Federated Co-ops News

  • 2016 Discovery Plot Soybean Yield Results

    Federated 2016 Discovery Plot Soybean Yield Results are here. Federated has eight Discovery Plots located from Albertville, MN to Osceola, WI . This is probably one of the most outstanding years for soybean yields throughout the Federated area. Each Discovery Plot Results has details such as: soil type, tillage program, and planting date. Find a plot or two which maybe similar to your farming operation. At Federated, we take pride in the information we gather from our Discovery Plots, because it is local data, educates our agronomy team on making the right decisions for Federated customers, and will help Federated customers make sound seed purchasing decisions for 2017. As always this information would not be possible if were not for our plot cooperators. Thank you plot cooperators for your time and resources which enables us to share this information with our growers at Federated. For further information on Discovery Plot Results, please contact your nearest Federated Coops Agronomy location and let our agronomy team help you make wise seed purchasing decisions for 2107.

    2016 Soybean Plot Results

  • Spray Weeds This Fall, While They're Still Growing

    "Fall is an excellent time to control weeds," said Craig Peterson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. "It's no secret that biennial and perennial weeds are much easier to control in the fall," he added. Even after a light frost,  quack grass, dandelion,  and Canadian thistle can be effectively controlled because the weeds are "trying to store up for winter," he said, and the chemicals can more easily move into the roots.

    For most any situation, fall weed control "will put you a step ahead next spring," Peterson added, and you will "have a much nicer seed bed for the following crop." Sod fields coming out of production are well-suited for fall weed control, as are no-till fields where the weed pressure can be extra strong in the spring.

    One key to successful fall weed control is to make sure the weeds are healthy at the time of herbicide application. If weeds were cut off during harvest, Peterson recommended, let some leaf surface grow back before spraying for the best results.

    Federated recommends glyphosate or Buccaneer Plus® for fall application," said Peterson. For tough broadleaf plants, adding some 2,4D or Dicamba (such as Detonate®), or both, along with the Buccaneer Plus "will do an excellent job in most cases." (See Buccaneer and Detonate labels.)

    Range Star®, a 2,4D and Dicamba blend (see label) is also recommended for a stronger punch on tough-to-kill broadleaf weeds.

    As harvest proceeds, Peterson offered this reminder: "Pay special attention to problem weed areas and talk to your Federated Agronomist. You may save yourself a few headaches in the next crop."

  • Ogilvie Expansion Boosts Federated's Service Line

    Weather permitting, the fertilizer plant expansion at Federated's Ogilvie location will be completed by mid October, just in time to assist growers with their fall fertilizer needs. The expansion got a bit behind schedule, according to Brian DeVries, Federated's Ogilvie location manager overseeing the expansion, "but we have had lots of action this week."

    Electricians are wiring the new tower and blending office area, millwrights are putting the final parts in place on the tower, and the fertilizer leg is nearly complete. "They have a large crew" at work on the fertilizer plant expansion project, said DeVries. "It's a little overwhelming," he said, "lots of things happening at one time" -- a sign of work nearing  completion.

    The new building and equipment will streamline seed deliveries and liquid fertilizer loading. Overall, the "pretty impressive" expansion at the Ogilvie Ag Center "should make [Federated] more productive when things get really busy," DeVries ventured.

    Federated's Cody Lezer will be heading up the seed warehouse and liquid fertilizer site, and "he is excited for the new challenge," said DeVries.

    Talk to your Federated Agronomist with questions on how these expanded services can benefit your seed and fertilizer needs.

    Ogilvie expansion                              Ogilvie expansion

  • Reminder, Once Again: Soil Sample in the Fall

    It's the same song, second verse: Do soil sampling in the fall to be ready for the next spring.  Don't wait until there's no time to take samples in the spring and thereby miss the opportunity to make informed decisions on crop nutrients and other inputs.Soil sampling bag

    As has been said before, Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, recommends soil sampling any fall when field fertility information is more than three or four years old. He would even soil sample every couple of years -- because better and more current information is "invaluable" when making fertilizer recommendations. "It's really the foundation," he said.

    Whether it's composite sampling, or grid sampling for precision ag, Federated agronomists across the board say, "Just do it." It's a minimal investment in time and money for a major return on crop benefit.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist with any questions about soil sampling, or to schedule them to take samples for you.

  • Fall Fertilization Saves Time

    "Fall is a good time to get P and K down," said Rod Gustafson, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location. "It's one less thing to do in the spring," he said, noting that it's good to get DAP, potash, and sulfur (especially the elemental form) applied in the fall.

    Ogilvie fertilizer tower"Farmers will probably deal with less compaction issues in the fall than in the spring," he said, since the wet fields in springtime offer prime conditions for compaction, but fall applications have the "freezing and thawing over winter that helps break up any compaction issues," Gustafson said.

    For growers who are using Variable Rate Technology (VRT) fall is the best time to leverage the power of their soil sample test results and apply the necessary nutrients before the rush of spring.

    Without in-crop soil samples from earlier in the season (for growers just starting VRT, or those who do not use VRT), it can be a challenge to finish harvest, get soil samples, await test results, and then follow up with fertilizer applications in the fall, but it is possible (dependent upon when the ground freezes).

    Fall fertilization is always beneficial, "whether variable rate or flat spread," said Gustafson. It's also faster to apply fertilizer on fields that haven't yet been worked up.

    Of course, Federated appreciates the opportunity to do custom fertilizer application in the fall because "it helps spread the workload between seasons," said Gustafson. Fertilizer prices are down from where they were at this time last year. "It's a good value for nutrients now."

    Contact your Federated Agronomist with fertilizer questions or to get on the custom application schedule.

  • Harvest Safety is Critical

    "Many factors go into a successful growing season, and now it's time to keep a great crop year going with a safe harvest," said Tom Rausch, Federated's safety director. As summer wraps up and harvest begins, heeding the following reminders will help keep everyone safe.Caution sign

    • Keep harvest equipment -- including combines, trucks, augers, bins, dryers, and legs -- in top condition.
      • The owner's manuals are a good guide for identifying the crucial areas for attention.
      • An untimely breakdown puts things behind schedule, and in the rush that ensues, serious injuries can result. Resist the urge to rush through repairs.
      • Use and replace all guards/shields once any repair or check is completed.
      • Check electrical and gas service for tight, water-free boxes and leak-free connections.
    • Ensure that all equipment operators are trained and/or familiar with the equipment they will be running.
      • Don't assume workers remember how the equipment works. "Always refresh their memories," said Rausch. Every minute of training can be priceless when it comes to saving a life or preventing serious injury. "It only takes a second to change a life if the worker isn't up to speed using equipment," Rausch added.
    • Keep a close eye on children on or around the farm.
      • "Talk to the children about all of the activity that will be taking place [during harvest] and make it clear they are to be aware and stay a safe distance from all of the action unless accompanied by a trustworthy adult," said Rausch.
    • Keep a keen eye on field conditions. Be prepared for the unexpected.
      • The heavy rains in several areas Federated serves have created washouts and unexpected erosion. Navigate fields with care.
    • Beware of fire potential.
      • Fuel the combine when the engine is cool "because fuel vapors can easily ignite on hot engines," Rausch reminded.
      • Keep a suitable fire extinguisher on the combine, accessible from the ground.
      • Frequently blow dirt, chaff, leaves, and all other flammable debris off the machine.
      • Check bearings, shafts, belts, and any moving parts for wrapped plant material. Remove this material only when the machine is turned off and after any possible stored energy is released.
    • Always practice safe bin entry procedures. Always. 

    "It's a lot to think about, but with a little planning and preparation, a safe and successful harvest will indeed put an exclamation point on a great crop year," said Rausch.

    Contact Rausch or your Federated Agronomist with safety questions, and be safe out there.   

  • Seed Ordering: Ready, Set, Go!

    The 2016 harvest is here and it's also time to get going on 2017 seed orders. Planning ahead ensures that the seed that's wanted is the seed that's available. As the yield monitors prove what worked well this year, it's time to decide what to plant next year.corn before harvest

    Duane Droogsma, Federated agronomist at the Rush City location, noted that budgeting is easier when seed decisions are made early. Costs and commodity pricing are always a challenge to gauge, but budgeting is simplified when seed costs are determined up front.

    "Pick out the [hybrids and] varieties that fit your farm," said Droogsma. Seed choice should be based on good field assessments and solid crop information. Talk to your Federated Agronomist to help determine what seed will fit your fields and your crop management practices.

    Early ordering safeguards the right seed availability come spring. Droogsma noted this important early seed order fact: The new Roundup Ready (RR) 2 Xtend® Soybeans will be in limited supply.

    Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, expanded on that fact: "We are already receiving our allocations for the RR 2 Xtend soybeans; the overall quantities of these varieties will be limited, so talk to your Federated Agronomist sooner rather than later." 

    Carlson also noted that the same applies to the Liberty Link® soybeans: "That system works pretty well for weed control as well, so the demand is high." He added that growers should "speak up for those traited varieties . . . they will sell out fairly quickly."

    Both the Liberty and the RR 2 Xtend systems are good for helping control glyphosate-resistant weeds such as giant ragweed, waterhemp, and lambsquarters.

    Talk to your Federated Agronomist to determine what seed is right for your farm. And then get it ordered.

  • Soybean Cyst Nematodes: Defending Against Yield Losses

    The SCN Problem

    Soybean cyst nematodes (SCNs) cause "a lot more damage than people think," said Ron Paulson, Federated agronomist at the Isanti location. Growers have lost billions of dollars in yields across the U.S. "It's been the #1 cause of yield loss in recent years," said Paulson.soybeans in August

    Research indicates yields can be cut by up to 30% if the beans being planted are not resistant to SCNs. The pests were first seen in Minnesota in the late 1970s, and have gradually moved further north, and are now evident throughout Federated's service areas. "A lot of people don't even realize they have SCNs," said Paulson. 

    As with many crop issues, the answer lies in testing. Soil tests can determine whether or not the cysts are in the roots of the plants. The presence of SCNs is often indicated by stunted growth, yellowish color, and smaller plants. SCNs move through the roots and affect the plant's ability to take up nutrients. (And over time, unhealthy plants are susceptible to other diseases.)

    If you think you have an SCN problem, take 10-15 core samples at 6-8 inches deep in an apparent problem area; be sure to get root mass in the sample. Mix the samples together and bring a pint-sized composite to Federated. "We will send it in and see what the cyst count is," Paulson said.

    If SCNs are in the soil, they can stay there -- affecting crops and yields -- for up to nine years! Talk to your Federated Agronomist about defensive varieties you can plant next year (see below).

    The Best Defense Against SCN

    Studying the opposition's line of attack precedes any good football play. Likewise, analyzing the level of resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCNs) is the first step in planning a strong defense against the pests.

    "We need to first determine how bad the problem is," said Heidi Hughes, Federated agronomist at the Isanti location. "After that, we can move forward onto the best variety for our fields," she added.

    Legend soybeansFirst off, according to Hughes, is to choose a seed company. Federated offers soybean varieties from Asgrow, Croplan, Legend, NK, Renk, and new in 2017, Mycogen. About 80% of the seed from these companies contains one or more of the SCN resistant genes.

    Selecting the particular variety that would fit a particular field better can be a bit of a challenge. Every variety is labeled with an easy-to-understand number ranked on a scale of 1 to 9 for SCN resistance: 9 = Best, 5 = Average, and 1 = Worst resistance. Several of the varieties then add a letter or combination of letters and numbers that may seem more complicated -- "but don't fret," said Hughes, "we can make sense of it for you.

    The letters R, MR, and S indicate whether the variety is Susceptible, Moderately Resistant, or Resistant to SCN. An additional number following these letters represents the specific race of SCN that the variety is resistant to, Hughes explained. For example, MR14 is a variety that is moderately resistant to race 14.

    "The best way to figure out what variety and maturity is best for your fields," said Hughes, "is to see your local Federated Agronomist." Discuss the level of resistance you've seen in your fields and then determine your best defense.


    See video
  • Thank You to the 2016 Discovery Plot Cooperators

    Another season of Discovery Plot Tours is history, and 2016's events were a huge success. Thank you to these Discovery Plot cooperators for the major role they play, contributing much time and energy to the plot tours.

    Larry & Sharon Wilhelm

    Craig, Margret & Andre Mold

    Lennemann Farms

    Nathan Nelson

    Paul & Janet Bostrom

    Todd & Robert Steffen

    Doug & Lori Lezer

    Craig, Janet & Neil Gustafson

    Federated also thanks the growers and others who attended one of the eight Discovery Plot Tours last month. We trust that you benefitted from our efforts to provide value-added information with local influence.

    We are grateful for the team effort and look forward to the next growing season!corn plot

    Touring the plots

  • Investing in Soil Samples Pays Off

    "With the price of commodities, and especially the lower price of fertilizer, it's an especially good time to check the soil in the fields," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist.

    "A current soil sample is a reasonable investment of $25-$40," said Carlson, "and with the lowest fertilizer prices we've seen in 10 years on phosphorous and potash, it's a good time to get the best value on fertilizer investments." Soil samples determine where the nutrients are most needed.

    Carlson recommended soil sampling this fall if field fertility information is more than three or four years old. He would even soil sample every couple of years -- because better and more current information is "invaluable" when making fertilizer recommendations. "It's really the foundation," he said.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist with any questions about soil sampling this fall.