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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Illinois River Traffic

I crossed the draw bridge at Florence today.  I was already on the bridge when lights started flashing.  I stopped to see what was coming.  The only boat I saw was the little one in the top picture.  I looked back upstream again and a tow was peeking around the bend.  ow are few of the photos I got as the tow approached the bridge and then moved under it.  The towboat was the Lydia E Cambell.  She is an Illinois river boat with a pilot house that moves up and down.  The barges were tanker barges and coal barges.
Small Boat
Around the bend 

Tankers and Coal

Under the Bridge

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Should You use Starter Fertilizer?

I have this discussion with clients regularly.  They want to know if they should use starter fertilizer. They have tried starter and it looks like the corn is getting head start on corn without starter.  The question is and always has been whether or not pretty corn means more money.  I have seen studies on both sides of the issue.  A recent study out of Minnesota Finds that In-Furrow Starter Fertilizer May Not Pay Off. They found what I have seen often in starter fertilizer studies.  It helps sometimes under very specific circumstances.  One of those circumstances is where soil test P levels are very low.  In most other circumstances, the extra green in the spring just pays for itself or costs money.  Another consderation in my opinion is whether or not the producer has the time to mess with starter.  I have seen that those who mess with starter can get a payoff in maintaining over all fertility.  If it works on your operation, go for it, but if not, don't sweat it

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Carbon Nitrogen Ratios

Carbon Nitrogen Ratios were studied at University of Nebraska to see how much nitrogen is contributed to the next year's crop.  It is interesting that in looking at Carbon Nitrogen Ratios in cover crops that it appears that a high tonnage crop like cereal rye may actually contribute more nitrogen than a legume crop that fixes nitrogen from the air.  I would like to do some in season nitrogen testing to confirm this, but it looks interesting enough to pass along for consideration.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gluten Free

In the passed I have ranted that some stores seem to be using the Gluten Free label on foods that generally do not contain gluten such as meat, eggs, and potatoes.  Today I was shopping at Dierburg's in Edwardsville and found they have added an entire aisle of gluten free products.  In the interest of fair recognition, this aisle would actually be helpful to those who desire or need to follow  a gluten free diet.  This aisle contained products such as bread, pasta, cereal, and baked goods that traditionally contain gluten.  Seems like a fair use of the label.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Interesting area today

I was surrounded by industrial and residential land where I was working today. As I headed to one fields, I noticed the sign about remote control locomotives.  As I was working, a short train went by.  There was a caboose in the forward position, and it was occupied.  The locomotive was in the middle and appeared to be empty.  The industry sort of isolated the area and served as a sanctuary for the deer who were not very wary of me at all. They are protected from hunting.

Remote Controlled Locomotive
Tame Whitetails?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

More Flooding Information

One of the highlights of last weekend's trip to the "real" southern Illinois was a stop at the Len Small Levee break from 2016.  The break remains un-repaired and more flooding could cut off up to 12 miles of Mississippi River channel. Check out the University of Illinois Press Release for more information.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Field Activity

Weather has been good for a while now, so there is lots of field activity.  I saw someone today using a ditcher with survey grad GPS.  I am sure I could still find corn and soybeans to harvest, but harvest is 99% complete.  Lots of people were doing tillage today.  Also lots of people applying anhydrous ammonia.  Jut a reminder that it is surprising when fall applied nitrogen is reduced to half by planting time.  I saw several people applying fall weed control measures today too.