take in one of his presentations do so by all means.

 After the presentations it was onto wagons for the field tour.

 Rafiq showed and explained the structures to collect and analyze water from the test plot areas. There were also test plots of cover crops in various mixtures. Dave explained the benefits and drawbacks of these mixtures and how to properly manage each."

Ed Winkle

Friday, July 11, 2014


"Anyone can farm, but not everyone is a Farmer. There are many things that you quickly learn and traits that are necessary to have while Farming. Below is our list of the 10 things Farmers know better than anyone else. (in no specific order)
1. Patience: Farmers are some of the most patient people you’ll ever meet- they have to be. They must have patience with their crop, their livestock, their equipment and most of all, the weather. Who else could wait for months for their crop with the hope that it will turn into something.
2. Optimism: The Farmer has to be an optimist or else he wouldn’t be a Farmer. Maintaining an optimistic outlook through it all is the only way to get through the days of droughts, broken equipment and sick livestock. Farmers know better than anyone else, maintaining the perspective that next year will always be better, is crucial.
3. Mother Nature: She’s a force to be reckoned with but Farmers could tell you more about the weather than the weatherman. They watch her daily and know what they need from her to get their crops growing, harvested and sold, not to mention, to produce feed for their livestock and to keep them happy.
4. Risk Taking: Who is to say that the seed you invested your money or the livestock you just bought will return the investment, but yet Farmers must take those risks and if it doesn’t work out, they will try again next year.
5. Wisdom and Knowledge: Books do not begin to contain what is necessary to become a successful farmer. The wisest of all is the Farmer, for they have been through more in a year than many go through in their lives. Combine that with the lessons they learn (good and bad), and there’s not much a Farmer couldn’t give you advice on.
6. The land: Who else knows your land better than you? For Farmers that rings especially true – their land is their everything. They could tell you more about the history of that land, what will grow on it and what won’t and most of all, the memories from that land. No one understands the land as well as farmers, because it not only supports them but nurtures their souls.
7. Perspective: To some its just dirt, but to Farmers, its their future. Farmers know they must maintain the right perspective on farming and life if they want to succeed.
8. Frugality: Today many farmers produce more to earn less so who better to know how to stretch a dollar than a Farmer.
9. Environment: Farmers do more today to preserve the environment than ever before. From technological advances to seed advancements, they continue to work and make improvements to their land, after all, that’s all they have.
10. Hard work: Farmers seldom have good years, just some years are worse than the others. But they keep on working hard knowing that with out them, the world would starve."

This describes my dad to a T.  Me, I have always lacked with the big number one, patience.  Dad was long suffering and more patient than I could hope to be.

I really appreciate these 10 traits and meet most of these "requirements."  I am lacking in some but mostly in number 1.  I must work on this every day.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Are You Charasmatic?

I really like this piece.  My sister thinks I am charismatic.  She is one of the most important people in the world to me so it's humbling to hear this from her.  I do like these traits though and fail at them constantly, but they really go with my Christian belief system.

Some people instantly make us feel important. Some people instantly make us feel special. Some people light up a room just by walking in.
We can't always define it, but some people have it: They're naturally charismatic.
Unfortunately, natural charisma quickly loses its impact. Familiarity breeds, well, familiarity.
But some people are remarkably charismatic: They build and maintain great relationships, consistently influence (in a good way) the people around them, consistently make people feel better about themselves--they're the kind of people everyone wants to be around...and wants to be.
Fortunately we can, because being remarkably charismatic isn't about our level of success or our presentation skills or how we dress or the image we project--it's about what we do.
Here are the 10 habits of remarkably charismatic people:
1. They listen way more than they talk.
Ask questions. Maintain eye contact. Smile. Frown. Nod. Respond--not so much verbally, but nonverbally.
That's all it takes to show the other person they're important.
Then when you do speak, don't offer advice unless you're asked. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice, because when you offer advice in most cases you make the conversation about you, not them.
Don't believe me? Who is "Here's what I would do..." about: you or the other person?
Only speak when you have something important to say--and always define important as what matters to the other person, not to you.
2. They don't practice selective hearing.
Some people--I guarantee you know people like this--are incapable of hearing anything said by the people they feel are somehow beneath them.
Sure, you speak to them, but that particular falling tree doesn't make a sound in the forest, because there's no one actually listening.
Remarkably charismatic people listen closely to everyone, and they make all of us, regardless of our position or social status or "level," feel like we have something in common with them.
Because we do: We're all people.
Ed Winkle

Cutting Wheat

I have helped cut a lot of wheat in my years but many of you could teach me so much more.  I saw this video on and thought of wheat harvest.

This video was shot recently in Kentucky and shows 11 combines harvesting wheat on one farm.  We produce soft red winter wheat in this region that is destined for cookies and crackers.  I have had two combines harvesting on one farm but never 11 combines.

Wheat was the staple food for centuries, if not for all civilization.  It has fallen under attack since.  Most of us still consume wheat every day, if not soft red winter wheat.

The best thing I can do as a farmer and a grower of wheat is pick the best variety I can and plant it and feed it at the proper time.  That in itself is a learning and growing experience.

I walked the seed field of John Steritz Seed last summer before harvest and thought that is a wheat I should grow myself.  It is called Ohio Certified Lion soft red winter wheat.  John Armstrong, of Ohio Seed Improvement said, "roar like a lion."  That means yield.

Ohio Seed Improvement scouted over 14,000 acres of soft red winter wheat varieties this summer, mostly Ohio Certified varieties.  We had a good wheat breeding program but like many industries, key people have retired.  It is good to see the breeding program bring out a good variety like Lion, I think it will work in any soft red wheat growing area.

I accidentally put Tuesday's blog up Monday.  With the fair and scouting going on, it is my busy season.  I get to do my judging here in the next few weeks so there is lots to do before we take off for our trip to Quebec.

It's a beautiful day in southern Ohio with nice daytime temperatures and another cooling off period at night.  That is good for my wheat in the bin and the crops growing in the fields.

We are blessed.

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 7, 2014

First Place At The County Fair

One of the first things LuAnn saw when she accompanied me to the Clinton County Fair was a sad affair.  Our daughter Becky had won the Showman of Showmen contest for livestock and she showed a really good steer.  She did not get a good price for that steer and auction day was a sad affair.  I accept the responsibility for that, I did not have enough good buyers lined up.

14 years later, the kids are all grown, married and working and half kids of their own.  Thank you Lord for that, thank you!  I kept supporting the local fairs and LuAnn found something she could excel in, photography.

It was sweet last night to go back to that county fair and see all of the first place ribbons LuAnn earned.  Her corn picture won the Agriculture Division!  She has invested a lot of time and money in her camera and how to use it.  She is way ahead of me and I love comparing her pictures to those of others at our local county fairs.

If she had a dollar for every hour and dollar she has invested in photography, she would have a nice little stash of cash!  It was worth it last night to see the joy on her face after her hard work and investment.  Her entries are a bright spot in the Clinton County Fair and I can say that honestly.

Today, two of the little grand daughters show their pigs.  We don't expect much this year after Madison's wins at the state and county fairs last year.  We do know the girls will have fun and learn a lot of good lessons for life in their hard work on their exhibits.

Do you support your county fair?

We passed a million page views on HyMark High Spots last week!  Thank You!

Ed Winkle

"Peter Built A Truck"

Peter built a truck for a man to drive, it's a pretty good  livin' but it ain't no life
For a farmer's daughter or a drunk man's wife,
Peter built a truck for a man to drive.

I remember that song years ago when I was doing radio shows on WKFI, Wilmington where "we kept farmers informed."  It's one of the songs that sticks in your head.

LuAnn and I decided to go to opening night at the Clinton County Fair and the first person I made eye contact with came over and shook my hand.  He is Todd Garrison, long time family friend from Blanchester, Ohio and other parts since.  He is now sales manager at Peterbilt of Cincinnati, the Larson Group.

He said to tell my friends they specialize in helping the farmer and the smaller operations with trucking needs.  Here I am, telling my friends!

I liked what this friend said about "Pete's:" 
It has been my experience that it breaks down to what you are going to pull with it, how much money you want to spend on the purchase and personal preference. 

Personal preference is like "do I buy a Chevy or a Ford"... Do I buy a Lincoln or a Cadillac... 

Some of the names you mentioned as well as some of the names others mentioned are in categories above. Peterbilt and Kenworth are the "Lincoln and Cadillac's" of the trucking industry. They are good looking, tough and will give you very good service over the life of the truck..... on the other hand... they aren't cheap to purchase. 

Freightliner and Western Star were, until a short while ago, owned my Mercedes Benz. Freightliner has come a long, long way in improvement of their trucks since 1983 when MB took over. They were #6 or #7 in sales at that point and they are the number one selling truck in North America right now. Western Star use to be built in Canada, but they are now assembled in the Portland Freightliner plant. They are very good trucks as well. Both of these brands, along with International (Navistar) fall into the "Chevy and Ford" category. Very well built, good service over the life of the vehicle and less expensive to purchase than a Pete or Kenworth. (in most cases.... ) Volvo builds a very good truck as well.... I don't have much experience with the new ones so I can't really voice an honest opinion.... sorry... 

Macks build the workhorse of the trucking industry. Granted, they build "road trucks" and you will see a lot of them on the highways, but where you see Macks the most is Dump Trucks, Heavy equipment hauling, etc. They build a good truck.


30 years and 2.5 million accident and violation free miles in a truck. I have driven every brand of truck on the road and if money were no issue, I would purchase them in them in the following order because of my personal experience with them.... Pete, Western Star, Freightliner, Kenworth and Mack. Please understand that my preference is based on my 6'8" height and how much legroom each truck has. For every kind of truck on the road, you will find someone who likes "their truck" over anything else out there. 

Purchase what you can afford, what you can live with for creature comforts and what will do the best job for you on the road. You can't lose! Good luck"
If you are looking for a big truck, Todd Garrison can help you!
Ed Winkle