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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November 20, 2015

SUTTON, NEBRASKA/KENTLAND, INDIANA (November 20, 2015) — Harvest is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers. It means very long hours in the field, managing logistics, dust, machinery and people. “One thing that often gets neglected is time out for a hot meal, said AgVenture Pinnacle’s Sutton Operations Manager, Jeremy McCroden. “We decided to do something about it!”

Nebraska’s AgVenture Pinnacle team took on that challenge and has delivered more than 1000 meals to farmers’ fields across the state and into northern Kansas. McCroden said, “We wanted to do something special for our customers. And who doesn’t like a hot meal of soup and brisket or pulled pork in the midst of a busy harvest?”

McCroden said the entire team, from the warehouse personnel, to the office staff, to the sales professionals work together to prepare a hot meal. “We load up the truck with tables, chairs and everything you need for a field picnic. When we arrive, the farmers stop the combines and grain trucks where they are and have a meal. It’s very convenient for them.”

AgVenture Pinnacle’s Dennis Kenyon added, “Our customers really seem to appreciate this small gesture. It’s important to them to know we are willing partners in their success all year long.”

McCroden added, “Beyond the meal, we have a chance to visit with each customer directly about how their harvest is progressing, what they are seeing and what challenges or issues they need addressed for the crop year ahead. Being with them in real-time at harvest offers us both important insights about their individual fields and their crops’ performance.”

AgVenture Pinnacle provides customers with access to AgVenture® and VPMaxx® brand seed products, and year-round professional seed support. In addition to the seed offerings, they provided customers with access to first-in-class crop protection and fertilizer products, as well as award-winning precision ag services.

“At the end of the day, it’s about reaching out and making a difference,” he added. “We appreciate our customers and all they do. It has been an excellent experience all the way around.”

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 and varieties 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 17, 2015
By Travis Michl

I’m doing in-line ripping today. We got done with harvest a week ago this morning, and all in all it went very well. Personally, I was still slightly disappointed, but that’s just how I am. I was told to be very happy with what I have, because my corn was probably 30 bushels better than all my neighbors, and my beans were probably about eight. So overall, I’m pleased with the results.

The bean crop was better this year than our corn. The water was just too much for some of the corn to handle. We had a bunch of 195-bushel corn, but we also had fields that were waterlogged and drowned out with ugly sub-100 bushel corn. It seems like it’s a lot easier to bring an average down than bring it up.

Analyzing the Crop

The beans were probably the best farm average we’ve ever had. We had some precision fertilizer placement trial stuff, and we saw a big difference on the corn — 20- to 30-bushels where we applied the fertilizer. We also had a precision fertilizer placement trial in some beans with the strip till. We picked up a pretty solid five bushels by just putting fertilizer in different spots.

Our fungicide program was also big this year. We flew on some urea at tassle on corn, and with the combination of fungicide and urea, we picked up a solid 20 to 30 bushels. All these things are providing insights for the coming season, and we now have a solid backup plan if we have another wet, saturated year.

Looking Ahead

Hopefully we’ll wrap up our tillage operations in the spring, but we’ll have fall strip till done by Thursday, as well as all our major operations for fall. Then I have some custom ag work lined up, doing custom strip till and putting on anhydrous and phosphate with a strip till bar. People are really noticing what I’m doing with the strip till and fertilizer placement. So I’ve got that going and I’m hoping to develop it a little bit because I really think I could help some people out.

Other than that, I’ve got some friends who have a custom manure business, and when they get done in the spring, they help me farm, and when I get done farming in the fall, I go help them. Just more ways to stay busy and pick up some extra cash on the side.

November 17, 2015
By Aaron Paus

We got harvest wrapped up on the 28th of October, which is very early for us. Usually we finish harvest around the 7th to 10th of November, but we didn’t have any rain delays this year. Normally we’re waiting on dry air and fighting rains, but this year it was impossible to harvest corn fast enough. We were harvesting irrigated corn at 13% moisture, and we certainly lost yields because we were harvesting corn that is too dry.

But overall harvest went well. Some fields came in above expectations, and a couple came up a little short. It was a little disappointing, but overall I’m happy with how things went.

We had a very “generous” spring in terms of rain. It was too much of a good thing, and we experienced pretty significant nitrogen leaking, which caused big swings and differences on the yield stands. To address it, we added more nitrogen to nearly every field in different ways, just determining what would get the best results.

Gauging Success

A lot of what my AYS Jeremy and I worked on this year was repeating what we’ve done before. We continued our work with variable seeding and variable nitrogen rates, fine-tuning where we want to be with those. I also worked with AgVenture’s agronomist on additional seed treatments and regulator products. We haven’t yet run the analysis on those, but we’ll see results in the next few months.

This year we also did a blanket application of fungicide. For the most part, I don’t regret that. I only had two dryland fields that really came up disappointing, but I also harvested some corn that had no fungicide application, and it was an absolute train wreck. It suffered a 50 or 60-bushel loss from what we expected because of stalk quality. Certain varieties are more susceptible to stalk rot, and without laying on the additional fungicide, it really showed through.

The Cropping Plan

For the most part, I know the crop rotation for next year, but we’re a long way from getting the actual crop plan set. That’ll be in the next month or so, but we’re also still waiting on research on the fungicide and seed treatment we did last year. Once we get that done, we’ll have a better idea of where we want to go moving forward.

As for choosing varieties, each year we try to fit one or two new ones in the mix. I have one or two this year that I will pull out, but we’ll also expand on the ones that did really well. From what I can see based on overall yields, it seems like we had good response with the longer-season seed varieties. But just a week being done with harvest, it’s hard to tell.

Remote Soil Probes

Looking to next season, we want to really expand our use of remote soil probes. For the past two years, we’ve been using probes to gauge moisture and nitrogen levels in the soil. We can come in to the office in the morning and look at the data to help schedule irrigation.

Right now, we’re using three high-dollar probes that are very specific. What we want is to use a larger number of smaller, more affordable probes to get more information across our fields versus a great amount of detail on a small area.

We also want to bring in more of the remote pivot controlling to automate our irrigation with data from the probes. The system we use is absolutely fabulous — it’s able to keep the grain in condition and let us harvest at 15% moisture across the board, rather than corn on top being 17% and corn on bottom being 13%. It’s just a matter of being willing to spend the money up front to get the technology.

The overall end goal is to automate all of our water and nitrogen applications, using one network, one system and one computer program. From what the sensors tell us, that determines what starts and stops the pivot — and when to speed up or slow down the pivot as needed. I still haven’t gone full into the variable rate irrigation like I thought I would be at this time, but getting that system in place will help. 

November 17, 2015

Matthew Paul recently joined the AgVenture family, taking over the role of general manager. We sat down with him to talk about his background and what he’s looking forward to most about working with AgVenture.

Hey Matthew, welcome to the team! Before joining AgVenture, what was your career background? 

I worked in a variety of industries starting out on the accounting and corporate finance side of business.  My industry experience included agriculture, ethanol, finance, banking, manufacturing, etc., so I had a pretty broad scope of different industry experience. But ultimately I decided I wanted to go back to ag. I grew up on a farm in Southwest Iowa, and I really enjoyed working in that industry, so I went to John Deere and spent three years working on financial modeling and investment analysis on a variety of projects.

After that I was approached with an opportunity within Pioneer, and for the last five years I’ve held a lot of roles within Pioneer. I was head of finance for Western Business Unit, which was essentially the Missouri river and everything west of that. I then had a chance to come back home to Iowa and work with the PROaccessSM group. Since AgVenture is part of that network, I was able to work with the previous GM, Dave Treinen. on various projects with AgVenture and meet some of the Regional Seed Companies (RSCs). This really gave me a chance to understand AgVenture’s unique model, how they went to market, and how the RSCs operated.

I am very excited about the opportunity to work for AgVenture. I feel like farmers are looking for that trusted resource with the knowledge and service level that AgVenture and RSCs are uniquely positioned to provide, so I was excited to accept the position.

What attracted you most about the AgVenture model? 

AgVenture’s business model is very unique to the seed industry and has proven itself time and again. Commodity prices had a big upswing, and they’ve come down over the last few years. So that puts pressure on not only the acres, but the inputs farmers are using. Quite frankly, I think there’s a lot of advice out there (not good advice) about minimizing input costs and buying cheaper seed, get by without a fungicide, skip a nitrogen application, and survive the crop year, etc.

I think AgVenture is unique in that it looks at those challenges in a totally different way. Now more than ever, it’s important to maximize yield, and when we do that through the right locally advanced and tested products, the right scouting with nitrogen and fungicide applications — and we do all those things at the right times to maximize bushels — that’s what’s going to provide value and profit to the grower.

How do you think AgVenture is uniquely positioned to achieve success in the current seed industry climate? 

I think the Maximum Profit System is the differentiator for AgVenture. There’s a lot that goes into that, but I think the way we go to market with MPS positions us to be a unique voice, a trusted resource, and hopefully someone growers turn to for making those difficult decisions.

What are you most excited for about starting with AgVenture? 

I’m excited to start working with the AVI employees and supporting RSCs and their growers. It’s been fun getting to travel with Chuck and Frank and Scott and starting to form those relationships. I’ve also been out in the Kentland office and will be traveling back again in December for our employee Holiday party.  I think that’s the neat part on the employee side — just getting to know people. And from a business side, I’m excited to support the RSCs. I think it’s critical to travel and see what makes them unique and get a chance to have that conversation at the RSC locations. And if they have questions and concerns, I want to be able to have an open dialogue.

What are some of your early priorities in this role?

I’ve been traveling the country getting to know the RSCs. I was down in Memphis in October for an MPS session, and was just in the Quad Cities for another one. I will continue my travel to other RSCs I have not had a chance to connect with and head to Florida for our owner’s meeting at the beginning of the year. Outside of that, there is a lot of interaction back with DuPont and PROaccessSM on long term business plans and support for AgVenture, as well as working with my team to continue to support the RSCs and establish a clear path forward for success.


My two boys Christian, 7 and Micah, 4, have quickly adapted to the AgVenture brand!

November 9, 2015
By Jeff Morse

Jeff Morse is one of the AgVenture "Some Say It. We Do It." bloggers. He lives outside of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and runs a hoop barn cattle operation along his corn and soybean operation. Jeff is working with his two sons to grow the operation and bring them in as fifth generation farmers. One of Jeff's sons, Jared Morse, now works for AgVenture as a Profizone Tech Rep at AgVenture Western Cornbelt.

Jeff and his two sons, Josh and Jared.

Jeff's hoop barn keeps cattle warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Best of all, it keeps air flowing and reduces odor.

Jeff grows AgVenture silage to use for cow feed and bedding.

The 2015 crop is mostly harvested, and Jeff and his AYS Denny are setting their sights on next season's cropping plan.

November 4, 2015

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, November 2015

Whether its soil testing, SCN sampling or evaluating 2015 crop performance as it impacts 2016 seed selection options, your AgVenture Yield Specialist can help you develop a customized cropping plan for your acres. AgVenture provides its customers with comprehensive, year-round support through every phase of planning, planting and management of your operation’s profitability.

Seed Selection Considerations Disease patterns in 2015 were as inconsistent as the weather. AgVenture Product & Technology Manager, Scott Hart said, “Some unusual weather patterns created ideal environments for disease development for even the best prepared producers and their fields. Whether you had spotty incidences of disease or wide-spread occurrences, what we learned this season can help make sound decisions in selecting next year’s hybrids and varieties.”

2015 Corn Disease Pressures

Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) first began appearing in late V10-VT stages and was only at low levels in scattered fields. However weather conditions prompted further, and in some cases, rapid development later in the season. Because it developed more fully late in the season, minimal yield losses were seen in most areas. But because NCLB tends to recur for several years, consider watching resistance selections for the year ahead.

Goss's wilt caused significant yield losses in some areas. Weather patterns favored development of Goss’s wilt. Given its ability to cause infection in subsequent years, growers may consider planting hybrids with high resistance where it was confirmed this year.

Root rots and crown rots ran their course killing plants in late reproductive stages in August for some growers. Again, growing conditions were ideal for fungal disease development. In some fields, the plant stopped developing well before plant maturity, causing ears to become infected with other diseases.

Stalk rots occurred where the accumulation of weather and other disease pressures challenged the crop.

2015 Soybean Disease Pressures

White mold occurred in widespread fields due to wet weather during flowering combined with cool summer temperatures. Research indicates soybean yields are reduced roughly 2-5 bushels per acre for each 10 percent increase in the incidence of the disease.

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) developed due to rainy and cool conditions. SDS resistant varieties performed much better under this year’s high pressures, and seed treatments proved effective in helping manage the disease.

AgVenture offers an outstanding line up of hybrids and varieties with genetic resistance to diseases. But resistance does not mean immunity. Crops with even the best disease ratings can still develop a disease where conditions create high pressure environments. Resistant hybrids and varieties may show milder infection rates than those less resistance. To make the best choice for next year, talk with your AgVenture Yield Specialist. Assessing this year’s diseases can help you make the best choice for 2016.

October 19, 2015

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, October 2015

Keep Workers Safe while Handling Grain

Grain entrapments typically happen when a farm worker enters a bin or silo to break up clumps of out-of-condition grain during loading or unloading. Entrapments have increased more than 183 percent from 2001-2010. Nationwide, there were 38 documented entrapments resulting in 17 deaths in 2014, compared with 33 entrapments and 13 deaths in 2013. Whether you have hired help without experience in handling grain, or have seasoned employees, friends and family members helping out, it is always a good idea to refresh safety tips with workers. The Grain Handling Safety Coalition provides resources for training workers to help prevent and reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities of those working in the grain industry. The website provides helpful tips on how to talk with workers about safety and provides useful online resources and links:

October 12, 2015

ESSEX, MISSOURI/KENTLAND, INDIANA (October 9, 2015)—For forty-five years, Mayberry Seed Co. of Essex Missouri has provided their customers with top-quality seed products and year-round professional seed support. The company continues to grow as their ever-expanding customer base achieves higher yields and improved profitability year after year.

Recently, Mayberry Seed added to their elite staff of AgVenture Yield Specialists (AYS) as they welcomed Elliot Maschmann of Oran, Missouri. Maschmann will work one-on-one and year round with his customers, providing them with cutting-edge AgVenture seed genetics and technologies along with professional seed support.

Mayberry Seed Co. Vice President, Matt Mayberry said, “Elliot is a great addition to Mayberry Seed Co. His practical experience combined with his scientific background will provide our customers with relevant and essential support. Elliot is very thorough, and while attending to details at hand, he anticipates how each decision impacts crop profitability down the road. Like all of our AgVenture Yield Specialists, he is dedicated to helping customers dramatically increase yields, lower costs per bushel and improve overall profitably.”

Maschmann has served as a crop consultant for the past several years. During that time, he worked in farm fields across northeast Arkansas and into the Missouri Bootheel where he helped his clients manage crop health, insect and disease pressures, crop fertility, and production management issues. He has also worked in the seed industry as a seed sales professional.

Mayberry said, “It is imperative that we provide our customers with the best seed support professionals in the business. Over the course of nearly five decades, we’ve worked together with our customers to help them select the best seed products locally adapted to our unique growing environments and production management techniques. Our AYS team members are constantly training to assure each customer has the most cutting-edge tools and techniques available to them. We are committed to their success. Seeing the results of the hard teamwork pay off at the scales this harvest is very satisfying for our customers and for us.”

Maschmann holds a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Southeast Missouri State University, and a Master’s of Science in soil fertility from University of Arkansas. Originally from Cape Girardeau, Maschmann and his wife, Sara live and work on the family farm at Oran, Missouri. They have a young daughter.

Mayberry concluded, “Over the years, we’ve continued to grow and reach customers in the Missouri Bootheel, southern Illinois and northeast Arkansas. We are committed to helping our customers to reach their goals, improve their profitability while providing the world with ample food supplies.”

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 and varieties 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.

October 7, 2015

MASCOUTAH, ILLINOIS/KENTLAND, INDIANA (October 7, 2015) Strong product performance and improved profitability continue to register for customers of Mascoutah, Illinois-based Wehmeyer Seed Company. And as the combines roll and results come in, Wehmeyer Seed’s Sales & Marketing Director, Matt Wehmeyer said, “Our customers are telling us our corn and soybean performance is exceptional. Local product selection is delivering high yields to our customers. This is creating multiple growth opportunities for our business.” The independently owned and operated regional seed company has fortified their team, adding Dan Tiedemann of Belleville, Illinois to serve customers as an AgVenture Yield Specialist and District Sales Manager.

Tiedemann holds a Bachelor of Science degree in plant and soil sciences from Southern Illinois University. He also pursued graduate work in weed science at SIU. Born and raised in the Shiloh/O’Fallon area, he is actively involved in the family farm.

For the past five years, Tiedemann was a dedicated seed research specialist. As part of a team conducting corn and soybean research plots across eastern Missouri, and central and southern Illinois, he established, monitored, and evaluated research plots for final advancement to commercial sales. “My experience farming and in research testing has given me a really sharp focus on product lines and performance. Wehmeyer Seed brings their customers products that are uniquely adapted to a very specific growing environment. They don’t have to sell what works across multiple states. They identify and offer seed products that are out-yielding and out-performing many larger competitor numbers. That is an important advantage to farmers in this area.”

Wehmeyer said, “Dan has a strong passion for the practical and the science-based approach to raising higher yielding crops. His experience and product knowledge will definitely contribute to his customers’ profitability and our team as a whole.”

Tiedemann said, “I am very excited about this opportunity. I look forward to putting to work my product knowledge, my weed science background, and my farming experiencing along with all that Wehmeyer Seed brings to the table. Ultimately, that will help my customers achieve higher yields and improved profitability.”
Tiedemann and his wife Angela reside in the Belleville area.

Wehmeyer Seed distributes AgVenture® brand corn, soybeans, milo and alfalfa seed, and AgriMAXX® wheat seed. Wehmeyer said, “We’ve been serving area farmers for twenty years. Our customers know next year’s crop depends on the quality of the soybeans and wheat we produce. We focus on high quality seed production managed and handled in our state-of-the art seed processing facilities. Our customers deserve the seed products and the service it takes to get the job done right.”

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 regional seed companies 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 and varieties 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.

October 6, 2015
By Jackson Webb

Jackson Webb and his AgVenture Yield Specialist, Wayne Dulaney, have farmed together for nearly a decade. To Jackson, Wayne isn’t just a seed salesman — he’s part of the team. Together, they farm high yielding corn and soybeans on Jackson’s 7th generation farm in the Mississippi Delta. See why Jackson continues to work with AgVenture year after year — and how they continue to raise the bar.


Some say it. We do it.