MPS In Action Blog

Your Blog for Farm News and Information

Welcome to the MPS In Action blog, your AgVenture Seed Company link to the latest in news, information and education from across our independent Regional Seed Company network and the industry as a whole. Check this space often for the latest tips to increasing production and profit on your farm.

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December 19, 2014

These facts may help refresh your memory on what it takes to grow high-yielding soybean crops. (They may also help you impress the relatives over the holiday!)

The typical soybean crop needs ~315 lbs N per acre, about 60 percent of which (190 lbs) goes to seed production and 40 percent (125 lbs) goes to stover and roots.

Soybeans fix nitrogen from the atmosphere when nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria are present in the soil. Nitrogen fixation is a result of the symbiotic relationship between rhizobia and the soybean plant and is evident in nodules on soybean plant roots. Most studies show that between 50-60 percent of the nitrogen is from N fixation.

A well-nodulated soybean plant should have five to seven nodules on the primary root.

You can check for nodulation on soybeans as early as two weeks after emergence. When needed, soybeans respond very well to nitrogen applied between flowering and pod fill.
(Sources: AgVenture, Inc., University of Nebraska Lincoln)

Tags: soybeans
December 12, 2014
By Jackson Webb

I would say the biggest thing I learned this season was not anything that helped me this year, but all the stuff that hurt me that I did wrong.

I decided that I’ll never plant anything flat again. We’re going to row up every single acre. We did it again this year and lo and behold, it’s the best stand we’ve ever had.

We had little pockets of water — the little mud puddles in the field that you can go out and cure it with a shovel or a hoe — but all those little bitty pockets affected our stand, where it still cut 200, but it could have cut 250. I guess you learn something every year, but this year was kind of a reminder of how important drainage is early on.

Next year we’re also going to start doing our P and K in liquid form. The liquid version will make nutrients readily available to the plant. With our soils, the nutrients are there, but they’re just readily available to the plant. We’re learning more and more about it every day. We’re working with a company in Monroe, Louisiana that specializes in it. And there’s about six of us who are trying it out. So we’ll see what comes of that.



December 12, 2014
By Jeff Morse

Harvest this year seems to drag on and on and on. But in defense of the harvest, being late with our corn crops has a lot to do with it. With being hailed out and having so much replant, it made a big delay in the operation. I think we did rather well for having to replant. We ended up with anywhere from a 40–50 bushel up to 180. It was just all over the board, but I’m pleased.

We’ve been held up a little with harvest because we’re calving right now. Being a livestock and grain operation tends to make it a little tougher. Some days you think you should be doing a lot of farming, but you end up doing stuff for your cows.

One group of 60 cows is calving now. One group will calve in late February or early March, and another group calves in April and May. We stagger them out so we have more of a cash flow for our operation and a better workload. If you were calving 180 cows all at the same time, it would be too much.

Growing the cow operation alongside our grain operation is good, because you use the waste products from both as benefits. We really emphasize using manure for our fields, because compared to commercial fertilizer, there’s no comparison. It’s that much better. Nature makes things a lot better than we ever can. It helps the soil from eroding and helps several issues in the environment, and the nutrients are more available for the plant.

On our operation, there’s no waste of energy. We’re using corn stalks for bedding and for feed, and the manure for the ground. Without this cycle, the stalks would sit out there waiting for a slower form of Mother Nature to break it down, where this actually speeds it all up. Some people — even fertilizer people — don’t understand that manure can bring a piece of ground back to life almost surprisingly fast, where commercially it might take several years.

As far as I’m concerned, farmers have been the number one environmentalists from the get go, and in taking care of our ground, we have to do it. You talk about going green, well, I think we started that movement. And we weren’t looking for political points, either. There is a responsibility to be a good steward in this profession

December 12, 2014
By Travis Michl

Today we’re hauling corn to the ethanol plant. That’s what we’ve been doing all week — running to St. Louis and hauling grain. St. Louis is about 300 miles round trip, and the ethanol plant’s about 40 miles away, but we’ll do 5–6 trips a day over there.

You might be surprised, but we’re not done with harvest yet. We haven’t harvested anything since Nov. 15, when we got done with corn. We’ve had snow twice and rain every other day, and we haven’t seen three days of sunshine strung together since then. But all that’s left is 150–160 acres of double-crop beans, so it’s a drop in the bucket. We’re fortunate.

But the majority of the harvest went pretty good. Everything kept moving right along. Yields were the best we’ve ever had.

After seeing our yields this year, we decided we’re going to increase our strip till acres. We’re continuing with the fungicide program we have implemented. Everything we did this year ended up being pretty well right. We’re going to try for a repeat next year.

As for what’s next, we didn’t get much fall work done this year. During the first big snow—we had about four inches—it was frozen just a little bit underneath the snow and we did a little chisel plow and ran a couple hundred acres of fertilizer through the strip till bar. But essentially that’s all we got done. We were too wet. We didn’t get any wheat planted this year—it was too wet. We like to have the wheat in by the 15th or 16th of October, but not this year. We just won’t have any wheat, so that’s kind of a bummer.

There’s not much else besides. That’s pretty much the status quo for the winter. We still have 150,000 bushel of corn to haul and 75,000 bushels of beans to haul. So we’ll be doing that. We’ll get a little break for the holidays, but we don’t have much planned. Just another run-of-the-mill winter.


December 12, 2014
By Jackson Webb

I haven’t felt burned out in a long time, but this year I feel it. Everybody is ready for a break. It’s been kind of a roller coaster year — from wondering if you’re ever going to get seed in to getting it and replanting beans 4-5 times, to our wet spring and thankfully a wet, cool summer.

We finished corn the first week of September and started on beans and pretty much ran through the bean harvest pretty quick. We finished them on the 24th. Harvest went really well, and it looks to be our best corn crop and probably our second or third best bean crop yet. And now we’re rowed up and ready to plant, so the next thing that will hit the field will be the planter. So we’re looking forward to deer season and duck season and time off now.

A neighbor and I also picked up another 4,000 acres of land and got some wheat planted. It’s up and looking good. We’ll harvest that in May or June. Other than that, we’ve been doing our groundwork. We’re in really good shape as far as field work and preparations for next year. This year we did a good bit of subsoiling and deep tillage. We’re on a three-year rotation, and this was year three. So with the continuous corn, you just get a lot of residue, and you can run into problems. So we burned this year, ran a disk across it and deep-tilled it and then rowed it up.

As far as a cropping plan, Wayne and I are on the third one, just watching the market. This year is a moving target, more so than it ever has been. We sat down and kind of figured out an acreage mix, and that all changed partly because we picked up that other ground. And we came back with a second cropping plan, and now that’s changed with all the wheat we got planted.

Usually it’s done in late November or early December, but the markets can dictate a switch real fast. So I’m sure we’ll be switching varieties up to the deadline. I always tell Wayne, I’m fine if the plan changes as long as there’s some sort of plan in place. Hopefully we’ll have something set this week.

I’m the kind of guy who can’t go sit and enjoy myself if we’ve got work to do. So for lack of a better term, I’m busting my ass trying to get it all done so I can go hunting and just relax.

December 12, 2014
By Aaron Paus

It’s been cold here lately, and today is the best we’ve had in a while, at 45. But we got done with harvest in November, and most of the people are out of the ground here.

Harvest was good. We had some pleasant surprises and some disappointment on some stuff that didn’t go as well as we would have liked. But we’re hauling it out and trying to get situated and organized for the end of the year.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been getting some year-end stuff done — we do a lot of custom work, so that’s getting taken care of; we’re delivering corn on some contracts for December and getting the bills sent. Pretty soon I’ll be looking more closely at the cropping plan.

We’re all frozen over at this point, and we didn’t get any ground prepping done. The cold came about three days before we were done harvesting. We had one little break to get dirt-work done, but we couldn’t rip at all. It’s frozen solid.

As far as insights from the season go, I really haven’t had enough time to analyze it yet to see what worked well. I’m having a hard time trying to find much of anything that we did different that I liked and that I want to repeat.

Initially though, it seems the shorter season did better than the longer season for the second year in a row — it was pretty dramatic on that. So we’ll be shortening our beans from here on out.



December 3, 2014

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, December 2014

AgVenture offers growers an exceptionally deep, locally adapted corn hybrid product lineup. As you summarize harvest data for 2014 and solidify cropping plans for 2015, AgVenture’s Dr. Keith Campbell says, “Regarding corn maturities, growers should be aware that corn can adjust its growth and development. Fewer growing degree units (GDUs) may be required to reach maturity when planted on different dates. For instance, when spring planting that begins in early May and is delayed by weather for 2-3 weeks, growers may only note a 4-5 day difference in silking.”

Campbell adds, “We encourage customers to talk with their AgVenture Yield Specialist about your area of adaptation to best define how a new corn hybrid suits your area. Those earlier silking corn products are more likely to adapt to higher elevations and move north of their adapted zones. But if pushed too far north or higher in elevation, there’s a risk that later silking corn hybrids may not reach physiological maturity before frost. Hybrids pushed too far north of their area of adaptation also risk missing the ideal R stage crop development window.” (Source: AgVenture and DuPont Pioneer graphic)

November 25, 2014

KENTLAND, INDIANA (November 24, 2014) — Ames, Iowa-based AgVenture GroMor, LLC has welcomed Gary Hammitt of Vincent, Iowa to serve central Iowa farmers as an AgVenture Yield Specialist. Hammitt, an agronomy professional with thirty years of experience, will work directly with GroMor customers year-round utilizing his teaching skills, agronomy research expertise, and crop input and fertility management skills.

AgVenture GroMor CEO and General Manager, Jim Groepper said, “Our customers and our company have gained a valuable resource in Gary. His professional dedication to providing practical, science-based methods that improve productivity and profitability align seamlessly with our GroMor mission. Our commitment to our customers includes providing them access to the best seed genetics and technologies along with year-round professional seed support to make that improved profitability a reality.”

Hammitt’s career has been dedicated to teaching and learning, researching and applying practical management solutions to optimize crop environments and yields. For fifteen years, he served as Agronomy Research Manager for the Land O’Lakes AnswerPlot™ farms across a four state region. There, he led research and events for farmers focused on improving farm productivity by using the best possible technology within the agro-ecological environment, and combining that with specific management practices. As an Environmental Management Specialist for the Iowa Soybean Association, he worked on the Boone River watershed to manage environmental incentive programs for the region. The Boone River watershed is considered an area of significance because of its aquatic biodiversity. It was identified in the Upper Mississippi River Basin Plan as an area with significant plant and animal life. It is one of few HUC 8 watersheds that are completely within the state of Iowa. With Iowa Select Farms, Hammitt paired his nutrient management and fertility skills to oversee manure management operations for more than one hundred thirty hog farms.

“Joining AgVenture GroMor is a perfect fit,” said Hammitt. “It is a capstone opportunity that allows me to utilize all of my agronomic skills together in support of our customers. The seed products, the attention to production practices and the professionalism and camaraderie of the GroMor team are each outstanding. I look forward to helping our customers get the most out of their inputs, maximize yields, improve their APH and increase their overall, long-term profitability.”

In 2012, Hammitt’s family was awarded an Iowa Heritage Farm award for having the farm in the family for more than 150 years. He was also the recipient of the Iowa Ag Environmental Leadership Award. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Iowa State University in Ag Education. Hammitt and his wife, Jenice, have three children.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. Based in Kentland, Indiana, AgVenture provides this growing network of independently owned and managed seed business owners with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

Tags: AYS, GroMor, Hammitt, iowa
November 17, 2014

JEFFERSON, WISCONSIN/KENTLAND, INDIANA (November 17, 2014) — Menomonie, Wisconsin native Justin Jensen has joined AgVenture Spangler Seed as their newest AgVenture Yield Specialist. Jensen will fortify the independently owned and operated regional seed company’s presence in northwestern Wisconsin. Jensen will work one-on-one with area farmers throughout the year. He will provide producers with access to AgVenture Spangler’s seed products, and support them in gaining more profitability from every acre.

AgVenture Spangler Director of Customer Relations, Matthew Eske said, “We are very pleased Justin will be working with our customers across this region. He’s a hard-working young professional. Justin is dedicated to bringing his customers the seed products and the tools and techniques that help them make the most of every acre.”

Eske added, “We are very confident in our strong seed product portfolio specifically well adapted to northwest Wisconsin. We have an outstanding range of seed products in the 90-100 day range that excel here. In addition, our silage seed products are second to none. This seed fits the way farmers in the area farm. We have 100 years of Wisconsin seed business experience and we put that to work on every farm.”

Jensen said, “I have been so pleased to introduce my customers to our seed products and to our Maximum Profit System™. It is systems-based approach to dramatically increasing yield, lowering cost per bushel and improving overall profitability. Regardless of what prices do, we need to farm smarter and make more out of our crops. I am proud to share our products and my support with customers across the area.”

Born and raised at Jensen Family Farms just outside of Menomonie, Jensen grew up working with dairy cattle, beef cattle and raising crops. The family also has a maple syrup business. A graduate of Chippewa Valley Technical College at Eau Claire, Jensen double majored in Animal Science and Agronomy.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. Based in Kentland, Indiana, AgVenture provides this growing network of independently owned and managed seed business owners with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

November 14, 2014

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, November 2014

Fall tillage choices directly impact soil quality and productivity, but it is about an entire system, not just an overall choice. AgVenture encourages growers to
consider their entire cropping plan, assessing site specific conditions, soil and water quality considerations, and the crop to be planted in the spring. Fall tillage considerations include:

  • Soil conditions – natural drainage, top soil depth, soil slope, organic matter and soiltexture
  •  Management conditions – residue management, crop rotation, equipment availability and use (combine residue distribution and planter capability to manage different tillage systems), tiling, soil fertility management, and insect/disease history.