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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July 30, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (July 30, 2015) — The third annual Earl H. Passwaters Scholarship was awarded this week to Brett Meador of Lena, Illinois. Brett, the son of Rick and Mary Meador, is a sophomore at Iowa State University, majoring in agronomy. The $1000 scholarship is awarded annually to a college student with plans to pursue a career in agriculture working on a farm. Full-time students with a 3.0 grade point or higher are eligible.

The scholarship recognition luncheon was held at the AgVenture, Inc. corporate offices at Kentland, Indiana. Meador and his parents were welcomed by Beth Passwaters and the AgVenture staff. The Earl H. Passwaters Agricultural Scholarship was established in memory of Earl Passwaters, owner of East Coast Seed, who passed away suddenly in 2011. Throughout his career, Passwaters was passionate about working directly with young farmers. With a strong belief in the value of education supported by experience, he remained committed to supporting their efforts. Through the scholarship, his legacy endures.

The 2015 scholarship was offered by Earl’s wife, Beth Passwaters, and their children, Brian and Mandy. At the recognition program, Passwaters said, “We are thrilled to award this scholarship to such a hard-working, dedicated young agriculture professional. Brett shows diligence in his studies, dedication to community service, and active participation in a variety of endeavors. His passion for agriculture and enthusiasm for learning make us very proud to present this scholarship to him. We are confident he’ll put this to good work to further his agriculture experience and education.”

This summer, Meador is participating as an intern with AgVenture PureLine at Princeton, Illinois. His supervisor, Marketing and Sales Manager Todd Ashpole noted, “Brett’s parents have provided him with a great foundation to advance his career and agriculture’s future. It’s obvious, working on a day-to-day basis with him, that he’s a high quality individual. It’s been a great experience to mentor him, and foster his growth this summer. He will go far in this field.”

Meador added, “I am honored to receive the Passwaters Scholarship. I appreciate the financial support. I am also very grateful for the fellowship and knowledge that I have gained throughout this summer working with AgVenture. The scholarship will go a long way toward helping support my education, and helping me continue to work together with my dad on our farm.”

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.

July 28, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (July 28, 2015) — Ames, Iowa-based AgVenture GroMor has welcomed Preston Wilson to the growing seed company. Wilson, a native of Mingo, Iowa will serve central Iowa farmers as an AgVenture Yield Specialist.

AgVenture GroMor Owner, Jim Groepper said, “AgVenture GroMor is an exciting young company that is committed to delivering outstanding seed products along with the most current, practical, and applied agronomy science to each customer’s operation. Everything we do is focused on the goals of maximizing yield, lowering cost per bushel, and improving overall profitability.”

Groepper added, “Preston is a willing AgVenture Yield Specialist who listens well to his customers’ needs. His ag background and teaching mentality make him a supportive asset to his customers, and a valuable team member for AgVenture GroMor.”

Wilson is a graduate of Iowa State University and holds a degree in Agriculture Studies. Throughout his college years, Wilson held internship positions in the seed and crop protection business. Last summer, he participated in an intensive intern training program with AgVenture GroMor. He said, “That experience, our team’s strong mentoring, and our customers’ enthusiasm for this approach made it an easy decision to join the company full time.”

“Our approach to our customers’ success is truly unique,” Wilson said. “It allows us to put our experience to work together with each customer’s growing environment and management practices. Growing high-yielding crops profitably requires more than delivering a bag of seed. I appreciate that we make a difference for our growers by being on-site and involved in reaching those new goals.”

Working with other AgVenture GroMor employees, Wilson says he is impressed with the results customers achieve as they implement strategic production tactics including the company’s Maximum Profit System™ (MPS). He added, “MPS is an innovative and forward-thinking system. It leverages specific tactics in the science of growing high-yielding crops throughout the growing season. Our philosophy and dedication is all about being a reliable and trustworthy resource for our customers. Those two tenets together make a distinctive difference. That’s why I enjoy going to work every day.”

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.

July 13, 2015

I can’t believe it’s already July! This has to be one of the fastest summers I have ever had. I have been taking in every possible experience I can, as well asking my AYS millions of questions. It’s been a whirlwind of excitement and now taking time to reflect there are some very important people who helped me get to where I am today.

First would have to be my parents.  They have each played a huge part in helping me get where I am today. My dad is a successful salesman with 25 plus years of experience. He also runs our family farm in his spare time.  From working by his side on the farm learning to drive a tractor or repair equipment to allowing me to job shadow him and fellow colleagues, I had great experiences early on. My mom also played a big role. She went on numerous college visits with me and helped me narrow my school and career focus. Both of them have always encouraged me to try new things and become a well-rounded individual. Their support has been a big part of shaping who I am today.

Aly and Dale PhotoAnother key person I would have to thank for guiding me down this path is my high school FFA advisor Lori Pagel. She encouraged me to get involved with the FFA chapter and challenged me to become an officer. The experience I gained in FFA is something I still use today and I credit a lot of the things I learned to Mrs. Pagel and her willingness to help us become better people. Seeing her passion and knowledge of agriculture really inspired me. I wanted to spread knowledge and help others like she had done for me. Of course, when I mentioned this to Mrs. Pagel, she immediately started helping me look into college programs and even took me on my first visit. Her investment in me meant a lot and motivated me to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Agri-Business.

Lastly, Dale Fagner (my AYS mentor for the summer) has been an incredible mentor for me this summer. He does his best to answer the millions of questions I have (daily). In addition, he has given me lots of opportunities to learn and grow. Our discussions have also given me the confidence to know what I want to do once I graduate this coming December. Although, we are only about halfway through the summer, Dale has become a big part of my success by just being a mentor and role model to me.

Without these people I am not certain I would be where I am today. Although, there are many more people who have had a hand in helping me along the way, those are the main people on my circle of influence. They aren’t afraid to challenge me and make me a better person. I know they have my bester interest at heart and I am so thankful for their support. 

July 8, 2015

KENTLAND, INDIANA (July 6, 2015) — AgVenture AgriDNA3, an independently owned and operated regional seed company has opened its doors to farmers across west central Ohio. With a headquarters office located at Dublin, Ohio, and warehouse/sales facilities at Anna, the new company is providing the area’s producers with access to cutting-edge seed genetics and technologies that are specifically selected for and adapted to this area’s farming environment and management practices.

David Flack, AgVenture AgriDNA3 owner said, “We are first and foremost dedicated to our customers’ profitability. We are very pleased to offer this elite line of seed products to our customers along with the year-round, professional seed support that together help them maximize their profitability.”

Flack explained, “We are an independent company with corporate partners as a support group. As part of AgVenture, the nation’s largest network of independently owned and operated seed companies, we have incomparable access to products that provide exceptional, consistent performance in west central Ohio. It allows us access to constant learning and effective management techniques for our products in the field. We will not only get to know our customer’s needs, but will help them set and reach new goals for their operation’s profitability.”

Local farmers will be working directly with area native, farmer and agribusiness professional Matt Schmerge of Anna. Flack said, “As our first AgVenture Yield Specialist, Matt has a lifetime of experience and understanding of the area. His years of agronomy service and knowledge will be a valuable asset to our customers.”

Schmerge has worked as a seed agronomist and equipment professional in the region for the past fourteen years. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Ag Business and Applied Economics with a Minor in Crop Sciences. He said, “I have a very deep respect for the farms and farmers across the region. I share their passion to improve, advance and grow profitable crops.”

Schmerge explained that AgVenture’s Maximum Profit System™ (MPS) is an innovative, systems-based program that helps growers dramatically increase yields, lower cost per bushel and improve overall farm profitability. “MPS brings together the best and latest converging technologies. It is a proven system that has a significant impact. We work with customers to develop and deliver innovative crop planning – from the seed selection and placement, to managing nutrients, pests and disease, and ideal harvest techniques. Being there to support our customers with in-season crop management advice helps them maximize profits.”

Flack said “AgriDNA3 strives to improve farmers’ lives by optimizing every acre with customized cropping plans, seed, and technology solutions to improve farm profits. Together with our customers, we plan on making that goal a reality.”

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.
 

July 7, 2015
By Travis Michl

We haven’t done anything for the biggest part of a month now. We’ve been getting rain after rain after rain here. And it’s pouring right now. We started out the season great — everything was beautiful, and we were in the driver’s seat on the biggest crop ever until about a month ago. But the crop’s headed downhill fast. The bottoms are all flooded out, the tops are saturated with water. The beans aren’t growing because they’ve been standing in water since they were planted. And there’s nothing in the 10-day forecast that says the rain will let up.

We’ve been doing cattle work and hauling grain, clearing out bins — getting ready to put seed in bins. But we’ll definitely have to replant the bottoms whenever the river goes down — about 200-300 acres. They’re spread out and not big fields, so we’d have about two days of replanting.

Test Plots and Fertilizer Insights

Colt was down here the other day, and we took some tissue samples and sent them in. We also looked at a fertilizer test plot we did and got some pictures. There’s a big difference in the corn on those plots. Both corn that was precision fertilized and corn that wasn’t were in the same growth stage — V6. But where we put the precision fertilizer, the corn was up to Colt’s shoulders. Where we didn’t, it was only up to his thighs — and that’s at the exact same stage at V6. We put a couple strips in in half a dozen different fields and varieties to see how they reacted, and it’s a version of the same thing everywhere. Where the fertilizer was not placed directly under the row, there’s a huge growth difference.

So now we’re just sitting around hoping the beans hold on long enough for us to spray, and we’re getting an airplane lined up to fly on some more urea and possibly fly on some fungicide. We did get 800 acres of V6 fungicide put on before it started raining a couple weeks ago, so that helped a bit.

But right now I’m heading back to the shed. I’m smoking a beef brisket and grits today for the employees and we’re having a little cookout. There’s not much else to do, so we’re going to make the most of it.

July 7, 2015
By Jackson Webb

We dried up quick in a hurry this year, so we’re in the middle of irrigating this week. That’s all we’re doing, and we probably won’t have much else to do all summer. This is about week 2-3 of this and I’m just about to collapse.

Emergence was good, and we got off to a great start with our stand. But we hit a stretch in May that was just rain. It wasn’t torrential downpours, but we just stayed wet to the point where we couldn’t get back to the field. Every day we’d get an inch or two of rain. And then when it got a chance to dry off, we got another half inch of rain. It became a timing issue with fertilizing and spraying. If we got one thing sprayed, we couldn’t get another thing sprayed. Just little stuff like that. It just stayed very wet and delayed things. And once we got caught up, we went from constant rain to hot and dry. By the time we got back to the field, 10 days later it was dry and we decided we needed to start watering.

Irrigation

So now we’ve just got a long way to go and we haven’t had rain in 2–3 weeks. So now we’re irrigating everything. Usually we do six weeks, give or take. Last year was an anomaly, because when we started to water, we didn’t even make it around a full time before we caught a rain. We only had to water for two weeks last year, total. This year remains to be seen, but we’ve probably already watered as much as we did last year.

Typically we start watering about mid-June and then we go until mid July. We don’t have the type of soils and the type of dirt that holds moisture very well. We have a lot of compaction and tight dirt.

Liquid P and K

We started using liquid P and K lately, which Wayne, my AgVenture Yield Specialist suggested that we try this year. We used a fungicide in V5 testing with Wayne, and we did a large chunk of the liquid P and K across 43 acres sporadically. And as of today, you can’t tell any difference. We don’t know yet anything about it, but I can’t believe it.

Crop Stage

Right now our crop overall looks pretty good, if we keep water on it. We’ve top dressed, and we’re at brown silk and on the dryland, and we’re almost to dent on some fields. We have 106-day and some 110-day, and we’ve been very impressed with the drought tolerance on it — it looks very promising. If we catch one more good rain, it’s going to be an above-average crop.

The 106-day is new to our farm, and it’s one that Wayne recommended. It was somewhat challenging to plant (it looks like a checkerboard out there), but I think it’s going to pay off.

Overall, if we could catch one more good rain, we’d be in good shape. We’re not in that “holy crap, it’s a disaster” stage, but if we could get one now, it’d be perfect timing. But the crop overall looks pretty good.

July 7, 2015
By Jeff Morse

It’s been raining out there, but we’re busy in the shop. Every year we make some pepper sticks, like beef jerky. Usually we do it in the winter, but we’ve had so much going on that we’re just now getting to it. A lot of times we use our own beef, but this time we cheated. We use some beef, some pork; we add cheese. It’s a good way to take a break and do something different.

As far as the crops go, we’re catching up nicely. And actually this rain today is not a bad thing. We’re just a little over waist high on most of our corn, and I think we’re progressing all right, especially since we got planted kind of late.

We’ve got most of our spraying caught up, but we have been noticing some northern corn leaf blight lesions on the corn already, so we’ll start spraying fungicide in about a week. There are several spores, funguses and whatnot that didn’t hurt us last year but are bound to affect us this year. But we’re watching for it, so when we see that happening, we treat it.

Denny and the other AgVenture employees have been great at tipping us off to some of the stuff moving in. About three weeks after we put our fungicide on, we’ll spray again with insecticide. But right now, we’re just letting nature do it’s thing and taking care of our cows and calves. We’ve got 180 cows and the last of our three groups is just finishing up calving. We might have a couple late ones yet, but most of it is done. And it’s been nice to utilize all of last year’s corn stalks and a little bit of hay to keep them happy.

Watching the Markets, Feeling Optimistic

We’ve had enough moisture to feel confident going forward. We’re by no means dry, but it was starting to get to where we could use a little bit of rain. Since we had so much early rain and then everything just quit, it wouldn’t be good for the crop.

But with all that rain we had, the markets have really taken a turnaround. We’ve been fortunate that 99.9% of our corn is in and we’re not dealing with flooding like some of the other areas of the country are. All in all, it’s looking pretty good for us.

July 7, 2015

MOVILLE, IA/KENTLAND, IN (July 6, 2015) – Agriculture is in her roots and seed and agronomy is what she loves. That’s according to Kyleen Bremer, the newest addition to the independently owned and operated regional company, Northwest Iowa Ag, LLC., of Moville, Iowa. Bremer has joined the company as an AgVenture Yield Specialist and will be working directly with northwest Iowa area farmers, helping them advance yields, lower cost per bushel and improve overall farm profitability.

Northwest Iowa Ag President, Larry Janssen said, “Our Company is focused on providing area producers with access to outstanding seed products, supported by year-round professional seed support. Our staff is dedicated to working directly with their customers. We provide them with innovative tools and techniques that allow them to maximize yields and profitability.” Janssen added, “Kyleen will be a valuable resource to our customers. With solid experience in agronomy and seed, she’s ready to take our Maximum Profit System™ (MPS) to work on area farms.”

Janssen explained that MPS is a systems-based approach that brings together the latest in converging technologies. “It is a proven system that works with and for the grower. We help carefully select and place the latest in seed genetics and technologies, and incorporate effective crop production management tools throughout the year that allow growers to dramatically increase yields, lower costs per bushel and improve overall profitability.” He added, “MPS has had a positive impact across northwest Iowa and throughout the country. Kyleen will play an important role in delivering that intensive crop production knowledge and making it work for our customers.”

Bremer said, “Two things impress me as I work with my customers. They are very enthusiastic about having year-round support focused on their operation. They greatly appreciate that our seed products are specifically selected for and adapted to our growing environments. Together, this approach is making a significant difference to yields and profit across our area. I look forward to delivering on our brand and our commitment to each customer and every field.”

Prior to joining Northwest Iowa Ag, Bremer worked in ag retail and crop protection and served as a territory sales manager for a seed company. Originally from Amherst, Wisconsin, Bremer grew up working on a dairy farm. She is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in Agricultural Business and Agronomy. She and her husband reside in Ocheyedan, 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

June 30, 2015

Chuck Schneider brings business development, leadership and marketing support to the AgVenture Regional Seed Companies (RSC) in the eastern U.S. He directs strategic growth initiatives and recruits new seed companies into the AgVenture national network. We caught up with Chuck to talk about how Regional Seed Companies help farmers get the best seed for their operation.

What role does the RSC owner play in finding and securing the best seed for a farmer’s fields?

Our RSCs build their product portfolio based on their geographical area. Since they sell directly to farmers in their regions, they spend time understanding their soil types, tillage practices, the growing environment and their customers’ operations.

In other seed companies, the seed selection is top-down, but our RSCs are actually picking the products they want produced based on the environment and their knowledge of their customer’s farming operations. From there, they find the right genetics and traits that fit those environments and operations.

How does the AgVenture Yield Specialist (AYS) ensure the grower gets the right seed for the right acre?

Again, we spend a lot of time with the growers developing cropping plans, and within the development of that cropping plan, we’re out looking at the field the prior year before they plant our products. During that time, we write a cropping plan for the hybrids we want to place on individual fields — and this is all based on the preliminary work our AYSs do with that grower. They truly gain a deep understanding of his operation. The AYS is always making sure that we’re placing the best possible genetics and traits we can with that grower.

How does this model differ from other seed companies?

Typically in the seed industry, a seed seller will go out, get the order from the farmer, deliver the seed and pick up the check. We spend more time with our growers than your typical seed salesman. The reason we do, is that we want to make sure we’re in the Circle of Influence. By doing that, growers can put their trust in us — we know more about our products than anybody else in the industry, and we know we’re putting the right product on the right fields.

How important is seed selection to the bottom line of the grower?

When you think about it, one of the top five factors to produce a top crop is the right hybrid on the right acre. In our training, we say 75% of the hybrids don’t get their full potential because they’re not placed in the right environment. So it’s critical that we do a good job of placing those products.

The other component is having a very comprehensive in-season management plan. It starts at the planter to make sure we’re planting impeccably. And then we implement that in-season management plan all through the growing season. That’s how we truly get the highest yield potential out of every acre with our products.

What do you do to help farmers realize the importance of the right seed and right management?

After working together for long enough, our growers have faith and trust in their relationship with their AYS. They know we understand their operation well enough and understand what’s critical to produce a top crop. They understand their AYS is there not to save them money, but to help them increase production and lower per-bushel cost. And we tie this all into the Maximum Profit System. By increasing their bushels per acre and lowering our per-bushel cost, that’s our equation to add profitability.

So what is the big picture of how RSCs benefit farmers?

It’s like a three-legged stool. First is product selection by the RSC — they have access to a very broad germplasm and trait portfolio. They work closely with our product management team to choose what will perform in their areas, and they test varieties locally in their regions also. Building the cropping plan and building trust between the grower and the AgVenture Yield Specialist is the second component. And third, planting the right seed on the right ground and implementing great in-season management practices year-round — these are the keys to increase production and lower per-bushel cost. 

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