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Friday, March 25, 2016

Pike County Today

I worked in Pike County today.  On the way home there was lot of field work underway.  Applying Anhydrous, disking, and field cultivating were some of the activities.  The honey wagon was near Royal Lakes in Macoupin County.
Honey Wagon

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Should You Use Starter Fertilizer on Corn

Research out of Purdue might lead you to say no.  No-till Farmer Carried the article Corn Response to Starter Fertilizer.  Research results are usually mixed on the question, and have been for at least 40 years.  Logic tells you that getting the crop off to a fast start is a good idea.  The trouble is that logic and science are not the same.  Much of the replicated research says that it does not pay.  There are conditions where starter might be helpful  The Purdue research shows a response in No-till.  I have also seen results where starter was helpful where soil tests are below critical levels.

You have to ask yourself, do you have time to mess with another thing in an already busy season?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Field Work Starting

I went to Shelbyville today, but did not see any field work until I got back to Hillsboro.  The ground on the top picture looks like it was too wet when the anhydrous was applied.  The ground being disked across the road looked ok.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Grazing Animals and Greenhouse Gases

To me, there is logic in raising grazing animals to convert inedible rass to edible and nutritionally needed protein. the grazing animals also help to manage and enhance the grassland.  becausw thw animals emit greenhouse gasses, they are seen as part of the climate problem.  In the article, "The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’scarbon footprint in North America." researchers use existing literature to conclude that the benefits of grazing animals to the environment and to human nutrition far outweighs their negative impacts in a well managed grazing program.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Champaign Road Trip

I had a meeting in Champaign on Saturday.  I took the backroads in Coles and Douglas Counties to get some pictures and see what is going on in the countryside.  I spotted several people applying Anhydrous Ammonia and one Amish farmer was disking with an 8 horse hitch.  The crib below is in Douglas County.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Nitrogen

We are seeing some spring nitrogen application beginning.  There are a few concerns with applying nitrogen right now.

  • Are your soils dry enough?
  • Will it last until you need it?
If you are applying nitrogen to wet soils, you may be losing some because your slit is not closing well.  In addition, you may be creating compaction that will bite you if we have a dry summer. Wait until the soil is dry enough to do a good job.

Corn does not really need much nitrogen until it is nearing the reproduction stage.  Early applied nitrogen will start to nitrify as soil temperatures warm.  The process does not take long.  Once you have nitrogen in the NO3- (Nitrate) form, it can be leached or dentrified.  Both processes make it unavailable to the plant later in the season.  I think you should use nitrification inhibitors for early spring applications.  The question is, "Will it Pay?"  Maybe, maybe not, but it is a good practice environmentally and therefore pays off long term instead of short term.  This can be one of your strategies for the nutrient loss reduction program.  Keep it out of the Gulf.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Report on Brazilian Soybean Harvest

By Eduardo Paim:

 I'm taking time to post comments because we are going through moments that are not yet defined as to how  extensive, but we have to problems with soybean harvest and the production will be reduced. What I have to say is that professionals are confirming the production curtailments in northern Mato Grosso, the states of Bahia, Tocantins, Maranhao and Piaui. These have not had rain between soybean planting and flower time, birth pod and grain filling had little rainfall and intense heat. In northern Mato Grosso parts of farms are not harvested because the soybean crop that was in not paying the Diesel machine. breaks range from 20% to 60% of some farms. In the states of Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul state had a lot of rain at harvest and a lot of soybeans harvested with breakdowns (rotten). In the south of Mato Grosso we are having a normal soybean harvest. It is still uncertain about the soybean production break in Brazil, but certainly any production above 100 million tons is no exaggeration! The weather is good for planting corn second crop (off-season), many northern producers of Mato Grosso decided to increase corn acreage to try to reduce the losses of the soybean crop that was bad, all going well, we have a lot of corn here.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Today I attended a meeting on the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.  It looks like the information push is on; there was an article in FarmWeek News this week.  The meeting went over what can be done to reduce nitrogen loss and phosphorous loss.  Then  there was a discussion on programs available.  The final presentation was on drainage water management.

One of the things that caught my eye is that water testing is available so you can have your drainage water tested for nitrates.  I have always thought this was a good idea, but never got anyone to do it because I had to charge for it.  Click on the link to find out how to collect you samples and where to take them.  The testing is confidential, but gives yo an idea whether or not you need to do something about nitrogen management on your farm.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Weather Spotter Training

Yesterday I went to weather spotter class.  I have gone 3 times and learned some new stuff each time.  The NWS instructor had some impressive video of the El Reno OK tornado.  I recommend that farmers and others who work outdoors a lot to go to the class.  It is good to learn how to read the clouds and know if you are going to get soaked or if you could get blown away.  They always say how much they depend on spotters for reports on tornadoes, hail, and snow.  There things that can only be seen in person.  They rely a lot on the trainded spotters.  THere were around 50 people last night.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

UAV imagery

As we move closer to commercial use of unmanned aerial systems in agriculture, we need to take a look at how we are going to use the systems to help us better monitor crops to improve production.  The least expensive way to get into monitoring is with a color camera.  Read this posting to learn more about photography and processing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Good reasons to eat meat.

A friend of mine posted this link to a Nature article " Brain Food: Clever Eating".   The article explains how meat has contributed to Homo Sapiens being Homo Sapiens.  They also talk about how adding meat to the diet contributed to both mental and physical health.  The article points out the importance of the micro-nutrients in meat.

Monday, March 7, 2016

GMO Labeling

I was listening to the debate on GMO labeling today, and decided to share my thoughts. It looks like there is a lot of interest in seeing a uniform, nationwide labeling law.  Past commodity groups and farm groups seem to be in favor a some law.  Others are still opposed.  A voluntary labeling bill is being considered.  I am not sure what that accomplishes.

I would argue that we already have non-GMO labeling in the "organic" label.

You can pretty much figure if the food contains any of the 9 GMO crops grown in the US,  Alfalfa, Canola, Corn (field and sweet),  Cotton, Papaya, Potatoes, Soybeans, Squash, and Sugar Beets then you are likely eating GMO foods.   I would argue that no label is necessary.  There is no know health risk to eating GMO foods and we have been eating them for over 20 years.

So back to voluntary labeling. I cannot imagine that GMO labeling would help sell any product that is labeled.  If it was voluntary, I don't think my food company would use it.  If you make labeling mandatory, that you at least level the playing field.  So while I don't see the need for GMO labeling, if we must have it, it should be mandatory. The down side of leaving it to the states that a hodge podge of laws would be a mess.

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Remnant From the Past

The corn crib below is located near Girard.  It is really hard to see in the summer because of the large tree growing out of it.  Yes, that tree is in middle and growing out of the crib in several places.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Illinois Budget Zeroed out for Agriculture Education

I guess, I finally caught up to the news today that Bruce Rauner's Budget for Agricultural education.  Stu Ellis of Decatur Herald and Review wrote a fine article on the topic.  I can't say where Mr. Rauner's staff have their heads because I try to keep this a G rated blog.  How can they miss out on supporting the biggest industry in Illinois.  If this was coal or petroleum money, the would be looking around to  help.   Even his State Board of Education, recommended money for Agricultural Education.  I hope our legislators can see that they all need to get together on this budget thing and do whatever it takes to pass a veto proof budget.