Federated Co-ops News

  • Discovery Plot Days Underway

    Discovery Plot Days began yesterday and continue through this week and next. It's not too late to get in on one of these info-rich tours. Key topics include:plot signs

    • The Do's and Don'ts of the RR 2 Xtend Soybean System
    • Adding Value with a Soil Sample
    • Fall Fertilizer Programs

    All Discovery Plots start at 10 a.m., followed by a steak dinner at noon. RSVP to your Federated Agronomist.

    • Thursday, Aug. 25
      • Rush City - Cramaur Farm
    • Friday, Aug. 26
      • Hinckley - Nathan Nelson Farm
    • Monday, Aug. 29
      • Foley - Lezer Farm
    • Tuesday, Aug. 30
      • Albertville - Lenneman Farm
    • Wednesday, Aug. 31
      • Ogilvie - Steffen Farm
  • Corn Maturity Right on Schedule

    The summer growing season is at its peak and "most of the crop is in the late milk to dough stage" (see photo) if it was planted on time, according to Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist.Corn maturation_ Aug. 20

    In Federated's service areas the corn is right on course, or a little bit early, he indicated, "maybe about a week ahead, so we are doing well to make it [to full maturity] for a normal frost date."

    Depending on where your farm is located, the typical frost dates in east-central Minnesota and western Wisconsin range from Sept. 20-25 - so "we should make it easily before the normal frost date," said Carlson.

    If weather, temperatures, and moisture keep falling into place, "we should have good test weight -- and corn that will dry naturally in the field -- if it matures to black layer before a killing frost," Carlson said (see chart on corn maturity).

    Contact your nearest Federated location to discuss propane and/or drying options, as needed. And as always, talk to your Federated Agronomist about any late-season crop concerns. 

  • Best Bets for Fall Alfalfa Fertilization

    Timing it Right

    Fall is by far the best time to feed alfalfa, according to Cody Lezer, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. Fertilizer applied "after the last harvest will increase the availability of potassium and phosphorous in the soil," said Lezer, and will improve the crop's winter hardiness and stand.

    Plus, those nutrients will give the alfalfa a big boost in the spring. Fall, however, is when growers need to soil sample to determine fertilizer application needs.

    Applying the Right Nutrients

    Federated offers SuperCal SO4, by Gypsoil, to help alfalfa thrive. SuperCal SO4 is a very good source of calcium and sulfur (seeanalysis here). Lezer said, "SuperCal SO4 is a slow-release sulfur source, making it available to the plants for the entire growing season."

    SuperCal SO4 promotes better roots and, a good sulfur level produces forage with more protein and less nitrate (see fact sheet). SuperCal SO4 is available in a pelleted, blendable form for easy one-pass application.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist for soil sampling and alfalfa fertilizer recommendations or assistance.

  • Procuring Propane for Fall Corn Drying

    As the propane markets enter the fall corn drying season a substantial market contango has developed. "A contango market is a situation where the futures price of a commodity, [in this case] propane, is above the current market price," said Mark Grave, Federated's propane operations manager.grain bin

    The drivers for this uptrend in the futures market is based on a number of factors:

    • current propane markets are slightly depressed,
    • propane storage costs are rising,
    • crude futures are slowly increasing, and
    • the end of El Nino weather patterns, as predicted.

    Growers face a challenge for purchasing and contracting for propane with the upward price curve in the propane futures market for October/November. Growers may ask: Will the current price of propane rise to meet the higher futures market? Will the contango unwind as fall progresses? Will lower prices prevail? According to Grave, "Time will tell."

    Grave added, "The propane supply plan is a constantly evolving document. When market conditions such as this present themselves, plans are adjusted on a daily basis."

    Federated is putting additional inventory in place at current market conditions. A portion of replacement gallons are hedged to provide fall pricing stability, while a portion of replacement gallons are left open to provide stability should this uptrend fail to materialize.

    "Federated's goal is to provide steady propane supply through the harvest season at the most stable price possible," Grave said.

    Grave's best advice to growers? Fill all available propane storage now. "That is the best place to start," he said. Then, contract 50% to 75% of expected gallons needed for this fall to provide a safety net should the markets rise to meet the higher futures prices.

    Contact Grave with specific propane questions, and your Federated Agronomist with other related concerns.

  • A New Way to Fight Broadleaf Weeds

    Late July brought much-awaited news: Roundup Ready (RR) 2 Xtend® soybeans cleared the final grain channel approval for food and feed use in the European Union. This means "we have full market approval," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist.waterhemp in soybeans

    As waterhemp, giant ragweed, lambs quarter, and other weeds are not being controlled by glyphosate applications, this approval gives growers a "very attractive solution" for that problem in 2017 and beyond, Carlson said.As waterhemp, giant ragweed, lambs quarter, and other weeds are

    Though the industry awaits EPA approval for over-the-top post spraying of dicamba, "Federated will be selling Xtend soybeans for 2017," said Carlson. The dicamba formulation is still moving through the EPA process, but its producer, Monsanto, believes they'll have a product available in 2017. Consequently, "roughly 20-40% of [Federated's] seed supply will be in the RR 2 Xtend trait," said Carlson.

    Carlson pointed out that these soybeans will be a very good solution for those growers who are struggling right now with late-season broadleaf control (another reason to scout fields throughout the season). However, he also noted that growers who are interested in trying RR 2 Xtend soybeans should call Federated soon. Supply will likely be a challenge, and "we anticipate that seed with this trait will be gone by spring," said Carlson.

    See this link for further information on RR 2 Xtend soybeans -- and be sure to attend one of Federated's upcoming August Discovery Plot Days (see note at left) where this topic will be discussed.

    Federated also has a Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean plot and will hold a tour on Sept. 7. The plot covers a wide range of Federated's geography: "We have soybeans in the field from 0.8 to 2.1 maturity (group 0 to 2.0)," said Carlson. More info to follow later this month.

    And as always, you can talk to your Federated Agronomist to learn more!

  • Alfalfa Seeding: Don't Wait Until Fall

    Late summer is a great time to seed alfalfa, and the window is closing fast. "Next to planting in the dry soil, planting too late is the biggest cause of [alfalfa] seeding failures," said Bob Marquette, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location.

    alfalfa plant"Quite typically in our area," said Marquette, "fall seeding should be done by Aug. 15. It's a game time decision [to plant later than Aug. 15] because of the moisture. That's usually the key."

    While this year has been good moisture-wise, the concern is heat -- and then frost. It's important to evaluate when it will germinate. "Alfalfa needs at least 45 days of good growing conditions to build up adequate carbohydrate reserves," he said, before a killing frost.

    The first thing to do before deciding to plant alfalfa in the late summer is soil testing for potassium, phosphorous, boron, and sulfur. "If your soil test says you are in the proper pH level, you are good to go," said Marquette.

    The optimum pH level is 6.8, and any liming to bring it to the desired level should be done 6 to 24 months before planting alfalfa.

    Advantages and disadvantages of later summer alfalfa seeding:

    • Good to follow summer grain harvest.
    • Fall seeding yields three crops in the first year, as opposed to one with spring seeding.
    • Potential moisture shortage and/or extreme high temperatures can prevent germination.
    • Frost damage from early frost, or if planted too late.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist to discuss your late-summer alfalfa planting plans or concerns.

  • HarvXtra: What is it?

    For either late-summer or spring seeding, Federated recommends HarvXtra™, a reduced-lignin Roundup Ready alfalfa seed, according to Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. HarvXtra is among the results of over three decades work by alfalfa breeders to develop "new technologies that improve forage quality," he said.alfalfa field

    HarvXtra offers benefits that make it an excellent choice.

    • Higher yield potential and forage quality.
    • Longer interval between cuttings without compromising quality, allowing for one less cutting per season, which means:
      • flexibility in case of weather events;
      • fewer wheel tracks, thereby improving stands and persistence potential; and
      • lower harvest costs.

    Loen said, "Research has shown that HarvXtra in three cuttings can out yield the four-cut system by approximately 1 ton/ac., with similar or better quality."

    The question of standability of a reduced-lignin alfalfa comes down to this," according to Loen: "There are different genes in the plant that regulate lignin; the technology determined the correct gene and reduced the production of that particular lignin." One might ask, "Will the HarvXtra lodge?" Loen said, "No worse than the alfalfas in the system currently."

    Growers can choose their cutting schedule based on their desired outcome with HarvXtra.

    • Cutting in the 25-28-day interval increases forage digestibility.
    • Cutting in the acceptably delayed 32-35-day interval improves tonnage while maintaining forage digestibility.

    And because HarvXtra alfalfa includes the Roundup Ready technology, weed pressure can be eliminated.

    Federated will supply two versions of HarvXtra Alfalfa seed in 2017: HVX Driver and HVX Harvaton. Loen said, "They both will have a fall dormancy rating of 4 and winter hardiness rating of 2."

    Additionally, HVX Harvaton will include the wet-soil-disease package to fight against the disease pressure of Aphanomyces root rot (races 1 and 2), similar to Croplan's Rebound® 6.0 alfalfa, while maintaining high quality and tonnage.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist to learn more about HarvXtra alfalfa seed. And remember late-summer alfalfa seeding should be underway now (see article above).

  • RSVP Soon for Discovery Plot Tours

    Discovery Plot Days begin in less than two weeks. RSVP soon to your Federated Agronomist. The following topics will be featured this year.

    Discovery plot tour sign

    • The Do's and Don'ts of the RR 2 Xtend Soybean System
    • Adding Value with a Soil Sample
    • Fall Fertilizer Programs

    All Discovery Plots start at 10 a.m., followed by a steak dinner at noon. 

    • Monday, Aug. 22
      • Osceola - Craig, Janet & Neil Gustafson Farm
    • Tuesday, Aug. 23
      • Isanti - Paul & Janet Bostrom Farm
    • Wednesday, Aug. 24
      • Princeton -  Larry & Sharon Wilhelm Farm
    • Thursday, Aug. 25
      • Rush City - Cramaur Farm
    • Friday, Aug. 26 
      • Hinckley - Nathan Nelson Farm
    • Monday, Aug. 29 
      • Foley - Lezer Farm
    • Tuesday, Aug. 30 
      • Albertville - Lenneman Farm
    • Wednesday, Aug. 31 
      • Ogilvie - Steffen Farm
  • Scout Soybeans Soon, and Later

    It's time to watch for soybean insects. "Don't forget to scout fields for aphids and spider mites in soybeans," said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. "Spider mites are more prevalent when conditions are dry, but before the recent rains, spider mites were being seen," he said.word cloud2

    "Spider mites are really hard to scout for," according to Swanson, so don't hesitate to contact your Federated Agronomist if you think you might have them. If temperatures rise and rain chances diminish, the mites will thrive.  

    "We have not seen a lot of soybean aphids [yet], but across the majority of Federated's territory, aphids can still come in that early August time period, so continue scouting for aphids," Swanson said, noting that scouting along the way should be a given -- but it's not too late to start now.

    "Even though we haven't seen high numbers [of aphids] to this point, we need to remain vigilant and scout for them through mid-August," said Swanson. Aphids gain activity with moisture (they don't like it hot and dry), so they may pick up.

    Scout soon. Scout later. Treat as needed (see article at left). Call your Federated Agronomist with questions.

    These scouting guides from the U of M Extension service also offer helpful information: soybean aphids and spider mites

  • Keep an Eye on Fields to Protect Yields

    "This is a really good time to investigate problems in the fields through analysis," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist. Tissue and soil sampling in the specific problem areas can reveal the exact causes of the problems because the physical symptoms are visible in the growing crop.

    "We can tie together what we are seeing with the tissue [and/or soil samples] to do some really good deciphering of what's taking place," said Carlson. "All fields are not uniform," he added, "and there always seems to be trouble spots." Composite soil sampling, while always helpful, doesn't find the exact reason for trouble spots because "they throw everything in there," said Carlson. It pays to narrow the focus with targeted samples.

    soybeans roots not nodulating

    soybean plant not fixing N










    Study the crop above ground and below ground (see photos above); the roots reveal the health of the plants as well.

    Look at fields now. Take soil samples. Get tissue samples. Take the time to analyze what's happening in specific trouble spots, and talk to your Federated Agronomist about any concerns.