Planning for early season weed control is a good use of winter's dreary days. Consider these pre-emerge options.
This is the second article in a series of articles on farm planning focuses on crop protection. Creating plan A, B, and even plan C is essential to protecting yields.
Federated Co-ops offers a new and improved CruiserMaxx® base treatment for soybeans, CruiserMaxx APX, for the 2023 growing season.
If you want your fields to be clean, without competition, you have to "start clean and finish clean" -- with properly timed pre-emerge herbicides that put up a barrier to annual weeds.
Get going on pre-season decision making with this first of three articles focused on critical areas of farm planning and crop management.
Year-End Thoughts from Federated’s CEO, Mike McMahon
Looking back at 2022: From Federated's Director of Agronomy, Scott Nelson.
Reflecting on the past year with Federated's Agronomy Sales Manager, Kevin Carlson.
Federated offers financing options from Cooperative Financing Association (CFA), Rabo Agrifinance, and John Deer Financing (JDF). Explore the options that fit your crop management plans.
To pre-pay or not to pre-pay ... that is the question at the end of every year. There are several variables to consider when making your pre-pay decisions as you look toward 2023.
It’s time to look at the yield data and recommendations, look at what products are available, and lay out initial plans for 2023.
Federated wishes Bob Marquette a happy retirement after more than 25 years in agronomy sales with the co-op.
New genetics make for better agronomics. Federated has many seed options for you to choose from for 2023.
The 2022 harvest draws to a close with yields both up and down. Time to analyze your variety choices.
Federated Agronomists gathered valuable data from the Discovery Plots this year. Take a look at the Top 10 performers.
The varieties yielding well in 2022 will be in high demand for 2023, so get seed orders in soon. And get the best price too.
Federated can help with custom fertilizer applications this fall and make next spring less hectic for everyone.
It's not too early to select next year's soybean seed. Early orders will ensure availability. Federated recommends some new and tried-but-true soybean options for 2023.
Discovery Plot soybeans finished coming off the fields last week and the results are noteworthy. Look over the data here.
The crops come off the field … and there go the nutrients! Crop nutrient removal is a big deal. Consider how to make next season more profitable with fall fertilizer applications this year.
Sod and old alfalfa stands, dandelions and broadleaves, and tough grasses call for fall burndown to improve planting conditions and weed control next year.
Soil samples are a predictor of future crop success, and that's why Federated Agronomists recommend them ... over and over again. Here's why.
Sulfur is critical to chlorophyll development and protein creation in most every crop. And while sulfur (AMS) is commonly applied each spring, additional sulfur sources are highly beneficial to plant health and improved yield.
Fall fertilizer is like doing the Hokey Pokey: What you get out is relative to what you put in.
Fall applications of ag lime give soils the time to react and set the stage for spring planting.
It's not too early to think about next year's seeds. The Discovery Plot events showcased new options to consider, including seed with limited production.
Follow these tips and practices to prevent farm accidents during harvest time -- and all year round.
Soybeans with yellowing leaves before maturity may be a sign of potassium deficiency, a preventable problem.
Crop maturity at this point in the season varies by geography. Here's how to predict when it's ready for harvest.
Propane inventories are adequate nationwide, and Federated is working to ensure availability for growers when dryer gas is needed this fall.
Thank you to everyone involved in our Discovery Plot program. The plot tours were a great success last month.
Hay fields await timely applications of fall fertilizer so they can absorb nutrients before going dormant for the winter.
Tar spot is making its way into Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The raised black "tar" spots on corn leaves are troublesome, but treatable with a timely fungicide application.
The side-by-side trials of Enliven™ with YieldBurst™ technology vs. regular adjuvants are proving that the additional energy and plant protection provided by Enliven makes a difference in the field.
The 2022 Federated Discovery Plot Tours are underway this week, beginning yesterday in Osceola and concluding in Isanti on Friday. Be sure to take this chance to gather great seed product information in person, and enjoy a good lunch, too.
Federated’s 2022 Discovery Plot Tours run Mon., Aug. 22, through Fri., Aug. 26, at locations throughout Federated’s service area. Registration opens at 10 a.m. and the program gets underway at 10:30 with presentations by Federated agronomists and industry experts.
“Crop protection products remain in tight supply as we move into 2023,” said John Swanson, Federated’s procurement manager, but Federated continues to “work extremely hard” to ensure that products are available when growers need them.
Though “we haven’t seen insect outbreaks of any significance yet this year,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, “the hot and dry weather is exactly what the spider mites like.”
Coming soon: Federated's annual summer events for growers to get industry updates and learn more about the latest seed and chemistry products. Discovery Plot Tours, Aug. 22-26. Save the date.
Even better than a birds-eye view are the available FieldAlytics™ satellite images of any field in Federated's service areas -- including your fields. See how things are growing.
Fertilizer supply and pricing remain a challenge, and though supply has loosened up from this past winter, there are still many unknowns.
It’s that time of year when field scouting is job #1. Here's what to watch for.
Tissue sampling and analysis is the best crop management tool to determine whether or not additional fertilizer is necessary to maximize yields.
It’s tempting to plant the soybeans, spray for weeds, and hope crop genetics and good weather will bring out the yields. But don’t stop there!
The window for applying fungicides opened last week, but it won't stay open for long. The time to supress white mold is now.
Fertilize alfalfa/hay fields between first and second cuttings, and choose your fertilizer based on what's growing in the field.
Herbicide application timing is critical to effective weed control. Make sure your pre- and post-emerge herbicide applications are done on time.
In this compressed planting season, don’t lose sight of your weed control plan for your soybean fields. Stick with a plan for a pre-emerge herbicide.
Planting is full speed ahead, and adjustable crop plans, clear communication, and good notetaking can make a big difference in how the season progresses.
As planting ramps up quickly in this late spring, you will need to make efficient choices regarding side-dressing urea: either custom application or self-applying with a pull-type spreader.
Just as it’s important to choose the best herbicide for the weeds to be controlled, it’s also important to choose the right surfactant (i.e., type of adjuvant) for the specific situation.
Keeping custom application services on track in the spring is a team effort. Growers can help by calling ahead of time, and by updating or setting up their FieldAlytics™ account with their Federated Agronomist before orders are placed.
When prices are high, improving herbicide effectiveness is critical. Adjuvants such as Array® help keep the expensive crop protection products where they need to be.
Federated's custom application services are moving into high gear, and keeping Federated informed of your field and planting plans will keep things moving forward in this unpredictable spring. Don't wait ...
When crop input costs are high, and commodity prices are rising, using a pre-emerge herbicide to protect a crop’s potential is the best way to reign over ROI.
Federated's new spreading and spraying equipment will hit the corn and soybean fields soon, further improving your co-ops' service and custom application capabilities.
Proper application of liquid fertilizer ensures that seeds are safe from the high concentrations of nutrients the youngs plants will need.
Prices may be high, but Federated has you covered -- and there's other good news, too.
Federated's new Merchant Ag system ties together all three of the co-op's business areas -- agronomy, propane, and retail -- to create a seamless online, biling, and service experience for Federated's growers and other patrons.
Liquid starter fertilizer provides the macronutrients seedlings require. A universal starter additive such as USA500 provides a key micronutrient to give the young plants a great start.
Certification is required for buying, transporting, and applying restricted use pesticides (RUPs). Certifications are good for three years and typically expire on March 1st.
If you are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on your farming business, it’s a good idea to know a lot about it, and that “knowing” should start with your farm’s soil.
The Enlist One® and Enlist Duo® labels have been updated to include supplemental information for proper use.
Post-emerge herbicides on soybeans continue the weed control efforts that pre-emerge herbicides start. Asking the right questions will help determine the best options.
Federated Co-ops offers several options for 2022 crop input financing from CFA, RABO AgriFinance, and JDF.
Plan now for 2022 corn herbicide applications: First pre-emerge, then post-emerge, for effective weed control.
There are few guarantees in farming, but it is possible to wisely invest in crop inputs that lead to better yields and stronger return on investment. Precision, variable rate (VR) fertilizer application is one of those wise choices.
Federated's new FieldAlytics™ precision ag program replaces the dual programs of Surety™ and Sirrus™ for mapping and storing field data in one easily accessible digital space.
This year’s high fertilizer prices increase the challenge of getting the most return on investment on fertilizer applications; soil sampling can help mitigage the challenges.
In an unpredictable supply market, pre-emerge herbicides on soybeans can help protect yield potential by addressing critical factors.
Three fertilizer products likely to have the tightest supply through 2022 include UAN, phosphates, and ammonium sulfate. Several factors come into play this season.
Good records and well-identified resources take top priority for crop planning in conjunction with Federated’s agronomy services.
Federated requires a signed Product Service Policy from every grower before custom spraying begins each year.
Planning a two-pass approach, starting with a good pre-emerge herbicide, will give your 2022 corn crop a fighting chance against the tough weeds that can adversely affect yield potential.
Year-End Thoughts from Federated’s CEO
Getting Smarter as We Work Together
Budgeting in 2022 may face challenges, but there are ways to ensure a good return on your investment.
Encouragement, thanks, and some sound advice for every Federated grower, from Tim Stelter, manager at Federated’s Osceola location.
Planning for the upcoming season is critical, as Kevin Carlson, Federated's agronomy sales manager, describes.
Scott Nelson, Federated's director of agronomy operations, offered his perspectives on Federated’s relationship with its growers as 2021 draws to a close.
It’s hard to put a cap on a 44-year ag career that began with pumping gas at the co-op’s full-service gas station. But that’s what Craig Gustafson will do when he retires from his role as Federated’s Vice President of Agronomy at the end of October, capping off a great run in the agriculture business.
The weather, among other things, added challenges to the 2021 growing season, but yet, “most growers have been pleasantly surprised with their soybean yields,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. Soybean yields are stacking up 60 to 70 bushels per acre, he noted, and Discover Plot yield results are in the works, too – “judged by the combines,” he said.
Weed management for 2022 begins now, with fall burndown applications. Fall is the best time to get a jump on weeds in a variety of situations, according to Ryan Peterson, Federated’s custom application manager at the Osceola location. Consider these applications:
To get the best seed, “I’ll be ordering early for the bulk bins in Ogilvie,” said Cody Lezer, Federated’s seed warehouse manager.
Once the crops are off the fields, soil sampling is easy. “You can run around the fields with your pickup truck or ATV, the fields are smoother, and it goes a lot faster,” said Rod Gustafson, Federate
Propane is ready at Federated. Is your propane tank full?
Mark Grave, Federated’s director of energy, said, “Your [Federated] propane teams have completed the preparations for the upcoming drying season . . . and we recommend filling all dryer tanks well ahead of combined hitting the fields.”
It’s never too early to be reminded about harvest safety. Tom Rausch, Federated’s director of safety, already learned of a grain entrapment in Minnesota on Aug. 31, an accident that could have been avoided with proper safety measures. “No one should enter a bin alone. Take all safety precautions, including harnesses and lines,” he said.
“As corn drying gets closer, your Federated Co-ops supply team is hard at work securing propane for this year’s harvest,” said Mark Grave, Federated’s director of energy.
“Fall is a great time to put your P and K needs down in the fields so it spreads your workload out between fall and spring,” said Ryan Gerth, manager at Federated’s Ogilvie location.
Meet the New Director of Agronomy
Federated Co-ops, Inc. followed through on succession plans with the recent hiring of Scott Nelson as the new director of agronomy.
Don’t miss your chance to engage with your Federated Agronomists and get the latest info on seed products available for 2022. After a year of virtual plot tours, Federated welcomes growers back to the plots in person – this week!
Is it possible to estimate yield? Sure. It’s a pretty simple process, according to Bob Marquette, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location. In essence, “you measure the fields, go pick some ears [around the field], do some counting and do some math . . . and there you go!”
Not unlike the road trip query – “Are we there yet? – growers naturally start asking about corn maturity once the calendar turns to August. With the slew of 90-degree days this summer, growing degree days (GDDs, or GDUs/growing degree units) have been plentiful – though 86 degrees F is the upper limit in the GDU equation because corn development is restricted beyond that temp.
Although it’s too late to manage soybean diseases this year, “now is the time we start seeing symptoms [of disease] develop,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager
Discovery Plot Days are only two weeks away, August 23-27, live and in person, on nearby farms. Note the location and date change on Thursday/Friday from what was previously posted. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. (updated time) for each event.
“Drought conditions have been spotty” around Federated’s service areas, according to Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, but some areas are really hurting for moisture.
“It’s that time of year again. Weeds are hopefully suppressed, beans are closing in the rows, the corn is pollinating, and scouting for bugs is now in full swing,” said Mike Slater, Federated agronomy sales rep at the Isanti location.
Discovery Plot Days are back, at local farms, August 23-27. After last year’s virtual plot tours due to Covid-19, Federated is pleased to invite growers back to the plots to see and hear about the latest corn hybrids, soybean varieties, and current agronomy topics.
Don Lamker joined Federated Co-ops this month as the agronomy sales rep serving the Ogilvie and Rush City locations.
“It’s time to start thinking about 2022 seed needs,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. “2021 has, so far, been a challenging year; mother nature has been hard on most of our territory,” he said.
When you can’t remember where you put your keys, there’s usually a spare set to grab, but there’s no “spare key” when it comes to remembering what you planted, applied, scouted, or observed in your fields.
Weather that’s good for one is not-so-good for the other: Drought conditions prevent aphids (photo) from finding enough nitrogen in the soybeans to support themselves, but the two-spotted spider mites like the hot and dry conditions.
Federated Agronomists consistently and persistently encourage growers to scout their fields. “As we finish scouting for weeds, the pre-emerge herbicides held somewhat ok through the lack of rain,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager. The “little bit of weed escapes” were “not too bad,” but, “continue to watch for weeds” – and persist with post-emerge herbicide applications as needed.
Although the warm and dry growing conditions of 2021 haven’t been conducive to development of white mold (Sclerotinia stem rot), things can change quickly – particularly in fields that had heavy white mold pressure in years past. “The need to address white mold doesn’t go away, even if it goes down,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.
Tissue samples open a window to view the nutritional health of crops. Tissue sampling is a tool that allows you to “dive a little deeper and improve production,” according to Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.
As the growing season progresses, agronomists are putting “geospatial data” to work at field level. Using SST software from Proagrica, Federated Agronomists are pinpointing trouble spots in fields and leveraging field data in increasingly valuable ways.
“Alfalfa is an expensive investment,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location, and “you want to make that investment last for as many years as possible.”
Cleaning your sprayer between every pesticide application protects the integrity of every product put through the sprayer. A clean sprayer also protects your crops.
In the yield-protecting fight against the toughest weeds, Federated recommends Plexus II and Array adjuvants to help improve the performance of post-emerge herbicides. (Read this hot weather-related bulletin, too.)
As more weeds become resistant to herbicides, it’s imperative to start weed control early. Weeds that compete with the crop can quickly cut into yields. Federated’s geography is not immune to some extremely difficult weeds (see video below).
With the long stretch of dry weather that preceded recent rains, scouting fields and monitoring weed growth is critical. In much of Federated’s service areas, the pre-emerge herbicides had not been activated by rain, giving the weeds a head start on growth before the “herbicide barrier” was in place, said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.
With high-yielding crops and a high-price commodity market, biostimulants are getting extra attention, and this year’s new premix makes it even easier to apply biostimulants in situations where a surfactant is being used for water conditioning and/or to reduce drift.
Federated Agronomists work hard to offer you the best agronomic information, in season and out, and sometimes that info comes from partner sources.
It was dry throughout most of Federated’s service area until last week and that made growers wonder about their pre-emerge herbicides as weeds popped up.
“We got moisture now, so the pre-emerge herbicides will be activated,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.
Young corn plants quickly sense the amount of nitrogen (N) available for their nutrient needs and they respond accordingly.
The Sirrus app simplifies field scouting and is easily accessible on a smart phone or computer. As growers get into fields to verify crop emergence, “the Sirrus app is a great tool to keep track of scouting reports,” said Mike Slater, agronomy sales rep at Federated’s Isanti location.
Protecting fertilizer investments is a “hot topic,” according to Rob Johnson of Rosen’s. And, when it comes to impact on yield, protecting nitrogen (N) is at the top of the list.
Split applying nitrogen (N) on corn – some preplant and some sidedress – is a best management practice, “especially on our lighter textured soils,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager. It’s the best agronomic and environmental recommendation Federated can make to help boost corn yields.
While both pre- and post-emerge herbicide applications are best practice, corn fields without a pre-emerge application need an early post-emerge application soon. The earlier the better.
If you’re one of many growers who describe spring planting as “the most exciting time of the year," don’t miss one important “save” in the excitement of loading the planter.
“Please let us know your plans – or changes in plans – as soon as you can, so we can make sure we have the products you need, available when you need them,” said Ryan Gerth, manager at Federated’s Ogilvie location.
The Sirrus app by Proagrica, adopted by Federated a number of years ago, “has been a great tool for Federated Agronomists and customers,” said Mike Slater, agronomy sales rep at Federated’s Isanti location.
Spring is off to a rather early start and time is running out to make crop nutrient plans. It’s important to “make the time to get something in place” – if you don’t already have a plan, said Rod Gustafson, Federated’s agronomy center manager in Albertville.
“Hay has been a very high value crop in recent years,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola lo0cation. A consistent fertilizer plan helps capitalize on the quality and quantity of each crop, which in turn maximizes ROI, and “can help the bottom line of your operation,” Loen said.
Nutrient management doesn’t just apply to corn and soybeans. “It pays to fertilize hay fields,” said Mike Slater, agronomy sales rep at Federated’s Isanti location, “because what goes in is what comes out.”
Cool, wet weather this spring could trigger a soil borne fungus that causes brown stem rot (BSR); the fungus infects soybean plant roots early in the season and then thrives again on dry weather during pod fill in August.
Enlist® herbicide (from Corteva™ Agriscience) was used extensively in Federated’s service areas in 2020 with great success, according to Bob Marquette, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location, and “we are looking forward to using it more in 2021.”
“During tough economic times our natural reaction is to find places we can cut cost,” said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. Nutrients are often considered a go-to option for reducing costs – and there’s good reason to not choose that option.
Your truck, your house, and your crops are insured. How about your seed?
Seed treatment is a simple form of “insurance” against “issues that can arise throughout the growing season,” said Cody Lezer, Federated’s seed warehouse manager at Ogilvie.
They say a good joke is all in the timing. When it comes to applying pre- and post-emerge herbicides on soybeans, it’s no joke that timing is pretty much everything.
In the fight against resistant weeds – especially waterhemp – Noventa™, from BASF, is an effective option for post-emerge weed control on Enlist® soybeans.
In-furrow liquid starters put nutrients next to the seed, promoting germination and seedling health, getting plants off to a faster start. Mike Slater, Federated agronomist at the Isanti location, described the “amazing difference” he’s seen in fields where the liquid starter was being applied, accidentally turned off, and then turned back on during planting. The liquid starter fertilizer made an obvious difference in early plant growth.
Federated offers custom application services for restricted use pesticides and other crop inputs, and if you use those services, you do not need certification to purchase those products and services. But, private pesticide application (PPA) certification is required if you apply your own chemicals, such as atrazine, and insecticides (based on product label requirements).
Liquid starter fertilizers deliver important nutrients to young plants, and USA500™ added to the starter provides an excellent way to deliver zinc and keep applied phosphate available.
In a world of weed resistance, weed control is generally not a one-and-done application. Effective weed management requires both pre- and post-emerge applications of herbicides with multiple modes of action.
If conventional corn is in this year’s crop plan, “start with an excellent pre-emerge herbicide with at least two active ingredients,” said Tim Stelter, Federated’s Osceola location manager. More than two active ingredients is even better.
Can you distinguish the symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) from those of brown stem rot (BSR) on a soybean plant?
Don’t let the recent subzero temps fool you: “Spring is just around the corner,” said Craig Gustafson, Federated’s vice president of agronomy. “Looking at the calendar, we have about 6-8 weeks before spring planting. Are you ready?”
“Remember the importance of balanced crop nutrition,” said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. As crop prices rise, some growers may choose to add extra fertilizer. When fertilizer prices rise, “some may want to cut back on something,” he said.
It’s no surprise when yields diminish due to crop stress and insufficient nutrients. Coupling good nutrients with biostimulants can mitigate stress and help maximize crop productivity by stimulating the natural processes in crops.
Yield Burst™ Technology, from Rosens, Inc., is a proprietary suite of biostimulant actives that can enhance growth and increase yields. Federated had a small introduction to the technology last year, in hand-sprayed plot trials, and found the results promising.
Federated is pleased to offer Enliven™, a new and convenient premixed adjuvant package featuring Yield Burst™ technology (from Rosen’s, Inc.) that improves tank mix performance and supports yield potential. Enliven is the first product to be released with Yield Burst technology.
Spring will be here before you know it, and the deal with seed delivery is pretty simple: Take seed delivery ASAP.
“It’s a good time to reflect on the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. Assess the challenges you might encounter in:
- - weed resistance,
- - weed control, and
- - crop rotation.
Making a plan for fertilizer/herbicide spreading and spraying plan is only half the equation. Sharing your plans with Federated will ensure that things add up this spring.
As another season of weed control nears, it is critical to consider herbicides with multiple sites of action to combat weed resistance. Halex GT® is one option – with three sites of action (SOA) – for “excellent weed control in a Roundup Ready® corn system,” said Tim Stelter, Federated’s Osceola location manager.
To enable delivery of “consistent weed control … while assuring the safe and proper use of crop protection products,” Federated requires growers to annually sign the Product Service Policy (PSP). This document clearly defines the responsibilities growers must accept and the commitment Federated makes to ensure “safe and proper use of crop protection products.”
Coyote™ is a non-restricted herbicide for field, seed, and sweet corn, yellow popcorn, and grain sorghum (milo); it controls more than 50 broadleaf and grass weeds. Craig Peterson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location, highlighted its flexibility as a pre- or post-emerge herbicide and its strong potential for residual weed control. See video below.
Federated Agronomist John Swanson shared an eye-opening story with valuable perspectives on weed resistance:
“Every winter I go to educational meetings put on by the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin. A hot topic for a while now has been “weed resistance.” I have listened to experts from Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri as they discussed weeds with resistance to up to five or six different modes of action. They recommended we try to avoid the situation they are in!
It was a good move when Federated hired Ron Paulson as the Isanti location manager on Dec. 4, 2000, and last month Federated recognized him for 20 years of service. In 2005-2006, under Paulson’s leadership, the old feed mill facility was taken down and replaced with what has become a thriving Country Store. Paulson, a Minnesota Certified Crop Advisor, has earned the respect of Federated customers and staff over two decades of overseeing the Country Store and agronomy operations in Isanti.
Jim Barthel, Federated’s crop nutrient (CN) purchasing manager, will retire at the end of this year after 40+ years serving the Federated farming community where he grew up. “Farming was in my blood,” he said, “and I’m thankful I could work in my home area.”
Year-End Thoughts from Federated’s CEO
Last year, for 2019, the one word that came to mind was “Wow.” That was the result of the crazy weather we all endured during the year. For 2020, even though WOW would work again – or "Covid" would work – the words I would use to describe 2020 are "Stay Safe and Healthy." I know it has been hard on all of us as we try to keep ourselves, family, and friends safe and healthy. My hope is you have been successful with this challenge and you and your family and friends have not been impacted. I am proud of our team at Federated for how we have embraced all the protocols so we can get through this crazy chapter in all our lives and continue to service our patrons while staying safe and healthy. It feels like I have spent more time learning about CDC guidelines than about anything else this year.
Kevin Carlson, Federated's agronomy sales manager put a wrap on 2020 with a short video (below) that quickly covers the bases of a challenging -- but successful -- year of farming. The biggest takeaway: Plan ahead for 2021.
From the Director of Agronomy Operations
Was 2020 a challenging year? Depends. Spring planting was right on time, cooler conditions, but right on time. For the most part we received timely rainfall and a very warm growing season. The summer's long hay and haylage harvest season replenished every dairy/beef farmer’s barn and storage units. And for some, they were able to bank extra feed for the future.
Pre-Plan? Yes, really.
In a year where plans have fallen apart more than they’ve come together, it might seem too soon to pre-plan for the 2021 growing season. But, buying early and making plans ahead of time “helps both farmers and Federated,” said Tim Stelter, manager of the Osceola, WI, Federated location.
Final analysis is complete on the corn and soybeans in Federated’s Discovery Plots, and various seed products performed consistently well across multiple locations; there were repeat winners year over year as well. “These are the products to pay attention to on your farm, said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.
Yields were good to great this year, and while the grain bins are full of rich grain, the soil is depleted of valuable nutrients.
It’s time to replenish the nutrients lost from crop removal.
As growers turn to harvesting corn – with soybean harvest interrupted by early snow – “it’s time to get a little more serious about seed orders,” said Bob Marquette, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location.
According to Craig Peterson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location, here are the best reasons to apply ag lime in the fall:
With soybeans wet from recent snow, propane dryers will be firing up to dry the beans. Corn, however, “is really dry; it is standing well [at this point], but it has been dead a long time,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.
This fall Bayer® received full market approval for their XtendFlex soybeans, paving the way for sale in 2021. XtendFlex® beans are stacked with three traits: Roundup®, Xtend®, and Liberty®.
Federated’s Soybean Discovery Plot harvest was completed just before the early snow. Results are available in the following links:
When you grow up on a dairy farm, agriculture gets in your blood. And then, when you look for a career path, agronomy draws you in. That’s the case for Kelly Meyer, Federated’s new business service [financing] specialist.
“The main thing we offer in the fall is financing options that take advantage of the earliest discounts,” said Kelly Meyer, Federated’s business service specialist. Fall is the “best time … for early purchase discounts … prepaying for spring inputs.”
Fall burndown applications make sense. There’s more time to apply burndown herbicides now than during the “push push” of spring, according to Ryan Peterson, Federated’s custom applicator manager at the Osceola location.
“The selection of corn hybrids we should plant has become more complex as we try to battle weed resistance, insects, diseases, and mother nature,” said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. Swanson maintains that knowing your own priorities is the first step in the process.
Good choices yield good crops, and the first choice is seed.
To start, “pick the herbicide program that’s right for you, and the weed control you need in your fields,” said Cody Lezer, Federated’s seed warehouse manager in Ogilvie. Look at the maturities you need, and the seed and weed-control traits you want.
In 2019, Federated invested in the Sirrus agronomy software to better serve growers. SST, the in-field grower/agronomist interface, has proven its worth since then by enabling Federated Agronomists to deliver agronomic recommendations in real time to growers via the Sirrus app on their iPhones or iPads.
As harvest gets underway, fall fertilizer plans should also take shape because “fall is the best time to apply P and K,” said Craig Peterson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. “It’s pretty important to get [those nutrients] worked into the soil,” he added.
“September is the month to take care of your alfalfa and hay fields,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. “It prepares them for the long harsh winter.”
“Blue Light Specials” may be a thing of the past, but there are still savings to be had when you purchase fall fertilizer soon.
Federated's virtual Discovery Plot tours covered a wide variety of topics, walking you through the fields in real time. The following videos feature:
- - Legend seed partners,
- - Liberty Link GTG27 Soybeans, and
- - Legend Impact Varieties with the Enlist Trait.
Federated's virtual Discovery Plot tours covered a wide variety of topics, walking you through the fields in real time. The following videos feature:
- - Legend Corn - Early Group - 85-95 Day
- - Renk Seed
- - Conventional Corn
MENU FCO Agronomy Sales Team 2017 Discovery Plot Results 2018 Discovery Plot Results 2019 Discovery Plot Results 2020 Discovery Plot Results All News Agronomy News and Events Propane News Community N
Federated's virtual Discovery Plot tours covered a wide variety of topics, walking you through the fields in real time. The following videos feature:
- - Croplan Corn
- - Croplan Soybeans
- - XtendFlex Soybeans from Bayer
- - Dekalb Corn from Bayer
- - NK Corn
- - NK Soybeans
Federated's virtual Discovery Plot tours covered a wide variety of topics, walking you through the fields in real time. The following videos feature crop information unique to the Albertville geography.
- - Albertville Corn Discovery Plots
- - Albertville Soybean Discovery Plots
Minnesota growers who plan to apply fall fertilizer, nitrogen in particular, should take note of the new restrictions that go into effect Sept. 1, 2020. Under the Groundwater Protection Rule (GPR) signed into law by the ag commissioner of Minnesota in 2019, application of nitrogen fertilizer is restricted in certain areas of the state to “minimiz[e] potential sources of nitrate pollution to Minnesota groundwater.”
Two-spotted spider mites spin little webs that act like miniature parachutes, which get caught by the wind and move the spider mites into fertile corn and soybean fields. They are opportunistic insects, and they feed on whatever plants their little parachutes take them to (spider mites are immobile on their own).
Discovery Plot Days in their traditional format will not be part of the summer experience at Federated Co-ops in 2020. Unfortunately, due to Covid19 concerns over the health and safety of Federated staff and you, our customers, it is not possible to gather everyone under the tent or tour the fields.
“We are starting to see higher concentrations of aphids on soybeans,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, and “we are seeing [those concentrations] on seeds that were not treated with insecticide.”
As soybeans reach and surpass the R2 stage, “that’s the end of the label for many herbicides,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager. And thus, if weed control hasn’t worked effectively, growers are out of options.
Seed products with multiple modes of action are quickly becoming the go-to choice for growers in the fight against the toughest weeds: waterhemp and giant ragweed. These seed products are also subject to rapid turnover, “which is great,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, “because they will be improved at every turn.”
As the first crop of alfalfa/hay comes off and growers look toward second crop, it’s time to consider fertilizer (again, if early season fertilizer was applied).
“Fighting white mold takes a season-long, multi-step strategy,” said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. White mold (sclerotinia stem rot) pressure has reached record levels in the last few years, and proactive prevention is the best way to combat it.
“Fungicides are like a vaccine for plants,” said Mike Slater, Federated ag sales rep for the Isanti and Osceola locations. Fungicides keep plants healthy and free of a wide spectrum of diseases – which in turn allows them to put more energy into yield.
Early in the growing season, what you see isn’t always what you get when it comes to plant health. Deficiencies may not be evident but yield loss may have already begun. Tissue sampling/testing is an effective way to determine whether crops have the nutrients needed to yield well.
The success of crop protection applications can often be boiled down to one thing: The cleanliness of the sprayer with which the products were applied. Unusual crop damage, stunted or discolored plants, or no pattern to the crop injury may be indicators of sprayer contamination.
Adjuvants improve herbicide activity and are essential to effective herbicide applications. An effective adjuvant addresses these primary factors:
“If you see something, share something,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager. When it comes to Federated being able to make strong recommendations, get spraying scheduled, and generally supporting growers throughout the growing season, information – clear communication – is the key.
Halex® GT is a proven post-emerge herbicide that controls more than 90 broadleaf weeds and grasses. “It has long-lasting residual so it can be applied early post-emerge, row and go,” said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location.
“We need moisture to get the nitrogen (N) into the ground,” said Ron Paulson, Federated agronomist and ag center manager in Isanti, “and if we have a drier season we need to keep it from volatizing into the air.” Federated recommends Factor®, a urease inhibitor, as the “insurance policy” to ensure N is available for young plants.
Early planting means cooler soils and since it looks like this is an early spring, seed protection is extra important. “The soil temperatures are not ideal [for April planting] but they will quickly get there,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.
The pressure to get into fields is on but don’t forget to communicate your plans and help Federated keep application services on track.
“It makes our job easier if growers have a plan and are organized,” said Kelly Meyer, Federated agronomy sales rep at the Osceola location. Yet “we realize plans change, so all we ask is that you keep us in the loop,” she said, which enables application plans to flex according to need.
“Any good builder knows you have to have a good foundation,” said Tim Stelter, manager at Federated’s Osceola location, “and a good foundation for weed control requires something that is flexible – something that works.”
Clean air and “glacier-tilled” soils make eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin appealing for life and farming, but that winning combination is a loser when it comes to one key macronutrient: sulfur (S). Corn, small grains, and even soybeans need sulfur more today than ever.
Which soybean seed is best? Enlist®, Xtend®, Liberty®? What about controlling weeds – the tough ones, like waterhemp and giant ragweed? What about disease, especially white mold?
“Beat the rush and fill up now,” said Mike Sperbeck, Federated’s bulk petroleum sales and delivery manager. “Prices are historically low, and diesel is cheap to get,” he said.
Pre-emerge weed control is the starting point in today’s world of weed resistance. Federated recommends Palace™ herbicide for pre-emerge through early post-emerge applications on corn.
Palace is a combination of S-Metolachlor (Dual II Magnum®) and mesotrione (Callisto®).
“Being proactive is an extremely good idea right now,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, since we are in “uncharted territory . . . and we can’t predict the future.”
It’s a matter of law. Federated cannot release restricted use pesticides to anyone without their private applicator’s certification in hand. Growers need to have their [certification] card in hand when picking up products from any Federated location.
Clint Gergen of CHS is back by popular demand as the keynote speaker at Federated’s Grower Workshops next week, March 16-20.
“All good weed management programs fundamentally start with early weed control,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager. Early weed control requires “a quality pre-emerge application program, in both corn and soybeans.”
Federated has a “pretty good wheat supply on order, but it is first-come, first served,” said Cody Lezer, Federated’s seed warehouse manager at Ogilvie. “Varieties we sell are Linkert and Bolles.”
With 5% nitrogen (N) and 6% zinc (Z), USA500® universal starter additive is a great complement to starter fertilizer programs, according to Brad Hipsag, sales agronomist at Federated’s Ogilvie location.
In a pandemic year where everyone talks about being/staying safe, the reminder to “be safe” during harvest may seem redundant. But no. Safety is critical to a successful harvest, and if persistent reminders keep everyone safe, it won’t matter how often they’re repeated.
“The early order seed is in the shed now,” said Cody Lezer, Federate'd seed manage at the Ogilvie location. And it’s time to move it out, from Federated to the farms.
XLR-rate™ is one of the go-to starter fertilizers Federated recommends when growers ask about in-furrow liquid fertilizer options, according to Mike Slater, Federated agronomy sales rep serving the Isanti and Osceola locations.
Federated Agronomists say it over and over again: Start with a soil test. In the case of STPs – soil phosphorous levels – what the soil test reveals is vital to yields.
“There’s nothing worse than when one of my [applicators] calls me and says they were spraying and got to the end of field only to find grapevines!” In other words, they discovered sensitive plants that the product being sprayed could kill or damage.
“As we move into the 2020 crop year, we need to put some thought into the management of prevent plant acres,” said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. “The biggest concern we will have is fallow syndrome.”
Come visit Christopher Rix and the team at the Federated Co-ops Pine City Building Center and Farm Supply.
Nutrient management begins now, according to Matt Kurtz, manager at Federated’s Rush City location. “Pre-buying secures input costs [by locking in prices], and ordering now will secure the tons needed at planting,” he said. However, the first step is determining which nutrients to buy.
“It used to be simple to pick soybean varieties,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. “Today we need to be knowledgeable of all the technologies available in the marketplace … because using the right technology on your farm can make a big difference in your disease and weed management options,” he added.
But that’s not what I meant! “Have you ever found yourself saying that?” asked Craig Gustafson, Federated’s director of agronomy operations, admitting he’s done just that. It’s easy to mix things up.
Weed management begins on Day 1 of the new growing season, and if weeds are under control, said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, “everyone sleeps better.”