From NCRS Interns to Ag Professionals (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

So at the NCRS we have been fortunate to have had some great interns over the years who provided valuable assistance to the research operations.  (And we still do today.)  But who could forget 2011 when we had these two outstanding Spartans working on the farm. That’s Amanda and Jeff on June 27, 2011 in between tasks.

interns

 And here they are almost exactly seven years later at the same NCRS, again in between tasks.  Only  they are no longer interns, but Ag Professionals.  Amanda is now an agronomist with Mycogen Seed and of course, Jeff is a Research Specialist here at the NCRS.  And Jeff is still taller.

ag professionals

We have some Mycogen corn planted as part of the AgroExpo seed plots, and she and her district sales manager came by for a look the other day.  So of course I had to arrange for a trip down memory lane.  I am proud of them for their advancement into the professional world of food production, and am certain that some of what they learned as interns stayed with them.  I haven’t seen Amanda in several years and am glad that she is doing well.  And of course I am also glad we were able to get Jeff back to the NCRS several years ago.  Now get back to work!

What Is The Blogger-World Coming To? (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

So it has finally happened.  I have never been on the Facebook, being solely devoted to the Land of Liquid Blog.  But some of our crack Marketing staff thought I should branch out as the Facebook reaches far more people.  What?  Well I finally relented and gave it a try, going kicking and screaming into the twentieth century.  It started last week and I am still getting the hang of it.  But I can post short videos, pictures and comments of what is happening at that time in research.  Check it out and tell your friends.  Here is a snapshot of the Homepage with the name on it.  I didn’t choose it, but it’s growing on me.  (Like a rash).

That picture?  It’s me spraying quackgrass (Agropyron repens) at the NCRS in the spring of 1994.

agroliquid facebook

The videos are fun, and short.  That’s my favorite part so far.

Agroliquid videos

Now Stephanie also posts on the NCRS Facebook.  We’re not in competition (I hope.)  Just a different slant, and this one will follow me around the country when I do actually go someplace.

So give it a look and you’ll be hooked.

Potato Plots Making Us Hungry (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

Last week one of the potato experiments was planted.  Potato plots are quite a bit shorter than the corn and soybean plots which can be several hundred feet long.  But they are no less accurate due to the TLC that Dr. Zouheir provides.  He likes to plant by hand in uniform spacing achieved with a rope with tape on it.  Seed pieces are sorted for uniformity.  Previously he has achieved 100% uniform emergence, so who can argue with that?  To do this a trench is made with the planter.  Seed pieces are placed, and then I use the backpack sprayer to put a band of the appropriate fertilizer several inches over from the potato and on both sides.  Then they are covered up and then we stand back to wait for emergence.

potato experiment

In the picture Zouheir and Alex set the rope for the next plot while Jenna and Cami lug the potatoes ahead for planting.  Quinten works ahead to make the trenches.  What’s the test about?  Well it’s a second year of PrimAgro P and K compared to Pro-Germinator and Kalibrate, C-Tech timing and also a new foliar P product will be tested.  Can’t wait to see how this ends!

A Little Help Here…… (LAND OF LIQUID blog)

So Tuesday was busy as usual.  Only we had some extra help from our summer interns on their first day at the NCRS.  They are all from MSU and more information to follow.  But so far they are a great bunch.  And as usual, they were put right to work.  In the last post I showed our dry fertilizer spreader.  Well here is intern Alex applying some potash on some plots on Farm 7.  It does a great job of uniform application as the inset pics show.  (This picture is also for those uninformed people who question our research intent and integrity with conventional products in our plots.  Our goal is to prove performance through accurate testing of AgroLiquid against standards.  It does no good to cheat.  So there!)  And don’t worry, intern Jake will be prominently featured later.

appying potash

 Also on the farm was planting corn seed plots for the AgroExpo.  One of the pains of this operation in the past was vacuuming out the planter boxes with a shop vac and then dumping the seeds back into the seed bags.  Well after some inspiration from the Pioneer folks that planted some silage plots last year, Tim and Ron conspired to make our own quick and easy system.  And of course it changed our lives.  Now with  powerful suction the seed goes into that shop vac cone base…..

vacuuming seeds

 …and pull out the bottom door and it falls into the bag.  Then load the seed for the next plot. Interns Cami and Jenna don’t know how easy they have it compared to the old days.  But that’s progress.

seed bags

 And off goes Tim on the next plot.  Make sure you come to the AgroExpo on August 14 and 15 to see this and so much more.

putting in seeds

And of course it will change your life.  (For the better that is.)

The “O” Word in CA (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

So sorry for the lapse in regular blog posts….but I’ve been busy.  Now who is in the mood for one last blast from my visit to CA earlier this month?  Good.  We visited a different kind of field this day.  Below we see Chris, Dylan and Keston from Retail Partner LA Hearne in a field of celery near Watsonville.  What’s different?  Well it’s Organic celery.  It seems that there are a fair amount of acres of organic vegetable production in this area.

celery field

LA Hearne not only sells organic fertilizer, but also is in the custom application business.  In this case it is 1200 lb/A of chicken litter pellets.  You can see the application bands that are partly uncovered in the middle and also on the right where the side of the bed has fallen away.  Now that is a lot of material, but it seems to work.

celery plants

 You’ve heard that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”  AgroLiquid does have one OMRI listed product in C-Tech.  But Chris assures us that organic products that have nutrients in addition to microbes are not too far off.  In fact we are testing organic P and K experimental products at the NCRS this year.  So AgroLiquid should have an organic product line someday.  We will see if the sun is blotted out from the sky as I never would have thought that would happen.  But Chris has told me that It’s the best Jerry! The best!  Indeed.

celery field long shot

 In addition to plot and field visitation, Chris and I were also in CA as speakers at a CCA Seminar in Exeter, near Visalia.  There were a variety of speakers providing information on different production ag topics for continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisers.  Below we see Chris speaking about how crop nutrition can help ward off insect pests.  Did you know that?  I lead off the session with a riveting rendition of Improving Soil Vitality and the effects on crop nutrition.  Now I had titled my presentation to be about Soil Health, which is all the rage these days.  But it seems that you can’t say Soil Health in California as that is not an acceptable term there.  Kind of like the name Pro-Germinator.  So fortunately I had some time to make the change on my title slide, as I did not want to be in violation of pc statutes.  They are rough there in California.

agronomy presentation

But it was a good presentation.  In fact they told me: It’s the best, Jerry!  The best!

Turn On, Tune In…The Radio (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

From AgroLiquid intranet news:

_________________________________________________________________________________

 AgroLiquid on Ag PhD Radio

Did you know Ag PhD regularly features AgroLiquid experts on their daily radio program?  Ag PhD Radio is on Rural Radio Sirius XM channel 147 every weekday at 3 pm Eastern, 2 pm Central.  You can also access previous shows at http://www.agphd.com/ag-phd-radio-on-siriusxm-player/.

 Scheduled:

March 1 – Brady Boyd – Wheat Fertility and Application

March 14 – Aarron Stahl – N Stabilizers

March 15 – Jerry Wilhm – What to Put In-Furrow on Corn

March 21 – Tim Duckert – Calcium

March 28 – Stephanie Zelinko – Sunflower Production

_________________________________________________________________________________

 So that is quite a line-up.  Hope you can tune in.  I haven’t decided exactly what to talk about regarding What to Put In-Furrow on Corn.  Right now leaning towards fertilizer.  Make that: AgroLiquid Fertilizer.

Ag PhD Soil Clinic…..Glad It Was Inside (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

So every winter, Brian and Darren Hefty put on Agronomy and Soil Clinics all over the Upper Great Plains.  Naturally we wanted to go to one.  So Stephanie and I went to Grand Forks, ND for the Monday Soil Clinic.  Probably should not have looked at the morning temperature as that bed was so warm.  But time to get going.

grand forks temperature

There was a good turn-out by hearty growers from the North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba, and Michigan.  Probably other places too.  We estimated over 250. They basically went over principles of how to read a soil test and make your own fertilizer recommendations.  And of course they mentioned Pro-Germinator and Sure-K as good sources of readily-available nutrition.

presentation north dakota

 There were several supplier displays out in the lobby…one of which was AgroLiquid of course.  Our local host was Sales associate Andy from Wahpeton, ND.  Well maybe not that local.  Andy works for Retail Partner Schlechter Ag Liquid.

event wahpeten

 At 2 pm CST it was time for the Ag PhD Radio show. You can tell they are on the radio because they are wearing headphones.  Hope you caught it that day.

agroliquid radio show

 So that was a good way to spend the day.  They are sincere in their efforts to get growers to better under stand soils and soil tests.  They mentioned that it is common practice for fertilizer dealers to promote programs that are not correct for what is needed.  Naturally AgroLiquid is not one of these.  Everything we do is based on soil tests that define your specific nutrient needs.

After that, it was time to head back to Michigan.  I have a reputation for taking pictures of everything.  But I thought this was a cool pic coming into Minneapolis at dusk.

Minneapolis at dusk

There are upcoming Soil Clinics in both Scottsdale, AZ……and Winnipeg, MT.  You decide which one you will attend.  I’ve been to Grand Forks, so I am suitably trained.

Coffee Break Continues…….. (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

So continuing with our company visit to Kauai Coffee, it seems that Big Steve found a friend.  Just say “Aloha” and he’s yours.

Kauai coffee visit

 We took a look at their coffee plant nursery greenhouse.  Here they are growing a new variety of coffee that will be transplanted out into the fields when it gets big enough.  It is slow growing as these plants have been growing for several months, and are still small.  (Sounds like a job for Ferti-Rain).  They said it takes four to five years to go from planting in the greenhouse to production.  But it will be worth the wait I’m sure.

coffee plant nursery greenhouse

 A younger member of the tour group takes a hands-on approach with the seed beans.

coffee seed beans

I mentioned how fast the coffee plants grow in the year-round warm conditions, and how they are “stumped” from time to time.  But in between, they prune back the branches to keep the rows open.  We saw this pruning machine that has three circular saws on a rotating arm that drives down the rows keeping them neat and tidy.

coffee pruning machine

 After the tour, some of the group visits on the beautiful grounds around the visitor center.

Kauai coffee grounds

While others fill up on all of the different types of coffee available for sampling.

coffee samples

And don’t forget, if you’re ever in St. Johns, MI, stop by AgroLiquid headquarters where you can always by a bag of Kauai Coffee from our lobby store.

Kauai coffee company sign

And if you’re really lucky you can share a cup with Eric who is always anxious to listen to people’s stories.

Coffee’s On…..Kauai Coffee That Is! (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

So one day we visited our favorite coffee grower: Kauai Coffee.  They not only grow and market the best coffee anywhere, they are also users of AgroLiquid to produce much of the coffee there.  They receive multiple shipments of isotainers through the year, each with 4300 gallons of AgroLiquid from the Stockton, CA plant.  Then they feed it through drip tape on the many fields that are on the Liquid program.  Here is the popular gift shop where you can buy coffee as well as multiple souvenirs to remind you of your visit.  Hey, what’s that new sign out front?

Kauai coffee gift shop

It’s a list of where you can get Kauai Coffee back on the Mainland.  Drop everything and go now.  You won’t be sorry.  If your store doesn’t have it, stage a sit-in till it shows up.  Remember, it’s got AgroLiquid behind it.

Kauai coffee near you

 We’ve had a variety of tours over the years.  This year the three guys that I work with are giving a walking tour around the grounds to explain what goes on in growing coffee.  That’s Bronson, who is in charge of irrigation, Jon the orchard operations manager, and Ramon the IPM specialist.

Kauai coffee staff

 I’ve shown the operation called “stumping” in the past where they cut the coffee back to a stump, to keep it from getting too big.  Obviously.  But it is necessary from time to time.  After it re-spouts, you prune off all but the strongest leader stem, as Ramon demonstrates.  It grows fast and will produce some coffee within a year, and be back to full production within another year or two.

coffee tree stumping

Ramon then leads part of the group through the visitor center grounds.  Don’t get lost Steve.

coffee tour

 Bronson talks about the growth stages of coffee.  Harvest has been over for a month, so we didn’t get to see any of that as we have in the past.  But before long it will begin to flower and start the production process all over again.  Bronson says when flowering, the place is all white with flowers and really smells good.  Bronson is responsible for managing the 2500 miles of drip irrigation feeding the 4 million coffee plants on the nearly 3000 acres here.  How does he have time to mess with our tour?  Well he is a nice guy after all.  Nice hat too.

growth stages of coffee

 There are a few old berries, or cherries, still on some plants.  Eustaquia, from the St. Johns office, must not have gotten enough coffee this morning as she bites into one.  I don’t think her husband Chris wants her to share.  But wouldn’t you know it that she had a lucky bite.  It seems that her berry had just one bean within it, designated as a Peaberry.  Two beans is more common.  It is larger and has higher quality.  In fact you can get Peaberry brand coffee.  Good job Eustaquia.

tasting coffee bean

 Well that’s enough coffee excitement for one blog.  Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of AgroLiquid’s adventures at Kauai Coffee.

‘Tis the Season (LAND OF LIQUID Blog)

So it’s December now, and it’s never too early for a Christmas parade.  Such was the case last Friday in St. Johns, MI, and of course AgroLiquid was an eager participant.  It featured lots of lights, so the NCRS crew outfitted our Hagie plot sprayer with lights galore.  Hagie pilot Tim stands guard.

farming christmas lights

 Here are the AgroLiquid paraders.  Notice the Flavonol bubble people and Farm Guy.  All lit up and ready to go!

Christmas lights tractor

We also had a bright antique golf cart leading the way downtown to the throngs of parade fans.

Christmas parade st johns

 The Hagie made a nice show going down Clinton Street in the midst of town.  Although most people apparently thought it was a tractor.  But I liked their enthusiasm.

christmas parade

Gerrit and Molly and kids are having a great time spreading the Christmas cheer.  Obviously Beth is too.

Christmas cheer

 There was a long string of all sorts of lighted floats and bands making the parade a civic success.

Christmas floats

 And like all good parades, the last float has Santa waving to all the good kids in town.

santa

I waved back.