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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March 27, 2015
By Jackson Webb

We’re ready to plant now, but we just can’t. We are saturated — we’re so in the mud, no one’s even thinking about trying to plant. We have some beautiful days — 75° and sunny, but then the rain comes; we can’t get a long stretch of dry weather. So at this point, we’re not getting terribly late yet, but we’re itching to go.

It was kind of like this last year — We had stretches of wet, then we’d get a three-day window where we could plant like crazy, but then we’d get rained out again. Last year was tough to begin, but there were days in there that we could get going, which was about this time. The earliest corn I planted was on March 20 last year. But the year before it was the 10th.

The AYS Difference

My AgVenture Yield Specialist Wayne Dulaney is doing good. We just had a whole meeting about our cropping plan and he’s actually going to look at some burn-down stuff, and we’ll meet again Thursday. We got burned out on 90 percent of our acres, but the rest is up near houses, so we’ll have to go in with something different. This is the time of year where Wayne and I are talking at least every two or three days. He’s also been helping us determine what the plan is — are we going to try to spray behind the planter, or are we going to try to get something up in front of it? And of course he’s helping with our chemical selection — he’s been getting us to change to liquid P & K working with a place in Louisiana, so when this thing finally does break, we are ready to get rolling.

As for the cropping plan, he’s been helping me adjust to the way the market’s reacting. We picked up a good bit of ground, and at first, the plan was to put in a lot of beans just to keep costs down. But we went through three different cropping plans and decided to switch from corn to beans on ground that is better suited for it. We changed the plan a couple of times, but I think we finally have a final deal. And that’s kind of the way it’s always been with he and I. We have a plan, but nothing is set in stone until the planters roll. But at least it gives you an idea of what to look at and what’s going to work and what’s not.

Finding the Right Variety

Wayne’s been suggesting some great varieties that will work on our ground. We’re working on dryland corn, and he actually brought some stuff to me that’s been in the pipeline for quite a while. We tried a little bit of it last year and it worked real well, so we’re going with it again this year. We’re also trying to take advantage of maturity in our bags of corn. God bless the Louisiana farmer, but if he doesn’t get any corn planted, at least not til real late, we may see a premium on the seed market early. So instead of going with the full-season, 119- or 121-day variety, we’re switching to 108s and 110s just to take advantage of what may be an early premium.

March 27, 2015
By Jeff Morse

Things are going well here. We are bailing stalks for our cow herd operation. We’ve only got about 250 bales to go, so it’s not too bad. The amount we have should put us through the fall, so we’re set.

On the farm, we’ve calved a bunch of calves, and we have another round in April. And for the crops, we’re getting seed in tomorrow. We’ve been working with our AgVenture Yield Specialist, Denny Kasperbauer, a little bit lately. We missed the AgVenture University because of weather — it was icing that night, so we didn’t get to go. But Denny informs us about what’s going on, so it all works out. The AVU was about corn varieties that are coming down the pipeline and certain herbicides to maybe stay away from or be very careful with. We also touched base on the different planter speeds and planting methods — and surrounding yourself with moneymakers and money savers in certain ratios. This is an important time of year, because it all comes down to the planter.

Getting the Right Varieties

Denny is really helping us find good seed this year. We might shift gears here with our cow operation and start chopping a bit more corn. So I have to get back with Denny about that and maybe line up a few more acres of silage.

He’s recommending seed that is good on our soil and prevents diseases and insects — all of the above. But the difference is that it has to perform on our unique soils out here. We’re deep soiled, but we wash easily, so we’re in a very minimal till situation. I don’t like to say anymore that we’re no-till, because defining tillage is moving soil from point A to point B. So if you’re no-tilling, you must have grandma out there with a straw and she’s blowing that seed in the ground. If the seed moves soil, you’re still tilling.

The High Price of Fertilizer

Even though it’s been warm, we haven’t been doing much farm work. We’ve been spreading a lot of manure, got our barns cleaned out, and that makes a big difference on our ground.

We’re also trying to line up fertilizer purchases to supplement the manure, but fertilizer prices have been so enormously high, and with corn prices not really being so great, we’ve been delaying that. So we’re just pricing fertilizer now, and thankfully, it hasn’t gone up hardly at all since the last time we tried.

It doesn’t seem right to me that the fertilizer prices are so high with the corn prices as low as they are. But it’s just like when we got spoiled with $7 corn a few years ago, and some people thought it was going to be that way the rest of their lives, and then it got cut in half and they didn’t know what to do. I think the fertilizer companies saw that $1,200 stuff 7–8 years ago and thought “Well, we can cut that in half and still be coming out pretty good.” Well, that’s all the cheaper it ever got was about half that. In fact, what we priced here today was about the $700 mark for anhydrous ammonia. That’s probably the cheapest form of nitrogen there is, and if you put it on 164 pounds (just for easy figuring), it would be about $70 an acre. Last year we bought fertilizer for $590 rather than $700. But the price has actually gone down since last year. We contracted corn last year at $5, and we had contracts yesterday for a whole $4. Commodities are 20 percent lower this year, but fertilizer is almost 20 higher. It makes you sharpen the pencil a lot more.

That’s where the efficiency and the knowledge of AgVenture is critical — the efficiency of what they’re trying to preach is going to pay off more. If you’re going to get a return on it, you’ve got to know how to do it.

 

March 27, 2015
By Jackson Webb

The Farm Bill

Last time we talked, I hadn’t made a decision on the farm bill. But now I think I made the right decision today. It may be the wrong decision 30 days from now or six months from now, but the only thing I can do is base it off of what things looked like this year. I went with ARC, and we were able to reallocate our base acres. A lot of my acres before were cotton, which switched me into the generic base. I picked up some corn acres, picked up some bean acres, and I went with ARC, and I hope it’s the right thing. But government payments for me are one of those things that you can’t ever count on anyway.

The only people I know who are doing PLC are rice farmers down here. They’ve got almost a whole base of cotton, they’re betting on a really good deal.

Waiting to Plant

While we’re waiting on things to warm up for planting, we have run out of so many things to do, we have actually started working on combines. It’s three months worth of shop work, but we’ve started looking for stuff to do. Labor’s got to eat too, so give them something to do on combines.

I did finally end up finding someone to hire for my operation. I ran through three of them, but this guy is going to be really good — he’s been here two weeks so far, and he’s working out real well. He actually came to me from another farm. The guy he was working for said, “Look, I can keep you til March 1, but after that I’m going to have to let you go.” So he came to me shortly thereafter. And with that, we have all the people we need for the season, which is a huge relief.

March 27, 2015
By Travis Michl

Mother nature ain’t letting us go to the fields, but that’s par for the course at this time. Right now it’s raining and cold at 34°, and everything’s wet and it’s supposed to get down to the 20s the next couple of nights. So we’re staying busy working on equipment in the shop. We’re also getting some seed corn delivered soon, so we’re working at a nice pace. We started calving this week, and we usually get along pretty good there. We don’t normally (knock on wood) have too many problems, so that should run smoothly.

Working with New AYS

Matt is no longer my AgVenture Yield Specialist. He’s working in a little different area for AgVenture D&M, so now I’m dealing with Mike Davis and Brian Maxwell — number one and number two at D&M. I’ve been working with them pretty well since last fall when we started this year’s cropping plan. They’re learning through me, and I’m learning more about what goes into their decision making process as owners on variety selection and things they look for, so it’s a good fit. I’ve known Mike Davis for a long time. And then Brian Maxwell started a couple years ago at AgVenture, and I’ve known him since he started. So we’ve got a history. It’s a really good relationship.

They’ve got me starting on 2–3 new hybrids that they think will be a pretty good fit for me. And they’re also informing on what we’re doing with the strip till and precision fertilizer placement. We’re going to try some new things this year that are their ideas, and expand on some other things that I’ve been doing previously.

Getting the Best Products

One of the big advantages of working with the bosses is they knew the hybrids even before they became commercial, when they were still in testing and proving in the selection process. And these guys have more experience with them than some of the AYSs do. They test out these varieties and prove them, and when it comes down to it, Mike Davis and the rest of the group are the ones that decide why varieties go forth as an AgVenture variety.

This time of year, we’re seeing each other at least once every other week — about every 10–14 days. They’ve been coming by my place, just going over plans and what varieties we’re going to place where. We’re making arrangements for getting seed delivered here in April. Our roads are posted from February 1 to April 20 with a load limit of 10 tons. So as soon as that gets lifted, we’ll have our seed.

March 23, 2015

KENTLAND, IN (March 19, 2015) – Seed treatments historically have helped protect producers’ seed at planting, and through emergence and early seedling establishment. They provide protection from early feeding by insects and plant injury from diseases. But exceptional advancement s in seed treatments have recently greatly increased the range of protection available and the specificity of products directly suited to an individual set of problems growers experience in their fields.

AgVenture McKillip Seeds, Wabash, Indiana this week has unveiled state-of-the-art seed treatment equipment that will greatly enhance options for their farmer customers across Indiana and Ohio. AgVenture McKillip Seeds President, Mike McKillip said, “This is an exciting step forward. We’re proud to offer our customers this high-tech, advanced option for managing their seed treatments.”

In a given year, AgVenture McKillip Seeds Sales and Marketing Manager Mitch Snyder explained that a farmer may have a variety of conditions to consider; early planting, wet field, or fields with historical issues with Sudden Death Syndrome, nematodes, certain seedling diseases or White Mold. “Our new seed treatment capabilities allow us to address those yield-limiting factors with specific seed treatment packages customized for that specific field and the variety that we have recommended to maximize that field’s potential.

“Technology advancements have allowed us to farm differently than we did even five years ago,” said Snyder. “We now have the ability to customize so many aspects of our production management systems. Our Maximum Profit System™ focuses on specific challenges at each field level. Now, in addition to finding the best hybrids and varieties, we can customize seed treatment packages for a specific cropping plan. In the future, it means we can further complement our high-yielding varieties, addressing their susceptibilities directly with specific seed treatment packages. Ultimately, it means greater yield and greater profitability for our customers.”

The new seed treatment equipment, according to Snyder is among the industry’s most progressive. “In addition to providing customers with more options, this equipment greatly advances the accuracy of application on every seed at the most refined level. That improves efficiency and efficacy of the seed treatments applied, and the speed at which we can fill direct orders. Finally, we are able to specifically program into the unit, the exacting requirements for our Security™ Seed Treatments at the punch of a button.”

Mike McKillip said, “More safely, accurately and efficiently, we now can include a broader range of nutrition, biologicals, nematicides, insect and disease protection. We are also well-prepared for future advanced seed treatment offerings.” He concluded, “Once the crop is planted, upwards of 75 percent of the yield potential is set. Our customers’ profitability is the goal. We have taken the steps to help improve early spring seed protection.”

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.

March 20, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (March 19, 2015) — AgVenture of Western Missouri has expanded its reach into central Kansas. As a Regional Distribution Partner (RDP), fifth generation farmer and seedsman, Doug Keesling of Keesling Seed Farms will provide AgVenture® brand seed products to customers from his warehouse facilities near Chase, Kansas.

AgVenture of Western Missouri Co-owner, Decker Sutton said, “We are very pleased to extend our reach and our seed products to producers in central Kansas.” Sutton noted that as an RDP, Keesling Farms will allow area farmers to have local access to AgVenture® brand seed products, including corn, soybeans, sorghum and alfalfa seed.

Sutton added, “Doug’s deep knowledge of the seed business comes from his active involvement in farming, and through a strong family legacy in the seed business. He understands what seed is best adapted to this area’s growing conditions. Since 1987, he’s been growing wheat and raises corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum. Doug grows AgVenture seed on his own farm where it has proven its merit. We are very pleased to work together to help area farmers improve their yield and profitability on every acre.”

With a strong history in seed, Keesling said he readily recognizes solid seed performance. “One thing I look forward to is looking back a couple of years from now and seeing how much progress our customers will have made in yields and profitability. The AgVenture seed is selected on our scale, not a national scale.”

He added, “We have a unique growing environment, and the last few years have thrown us every extreme possible. These hybrids and varieties have emerged leading the class and producing profitable crops consistently in our area. This is an ideal time to tap these new seed products and put them to work locally – where they are specifically selected for and adapted to perform.”

Keesling holds degrees from Kansas State University and from the Brooks Institute of Art. He is an active agriculturist, spokesperson, and agriculture advocate serving on several distinguished boards and councils including the U.S. Wheat Commission and the Kansas State Advisory Board. He and his wife, CJ 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.

March 18, 2015

CLARKSDALE, MS / KENTLAND, IN (March 16, 2015) – When it comes to managing Mid-South farmland, Mike Brunetti a wealth of both experience and expertise. Brunetti, of Natchez, Mississippi will share his experience with farmers across central Louisiana, serving as Dulaney Seed Company’s newest Business Development Manager.

From his early roots in farming and aerial application, Brunetti advanced into the world of farm management; managing farms, improving their profitability and value across several states. At one point, the group he worked with oversaw more than 30,000 acres across the Mid-South. He had additional experience managing a Case IH dealership before returning to his farming roots.

Brunetti said, “I am so very pleased to work together with farmers across central Louisiana, bringing them the top quality AgVenture® brand seed products, the year-round support and the practical production methods that Dulaney Seed Company provides. Every day, it’s a pleasure to work together with this team of professionals. I look forward to introducing the products and profitability to the region.”

Dulaney Seed General Manger, Charlie Robinette said, “We are very pleased to welcome Mike. He will be a great ally and asset to central Louisiana farmers. His keen ability to recognize issues early, find solutions, and put great people and products together will be a distinct advantage for our new customers across the area.”

Brunetti said, “The AgVenture name may be new to some in this area. While they have seen it in the Delta Farm Press, they will soon have access to these seed products explicitly selected for and adapted to our specific growing environment. The team, the seed, and the production support has to go together to make the most of that crop. Their success across the Mid-South speaks volumes.”

Robinette noted, “We are pleased to be extending our reach to this new territory. Our product performance has proven itself well. Our customers are making the most of our Maximum Profit System™ which has helped them dramatically increase yields, lower their cost per bushel and improve overall profitability. Mike will help us deliver the seed and support necessary to help more customers achieve new highs in their production goals.”

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.

March 17, 2015

KENTLAND, IN (March 16, 2015) – Mitch Snyder, Sales and Marketing Manager for AgVenture McKillip Seeds, Wabash, Indiana has been elected as the president of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association (ICIA). Snyder has served on the Board of Directors of the ICIA for the past four years and on the executive committee for the past two years. Snyder was elected at the organization’s Corn Belt Seed Conference held recently in Indianapolis.

ICIA, a non-profit, self-supporting agency, exists to deliver unbiased, needed services including seed certification, seed quality testing, genetic testing and research. Their membership includes producers to seed conditioners, seed companies, seed distributors and other related seed industry input providers.

Snyder said, “It is an honor and a privilege to serve ICIA and our industry. The ICIA plays a crucial role in our ability to be productive and competitive in this fast-paced, rapidly changing seed business.”

“The ICIA members represent some of the finest seed companies and longest legacies in the seed business,” said Snyder. “Many member seed companies have had family members involved in the organization for three or four generations. For more than 100 years, this organization has provided unbiased, reliable, and repeatable high-quality analysis that helps each company provide better seed products to their customers. While many members are direct competitors in the field, we all come together for the good of the industry through this organization. It is an honorable community.”

During his one year term, Snyder said he will support efforts to continue to deploy the group’s strategic plan. “We’re pleased to implement a well-defined organizational structure, providing continuity and cross-training within the organization. We want to be sure we are operating at the highest level, assessing current needs and performance. At the same time, we want to assure that we are well prepared for new shifts and changes in industry, ready to respond to members’ needs. I look forward to building additional awareness of the group and the excellence they provide.”

ICIA is dedicated to improving productivity, profitability and the competitive position of ICIA members by providing services to producers, conditioners and distributors of plant products enabling them to provide high quality plant products to Indiana, the US, and the World.

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.

March 11, 2015

KENTLAND, IN (March 9, 2015) – Just last summer, Northwest Iowa Ag, LLC. of Moville, Iowa joined AgVenture in becoming one of the newest independently owned and operated Regional Seed Companies in the country. This month, the young company has announced the addition of seasoned agronomy and seed professional, Doug Stout of Primghar as a Regional Sales Manager and Yield Specialist. Doug will work with local farmers and dealers providing them access to AgVenture® brand seed products and year-round professional seed support in Northwest Iowa.

Spurred by enthusiastic interest in their locally adapted and specifically selected hybrids and varieties, Larry Janssen, Northwest Iowa Ag President said the company is off to a great start and growing strong. “Already, we have had a very positive response from area farmers. We fully expect to see our seed products planted and performing over thousands of acres in northwest Iowa this spring, and growing from here. We are very pleased to have Doug join us, bringing us a wealth of experience and specific knowledge of the region’s growing environments.”

Doug has twenty five years of seed and agronomy management experience having worked closely with farmers across the region in seed and crop protection roles. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Iowa State University, and is a Certified Crop Adviser. He said, “I am excited about the people, the seed products and the innovative approach to merging agronomics and sound, practical management practices. Small adjustments, shifts in thinking and improvements made add up in a hurry. Our Maximum Profit System™ has proven that together these practices lead to dramatic improvements in yields, lower costs per bushel and improved overall profitability.”

Janssen said what makes their seed company different from others’ is their commitment to their customers’ profitability on every acre. “Our ability to deliver outstanding seed genetics and technologies specific to Northwest Iowa along with the in-field, in-season support clearly provides a differential advantage to our customers. Doug exemplifies the characteristics that we most want to deliver to our customers; integrity, intelligence and honesty. He will help us further build a team of seed professionals. We look to his experience to help us deliver innovative, practical production methods and cutting-edge management techniques to each field.

Doug and his wife, Joleen, have two 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.

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