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


The Agronomy Avenue - June 2016

Dear Patrons,

Spring is wrapping up for the most part in our area; the crops are coming up, and the pre-emerge chemicals are down. This spring was a relatively long one with a week of planting followed by a week of rain, but it worked nice to get the moisture back in our soils with the little snow we got this past winter. With summer coming in hot or cold like we experienced a couple weeks ago, there are a few things to think about for the summer.

The first is nitrogen side dressing on your corn; with our side dresser we have the capability to side dress 20”, 22” and 30” rows. Along with doing various row widths, we can go through corn up to 7 feet tall, with upwards of 100# of nitrogen. So, we can feed the corn when it is needs it and produce more bushels to make up for these lower crop prices. If you are interested in trying side dressing by doing some test strips or a whole field, give me a call so I can get you on our list. Switching the bar between row widths is tedious and can take upwards of a full day.

This summer one thing to look out for is hitting the weeds in your fields when they are small. For the people with alfalfa fields, be on the lookout for alfalfa weevils, as they are starting to hatch. If you would like your alfalfa scouted, we can come out and check them for you. Getting the insects out of your alfalfa is usually pretty cheap and as long as we are in there we have a couple foliar products to help out your tonnage. On the topic of insects, there have been reports of black cutworm damage around Southern Minnesota. Some of the factors that increase cut worms in areas would be early weeds in the fields for the moths to lay the eggs as well as higher soybean residue in no till or ridge tillage. The damage may be spotty but keep an eye out for these.

Regarding our 2016 Agronomy/Grain Loyalty Program, we will be getting everyone that qualified signed up this summer or if you’re in the office, contact Jory or I and we will get you the paper to fill out. For those of you that are feeding, this applies to most of your corn as well. Grain that is brought in and put on Grain Bank is currently changed $0.02/bushel to deposit into Grain Bank, and $0.02/month/bushel storage on the balance remaining at the end of each month. If producers qualify for Agronomy/Grain Loyalty Program, they can be reimbursed the $0.02/month/bushel storage each month as long as the producer has not exceeded their total dollars possible to be paid out. The $0.02 upfront is not reimbursable by this Agronomy/Grain Loyalty Program.

In ending, we had a little bit of a surprise a couple weeks ago. I had received a phone call from a number from the United Kingdom. After seeing it I figured it was a telemarketer or some sort of scam. The gentlemen stated in his voicemail that he was an editor for a magazine in the United Kingdom called Farmers Weekly and was traveling to the United States to write an article about our Miller Nitro and side dressing toolbar. When he showed up, I got to talk to him about some of their farming practices along with some of ours. He also got to take a ride in the Miller while spraying some soybeans and check out a local farmer’s planter or ‘drill’ as he called it. He will be sending me a copy of the article which I will try to put in the next newsletter as well as a copy of the magazine to have on display in the office. It was a fun day and to visit with a guy from 4,000 miles away about our little local elevator made it even better.

Hoping everyone has a safe fun summer as we continue with this beautiful weather!

Brooks Torke, Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team:  Jared Bakken, Dennis Gacksetter (Stanley) and Reed Raddatz