Renewable Farming

Month: November 2018

“I had to get the soil healthy so I really pushed the cover crops hard”

That quote comes from Tom Cotter, in a No-Till Farmer feature just published. Cotter farms in Mower County, MN a couple of hours north of our farm near Cedar Falls, IA. The detailed story, written by Angela Lovell, is a descriptive example of a farmer who has worked years to build toward our recommended goal …

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How one organic dairy farmer leveraged social media to trigger a national referendum

67-year-old Swiss dairy farmer Armin Capaul is counting on his personal passion — and social media — to protect Swiss cows and goats from dehorning. Voters across Switzerland will decide Sunday, Nov. 25, whether to subsidize farmers 190 francs — almost $190 American dollars — per cow or goat which the owner allows to remain horned. Swiss dairyman Armin …

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Your privately owned farm: The foundation for future American Thanksgivings

As of this Thanksgiving Day, only one person has reminded me of that first discovery which enabled the Plymouth Colony to survive, thrive and start America’s Thanksgiving tradition:  My favorite analyst and adventurer, Jack Wheeler. November 22, 2018   By Jerry Carlson — There may still be some American schoolkids who are taught how the Plymouth Colonists learned corn-growing from Squanto, a surviving Patuxent …

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A colorful, fact-filled book every maverick farmer will enjoy (whether you’re a no-tiller or not)

Maverick to Mainstream, A History of No-Till Farming, is a magnum opus by Frank Lessiter, founding editor of No-Till Farmer magazine.  November 20, 2018  By Jerry Carlson — You may call this full-color, glossy volume a “coffee table book.” At our house, we keep Maverick on the kitchen table. My wife Jill and I browse a few pages at a …

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15 bu. more corn from a biological inoculant piggybacked with postmerge herbicide

Biodyne USA’s “Environoc 401” microbe mix for in-furrow application has shown positive yield responses on corn the past two seasons here in the upper Midwest. Now, Biodyne USA offers “BioCast” so farmers without in-furrow gear can capture biological benefits too.  November 19, 2018 — The pace of innovation accelerated again this season as farmers tested new microbial mixes …

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Another climate watcher warns: Sunspot lows point to potential climate cooling

One of the most instructive websites for tracking solar cycles is SpaceWeatherLive.com. This link takes you to a page showing historic solar cycles. The general guideline is that Earth’s global temperatures often turn cooler in prolonged periods of low sunspot activity, an index of solar magnetic storms. Less incoming geomagnetic energy wraps around our planet during those …

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A Biodynamic farming advocate says “Our Time Has Finally Come”

Just over 50 years ago on a story assignment, I thought I’d discovered an Illinois farmer who had the answer to farming’s toughest problems. My senior editors gently brushed the story aside. “Too radical.” November 16, 2018  By Jerry Carlson — It was summer, 1964. My first field trip for Farm Journal led me to …

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In an Iowa season where almost nothing overcame stress, this in-furrow mix worked

This fall’s “data harvest” of field trial results is proving as frustrating for researchers as the too-dry, then too-wet season was for farmers. Wide yield differences across test strips and plots imposed such data variance that discerning effects of treatments was often futile. November 16, 2018 — We’ve contended with plot variability for over a decade. Finding a statistically significant 5-bu. …

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Research agronomist finds a 13% increase in soybean yield — accidentally

Over the years, we’ve commissioned research agronomist James Porterfield for several field tests into the performance of WakeUP products. He’s a thorough field trial designer and analyst. One of his passions is finding the “perfect soil” — with emphasis on the mineral analysis. November 14, 2018 — But this week, Jim sent us a research …

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Hugelkultur — a way to manage public forests more productively while coping with wildfires?

Germans, Swiss and other Europeans have always managed their forests thoughtfully. They see forestry as a foundation of environmental health and a precious resource. Perhaps the U.S. Forest Service and other forest managers could adapt a German technique — Hugelkultur — into a tool for enhancing American forest wildlife, improving timber production, and managing wildfires. November 13, 2018 — Gardeners …

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