Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Liquid Christmas

Well here we are at the end of another year, and Christmas is almost here.  In fact this is the last day of business for the year here at AgroLiquid.  And as has been the tradition, here are the workers still at their work stations at 5 pm.  I will say that Nikole was still here, but on the phone.  Sorry but the blog waits for no one.  
Here is the lit up tree out front that is dedicated to our late founder Mr. Douglas Cook.  I took this a while ago before the onslaught of snow.  But it looks cool at night.
 And here is the state Christmas tree in front of the capital in Lansing.  And look at the extra decorative red lights they put up.  How festive.
Well that is that.  I hope everyone out in blogland has a blessed and happy Christmas.  And soon the blog will enter the 8th year of bringing you all that's news from the Land of Liquid. Now there's a gift that keeps on giving.  Merry Christmas!!  ! 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Research Report Plus Something Special For You

So here it is now in late December, and Research has met the goal of having the Research Report posted and ready for viewing before Christmas.  Stephanie is the researcher responsible for organizing all of this and has been cracking the whip to get reports submitted.  But here it is.  Want to see?  Well go to the Agroliquid website and click on the Research tab.
 Here are the list of recent reports, so click on 2016 Research Report.....
 ...and here it is!
 Scroll down to this page and there are a variety of options.  Click where you want to go. There are reports from the NCRS as well as off-farm research in Contract Research and PFE Trials.  You can check the weather, irrigation records and the always entertaining Intern Posters.  You can also review Product Descriptions.  What else could you want?
 Well one thing that people have wanted for years is a way to search all of the research records we have on file.  We produce the Research Report every year, but the only way to search for data has been to review the Table of Contents each year.  Who wants to do that?

Well Stephanie worked with IT and a web support company called Soliant to develop a user interface program to enable a data search of the Research Reports.  To find it, go to the Website and click on Research and then Research Results on the drop down.
 You will then come to the new search page.  There are a variety of search options, like year (at this time only 2013-2016 are available, but it will grow), crop, state, nutrients, application, product and other.  So you will have to play with it, but it is pretty thorough and impressive.  It certainly enables someone to find specific reports about a topic of interest.  So give it a try.
 Like say for instance, you want to see what research was conducted in Virginia.  So select Virginia in the State drop down.  Several records show up. Click on the PDF on the right and it will download.
 And here is a report of an experiment conducted by Virginia Tech University in corn from 2013.  Good stuff, right?  So this will be a valuable tool for finding research reports on specific topics.  At last.  So a big thanks to Stephanie for seeing this through.  
 And after hours of reading research reports, take a nap so you can start strong again later.
So that is the Christmas present from Research and Agronomic Sciences.  Unwrap and enjoy.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pulling Together

Following the tragic death of a farmer in Southern Clinton county, some area farmers got together to help that farm crew finish the corn harvest.  
This wasn't too far from where I live and my wife took this pic last Wednesday morning after they completed another field the previous evening.
I've heard of similar stories around the country.  Don't you hate the circumstances?  But don't you feel proud to be part of a lifestyle and vocation that would pull together like this in difficult times? Everyone who reads this would have done the same thing if they were able.  R.I.P.

Friday, December 9, 2016

NCRS Pruning School, Then Teacher is Gone

So a week ago Friday, I was a student in the NCRS Pruning School, taught by Research Horticulturist Jacob Emling.  Over the years I had watched the Horticulture staff do this, but had never been involved myself.  But maybe it's time.  I learned right away that pruning is kind of complicated.  Plus there is lot's of counting as in the grapes here.  You only want so many future fruiting buds per vine.  So you are not just pruning to make them look nicer, you are preparing for next year's production.  
Below we see students Renee, Jay and Tim B paying attention to Instructor Jake.  Tim has done this for years and is at the head of the class. I hope that Spartan Renee and Wolverine Tim don't let tensions flare while handling sharp instruments.
 Next it was on to the apple orchard.  Again, you don't just start snipping.  You want to build the future growth by controlling direction of limbs, and removing ones that are growing out into the middles.  Now that some of the trees are taller than the top wire, we learned that it will be necessary to bend them around towards the ground.  You don't really want to cut them off as that stimulates more high branching.  I think.
 Everyone took a turn under the teacher's watch.  So why are we having school and training of the NCRS staff on such a cold day?  Well it seems that this was Jake's last day.  He has gotten a research grant at MSU that will enable him to work on his Ph.D.  He will use what he started here as the research will focus on the Solid Set Canopy Delivery systems for pesticide application in orchards.  But he leaves on good terms and will stop by from time to time and be available for questions about pruning and other stuff.
 It seems like he just got here.  Well he did.  Here he is on August 19, 2014 talking about the orchard at the Research Field Days.  He had just recently started and was talking about the small trees in the background that have just this year gotten quite tall and come into good production.
So good luck.  Thanks for all the work and support and don't be a stranger.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Painting the Orchard. Really!

So a couple blogs ago there was a picture of the orchard with base of the tree trunks painted white. This is to enable the trees to withstand the sunlight reflected off the snow that can damage the trunks. Well the job wasn't yet complete and it was unusually warm in the mid-50's today, so time to paint. Here we see Jacob applying paint with a pump up sprayer and then Renee spreading the paint around evenly with a big brush.  It is slow going in a high-density orchard with three foot tree spacing. Probably a power painter would help.
Well that is what Tim and Quinten are using.  But there is only one and they must have won the coin toss.
But it does make the trees look nice and professional.  It's supposed to be nice tomorrow and they should get it finished.
Jacob says it should last a couple years as the trees are still growing. Let it snow I guess.  Although everyone is enjoying the nice weather, so hope it holds off a little while longer.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

So Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out in blogland.  I am thankful for all of the loyal followers of Land of Liquid.  I am also thankful to be an active participant in the world of agriculture and working with my fellow researchers and agronomists to develop and promote a better program of crop nutrition.  But we pause on this day of Thanksgiving to spend with family and friends and maintaining traditions.  Like we always watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  Here are the elf balloons signifying that Santa is near.
 And here he is.  It's only a month till he takes to the air to deliver Pro-Germinator to the good farmers all across the Land of Liquid.  Except in California where it's PrG.  (Don't ask.)
 The traditions don't stop there.  Right after the parade is the Dog Show.  We have three dogs and always enjoy watching together.  Like here is the pug entry in the Toy Dog group.  But it's fixed since the pug never wins.  But we watch anyway.
 And early afternoon means it's time to start the grill for smoking the turkey.  We went to some friends for Thanksgiving while living in Minnesota back in 1985.  They smoked their turkey and it was so good that I have been doing it my own self ever since.  I am now, always have been and always will be a charcoal person.  That is the way to make smoke, to me anyway.  
 And here is the finished bird.  You can see that the popper has popped.  (I removed the foil covering and water cans prior to the pic.  I'm not a barbarian.)  And it tasted as good as it looked.  Oh so smokey. There is kind of a smoking fraternity at AgroLiquid HQ.  It seems that Troy and Chris also are turkey smokers.  So naturally I texted a pic of my grill in action to them.
 Like I said, everyone has their own traditions.  Troy and family evidently had already eaten before I even lit my coals.  Troy is a Traeger grill guy.  I am not knowledgeable of such things, but have heard of this.  He texted this to Chris and me.  I will say that it looks pretty nice.  Although I am not familiar with this bondage technique of the legs.  But will seek knowledge on this strange practice.
Chris texted this pic of his turkey.  I'm pretty sure it has already been cut up on this serving platter. Although it may have come off the grill like this.  You never know what those crazy chemists are up to.  But he said it was good and I'm sure it was.  He is in the smoking fraternity after all.
So I hope all of the individual turkey day traditions were enjoyed by all.  So maybe in the next blog post I will talk about agriculture stuff.  But I love Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NASCAR's Fiery Finale

So today was the last NASCAR race of the 2016 season. It was in Florida. I thought I would watch the end, and glad I did.  Without going into detail, they have a system of determining the overall season champion and there were four racers eligible for the season championship.  Despite winning two races this year, our favorite driver, Martin Truex, was not eligible to be the season champion. Why is he our favorite?  Because the owner of his car, Barney Visser, is a customer of AgroLiquid on a very large farm near Denver.  (Check out the May 30 blog post when Martin won the Coca-Cola 600). But he was one of forty drivers that wanted to win the race anyway.  

What's this?  An interview after a crash?  What happened.
 Well on a re-start with only a few laps left, there was a chain reaction wreck, and for some reason his car caught on fire.  But he was not the one who caused it, but did pay the consequences.
 No he is not still racing.  It just takes a while to come to a stop when racing, plus it looks like his view might be somewhat obstructed.
 He did eventually get stopped and quickly jumped out...unhurt.  Not even a singed toe.  Well that was a tough way to end the race for Martin.  But it was a successful year for the 78 with two victories.  
Here is winner of both the race and the season championship: Jimmy Johnson.  This is his seventh championship.  And he is only 41 years old.  But now he is tied for the most championships with Richard Petty and Dale Earhardt.  (Check out the blog on July 28, 2014 when I saw Richard Petty at the Ag Ph.D Field Day.)
So that made for some exciting Sunday TV.  Hopefully I can report on Martin's victory next February when the 2017 season kicks off at the Daytona 500.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NCRS Season Wrap Up

So we have had a warm stretch of weather lately and so it is still nice to get outside and see what is going on at the NCRS.  These pics are from last Friday.  Field crop harvest is over and all that remains of some of the corn plots is the unharvested plot border rows.  This is from Farm 11 where the plots are over a thousand feet long.
 Here are the sugarbeets from the experiment on Farm 7.  We have a deal with a nearby grower who uses one of those Maus harvesters that scoops them up and unloads into a truck on the road.  I showed that in the blog a few years ago.   It's cool.  They will get over here someday soon.
I hate to admit that we have a constant battle with compaction.  This is because all of our six row plots have numerous trips through all season from planting, sidedress (corn), foliar apps, harvest and grain cart weigh wagon.  So we are on a ripping rotation and use cover crops where we can.  Here we see Phil operating the ripper on Farm 10. 
 There is still some of what we call "production corn" out.  This is corn that was not part of a replicated plot experiment.  Here is Jeff over on Farm 9 trying to finish up.  
 There are some evaluations taking place in the greenhouse.  This is a tomato fertilizer test for greenhouse grown tomato transplants.  These are some of the plants kept after the earlier evaluations.  On the left is no fertilizer, in the middle is AgroLiquid Grow Right and on the right is a commercially used dry fertilizer (dissolved in water for use).  The best treatment is obvious to me.
 Over on Farm 5 there is an experiment with rows of emerging winter wheat.  The wheat went in a little late this fall as harvest was held up several times due to rain.  But with the warm days now it is growing fast.
 And here is the high density orchard.  See the white trunks?  That is a paint that will reflect the intense light that is reflected by snow, that will surely be here sometime in the months ahead.  Left unprotected, the trees can develop cracks in the bark.  Unfortunately with over 3000 trees in this orchard, there is still a ways to go.  But it will get done.
So the 23rd season of research is wrapping up at our North Central Research Station.  But don't worry, we saved some more things to test in 2017.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

So I'm sure you have wondered how on Earth does AgroLiquid stay so innovative and ahead of the world of crop nutrition.  Certainly the premier products are a reason, but additionally it is the meeting of the minds of Agronomic Science (Research, Agronomy and Product Development), Sales and our ownership.  That's what happened this week at AgroLiquid world headquarters in St. Johns.  The agenda was full with data review, program updates, preparation of new product release and especially preparation for the Summit meeting next week in Nashville for our Retail Partners. 
So one growing season ends and time to get prepared for the next one.  Count on AgroLiquid to lead growers to the Greatest Returns Economically Available Today.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Vowel Movement (Again)

Happy Halloween.  So let's re-visit a favorite blog post....all the way back to 2012.  (I must have had more time back then to do such things. Or just worked faster.) 

So Happy Halloween to all of you out in Blogland.  Last year I took a stab at LIQUID pumpkin carving with pretty good results.  Here is a re-run of the picture from exactly one year ago.  So how could I top that for 2012?
I know...instead of one pumpkin (which anyone could do), why not six!  After hours of careful carving and still having all my fingers and thumbs in place, I was finished.  Now to arrange them on the porch.  Hmmm, not as easy as I thought.
A little re-arranging....D'oh....still wrong.  I need a pumpkin spell-check.
Finally. That looks right. 
I suppose now all of the Trick-or-Treaters will be expecting a bag full of Pro-Germinator.  I better stock up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Finishing the Week in OK

So in addition to all of the wheat action in Oklahoma last week, I also stopped by a dryland cotton fertilizer experiment a ways West of Yukon, Oklahoma.  Yukon is the boyhood home of singer and OSU graduate Garth Brooks.   It has experienced a dry summer, nothing new there. Bolls are opening and will be anxious to see results later this year.
I had the chance to see former SAM Jacob Nowakowski at home in McLoud.  Jacob is farming full time now and is an AgroLiquid customer.  He was hauling corn from the Nowakowski farm to a turkey farm on this day. Was good to see him, and as many of you know, we did quite a bit of quality plot work back in the day on wheat and bermuda grass there at the farm.  In fact, the first ever edition of the wildly successful Research Supports Future Growth series was a report of our Bermuda Grass research back in 2009.  Those were the days.
And if you are ever passing through Hennessey, Oklahoma and you're running low on clean socks, stop by the Laundry Matt.  Nice place. Tell them Jerry sent you and  the first load is free.  (Not free.) 
Spell it like it sounds we Okies like to say.
So that was a good trip.  And always good to see what's happening back in my Oklahoma homeland.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

OK Wheat Pasture Update

So I recently reported on a wheat pasture test being run in cooperation with the Noble Foundation in Southern Oklahoma.  (The Noble Foundation is a large foundation-supported research institution with the purpose of improving farming and ranching practices.)  A 140 acre field was selected for a simple comparison of wheat pasture practices: AgroLiquid and Noble conventional on either half.  This field had been in grass pasture for at least ten years.  It was sprayed down with Roundup and planted on September 23, which was 28 days before my visit last Friday morning.  Here is how it looked from the gated entrance in the SE corner.  After the Roundup killed the perennial grass, there was a flush of annual grass that came in, which is a lot of the green seen here.
 I was joined by Retail Partner Dennis Sweat of Marlow, OK and Noble Foundation researcher Dr. Evan Whitley.  It was a nice fall morning with lots of dew to get your feet wet.
Well the East side had the conventional practice, which at this time was no fertilizer.  The plan is to apply some 325 pounds per acre of urea or 150 pounds of N.  There was a thatch layer from the pasture grass and the wheat was a little hard to see through the emerged annual grass that came in.
 The field had been in grass for ten years and the soil test was low in everything.  Based on this, the AgroLiquid plan was for a drill application of 6 gal/A High NRG-N + 3 gal/A of Pro-Germinator + 2 gal/A Kalibrate + 1 qt/A Micro 500 + 1 qt/A MicroLink Manganese.  Well wouldn't you know it but there was a pump issue and only half that was applied through the drill at seeding.  So the rest was streamed on a few days later.*  But even so, look at low much growth there was already.  Especially impressive when compared to the conventional.
Here are some AgroLiquid plants.
 And some conventional plants.  (Note to self: put the roots in the palm for both shots.)
Here is what happens if there is a skip during the Roundup application.  The grass was thick.
The plan was to have some cattle in here by late October, with the two halves being separated by a fence.  That way we could monitor the two fertilizer programs for effect on weight gain.  There is a pond on the North end of the field and they wanted a new pond on the South end.  One pond for each program.  Well I hope this new pond is for the conventional side.  Just kidding.  Obviously it's not filling as fast as they thought. And with the lack of stand on the conventional side....well we will have to see what happens on the animal end.
But this is intended to run for several years, and it was put together late.  So I am happy to have a project with the Noble Foundation as they are watched by farmers and ranchers from all over.  Dr. Whitley was impressed with the stand of wheat on the AgroLiquid side.  So I hope to give updates from time to time, but so far so good.

* - So the commercial applicator that was lined up to apply the rest of the fertilizer that didn't go through the drill, had also used some AgroLiquid on his own corn for the first time this season.  We didn't know that at the time.  This is through a connection he had to Retail Partner Maysville Grain and Fertilizer.  He was very pleased and just ordered a semi-load of AgroLiquid fertilizer for his own wheat.  He will also be applying topdress applications coming up on our test here.  So he has additional opportunity to follow the comparisons.  So that error turned out to be a good thing after all. And events like that are why always have a pleasant and optimistic attitude.  (Although those who know me think otherwise. Hmmm.)