Saturday, January 31, 2015

Crystal Radios

This time on my hands has led me searching for radios.  I remember my first crystal set when I was about Liam's age or a little older.

" Not long ago I rebuilt and put into operation a Heathkit CR1 crystal radio.  I hadn't built a crystal radio since I put together my first radio when I was 10 years old, nor had I used a crystal set since I was 13.  During the period of the mid to late 1950s, I owned at least three crystal radios of varying performance.  With the Heathkit, I now had a crystal radio that performed far better than any of the radios that I remember using as a kid and once again I was struck by the magic of building and operating such an utterly simple and basic radio receiver.  '

Suddenly it occurred to me that it might be fun to try my hand at designing and building my own crystal set from scratch.  Besides that, a former grammar school teacher I'm friends with suggested to me that school aged kids would have a lot of fun learning about radio theory if they could build a working crystal radio and he asked me to come up with such a radio..  Of course, this strongly reminded me of how, in 1955, my aunt gave me crystal radio kit to build and how that experience lead to my lifelong interest in radio and my career in electronics.  The memories flooded back and awoke in me that desire I think we all have and that is to pass along to others those things that have helped us.

 Well, I have given a lot of thought to crystal radios lately and I have concluded that the ultra-simple, very poorly performing crystal radios that most teachers have their classes construct are just not worth building.  Rather than try to force kids who are just not interested in how their technological world actually works -- and after all, most of us only want to use technology, not design or even understand it -- I think that building a crystal set should be limited to only those students who show a genuine interest in this sort of thing.  In my opinion, the only students who should build something like this are the kids I call a school's "the scientific elite" (but who others would call "the nerds").  I think that building a crystal radio should be done as an individual science project, but not as a class project.  However, and this is most important, any radio anybody builds should be worth building and should at least approach the performance of the Heathkit CR1.

    It soon became my goal to design a low cost, but good performing little radio that would not only be easy and practical to build, but would be something a young person would be proud of and want to keep and use.  Of course, this applies to adults too, even old geezers like me.  So, the following paragraphs will describe the little radio I have come up with.  Please be aware that because the little radio is very compact, it requires some very careful, precision soldering using a dangerously hot soldering iron.  Additionally, winding 7 feet of wire on each of two toroid forms is tedious and requires manual dexterity and skill.  Because of these difficulties, I am very much of the opinion that this little radio is not a project for very young (under 12) kids.  You must use your own judgment regarding whether or not this project is practical for you or your student(s) to build."

I really wish I had kept my ham radio license today.  I let it expire when I was raising kids and today they have a 2 year clause to get your license back if you let it expire.  Mine expired a long time ago and in all my records I haven't found any license in my old files.

Did you ever mess with radio?


Friday, January 30, 2015

Indiana Record High Soybean Yield

More Beans
On the soybean side, Indiana notched an average yield of 56 bushels per acre, besting the previous high mark of 51.5 bushels per acre in 2013.

Illinois soybean growers also reached the 56 bushels per acre level, 4.5 bushels better than the 2010 bumper crop.

Indiana had 5.49 million soybean acres, 300,000 more than in 2013, producing 307.44 million bushels. Hoosiers produced more than 267.28 million bushels in 2013.

The Prairie State tallied 547.68 million bushels of soybeans on 9.78 million acres, after producing 474 million on 300,000 less acres in 2013.

Iowa soybean production was estimated at 506 million bushels in 2014, the highest since 2006. Iowa soybean growers averaged 51.5 bushels per acre in 2014. The harvested acreage of 9.82 million was 570,000 above the previous year.

An estimated 2.37 billion bushels of corn was produced in Iowa, the third largest in history. Iowa has led the nation in corn production for 21 consecutive years and 36 of last 37 years.

Iowa's corn yield was estimated at 178 bushels per acre over 13.3 million acres, 250,000 acres above 2013.

Sure the weather was good for soybean production but I think there is more to it than that.

1.  Inoculation has raised yields several bushels per acre

2.  Record use of lime, gypsum, litter and potash

3.  We are learning to control resistant weeds

That's my thought on these yields.  Pick it apart.

I would like to hear your thoughts.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Graphex SA

I've talked quite a bit about ABM's inoculants.  Here is another Ohio farmer who found the same things I have.

Mycorrhizae Is Key

The only way a sustainable farming system works is if the mycorrhizal network is restored, Rasawehr says. If a living crop isn’t in place for most of the year, the network may be dead from starvation. “It took us farmers decades to mess this all up and it’s messed up,” he says. “The dirt is so dead we now have to band fertilizers so we can put it right in front of the row.

Why do we have to do that? Because there’s no mycorrhizal network to move the nutrients into the rhizosphere to bring it up into the plant. The soil’s completely dead.” The solution, as stated in the ECO acronym, is to provide the soil a living crop as much as possible. On Rasawehr’s farm, this means getting cover crops seeded within 24 hours of harvest. As soon as he’s done combining, the drill is in the field ready to go. Rasawehr seeds covers with a drill because he likes the seed-to-soil contact it achieves over broadcast applications.

To help ensure cover crops get established on time, he’s switched to shorter corn and soybean maturities. With corn he went from 111- and 114-day maturities down to 105 and 109. In his area, soybeans are typically 3.4 to 3.8, but he’s down to planting 2.6 to 2.8 maturities. Rasawehr tells other growers not to be afraid to try shorter maturities, pointing out that he hasn’t seen a negative yield effect yet.

In fact, for fields that have been in a continuous ecological system, his soybean yields have increased by 10 to 15 bushels per acre, and corn is up to 10 to 20 bushels per acre, depending on the field. This past season, he tested Graph-Ex SA, a biological stimulant for soybeans, during planting to provide an additional boost to the soil microbes.

He says the results were outstanding — between 11 and 20 bushels in yield increases. The manufacturer boasted a 5-bushel yield bump, so Rasawehr thinks the synergy in the soil is what helped him reach those higher bushels. “I think a lot of farmers need to really take a serious look at biologicals,” he says. “There is some synergy with some of these biologicals that we can add at planting.”

Do you have your inoculant ordered?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Talked To A Banker"

I have an acquaintance that is an Ag lender. Yesterday I ran into him at a function and we were chatting. I asked the question how do you lend in an environment where a loss is looking to be reality. He stated that their take on it is first and foremost limit losses, no unnecessary spending, and more collateral. He acknowledged that the majority will be farming for a loss unless something changes.

 I was old enough through the 80's to go to farm auctions with dad and grandpa. I pray that those days are not on our horizon again. From a young persons perspective a prolonged period of this and we will lose the majority of the young people that have been drawn into Ag. There are differing attitudes towards young producers out there. Some are willing to welcome them into the industry with open arms and some see them as over optimistic competition and would like to see them "taken out".

My talk with the banker reassured me that equity is what is necessary to carry through a down turn to the red. Unfortunately not many young producers are healed enough to bleed much red with so little equity. Be care full what you wish for as some of you may need those young producers at your retirement sale."

Yes I have two lined up if it comes to that.  I am sure there are many more who would be interested.  He makes some good points on Market Talk, it is an interesting thread.

Our banker sent me flowers.  They sent the farm loan officer to work on this year's loan to the house.  They said don't worry about a thing, you are one of our best customers and even if you weren't we would tell you to take care of yourself and get better.  Don't worry about your financials.

They are very conservative rural, farm loan bankers.  They are the best source of cash I've had in my life.  Their financial sheets show they are better prepared for problems than most any bank in Ohio.

I have had good bankers all of my life but these folks are the cream of the crop.  They may not be rated an A+ bank but they are in my 11 years of experience with them.

"The Merchants National Bank is headquartered in Hillsboro and is the 34th largest bank in the state of Ohio. It is also the 1,088th largest bank in the nation. It was established in 1879 and as of September of 2014, it had grown to 125 employees at 13 locations. The Merchants National Bank has a B+ health rating."

Do you like your bank?

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beans After Beans

There are going to be a lot of "beans after beans this year."  "If you want to ruin an agronomist’s day, ask him for the best management practices for planting soybeans back into soybeans. “They’re basically asking, what’s the best strategy for doing something we shouldn't be doing?” University of Wisconsin agronomist Shawn Conley told DTN, with undisguised frustration. “My number-one recommendation is don’t do it!”

He has a good point.  On the other hand, one of my best rotations is corn after corn followed by beans after beans and wheat planted after the beans in a five year rotation.  If you manage your farm, if you manage your rotation, fertility and weed control, I disagree with Shawn.

For better or worse, 2015 does promise to be the humble bean’s year to shine.  Last week, Informa Economics estimated that U.S. soybean acres will rise 5% to 88 million in 2015, as corn acres contract 2% to 88.6 million. “The specific numbers will be debated in the months ahead, but the general direction of less corn and more soybeans is generally accepted, as most measures of profitability currently favor soybeans,” many believe. The soybean’s place as the preferred commodity is far from permanent or stable, however.

 “Anyone considering planting soybeans in 2015 should be aware new-crop prices have plenty of bearish risk, especially if South America comes through with another record crop,” he pointed out. If growers plant the predicted 88 million acres of soybeans and the weather cooperates, the U.S. could produce a 4-billion-bushel crop,

The result would be another 240 million bushels in ending supplies that are already estimated at 410 million bushels in 2014-15. “Another year of good weather has the potential to bring November 2015 soybeans down to $7,”   Can you do better than $7 and can you make a profit at that price?

If you plan to plant beans after beans this year, we can help each other.  I have lots of blog posts on how I raise soybeans after 45 years experience.  Still, I know enough to be dangerous some days.  I do know that my eyes, my brain, a soil and tissue test helps me figure out how to plan the crop.  30 years of scouting for a fee doesn't hurt either.

What are you doing different in soybeans this year, especially if you are planting beans after beans. The picture shows what can happen if you don't plan.  This is more like 30 years continuous soybeans at least.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Is A Dollar A Head Enough Profit

Wayne in NW Arkansas made a good post and reminded me of my childhood where we always raised hogs until the blizzard of 78 when dad finally gave up on hogs.

"I went to the bottoms this evening to check on my wheat and for some reason got to thinking about things in the past and are the turmoil right now in cattle. Years ago when I was growing up my uncle always kept at least of thousand head of hogs on feed all the time and he thought he had to be full no matter what the markets were doing.

I don't remember the year but things were awefully thin on hogs at the time and I remember grandpa telling my uncle it just wasn't worth all the risk. There were lots of guys heading sitting empty and I remember a friend of my uncles was buying every feeder pig he could come across. He had hogs every where I mean his lots were full and he would put hogs out with anybody and everybody that would custom feed them for him. My uncle And him were talking one day and my uncle was saying just how bad things were and how little they were making and the guy told him if I make a $1 a head I will be happy.

My uncle said DO WHAT? He said yep for every hundred thousand head of hogs I run I just made another $100,000 and he said that's just fine with me. I haven't thought of that story in years but it just came to me tonight while I was riding around but I can't seem to remember his name. I started buying calves when I was around 11 years old and I always tried to make a $100 a head. I remember one year I was probably around 16 or so I had bought quite a few that year and only made $50 a head after everything and I was just pretty bummed about it.

I'll never forget talking to my uncle about it and he said you didn't lose and you made a little and your gonna be able to go again so you did pretty dang good as he said a profit is a profit no matter how small it may be. I guess my point is even though the margins might get tight there are thousands of guys across this country that would just love to be in the game and we are on the starting team. I do one thing for certain that there is nothing ever certain in feeding livestock.

My uncle eventually quit feeding hogs and just concentrated on cattle but he did buy in one last time. I don't remember the year but hogs got to nothing. My uncle bought some nice feeders pigs for IIRC $4 a head and he said there was no way he could lose. He said when he left the guys place he felt guilty for buying them so cheap but that's what the market was at. I remember he fed those hogs out and when he got done he lost $40 a head and still hadn't paid himself back for the corn he pulled out of the bin."

When you choose your pork or other meat at the supermarket, remember this story.  I would sure like the manure and I loved raising hogs but that has all changed in the last 20 years.

The pig project is still one of the best ways to teach a rural youth responsibility and the risk is less than the rewards.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Think Happy Thoughts

Becky and the kids prepared a neat chemo bag for me while I was in the hospital.  In it is a Mason jar full of happy thoughts I want to share with you.

Remember when I got stuck in the apple tree?  Liam(he could have fallen 30 ft real easily)

Rides on the Mule and squirting Sable with squirt guns

Our little secret of monkeys jumping on the bed...

Sneaking into your bed when you stay at our house

"When it rains it pours but you can cook your smores indoors" when our campfire got rained out
from Grandma Lu, also known as Farm Grandma

How much fun we had watching Alexander's Horrible, Terrible, Really Bad Day

We laughed so hard we didn't make it to the bathroom in time!

Hop in the car and go to Bob Evans down on the farm!  Little farmer breakfast!

Finn learning to pick corn and eating all the yummy vegetables!

Gee, Rocky, you crashed into a tree!  Our Rocky and BullWinkle cartoon imitations

Oh for the love of Winkle's, Finn's new saying

Winkle Winkle little star, how in the world did you crash your car?

These are the thing that keep Grandpa Winkle positive.  The bag of goodies has done him a lot of good since December 15!

If I was a rich man I would take all 12 grand children on a Disney cruise right now!  I said that in the Cafe this morning and a farmer answered, Ed if you have 12 grand children you are already a rich man!

Have a great day and keep thinking happy thoughts,

Ed Winkle

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What States Produce That People Eat

I found this neat map of what people really eat if you strip away the livestock feed and ethanol, state by state.

Driving through the farmlands of Iowa looking for fresh food to eat is a lot like sailing through the ocean looking for fresh water to drink. In the ocean, you're surrounded by water that you can't drink; in Iowa, you're surrounded by food you can't eat.

Even though Iowa generates the second-highest amount of revenue of any state off its crops -- $17 billion in 2012 -- the overwhelming majority of that comes from field corn, which is destined mostly for animal feed and ethanol, not dinner plates.

I came upon this startling fact while trying to answer a seemingly simple question: What crop generates the most money in each state? The Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistical Service produces reams of data on such matters, so I figured the question would be easy to answer.

But it turned out to be trickier than I thought, because when I pulled the data, I realized that in most states, the biggest crop was one that was used mostly for animal feed. For well over half the states, field corn, soybeans or hay was the crop that generated the most cash in 2012, the latest year for which data are available. Though a small share of some of these crops does eventually get eaten by humans, in the form of things like soy lecithin and high-fructose corn syrup, most of it is fed to animals raised for meat or dairy.

To get more meaningful results, I decided to strip away those crops that are used largely for animal feed, and focus on crops that people actually eat. I plotted the results on a map, which revealed some surprising trends:

You quickly learn that most states we are familiar with has wheat as their number one human consumed crop.  That is true where I live and soft red winter wheat is turned into bakery products.  We really don't consume that much corn and soy unless we eat meat and dairy products.

Take a look at the lower map and see how much we grow for feed and fuel!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Your No-Till Maybe Better Than Scientific Plots

In the December 2014 issue of No-Till Farmer, they looked at a worldwide analysis of over 5,000 side-by-side, tillage-system observations found in 610 peer-revived studies. In this evaluation of studies conducted around the world, researchers at the University of California-Davis determined that no-till did not yield as well as corn grown under more intensive tillage practices.

That got me to wondering why successful no-till growers seem to obtain better results than the yields reported from numerous small-scale research studies conducted by university folks and some seed and fertilizer suppliers. To provide some answers, the No-Till Farmer editors asked a few university educators, consultants and no-till growers for their thoughts.

 If you’re like me, you’ll be amazed at how candid the responses were from these educators and growers.

1. Researchers are all over the board when it comes to defining reduced-tillage practices, which make comparisons extremely difficult. Terms such as no-till, reduced-till, mulch-till or conservation tillage are used very loosely, and many times the scientists don’t bother to explain how much or what kind of soil disturbance occurred.

2. Some small-scale plots measure only 10- by 30-feet to remove statistical and spatial inconsistencies. Yet, tractor and planter tire traffic can cover up to 40% of the area, and reduced traffic is among the items that makes no-till shine. Even when compaction occurs, the scientists don’t want to mess with a research study’s protocol.

 3. Small-scale plots don’t allow for the use of real-world-sized equipment. As an example, research done in an Illinois farm situation found plots with 1,000-foot row lengths had a corn yield difference of only 4 bushels per acre compared with a 29-bushel difference within 50-foot rows.

As Keith told me on the phone yesterday, don't forget we are dealing with at least 7 different major algorithms in farming and science is trying to isolate one and may not even do that well.

Don't give up what your doing.  I got my APH yields recently and wow we have been blessed and doing a good job.

I am never content with that though I give thanks.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog On Chemo

If you find helpful stories about fighting cancer, send them to me like this one sent to me.

"Very soon after you find out you have cancer, you will be faced with chemotherapy. As bad as “chemo” is, the good news is that it seems to work better now than ever before at eliminating or reducing cancer in your body due to improvements in the amount of poison you can be given without your body shutting down.

The amount of “chemo” you should have is a guessing game of sorts because everyone’s body is different. The doctor figures out how much should kill you and then backs off of that strength a bit. While an exaggeration, there is most likely some truth to it. For me it is easier to comprehend what is happening to you in such simplistic terms.

In retrospect, the biggest problem I had with chemotherapy and radiation was not knowing what to expect. Because I did not know what to expect, I did things wrong and I was not as prepared as I could have been. While the process will never be easy for anyone, there are some things you can do that may make it easier or at least not make it worse.

You might wonder how it is possible for there to be things that you can do better than even the doctors who are trained to deal with “chemo”. Doctors and their oncology staff do care and try to help all they can. However, they are more reactive to your problems than proactive. This is because they have not had chemotherapy or radiation themselves. Also, each person is different and reacts differently. Only you know your own body. They see certain types of things happen to people, but they don’t know if those things will happen to you. They don’t always remember to tell you what can happen, or perhaps since they have not experienced them, they do not describe them in a way that causes you to be concerned and to react or plan properly.

My doctor and nurse were primarily concerned with the type of chemotherapy I would be receiving, delivering it and monitoring my health in the process. They were not as concerned with helping me AVOID certain types of problems or MANAGING them better. I am not suggesting that they did not care. They cared very much. But they were very busy handling lots of other patients. Their job was to get you set up, deliver the chemo, and send you on your way. They simply did not have time for much hand holding or discussions about what was to come. Much of my early helpful advice came from other patients who did understand and gave practical guidance on how to live through the process.

My cancer was a soft tissue sarcoma (liposarcoma) near my right arm pit. The tumor presented itself as a lump in my armpit. It was surgically removed with a wide margin.

Chemotherapy was set for six cycles lasting one week each (with about two weeks break in between cycles).Each cycle was one full week, 24 hours per day. I was dropped off and picked up at the oncologist’s office each day where I was given chemo and anti-nausea drugs by IV and after half a day sent home with a bag of chemo and a pump. I also was given thirty-some radiation treatments while I was on chemo. These began about a month into my chemo regime.

So, here is what I have learned. These are things that would have helped me personally with MY REGIME which might be different from yours, both in duration or types of chemicals used. Still, I truly believe that many of these things would help anyone and so I am listing them here for your review. Good luck."


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The One Percent

"Billionaires and politicians gathering in Switzerland this week will come under pressure to tackle rising inequality after a study found that – on current trends – by next year, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.

Ahead of this week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in the ski resort of Davos, the anti-poverty charity Oxfam said it would use its high-profile role at the gathering to demand urgent action to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

The charity’s research, published today, shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%.

Oxfam added that on current trends the richest 1% would own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International and one of the six co-chairs at this year’s WEF, said the increased concentration of wealth seen since the deep recession of 2008-09 was dangerous and needed to be reversed."

I wonder if much has changed over the years.  A handful of people controlled the world for most of mankind's history and they still do, at least financially.  We all know that can be gone in a heartbeat and you can't take it with you.

It's what you do with it that really matters and Oxfam is following that.  Some rich people have really made a difference in people's lives and I assume many do not.

I think all you and I can hope to do is to make a difference with what we have.  The people I know and deal with are that way.  They definitely make a difference with what they have and I keep trying!

If you suddenly had an extra million dollars today, what would you do with it?  Five years ago I would have said more farming and today I am not so sure.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Khan And Mulvaney Shake up NNTC

URBANA, Ill. – In the chemical age of agriculture that began in the 1960s, potassium chloride (KCl), the common salt often referred to as potash, is widely used as a major fertilizer in the Corn Belt without regard to the huge soil reserves that were once recognized for their fundamental importance to soil fertility. Three University of Illinois soil scientists have serious concerns with the current approach to potassium management that has been in place for the past five decades because their research has revealed that soil K testing is of no value for predicting soil K availability and that KCl fertilization seldom pays.

U of I researchers Saeed Khan, Richard Mulvaney, and Timothy Ellsworth are the authors of "The potassium paradox: Implications for soil fertility, crop production and human health," which was posted on October 10th by Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

A major finding came from a field study that involved four years of biweekly sampling for K testing with or without air-drying. Test values fluctuated drastically, did not differentiate soil K buildup from depletion, and increased even in the complete absence of K fertilization. Explaining this increase, Khan pointed out that for a 200-bushel corn crop, "about 46 pounds of potassium is removed in the grain, whereas the residues return 180 pounds of potassium to the soil—three times more than the next corn crop needs and all readily available."

Khan emphasized the overwhelming abundance of soil K, noting that soil test levels have increased over time where corn has been grown continuously since the Morrow Plots were established in 1876 at the University of Illinois. As he explained, "In 1955 the K test was 216 pounds per acre for the check plot where no potassium has ever been added. In 2005, it was 360." Mulvaney noted that a similar trend has been seen throughout the world in numerous studies with soils under grain production.

Recognizing the inherent K-supplying power of Corn Belt soils and the critical role of crop residues in recycling K, the researchers wondered why producers have been led to believe that intensive use of KCl is a prerequisite for maximizing grain yield and quality. To better understand the economic value of this fertilizer, they undertook an extensive survey of more than 2,100 yield response trials, 774 of which were under grain production in North America. The results confirmed their suspicions because KCl was 93 percent ineffective for increasing grain yield. Instead of yield gain, the researchers found more instances of significant yield reduction.

The irony, according to Mulvaney, is that before 1960 there was very little usage of KCl fertilizer. He explained, "A hundred years ago, U of I researcher Cyril Hopkins saw little need for Illinois farmers to fertilize their fields with potassium," Mulvaney said. "Hopkins promoted the Illinois System of Permanent Fertility, which relied on legume rotations, rock phosphate, and limestone. There was no potash in that system. He realized that Midwest soils are well supplied with K. And it's still true of the more productive soils around the globe. Potassium is one of the most abundant elements in the earth's crust and is more readily available than nitrogen, phosphorus, or sulfur. Farmers have been taught to think that fertilizers are the source of soil fertility—that the soil is basically an inert rooting medium that supports the plant."

I have to point out that my soil and tissue tests were low in many nutrients, including potassium and spreading these nutrients have increased our yield and profit.

I do know fellows who raise a good crop who have not spread potash for 10-20 years.

Who is correct?


Monday, January 19, 2015


First of all I wish my wife LuAnn a very happy birthday and many more!

I enjoyed a lot of nice visits this weekend.  My 25 year friend Leon Bird came to see me and we had a good talk about our past and what the future may hold.  Steve and David Groff stopped by on the way home from NNTC in Cincinnati.  We chatted awhile about agriculture and we prayed for my condition.  Their Tillage radish was named as the favorite no-till radish at the conference for the third year in a row.

Our close friends the Deans from Williams County also stopped by after the conference.  Allen said there 1000 farmers in attendance and the conference was cramped and packed.  That conference is the best one I ever attended so I am not surprised at its success.

They also brought by a get well poster from NNTC signed with good wishes from many of our friends.  It brought some tears we've been keeping back this week.  Then they presented me with my lifetime achievement award, a bronze man on one knee in his corn field.  It says thanks for your outstanding contributions to no-till.  Words can't explain my humility and appreciation.  I always enjoyed learning and sharing and its worked out real well.

Laurent visited from France.  We had a good talk about how my region was formed, no-till in France vs Germany and here and the conference.  He is a Martin dealer and can sell to Frenchmen but Germans aren't interested.  The irony of no-till perceptions.  What works for Laurent is exactly what works best for me in Ohio.

Mark and Matt helped out as everything broke this week.  We lost power to the garage so Jim and Mark Keith worked in the cold trying to at least get power to our freezers full of food.  The vacuum broke, the microwave blew, the water main got repaired but the cable got hit in the process.  The truck died, you name it, it happened.  I was afraid LuAnn was going to lose it!

I wonder if we had another big surge like the one that blew the main to the grain dump barn a few years ago because there is no power between the house panel and the garage.  They will come back and try to find out where the break is.

We finally got our real estate tax bill and they didn't triple but they did double.  Our wonderful CAUV in Ohio finally failed us after 40 years of tax savings.  No one ever dreamed this economic scenario would ever happen to cause such a jump in one year.

Medicare and AETNA are writing checks faster than we are.  LuAnn has been able to stay ahead of the huge pile of paperwork.

Thank you for the visits, your love and concern is overwhelming.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, January 18, 2015

99 Bushel Beans In Kansas

Owen Taylot's AgFax email caught my attention this morning.  It reports a farmer who hit 100 bushel soybeans in Kansas!

We have travelled Kansas a bit and when you think of Kansas you don't think of 100 bushel soybeans.  I think of wheat, sunflowers and irrigation because that's more what I've seen there.

It's a big state with lots of dryland and home to the Dustbowl.  I do know that Eastern Kansas towards Kansas City is not as dry as western Kansas but the state's annual rainfall is still probably half of what we get in Ohio or less than half.

"Bob Wietharn, Clay Center, topped the irrigated division with a no-till entry that made 99.81 bushels per acre. Meredith Jeschke, Highland, led the dryland division with a no-till entry of 84.30 bushels per acre. Harold Koster, Hoxie, won the value contest with $1.56 per bushel of increased value (15.3 percent over the cash price)."

The dryland yield is even more impressive to me than the 100 bushel irrigated yield but they are both really good.  What does it take to raise 100 bushel soybeans or even 80 bushel for that matter?  The farmer has to do everything about perfect but Mother Nature has to also, especially in Kansas!

When my little 2 acre bottom of Apex semi dwarf soybeans averaged 94 bushels in 2013, I knew I had done a lot of things right.  My variety, planting date, population, fertility and weed control was spot on.

I have enjoyed talking to you about high yield soybeans and 100 bushel soybeans here on HyMark Highspots.  It's been a passion of mine the past ten years and the principles involved can help us all make more profit raising soybeans.

I don't hear much talk about high yield plots this year as everyone seems to be scratching their head just to figure out how to at least break even this year.

Just maybe a high yield plot would keep us positive this year and we might even learn a few things to help us make money when things aren't so rosey.  One young friend has been working on his 400 bu corn plot and I see the positive juices flowing.  It's good for the soul.

Congrats to the high yield producers, that's a good diversion for me on a winter's day.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

How I Feel

Many people ask how I feel.  I think I felt a little better at the Machine Shed back in 2011!  I need to call my doctor this morning and tell Gretchen or one of the nurses how I feel.  I feel so bloated I have little appetite.  I feel like the meds are all fighting each other.  I don't feel terrible but the belching, bloating and full feeling is very uncomfortable.

This is all new to me and I know each individual takes it differently.  I am able to get around the house OK but I have to push myself to eat or even take a shower.  I am sure my lethargic feeling is not uncommon.

If I can manage these symptoms, I think I can do this much easier but right now I don't see anything easy about it.


Medications called antiemetics or anti-nausea drugs are used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. Not all chemotherapy drugs cause nausea. Many anti-nausea drugs are available, and your doctor or nurse will recommend what is expected to work best for you.
If possible, have your prescriptions filled before your treatment day. Please call your doctor or nurse if your medications do not give you adequate relief or if you experience side effects with the anti-nausea medication.

Practical Hints for Nausea

  • Before your chemotherapy appointment, eat a small, light meal. Most people do better if they have something in their stomach.
  • Eat what sounds good to you. Generally starches such as rice, bread, potatoes, hot cereals and puddings are well tolerated.
  • Try not to skip meals. An empty stomach will worsen all symptoms. If you don't feel like sitting down to a meal, try nibbling on something that appeals to you.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Herbal teas, water, sports drinks and diluted juices are recommended more than soda.
  • Avoid smells that are unappealing.
  • Freeze meals so that you don't have to cook. Ask your family and friends to help with meals, especially following chemotherapy when you are most likely to feel nauseous.
  • Schedule a free appointment with the dietitian by calling (415) 885-3693 for more practical tips on dealing with nausea.


Chemotherapy can make you feel tired. This fatigue may or may not worsen as you are treated with more cycles of chemotherapy.
Most people have to make some adjustment in work and family responsibilities; the degree of change is very individual. Try to balance activity and rest. As much as possible, try to maintain your everyday activities. It can be very beneficial to both your physical and emotional recovery. The fatigue will go away after you recover from chemotherapy.
The Cancer Resource Center also hosts monthly Fatigue Management workshops to address these concerns. For more information, call (415) 885-3693.

Practical Hints for Fatigue

  • Plan your activities, such as grocery shopping, for a time when you feel the best.
  • If you have children, rest when they are napping. When you feel most tired, consider hiring a babysitter for a few hours so that you can relax or take a nap.
  • Take naps early in the day so you do not disturb your sleep pattern at night.
  • Consider exercising every day or several times a week. Good forms of exercise include swimming, walking and yoga. Call the Cancer Resource Center for information on free exercise classes at (415) 885-3693.

Appetite and Taste Changes

During chemotherapy, you may experience taste and appetite changes and a heightened sensitivity to odors. Don't worry if you don't have an appetite the first few days or a week following chemotherapy; it is not unusual. As you feel better, your appetite will improve.
Reflux — when food backs up into your esophagus — burping, or a burning sensation may worsen nausea. Please report these symptoms to your physician or nurse so that they can be treated. You may find that you can tolerate only certain foods. We encourage you to eat what appeals to you during this time, and to drink enough fluids: eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses per day, more if you have a fever or diarrhea.
Recommendations for healthy nutrition include a diet low in fat (less than 20 percent fat) and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plant-based proteins. Some people want to begin dietary changes during active therapy; others prefer to wait until chemotherapy is completed. Some people prefer small, slow changes, while others benefit from a "major overhaul." We encourage you to become informed and make healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.
Many people gain weight while on chemotherapy for reasons that are not well understood. Again, if you have concerns about nutrition, please consult our staff dietitian at (415) 885-3693.

Practical Hints for Taste and Appetite Changes

  • Eat what appeals to you during this time.
  • Eat foods that are warm rather than hot.
  • Avoid places where food is being cooked, such as the kitchen at dinnertime.
  • Avoid smells that are unappealing.
  • To try drink eight to 10 glasses of fluid a day
My stomach feels warm enough I just want cold things right now.  Grapefruit really tastes good but I can't live on that alone.  I don't like the protein shakes but I try to keep sipping at them.

It's day 5 and I hope I feel a little better each day but this morning is not so great.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Crops Can Do Their Own Weed Control

"In conventional farming, the most frequently used herbicides for weed control have a negative impact on the environment. On the other hand, organic farmers enlist machines to battle unwanted growth. These machines guzzle fuel and produce CO2, while their tyres compact soil and damage its structure. New research results from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences report that weeds would have a tough time competing against crops such as corn, grains and beans if farmers were to alter their sowing patterns.

"Our results demonstrate that weed control in fields is aided by abandoning traditional seed sowing techniques. Farmers around the world generally sow their crops in rows. Our studies with wheat and corn show that tighter sowing in grid patterns supresses weed growth. This provides increased crop yields in fields prone to heavy amounts of weeds," states Professor Jacob Weiner, a University of Copenhagen plant ecologist.

Weeds battered, crop yields bumped
Research studies performed in Danish wheat fields, together with recent studies in Colombian cornfields, demonstrate that modified sowing patterns and the nearer spacing of crops results in a reduction of total weed biomass. The amount of weeds was heavily reduced - by up to 72% - while grain yields increased by more than 45% in heavily weed-infested fields. The trick is to increase crop-weed competition and utilize the crop's head start, so that it gains a large competitive advantage over the neighboring weeds.

Jacob Weiner explains: "Our results make it possible for agriculture to be conducted in a far more sustainable manner while maintaining consistently high grain production. This requires affordable new technologies to make it proactical out in farmers' fields. We can develop methods for out competing weeds even more if we learn more about how plants interact."

The research results from Colombia have just been published in Weed Research, one of the leading scientific journals in its area. They were achieved via a collaborative effort between the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Colombia and the University of Copenhagen.

I think I need to see an example of what they are talking about because I feel like I am a long ways off from the concept!  We are using thicker canopies and generally less herbicide but we are still very dependent on herbicide for weed control.


Thursday, January 15, 2015


A friend typed this out with one finger as to what he is doing to fight his cancer so I will try to decipher:

"Don't feed the cancer meat or dairy sugar..use stevia. For takes half as much..use sea vegetable. In a juicer. ?fruits. ?.soak in tub and water above legs. With one cup of dear salt. And cup of sea salt every couple of filtered water and lemon juice daily..what is your pH?   Problem below gotta raise.baking soda and water will do least one glass a day tablespoon..drink a boost drink..

If you start to lose wait and not eat let me know..I lost. 35 pounds before I turned it around..I did that with omega 3 and magnesium..take 2000 mg of b 17 daily..start at 50 mg a day and work up quickly..good vegetable are asparagus.cucumber.kale. ?  good immune booster is trans factor I take beta glucan pill for each 50 lbs of body weight..after I started gaining mt weight back the Dr. Gave me prednisone. And marinal. For appetite...take vita d and c. "

"Chris Woollams) A number of expert scientists believe that the Ketogenic diet, involving a high ´good fat´, low carbohydrate, lowish protein combination, may have the potential to manage even advanced cancer cases - preliminary research shows it can stop cancer progression, inhibit metastases and kill off cancer cells. 

Professor Thomas Seyfried of Boston is a biologist and after years of extensive research he believes cancer is a metabolic disease, not a genetic one. Dr Dominic D´Agostino Assistant Professor at South Florida University concurs and has been involved with treating patients with advanced cancer using a ketogenic diet. 

However, before we get carried away by the euphoria, there is cautionary evidence that this effect may depend on the cancer type (see ´Caveats´ below), and nothing has been firmly established as yet.

The Ketogenic Diet has received great interest since we first wrote about it in 2006.  These all come from the idea of starving cancer cells of sugar and keeping your body alkaline instead of acid.

I am going to run these concepts by my oncologist today and see what he has to say.  I've turned my life over to him.  He feels if he hadn't put me on this chemo I probably would not have lived past Valentine's Day and that is his quote.

I am running another 78 miles to get a new shot today 24 hours after the last dose of this round to try and keep my hemoglobin up as it when dangerously low the first round.  The other numbers on my blood print out are excellent or very good.  This should reduce my chance for infection which is a big problem, particularly day 8-14 which starts next Tuesday.

Everyone is very careful around me and I do appreciate the concern.  I expect to see some old faces show up here this weekend with the NNTC starting yesterday in downtown Cincinnati.  I wish I could make a visit but I am not up to it yet.

I had a really bad day yesterday but I got all my doses in and I feel better this morning.  There is a lot to learn for me as I fight this huge battle.  I don't have a good diet related picture today so I will include a picture more in the realm of prayer.  My prayer warriors continue to pray for me.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This chemo regimen is a whole new thing to me.  They and the pain killers are all very constipating, leaving a person on heavy laxative doses all the time.  It's trial and error and a walking a tight rope all day not trying to go too far to one side or the other.

The chemo nurses are great, very special people to do what they do.  My combination of drugs is powerful enough I say she has to wear a hazmat suit to "infuse" them.  The room is called an infusion lab.

They have lots of different recliners to choose one and they even have a section for taller people that are more straight backed.  I tried a EZ Boy low sitting recliner and there is no way I could sit in one of them for an hour, let alone three.

Monday went great, it's the best I've felt in a long time.  The heavy dose and irregularity reversed that yesterday and I had a stomach ache since lunch yesterday until this morning.  I tell you this is not for wimps and can easily beat you down!  I don't see how my stomach tolerates the amount of drugs I have to take in one day alone.

I have another dose today and then a shot for nausea tomorrow.  The next round is 21 days from this past Monday the 12th.  The blood counts drop from day 8 or next Tuesday until about day 14, another week after that.  That is when I have to really be careful with germs, wear a mask, wash all day and ask the same from all who visit me.

It's a challenge folks but I am gaining a whole new perspective on the sick and suffering in this world.  There are so many and the so do suffer.

Spring won't come too soon for any of us!

Prayers for us all,


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hothouse Tomatoes Coming to Fulton County Ohio

One of our Canadian friends just posted this in the Cafe.

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Nature Fresh Farms says Fulton County is the perfect place to grow their business with plans to put a 175 acre greenhouse facility in Delta.

The greenhouse will be built in phases and will be located on route 109 just across the street from North Star.

They will start by building a 15 acre greenhouse and then expand it over a seven year period until it is eventually 175 acres. When complete it will bring in around $12 million per year and grow produce for the U.S. and Canada.

Company leaders say they will eventually hire 300 people for the green house.
Company leaders say they did a very thorough search when looking for a place to build the greenhouse and the delta location met all their requirements.

“Fulton County has a lot of the infrastructure that we're looking for, it has the flat grow that we're looking for and we're also talking to North Star Steel to take advantage of some of their waste heat and CO 2,” said President and owner of Nature Fresh Farms Peter Quiring.

The company plans to break ground in spring and hope to have tomatoes ready to sell by this time next year."

This is good news for Ohio, especially Fulton County, one of our top agricultural counties of the 88 in our state.

I will be curious to see how this works out.  I am sure my friends in nearby Williams County will keep me posted.

Ed Winkle

Monday, January 12, 2015

Maize Came Via Two Paths

"The origin of maize (Zea maysmays) in the US Southwest remains contentious, with conflicting archaeological data supporting either coastal1,​2,​3,​4 or highland5,6 routes of diffusion of maize into the United States. Furthermore, the genetics of adaptation to the new environmental and cultural context of the Southwest is largely uncharacterized7. To address these issues, we compared nuclear DNA from 32 archaeological maize samples spanning 6,000 years of evolution to modern landraces. We found that the initial diffusion of maize into the Southwest about 4,000 years ago is likely to have occurred along a highland route, followed by gene flow from a lowland coastal maize beginning at least 2,000 years ago. Our population genetic analysis also enabled us to differentiate selection during domestication for adaptation to the climatic and cultural environment of the Southwest, identifying adaptation loci relevant to drought tolerance and sugar content.

Documenting ancient diffusion routes of domesticates and how they were modified when introduced into new regions has long been a challenge. For example, hybridization and gene flow have long confounded attempts to understand the origins of either indica rice8 in the Indian subcontinent or maize in southern Mexico9. The origin and adaptation of maize in the US Southwest is a similarly difficult case. Following its initial domestication from the wild grass teosinte in southern Mexico10,11, maize diffused throughout the Americas, spreading through much of the continental United States after its introduction to the Southwest around 4,100 calendar years before present (BP)7. There has been considerable debate about the arrival of maize into the Southwest, however, as early archaeological samples suggested a highland route5,6, whereas more recent samples1,2 and morphological similarity to extant Mexican maize support a lowland, Pacific coast route3,4. And while temporal variation in Southwest maize cob morphology has been described2, the genetic changes responsible for adaptation to the Southwest environment during the last 4,000 years are still uncharacterized.

Maize was faced with a number of environmental challenges upon arrival in the Southwest, from extreme aridity to new dietary preferences7. Our population-level samples corresponding to temporally distinct occupations of the same cave site (Tularosa cave: SW2K, n = 10; SW750, n = 12), combined with published genomic data of the maize progenitor Z. m. parviglumis (Supplementary Table 4), allow us to distinguish evidence for these more recent adaptations from selection that occurred during maize domestication. We first used the population branch statistic PBS18 to identify genes with the highest dissimilarity between teosinte and our ancient Southwest landraces (Fig. 2a). These genes were likely to be early targets of maize domestication that preceded arrival in the Southwest. Many of these genes also show a very negative Tajima's D, consistent with the effects of strong selection (Fig. 2a), and seven of the top ten genes (Supplementary Table 1) are located in previously identified selected regions19. The top gene, zagl1, corresponds to a MADS-box transcription factor associated with shattering, a key domestication feature strongly selected for by human harvesting20. Several other genes are also well known for their roles in domestication: ba1 has a major role in the architecture of maize21, zcn1 and gi are associated with the regulation of flowering20,22 and tga1 controls the change from encased to exposed kernels23.

The study of domestication and early crop evolution has largely been limited to the identification of key phenotypic, morphological and genetic changes between extant crops and their wild relatives. As demonstrated here, the application of new paleogenomic approaches to well-documented temporal sequences of archaeological assemblages opens a new chapter in the study of domestication: it is now possible to move beyond a simple distinction of ‘wild’ versus ‘domesticated’29,30 and track sequence changes in a wide range of genes over the course of thousands of years.

Just think, none of us would be here if our Native American's had not done what they did in those early times.  Hybridization of these early maize or corn plants brought the possibility of you and I to life.

I am just "amaized."


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ordinary Time

Because Ordinary Time refers to the period of the Catholic Church's liturgical year that fall outside of the major seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter), and because of the connotations of the term "ordinary" in English, many people think Ordinary Time refers to the parts of the Church year that are unimportant. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Ordinary Time is called "ordinary" because the weeks are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. Thus, Ordinary Time is in fact the ordered life of the Church—the period in which we live our lives neither in feasting (as in the Christmas and Easter seasons) or in more severe penance (as in Advent and Lent), but in watchfulness and expectation of the Second Coming of Christ.

Advent went by me too fast.  Catholics love Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter but we love Ordinary Time, too.  The liturgy, or public worship, of all Christian churches is governed by a yearly calendar that commemorates the main events in salvation history. In the Catholic Church, this cycle of public celebrations, prayers, and readings is divided into six seasons, each emphasizing a portion of the life of Jesus Christ.

These six seasons are described in the "General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar," published by the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship in 1969 (after the revision of the liturgical calendar at the time of the promulgation of the Mass of Paul VI). As the General Norms note, "By means of the yearly cycle the Church celebrates the whole mystery of Christ, from his incarnation until the day of Pentecost and the expectation of his coming again."

I am happy it is Ordinary Time again but I like every day of the Catholic Calendar.  Ash Wednesday comes early this year, February 18.  I have enjoyed receiving my ashes since 2010.

Today's readings are excellent but I enjoy them all.  We try to read them ahead of time so they mean more when they are read.

I wish you all a Blessed Sunday, the first Sunday of Ordinary Time, The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Ed Winkle

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Good Story On E-85 Blender Pumps

I ran across this good story on Market Talk and know you will enjoy it.

"Not sure if I should put this here or in crop talk but it's got to go somewhere. I was at the local corn growers meeting tonight and learned about how powerful a group can be if you put just a little effort into pushing for people to notice the farmer and his product.

First a little background on our group. It is a new county level group of farmers from Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Chisago, and Isanti counties in east central Minnesota. We had a few guys get in touch with the state level corn growers association a year or so ago to form this group, East Central Minnesota Corn Growers. I started going last July and have only attended a few meetings now. We are still in the process of getting our board of directors set up and actively prospecting more members. So in summary, we are a very small group in a not so big corn producing area.

Now for the reason I'm sharing this. At the first meeting I went to last July, one of the topics of discussion was an E-85 promotion this small group of guys had done at a local gas station. They made a deal with station to give an $.85/gal rebate to each driver that fueled up with E-85 for like a 3 or 4 hour period. The price just happened to be $2.85 so they changed the price to $2 and the promotion was underway. A few of the members manned the pumps, filled each vehicle that pulled up, explained what they were doing with the $.85/gal discount, and thanked them for using the product.

When it was all said and done, this group payed for $900 some odd dollars of E-85. Now fast forward to tonight's meeting. We got a message from the state corn growers that because of this effort they are putting in 6 blender pumps across Minnesota as a pilot program for Ethanol. If these 6 pumps work out, they will add 73 more across Minnesota and the Dakotas! It is just amazing to me that this all started from a $900 promotion at an E-85 pump in Princeton, MN from a small group of farmers promoting our product! The gas station says that since this promotion, their E-85 sales have also increased!

So, for those of you that don't think you can make a difference, you're dead wrong! This little group of small time farmers could be the reason for 80 more Ethanol pumps in the northern Midwest! So I encourage you to do something to promote our business or join your local corn growers group because you can make a difference! And if you see a new pump pop up in your area, please use it as there could be 73 more that come with it all because of YOU!"

Amen!  It's time for us corn growers to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

Ed Winkle

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thank God For Care Givers

Thank God for care givers!  I never would have dreamed how important my wife is to my own survival.  I would not be here today without LuAnn.

This past two months, I have seen the precious work done by care givers and witnessed what my own has done for me.  I can never repay her so I better be really good to her!

The amount of sick and suffering in the world today does not not show the extreme importance of or dedication by our care givers.  I need to find more help for me while LuAnn works so she can have a life besides taking care of me when she gets home.

This can make the the person receiving the care feel very guilty of needing all of this care.  I was always able to take care of myself until November when I became so ill I couldn't even take care of myself anymore.  God Bless our care givers.

I can see the Bible unfold and our religion practiced hourly with the work of our care givers.  There must be a special place in heaven for them.

It's a place where you are either a giver or a taker.  I guess I am more of a taker when it comes to caring for a sick person.

Thank God for our care givers.  I hope I can repay in some small way the care that has been given to me.  Doctors and nurses do it for a living but so many do it in marriage and/or out of the kindness of their hearts.

I can't repay her for yesterday.  My 3 pm appointment turned out to be after 5 pm because they had problems with another patient.  It was a long and terrible day but she saw me through it.  I was not fit to be around yesterday, beating myself up over my condition.  I let it get out of hand.

Just that aspect of dealing patients would make me not want to be a care giver.  I can get better but I am not cut out for it.

Thanks LuAnn for hanging in there with my yesterday and I hope you have a great day today.

You deserve it.  Neither one of us deserves what we are going through but you are making an intolerable situation tolerable.

I love you.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Soil Food Web

The soil is home to a host of creatures. Many, like earthworms and dung beetles, are clearly visible. Other species are much smaller – even microscopic. They run the gamut from bacteria and protozoa to mycorrhizal fungi.

“The biological life in the soil can perform its work most effectively when there’s a large population and when the species are in balance with each other,” says Jay Fuhrer, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bismarck, North Dakota.

Building soil
Building healthy soil is the work of the soil critters. Working in balanced unison, they cycle nutrients and build soil aggregates, thus, increasing water filtration. The result is healthy soil that withstands drought and heavy rains, and requires fewer purchased inputs.

If the balance in species is disturbed, beneficial services to soil health diminish.

“The soil fauna are like creatures in a jungle,” says Fuhrer. “For instance, when there are inadequate levels of protozoa (they’re like lions) but high levels of bacteria and fungi (they’re like wildebeests), you won’t have much nutrient cycling going on in the soil.”

A soil food web analysis is a test that appraises populations of soil biology and evaluates the extent to which species are present in balanced proportions. The test results can point the way to management changes that will build increasing populations of diverse soil life.

In recent years, Fuhrer has run biological soil analyses on several farms, using the testing services of Ward Laboratories in Kearney, Nebraska. Large and diverse populations of soil life are present on farms where crop rotations and cover crops are most diverse.

Soil life
After several years of testing for soil biology along with growing cover crops, McKenzie, North Dakota, farmer and rancher Jerry Doan has seen steady increases in soil life. Besides cover crops, his crop rotation includes corn, sunflowers, wheat, and alfalfa.

He grows cover crops annually on 15% of his farmland. These covers are season-long, multispecies crops, planted at least by mid-June and allowed to grow throughout the growing season. He grazes half the acres, leaving the balance of the cover crops to stand over winter. He no-till plants into the residue in spring.

The cover crops grow as tall as 6 feet and yield 5 to 6 tons per acre of forage. Soil food web analyses show high levels of soil biology after the season-long cover crops.

“When we grow cover crops that include as many as 12 species of plants, the soil biology doubles or even triples compared to the biology present after planting a less-diverse cover crop,” says Doan.

Nutrient availability
The spike in biological activity translates into greater soil fertility.

“After growing cover crops for two years on the same field, I planted it to sunflowers that yielded 2,200 pounds to the acre of flowers with 42.5% oil content,” says Doan. “That was on land that had trouble growing that kind of a crop before.”

Because a high level of biological activity in soil makes nutrients more available to growing plants, Doan was able to grow the bumper crop despite cutting back on N inputs by 25% from soil-test recommendations.

A number of commercial laboratories now do soil food web analyses."

I use the principles behind this article and think it's worth discussion.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015


My pictures are some of my most prized possessions.  It's been a joy to share a picture a day with you the past six years.  Pictures add a lot to a blog.

I was searching for some of my pictures on Google and came across this flickrfeed I had forgotten about.  My computer got hit with a virus recently and lost pictures and email, not all, but it made a dent.  It's hard to protect things when you don't know all the ins and outs.

I need to get a book published for every year of my blog, now starting our seventh year.  My blog has been a great blessing to me and all of your support and feedback has been tremendous.

I have no pictures of the last few months.  As I slowly became more ill, my regular habits eliminated one by one down to bare necessity.

I really wish I had pictures of my childhood.  A few farmers will post old pictures of their dad farming and I really wish I had some to share.

Farmers love pictures.  That has been one of the greatest things about NewAgTalk is the sharing of pictures.

Hopefully we will get to share a few more in the coming months.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ohio Seed Improvement

I have worked with Ohio Seed Improvement as a summer scout for the past 30 years.  I enjoy walking fields and have improved my crop knowledge with my scouting job.

OSIA had a busy year as interest in non GMO soybeans has increased in Ohio.  This year our scouts covered 150,000 acres of soybeans, wheat, corn, popcorn, oats. rye, spelt, miscanthus, and weed free straw for our clients.  This is the largest total since 2002 and is 23% larger than last year.

Soybeans was the bulk of this work at 125,000 acres with wheat in second at 14,000 acres.  Not as much wheat got planted this wet fall so those acres will be down in 2015 but soybeans should be steady.

When I walk a soybean field, I am looking for varietal purity number one.  It is counting flower colors in July or pod and hilum color in September basically.  We also comment on all pests with weeds always being the number one pest.

It's a fun job if you enjoy walking fields and I have since I was big enough to walk.  It's been a good education, too, seeing the various methods of producing crops for seed.  Seed is such an important part of the farming industry.

I've written several blogs about scouting the past six years.  You can read them here.  There is nothing better than scouting your own fields, though, and I've been blessed to scout hundreds of acres of our own crops since 2004.

If you are interested in non GMO soybeans from Ohio for your farm or your state, Ohio Seed Improvement is a good place to start.  If  you need seed tested, they also offer a high quality seed lab at a reasonable price, Central Ohio Seed Testing.

Ed Winkle

Monday, January 5, 2015

College Or Not?

"There are few debates in the startup world more polarizing than whether aspiring entrepreneurs should pursue higher education like a college degree or MBA.

Peter Thiel, the first investor in Facebook, offers $100,000 each to 20 students every year to drop out of college, or skip it all together. On the other hand Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator, believes trying to start a company before graduating college is generally an awful idea with lifelong ramifications.

And while Elon Musk has famously expressed his disdain for MBAs, stating, "As much as possible, avoid hiring MBAs. MBA programs don't teach people how to create companies," plenty of business leaders in the startup world tout their MBAs as instrumental to their success.

Representing both ends of the higher-ed spectrum are two cofounders of TheTake app—CTO Jared Browarnik left Columbia University before completing his undergraduate studies to cofound TheTake, while CEO Tyler Cooper believes there is no way he would have founded TheTake or raised $2 million without his MBA."

I think the whole problem centers around the problems of helping a child find their passions and learning all they can before they are even ready for college.  The hardest thing I did as a parent, educator, or school board member was develop a way to help a child find their passion.

I was groomed for mine but I still kind of stumbled into it.  I declared my major in Agricultural Education at the last possible moment because there was an ag teacher shortage.  I wanted out and I wanted a good job to support my farming habit!

Over half my class at Ohio State never graduated.  The parents had bigger dreams than their child.  Yet I've seen good businessmen stuck in the wrong job because no one ever taught them how to be an entrepreneur.

College is over rated and highly under rated because the wrong people go and don't go.  Over half the people I've met in my life should have never been in the job they were currently in.  We don't do a good job helping a child discover what they should do for the rest of their life.

Can you think of a person who is wasting their college degree or needed that education and never got it?

Ed Winkle

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thank God I am home!

On December 15 I became very ill and my blood pressure dropped to 80/40, the lowest of my life as far as I know of.  I had LuAnn on call and had to call her and ask her to take me to a hospital.

I was admitted to Bethesda North on Montgomery Road in Cincinnati that afternoon.  My organs were starting to shut down and seven teams of doctors were brought on board to try and save me.

Thanks to your prayers, the doctors skilled hands got me under control but they found small cell cancer in my liver, a very rare and fast growing cancer.  I took two treatments which was 80% of a normal dose and things slowly started to get better to the point I was just released an hour ago.  I wanted to tell my trusted readers and ask for your continued prayer and support.

I can't begin to tell you what all happened in those 20 days but I can tell you it was a lot.  Thanks to prayer I have made it this far.  I start round 2 chemo next Monday.

I am so thankful to be alive to to read and hear all the well wishes from my friends all over the globe.

I will try my best not to let you down and thank God for saving me this far.

Blessings to all on this very Blessed Sunday, your friend in agronomic crime,

Ed Winkle