Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goss's Wilt?

The aerial pictures from my friend Paul near Macon, Illinois got a lot of people thinking. Just how bad is this crop? Is it Goss's Wilt or something more?

Early harvest reports in Illinois are not good, 100-120 bushels per acre where they expect closer to 200 bushels.

Two other friends Jeff and Keith took their own crop tour from Iowa across Illinois through Indiana into Ohio then turned north into northwest Ohio and Michigan. They cut below the lake and looked at southern Wisconsin and Minnesota before returning home.

Their opinion is this crop is worse than the Pro Farmer tour reports and they pegged US corn production below 150 bushels. We were all working for a 160 bu plus crop when we planted.

The floods and record heat and drought have taken a toll and Goss's Wilt may even be worse. The bacterium has not been identified in Ohio according to Pierce Paul, Extension Pathologist but Keith and Jeff said they saw it in Ohio. We all admit there are more bacteriums out their and they could look like Goss's Wilt but be a little different.

Some friends think we will see a lot of planes flying next summer but they may not be applying fungicide, they may be foliar feeding the corn to help the plant outgrow the bacteria. Procidic or other acids may be part of the solution, we don't know yet.

This will be an interesting fall and winter trying to figure out "what happened?" and what our next step is.

I have been scouting every day and wondering if the wilts will damage our corn in Ohio or will Jack Frost or both? I doubt I could get anyone to spray a foliar with an ammonium form of nitrogen and citric acid on many acres but it really needs to be done. Ohio farmers are still wore out from planting three months ago and trying to maintain a crop with two months less growing time.

We have a whole lot to learn. The picture was taken yesterday. We have a long way to go and it is September.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lynchburg Farm and Feed

This summer has been interesting visiting various stores seeking donations for our church festival silent auction this Sunday. It's given me the opportunity to learn more about the people and the businesses I deal with and don't deal with.

The other day I was finishing my soybean flower inspection for Ohio Seed Improvement and Bobby Young was bush hogging the field across the road. I have known Bob since we moved into his dad's Sears and Roebuck house on Canada Road in 1983. Bob is named after his dad and was raised in that house we lived in for four years.

He mentioned being busy at their feed store so I inquired about it and Sable and I paid a visit today. I didn't know they had a protective little pug inside but Sable and I found out in a hurry! No damage done and I put her in the Dakota.

They have a nice little farm and feed store for all of us country and town folks. They have garden tools, farm tools and all kinds of feed. They have some neat birdhouses built by a local man with all kinds of animal shapes. They donated a raccoon bird house for the silent auction but Dawn wouldn't give up the moose bird house. I told her LuAnn loves moose and we hoped to get some pictures of some close up. I had to tell her the Bull Winkle and Bow Winkle story I have told very few people.

I drive by their store after banking at Liberty Savings Bank in Lynchburg and their store is on Panhandle and SR 134 north of town, on my way to the new farm on Horseshoe Road.

They told me they opened in March of 2010 so they have made it over the one year hump so many businesses fail in. I hope they make it. I like little stores and friendly people and I sure believe in entrepreneurism.

If you are ever in Lynchburg, Ohio, stop in and say Hi!


Monday, August 29, 2011

40 Years

It's been 40 years since I started my career as agricultural education instructor at Blanchester Local School District. The superintendent and school board took a risk on a young guy who didn't even have his degree yet. I did "student teaching on the job" that fall and taught school in the morning and then watched my mentor, Al Cramton teach at Lynchburg Clay nearby, in the afternoon.

It was 1971 and the Viet Nam war was still raging. My birthday, December 19, came up number 340 of the 365 days in the Viet Nam draft lottery so I had to work. I really wanted to farm and I wasn't sure I wanted to teach.

The teacher before me rented a farm on the south side of town on Fayetteville Road so I could teach and "farm." We had a brand new Allis Chalmers D-15 Series IV and 4 row cultivator purchased with state matching funds, a used disk and a John Deere 494 corn planter. One of my first jobs was the Clinton County Fair and then cultivating the FFA Chapter soybeans.

I soon found out the chapter was broke with no operating funds and people he had borrowed money from starting looking me up hoping to get paid. We even owed the cafeteria milk shake fund nearly $1,000. I became a professional fund raiser as most ag teachers do, very quickly.

It was hard learning how to teach, really hard. I was 5 foot 11 inches and 160 lbs and most of the students were as big or bigger than I was. I quickly learned to love freshmen as they were smaller and more naive than older students and hadn't been prejudiced too much by that age. Freshmen are still my favorite class to teach.

I got married December 3 and got my Bachelor of Science Degree two weeks later. Things were changing fast. By Christmas I did not want to go back to the classroom. I was ready to quit but I didn't have anywhere to go so I stuck it out. It was that hard and every class was a constant battle.

I got addicted to the paycheck. My salary was $5000 and you got paid once a month. It was Big Boy hamburgers at the first of the month and peanut butter by the end of it.

Slowly, over time, I got a little better and a little smarter and teaching became easier. By year five I was selected as Teacher of the Year by the National Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association.

But it was no picnic and definitely hands on learning in the school of hard knocks.

Today I thank Dick McKinnis and the members of the Board of Education for taking a chance on a big idea, wild eyed farm boy.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Friend Dutch

We have been fortunate to make many friends over the years on the Internet. You have to read this story about our friend Dutch or Maarten from Holland. It will make you appreciate being born in America.

I met Maarten known as Dutch in the Internet back in the 90's on agonline. We both moved to NewAgTalk in 2001. On one of our camping trips heading for the big caverns in New Mexico and Arches National Park we stopped and saw Dutch and Katie and the boys. We had a wonderful dinner Katie cooked and talked and camped outside their house. We ate Mexican at town and they sent us home witha big bag of Texas peanuts I will never forget.

Maarten Van Zielst was born in New Tong, or New Tongue Holland, a 500 year old part of the Netherlands reclaimed from the ocean. The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland.

I am missing part of the story from the PDF file I can't convert but will add it if I can.

Maarten moved with his parents to Texas in 1982. They had great difficulty with Immigration. It alone is quite a story.

Maarten met his wife Katy through a church meeting. They soon began dating.

Meanwhile, Maarten's battle with the immigration authorities was just
beginning. He was doing everything he knew to do to get permanent residents
papers, and it seemed they were doing everything in their power to have him
deported. They told him he was an illegal alien. When it was time to renew his
visa he went to Dallas and had it renewed, only to be told by the peopie out
here they had no record of rt. He hired a iawyer in Lubbock who eventually cost
him over $30,000, and did him no good.

He and Katy were married on November 24th, 1986. While he didn't marry for
this reason, he hoped it would settle his problem, thinking his marriage to a
citizen would automatically make him a citizen. His lawyer told him this rule
went out two or three days before their wedding, saying, "immigrations laws
change daily." Maarten said, "Katy married a wet-back!"

He formed a partnership with a farmer, who, without Maarten's knowledge, was
stealing tractors in Texas and selling them in Mexico. He was caught, and
committed suicide before he could go on trial. Maarten was relieved the man
didn't steal his expensive equipment he had for raising flowers.

The border patrol tried to pick Maarten up twice but he was able to avoid
them. He had a large stack of papers which showed he was trying get his legal
visa. He finally gave up trying, and turned his attention to farming, but with his
partner gone, the farm went broke.

He said, "Myoid neighbor from east Texas, Jerry Hall, felt sorry for me and
invited us to move back to Ravanna. Together we were going to farm 1400
acres and ranch about as many acres."

In Ravanna, Maarten raised peanuts, a~alfa and soy beans. They, also, raised
about 60 head of their own, mix-breed cattle, and ran cattle for other
people. Hall taught Maarten the catUe business.

After Hall's daughter married, his son-in-law wanted the farm so Maarten and
his family moved back to West Texas.

He met a Nephew of Alvin Forbis who told him Forbis was looking for hands on
his fann. He wanted someone who was a hard worker. Maarten went to work
for Forbis/Cheuvront Farms in Seminole in 1990.

Maarten and Katy have two boys, William and Andrew. William was about six
months old when they left for Ravanna. He is now 24, lives in Seminole and
works for Birdsong Peanuts.

Andrew was born just before they moved to Seminole. He is 20, and will
graduate from South Plains College in Levelland in December with an
associate degree in Animal Science. He plans to go back to South Plains and
study Diesel Technology.

Katy's parents are Wayne and Jean Crittenden. Her dad used to own a Ford
Tractor Shop, in Muleshoe, and ran a Conoco Service Station. He worked in
Texas Sesame Grain Elevators from 1982 until 1990. Her mother is a
homemaker, but kept books for the Conoco station. They are now retired and
living in Lubbock.

Maarten's dad passed away in 2010, his mom lives by herself in Holland, she is

Katy became friends with a lady in Andrews whose mother was a retired
Immigrations Judge in EI Paso. She helped get Maarten's legalization efforts
going again. She put them in touch with Family Catholic Services in Lubbock
who helped greatly.

Maarten came very close to being deported. He received a letter from a judge
ordering him to show up in Dallas with one suitcase weighing no more than 40
pounds. He was being sent baclk to Holland and his family wasn't going with

When he arrived, a large, gruff officer took him baclk to a little office surrounded
by several small holding cells. The officer seemed impatient, perhaps angry at
having to be bothered with this case. Maarten handed him his stack of papers
which he hurriedly thumbed through. Surprisingly, he located one peper with a
number on it which proved Maarten had been working to get cleared to stay in
the U.S.A. He was allowed to go back home.

Gloria, from Family Catholic Services, made many trips to Dallas and went to
many hearings. Finally Maarten had to go before the judge to decide if he
could have permanent residence or be deported.

The judge chatted with him briefly, and then "chewed out", (reprimanded), the
people who were bloclking his claim for permanent residency. He was finally
granted his claim. It took five more years to get his citizenship, but he received
it in 2000. Altogether, this cost him about $50,000.

Maarten's hobbies are watching auto racing, hunting and fishing and
farming. He also likes to cook outside.

In school Katy played basketball, ran track, (the two mile run and discus), and
played clarinet in the band in Muleshoe.

She lists reading, and doing crafts among her hobbies. She works at the First
United Methodist Church, where they are members, cooking on Wednesday
nights and she does volunteer work at Gaines County Library.
They enjoyed going to the stock shows with their boys.
They both like fishing, and there is a pond with fish in it on their place. In
Ravanna, the Red River was at the back of the ranch.

The Dutch people still wear wooden shoes called, klompen, (or
Clogs). Maarten says they feel good on your feet when you get used to
them. Their boys learned to wear them and Andrew loves wearing them. Katy
doesn't care so much for them. Maarten has a pair he called, 'fake klompens,"
wooden soles and leather uppers.

The vanliels!'s really like living in Seminole. Maarten said, "The people in
Texas are very friendly and we have been welcomed with open arms." He
added, "Seminole is a great place to raise children. I wasn't born here, but I got
here as quick as I could!"

Author: Leo Copeland

Everyone has a story, and this is a good one.


Saturday, August 27, 2011


It seems like life goes by like these candles, poof and it's gone! Isn't that a beautiful picture of Brynne on her 5th birthday? Three of the grandchildren have passed the grand age of five already. Where did it go?

This summer has flown by just like the candles. It's been a good summer for us but very busy. I never really caught up from the rain in April and May. The yard got behind, the garden got behind and farming took main stage. The crops grew faster than I have ever seen and we are blessed with a good crop if Jack Frost comes around his normal appearance date.

At least the ProFarmer Crop Tour has farmers looking at their fields and thinking about harvest. Paul Butler posted some nasty looking aerial photo's on Crop Talk of the Decatur Illinois area where Farm Progress starts Tuesday.

Early harvest reports there show corn around 100 where they are used to closer to 200 bushels per acre. This news has the market in a tizzy and demand is so great that if corn is that short, demand will go right down the tubes. Then no one will be able to meet their corn or cash needs. It hurts the whole industry and corn touches every single person from fuel to feed to corn flakes.

The US needs every bushel of corn that farmers can harvest and the projections of 147.9 bushels and soybeans at 41.8 bushels. We can sell more bushels than that if we had them to harvest and too little grain drives demand away so they aren't bidding on that crop as much.

It's a mixed bag this year for sure and another one for the history books. It looks like Irene could be Obama's Katrina Bush went through.

All we can do is our best and enjoy every candle and morsel on that cake.


Friday, August 26, 2011


Ever felt used? Body feel worn out? You just described almost every piece of machinery I ever drove or used since I was a child. New was special, it never happened very often in my life. We never farmed that way.

Today I had a blast at the Miami Trace FFA Machinery Auction. It was a big one with even the R-75 in it. I helped young farmers start farming today or expand their operation. You could have started farming a few hundred acres for $20,000 worth of machinery I know and trust.

It was good to see good machinery get into some good young hands. The Mennonites were there bidding and picked up some nice pieces of older machinery. I am known as the notill man in some of those churches so I answered lots of questions. I can speak with experience about White planters and many other planters and drills.

The buy of the day was a White 2-135 for $6,000. I should have run it up but the man who got it got a good deal. It would work here for me. I had one 30 years ago and it would still work well today. A nice 7720 John Deere combine brought less than $10,000 and was a decent deal but the two New Holland TR-70's for around $3000 were better deals.

Maybe the real deal of the day was the 6 row White 5100 no-till planter for $4200 but I couldn't bid against the young Mennonite farmer who was bidding on it after I had showed him some in's and out's on it. It has been always shedded and looked like new and had liquid fertilizer tanks on it that had never been used!

Some money changed hands today and some retired farmers machinery will get new life. That makes me feel good.


Thursday, August 25, 2011


We got a much needed rain during the middle of the night and when we woke up this morning. Sable and I had just walked our best soybeans yesterday and I was thinking of how much rain it needed or if it rained how much yield it would add.

I looked up the water requirements for soybeans and this chart says they need .2 to .3 inches of water per day right now during pod fill. That's why even a good and sometimes rare one inch rain only lasts a week for a soybean crop.

Since we have pretty much maximized vegetative growth in our area more water is needed for pod formation and fill. I would say we got a few tenths and there was band of rain across the county that produced one inch so it varies a lot as usual. No wonder so many people ask how much rain did you get?

We often judge the rainfall during the season by how green the grass is in the yard and how often we have to mow it. I mowed some tall grass yesterday after letting it go two weeks and now it has enough water to grow again. Our yard is greener than the picture yesterday where Ford Baldwin is standing in front of the brown corn but not as green as the picture at Lower Gwynn.

Kip Cullers broke the world record for soybean production twice using irrigation on sandy loam. He said cooling the crop down had as much benefit for flowering as the water does to produce pods and beans.

I think I could have challenged his yield last year with 160k plants with 60 pods but by the time the summer was over, I only had 45 pods per plant and they only had one really good bean in them. Soybeans will "shuck pods" to fill the other pods depending on how much water and heat there is.

Crops need water and most of the US depends on Mother Nature for that. That has never stopped since the beginning of time.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


When I say Bayer you may think of aspirin but Bayer is a German based company that has become a large player in crop science.

Yesterday I participated in the Bayer Crop Science Respect the Rotation Ohio Tour about an hour east of us at Deer Creek State Park. Farmers, seedsmen and farm service people from Ohio, Indiana and other states came to learn about weed resistance. Deer Creek was the meeting point as we spent the afternoon on four Croswell buses to the Bluck Farm to the south and Lower Gywnn Farm to the north.

The farm to the south had the first giant ragweed resistant to glyphosate or Round Up herbicide so big escaped weeds were everywhere. My eyes got puffy and I sneezed. Four weed scientists practically begged the group to change our ways on weed control and help others do the same. Weeds are becoming resistant to herbicides faster than we can spray them.

The farm to the north was bright green from recent rains the other farm never got. There was disease in the beans and corn so the message there was how fungicides could make farmers more money by protecting their crops. There were plenty of resistant weeds to around there too.

The operator took the buses back the long farm lane to view Lower Gwynn farm, a 3000 acre block of beautiful soil he has tiled and drained. He told us Orelton Farm near Farm Science Review was bought by Bill Gates. I think the price was around $8000 per acre but he mentioned the $11,000 acre ground that recently sold in Ohio. It had 50 bidders and amazingly the last six bidders were all farmers.

So tenant farm or larged managed farms, they both had resistant weeds. I have been fighting them now for seven years and I see the battle is getting no easier. We have tall waterhemp moving in from the west and palmer amaranth or palmer pigweed moving in from the south on top of their cousin, redroot pigweed all resistant to ALS and glyphosate chemistry.

Cover crops make more sense every day.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Root Digs

A farmer posted his corn root digs on Crop Talk. I thanked him for his pictures and commented how important they are for us to try and see what our crop went through and what we are doing to our precious soil.

The master was Francis Childs. I have never seen roots in a root dig pit like his. They were awesome and just amazing to look at.

Attending three field days with root digs last week made me want to go dig mine but I don't have a backhoe so I have to hire, beg, borrow or steal to get it done. The first choice is probably the best unless I had a neighbor as curious as me and then we could dig each other's.

Most farmers don't know what they are looking for or even looking at so an experienced eye is handy to have. Two sets of eyes and thinking is better than one unless neither one have experience. I do have some but I depend on others to help me and they live far away so putting together a good dig is not easy.

Some farmers would let us dig soil judging pits just so we could all learn together. Usually someone from conservation with lots of experience of digging on farms would help judge and teach the event. It's almost soil judging time in Ohio and we spent all day doing that near Coshocton last Thursday.

I am looking for soil structure but I can't see improvement unless I dig every year or every few years. I have here fixing tile and putting on field days so I do have a baseline of information.

I have spots of purple foxtail where the combine, cart and fetilizer spreader made tracks in soil that was probably too wet to be on and I would sure like to see the soil structure under them. Just two different hybrids side by side in a soil pit can be eye catching because each hybrid has it's own root structure.

At least I know I have limited my soil erosion with my practices and made a profit doing it but figuring out how to improve that would be really educational.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Great Darke County Fair

I finally had the opportunity yesterday to take LuAnn to the Great Darke County Fair 90 miles northwest of us. It was another beautiful day to enjoy one of Ohio's many county fairs.

No wonder this one won the title of Great. It truly is a great fair with lots of exhibits and every kind of food you can imagine.

We were most impressed with the produce displays. I sent pictures of the displays to a big list of friends and if you weren't on the list, email me and I will gladly send you a copy.

The ear of corn competition was large and competitive. Darke is always one of Ohio's top two ag counties along with Mercer County just north of it. These two counties remind us of the flat and rolling lands of Iowa with good soils and weather for producing crops.

Unlike other Ohio counties they also have large livestock industries although Wayne County to the east on US 30 is usually our largest livestock producing county. The county seat there is Wooster and the longest notill records in the world come from there.

The flower competition was excellent too, and we agreed it would be a difficult show to judge. The youth competition was greater than most county's senior competition and reminded me of our neighbor Highland County to the south and east of us where we farm also. Their fair is coming up the week of Labor Day so we will soon be attending it, too, after LuAnn's work nearby each day.

Most of my friends commented things like that is what a fair should look like and all were impressed with the displays like we were. The bonus was it started drizzling rain about the time we left and the roads were wet all the way home although none of us got much rain.

If you ever get the chance, come see the Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio, where the Greenville Treaty was signed with our Native American's. We also recommend the Ross, Fairfield, Brown and Highland County fairs. Canfield has a good fair in the northeast part of Ohio. Like many Ohio fairs, you can't go wrong with them.

I remembered why they call it the Great Darke County Fair. It is as good as most state fairs and easier to walk. Two shuttle rides got us right to and from our car to the fair exhibits. They have more mature shade trees than any fair we attend. We still have the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa(second week of September) on our bucket list.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Know It All

I had a great week travelling to different parts of our state for agricultural field days. But one of them made me think. I got to thinking about being called an expert versus being a "know it all."

Like most teachers and farmers I know, I am a lifelong lerner. I have spent more hours in the classroom that I would like to admit. 7 hours a day or so for nearly 50 years. Most of those I had to be the director of learning rather than the receiver of learning. When do you become a know it all?

My personality and career could lead me to be considered a know it all by many people and that would not be complimentary coming from some of them. Teachers are prime candidates for know it all disease.

We can become non-listners and even answer your statement or question before you have a chance to get it out. That's really bad. That's know it already disease. I am guilty of that. I think I know what you are going to say before you say it and sometimes I do but you deserve the courtesy of getting your point out on the floor.

Lately I have noticed more and more God speaking to me through other people. The more I listen on things I don't know and things I think I know make be a better learner and hopefully a better teacher when I get the chance to explain it.

We enjoyed Brynne's fifth birtday party Friday night. Kevin told a good one on her. He said they were driving home through Midland and Brynnie asked, Daddy, is this China? He laughed and said no, this is Midland. (around here it earned the name of Methland and CPS quit stocking anhydrous ammonia fertilizer there) Then she asked, well, do they talk funny here? I would have cracked up and probaby said, yes, they do speak a little differently here!

Be careful of know it all disease in yourself and those you talk to.

It's a deadly disease that kills communication.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Barn Moving

Dennis Remmers at RemmPork in Nebraska sent me this barn moving story I really enjoyed. I thought maybe you would too.

"Many hands make light work!

News report from Bruno , NE In 1981, Herman Ostry and
his wife, Donna, bought a farm a half mile outside of
Bruno , Nebraska , a small community sixty
miles west of Omaha . The property had a creek and
came with a barn built in the 1920's. The barn
floor was always wet and muddy. When the creek
flooded in 1988, the barn ended up with 29 inches
of water covering the floor. That was the last
straw. Ostry needed to move it to higher ground.
He contacted a building moving company and was
discouraged by the bid. One night around the
table, Ostry commented that if they had enough
people they could pick the barn up and move it to
higher ground. Everyone laughed.

A few days later, Ostry’s son Mike showed his father some
calculations. He had counted the individual boards
and timbers in the barn and estimated that the barn
weighed approximately 16,640 pounds. He also estimated
that a steel grid needed to move the barn would
add another 3,150 pounds, bringing the total
weight to just under 10 tons. He figured it would
take around 350 people with each person lifting 56
lbs. to move the barn.

The town of Bruno , Nebraska was planning its centennial celebration
in late July of 1988. Herman and Mike presented
their barn moving idea to the committee. The
committee decided to make it part of their celebration.

So, on July 30, 1988, shortly
before 11 a.m., a quick test lift was successfully
made. Then, as local television cameras and 4,000
people from eleven states watched, 350 people
moved the barn 115 feet south and 6 feet higher up
a gentle slope and set it on its ne w foundation.

The reason most people think that something cannot be
done is because they know that they can't do it by
themselves. But impossible things can be done if
we join together in the task. Working together,
we can not only move barns, but change the world."

Jim and Mark, my electricians, got our new flood light up on our quilt barn pattern. It looks pretty good and we just run it a few hours a night on the timer. It adds a whole other dimenstion to the pattern.

This morning we will freeze more corn, beans and potatoes. The garden is cranking out the food right now if we can keep up with it and store it.

Can you imagine moving our barn with people?


Friday, August 19, 2011

Goss's Wilt

The farmers on Crop Talk have been talking a lot about their problems or lack of them with Goss's Wilt which is rampant across the corn belt.

I posed the question could it related to the early crosses of genetic modification or the adjuvants in Round Up which are so popular they are used in many other chemicals like fungicides which are becoming more popular each growing season.

One reader posted some good points I share today.

"Ed, I am by no means formally educated enough in plant breeding or agronomy to give an educated opinion on gmo vs. non-gmo regarding goss's wilt. However, from my limited experience with Goss's and what l have read/seen, l will gladly share my thoughts.

The hybrids that have suffered from Goss's around here, some quite poorly in coc, have all been from monsanto, which leads me to hope that it is the result of a poor choice in one of the inbreds used to make the hybrids, possibly the inbred was choosen because it would "accept" the gmo traits bettter than another inbred and resistance to Goss's was not as high a priority to the breeder as was getting a hybrid to the market place.

I did see a large plot that had one hybrid planted in two locations in the same plot, with different plating dates, that showed drastically different effects from Goss's, one location in the plot, Goss's had taken it's toll on the hybrid and the later planting date only exhibited mild symtoms.

The difference was thought to have been caused by the different stages of growth that the hybrid was in (caused by different planting dates) when a small hail and wind storm hit the plot, damaging plant tissue and allowing Goss's to infect the plants. Currently, l think the only way to deal with Goss's is hybrid selection along with making your soil as healthy as possible thru grid soil tests and tissue tests and lest I forget, cover crops. Talk again soon. Thanks."

He might be not be trained in genetics, but like me, a farmer learns a lot planting seeds and watching them grow over a lifetime. When you try to nurture a crop to its most productivity, you wonder why when it doesn't.

Goss's Wilt has a lot of people thinking.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, August 18, 2011


40 agricultural consultants, soil lab and seed personnel got a real hand's on refresher course on soils today at the North Appalachian Hydrologic Station near Fresno, Ohio. It's just north of Coshocton, home of Roscoe Village and near Longaberger Baskets in Coshocton County, Ohio.

I learned that this station is one of two in the world and is on the chopping block in our broken economy. I am going to write my legislators and pledge my support to keeping this rare educational station.

The biggest changes in soil terminology is at least 4 categories of the soil profile instead of topsoil, subsoil and parent material. A layer has been added that describes material that is not the bedrock or parent material and not subsoil yet.

In the first soil pit of Coshocton Silt Loam on a B slope, the topsoil was 8 inches, the subsoil basically ended at 24 inches, and there were a few root hairs down to the new layer which was a BC layer today at 48 inches. No roots were observed below 48 inches and there was a color and texture change.

This education is important as more consultants recommend soil pits be dug on every farm or field to see how the farming practices are working in a given soil type. I highly recommend them and always learn something from them. I do enjoy speaking from a soil pit to interested farmers.

The best farm soil we found on the 1100 acre experiment farm was continuous notill. It had the best soil structure and porosity of any farming practice except for pasture land which was also very good. We can enhance that structure with cover crops and by "keeping the soil covered."

I saw a man with a name tag and and I said I worked for a man with that name 40 years ago and he looked at my name tag and just smiled. We had a good chat and hadn't seen each other since I worked for him.

Dr. Himes name came up many times as many of us had him for soils classes before he retired. Soil classification and properties were a key part of my agricultural education.

Most everything comes from the soil as we are not amphibians. Many think the study of soil is boring but without it, we wouldn't have the tremendous food production and construction we enjoy in this country and the world.

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


David Brandt is an innovative farmer near Carroll, Ohio in beautiful Fairfield County. He and I talk about notill and cover crops and have for many years now.

Today he hosted a notill cover crop tour of his farm. Farmers from all over got to see many different covers growing where his wheat was last month and how they grow and look like.

We all agreed about the simplest way to start playing with cover crops is drill rye right behind corn or soybean harvest or drill or plant radishes and Austrian Winter Peas behind wheat or maybe really early corn or soybeans depending on where you live.

We got to stare at his 200 bu corn across the fence with only 60 lbs of purchased nitrogen on it while the wagons drove across the cover crop strips in the wheat stubble. He and I have both done it before and he has done it again.

The best thing we saw was his old orange clay soils turned black with organic matter after years of notilling and cover cropping. That was the very best thing we saw today. 1/2 percent organic matter soils raised to 4 and 5 percent. That is an accomplishment! No wonder he has won awards with his conservation efforts, they are well deserved.

We saw sunn hemp, buckwheat, phacelia, sunflowers, and all kinds of legumes. One mix cost $107 an acre but we do it just to learn!

Farmers are really catching on to this and the place was packed. I guess he could have handled a few more visitors but the pole barn was overflowing for lunch!

I enjoyed seeing a lot of my innovative farmer friends and it was a beautiful day in Ohio.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Anyone who grows food depends on seed. I imagine our Native Americans hand picked the seed traits that became the corn the white man grew the last 200 years or so. I bet they picked the best ears and selected the best kernals from the plants they thought did the best over the growing season.

The history of corn is rather hidden because most of this was never written down. If it was, it never got saved, kinda like the Lost Ark. If either one exists and I think they do in some fashion, they are a treasure of hidden information.

When corn was genetically modified, those gene isertions directed the pedigrees of the seed we grow today in a very narrow line. Did they have the traits our best seed had or were some left out? Why have we been seeing more Stewart's Wilt, Anthracnose and now Goss's Wilt? Were those genes left out?

Then throw in the glyphosate controversey. Farmers are just learning about the rapidly increasing resistance of weeds to glyphosate. Farmers are noticing all the yellow in their Round Up Ready soybean leaves. What is glyphosate doing to the soil or the plants that grow in it?

Some say Monsanto's PowerMax makes the beans more yellow than generic glyphosate. Is the adjuvant different? Some of those fields have the worst Goss's Wilt in corn. Is the adjuvant worse than the glyphosate it carries? What if that adjuvant is used in other sprays and adds to the resistance of pest and takes away from the resistance in crop genes? It's all quite possible and we don't know yet.

I do think genetically modified crops have led us down a very narrow path. It's a path so narrow now that we can't turn back quickly if any of these problems are true. GMO's dominate over 90% of the US corn and soybean seed market.

This is not doom and gloom, just exploring the possibilities to answer some questions a few people wonder about and most won't even understand even after it is too late.

I do have faith we will go on in some fashion but we are all learning the problems of genetically modified organisms. Maybe we really shouldn't have messed around with Mother Nature that much.

I don't plant much GMO seed so my main concern is getting the seed I want for next year. I think enough corn seed production has been lost or affected by weather or disease I will get my order in now.

Ed Winkle

Monday, August 15, 2011


We are almost half way through August already. It won't be long until all of the September shows like the Corn Festival in Wilmington, the Brown and Highland County Fairs and the Farm Science Review. I can't leave out our church festival on the first Sunday of September as we have a big vested interest in it this year!

We could head west after the festival. We looked at 2007 Winnebago on a Ford F-450 chassis with the Triton V-10 engine in it. It is almost new with 6,000 miles on it for about half list price.

But we have that Sun Valley Light camper sitting in the barn almost new also that slides right onto the Silverado. The new camper would have room for grandkids where as the slide in does not. I know what the answer is but it is fun to look at the alternative.

We haven't been west of Indianapolis for some time. We haven't camped in three years. I would love to drive out I-74 to Rock Island through Iowa and west. The crops are attended to and are going to be whatever they are going to be. I think we have pretty decent yields and the market is still strong.

The drive across the country two years ago to Alaska was the last time we were there and then New Zealand and Europe and Panama caught our fancy.

I still would like to travel the Canadian plains, too.

I wonder where we will end up?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bumper Benton Beans

We have frozen 2 bu of Benton green beans off 3 rows 30 feet long. That's .004 of an acre. When the green beans are good the soybeans are good and some of them are right beside the garden.

Thanks Brian in East Oregon for the seed. Brian is a vegetable seed producer and we have done some seed exchanges over the years. We hit the jackpot on this exchange.

All I did was make rows in the tilled soil with my garden planter and dropped the seed in thick and cover it with my work shoes. Of course I inoculated them with garden inoculant and they really took off and nodulated well. I spread a big of triple 12 across the 30 by 40 garden and it's had plenty of woodstove ash.

It got cultivated twice with my friend Steve's big wheel push cultivator and kept the weeds at bay. I never used any insecticide but should have used a little Sevin as there was some bean leaf beetle bites on a few pods.

LuAnn understands the correlation of the green bean harvest to our soybean harvest so she is already spending the money in her head. Another trip this winter wouldn't be too bad!

Wayne Murphy's little Cockshutt 20 would make a nice classic garden tractor.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Penny Saved

A penny saved used to be a penny earned. Now a penny saved is two pennies wasted. It's time to stop the production of pennies like the country decided to do with the half penny in 1874. It costs more to produce a penny than it is worth.

It took the farmer a whole lot of pennies to save for a gem like the 1950 Oliver diesel in this picture. I can count the new stuff I have bought in a lifetime on two hands.

According to this piece it costs 1.8 cents to produce one penny. That doesn't make to much sense or cents now does it?

I have felt this way for at least 10 years. To me a dollar is about like what a dime was to me as a kid. Inflation probably proves that to be pretty close. I have bemoaned change and pennies for years now, it just doesn't fit my pocket, my lifestyle or our economy. That plastic card has taken over.

One friend posted on facebook to not use your credit card for fast food. McDonald's is liking it that you do. The average patron spent $7.05 in credit when they were going to order $4 worth of food in a survey of buying habits. I got to thinking of the times I have done that myself.

We wonder how we built up all this debt when the bottom line is every one dropped the ball on the way here. I am too frugal sometimes but the government has not been frugal enough.

The USPS didn't even come up in the debt discussions and now the Postmaster wants to eliminate 120,000 jobs to try and keep the post office in business. The whole country has just ran rampant way too long and now we have to get serious about debt.

Eliminating the dear old penny would be a simple solution to a million small problems our country has that adds up to one giant problem: too much debt and robbing Peter to pay Paul!


Friday, August 12, 2011


I personally thank the vendor who put the doggy dish of water out for our 4 legged friends at the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Show, just of SR 125 west of Georgetown, Ohio. Sable and all her friends thanks you, too.

We had a surprise visit from Perry and Sarah Black, ridge and notillers form Barnum, Iowa yesterday. We tried to talk them into to going with us but they had to head on west to home in Iowa from Washington D.C.

Perry gave me the best compliment on my beans, he said it was the best field he saw all along the way on I-70 east or back this way on US 50. Of course we talked crops and notill A LOT, but we had good chats on family and country.

We have a lot of commonality on our life's paths and we enjoy talking about how we have worked our way through it. We met them on the Roach Ag Crusin' the Markets trip to Panama in January. There were 200 good farm families on that trip and it was great to visit again with one of them.

Perry was very interested in my acidifying water for herbicide and insecticide and the corn syrup, boron and manganese. I showed him new growth that was sprayed the combo versus beans that had not. The not sprays are more yellow, the sprayed is green and healthy.

Thankfully Brad caught the main hose hole coming loose on the bottom of the Rogator and avoid a big spill mess and waste of money. Always check your equipment, twice! 800 gallons of mix would have been about 3 grand down the hole and Lord knows how many dead beans where it was sitting.

It's beautiful weather for any outdoor activity like the big picnic at Cowan Lake tomorrow. I hope the weather stays for the three big field days next week, corn growers at Washington Court House, Dave Brandt's and Coshocton Hydrologic station. It's going to be another busy week!


Thursday, August 11, 2011


Or as Liam says, whoopsie! We have a dealership in Wilmington who specializes in used Deere combines. One of the workers was driving one to the dealership yesterday afternoon and the throttle stuck open, he panicked and couldn't get the engine shut off in time before he had to slow down and ran it into this ditch.

We have all had close calls like this. This summer I backed my Dodge into our own Kawasaki Mule and bent up both tailgates. This week I ran the mover over a garden hose and tangled it all up in the spindle. Stuff happens. We can never be too careful.

Some farmers are being careful about protecting their yield and spraying fungicide with insecticide in the hopes of keeping their yield or make a few more bushels. Others are waiting out Mother Nature to see what she does to the rest of the crop.

Our sweet corn has almost perfect pollination but there are some empty spots on the ears. The green beans are the same way, almost perfect pod and bean set with a few small pods or empty spots inside the pods. I think that is the way the crop is going to be here, too.

The last weeds are being sprayed for the year. Most of the fields are pretty clean but it looks like some farmers have given up on the glyphosate resistant weeds and have some stunted yellow weeds in their fields. They are going to have to change seed and herbicide strategy or keep having the same problem or worse.

There are three real good field days next week, corn growers at Court House on Tuesday, Dave Brandt's at Carroll, Ohio Wednesday and the Coshocton Hydrologic Station on Thursday. I hope I can make a couple of them.

We slept with the windows open last night, the first night in a long time. It feels like fall today although it is still late mid summer.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Around here about the only act in groceries is Kroger. They have run everyone else out of town. There is a SavALot, a SackAndSave and an Aldi's and that's it. Don't even mention WalMart groceries to me.

Since I was able to convince Sable she had to stay and watch the place this morning I went Krogering as we call it, like their jingle on their commercials. I got more for $57 than I have in a long time.

I do buy a lot of managers specials though and probably half were today. A half gallon of grapefruit juice for a buck and a quarter! Angus chuck burgers for $4. I can't grow 'em for that. Even my favorite trail mix was on sale.

The rain and cooler weather has improved everyone's spirit that I meet. I would hate to be on vacation today because I would spend a lot of money being somewhere with no prettier weather than we have right here today.

One neighbor is putting tile in a poorly drained, flat 100 ac or so, and I have been watching closely. He will have a pile of money in that farm but now he can produce a lot more crop on that farm. I have 120 ac just up the road I would love to tile and dump into the same drainage system.

But first I need to fix the tile I have and open up a ditch in the wettest part I had hoped I would have had done by now but never got it done last fall, darn it. I did get the lime on though and the beans on that farm really show it. Nothing like drainage and balanced fertility for high yield crops.

I have a lot of trees to push out on that farm yet, they are eating up too much of the sunshine and nutrients on that farm. Rome wasn't built in a day they say and this farm won't improve much faster.

I am jealous of that tile job though just a little...

I see today the government got 1700 responses to new regulation for agriculture so they decided they better leave us alone for now.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Precious Rain

I can already tell you this year is going to be better than last year. Maybe not by much but it IS going to be better.

We got a storm last that really helped the crops. Spatial Rainfall Consulting says:

Latitude: 39.326331
Longitude: -83.831348
state: OH

The closest NEXRAD cell centroid to you is 513701 at a distance of 1.79946637176 km.

Summary of Rainfall from NEXRADDate Rainfall (in)
08/01/2011 0.00
08/02/2011 0.00
08/03/2011 0.09
08/04/2011 0
08/05/2011 0.00
08/06/2011 0.00
08/07/2011 0.41
08/08/2011 0.51
08/09/2011 1.89
Total 2.9

That was one of those million dollar rains we talk about. That rain gave us enough water to start filling pods and kernals. We never got that last August, nor September, nor most of July. The crop had to finish on its own, whatever it could find in the subsoil.

I could see double crop soybeans being 10 bushels better and corn and soybeans 10-20% better just from this rain. The best thing is the pattern we are in now. We have a better chance for rain unlike last year. Last year the drought set in and wouldn't let go.

So you are talking to one happy camper today and bet there are a lot of us out there. Now those little ethanol plants have some water to work with in cooler temperatures!

Production should be up!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Federal Budget 101

This is too good to not pass on.

Federal Budget 101

The U.S. Congress sets a federal budget every year in the trillions of dollars. Few people know how much money that is so we created a breakdown of federal spending in simple terms. Let's put the 2011 federal budget into perspective:

• U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000

• Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000

• New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000

• National debt: $14,271,000,000,000

• Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000 (about 1 percent of the budget)

It helps to think about these numbers in terms that we can relate to. Let's remove eight zeros from these numbers and pretend this is the household budget for the fictitious Jones family.

• Total annual income for the Jones family: $21,700

• Amount of money the Jones family spent: $38,200

• Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500

• Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710

• Amount cut from the budget: $385

So in effect last month Congress, or in this example the Jones family, sat down at the kitchen table and agreed to cut $385 from its annual budget. What family would cut $385 of spending in order to solve $16,500 in deficit spending?

It is a start, although hardly a solution.

Now after years of this, the Jones family has $142,710 of debt on its credit card (which is the equivalent of the national debt).

You would think the Jones family would recognize and address this situation, but it does not. Neither does Congress.

The root of the debt problem is that the voters typically do not send people to Congress to save money. They are sent there to bring home the bacon to their own home state.

To effect budget change, we need to change the job description and give Congress new marching orders.

It is awfully hard (but not impossible) to reverse course and tell the government to stop borrowing money from our children and spending it now.

In effect, what we have is a reverse mortgage on the country. The problem is that the voters have become addicted to the money. Moreover, the American voters are still in the denial stage, and do not want to face the possibility of going into rehab."

That's about it, a reverse mortgage! Talk about selling out, wow! I see stocks are down another 300 points today!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grow Little Ethanol Plants!

Farmers are cheering on the 92 million acres they planted into nature's little ethanol plants, corn. It's been a battle all season from mud to flood and drought to microwave oven, but we have a crop, we just don't know how good or how bad it really is.

Agribusiness Weekly showed this study today and I thought I would look it up and post it for all of my corn using buddies, yes that is every one of you!

"This report updates the findings in Du and Hayes 2009 by extending the data to December 2010 and concludes that over the sample period from January 2000 to December 2010, the growth in ethanol production reduced wholesale gasoline prices by $0.25 per gallon on average.

The Midwest region experienced the biggest impact, with a $0.39/gallon reduction, while the East Coast had the smallest impact at $0.16/gallon. Based on the data of 2010 only, the marginal impacts on gasoline prices are found to be substantially higher given the much higher ethanol production and crude oil prices. The average effect increases to $0.89/gallon and the regional impact ranges from $0.58/gallon in the East Coast to $1.37/gallon in the Midwest.

In addition, we report on a related analysis that asks what would happen to US gasoline prices if ethanol production came to an immediate halt. Under a very wide range of parameters, the estimated gasoline price increase would be of historic proportions, ranging from 41% to 92%."

How about them apples! What do you think of that? I will let you re-read and simmer on that awhile.

Meanwhile, the heat has won some of the battle. A farmer in nearby Northern Kentucky posted a picture of an ear of one of his Pioneer hybrids. You can see it is missing a LOT of kernals. Less kernals for food, feed, or fuel. Why did that happen?

I believe it got hot enough to kill the pollen in the ovule or the tassle and the silk to leave all those kernal spots blank. Planting date, location and hybrid varies from across the country to across the fenceline! There could be 200 bu corn in the field next door but this field will hump to make 50 bu.

It was hot enough to disturb the pollen flow yesterday during our trip the big Ross County Fair. We had a great time visiting with Scott Metzger and son and seeing the fair but it was hot enough we could only handle a couple of hours. You have never seen so many campers at one fairground. I said there must be 50 acres of campers and Scott said I don't doubt it but there are 1400 campers who paid $200 for a full hookup! Now there is a fairboard who knows how to make money, they only charge $4 at the gate and now we know why! Every parent and grandparent must attend because I swear every child in the county had an entry of their school work or 4-H or FFA project!

That's it for today. I think I gave you plenty of fodder to chew on!


Saturday, August 6, 2011


While I was browsing my news this morning I noticed Happy Birthday Internet, Twenty Years. I immeadiately thought it surely is older than 20 years because I have been on it 16 years.

After reading the story, I see the writer was referring to one major event of Internet development in 1991 which really helped it take off and we all still use it today, hyperlinking or hypertexting.

I did use the University system in 1987 but it was not the World Wide Web anyone could link to today. We had an AgVax system at Ohio State that Extension Agents used.

One of my active farmer friends got on the Internet shortly after that, sometime in the early nineties, and told me about the new websites like agweb, agonline and that I should get connected. I kind of put him off because I think I knew I would become hooked on it like I had with ham radio and tractor pulling and got online in January of 1995.

I definitely did get hooked and have been on here ever since and boy has it ever changed my life! Met my wife, my pioneering ag friends in other states and around the world and travelled all over just because of the Internet!

Now I talk to the farmer friend's son more than I do the farmer friend we got into a discussion about using technology to spot specific problems in crops like the two spotted spider mite he called me about in their soybean crop. The technology has not advanced that far yet but I would not be surprised when you can scan a crop for insects or weeds or nutrient or other problems.

So I join the write of the linked piece and say Happy Birthday Internet and thank you all who helped put it together and especially to those of you who read this today!


Friday, August 5, 2011


I have been to so many doctors this year I got to thinking about all my doctors.

Part or most of Sardinia was built out of the old Bare Plantation our family has farmed since 1918, The Sardinia Medical Clinic was built just a few steps east of the old house and was the major medical center for that region for many years.

When I was little, it was run by Dr. Maly and Dr. Hampton who lived on either side of the clinic and later Dr. Hannah who lived just outside of town. I went to school with the Hampton and Hannah kids and my cousin went to school with Dr. Maly's daughter. Her mother, my aunt was a nurse there most of her life.

They were good doctors and took care of all our aches and pains and dents and scratches. We were very good friends. They even hired me to shovel snow and to help a company route all the wire through the building for their new alarm system in the late 60's. They are all gone now and the building is the Sardinia government building.

I doctored with them until I moved to Blanchester and I started docting with Dr. LaRuffa and then his daughter. When I started working in Lebanon there was Dr. Horsely next door so I doctored with him until I retired from teaching and doctor with Dr. Steven Weber in Blanchester. He is a great guy and serves our family well.

Dr. Roy Rogers was my dentist, then Dr. Babey in Mt. Orab, Lebanon Denistry where I got my gold inlays, and now Dr. Steinle in Wilmington. Cliff is a real country doc and we talked about farming and wildlife all the time as he is an avid hunter.

Dr. Richard Kerstine did pioneering eye surgery on me in 1976 when I lost my retina and went blind. Keith Bednarczuk found a misdagnosis on my astimatism and got rid of my headaches in the 80's and is still our optometrist and has the training of an opthomologist. He will be that until one of us passes on and is the best in his field.

Now Dr. Osher who trained under Dr. Kerstine is my opthomologist and is probably one of the top ten in the world and is a teacher of teacher but difficult to get an appointment with.

Dr. Albino is my chiropractic health doctor and Dr. Mehnert is my foot doctor, both from New York. It's time to go visit Dr. Albino right now.

My doctors have kept me going all these years and I wouldn't know where I would be or even be alive without them.

I have been blessed with many good doctors over my life. If I had went for my PhD maybe I could be Dr. NoTill or Dr. Inoculant or something. I was able to help a farmer start notill in New Zealand. That's a picture of his notill corn I took last year.

No one loves going to their medical doctor but I don't know where I would be without mine


Thursday, August 4, 2011

66 Impala

I had a 1966 Chevrolet Impala when I started teaching 40 years ago this month. It's no wonder, grandpa and dad were fairly devoted to their Chevrolet's. They were popular cars in those days and Chevy sold a million of them in 65.

Mine was white with red interior and looked like a state patrol car. One night we got a flashing light from the fire department and pulled over our friends. Now they would lock you up for those antics.

It had the famous 283 cubic inch V8 engine and 3 on the tree as we called it, a manual 3 speed transmission with the shifter on the steering wheel post. I remember buying it from Barry Chevrolet in West Union, Ohio, they have been out of business for several years now.

It turned out the car had been wrecked and repaired and that was why it was such a "bargain." It would head for the ditch and it took two hands to keep it on the road. You would have thought we would have noticed that before we signed the papers?We found a frame shop to straighten the frame and after that man got done with it, it drove as well as any car I ever owned.

I ended up selling it to one of my former students, he always liked that car when he was in my class and he drove it for years and years after I was done with it.

Chevy still sells the Impala and we will get one for a rental sometimes. Of course you would hardly recognize the car after 45 years of changes. I guess after selling 7 million of them it's a hard nameplate to drop.

That 55 Chevy Bel Aire two door post or sedan was still one of my favorites.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tractor CDL's

As promised yesterday, today's blog is the Department of Transportation's request for comment on CDL's or Commercial Driver's Licenses for drivers of farm tractors. I got a lot of email on the subject this week and it's been discussed a little on newagtalk.

"Did You Hear? U.S. DOT Seeking Public Comment on Proposed Changes to Regulations for Farm Equipment on Public Roads
By CASE IH | July 29, 2011
Our post earlier this week, “Non-Ag Folks Just Don’t Understand” reminded us that the general public has limited and sometimes misguided information about farming.

“Agvocacy” is needed now more than ever, and farmers have the best opportunity to speak with a credible voice on issues that impact their businesses.

In May, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency that operates within the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), issued a request for public comment on proposed regulations for farmers’ use of public roads, including:

•The distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce for deciding whether operations of commercial motor vehicles within the boundaries of a single State are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
•The factors the States are using in deciding whether farm vehicle drivers transporting agricultural commodities, farm supplies and equipment as part of a crop share agreement are subject to the commercial driver’s license (CDL) regulations
•The proposed guidance to determine whether off-road farm equipment or implements of husbandry operated on public roads for limited distances are considered commercial motor vehicles
Basically, they’re seeking comments on whether or not to require tractor and agriculture equipment drivers to have a CDL to operate machinery on public roads.

To follow what’s happening with this issue, check out Russ Quinn’s blog, “A CDL to Operate Farm Equipment” on the DTN/The Progressive Farmer website, or Farm Equipment’s online article, “U.S. DOT Seeking Comment on Proposed Regs for
Farmers Use on Public Roads."

To most farmers just the mention of this idea makes us angry with more intrustion from the federal government on our already difficult job.

In their defense, the way some people drive I can see where more training is needed but I don't think a commercial license is the answer the way it is currently set up. It may help the driver in a lawsuit from an accident but it's too much regulation for the roads we share.

Cell phoning and texting should be outlawed first. And if we have to have a commercial license, how about all those old folks like me driving down the road in bus sized camper? Once you start regulation because of stupidity it just never ends.

My personal kudo's to the Illinois Farm Bureau Federation for being on top of this issue.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Truer Words

"Truer words were never spoken." This piece was written as humor but it is so true it isn't funny.

WASHINGTON—Following Sunday’s pathetic excuse for an agreement on raising the government’s borrowing limit, Democrats and Republicans took time to celebrate the meager, ineffective deal, calling it “a testament to the not-so-great things that can happen in Washington when both parties barely come together and agree to not really accomplish anything.”

“It took months of phone calls, negotiations, and meetings, but finally we created a pretty sad version of a framework that, we’re happy to say, none of us is really proud of, and that doesn’t really do much to solve our country’s fiscal problems at all,” said House Speaker John Boehner, who gave a cheerful thumbs up and added that the sorry piece of legislation was expected to pass both houses of Congress with a really pitiful display of bipartisan support.

“Once again, Democrats and Republicans have demonstrated why our mangled, fractured, barely functioning democracy is the greatest in the world.” At press time, members of both parties were trying to explain to their supporters how the budget agreement could in any possible way be construed as a victory for them.

That pretty much says it all. I really wonder how long our economy can hold up in its condition before a major crash and total destruction of economy as we knew it.

We have lived this our entire lives and for me, looking back, it all changed when grandpa showed me the difference between a Silver Certificate and a Federal Reserve Note which was very early in my life. We have been operating on supply side economics now for over 50 years.

It feels like we are truly so fat, lazy and self centered as a country to live like we really should, from spending to daily routine. The way we live seems as a whole seems very dysfunctional to me.

Our elected leaders demonstrated that again to us this weekend and truer words were never spoken as in that little piece from the Onion in Western Iowa.

The government is us, you and me and I accept my responsibility.

Tomorrow we will discuss the government's latest hint of invasion into our lives, CDL licenses for farm tractor drivers.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Brown Lawns

Lawns are brown from coast to coast but especially so across the midwest, the heart of the U.S. Corn Belt. This spells less corn and other crops this year and less food and potentially higher food prices.

Some people haven't mowed for weeks yet a little is still going on around here, mainly to cut down the weeds in the lawny like crabgrass and those pesky Buckhorn Plantains that adorn our lawn, especially around the barns and bins.

Tom Graham asked about Operation Stripe on Crop Talk this morning and I replied because I recognized that name I coined back in the 90's when I had my own HyMark website and web designed Tim Reinhart used two spinning barber poles to highlight the article.

I am sure I wrote about this in an early blog but wouldn't you know I couldn't find it. I even did a google search and a search on NAT but didn't find what I was looking for. The old website page went back to the mid 90's and isn't on the web anymore.

Operation Stripe means to stripe your fields with two dissimilar hybrids within 4 days maturity of each other. I used to stripe old Bird Hybrids B-84 and B-82 with great success. The two planted together in the same planter swipe would make 10 to 20 bushels more corn than either hybrid planted alone.

This synergy was something grandpa used before and during the evolution of hybrid corn in the 30's and we did it on the farm as long as I can remember. USDA and SDSU and others did the experiment and reported an average 7% more corn yield with striping two hybrids.

Some farmers never liked having two different corns in the same pass but some did. Many landlords prefer one very even, same colored corn in their tenant's fields. There is still much of it around here and one hybrid will usually take the heat better than the other and makes you wonder why you didn't plant the better hybrid.

The answer is you didn't know which would be best when you plant but you knew there would be better pollination and a synergistic effect with two dissimilar hybrids and they would show regardless of weather. That's the reason for using Operation Stripe.

The big news is the dry weather as it looks like we may break the 1901 record of 17 straight days of 90 degrees plus in the Cincinnati area. With no rain that means brown lawns and when you don't have to mow, remember your food supply is suffering too.

The food in the grocery store or restaurant had its start in a field somewhere and its hot and dry there and I mean it is hot.