Some Say It. We Do It.

At AgVenture, we're more than just seed guys — we're go-to guys. While some seed companies claim to provide year-round service and insights, we really do. All season long, we work with farmers to achieve the highest yields possible, applying region-specific practices and technologies. Journey with four farmers across the U.S., as they work with their AgVenture Yield Specialists to reach new heights on their operations.

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February 7, 2016
By Aaron Paus

We survived the holidays just fine, and right now we’re just wheelin’ and dealin’ and trying to reinvent ourselves to survive the new economy.

From a research and discovery standpoint, things aren’t quite laid out yet, but we’re close. We’ve met with Jeremy and we’ve got our seed figured out, but we need to figure out some details going forward. I’m actually on the road right now to Illinois to meet with an AgVenture agronomist, so we’ll have a better idea after that.

Focus on Agronomy

The agronomist always has projects he wants us to dabble in — it’s usually something like a new product or implementation practice. This year, we’re looking at doing some of our own grid sampling, and we bought a self-propelled sprayer. We’ve always had to rely on others for spraying in the past, but now we own one. I want to talk to the agronomist about doing some post-emerge side dressing with the urea format. We’ll also talk about what he likes to see for some timing issues.

It’s not going to happen this year, but I’m envisioning if things go well next year, I’d like to add variable rate spraying to our GreenSeeker program. We could do it on the go as a side dressing, based on what the crop is reading. That’s something I’m kind of excited about, but financial constraints this year just aren’t going to allow it to happen until 2017 at the earliest. For 2016, we’ll focus on remote soil sensing and beta testing six automated pivot controls. With all this, Jeremy is involved with everything from top to bottom.

Preparing for the 2016 Economy

There are some real challenges going forward for ’16. We were blessed that we had a rewarding and successful ’15 — the bank is still shaking its head saying, “I don’t know how you did that, but do it again.” Some of the reason for that is we had some nice marketing that we carried into the year. We also had some favorable rains on our dryland fields. We saw yields that weren’t obscene, but they were still very, very good.

Then we’ve just been careful to every day keep expenses in check, though right now it doesn’t seem that way, with the sprayer and in some other areas. It seems like money’s just coming out, and nothing’s coming in; but we’re trying to start filling our own application needs so we can see long-term savings. It’s a big up-front cost, but we’ll save in the long run.

February 7, 2016
By Jackson Webb

Right now, we’re just getting started after enjoying some time off over the holidays and in January. We’re hitting the ground running, and the guys know when we come back, we’re back wide open.

In 2015, we were a bit below what we like to see; a bit below average. We fared better than some and worse than others. The new farm was less than we had hoped, but we got it pretty much whipped into shape now, so hopefully 2016 will see some changes.

Unpredictable Weather

It was seasonably warm in December — we were at 85 degrees for a lot of it. Our El Niño weather is the exact opposite of what they told us how it was going to be. They said it would be a brutally cold, wet winter, but that hasn’t been the case. It’s been wet, but it’s just now gotten cold.

I don’t think that should affect planting time, because we’re all completely rowed up now and ready to plant. We were able to get lots of work done, and now all we’ve got to do is drop in, though I don’t know what the planting season is going to hold with this weather.

Changes for 2016

The biggest change this year is that we’re going to 30-inch rows. We’re switching from 38s to 30s, mainly to streamline planting. I don’t like a wide row bean, and we saw last year that the twin-row beans did real well. But I think we can do a lot better trying to precision plant this year.

Actually, we’re going to use a lot more prescriptions this year as compared to 2015. Last year we kind of planned our dryland separately, but this year we’re going to do a lot more precision stuff. We’d like to start on some variable rate in our fertilizer applications and some others. One thing we’re sticking with is our liquid P & K program. We had great results with that last year, and we’re going to do it again.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the next week or two and get a bit more hunting in before planting starts.

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.

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 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.

October 6, 2015
By Jackson Webb

Jackson Webb and his AgVenture Yield Specialist, Wayne Dulaney, have farmed together for nearly a decade. To Jackson, Wayne isn’t just a seed salesman — he’s part of the team. Together, they farm high yielding corn and soybeans on Jackson’s 7th generation farm in the Mississippi Delta. See why Jackson continues to work with AgVenture year after year — and how they continue to raise the bar.

 

Some say it. We do it.

September 18, 2015
By Travis Michl

We got harvest underway last week, and we’re getting into our corn. We always try to start the day after Labor Day — come hell or high water — which we did this year. We still have a couple hundred acres to go, but our yields are all over the board. Some is really good, some not so good.

We had water damage this summer and ended up replanting 150 acres of corn and 500 acres of beans. But those crops are looking good now. We plant late-maturing beans here versus everybody else, so they’re still green — not even turning yet. But we’ve had four inches of rain over the last couple of weeks, and that should really help them. It was wet all the way through July, but then we ended up in a pretty good dry spell there in August. It didn’t rain at all, and we don’t irrigate, so we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. And now it starts raining again in September.

But with all the rain, our beans are looking really good. I think we’re going to have a good bean crop. We’ll shell corn for a couple more weeks until beans are ready, then we’ll switch to beans and go back to finishing corn at the end of October.

Working on the Cropping Plan

Colt, my AgVenture Yield Specialist was here today. He stopped by and brought lunch, and we went out and rode the combine. He’s been here a lot lately — the week before harvest and last week a time or two. We’ve been working on the cropping plan for a couple weeks now, and the way I look at it, 2015 is over. We just have to gather it up. Harvest is the start of the 2016 crop year, and everything we do from now on is about next year’s crop.

We’ve had ideas for the varieties we’ll plant next year. Some I planted this year, and I’m keeping an eye on them through harvest. We’ll start looking at how things performed and what worked and what didn’t. So that will help us narrow down the varieties for next year.

2015 Successes

One success this year was definitely flying on the urea at tassle or right at pre-tassle. We flew on another 50 units in the airplane, and we’re pretty certain that between the urea and the fungicide, that brought us an extra 50 bushels. We had some fields that did get it and some that didn’t right beside each other, and there’s a big difference. Yield, moisture, everything. Right down the line.

We’ve also held pretty much everything in check in terms of diseases. There was a lot of northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot in the area, but of course we sprayed fungicide, and we’re not finding too much yet. Not even anthracnose. We’ve been looking, trying to find it. If we did have any anthracnose, we’d be harvesting that first. That’s part of what Colt’s been looking for — looking at the conditions and trying to get a harvest plan. We may not be cut and done, but we sure have been busy.

September 18, 2015
By Jeff Morse

Around the Farm

We’ve just been doing work work, work, work lately. At this point, it’s just the late summer pickup, and we’re cleaning things up before fall starts. Of course we’re also taking care of the cows and getting the combine ready. We’re trying to sell about 40 head of cattle. Eat more beef, because we need the cattle market to go up.

We also finally reshingled and resided the house from the storm from last year. The garage roof needed to be replaced as well, so we did that. So that was a big project, but kind of an odd one.

But our next project on the farm is chopping corn for silage. That’s what we’re shooting for next. We can harvest silage when it’s still green, but that corn will be black layered next week, so we’re ready to go. It’s quite the process; it’s a lot of material you have to go through, but it produces a lot of cow feed. I don’t know how many tons to the acre we’re going to average, but I’ve heard reports of one guy getting 25 tons to the acre of silage. So that’s really good.

Preparing for Harvest

I’m not sure when we’ll get around to harvest, but we’ll probably know better once we start chopping. We’re still really green. We’ve got a lot of guys around us who sprayed one application of fungicide; they’re green in the middle and dying on top and bottom now. But between Denny and my son, they both said we should spray again. This year we sprayed early and then maybe the third week in August. But I’m just looking across my field right now, and we’re totally green.

Overall our corn is looking pretty good here. We did some preliminary yield checks, and it’s scary good. It’s so scary good that I don’t even want to repeat what the guys are telling me — it’ll jinx us for sure. There will still be wet spots and spots that don’t produce as well that’ll bring our yield down, but overall it looks to be really good. But then, there’s a lot of good-looking corn around the whole country.

The beans are also looking good. But beans have to be one of the hardest things ever. I’ve been on beans on different years, and even at harvest time, I’ve thought, “Boy, these beans are going to yield great — they’re 4-foot tall with pods all up and down them.” And combines go out and you see it’s a lie. Then I’ve come to another field and think it’ll put up a miserable yield, and we’ll end up with 52-bushel to the acre. Beans are like that though.

Keeping a Healthy Crop with AgVenture

In our area, we’ve had some neighbors who bought from the competition, and they’ve said, “Oh, we don’t have to spray our fields because ours are disease resistant.” Well, today those fields are totally brown. And you ask them why, and they say their corn’s matured, but one look in their field, and you’ll see Northern Corn Blight, Gray Leaf Spot, Rust — the works. And they’ll say, “Well that happened after we matured.” Yeah, okay, sure. Should have gone with a better product.

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