Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ten Things To Know Before Buying Farm Ground

On AgTalk we get a lot of questions just like the one I had when I graduated college.  How in the world will a poor guy like me ever own any farm ground?

I waited too long and passed up a lot of good opportunities.  I blamed it on my support system.  I never had anyone behind me who agreed with my goal and passion until I met LuAnn in 1999.

One poster gave what I thought was some really sound advice last week on Crop Talk.

1. Start looking now and get connected quietly
2. Pile the cash away
3. Study soil maps and drainage
4. Identify and verify property lines
5. Make sure you know about all easements and liabilities and contracts and leases connected to the land
6. Pay the first one off fast
7. Be offensive but set your limits and obey them and don't be afraid to low ball or walk away as appropriate
8. Keep off farm income rolling in as long as it makes sense
9. Have a plan or at least discuss thing with your father. You have a chance to grow the entire pie which helps the entire operation especially if he is on board
10. Start looking now, yes I said it twice

FWIW. Have bought several hundred acres in the last 18 months. Deals are out there, just gotta be patient and look and be ready. The deals never make it to the headline internet chat. The record high ones do. Picked up one piece last year for under 4K and pulled 200 bushel corn and 70 bushel beans off it this year. Just gotta look and be patient.

This is one of those really good threads that appear from time to time and worth your reading if you are interested in farm ground.  I bet my readers could write some really good stories if I could just get you to comment!

Many of you younger readers I've talked to could really benefit from this list.  Actually doing it and applying it to your own situation may require the support I felt I never had.

My door and email is open to you and I might even talk on the phone with you.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Bird Agronomics

You've heard me mention my friend Leon Bird here on HyMark High Spots many times.  I thought I would direct you to his latest venture, Bird Agronomics.  It's a pretty interesting website with lots of information on it.  I am interested in every product discussed on his website as it is all cutting edge technology.  Inoculation is important to the farmer and the gardener and so are cover crops.

Leon just had both knees replaced so we call to check up on each other.  He has been a good friend for over 20 years.  He is the most honest, humble man I've dealt with and I enjoy talking to him.  We say more in 5 minutes than other conversations converse in an hour.  We are on the same level, though he has a mind for numbers and statistics far beyond my capabilities.

He taught me all about hybrid seed corn and the seed corn industry in the early 90's.  It changed the way I look at seed.  I look for quality as much as I look at pedigree.  Quality is so important and often overlooked.  A problem with the big companies is they are so big and handle so much seed, the dollar can become more important than the seed.The larger the quantity, the larger the chance for error and do they ever make errors.

The small company cannot afford to do that.  They have to pay close attention to quality and follow through on every sale.  One bad comment on the Internet could ruin a year's sales.  Leon has never had to worry about that and one time someone asked about Leon on Crop Talk and about 20 guys gave him more praise than I ever heard one man given on Crop Talk.

I miss the old Bird Hybrid signs pictured above. Now I have signs in the barn that are no longer up to date.   He sold his seed corn business to Mark Denzler in Indiana and that became 1st Choice Seeds.  That farm where the sign was became my favorite corn crop of all time and I still show pictures of it on Ag Talk when we are talking about what good corn should look like.

The reason I mention Leon today is a friend from Nebraska asked me who to buy inoculant from and I recommended Leon.  He will make sure my friend gets fresh product that can be stored cool to keep every "bug" alive in the inoculant.

If you need any of the products listed on his website, you already know I highly recommend you deal with Leon.  He has helped some of my Crop Talk friends immensely and helped change the way they farm.  From corn to cabbage, Leon has helped many farmers.  I have no doubt his products will increase your return on investment in this very tight year.  I have 20 years of experience to prove that.

You might want to be the next one.


Ed Winkle

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Considerations On Inoculants

"The benefit from using rhizobium-containing inoculants is not as clear cut as are the benefits from using fungicide and insecticide seed treatments, according to the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB). We all know that these bacteria must be present in the soil in sufficient numbers for proper nodulation on soybean roots to occur. What we don’t know in such a hard-and-fast fashion is just when to expect an economic or agronomic response when inoculants are applied.
Points to consider in the decision of whether or not to use an inoculant are:
  • An appropriate inoculant is cheap, generally less than $3/acre. Thus, cost is not a factor in deciding whether or not to inoculate.
  • Do not apply inoculants to gain a yield increase. Rather, apply them to ensure that nitrogen fixation will be sufficient for the crop to realize the yield potential from the planted site.
  • Inoculants are generally not compatible with fungicide seed treatments, so inoculant application must be made at planting. This will slow the planting operation.
  • There is overwhelming evidence that applying inoculants to soils that have recently been cropped to soybeans provides no yield benefit.
  • The cheapness of inoculants warrants their application when soybeans have not been grown recently on a site and the risk of insufficient native soil inoculum is high. The importance of this fact is because there is no option after planting but to apply expensive nitrogen fertilizer to overcome the effects of poor nodulation.
  • With the change in cropping systems that is occurring in Mississippi, it is a good idea to inoculate when soybeans are planted on a site that has had continuous cotton or corn or if the site has not been cropped to soybeans in the last 4 to 5 years.
  • There is a potential advantage from choosing inoculant products that contain more than one strain of bacteria.
  • Results from a study that was planted behind the 2011 flood in Mississippi showed no advantage for applying inoculants even though the flood period was several weeks.
For more information, read MSPB’s “Soybean Seed Treatments and Inoculants.”

I started inoculating soybeans again in 1994 when the USDA strain came out.  I've not seen a year since I didn't think it paid.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Analyzing Plants With Google Glass

Scientists from UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute have developed a Google Glass app that, when paired with a handheld device, enables the wearer to quickly analyze the health of a plant without damaging it.

The app analyzes the concentration of chlorophyll — the substance in plants responsible for converting sunlight into energy. Reduced chlorophyll production in plants can indicate degradation of water, soil or air quality.

One current method for measuring chlorophyll concentration requires removing some of the plant’s leaves, dissolving them in a chemical solvent and then performing the chemical analysis. With the new system, leaves are examined and then left functional and intact.

The research, led by Aydogan Ozcan, associate director of the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute and Chancellor’s Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, was published online by the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Lab on a Chip.

The system developed by Ozcan’s lab uses an image captured by the Google Glass camera to measure the chlorophyll’s light absorption in the green part of the optical spectrum.

The main body of the handheld illuminator unit can be produced using 3-D printing and it runs on three AAA batteries; with a small circuit board added, it can be assembled for less than $30. Held behind the leaf, facing the Glass wearer, the illuminator emits light that enhances the leaf’s transmission image contrast, indoors or out, regardless of environmental lighting conditions.
The wearer can control the device using the Google Glass touch control pad or with the voice command, “Okay, Glass, image a leaf.” The Glass photographs the leaf and sends an enhanced image wirelessly to a remote server, which processes the data from the image and sends back a chlorophyll concentration reading, all in less than 10 seconds.

“One pleasant surprise we found was that we used five leaf species to calibrate our system, and that this same calibration worked to accurately detect chlorophyll concentration in 15 different leaf species without having to recalibrate the app,” Ozcan said. “This will allow a scientist to get readings walking from plant to plant in a field of crops, or look at many different plants in a drought-plagued area and accumulate plant health data very quickly.”

The Google Glass app and illuminator unit could replace relatively costly and bulky laboratory instruments. Ozcan said that the convenience, speed and cost-effectiveness of the new system could aid scientists studying the effects of droughts and climate change in remote areas.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chemo Week

Every 21 days I get another round of chemo.  Besides going to the same clinic 40 miles away, it is a hard week to manage.  Nausea is the main problem so it's the only week I take nausea pills.

Monday is the long day.  We see the oncologist first, they pull a blood sample and see if you are strong enough to take another dose.  We talk a bit and he tries to reassure you and answer any questions.  I have to take my notes and questions and still forget to ask things.

Then they give me, through "infusion" through my port, a bag of sterile water, a bag of nausea medicine like I take in the pill form and then the chemo.  My chemo is used for patients for lung cancer although I don't have it.

Tuesday and Wednesday is the same thing but a smaller dose.  By Tuesday or Wednesday I am so sick it is uncomfortable to ride that far and I wish it was in Wilmington, not Cincinnati.  Thursday is a trip down for Neulasta to try and keep my platelet counts up.  It takes longer to get there than it does to get vitals and get the shot.  They give it to you in your fatty part of your arm under your bicep.  My biceps are about gone, I hate to even look.

That week starts again Monday.  I am not looking forward to it so I must build myself up for the end goal of getting better.  I want to get better so I don't have to go through this anymore, at least not for now.

This is Tuesday morning so I made it through the big Monday.  That's the best I've felt when I got home after getting the infusion.  I have no idea why, though we have worked hard at learning how to manage the pills and the pain and the food and the oncoming constipation.  Walking more Sunday may have helped.

That ended after dinner last night and the pain started to set in.  LuAnn asked why my stomach always gets hit first which I thought we both understood but I guess we really don't.  I took a nausea pill and it didn't get much better.  By bedtime the pain or nausea was pretty strong.  I got a pain in my left leg like I had pulled something but I don't think I did.  My whole leg hurt from my hip to my toes.  I wrestled with it for an hour and finally had to get up and come downstairs.

I tried to loosen it up and put some topical treatments on.  I gave up and took an extra pain pill and laid down and prayed, watching EWTN.  The pain went away enough I fell asleep and I just woke up at 4 AM.  I didn't sleep until 6 like I wanted to but it is below zero again and gives me time to stoke the insert again.  I feel pretty good compared to the pain I had last night.

I am not looking forward to another trip down there for another dose of "pain" but you do what you have to do.  I am not thinking bad thoughts so if I can keep the pain down until I get home it will be another successful day.  I am taking so much laxative to avoid constipation that alone could have caused some of the stomach pain.  It is really challenging to manage for me and I never had so much trouble riding in the Rendezvous as I did yesterday.  I sure hope it's better today.

I got enough protein down yesterday I hope it gets me through today, tomorrow and Thursday just for the ride.  It's miserable trying to ride to Cincinnati when you are doubled over in pain.  It comes and goes so unpredictably you wonder what is causing what.

I wrote this for my close family and friends just to keep you updated.  Yesterday overall was a good day compared to others when I almost called the infusion off I hurt so bad.  It's for all of my readers too, as I hope you never have to go through this yourself or a close loved one.

We all have our cross to bear and this is a hard one for me but I am still here.

Ed Winkle

Monday, February 23, 2015

National FFA Week and Grain Bin Safety Week

February 22 marks the beginning of National FFA Week and National Grain Bin Safety Week.  FFA week has been around as long as I have but it's only the second year for National Grain Bin Safety Week.

"Each year, FFA chapters around the country celebrate National FFA Week. The week-long tradition began in 1947 when the National FFA Board of Directors designated the week of George Washington's birthday as National FFA Week in recognition of his legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. The first National FFA Week was held in 1948. Today, FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Feb. 22, Washington's birthday.

National FFA Week did not start out as a week-long event. At first it was National FFA Day. The 1933 National FFA Convention Proceedings records the beginning of FFA Day in this way: "Stewart of Montana requested the floor at this time to present a matter of general interest. He suggested the idea of having a special Future Farmer Day some time during 1934, preferably on one of the regular national FFA broadcasting days.

 It was pointed out that the various state associations could perhaps plan special state broadcasts also on that day and that chapters might plan their father and son banquets on the date specified. The idea seemed to meet with general delegate approval and after some discussion it was moved by Stewart that the Board of Trustees arrange for such a day; motion passed."  The week long tradition started in 1948.

Every chapter does something different for FFA week from breakfasts to any kind of activity you can think of.  We tried many different activities over my tenure as agricultural educator but everyone enjoys good food and good leadership.  FFA is famous for both.

Grain bin safety gained national attention with too many tragic deaths hitting the newswire every year.  Many farmers are moving grain this time of the year so this week is as good as any.  31 farmers and helpers lost their lives in grain bin accidents so safety is needed and must come first.

Ohio Country Journal had a real good quote on safety from Richard Flax in Clark County and his near death experience last month.  I have never read a story quite like his and he does a good job explaining what went wrong.

Be careful near the bins this week and every week and take time out to help your local FFA chapter celebrate National FFA Week.

They are both very worthwhile activities.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, February 22, 2015

First Sunday Of Lent

It's another Sunday but not just any Sunday, it's the first Sunday of Lent 2015.  We had a great visit with Father Mike Halloran from Wilmington Friday and we got our ashes Wednesday thanks to Rich Burwinkel.

We read the Little Black Book everyday.  It is distributed at most Catholic Churche's across the US.  This week we learned how the famous "Po Boy" sandwiches started in the Great Depression down in New Orleans.  We learned about Luke's Gospel of Compassion.  It is the longest of the Gospels, about 23,000 words.  He added the Acts of the Apostles and those two make up over one fourth of the entire New Testament.

Friday's readings were on Covenants.  Moses and his people made a covenant in blood with God.  It's been honored for centuries.  You did not break a covenant and now you can't even trust many people with their own word.  The US has the most attorneys of any country in the world.

“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come,
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth,
and the bow appears in the clouds,
I will recall the covenant I have made
between me and you and all living beings,
so that the waters shall never again become a flood
to destroy all mortal beings.”

"I am familiar with covenants, that's what marriage vows are.  I can catch the the implications of the eucharistic covenant if I picture God speaking vows to me.

"I God, take you LuAnn to be my own, to and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse(including sin), for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health...
and when you die, my Son will walk with you though death and bring you safely home to peace and joy and life... forever.

Remember, a covenant involves both parties.  We have to speak our part.

I Ed, take you God to be my own..."

Pretty powerful stuff, that's what we've been through this week.

We wish you a blessed week and hope this weather turns quickly for all of us.

The 10 day still looks like winter and I guess March could too.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Paraplow or Paratill Corn Plot 1987

Almost 30 years ago I became the Agriculture agent in Warren County.  I quickly met the county's farmers and was included in a plot with SWCD on the Spellmire Farm in Lebanon, Ohio.  I was cleaning files and found the plot results and thought it would be interesting today.

This county and a few farmers like the Spellmire's were already "sold" on no-till and were working to adapt on their farms and improve it.  I fit right into that equation since we had started no-tilling in 1976.

When I met them, they had just bought the first "paratill" implement in the area, the first one I ever saw.  Tye Company built a deep soil ripper that left the surface pretty much untouched, just a gentle rise of soil above the soil where the leg had fractured the soil below the plow layer.  Plow layers were common in 1987 and still are today.  Many Ohio and other Midwest soils have a natural fragipan layer formed when the last glacier had passed through.

They wanted to compare the effects of the major types of preparing the soil for the seed furrow so they set up this experiment they ran many times on many different fields with different types of soil and management conditions.

This plot turned out like this:

paraplow no-till 162.7

no-till 152.5

moldboard plow and disk 155.6

disk twice 149.9

chisel plow, disk 153.4

The test was replicated 4 times across the field and the results was the average of those strips.

The first thing you notice is the yields compared to today.  Those were good yields 25 years ago.  We noticed the least erosion in the paraplow no-till and the no-till.  The field had a pretty good roll to it and there was washing in any of the tillage methods.

The idea never really caught on but a few farmers still paraplow.

I hope you enjoyed this "blast from the past" today.  This kind of information has helped us slowly adapt better practices over the past 25 plus years.

Ed Winkle

Friday, February 20, 2015

Landlords Should Ask

"More farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the land are taking action to improve the health of their soil. Many farmers are actually building the soil. How? By using soil health management systems that include cover crops, diverse rotations and no-till.

And when they’re building the soil they’re doing something else – they’re also building the land’s production potential over the long-term.

But how do non-operator landowners (people who rent their land to farmers) know if their tenants are doing everything they need to do to make and keep their soil healthy? My friend and peer Barry Fisher, an Indiana farmer and nationally recognized soil health specialist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, recommends that they ask their farming partner these five questions.

1. Do you build organic matter in the soil?
Organic matter (carbon) may be the most important indicator of a farm’s productivity. The amount of soil organic matter often determines the price farmers will pay to rent or buy land. Finding a farmer who is interested in building organic matter by using practices like no-till and cover crops is like finding a bank with a better rate on a Certificate of Deposit, Fisher says.

2. Do you test the soil at least once every 4 years?
Fisher says maintaining fertility and pH levels are important to your farm’s productivity. Regular soil testing can give an indication of trends in soil fertility, pH and organic matter levels in each field. These tests will determine the amount of fertilizer each field needs. If a field has a history of manure application and very high fertility, a farmer could save money by planting cover crops to keep those nutrients in place rather than applying more nutrients that may not be needed.

3. Do you use no-till practices?
Some landowners like the look of a clean-tilled field in the springtime. That “nice look” is short lived, though. “The reality is a field that has bare soil is subject to erosion and loss of organic matter, since it no longer has the protective cover from the crop residue on the surface,” Fisher says. “No-till farming utilizes the crop residue to blanket the soil surface to protect it from the forces of intense rainfall and summer heat. This protective blanket will conserve moisture for the crop and prevent loss of soil from wind erosion, water erosion and CO2 (carbon) that could be burned off by summer heat.”

4. Do you use cover crops?
“Like no-till, cover crops provide a green, protective blanket through the winter months or fallow times. The green-growing cover is collecting solar energy, putting down roots and providing habitat when the soil would otherwise be lifeless and barren,” says Fisher.  This habitat provides food and shelter for a broad population of wildlife above ground and beneficial organisms below ground.  As the new life emerges, cover crops hold onto the nutrients left from the previous crop and in turn releases them to the next crop.  The solar rays these plants collect are powering photosynthesis, taking in CO2 from the atmosphere to produce food for the plant and the organisms living in the root zone.  This same process also releases clean oxygen to the air and builds nutrient rich organic matter in the soil.

5. What can we do together to improve soil health on my land?
To improve soil health, landowners and tenants have to think in terms of the long-term. According to Fisher, the duration of the lease agreement is perhaps the most critical matter in encouraging the adoption of these soil health management systems. “Farmers can actually build the production capacity and resiliency of their landowner’s soil, but it may take several years to realize the full benefits of doing so,” Fisher says. He suggests that landowners consider multiple-year leases that provide tenure security for the tenant. Longer tenures give both landowners and tenants more opportunities to improve soil health and realize the resulting longer-term production and profitability gains through sustainable conservation practices.

“Improving soil health can provide long-term, stable dividends for you, your family and your farming partner,” Fisher says. “Improving soil health also can decrease the effects of flooding, make food production more resilient to weather extremes, and improve the health of water and wildlife, as well,” he adds.

Pass this wise advice on to the land owners you know who might appreciate it.


Ed Winkle

Thursday, February 19, 2015


This winter has been a record breaker for the East Coast and we are close enough that it's been real challenging here, too.  It doesn't help when you are struggling to get better health wise.

We have to get to the city tomorrow and neither one of us are looking forward to venturing out in this weather.  Traffic was a mess all over Cincinnati yesterday and we sure don't want to get involved in that.

It was minus 6 degrees this morning when I got up to keep the stoves going.  We have burned a porch full of wood and two tons of pellets along with the propane furnace just to keep the old house to 70 degrees.  That's basically since January 4, too, though we burned a bit in that cold snap in November.  We've done well but there is never an idle moment for me except to sleep.  I have been sleeping to 6 AM once more so that's worth more to my sanity than stoking the stoves in the middle of the night.

We've had enough Alberta Clipper's to last me a life time.  They just keep coming and coming, cold air direct from the North Pole.  We are breaking several temperature records this week with enough snow to cause problems.  When it snows at zero or ten degrees here, it is really cold and that is really unusual.

I always think of the livestock farmers and anyone who works outside when the weather gets like this.  These people go way beyond the call of duty to keep us fed and keep life going.  I was never cut out for that kind of work and sure couldn't do it today.

How do Canadians take it?  What we have here would be warm weather to them!  I am sure glad I wasn't born there but you probably wouldn't know the difference if you were.  I think about those places we visited along the Trans Canada Highway in August 2012 and know it's darned cold there now.

Some scientists think we are entering a hundred year cold spell but I won't be around to see it.  If I am sitting here this time next year, kick me in the rear end because I don't want to go through this again.  I can't walk outdoors like you can in Arizona and that's where we ought to be.  At least we could see Tom(LuAnn's brother) and that would be good for both of us.  He is hanging in there and doing well and his cancer story is 14 months long now.  I hope we both make it.

How are you doing?  This has been rough on everyone east of the Mississippi.  Seattle looked beautiful this morning on the news.  I could handle their weather right now, too.

Somethings got to change and it's up to us to change it.  If I am here next year I hope I am not sitting right here, that's for sure.

Ed Winkle

Mason County Illinois

I would like to visit this region again this summer!  "One takeaway from this weekly county spotlight feature is Illinois is not all about corn, soybeans, cows and sows. Mason County is a prime example.  This 583-square-mile county that about 14,660 folks call home is unique in both soil and agriculture production compared to most of its neighboring counties.

As with the northern two-thirds of Illinois, Mason’s story begins about 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. But rather than leaving behind rich, dark soil as it did in other parts of Illinois, the glacier deposited large amounts of sand in this delta region between what are now the Illinois and Sangamon rivers.

Sandy soils and crop production don’t go well together unless, of course, a well is involved, and modern irrigation has transformed this land between the rivers into a highly productive agricultural area, ideal for growing vegetables that are not as common as the Land of Lincoln’s corn and soybeans.

This transformation has been so successful that many years ago irrigation groups began referring to Mason as the “Imperial Valley of the Midwest,” cousin to California’s Imperial Valley where lettuce, sugar beets, alfalfa and carrots are the big crops.

Popcorn, watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans, peas, cabbage, sweet corn, pumpkins and potatoes join corn and soybeans in Mason’s fields atop the Mahomet Teays Aquifer that provides water for irrigating 60 percent of the county’s farmland.

The Imperial Valley of the Midwest was ranked first in popcorn acres (18,552) among the state’s and nation’s counties, and first in the state in vegetable (10,013 acres) and snap beans (3,907 acres), based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 survey
Those vegetables, melons, potatoes and all resulted in $12.645 million of income in 2012 for second among the state’s counties.

There were 138,133 acres of corn and 76,165 acres of soybeans with total sales of $164.1 million for a 33rd rank among the counties."

The quality of the soil sure impacts how a region develops, doesn't it?


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fantastic Exports

The US agriculture industry is enjoying something I've never seen in my lifetime.  Exports have boomed and are booming even with a very strong dollar.  We were told both can't happen at the same time but they have and they still are happening.

It amazes me California can do this with very little water.  The drought in California is very serious and still the state leads the way in ag exports.

Our non GMO soybean exports from Ohio keeps our little state near the top ten exporting states which is also very amazing to me.  That has been a very important market for us in this region and most of my soybeans have been exported to Asia over the past 11 years.

The longshoremen's strike in Oregon is slowing this trend down.  I hope it is settled quickly but it doesn't look that way.  Hanjin has already pulled out of Portland in a major news flash this week.

Trade makes the world go round as each region can grow something the rest of the world needs.  Shipping has become a major business over my lifetime and was never more important than it is today.  Truck driving was reported as the number one job in many states and that also made the news this week.  Whether that is true or not, most of our products are moved by truck.

We are enjoying fantastic exports in agriculture and I see no reason why it should not continue.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Go Agriculture!

This piece of good news came out this week.  Agriculture is finally getting just notice when it comes to careers.  Agricultural education has never been more important as populations grow and young people go where the jobs are.

1. Engineering
2015 projected average starting salary: $62,998
Average lifetime earnings of $3.4 million
You may be tired of hearing about how engineering is one of the "best college majors" or "most profitable college majors." But the reason you see engineering on so many of these lists is because the data lead right to it. On average, engineering majors earn $3.5 million over the course of their lifetime, which is more than any other college major. This year is expected to be no different, as NACE estimates the average salary of 2015 engineering grads at just under $63,000.
When it comes to specific disciplines within the engineering field, petroleum engineers are expected to have the highest starting salaries in 2015. NACE estimates that the average grad could pull in a cool $80,000.

2. Computer science
2015 projected average starting salary: $61,287
Average lifetime earnings of $3.1 million
Those who earn computer science degrees are also raking in the dough. And, this year's grads can expect large starting salaries. Over the course of a lifetime, computer grads who work in management occupations earn the most — a whopping $3.7 million. Those computer science majors with a specific discipline or specialty also tend to earn higher wages.

3. Math and sciences
2015 projected average starting salary: $56,171
Average lifetime earnings of $2.6 million for science grads, and $3.1 million for math grads
This year's math and sciences grads will earn average starting salaries that are higher than the typical household income. Among the math and sciences majors, physics majors are expected to earn the highest starting salaries this year, raking in average salaries of nearly $65,000.
Generally speaking, management positions often pay math and science-type majors the most, bringing in lifetime earnings of between $3 million and $3.4 million. Service industries tend to pay these grads the least, with lifetime earnings of as little as $1.5 million.

4. Business
2015 projected average starting salary: $51,508
Average lifetime earnings of $2.6 million
A dime a dozen or dozens of dimes? Business majors are still earning more cash than the typical grad, with this year's grads earning average starting salaries of over $51,000.
Among business grads, sales workers earn slightly more than than the average for this grad group, with lifetime earnings of $2.7 million. The highest-paid of the business majors work in management occupations, earning $3.3 million over the course of their lifetimes. Service workers and office support workers are generally the lowest earners among the business majors, with lifetime earnings of $1.6 million and $1.8 million, respectively.

5. Agriculture and natural resources
2015 projected average starting salary: $51,220
Average lifetime earnings: $2.6 million
These grads can earn much more than the average grad, raking in an average starting salary of over $51,000. Again, those who work their way up to management positions generally earn the highest earnings over a lifetime — around $800,000 more than the typical college grad.

To my fellow agricultural educators, keep up the good work!

Ed Winkle

Monday, February 16, 2015


I have written many times about the wonderful learning experience I had with 29 other agricultural friends back in 1992-93.  We were selected for the 60 day leadership program called Ohio State LEAD.  Two of my classmates came to visit Tuesday.

Brent Clinehens of Shelby County had called last week and we set up today's visit.  He is 15 years younger than me and I was one of the oldest people in the class.  They seemed very young back but we all gained greatly from our experience.

I heard him pull in and waited for him at the front door.  I heard him talking to a lady and I wondered who she could be?  Brent is a bachelor dairy farmer and I wondered if he brought a sister or a lady friend!  There was Pam Matthews Hiser of Fayette County he picked up along his way here.  We hadn't talked about that so it was a nice surprise!

We caught up on who we see from the class and of course everything has changed in 23 years.  I see a few regularly but some I haven't seen since our last get together years ago.  We didn't talk about agriculture much at all.  We talked about family and what has happened since we were in LEAD.  Like me, all of their lives have changed greatly.

I probably sounded like an advisor since I've done the things they are going through now.  Pam has 3 boys in college so we talked a lot about that since LuAnn and I had all six children in college at the same time.

I lamented the ending of the program and why and how it happened and how Extension dropped the ball in our state through the tough budget times and personnel changes that occurred everywhere.  Still, that program changed all our lives for the good and it was the best experience I've had in my lifetime and I have been blessed with many great experiences.

I gave them the history of this 1880 house and farm as it has been passed down to me.  People are always interested because it is quite a story and something we never dreamed would have happened to us.  We are one of the few owners of this farm since it was first established.

LEAD has led me to New Zealand, Australia and all over the globe.  I am thankful I've met great people all over the world.  I am grateful they come to see me.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Native American Hospitality

Our friend Fred Shaw or Neeake posted these items of Native American hospitality that go along with how many of us were raised.

If the lodge door is open one may enter directly but if the door is closed one should announce their presence and wait for the  invitation to enter.

Follow the customs of the lodge and not one’s own. Remember to “follow the rules of the house” not necessarily the territory.

Accept any food offered.

Be grateful for any and all offers from the host.

Bestow great respect to the Woman of the lodge as she is the keeper of the flame.

Compliment the host.

Give thanks to The Creator for hospitality.

Never worry host with guest troubles.

Present the host with a gift.

Repay calls of courtesy and do not delay in communication.

I think if we all practiced more of these common sense hospitalities, the world would be a whole lot better off!  This list is pretty common sense to me over a lifetime of being a guest and entertaining them.

I've enjoyed hosting guests the past two months, though it's been a lot of work for LuAnn.  Our guests practice this list to the fullest and make us thankful for them.

We have Sable and the sheriff for those who don't want to act that way and fortunately we have not needed either!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Saint Valentine's Day

The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. One opinion is that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.

The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. [Additional evidence that Valentine was a real person: archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine.] Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II].

Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].

Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."

St. Valentine was a Priest, martyred in 269 at Rome and was buried on the Flaminian Way.  It's amazing to me how Valentine's day has emerged over the centuries to what we see today.  It's not about the candy or the flowers or any gift we give.  It's about the gift of self.

I wish my valentine a happy, safe and healthy day.  I would not be here without you, valentine.  The best gift I can give you is a healthier me and you are helping me do that.

I love you, valentine.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Farming Is HARD Business

Agriculture still requires a second income. According to the USDA's 2012 Census of Agriculture, 70% of America's 3.2 million farmers earn just one-fourth of their annual household income from their agricultural efforts. More than 60% of all farmers work some days off the farm. Or, as one fourth-generation heritage-breed cattle rancher told me, “The reality is that we're still not making it.”

As for the romanticized image of the contented modern farmer? Day in, day out, the work of producing food is still one of the hardest, messiest, most all-consuming, inconvenient and financially risky occupations. Just ask the grass-fed-cattle rancher worrying about the sky-high cost of hay feed this winter, the farmer hoping for enough return on his wheat harvest to make it through next year, or the salad grower making ends meet by catering during the summer tourist season.

"I ran into a farmer I know in December. “I'm not going to make my operating loan in February,” he told me, meaning he might lose his farm to foreclosure. A grower of organic vegetables for 50 of the top restaurants in farm-food-obsessed Portland, Ore., he had lost 4,000 pounds of his carrot crop during a bitter fall cold snap. Selling beet tops to a vitamin maker had helped, but the season's poor potato yield meant another hit to his bottom line."

The first sentence caught my eye.  Lots of of farmers came up short this month.  Most won't lose the farm but all that work for red ink?  We know farming is a long term business and not get rich quick.  Most farmers would just love to make a small profit to reinvest after paying all the bills each year and making a few improvements.

It's not working that way in our economy right now.  LuAnn is turned off on farming and I don't blame her.  It's another hassle she doesn't need right now.  But it's my passion and I am unhappy without it.  I can I be happy with it when you can't even pay your operating loan off?

We can more than break even with $9 beans this year but there is no room for mistakes or bad weather.  Is it even worth it?

It's worth it to me.  It's all I have to connect me to something I enjoy doing and thinking about.

Some farmers won't be so lucky.  Farms change hands every year and my goal is not to have ours change hands this year.

It's more than just the money.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Odds Of Getting Cancer

Family Cancer Syndromes

Cancer is such a common disease that it is no surprise that many families have at least a few members who have had cancer. Sometimes, certain types of cancer seem to run in some families. Sometimes, this is because family members have certain risk factors in common, such as smoking, which can cause many types of cancer. It can also be due in part to other factors, like obesity, that tend to run in families and influence cancer risk.

But in some cases the cancer is caused by an abnormal gene that is being passed along from generation to generation. Although this is often referred to as inherited cancer, what is inherited is the abnormal gene that can lead to cancer, not the cancer itself. Only about 5% to 10% of all cancers result directly from gene defects (called mutations) inherited from a parent. This document focuses on those cancers.

DNA, genes, and chromosomes

Cancer is a disease of abnormal gene function. Genes are pieces of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). They contain the instructions on how to make the proteins the body needs to function, when to destroy damaged cells, and how to keep the cells in balance. Your genes control things such as hair color, eye color, and height. They can also affect your chance of getting certain diseases, such as cancer.

Every cell in your body has all of the genes you were born with. Although all cells have the same genes and chromosomes, different cells (or types of cells) may use different genes. For example, muscle cells use a different set of genes than skin cells use. The genes that the cell doesn't need are turned off and not used. The genes that the cell is using are activated or turned on.

An abnormal change in a gene is called a mutation. The 2 types of mutations are inherited and acquired (somatic).
  • An inherited gene mutation is present in the egg or sperm that formed the child. After the egg is fertilized by the sperm, it created one cell called a zygote that then divided to create a fetus (which became a baby). Since all the cells in the body came from this first cell, this kind of mutation are in every cell in the body (including eggs or sperm) and so can be passed on to the next generation.
  • An acquired (somatic) mutation is not present in the zygote, but is acquired some time later. It occurs in one cell, and then is passed on to any new cells that are the offspring of that cell. This kind of mutation is not present in the egg or sperm, and so cannot be passed on to the next generation. Somatic mutations are much more common than inherited mutations. Most cancers are caused by acquired mutations.
You have 2 copies of most genes – one from each parent. When someone has inherited an abnormal copy of a gene, their cells already start out with one mutation. If the other copy of the gene stops working (because of an acquired mutation, for example), the gene can stop functioning altogether. When the gene that stops working is a cancer susceptibility gene, cancer can develop. Some cancer susceptibility genes function as tumor suppressor genes. Tumor suppressor genes are normal genes that slow down cell division, repair DNA mistakes, or tell cells when to die (a process known as apoptosis or programmed cell death). When tumor suppressor genes don’t work properly, cells can grow out of control, which can lead to cancer. Many family cancer syndromes are caused by inherited defects of tumor suppressor genes.
Someone who isn’t born with a bad copy of a gene would have to acquire 2 different mutations for that gene not to work. Acquiring 2 mutations in the same gene takes longer than acquiring one, which is why cancers that are caused by inherited gene mutations tend to occur earlier in life than cancers of the same type that are not.
More information about gene changes that can lead to cancer can be found in our document Genes and Cancer.

Family cancer syndromes - when should I worry?

When many cases of cancer occur in a family, it is most often due to chance or because family members have been exposed to a common toxin, such as cigarette smoking. Less often, these cancers may be caused by an inherited gene mutation causing a family cancer syndrome. Certain things make it more likely cancers in a family are caused by a family cancer syndrome, such as
  • Many cases of an uncommon or rare type of cancer (like kidney cancer).
  • Cancers occurring at younger ages than usual (like colon cancer in a 20 year old)
  • More than one type of cancer in a single person (like a woman with both breast and ovarian cancer)
  • Cancers occurring in both of a pair of organs (both eyes, both kidneys, both breasts)
  • More than one childhood cancer in a set of siblings (like sarcoma in both a brother and a sister)
  • Cancer occurring in the sex not usually affected (like breast cancer in a man)
Before you decide that cancer runs in your family, first gather some information. For each case of cancer, look at:
  • Who is affected? How are we related?
  • What type of cancer is it? Is it rare?
  • How old was this relative when they were diagnosed?
  • Did this person get more than one type of cancer?
  • Did they smoke or have other known risk factors?
Cancer in a close relative, like a parent or sibling (brother or sister), is more cause for concern than cancer in a more distant relative. Even if the cancer was from a gene mutation, the chance of it passing on to you gets lower with more distant relatives.

It is also important to look at each side of the family separately. Having 2 relatives with cancer is more concerning if the people are related to each other (meaning that they are both on the same side of the family). For example, if both relatives are your mother's brothers it means more than if one was your father's brother and the other was your mother's brother.
The type of cancer matters, too. More than one case of the same rare cancer is more worrisome than cases of a more common cancer. For some very rare cancers, like cancer of the adrenal cortex, the risk of a certain family cancer syndrome is relatively high with even one case.

Having the same type of cancer in many relatives is more concerning than if it is several different kinds of cancer. Still, in some family cancer syndromes, a few types of cancer seem to go together. For example, breast cancer and ovarian cancer run together in families with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC). Colon and endometrial cancers tend to go together in a syndrome called hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome.

The age of the person when the cancer was diagnosed is also important. For example, colon cancer is rare in people under 30. Having 2 or more cases in close relatives under 30 could be a sign of an inherited cancer syndrome. On the other hand, prostate cancer is very common in elderly men, so if both your father and his brother were found to have prostate cancer when they were in their 80s, it is less likely to be due to an inherited gene change.

Certain kinds of benign (not cancer) tumors and medical conditions are sometimes also part of a family cancer syndrome. For example, people with the multiple endocrine neoplasia, type II syndrome (MEN II), have a high risk of a certain kind of thyroid cancer. They also often have hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid glands) and may develop adenomas (benign tumors) of the parathyroid glands and can also can get tumors in the adrenal glands called pheochromocytomas, which are usually benign.

When many relatives have the same type of cancer it is important to notice if the cancer could be related to smoking. For example, lung cancer is commonly caused by smoking, so many cases of lung cancer in a family of heavy smokers is more likely to be due to smoking than to an inherited gene change.

I recognize these and still my cancer snuck up on me!  No wonder there is such hate and dread of the C word, it is the nastiest disease I've ever had to deal with.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seraching For Drought Hearty Genes In Soybeans

Recent research has found ways to produce soybean seeds that have improved yields under drought conditions. A group of researchers published their research in the November-December issue of Agronomy Journal. The researchers were M. Jyostna Devi and Thomas Sinclair, North Carolina State University; Pengyin Chen, University of Arkansas; and Thomas Carter, Jr. USDA-ARS, Raleigh, NC.

Soybeans are the third largest crop in the United States, after corn and wheat, and drought is one of the greatest threats to crop profitability. A limitation in developing soybean varieties with higher yields under drought conditions is that the genetic base of elite U.S. soybean breeding programs is narrow. The new study focused on three specific characteristics that could make crops more drought tolerant and result in yield increases:
  1. The transpiration rate of the plants under dry-air conditions (i.e., how much water the leaves lose);
  2. How quickly the transpiration rate changed as soil conditions became more dry; and,
  3. How well the plants fixed nitrogen in drying soil.
Scientists first observed soybean lines with delayed wilting under drought conditions in the 1980s. This wilting delay indicated a resistance to drought. Yet, there was no clear understanding of what allowed these lines to be drought-tolerant. Thus, breeding drought-resistant soybean was difficult.
Most soybean types have been found to lose more water through their leaves under dry-air conditions.

Previous research by Sinclair suggests that some varieties limit water use early in the season under dry-air conditions. This saves water for later in the growing season to “complete crop growth and potentially increase crop yield.”  In this new study, the researchers identified new soybean varieties developed in breeding programs that express this water-savings characteristic.

Sinclair’s previous research showed that nitrogen fixation is the most important drought tolerant trait. Increased “drought tolerant nitrogen fixation” was predicted to result in yield increases in 85% or more of the years in most areas of the United States.

I am thinking this morning this year will be nothing like 13 and 14.  These ideas might actually get tested again this year.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Land Price Vs. Wages

"All the doom and gloom got me to thinking about what a guy's gonna need to do to get through it. So I got out my handy dandy excel program again. So its obvious that one of the best ways to weather the storm is to increase revenues for your family. That means getting a job, or sending the wife to get one. But will that make much of a difference? Lets look at how many acres that job would have paid for in years past.  A full time job right now pays for only 5 acres per year...while a full time job in the 80's paid for 18 acres a year.  But today's ratio is actually pretty close to the boom of the 70's.

The wages are from this source:

You local wages may differ, but its changes in the ratio we are looking at, so consistency is all that matters.

The prices were for my LOCAL area, and quite frankly anything before '84 I'm completely guessing.  I wasn't alive then, and my dad isn't alive now, but I'm probably pretty close.  And the years might not be specifically accurate to the rise and fall of prices. during the '70's and '80's but they should catch the general move of the era........quit nitpicking.....I'm taking about 15 minutes to do this and gotta get other work done.

What jumps out to me is how that ratio falls during periods of excess, and rises again during periods of strife.  I'll bet if I actually wanted to dig deep and analyze this ratio more accurately I'd find that for my area the average ratio might be around 12-15.  What does that portend?  If we extrapolate another 10 years out to 2024.  The average wage should be about 62,000.  And we took that 62,000 and divided it by the ratio of 12-15 we might be looking at an average land price about:  $4133-5166  in 2024

Anybody throwing up yet?

Some of the um....more experienced operators...... can shed some light on historical land prices and throw up their ratios to see if the trend matches.  Every local area might have different numbers, but the trends in the ratios will probably be similar.

I'll be back later with some popcorn......

Discuss away............."


Monday, February 9, 2015

Shut The Barn Door!

We just got the you-know-what scared out of us.  We were both in a deep sleep when her cell phone rang.  It never rings at night unless there is an emergency.  LuAnn looked at her phone and said it's the Sheriff's Office.  That can only mean one thing at 2 am and it's not good.

A young deputy was cruising our barnyard, which she had requested for safety when I was in the hospital and saw two barn doors open.  He looked around but didn't know what might be missing.  He asked if we would meet him at the barn which is VERY unusual.  We got our coats on finally and by that time he was standing on the porch.  We had left one open getting wood out of the 1870's barn and the other had blown open after loading out corn last week.

We had a nice exchange and updated each other on activity.  He said there were break ins nearby and we knew he was just doing his job.  Now I could have gotten real mad for being awoken on a night I could finally sleep but I admired the young officer and told him so.  The worst thing is LuAnn getting woken because she needs every ounce of sleep she can muster.

Sable got a compliment because he said he called back to have us come look because he knew we had a German Shepherd!  I told him we haven't seen any activity but was glad he checked with us.  We had smartly locked Sable in the utility room before opening the door so there wouldn't be a big bark out and possibly shots fired!

Here I sit in the middle of the night again but this time I am thinking I have to get 3 entrance doors replaced.  They all can blow open and probably did the other night in the howling winds.  The are few of things we haven't replaced since 2004.  We have replaced and repaired every other door on this farm.

How many people have this kind of police protection?  We know them and they know us.  They have kept this place safe during all of our travels in 11 years and we have been gone up to 60 days per year.

Hat's off to the Clinton County Sheriff's Office for watching out for us and the whole county.  We know they are under a lot of duress all the time and thankful to have good people to work with.

I turned EWTN TV on so maybe I can get back to sleep.

I hope you are enjoying a good sleep at 2 AM.  It's cooling off but still near 50 degrees on this February night which has been unusual, too.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Should I Treat My Soybean Seed?

We had a discussion on Crop Talk recently whether farmers should treat or purchased treated soybean seed this year.  Treatment products have become better but also very expensive.  My local seed house dropped the Rancona products because their customers just won't pay the added price.

"Many farmers may be questioning whether their soybeans need a fungicide seed treatment this planting season. But that depends on many factors – from weather and planting date to drainage and seed costs. If conditions or a field’s history do not dictate the use of a fungicide seed treatment, then it may not be the best option for you.

The soy checkoff funds seed-treatment research, providing U.S. soybean farmers with practical production knowledge and helping protect their yields against seedling diseases.

Applying seed treatments is a rapidly growing trend. In fact, the soybean industry estimates that 60 to 70 percent of the 2014 soybean seed planted had a seed treatment. That’s compared with 30 percent in 2008 and 8 percent in 1996, according to Gary Munkvold, Ph.D., plant pathology and microbiology professor at Iowa State University.

But despite the rise in seed treatment use, it might not be the best option for your operation. Here are six things to consider:

1. Farmers with poorly drained or no-tilled fields, continuous-soybean or soybean-corn rotations and a history of replanting are the most likely to see the added benefit of using a seed treatment, according to The Ohio State University.

2. When spring conditions are cool and wet and when planting occurs in late April to early May, seed-treatment fungicides are an effective tool, according to Shawn Conley, soybean extension specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

3. The use of a seed treatment is most impacting in fields with a history of post-planting problems, such as minor soil crusting, temporary flooding, soil compaction or poorly drained soils, according to the University of Kentucky. Treatments are also useful when farmers use low seeding rates and when farmers plant seed with a moderate germination rate or when the germination rate is unknown.

4. Using a fungicide treatment on soybean seeds will increase the probability of achieving a satisfactory stand and will enhance the early-season vigor of established seedlings, according to the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board.

5. With the increase in cost of seed, many farmers don’t want to overplant. As a result, according to Iowa State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison, some are decreasing their seeding rate and using the money they save on seed treatments instead.

6. Fungicide seed treatments showed an average yield increase of 2.5 bushels per acre over an eight year period, according to Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Always remember to separate treated seed and harvested soybeans to protect the integrity of the U.S. soybean supply. This will avoid putting the U.S. soybean industry’s relationship with customers beyond the elevator in jeopardy.

This concurs with my thinking.  What do you think?


Ten Bible Verses For Cancer

  • Matthew 10:30-31And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
  • Isaiah 41:10So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Matthew 28:20 - and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with youalways, to the very end of the age.
  • Psalms 62:6-8Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
  • Exodus 14:14 - The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
  • Psalms 139:17How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
  • Isaiah 43:1But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Psalms 55:22Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
  • I Peter 5:7 - Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

  • Becky sent these to me  one morning and I have to report they help my faith in this new endeavor.  I've quoted the first verse most of my life and it is just as true today as the first time I read it.

    Something really lifted my spirits last night.  It is so difficult to stay positive.  I've got my give a darn attitude back and it is the best for me.  It admits I can't change or effect very little but what I do is really important.

    We tried to Skype the Cleveland, Ohio kids but that didn't work so Liam and I just old stories on the phone.  That lifts me up even more.  I took Sable to Brown's General Store and bought a Power Ball ticket, a candy bar for LuAnn and I and Sable got her Milk Bone treats.  I hope this good feeling carries on through the night.

    I wish you all a blessed Sunday and thank you sincerely for your notes, your thoughts and most importantly your prayers.

    Ed Winkle

    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    First 100 bu Beans and 400 bu Corn, One Farmer

    One farmer produced 100 bu soybeans and 400 bu corn in 2014! He broke the all time yield barrier of 500 bu per acre with irrigation.  He gives a lot of credit to Advanced Biological Marketing inoculants.  No matter how you slice it, that is pretty amazing!

    "Dowdy had intended to plant in mid-April. But 30 inches of rain from March 15 on soaked the field. The farm also recorded a 12-hour, 6-inch rain just as the crop was emerging. That didn't help.

    All varieties had an ABM liquid inoculant applied in-furrow.  In-furrow is the most effective but most expensive way to apply inoculants.  We used to call them soil or furrow drench.  At those yields, cost is not prohibitive and the end goal is yield for the yield contest.

    This is America’s Best Inoculant system for soybeans contains a rhizobia strain for high yields. Priaxor was sprayed in-furrow to combat seed and seedling rot.

    Dowdy applied Avail with preplant phosphorus. Avail makes phosphorus more available to the plant. The preplant fertilizer was coated with Nu-Trax P+ to help supply the plant with N, phosphorus (K), zinc (Zn) and manganese (Mn). He applied 50 pounds per acre of N with NutriSphere through his irrigation system in three applications, beginning at pod elongation. NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager reduces long-term volatilization of N. The team applied Biostart in-furrow. Biostart is a root and foliar growth stimulant.

    Dowdy believes insect thresholds for normal soybean production don’t hold true with high-yield beans. He’s not content with even a few pests. “If they are eating my leaves, they are eating my factory,” he says.

    Dimlin, Belt and Prevathon provided pest control for worms. Stinkbugs were treated with Fastac. Dowdy looked to control downy mildew and soybean rust with Aproach Prima and Stratego YLD.
    Brandt’s B Moly was applied with Brandt Smart Trio to supply foliar N, boron and molybdenum. Smart Trio also includes sulfur, Mn and Zn."

    Southern States agronomist Eddie McGriff announced Dowdy’s Sept. 11 record by way of email: “Today, Brooks County Extension Agent Ben Shirley documented Randy Dowdy’s soybeans at 110.66 bushels per acre with [Southern States] 4917N R2. This is the first time that 100 [bushel-per-acre] soybeans have been made in Georgia. … This makes Randy the first farmer in the world to make 400 [bpa] corn and 100 [bpa] soybeans.”

    They were “big, beautiful beans,” McGriff says of the full-season, late-Group IV indeterminate variety. The yield monitor bounced up and down from 75 to 140 bushels along the 30-inch rows—evidence of nematode damage.

    In-furrow is the most effective but most expensive way to apply inoculants.  We used to call them soil or furrow drench.  At those yields, cost is not prohibitive and the end goal is yield for the yield contest.

    I thought I would have met Randy by this time but I haven't.  Maybe I will get the chance to meet him yet.


    Friday, February 6, 2015

    Stick With Your Plan

    "With lower commodity prices, Gary Fisher, United Soils marketing manager, said farmers tend to shy away from sticking with their fertility plan.

    “They might decide not to spend some money on soil testing where we believe it’s just absolutely critical that if they’re on schedule, they get that soil testing completed, look at the fertility in the field and make the right decision with it,” he said.

    “By cutting corners, sometimes you hurt yourself. So our biggest concern is they stay on task with the fertility plan that they’re on.

    “To us, it’s all about standardization. Understand what you’re looking at, set a plan and stick with it. If you let the market kind of vary how you react (with nutrient management), with this end of the business we just think it’s going to hurt you in the field.”

    Big yields also mean the crops took up large amounts of soil nutrients, and this also should be considered entering the 2015 season.

    Chad Trachsel, who works with his father on the 600-acre family farm near Chenoa and is a regional salesman with United Soils in Fairbury said the fertilizer lost with the record crop needs to be addressed.

    “People that have been planning maybe for 200-, even 220-bushel corn, but took 240, 250 or higher off need to really take that into consideration when they’re making their fertilizer decisions for this year,” he said.

    Trachsel noted instances in his area where he saw corn plants running out of nitrogen as the big crop tried to get bigger.

    “Nitrogen management is big. Fertilizer management is big and the final ultimate thing beside the weather is the almighty dollar and with the grain markets dropping and really not rallying in January, a lot of people are really considering what’s my bang for my buck and what do I need to do this year to make the best yield potential that I can for the minimum dollar,” he said.

    “I’m not saying spend the least amount of money you possibly can, but spend the right amount of money so you get the right amount of yield. You don’t want to throw a bunch of money at it and end up with low yields.”

    What is your plan?  Mine is frugality because my cancer has to come first.  This morning I am thinking we won't have a year anything like 13 or 14 and the market place will have to respond this summer.

    It's a good thing we can't see the future!


    Thursday, February 5, 2015

    Pollination By Insect

    The pollination of agricultural crops by diverse insects such as bees, flies, beetles and butterflies is a very valuable ecosystem service. To compensate for the loss in diversity and abundance of wild pollinators across agricultural landscapes, farmers now pollinate many of their crops with managed colonies of honey bees. Honey bees are generally viewed as an effective substitute for the loss of wild pollinators. Not so, the February 28 Science paper suggests.

    To measure how effective honey bees and wild insects are at pollinating crops, scientists measured how often these pollinators visited flowers blooming within agricultural landscapes and whether or not those visits resulted in successful pollination. Successful pollination was indicated by the amount of pollen deposited on the flower and the percentage of flowers setting into mature fruit and seeds. For the study, they sampled 600 agricultural fields on every continent except Antarctica. The fields were composed of 41 different types of fruit, nut, seed and coffee crops. They did not study crops that are primarily pollinated by the wind.

    The results showed that visits from wild insects enhanced pollination in 100% of the crops studied. However, visits from honey bees only enhanced pollination in 14% of the crops. Furthermore, fruit set was enhanced twice as much by visits from wild insects as compared to honey bees. These results suggest that domesticated honey bees can only supplement, but not substitute for, the pollination services provided by wild insects.

    The study concludes that providing natural habitat for wild pollinators could be a valuable strategy to enhance global crop yields.
    "Our study shows that losses of wild insects from agricultural landscapes impact not only our natural heritage but also our agricultural harvests. We found that wild insects consistently enhanced the number of flowers setting fruits or seeds for a broad range of crops and agricultural practices on all continents with farmland. Long term, productive agricultural systems should include habitat for both honey bees and diverse wild insects. Our study prompts for the implementation of more sustainable agricultural practices.
    Bottom line: Fifty scientists from 17 countries investigated the vital role that wild insects play in crop pollination. They sampled 600 agricultural fields on every continent except Antarctica. Their results, published in the journal Science on February 28, 2013, suggest that domesticated bees are less effective than their wild counterparts at pollinating fruit, nut, seed and coffee crops. The study concludes that providing natural habitat for wild pollinators could be a valuable strategy to enhance global crop yields."

    It will be interesting to see how our pollinator crops perform in this service this year!

    Ed Winkle