CropLife Newsletter – Plant Nutrition Today.

Soil Bags, Soil Testing

Understanding Soil Acidity Agriculture needs to rely on sustainability to protect long-term soil productivity. Soils from around the world tend to become acidic with time. The tropical climates tend to have more issues with soil acidity. Soil acidity limits crop yields due to the negative impacts on soils physical and biological properties.  Effective use of

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Driving Smart Decisions – November Update

November Update It is that time of the year. Harvest is in full swing and the fall cool breeze is back. The leaves have fully turned colors and are quickly making their descent to the ground. In addition, growers are in the field evaluating their current yields and contracts for 2019. At Midwest Laboratories, the

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Update from the Field – TaylorAnn Washburn

Field Representative, TaylorAnn Washburn gives an update from the southeastern regions of the US.    Missouri While northern Missouri is drying off from the excessive rain earlier in October, southeast Missouri is now taking on the rainstorms. The state has seen the drought of 2018, the flood of 2018, and the blizzard of 2018 –

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Update From the Field – Jim Grilliot

With recent rains, the fall harvest and wheat planting have been put on hold. The rain totals are anywhere from 2-11 inches over the past week to 10 days in Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Texas panhandle. WHEAT & CORN Planted wheat acres are at 50% as of October 10th. With saturated soil and water standing

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Mycotoxins Further Explained – GMO Specialist Brian Hodges

With the current weather conditions, we felt it would be appropriate to speak on the development and potential dangers of Mycotoxins. No matter where you are farming, if weather conditions are amiable for mold growth, the chances mycotoxins start to appear in your crops is significantly increased. Molds that are within the Mycophyta family have

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Driving Smart Decisions – October Update

What is New?   The soil sample numbers are increasing on a daily basis. It appears that the majority of samples may be sent in later this month. The rain in the midwest areas is causing delays with harvest and sampling. Soil sample drying capacity has increased to 31,000+ this fall to help accommodate the increased number

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Organic Farming – A first hand look

Organic farming is a high risk and high reward method of agriculture. For some the risk too much, such as not knowing your crop’s quality before selling at the elevator and the possibilities for cross-contamination from neighboring fields. These are some things that troubled the mind of Yield Organic CEO, Thea O’Carrol when she decided

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How to Plant and Grow Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of the easiest, low-maintenance vegetables to grow and that is why I choose them for my garden. Year after year I plant them not thinking twice about anything other than the time of year. This year, after reading the following articles, I am reaping the benefits. Below, I called out advice from

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Driving Smart Decisions – September Update

New/Exciting Changes at MidwestLabs.com We updated our site! Why do you care? Well, we made sure to put your needs first. Updates have been made to the search functionality, navigation, and Industry section for tests. Find what you are looking for quicker and accessible. Not sure what you are looking for? Utilize our text, email,

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Soil Analysis Tips

Better soil & crop management Soil Season is picking up, and so is our testing! We hosted a soil testing webinar & seminar this past month where we walk through how to read a soil report.  Midwest Labs wants to make sure you are equipped with the information to implement better soil & crop management strategies.

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Proactive Practices in Animal Feed

Trust that gut-feeling again. It doesn’t matter what industry you are hands-on in; all require a proactive mindset. Teachers must be proactive in their teaching styles to stay ahead of the technological advancements in the way humans learn and retain information. Accountants must be proactive in their financial endeavors to anticipate the economy’s ups and downs.

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Driving Smart Decisions – August Update

Welcome It’s an exciting time to be at and working with Midwest Laboratories as we continue to move forward with innovative processes and initiatives to serve our customer’s needs. The business landscape is continuing to move at a vigorous pace. We are a company who believes staying innovative and ahead of the curve is essential.

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The grass is green, and the sun is shining, but are your roses blooming?

How did your garden turn out this year? As we move closer to fall it’s time to evaluate the work necessary for preparations of the next spring. The first question is, did you find beautiful blooms in your garden? Does the garden look complete, are you ready to focus on upkeep? Personally, I’ve just begun.

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Driving Smart Decisions – July Update

Welcome The Fourth of July is typically the half-way mark for summer. A time of celebration and giving thanks for our freedoms as U.S. Citizens July Announcements Stay Tuned: This month we will have some new initiatives we will be rolling out for our clients. These items are in the final stages of testing and

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Leaf Blight on Nebraska Lawns

Leaf Blight

Have you ever had those straw-brown patches in your lawn and wondered what did I do wrong or, why is my grass dying? Have you heard of Ascochtya leaf blight? If you haven’t, that’s ok. Until Leaf blight takes toll on lawns, was written by Sarah Browning this past week in the Lincoln Journal Star, I

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Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and more Pumpkins

Pumpkins, Growing, Season

It is that time of year to plant those pumpkins for fall harvest. Linked is an interesting article from the Old Farmer’s Almanac; Growing Pumpkins – Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Pumpkins. Below is a quick breakdown of the pumpkin varieties. Miniature pumpkins: ‘Jack Be Little’ miniature pumpkin variety, perfect for a holiday table. Vine variety.

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Driving Smart Decisions – May Update

Soil, Planting, Plants

Welcome May is here, and so are the warm temperatures. This spring we continue to see an increase in the number of new accounts and client inquiries. We have taken some steps this month to help facilitate this increase by offering clients the ability to communicate via text message. This new system is excellent for mobile

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Soil temperatures are still low

Soil, Soil Temperature, temperature

April 5th, 2018 Current soil temperature is 33 degrees in Omaha, NE. Far below the ten-year average soil temperature for April 5th, in Omaha, NE at 49.6 degrees. For those itching to plant, It’s important to adjust your timeline when the soil temperature is so low. Remember the goal is to provide yield, and with

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Overseeding your lawn in April

Overseeding, grass, april

Developing a Healthy Lawn Are you looking to get your lawn ready for a May Graduation event or end of school get together?  Overseeding in April can help you achieve a healthy lawn. Soon the temperatures will creep past 70 degrees and with that, the ground temperature will warm quickly. Now is the time to

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Driving Smart Decisions – March 2018

Welcome It is an exciting time of the year. We are coming out of winter and temperatures are starting to warm-up quickly. (See Graphic: Source greencastonline.com). Current Soil Temperatures in Omaha, 31 degrees F. for March 2, 2018. Many clients begin ordering their spring sampling supplies. Today, this process is a 4-step process with login on

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MIDWEST LABORATORIES ANNOUNCES NEW OVERNIGHT SHIPPING PROGRAM

LaVista, NE – Midwest Laboratories announced during the 2018 Agronomy seminar, beginning March 1, 2018, they are launching a new FedEx Overnight Shipping Solution, exclusive for Midwest Laboratories clients. In order to get the data their clients need to make critical business decisions; Midwest Laboratories will now offer $20 overnight flat rate freight for packages

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How to Take a Manure Sample

More than ever, properly managing manure has become a fundamental aspect of farm management. To manage efficiently, analyzing manure for its nutrient composition is strongly suggested. By analyzing your Manure, you get a full understanding of the nutrients your ground is receiving. Send in a fresh sample for the most accurate reading. Try to time

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Benefits of Manure & Compost

In 1907, Theodore Roosevelt said, “the nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.” Manure and compost are used as an amendment to improve soil fertility and to add soil quality. It will provide essential nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, as well as enhance the microbial population necessary to release nutrients from the soil as

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Driving Smart Decisions – January 2018

Welcome to 2018 At Midwest Laboratories, we are anticipating another exciting year of analysis. In 2017, we updated many laboratory instruments and that investment paid off nicely with the receipt of large volumes of samples in various departments. One of our goals is to identify specific analysis areas that can be updated through technology and

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Prioritizing Your Fertility Needs

by Tim Mundorf, CCA National Training & Precision Ag Specialist With grain prices a little lower than they have been in past years we get questions at the laboratory concerning where growers can cut back their fertilizer recommendations. Balancing crop revenue vs fertilizer cost for any given year and a particular grower’s financial situation as

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How Do I Test For Mycotoxins in Corn

Background Mycotoxins, as defined by Webster, are “a toxic substance produced by a fungus and especially a mold” For growers, the definition goes much deeper. Quality is the key here. Everyone is a bit cautious when buying and selling grain.  Seeking professional analysis from a laboratory or local grain inspection service is the way to go. In

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September Update 2017

Fall Is Around the Corner Labor Day Weekend is almost here.  Schools are back in session. Temperatures are starting to cool off and the days are getting shorter. That means football activities are right around the corner too.  Right now we are seeing an increased demand for stalk nitrate testing. In addition, many growers and

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August Update 2017

August Newsletter For many, August 21, 2017, cannot get here soon enough. Solar Eclipse 2017 is almost upon us. Many in the science community are preparing to observe this once in a lifetime event. Fall Sampling Supplies Make sure you get your sampling supplies ordered. This past week, I took a closer look at supplies

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Mid-May Update

Soil and Plant Update The spring soil testing season continues to be strong. We are seeing a strong surge of soil samples which is a little unusual for this time of the year, but it really does show that growers and retailers are continually monitoring fields to ensure proper soil nutrients are available for proper

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Battling Lawn Grubs

Grubs

Grubs This year I am trying something new.  Yesterday, (April 24, 2017) I applied a national brand, grub preventer product to my lawn. Over the last three weeks, I have done some gardening and landscaping, and every time I dug into the soil, (4-8 inches), I would see grubs. Not just one or two, but

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Nematodes in Florida Golf Course Turf

Nematodes in Florida Golf Course

Nematode Article This spring, I came across this article about nematodes being an issue in Florida Golf Courses. ( Indemnify Q&A – Topic Nematodes, Golf Course Industry, March 2016) The article looks at the identification of nematodes, collecting a soil sample for nematode analysis and finally identifying which type of nematodes are present. If you

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April Update 2017

Introduction Welcome to April. The recent rainfall will soon have grass, trees and plants budding. The recent warm winter has accelerated these activities along with the current soil temperatures, (See Map) which are quite warm for this time of year. From an analysis perspective, the lab areas at Midwest Laboratories are always evaluating current instrumentation

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FSMA Produce Safety Rule and Water Testing

According to a recent article in Food Safety News, (More delay for Produce Safety Rule as industry balks over water testing) by Dan Flynn, March 20, 2017 the FDA are reviewing the water requirements and that could extend the compliance date into 2018. I really think what got my attention in this article was a

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Lawn and Garden Test

                    Here is an excellent video on what it takes to collect a proper sample for a lawn and garden test. Soil testing can improve garden, save money Midwest Laboratories Lawn and Garden Package You will receive a soil bag, return shipping label with the kit.

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March 2017 update

Spring is almost here. This past month we’ve had a slight taste of spring/summer with temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. It has made for an exciting February. Soil sample volumes are up with the warmer temperatures. The Animal Feed Laboratory is almost completed. Once complete, the Animal Feed Laboratory will have its receiving, sample

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Don’t Treat Soil Like Dirt

Today, I found a great article that makes some simple points that are really profound. The information presented in this article came from the article, “How to Build better soil? Stop treating it like dirt” by Debbie Arrington Here are of some of the points that I wanted to highlight from this article. Consider these

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February 2017 Update

In January we unveiled a whole new website look.  It is our goal going forward to continue to provide visitors with as much analysis information we can provide on analysis, method, turnaround time and cost. If you are looking for a particular analysis, consider going to our test section and locating your specific analysis. Taking

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New Website Update for 2017

Welcome to the new, midwestlabs.com site! This process started in May 2016 and came to fruition in January 2017. This site is the cornerstone of a new client experience. The new site will allow users the ability to find analysis information faster, with fewer clicks. One of the best parts of the site is the

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Welcome to the 2016 ACRES Conference

This week the National ACRES Conference gets underway in Omaha.  (November 30 – December 2, 2016) Our staff at Midwest Laboratories have been attending this show over the past seven years and we have made a number of great connections at this show. We are really excited that this year the conference is in our

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Some Thanksgiving Items to Remember

Have a Great Thanksgiving Celebration!  Celebrate this time with family and friends and be thankful for the blessings you have received.                 Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips Check out these Thanksgiving Tips and make sure your celebration is a fun and safe one! How the Thanksgiving Holiday has Evolved

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Turnaround Time – Soil Testing

Soil Update The cool temperatures and wet conditions in September delayed harvesting by a couple of weeks this fall. As a result, many growers harvested fields in a shortened amount of time. Also, the weather turned unseasonably warmer and drier. At this point in the Omaha area, I can only remember three times when the low temperatures

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Soil Testing – Why?

If you are looking for a good read on soil testing, please consider reading this simple, 2-page article. Soil Testing is worth the Effort – by Lee Reich The best part of this article is the second page on the topic of Nitrogen.

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Fall Soil Season

Earlier this morning we received our daily shipment of soils from one of our carriers. This fall, Midwest Laboratories has introduced a new soil box that is reinforced for heavier weights. The new boxes are eco-friendly, no white coloring as our previous boxes. Also, the boxes are much stronger and will not break with respect

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Harvest Map 2016

Harvesting has begun Harvesting has begun in some areas of the country. If you want to follow the harvest figures check out these maps for corn and soybeans at AgWeb. These pages provide information about location and yield in different locations across the country. AgWeb Corn Harvest Map AgWeb Soybean Harvest Map In addition, I

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Soil Sampling Supply Orders

September is the time when Midwest Laboratory Clients order their sampling supplies for soil sample collection. Clients at Midwest Laboratories receive the following benefits: Free Soil Bags for Clients  – We try to encourage soil samplers to order their bags in bulk and large order shipment requests are received and sent out the same day.

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Stalk Nitrate Testing is Here!

Stalk Nitrate

Testing Stalk Nitrate in Corn A number of growers find the information from this particular analysis very valuable. If you are unfamiliar with this type of test, consider watching the following video which gives instructions on how to take the sample. Also, if you need breathable sample bags, consider ordering your stalk nitrate bags from

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Some September Lawn Tips

Lawn, Grass, Grubs

Fall is almost here. I like to get a little bit of a head start by working on the lawn during the pre-fall maintenance period, (Late-August to Mid-September). I have found that if I invest a little time and effort during this period, I will see a return on my efforts this fall, (Late September)

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Crops look great

Corn, Healthy, yield

Nebraska and Kansas are beautiful this time of year. This past weekend I had the chance to drive through Nebraska and Kansas and crops overall look very good for this time of year. The combination of corn growing degree days and regular moisture has contributed to favorable conditions this summer. It will be interesting to see

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Grubs are Back – Take Action Now!

Grubs

They came sooner than expected. Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly noticed some brown spots appearing in lawns adjacent to my property. I am typically proactive when it comes to maintaining my lawn, and I like to make sure weeds are in check, and if there is a cooler period in the summer, I will

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Fire Warning – Linseed Oil

fire liquid, fire

Have you thought about restoring the woodwork on your deck? If you are thinking about this process, you need to watch the following news story. It really highlights the danger of hot temperatures and flammability. In addition, the video really shows that cloths coated in oils can easily catch on fire because of hot temperatures.

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IFT Annual Conference 2016

Changing the future. The IFT 2016 Conference brings together a wide array of food partners, from ingredients and products to production support and laboratory testing. I have been impressed with the number of visitors and current clients who have stopped by and shared their experiences. There is a tremendous amount of sharing. Many great new

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Great Benefits For Fall Soil Grid Sampling Companies

Fall, samples, Testing, Package, content, benefits

2016 Fall Soil Sampling To take advantage of our benefits by signing up for a Midwest Laboratories Account. It only takes a couple of minutes. Submit your information online. Most accounts are up the same day they are received. Setup a Midwest Laboratories Account today. With your Midwest Labs accounts, all supply orders are at your convenience.

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FSMA and Allergens

food allergens, food, allergens

Impact on Food Production The Food Safety Modernization Act, (FSMA) is having an impact on food production; food allergens are one area that is being addressed. I came across food allergens in this article, “F.S.M.A. Are You Ready” by Laurie Gorton, June 16, 2016. The article is worth reading and has a lot of good

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Partnering with a Laboratory for FSMA

Many Food Producers are looking at their HACCP Plans, Food Safety Protocols and the FSMA, (Food Safety Modernization Act)  Regulations and trying to update their procedures to meet the requirements of FSMA. In talking to a number of food producers and educators, it is apparent that many people understand the requirements of the regulations. Sections

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Stalk Nitrate Testing – Bags

In 2015, Midwest Laboratories introduced new stalk nitrate bags to the market. We ran out of inventory immediately after the bags were introduced. For more information on stalk nitrate testing, check out the Midwest Laboratories Stalk Nitrate Testing Brochure.  These Stalk Nitrate Bags provided clients with the following benefits. More reliable bag for collection of samples in

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July Lawn Tips

The weather in June, in this part of the country, have been quite hot with the average high being in the 90’s.  It has put some stress on our lawns. Here are some tips to help your lawn fight these hot days. Look for really, really brown spots. You might have some grubs. It may

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Plant Tissue & Soil Testing in 2016

Plant Tissue Testing Plant Tissue Testing is happening as we speak. Corn Plants are coming out of the ground. In the Midwest, the hot temperatures and high humidity are contributing to the plant growth. 2016 has been a very unusual year. Many growers are seeing the value in testing not only the plants which are

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GMO’s Not Harmful To Human Health

Check out this weeks story in the USAToday, “Academies of Science finds GMOs not harmful to human health” by Elizabeth Weise Genetically engineered crops are safe for humans and animals to eat and have not caused increases in cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal illnesses, kidney disease, autism or allergies, an exhaustive report from the National Academies of Science released

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Manure Delivers Benefits

There is an excellent article in AGRI-NEWS, March 5, 2016, entitled, “Manure delivers soil health, crop nutrient benefits” by  Tom C. Doran The article looks at the benefits of manure from an economic standpoint: Depending on species and how much precipitation water is getting into that manure, every 1,000 gallons of liquid dairy or liquid

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Comparing Results – Soil Kit and a Laboratory Soil Test

Many times this question comes up. SOIL TEST KIT?  or SOIL LAB TEST   Many people have thought about this question but how many people look into the process and see how the two compare. This past month, an individual sent a sample to Midwest Laboratories and tried to prove this concept. His report was

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Lawn Tips for May

This year my lawn looks great. Even with the lack of moisture for most of April, I have been able to create a nice, thick green lawn. Here are some tips I recommend. Get a soil test. A soil test can really help you see which nutrients are lacking in the soil and it can

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Maximizing Your Vegetable Garden Produce with $5 off the Lawn and Garden Soil Test

The beautiful weather outside has us thinking (and hoping) spring has sprung in the Midwest. Already, the birds are starting to chirp, the grass is turning greener, and the bugs are beginning their comeback tour. It is now the time to start thinking about all the fresh produce that is going to come out of

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Which lab is the best soil testing laboratory?

Manure, Sample, Spread

Updated July 11, 2018 This question comes up every year. This year we are seeing a large number of soil samples due to the warmer than normal temperatures. As more and more growers and retailers discover how soil testing results can impact their yield results, Midwest Laboratories continues to work at improving its processes and

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Triumph of Ag 2016

Today, I will be attending one of my favorite agriculture shows in Omaha. The Triumph of Ag Show has been a fixture in Omaha for the past 50 years. The Mancuso Family does a great job running this show.

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Higher than Normal Soil Temperatures

Check out today’s soil temperature map and you will see that our soil temperatures are much higher than normal. Check out today’s soil temperature map link and key, (Source: Greencastonline.com

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Spring Soil Testing

I came across a good article, “Managing soil on a new farm” by Sonja Begemann

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Defense of Food -TV Special

Tonight on PBS there is an interesting program that will be debuting, “The Defense of Food” hosted by Michael Pollan. The show airs December 30, 2015 at 9pm eastern. In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by

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Bill Introduction to End Food Waste

Check out this bill being introduced by Representative, Chellie Pingree. The goal of the comprehensive bill is to re-purpose food that would typically be wasted or not sold, including giving it to food pantries.The bill aims to help farms, retailers, restaurants and schools waste less food, while diverting high quality food to food banks, and using

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Soil Sampling in December?

It sounds crazy, but this week appears to be a great week for sampling. Above normal temperatures across the midwest with highs in the 50-60 degree range. Soil Temperatures are well above normal this week as the 5-day outlook appears for the week of December 7-12, 2015 If you need sampling supplies, please get your order

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World Soil Day – December 5, 2015

Learn more about where our food starts! Many companies and organizations are organizing events today and tomorrow. Find out more at the World Soil Day Site. Soils have been neglected for too long. We fail to connect soil with our food, water, climate, biodiversity and life. We must invert this tendency and take up some

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Some Thanksgiving Food Preparation Tips

I came across this article in Consumer Reports, “Don’t Let Your Thanksgiving Dinner Make You Sick” by Janet Lee, November 11, 2015 1. Watch Out For Mold (Many illnesses can be avoided from the start by looking for the presence of mold) 2. Know How To Battle the Bad Bugs (Prevent Bacterial Growth) 3. Use

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Golf Courses Can Benefit From Soil Testing

I came across this topic in the article, “Talking N, P and K“by John Torsiello, November 12, 2015.  The article looks at the value of soil testing on golf courses. Dr. Eric Milter is reference in the article and talks directly to this topic. Dr. Eric Miltner, agronomist for Koch Turf & Ornamental, says despite what

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Soil Health Explained

Soil Health is becoming a topic that growers are talking about more and more. The following video looks at the concept of soil health shows its relationship to the soil. At Midwest Laboratories, soil health encompasses a report which combines the information gained from different soil health analysis and matches it up with some conventional

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Soil Testing in the Laboratory

I want to give you a picture of what the soil extraction lab looks like. Soil analysis requires a lot of individual hand extraction and quality checks along the way to insure results are reported with respect to meeting required quality criteria. Each day, our lab supervisors evaluate their processes and identify ways to improve

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Soil Bags Still Being Sent Out

At Midwest Laboratories, the orders for soil sample bags, boxes and probes continue. The soil probes have been back ordered a few times and we currently have some in stock. This fall, the conditions for soil sampling have been ideal. The ground temperatures are still warm for this time of year. If you need soil

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Soil Testing Results

This fall a number of growers and companies have sent in samples for analysis. The goal of the analysis should be looking at the results and understanding what the analysis numbers mean. A good reference for this type of understanding is the Interpreting Soil Analysis Guide. If you would like a copy delivered to your

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Gluten – Some More Information

Check out this video, 3 Gluten Myths | What the Stuff?! and learn some more facts about gluten. Lots of people cannot have gluten in their diets. Right now,about 1% of the population are gluten intolerant. Do you have to buy special food if you want to avoid gluten? Not necessarily. Fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, oils

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Mycotoxins in Food and Feed

Each week I see more and more studies related to mycotoxins in foods. This article, “What Does it Mean When Your Coffee has Mycotoxins” suggests mycotoxins can be found in coffee. In addition, the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) is bringing this issue up as a preventive control for food and feed manufacturers to look

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Growing Large Pumpkins

Have a Fun and safe Halloween and Check out these Pumpkin Stories Check out this news feature on the amount of effort needed to grow a large pumpkin. The time and effort may surprise you. Here is a great video on how to carve pumpkins too.

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Soil Sampling After Harvest

Check out this video. It does a great job of explaining the process of collecting a soil for both nutrients and nematode analysis. At Midwest Laboratories we are seeing an increase in soil sample volumes. This fall season has been ideal for drying out the corn, harvesting and soil sampling. It is a great time

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Can Midwest Laboratories Test This?

This is the number one question we receive at Midwest Laboratories.  The following table is a great guide which give you access to analysis available at Midwest Laboratories. Midwest Laboratories Analysis Matrix *Information regarding certification and rush analysis should be obtained by speaking directly to a Midwest Laboratories Customer Service Representative (Office) 402-334-7770. **Normal turnaround time

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Receiving Soil Samples at Midwest Laboratories

This time of year is always a time when samples arrive in large quantities. If you look closely at the bags, you will see each sample is individually stickered. We take the process of receiving samples very seriously. The lab numbers are cross-checked with the sample submittal forms to insure the samples are in the

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Shipping Samples to Midwest Laboratories

Sending samples to the laboratory can be a tough task, especially for those people who are literally pulling samples in the field. I am talking about soil samplers. In addition, understanding the costs of shipping can also be a challenge. UPS and FedEx have now inititated dimensional weight into the price equation to their respective

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Stalk Nitrate Tests

This year stalk nitrate testing seems to be the popular analysis going into October. A number of growers are looking at how much nitrogen was taken from the soil to the plant. Just yesterday, a number of growers were dropping off samples at the front door, anticipating the results as a precursor to soil sampling.

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October Lawn Tips

You have a little time to check the nutrients in your soil and apply a nutrient application to your lawn. The first thing you should do is get your lawn soil tested. At Midwest Laboratories, you will receive an analysis report with nutrient recommendations for the soil. The analysis process takes 2-3 days once samples

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Which Soil Test Package Should I Select?

Here are some reminders which are noted on the MidwestLabs.com Site.  Most soil testing laboratories offer these soil testing packages. If you cannot find a particular soil test method, please contact a soil testing representative at Midwest Laboratories (402-334-7770) or email your question to  getsoilinfo@midwestlabs.com Test Package Suggestions If a field has never been sampled before, we recommend the complete test S3C. For grain crops that will require nitrogen, we recommend tests S1AN or S2N, which include nitrate nitrogen. In low rainfall areas, we also recommend a subsoil nitrate test. For legume crops, we recommend a test including Boron analysis (tests S3, S3C, or S6). In areas of high soil pH (over 7.1), we recommend test S1B (with Bicarbonate Phosphorus) and/or S2.

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Now is The Time To Order Soil Sampling Supplies

September is the busiest time of the year for Midwest Laboratories Shipping Department.  Our shipping department is keeping up with the current demand, but this year we are seeing a lot of clients ordering supplies in preparation for fall soil sampling If you have a Midwest Laboratories Account, you can order your supplies online: soil bags,

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Do You Enjoy the Colors of Fall?

This time of year brings out all kinds of colors in the trees and landscape Pumpkins are starting to appear around towns and markets. Leaves are turning colors right before our eyes.  It is that time of year. Follow the impressive colors of fall around the country on this site, Fall Foliage Map 2015. This

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Soil Testing Could Provide Answers for Algae Issue

Came across this article, “Testing farm soil can help in algae fight“-August 31, 2015 The paragraph that struck me was the following, Phosphorus, a key food for plants, also is a key food for algae. Scientists have recommended cutting the amount of phosphorus in the watershed that feeds western Lake Erie by 40 percent to

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A September Lawn Tip

A few years ago, I listed some September Lawn Tips that are making there way back on Google this year. All of these tips are good tips for the fall, but I want to highlight one tip in particular. Overseeding your lawn – I have found that fall is the best time to apply some

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Are Mycotoxins the New Gluten?

I came across this article, “Are Mycotoxins The New Gluten?” February 24, 2015 It is a very interesting article. There are a number of good points in the article. Currently, the FDA does not impose any limits on Mycotoxin. Ochratoxin A, like most mycotoxins, it remains stable at normal food processing temperatures of 176 – 248

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The Value of Cornstalk Nitrate Test

Stalk Nitrate Test – What does the analysis really say? I came across the following statement in this article, “Cornstalk nitrate test reveals nitrogen application accuracy” by Susan Winser, October 31, 2014 Each test has its role: The cornstalk nitrate test is a snapshot of how close you came to applying the most cost-effective N rate,

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Harvesting Corn Residue

Corn growers harvest a crop, but what do they do with the residue left behind? There are techniques to harvest the corn residue and the following video report talks about these techniques. Today, the buzz is all about cover crops, but corn growers also have options with their current corn cover. Grazing is one option

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How Safe Is Our Beef?

Sustainable Beef versus Conventional Beef Study According to this Consumer Reports Study, sustainable had less bacteria content than conventional. The point here is that all beef has bacteria and needs to not be eaten raw but cooked thoroughly at 160 degrees fahrenheit. Watch this interview and learn more about the study. Also, checkout the response

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Collecting a Stalk Nitrate Sample

Check out this video and learn how to take a stalk nitrate sample from the field. This video does a great job of explaining the process. I would also add that this test works best when samples are collected and sent within a 24-hour period. Check out this page for more information regarding stalk nitrate

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Corn – Stalk Nitrate Test

This particular analysis is very popular this time of year. It can help provide information The end-of-season cornstalk test is a good tool for evaluating nitrogen (N) management practices used in any corn field in any year. The test is most valuable when used on field that show no visual signs of N deficiency. Stalk

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2015 Fall Weather Forecast – Be Prepared!

If you are a grower and/or a company that is related somehow to the fall harvest activities, you will want to read this article. “2015 US Fall Forecast: Fire Danger to Worsen in West; September May Yield Tropical Impact in South” , August 14, 2015 by Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer  The first few paragraphs of

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Estimating Corn Yields

I really think this video does a great job explaining the math behind estimating corn yields before harvesting. Math teachers are always looking for real-world examples. I would encourage them to watch this video too. Too many times, we take these numbers for granted as consumers. Growers consciously are looking at these numbers in order

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Fertilize Lawn in August – Seriously

Yes, a few weeks ago I talked about fertilizing the lawn in July. Today, I did the unthinkable, I fertilized again in August. Every night for the past 4-5 nights, we have received rain in the Omaha area. Saturday night we received 2 inches of rain. The wet conditions are quickly taking the good nutrients

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Midwest Laboratories – 40 Years

2015 represents 40 years of company business for Midwest Laboratories. Over those 40 years there has been tremendous growth in the areas of analysis and technology. Take a second and watch this very short video to get a feel for our lab analysis. Make sure you watch the entire video. At the end is a

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What is Your Biggest Question Regarding Soil Testing?

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a strong theme regarding soil testing and its value for growers. There have been all kinds of articles written about soil health programs and getting soil sampling supplies ready for the fall.  What is your biggest question about soil testing? I am putting together a specific report

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Soil Health – Where does Carbon Come From?

Check out this video and learn how the microorganisms release carbon CO2 in the soil. Dr. Will Brinton provides an indepth look at the carbon process in the soil. It is a very interesting video presentation. Soil Health Testing is available at Midwest Laboratories. For more information check out this link, Midwest Laboratories Soil Health

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Stopping Spread of Bacteria – Cutting Boards

Here are some great tips to consider to help stop the spread of bacteria. Everyone should have a minimum of two boards. One board for raw foods and one for cooked foods. \ Sanitize cutting boards with bleach. Also, make sure any cutting board purchased comes with the NSF Safety Seal for food safety. Learn more

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Too Much Rain for Corn Growers

2015 – The theme has been “rain”. Too much rain forced many growers to plant late. During the month of June, the rains continued and it was evident that the plants were going to need additional nutrient applications to make it through the season. See for yourself how one grower, Brian Scott has been affected

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Order Your Soil Probes Today!

Fall sampling is almost here. Time to get your order in today. Over the weekend, we received 5 orders for soil probes. Soil testing is becoming very popular with the advent of precision ag programs and new software programs being released almost daily which use soil analysis data combined with climate data and nutrient application

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Grubs are Coming Back To Your Lawn

  Updated 8.30pm / July 27, 2015 Ok – After watching the video below, I decided I needed to try a little experiment. I applied some Scotts Grubex in areas where my lawn had brown spots and I watered in these areas.   As I looked at my own lawn, I could see that these

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Summer Lawn Weed Problem?

Are Weeds Taking Over Parts of Your Lawn This Summer? The weeds are back and back in a big way this summer. Time to take some action! As I look at my own yard, I don’t remember a time when dandelions were still growing. Also, crab grass is back in a big way and weeds

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Ethanol Demand – An Interesting Perspective

Check out this interview with Green Plains CEO, Todd Becker and seen where the Ethanol Industry stands with respect to the economy. This story is really interesting. Todd does a good job of looking at Ethanol as a sustainable business. Overall, Ethanol is a discounted fuel compared to traditional gasoline. The international market is becoming

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E.coli in Lakes

Check out this story out of Michigan. It gives a good perspective on the process of monitoring e.Coli levels in Lake Michigan. Remember, e.Coli is always present to some extent in lake water. You can take precautions by making sure you wash your hands and body, especially before eating so you do not transmit the

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Egg Shells Can Help Your Tomatoes

I came across this article and I found it very interesting. Egg shells can benefit your soil and tomato plants – Mike Hursey, July 8, 20115 …egg shells are 96 percent calcium carbonate, which will stop blossom end rot on tomatoes. They add calcium and nutrients that the tomato fruit needs. This next part of the

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Three Summer Lawn Tips

Three Summer Lawn Tips:   (1) Mowing Consider mowing your lawn a little higher not shorter to prevent the spread of weeds. (2) Watering Only water 2-3 times a week, but water longer in each area, 20-30 minutes. This way you will insure the water gets down into the surface part of the soil 4-6

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Tour of Missouri Crops

Check out this video of crop fields in the state of Missouri. It gives a very good perspective of what you might see if you traveled across the state and were to look at various fields. Quite a variety of stages being ovserved here. The big theme, “Too much moisture” Lots of areas where crops

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How to Make Fruits and Vegetables Last Longer?

Ever wondered how to extend the shelf life of your fruits and vegetables? Check out this news story for some tips. These tips are very simple. I had never heard of these tips before. With people buying more fresh, local produce, more processes like the examples shown in this story will need to be discovered if

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Getting Protein from Crickets

I am starting to learn more about a movement away  from traditional sources of protein like animal meat and milk to getting protein from insects like crickets. Yes, one of the latest trends is cricket flour. Have you heard of this product? I am just starting to learn about it. If you don’t believe me type

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Tomato Issues? – Try Adding Calcium

Check out this article regarding tomatoes, Got calcium? Your tomatoes need it by Debbie Johnson, June 21, 2015.  It really looks at the current growing conditions of tomatoes and makes the case for adding calcium to help insure proper growth of your tomato plants. Plant cells have rigid cell walls. To build those walls, the plant

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Short on Time – Get Answers Today

At Midwest Laboratories, we perform a wide array of analysis. Most of our analysis is listed on our website, This seems to be the approach of most people these days because they are in a hurry to obtain a specific piece of information. I would like to offer another another suggestion. Please consider sending an

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What Do Corn Growers Look For In June?

Check out this video, it does a good job of highlighting the items that growers need to be focusing on. Crop scouting has begun. Those of you in the city, do you know what V5 Growth Stage is and how to account for the following stages? If you don’t, watch the first couple of minutes

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Growing Your Own Strawberries Today

Ever wanted fresh, juicy, red strawberries within reach? Have you ever thought of trying to do this without creating a new area of dirt in your backyard? What if you live in the heart of a city and you only have access to the sunlight on your patio? The answer is simple, Grow Strawberries using Containers. I

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Soil Testing – Golf Courses

Golf courses are finding the value of soil testing. Case in point, Ingersall Golf Course mentioned in this article. Many golf courses will experience issues with dead grass, weeds or areas where the organic matter may have been removed from too many golf swings hitting the same areas. You really do not have to look

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June is the time for grub damage to start appearing

As you continue to keep up with mowing your lawn after the latest rain, you might want to be on the lookout for the presence of grubs. You may really want to consider an application. Most of the country experienced above average rainfall in May and with warmer temperatures the bugs start coming out. I

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Plant Tissue Testing in June

The season is here and plant tissue samples are being received each day and the number of plants received are going up each day. If you need some help with taking a represesentative sample, check out this plant tissue publication here. Plant tissue analysis looks at the following analysis: Nitrogen, Sulfur, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium,

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Shelf Life of Pantry Foods

Have you taken the time to check your food pantry in your kitchen? Are you afraid of keeping something or throwing something away? This past weekend, our family pantry got a complete overhaul. Some items had been in the cabinet for well over a year. Some canned food had expired. Is it still safe to eat?

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Avian Influenza

Check out this news story and see how this issue is affecting our food production. The virus has killed more than 38.9 million birds. Questions still exist about how the virus is being spread. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the poultry industry

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Organic Fertilizer Recipe

Check out this example of an organic fertilizer made with the following ingredients: Cottonseed Meal  (1.25 lb) Bone Meal (.6 lb) Kelp Meal (2.5 lb) Application 3/4 lbs for 50 sq. feet This video is very interesting and will give you some ideas for making your own organic fertilizer recipe. Over the past three years,

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Plant Tissue Analysis Reminder

This time of year, many growers try to decide if plant tissue testing is worth the effort. Many times the issue is the process. One plant tissue test is probably a waste of time. Effective plant tissue testing requires a commitment on a regular basis. If you want to learn more, check out this 4-minute

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Soil Nitrate Level Testing

Many growers look at the nitrate levels in their soil. This May has been an especially rainy one in this part of the country, (Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri). Nitrate levels are highest in soils that have finer textures, such as clay and silt, rather than those with rough textures, such as sand. Because nitrates are

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Urban Gardening

Urban Gardening – What will it look like in the future when gardening, technology and the city people come together to grow their own produce. Check out this video presentation on different types of urban gardening appliances and infrastructure you could use to conduct your own gardening. It is really an interesting look at what

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Container Gardening

Check out this informational video on selecting appropriate containers for your garden. Did you know you should select a container that has been high fired for 1400 degrees for two weeks? Have you thought about the look of your containers with respect to your background lawn? Color of container can make a lot of difference.

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Planting Produce Calendar

Have you wondered when you should plant items in your garden. If so, check out this garden planting schedule courteousy of the Farmer’s Almanac. It is a great guide with specific instructions on when to plant produce respective of the soil temperature. It’s not too late for a garden soil test either. At Midwest Laboratories,

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Planting a Tree

Check out this article! Plant a tree, but do it right! This article gives you complete step by step instructions. (Only 7 steps) Very easy to read and understand. It is important that we continue to look for ways to rebuild our tree population. On April 24, 2015 we celebrated Arbor Day. If you are

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Ingredients Testing

Have you looked at analyzing the quality of your ingredients? At Midwest Laboratories, we are receiving higher volumes of phone calls regarding this topic. People are looking closer at the quality of ingredients they are receiving. Some of the items analyzed are protein content, fat content, water content, bacteria content, salt content, other heavy metals

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Turning Rotten Vegetables into Fertilizer

Check out this story regarding the conversion of vegetables into fertilizer. Check out this invention from a former Microsoft Executive. The technology takes the old vegetables and liquifies the product. It all about finding ways to add nutirents back into the soil. Picture Source: Flickr Creative Commons

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Grid Sampling Made Easy

Check out this video regarding grid sampling. It talks about what grid sampling consists of and gives the proper perspective on what it takes to pull a representative soil sample. Zone or grid sampling is the first part of getting soil analysis data to determine what type of fertility recommendations to make. Picture Source: JMC

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Frugal Container Gardening

Check out this video and learn how one grower has found a way to create a unique container garden which is easy to setup. It might give you some ideas for your own garden project. I enjoy this grower’s passion for organic gardening and he really gives a lot of great advice for growing your

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Farmers Racing Against Time

The race is on to get into the field and begin planting. Check out this news report that looks at the corn planting situation in 2015. It is time to get into the field before the fields get too wet. Typically, corn is planted first in late April followed by soybeans which are planted the

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Soil Temps and Safe Planting

Everyone keeps looking up at the sky for the weather, but the real key to temperatures is looking at the soil. This video looks at what can happen if you plant too early and the soil temperature drops. Pay close attention to what happens to the seed, itself. It is a very informative video. Picture

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Corn Planting in April

With warmer than normal spring temperatures, it is looking like a lot of corn planting might be ocurring before the end of April. What a difference a year can make. If you need a reminder of how cold temperatures and colder soil temperaturs can affect crops, check out this video. I came across this article, Corn

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Add A Grub Killer To Your Lawn Soon

Think about applying a grub killer to your lawn before situation gets out of control.

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Getting rid of Clover in Your Lawn

This weed ranks right up there with crab grass in my opinion. This year, I have finally won the battle. I found a 4 inch square area and it is now gone. Here is my advice if you permanently want to remove this weed. You can try conventional sprays, but once the sprouts come up,

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Which Analysis Method Should You Use?

Many times clients send samples in and really don’t know what to ask for when it comes to the analysis method. Methods are the starting places for performing analysis is a qualitative manner. Because technology is changing, methods also may need to be slightly adjusted. A good laboratory will note this information in their standard

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Don’t Guess, Soil Test Before Applying Fertilizer To Your Lawn or Garden

Here is an excellent article on the topic of soil testing for your lawn or garden. Don’t guess on garden fertilizer – Democrat News, April 8, 2015  (Well worth reading) This article looks at the value of soil testing and how it can really help people understand that through a soil test, conducted at a laboratory,

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Battling Crabgrass This Spring

Crabgrass is starting to creep up in yards around the country. I came across a great article, “PLATEAU GARDENING: Crabgrass vs Turfgrass” by c. Rae Hozer This article emphasizes the following points. Crabgrass is a sign of turfgrass getting too little fertilizer or the soil is so acidic that fertilizer is not readily available to

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Interesting Look at Gardening – Edible Landscaping

Check out this article, “Gardening ‘outside the box’: Edible landscaping makes most of yard space” by Tracy Frank, April 4, 2015 Here is an excert from the article… “It’s really simple. It’s a matter of incorporating edible plants into the ornamental landscape,” said McGinnis, who has been with NDSU for two years and is also

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Some Common March Analysis

This past month there were numerous questions regarding the following analysis: Soil Testing/Soil Sampling – Most of the questions had to do with sampling more than just analysis. There is a great resource in the Midwest Laboratories Library on Soil Sampling. Lawn/Garden Soil Testing – This is the area we really saw a lot of questions. Midwewst

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Food Chains Making Nutritional Moves

Check out this story about Burger King removing soda from its children’s menu. Other fast-food restaurants have made such moves, but are these moves getting much attention. In addition, some restaurants are looking for ways to stand out more regarding food nutrition. Check out the story and learn more. It will be interesting to see

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Attracting More Pollinators to Your Garden

Ever thought of adding wild flowers near your garden to enhance pollinators?

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Community Garden Safety Tips

Community Gardens are becoming more and more popular. It is a great way for people in cities to come together and grow produce for a local community. Many community gardens are becoming more progressive with the produce they are growing and the applicaiton of natural fertilizers from soil testing. One area that many people who

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Sample Paperwork

Over the past few weeks it has really been apparent that sample paperwork is one of the biggest detractors from getting analysis performed and reported in a timely manner. Consider typing out your informaiton. With everything going to scanning these days it is becoming increasingly difficult to read smugged writing and overall appearance of hand-written

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Getting Garden Ready for Spring

It appears many people are getting their garden ready for spring planting. Midwest Laboratories offers a Lawn and Garden Testing Package to assist gardeners and lawn owners in this process. This comprehensive analysis is listed at $25 and provides clients with fertilizer recommendations based on the nutrients in their soil. Here are some reminders that

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Arsenic in Wines

Check out this story. It does a good job of describing where the arsenic comes from and what you can do as a consumer if you are concerned about this issue. Arsenic comes from items items associated with the process of wine making and bottling. photo credit: red wine via photopin (license)

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Sample Paperwork – Avoid Delays

In this current culture where companies are trying to go paperless and scanning barcodes continues to grow and get better each year, sample paperwork is still the best option for insuring your analysis request is received and processed. Just like other companies, we are trying to find an easier solution and we are making advances

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With Warmer Temps Comes Pollen

It is pollen season again. Check out the map for 3/17/15. The ground temperatures are rising and grass is begining to turn green. It also appears that temperatures are back to a normal range in most areas. Seasonal allergies are a concern for many. Here is a news story that talks about ways people with

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Soil Testing History

Have you looked at your past soil testing records? I have heard from several growers who are taking the time to go back in time and look at soil testing information from 5-10 years ago and even a few from 15+ years ago. The good news is Midwest Laboratories has soil testing information available to

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Ag is Exciting

This evening I am reflecting on my experience at the 49th Annual  Triumph of Ag Show held in Omaha, Nebraska. It is one of my favorite shows of the year. There is so much excitement surrounding ag. There is equipment, new technology, supporting ag-related companies like banks, financial institutions and land management companies. All of

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When will my lawn start turning green this spring?

When will my lawn start to turn green this spring?

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Considering an Organic Strategy For Your Lawn

Thinking about going organic with your lawn in 2015. Here are a few tips!

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March Soil Temperature Map

Typically, the soil temperature needs to be above 50 degrees Farenheit for most crops. Currently, only the most southern states are above 5o degrees as the map indicates. See the color guideline below the map.   If you want to follow soil temperatures into the spring season, check out the GreenCastOnline.com Soil Map that is

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Spring Soil Sampling

Orders are picking up the last couple of weeks for soil bags, boxes and shipping samples. It is not too early to start ordering your supplies. Temperatures will be going up as we approach the second week of March. You can order supplies from the convenience of your location if you have have a Midwest

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Bananas – How do they get to our stores?

Check out this video and learn where our bananas come from and how they get to our stores. It is quite a process. Temperature control is monitored throughout the process. photo credit: Bury St Edmunds 30-10-2010 via photopin (license)

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Fresh or Frozen Vegetables

Which one is more nutritous? You may think the answer seems obvious, but it really depends. Check out this video and learn more about what makes vegetables nutritious. It gives some great examples of why you might want to consider buying vegetables fresh and frozen depending upon your circumstance. photo credit: produce via photopin (license)

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Nutrients in Plants

This time of year, the focus for many growers is the nutrients in the soil. However, I am seeing an increase in questions related to how those nutrients make it up to the plant. For that matter, many people are looking at nutrients first and determining what is needed and then evaluating this information with

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GMOs and Food Safety

Check out this interview with Ruth MacDonald, Professor at Iowa State. Earlier this year in January, Ms. MacDonald recently spoke to a group of growers at an agriculture expo at Fremont Nebraska. People need to understand the role of GMO technology in our food industry. We are currently going through a period of change with

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Calories on Menus – Closer Look

Check out this news story regarding calories and food items. People really need to understand what they are eating and put it in perspective with respect to their health needs.

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Using Beer Byproduct to Treat Wastewater

Using Beer Coproduct to treat wastewater – An interesting story!

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Nematode Testing in 2015

Have you considered testing for nematodes in 2015? It might be something to think about to be on the safe side.

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National Canned Food Month

February is national canned food month. I had never heard about this recognition before till I read this article, “It’s National Canned Food Month, so try something from the pantry” by Lee Ward, February 3, 2015. The article makes some interesting points about canned food and it is well-worth reading. One of the areas it

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Spring Lawn Preview

Time to start planning for your spring long. It is not that far away, about 60 days in the midwest. This article is one of the best articles I have read on proper management of a lawn. How to cultivate a happy lawn by Laura Lee Rose, February 1, 2015. The article hits on points

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McDonalds – Behind the Counter

You have to see this news story regarding McDonald’s. Are you aware that each bun has 360 sesame seeds on it. Hamburgers are grilled by a machine and can produce a final product in 38 seconds. The goal is to serve clients their food in less than 60 seconds. It is a really interesting look

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Soil Samplers Taking Advantage of Mild Winter

This January there has been a rush for sampling supplies. Currently, soil probes are in strong demand and manufacturer’s can’t keep up with the demand. Soil Probes – If you are thinking of ordering a probe for sampling today or this spring, place your order now. Supplies are limited and demand is high and demand will

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We need Farmers to Feed the World

Take a second and check out this article, “The only thing that will feed the world is farmers” John Hart, Southeast Farm Press – December 17, 2104 “There is no single technology that will feed the world. The only thing that will feed the world is farmers,” Savage said at a forum on agricultural biotechnology

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Rio Grande Water Quality Adventure

Check out this article, “Man kayaks to draw awareness to river quality” by Kristen Mosbrucker, January 17, 2015. We need to read more stories like these and understand our natural waterways better and look for ways to save our natural resources and ultimately improve their quality of life. Colin McDonald looks at the history and current

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2015 – Year of International Soils

Check out this presentation. Soil is currently considered a nonrenewable resource. We need to look closer at our soil, leave it alone and find ways to add more nutrients back into the soils. Spokane, North Idaho News The NRCS has proclaimed 2015 – the year of soil. Celebrate World Soil Day on December 5, 2015

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Is Year-Round Farming Coming to Your Town

Check out this story and see how this couple is growing fresh produce inside, year-round. They plant and harvest every week. It takes 8-10 weeks to grow a head of lettuce. They harvest 200 heads of lettuce a week. It also takes one gallon of water per plant. Using technology like led lights and hydroponics,

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Mycotoxins in Coffee Explained

I came across this article, “Debunking The Myth About Mycotoxins in Coffee” by Kris Gunnars and it really gives a good perspective on this topic. In summary, coffee does contain a presence of mycotoxins but the levels are so low that there really does not need to be any need for concern. Here are some

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Finding a Laboratory in 2015

Looking for a laboratory in 2015, consider working with the staff at Midwest Laboratories for your analytical testing needs.

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Why Food Labels Are Important

Why Food Labels Are Important…A closer look at edible marijuana products and proper food labeling.

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Soil Sampling – Conquering Your Fears

The cold blast we experienced in November is gone and now many growers are going back to their land to pull samples for analysis. If you need a gentle reminder of how important it is to understand the makeup of your soil, check out this article from HoosierAg that was released a few weeks ago,

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Do Cover Crops Make A Difference in the Soil?

This is a  question that many people who are looking at soil health are asking. Many growers have seen results with cover crops. Soil Health Test Brochure from Midwest Laboratories Right now, many growers are trying to determine the value from an input cost standpoint. The analysis is showing that soil health can make a difference

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Feed Testing

Feed testing – This article, “The importance of feed testing” by Janna Kincheloe, November 17, 2014” is one of the best articles I have read on the topic of feed testing. This article looks at three key components: 1) Proper Sampling – The article explains how to collect a consistent feed sample 2) Quality Analysis – This

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Reflecting on the Thanksgiving Holiday!

It started with the pilgrims at Plymouth Massachusetts. The colonists formed a friendship with the Wampanoag Nation Tribe. See how this day of celebration has been an important date in our development as a country? Were you aware that Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November a day of Thanksgiving as a way to unify the

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How do you get a good soil profile?

A soil profile starts with soil testing combined with a yield map to see the difference in nutrients between the higher performing areas and the lower areas. Fall or Spring soil testing? – The main key here is to be consistent with respect to your soil sampling and soil testing. Also, you can consider soil sampling

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Soil Health in 2014

Soil Health was the big buzzword in 2014.  Midwest Laboratories recently entered the soil health market by combining conventional soil tests with newer analysis introduced by soil health. The result was the following, a new soil health report which takes a closer look at the makeup of your soil. We are receiving a lot of

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What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, we also are surrounded by food at holiday parties and family gatherings. How many calories do we really consume during this time period? Enjoy your holiday meals and treats and eat sensibly. Check out this video on what 200 calories looks like and make sure you

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Learn a Bit of Halloween History

Do you know where Halloween originated? Check out this article and see and learn a little more about this particular day. Be Safe and Have Fun!

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What is in my food?

Ever wondered exactly what the makeup of your food is? How many calories are contained in that cappuccino?

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Total Coliform in Water

What level of coliform is safe in drinking water? I really like the Vermont Department of Health Coliform in Water Webpage. It takes this topic and give you straight-forward water. (Any levels of coliform in water are cause for concern and action should be taken) – This is really what you need to know when

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Harvest 2014 – Dealing With Issues

Harvest time always occurs around October and November time frames, but each year presents its own issues depending upon the weather. It is interesting to see how growers deal with these conditions and always find a way to persevere. Check out this news story regarding harvest in Illinois and dealing with the wet field conditions.

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What is a Soil Health Test?

Soil Health has been heavily promoted in 2014. Learn more about what this type of analysis looks like and how it can help you manage your own soil.

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Phosphorus Application to Your Soil

Looking at a soil test report closely. What are the relationships to phosphorus?

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Submitting Soils to Midwest Labs

Here are some ways to insure fewer delays with your soil samples being received at Midwest Laboratories

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Growing A Large Pumpkin

Ever thought of growing a large pumpkin. Check out this story and see what it takes. A great story!

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Am I Done Working on my Lawn

Time to winterize your lawn. What final steps should you be focused on?

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Kids and Protein Shakes

Which foods contain the highest protein? Should kids drink protein drinks to insure they get enough protein?

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Last Minute Stalk Nitrate Testing

Time to get that last-minute stalk nitrate testing completed.

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Lawn and Garden Soil Explained

Are you considering adding soil amendments to your lawn or garden this fall, if so, you should check out this informative presentation and know your options. Consider soil testing as well

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Best Practices for Keeping Phosphorus on Your Field

How much phosphorus should I apply on my field? Could I actually be applying too much?

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Students learn some of the basics of corn harvesting

Have you ever harvested white corn? Take a minute and learn more about the process.

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What do Soil Health Results Show?

Where can I get a soil health test? What does the soil health report look like?

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How do I know nematodes are an issue in my field?

How do I know if nematodes are a problem in my field? What steps should I take to learn more?

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Ethanol Production in Brazil

Check out this story about the current ethanol picture in Brazil.

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Is corn oil extraction changing the quality of DDGs?

DDGS – Could corn oil extraction be affecting the quality?

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Fall Soil Sampling and Testing

Are you looking for free soil bags for soil testing? Have you selected a soil testing lab?

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I Have a Question About Testing Where Do I Go

Ever had a laboratory testing question, but could not find the answer? Consider sending your testing question to Midwest Labs

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When and How to Harvest a Pumpkin

Learn more about harvesting pumpkins this time of year, (September – October) .

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Do you have the Midwest Labs App?

Have you downloaded the Midwest Labs Mobile App – I really like the way you can follow sample when it arrives at the lab and when the analysis is expected to be reported.

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How to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables

With food prices going up, it is time to look at minimizing food waste and looking closer at food preservation.

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No-Till and Tillage Soil Profiles

This no-till video comparison really looks at the great benefits it provides to the soil.

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Which Ball Park Has The Best Hot Dog

Which ball park has the best hot dog?

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Top 5 Summer Lawn Lessons Learned

Summer lawn – 5 lessons learned that helped me maintain a green, thick lawn

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Fall Soil Sampling

Fall is a great time for soil sampling and soil testing.

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Chicken McNuggets Process Line

See the Chicken McNuggets Process first-hand.

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Urban Farming

The future of urban gardens may be just around the corner.

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Fighting Tree Disease

I thought this news story on tree disease was particularly interesting. It focuses on an effort by Linn County Officials to insure the potential speed of tree disease stays  localized. See the process first-hand. photo credit: Heather F via photopin cc

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Stalk Nitrate Sampling Tips

Thinking about stalk nitrate testing…Here are some tips.

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Plan Now For Fall Lawn Seeding

Time to start thinking about a fall lawn seed application.

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40 Different Fruits on One Tree

Check out this tree of 40 different fruits – An amazing story!

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Stalk Nitrate Testing

Stalk nitrate testing – A great way to evaluate your nitrogen management plan.

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Food Safety Update

New Food Safety Regulations coming in 2015.

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Where do you want to go with precision ag?

Precision Ag – Where do you want to go?

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Nematode Analysis

Midwest Laboratories has received a large number of samples requesting nematode testing. This is the result of a number of factors. Many laboratories do not have the proper permits to handle soils outside of their state. In addition, Midwest Laboratories is one of the few labs in the country which has a certified nematologist on

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How is processed cheese made?

Processed Cheese – What steps are involved in the process?

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Summer Lawn Tips

Some summer lawn tips to help insure a thick, green lawn.

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Hydroponic Strawberries

Hydroponic Strawberries – An interesting concept to look at!

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Corpse Flower Sightings

Have you seen or smelled a corpse flower up close? It’s an interesting story!

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Drones and Corn Field Scouting

Drones are starting to be seen more and more in fields across the country. From time to time, I hope to share more articles with respect to this new process. I have been fortunate to hear some great speakers talk about their experiences with drones and their fields. Most of these speakers talk about the learning

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Getting Quality Sweet Corn

Check out this video and learn how to insure better quality sweet corn.

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Aflatoxin in Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter and Aflatoxin – What you need to know so this does not become an issue in your household.

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Flooding is hitting the state of Iowa

Check out this news story regarding flash flooding. The excessive rain that has been received over the past 10 days has really contributed to a saturated ground and creeks and rivers cannot keep up with the flow of heavy rains occuring in a short period. See more in this news story out of Des Moines.

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Nebraska Beef State License Plates

Time to promote Nebraska as “THE BEEF STATE” For $70.00, Nebraska residents can own a specialty “beef” license place. People in the United States often don’t know where there beef comes from.  Drive around Nebraska and you will see many, large feedlots. “In March, the state passed Texas as the No. 1 state in the nation for cattle

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Plant Tissue Testing – Soybeans

Check out this video on the proper steps in pulling a plant tissue sample for soybeans. This video gives great step-by-step instructions in pulling a tissue sample. It is a great time to look a the nutrients in your plants and determine if any additional applications are needed for your soybeans. photo credit: UnitedSoybeanBoard via

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Farm to School Movement

Check out this news story. It is really critical that we start showing our students where our food comes from and how local food providers can offer quality food alternatives to snacks and junkfood. This story is a well produced news story and it really shows the fact that many kids really need to understand

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Plant Tissue Testing Video

It is that time of year again to think about Plant Tissue Testing. Check out the following AG Ph.D. segment that aired in May 2014. It speaks to the real reasons why this test is so valuable. Basically, it comes down to one important item. Are the nutrients in the soil making it up into

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The Future of Precision Ag

Check out this article regarding Precision Ag? Where is Precision Ag Headed? The article point to a future point where soil sensors and drones will continuously send information to a network with updates of the soil’s nutrients. Why are articles being writtten about future precision ag with more new technology?  More time should be spent

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Chicken and Labeling

Check out this news story on information regarding nutritional labeling. I think it is important for people to really understand the type of information that is printed and labeled on our products. This news report does an excellent job of educating people on the information that they commonly see and if in fact, its real

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Online Ag Library

Have you ever wanted more information on a particular topic like soil sampling, plant tissue sampling or interpretation of soil analyis or plant analysis? I would highly suggest checking out the Midwest Laboratories Library Section. Here you will find information regarding specific analysis, sampling techniques and interpretation of reports. It is a great location to brush

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Grow Strawberries Inside?

Check out this video and see how you can stay inside your home this summer and grow strawberries in your home. Your house has the ideal temperature if you keep your home temperature in the 70 – 80 degree range. Strawberries need about 7 hours of sunlight each day. Getting good soil, with proper drainage

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Soil Health Test

Soil Health Report from Midwest Laboratories Soil Health has been quite a buzzword in 2014. Growers are looking for ways to maximize the nutrients in their soil. This in turn will equate to the nutrients getting absorbed by the plants which ultimately means a quality produce output. Midwest Laboratories is introducing a new Soil Health Assessment

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Spring Planting 2014

Typically, a lot of corn is planted the last week in April. Last week, rain was the word across the country. Because of the wet conditions, corn planting was delayed till this week. What a difference a week makes. This week temperatures in the 70s, 80s and 90s in some areas. It is always a

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Soil Testing – An Important Step

Check out this news story out of North Dakota. It really gives a good picture as to the reasons a number of farmers and growers decide to test the soil in their properties. It is one of the best news pieces I have seen on the topic. KFYRTV.COM – Bismarck, ND – News, Weather, Sports

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May Lawn Tip

In May, I have just one tip, this is assuming you have taken some steps mentioned in earlier posts. Last week, I saw one of these disgusting critters in my lawn and was a bit in shock, knowing how cold it has been this winter, into spring. However, I think the wamer ground temps and

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Lawn Update – May, 2014

It appears my spring lawn has finally started to look like a spring lawn once again. I have mowed three times since the last week in March and I have noticed quite a change in four weeks. At the end of March, I applied a pre-emergent to battle the annoying crabgrass that seems to appear

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Starting Your Garden using a Trellis

Ever wanted to start a garden but did not know where to start. Have you ever considered growing your garden using a trellis with your garden plot? Check out this video, Don Rosenberg gives some great tips for growing produce. Don talks about the different vegetable varieties and why you might want to consider using

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Cover Crops – Soil

Check out this video after one year of cover crops, cereal rye. The difference, visually is really noticeable. The soils with cover crops and without cover crops look completely different. It would be interesting to take this scenario a step farther and test the soil. photo credit: USDA NRCS South Dakota via photopin cc

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Soil Health – Cover Crops

Check out this story of how one Iowa Farmer is using cover crops and no-till practices to improve the overall quality and stewardship of their soil. Soil Health is getting more air-time in 2014. It is all about understanding the makeup of your soil and finding ways to maximize the nutritional benefits in the soil.

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Cellulosic Ethanol Technology

Check out this video and learn a little more about the process of producing ethanol from cellulosic materials. It is important to understand the process and see how ethanol is produced in this process. Over the next few days, you will hear a report that suggests that the cellulosic process produces more green house gasses

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Dealing With Winter Yard Kill

Have you started to get your yard ready by doing the following: Started watering your lawn Put down your first pre-emergent application Starting to kill your first, few dandelions Are you starting to see spots like those in the picture above where no grass is coming up at all. It may be due to winter

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Soil Temps Continue to Stay Low

Check out the most current soil maps and see how soil temperatures have not moved over the last few weeks. It is making for a very late spring season in 2014. Have you noticed your grass is fighting to come up. It really has to do with soil ground temperatures. Hopefully, temperatures will go up

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2014 Spring Soil Testing

This spring has seen a bumper year for soil sampling and soil testing. Many people are collecting soil samples in their yards, gardens and fields. Over the next few weeks, it appears the ground temperature will continue to get warment and hopefully temperatures will follow suit. It has been quite a winter to remember, record

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Cover Crops Explained

Cover crops are the new buzzward. Cover crops are not new, but the term is getting a lot of publicity because of its relationship with soil health. Many farmers use cover crops to add back nutrients to the soil after harvest. In addition, some cover crops like radishes can help aerate the ground to help

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Drought -Tolerant Seeds

Check out this video regarding drought tolerant corn. This might the choice of many growers to help minimize the risk of dry, drought conditions.

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April Spring Lawn Update

This past weekend I broke down and mowed the lawn and applied a pre-emergent fertilizer. My hope was the rain forecasted for Sunday was going to happen. The 50% rain quickly broke up and the rain never came in our particular area. Wednesday, April 9, 22014 the temperature is supposed to hit 80 degrees in

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Farming – Spring 2014

Check out this short video clip and learn a little more about the life of a farmer. Watch as a farmer plants soybeans on the same land that grew corn last year. It is always a good idea to know where our food comes from. I would venture to say that many people have never

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Food and GMOs

Check out this interview with Dr. Ruth MacDonald, professor and chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University discuss the topic of GMOs and our national food supply. GMOs do not become incorporated in your body, it is safe. The takeaway should be that the science behind GMOs is strong

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Dealing with Yard Thatch and Preventing Snow Mold

Check out this video it really gives some good tips for getting your yard ready for the spring. This spring has been a cold one in many areas of the country. We are into April and we are still seeing snow. Overall, the soil temperatures continue to rise and there are some things we can

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Best time to start mowing your lawn?

I think about this question all the time. I have already seen some of my neighboors out mowing their lawns. However, with a chance of snow yet this week and more cold air coming into the region, I think I will hold off a bit. The key for me is when do I want to

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Sandhill Crane Migration 2014

Yesterday, I attended an event in Kearney, and I could not believe what I saw. It was the first time that I had ever seen the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. From Grand Island, NE  to Kearney, NE; cranes were everywhere, in fields, lakes, streams. (thousands and thousands) If you have never seen this event

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Some ways to deal with crabgrass this spring

Every spring, this particular weed, crabgrass is on the minds of homeowners. It is a pesky weed that needs immediate attention or you can pay the consequences down the road. Most people apply a pre-emergent to address this issue. Typically, mid-April to the first week in May is a good time frame. I ‘ve seen

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Soil Probe Investment

Investing in a good, solid soil probe can really go a long way in assisting you with your soil sampling needs. Obviously, the word has gotten out about soil probes and last fall and this spring soil probes are being sold in record numbers. This spring, we made the decision to purchase a large number

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Cold Temps having an effect on Bees

The cold weather has really had an effect on the bee population. Check out this story of a local beehive owner who lost all but one honey beehive because of the cold winter temperatures. Bees do much more than produce our honey. “Pollination is the real value of honey bees,” said Joseph. “We all like

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Green Grass is Starting To Come Through

It is that time of year when the grass starts coming out of its dormant stage and starts turning green. I saw a few people in the Omaha area who were mowing their grass. Seems early to me. The soil temps may be telling a different story.  As you can see from the map, the

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Grower Predictions for 2014

Spring Planting is right around the corner. Check out some interviewers with growers and when they expect to start planting. Some interesting thoughts It appears the cold has really had an impact with respect to frost in several areas of the country.  I think it is interesting to listen to a variety of growers because

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Lawn Tips for March

Right now conditions are still early for mowing and preparing lawns and gardens, but spring could arrive early as witnessed by this weeks upper 70 degree temperatures. Time to start prepping and planning. It all begins with a soil test. Midwest Laboratories offers a Lawn and Garden Test. If you take samples from different areas

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Young Pet Treat Owner

Check out the story of this young entrepreneur who is putting her baking skills to work in a pet treat business. It’s a great story about an area that continues to grow. Check it out for yourself.

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California Drought effect on Agriculture

Check out this story and see how the agricultual community is feeling the hit. From crops to cattle, farmers are trying to hang on to their current livestock and fields. These people work hard to provide food for you and I. Much rain is needed in this area of the country. The sad part of

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Why your water may taste poorly and smell bitter

Check out this story and look at how a water plant in Missouri is taking steps to make the water taste better. The recent thaw brought natural runoff of soil and organic materials to the river has affected the water’s taste and smell. It is an interesting story with some helpful information regarding public drinking

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Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Let’s face it, food prices will be going up in 2014. With the current drought conditions in California and extreme shortage of water, much of our produce will be going up. In addition, cold weather has had an impact in the south an upper midwest. Meanwhile, in the center of the country, the lack of

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California Drought is affecting Almond Growers

Check out this video and see how farmers are tearing up their orchards because of a lack of water in their fields. It is a sad state of affairs for the almond industry as well as other food industires in California. I am not sure any of us could imagine pulling up trees because conditions

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AG DATA | Where to Start

After listening to a number of Ag Managers and Retailers talk about precision ag technology, it is really apparent that the technology is changing at a very rapid pace. Farmers can manage all aspects of their farms from equipment assets to production numbers from their fields. As I talk to people, I see people picking

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Cold Weather and Plant Preparation

The Soil Temperatures are extremely cold and it could take some time for proper root development to occur this spring. A check on the latest soil temperature map shows temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s where heavy snowfall has ocurred.  Where snow hasn’t fallen as much, the soil temperatures have remained in the 30’s and

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Precision Ag in 2014

Check out this video and learn more about what is important with respect to Precision Ag Technology. This industy is undergoing technology changes everyday. In addition, the data is being used to help enable growers to operate more effectively and efficiently. Some Important Points Make sure you understand the make-up of your soil. (Soil sample

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Dryscape instead of Landscape?

Check out this story. See how some California residents are taking incentive money and using it to turn their green landscaped properties to dryscaped areas. Dryscape might be a new trend in other parts of the country affected by the drought. Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV Some highlights from the story:

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No-Till Soil Experiment

I came across a video on this topic. Often times, we see and hear people talk about their no-till farming experience, but do we really understand the true benefits of this process. This simple experiment will show how soils, 1) tilled and another 2) no-tilled react to moisture. The video really speaks for itself. Now

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Spring Soil Sampling is not far away

As you make your plans this winter for spring soil sampling, start with some initial planning. Right now, companies are ordering soil sampling supplies like soil bags and boxes for the upcoming spring season. Last fall, there were a shortage of soil probes available. With the hard winter, inventories have been replenished and soil probe

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California Drought 2014

This matter is very serious! Lakes and creeks are drying up quickly. Actions are being taken by homeowners, growers and businesses are taking drastic actions to conserve the current water that exists. This part of the country desparately needs rain. This year Los Angeles had 0.0 inches of rain for the month of January. Such

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Improving Productivity

How do you measure productivity? Yesterday, I went around to the different laboratories and noticed many supervisors were running samples and also working on ways to improve processes in their own departments. One new process that is being implemented is a move toward electronic lab notebooks and more use of iPads and data integration between

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Poop Company Competes for Free Super Bowl Ad

Nampa Poop Company – Their website is very informative! Check out this commercial that is in the running to be aired during the Super Bowl. Check out the Tagline “I pooped my plants!!” Here is the Link It’s a great story of how one company moved from the dairy business to the poop business. Below

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Compost Study Findings

Check out this compost study which was performed by the Washington State Extension Service. Some of the highlights from this study were the following: A blind sweet corn test was performed and the sweet corn grown with compost actually tasted better than conventional soil practices. Their was a significant higher volume of nitrogen in the

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Soils are not Equal

Take a minute and read through this article regarding different soil types. It is a very interesting read and it really speaks to the process of soil nutirent management. There is still a lot of knowledge regarding soil and by analyzing its nutrient content, growers will be able to make application decisions that will ultimately

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Farmers in Florida deal with the cold weather

Check out this news story. It really gives a good insight as to other types of farming like raising tropical fish and strawberries. With the colder temperatures moving south, many farmers are trying to prepare their livestock and produce for possible freezing temperatures. photo credit: moderntime via photopin cc

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Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery

The development of a distillery…Cedar Ridge Vineyard opened 12 years ago and was looking to differentiate itself from the market. This is where the distillery idea came to fruition. In the heart of a grain country a new idea was born and implemented.  It is a cool story. Learn and listen more to Jeff Quint’s

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Consumer Reports – Raw Chicken Study

97% of Chicken products contaminated with bacteria. This is a bit alarming. Would people really eat raw chicken? The answer is yes! Herein lies the problem. See more in this news story. Consumer Reports tested the raw chicken for six kinds of bacteria. More than a tenth of the poultry contained two kinds of bacteria

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Biofuel Production Explained for the Classroom.

Check out this video which really gives a gret perspective of what biofuels are and how biofuels are produced. Lots of great information about the current state of biofuels, the challenges that biofuels face and some ways that biofuels are being produced using cellulosic materials and algae. If you are a school teacher who talks

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FDA wants farmers to limit antibiotics

Listen to this farmer in this news story. Antibioitics should be used when animals get sick. Some farmers use antibioitics to help add weight to animals. Responsible antibiotic use has been around with livestock producers. This isn’t a new idea. This inititative by the FDA has been announced as a voluntary limit and more inforation

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Analysis Planning for 2014

This time of year the client services staff receives many inquiries through phone calls and the company website. It is a great time to call-in and have questions answered with respect to analysis capabilities and pricing information for budget planning purposes. This information is also very helpful to our Midwest Laboratories staff. Each year we

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Safety Tips for your Thanksgiving Turkey

This news story is really a good reminder about having a fun and safe Thanksgiving Turkey. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take the right measures to cook our turkeys the right way to insure safety for all. photo credit: ohdearbarb via photopin cc

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Making the Most of Wastewater

Check out this story of how one company, GreenWhey Energy is taking wastewater that was once spread on fields to converting it into electricity. GreenWhey works with seven large dairies.  GreenWhey also produces biosolids as a co-product of this process. It is a very interesting story to check out and this video really takes a

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Is it too late to do soil testing this fall?

It is already the middle of November and some people may be thinking it is too late to be having soils collected and tested for soil nutrients. A number of growers ask this question and consultants, coops and retailers continue to answer this question. As long as the ground is not frozen, it is still

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Which soil probe should I use?

This fall has been a record year for soil probe purchases. It appears more growers than ever are eager to get into their fields and pull their own soil samples. Midwest Laboratories offers a number of soil probes for sale on the Midwest Laboratories eStore. It has been challenging to keep probes in stock this

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How is my soil tested at Midwest Laboratories?

This time of year, the soil extraction laboratory is working to capacity. Many individuals are busy scooping and extracting samples to be read for soil nutrients, organic matter and soil pH. It takes a well-coordinated team and quality checks along the way to insure proper analysis is ocurring. Analysis are run against known samples periodically

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Cover Crops in the Fall

Have you looked into cover crops for your fields? I hear a lot of good stories about cover crops, but rarely have I seen some really good examples of how cover crops can actually aid no-till farming. I recently came across this YouTube Site, Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District. This site give some

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Why the leaves have amazing color this fall?

Have the colors of the trees literally stopped you on your drive to and from work this fall. It has been sometime since we have seen so much color in the trees and the leaves are huge. It has been a spectacular fall in this part of the country. The weather in this part of

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FDA Eliminates The Use of Arsenic in Chicken

Check out this news story on this topic. It gives some background surrounding this issue. It talks about a recent FDA Study that was occuring at the time of this news production, February 2013 and the FDA has since released its findings this month. The FDA has eliminated the use of arsenic in chickens. The

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Pumpkin Art

This time of year, it is always cool to see the different art being created from pumpkins. In my neighborhood, I witnessed kids and adults pulling out their knives and carving out different faces and creatures. I also enjoy the painted faces and murals on pumpkins too. It is a special time, leading up to

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Know the facts about ethanol for your car and small engine equipment

This past month, I conducted a few tests of gasoline from different pumps and came across some surpristing information. Lately, the talk has been that there is too much ethanol in our fuel. Will E-15 hurt my automobile’s engine? Why is ethanol being used to blend gasoline to get an octane reading of 87. I

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Some things to consider regarding the fall frost

It is that time of year again. Everyone anticipates when they can stop watering their lawn and plants because the inevitable frost is here. I have already shut down my yard irrigation system and taken steps to empty the water out of the pipes. I was burned once and my pipes broke and had to

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Is fall a good time to analyze soil nutrients for vineyards?

Having worked with a number of vineyards not only in the midwestern part of the United States but also on the East and West Coasts, fall can be a great time of year to look at soil nutrients. Most vineyards look at plant nutrients in the mid-spring to early summer and this type of testing

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How to submit samples for faster turnaround time

Many times samples are held in the receiving area because of the following: too little volume of sample for analysis no paperwork no contact information (phone, address or email) the wrong analysis is listed the information cannot be read due to moisture or tear in the paperwork To insure proper turnaround time requires the client

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How much soil should you send to the laboratory for testing?

The amount of soil collected and sent for analysis does make a huge difference. I know many labs air dry samples before grinding. Other laboratories, like Midwest Laboratories dry soil at a consistent temperature to remove as much moisture from the soil as possible for analysis. Each year, Midwest Laboratories conducts studies specific to drying

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Which lab is the best soil testing laboratory?

Soil, Soil Lab, Soils Laboratory

It is an interesting question. Obviously, there are a number of fine, outstanding laboratory. However, the bigger question is the following: What should I be looking for in selecting a soil testing lab for me? Here are some key differentials to look for: Quality Soil Testing – What should I be looking for with respect

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Ethanol | Gas | Small Engines

In the midwest most of the unleaded gasoline is being blended with ethanol to bring the octane levels up to 87. This has people a bit concerned, especially wiht their small engine devices like lawn mowers and snow blowers. Check out this news story! Understand how these changes could impact you. The news story makes

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Soil Sampling – Some Soil Probe Modifications

Soil Sampling from Midwest Laboratories This time of the year soil samplers and growers are getting in their fields after harvest and pulling samples to check the nutrients in their soil. Pulling samples can be a challenge this time of year. In some places I have heard the ground is extremely hard and dry. This

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Grower donates potatoes to food bank

Mike Noonan, Noonan Farms is giving away his planted potato fields to local food banks. Potatoes are a great all-natural produce with a long shelf life retention. It is a wonderful story of generosity. Please read the whole article, “Long shelf life Food bank potatoes ready for harvest“, it is well worth the read. Check

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Growing Pumpkins and Pumpkin Patches in 2013

2013 was a much better year for growing pumpkins than last year.  Check out this story of one grower who talks about this year’s crop compared to last year. It gives a good perspective of how a grower perceives the entire pumpkin growing season. This time of year is an exciting time for kids to

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Corn Harvest in Minnesota

2013 was a crazy year for growers in Minnesota. Some very wet conditions and late snow falls contributed to a late planting season. Then a cool and wet summer prevailed until August were heat and drought-like conditions came back making for an interesting growing season. The following news story shows the effects of the weather

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Midwest Laboratories Receiving

This time of the year, a lot of soil samples are received at Midwest Laboratories. Many growers check their fields as part of their soil nutrition plan and send samples from different grid points. In addition, other samples like feed, food, water and wastewater are being received as part of a regular quality testing plan.

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Farm Bill Expires September 30, 2013

This week the focus will be on the impending government shutdown. What many people don’t realize is that the farm bill expires today. This could not come at a worse time as crops are being harvested. The most immediate impact of the Farm Bill’s demise will come with the October shut down of programs that

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Three October Lawn Tips

You have a few weeks to make a difference with your lawn this fall. Fall time, (Up to October 20, 2013 – Assuming a Frost by the end of October) is a great period of time to perform a couple of activities. Overseed – I can’t tell you what a difference this can make. A

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Soil Testing in Pastures

I came across an interesting article, “Soil testing cool-season pastures can produce dividends” The main takeaway from this article is that many producers focus on applying nitrogen tho their pastures and don’t realize that they have a phosphorus deficiency. Phosphorus is needed for good root development and by applying phosphorus in the fall can help

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Some Fall Garden Tips

Check out these garden tips from a recent Weather Channel news segment. Planting tomatoes in the fall is one option. Some good advice for Fall Gardeners!

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Cattleowners Watch for Ergot

Several sightings of ergot have been confirmed in Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa. I came across this topic in an article, “Cattleowners urged to watch for ergot poisoning, August 25, 2013″ Conditions are right.  Early Moisture | Afternoon Heat Climatic conditions are key to ergot’s presence, and they were ideal in some parts of the state

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Looking at Crops from the Air

Check out this crop tour of Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. The view from the air really tells quite a story that people may not be seeing as they drive by some fields. Check out this news report and see the damage up close.

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Corn Crop Stress & Disease

Corn Root Worm | Foliar Disease |  Anthracnose Disease I came across this video and thought it was particularly good in showing classic diseases and stress on corn plants. Check out more in this video from Syngenta. Also consider getting a stalk nitrate test to give yourself one last indication of where your crop is at

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Modified Growing Degree Days and Corn Maturity

The recent cooler temperatures have really kept corn growers on their toes with respect to predicting corn maturity. Of course, this summer is completely different from last year’s high temperatures and drought conditions. Check out this link from the University of Illinois, Midwest Regional Climate Center.  This link shows the current, modified growing degree days

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Stalk Nitrate Test

Stalk Nitrate Testing is a very popular test this time of the year.  It gives growers an idea of the effectiveness of their nitrogen applications for the current growing season.  There is a very good reference guide on the Purdue University Agronomy Site, “End-of-Season Corn Stalk Nitrate Test” which talks about the whole process and

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Foliar Testing | Vine Nutrient Status

This time of year, Midwest Laboratories receives samples from vineyards across the country for soil sample analysis and foliar testing. This week, I came across an article that was just posted by the Michigan State University Extension. “Foliar testing for assessing vineyard nutrition” It is a very good article that breaks down the nutritional recommendations

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Soil Type Impacts Wine Quality

Check out this video and see how soil adds to and continues to feed vineyards that are over 100 years old. It is a short, fascinating look at how soil affects the grapes flavor. I was really surprised at how fine the soil is. It would be interesting to someday understand the makeup of this

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August Lawn Tips

Just as kids get ready to go back to school, so to, its time to head back to the lawn to nurture it for the fall season. The best time to apply grass seed is Mid-August through the first part of October. With this being said, I think the first two weeks of August are

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Cyclospora at Farmers Markets

Check out this news story that has been an issue in Iowa and surrounding states. Cyclospora Outbreak: What You Need To Know – Source Forbes, 7/26/2013 The cyclospora outbreak in the US which began in mid June has now affected 285 people in 11 states Cyclospora is a one-celled parasite which is too small to

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Is the Drought Comping Back this Summer?

The latest figures indicate that the Drought is coming back, especially in the highland states. Check out the latest figures on the High Plains Drought Monitor Page.  The High Plains states are taking the brunt of the dry, drought conditions. The United States Drough Map also indicates this same picture.  I guess the main concern I

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Field Corn and Sweet Corn

Field corn is about half-way through the growing process. Some corn is almost beginning to tassle. This time of year is harvest time for sweet corn. Last year was a tough year for sweet corn in the midwest because of the extreme drought conditions. This year is a much better year. I am still amazed

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Corn Crops 2013

As I drove through the country on the 4th of July, I noticed a lot of corn that was waist-high and the soil looked very moist. I was reminded that last year, crops were already being picked because of the drought. Many forecasts for 2013 was for the drought-like conditions to continue. This hasn’t been

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Fungus on Wood Chips

This past few week, I have seen this nuisance fungus/mold very similar to the picture in this post. At first I thought it was the neighbors dog, but after some research I realized it was a fungus that keeps appearing. The reason for this fungus have been the increased moisture in the air and moderate

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I need my lab results today | Rush Analysis

In today’s society there is a premium on time. At Midwest Laboratories we understand this need. Companies and consumers across the country use the analysis results provided at Midwest Laboratories for different reasons. Here is a list of some common reasons: Analysis results needed for current production process. Waiting on results to proceed further. Changed

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Strawberry Harvesting is a little late for 2013

Check out this story regarding strawberry harvest. Cold, wet and rainy weather has created delays in pollination and kept soil temperatures cool. Now with high temperatures and high humidity this week, the process of harvesting strawberries will accelerate and the window for picking strawberries may be a short one. Check out more in this story

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Dealing with Toxic Giant Hogweed

This topic was presented to me by a reader of this blog who suggested I look at this toxic weed a little closer. I have to say, I really had no idea there was such a toxic weed in our country. I wonder if others like myself are unaware of this very toxic weed. The

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Sweet Corn Update 2013

The news around the midwest is that sweet corn harvest is a little late this year, but the good news is that the yields should be very good. The cooler weather and regular rains are the reason for the delay, but in the end we might benefit from a higher-yielding crop. While consumers might have

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Collecting a Plant Sample

This week we are receiving a lot of plant tissue samples for analysis. The number one question is “How do I collect a respective sample?” This year, in particular, I have seen a number of growers who are performing this test for the first time in their careers. There are two resources I would like

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Farmers Market Update 2013

This spring’s unusually wet and cool conditions are affecting the produce that is available in the market this year. The spring crop is about 3-4 weeks behind this year. Restaurants and consumers looking for fresh produce are having a difficult time finding some items because they are not quite ready yet. The best advice I

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Grilling and Food Safety

Check out this video it really gives some great information regarding how to prepare the grill, cook the food and insure that the food prepared is bacteria-free and safe. One of the best purchases I have made in the last two years is a food thermomoeter. It will instantly make you a better grill master

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Nematode Soil Testing

It is not too early to start planning for nematode testing in your corn and soybean fields. Tamara Jackson-Ziems, University of Nebraska regularly talks about corn nematodes and gives some great advice from sampling for nematodes to dealing with nematodes. Check out this interview with Ms. Jackson regarding this topic. Lots of helpful information. In

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Lead Levels in Soil

This topic always seems to come to light. A former smelting plant is the root cause for the higher than normal levels in a neighborhood in Lincoln, Nebraska. The story, “Tests unearth lead issues in North Bottoms” was reported on June 12, 2013 in the Lincoln Journal Star. The story makes a good point that

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FEW Ethanol Conference 2013

Today, Midwest Laboratories will have representatives at the FEW 2013 Ethanol Conference. Yesterday was the big kickoff for the event and this conference is a very good one. It appears there is a lot of excitement in this industry and I believe that has to do with the new innovative technologies that are being introduced

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Plant Testing Season is Here

This video give some great advice with respect to watching your nutrients in the soil and in your plant. It gives a great perspective of what you should do in the early stages of plant growth. This past week there has been an increase in the number of plants coming to the laboratory. I would expect

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DDGS, World Pork and more

I came across this article, “DDGS intake reduces methane output of dairy cows”  (DDGs – Dried Distillers Grains) and it really caught my attention. As indicated by the article, the study was conducted by Chaouki Benchaar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre in Sherbrooke, Canada. The

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Caffeine is it good for you or not?

Caffeine – We hear it is good for us at times and other times we hear it is not so good for us. The good news is maybe coffee is not so bad. Check out this article, “4 Surprising Facts About Coffee” Here is a list of those facts: Lowers your risk of developing Alzheimer’s

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Late Spring PSNT Soil Test

With the recent rains, it may be a good time to closely manage the current nitrogen available in the soil. The Pre-Sidedress Nitrogen Soil Test is a lab test which can help determine the amount of nitrogen in the soil and if further nitrogen application is needed. The analysis is listed in the Midwest Laboratories

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Getting ready to sample plants

Plant Sampling Guide from Midwest Laboratories In a previous post, I mentioned some great resources for people to look at with respect to learning more about the values they receive regarding their analysis. Today, I want to take this a step farther and look particularly at plants.  The Midwest Laboratories Staff answers numerous questions regarding

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Some Tips for Growing Tomatoes

Here is a question that a number of people have asked over the years: “Is it better to stake or cage tomato plants or should you let them fall over and grow naturally?” Source: 20 Gardening Tips: Growing Tomatoes News Story Tomato Plants produce fruit without any intervention Keeping tomatoes off the ground is the

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No-Till Planting Explained

No-Till Planting is the tilling plan of choice for many growers and farmers.  I came across a great article, “What is No-Till” by Brian Scott and have quickly summarized some of the points in his article. It’s major advantage is the fact that the soil moisture and nutrients remain in the soil and are not

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Get Rid of Ants This Spring

It’s spring and temperatures are warming up and that means those pesky ants are back. I came across this article, “10 Ways to Keep Those Pesky Ants Out of Your Kitchen” It is a very good article with 10 natural ways to rid your kitchen and home of ants. 1. Deterrence. The best way to

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Soil Temperatures and Planting

Check out this Automated Weather Map for the High Plains Regions: Kansas, Nerbraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota. Lots of information contained on this site that is especially helpful to growers who are hoping to get into their fields and plant soon. The soil temperatures are unusually low

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Many Options to Get Rid of Dandelions in Your Lawn

I know this is a pressing issue for many homeowners this time of the year. In the past, I have experienced a few dandelions to sections of yard being taken over by this wonderful weed that our kids love. Yes, I’ve experienced coming home from work to conversations of “Dad, look my friends and I

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May 2013 | Planting Delays | Protecting Current Crops

Planting Delays With the threat of a May snowstorm this week, it appears that crop planting is being delayed another week. Check out this familiar story this spring. The clock is ticking and most farmers like to have their crop in at the latest by Mid-May. Many growers were hoping to get into their fields

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Food Waste – A topic we should be addressing

Feed the world!  We keep hearing how the population on earth will be increasing substantially in the next 25 years. What if we look at the current food stream and look at the food waste we are creating. Are you aware that the United States throws away  more than 34 million tons of food a

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Corn Planting Delays

Check out this video how farmers are losing valuable top soil with the recent heavy rains. Going from one extreme to the next; from drought to flooding. How is your spring planting coming along? A lot of growers like to plant in late April. It appears that this last cold front with accompanying snow should

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Spring Lawn and Garden Update

In this part of the country, Omaha, Nebraska the weather has been unusually cold, highs in the 40’s and at least 2-3 days of rain the past three weeks. Obviously with last years drought, the rain is very welcomed, however as we get toward the end of April, this is presenting some problems. I stopped

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Soil Testing as Part of a Fertilizer Program

Soil testing is clearly the differential when it comes to understanding your crops and soils.   I would encourage you to check out programs like the one mentioned in this video and make sure soil testing is a part of the program. A soil test will help you identify any soil nutrient deficiencies. This information can

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Thinking about Container Plants

Check out this video and see if container gardening is for you. I think this video does a good job of introducing you o the concept of container gardening and some things to remember, like having enough sunlight. In addition, if weeding a garden has become a topic of concern at your house, container gardening

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Organic Fertilizers

Check out this video which does a good job of providing tips for putting nutrients back into your soil. Side Dressing Top Dressing and Foliar Feeding are some ways that fertilizer can be applied to your produce and this video goes through the various techniques.  Garden Produce – Apply an organic nitrogen fertilizer to promote

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Manure Testing for Results

I came across this article, “Apply Manure to Get Best Benefit of Available Nitrogen for Corn”  – April 9, 2013 in  Corn & Soybean Digest. A very good article that talks about the benefits of manure. Two paragraphs in particular caught my attention. The N content of livestock manure can be determined by submitting a sample for

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Free Soil Testing Offers

It’s Spring, that time of year where people start looking at their lawn or garden and start the planning process. Across the internet there are a flood of offers and invitations for free soil testing. Lets take a closer look at these promotions. Watch this video. There is a little more to it than putting

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Spring Lawn Tips

Check out these spring lawn tips in this Fox 4 News Special, “Spring Lawn care tips”  Cleanup – Look for dead spots and matted spots and take steps to rake and restore the soil with proper nutrients. A soil test is also a good idea to help address these type of issues. Fertilize – Get

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Soil Sampling Supplies and Resources

The past few weeks there has been a flurry of activity regarding soil sampling equipment: soil probes, moisture meters, pH meters, soil bags and boxes. I have also read several articles about places offering free soil pH tests. It is getting closer to spring time and it is an excellent time to know where soil

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Fertilizer, Manure, Compost Testing

Check out analysis in the area of compost, fertilizer and organic soil. New information and analysis is being developed each year and Matt and his staff continue to look at innovative ways to analyze these types of samples. In the area of compost testing, Midwest Laboratories is a recognized leader in this industry and offers

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Snow and Soil Temperatures in March

How did you deal with the snow this weekend? It was more of a nuisance. The good news is that temperatures by the end of the week are supposed to be in the upper 50’s. Current soil temperatures are right at 32 degrees, which could mean that a lot of this precipitation could become part

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Triumph of Ag | March 6-7

Check it out! 2013 Triumph of Ag Expo March 6-7, 2013 Omaha, NE Centurylink Center Lots of exhibitors and information-packed sessions during the Trade show. I really enjoy this show because it brings out farmers and ag businesses just before planting season. If you want to see the latest in ag technology, you need to

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Organic Produce Production

Check out this post about a person who was organic before organic was cool. Two key points made in the video: California Consumer Supported Agriculture – A family invests in the farm and receives a box of produce a week. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organic food consumption is the fastest growing sector

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Farm Voices – The Video

Have you seen this video? (It was released February 27, 2013) #FARMVOICES  – It’s Our Turn It’s a video for everyone! Watch it now, before reading any further. There are so many misconceptions regarding farming.A number of people have no idea that farmers feed our world. Farming is not an 8 to 5 job. Farming

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Soil Nitrate Testing Study Explained 2012-2013

Check out this article, “Testing Soil Nitrate In Corn Fields Following 2012 Drought” It is interesting to look at all the data collected in this study and see the affects of the drought. I looked at points in Northwest Iowa and compared these points to locations in Southeast Iowa. In some cases the amount of

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February – National Cherry Month

Check out this video regarding cherries. Learn where most cherries are grown in the United States. I really thought this video was really entertaining and informational. photo credit: atomicshark via photopin cc

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How Popcorn is Made

Popcorn, that wonderful salty, starchy snack. Where does it come from and how is it processed? See the process  from the plant to the production line. This is a cool process and I really liked watching the quality testing that was a part of the process.

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Earthworms and Climate Change

The debate is earthworms and carbon. Are earthworms responsible for global warming? The Answer -more studies are needed. Also, it should be noted that earthworms add value with respect to soil fertility. A collective study between different countries indicates earthworms are multiplying at a faster rate than ever. Earthworms produce green house gasses. Bacteria and

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Soil Test Kits and Laboratory Analysis

Check out this article , “Soil Test Kits” – February 13, 2013 From Topics in Subtropics Blog Site. This article reviews some of the most well-know soil testing kits and compares their results to conventional laboratory results. It is well worth reading and gives some good information about some popular soil testing kits on the

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Soil Testing – Extraction

See some of the various steps that are applied to your soil when it arrives at Midwest Laboratories. Also, check out some of the people behind the scene and find out how they view the process from a quality stand point. Soil Testing requires a lot of sample preparation time and in this video, you

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Midwest Laboratories Video Series – Receiving Samples

Check out today’s environment at Midwest Laboratories with respect to receiving samples.    

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Pasture Range Chickens

Pasture range chickens The chickens eat grass and vegetables opposed to feed. This video really does a good job of explaining pasture range chickens and what processes are critical in their development. photo credit: Brookford Farm via photopin cc

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Soil Moisture Remains Low

Check out this article, “Corn Belt Needs More Moisture” According to Harry Hillaker, Iowa Climatologist, Iowa Growers  should be concerned going into next spring with respect to soil moisture. Hillaker indicated that “Normal spring rain would not be even close to getting soil back to field capacity in the northwestern sector of Iowa” ” The

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Soil Testing for Food Plots

Are you an avid hunter? Have you ever thought about creating the best food plots for deer and other wildlife? Are you trying to grow clover or some type of forage? I would invite you to check out this video. You will see the whole process first-hand. The video is professionally done and it really

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What do Farmer’s Grow?

Agriculture is such a big part of our business. Are you aware of the impact agriculture has on your local state and on our country as a whole. Check out this video clip which contains all kinds of insights as to why Agriculture is such a big industry and one that we all interact with

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Soil Sampling Techniques

Check out this soil sampling video. It really gives some good tips regarding soil sampling! A number of growers are looking closely at data and are finding that some soil report information may not be accurate because of the way the sample was taken.  A good, representative sample from a known depth is really the

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Sending Samples to a Laboratory

Most of the time when I talk to clients about performing analysis, there is the other sense of stress with respect to shipping the sample to Midwest Laboratories. Sample Packaging Shipping samples does take a bit of homework with respect to packaging and understanding shipping regulations. Most items are ok to ship, however, samples containing

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November Lawn Tip – Not too late to Seed

Right now is a great time to seed your lawn. There is a great article on the University of Minnesota Extension Site, “Dormant Seeding Lawns: Last chore of the season?” This article goes into great detail about some ways to insure a productive lawn by next spring. As for myself, this is the time of

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The Growth of Organic Food Production in Australia

Australia produces more organic food than any other country in the world. The 2012 Organic Report is out and can be downloaded from the Biological Farmers of Australia Website. The estimate of Australian farm-gate sales of certified organic produce is $300,637,412 – a rise of 34.67%  over the two years to 2012 or 16% per annum.

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Peanut Harvest 2012

I came across this article, “Peanut farmers’ big year could drop prices”. The article suggests that prices on peanut products like peanut butter will be coming down in price because of the high supply. U.S. farmers are expected to produce more than 3 million tons of peanuts in 2012, according to figures released Oct. 11

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Some “Wow” Restaurants

Check out this video of some great restaurants in Newport Beach, California. I think it is cool how each one of these examples has a real focus toward a healthy lifestyle. The terms like “natural” and organic are over-used. In this story, each restaurant emphasizes the really great qualities of food and the whole experience.

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Harvesting Hops – See Process In Action

Hops are the main ingredient in beer. Most people are aware of this, but do you know that hops grow on vines and cable wire. During harvest the whole vine is harvested. Check out this video and see how hops are harvested and processed to send out to breweries for beer production. Next, check out

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Trees, Leaves and Fall Fertilizer Application

I came  across this video this week, “Fall Fertilizer Applications and Leaf Cover”  – It really gives some good tips for making the most of your fall fertilizer application.  Below are a few of the highlights from the video. It is a short, to-the-point video. If you have trees and you battle leaves each fall,

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Soil Testing -Quality Analysis and Efficient Turnaround Time

This time of year is a busy one at Midwest Laboratories. We know a lot of decisions will be made based on the results of soil analysis.  Because of this, we have taken steps over the last five years to insure that we can meet client needs from an analysis and turnaround standpoint. Analysis (Soil

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Lawn and Garden Soil Test

It is that time of the year to add some nutrients back to your soil. This is really critical for those of you who experienced this year’s drought. I recently added some nitrogen fertilizer about two weeks ago and I cannot believe the difference a little fertilizer and water can make. I feel like I

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Teaching Agriculture to Next Generation

I saw this video and really liked the message of hands-on agriculture learning for students to insure important points are brought to life. Agriculture has many exciting opportunities for young people. It’s a great story! photo credit: edibleoffice via photopin cc

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When should I stop watering my yard

According to this article, “Watering woes are not over yet”  you should not stop watering at this time. In fact you should keep watering until the soil, ground temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This year’s drought is the game changer. Adjustments must be made to insure a healthy lawn in 2013 Check out this

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Protecting your plants from freezing temperatures

Check out this video. It gives some great tips to help your plants live a few weeks longer. What types of steps do you take to protect your plants? This weekend, many parts of the country will experience the first frost of the fall. photo credit: . Andrew Dunn . via photopin cc

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Largest Pumpkin grown using compost

Check out this news story of how some of the largest pumpkins were grown. The largest pumpkin  in the world  = 1,725 pounds The Secret Ingredient: Compost made up of coffee grounds, cow manure and no fertilizers. The amazing thing is that this pumpkin started growing in July and it could be held in the

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October Lawn Care – Nitrogen Application

As I mowed the lawn this weekend, it occurred to me that it had been some time since I had applied any nitrogen fertilizer. The last time was in May of this year. With the severe drought conditions it really did not make any sense to apply any nitrogen or other products to my lawn

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Sampling for Soil Nutrients

Check out this video.  Soil sampling at different depths in the soil is the key to providing a proper sample to a laboratory for analysis. If you need sampling supplies in the areas of soil bags and soil probes, call a representative at Midwest Laboratories. This video is really good and it lasts less than

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Bacon Shortage in 2013

It appears that bacon may be in short supply in 2013 according to the national media. Pork farmers are losing $40.00 per head. With rising feed prices and pork farmers taking big losses as a result, look for prices to go up with smaller inventories. Check out more in this news story below. This morning,

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Making adjustments to your soil probe

This video is a good overview of the soil sampling process.  Learn some ways to take accurate depth samples using your soil probe.  Also, check out how your probe with a few minor adjustments can make you a much better sampler. photo credit: Soil Science via photopin cc

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Arsenic in Rice

Consumer Reports conducted research which indicated levels of arsenic. Some levels were moderate to high. Arsenic is naturally occurring in the soil. Arsenic has been linked to cancer. Companies such as Gerber, analyze the rice used in their products for arsenic. Currently, there are no standards for levels of arsenic in rice. Check out this

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Sampling Supplies

I wanted to give you a picture of the type of supplies that are sent out from Midwest Laboratories Shipping Location. Take a look at the picture on the right. Let me explain some of the items in the picture. Soil probes in long cardboard boxes. Styrofoam coolers with containers for environmental samples and manure

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Healthy Lunches

Packing your lunch – This segment was for kids, but I think adults could also learn quite a bit by watching this story. Check out this video for some great ideas. Here are just a few Yogurt with fruit and cheerios is one suggestion. Bento Box – Organize your lunch with different natural foods.  $15-

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Drought forces new well drilling

The drought has also brought on another issue. Wells are running dry. In Missouri alone, 3700 farmers have been approved for a new well.  The state will pay up to 90% of the costs, the farmer will pay for the remainder of the balance. Check out this video.  This is an issue that will need

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Animal Health and Food Safety

This relationship is carefully being studied. Some of the questions that are debated everyday are the following: Is free-range better than convention? Should we be using antibiotics to raise healthy animals? The focus needs to be on improving animal health through the use of proper diet and a less, stress-free environment.  Proper practices need to

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Soil Options This Fall – Start with Soil Testing

Growers are looking at a number of options with respect to their current land and soil nutrition. Here are some items I am looking at. Cover Crops – Check out this article, “Cover Crop: What the doctor ordered after a drought” Organic Matter and Tilling – Check out this article, “Drought unmasks soil-type impact” Applying

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Drought affect on Mississippi River Traffic

The Mississippi River is one of our main sources for transporting goods. More than 500 tons of grain, coal and other goods are moved every year. All along the lower Mississippi — from Memphis, Tenn., to New Orleans — water levels are at record lows. Sandbars have appeared in midstream, and broad beaches now spread

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Soil Sampling this Fall

It is soil sampling season Soil Sampling from Midwest Laboratories Soil Sampling- Watch the following video from a recent Ag PhD episode There are several ways to take samples: Grid, Composite or Zone Typically you should take Samples at 0 to 6 inches below the surface of the ground. It is recommended that you take

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Proposition 37 Food Labeling GMOs

This topic is really getting a lot of press. I came across the topic in my local Omaha Paper today, “Battle over food labeling plays out in California” All eyes are on California as this topic gains national attention. Here are some things to think about with respect to this topic. Fifty countries require labeling

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How Apple Orchards are dealing with the drought

This summer’s hot temperatures and lack of moisture has caused all types of issues for orchards in the Midwest. I wasn’t aware that apples could get sunburned. Check out this news story. Also, check out this story of another story regarding another midwest orchard which is dealing with the drought. By looking closer at stories

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Dealing with the current drought

Check out this video which looks at a test field for Monsanto’s new drought resistant genetically modified seed which is designed to combat drought. It is interesting to see the difference in size with respect to the drought-resistant seeds compared with the other seeds. I think it is important to look at soil nutrition when

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Get ready for a lawn revival in August and September

In the Midwest, it appears the extreme heat has taken a bit of a break. We are still not receiving the rain like we need but the lower temperatures are helping to keep things not nearly as dry as they were during the month of July. I came across this article, “Dealing with post-drought lawns”

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Farmers begin harvesting corn

Harvesting season has come much earlier to various parts of the country due to the current 2012 drought. Many farmers are weighing their options and hoping for rain and a better crop next year. Currently corn prices and demand remain high, but farmers know these types of economic conditions can change quickly too. Check out

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Some options to a green lawn this summer

The drought is really causing a number of lawn owners to rethink the way they water and fertilize their lawn most people have cut back in both cases. In my case, I tend to water more when the temperature drops from the 100’s to the 80’s and longer. See an earlier watering lawn post for

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See the affects of the 2012 drought

The drought rages on. Last night, rain looked very promising, but after 1-2 minutes, the rain quickly passed through the Omaha Metropolitan Area. Check out the following videos and see how the drought is affecting the state of Nebraska. Also, listen to the last video report and begin to understand what the affects of this

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Farmers Markets Continue to Surge in Popularity

I could not agree more with articles like the following one, “Agriculture Department reports US farmers markets surge under demand for local produce”. Farmers Markets are wonderful places to pick up fresh produce and in most cases, at lower prices than normal grocery produce. For our family, it is a great alternative on Saturdays or

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How to deal with your crop and the drought

For a lot of us this is new territory. I recently watched Ag PhD – Show #746. I thought the show really addressed topics related to the drought and items to think about with respect to planning for next years crop. What will you do with your fertilizer? Have you ever thought of planting corn

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Water Less and See Results with your lawn

This weekend I decided it was time to fight back for my lawns sake. On Saturday I checked out the yard and decided it needed to be watered. It had been two weeks since I last mowed, but with the temperature in the low 90’s  for the first time in some weeks, I decided it

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How farmers are dealing with the drought

Check out this article in today’s Omaha World-Herald, “Farmers make the best of drought-stricken crops”by David Hendee I wanted to highlight some of the items mentioned in the article. This is new territory for many farmers. “It is not harvesting. It is salvaging” Many farmers are experiencing tremendous losses and a drive through neighboring fields

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What does corn look like during a drought?

Check out this video and see the damage first-hand. Check out the height of the corn and how the stalk is fighting for its life to keep the big kernels. This corn needs rain of some format in the next seven days or it will not make it this year. We will see the impact

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Drought and Corn Stalk Considerations

The summer heat is taking its toll on corn fields across the country. Because of this unusual heat, it may be time to start considering some other options. I came across this article “Drough-Damaged Corn Silage Considerations” and I wanted to highlight a few points from the article: Allow the corn to stay in the

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Improving Phosphate Efficiency

Phosphate is a limited resource.(Globally) The largest phosphorite or rock phosphate deposits in North America lie in the Bone Valley region of central Florida, United States, the Soda Springs region of Idaho, and the coast of North Carolina. Smaller deposits are located in Montana, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina near Charleston along Ashley Phosphate road.

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Check out a Farmers Market in your local community

Have you been to a Farmers Market lately? In the Omaha/Linconln area there are several venues to choose from. Each year these venues become more popular and it is a great way to check out some of the local produce in your area and actually save some money in the process.  My family and I 

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Watering lawn and garden areas in dry conditions

I came across this article, “With heat and dry spell, plants need extra care” and it really made me think about my own lawn and garden. Check out the video for one person’s remedy for a green lawn. People will come with all sorts or recipes to keep their yard green. People go to great

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General Mills selection of oats for its Cherrios Product

Check out this video and see how quality plays a big part in the selection of a quality oat. Oats – High yielding Oats – Good Disease Resistance A very interesting look at the process. Check it out!  

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Drought and Warmer Temps this Summer

I came across this article, “100 degrees in July and drought?” last night and it really hit me that this summer has already stated out to be be unusual with respect to humidity. Normal summers usually mean warmer temperatures and a lot more hhumidity. This year hais been a different story so far. I have

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Dealing with the mosquitoes this summer

This morning, with the temp hovering at 65 degrees, I saw all kinds of bugs and gnats flying around my house lights.Here are some tips for dealing with mosquitoes. Source ABC WLS-TV Report “How to keep pests from ruining your summer fun” 5Tipss to Take Back Yards from Mosquitoes Tip. Reduce standing water. Check children’s

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Conserving water in your lawn and garden areas

With above normal temperatures in many parts of the country, water may become a precious resource this summer. It’s n0t too early to think about taking ways to conserve water. Here are some tips. Water deep a couple of times a week versus a little bit each day. This approach maximizes water in the soil

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Farmers Markets and Agri-Business

This past weekend my wife took the kids and went to the Farmer’s Markets in Omaha, Nebraska. The food is incredible and what I could not believe was the price. The prices were literally less than grocery store prices.We hear a lot of talk about eating local and growing your own food. I think more

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The Greens and Browns of Composting

Check out this video, “Tips for  Composting” from About.com What caught my attention were the two groups of items for composting: The Greens and The  Browns. THE GREENS – This group is made up of the following items: Manure Grass Cuttings Vegetable and Fruit Scraps, Old Flowers Coffee Grounds, Filter Paper and Tea Bags Egg

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Plant Tissue Testing on Golf Courses

Plant Tissue Testing is here!!! At Midwest Laboratories we are starting to see plant tissue samples for analysis. I believe 2012 will be a big year for plant tissue testing as this spring’s warmer than normal temperatures may cause issues with plants being able to hold enough nitrogen and acquire proper nutrients from the soil.

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How to get a Green Lawn

Let the competition begin. Everyone has started mowing and fertilizing their lawns, but how will your lawn look going into summer and the fall. For me, it is all about having a dark, rich, green lawn. Check out this video. Lots of tips here. I actually perform a number of the tasks listed here. Some

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Phosphorus Free Fertilizer in Michigan

Starting the beginning of 2012,  the Michigan Fertilizer Law restricts the use of  phosphorus fertilizer on residence and commercial lawns including baseball fields and golf courses. Protecting Water Quality – Phosphorus is a naturally occurring essential nutrient for plant and animal growth. It is also a primary water quality concern in Michigan. When excess phosphorus

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Toxic Cabbage hits China

In China, cabbage is being sprayed with formaldehyde to keep the produce cool. (Source “Toxic  cabbage reports spark food safety scare  in China” Agence-France Presse) Formaldehyde — commonly used as a preservative for laboratory specimens and embalming — can be fatal if ingested and is also a cancer-causing substance. (Source “Toxic  cabbage reports spark food

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Getting started with your Container Garden

Container Gardening is becoming more and more popular with people looking to grow their own produce and especially for urban dwellers with limited yard space. Type the following words in Google ” Container Gardening Class” and you will see pages and pages of classes being offered around the country.  There is even an online course

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Some Landscaper Secrets You May Not Be Aware Of

Check out this video that was posted on ABC’s Good Morning America show regarding “Landscaper Secrets” This list is pretty good! The only item I would disagree with is Number (4) – Red Mulch.  Have your mulch tested, there is some very good product out there. Not all mulch is bad and contains arsenic. I

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Bring Your Own Bag

Check out this story of how a community, (South Sioux City, Nebraska) is trying to take steps to make a difference. The “Bring Your Own Bag” Committee was formed to get the word out regarding this initiative. I also like how this story also focuses on how to make this program a reality by washing

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Using iPads in Agriculture

Check  out this video and see how iPad technology is being used at Jordan Vineyard and Winery. AgCode App – Check out this app. It is very cool. Check out the Jordan Vineyard Website Technology has fundamentally changed the culture at this company.   This company is one of the thought leaders in the wine

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Corn – A key ingredient

The story about “Pink Slime” really caught my attention and it really gave the beef industry a bad name. The product was actually using beef cuts as filler to extend the live of beef. If this process were taken away, what other type of filler would people want to extend the life of meat. It’s

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Worm Composting Overview

Composting with worms. A number of people are starting compost areas in their yards. It is an area worth learning more about.  Worm Composting – Worm composting is using worms to recycle food scraps and other organic material into a valuable soil amendment called vermicompost, or worm compost. Worms eat food scraps, which become compost

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Tobacco – the next green pesticide

There are some new studies that are working with tobacco as a natural organic pesticide. This would be a welcome relieve to tobacco growers who have seen tobacco usage go down as a result of regulations and health warnings placed on tobacco products. In the article , “Tobacco and its evil cousin, nicotine? They’re good

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Corn Planting 2012

Lots of farmers took advantage of the warm conditions this past weekend and started planting corn. Here is one person’s perspective on the subject of corn planting.  He gives a very good perspective on the thoughts that go into planning to plant each year. Corn Planting in 2012  looks to be record setting as prices

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Getting rid of clover in your yard.

As I have been mowing and trying to stay ahead of the crabgrass in my yard and the dandelions, I have came across another issue that is starting to come into my lawn and that issue is clover. For me, clover is really a tough weed to combat. I have never taken the time to

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Getting rid of dandelions in 2012

Dandelions, those crazy pests. One night of rain and poof, there they are in my front lawn. Always my front lawn. I even put a pre-emergent on last week.  Also, if you have little kids, kids love to pull off the flowers and blow the seeds across the yard so more dandelions will grow.  Dandelions

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Dealing with warm spring temperatures

The unusual weather is affecting us in a number of ways: Pollen levels are high, especially in the south Farmers in parts of the country are planting corn early. Homeowners have already started mowing and turning on their sprinklers. Weeds are already popping up in yards. More insects and bugs can be seen video platform

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Control weeds with corn gluten meal

I see people mentioning this product as a product alternative to the normal pre-emergent fertilizer.  In the last couple of weeks, a number of people have mentioned “corn gluten meal” on twitter. Corn gluten meal (CGM) is a natural substitute for synthetic pre-emergence herbicides. Pre-emergence herbicides attack seeds while they’re still in the ground, before

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Corn Planting begins in March

2012 will be the year that some growers begin planting much earlier than normal. There are reports coming out that some people have begun the planting process in parts of the Midwest. Check out this video about early corn planting.  It offers some tips on spring planting. Here is my take on the subject: Soil

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Dethatching and Aerating Your Lawn

The big debate this time of year is should I dethatch my lawn this spring or should I aerate my lawn. Dethatching consists of getting rid of the layer of dead grass that has accumulated above the surface of the ground. Sometimes this layer can be so thick that it can prevent water from penetrating

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Growing Potatoes

Today, I looked closely at my Master Garden Calender and it states the following for March 22, 2012 “Start planting potatoes now into April if weather permits. Avoid planting in muddy soil” Are you familiar with planting potatoes? I really like this video demonstration. Doug Smiddy Plant with cut side down and eyes facing up! 

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Compost Troubleshooting

Are you trying to start a compost process at your home and running into some issues. I saw this article, “Troubleshooting your compost” and wish an article like this would have been around when I had issues getting started with ta compost bin. Your Compost is Taking Too Long Compost needs to reach temperatures around 150

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Applying a crabgrass preventer in March

Last week I talked about  applying grass seed for your lawn.. Well, maybe I spoke a bit premature, especially in light of yesterday’s post on community gardens and the map of the soil temperatures. These warmer temperatures in March have really brought to light a number of items that we might need to look at

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Community Gardens – Spring Preparation

Community Gardens are really becoming the norm in many areas and cities across our country. It really is exciting to see how these projects come together and involve kids, adults and local organizations. Check out this story from Benton County, Indiana. It really shows how community gardens in one area are helping to bring people

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Scotts Snap Lawncare Fertilizer System

Have you seen this new spreader from Scotts? I just happened to see a commercial over the weekend for this product. I think it could have some real value for homeowners. It is a very easy system to use with respect to your lawn. Watch the video and let me know what you think of

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Planting grass seed in March

Yesterday, I was really shocked, my neighbor was hand-spreading some lawn seed on her front lawn. This time of year is too early for two reasons in this part of the country, Midwestern United States. The seed needs water to get into the ground. Now, this winter has been a particularly mild one, but I

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Controlling Crabgrass Organically

Thinking about controlling crabgrass organically. Check out this Video:  How to Control Crabgrass Organically Here are some steps that the video points out: Keep lawn 3 inches high when mowing. Crabgrass grows better in areas where the lawn is thin and low. Pull crab grass by hand to get rid of current weeds Spread mulch

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Growing Hops

Check out this video regarding the process of growing hops and the history of where it has come from.  It is a great 5-minute presentation. Definition – Hops are the female flower clusters (commonly called seed cones or strobiles), of a hop species, Humulus lupulus.[1] They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent

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Learning more each day

I had a good opportunity this week to talk to some leaders in the Agriculture Community. The normal conversations about the positive direction of agriculture started our conversations, but as the conversation went on, both of us looked at each other and we both agreed, there is so much more to learn and there is

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Your Soil Story

I came across this article, Soil has a Story to Tell this past weekend and I really thought about this topic. The article suggests testing the soil for single tests like pH or Lime, Potassium or Phosphorus. If you are like me, that all sounds good, but what do these numbers mean. What is this

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Affordable Soil Testing for Lawn and Garden

I came across this article…NPK Soil Test Kits – Soil Forum and could not believe the dialogue on the forum. $80.000 – $100.00 for a soil pH test  | That is incredibly high for one test. At Midwest Laboratories the price is $6.00 for a soil pH The Lawn and Garden Test offered at Midwest

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Nebraska Agri-Business Expo 2012

Next week is the Nebraksa Agri-Business Expo  (See Online Program) This show brings the best people in agriculture together from the State of Nebraska and Eastern Iowa. It is always great to walk around and see all the different vendors. This year the weather will be fantastic and their is a huge excitement about agriculture

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Warm winter and trees budding

The warmer-than-normal winter has some people wondering if trees might bud prematurely and then  be damaged by colder temperatures. According to the article, “Warm weather  can put trees in a bind” all dediduous trees require a “chilling period” before they “break bud” This chilling period will keep trees in dormancy  until temperatures consistently reach warmer

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Growers dealing with unusual winter

Up until this week, most of the country was experiencing little snow and cooler temperatures but not necessarily very cold temperatures. Here is a quick look at how one farmer is dealing with the unusual temperatures. I am sure by the time we reach March, we will experience some colder temperatures and more precipitation, especially

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Winter Soil Sampling & Soil Testing

This winter has been quite an unusual one with above average temperatures and an extreme lack of snow. Because of these unusual conditions, we are seeing an increase in orders for soil sampling supplies and soil analysis. Typically, soil sample volumes are at their lowest during the colder months, with samples only being received from

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Arsenic and Lead in Apple Juice

We reported on this issue of arsenic in apple juice  a few months ago.  In addition, arsenic in water is always a subject in which people are addressing.  Now, a Consumer Reports  study has reported results on this issue: “The tests of 88 samples of apple juice and grape juice purchased in New York, New

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Winter lawn and garden tips

Here is a list of lawn items that you need to do today. These items are taken from a post I read this week, “No time like the present for these garden tasks” by David Robson 1) Apply Winter Fertilizer – By applying a fertilizer now, you will actually be promoting root growth all winter.

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Agroforestry – Planting trees with cover crops

Agroforestry  is an integrated approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock. It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems. Source Wikipedia The following article, “A Quiet Push to Grow Crops Under Cover of Trees”  focuses on a forested

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Be a part of #foodthanks this Thanksgiving

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it is always a great time to remember those farmers who provide the food we have on our table. “Way too many times, we only hear about the recalls and regulations facing the food industry. If we really look at agriculture and food production closely, we will really see

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Peanut Butter prices going up

A report from the Chicago Tribune, “Peanut butter prices skyrocketing” talks about the rising prices that will be going into affect this week. “Kraft will raise prices for its Planters brand peanut butter by 40 percent … while ConAgra has instituted increases of more than 20 percent for its Peter Pan brand that went into

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A couple of soil sampling resources

Soil Sampling View more documents from Midwest Laboratories This fall the soil sampling season has extended from the last part of September through November.  I can remember when harvest activity was occuring through Thanksgiving. Now with the advances in technology, the growing season and time spent harvesting have been reduced considerably. This leads me to

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Are you buying real honey at the store?

I came across this story today by Andrew Schneider, November 7, 2011 | Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey. This story states that three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what bees produce. “The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”  The removal

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Harvest Yield Loss

Growers are very efficient in their harvesting processes and are always looking for ways to improve their process. I came across this video which really explains this issue in a little over one minute. Missy Bauer looks at this issue and demonstrates the “square foot” method for determining loss. 2 kernels in a square foot

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Mycotoxins

Some parts of the country have received a lot of moisture this fall and harvested grain has moisture greater than 15%.  This figure came to mind as I read the article, “Watch for Mycotoxins“. Two years ago we had a rush of samples with a locally wet fall harvest. Mycotoxin analysis is critical in detecting

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Halloween Science

Here are a couple of experiments where Halloween and Science come together. If you try one of these experiments, make sure you take the proper precautions. I just wanted to show them to you as some cool tricks.   Have a Fun and Safe Halloween Celebration Today! Time for some eerie colors!!   Picture lobo235

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Bacteria on Cell Phones

  Check out this news story from the BBC. A study  out of Queen Mary University swabbed 390 cell phones and analyzed them for bacteria. 92% of  the 390 phones tested indicated the presence of bacteria 16% were contaminated with e.Coli bacteria. Another indicator of how important it is to keep your hands and skin

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Submittal Paperwork

Everyday, we receive thousands of samples and each day, we will receive samples with no paperwork. The paper may have name, address and phone, but no paperwork indicating what type of analysis to be performed. Here is some advice for quicker turnaround time: (Required for Good Turnaround Time) Make sure to include your paperwork with

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3 Reasons For Fall Soil Sampling

Fall corn harvest is beginning and this is evident by a large number of soil samples received at Midwest Laboratories yesterday, October 18, 2011. This year has been quite a year of unpredictable events like volatility in grain prices, precipitation, flooding in some areas, hail and high winds in other areas.  Because of these factors

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Pumpkin Patch and Harvest

This time of year I watch my kids excitement as they like to go out to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in Gretna, Nebraska. I saw this video and thought I would give you a taste of what they see.  It is a lot of fun and the weather was super this fall. If you have never

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Soil Testing Season

Soil Testing season has begun and is going very strong this fall. Here are some helpful reminders to help your experience. Make sure you order the proper supplies ahead of time: soil bags, boxes, shipping labels. Soil bags are free to Midwest Laboratories Clients Shipping labels can save you a lot of money. A 50

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Harvesting Potatoes

I came across this video on harvesting potatoes and I thought it really explained the process in a short, concise manner. I think it is important to look at the technology being used in agriculture and see where our food comes from.  Potato harvesting occurs in late August and runs through September. The weather in

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5 Lawn care tips for October

Here are some items to be aware of with respect to your lawn in the month of October. 1) Reduce mowing – The seed that you recently planted in September should be popping out. As the temperatures begin to get cooler, the soil temperature also falls off and growing conditions also come to an abrupt

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October Soil Sampling

There are a number of ways to sample soil in your fields. The bottom-line, you are trying to get a good indicator of the soil nutrients in your field and find places where the nutritional levels are vastly different. With GPS technology, soil sampling has become very sophisticated with respect to defining your field. I

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Stalk Nitrate Testing

Soils Specialist Charles Shapiro posted information on this topic on the UNL Crop Watch Site, “Does Your Current Corn Nitrogen Strategy Deserve an A or a D? The results of the corn stalk nitrate test will indicate whether the corn was over fertilized during the season. How to Take the Test (Source UNL Crop Watch)

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Fall Lawn Care

I came across this article, “Soil Test Results Help Homeowners” by John Dawson. The article has some good reminders about soil and what to look for with respect to results received from  soil testing for your lawn in September/October time frame. It is important to maintain a proper soil pH 6.5 – 6.8 .  The

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Egg Shells and Calcium

A number of people I talk to often use egg shells as part of their compost plan to reinvigorate their yards or gardens.  My question that I wanted to answer through this post was, “What value can egg shells provide as part of a soil nutrition plan?” For the answer, I turned to my friends

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Harvest 2011 – Sod Harvesting

Have you ever wondered where your front lawn sod came from.   The following YouTube video gives a demonstration on how sod is harvested into round bails and stacked on pallets for distribution to retail outlets. It takes 11 months to 18 months to start from seed to a finished sod product. Check out this video

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Current Economic Report – September 2011

Dr. Ernie Goss follows the economic conditions. Dr. Goss has always felt that the economy in Nebraska has flourished during these rough times because the agricultural sector has stayed strong over the past few years. This months report is not good news. The numbers do not suggest a recession but the numbers have deteriorated from

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Why do leaves change color in the fall

The cooler temperatures this week have reminded me that fall is just around the corner. Soon, the leaves on trees will be changing and the days will be getting shorter and shorter.  I wanted to take some time and look at this process of how leaves change colors.  I came across this article, “Why leaves

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September Lawn Care Tips

This time of the year, in the early fall  is a prime-time to take care of your lawn. There are many opportunities to help your lawn at the present time and for the future. Aeration – Now is the perfect time to aerate your lawn, digging holes 2-2.5 inches deep for depth will insure that

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Nematodes

I came across this article, Are Your Corn or Soybeans Looking Stressed?  in Wallace Farmer and was reminded that the late July heat could be the first sign of stress on corn and soybeans. The most common types of nematodes are the Plant-parasitic, which “are  microscopic worms that primarily live in the soil and feed

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The Largest Urban Garden

A 40,000 square foot garden on the rooftop of a 6-story building in Queens, New York. It’s called Brooklyn Grange. Their story is awesome and they answer a lot of questions you might have about Urban Gardening. You really need to check out this video and story.  I have a whole new appreciation for Urban

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5 Tips for Growing Sweet Corn

This is the first year I have planted a garden in our back yard.  I am most excited about the sweet corn. I have been watching it grow and just begin to tassel.  I came across this article, “How to Grow Sweet Corn” and really liked it. Check out these 5 Tips for growing Sweet

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Plant Tissue Testing Answers

Yesterday, people were inquiring about all kinds of testing, but half of the calls were for plant tissue testing. Growers are trying to get their plants tested to see what the next step in their soil/plant nutrient plan should be. It is really the talk out in the fields. Several dealers are pushing the idea

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Corn Planting 2011 Setbacks

All of the moisture in April and May has contributed to a very late planting season. Typically, corn growers like to have their crops in the ground by May 15, 2011.  Here is a story of one Ohio grower who is really wanting to get a chance to plant his field. Here is another view

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Farmers Markets

It’s time to welcome a new season of Farmer Markets across the country.  Check out the markets in your area. The following Farmers Market Map shows all of the different locations across the country.  In Omaha, The Omaha Farmers Market opens downtown tomorrow from 8.00am – 12.30pm  and Sunday in the Aksarben Village from 9.00am 

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Eating food with fine pieces of wood

Are you aware that you are eating fine pieces of wood in some of your food products. I came across this subject in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal Article “Cellulose in Foods” “Cellulose products, gums and fibers allow food manufactures to offer white bread with high dietary fiber content, low-fat ice cream that still feels creamy

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Celebrate National Public Gardens Day

May 6, 2011 is National Public Gardens Day – I found out about this event on yesterday’s  NaturaTurf Blog Post. What a cool event sponsored by the American Public Gardens Association. The National Public Gardens Day 2011 has a website with all sorts of information about this special day. My favorite is the page, What

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Planting a Family Vegetable Garden

This week, we started planning our new garden endeavor in the back yard. The picture in this post will serve as a reminder of where I want to be in a few weeks. I’ll add my own pictures in future posts. We have picked out our spot and plan on preparing the soil this week

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600LB Pumpkin

I saw this video on the ABC News Site and could not believe it. Harold,  a Florida resident takes care of Daisy, a 600lb pumpkin.  It takes 4 hours a day to feed and weed Daisy.  The pumpkin is 49 days old as of last week.  Harold says that each morning you can hear the

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Soil Temperatures and Planting

Check out the soil temperature in your area. Here is a link for Nebraska soil temperatures Here is a link for soil temperatures around the United States Right now soil temperatures are a very important part of the decision making process regarding how soon to plant crops.  Field corn requires a soil temperature of 55

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Starting an Organic Garden

Check out this video interview with Scott Meyer, Editor of Organic Gardening I think the video does a great job of preparing people what is involved in starting an organic garden. How to grow an organic vegetable garden   Here are some takeaways: Check out a place with full sun and good drainage Don’t start

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Soil Experiment

Taking a Closer Look at Soil – Jar Test   Check out this article on soil. I think it is a great illustration of why we need to be familiar with the makeup of our soil for gardening and harvesting food products. The experiment is explained very well in this article, “Gardener: A simple soil

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Missouri Agriculture Site

Missouri adds a new website for agriculture!!! (It will be the trendsetter for other states) AgriMissouri Take a look at this site. It took me at least two minutes to check out all of the menus. I really liked the following Menu Items MOGROWN Here you can view produce specific to Missouri like nuts, eggs,

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How can I increase nitrogen levels in my plants organically?

Increased Nitrogen – Organically Source = http://i.ehow.co.uk I get this question a lot. I have an organic garden and my plants show that I am low in nitrogen. What can I add organically to increase the nitrogen. Some typical ways are 1) manure fertilizers, 2) crop residue and 3) compost In most of these cases,

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5 Things I noticed at the 2011 Triumph of Ag Show

Triumph of Ag Show 2011 – Reflections I talked earlier about attending the 2011 Triumph of Ag ( #triumpofagriculture11) show today. 1) When the Ag Economy is good, people are making new purchases. 2) Exhibitors who are having rough times in the Ag World should see what they are doing wrong. 3) Never underestimate the

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Connecting at Commodity Classic

One of the best things about using social media tools like twitter and facebook is finally meeting people face to face.  I have met a number of people at the Commodity Classic who have stopped by our Midwest Laboratories Booth, 924 and have indicated to John or myself that it was finally great to meet

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Compost in Cold Weather

As the snow begins to thaw, you may see, “the site of steam rising from a compost pile,..” Compost Article I came across a great article today in Organic Gardening, Cold-Weather Compost, by Genevieve Slocum The article touches on several key components of Composting in Cold Weather Microbe Management Microbe’s metabolism slows down as the

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A Plea for Business Applications for iPad and Smart Phones

Applications Finding a good application is really hard to find. Yes, there are are some technical apps, but aren’t we able to do the same thing with our computers.  I think taking applications on a mobile, portable basis requires a much more innovative application. I am on a quest to find an application  that adds

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Soil Sampling and Diggers Hotline

Is soil sampling a normal part of your agricultural business? Do you perform grid sampling as a part of your soil testing plan? If  you live in the State of Nebraska, a very important hearing will be held February 7, 2011. The current law as stated would require all soil samplers to call the Nebraska

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US Composting Council Conference

The USCC 2011 Conference & Tradeshow is in full swing. This conference impresses me with the list of presentations. To give you some idea of the vast knowledge on this subject, check out the categories being looked at: Planning for Growth Regulation and Climate Change Emissions Bioplastics Education Anaerobic Digestion and Renewable Energy Mortality and

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California Agriculture

I saw this blog post 15 Things I learned about California Agriculture and thought, WOW!  I have so much to learn. Check out this list of items that were posted based on a tour of several farms.  Read the list below and check out the complete article too. I know some items are opinion, but

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DDG’s

The estimated supply of U.S. distillers’ grains is expected to total 33.3 million metric tons for 2009/10, more than four times that in 2003/04 according to a post on the CattleNetwork site. This article looks at the history off DDG’s and where we have come from over the years. With the rise in ethanol production,

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eHow How to Test Land

Soil Testing – eHow.com Article eHow.com – A site which gives instructions on how to do just about everything, recently posted an article entitled “How to Test Land”  by Annmicha Blugh This article gives some good examples of how to test soil and what to look for when testing soil. Some of the items featured

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Wood Ashes as Fertilizer

Applying Wood Ashes Many of us have been told that we should use wood ashes  in our vegetable gardens as a fertilizer substitute. Now, I heard that this may not be a good idea.  (Source: Mark Keaton’ Extension News: Be Cautious in using wood ashes) Wood ash may  contain some important nutrients like phosphorus, (typically

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e.Coli from Soil to Plant

A new study, ( Purdue Study: E. coli thrives in a plant’s rhizosphere )  proved that bacteria can travel from the soil to the plant.  The study is very interesting!  It is a must read for all growers how land-apply manure to their fields. Lesson to be learned here is that manure applications to fields

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Winterize your Garden

It is that time of the year again where garden work needs to occur to prepare for the winter. Here are some items I was reminded of in an article I recently read,  “Garden Gurus Offer Tips fo Winterizing” Transplant  perennials and trees to mor suitable locations About 4 inches of the organic matter should

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Soil Testing Turnaround Time

The last week, we received  over 21,000 soils   a day.  You can check out updates on our progress at our main site at http://www.midwestlabs.com .  Yesterday, we extracted over 20,000 soils for analysis and read over 20,000 soil pHs. We knew back in August that the season was setting up to be an early

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Kids Stopped from Selling Pumpkins

Selling Pumpkins Two kids, Jacob and Sammy were trying to  sell  pumpkins to put toward playing sports were shut down by a local Idaho State Tax Commission. (Selling Pumpkins and keeping half of the profits) These kids are not ordinary kids, they met with their pumpkin supplier and worked out a  deal to keep half

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Soil Sampling

Fall Soil Sampling Soil Sampling is in full-swing and a number of articles talk about proper methods for collecting and compositing samples together for a representative sample. This article,  “Soil Sampling Tips” by Aaron Friedlein is a  great document which provides some background into sampling in 2010 and some helpful reminders for sampling this fall. 

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Get Lawn and Garden ready this fall

I came across this article,  “Fall is the time to get your lawns and gardens ready to bloom next spring” is a really good article which highlights some of the areas to look at: Weeds can be taken care of with a post-emergent herbicide ( I prefer overseeding B. Pohlman) Mid September – Mid October 

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Nebraska Harvest Numbers

Harvest Report Today in the Omaha World Herald the crop numbers are in. Soybeans – 2/3 complete  | Soybeans are rated 79% good or excellent Corn – 30%  harvested | Corn is rated at 80% good or excellent These past few weeks of dry weather and warm temperatures have really helped these numbers.  Go back

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Nematode Testing as a Part of Soil Testing

Nematode Fact Sheet Yesterday, I came across a great article,  “CORN NEMATODES” : A Fact Sheet Prepared by the University of Minnesota’s Plant Disease Clinic on the topic of nematodes.   The article makes several good points and it is worth reading.  Here is a summary  of some of the key points made in the article:

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Early Harvest

Harvesting has been picking up and the last 10 days of dry weather have been great for harvesting.  At Midwest Laboratories, this translates into an earlier sampling time and more soils received for soil testing.  Yesterday, we received just under 6,000 soils.  These types of numbers are about 10-14 days early. The other good news

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Harvesting Raspberries

Raspberries Let’s take a closer look at harvesting raspberries. I don’t know about you, but those small, delicate furry berries are packed with juice and taste great.  They are also very  healthy for you. Healthy Snack “One cup of fresh raspberries is 64 calories, with 8 grams of dietary fiber and 50 percent of the

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Potato Harvest 2010

In keeping with our harvest theme this month, let’s look at harvesting potatoes. About a month ago potatoes were being harvest. Check out this video from Black Gold! Also, check out the following page, “Growing a Superior Potato”  on their site. Great insight to one of the largest potato producers.

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Harvest Time

It’s that time of year where farmers are getting ready for havesting.  This year, the unusual weather has helped and it appears that harvest is a few weeks early. The Omaha World-Herald came out with a Harvest Update today for Nebraska and Iowa and all signs point to a great harvest. #harvest10 Also, check out

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Nutritional Facts of an Apple

Are apples really healthy? Apple Nutritional Label What would a nutritional label for an apple look like? Take a look at this information provided by the University of Illinois Extenstion. Apple Nutrition Facts (*One medium 2-1/2 inch apple, fresh, raw, with skin) Calories 81 Carbohydrate 21 grams Dietary Fiber 4 grams      Calcium 10 mg Phosphorus

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Seeding a lawn

Remember back in June I posted, “How is your lawn coming in the month of June?” Do you have some rough spots in your lawn? I did and I recently over seeded those areas and laid some new sod in other parts. Here is a great article on the subject. Check it Out!  How did

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Growing Giant Vegetables is an Art

I came across this article, “Growing Giant Vegetables is an Art” – Fred Hain has taken growing vegetables to a new level.  His trophy room consists of many awards for his prized showings. 4 pound tomatoes | 900 pound pumpkins | 2-story sized sunflowers and the list goes on. Fred contributes his succcess to obtaining

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Apple Havest Ahead of Schedule

Early Apple Harvest Wisconsin Typically Wisconsin Orchards open their picking season to the public  a week after labor day.  This year with the heavy amounts of rain and warm temperatures, the growth of the apples has really been accelerated. New York The New York Orchards are also experiencing similar events with the unusually warm April

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Soil Testing

Some places in the midwest have already harvested corn already.  Monroe County, IL It’s not too early for getting soil sampling supplies.  A record number of people are taking advantage of the 25 Free Soil Bag / Free Shipping Promotion for their soil testing supplies. A soil test can help growers with corn, tomatoes, potatoes,

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Teaching kids about farming

The Iowa State Fair has an awesome “little kids farm exhibit” . The exhibit really educates kids on where our food comes from and what is involved with farming.  Take a couple of minutes and watch this video. Those of you who have seen this exhibit  first-hand, let all of us readers know what you

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Crops Absorb Pharmaceuticals

I came across this article,  Crops Absorb Pharmaceuticals from Treated Sewage by Rachel A Zurer  and it quickly grabbed my attention. “Soybeans can accumulate drugs and personal care products commonly found in wastewater and solid waste.” A study conducted by Environmental Scientist Chexi Wu, University of Toledo found  the pharmaceutical compounds of  triclosan and triclocarban

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Gardening on Hot Days

Stay Cool in the Garden! Some tips for gardening on days like today where the temperature will be approaching 100 degrees 1) Keep Yourself Watered 2) Remove Weeds 3) Apply compost to keep moisture in the ground. 4) Let the hot sun work for you by tilling unused areas of the garden and expose the

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Adding Coffee Grounds to Your Soil

Coffee Grounds – Benefit to Your Garden Soil Looking for some nitrogen to add to your soil this summer. Have you ever thought about coffee grounds. Yes coffee grounds.  I came across this article in which a sample of Starbucks Coffee Grounds were sent to a soil laboratory for analysis.  I thought the findings were

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Watch for those Grubs

Remember, Remember – I told you back in a June Blog Post to watch out for these little critters.  Well, over the weekend the little white creatures struck har. My neighbor was  putting in several patches of fresh seed along his grass section between the sidewalk and the cub.  After mowing, I uncover little brown

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Container Gardening using Recycled Plastic

Container Gardening I came across this site,  Container Gardening and thought it was pretty cool. It reminded me of my days when I wanted some trees  on my apartment deck and I would use 5 gallon buckets for keeping the tree planted in. Using Recycled Plastic Containers This site looks at which type of plants

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Soil Testing – Similar to going to the dentist

Now that you have read this title your first response is huh!!! Well here is my point.  Have any of you ever received from the dentist those “color tablets” you put in your mouth that show you where you have not brushed real well and where you might possibly have a cavity. The coloring from

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Landscaping

Are you planning on doing some landscaping this year? I was actually reading through a number of blogs and came across this blog post  , The Savvy Cafe from a year ago. The reason I like this one is that a number of real estate companies have borrowed practically the same words from it.  The

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What does this information on my soil testing report mean?

Each day this question is being asked and people are trying to understand the numbers behind the report.  I have pointed a number of people to our Interpreting Soil Analysis Document on our main website.  This document is very helpful and gives you some good information to help you decipher the report information.  Check it

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How is your lawn coming in the month of June?

Lawn Competition with the Neighbor Do you have the best lawn in your neighborhood? Is it competition time with the neighbor? Does the neighbor always cut his lawn shorter than yours. Is his/her lawn greener than yours. Let the competition begin. Mowing Grass Are you keeping up with the mowing. Now is the right time

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Roundup-Resistant Weeds

Roundup Monsanto created a super-killer herbicide called Roundup.  From that, came Roundup Ready crops thata were genetically modified to tolerate the chemical. However, so much Roundup has been sprayed that weeds have now evolved to survive it. No-Till No-Till Farming practices also came about as a result and helped promote a more environmentally safe practice

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Preventing Crab Grass

Preventing Crab Grass Most of you are noticing your green lawns coming in. You may even have secret contests with your neighboor as to whose lawn looks better or is mowed or greener.  Yes, its that time of the year.  Then there is that word “Crab Grass” How to Kill Crabgrass I saw this article

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AgChat Foundation | Exciting Effort

This is a great opportunity to get involved with the AG Community! Watch this video Today!  Check out the site | HTTP://AGCHAT.org

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Phosphorus and Potassium – How much should be applied?

At this time of year, growers are looking to add nitrogen to their fields. Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) should also be taken into consideration.  Wet fall conditions and colder than normal winter conditions have made it tough for soil sampling in some parts of the country, especially Illinois.  I came across a very informative

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Some Secrets to Growing Tomatoes Successfully

I came across this article, Secrets of Growing Killer Tomatoes today and I really thought the article made some great points.  A lot of information is packed into this post. Some the items featured in this article: When to start planting – 5-6 weeks before last expected frost Selection of Seeds  – Cr Improved VFFNT

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How to repair bare lawn spots affected by snow mold

This past week I mowed my lawn for the first time and came across a number of areas affected by snow mold. These spots are dark brown, lifeless areas that need to be looked at more closely. With this winter’s tremendously cold temperatures, these spots are still popping up, especially in the Midwestern States.  Identifying

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Soil Testing |Turnaround Time

Selecting a Laboratory | Turnaround Time Getting your soil testing results from laboratories can vary between laboratories. It is a question you should be asking when you are getting ready to send samples in for soil testing. At this time, a number of promotions are occurring from laboratories, extension offices and universities offering soil testing

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Soil Test Kits | Soil Testing Laboratory

I hear this question a lot. “Isn’t it just easier to buy a soil test kit and do the test myself?”  Answer  is yes! I cannot argue that going to one location, purchasing a kit, taking it home and conducting the test myself isn’t easier.  However, the question is, what do you really get from

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Have you received your soil sampling supplies?

Soil Sampling Supplies – Have you placed your order? Yesterday, I posted information regarding Soil Testing & Soil Sampling Today,  I want to remind people to get their Soil Sampling Supply orders in early to assure timely return.  A few ways you can do this: Midwest Laboratories Clients Clients  can order their supplies on line,

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Soil Sampling & Soil Testing

It appears that growers are getting out into their fields and trying to collect soil samples in their fields and gardens to determine the value of their soil.  This week, with temperatures in the 50’s and only a chance of rain later in the week, it appears like the perfect week to collect samples. Soil

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Snow Mold

Yes in the midlands, here we have had snow cover for almost 2-3 months, as a result a gray, cob-web material has formed, hence snow mold.  For now the best practice is to stay off the grass because it is too wet ant the plants crowns could be crushed according to Kathleen Cue, University of

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Connecting with the Ag Community

Everyday I go through my checklist and look at RSS Feeds on Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, etc. looking at communications that have taken place, latest news. The one group that always has a voice is the Ag Community.  Everyday producers, growers, farmers, Farm Bureaus, Publications, Tradeshows are promoting agriculture with a passionate spirit. I am

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Life Lessons from a Grower

Life Lessons Secrets of Success from a Pumpkin Grower  – Check out these lessons from a grower. I found this post on BigPumpkins.com Message Board. These lessons could apply to all types of work. I have included the lessons in ” ” and summarized the thoughts to apply across all types of professions. “never say

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