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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August 31, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (August 28, 2015) Mascoutah, Illinois-based Wehmeyer Seed Company continues to grow. The independently owned and operated regional seed company has welcomed Joel Boeschen of Okawville, Illinois to serve area farmers as an AgVenture Yield Specialist.

Boeschen, a native of Okawville, said, “This is an exceptional company. Wehmeyer Seed Company is completely dedicated to their customers’ profitability. Everyone works together for the best options and outcomes for their customers. I look forward to implementing this committed approach to delivering higher yields with their AgVenture® and AgriMAXX® brands of seed.”

Wehmeyer Seed’s Sales & Marketing Director, Matt Wehmeyer said, “Joel is a great addition to our team. He’ll help us expand our sales footprint working directly with farmers and further building our distribution network, adding new farmer dealers and distributors. His knowledge of the farms and people across the region will serve customers well.”

Prior to joining Wehmeyer Seed, Boeschen worked in the ag equipment industry in the area. Local baseball fans may recall his prior career playing professional baseball for the Gateway Grizzlies. He said, “I truly enjoy working with customers, listening to them, and learning about their operations. I sincerely look forward to helping them advance their goals across their operation.”

Boeschen is the second new hire in the past few months for the growing Wehmeyer Seed Company. They recently added Shane Nicks to expand the company’s breadth and reach across east central Missouri. Wehmeyer added, “Our growth is tied to our ability to provide outstanding seed products tailored to perform in our specific area. Our multi-faceted strategy focuses on selecting regionally adapted genetics, producing and conditioning our seed with the highest quality standards and following up with year-round customer support. It’s a unique approach that is quickly gaining ground as it proves its worth to area farmers.”

“We know next year’s crop depends on the quality of the soybeans and wheat we produce,” said Wehmeyer.

Wehmeyer Seed Company has served area farmers for twenty years. The independently owned and operated regional seed company focuses on high quality seed production managed and handled in their state-of-the art seed processing facilities at Mascoutah, Illinois. They distribute AgVenture brand corn, soybeans, milo and alfalfa seed, and AgriMAXX wheat seed.

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 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.

August 28, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (August 28, 2015) — McKillip Seeds held their annual educational field day at Wabash, Indiana last week. The event drew more than 300 farmer customers and guests from across northeastern Indiana. Participants engaged in a series of educational programs focused on the latest in seed genetics and technologies, seed treatments, and crop production management strategies aimed at improving profitability.

“These farmers are focused, knowledgeable and anxious to learn how to continue to advance their yields and their profitability,” said McKillip Seeds President, Mike McKillip. “We look forward to this event each year. Our goals are to share our appreciation, and to provide our customers with up-to-date information in a learning environment that helps them implement sound decisions in raising their crops.”

For more than eighty years, the family owned and operated regional seed company has delivered on their commitment to serving their customers. McKillip said, “We had customers in attendance that have been with us for two, three and even four generations. Farming continues to change at a rapid clip. We need these events to share this vital information with our customers. We work with them throughout the year individually on their farms, but this event provides an opportunity to further share with them information from our cutting-edge experts.”

The active format allowed customers to rotate from one session to another. Presentations included AgVenture, Inc. (AVI) Corn Research Manager, Dr. Mark Jacques who briefed participants on new corn genetics and their fit into local cropping plans, and about emerging technologies and the relative performance those products offer producers’ bottom line. AVI Soybean and Alfalfa Seed Technology Manager, Jeff Shaner focused on soybean products and the technology timeline in bringing new soybean varieties to the field. From Olivia, Minnesota, Corn Capital Innovations CEO, Steve O’Neill shared information on Profit Trac, a system that uses electric conductivity to establish zones with similar characteristics within a field to improve soil testing and optimize fertilization efficiency.

According to McKillip Seeds Sales and Marketing Manager, Mitch Snyder, one of the highlights of the day for many participants was the tour of the company’s new state-of-the-art On Demand seed treatment facilities. “We were very pleased with the level and intensity of our customer’s interest in the new seed treatment capabilities. Improvements in seed treatment technologies in the past few years alone have made a huge difference for producers as they get a healthy stand established. Our new facilities allow us to deliver the best seed treatment product solutions to our customers in a timely manner.”

Mike McKillip concluded, “Locally adapted seed products help customers maximize yields and profitability. An important part of doing our job is to offer a worthwhile venue for learning and for fellowship right here at the source of their seed. Together with our customers, we are making a positive difference in making that happen.”

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.

August 19, 2015
By Jackson Webb

We’ve been harvesting for two weeks now, and we’ve just finished all our dryland acres. It turned out okay; we saw 160 on some fields and around 130, 140 on others, which is okay. We’ve definitely done better, but we’ve also done a lot worse. I think it was more a compaction issue than anything. The field we harvested is our heaviest dirt; it’s a clay soil. This field last year didn’t even do that great. But the early May rains on that ground hurt our yields worse than we thought. It’s not a disaster, but it sure could have been a lot better.

Compared to Last Year

Last year was one of the best years we’ve ever had. This year is a 10-year average from what we’ve been used to the last two years. But we’re also just into our earliest planted corn, which was hurt most by the cold and wet in May. The next corn that was planted was three weeks after that, and it looks a lot better.

Now, we’re getting to our irrigated corn and working on that next, and we’re ramping up soybeans. They’re full-season beans that we got in early, and they look good. The bean crop actually looks good everywhere. And I have to say, my bean crop at home, cosmetically at least looks to be the best bean crop I’ve ever had. We won’t know for sure until the combine rolls, but it looks good.

Analyzing the Liquid P&K Program

We haven’t gotten to a point quite yet where we can compare the fertilizer program, so everything looks to be the same so far. But once we do some more harvesting, we’ll have a better idea of whether it helped the crop.

 

August 19, 2015

You’ve heard of bean counters, but why not be a kernel counter too? Yield losses add up quickly. Every bean, every kernel contributes to your profitability. Careful combine adjustments ahead of harvest can help you could protect 1-5% of your crop that otherwise could end up on the ground. Conduct a thorough inspection of combines, updating any hardware, software or mechanical necessities. Once up and running, take it for a spin. To determine losses due to header settings, stop the combine in the field, back up a couple of feet, and with the header raised, check for kernel shatter. At the back of the combine, just 2-3 kernels per square foot or 4 soybeans per square foot add up to considerable losses over many acres. Consider a 2000 acre farm. Simple calculation proves there’s money to be made by taking the time to adjust the combine effectively. Be a bean and kernel counter!

 

August 18, 2015

A few of our interns shared some insights from their time with AgVenture Regional Seed Companies this summer. We were so honored to have such a talented, ambitious and fun group of students this year! These students will be successful in whatever career path their journey takes them on. Good luck guys!

While interning at AgVenture D&M I have experienced different aspects of seed sales. I started my internship by working in the office, I was also given information to read about the company. During my first week I was sent to Jerry Hartsock’s house for an agronomy lesson. He taught me what to look for as I was scouting a field as well as flagging and AgMath. After returning, I spent time with local AgVenture Yield Specialists. With them, I did everything from riding on a tractor during planting to assessing water damage in a field. I was able to see how AgVenture treats customers different than other companies. This was extremely interesting to me because even though they were all working for the same company they all had different relationships with their customers and were all successful. While riding with the AYSs that were still establishing their areas, I experienced more cold calling and setting up appointments with prospects. Every farm we stopped by was a completely different experience, most were receptive but you did find some people set in their ways.

I spent the most time riding with Chase. Since he was a new hire, he started out having to explore his area and do some cold calling. I was lucky enough to be with him every step of the way to setting up an import with a prospect. It was amazing to see the AYS and farmer’s relationship grow and develop.

During my internship I decided to obtain a minor in Agronomy which will be extremely useful with any career I choose. As the summer progressed I became increasingly more interested in pursuing a career in sales and it was extremely useful seeing what all Chase was going through since in three short years I will also be graduated and starting my career. - Rachael Lowe, Sales Intern @ AgVenture D&M

alyson

It’s hard to believe that my summer with AgVenture is coming to an end! I have met a lot of great people this summer and I have gained a lot more agronomic knowledge than I could’ve ever imagined. I attended various intern/ new hire trainings right away and started networking with other AgVenture employees. In addition, I spent a lot of time in the field with my AYS learning basic agronomic skills, like conducting Net Effective Plant Stands. It was a blur of excitement just taking everything in and getting comfortable. After a few weeks I was out on my own scouting fields, conducting Net Effective Plant Stands with growers. This was my favorite part of my internship. I really enjoyed working with growers to help improve their operations.  In July, I had the opportunity to do some traveling to ride with other AYS’ and see different RSC’s. Then, before I knew it, August was upon us and the real challenge was here. I had to present my final summer project to my colleagues and I was going to take a crack at prospecting on my own. Although these tasks were a bit un- nerving, I worked through them with the guidance of some great AgVenture employees. Overall, this summer has been a great experience. I could not have asked for better teachers and mentors. I think the experience AgVenture has provided me will stay with Orme as I continue on in the agriculture industry. - Aly Ries, Sales Intern @ AgVenture Profiseed

Through my summer internship at AgVenture GroMor I gained a lot of knowledge in different areas that will help me going forward in the agriculture field.  I learned a wide variety of agronomy details that will help me when it comes time to write a cropping plan and also what to look for when scouting fields for growers. I also learned a lot on the business side of agriculture; learning how to make sales and the skills that go into making sales. Also, I learned how to communicate with growers, learning how their farming operation works and how to establish a good relationship with them to help them make their farm more profitable. - Brennan Manfull, Sales Intern @ AgVenture GroMor 

August 14, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (August 13, 2015) — “We have more square footage, improved facilities, and most importantly, the ability to better take care of our customers.” That’s according to Tom Woodworth, owner of AgVenture of Eastern Kansas. Based at Iola, Kansas, the independently owned and operated regional seed company has continued to grow and now has moved into new facilities to accommodate their customers and their growth.

Woodworth describes the new warehouse and office facilities are now located at 700 West Miller St. Iola, just three blocks west of his former location. “The 50’x 225’ warehouse is situated on 4.5 acres of land.  Woodworth explained, “The building is ideally suited for our seed business including climate control facilities, room for seed treatment, a 12’x 12’ conference and meeting room, offices and an open area. We have ample space to handle our SoilMaxx equipment as well as room to expand in the future.”

“It was time for us to expand,” said Woodworth. He says AgVenture of Eastern Kansas has steadily continued to reach more customers, and to have more acres committed to their products. “We are committed to providing our customers with three key things they need to improve profitability.  Our seed products consistently show solid performance. Our staff provides professional seed support with tools and techniques to improve yield, APH and maximize profit. Our year-round, on-farm support, including our SoilMaxx testing services, brings the cropping plan full circle.”

Woodworth says he is pleased to have the infrastructure ready to manage their growth. “This is also important to have the facilities necessary for our personnel to get their jobs done right and on time for our customers. Our team has grown in number and in expertise. We continue to participate in national and local education and training programs to assure we are at our peak in providing our customers with cutting-edge agronomy and production practices. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a customer realize he’s exceeded his yield goals. The new facilities will help us proficiently deliver on our promises.”

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.

August 13, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (August 12, 2015) — The third annual AgVenture Summer Trainee and Intern Education program culminated last week in Moline, Illinois. Nineteen participants from across the country successfully completed a series of three intensive workshops along with daily work in the fields and on the farms of their AgVenture Regional Seed Company customers.

“This was an exceptional class of trainees and interns,” said Nevada Weitl, AgVenture Recruitment and Training Lead. “We had outstanding involvement, active learning, and real-world experience shared by all. The program provided participants with focused agronomic education, and practical skills in working directly with customers as we help them maximize profitability on every acre.”

This is the third consecutive year of the program. Weitl says it has grown consistently in participation and in content. “It would not be possible without the cooperation and collaboration of our Regional Seed Company owners who work directly with trainees and interns to provide them with hands-on experience and one-on-one mentoring. They help assure these young professionals gain field knowledge, learn about the seed industry, and experience extensive training to prepare them to meet and exceed customer needs.”

Rachael Lowe of New Carlisle, Indiana worked as an intern with AgVenture D&M based in Kentland, Indiana. “AgVenture has very high expectations of its interns and trainees. I learned so much this summer. Working with the AgVenture D&M team and participating in the workshops has really inspired me to want to learn more. The fellowship and friendships we developed by learning together is a lasting tribute to the value of the program and the AgVenture culture. I highly encourage other students to apply as interns.”

Since the program began in 2012, AgVenture hired more than half of the interns who participated in the program as full time employees. Weitl said, “The value of the program speaks for itself. We have had a number of interns ask to come back for a second year. This fall, we will be participating in career fairs at universities and community colleges including North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Iowa State University, Purdue University, and Mississippi State University. We look forward to finding next year’s intern candidates and future AgVenture employees.”

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.

August 7, 2015

Scott Hart’s 25 years in the seed industry have taken him to Pioneer, Garst, Monsanto, and now to his current duties with AgVenture. Through his experience in product management, sales agronomy, sales management and business development, Scott directs AgVenture’s Product and Technical Marketing efforts.

We interviewed Scott about how AgVenture’s superior products and business model help farmers succeed.

What does your role at AgVenture entail?

I’m part of the team that is heavily involved with our five crops — corn, soybeans, sorghum, sunflower and alfalfa. Our responsibilities are mostly for the training and advancement of the product portfolio of those five crops. We work with our technology partners doing a lot with reporting on traits and seed treatments. We also coordinate a monthly agronomy update to our Regional Seed Companies (RSCs) and AgVenture Yield Specialists (AYSs).

What are some of the testing procedures you do, both locally and nationally?

At the national level, we use DuPont Pioneer IMPACT™ trials, which is an excellent testing procedure that gives us a lot of insight. What’s really nice about that, is that it gives us coverage from the front range of the Rockies to the Atlantic, where we market our seed. We also use a strip test system, which allows for our RSCs and AYSs to look at our products in the environment where their customers live. In addition to that, we have another plot test within AgVenture that we call the Profit Plot, which is really more of a training observation. So as opposed to taking data on that plot, we do a lot more observation, hands-on training, and proof of concept — everything from product ID and evaluation to some agronomic practices like planter speed, planter depth, and herbicide and fertilizer interactions. So those are really helpful from a testing and training perspective.

Scott Hart quote

After testing, how do you make sure the right seed gets placed on the right ground?

One thing that’s unique about AgVenture is that the crop production plan for a Regional Seed Company is really their decision. The RSC owners will take all the data, all the training, and the product options for that year, and they’ll decide what they want to produce and sell, then we support that. We might offer data from Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota, but ultimately the RSC might only care about the product in three counties. That’s where this is really special, because they can choose that product, and we’ll produce it for their customers. It really does bring a lot of value to the customer, because when we say the decisions are made locally, they truly are.

So aside from providing local selection, how else does AgVenture’s product team serve the farmer?

We also try to identify key products coming down the pipeline. There are a lot of traits coming through, but it all starts with genetics. If you look at our MPS program, we look at seed quality and agronomic practices, but the key thing is that it starts with product. Good products have to start with good genetics. If you’re putting traits into average genetics, I don’t care how good they are, you’re still starting with an average product. So my team helps identify what we consider new, exciting products coming through.

From your perspective, what else is unique about the AgVenture product model?

Our focus on seed quality. RSCs have the ability to look at the seed quality testing and decide whether to accept it or not, so that alone is really, really unique. At other companies, there would be a minimum quality standard, and they would sell the seed that meets it. We give the Regional Seed Companies the choice. We truly feel with our MPS system that seed quality is absolutely crucial to getting that crop off to the right start. Our team is in contact weekly with the RSCs, so they’re working together year-round. I think that team relationship is really beneficial.

What new technology is on the horizon for AgVenture?

We’re starting to see some soybean resistance technology that’s losing its effectiveness and that’s a concern when you look at states where this technology is relied on for cyst-resistant soybeans. So we’re pretty excited about the potential of a new seed treatment that we’re adding to our lineup this year in AgVenture Security Squad. It contains a new compound called Ilevo, which is manufactured by Bayer, and not only does it have pretty good activity on soybean cyst nematode, as well as other nematodes, but it’s also got some tremendous efficacy on sudden death syndrome. So we’re really excited about the potential in that and bringing it into our soybean program for 2016.

August 6, 2015

Always sad when we get to our last group session with our interns and new hires. This group is exceptional! We know they will all be very successful in their future careers!

August 3, 2015

Travis Michl, our farmer/blogger in Illinois, talks about some of the tips and techniques he has used to improve yield over the years with the knowledge and guidance of his AYS. Check out the video to hear Travis share his story.

Want to know more about Travis' operation and his work with AgVenture? Read his blog here.

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