Posts Tagged With: Soil

Weather Wednesday 7/27/16

It cooled off quite a bit this week after the heat wave swept through the North Central Illinois area over the weekend.

It. Was. Hot.

There’s a few thunderstorms forecasted going into the weekend, but temperatures remain pretty average for this time of year.

Here’s a look at what our sales agronomists have been seeing, in terms of weather, around the Midwest:

Gary Campbell: It’s still very dry in Northwest Ohio. The Findlay area only had 2-3” of rain since June 1. The lighter soils are really showing heat stress. Parts of Southern Wisconsin received 3” of rain last weekend, and parts of Minnesota remain wet.

Ken Musselman: After going through a dry spell, Central Iowa received some big rains bringing some relief to the extreme heat. East Central Iowa continues to get timely rains.

Eric Johnston: We made it through the scorching weekend in North Central Illinois. Thankfully we had an inch of rain last week, and the forecast looks favorable through the end of the month. Just going by the size of the sweet corn ears I’ve been eating lately, we should have a good crop as long as it can hang on and fill the ears.

Ray Roettger: Most areas from Missouri to Pennsylvania are looking well with adequate to good moisture. Seems to be a dry area from Holmes County, Ohio through New York, but the crop growth is good.

And with that, here’s to another week of watching your crops grow!

New to Daily Dirt? We’d love to help you weatherproof your soils. Comment below with where you’re from and we’ll get you in contact with the right person!

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Weather Wednesday 6/22/16

I was jolted awake at 3:00am this morning by thunder that rattled the entire house. While the thunder has let up, it’s been raining off and on since, giving our crops a much needed drink, up to 6.5 inches in some spots!

Here’s a look at what the weather is doing around the corn belt this week:

Reporting from Bureau County, Illinois, our sales agronomists Eric Johnston, says he woke up to 8/10 in his rain gauge and they’re getting even more rain. This is coming at a perfect time as a lot of the corn is beginning to go through the rapid growth stage.

Reporting from Northeast Iowa, our sales agronomist Ken Musselman, says most everyone is getting some rain this morning. Guys are foliar spraying and still have dry beans to plant. They should be finished cultivating on corn this week. In Indiana, he says most areas are dry and showing signs of drought stress this week, but looks like they’re going to get rain today.

Reporting from Southwest Nebraska, our sales agronomists Mike Wyatt, says weather continues to be hot and dry. Day time temps are in the low 90’s and nights are in the 70’s. The wheat crop is ripening fast, and there’s a 20% chance of a thunderstorm this evening. Irrigation systems are running a bit early this year.

Reporting from Southern Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky, our sales agronomist Ray Roettger, says it’s been in the upper 90’s. So far, there’s been no rain which allows side dress and wheat harvest to progress nicely. He says the weather in New York is dry and the temperature ranges from 75-85 degrees.

Reporting from Western Michigan, our sales agronomist Gary Campbell, says it’s hot and dry. The crops look good, but will show stress soon if they don’t get rain.

And with that, here’s to another week of watching your crops grow!

New to Daily Dirt? We’d love to help you weatherproof your soils. Comment below with where you’re from and we’ll get you in contact with the right person.

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Technology to make planting a breeze

With planting season off to a flying start, there’s a lot to keep track of, a lot to do, and a lot on our minds. Technology continues to enhance productivity on our farms and we continue to look for apps to help make your jobs easier.

Over the last 2 years, we’ve compiled several lists here, here, and here. But today, we want to add a few more that have been found to be very effective:

Ag PhD Planting Population: Available for both Apple and Android devices, Ag PhD Planting Population has 2 functions. First, during planting season, the app can determine optimum in-row spacing between seeds based upon row width and the desired planting population per acre. Second, after crop emergence, the app allows farmers to determine a stand count by helping them count the number of plants that have emerged in a specific row.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.23.35 PM

Ag PhD Soil Test: Available for both Apple and Android devices, Ag PhD Soil Test is a complete system for nutrient management. It maps soil-testing results and gives fertilizer recommendations. Ag PhD works exclusively with Midwest Laboratories, who we work with, to provide you with one of the most comprehensive test packages available at a competitive price.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.23.56 PM

If you do download these apps, keep in mind, we’d love to go over any soil-testing or fertility questions you may have. If you already have these apps, how would you rate them? What other apps would you recommend?

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#Plant16 has started

Twitter and Facebook reports are indicating 2016 corn planting has started in western Illinois in Pike County.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 3.36.26 PM

While many of us are still waiting on temperatures to warm up, here are a few important tips to remember for early corn plantings :

  • Wait until soil temperature reaches 50° F. Keep your eye on the 7-day forecast and fight the urge to jump the gun!
  • If that forecast includes moisture, be wary. Planting within 24 hours of a cold rain will likely lead to imbibitional chilling, a condition that will harm germination when the seed absorbs cool water.
  • For optimum yields, remember to plant your corn at the correct depth for proper root development and consider a dry seed treatment (Myco Seed Treat®) containing beneficial fungi and bacteria.
  • If you’re tilling under corn stalks, cover crops, or alfalfa, use Residuce to turn yield-robbing residue into a yield-enhancing asset with accelerated nutrient cycling.
  • If some of your fields are marginal in calcium, or the calcium isn’t very soluble, consider a quick broadcast trip with Practi-Cal and SP-1™.

Last but not least, consider putting biology in your planter – Myco Seed Treat®, SP-1™, or Bio Aid WS. These products at planting can help get your crops off to the right start by cycling essential nutrients around the seed as it germinates, sprouts, and develops a root system.

We’d love to help you get all of your crops off to the right start. Give us a call today! 

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Controlling your Future

2016 winter seminar Some of the best advice I gleaned in college was “control the controllable and everything else will fall into place.” I like to be in control. I like to make plans. I like to execute my plans. I like to predict the outcome. I enjoy crushing my goals. I like the challenge.

As you can imagine, this advice did not sit easy in my college brain. Since then, life has taught me that sometimes, no matter the plans you have, something always derails you. It doesn’t matter how passionately you felt about a certain goal or how hard you worked something will always knock you over. Now, being married to a farmer, that is some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. If I tried to control everything, I don’t think I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

Sometimes the only thing keeping me going is knowing I did everything in my power to achieve certain goals and that alone eases my sometimes anxious heart. It’s knowing I did my very best and the leaving the rest up to the good Lord. And it’ll work out exactly as it should, even if it’s not exactly how I would’ve envisioned. So what’s that have to do with controlling your future? Well with yesterday’s wisdom and today’s technology, the future is indeed a bright one. Start by controlling what you can control and plan to attend our seminar Next Generation Farming: Yesterday’s Wisdom + Today’s Technology = Our Future from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 26 at Timber Creek Convention Center in Sandwich, Illinois.

We will be focusing on everything we’ve learned in our 28+ years of experience as well as where the markets are heading well into 2016 and beyond. Let us help you control the controllables!

Our complete agenda is as follows:

  • Controlling your Future – Dean Craine
  • My 28-Year Biological Farming Journey – Jim Mitchell
  • Priority #1: Soil Health – Dr. Rick Haney
  • Priority #2: The First 40 Days – Ken Musselman, Jerry Carlson
  • Priority #3: Satisfy the Consumer – Anthony Suau
  • New & Emerging Markets
    • Organic Valley – Kevin Kiehnau
    • Clarkson Grain – George Kalogridis
    • Bay State Milling – Doug Lockwood
    • Bay Shore Sales – Jim Sattelberg
    • Goodness Greeness – Bob Scaman
    • Organic Marketing – Reggie Destree 
  • Should you Consider Organic Farming?
    • Banker’s Perspective – Richard Ritter 
    • Consultant’s Perspective – Gary McDonald
    • Organic Farmers’ Perspectives – Jerry & Cindy Glaser 
  • A 12-Month Fertility Program: Addressing your Priorities, Controlling your Future – Ray Roettger

Virtually meet each speaker and get a sneak peak of their presentations right here leading up to the seminar. We’re so excited about this year’s speaker roster and hope you are too. Learn why we believe biological farming is the future of economical, high-quality food production.

RSVP to AgriEnergy Resources by January 18 at 815-872-1190. A complimentary meal will be available for all pre-registered guests. We have also reserved a block of rooms at Timber Creek Inn & Suites (attached to the convention center) for $119 + tax until January 8 and $169 + tax after January 8. Please call 630-273-6006 for those reservations. Timber Creek Convention Center is located at 3300 Drew Avenue, Sandwich, Illinois 60548, just 30 miles from Interstates 88, 55, 80, and 39.

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Let’s go “back to the future”

Today, October 21, 2015, is the day the movie Back to the Future II was set to take place when it was shot and released in 1989.

For those of you that aren’t aware, this movie is about the adventures of a time traveler as he travels 26 years into the future to protect his future children from trouble. Needless to say some of the things predicted in the movie, like the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, were completely preposterous (at the time). Well today, October 21, 2015, the Chicago Cubs are vying for their chance at winning it all. First time playing in the post-season since 2008.

Twenty-Six years ago, we were just beginning to find our stride in biological farming. With many, many years of research and experience, 26 years ago is when it all came together. 26 years. We had combines, but we had to physically drive them at all times. Auto-steer wasn’t invented. We had no fancy cell phones to connect with everyone on our team. We had to physically talk with them.

Photo credit: Back to the Future II movie

Photo credit: Back to the Future II movie

Now, 26 years later, we don’t even have to be in our combines to drive them. We can connect with multiple people by the click of a button. We’ve even experienced the hover board and automatic shoe-lace concepts that were referred to in the movie as well.

Who knows what we’ll be experiencing in another 26 years, but we have some pretty lofty dreams in agriculture:

“In the year 2041, agriculturalists will have realized that insects and disease are not the result of a pesticide deficiency or lack of genetic traits. They will have found soil health and proper crop nutrition do a much better job of protecting plants from both insects and disease. We’ll also have learned that the resultant plants have a much higher nutrient density and are greatly beneficial to the livestock and humans that eat them, helping to improve human health. The medical field will also look at nutrition as the first line of defense for human health instead of what the pharmaceuticals used in the past.” – Ken Musselman, AER Agronomist

“I want a scanner like on Star Trek, where you just point it at the soil and plants, and it knows exactly what is needed in microbes and fertility for maximum health. Then a fleet of drones (with scanners) hovering over the fields will be spraying on the right stuff instantly.” – Gary Campbell, AER Agronomist

“I’d like to see small individual machines that run by themselves in between the rows, operated by GPS and sensors. These machines will then come back to the mother machine to fill up when empty. They could be designed to do a number of things – dry or liquid fertilizer, spread or drill cover crops, light cultivation, mowing, flaming etc. This would also help mitigate compaction.” – Eric Johnston, AER Agronomist

“With all these small machines, scanners, drones, sensors…I’d like to see a method that automatically keeps track of the expenses for every single application, product, tillage, etc. as that process is completed!!! With it being so individualized, that the expenses could be viewed for the entire farm, and then ‘drilled down’ by field, by acre, by crop. You would then have records showing the costs/income for every area (big or small) of ground that is farmed in a way that could be easily analyzed and compared along with information for projections. All of this to be done automatically without any human input, so there is no chance of information or costs slipping through the cracks. All while the farmer is having his second cup of coffee!” – Annette Lord, AER Accountant

“I’d like to see a machine that takes a picture of your garden and/or freezer filled with farm fresh meat that does all your meal planning for you. It will break out an entire week of meals using what you have available. That would almost make cooking fun!” – Katlyn Sanden, AER Communication Strategist

What would you like to see in the year 2041? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

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October: Soils & Products We Use

How fitting that October is dedicated to “soils & products we use” during the International Year of Soils. Most of us are out working the soil right now. Maybe you’re reading this in the tractor or combine. Maybe you’re reading this while picking pumpkins, apples, or squash. Maybe you’re reading this on your porch while enjoying the beautiful, crisp, fall weather. No matter where you are, soils play a vital role in the Earth’s ecosystem.

For example, soils helped filter yesterday’s rainwater in our fields and regulated the discharge of excess precipitation. When managed properly, soil reduces the hazard of flooding and is capable of storing large amounts of organic carbon.

Using Residuce® to recycle your 2015 crop residues can reduce your 2016 fertilizer costs with live microbes that break down crop residues. The proof in in the picture - Residuce® used on right.

Using Residuce® to recycle your 2015 crop residues can reduce your 2016 fertilizer costs with live microbes that break down crop residues. The proof in in the picture – Residuce® used on right.

I read an article the other day where the author referred to soil as earth’s living skin, providing us with resources to live such as food and shelter. So it only makes sense to use the cleanest, safest products in the industry to care for our soils.

Right now, in the midst of harvest, we really recommend applying Residuce® to improve soil tilth and seedbed establishment for the next growing season. When applied at the right time, Residuce® can accelerate plant residue breakdown and nutrient re-cycling. It’s a blend of microbes, enzymes, humates, and food sources that could lower your 2016 fertilizer inputs by making mineral nutrients available to crops more quickly.

Join us this month as we talk soil and products we use during the International Year of Soils.

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AgriEnergy Resources Conference Giveaway

ACRES U.S.A. Conference is right around the corner and this year we are giving away 2 passes to ACRES to one lucky farmer, which will also guarantee a travel voucher for 2 (travel & lodging) to AgriEnergy’s annual winter seminar in January.

ACRES U.S.A. is North America’s oldest publisher on production-scale organic and sustainable farming. For more than four decades their mission has been help farmers, ranchers, and market gardeners grow food organically, sustainably, without harmful, toxic chemistry.

A glimpse into what this year's trade show could look like...Last year's birds eye view.

A glimpse into what this year’s trade show could look like…Last year’s birds eye view.

If you’ve ever attended before, you know what a world-class educational and networking event it is. If you’ve never been, trust us, you’ll walk away with so many ideas to maximize profits for the 2016 season. Jam packed with seminars and workshops, you will get the opportunity to “pick the brains” of the most innovative farmers, consultants, soil & crop advisors, authors, nutritionists, holistic veterinarians, researchers, beekeepers, geologists, soil microbiologists, and more.

The conference will be held December 9-11 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and our seminar will be held the last week of January in Illinois. To qualify for your chance to win the jackpot, tell us the first thing you’d do when you get to ACRES (if you win) on Facebook and/or Twitter using the hashtag #AERatACRES and fill out this short questionnaire.

Good luck!

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September: Soils protect the natural environment

“A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt knew what he was talking about when he wrote that excerpt in a letter to all State Governors regarding a Uniform Soil Conservation Law in 1937. Soils provide anchorage for plant roots, hold water long enough for plants to use it, and store nutrients that sustain life. Even though soil color differs throughout the nation, it’s still one of the world’s biggest natural filters. Soils remove contaminants through their chemical, biological, and physical properties. In other words, soils are the kidneys of all earth ecosystems. The picture below (by the NRCS) shows all the various soils in the United States.

Soil Color

So what are you doing to improve your soils? Join us this month during the International Year of Soils as we discuss soil and the environment!

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Cover crops to be discussed at upcoming field days

If you’ve worked with us for any amount of time, then you know we are strong believers in cover crops and all the good they can do. If you’ve just stumbled across this page while searching for something else, you’re in for a treat.

Cover crops can help reduce risk on any operation in a variety of ways. One of our customers, Mark Doudlah, who we are co-hosting a field day with, has seen first hand how cover crops such as cereal rye and vetch can help with weed control in his organic corn acres.

Cover crops will be discussed at both the Doudlah Farms/Dramm Corporation/AER Organic Field Day August 11 and the Matt & James Beran/Souhrada Custom Spraying & Ag Products/Dramm Corporation/AER Organic Field Day August 4.

Want to learn more about cover crops? Come to either one of the previously mentioned field days. Please RSVP by July 27 by calling AgriEnergy Resources at 815-872-1190.

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