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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April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013 - Louis Sutton, AgVenture's Product and Technology Manager

Making the most of the genetics and technologies in your seed starts at planting. AgVenture encourages meticulous attention at planting to achieve optimal populations and uniform stands.

Uniformity is a combination of even emergence and uniform spacing in the row. Inconsistent planting depth, planting too shallow, and residue in the trench next to the seed all negatively impact emergence rates and uniformity.

AgVenture Yield Specialists are committed to supporting your efforts at planting and throughout the year. Make the time to assure your seed has the opportunity to do its best for your profitability this year.

April 11, 2013

KENTLAND, IN (April 11, 2013) – AgVenture of Nebraska (AVN) today announces the hiring of seedsman David Kinnison of Ovid, Colorado as District Sales Manager. Kinnison will provide AgVenture® brand corn, soybean and alfalfa seed along with year-round professional seed consultation to customers across eastern Colorado and the western Nebraska Panhandle.

Kinnison has more than twenty years of experience as a self-employed farmer. For the past eight years, he’s been involved in the seed industry in sales and sales management roles.

AVN Seeds, LLC. Partner Dennis Kenyon said, “We are very pleased to welcome David to our team. He has a great understanding of the farmers, the farms and the growing environment in his area. His focus on making his customers more profitable fits our company and our way of doing business. We are confident in our seed products and their performance in this area. David’s professional support and willing service will be welcomed and valued by his customers.”

Kinnison said, “It’s a real honor and a pleasure for me to be part of AVN. It is a great group that is focused on serving customers with the integrity and trust they deserve. As an independently owned and operated Regional Seed Company, AVN makes it their business to put the customer first every time. As part of the nation’s largest network of independent seed companies, AVN truly has impressive access to the best seed products I’ve seen. They are specifically selected to produce and thrive in our field environments. I look forward to helping area farmers achieve higher yields and more profitability.”

Growth has been a consistent theme for the Minden, Nebraska based business. Kenyon added, “Extending our reach westward into eastern Colorado punctuates our ability to access seed products uniquely adapted to these growing conditions. We work together with our customers – utilizing the best products and practices for them and for their management practices. That has fueled our growth. With our commitment to working directly with our customers, we are able to help them advance yield and profitability on their acres.”

Kinnison and his wife, Sharla, have two children. His daughter, Kim, is pursuing a degree in urban planning in Denver. His son Korry farms in Nebraska.

April 9, 2013

What's happening in the Mississippi Delta?

April 9, 2013 - submitted by Wayne Dulaney, AgVenture Mid-South Yield Specialist

My grower planting his field with great management practices by having uniform spacing.

The maiden voyage of new plot planter to start planting our mini strip.  We do this plot for product advancement and placement to be sure it is appropriate for our soils and locations.


April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013 - by Jeff Shaner, AgVenture Product Team

Day 3 – Planting Perfection

Protect your investment

The pest spectrum of soil-borne diseases and early-season insects waiting to attack your soybean crop is like the tagline for a bad horror movie: "It's alive! It's ravenous!  And it's growing!" 

I once worked for a soybean production facility in the heart of Illinois in the '90s that bagged a million units of seed...and the plant had no treatment system at all.  My how the times have changed!  Pythium is in nearly every field where US crops are grown.  Phytophthora was bad enough, but now we have identified a second strain of PRR in upper Midwest soy fields.  New diseases and new insect pests are being discovered every year. Bottom line: a premium seed treatment package on your soybean seed is a must for crucial stand establishment and protection. 

The AgVenture Security seed treatment package offers a cocktail of fungicidal activity to safely usher your crop from germination through the first few weeks of seedling growth.  Get the seed applied insecticide portion as well and fight off early-season feeding insects that open your crop up to disease infections that come back to haunt you and drag down yields later in the year. 

For the vast majority of US famers, you only get one crop per year.  Why let diseases or insects steal it away from you?  A premium seed treatment package is well worth your investment.

April 5, 2013

April 5, 2013 - by Jeff Shaner, AgVenture Product Team

Day 2 - Planting Perfection

Prioritized planting date for soybeans.  You have 2 goals here:










1. Plant into fit conditions:  You only get one chance to do this right.  Don't stomp your seed into soils that are too cold, too wet, and too unfit to give your seed its best start possible.

2.  Having said that, your planting date for soybeans should be earlier than you may have targeted in the past.  Fit conditions often occur much sooner than when the typical soybean field gets planted.  So why aren't we planting soybeans at this time?  Another crop like corn gets prioritized and the beans are left for a later date because of manpower and equipment limitations.  We do not have a prioritized plan for optimal soybean profitability...and then we complain that soybean yields haven't advanced much. 

In many regions of the country, the best time to plant soybeans is when you are first planting corn.  I've seen customer after customer heed this advice year after year and it pays off for them.  Plants understand the passing of time.  When you hold off planting until later than optimal, soy plants feel the need to push vegetative growth.  When you plant with a prioritized planting date for soy, these plants understand that they have time to get the vegetative growth they need and can concentrate on more productive building nodes and adding flowers.  Prioritized plants are actually shorter than those planted later, yet have more podding potential. 

Worried that if you plant sooner, then your crop may mature too early and miss some late rains?  Adjust your product selection to fit your new plan.  If you would have normally planted a 2.8 and 3.1 for example, perhaps by pushing your planting date up a couple weeks you now need a 3.0 and a 3.3.  Space doesn't allow here for all considerations in selecting a planting date for your area to be outlined, but please understand the concept: in most situations soybeans are currently being planted later then they should be when your target is maximum profit.

April 3, 2013

April 2, 2013 - by Jeff Shaner, AgVenture Product Team

Day 1 - Planting Perfection

Placing your team in a position to start fast and start together is a key to soybean profitability.  Stand uniformity is your goal on 5 key items:

  • Uniformity of depth:  They used to say if you didn't dribble a few seeds on top of the ground then you were planting too deep.  A stand planted to a singular depth and emerging all at once has your best chance to push productivity to a new level.  Too shallow is more common of a springtime crime than too deep and results in stragglers that get bullied throughout the growing season by their more developed siblings. Plan for 1.5 - 2 inches on most soils.
  • Uniformity of spacing:  Soybeans can better overcome gaps in spacing more so than other crops...but why make them do that??  Slow down and plant at a speed that gives you evenly spaced seed placement.
  • Uniformity of soil temperature:  This also relates back to seed depth. Plant too shallow and soils temps vary from seed to seed depending on how firm the seed bed is at that spot, which can impact individual emergence.
  • Uniformity of soil moisture: "Plant to moisture" was the old mantra. Just like soil temperature, soil moisture is less variable a little further down.  Planting to moisture is now just 1 of the 5 considerations for seed placement decisions.
  • Uniformity of seed-to-soil contact:  Moisture imbibition triggers your seed into action.  Plant too shallow, plant without a firm seed bed, plant in to soils that are too wet and not fit, plant with trash from the previous corn crop stuffed in your seed lose.

Have the equipment and the soil conditions you need to get all seeds hoisting their drinks in unison.

Check back for Day 2 of Planting Perfection!! 


March 26, 2013

After starting as a family farmer in Delaware and finishing up a 26-year career as a salesman for Pioneer, Earl Passwaters settled into retirement. The transition proved temporary, though, and when Earl discovered AgVenture, he decided to form his own Regional Seed Company (RSC), East Coast Seeds.

Through the comprehensive, customer-focused AgVenture approach, Earl found something he’d always been missing in his work with Pioneer: the ability to get more involved and develop meaningful relationships with his clients, many whom followed Earl from Pioneer to AgVenture. During this time, Earl had the opportunity to work with the sons and daughters of clients as they were coming back home to the family farm, connecting with them through his love of technology.

Unfortunately, Earl passed away suddenly in 2011, but his belief in the value of education, and its role in staying on top of technology in agriculture, lives on through the Earl H. Passwaters Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship, founded on the continuation of Earl’s philosophy of “paying it forward,” is designated for ag students who plan to return to the farm once they complete their college education.

The deadline for this year's scholarship is April 15th. If you know a deserving student looking to return to the farm, please encourage them to fill out the application below and follow the submission instructions. 

Passwaters Scholarship Application 2013


If, like Earl, you are passionate about supporting our young farmers, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the endowment fund.  Mail your check to:


Jasper Foundation, Inc.

C/O Earl Passwaters Scholarship

PO Box 295

Rensselaer, IN 47978


If you have any questions, please email or visit the AgVenture blog often for more information.


March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013 - If I asked you to name the top two yield-robbing soybean pests in the US, you may be able to accurately answer Soybean Cyst Nematode and Phytophthora Root Rot. Coming up with number three on the list could be more of a challenge, but you would be correct to say Charcoal Rot. 7.1 Million bushels of production are lost annually to this disease that prospers in the presence of conditions that conjure up the words "stress" and "arid". Causal agent is Macrophomina phaseolina, a fungus with over 500 known hosts including corn and grain sorghum. But while most fungi prefer cool and damp conditions, Charcoal Rot likes it hot.

Infection takes place in the earliest growth stages 3 to 4 weeks after planting. The pathogen stays dormant until later reproductive stages when favorable conditions appear. Hot dry weather would be considered "favorable" here (soil temps of 82-95 degrees), and anything that adds stress to the plant increases the severity of the disease. Consider your foes at this point to be compaction, sandy soils, terrace tops, heavy plant populations, insect feeding, weed pressure, SCN, open canopy that allows soil moisture to escape, etc. First visible symptoms are plants that wilt by day, then somewhat recover by night. Soon these plants wilt permanently and leaves begin to yellow. Plant height, root mass and yield all can be knocked by 50% as the affected crop eventually dies. Note that these dead plants will hold on to their leaves and not defoliate. To further investigate Charcoal Rot, cut open a tap root. It will be internally streaked with black or brown discoloration. Up along the stem of the plant black dots called sclerotia form just under the epidermis and in the stem wall.

Charcoal Rot does not respond to fungicide treatments. Basic course of action involves many common sense methods for reducing stress and capturing soil moisture. First of all, check with your AgVenture seed supplier about products that show good resistance. Then use crop rotation as a means of allowing the pathogen to die off naturally. Reduce seed planted populations, irrigate if possible, utilize residue to maintain ground cover and hold soil moisture, reduce soil compaction, minimize tillage, plant in row patterns that produce a comprehensive canopy, knock off insect and weed competition early, reduce SCN populations...all of these can help alleviate the severity of Charcoal Rot by reducing stress and holding soil moisture.

Submitted by AgVenture's Product & Technology Manager Soybean/Alfalfa, Jeff Shaner.

March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 -  AgVenture's newest Regional Seed Company based in Ames, Iowa, held its first AgVenture University educational session.  In attendance, were 35 people from 28 different operations. Guest speakers included Jerry Hartsock of Cutting Edge Consulting and Research on becoming exceptional and also Cory Schurman talked about soil fertility.  If you would be interested in attending one of these educational sessions, please contact us for an event near you!

February 25, 2013

KENTLAND, IN / CLARKSDALE, MS (February 21, 2013) – Clarksdale, Mississippi-based AgVenture Mid-South continues to expand its professional team. They have announced the hiring of Patrick Antici of Clarksdale who will serve northwest Mississippi farmers as their AgVenture Yield Specialist.

AgVenture Mid-South CEO, Terry Dulaney said, “We welcome Pat to AgVenture Mid-South. He is a hard-working, dedicated professional with excellent interpersonal skills. Pat comes to us with a willingness to work together with his customers, to help them maximize profitability on every acre.”

Dulaney continued, “We are committed to providing our customers with top-quality seed products as well as with capable seed professionals to support their crops’ growth and development throughout the year. Our team continues to grow as demand for our products does. Area farmers are actively utilizing the support and expertise our AgVenture Yield Specialists bring directly to their farms and their fields. That has directly helped many of our customers realize distinctive yield advantages and improvement in overall profitability.”

Antici said, “I’m very pleased to be working with the Dulaney family and the entire AgVenture Mid-South team. They have deeply engaged me in the company’s many innovative tools, techniques and training programs designed to support our customers’ ability to get the most out of their seed. This is a comprehensive approach to a total growing system.” He added, “It is great to work with people who are sincerely dedicated to each and every customer. I’m anxious to get to the field – starting at planting, and working with my customers throughout the year.”

Antici, a native of Clarksdale, has a strong background in sales, sales management, communication and graphic design. Pat and his wife, Kyrie, have two daughters, Leah and Laney, and two sons, Brayden and Ryder. They reside in Clarksdale.