Showing posts from March, 2022

Climate is "Unsettled" Science

There is a lot of doom and gloom in this world. Between COVID-19, Ukraine war, and Climate Change; there is not a lot of optimism, especially in our young people. Maybe some data can alleviate some concerns about climate change. Climate change is real but should not be overhyped. Earth’s climate has been naturally changing since its creation. Climate is an average of the weather over many years, changing slowly and is measured over decades. Weather is what is happening now or in the near future. Aaron Wilson, Ohio State climatologists is predicting another year where our spring weather may be wetter than “normal”, summer may be dry, and fall may be wetter than normal. Weather predictions are about 50% or less, so maybe he’s right. Climatologist often say, “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get!” Earth’s climate has changed over decades and centuries; ebbing and flowing, up and down with a lot of internal variation. The tilt of the earth from season to season changes our w

Soil Health Indicators

As spring arrives, farmers should be evaluating their fields for soil health. Since the soil is too wet to farm yet, March and early April is a great time to assess farm fields. For soil health, evaluate fields is in the spring or fall; when the soil is not too hard, dry, or too hot. All you need is a notebook, shovel, boots, and a strong back! Here are seven ways to quickly and inexpensively evaluate soil health. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) suggests evaluating these seven soil health indicators. First, look at soil biological activity which determines nutrient cycling and promotes plant growth and yield. Dig a hole and evaluate how many earthworms, mites, beetles, spiders, and other active creatures you see. In active healthy soils with good biology, crop fields will have fewer pests (weeds, harmful insects, and disease). Earthworm middens have 13X higher structural stability, 2.5X more nitrogen, 3X more phosphorus, 3X more potassium, and 4.5X more calcium than re

Healthy Soils May Reduce Aging

  New Penn State University research shows that tilled soils have reduced levels of an essential amino acid called ergothioneine (ERGO). ERGO is an amino acid or vitamin that promotes longevity or reduced aging. Healthy soils that are not tilled have more healthy bacteria and specific fungi that make this “longevity vitamin” to fight the detrimental effects of chronic diseases on human cell aging. ERGO is an antioxidant/vitamin used to keep human cells healthy. Plants, animals, and humans cannot make ERGO themselves but they can absorb it, either from the soil or from plants that absorb it. The Penn State study demonstrates that soil disturbance may directly impact a key dietary factor associated with long-term human health. In the Penn State Study, researchers evaluated the effect of intense tillage (mold board plow, disking, harrowing), to medium tillage (chisel plowing, harrowing) to complete no-till. These plots were established in 1978, so these are long-term tillage plots. Resear

Corn Planter Adjustments

  Crop and fertilizer prices are soaring but getting a good crop starts at planting. Planters never seem to break down in the machine shed, but after sitting all winter, problems occur quickly. Planting delays can be quite expensive. Planter parts may also be hard to find, so planter adjustments and repairs should be made early. Tractor and planter tires should be properly inflated before leveling the planter at the hitch. High tractor tires may require a hitch adjustment to keep the planter level. Planters need to be level in all directions. Parallel arms should be level in the planting position to maximize benefits of downward pressure. Check parallel arms with a level all three ways: up and down, across the arms, and perpendicular. Check that planter boxes and fertilizer units are level and the planter frame are correctly set (check owner’s manual). Good population and high yields start with a level planter. Ideally set the planter frame 20-21 inches off the soil surface at planting