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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October 28, 2016
By Jackson Webb

This spring was unusually wet and cold, and there was a lot of flooding. We had to make some tough decisions about whether to wait until conditions were right or whether to plant our seed in the mud. My AgVenture Yield Specialist, Wayne, reins me in sometimes when I want to be planting too early under the wrong conditions, and this year I’m glad he did.

Some of our fields were completely flooded in the early season, and it would have been a disaster to plant in the mud. We held out as best we could, but there came a time when we had to get the last of our seed in the ground. We planted in less-than-ideal conditions because we had to, and now we’re seeing the effects in our yield numbers. Luckily, the affected areas didn’t account for much of our 4,000 acres. It’s a testament to how planting in the right conditions really does make a difference.

As the season progressed, we were always about 10 days away from drought, but the weather held. We had beautiful weather during the soybean harvest and the last part of the corn harvest.  Even though we were rushing to get our corn crop out in time, the crop held up well, aside from just a bit of down stalk toward the end of harvest. The stalk went from having a little green tint to being dead as a hammer in a matter of days. From the sounds of it, we weren’t the only ones.Thankfully, it wasn’t a huge part of our overall crop.

As for our yields, the corn numbers are off this year from where they should be, but it's still a good crop. We had the potential to handle 250 bushels per acre, but because of various factors, we wound up with 200 bushels per acre. That’s still great for us here in the Delta, so I’m pleased. Much of our yield loss had to do with the flood conditions during planting, but we knew that was a risk going in. After the planting season we had, I’ll take the 200 bushels per acre!.

Our soybeans on the other hand were phenomenal — one of the best bean crops I've ever had. Beyond weather, another factor that helped us out was continuing with our liquid fertilizer program, which included a special, expanded P and K application. Instead of using solid fertilizer, we used a liquid sidedress application, and we’ve had good results with it — both last season and this season. My neighbor and I are trying it together, and so far, we're very pleased with it.

After a long harvest this year, I’m happy to report that we are finally done. Now it’s time to rest for a minute, do some hunting and prepare for next season.

October 28, 2016
By Heath Hill

In my new role, I’m excited to explore how precision farming impacts yield. On both our planter and in our combine, we’re able to track each seed almost to the seed level — and people don't think of it that way, but that'’s the way we'’re looking at it. There’s so much potential to grow smarter by getting the exact right seed for your fields and nurturing it in the right way so that it reaches its full potential.

For instance, if a seed can only produce 260 bushels, we don’t need to push it to produce more than that. Instead of throwing on too many applications and wasting money, let’s be smarter and more precise with our practices. Let'’s see if we can reduce the inputs on that seed and keep it at 260 bushels. We want to be able to refine our management and determine what the seed really wants — and give the seed exactly that. If the seed starts limiting our ability or opportunities, then sure, we need to find different seed; but If the seed really can produce 350 bushel on its own, then why are we putting so many inputs into the ground? What I want to know is how to make the most effective, efficient decisions.

To get to the root of these questions, we have to start with the seed. We need to study where, how and when it likes to grow. We also need to understand the agronomics behind it — the biologicals, seed treatments, fungicides, insecticides and pesticides. We need to talk about applying in furrow or over the top. We need to explore how to protect the seed in different environments, and study how the seed responds to chemicals throughout the growing season. These are the things I’m most excited for, and this is what we’re tackling with the research on our farm.

October 28, 2016
By Heath Hill

I recently announced a new opportunity with AgVenture that I’m very excited about. We're going to be utilizing our farm a lot more for testing, consulting and yield checks using AgVenture hybrids and management practices. We can afford to do new things because we have a small footprint — with 750 acres, we can handle a lot of testing and fine-tuning to get that true net effect.

We’ve been doing a bit of this already with AgVenture, and I’m excited to expand it. For example, this year, we were testing 32 different AgVenture hybrids in one field and found that the software on our newer (red) combine was limited to no more than 30 hybrids. The AgVenture team spent the time to work through the issue with us and got us back to harvesting. That’s an example of what kind of things we can learn from testing.

Testing is going to be very important for the future of farming operations. It’s not about gross bushels anymore. It’s about net income. The days where you can just dump all the inputs into your crop and hope you get high yields are past us. Now, you need to put on the appropriate inputs at the appropriate time. No more ‘three applications and extra N’. You have to be net effective. On our farm, we’ll explore those thresholds with AgVenture and share the knowledge and research across the network. We’ll help show farmers what it really means to make money and how much they can make off of each acre. If we can make $85, $185 or $285 — whatever the net amount is after everything is paid for — that's what the game should be. 



October 28, 2016
By Heath Hill

This year, there were several factors that greatly influenced our harvest start date. We’re in a wind tunnel in our area, and over the last 3-4 years, we've had a much higher likelihood of corn going down, so our belief is ‘get it when it's standing.’

In early September, Josh, my AgVenture Yield Specialist, came out to do some yield and moisture checks. We noticed we were at a higher moisture level than usual because we put fungicide on all of our acres; and fungicide keeps us 2–3% wetter. In addition, most of our corn this year is a longer season crop — about 107–113-day corn — so it matured a little later than what our neighbors planted. Between the higher moisture levels and the long season corn, we just weren’t ready to cut when our neighbors were; but that’s okay. We wanted to be confident that our crop could reach its full potential and that our harvest schedule was on point, so we made the decision to start harvest in mid-September.

Phantom yield loss was another factor that affected our start date. My father has preached this to me for years, and I refused to believe that it existed; I didn’t see any evidence that yields were higher if harvested at the beginning of the season rather than at the end. But as I became a bigger part of the operation, I came to realize that it’s real. I noticed that when we harvested our silage at a higher moisture, it adds up a whole lot quicker than when you harvest it dry. Now, based on that and what we read from Robert Corzatt in the latest AgVenture Forward Progress magazine regarding phantom yield loss, I’ve become a true believer. We started running this year at 23-24% moisture, which is a bit earlier than I would normally have harvested. It just goes to show that by looking at the data, we can make little changes that really pay off. 

October 11, 2016

MASCOUTAH, ILLINOIS (September 26, 2016) — Seed industry veteran Mike Culwell of Vandalia, Missouri has joined Wehmeyer Seed Company as a District Sales Manager. Culwell will work across northeast Missouri, providing farmers and farmer dealers with access to AgVenture® brand seed products. Culwell has worked in the seed industry and in agricultural retail for the past thirty years. He will put his skills and deep knowledge of seed products to work for his customers as he extends the reach of the company throughout the region.

Matt Wehmeyer, Sales and Marketing Manager for the company said, “We are very pleased to welcome Mike. He is a great addition to our company. His experience, his extensive career in production agriculture, and his understanding of the seed business will really help us grow well in northeast Missouri. Mike has a passion for helping farmers raise higher yielding crops. Combining his knowledge with our strategy of bringing locally adapted, high yielding hybrids and varieties specific to each local area, Mike is positioned to bring an incredible amount of value to NEMO farmers. In addition, we look forward to him driving further expansion of our dealer network.”

Wehmeyer Seed Company is a family-owned and operated seed company founded in 1995. They are dedicated to researching, selecting, raising, conditioning, and packaging high quality seed products. They help customers select the best seed products for the acres on which they are grown. The company has continued to grow steadily as they focus on exceeding customers’ expectations.

Culwell said, “I have the greatest respect for this family-owned business. The Wehmeyers know what it takes to bring high-yielding seed products to their customers. Going forward, we’ll be able to help our customers select the seed that is uniquely adapted to their fields, soils and production practices. Placing the best products in the right environment makes all the difference. I am very pleased to put this seed to work, and to help our customers see the positive results on their bottom lines.”

Wehmeyer concluded, “We see a lot of good things happening with our company, our growth, and for our customers. As a family-owned and operated Regional Seed Company, we have the flexibility to work directly with our customers to address their needs. Our robust seed product lineup is comprised of regionally selected hybrids and varieties best suited to northeast Missouri. We’re very excited to bring our customers the seed and the support it takes to bring higher yielding crops to the region.”

Together with his wife, Lori, the Culwells have two daughters, two stepsons, and three grandchildren. They reside in Vandalia.

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.


September 27, 2016

WABASH, INDIANA (September 26, 2016) — As harvest gears up, AgVenture McKillip Seeds, Inc. continues to grow. The family-owned and operated Regional Seed Company welcomes Nicholas Weston to serve customers in west central Indiana as an AgVenture Yield Advisor.

Weston grew up in the family’s farming operation near Williamsport, Indiana. For the past eight years, he has worked in the precision farming industry in ag retail, and in individual sales and sales support. In addition, he is very active in the family farm.

Nicholas Weston

AgVenture McKillip Seed Marketing and Sales Manager, Mitch Snyder said, “Nick is a great addition to our team. He will be an important resource to our customers in west central Indiana. As a farmer himself, and with a strong agronomic and precision ag skill set, he’ll be an asset to customers as he helps them develop cropping plans for high yields and improved profitability.”

Weston said, “On our own farm, we’ve worked with AgVenture McKillip Seeds for the past several years. We’ve been very pleased with the products’ performance and with the professional support they provide us throughout the year. Their willingness to work one-on-one with customers, help them select the right seed for the right field, and fine-tune management practices adds bushels and profit to our bottom line. I am proud to be a part of the team. I look forward to helping others in this area reap the same rewards.”

Snyder said Weston’s presence fortifies the reach of the AgVenture® brand in the region. “Strong demand for our seed products is coming directly from customers who expect more. We focus on providing seed products that are specifically selected for and adapted to the local environments and management practices in which they are grown. Starting with a deep product portfolio of the latest seed genetics and technologies, we provide seed that meets or exceeds the highest industry standards for seed quality. Our seed treatments and state-of-the-art seed treatment application processes help ensure those genetics can get to work right at planting. Combined with our year-round local support and high-yield strategies, we support customers throughout the year and year-after-year to help them achieve higher yield goals and improve their overall profitability.”

Weston holds an associate degree in agribusiness from Ivy Tech. He and his wife, Veronica, have one son. They reside near Williamsport.

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.


September 23, 2016

WABASH, INDIANA (September 16, 2016) — AgVenture McKillip Seeds, Inc. recently welcomed more than 300 producers from across northeast Indiana and western Ohio to their annual Customer Appreciation Educational Field Day event. Held at the family-owned and operated seed business headquarters north of Wabash, Indiana, customers engaged in in-depth product discussions with leaders from McKillip Seeds and AgVenture, Inc. (AVI).

AgVenture McKillip Seeds Co-owner and Sales Manager, Troy McKillip said, “We were very pleased to share pertinent and practical information with our customers. This is such an important part of our ability to educate and inform our customers. We work directly with them throughout the year to help them make the best decisions in crop planning. Their profitability is a dir

ect result of getting the right seed products on the right soils, integrated with their production management practices.”

In rotating sessions, customers had an

overview of the 2016 corn and soybean crops. McKillip said, “In the corn sessions, we talked about our deep lineup of seed products with a broad range of genetics 

specifically selected for and adapted to our area’s growing environments and soils. We discussed the emerging technology pipeline and how that impacts customers’ cropping plans and seed purchase decisions.” AgVenture’s Chuck Schneider talked about current and new seed treatment offerings. Schneider also highlighted the extensive seed quality testing provided that exceeds industry standards. Field tours followed to show each of the products growing in the field.

The soybean sessions were led by AgVenture McKillip Seeds’ Mitch Snyder and AVI’s Jeff Shaner. Customers learned about AgVenture McKillip Seeds’ soybean varieties and their performance, and about the soybean technology timeline. Information was provided on the new technologies available to help manage herbicide resistance. Soybean plot tours followed. Also as part of the day’s activities, customers were invited to participate in Private & Commercial Applicator Continuing Education with Indiana Extension Educator for Ag and Natural Resources, Curt Campbell.

Since 1935, AgVenture McKillip Seeds has remained committed to enhancing their customers’ ability to farm profitably and exceed their farming objectives. Today, four generations of the family remain involved in the business. McKillip concluded, “We are proud to have such a sustained, positive relationship with our customers. For our customers with whom we have worked for generations, and for those new to our high-yield strategies, it remains a privilege to contribute to their profitability.” 

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.

September 20, 2016
By Heath Hill

Heath Hill farms 750 acres on the Southeast corner of Hamilton County in Iowa. We met up with him to hear how he and his AgVenture Yield Specialist are focusing on the details to increase yield across his operation. Watch the video to hear his story. 


September 20, 2016
By Jackson Webb

This year, we did a really good job spacing out our acres so harvest would be easier to manage. We went real heavy corn this year — out of 4800 acres, we had 4000 acres of corn, 800 of beans, so I really didn’t want all that corn to be ready for harvest at once. We did a good job, so we could get all the corn harvested in a timely manner and didn’t have everything drying out in the field.

 At the time we were making the decision to do so much corn, bean prices were in the tank and corn had the most upside potential — or we felt like it did at the time. We second guessed ourselves watching the bean market this summer, but it is what it is.

 We had a lot of rain during planting, and we had neighbors that had tremendous amounts of flooding. I don’t know if you saw it on the news, but in Louisiana, they’d get 20-30 inches of rain at a time, and we’re right next to them. We didn’t get quite as much as they did, but we had a tremendously wet spring, and we stayed really cool a lot longer than we normally do, which pushed planting back. We were hitting 40-degree nights and it wasn’t conducive to corn seed.

 One of our fields in particular is ringed all the way round by two different bayous, and we had 160 feet of water all the way around on both sides of the bayou. We had to wait for the water to go down before we could plant, and sometimes we had to push and mud the seed in. When it kept getting later and later, we just had to plant — but that wasn’t much out of our whole 4800 acres, and it did end up looking okay.

 Over the summer in general, everything started to look fantastic. We feel like we kind of got it lit — fertilizer got out when it was supposed to, herbicide was on time, and we did some other proactive things. Everything was really timed out well and was done when it was supposed to be done.

 Wayne of course has been running around trying to field a thousand different phone calls and help us too. He’s still a huge part of this farm, and we’re slugging through it together.

Toward the end of the season, we were 10 days away from a massive drought, so we focused on irrigation. This year we didn’t see any disease or pest pressure or stress or anything. The weather was cooperative, and the corn loved it.

September 7, 2016

A crop plan is a farm’s business plan. It’s a roadmap with field-by-field decisions that will drive your future. At AgVenture, we pride ourselves on developing in-depth crop plans with our growers, and we utilize those plans every step of the growing season. The crop plan isn’t something you develop around harvest and let collect dust in a few months. It should be used at every decision point in every season as a guide for increasing yields and lowering cost-per-bushel.

There are three key questions to consider as you begin your crop plan.

1. Where do you want to take your yields in the next 3-5 years?
2. What is your plan to get there?
3. What is keeping you from getting there?

Your AgVenture Yield Specialist will ride combine with you and help start the conversation. Harvest is the ideal time to evaluate your chemical programs and any current management practices you have in place. Your AYS will help you determine what worked and what didn’t — and we’re not afraid to make recommendations that will put you ahead of the grower down the road. 

Learn more from Chuck Schneider, Regional Business Development Manager with AgVenture, Inc., as he provides some great tips on developing your crop plan.