Federated Co-ops News

  • Corn Grower Workshops Dates Set

    Federated's 2017 Corn Grower Workshops will focus on the theme,Corn Economics and Agronomics. All meetings start at 10 a.m. and conclude with a free lunch. Watch for your invitation in the mail. Plan to attend one of these valuable workshops. 

    RSVP to the Federated location nearest you.

    • Monday, Feb. 20, Osceola
    • Tuesday, Feb. 21, Rush City
    • Wednesday, Feb. 22, Ogilvie
    • Thursday, Feb. 23, Albertville
    • Friday, Feb. 24, Isanti
  • Battleground: Controlling Herbicide Resistant Weeds

    "A weed that never germinates, emerges, and produces seed can never develop resistance to a herbicide," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, "and this is a key point to remember when we talk about the issue of weed resistance in general."

    Two definitions are important to remember.

    • Herbicide control: The mechanism in the plant that the herbicide detrimentally affects so that the plant succumbs to the herbicide.
    • Herbicide resistance: The herbicide no longer works on the mechanism in the plant, and it lives, producing seed for the next generations.

    "This is another key point: Once herbicide resistance is in a population of a weed species in a field, it never leaves. Ever. Especially the pigweeds (amaranths, such as waterhemp)," said Carlson.

    The development of herbicide resistant crops, such as seen in corn and soybeans, has led to a overdependence on herbicides. It has also led to changes in agronomic practices both good and bad.

    Unfortunately, bad practices have led to new problems. For example, using the same herbicide over and over in a cropping system puts pressure on the weeds to overcome the herbicide. Thus, without proper management practices and herbicide stewardship, herbicides exert high selection pressure on weeds. The end result is a shift in weed species, changes in population and density, and the development of herbicide resistance. 

    The challenge in today's crop and weed environment is to think differently, according to Dr. Aaron G. Hagar, a weed expert from the University of Illinois. Hagar's message, Carlson observed, was clear: Growers must think differently about amaranths (waterhemp, Palmer amaranth). Carlson added that giant ragweed should be added to that list as it appears to be glyphosate resistant in some of Federated's service area.

    Without a change in thinking, more weeds will become resistant to herbicides and the cost of weed control will rise. Growers must learn to "use the management tools available today, and use them correctly," said Carlson.

    The next several editions of the Agronomy Update will focus on ways to think differently about weed resistance, and why it matters. Federated's winter grower meetings will also explore this important topic. Talk to your Federated Agronomist about weed resistance -- anytime.

  • Circling Back to Soil-Applied Crop Protection Once Again

    They say history repeats itself, and weed resistance to glyphosate (in particular) is sending growers back to the "old" way of managing weeds with pre-emerge herbicides.

    Two decades ago, well before Round-Up Ready® (RR) corn  or soybeans hit the  market, pre -emerge herbicides ruled the day. With RR seed, it became easy to kill the weeds with glyphosate post -emerge, and the trend moved away from soil-applied herbicides.

    But today, with weed resistance issues, "there's a better chance of winning the battle," said Rod Gustafson, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location, "when we control the weeds before they even get up out of the ground."

    In some cases -- as with water hemp -- pre-emerge control may be everything. "We need to keep [waterhemp] from getting out of the ground," said Gustafson, who recommended layering herbicides, starting with a control layer, a pre-emerge with residual. New weeds, such as Palmer amaranth, are moving into the area, and they also demand pre-emerge control.

    In Federated's Albertville service area, according to Gustafson, many growers start weed control by impregnating dry fertilizer with a pre-emerge herbicide (such as Dual Magnum SI). "We can get a free ride on the fertilizer," said Gustafson, saving a pass through the fields and getting the ever-important multiple modes of action.

    Farmers need to be proactive, not merely reactive, in the battle to control glyphosate resistant weeds. "It will become a bigger deal if farmers ignore it," said Gustafson. "It's not going away."

    In the quest to beat the resistant weeds, new herbicide programs must be used with care. It is predicted that without proper management, weeds could develop resistance in as little as four years to dicamba and 2-4D (as with RR Xtend2® or Enlist E3™ soybeans, for example).

    While there is resistance to post-emerge herbicides, "there is not a lot of resistance to pre-emerge chemistries, yet," said Gustafson, "so pre-emerge is a very good tool that farmers need to use."

    "Be proactive, not reactive," said Gustafson. Talk to your Federated Agronomist to determine your best pre-emerge options for this coming spring.

  • Acuron ® Fights Tough Weeds

    As glyphosate-resistant weeds expand (see article above), many weed control options -- especially for tough broadleaf weeds -- have become less effective. One strong option for controlling giant ragweed, waterhemp, and Palmer amaranth is Acuron®, from Syngenta®. In 2015, the National Agri-Marketing Association named Acuron as product of the year.

    The problem of glyphosate resistance is pushing growers to use more pre-emerge residual herbicides at higher use rates and with more than one mode of action and active ingredient.

    Acuron offers three modes of action and contains four active ingredients: bicyclopyrone, mesotrione, S-metolachlor, and atrazine. It has shown itself to provide broad-spectrum control of 70+ broadleaf weeds and grasses, including the following, in corn.

    • Giant ragweed
    • Common ragweed
    • Palmer amaranth
    • Waterhemp
    • Marestail
    • Cocklebur
    • Morning glory
    • Russian thistle

    Acuron can be applied in a one-pass program at a rate of 2.5-3.0 qt./ac. (actual rate dependent on soil organic matter), from 28 days pre-plant to 12-inch corn. A two-pass option is also effective in combination with other herbicides. For those who cannot use atrazine, Acuron Flexi offers a combination of S-Metolachlor, mesotrione, and bicyclopyrone without the atrazine. This can be applied from 28 days pre-plant to 30-inch corn at a rate of 2-2.25 qt./ac.  View Acuron label.

    Talk to your Federated Agronomist to discuss your particular weed control challenges and how Acuron may fit your needs.

  • It's 2017: Time to Renew PSP

    Federated Co-ops, Inc., requires growers to annually update or renew their Product Service Policy (PSP) before crop protection can be purchased or applied each spring. Craig Gustafson, Federated's eastern division agronomy manager, explained the key reasons why this is required.

    First, change is continuous and the demands of agri-business are increasingly complex. Federated understands these changes and is here to help you -- our growers -- navigate the challenges the changes create.

    Secondly, the Product Service Policy is a communication tool. The PSP allows growers to clearly convey their plans to Federated, which in turn enables the Federated team of agronomists, applicators, and suppliers to provide their best level of performance and service.

    Thirdly, understanding crop protection products and their proper use is extremely important. Knowing more about the product prior to application is the first defense against misapplication.

    The product labels include valuable information, including but not limited to:

    • which weeds are controlled by the product,
    • application rates and timing,
    • soil types and textures in which the product performs best,
    • crop rotation considerations,
    • groundwater and grazing restrictions,
    • required setbacks, and
    • re-entry intervals.

    Additional crop protection product information is available online at this link.  Go to product search and enter the brand name of the product; from the list provided, you can download or view any label, according to Gustafson.

    Fortunately, the PSP has not changed this year (as compared to 2016). "However," said Gustafson, "there are new crop protection products available for 2017 with new label requirements."

    Gustafson added this reminder: Always refer to the product label for all directions. "The label is the law," he said.

    View (and/or download) Federated's 2017 Product Service Policy.

    Members of the Federated agronomy team will be contacting growers throughout January and February to update PSP forms. Your Federated Agronomists are always ready to discuss crop protection options for your farm in 2017.

  • Learning & Success in 2016, Partnering Together in 2017

    It is hard to believe 2016 is coming to a close. I have now been in my role for just over a year and it has been a year of learning. I have met many growers this past year at various events, such as Discovery Plot Days, Customer Appreciation Days, and out on your farms.

    I can't thank everyone enough for your time and patience as I learn your business. I am proud of the progress we have made as partners, and I am confident the partnership can continue to grow together.

    The end of 2016 finds your co-op having a successful year in all three aspects of our operation: agronomy, energy, and retail. On the agronomy side, our spring business was very solid, and our focus on fall fertilizer really helped us finish the year strong; about 40% of our growers took advantage of this fall opportunity. We had very competitive prices, and the feedback I received indicated our service was very good.

    As we move into 2017, we are laser focused on cost, service, and growing our business. We will continue working very hard to earn your trust across all of the co-op's service areas. The more business we have, the more leverage we have with our suppliers. So, if we haven't yet earned all your business and you need a bid on any parts of your business -- from agronomy, to energy, to your retail needs on items such as power equipment, feed, auto repair, or parts -- we are here to serve.

    On behalf of all the Federated associates, thank you for your patronage in 2016. We look forward to our partnership and I look forward to seeing you in 2017.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Mike McMahon  

    CEO, Federated Co-ops, Inc.

  • Crop Input Loans & Federated: Teaming Up to Help Growers

    It's nearly mid-December, and it's time to decide on crop input loans. Keith Steiner, Federated's business relationship specialist, pointed out that loans through CFA, the agriculture financing co-op with which Federated partners, keeps the process close to home.

    When working with CFA, as opposed to a bank or other lending company, said Steiner, "the growers are working with me, a Federated Co-ops employee." There is no third party involved.  Steiner knows Federated's customers and can make the loan process easier. "I process all their loan payments and I can customize how they want their loan used," he said. Plus, everything is done in one place.

    Federated has teamed up with CFA (based in Kansas City, MO) to offer very attractive interest rates on crop input loans for the 2017 growing season. Avoid hassles, save time and money with these benefits of a CFA loan.

    • Experience a very easy application process with loan approvals in 1-2 days.
    • Use the loan for seed, fertilizer, crop protection, and fuel purchases made through Federated Co-ops.
    • Purchase all your seed varieties and brands on one loan.
    • Take advantage of early purchase discounts on seed, fertilizer, crop protection, and fuel.
    • Purchase 2017 crop inputs at a low interest rate with a loan repayment due date of February 2018.
    • Save time with the convenience of a one-stop source - Federated Co-ops, Inc. - for all your input needs. 

    A CFA crop input loan is part of a comprehensive agronomic relationship with Federated that complements a growers' entire operation. "You work with a Federated Co-ops employee on your loan," said Steiner, and Federated works with you in season and out.

    It's time to start thinking about 2017 financing. Get plans in place early this winter. Be ready for spring. Contact Steiner with any crop input loan questions, and discuss your crop input needs with your Federated Agronomist.

  • A Great Year, Thanks to Great Customers and Hardworking Employees

    Another great year as far as yields go! Once again, our growers reported exceptional yields, and while the crop prices are never what we hope for, the extra yield definitely helps close the gap when it comes to profit per acre. 

    I would like to additionally thank all of our customers who took advantage of our Switch to Fallpromotion. Because of the ongoing support of our growers, we were able to reward them with some exceptional pricing. Thanks to all of you for making it a huge success!  We believe this will help take some of the pressure off [Federated] and our customers next spring. Growers will not have to wait to get out and hit the field. When the conditions are right, growers can plant.

    We understand that you, our customers, have choices when it comes to purchasing inputs for your operation and we appreciate the trust you give us. We hope the services we provide are of great value; we strive to live up to our customers' expectations. If you ever feel we are not delivering the service you need, I hope you will contact your nearest Federated location, or me  ( Mike Meelberg) directly. We always want to deliver the highest level of service. We are deeply committed to providing the best customer service and products available.  

    Everyone at Federated Co-ops thanks you for your continued patronage and we hope to keep you as valued customers for years to come.

    I would also take this time to thank our employees for the job they do throughout the year, and especially for the extra effort they put in this fall to make our promotion a success. Employees across the entire company truly make a difference for our customers. Thank you for all that you do, and we hope to continue to build strong relationships with our customers well into the future.

    To all of our customers and employees:

    Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

    Mike Meelberg

    Operations Manager

    Federated Co-ops, Inc.

  • Breaking News: RR 2 Xtend ® Herbicide Label Approved

    The wait is over. The Roundup Ready® (RR) 2 Xtend® soybean system is now ready to go with the recent approval of the XtendiMax™ herbicide label. "We have a federal EPA label now," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, adding that Minnesota's approval was just granted, and Wisconsin's should be soon to follow.

    A news release from Monsanto™ said, "[The] U.S. EPA registered XtendiMax™ herbicide with VaporGrip™ Technology for in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans."  Monsanto further stated:

    "Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate and dicamba . . . XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology will provide a new tool in the fight against weeds. The Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System enables the in-crop use of approved dicamba and glyphosate formulations; the chemistries have different modes of action providing a broad spectrum of weed control.

    "XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology introduces a step-change reduction in volatility potential compared to dicamba formulations currently on the market today, that will help control glyphosate resistant and tough to control weeds in your Roundup  Ready 2 Xtend soybeans."

    Carlson said, "The new label answers the unsettled questions about the Xtend2 soybeans," adding, "If you are interested in trying [RR 2 Xtend soybeans], get your orders in, especially if you have challenging weed control issues." While supplies of the new soybeans appear to be good, "never say never," Carlson stressed.

    RR 2 Xtend soybeans are recommended for fields with glyphosate-resistant waterhemp and giant ragweed, or in reduced till situations, according to Carlson.

    Additional information will soon be available on pricing, parameters, setbacks, buffers, etc. for the new herbicide. "There will be buffers," said Carlson, "tentatively a 110 ft. buffer downwind to a sensitive crop or feature." Stay tuned.

    Be sure to talk to your Federated Agronomist with any questions about the RR 2 Xtend soybean system. And place your orders soon.

  • There's No Harvest Without You

    In the rush of the growing season we often fail to appreciate the many people who contribute to the bountiful harvest each fall. And so, in this season of Thanksgiving, we stop to say "thank you" to you, our growers, and to all of those who work at your side. Thank you for the major role you play in helping to feed the world. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.

    We -- all of the Federated team members -- appreciate the opportunity to serve you, in season and out, and we are grateful for the trust you place in us to provide quality crop inputs and to help you with crop management.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families, from all of us at Federated Co-ops, Inc.