2017

Happy New Year.

No snow, no problem. How are we so fortunate? There’s nothing better for no till farming than a good deep fracturing frost in the soil. Frack that seedbed! With no insulating snow the ground freezes deeper than it otherwise would. We have had some rain that helps crack the compaction up. Freezing water expands. That tends to mitigate the machinery traveling across the soil to plant, fertilize/spray and harvest. Hauling off the harvest being the heaviest trek. Think spring and mellow soils.

I hope your new year is going as well. The highest consumer confidence in 15 years seems to say it is. Getting rid of the war mongers may have something to do with it. Acknowledging the death of the mainstream media and their fake news can’t hurt. Unless you’re unlucky enough to be among the 30% of the population that supposedly still believes the propaganda. I can’t find evidence that the 30% exist. Fake news? More than likely, they have jobs to protect. It’s probably closer to the 6% that still approve of Congress.

That’s my new year’s rant. As far as a new year’s resolution? I don’t believe in any of that foolishness. I may try to post a little more often but that started a month ago. However, there’s a difference between trying and doing.

Doing a good bye now …….

Cc

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The Cutting Edge

I guess I’m not as cutting edge as I think I am. But I drank the beer when chemical reps were trying to sooth hurt feelings because their company’s new chemicals carried over to screw up the next year’s crops. I even volunteered to take the half empty keg back to Hy Vee for them. Just as soon as we’d finished drinking it. Of course I’d not used the Scepter brand soybean herbicide that was killing the next year’s corn. I was only there for the free food. The free beer was a nice bonus. For a couple days. Then I had as bad of a hangover as the chemical. Almost. Unlike the corn Rotation I grew out of it eventually. But then my rotation window is a lot shorter. At least it was back then. Anymore it’s taking longer and longer for me to feel like drinking a beer after I have indulged in a few too many. Thanks Willy. But I can write.

Today when I clicked on “New Post” in my usual place on the page here on Cocreator’s New Blog the version of editor that popped up wasn’t the same. There are at least two places to get here that I’ve found so far, with one offering the same editor mode I’ve always used here on WordPress and the other offering a newer glitzier version. When I noticed an option to click over to classic mode I took the bait. I guess I’m not as cutting edge as I think I am. Glitzy isn’t me. One time I painted a tractor back to original and ended up rolling that tractor within a year. Smashing up the cab I had just traded for the fenders. That was one reason I’d painted it, to make the paint on the cab match the paint on the tractor.  I’m not meant to have nice things.

Even though I no till farmers were no till planting for decades before I adopted it. Even though I planted cover crops last year it was my first year. Unless you consider oats planted to get alfalfa up and growing a cover crop. I don’t. I’ve both cut it for oats hay and combined it for the oats. Some years both. I have grazed down an oat crop that I had used to get forty acres of brome grass to establish. But I had never planted a cover crop to keep green land that was in a two year corn/soybean rotation. Weeds usually did a good enough job of that. If you count weeds I’ve been using cover crops from the get go. Shepard’s Purse. Pennycress. Dandelion. Foxtail. I’ve used them all. But actually spreading radishes and rye grass, no. Now I read farmers have been doing it for decades. I’m maybe not as cutting edge as I think I am.

Even the rotational grazing I try to do to increase stocking rates has been around for decades. I’ve been doing it for maybe one. The Australians and the New Zealanders were the ones that supposedly developed the rotational grazing system. Long before American farm magazines were promoting it. I was doing it before I knew it was a system simply because I’d got in the habit of only selling bulls and I was getting too many head to simply let graze without starving them. My first rotation grazing was taking them out of the pasture and dry lotting them on hay. I’d notice the pasture would come back thick and lush if I would simply let it rest. After reading about paddocks I divided up the pasture into four sections and the rest is history. Which is where I usually come in. I love history. So I guess I’m not as cutting edge as I think I am.

But then I’m not The Creator, I’m Cocreator.

Cc

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Turn

 

The lead cow has already headed off the beaten path. The herd won’t be far behind. It’s a little like turning a battleship, the rudder moves long before the bow. But once it’s done Neptune knows even if  Jupiter has yet to discern the course’s correction. Like a turning battleship the herd is best respected in it’s inevitable direction. Or you’ll likely be pulled down into it’s path and eventually discarded a broken corps into it’s wake. The herd wants to know what’s growing in it’s pasture. It’s useless to not tell them. They’ve already had a whiff, and you should see the size of those nostrils. Not to mention ears and eyes. Eyes big enough to see the smallest print. Or the absence of enough print. The customer is always right. If you don’t want them all up in your face you better put the information right up in their face. Let them turn it over and find out right there on the label. If you want it on their table better come clean on the label.

Without a label you’re liable to eat something you don’t want to. So I think businesses and individuals who sell things to be eaten or consumed by the body in any way would be pertinent if they listed any and all ingredients and where they’re from on the label. I don’t care if it’s the law or not. It shouldn’t have to be the law, it should be part and parcel to good business management to freely give out any and all information about what goes into the product being sold. There’s a big push on to create laws to force  companies to admit if their products contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms. The very fact that so many purveyors of these products are willing to expend large amounts of money fighting these grass roots led labeling initiatives is like a loud siren with bright flashing lights. What on earth are they trying to hide? What do they expect the consumer’s reaction to this opposition to be?

I would argue that by obviously fighting hard to nip this GMO labeling effort in the bud they are De-facto admitting that there’s something negative about GMOs. Mabe something that slipped by during it’s adoption. I have been openly growing Roundup Ready soybeans since the third or fourth year they were made available to plant. Prior to Roundup Ready beans we were spending too much money on pre and post applied weed control chemicals to effectively compete with conventionally grown beans.  Tillage was still much cheaper than a total chemical way to kill weeds. Planting in clean tilled soil allowed your beans to compete evenly with weeds and harrowing, rotary hoeing and multiple cultivator passes could knock down and keep down any weeds the soil incorporated chemicals let slip by. The dry soil mulch that needed to be maintained caused tons and tons of soil to be unduly eroded away to streams.

No till saves soil. Round Ready made no till cheap and easy. Maybe that was the goal. Make this so cheap and easy that the farmer can’t refuse to use it. Give him the window to see what this no till system can do for their soils and consequential yields. Now that we know how could we ever go back to tillage? Even though many of the same problem weeds have developed a tolerance to Roundup herbicide. Even though the costs to control these Roundup Ready weeds is climbing back up to where we were before Roundup Ready. We can see the erosion still even with no till, we will never willingly go backwards like tillage represents again. Some of us are thinking of converting to cover crops to smother out the problem weeds and add other benefits to the soil. Some are going back to soil applied pre-emergent chemicals during April’s rainy season so the rain can incorporate them into the soil instead of tillage. Some quit growing beans.

Whether it be by label through popular demand or whether it be through evolving agronomic realities The Roundup Ready era is over. That said the GMO era is alive and well. Coming soon is something new for the no tiller. In the pipeline for soybean seed are two new GMO created traits. One is Dicamba Ready stacked on top of Roundup Ready. Dicamba is a herbicide nearly as old if not older than Roundup. So there are probably already a slew of weeds that have developed resistance to it’s chemistry. Good luck with the shelf life of that. The other newly GMO created trait for beans is a new formulation of 2-4-D  called 2-4-D Choline Ready. I’m not sure if it’s stacked on top of Roundup Ready or not. But given the fact that Choline is a very important substance to our health I’m not sure it will be safe whether seed companies “science” says it is or not. If they’ve slipped Roundup Ready problems past us this long I don’t think we can trust this 2-4-D Choline out of the gate.

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‘Tween Rain

What a rain. We had to get a few inches. Most of it soaked in. It came fast and furious at first. At first there was no rain. A dust front came through about fifty miles an hour. Then the sky turned kinda green. Lower near the ground it was still dust colored but up above it was that light emerald green that usually spits out a tornado. Then sheets of rain. Rushing across the ground in waves. Faster than water can soak into a sponge. The old familiar gullies ran anew with water. Splish splash the lightning flash. What a show.

I hopped in the van and drove the neighborhood watching the various fields and studying how they handled the heavy rain. Cover crops win. Coming in a close second is no till. Followed up by terraces and grassed waterways. I don’t know where you would put oats and wheat crops. They were not tall and heavy headed enough to go down flat and they soaked up the rain faster than a hairy sponge. Upon reconsideration they may have to be put on top of the list. Definitely worth their place in the crop rotation.

They’re calling for another round this afternoon.  I prefer the slow steady rain we had for the four or five hours after the storm front moved through the other evening. The kind of rain that soaks in and does some good, not damage. I’m not complaining about the rain. I am trying to figure out the best ways to capitalize on all the neighbor’s soil laden water as it flows my way. That way I can have my cake and eat theirs too. I think Dad used to build little holding ponds along the waterways to the creek. Water would slow down in the holding ponds and drop their silt. I think it’s time to reinstall them. I don’t know if dad took them out or if they all filled up. This farm was all grass when Dad quit back in the seventies.

I could talk all day and would if I wasn’t getting hungry. My fingers want to leave the keyboard and get into the cupboard. Put a little vittles in my middle. A sip and a slurp. I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow or so. Like the little matchbooks used to say, Enjoy!

Cc

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