The Agronomy Avenue - April 2018

Dear Patrons,

With another winter in the books, we are now waiting for our second winter, AKA spring, to be done so that we can turn over some fresh soil and get these winter blues away. With that being said, I want to touch on a couple of key things about the upcoming planting season.

The first being, with a later season cool temperatures paired with heavy snowfalls, you may want to think about using a starter fertilizer as this could be a good time to use it, or at least throw down some test strips. Starter fertilizer can be tricky for the simple fact that some years you will see a great response, and other years, little to no response. For example, you will see even emergence of the corn, especially in cool/wet springs. In other years, we could get a stretch of nice days with good heat, to warm the soil. This could lead you to not notice much of a difference on your yield monitor. A couple of things to look for when selecting your starter is the salt content, the analysis, and the formulation. With high salt content in the starter, it can be detrimental to your germination if you put the starter directly on the seed, especially in sandy soils on hill tops compared to the coarser soils in the low spots. Another good tip for picking a starter is if you want a polyphosphate or orthophosphate, a lot of the specialty starters are a combination of the two. They are mixed either 50-50 or 70-30, both are pretty common now days. Polyphosphate fertilizers have to break down to the orthophosphate form, and this conversion takes time. A slow conversion in soils with a cool wet spring can take a toll on the uptake and yield of the corn plant. If you are interested in starter or just have some questions, we have multiple brands and formulations that I would be happy to help you with.

With the potential of a later spring, we will be flirting with the Dicamba application deadline. We have been told that they may extend the cutoff date due to later planting dates. However, I would not recommend counting on that, so make sure you have a backup plan in place. Especially with some of the new regulations, you do not want to wait and then have weeds that are too tall to go after with conventional spray methods. With that being said, if you are planning on spraying Dicamba, we will be asking to see a copy of your Dicamba training certificate before you can receive the product. With the regulations being closely monitored, we, as a cooperative, want to make sure that everyone is using the product responsibly and practicing proper application. If you have not been to a class to receive a certificate, you can find a list of classes on the Minnesota Crop Production Retailers website, or call and I can help you find a class nearby.

In closing, we are hoping for another productive and safe spring. We will do our best to meet the needs just as we try to do every year. If you have any questions or concerns, stop in or give me a call. Thank you for the continued business, we always appreciate it.

Brooks Torke
Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team: Reed Raddatz


The Agronomy Avenue - December 2016

We want to start by saying “Thank You” for your business this past year.  Overall we had a good year with probably one of the best corn crops we have seen in this area and a very good soybean year.  As you look ahead to next year, keep in mind that we have had two good corn crops in a row.  Make sure you maintain the nutrient levels in your fields.  Nutrient levels in your field are just like a bank account, you can’t draw out more than you deposit.  It is a good idea to keep the bases loaded for these years that bless us with exceptional yields.

Last year at this time we talked a little about a weed that has been described as “Public Enemy No. 1”, Palmer amararanth.  Apparently this weed continues to invade the corn belt and has started to work closer and closer to us.  This particular weed is a member of the pigweed family, of which waterhemp is also a member.  This particular weed, a native of the Southeastern US, is very prolific and can produce up to 500,000 seeds per plant.  Agronomists warn that vigilance is important in keeping this weed out.  In fact, experts suggest that the female plants be removed from the field burned, composted or buried to destroy the seeds.  Plus, keeping a sharp eye on the fields to make sure that there were no seeds missed.  Effort now can avoid big problems down the road.  There have been reports that some of this weed is showing up in CRP plantings, make sure you use high quality seed if you are doing any seeding.    If you have any questions, please contact us and discuss prevention and or control measures to avoid a future problem.

As a reminder, keep in mind our Equity Loyalty Program for 2017.  Our member-customers that have taken advantage of this program the last several years have been extremely happy with the results.  You can contact either the agronomy or grain department for details or to sign up.  Either Brooks or Jory can explain the program and sign you up.

In closing, we would like to thank everyone that supported us this past year.  You are the reason we have been here for more than 100 years and look forward to serving you for many years into the future. 


Brooks Torke
Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team: Jared Bakken & Reid Raddatz


The Agronomy Avenue - September 2016

Well it’s that time of year again... the Wood Lake Fair has come to an end and that means harvest is right around the corner. As everyone starts to pull out their equipment to get ready to ramp up for the fall, be watchful of traffic with the detour running through town. Everyone seems to be in a hurry and doesn’t always slow down for large vehicles.

A couple things I have seen this past summer is that we seemed to have been able to control the waterhemp a lot better this year than in years past, especially since it was another perfect year for it again. The control seemed to be a combination of application timing, mixing multiple modes of action, and also having a pre-emergence out there to give the crop a head start. Although in middle to late August we started seeing some waterhemp and ragweed popping through the canopy, but it is a lot less than last year. With that being said, in the soybeans I have seen some fields with white mold due to the cool, cloudy, wet and humid weather at flowering. This is something to keep in mind going into next year. If you know you have a problem, a good strategy to help prevent the spread of white mold in soybeans is fungicide at R1 up to R3 and trying to leave the problem fields for last. In the corn fields, I have noticed Goss’s Wilt, which is typically brought on by strong winds and/or hail.  The management of Goss’s Wilt is primarily semi-controllable by product selection, crop rotation, tillage and weed management. I have also been seeing more and more cover crops being put down around the area. I checked out some fields last year that had a combination of rye, radish, triticale and vetch. Looking at the ground last spring it seemed to work great for cover and as a tillage tool. This spring we did a little root dig which showed how mellow the ground was and also showed us roots from the rye 36”+ down in the ground. So if you are thinking about doing some, stop in and I can get you some pricing, and some good quality seed usually within a day’s time.

With fall coming quick, we are getting the machines and equipment ready for a safe successful fall. I’m sure we will see a lot of you while we are out in the fields or around the elevator while you haul the crops to town. If you have any questions or would like any fertilizer pricing, give me or one of the guys a shout. Again thank you for your continued support and have a safe bountiful harvest!

Brooks Torke
Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team:  Jared Bakken, Reed Raddatz