Wednesday
Jun192019

The Agronomy Avenue - June 2019

It has been an extremely frustrating spring for you, me and anyone else associated with agriculture.  To date, we have done very little fertilizing and planting in our area.  Hopefully by the time you read this you will have more of your crop planted than you did by the end of May.  Yesterday I attended an insurance meeting where they talked about “prevent planted acres” and what your options are.  I understand that there is no substitute for growing a normal crop, but in order to make the best of a bad situation you need to visit with your crop insurance agent and review any opportunities you may have to salvage some value on the acres that you can’t plant.  Also remember to report your acres to the FSA.

Keep in mind that you have to control the weeds and you should not let the land lay idle for the year without any crop on the land, for the good of the land.  You may want to have some kind of cover crop, depending on when you can get something planted.  I would recommend getting something planted that will help improve the land.  Check with me on cover crop combinations that can be planted through out the summer.  Things to consider are improving soil tilth, soil fertility, haying or grazing after November 1.

As I mentioned earlier, you will have to control the weeds.  For recommendations, as well as spraying, check with me and let us help you.  Also, let us help you do a timely job of taking care of the acres you did get planted with spraying and fertilizer, if you did not get fertilized before you planted.  We are set up to side dress 28% nitrogen with our Miller Side Dress Bar and we do have the high wheeled dry spreader that you can spin on urea with.  Even if you got fertilizer on early, you may want to selectively side dress the acres that have the potential to raise a good crop.  Check with me and we can review your potential possibilities.

We are here to help you raise the Maximum Economical Yield (MEY) on every acre possible.

Brooks Torke
Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team: Reed Raddatz, Ryan Reishus & Paul Sitter

Wednesday
Jun192019

The Agronomy Avenue - April 2019

Dear Patrons,

It is hard to believe that spring is around the corner after experiencing multiple snow storms and reaching record low temps these past two months. One day spring is bound to make its arrival and bring with it warmer weather and sunshine! But along with warmer weather comes the real challenge of spring for us in the Agronomy department and that is all the wet fields this melting snow will leave behind. After all the challenges we had this previous year it is hard to keep a positive outlook on the upcoming year.  I have a couple tips to help you get ready for the 2019 crop season.

First, applying pre-emergence herbicide on your corn and beans. I know I say this year after year, but this past year was the perfect example of putting pre-down on your acres. Last spring, we had a lot of trouble getting into the fields when we needed to, if we could get into them at all. With beans it does not matter if you are planting Dicamba, Liberty or E3 the window is narrow on getting a post on any variety of beans, I like to think of it as more of an insurance. Especially if our weather pattern stays the same as last year, you are going to want something down to give you the residual. We have a couple different options for the bean pre-emergences, which I would be happy to explain to you. The same goes with corn, although you have more options for post-emergence herbicides, they do have restrictions and last spring we hit those restrictions due to weather. Some fields went into fall with no herbicide treatments. That led to some interesting combining conditions. If you are unsure of which route you are going to take on the herbicide aspect of your farm, swing in and we can look at some cost-effective options.

Secondly, high inputs low outputs, which is leading to a lot of stress across the agriculture sector.  With the crop prices low you may be wanting to make cuts in places where you should not be making cuts in your operation. I have heard of people cutting rates in other areas and mining the soil. This could work for a year or two but will end up hurting in the long run. You are better off trying to get better yields on your acreage, and fertilizing it for its potential. This does not mean over apply it, just means knowing what your ground can produce and plan around each field. A couple ways to help with that is soil samples or tissue samples to know what you are lacking or you have an abundance of. We can put plans together to suit your specific farm needs so it can reach its fullest yield potential.

Lastly, this past year was by far one of the worst years, from spring until winter, that I have experienced. I guess winter now starts in early November? Between the late snows in April, to the rainiest summer/fall I have ever seen. I appreciate all the patients everyone had. With the short fall we had I am hoping everyone can be patient with us as we try our hardest to keep everyone moving. If you can call a day or so in advance that will help us plan our days out to be more efficient. Thank you to everyone for your continued support, Have a safe 2019 spring planting season.

Thanks,
Brooks Torke
Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team: Reed Raddatz, Ryan Reishus

Thursday
Apr262018

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.

Thanks,
Brooks Torke
Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team: Reed Raddatz