Showing posts from December, 2019

Food Nutrient Density

The Christmas and New Year holidays means parties with lots of food. Have you ever been to a party and you just cannot stop eating even though you are full (stuffed is more like it)? Why do we keep eating? It may be because our bodies are looking for certain foods with essential nutrients that are lacking in our diet. That “hidden hunger” often makes us over eat even though we do not need the extra calories. Pregnant women have urges for different foods to fulfill their bodies demand for essential nutrients needed to produce a healthy baby. In third world counties, some women consume soil (clay) to get iron or other micronutrients missing in their diet. Either their food diet is low in some essential nutrient (low nutrient density) or they just do not have access to foods that have the right essential elements. Several decade long studies indicate that the nutrient density of the food we eat today is declining. A key finding is that you would have to eat 2X as much meat, 3X more fruit,

Cover Crop Herbicide Carry Over

Farmers who want to plant cover crops after corn and soybeans also want to control resistant weeds like marestail, waterhemp, and giant ragweed. Often the residual soil herbicides remain active and have a long residual or half-life that could hurt cover crop establishment. Herbicide half-life is how long it takes for half the herbicide to break down. Good stands of radish and cereal rye also suppress these tough weeds. Since many factors vary from field to field and even certain areas of the field, residual herbicide activity at cover crop establishment is difficult to predict. Herbicides remain biologically active based on soil temperature, rainfall, time of application, organic matter, soil type, and soil pH. Generally, the warmer the soil at planting time, the higher the microbial activity and the faster the herbicide breaks down. Moisture is critical, so dry summers means less or slower breakdown than when moisture is not limiting. The earlier a herbicide is applied allows the herb

Paying for Carbon Credits

Companies are now starting to pay farmers to build and store soil carbon. Starting in 2020, carbon credits will be publicity traded and farmers can sign up to get paid on an annual basis the soil carbon they store. Why are companies willing to pay farmers to put carbon in the soil? First, carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas that is regulated as a potential pollutant. It is extremely expensive for companies to reduce their carbon footprint or reduce the emission of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is cheaper for companies to pay someone else to tie up carbon dioxide as soil carbon than it is for them to do it themselves. Carbon trading with verification is required for this transaction to occur. Since farming practices are variable, the payment needs to be verified over time. Soil is a major storehouse for carbon and carbon dioxide. Approximately 2.5 times all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be stored in the soil. Ohio soils originally had 5-6% soil organic matter in the t

Ohio Corn Performance Test

Northwest Ohio The Ohio Corn Performance Test have been released for 2019 for both early and full season corn varieties representing 20 companies and totaling 163 corn hybrids. Three tests were conducted in Northwestern region. Due to the excessive wet weather, corn was planted much later than normal in June. The Northwestern test sites at Hoytville, Upper Sandusky, and Van Wert had plenty of rain during the growing season with better than expected yields. The Northwestern region experienced poor drying conditions and late harvest resulting in higher grain moisture and lower test weights. Since Upper Sandusky was planted so late (June 22), harvest data is still not available and the corn was almost mature when a killing frost occurred the first week in November. At the Hoytville (June 4/October 28) and Van Wert Site (June 12/November 18), 52 early maturing corn varieties were planted/harvested. Early maturing corn are varieties with relative maturities of 90 to 100 days (short season c

Conservation Best Management Practices

The H2Ohio Program announced plans to pay farmers 170 million dollars to adopt 10 conservation best management practices (BMPs) to reduce phosphorus, sediment, and harmful algal blooms in streams, rivers, and lakes. These BMPs include the following: 1. soil testing (which soil nutrients are high or lacking), 2. variable-rate fertilizing (apply fertilizer where needed), 3. subsurface nutrient application, 4. manure incorporation, 5. crop rotation, 6. cover crops, 7. drainage water management (controlled drainage), 8. two-stage ditch construction, 9. edge-of-field buffers, and 10. wetlands. The goal is to keep fertilizers, manure, pesticides and other soluble nutrients from leaving a farm field, often caused by water erosion during a rain event. While all the BMPs may be helpful, are these the right BMPs to solve the problem? What is the #1 pollutant, by weight, in most streams? Sediment or topsoil. The average USA soil erosion rate is 7.6 tons of topsoil lost/acre/year or 15,200 pounds.