Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ohio NoTill Conference

It was a good day at the Ohio NoTill Conference at the Der Dutchman in Plain City. For the second year in a row, it was standing room only, they may have to move that conference.

First off was Steve Groff, my friend from Lancaster County Pennsylvania. He always has such a good down to earth, notill farmer friendly presentation. It is great to be on the same program as him and we have done it many times now.

He showed the benefits of the Tillage Radish and the 40 different cover crops he is experimenting with. He is a key part of my cover crop network. The main vendor in the country is my friend Leon Bird, Bird Hybrids, Tiffin, Ohio. Leon had a good display there, answered questions and supported the state notill effort. Many good notill supporters were there with their products, giving a little money to the council's effort.
Dale Minyo had a good interview with Steve that a friend in New Zealand heard before the conference was over! Look for the NOTILL license plate!

Then I tried to show the benefit of cover crops of scavenging nutrients. I don't know if I got it home or not but I come from the larger farmer standpoint and farm management, if it is so great how do we get it done? Cover crops definitely pay but many farmers were lucky to get one crop in the ground and out this year. Just try and plant 1000 acres of cover crops!
My big point was how to balance nutrients. If your soil isn't balance, you can't expect the cover to "cover" for you. D is a bad grade on my tissue test, it means I am deficient in that or those nutrients I need to pay more attention. Hidden hunger in crops is still a concern wherever crops are grown. I don't want to see that big ugly thumb that shows when it has been deficient for years.
"ABN Covers The Ohio No-Till Conference in Plain City
Tuesday The ABN, Ohio's Voice for Agriculture, was in Plain City for a live broadcast of The Ohio No-Till Conference. Coverage brought to you by Ohio State University Extension. Here are just some of the guests featured on the broadcast.
Bill Richard has been in the No-Till conversation for some time now and was the Chief of Conservation under the first Bush Administration. He talked to Lindsay Hill about his experience with Cover Crops, including radishes.
Mark Wilson discusses Manure Management with Lindsay at The Ohio No-Till Conference.
Ed Winkle is with HyMark Consulting and he and Lindsay talk about Nutrient Management with No-Till.
Randall Reader is an Extension Ag Engineer with OSU and he shared his insights on Soil Compaction."

Another huge point was reduction of compaction that enables the cover crop to explore the soil and release valuable nutrients. The reduction of compaction and aeration of the soil is a bigger feat in my mind but the value of harvesting nutrients is a big one at today's fertilizer prices. It's called green manure, something I learned as a child. You always planted wheat when a crop came off, especially if it was early.

The best compliment was all the questions during the break after me. I asked farmers have they ever seen the tillage radish grow? Most never have. I said get a bag for your garden for you or your wife to plant and watch how they grow. Then figure out how to put them in your rotation.

Next was Alan Sundermeier, extension agent, Rafiq Islam, soil scientist and David Brandt showing slide after slide the numerical and physical impact my talk could reveal. I thought it was really good.

ABN Radio interviewed me live on their Ohio network and Lyndsey and I talked about what I was doing and what I have learned. It was a good exchange. Lyndsey and Andy really know agriculture and it shows on their network, website and the Broadcasting award they just received. Andy was the DJ at my oldest boy's wedding and was one of the best State FFA officers I worked with. Class act.

Then the fun began, a group discussion with David, Steve and I answering farmers questions. If we didn't know we shot the answer to someone who did. I knew it was going to be fund and it worked out well. Dave kept teasing my about backhoe'd soil pits. I said that is my old soils instruction, dig a pit you can walk into with the soil at eye level. Many have not seen this viewpoint.

The NoTill Awards were presented and then my friend Dr. Mark Loux gave a really good rundown on herbicide choices for 2010. Lots of us are looking at Liberty Link soybeans so Liberty herbicide, not sold in a concentrated form called Impact, started many discussions.

It was a good day. You can't beat a meal at a Der Dutchman in Ohio. Good ole farm cooked food, roast beef, turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn and homemade bread. MM good!

And those pies!

Sorry Doc, I ate too much again but it was worth it!

Ed Winkle

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