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By Staff | Apr 6, 2018

Here is a belated Easter wish for you. And at the same time Mother Nature seems to be pulling a belated April fool’s joke on us. With the arrival of April the days and soils are supposed to be warming up to the point where we can’t wait to drop the first corn seeds into the ground.

Instead the next week across much of the northern and central Midwest the forecast is for a cold week with a chance of snow through next weekend. I was going to stick my soil thermometer into the ground on Sunday afternoon, but after seeing snow banks that were not melting it was easy to conclude that soil temps were not going to be on the rise in the next few days. This is not an isolated case. My daughter who lives in St Louis called and reported they drove home from the in-laws living in the city and it was sleeting enough to make the roads slick. So even we often like to start planting corn in Iowa right after the crop insurance date, and in Missouri and Nebraska they can often be planting full bore by the end of the first week in April it appears that it won’t be happening this year.

And on the sports scene the final game of the college basketball season is this Monday night. It was nice to see that 75 percent of the final four teams hailed from the Midwest. In an informal poll a high percentage of the casual fans were rooting for the Loyola of Chicago team where the players looked and acted like normal college kids rather than seven foot tall NBA players. And their team mentor was a 98 year young nun who hugged all of them at the end of each game. Getting that far was proof that it is the size of the fight in the player and not the size of the player in the fight that determines how the battle turns out.

Weird weather

Speaking of weird weather, don’t listen to the radio this week and don’t travel to the north. My schedule calls me to be in Algona Tuesday morning and then head north into Minnesota for Tuesday and Wednesday. The forecast out of WCCO in the Twin Cities is calling for 4 to 10 inches of snow, cold temps, and possibly blowing snow and a winter storm. Is this the harbinger of the Maudner Minimum which Larry Acker and Simon Atkins, both recently deceased, have been talking about for years. This Maudner is supposed to be a 58 year long quiet sun phase where the sun cools down and its radiative heat output declines dramatically. I remember back in the 1970s that the world was predicted to go into a mini-ice age. Let’s see what late April and May bring.

In case you have not heard of Dr. Simon Atkins, you should study up on him. He is British and his father was a diplomat in the U.S., so he grew up on the east coast. He serves as a climatologist for several ag groups in the U.S., Moe Russell, Richard Brock, Top Producer and one other, plus is on the National Railroad Advisory board because of his insight and accuracy in making out of the box predictions. His belief is that beneath the earth’s crust and core is semi-molten rock containing lots of metals. As this mass shifts those metals set up electronic lay lines that steer and influence the weather. He will draw the North American continent and draw from one to three horizontal lines for normal to wild weather. Then he might draw one to two slanted lines that cross those horizontal lines. When those slanted lines appear get ready for major storms or tornadoes. He is also very psychic and accurate on that front. If you are interested he does offer a paid subscription that involved weather, economic, and political predictions. I can dig up his address if anyone wants to look into this. He is also much attuned to human health and has a healing clinic down in a Eucalyptus forest in the southeast corner of Uruguay. While we were down there a few years ago we spent the better part of a day with him and it was well worth it.

Show me the money meeting

In previous columns I mentioned the conference we held in Ames on March 12 that was very well attended. Since then we have been getting questions from people that heard about it or due to their schedules were unable to attend. We did arrange for Jerry Carlson of Cedar Falls to bring his camera and record all of the presentations. We now have that taping transferred to flash drives that are available. If you would like one check this out on our website www.centraliowaag.com

Weed news

Farmers who are tasked with trying to control or manage weed problems constantly remark that they can’t believe how fast the little old pigweed developed into the waterhemp and has now evolved into the very serious Palmer Amaranth issue. It was very easy to see back in the 1980s how several classes of herbicides, the ALS and SU’s, as first did a great job and then in two or three years major resistance had evolved. Witness Scepter, Pursuit and Pinnacle and how quickly they were relegated to secondary herbicide status.

It appears now that a team of researchers at K-state may have discovered the reason for this. In that state, just as in other Delta states and possibly Iowa, farmers are battling both waterhemp and Palmer and glyphosate is no longer effective. What this team has found is that something unique is occurring. The Gly resistant plants carry the Gly target gene in hundreds of copies. This information is carried in long, linear DNA molecules called Chromosomes. In the resistant plants the information was carried in gene escaped the chromosomes and formed a separate, self replicating, circular structure or ccDNA. Each of these has one copy of the gene that produces an enzyme that is the target for Glyphosate. Then because there end up being hundreds of these eeDNAs in each cell, the amount of the enzyme is abundant. Once the weeds acquire the eeDNAs they can be passed on to the weed’s offspring and other related species. To top it off they believe these eeDNAs can then jump back into the regular chromosomes and all subsequent generations will be resistant.

For people that wish to study this further the entire study was printed in the KSU news or the journal entitled: The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science on March 12.

Advice on producing high bean yields

Being it looks like it might be a bit longer before people are planting the soybean acres, it might be good to review a few of the basic rules. The top researchers such as Jim Burlein of Ohio State and Gary Harman of Cornell recommend that farmers still should be applying a top quality inoculant to their soybean seed as or prior to planting. Since each bushel of beans requires 5.5 lbs of N to form the nitrogen living within the nodules need to be pulling that N out of the air in high volumes to convert it into the plant usable form.

Micro-nutrient thoughts

On a national and international scale the top researchers and farmers recognize that the use of these minerals needs to be recognized by growers as being vital to the production of healthy and productive crops of all sorts. If one reads the recent books entitled ‘Mineral Nutrition and Plant Disease’ by Huber and Datnoff, ‘Mineral Nutrition in Higher Plants’ by Marschner, and ‘Plant Analysis Handbook 3’ by Sasseville, Mills, Bryson, Jones and Barker, you will get the impression that these highly viewed scientist researched and documented the facts and hold the view that minerals such as Mn, Zn, Bo and Cuetc. are crucial to farmers trying to growing profitable crops. Farmers that do so are typically finding that their use give some of the best ROIs of all inputs they may to use or apply.

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

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