Showing posts from December, 2021

Fulvic Acid: A Miracle Worker

My wife gave me a great Christmas present this year; a book entitled Organic Soil Conditioning by Dr. William Jackson (958 pages), full of facts that are beneficial to agriculture. This information may help farmers cope with higher fertilize prices. “Mother Nature” hates to waste soil nutrients so she designed two natural organic humic compounds to improve nutrient utilization. Fulvic acid has an open carbon structure that is a light weight compound (low molecular weight) with almost miraculous properties! It comes from lightly digested plant and microbial byproducts and is not just one carbon compound, its many varied compounds. Its composition is very similar all over the world, yet it differs slightly depending upon soils, plants, weather, microbes etc. Fulvic acid, over time gets degraded, digested, and transformed into Humic acid which has a denser and tighter carbon structure (high molecular weight). These two organic compounds (fulvic and humic acid) are full of essential soil n

Precious Resources: Soil, Water, and Air

As we celebrate the holidays and look forward to a new year, we have many precious natural resources in this country to appreciate. Our soils, water and air are second to none! We need to keep reminding ourselves in these turbulent times, how great a nation we are and how important our precious resources are to feeding the 7 billion plus people on this earth. As a country, we export one-third of our crops overseas, so many people depend on the USA to keep them fed. A common way to look at the importance of soils is to use an apple to represent the plant Earth. If the apple is sliced into four quarters, about 3 apple quarters or 75% of the earth is water located in oceans, lakes, and streams. The remaining one quarter apple slice represents the land area on Earth. Now cut that one quarter apple slice in half or into 1/8 sections. About 1/8 of Earth’s land is in swamps, deserts, mountainous areas, Arctic, and Antarctic areas that are not suitable for producing human food or for human hab

National Farm Bill Discussions

The 2023 National Farm Bill discussions are now beginning. With a new administration; climate change, water quality, and new air emission standards are expected to be a big part of the discussion. Farmers need to pay attention to these discussions and get involved with making their views known before the Farm Bill becomes law. The impact of agriculture on climate change will be a key discussion. Our climate has been changing since the Earth was born. During the Wisconsin glaciation (24,000-26,000 years ago), Ohio glaciers and ice reached its maximum extent and ended roughly 12,000 years ago. However, around 55 million years ago, the artic circle was balmy with alligators and palm trees, and Ohio was mostly likely under water. Natural causes of climate change include solar variations in sun activity (sun spots), volcanic eruptions, the tilt and rotation of the earth’s axis, and other internal variability. Since the 1800’s, human climate change factors include the increased use of fossil

Reducing Tar Spot Disease

Most farmers had a good corn harvest but corn tar spot (Phyllachora maydis) was an issue. Tar spot is a corn disease that came from Central America and seems to be spreading by wind into corn growing states. Tar spot is a fungus that grows rapidly when temperatures are 60-700F and humidity is 75% or higher with rainy, foggy, cloudy summer weather spreading this disease. Corn will mature early with reduced ear weight, poor kernel fill, stalk rot, and possibly lodging with yield losses ranging from 0-60 bushel per acre, depending upon disease severity. Unfortunately, not much is known about this disease.  There are several ways to combat tar spot. No corn hybrid is totally resistant but some varieties (especially early maturing) are more tolerant than others. Fungicides may help but time of application is critical for optimal success. The tar spot inoculum can survive the winter, so getting corn leaves to decompose quickly helps reduce the spread. Crop rotation helps but it appears that