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Crop Watch

By Staff | Jan 31, 2020

One more week in the month and Febuary arrives. Longer sunlight hours in a shorter month always make it fly by. After a snowy and blizzardy weekend and then a week of foggy, snowy and drizzly conditions it is time for more days of bright sunshine.

This is the week of the big Iowa Power Show. A decade ago there seemed to be a 75 percent chance of a major blizzard during the event that threatened one or more days of the show. One year the state was closed down for business and travel by noon of the first day. There ended up being all presenters and almost no visitors for 2.5 days. At the evening events winning a door prize was almost assured. Looking at this week’s forecast the temperatures are predicted to be in the low 30s with a chance of snow on Wednesday with lows around 40 by Friday. We may have a second January thaw to make the recent accumulatio of snow disappear.

The big event in the state this week

The mid-winter event, the big Iowa Power Show week has arrived. People were tired of being cooped up and people were walk around the Old Vets auditorium through a packed audience of show goers. Now with the remodeled Vets and added HyVee hall about triple the floor space is now available. The crowd may be as large but are more dispersed across three floors and two buildings. The waiting list for getting a booth still exists but the wait is shorter. It should still be a good time and place to visit with like minded farmers and Ag professionals to find out what is new in equipment, technology, electronics, crop protection, or other gadgets.

Marv and I will be there at the base of the escalator again. We expect many of our long term neighbors to be there as well in their booths. Stop by if you get this column early enough.

The Jan 22nd Follow the Money 2020 Conference

The day finally came for this conference after we decided having it in Mid-December was too early because many guys were still finishing up with tillage, harvest, and drying the grain after a late and delayed harvest. Mid- January was a risky time to try to outguess the weather so most people’s scheduled suggested Jan 22nd was the best time for it. There was enough rain, snow, and ice to keep 25 to 30 percent of the expected crowd home. The crowd size was still at about 120 people. Those that traveled were there to learn to learn about new products and information about how to overcome recent challenges. If we had waited for a later date they could not incorporate gained knowledge into this year’s cropping plans. .

One of the first speakers was a return guest from Seattle, WA. Rusty Rodriguez stirred interest two meetings ago when he somewhat replicated his Ted Talk where he discussed a class of Microbes called Endophytes. The term refers to the microbes that dwell inside the plants and work to influence the plants’ ability to tolerate or even thrive in stress conditions. These microbes have been doing this for eons. Casual observers assumed the plants were evolving to withstand the inclement, salty or stressy environment. When intrigued pioneering researchers studied those tough plants they found out it was not the plants that had evolved, it was the microbes living on, in or near they plants that evolved and boosted the plants ability to become more tolerant of the environment. In this case the species of Trichoderma from AST allowed the plants to tolerate temps up to 160 degrees as well as very dry conditions

In their initial year of introduction their recs were to apply the microbe on the seed or in-furrow but had not done much foliar or Y-drop applications. The next year of field trials verified that both foliar and Y-drop applications could be successfully used. The results from product use have been very good for corn, soybeans, alfalfa and a multitude of other crops. The BioEnsure was in the mix applied to the seed grown by Randy Dowdy that yielded above 190 Bu/A.

Other endophytes are being identified now and are being tested to see what other plant trait or ability it conferred to its hosts. The lead countries in this area of research are Australia, N. Zealand and Uruguay.

Microbe Formulas

Two people from this company tag teamed in this presentation. They are a newer company founded by humate chemists that is growing by 40 percent each quarter. The head researcher is referred to by the top ag scientist in the world as the top humate chemist in the country. Humates are finely decomposed ancient, plant material that still contains the minerals, hormones and other plant extracts. What they can do after being refined, due to their honeycombed nature and taken orally, is to bind to and removed contaminants from a person’s body. Their goal, which all of their test results verify, is to remove heavy metals, mold toxins, and pesticide residues from a person, who because they applied them over a lifetime, were exposed at work, had a spill, lived in a moldy building, or they were accidentally in their food or water. This could be a variety of compounds and can be detected by lab testing. Until now the question has been what can be done about their presence, especially if they could cause serious illness. This can include the lady and children who help with washing or folding the soiled clothing.

This company has developed the ‘Farmers Shield’, which is a combination of pills that work to pull those contaminants from the body over a month period of time before an illness occurs. This includes everybody’s old uncle or neighbor who used to reach into a tank to stir the batch or to reach in to retrieve a wrench from a tank of some witch’s brew before they got sick. That means you and it means me.

Alan Lindsley, Dr. of Chiro from Wisconsin also talked about his successful protocol of Lyme, which seems to be affecting a lot more people in recent years. Especially if it is vectored more than just with ticks.

I had been looking for something like this since 1986. Finally it has been developed and is available. Check out their website at: microbeformulas.com/farmers

Patient videos testimonials are at: microbeformulas.com/pages/micromentaries


Eric Massey of Redox Chemical Co. was present and he talked about the energy requirement of plants to conduct and fund the functions of growing, tolerating stress, pulling in water, going thru their reproductive stages and then filling the grain or fruit. Where and how the plants are gathering that energy and then transporting it around inside the plant is something their researchers have focused on developing products for. After that achievement the energy savings can be devoted to increasing yields and quality. Having a plant researcher lead a discussion bordering on physics and energy dynamics opened up a thought process among audience members. He then gave suggestions on how to maximize energy capture independent on whether the next years are cool and wet or if they are the reverse.

Brad Forkner – Minerals and Humates

The mineral and humate specialist from Cherry, Illinois gave his typical good presentation on how plants have specific requirements for the minerals we refer to as micronutrients. While the old N-P-K only fertility mindset may have been be adequate for the person achieving average yields, it will run short for the growers winning the yield and net return contests. The last category is where Brad usually wins. Most corn and bean growers would like to do the same. Brad and his colleagues also continue to accumulate new information on humates and carbon in the soil. Both serve as food for the microbial population in the soil. If they meet that requirement the microbes will feed the plants. Several soil test labs are measuring and giving the levels of water soluble and soil active carbon. Such knowledge can be used in the quest to improve yields.


The guys in the audience listened intently to Kevin the day of the meeting and traveled down to his farm shops on the following day to learn and watch videos and hear suggestions about how to maximize results from adjustments to tillage tools and planters. Having them equipped and set right are vital to getting near perfect stands of corn.

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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