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 15, 2015

KENTLAND, IN (April 15, 2015) – The Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) Crops Judging Team has placed second in the national North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) contest held in Moline, Illinois. AgVenture of Nebraska Seed Partners (AVN) has offered their congratulations to the team which includes Willem Pretorius, a senior at OPSU majoring in Agronomy. Pretorius is the nephew of Nick Vos, the AgVenture Regional Distribution Partner based at Hugoton, Kansas.

AVN’s Glen Long said, “We are very proud of this team’s accomplishments. Their dedication to improving and increasing their agronomic knowledge has paid off as is acknowledged in their second place ranking in very tough competition. The team competed against large universities with greater resources, and more students in the crops academic area.”

Long noted, “We’re especially proud that one of the team members is part of our AgVenture family. Willem Pretorius is a very sharp young man with a strong passion for putting science, seed and service to good work in the field.” Willem plans to join the company full time to train as an AgVenture Yield Specialist upon graduating from college in December.

The crop judging competition is an intensive classroom and extracurricular endeavor designed around the objectives for the Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) program which is administered by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). Contestants compete in four areas: an agronomic quiz, a math practical, a lab practical, and a plant and seed identification test.

Pretorius said, “We worked very hard and stayed focused. This is the highest placing our Crops Judging team has ever achieved. We are very proud to represent our school. We also look forward to putting all we have learned to work in our future as seed and agronomy professionals.”

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.

April 14, 2015

From Seeds for Success, Agronomy Update - April 2015

Planting soybeans for maximum yield means planting earlier versus later. University of Illinois research includes 2014 planting date trial data from central and northern Illinois. It shows declining yields with later planting, and losses of more than a half bushel per day of delay.

Soybeans planted April 23rd yielded 95 bushels per acre. Yields on soybeans planted June 15 were 66 bushels per acre.

Regarding varietal differences, research shows there seems to some advantage in choosing to plant fuller-season varieties earlier rather than later, though that strategy tends to work against the goal of using different maturities to spread harvest.

AgVenture’s Jeff Shaner reminds growers, “Earlier planted soybeans maximize the leaf canopy’s ability make the most of photosynthesizing sunlight during the longest days of summer.”

April 10, 2015

We were made aware that the application for the scholarship had an error in it very close to the deadline.  That has been corrected and the deadline extended until May 15, 2015.

Please use the website below for any interested applicants.

Website (scroll down to find the Earl H. Passwaters Scholarship)

April 3, 2015

From Seeds for Success, Agronomy Update - April 2015

Planting time is the most critical time of the year for establishing your yield prospects to maximize profit. AgVenture urges growers to plant into an ideal seedbed – and that includes the temperature. Monitor and record soil temperature to plant into a seed bed at a minimum of 50 degrees F. At that level, emergence requires about 21 days to emergence. Soil temperatures of 70 degrees will allow emergence within as few as seven days.

Note soil temperature:

  • By soil type – temperatures vary among different soil types. Know soil temperature in the same type of soil into which you will be planting.
  • Soil Condition – assess the condition of the soil within the hours you are planting.
  • Planting depth – measure soil temperature at planting depth for a minimum of 50 degrees F and monitor weather conditions to assure temperatures the next 3-5 days will allow that 50-degree temperature to persist.
April 2, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (April 1, 2015) — Intense, focused, and highly-pertinent were words used by some of the 80 farmers participating in McKillip Seeds AgVenture University program last week at Wabash, Indiana as they described the value of information presented in the event. “Our customers are sharp, dedicated ag professionals who are committed to raising profitable crops,” said Sales and Marketing Manager Mitch Snyder. “It’s our goal to provide them with cutting-edge information and resources to allow them to maximize yields and profit.”

The AgVenture University program featured keynote speaker Paul Bodenstine, one of the country’s top agronomy consultants focused on implementing high yield crop production strategies for crops. Snyder said, “Paul brought our customers unique insights on new strategies to manage soybeans for high yields. He emphasized that we need to identify and remove yield limiting factors that will allow our growers to reach higher yields. Customers gained new insights on maximizing profit from planting through harvest.”

Snyder continued, “In a year where soybean acres are likely to be up, and every kernel of corn counts, we’re pleased that our customers are taking advantage of putting our seed genetics to work in the best possible environment through precise planting, stand evaluation, safe and early weed control and various other production strategies, such as reading the plant and identifying and removing yield barriers.”

Seed treatment updates were also discussed. McKillip Seed has recently added to their seed treatment capabilities with new, state-of-the-art seed treatment equipment. Snyder noted, “Recent advancements in seed protection and nutrient science, we have significant new seed treatment options available for our customers. Customers were very eager to learn about how these options directly impact their ability to lower cost per bushel, dramatically increase yield and maximize their profits.”

Beyond the seed, the AgVenture University program featured a presentation introducing customers to Profit-Trac Agronomic Services. Aeric Younge from Profit-Trac explained to the group, “Profit-Trac is an innovative system that uses electric conductivity testing, soil sampling, data analysis, hybrid placement, variable rate prescriptions and data storage to help users get the most out of their acres. Customized to each producer and their fields, this approach helps refine and define specifically what the crop needs most and where for optimal production.”

Snyder concluded, “These tools, techniques and production strategies combine to make every acre count. That’s how profitably advances. That’s our goal for every customer.” The company plans to offer additional educational forums throughout the year.

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 31, 2015

KENTLAND, IN (March 31, 2015) – AgVenture D&M, based at Kentland, Indiana has further fortified its team of dedicated seed professionals. Colt Halloran of Savoy, Illinois has joined the company and will be working one-on-one with farmers throughout east central Illinois as an AgVenture Yield Specialist.

Halloran was raised on a family farm at Paris, Illinois, active in 4-H, FFA, and athletics. He holds a degree in Crop Science from the University of Illinois where he was an active member in Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. The past 4 years, he has worked in seed sales, seed protection and crop protection roles.

AgVenture Sales and Marketing Manager, Brian Maxwell said, “We’re very pleased to welcome Colt to the company. His practical agronomic knowledge and farming background are a strong complement to our hands-on approach to working directly with farmers in the field. Colt’s understanding of the seed business is a real asset to our customers across east central Illinois.”

Halloran said, ““I look forward to working directly with my customers. AgVenture D&M is a company that is genuinely committed to their customers. I don’t know of any other seed company that is so engaged with their customers throughout the growing season. I have been very impressed with the high level of professionalism in this group. The advances AgVenture D&M has brought to their customers’ yields and profitability is truly impressive. I am anxious to put the products to work together with the support we can offer in the field.”

AgVenture D&M is a locally owned and operated regional seed company reaching from western Indiana, through Illinois and to Kentucky. Maxwell added, “We have continued to grow across Illinois as more customers are earning higher yields and greater profitability using our seed genetics and technologies in combination with our Maximum Profit System™ (MPS). This is a systems-based approach to dramatically increasing yields, lowering cost per bushel and increasing profitability on every acre. Year-round support by dedicated seed professionals like Colt help farmers assure production practices are planned and deployed. The results are notable. We will continue to grow to assure our customers the highest level of support to maximize their profitability.”

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 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.