Sunday, August 28, 2016

3rd Annual Farm to Fork Charity 5K at the NCRS

So time sure goes by quickly anymore.  Like Saturday was already the third 5K at the NCRS.  Like before, the Greater Lansing Food Bank was the major recipient of the funds raised.  Before the race, a spokeswoman from the charity announced that the funds raised from today's race would provide 90,000 pounds of food to the charity recipients.   Well that's certainly worth the  effort.   Prior to the   8 am start, runners gathered outside for the Star Spangled Banner.  The singer was outstanding and hit every note.
 There were over 200 runners, and they lined up at the Start behind Farm "Speedy Boots" Guy.  Best to let him go first unless you want to get trampled.
 Race director Eustaquia fires the starting pistol and the race is on! Evidently Farm Guy is already out in front and out of the picture.
 And a mere 18 minutes later, winner Eric Lowe crosses the finish line.  Eric won the first race two years ago and was happy to re-gain the title.  You may recall that Eric used to work at the NCRS years ago while in high school, and no doubt has an advantage of knowing the course and short cuts. Just kidding Eric. He has been working in Grand Rapids now for several years, but always keeps in shape for this NCRS race.
 Here come some runners nearing the final turn for the stretch to the finish line.  We really appreciate the several members of the Clinton County sheriff department for coming out and watching the race as it crossed the road a couple times. 
Here comes Farm Guy to the finish line.  He would have won, but he stopped to scout some soybeans over on Farm 5.  He just can't run by crops without stopping. 
After finishing, there was still time to encourage the walkers.
 Nick and Levi dash for the finish.  Not sure if Nick ever caught him.  Nick can run and sing.
You get thirsty competing in a 5K.  Well so I've heard.  Here we see Cory passing out.            
Water to passers-by.
AgroLiquid-ite Margi was also taking pictures on the course as it wandered through Farms 3, 2, 1 and 5.  She provided these next several pics of course action.
 Hey Todd, watch out for that Mud!  Don't say we didn't warn you.
 It was a nice morning for the event.  It's no doubt the place to be on a Saturday morning.
It was fun to see all ages giving it their best on course.  I am happy to report that all participants finished under their own power and the EMS crews on hand had to just sit and watch.
There were awards given to top performers in the various age groups.  Here we see Angi from Marketing giving Farm Guy a high five as she receives her award.  Didn't catch the age group though. Eustaquia passes out the engraved Fork trophy (get it: Farm to Fork?).  That's Burt handling the announcing duties.
 So it takes more than just a bunch of people showing up to run to make it a successful charity event.  Here is the board with all of the sponsors.  Just about all are local, and look how many there are.  It was also nice to see RFD TV as a major sponsor.  Thanks to all.
 And it also takes people in charge to get it done too.  Now Troy will be modest, but AgroLiquid does provide a lot of support with dedicated employees providing help, allowing the nice NCRS as the course venue, and there is the financial part as well.  But the real ring-leader is Eustaquia, who, like it or not, is the Event Chair for Life.  No one is a better leader for this than her.
One of the main reasons Eustaquia is so effective as the Chairwoman is that for the third straight year the rain held off until after the race was over.  Really unbelievable how she is able to do that.
Seriously.  Look at the last two years of blogs on 8/30/14 and 8/31/15 and the last picture is of rain falling after the race is concluded.  So that was #3...tune in next year for #4.  Or why not come run? Eric needs some competition.

Monday, August 22, 2016

2016 AgroExpo recap

So the first AgroExpo has already come and gone.  Those of you who were there know that it was a little wet...but the hard-working NCRS staff plus folks from sales, agronomy and the office got the best of the water and had the grounds ready to go.
The horticulture staff had a unique take on a vegetable garden with vegetables from A to Z.
 There were also vendors and a program stage for speakers inside the large Agri-Business tent.
Everyone liked the self propelled forage harvester demonstrations over in Silage Town.  Four new harvesters were shown.
 After a sunny start on Wednesday morning, it looked like a storm was coming in for the afternoon.  Well, it did.
There were a couple of guest speakers at the breakfast and dinners back at the AgroLiquid office. Brian Hefty gave his thoughts on key aspects of soil and crop growth.  He also discussed his strategy in the Yield Challenge Corn and Soybean plots. 
Later in the week Darren Hefty talked about agronomic influences for crop growth, plus his own Yield Challenge plots.  Additionally he and I gave a presentation on nitrogen management trials in corn from tests conducted at the Ag Ph.D farm and the NCRS.  (This was in a blog post on August 10).  Darren even went out on the Research Field Day research plot tours to see what's happening out at the NCRS.
We had a nice crowd of attendees on the daily Research Field Day plot tours on Farm 7.  Stephanie, Tim and I gave test overviews and showed key past results on a number of experiments that support product recommendations.  Here Stephanie talks about one of the corn experiments.
 One popular demonstration was that of the aerial cover crop application by Al's Aerial Spraying of nearby Ovid, Michign.  A tarp was spread to catch the ryegrass seed that was being applied.  I thought it would bounce around, but it landed and stayed where it fell.  FYI: this is to demonstrate application of a cover crop in a standing crop prior to harvest.  This enables it to start growing and get established before harvest, such that after crop removal, it will grow and provide cover and nutrient recovery. There isn't enough time for cover crops to get established after corn and soybean harvest in the North.  So this is an option.
 Everyone has a look.  It was pretty cool.  I have not seen such a thing before.  Hopefully it gave some of these folks some ideas about trying it.  I mean the plane did put on a nice show and all.
 People flocked around Dr. Massri who explains the results of his research on losses of nitrogen (through volatility) and phosphorus (through tie-up and flux or movement from site of application.) He will be sharing much more about this in upcoming months after results are summarized and interpreted.  It really is favorable for AgroLiquid's novel fertilizers.
 And over in the orchard, Jacob Emling and the horticulture staff showed numerous visitors the workings of the high density research trials there.
He also demonstrated how apple growers know when it is time to harvest: the iodine starch test, pressure (below) and refractometer for measurement of sugars in the sap.  You couldn't help but learn about the complexity of growing apples.  But it all pays off in the end with a delicious crop.  
So while the rain did pose a few snags, vendors and attendees said that they would be back next August for the Second  AgroExpo! 
Now that we've literally gotten our feet wet on the first one, the next one will, of course, be bigger and better.  And hopefully drier.

Monday, August 15, 2016

AgroExpo Is Almost Here!

So the very first AgroExpo is just a few days away, and it is really looking like a first class farm show is getting ready to take place.  What sets this show apart is that it is 100% geared towards farmers with all sorts of things to see and opportunity for learning.  We did get some rain on Saturday that was needed and appreciated.  So things are going to be looking great. 
 In the crops area it looks like some of the corn has already been harvested.  In August?  Now that would be worth seeing.
There will be several different irrigation systems on display, like this Reinke center pivot.  We have Reinke irrigation on two of the NCRS farms, although with a linear design.  And remember when I featured a visit to the Reinke headquarters and plant on a previous blog. (See September 21, 2014). But there will also be more overhead and subsurface as well.  Plus it looks like the putting green will be well watered for the putting trials.  The hole is in place.
 And here is our recently received new MAEAP sign, all mounted for viewing as you enter the Farm 12 show grounds.  We are so proud.
 This weekend there has been a flurry of activity as final preparations are made.  Like today.  As usual, I stayed out of the way and took pictures.  Actually I did whatever Ashley told me to do.  Just like she tells Nick and Tim where to go.
 Here is a special project that Phil is working on as Jay, Margie and Tim observe and offer encouragement  This is something new that visitors will enjoy.
 Can't have a farm show without signs.  Ashley, Angi and her son knock out the last ones.
All of the trucks were busy and we needed this equipment trailer moved.  So Levi lifted it up by the tongue and moved it to where Ashley was pointing.  Way to pitch in!
Well that's a day.  One more day to get ready as the more than 100 vendors stock their booths.  There will be plenty of demonstrations, tours, speakers and so much more. And certainly your favorite fertilizer will be prominently featured throughout.   Check it out at  And see you this week at AgroExpo!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

AgroLiquid Shines in Soggy St. Johns Mint Parade

So the second weekend in August can mean only one thing.  The St. Johns Mint Festival of course.  And any festival worth anything has a parade.  I don't think I've missed a parade in the 24+ years I've been at AgroLiquid, so I joined the other Liquidites and family and friends for this one.  It was kind of rainy, but that didn't stop the parade people or the loyal watchers in St. Johns.
 The rain stopped just as the parade started.  Here we see Matt expertly guiding the "supertanker"  through the streets of town while onlookers are awestruck by the big load it can carry.
 Our theme was "summer fun."  Here is our float with kids playing and a cool bubble machine.  I think I want one of those for my own self.  There's IT senior manager Dean making his way on his new racing bike.
What made the float a hit was the cute daughter of Nick and Andrea playing in the pool.  Surely they heated the water.  Although kids don't care if there's water involved.
Farm Guy accompanies Liquid walkers that passed out candy and made bubbles.
That's Stephanie's daughter doing a series of gymnastic moves down the street.  She learned that from Stephanie who will do that on the upcoming research farm tour.  Or maybe not.
 More walking and talking and tossing suckers.  (Where are all the dudes?  That's even Margie driving the pick-up.)
 Farm Guy hitches a ride.  He wore his farm boots and not his parade shoes I guess.
 Towards the end of the parade, the supertanker turns down the main street of town.
 Farm Guy walks the last stretch.
 Since the parade is about over, Dean heads over to get a new tattoo.  If it's in a place that's visible, I'll take a picture on Monday.
Well that was fun.  Come join us next year, won't you?