Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The weather is slow to dry up and warm up this spring, which presents a challenge for our cropping plans, which include getting some corn planted to take the edge off the extremely high corn prices. The pasturing is going well though and as the days get warmer, the grass is beginning to boom. It is a pleasure to walk out there each afternoon to advance and check the cattle. The meadowlarks are everywhere singing. Purple martins are active around the bird boxes. The cattle are losing their rough winter coats and beginning to look sleek and healthy. Next we must patch the fence between the sow winter housing and the pasture so that the breeding herd can join the cattle on the grass. So much to do, so little time! Spring in the country keeps an old man young!


Saturday, May 7, 2011


Today I will collect samples of the commercial soymeal we use to make feed, as well as the commercial corn and also our own organic corn. We have a build up of indications that there is something wrong with the way our hogs are being fed or something in their environment that is making hog production steadily more difficult for us. The animals do not breed satisfactorily, they are not developing a strong immune system, they do not seem to be able to live together in a manner that does not impede growth.

We will send these samples to the lab requesting a micronutrient analysis in addition to the usual feed value measurements. This is being done because Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue suspects on the basis of his work that Roundup herbicide and the genetics that allow its use as a broadcast over the top application on our feed crops is interfering with the uptake of micronutrients by breaking down the delicate and complex system of soil life that help plants to absorb these elements. Manganese deficiency is suspected, as well as copper, sulfer, zinc, boron and so forth. To check uptake of these, we will also assay samples of our hog's livers.

Dr Huber is, of course, being critized from within academic agriculture instead of being engaged in discussion and joint research work. The USDA, the "farmer" department cannot be bothered with thoughts such as these as they are entirely too busy releasing Roundup Ready alfalfa which many plant scientists admit will pass that gene around to all the alfalfa cultivars within a few years because of the way alfalfa breeds. As a farmer, I also have doubts about the organic corn seed I use. Judging from the overloaded Roundup Ready bandwagon I see around me, I don't see how it is possible to produce clean seed corn in this country. I suppose I will soon have to pay for that test as well. So much for the much ballyhooed nanny state.

We have plenty of government all right. It just doesn't work for us.