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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November 25, 2013

KENTLAND, IN (November 25, 2013) – Matt Bugg, Assumption, Illinois has joined AgVenture D&M. Bugg will put his practical farming experience and professional seed industry knowledge to work serving Central Illinois farmers as an AgVenture Yield Specialist. As a farmer himself, Bugg knows and understands the many challenges growers face in producing high-yielding crops in Central Illinois soils and growing environments. In addition, he is very well versed in the seed industry, having had nearly a decade of experience in seed sales management.

Mike Davis, Owner of AgVenture D&M said, “We are proud to continue to build our team with professionals who understand what it takes to grow higher yields and advance profitability. Our seed product lineup is uniquely selected to perform in this area’s conditions. When we combine outstanding, proven seed products, professional, year-round support, and our own systems-based approach to dramatically improving profitability, our customers reap the rewards.”

Davis continued, “Matt is uniquely suited to helping our customers apply the tenets of our Maximum Profit System™ (MPS). This unique program applies specific tools and techniques throughout the growing season to help dramatically increase yield, lower costs per bushel and improve overall profitability.”

Bugg added, “What really drew me to AgVenture is the MPS program. On my own farm, I’ve applied these practices over the past few years. Incremental improvements have resulted – in both yield and profitability. With my seed industry experience and the success of MPS, I really wanted to put the program to work on other farms. I look forward to being a trusted resource to my customers. The strength of our AgVenture D&M team and the national network mean we have the access to the seed and the knowledge necessary to improve profitability on every customer’s farm.”

Davis said, “We are confident in Matt’s ability to put our seed products and our programs to work in Central Illinois. Our continued growth is thanks to the efforts of our team members who bring dedicated focus to each customer, and every field. We expect Matt’s expertise to contribute to future growth in the area.”

Bugg has an Associate’s Degree in Business Science from Richland Community College, and also studied Business Management at the University of Illinois, Springfield. Bugg and his wife, Amy, have four children -- Zach, Jackson, Nick, and Carsyn. They reside in Assumption, Illinois.

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.

November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving generates warm memories. It is a time for celebrating our heritage, our families, and those who have made us strong, and helped us become all we are.  There is a little known story of a family right here in Wisconsin that is humbly celebrating this Thanksgiving.  They are celebrating 100 years of a family legacy that has had an immeasurable and vital impact on Wisconsin farmers and their families, and on agriculture’s ability to help feed the world. And they are celebrating it with a man who for the past 50 years has helped guide its sustained success.

John Spangler doesn’t come across as a bold business magnate. He’s regularly described as humble, honest, and rather quiet, but direct. But John has a passion for the seed business, and when it comes to seed, John is focused on results, driven by science and precision, and keenly dedicated to accuracy and acuity. It is his commitment to his family legacy of developing and producing exceptional seed products for Wisconsin growers that has fueled the company’s success for the last century.

Spangler Seed Company, Jefferson, Wisconsin got its start in 1913 when John’s dad and uncle were truly forerunners in the art and science of commercial seed production – with varieties like Golden Glow, Silver King, and Northwestern Dent (red). Woodrow Wilson was president. Francis E. McGovern was governor, and Wisconsin had only been a state for 65 years. But these innovative sons of German immigrants had an idea, and the tenacity to see it through. They established this company and developed systems and equipment to manage, sort and carefully handle specific seed products for customers. The established the business, and with it, a solid reputation for high quality and accuracy.

“It must have been a daunting task,” said John Spangler. “But, they told the stories of being focused on making this business grow.” And they were not alone. Spangler notes that Wisconsin has a rich history of dedicated seed professionals.  “University of Wisconsin had a lot to do with the early success of these many seed companies. The Wisconsin Experiment Station was very cutting-edge for its time. Also, the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association laid a strong foundation for family farms to start with some sort of seed business.”

Commercial seed production advanced thanks to the contributions of many, Spangler said. As the 1930’s arrived, the science of hybridization was introduced and the Spangler family was ready to embrace the changes that would fuel our nation’s ability to be a world leader in corn production. “This was in a time when hybridization was a very new field of study. Not only were they working in developing a new science, they were marketing a net new product to their customers, asking them to pay for seed rather than saving seed from the previous fall’s crop to plant in the spring.”

Once again, planning, precision and hard work spurred their growth and sustained the company and customers alike. Spangler Seed Company grew and with a University of Wisconsin agronomy degree in hand, and after 10 months active duty in the military, John came home to go to work full time in the seed business.

“When I became involved in the 1961, we started getting into private varieties, beyond the Wisconsin Certified varieties, and we progressed from there,” he said.  Their progress meant reaching out beyond the immediate Jefferson area. “Our reach soon advanced to having customers and dealers across a 100 mile radius, which at that time, was a pretty big spread for a family operation. We worked directly with our customers. It meant a great deal of working together, learning together and educating. Our customers were loyal; many from small farms of say 80-150 acres and dairies of say 30-50 cows. We helped them find hybrids that performed well in their management systems and on those farms. Then, they had a good, reliable, consistent crop to sell, feed their stock and their families, send their kids to school or make improvements on the farm. Their successful crops helped sustain them and their families and in turn, our seed company was able to continue to grow and invest in the next hybrid.”

Another change came when Spangler Seed introduced soybean seed. “Many of these producers had never even seen a soybean. Soybeans were something new, and we were fortunate enough to help introduce them to a new crop in the rotation.” And as the years progressed, and the company has grown, now, beyond hybrid corn seed for grain and silage, the company offers soybean varieties, and hybrid and conventional alfalfa seed.

Spangler noted that at one time, there were many competitor seed companies across the state. “Prominent names included the Jacques family, Blaney, Trelay, and Jungs, all were good colleagues and contributors to our state’s seed tradition.” At one point, during the 1940’s, Spangler said there were some 250 seed corn companies in Wisconsin alone. Today, there are far fewer locally owned companies. “We’ve had many Wisconsin seed companies celebrating 100 years, but they are getting fewer and farther between.”

“We have grown to meet the need of our customers. Their farms have changed – in size, with the management systems used, equipment, etc. Wisconsin is a varied state. For example, corn maturities range from 80-day to 110 day hybrids. Our reach now extends to serve our customers across the entire state and through all those options.” He added, “Many changes in the seed industry itself have posed some significant hurdles along the way. Meantime, seed traits and technologies have come into play, patents, licensing, etc. all add layers of challenge to producing seed.”

From a business standpoint, Spangler says they are just like their farmer customers, responding to changes in the weather, markets, etc. In 2007, the company joined AgVenture, Inc., the nation’s largest network of independently owned and operated regional seed companies. Spangler says, “We have two things going for us – we have the strength of AgVenture on the retailing side and we are still a wholesale production company – independently owned and operated. “

For over a half a century, John Spangler has offered leadership and guidance to a family business dedicated to producing high quality seed products for Wisconsin. “We’ve seen relationships change through the generations of customers; watching them grow, being there with the right seed products on time, of the best quality, and all the components that go into making them successful and maintaining the trust. As I look back, it’s still about the integrity of product and people that we can provide.”

How many lives has the Spangler family touched? How many bushels have been produced and sold thanks to their ingenuity and innovation spanning a century of Wisconsin history? John Spangler answers, “That’s truly daunting to consider. It would be a large number. Looking back this Thanksgiving, I’m just thankful – it is a legacy – a strong tradition of producing and selling seed to Wisconsin farmers. I am thankful to my family members past and present, including my wife, Elizabeth, my son Jeff who is now VP of Spangler seed and to our other family members including my son Steven of Eldorado Hills, California, Rick in Raleigh North Carolina and daughter Kristen who passed away from breast cancer four years ago. They each have contributed to keeping this business vibrant.”

Ever considerate, John Spangler concludes, “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to our customers and to our industry, with a wish to continue for the next generations to come.”

November 5, 2013

KENTLAND, IN (November 4, 2013) – AgVenture D&M, the independently owned and operated regional seed company based in Kentland, Indiana has expanded its reach in central Kentucky. They have hired Brandon Druen of Bowling Green to serve area farmers, providing them access to AgVenture® brand seed products and year-round professional support.

AgVenture D&M Sales Manager, Brian Maxwell said, “Brandon is a great addition to our team. He is a dedicated professional who cares about his customers. He understands the business behind profitability, risk, and sound management, and he is committed to working hard for his customers. We are pleased to welcome him to our team.”

For the past five years, Druen has worked in the insurance field. Prior to that, he gained experience in sales and marketing in the tobacco industry.
“AgVenture is a company that truly knows and cares about its customers and their profitability,” said Druen. “I am proud to be associated with a company with an exceptional reputation for maintaining the highest standards for excellence in seed products, performance, and in providing the year-round support to make the most out of every seed and on every acre.”

He added, “I feel like I’ve joined a family. This company is sincere and genuine. I have an incredible network of team members at my fingertips to help assure that I can provide the best answers and exceptional results for each of my customers.”

“AgVenture D&M provides customers with seed products specifically adapted to perform in central Kentucky soils and growing environments,” Druen said. He cited the company’s Maximum Profit System™ (MPS) an intensive, systems-based approach to dramatically increasing yield, lowering cost per bushel and improving overall profitability. “MPS helps our customers put these high quality seed genetics to work. In implementing the tools and techniques of MPS starting now, in planning and selecting seed, then at planting, and throughout the entire growing season, our customers are reaching new highs in yield goals. I look forward to putting AgVenture products and programs to work in our area.”

Druen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communications from Lindsey Wilson College. Druen and his wife, Jenni, reside at Bowling Green, Kentucky.

 

November 4, 2013

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, November 2013

High yielding corn removes a great deal of nitrogen (N) from a field. While it is tempting to keep field work momentum going, applying anhydrous ammonia and urea before soils are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can be costly. Cool soils slow down the natural process of soil bacteria converting ammonium in nitrogen fertilizers to nitrates. Nitrates can slip away past the crop’s rooting zone and into groundwater, posing both a financial loss and a potential water quality problem.  AgVenture suggests:

  • Consider using N Serve slows down the conversion and may help protect your nitrogen investment
  • Consider applying a portion of your N needs this fall as NH3, and saving the remaining needed N application for spring/summer as a weed & feed and/or side dress application.

Each of these practices helps assure appropriate N levels are available at the key times your corn crop needs it, ultimately enhancing the crop’s ability to maximize yield and your ability to maximize profitability.

 

October 30, 2013

October 30, 2013, Submitted by Robert Corzatt of Harvest-Max Partners

As fall harvest winds down, it’s a great time to take care of the most fundamental soil amendment that is critical to next year’s cropping plan success. A lot of growers miss the opportunity to get the most “bang” for their fertilizer, herbicide and seed $$$ next year by letting their soil PH’s slip by under the radar screen. It does little good to spend big $$$$ on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, while letting soil PH’s go unadjusted to proper ranges.  If PH’s are low, you could be losing 50% of your fertilizer efficiency on the $$$$ you are spending!! With fertilizer costs being a major part of the cost of producing a crop, that has to be taken seriously to get the highest ROI on the $$ we are spending.

Some of the benefits of adjusting PH to proper levels:

  • Improving the physical, biological properties of the soil.
  • Enhances the effectiveness of some herbicides.
  • Supplies calcium, magnesium and other minerals to the soil.
  • Better nitrogen fixation by legume crops.
  • Increases nutrient availability to plants.

Think about how all of this plays together. If we can’t get all of the good out of the fertilizer (N,P, K and micros) that we are putting out and spending big $$$ on, how do we expect to get full return on our herbicide as well as seed $$$$$ spent??

So how do we go about determining “if” we need to adjust PH? Start with a good soil test that was taken in the last 3 to 4 years. We like grid soil sampling on 2.5 or 4.4 acre grids with several plugs taken to form the sample per grid. If your field hasn’t been sampled in that time frame have someone sample it this fall. Don’t guess. There can be huge variability across a field. You don’t want to add Ag Lime to an area that has a PH level above 7.0 or calcium base saturation level of 75%. There is an area a lot of folks also miss. Make sure that you have included on your tests the base saturation level for calcium, magnesium, potassium and hydrogen and in some area’s - soluble salts. If you don’t have those on your tests today ask for them in the future. Most testing companies don’t run them on their reports but they are available. This is some of the most important information on the soil test.

When looking at liming sources make sure to get a good quality sample of the lime to have it tested. There are a lot of sources of lime from Ag Lime from a quarry to water treatment plants and all things in between. You want to know what you are spreading so have it tested. The last thing you want to do is spread a lime source that is high in magnesium on a soil that is already high in magnesium. If you are using water treatment lime, for example, have it tested by a quality lab to determine if there are any other things in it that are harmful to the soil. The other need for testing is to make sure you know what the ECCE or CCE values are to make a proper recommendation of how much lime to spread on the low testing area’s in your fields.

Once you have your soil test and a good lime source test then you can make a proper recommendation on “if” you need to adjust PH and how much lime you might need to spread. Again, most crops like corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa like to be in a general PH range of 6.4 to 6.8.  Anything below that range needs to be adjusted. If you are unsure with what you are dealing with, seek help! There are a lot of folks with good software programs that write variable rate prescriptions to take care of low testing spots within a field.  For years, some growers took the approach of spreading 2 tons of Ag Lime every so many years whether they needed it or not, while others didn’t worry about spreading anything. We have seen all kinds of scenarios over the years, from fields that are really low from no PH adjustments to high from just spreading because it was the way dad or grandpa did it.

In closing, PH is the most important soil amendment. It is basic and fundamental to row crop production in so many ways but probably the most ignored by a lot of producers. It needs to be monitored and watched with care because if it’s too high it is a problem but left too low it’s a huge problem and you are leaving money on the table! If resources are limited, I would rather see a grower spend money to adjust PH than spend it on P and K for a year. I see growers spend $20 to $30/ac all the time on “snake” oil or “spoof” juice that promises a 10 or 15 bushel gain in corn or 5 bushel gain in soybeans. More often than not, they don’t work. Those same growers that spend money on the “quickfix”, won’t spend those same dollars on adjusting PH when it’s proven that it does work in so many ways!  Think about it and give it some thought. Have a safe and great fall harvest season.

If you need more information or have questions, please let us know!

October 29, 2013

Congratulations to the Sod Squad for your big win at State level competition!!

Indiana FFA and 4-H State Soil Judging Contest was held this last Saturday, October 26th. 

South Newton School Corporation had 4 teams who qualified and competed in Saturday's event. 

They will now be headed to Oklahoma next May for both the 4-H and FFA divisions.

Participants: 

Front:  Darrin Shedrow, Morgan Winder, Kathyrn Weiss, Ross Kindig, FFA Sponsor Darrell Allen

Middle:  FFA Sponsor Drake Babcock, Cole Burton, Chyenne Deno, Will Fredrickson, Daniel Shedrow, Austin Berenda, Devan Whaley

Back: Elizabeth Garing, Grace Kindig, Kyle Weiss, Hayden Berenda, Patrick Cobb

October 28, 2013

KENTLAND, IN / WASHINGTON, IA (October 28, 2013) – Washington, Iowa native Caleb Miller has joined AgVenture GenetiPro, a Washington-based, locally owned and operated regional seed company. Miller will provide area farmers with year-round support, helping them maximize profitability in their corn, soybean and alfalfa crops.
Miller is familiar to many in the area. Most recently, he managed the Mount Pleasant branch of Community First Credit Union. Prior to that, Miller served as a loan officer at the bank’s Washington branch. Born and raised on the family farm near Washington, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Wartburg College in Business Administration with concentrations in Management and Marketing and a minor in Leadership. While in college, he kept his farming skills sharp by working for a farmer and helping manage staff and operations.

AgVenture GenetiPro General Manager, Tyler Rees said, “We are very pleased to welcome Caleb to our team. His banking and management experience has provided him with valuable financial insights on what it takes to run a profitable business. Already, he has actively been calling on customers across the region, finding them in the field or combine, learning the challenges in their operations and sharing our unique approach to helping maximize profitability on every acre. We’re confident he’ll be a real asset to our customers.”

Miller said, “Our outstanding seed product lineup is uniquely developed for this area’s environmental conditions, soil types and farming practices. Our ability to provide year-round support helps customers advance their goals. I look forward to putting our Maximum Profit System™ (MPS) to work for my customers.” MPS is an intensive, systems-based approach to dramatically increasing yield, lowering cost per bushel and helping growers maximize yield on every acre. “Our GenetiPro team of professional agronomists is dedicated to helping manage the crop for maximum performance.”

He concluded, “I look forward to developing relationships based on trust. Trust is earned by consistently delivering what you say you will. I plan to provide our customers with solid, enduring relationships by maximizing their profitability for years to come.”

Miller and his wife, Emily, reside near Washington.

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.

October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013, Submitted by Robert Corzatt of Harvest-Max Partners  - Photo courtesy of Tony Miller

2013 harvest is well under way and in some areas close to finished.  Hopefully most folks are thinking about feeding 2014’s crops. You begin setting up the planter for next year with the combine this fall. Your cropping plan should involve a good fertility program to go along with whatever tillage program you are using in your operation.

The start of any good fertility program is a very good soil test. We prefer a good grid soil sample but any type of soil sample is better than NO soil sample. We recommend soil sampling every three years to monitor what is going on inside a field boundary. Please make sure to get a high quality soil test that includes all the information needed including buffer Ph. and base saturation information of potassium, magnesium, calcium as well as hydrogen. After reviewing soil tests, the first place to start if needed is to make sure soil Ph. is at an acceptable level.  Soil Ph. needs to be in the 6.5 to 6.8 range. If soil Ph. is below the acceptable range just mentioned, no one is doing your operation any favors by spreading large amounts of P, K or other nutrients “IF” Ph.’s are not at an acceptable level. Soil Ph. levels as well as soil calcium levels are like the “foundation” of your house.  Without a good foundation, the house does not stand well.

There is lots of debate over what acceptable levels of soil phosphorous and potassium need to be or should be. No university or expert seems to have a single answer. As we move forward with higher yields of all crops these need to be continued to be challenged. In my opinion, for profitable crop production a minimum goal should be at least 25ppm of P1 phosphorous and 200ppm on soils with a cation exchange capacity (CEC) of 10 or more. On soils with a CEC of less than 10 you quite possibly need to look at other means of supplying fertility at key times of the year to the growing crop. On soils with CEC’s less than 10 one would also have to question fall fertilizer applications also with the possibility of leaching with heavy rainfall. Remember what we put on this fall/winter needs to be there next summer to feed the crop at key times.

On the Nitrogen side of things - please remember that we should not be applying N when it’s too warm. I am amazed every year when I see NH3 rigs running with 65 degree soil temps. With the cost of N in the last few years being a very large portion of corn crop, I would do everything I could to protect that investment.  We also have to remember that N investment we are making today has to be there and available to the crop next June, July and August when the corn crop is really needing it. So if we apply it when the soil temps are too warm and the soil bacteria convert it to a leachable form, we stand to lose a large portion of that investment and not maximize our ROI by limiting yields. Two things I would also suggest if you are applying fall N.

  1. I would suggest using N Serve to slow down the conversion and protect my N investment. 
  2. I would suggest only applying a portion of your N needs this fall as NH3 and saving the remaining N application for spring/summer as a weed & feed and/or side dress application. Making sure we have N available at the key times your corn crop needs it as to not limit yields.

To summarize things: Fall is a great time to get fertility out of the way and tillage done. Please remember that we are all making large investments that we are wanting/expecting a high ROI on come next fall. For that to happen, we need to do some good planning right now. Make sure you have a good soil test to work that is recent in the last three years. If not, take the time to have one taken. Without a good soil test it’s like shooting ducks in the dark. You can’t hit what you can’t see so you stand to miss your yield targets without one.

In lots of areas of the country, we have good crops for the growing season coming out. Those crops removed nutrients that will need to be replenished for profitable yields next year. Take the time now to do your homework and spend the money needed, where needed to raise a great crop next year.

Have a safe harvest and fall season!

 

 

October 18, 2013

Today in America is a TV series that informs viewers on a variety of topics, trends and relevant issues impacting our nation and the world.

Recently, they featured AgVenture’s ProfiZone, an advanced crop management system that provides farmers with a variety of precision farming tools focused on maximizing their high potential yield areas. 

This segment was filmed on location in South Dakota, at AgVenture’s Regional Seed Company – Scherr’s Seed.

If you would like to learn more about AgVenture’s ProfiZone, please don’t hesitate to contact us at AgVenture@AgVenture.com, or your local Regional Seed Company.

 

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