Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Soil’

Save the Date 1.29.15

Posted on: November 25th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

You’re invited! Mark your calendars for this “can’t miss” seminar presented by AgriEnergy Resources from 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Thursday, January 29, 2015 at the Chateau Hotel & Conference Center in Bloomington, Illinois.

This year’s theme will be “How to Thrive in Today’s Ag Economy – 10 Practical, Profitable Solutions.”

We have an exciting roster of speakers to discuss common sense ideas for making a profit next year. They will offer practical solutions you can sink your teeth into and ideas you can use right away. Ideas you can take to your banker, landlord, spouse. Solutions like cover crops, under-cover crops (biologicals), alternative crops, non-GMO crops, and organic crops.

We look forward to seeing you there! More details to follow.

What’s on our Thanksgiving Table

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

Here at AgriEnergy Resources, we strongly believe a delicious, bountiful Thanksgiving feast begins far before it reaches the dining room table. It begins when the farmer chooses what seed to plant.

It begins when that seed is planted into biologically alive soil. It begins when the farmer is dedicated to producing the most bountiful crop yet.

And it’s those innovative minds and hands that make it happen. So from our table to yours, we’ve gathered our top seven side dishes for this holiday season.

1) Stuffing. This classic stuffing recipe makes approximately 15 servings and takes 50 minutes to cook.
Classic Stuffing
Ingredients:
– 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
– 1 cup chopped celery
– 3/4 cup salted butter
– 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
– 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
– 8 cups stale fresh unseasoned breadcrumbs/bread cubes
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1 teaspoon sage
– 1/2 teaspoon thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/2 cup white wine
– 1/2 cup or more as needed chicken broth
– 1 large egg, beaten.

Directions:
Sauté onion and celery in butter over medium heat until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Then cook sausage and mushrooms until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Add the onion and celery and stir together. Then combine breadcrumbs and seasoning with sausage/vegetable mixture. Moisten with wine and broth. Add egg and mix well. If the stuffing seems too dry, mix in more broth. It should be pretty moist or it will dry out in the oven. This stuffing can either be used to stuff the turkey or baked in a covered casserole dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

2) No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pie. This recipe is my personal favorite as it tastes like a rich peanut butter cup, but is totally healthy. It’s perfect for those of you on a paleo or gluten-free diet.

Ingredients:
For the Crust
-1 1/2 cups almond meal
– 1/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
– 3 tablespoons coconut oil
– A pinch of salt
For the filling
– 1 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
– 3/4 cup water
– 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
– 1/2 cup maple syrup
– 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the chocolate topping
– 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup at room temperature
– 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Directions:
Line an 8-inch springform pan or pie dish with parchment paper and set aside. (Note: This pan size is smaller than a traditional 9-inch pie plate. If you use a traditional pie dish, the resulting pie will be thinner than what you see in the photo.) To prepare the crust, combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to create a uniform dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined pan and set aside. To prepare the filling, combine the four ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth and silky. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to get the batter very smooth and evenly mixed. (Alternatively, you could probably use a hand mixer to combine these ingredients, as long as they get whipped together very well. Mixing by hand doesn’t work as well.) Pour the filling over the top of the crust, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Place the pie in the freezer to set until firm, about 4-6 hours. Once the pie is firm, prepare the chocolate topping. Combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cocoa powder in small bowl and whisk well to combine, creating a smooth chocolate sauce. (If your ingredients are cold, this mixture will clump, but it will become smooth again when gently warmed.) Use the parchment paper to easily remove the pie from the pan, then drizzle the chocolate over the top. When the chocolate touches the cold pie, it should solidify pretty quickly — like a “magic shell” topping you’d use on ice cream. Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, to make it easier to slice and serve. Store any remaining pie in the refrigerator for up to one week. (If you freeze the pie, it will be too firm to serve right away.)

3) Pumpkin Pie. This recipe is also one you can eat seconds and not feel guilty about as it calls for all clean ingredients.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
For the Crust
– 2 cups all blanched almond flour
– 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 1 egg
For the Filling
– 1 (15 ounce) canned pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cup homemade pumpkin puree)
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup coconut milk
– 1/2 cup honey
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon celtic sea salt

Directions:
For the crust, place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly. Add coconut oil and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Press dough into 9-inch pie dish. For the filling, combine pumpkin puree and eggs in a food processor. Pulse in coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Allow to cool then refrigerate for 2 hours to set up.

4) Cowboy Beans. What’s a Thanksgiving feast without cowboy beans?
Cowboy Beans
Ingredients:
– 1 pound hamburger
– 1 onion
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 cup ketchup
– 1 large can (or 2 regular size) pork and beans (not drained)
– 1 can northern beans (drained)
– 1 can kidney beans (drained)
– A pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
In a skillet brown hamburger and onion (drain off grease). Then add brown sugar and ketchup. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large pot and add beans. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can either microwave for about 18 minutes or bake them in the oven for about an hour. Be sure to cover lightly with saran wrap or something, otherwise you will have beans all over your microwave!!

5) Sweet Potato Casserole. This recipe serves approximately 10 people and takes 10 minutes to prep. Plus, it saves room in the oven as it can be baked in the crockpot. Can you say yum?
Sweet Potato Casserole
Ingredients:
For the Potatoes
– 5-10 sweet potatoes, depending on size
– 1/4 cup butter (softened)
– 2 tablespoons white sugar
– A pinch of salt
– 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon orange juice
– 2 large eggs
– 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup milk.
For the Topping
– 3/4 cup pecans
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup white flour
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup butter

Directions:
Line your crockpot with a disposable liner or spray generously with nonstick spray. Peel, bake, and mash the sweet potatoes. Add butter, white sugar, pinch of salt, brown sugar, and orange juice in crockpot. Then lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Pour in the lightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, and milk into the crockpot. Beat until completely smooth. Smooth the mixture with a spatula. For the topping, stir together all of the topping ingredients in a different bowl. Spread mixture evenly on top of the sweet potatoes. Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 2.5 to 4 hours depending on how hot your crockpot cooks.

6) Scalloped Oysters. For all you sea-loving eaters, this recipe takes 10 minutes to prep.
Scalloped Oyster
Ingredients:
– 1 quart shucked oysters in their liquor
– 2 cups coarsely crushed saltine crackers
– 1 cup dry bread crumbs
– 3/4 cup melted butter
– 1 cup cream
– A pinch of nutmeg
– A pinch of salt/pepper
– A pinch of celery salt (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pick oysters free of any shells. In a deep buttered casserole, mix together crackers, bread crumbs, and melted butter. Place a thin layer of crumb mixture in the bottom of the casserole. Cover it with half of the oysters. Season cream with nutmeg, salt, pepper and celery salt (if using). Pour half of this mixture over the oysters. On the next layer, use the oysters, 3/4 of the remaining crumb mixture and cover that with seasoned cream. Top with the remaining crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

7) Green Bean Casserole. This recipe seemed to be an absolute favorite here in the office as 3 folks recommended it.
Green Bean Casserole
Ingredients:
– 1/3 stick butter
– 1/2 cup diced onions
– 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
– 2 cups sliced green beans
– 3 cups chicken broth
– 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
– 1 (2.8 ounce) can French-fried onion rings
– Pinch House Seasoning (recipe below)
– 1 cup grated Cheddar
Pinch House Seasoning
– 1 cup salt
– 1/4 cup garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté onions/mushrooms. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.

All these recipes have been AER staff approved for your enjoyment and we hope you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Farm Favorite Friday: My growing love for cover crops

Posted on: November 7th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 2 Comments

It all started when Eric Johnston came to work at AgriEnergy Resources as an agronomist nearly a year ago. While visiting customers in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio, Eric was awakened to a whole new world.

A world filled with cover crops, which is proving to be one of his favorite parts of farming. And for good reason.

He farms row crops alongside his family near Tiskilwa, Illinois and is always on the look out on how to best increase yield potential year after year.

Meet Eric:

Rolled Rye

“Yes I had read about them in ag magazines, but had never personally seen cover crops growing in fields or talked with the cutting edge producers who were implementing them into their farm systems. Heck one of our customers in Indiana had alternated Austrian winter peas and radishes in 30 inch rows. This year he was going to use RTK to plant corn in the middle of these rows. Another of our customers from Wisconsin planted some fields with cereal rye. He let the cereal rye get to 3-4 foot tall this spring and then no till planted soybeans into it (pictured to the right).

Then he used his roller crimper to knock down the rye. Notice the weed control – this field had no herbicide on it!! And we just got word that it yielded very well also.

Visiting our customer’s farms, talking with farmers, and of course reading about cover crop use has me hooked. I fell for them hard and there’s no looking back.

Johnston Cereal Rye

We drilled in cereal rye following the combine on some of our fields this fall. We also flew on (by helicopter) some oats and radishes into standing corn. All of the cover cropped fields are looking great so far and I cant help but get giddy when I drive by or walk these fields.

I don’t understand why more farmers aren’t trying to implement cover crops into their farming systems. To have living roots in the soil throughout the year can only do good things. These roots release root exudates in the form of carbon and sugar and are what feed the soil microbes and increase organic matter. They also protect against wind/water erosion, increase water infiltration, decrease compaction, increase aeration and scavenge nutrients as to avoid run-off in our water system. Talk about soil health!

The Johnston Boys

Another big reason I am falling in love with cover crops is I think they will decrease our herbicide usage on our farms and help us with weed control. Mother nature wants to cover every acre of bare dirt with something, so why not have it be a beneficial cover crop instead of a weed!! I feel that cover crops and biologicals are going to be the future of farming, and I hope to pass my knowledge onto my son, Cullen (pictured with his grandpa).

On our own family farm, we’re already discussing ways we can put cover crops and biological products from AgriEnergy Resources on more of our acres next year. We know it takes a little more work and planning, but the benefits far outweigh the work. As I drive by one of our green cover cropped fields, and then look at the neighbors bare field right next to it, my love for cover crops keeps growing. We need to be thinking about the health of our soil for not only now but for future generations as well.”

What about you? Do you use cover crops? We’d love to hear about it. And maybe even share your story in next week’s edition of Farm Favorite Friday.

Until next time, happy trails!

Understanding soil quality: Part 3

Posted on: October 29th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

So far we’ve learned that healthy soil leads to healthy animals and healthy people.

But how is that related to various forms of native vegetation?

Well, the former chairman of the soils department at the University of Missouri, Dr. Albrecht, studied just that and correlated that information with the conductivity of the soil for radio reception as mapped by the National Broadcasting Company.

His basic thesis was that higher rainfall patterns in the eastern and southeastern United States have leeched out the native soil fertility elements. Therefore, even though there is ample water in the eastern states, there are not enough of the necessary fertility salts for either good radio reception or for production of protein rich crops. He explained that the low protein crops such as virgin pine trees grow naturally in these areas. In the arid west the fertility salts are ample in the soil, but the moisture is deficient for ideal electrodynamic behavior which gives both good radio reception and higher protein and mineral content for crops.

Understanding Soil Quality

Rainfall and temperature determine the degree of soil development. A moderate rainfall pattern results in development of a soil that is good for production. Higher rainfall area soils are weathered to a greater extent and therefore not as adequate for protein production. The higher rainfall areas are capable of growing more vegetative bulk which also means more decay. With decay, more carbonic acid is formed and the resulting acidity replaces the soil’s natural calcium and magnesium.

Moderate rainfall patterns in the west, and higher rainfall but more moderate temperature in the northwest, form soil clays with a greater capacity to hold or absorb nutrients. Soils formed in the eastern states under higher rainfall patterns and the increasing temperature going from the north to the south means a different clay is formed. These clays have fewer nutrient holding capacity. This explains why coniferous forests grow here, because there is little protein potential in these areas.

It is clear that Dr. Albrecht was correct, and as farmers seek to increase yields it is possible to get a combination of carbohydrates and proteins, or only carbohydrates. Dr. Albrecht tied his explanation to climate, natural soil development, and native habits of buffalo and other animals. Many scientists have now concluded that farmers, through poor soil management, have depleted the nutrients from even the most productive soil areas. In other words, commercial farming as we have known it for the past several decades has greatly accelerated nature’s natural processes.

Next week, we’ll discuss what Andre Voisin, of the Academy of Agriculture of France, noticed when understanding soil quality.

Until next time, happy trails!

Understanding soil quality: Part 2

Posted on: October 22nd, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

Last week we discussed how quality soil effected both the physical and mental health of the Hunzakuts who resided near the Himalayan peaks in Pakistan.

This week we continue discussing quality soil, but this time how it effects sheep. It all began over 300 years ago in a town in Leominster when Izaak Walton observed differences in health, in wool quality, in the sheen of body color, and in the quality of muscle meat.

He noted, “It is certain that fields in Leominster are observed to make sheep that graze upon them more fat than the next, and also bear finer wool; that is to say, in that year in which they feed in a particular pasture, they shall yield finer wool than they did that year before they came to feed upon it, and coarser again if they shall return to their former pasture; and again return to a finer wool being fed on the finer wool ground. Which I tell you, that you may better believe that I am certain, if I catch a trout in one meadow he shall be white and faint, and very likely be lousy; and as certainly as if I catch a trout in the next meadow, he shall be strong, red, lusty, and much better meat. Trust me, I have caught many a trout in a particular meadow, that the very shape and enameled color of him was made such as hath joyed me to look on him; and I have then with much pleasure concluded with Solomon, ‘Everything is beautiful in its season.’”

In short he noticed a difference in the presence or absence of insect infestations of sheep and of fish related to the fertility of soil.

Join us next week as we discuss nutrition as it relates to various forms of native vegetation.

Until next time, happy trails!

What a difference a year makes!

Posted on: October 14th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

GroundWorkLast year corn prices were as high as $5.30. This year as low as $3.20.

If you’re a farmer and having a panic attack, you’re not alone. Now stop. We’ve got you covered.

Thanks to our highly technical staff and nearly 27 years of experience, we have learned a LOT about efficiency. Soil biology, inoculants, growth stimulators, cover crops, and soil health testing are no longer news – they’re being used. And these tools make for highly efficient soils, which can lead to less added inputs for 2015.

Read how in our most recent Ground Work article: Current Economics Call for Efficiency.

What are some things you’re doing to protect your bottom line?

Until next time, happy trails!