Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cold Winters

"Ten days ago, the sun was quite active and peppered with several large spots. Now the sun has gone quiet and it is nearly completely blank. It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive.

It looks as if this solar cycle is “double-peaked” (see below) which is not all that uncommon; however, it is somewhat rare that the second peak in sunspot number during the solar max phase is larger than the first. In fact, this solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles.

The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase. For this reason, many solar researchers are calling this current solar maximum a “mini-max”.

Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, there were almost no sunspots, a very unusual situation during a solar minimum phase that had not happened for almost a century."

I was hoping this winter would be warmer than last, like we discussed in an earlier article this year.  It still could be and I hope it is.  If you believe in the effect solar cycles have on weather, then the outlook in our lifetime is not so good!  Not good unless you enjoy cold winters, that is!

At my age I still like the four seasons but I am not crazy about cold winters, especially if they are long like this year was.  This past winter started reminding me of 1977 and 1978!  Those were the hardest winters of my lifetime and the weather definitely affected my activities.

At this point in my life I have a choice.  I can get away part of the winter if not all of it and we just may do that.

Ed Winkle

Monday, July 21, 2014


"War, famine, mass extinctions and devastating plagues - all of these are coming unless some kind of miraculous solution is found to the world's rapidly growing water crisis.  By the year 2030, the global demand for water will exceed the global supply of water by an astounding 40 percent according to one very disturbing U.S. government report.  As you read this article, lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers are steadily drying up all over the planet. 

The lack of global water could potentially be enough to bring about a worldwide economic collapse all by itself if nothing is done because no society can function without water.  Just try to live a single day without using any water some time.  You will quickly realize how difficult it is.  Fresh water is the single most important natural resource on the planet, and we are very rapidly running out of it.  The following are 25 shocking facts about the Earth's dwindling water resources that everyone should know...

#1 Right now, 1.6 billion people live in areas of the world that are facing "absolute water scarcity".
#2 Global water use has quadrupled over the past 100 years and continues to rise rapidly.
#3 One recent study found that a third of all global corn crops are facing "water stress".
#4 A child dies from a water-related disease every 15 seconds.
#5 By 2025, two-thirds of the population of Earth will "be living under water stressed conditions".
#6 Due to a lack of water, Chinese food imports now require more land than the entire state of California.
#7 At this point, the amount of water that China imports is already greater than the amount of oil that the United States imports.
#8 Approximately 80 percent of the major rivers in China have become so polluted that they no longer support any aquatic life at all.
#9 The Great Lakes hold about 21 percent of the total supply of fresh water in the entire world, but Barack Obama is allowing water from those lakes "to be drained, bottled and shipped to China" at a frightening pace.
#10 It is being projected that India will essentially "run out of water" by the year 2050.
 LuAnn flew over the Everglades last weekend and was shocked at all the dried up holes.  In January, we could not understand why there was not more concern about the scarcity of water in Southwest.
Google the phrase "water crisis" and you get over 180 million results!
What do you think, readers?
Ed Winkle

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Industrious Woman

LuAnn hopped out of bed before I could make her a cup of coffee and started painting.  I said, "LuAnn, you are a very industrious woman."

She is, she really is.  Those of you who know her, know what I am talking about.  We were both single parents for too long and learned how to get by without the other sex involved.  Leon Bird told me "a woman is a civilizing force on a man."  Boy is she ever.  I am almost presentable now!  At age 64 I can get pretty sloppy and after nine years of batching it in the 90's, the house did not have the woman's touch.

Now it does.  The Lord has given us the opportunity to help each other and make each other a better person.  That is part of what I have learned that marriage is all about.  Some people don't think you need to be married or believe that you can even "marry" the same sex.  I don't think that was ever intended but I have been wrong before.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life."[3]
It also says: "The Church attaches great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ's presence. In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it 'what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder'. This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God."[4]
I have found that this works very well.  It's been the best thing that happened to me.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Does Wildlife Prefer Non GMO?

We were discussing wildlife damage on Crop Talk.  Several said the deer prefer their non GMO corn to feed on and leave the neighbor's traited corn alone.  Some said just the opposite.  Another said it's the Brix level the wildlife seek, not just GMO or non GMO.

One fellow even did a mouse experiment on his farm.  He put out an envelope of GMO corn seeds and another of non GMO corn seeds.  He showed a picture of each and the GMO packet was intact.  The non GMO packed was torn open and had been fed on.

I don't have traited corn but I do have a mouse and wildlife problem.  We have to be very careful to not spill grain or food around the farm and clean it up if we do.  Sable the German Shepherd keeps raccoons and cats at bay.  The raccoons have not gotten into our nice sweet corn patch again this year.  I walk her through the patch all season and let her sniff around and leave her scent.

Another farmer has been testing Brix levels in his crops and sees wildlife prefer the higher Brix levels.  That makes sense to me because it has been discussed with insects, too.  How would nature know the difference between non GMO or GMO or high Brix sugar or low Brix sugar?

We don't know.  We do know that Brix level can be correlated with plant nutrition and most of that comes from the soil.  A field low in fertility has always had a lower Brix number compared to a field of the same crop that contains a high Brix number.

There are so many variables it's hard to make any conclusions.

No wonder farmers become so confused with how to improve their yields.  Is what I am doing the best thing I can do given my circumstances?

The variables that seem to affect my yield and my net profit are:
soil fertility
planting date
weed control

If the wildlife want my crop, there isn't much I can do to stop them.

Ed Winkle

Friday, July 18, 2014

Keyne's Brother's Milling

I call Keyne's Brother occasionally for wheat bids and updates.  They asked me if I would haul to their re-vamped plant off US-22 yesterday.  I think Jeffersonville is closer but here is their story.

"Any flour miller knows that his customers' success will surely influence his own.

   That was certainly the case for the Keynes Brothers flour mill in Logan, Ohio, U.S., which recently found itself in a predicament. Customer demand was growing by leaps and bounds, and the mill was already running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just to keep up with orders.  “The only thing to do was increase capacity,” said William W. (Bill) Keynes, president.
   In April 1998, the company began a U.S.$1.4-million expansion project, adding 3,600 cwts of capacity (225 tonnes of wheat ground) to its existing mill. The new milling unit, which was up and running the following September, raised the company's total daily milling capacity to nearly 8,200 cwts (500 tonnes).
   It was only the third major expansion in the 130-year-old flour mill's history, although over the years equipment has been added and changed and moved around so much as to make the mill almost unrecognizable — at least from the inside. On the outside, the Keynes Brothers mill looks much the same as it has since 1887.
   The original mill was built in 1855 by Thomas Dewar, in a choice spot at the edge of town next to the Hock-Hocking Canal, a branch of the Ohio-Erie Canal system. Mr. Dewar sold the mill in 1869 to Robert W. Keynes, the head miller who had come to the United States from England, and his partner, financier John Wellman.
   A fire destroyed the mill in 1886. “From that, phoenix-like, arose the present magnificent structure that is a pride to the city and a monument to the perseverance and industry of its founders,” according to the Journal-Gazette, the town's newspaper, in a souvenir edition printed in 1897.
   It has taken perseverance — and a little ingenuity — to adapt a mill built for the late 1800s into a modern, efficient flour mill for the 1990s and the next millenium, said Mr. Keynes, who is the great-grandson of Robert Keynes.
   Family history reveals that Robert Keynes had two sons, William W. and Charles H. When Robert Keynes died in 1894, he left his interest in the mill to his sons. In 1896, the brothers purchased John Wellman's interests and the mill became completely family-owned.
   William died in 1920, leaving his portion of the mill to his brother. Charles operated the business alone until 1928, when his son, Robert, came into the business. Charles died in 1942.
   Robert's son, William (the current president), joined the family business in 1959. Bill Keynes' two sons, aptly named Charles and William, are the fifth generation to be involved in the family's flour milling business. Charles Keynes is vice-president and Bill Keynes Jr. is secretary-treasurer of the company and mill superintendent.
   Over the years, each generation made improvements to the mill.
   Like most mills of the late 1800s, the Keynes mill once processed more than wheat flour. It also cracked corn, mixed feed, split oats and milled buckwheat and corn. When the mill was rebuilt in 1887 after the fire, it was considered to be one of the most technologically advanced of its time, producing 250 barrels of flour per day. The Allis Chalmers roller milling process was powered by steam.
   “So complete is their system that there is absolutely nothing lost and there is no grade of flour that they cannot produce,” said the Journal-Gazette.
   Fast forward to 1963. Bill Keynes, who came to work at the mill just out of college four years earlier, was involved in the mill's first major expansion that year. “We knew we either had to be a flour mill or a feed mill,” he said. “We couldn't be both.” The mill was completely remodeled with a Buhler pneumatic milling system, including new, modern roller mills and plansifters. The expansion increased the mill's capacity to about 1,200 cwts (75 tonnes) per day.
   “Every year we did something to get the capacity up a little,” Mr. Keynes said. “We'd buy larger roller mills or reflow things to make it work better. We'd take a roller mill that was 18 or 24 inches long and replace it with a 36-inch roller to increase the grinding capacity. We were constantly finding places that were bottlenecks and eliminating them.” By 1969, the mill was up to 1,600 cwts (100 tonnes) per day. In 1977, the company completed its second major expansion by adding more roller mills and a newer Buhler pneumatic system, which increased capacity to 2,400 cwts (150 tonnes) per day.
   John Lampkin was hired as head miller in 1983. A Canadian citizen, Mr. Lampkin was a technical flour milling engineer who had trained in England. In his previous job at Thomas Robinson and Sons (now Satake U.K.), he helped design and build about two dozen flour mills in the U.K.
   By tweaking things here and there, Mr. Lampkin had the Keynes mill producing up to 3,000 cwts (185 tonnes) per day. A couple more sifters and four roller mills later, the mill had topped out at about 4,500 cwts (280 tonnes) By then, Bill Keynes said, “We were done, we had run out of air.” As improvements were made over the years, all the equipment was moved to the south side of the main building, a 5-story, 40-foot by 50-foot brick structure. The north third of the mill was kept empty, “with the vision of increasing capacity down the road,” Mr. Keynes said.
   In early 1998, the company asked Codema, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., to design a “B” mill for that empty space that would add another 3,000 cwts capacity.
   Work began in April, with Mr. Lampkin and a millwright crew doing most of the electrical work and installing the equipment themselves as fast as it could be delivered. They worked six days a week, 12 to 18 hours a day. Five months later, on Sept. 10, 1998, the new “B” mill was operating, producing 3,600 cwts.
   Heinz Baecker, president of Codema, said, “The yield in this mill is consistently above what is normal for a soft wheat mill.” Besides providing the diagram and engineering, Codema supplied all the pneumatics, filters and aspiration system, impact grinders and pressure lifts. In addition, Codema facilitated the purchase of other equipment, including Great Western Manufacturing sifters, Schlagel and Essmueller conveyors, Kice spouting and Comptrol scales.
   The mill's nine new single-high double rollstands — one equipped with longer rolls for more grinding capacity — and the bran and shorts dusters are Alapala, a Turkish manufacturer for which Codema is the manufacturer's representative.
   Amazingly, the total cost of the project came in within U.S.$105 of the original bid, said Richard Gilles, project manager for Codema.
   As could be expected, there were several challenges involved when installing modern equipment in a 100-year-old building.
   “In an old flour mill like this nothing is square,” said Mr. Lampkin, who acted as the project engineer for Keynes Brothers. “Any time you work in an old building, nothing ever goes to plan. At one point, we threw the plans away.” A section of the building's front brick wall had to be removed to bring in the new equipment. As the equipment was delivered, it had to be taken apart, carried up the narrow staircase and then reassembled, Mr. Lampkin said.
   During installation, the existing “A” mill was never shut down for more than a half an hour, he said.
   Both mill units can be operated independently, and each has its own electrical supply. Although Keynes Brothers is strictly a soft wheat mill, producing only one type of flour for crackers, cookies and pretzels, the new mill unit was designed with the flexibility to produce cake flours and to even grind hard wheat.
   “We oversized the pneumatics to have an abundance of air,” Mr. Lampkin said. “If we ever need to grind hard wheat there is enough air to add two purifiers.” Wheat is procured locally from growers in Ohio. The mill can store 1.2 million bushels on site, with another 1.4 million bushels of storage in four company-owned country elevators scattered throughout Ohio.
   Wheat is received at the mill by both rail and truck, and both delivery methods can be unloaded at same time. The mill also has its own laboratory for quality testing. “Any commercial mill has quality issues,” Mr. Keynes said. “We make sure the wheat is cleaned and sanitized; we grade the wheat and reject it if it's not the right quality. But by having wheat come from our own elevators, we know where it comes from and that it's not being blended.” Flour storage capacity at the mill totals about 1.5 million pounds (680 tonnes), distributed in 16 bulk trailers and the rest in bins. The company owns its own trucking fleet.
   “We find that we can better service our customers if we control the trucking,” Mr. Keynes said. “Service is really our whole card. We can get product to the bakery on time, just in time. We take the responsibility of flour away from the baker.” Keynes Brothers' flour market is totally commercial and almost 100% bulk. The company hasn't exported in years, Mr. Keynes said. Most of its bakery customers are within a 300-mile radius of Logan.
   “All of our customers kept getting bigger through expansion or acquisition,” he said. “Their growth impacted us.”
   Geographically, the mill is in a prime location in the heavily populated northeastern part of the United States. Because of its location — Logan is located about 50 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio, not more than 30 minutes from two major universities — the small town of 7,000 people has attracted a variety of industries, including a clay tile factory, a staircase company, a Smead plant that makes office file folders, a General Electric plant that produces glass tubes for florescent light bulbs and a Goodyear plant that manufactures foam dashboards for cars.
   Although the flour mill isn't one of the area's largest employers — Keynes Brothers only employs about 40 persons — it is still a central focus of the town, said Jim St. Clair, owner of Risch Drug Store in Logan. “Historically, the town has grown up around it,” Mr. St. Clair said of the Keynes Brothers flour mill. “It's one of those businesses that you can wake up every morning and know it's there. It's been good for the town.”
   He added, “Bill Keynes has done a wonderful job of preserving that building and utilizing it.
   “In the last 20 years, the mill is one of the most modern things I've ever seen.”

Kudo's to Keyne's Milling.  We hope they continue buying Ohio Soft Red Winter Wheat!

Ed Winkle


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oil Field Workers

I know little about the subject but I think we are all interested in some degree.  This was posted in the CafĂ© and I thought it was interesting enough to share.

"A public service announcement for those considering relocating for a job in the oilfield: To be sure, there is money to be made in the oil producing regions of West Texas, South Texas and North Dakota. To be sure, as well, there are groups from the well intentioned to the full blown idiots who come to the shale play areas to get rich quick.

 As it happens from time to time, when one wears the uniform of the seasoned oilfield hand, he is inundated at a convenience store by questions bordering on the absurd. Someone once said: there are no stupid questions, just stupid people who ask them.

 So if you are not from a shale play area, and you are thinking of uprooting the family and coming here, or to one of the afore mentioned places, please let me take this opportunity to offer a public service.

  First off, the oilfield of today is not the oilfield of the 1980’s. If you have a drug problem or if you just partake occasionally…..well you are **** out of luck. Let me go over your head here: Sarbanes Oxley, yeah that goes over most people’s head.

 Sarbanes Oxley is an insider trading law that has so overstepped its bounds that it governs every aspect of the way a publically traded company does business. That includes insurance and drug testing. So how does that affect a non-publically traded company, well, if you want to do business with a publically traded company, then the company that you work for must comply with Sarbanes Oxley as well. In the oilfield there is a term called “the majors” and if a company is a “major” then you can bet they are publically traded.

 Drugs = no job, not even at the fast food place. And there is a system in place called ISNetworld that will make sure that no contractors who do not comply will work for a publically traded company. If you can’t work for a major, then your company will make no money and not pay the employees worth a ****.

 The next thing you need to know: experience. If you don’t know anything about the oilfield, then you will not get hired. You will make better wages in the fast food and retail business than you will make back home, but you will not get rich quick, or ever.

 Welders: if you own your own welding truck and your welds can pass an X-Ray test, come on down; however if you don’t own your own equipment or are a shop welder, then stay at home in your union job. The shop is never going to pay you enough to buy your own rig, because if they do, you will quit and go to work in the field and you might make a little more money in the short term, but you will more than likely be in a dead end job.

 Heavy equipment operators: if you possess a Class A commercial driver’s license, then come on down and make some cash, but if you can’t haul you own equipment, you are out of luck. Other truck drivers, you had better have a Class A with a tanker and hazmat, but at least a tanker. Class B: if you don’t have both tanker and hazmat, then have fun driving that concrete truck, cause that is all you will be doing down here.

 On the bright side, there are plenty of concrete truck jobs, because they don’t pay. If you are educated in a highly specialized field, you might do well, but if you move down here and don’t know the difference between a pipe wrench and a crescent wrench, you need not apply. If you don’t know what any of these terms are, STAY HOME: roustabout, drilling rig, roughneck, frac, pressure pumping unit, CDL, DOT, pumpjack, location, H2S, JSA, wireline, hot oil truck, treater truck, pulling unit, kill truck, downstream, upstream, midstream, Chemtrec and the list goes on and on, but if you got lost with this list, STAY HOME!

 Oh and then there is the cost of living…..RV Space $1000 per month, and you choices are RV space or under the bridge. Be careful before you leave home…..You may not find what you are looking for here, however if you don’t have a job in a few weeks, then you ain’t looking!"

We saw the crowds in North Dakota two years ago and again coming across Canada.  They were booming, but I've never needed money that badly!

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Good Scouting Days

We have enjoyed many good scouting days this week.  The weather is pretty good and the crop is advancing quickly.

I scout soybeans for Asian shipment about this time of the year for the last many years.  The high dollar soybeans are Pioneer 93B82 and Porter Hybrids 4389N which is eMerge 389 clear hilum soybeans.

The few acres that went in the ground in April look excellent and everything else looks good.  Farmers mainly tried to catch the few planting days in May this year,  As always, there are some fields that don't look good and there are some not even planted south of me.

As always, I get the problem fields.  That is my job, trouble shooting problem fields.  A farmer usually asks if fertilizer or fungicide will "fix it" but my first recommendations around here is a ton of gypsum.  I am seeing good results with gypsum.

We are enjoying record cool weather which is great for humans but not great for these young soybeans and corn crops.  Will we have enough heat to mature these crops and have a successful harvest?  In Ohio and north, that may be a problem but it is what it is.

Today I just enjoy this beautiful weather and scouting.  Today's picture is scouting a field of Porter Hybrids 4366 soybeans, a  non GMO program soybean for world markets.

Ed Winkle