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CROP WATCH

By Staff | Feb 5, 2016

All right, let’s ask for a show of hands as to who does not wish to ever have the caucus come back to Iowa during their lifetime?

Did I see 99 percent of you raise your hands or was it higher?

Did any of the newscasters, reporters, political advisors, and, yes, candidates ever have their mother’s tell them in their early years that if they couldn’t say something nice about another person they shouldn’t say anything at all?

If they did, not many of them took the advice.

So later this week all the citizens of Iowa should out-vote the hotels and restaurant owners in the major cities of the state and let Nebraska or South Dakota share the honors in 2020.

There was a good story out yesterday about Bill Clinton trying to pep up his lovely wife by telling her that even Nelson Mandela was not elected president of his country until after he had spent 27 years in prison.

In all seriousness we likely get chosen because most of us do take voting seriously and recognize how important it is that concerned citizens spend the time and efforts getting to know the candidates on a somewhat personal level, then use their best judgment in selecting the person they view as best able to lead the country for the next four or eight years.

However things could be improved. We were down in Brazil at its second last major election.

Everyone under the age of 75, unless they are unable to walk or travel at all are required to vote. Unless they do they are unable to get any government services the next year.

The voting places get to ask for a picture ID and also get to take everyone’s fingerprints.

They use a very good variety of ink that does not come off.

IPFS

This is the week of the big Iowa Power Farming Show, and right on schedule in half the years is a big blizzard that is predicted to drop up to 12 inches of snow accompanied by 30 to 40 mph winds.

Does that mean that people will not be able to get to the show, or will not be able to get home from the show? The correct answers might be yes and yes.

The exhibitors are very likely to forget about the caucusing and head down to set up on Monday and find a motel to stay in the first two nights.

With snow plows not venturing out until the winds die down there may not be much moving until Wednesday afternoon. And that is on the optimistic side.

The show, as it typically does, becomes the biggest winter event of the ag shows for the central part of the state. Farmers are willing to walk the aisles and displays to see what is new and what they may need to get updated on.

There wasn’t likely be as many checkbooks pulled out to buy items, but it is still learning time to find out what machinery add-ons, attachments, data analysis program, fertilizer be it soil, in-furrow, or foliar applied, should be looked at as potentially being a real winner.

In addition were informational sessions in one of the rooms where you could park for 30 to 50 minutes.

Last year the pulse width spray nozzles at the T-Jet booth were the item that caught my eye since they appeared to be the item that potentially could have the biggest impact in an area where a solution was being sought.

What’s going on here?

Late in 2015 a news item caught my eye and it was time to do some checking. There was a newer virus that had already caused nearly 2,500 babies to be born with very small heads and greatly underdeveloped brains.

They were calling it the Zika virus, which supposedly moved over from Africa with a rowing team from one of those mosquito-plagued countries.

What made the report really strange was that this was the first time such symptomology had appeared when this virus was involved. That did not make sense, but everyone in the media seemed to just go with the flow.

As of Sunday, interested people had found that they could purchase samples of this virus as #ATCC@VR84 from by a British biological supply firm. In their literature they mention that it was turned in by a medical doctor who was working for a major, well known foundation, and gotten the blood sample from an experimental forest sentinel rhesus monkey from Uganda back in 1947.

This event is now getting mentioned on more news outlets since it is recognized that there are people moving between the different counties on a daily basis.

The second strange part of the story is that the disease is epicentered in the area where the same company, Oxitec, responsible for developing the fast-growing salmon, is also involved in developing specially bred mosquitoes, now known to have developed resistance to the antibiotic meant to control their reproduction.

Their speculated rate of mutation of 3 to 4 percent survival is turning out to be 15 percent, with the belief that the use of jumping genes or superactive transporons and cat food containing rendered chicken parts being fed to the larvae responsible for creating the problem.

Already there are cases in this country and it appears that all types of mosquitoes will be on the wanted posters this summer across many countries. The small-headed infants sounds eerily like what is being seen in a large area between Buenos Aires and Rosario, Argentina and off in the Yakima Valley, as well as in the Chicago area.

A friend’s daughter is a pediatrician in one of those areas so has firsthand knowledge of the specifics and gets to rock those terminal infants.

Many of us get to spend many hours out in fields where there happen to be thirsty mosquitoes lurking. While males don’t have as much to risk, any pregnant wives or daughters may have to be on alert this summer to what the real threat is.

You heard it here first and hopefully more will be uncovered in this investigation. We may be hoping for a drier summer where insects are less of a problem.

Agronomy lesson

Two weeks ago several of us sponsored a meeting in Nevada where John Kempf spoke. His topic dealt with how to manage the soils and soil biology so as to minimize disease and insect problems, while producing acceptable yields in the process.

Regenerative Ag and how it can be used to produce profitable crops is what he focuses on. Due to weather out east that delayed things he was delayed in his arrival by a few hours.

After the Nevada meeting he was the keynote speaker at the Practical Farmers of Iowa Conference as well as teaching at two Saturday workshops.

He returned to Ohio by Sunday morning and within a few days his office staff had received enough phone calls to recognize that many growers were still interested in hearing more about his theories of using management and his fertilizer products to grow crops, fruit and veggies impervious to insect and disease attack.

He has decided to do so and will be back in Nevada for a Feb. 24 workshop.

You can register for the workshop by going to the website of Advancing Eco Agriculture or AEA and registering or calling (440) 6323-1014.

Why this could be important is that it seems many of the rules and programs growers have been using are not doing a good job of producing healthy crops in fields that do not have insect, disease or weed problems.

Getting a second opinion can be a good thing.

Register editorial page

Now that we have signed up for again and read what is in the DM Register there was an editorial where the editor was prodding the political leaders to begin debating the topic of food security and food safety.

Since most of us eat at least two or three times per day, citizens of this country too often take having a constant food supply for granted.

Give this some thought and look for a larger discussion to take place. Within the discussion there has to be a part where having the growers benefit financially from doing the work and making the investment.

Bob Streit is an independent crop consultant and columnist for Farm News. He can be reached at (515) 709-0143.

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