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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April 12, 2016

KENTLAND, INDIANA (April 12, 2016) — Humboldt native Jesse Haselhuhn has joined AgVenture Pinnacle-Ames and will serve customers across central and eastern Iowa as an AgVenture Yield Specialist/OptiGro Ag Lead.

Haselhuhn has worked for a large cooperative for the past three years focusing on precision agriculture services. As an AgVenture Yield Specialist, he’ll support growers’ agronomic and production management needs. He will further support customers and his team members, anchoring the growing demand for precision ag services and the benefits they provide.

AgVenture Pinnacle-Ames General Manager, Jim Groepper said the Company is committed to providing customers with locally selected and adapted hybrids and varieties, and seed with the industry’s highest standards for seed quality. “Beyond that, we provide our customers with year-round, on-farm support with tools including our Maximum Profit System™, a program that dramatically increases yields, lowers cost per bushel and improves overall profitability. Together with our crop input products and precision ag services, including OptiGro®, we can provide our customers with the full set of products and professional services that provide long-term viability and profitability.”

He added, Jesse will play an important role in helping us deliver our OptiGro services directly to the field. Our OptiGro services include mapping, sampling and data extraction. Utilizing each of these tools together has helped many customers make more timely, more accurate, and better decisions for their farms. Jesse has the real time experience to help our customers gain advantages through their precision ag applications.”

Haselhuhn said, “I’m very excited to work with our entire team. They are each focused on the long-term relationships we have with our customers. As growers become more immersed in the precision ag tools available, they are quickly realizing what an important component precision plays in profitability. I look forward to helping them better use the data and tools available, maximizing profitability for the long run.”

A 2015 graduate of Iowa State University, Haselhuhn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Studies. He resides in Ames, Iowa.

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.

March 16, 2016

KENTLAND, IN (March 15, 2016) – AgVenture Regional Seed Companies from across the country recently participated in a series of Winter Profit Plot meetings focused on seed quality. Winter Profit Plot workshops were held in Southaven, Mississippi, Stockwell, Indiana and Omaha, Nebraska and involved more than 100 RSC and AgVenture Yield Specialist participants.

AgVenture seed professionals learned more about the intensive level of germination testing their seed undergoes. According to AgVenture Production Manager, Bill Hoben, many seed companies conduct seed germination tests simply to prove a certain level of seeds will germinate under cold stress. However, he explained, “We have a commitment to go well beyond standard pass/fail criteria in seed germination. AgVenture seed is put through a series of four separate germination tests. We test seed in a cold test, two warm germination test and a saturation cold test. We want to meet or exceed industry standards in each of those environments. In addition, across the country, many of or RSCs conduct plot tests to prove viability under local environments.”

“The reason we go the extra mile in germination testing is that every seed has the potential to contribute to our customers’ yields and profitability. We want to assure they have the best options available to them for their growing environment.”

Hoben explained that they evaluate the physiological characteristics the seed displays under each test scenario. Further close analysis helps better understand each seedling’s response to the many challenging growing environments experienced in the field. He added, “By fully understanding the physiological responses each kernel has under stress, we are better prepared to support our customers.”

Participants also heard from Indiana Crop Improvement Association (ICIA) leaders Alan Galbreth and Joe DeFord. For over 100 years, ICIA has been a leader in seed certification, seed quality testing, genetic testing and research. Additional presentations included insights specific to planting season preparation with Jerry Hartsock of Cutting Edge Consulting, Geneseo, Illinois and other AgVenture, Inc. staff.

Hoben concluded, “There are many factors involved in germination, but getting the maximum net effective plant stand is the bottom line. Providing seed that not only meets, but exceeds industry standards helps set AgVenture apart.”

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 4, 2016

KENTLAND, INDIANA (March 2, 2016) — “It was timely information for our most innovative customers.” That’s how AgVenture D&M Owner, Mike Davis described the company’s recent Winter Conference held at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis, Missouri. More than eighty customers and guests participated in the event.

“It takes commitment to advance yields and profitability year after year,” said Davis. “These customers represent some of the very best producers in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Their commitment to constant learning, innovation, trying new methods, and improving on the old, has helped them achieve higher yields across their acres. I’m very proud of their accomplishments. We remain dedicated to their continued success.”

Keynote speakers at the conference included Dr. Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Farm and Agribusiness Management Specialist. Johnson provided an ag economy outlook, and shared the latest strategies for farm marketing.

Jerry Hartsock, Cutting Edge Consulting of Geneseo, Illinois provided an engaging program entitled, “Tactics for Profitable Corn and Soybean Production 2016”. Davis said, “Jerry’s comments on impeccable planting standards resonated with customers seeking to improve yield prospects from the start. He also provided some very timely information on cover crop cessation and pre-planting tips.”

Brian Maxwell, AgVenture D&M Sales Manager said the Winter Conference provides a great opportunity to get together with customers, to share new ideas, fellowship, and to get prepared for the planting season ahead. “We provide our customers with access to locally adapted seed genetics and technologies that are best suited to their soils, their growing environment and their production practices. But what our customers really value is the fact that we go beyond providing seed. The science of production agriculture changes very rapidly. We work to empower our customers with knowledge – the best and latest production management tools and techniques that maximize profitability on every acre.”

AgVenture D&M has grown to serve customers throughout northwest Indiana, central Illinois and western Kentucky with access to locally adapted, high quality seed and seed products, and year-round professional seed support.

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.

March 3, 2016

KENTLAND, INDIANA (March 2, 2016) — “We definitely have an exceptional group of innovative producers assembled,” said AgVenture Pinnacle Ames General Manager, Jim Groepper, commenting on the Company’s recent AgVenture University program. The meeting was held at the warehouse in Ames, Iowa and drew sixty participants to this, the second in a series of producer-centric learning workshops.AgVenture Pinnacle Ames’ AgVenture University drew more than 60 participants

Groepper continued, “Our meetings provide inspiring, insightful concepts. This group of committed, professional producers is really embracing the tools and techniques necessary to drive yields and profitability to the next level.”

With three keynote speakers and engaging discussions, the participants from central and eastern Iowa focused on 3 topics. “Given the ag economy row crop producers are facing, we wanted to equip them with specific tools they need to optimize every operation and every input to maximize profitability. In some cases, that means doing some things differently than they have, or trying something uniquely suited to their operation.”

Beginning with nutrient management, Robert Corzatt of Harvest Max Partners, Monmouth, Illinois, gave growers specific ideas and innovative concepts to make the most out of their crop nutrient inputs. Cutting one ingredient in the mix does not always best benefit the outcome. By taking a balanced approach to optimizing all nutrient inputs and optimizing timing of applications, Groepper said growers left with some outstanding, actionable tools toward balancing what happens in the soil and how it feeds the crop for maximum benefit.

Brandon King, owner of BK Acres, Inc., is a producer and precision planting expert from Boone, Iowa. He provided a comprehensive listing of tips to optimize planters prior to planting season. With the equipment he brought in, participants gained some exceptional insights on planter management, down pressure considerations, row cleaners and additional tips to assure planting depth, spacing, speed, etc. all contribute to ideal stands.

Zebin Zhao provided an in-depth presentation on the 4R Nutrient Stewardship approach to developing sustainable agricultural systems. “It was a great way to inform our grower base and engage together in the discussion around this important initiative,” said Groepper.

AgVenture Pinnacle Ames is committed to providing their customers with access to the latest seed genetics and technologies locally selected and adapted to their growing environment. Groepper said, “Our seed quality standards are the highest in the industry. We provide our clients with year-round professional seed support and the tools and additional crop inputs necessary to maximize profit on every acre. We were very pleased with the synergies generated at this program. It was a dynamic and proactive dialogue among the group. We look forward to putting our seed and our methods to work for each customer.”

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.
 

March 2, 2016

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, March 2016

Less than ideal stands result from planting into cold, wet soils or directly before a cold or wet weather event, resulting in significant stand loss. But cold and wet snaps are often inevitable. The chances of establishing a good stand are greatly improved if hybrids are allowed to germinate at least 1-2 days in warmer, moist conditions before a cold-stress event. Hybrids with a higher stress emergence score can help moderate stand losses due to cold stress.

One reason why temperature during imbibition is critical to corn emergence is the fact that seed imbibes most of the water needed for germination very rapidly. To illustrate the rapid timing of water uptake, seed was submerged in 50 F water for 3 hours and weighed at intervals of 30, 60, 120 and 180 minutes to determine water uptake.

Seed imbibes the most water within the first 30 minutes after exposure to saturated conditions. If this early imbibition occurs at cold temperatures, it could kill the seed or result in abnormal seedlings. Growers should not only consider soil temperature at planting, but also the expected temperature when seed begins rapidly soaking up water. Seed planted in warmer, dry soils can still be injured if the dry period is followed by a cold, wet event (sources: AgVenture and Pioneer).
 

February 22, 2016

CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI/ KENTLAND, INDIANA (February 17, 2016) — Intensive management, focus on establishing ideal stands, and balanced crop nutrition bring higher yields and improved profitability. That’s the message Mid-South producers heard Tuesday, February 9th at Harlow’s Casino Convention Center in Greenville, Mississippi where Dulaney Seed held their AgVenture University (AVU) Workshop.

Dulaney Seed President, Terry Dulaney said, “Dulaney Seed is fully committed to our customers’ success. We work directly with them throughout the year to provide the cutting-edge information necessary for today’s production environments. This AVU was especially productive as we had engaging speakers who encouraged active involvement from our customer participants. The subject matter presented was explored and discussed with intense focus. It was really an interesting event to watch and listen to the interaction. Our goal is that each customer leaves having learned something new, and something practical to help them increase yields, lower cost per bushel and improve profitability on every acre.” 

Dulaney Seed General Manager, Charlie Robinette added, “We offer producers seed products specifically selected and locally adapted to our growing environments. In addition, we provide every customer with the latest tools and techniques available to help them advance their individual goals. In addition to providing the latest information on seed treatments for our hybrids, our speakers provided specific guidelines for improving Mid-South yields.”

Two cutting edge speakers shared their experience and expertise in raising high yielding/high profit corn crops. David Hula is the 2015 National Corn Growers Association Corn Yield Contest overall winner. He produced 532 bushels per acre in the No-Till/Strip-Till Irrigated category, and for the second time in three years, he’s set a new record for corn production. David shared his insights and recom­mendations for growers wishing to improve their own corn yields. AVU participants had ample opportunity to ask questions.

Also on the program, Certified Professional Agronomist, Paul Bodenstine with Ag.Systems explored and defined how producers can develop high yield corn and soybean production systems with an emphasis on balanced plant nutrition to improve plant and soil health. He provided specific insights on the significance of local weather events and the importance of timing of key processes during the crop life.

Robinette added, “Our customers come together to share ideas, learn what’s new, and innovate for advanced yields and profitability. Our speakers and our customers’ involvement provided an enriching day of agronomic education.”

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.

February 16, 2016

KENTLAND, INDIANA (February 15, 2016) — Mike Davis, owner and founder of AgVenture D&M based at Kentland, Indiana has received the Indiana Crop Improvement Association’s (ICIA) highest honor – the ICIA Crop and Soils Merit Award. At the Cornbelt Seed Conference in Indianapolis February 4th, 2016, Davis was recognized before more than 290 attendees for his many years of strong support to the organization and to the seed industry.

For forty years, Davis has been actively engaged in the seed business. He is a co-founder of AgVenture, Inc., the nation’s largest network of independent seed companies. He is the founder of AgVenture D&M, a company that has grown to serve customers throughout northwest Indiana, central Illinois and western Kentucky with access to locally adapted, high quality seed and seed products, and year-round professional seed support.

Davis served as President of ICIA in 2011. Through the years, he has provided leadership within the organization through service on committees and the board. At the meeting, ICIA president, Mitch Snyder said, “Mike’s vision, perspectives and support have helped the organization and the industry continue to grow, evolve and effectively anticipate the many changing needs of seed customers. We are very proud of his service and commitment to the seed industry, and his generous support to his colleagues.”

Davis said, “Over the years, I’ve been involved in many civic service roles. The integrity and commitment of the ICIA, and the professionalism of the board is second to none. Working with this group of dedicated seed professionals, I have had the benefit of being exposed to a much broader view of our industry. We work selflessly together for the good of our customers. ICIA provides invaluable resources to improve the quality and efficiency of our business. It’s a great forum for what we do in our business, who we work with, how we can continue to improve.”

ICIA provides seed industry professionals with resources through their work with Purdue University and the Indiana State Chemist. Davis added, “These relationships are strong and directly benefit the work we can accomplish, not as competitors, but as professionals working together to improve the science and business of the seed we deliver to our customers. It’s important for our customers to know they are dealing with people who are dedicated to making the seed industry fair, well-run and productive on their behalf.”

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 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.

February 7, 2016
By Aaron Paus

We survived the holidays just fine, and right now we’re just wheelin’ and dealin’ and trying to reinvent ourselves to survive the new economy.

From a research and discovery standpoint, things aren’t quite laid out yet, but we’re close. We’ve met with Jeremy and we’ve got our seed figured out, but we need to figure out some details going forward. I’m actually on the road right now to Illinois to meet with an AgVenture agronomist, so we’ll have a better idea after that.

Focus on Agronomy

The agronomist always has projects he wants us to dabble in — it’s usually something like a new product or implementation practice. This year, we’re looking at doing some of our own grid sampling, and we bought a self-propelled sprayer. We’ve always had to rely on others for spraying in the past, but now we own one. I want to talk to the agronomist about doing some post-emerge side dressing with the urea format. We’ll also talk about what he likes to see for some timing issues.

It’s not going to happen this year, but I’m envisioning if things go well next year, I’d like to add variable rate spraying to our GreenSeeker program. We could do it on the go as a side dressing, based on what the crop is reading. That’s something I’m kind of excited about, but financial constraints this year just aren’t going to allow it to happen until 2017 at the earliest. For 2016, we’ll focus on remote soil sensing and beta testing six automated pivot controls. With all this, Jeremy is involved with everything from top to bottom.

Preparing for the 2016 Economy

There are some real challenges going forward for ’16. We were blessed that we had a rewarding and successful ’15 — the bank is still shaking its head saying, “I don’t know how you did that, but do it again.” Some of the reason for that is we had some nice marketing that we carried into the year. We also had some favorable rains on our dryland fields. We saw yields that weren’t obscene, but they were still very, very good.

Then we’ve just been careful to every day keep expenses in check, though right now it doesn’t seem that way, with the sprayer and in some other areas. It seems like money’s just coming out, and nothing’s coming in; but we’re trying to start filling our own application needs so we can see long-term savings. It’s a big up-front cost, but we’ll save in the long run.

February 7, 2016
By Jackson Webb

Right now, we’re just getting started after enjoying some time off over the holidays and in January. We’re hitting the ground running, and the guys know when we come back, we’re back wide open.

In 2015, we were a bit below what we like to see; a bit below average. We fared better than some and worse than others. The new farm was less than we had hoped, but we got it pretty much whipped into shape now, so hopefully 2016 will see some changes.

Unpredictable Weather

It was seasonably warm in December — we were at 85 degrees for a lot of it. Our El Niño weather is the exact opposite of what they told us how it was going to be. They said it would be a brutally cold, wet winter, but that hasn’t been the case. It’s been wet, but it’s just now gotten cold.

I don’t think that should affect planting time, because we’re all completely rowed up now and ready to plant. We were able to get lots of work done, and now all we’ve got to do is drop in, though I don’t know what the planting season is going to hold with this weather.

Changes for 2016

The biggest change this year is that we’re going to 30-inch rows. We’re switching from 38s to 30s, mainly to streamline planting. I don’t like a wide row bean, and we saw last year that the twin-row beans did real well. But I think we can do a lot better trying to precision plant this year.

Actually, we’re going to use a lot more prescriptions this year as compared to 2015. Last year we kind of planned our dryland separately, but this year we’re going to do a lot more precision stuff. We’d like to start on some variable rate in our fertilizer applications and some others. One thing we’re sticking with is our liquid P & K program. We had great results with that last year, and we’re going to do it again.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the next week or two and get a bit more hunting in before planting starts.

January 29, 2016

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, February 2016

Starter fertilizers can provide essential nutrients to young corn plants during early season growth periods. While it is difficult to predict exactly if yield response will occur, under some conditions, starter fertilizers can greatly improve the potential for yield response. According to University of Illinois research, starter fertilizers provided benefits:

  • Where phosphorus (P) availability is low – readily available P is essential early in the growing season. Young corn seedlings need P near the row on soils testing less than 20 pounds P per acre. However, University of Illinois indicates that even on medium- to higher-testing soils, starter will increase yield potential if the soil remains cool for several weeks after plant emergence. High pH soils (>7.3) often respond well to starter fertilizer since high pH reduces P availability.
  • Cool soil temperatures – in reduced tillage systems, where residue reduces soil temperatures, root growth can be slow, and thus is the nutrient uptake near the seed. Cool soils also reduce the rate of microbial release of nitrogen (N) from soil organic matter. Starters help provide N near the seed. U of I research shows significant corn yield increase 90 percent of the time in no-till situations, but roughly 30 percent of the time in conservation tillage systems. N combined with P gave better responses.

University of Minnesota research rigorously tested starter fertilizers in a variety of growing environments over several years. Results of their studies show that starter fertilizers containing N, P, and Sulphur (S) increased early growth and reduced plant variability of continuous corn with reduced tillage. Yield responses were inconsistent but were more likely on poorly-drained and glacial-till soils. Where starter fertilizers were used containing N, P & S, grain moisture at harvest was also reduced. Potassium (K) starters are important especially in reduced tillage or low K soils. Complete NPK starters typically provide more consistent responses. Always start with your soil test. Consult your AgVenture Yield Specialist.

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