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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January 13, 2017

Dulaney Seed, Inc. has hired AgVenture Yield Specialist, Bobby Bowlin to serve producers in eastern Arkansas. Bowlin joins Dulaney’s elite team of agronomy professionals providing the highest quality seed products and professional support services to Mid-South growers. 

Bowlin is a graduate of Mississippi State University (MSU) in Starkville Miss, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. While in Starkville, he held a golf scholarship, and was a member of the nationally recognized Mississippi State University Fishing Team. He joined the Mississippi Army National Guard to help pay for school, completed MSU Army ROTC, and while in the program earned the honor of top-ranked Cadet. He earned his jump wings after completing the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga. Born in Jackson Miss. and raised in Rankin County, Bowlin grew up working in his family’s business, Bowlin Foundation Repair, based at Canton, Mississippi. 

Dulaney Seed General Manager, Charlie Robinette said, “Bobby is a very sharp young professional with a dedicated work ethic, and a passion for serving his customers at the highest level. Our company continues to grow. The addition of Bobby to the team will fortify our reach in serving customers in eastern Arkansas.” 

Bowlin said, “I am very excited to launch my career with Dulaney Seed, working directly with growers, and helping them increase their yields and profitability. Working together with my customers, I’ll help them develop a solid three- to five-year plan to help them increase yields 30-50 percent.” 

He explained, “We have an integrated approach to high-yield strategies, helping our customers make incremental adjustments throughout their operation, allowing them to maximize profitability. We focus on placing the best hybrids and varieties in the right soils. We work step-by-step with customers; from fine-tuning planters, to managing in-season pests and crop nutrition, to optimizing harvest. Together, we can help put more money in their pockets and advance their goals across their operations.” 

Robinette added, “Throughout the Mid-South, we provide growers with the highest quality seed, year-round professional support, and with access to innovative, practical production methods that dramatically increase yields and profitability on every acre. We remain committed to helping each customer advance their goals this crop season, and for future.” 

Bowlin currently resides in Clarksdale, Miss. while he completes training. He will relocate to eastern Arkansas to be accessible to the area he serves. 

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field. 

January 13, 2017

The Mid-South’s leading independent Regional Seed Company, Dulaney Seed, Inc., based at Clarksdale, Miss. continues to grow. The company has welcomed AgVenture Yield Specialist Drew Denton to serve customers in southwestern Tennessee.

A native of Bolivar, Tenn., Denton graduated from University of Tennessee at Martin where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant and Soil Science. He earned a Master of Science degree in agronomy from Mississippi State University. Throughout his college experience, Denton was deeply engaged in crop research, working at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center, and conducting corn, soybean, and cotton research for his advising professors.

Dulaney Seed Sales Director, Allen Lyon said, ““When our team met Drew, we knew that he would be a perfect fit for our Tennessee market as we continue to expand our footprint there. Personal knowledge of the challenges and issues growers face is of utmost importance to Dulaney Seed. Drew’s extensive background in agronomy and research, coupled with his ties to that territory, make him well-suited to serve Tennessee growers.”

Denton said, “Working as an AgVenture Yield Specialist, I look forward to combining my skills and experience in crop production and research. The Dulaney family brings decades of knowledge, and an outstanding team of professionals and services to every customer and every acre. Our AgVenture seed product lineup is a solid, deep portfolio fully suited to our unique Mid-South growing environments. Our hybrids and varieties have been developed for our soils and production environments, tested and proven right here. The broad seed selection options provide Tennessee customers with the ability to have the right options, make solid selections, and spread their risks appropriately.”

He added, “Our seed quality meets and exceeds every industry standard, and our seed treatments are second to none, allowing customers to start with a distinct advantage. I look forward to developing relationships that contribute to my customers’ profitability.” 

Denton resides in Bolivar, Tenn.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field. 

January 10, 2017

Getting “More Than” From “Less Than” Ground with Cade Bushnell

Cade Bushnell of northern Illinois works with Jeff Jackson who heads up Agrithm in Byron, Illinois. Cade is on a serious upswing in productivity with an eye towards maximum profit. We caught up with him to learn about how he outperformed his acres in 2016.

Cade in field

Tell us about your connections to AgVenture.

Jeff Jackson and I have worked together for over seven years. His dad and I go back further than that. I am certain that I am a better farmer because of the work we do together. Yes, Jeff takes an interest in my seed decisions, but our talks cover the full range of my operation, including fertility, equipment and timing of applications.

You have achieved measurable improvement in yield levels in a short period of time. Most noticeably are milestones on some of your tougher farms. Tell us about that.

All of my farms are on tougher ground. I custom farm some very fertile ground; I know what that looks like. But on my own farms, I’m making big strides to improve organic matter. Cover crops and a never-till system are important to me. Some people refer to crop residue as trash. Trash is what goes in the garbage, but residue is my friend. I’ve farmed with my father since I was a kid, and full time since leaving college in ’82. But in just the past six years, my yield average has gone from 180 to 220 bushels per acre (bpa). That’s not luck, and it’s not the weather. That’s been a willingness to dissect each thing we do and determine where improvements can be made. Everything is on the operating table. (except my tillage).

What else has led to your improved profitability?

I have Plan A and Plan B for each activity I perform. For instance, I have a plan for herbicide application, but what if it rains for two weeks? I’ve already thought about that. Now here’s the thing about Plan B: My goals have not changed, just because I have been flexible enough to adjust according to the current conditions. I am still aiming for high yield and profitability. The decision to move from Plan A is never because I’ve decided that I just don’t want to spend the money. You cannot save your way to prosperity.

Other than AgVenture, where do you go for information and to share ideas?  I attend industry meetings with the intention of participating. When I take the initiative to speak up, it opens to the door to meet friendly people from all over. And whether the speaker is good, bad or in between, there is always something useful I can take home with me. In fact, my notebooks are filled with ideas. Probably the most useful person I ever met was one who looked at my notes and helped me connect the dots.

I also have a friend in Australia involved in agriculture. You would be amazed at how the challenges he faces on the other side of the world correlate to what I do on my farm.

Do you have any parting words?

Every seed company has good products. Can you tell me how to take those products and translate them into more profit on my farm? Can you make me a better farmer? Not many are able to do that.

When I purchase a bag of seed, it contains the promise of untold riches. As soon as I open it, everything I do has the potential to rob me of that promise. I’ve been learning when to get myself out of the way. For me and many of my peers, the part that gets in the way most often is the little voice that tries to tell you the season has turned against you and you shouldn’t continue to invest in the crop. I’ve seen too many people attempt to save $20 per acre on a marginal farm only to give up 20 bushels per acre. That isn’t the way to succeed in business.

 

 

January 10, 2017

We all know how hard it can be to get “more than” from “less than ground.

AgVenture’s, Jeff Shaner interviewed two farmers that have dealt with their share of challenging ground. In these interviews he digs deeper into the challenges they faced and still outperformed their acres in 2016.

Nathan Beard

Nathan Beard of western Illinois works with AgVenture Yield Specialist Matt Davis of AgVenture D&M. Nathan is on a serious upswing in productivity with an eye towards maximum profit.

Nathan in field

Tell us about your connection to AgVenture.

I’ve been farming for 11 years now. Three years ago, Matt started a conversation with me that is still ongoing today — a conversation that got me thinking more deeply about positioning products for each soil type, about how I plant seed, and about how I care for that crop in a way that propels it toward the best result. Matt is always honest with me and never has anything bad to say about the competition. He is present throughout the year so we can plan, observe and execute together.

You have achieved measurable improvement in yield levels in a rather short period of time. Most noticeably are milestones on some of your tougher farms. Tell us about that.

I have one tract of land that has never averaged above 180 bpa. It pitches and rolls and soil types are all over the board. This year we averaged 230 bpa, with one 12-acre piece of fairly uniform ground averaging 332 bpa. Matt and I had a plan to plant the right product at the right population with plenty of in-season care. My Net Effective Plant Stand (NEPS) was strong, so I knew we were in the hunt for great things. Even when June got really dry, we stuck to our guns. If I can do that on my Class C soils, I can only imagine what is possible on my Class A soils.

What else has led to your improved profitability?

As soon as pollination wraps up, I’m at work devising my approach for next year. Pest pressure I observe from disease or insects may be a factor in deviations from my crop rotation. I am already picturing the attributes of the particular hybrid or variety that gets placed in field.

I am also paying more attention to residue management. For instance, a relatively minor adjustment to the boot has made a big difference in how evenly crop residue is being distributed coming out the back of my combine. It all adds up.

Other than AgVenture, where do you go for information and to share ideas?

I communicate one to one with other area farmers. These are guys who are honest about what’s working for them and what isn’t. From there, I initiate concepts and prove them on my own farm. On the flip side, the last thing I want to see is some salesperson with plot results. There are no product placement decisions being made in plots, no adjusting to meet the strengths or weaknesses of your individual hybrids. Don’t get me wrong, I host plots on my farm for observation purposes. But one-size-fits-all strip trials do nothing to inform the way I farm.

Do you have any parting words?

There are things I can do to enhance each crop, but just performing new activities isn’t enough. I’m not looking to waste money on activities. To me it has become obvious that the timing and placement of those activities is where the answer lies. For example, I have moved to spoon feeding N at multiple times of the year and it is paying off. Your most productive ground can be very forgiving. But variations on items such as row spacing or N management can bring a really positive and amplified response on your rugged ground.

I am going to harvest 300-bushel corn and 100 bushel soybeans year in and year out. It’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

 

Watch for part two with Cade Bushnell, coming next week.

 

 

 

January 5, 2017

MINDEN, NEBRASKA (January 3, 2017) — AgVenture Pinnacle (AVP) of Minden, Nebraska has welcomed Craig Oltmans from Holdrege, Nebraska to serve the growing company as Crop Production Specialist. Oltmans has four decades of sales and management experience in agronomy, crop protection and ag retail roles across Nebraska.

AVP Manager Jeremy McCroden said, “We are very pleased to welcome Craig, and we look forward to his leadership as our Crop Protection Specialist. He is putting his extensive experience to work, leading our training, logistics, product safety and crop protection management efforts.”

McCroden said the Regional Seed Company has continued to see strong product performance, which continues to drive their growth. “Our seed product lineup is comprised of the latest seed genetics and technologies that are specifically selected and uniquely adapted to this region’s growing environments. Our seed quality standards are second to none, resulting in greater potential for uniform emergence and stands, right from the start. Working directly with their AgVenture Yield Specialists throughout the year, our customers are implementing high-yield strategies through our Maximum Profit System™. As we have grown, we have included the addition of Innvictis Crop Care products. Craig will play an important role in helping us fully integrate our crop protection products to enhance our seed product offerings in the field.”

Oltmans said, “I am very pleased to work with this team of dedicated seed professionals. I am very impressed with AVP’s dedication to their philosophy, and their willingness every day to do what it takes to help make their customers more profitable. My passion is in teaching and training the sales staff, fully equipping them to provide exceptional support to their customers. Our customers are great people and outstanding producers. I look forward to supporting our AgVenture Yield Specialists as they provide the seed and crop protection support our customers need to enhance their profitability.”

Oltmans is originally from the Holdrege area. He holds an Associate’s Degree from Central Community College, and is a Certified Crop Advisor.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

January 5, 2017

MINDEN, NEBRASKA (January 3, 2017) — Chris Bertrand of Hastings, Nebraska has joined AgVenture Pinnacle (AVP) of Minden, Nebraska to serve southcentral Nebraska customers as their AgVenture Yield Specialist. Bertrand, a native of the region, brings 13 years of professional agronomic experience to the growing Regional Seed Company.

AVP Manager, Jeremy McCroden, said, “Chris is a very sharp seed professional who brings us a practical background in row crop farming and ag retail. His history in seed, crop protection and fertility, along with his knowledge of the local area makes him a great resource for our customers and our company. We expect him to make great contributions to the profitability of southcentral Nebraska farmers.”

McCroden reports that AVP has continued its steady growth across Nebraska, northern Kansas and eastern Colorado. “Our focus on seed is making a positive difference on our customers’ bottom lines. We carefully select hybrids and varieties that are specifically adapted to our local soils, crop environments, and production management practices. Our seed quality standards are second to none. When customers start with the right seed in the right growing environment, they have an advantage from the start.”

But it doesn’t end with the seed sale, according to McCroden. “We work with our customers throughout the year to educate, inform and encourage them to use the latest production management techniques that maximize their profitability on every acre. Our Maximum Profit System™ has helped our customers dramatically increase yields, lower per bushel costs and improve overall profitability on every acre. Through our AgVenture University program, we present the cutting-edge techniques that make a difference in high-yield production strategies. As a result, our customers succeed, and our company continues to grow. It’s an exciting synergy with great potential to further enhance our customers’ profitability across the region.”

Bertrand said the combination of the seed, the support provided to customers, and the team at AVP is nothing short of inspiring. “My passion is seed. The seed products we offer are specifically selected for and adapted to the unique growing environments of our area. It’s a holistic approach to making seed choices, and doing what it takes to maximize their potential. I am proud to be part of the AVP team. I look forward to helping our customers realize the benefits of this integrated approach.”

Bertrand and his wife, McKenzie have three children. They reside at Hastings, Nebraska.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

 

December 13, 2016

WAYNE, NEBRASKA (December 9, 2016) - Blake Hokamp of Hoskins, Nebraska has been selected by the Nebraska Soybean Association as their delegate to the 2017 American Soybean Association DuPont Young Leader Program. Hokamp is one of 34 young leaders selected from across the U.S. and Canada to participate in the prestigious program.

The Young Leader Program is designed to recognize and strengthen leadership in the agricultural community, and to cultivate producer leaders who are shaping the soybean industry. The program consists of two extensive training sessions. Hokamp has just completed the first training module, a four-day event held at the DuPont Pioneer headquarters in Johnston, Iowa. Phase two will take place in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade show to be held in San Antonio, Texas, February 28 - March 3, 2017.

Hokamp said, “It is a great honor to be selected by the Nebraska Soybean Association for this very special opportunity. It’s been very impressive to meet the other participants, and to learn together with these inspiring agriculturalists from across North America.”

The program has been developing young leaders for more than 30 years. Participants focus on honing leadership and communication skills, providing the latest agricultural information, and the development of a strong peer network. Hokamp said, “Today’s soybean industry has many exciting opportunities, including developing more endusers within the U.S. That extends to building specialty markets in our area for higholeic products, non-GMO crops, and other possibilities. I hope to learn how to effectively address the challenges and barriers facing the industry, and to build opportunities for our producers, our markets, and for the crops we grow.”

In addition to his role as an AgVenture Yield Specialist with The Seed Source, based at Wayne, Nebraska, Blake is part of his family’s farming operation and a custom farming operation. He holds a degree in Agronomy and Crop Production from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He resides near Hoskins, Nebraska. AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

November 9, 2016
By Aaron Paus

Using Precision Data to Raise Yields

Every year, we track data on our fields and soil types, looking at factors like population, fertilizer and nitrogen applications. In the winter when we do our planning, we look at the results from the previous season and compile them with data from past years. I sit down with the AgVenture team and look at the issues we know affected us.

Once we look at the big picture, we do some fine-tuning with soil sampling. We match soil samples to the problem areas we saw on the yield map and start looking for correlations that we can take action on. When we know what issues we have, we can handpick varieties that are suited to deal with those issues. For example, we might change a hybrid based on how it handles pH issues, heavier soils, lighter soils, irrigated or dryland, and pivot or gravity forms of irrigation. We also look at our management practices and consider things like late-season nitrogen applications. If we decide we want to put on late-season nitrogen, we’ll use a hybrid that takes advantage of that practice.

Something we’re looking at that can improve the way we use our data is on-the-go infrared scanning and variable rate nitrogen applications. That’s really exciting to me, and it’s something we’re looking forward to incorporating when the economy improves. But with corn at these prices, we have to make sure we can justify the technological expenditures to do it. Maybe next season.

 

Determining Population with Data

In the meantime, we’re continuing to push production levels higher every year with our practical understanding from learning and discovery blocks. We’re still fine-tuning our bell curve on population by analyzing at what point we start seeing a drop-off in yields.

My AgVenture Yield Specialist, Jeremy, sees more than I do because he and his team work with many other operations. He’s finding that Producer A may see yield drawbacks at a 33,000 population on irrigated corn, but Producer B may not see those drawbacks until he gets to a 35,000 or 36,000 population.

Jeremy’s also looking at how many nitrogen or fungicide applications the producer is putting on. That’s where we start having fun. Jeremy is able to quantify all the data and decide how we can push things. We also look at where irrigation comes in. With higher populations, should we delay irrigation so the stalks don’t get too tall and spindly? Should we keep the plant a bit shorter on purpose and pour on extra water later? Those are all things we’ll hash out during the winter.

AgVenture could say, “You want precision data? Go talk to some other group,” or, “You want a soil sample? Go talk to someone else.” But Jeremy and the AgVenture Pinnacle team want to be hands-on and help with everything from start to finish. They want to be involved, so it’s pretty exciting. They keep me on my toes, and they don’t allow me to fall asleep and do the same thing over and over. It creates a pretty nice partnership. 

 

 

 

November 9, 2016
By Aaron Paus

Managing Crop Moisture

We completed harvest, finishing up on November 5th. Usually I like to be done by Halloween, but we didn’t quite make that date this year due to some wet corn issues, but we weren’t too far off track. A few weeks back, we were running some irrigated corn through the dryer, and it was anywhere from 19-25% moisture. In the middle of October we were dealing with wet corn issues. Likely that was because of the recent rains and wet weather in late August. Now we’re starting to deal with some ear mold issues, and it’s something we’re keeping an eye on. Luckily it has slowed with the cooler weather.

I think the biggest challenge we faced this year was the weather. We were ridiculously hot during pollination time, and it just didn’t allow the crop to fully pollinate. We also had wet conditions in the early season that gave us some stand issues, and then we had a fungus come in and drop down our plant count quite a bit. So with the weather, we started out wet, got dry in the middle, and were wet again in late August.

All in all, we’re pleased with the outcome of the crop. Our soybeans were just slightly above where I anticipated them to be. They were not over-the-top bin-busters, but they were better than anticipated.

 

Surpassing 300 Bushels Per Acre

Corn has been up and down. The dryland corn actually has been surprising us — I think we had 1.7 total inches of rain in the months of June and July. We were anticipating 30- to 40-bushel dryland corn because of that, but somehow the numbers are hovering right around 100–120 bushels. So that corn is below what we might normally get, but it’s above what we anticipated. On the irrigated acres, I had one AgVenture hybrid that had us excited with all sorts of 300 bushel numbers in some areas. In other areas, it’s fallen a little below expectations, so we’re either really good or a little bit disappointed on the irrigated corn.

I’m looking forward to finishing harvest and analyzing what we could have done better

November 7, 2016

WAYNE, NEBRASKA (November 4, 2016) – Wayne, Nebraska's locally owned and operated Regional Seed Company, The Seed Source, has welcomed Adam Jech as an AgVenture Yield Specialist. Jech is the newest member of a dedicated team of seed professionals providing year-round professional seed support to customers across northeast Nebraska.

Jech has had a long career in agricultural sales and service, and owned and operated his own business. Most recently, he worked in the agricultural equipment business where he provided support in sales and precision agriculture.

Adam Jech

The Seed Source owner, Lowell Schardt said, "As our company grows, we're pleased to welcome Adam to the team. He brings us a great deal of professionalism and sales experience. He is very focused on serving his customers, listening to their questions, and providing actionable solutions. I'm very pleased with how he augments our team."

The Seed Source offers customers access to their Maximum Profit System™ (MPS), a comprehensive and integrated approach to dramatically increasing yields, lowering cost per bushel, and improving overall profitability. Schardt said, "Our customers are seeing the benefits of implementing the MPS tools and techniques. We start with outstanding seed products specifically selected for and adapted to our local environments. Our seed quality is second to none. Then, with careful crop planning, and proper planting techniques, we help customers implement high-yield strategies. Those using MPS have become believers in monitoring net-effective plant stands. Our AgVenture Yield Specialists work with customers throughout the year to provide soil testing services and help them assure proper fertility is available to support the crop's optimum growth."

Overall, Schardt said it's a combination of products, tools and production management techniques that support maximum yields and profitability. "At The Seed Source, we provide the seed and the support customers need to make those gains." He added, "As precision farming techniques continue to advance across our area. It's important that we have the staff on-hand to support our customers' efforts. Adam's experience with a broad range of precision technologies and equipment will be a valued resource for our customers."

Jech said, "My knowledge of this area combined with my background in the equipment business will allow me to support our customers in everything I have passion for; precision technologies and equipment, and advancing productivity and profitability. A farmers' effective use of machinery is an important tool in in high yield strategies. I look forward to helping our customers optimize the integration of their machinery and their cropping plans together. That's how we help them make the most out of the outstanding genetics and technologies offered in our seed products."

Jech and his wife, Brook, have four children. They reside in Wayne, Nebraska.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation's largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

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