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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December 29, 2015
By Jeff Morse

We’ve been following Jeff and Denny over the past few years as they work together to raise yields and plan for future seasons. Jeff’s sons, Josh and Jared, have joined the farm and work alongside their father — and they’re carrying on the AgVenture tradition. Jared even works for AgVenture as a ProfiZone specialist.

All of them rely on Denny to help select the right seed for their fields, manage in-season applications and plan for the upcoming season. They do it year after year because AgVenture is more than a seed company — it’s a complete plan.

See for yourself and hear it in their own words in this video. Some say it. We do it.

December 29, 2015
By Aaron Paus

Over the last few years, we've been following AgVenture grower Aaron Paus and his AYS Jeremy McCroden. Together, they've implemented new practices for variable rate irrigation as well as managed some great crops. 

During the off-season, Aaron and Jeremy are hard at work producing their cropping plan for the next season. They input data into multiple systems and analyze the results, working with a team of experts. Together, they produce a cropping plan based on solid data, yield history, soil types and management practices — and each year they improve their strategies and find new ways to gain yields. 

Watch this video to hear about the process of writing an AgVenture cropping plan from Aaron himself.

Some say it. We do it.

December 16, 2015

CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI/ KENTLAND, INDIANA (December 16, 2015) — Farmers across northeastern Louisiana have gained a new AgVenture Yield Specialist. Dulaney Seed, Inc. of Clarksdale, Mississippi has welcomed Daryl Stapp to their team. Stapp will work directly with customers, providing them with access to locally adapted seed products specifically selected for the northeastern Louisiana’s growing environment. In addition, Stapp will provide customers with high yield strategies that help them maximize profitability on their acres.

Dulaney Seed’s Owner, Terry Dulaney said, “Demand for our products and services continues to grow. As we expand our reach in this important growing region, we see the advantages our customers have using our products and the Maximum Profit System™ (MPS). It’s critical that customers have the right people in place to work directly with them. Combining products, support, and innovative production strategies, our customers are improving yield and profitability.” He added, “Daryl knows this area very well and understands his customers’ needs. We are pleased to have him help us deliver our products and services directly to the field.”

Born and raised on the family farm at Mangham, Louisiana, Stapp raised cotton, soybeans, corn and cattle until the late 90’s. He served in law enforcement for several years before coming back to agriculture where he worked in seed sales, seed research, and agronomy roles.

Stapp said, I am and always have been a farmer at heart. I enjoy working directly with my customers. With years of experience of evaluating plots, and hybrid and variety trials, have the highest degree of confidence in the seed products we offer. They are specifically selected for and suited to our unique Louisiana growing environments.”

“We take a comprehensive approach to helping our customers with every detail of crop planning and management, offering them access to tools and techniques that are proven in this area. Through our MPS program, I look forward to helping my customers dramatically increase yields, lower cost per bushel and improve overall profitability on every acre.”

Stapp and his wife, Janet, and two children live at Lake Village, Arkansas.

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

December 4, 2015

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, December 2015

AgVenture recognizes several important benefits of utilizing starter fertilizers. They can play an important role in optimal stand establishment and development.
Uneven stands have been reported to suffer corn grain yield reductions from six to as much as 23 percent depending on the severity (Nielsen, 2010; Nafziger, et al., 1991). This yield loss could be significantly reduced by starter fertilizer applications in cases where the primary cause of uneven stands is the inability of the young nodal root system to access sufficient soil nutrients.

Starter fertilizers, small amounts of plant nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are placed in close proximity to the seed, usually at planting. Placement can be directly below, to the side, or to the side and below the seed. Growers sometimes consider broadcast or liquid fertilizer application to the soil surface as "starter"; however, these should not be included because nutrient placement is positionally unavailable to early seedling growth. To be a "starter," nutrients must be strategically positioned to enhance early seedling vigor and development.

November 20, 2015

SUTTON, NEBRASKA/KENTLAND, INDIANA (November 20, 2015) — Harvest is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers. It means very long hours in the field, managing logistics, dust, machinery and people. “One thing that often gets neglected is time out for a hot meal, said AgVenture Pinnacle’s Sutton Operations Manager, Jeremy McCroden. “We decided to do something about it!”

Nebraska’s AgVenture Pinnacle team took on that challenge and has delivered more than 1000 meals to farmers’ fields across the state and into northern Kansas. McCroden said, “We wanted to do something special for our customers. And who doesn’t like a hot meal of soup and brisket or pulled pork in the midst of a busy harvest?”

McCroden said the entire team, from the warehouse personnel, to the office staff, to the sales professionals work together to prepare a hot meal. “We load up the truck with tables, chairs and everything you need for a field picnic. When we arrive, the farmers stop the combines and grain trucks where they are and have a meal. It’s very convenient for them.”

AgVenture Pinnacle’s Dennis Kenyon added, “Our customers really seem to appreciate this small gesture. It’s important to them to know we are willing partners in their success all year long.”

McCroden added, “Beyond the meal, we have a chance to visit with each customer directly about how their harvest is progressing, what they are seeing and what challenges or issues they need addressed for the crop year ahead. Being with them in real-time at harvest offers us both important insights about their individual fields and their crops’ performance.”

AgVenture Pinnacle provides customers with access to AgVenture® and VPMaxx® brand seed products, and year-round professional seed support. In addition to the seed offerings, they provided customers with access to first-in-class crop protection and fertilizer products, as well as award-winning precision ag services.

“At the end of the day, it’s about reaching out and making a difference,” he added. “We appreciate our customers and all they do. It has been an excellent experience all the way around.”

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

November 17, 2015
By Travis Michl

I’m doing in-line ripping today. We got done with harvest a week ago this morning, and all in all it went very well. Personally, I was still slightly disappointed, but that’s just how I am. I was told to be very happy with what I have, because my corn was probably 30 bushels better than all my neighbors, and my beans were probably about eight. So overall, I’m pleased with the results.

The bean crop was better this year than our corn. The water was just too much for some of the corn to handle. We had a bunch of 195-bushel corn, but we also had fields that were waterlogged and drowned out with ugly sub-100 bushel corn. It seems like it’s a lot easier to bring an average down than bring it up.

Analyzing the Crop

The beans were probably the best farm average we’ve ever had. We had some precision fertilizer placement trial stuff, and we saw a big difference on the corn — 20- to 30-bushels where we applied the fertilizer. We also had a precision fertilizer placement trial in some beans with the strip till. We picked up a pretty solid five bushels by just putting fertilizer in different spots.

Our fungicide program was also big this year. We flew on some urea at tassle on corn, and with the combination of fungicide and urea, we picked up a solid 20 to 30 bushels. All these things are providing insights for the coming season, and we now have a solid backup plan if we have another wet, saturated year.

Looking Ahead

Hopefully we’ll wrap up our tillage operations in the spring, but we’ll have fall strip till done by Thursday, as well as all our major operations for fall. Then I have some custom ag work lined up, doing custom strip till and putting on anhydrous and phosphate with a strip till bar. People are really noticing what I’m doing with the strip till and fertilizer placement. So I’ve got that going and I’m hoping to develop it a little bit because I really think I could help some people out.

Other than that, I’ve got some friends who have a custom manure business, and when they get done in the spring, they help me farm, and when I get done farming in the fall, I go help them. Just more ways to stay busy and pick up some extra cash on the side.

November 17, 2015
By Aaron Paus

We got harvest wrapped up on the 28th of October, which is very early for us. Usually we finish harvest around the 7th to 10th of November, but we didn’t have any rain delays this year. Normally we’re waiting on dry air and fighting rains, but this year it was impossible to harvest corn fast enough. We were harvesting irrigated corn at 13% moisture, and we certainly lost yields because we were harvesting corn that is too dry.

But overall harvest went well. Some fields came in above expectations, and a couple came up a little short. It was a little disappointing, but overall I’m happy with how things went.

We had a very “generous” spring in terms of rain. It was too much of a good thing, and we experienced pretty significant nitrogen leaking, which caused big swings and differences on the yield stands. To address it, we added more nitrogen to nearly every field in different ways, just determining what would get the best results.

Gauging Success

A lot of what my AYS Jeremy and I worked on this year was repeating what we’ve done before. We continued our work with variable seeding and variable nitrogen rates, fine-tuning where we want to be with those. I also worked with AgVenture’s agronomist on additional seed treatments and regulator products. We haven’t yet run the analysis on those, but we’ll see results in the next few months.

This year we also did a blanket application of fungicide. For the most part, I don’t regret that. I only had two dryland fields that really came up disappointing, but I also harvested some corn that had no fungicide application, and it was an absolute train wreck. It suffered a 50 or 60-bushel loss from what we expected because of stalk quality. Certain varieties are more susceptible to stalk rot, and without laying on the additional fungicide, it really showed through.

The Cropping Plan

For the most part, I know the crop rotation for next year, but we’re a long way from getting the actual crop plan set. That’ll be in the next month or so, but we’re also still waiting on research on the fungicide and seed treatment we did last year. Once we get that done, we’ll have a better idea of where we want to go moving forward.

As for choosing varieties, each year we try to fit one or two new ones in the mix. I have one or two this year that I will pull out, but we’ll also expand on the ones that did really well. From what I can see based on overall yields, it seems like we had good response with the longer-season seed varieties. But just a week being done with harvest, it’s hard to tell.

Remote Soil Probes

Looking to next season, we want to really expand our use of remote soil probes. For the past two years, we’ve been using probes to gauge moisture and nitrogen levels in the soil. We can come in to the office in the morning and look at the data to help schedule irrigation.

Right now, we’re using three high-dollar probes that are very specific. What we want is to use a larger number of smaller, more affordable probes to get more information across our fields versus a great amount of detail on a small area.

We also want to bring in more of the remote pivot controlling to automate our irrigation with data from the probes. The system we use is absolutely fabulous — it’s able to keep the grain in condition and let us harvest at 15% moisture across the board, rather than corn on top being 17% and corn on bottom being 13%. It’s just a matter of being willing to spend the money up front to get the technology.

The overall end goal is to automate all of our water and nitrogen applications, using one network, one system and one computer program. From what the sensors tell us, that determines what starts and stops the pivot — and when to speed up or slow down the pivot as needed. I still haven’t gone full into the variable rate irrigation like I thought I would be at this time, but getting that system in place will help. 

November 17, 2015

Matthew Paul recently joined the AgVenture family, taking over the role of general manager. We sat down with him to talk about his background and what he’s looking forward to most about working with AgVenture.

Hey Matthew, welcome to the team! Before joining AgVenture, what was your career background? 

I worked in a variety of industries starting out on the accounting and corporate finance side of business.  My industry experience included agriculture, ethanol, finance, banking, manufacturing, etc., so I had a pretty broad scope of different industry experience. But ultimately I decided I wanted to go back to ag. I grew up on a farm in Southwest Iowa, and I really enjoyed working in that industry, so I went to John Deere and spent three years working on financial modeling and investment analysis on a variety of projects.

After that I was approached with an opportunity within Pioneer, and for the last five years I’ve held a lot of roles within Pioneer. I was head of finance for Western Business Unit, which was essentially the Missouri river and everything west of that. I then had a chance to come back home to Iowa and work with the PROaccessSM group. Since AgVenture is part of that network, I was able to work with the previous GM, Dave Treinen. on various projects with AgVenture and meet some of the Regional Seed Companies (RSCs). This really gave me a chance to understand AgVenture’s unique model, how they went to market, and how the RSCs operated.

I am very excited about the opportunity to work for AgVenture. I feel like farmers are looking for that trusted resource with the knowledge and service level that AgVenture and RSCs are uniquely positioned to provide, so I was excited to accept the position.

What attracted you most about the AgVenture model? 

AgVenture’s business model is very unique to the seed industry and has proven itself time and again. Commodity prices had a big upswing, and they’ve come down over the last few years. So that puts pressure on not only the acres, but the inputs farmers are using. Quite frankly, I think there’s a lot of advice out there (not good advice) about minimizing input costs and buying cheaper seed, get by without a fungicide, skip a nitrogen application, and survive the crop year, etc.

I think AgVenture is unique in that it looks at those challenges in a totally different way. Now more than ever, it’s important to maximize yield, and when we do that through the right locally advanced and tested products, the right scouting with nitrogen and fungicide applications — and we do all those things at the right times to maximize bushels — that’s what’s going to provide value and profit to the grower.

How do you think AgVenture is uniquely positioned to achieve success in the current seed industry climate? 

I think the Maximum Profit System is the differentiator for AgVenture. There’s a lot that goes into that, but I think the way we go to market with MPS positions us to be a unique voice, a trusted resource, and hopefully someone growers turn to for making those difficult decisions.

What are you most excited for about starting with AgVenture? 

I’m excited to start working with the AVI employees and supporting RSCs and their growers. It’s been fun getting to travel with Chuck and Frank and Scott and starting to form those relationships. I’ve also been out in the Kentland office and will be traveling back again in December for our employee Holiday party.  I think that’s the neat part on the employee side — just getting to know people. And from a business side, I’m excited to support the RSCs. I think it’s critical to travel and see what makes them unique and get a chance to have that conversation at the RSC locations. And if they have questions and concerns, I want to be able to have an open dialogue.

What are some of your early priorities in this role?

I’ve been traveling the country getting to know the RSCs. I was down in Memphis in October for an MPS session, and was just in the Quad Cities for another one. I will continue my travel to other RSCs I have not had a chance to connect with and head to Florida for our owner’s meeting at the beginning of the year. Outside of that, there is a lot of interaction back with DuPont and PROaccessSM on long term business plans and support for AgVenture, as well as working with my team to continue to support the RSCs and establish a clear path forward for success.


My two boys Christian, 7 and Micah, 4, have quickly adapted to the AgVenture brand!

November 9, 2015
By Jeff Morse

Jeff Morse is one of the AgVenture "Some Say It. We Do It." bloggers. He lives outside of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and runs a hoop barn cattle operation along his corn and soybean operation. Jeff is working with his two sons to grow the operation and bring them in as fifth generation farmers. One of Jeff's sons, Jared Morse, now works for AgVenture as a Profizone Tech Rep at AgVenture Western Cornbelt.

Jeff and his two sons, Josh and Jared.

Jeff's hoop barn keeps cattle warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Best of all, it keeps air flowing and reduces odor.

Jeff grows AgVenture silage to use for cow feed and bedding.

The 2015 crop is mostly harvested, and Jeff and his AYS Denny are setting their sights on next season's cropping plan.

November 4, 2015

From AgVenture's Seeds for Success Agronomy Update, November 2015

Whether its soil testing, SCN sampling or evaluating 2015 crop performance as it impacts 2016 seed selection options, your AgVenture Yield Specialist can help you develop a customized cropping plan for your acres. AgVenture provides its customers with comprehensive, year-round support through every phase of planning, planting and management of your operation’s profitability.

Seed Selection Considerations Disease patterns in 2015 were as inconsistent as the weather. AgVenture Product & Technology Manager, Scott Hart said, “Some unusual weather patterns created ideal environments for disease development for even the best prepared producers and their fields. Whether you had spotty incidences of disease or wide-spread occurrences, what we learned this season can help make sound decisions in selecting next year’s hybrids and varieties.”

2015 Corn Disease Pressures

Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) first began appearing in late V10-VT stages and was only at low levels in scattered fields. However weather conditions prompted further, and in some cases, rapid development later in the season. Because it developed more fully late in the season, minimal yield losses were seen in most areas. But because NCLB tends to recur for several years, consider watching resistance selections for the year ahead.

Goss's wilt caused significant yield losses in some areas. Weather patterns favored development of Goss’s wilt. Given its ability to cause infection in subsequent years, growers may consider planting hybrids with high resistance where it was confirmed this year.

Root rots and crown rots ran their course killing plants in late reproductive stages in August for some growers. Again, growing conditions were ideal for fungal disease development. In some fields, the plant stopped developing well before plant maturity, causing ears to become infected with other diseases.

Stalk rots occurred where the accumulation of weather and other disease pressures challenged the crop.

2015 Soybean Disease Pressures

White mold occurred in widespread fields due to wet weather during flowering combined with cool summer temperatures. Research indicates soybean yields are reduced roughly 2-5 bushels per acre for each 10 percent increase in the incidence of the disease.

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) developed due to rainy and cool conditions. SDS resistant varieties performed much better under this year’s high pressures, and seed treatments proved effective in helping manage the disease.

AgVenture offers an outstanding line up of hybrids and varieties with genetic resistance to diseases. But resistance does not mean immunity. Crops with even the best disease ratings can still develop a disease where conditions create high pressure environments. Resistant hybrids and varieties may show milder infection rates than those less resistance. To make the best choice for next year, talk with your AgVenture Yield Specialist. Assessing this year’s diseases can help you make the best choice for 2016.