Planting progress is on the minds of the AgFanatics.
In episode #31, the AgFanatics talk with MaxYield Cooperative’s, Karl Setzer, to get his take on the markets and what he’s been witnessing in the northwest part of Iowa. Karl also shares his thoughts on corn planting progress in his area.
Episode #32 features guest host Graham Utter discussing how his own planting progress is coming along, as well as corn and soybean price projection possibilities for the next few years.
The AgriVisor AgFanatics podcast is updated twice weekly and can be found on Itunes or right from the front page at www.agrivisor.com.
Planting is definitely running behind normal in the Corn Belt, but it’s nothing to worry about just yet.
“Just stick to the original plan” when it comes to nutrient management,” says John Grandin, Senior Field Sales Agronomist at GROWMARK, Inc. “If the original plan calls for spring-applied anhydrous ammonia, then stick with spring-applied anhydrous ammonia.”
However, Grandin points out the possibility of burning corn roots or even killing the seedling if application is followed too quickly by planting. “We can manage that by putting the anhydrous ammonia on at an angle to the direction of row planting,” he said. That will help decrease the possibility of free ammonia being trapped in the knife track as a result of wetter soils. “We don’t want to be planting directly on top of the anhydrous knife track for any length of row.”
Everything is right about the 4Rs of nutrient management – the right source, the right rate, the right time, and the right place for applying nutrients in the field.
“It actually drives a farmer to look more at a systems approach to nutrient management rather than just making an application and moving to the next step,” said Dr. Howard Brown, Manager of Agronomy Services for GROWMARK, Inc.
Brown says GROWMARK has been focused on nitrogen management as one of the driving factors for higher yields for the last several years. “We looked at nitrogen from the standpoint of feeding the plant nitrogen throughout the period of time that it needs it and putting some on as late as we can so the plant can utilize the nitrogen and keep plant health later in the season to equate to higher yields,” and it worked for three of the last four years – with last year being the exception because of the drought.
With planting season upon us, now is the time to look at a comprehensive nutrient management plan that encompasses the 4Rs and what Brown calls the “MOM” approach – Maximizing yield, Optimizing nitrogen utilization and Minimizing environmental impact. Brown also talks in this interview about “N-Watch” which involves taking inventory of plant-available nitrogen in the soil. “N-Watch provides us a new dimension,” Brown said. “We’ve got to manage the nitrogen in the soil.” Checking the soil for residual nitrogen Brown says will help provide farmers with a better idea of how much nitrogen they need.
Jim Spradlin, GROWMARK Vice President, Agronomy, announced organizational changes in the Agronomy Division, effective March 16, 2013:
Ron Milby is named Executive Director, Agronomy Marketing. He is responsible for developing and executing comprehensive agronomy marketing strategies. Milby served as Seed Division manager since 2000. He joined the System in 1987 in Systems and Programming, led the System’s precision farming efforts, and served as lead in agronomy marketing and agronomy services.
Lance Ruppert is named Agronomy Marketing and Implementation Manager. Ruppert has served as Seed District Sales Manager, Crop Protection Marketing Manager and, most recently, Seed Sales and Marketing Manager.
Sequester is scheduled to take effect on March 1 and so far Congress has made no effort to prevent the across the board spending cuts from taking place. I talked with GROWMARK government affairs director Chuck Spencer to find out more about this monster called Sequester.
Spencer explains that sequestration traces back to the Budget Control Act of 2011 requiring Congress to come to an agreement on deficit reduction by the end of 2012 – or else there would be cuts to all defense and non-defense spending. “There are exemptions within the provisions, obviously Social Security, veterans affairs, some nutrition programs,” he said. “Those cuts for sequestration can range anywhere from 10 percent in some discretionary defense programs to 7.8% for non-defense discretionary programs.”
One proposal to avoid sequestration comes from the Democrats who are suggesting taking all the needed cuts – $55 million – from defense and agriculture. The reasoning behind taking half from agriculture is ending direct payments, which is supposed to be done whenever a new farm bill is completed. Spencer says one problem with that is those cuts would take effect immediately, and the current farm bill that was extended through September includes direct payments for this season. “Many farmers have incorporated their management plans for 2013, we’re coming up on spring planting season, and a change in that type of program – particularly for crops in the southern part of the country – would be very difficult to deal with,” he said.
At the beginning of this year, closing the Mississippi River to barge traffic as a result of low water levels was a very real possibility, but that crisis has been averted thanks to some Army Corps of Engineers work.
“There was an emergency move by the Army Corps of Engineers to blast rocks out of the river floor at Thebes and Grant Tower, Illinois,” said Tracy Mack, director of bulk and packaged goods logistics for GROWMARK. “That added about two feet to the navigable channel between Memphis and St. Louis.”
That project was complete by the beginning of February, sooner than expected, and some timely rains also helped. “Because of the recent rains and the forecast rain right now, we’re not in imminent danger of closure,” said Mack. “It’s looking that we have enough water to get us through the month of March at least if drought continues.”
Bottom line as far as Mack is concerned, there should be no impact on fertilizer movement or availability due to transportation on the mighty Mississippi. It was a different situation when Tracy was a guest on the AgFanatics podcast in early January so he is glad it has improved.
Cory Winstead and Nick Klump are AgFanatics and they are not afraid to tell the world about it.
AgFanatics is a new podcast from AgriVisor.com, an agricultural advisory firm that is part of the GROWMARK family of companies, and Cory and Nick are the happy hosts making stuff like Farm Bill, Fiscal Cliff, the river situation, marketing and USDA reports fun and interesting!
“You will notice we have a good time doing what we do,” Cory says. “The best part of this is we are starting to get a good number of listeners in just our short month of doing this.”
AgFanatics can be found on Itunes or right from the front page at www.agrivisor.com. It is a 15-20 min program updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays that touches on a variety of agricultural topics. We will be featuring them here on AgWired as well.
GROWMARK, Inc., Bloomington, Ill., announced it has agreed to purchase Bunge North America’s interest in B-G Fertilizer, LLC.
B-G Fertilizer, LLC owns and operates the former CF Industries terminal located in Cincinnati, Ohio to serve the needs of retail customers that provide fertilizer to farmers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
GROWMARK and Bunge also announced that GROWMARK will lease Bunge fertilizer assets located in Council Bluffs, Iowa and Fulton, Illinois. These facilities will be incorporated into the current GROWMARK portfolio to expand the cooperative’s scope and reach.
Overall, the acquisition and lease agreements represent approximately 130,000 tons of dry and liquid plant food storage.
GROWMARK is opening a new dry terminal in Stuart, Iowa. The facility will handle granular urea, mono-ammonium phosphate, and white potash. It has a capacity for 18 railcars with six 10 ton hoppers and five micro-hoppers. That equates to around 15,500 tons of capacity.
In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, we’ll take a closer look at the new technologies that make this facility state of the art.
There are over 1100 recipes in the cookbook, which was sold for $20 each. Jones says there are no plans at the moment to do a second printing of the sold out cookbook, but the recipes are being made available through social media. “On our FS Pintrest boards, we do have a recipe board and we are posting recipes on there occasionally, so even if you didn’t get a chance to buy a book you can still get a few of the best recipes that way,” she said. To find those recipes, go to Pinterest.com/FSservices.
If you have never seen a brand new, empty dry terminal – here is your opportunity.
GROWMARK is opening a new dry terminal in Stuart, Iowa very soon – the first loads of product will arrive next week to test the system – and some of the agricultural media had a chance to get a tour last week to learn about it. The 15,500 ton facility will handle granular urea, monoammonium phosphate and white potash. It has capacity for 18 railcars with six 10 ton hoppers, five micro hoppers and a blending capacity of 300 tons per hour.
In this video, GROWMARK Plant Food Operations Manager Brian Hundman provides a behind-the-scenes look at the new facility in its nearly complete stage. You can also check out photos from the media tour last week in this photo album.
If farmers could determine the concentration, form and location of plant-available nitrogen, deciding when and where and how much to apply would be that much easier.
That’s the goal of N-Watch, which started this year as a small scale, pilot program by GROWMARK in partnership with FS Member Cooperatives. The objectives of the program are to quantify the form of available, soil-applied nitrogen (N), where it is located, and what happens to the concentration of available N over time in the upper 0-12 and 12-24 inch profiles of the soil.
“We go out after harvest and take an inventory of plant available nitrogen,” explained GROWMARK Agronomy Services Manager Dr. Howard Brown. “Once we have that determination, we take composite samples after that every 2-4 weeks, track the nitrogen until it freezes, then after it thaws in the spring we’ll continue to pull the samples to see if the residual nitrogen is still there.”
Brown says it’s not an exact science, “but it’s a move in the right direction, this is what we need to be doing.” GROWMARK has over 45 sites in Illinois now and they are now moving in to new sites in Iowa, where we heard about the program last week during a GROWMARK media tour.
GROWMARK is so excited about the N-Watch concept that they want it to spread quickly. “We came up with the phrase (N-Watch) but we gave the license to the Illinois Council for Best Management Practices so that it can be utilized in the Midwest,” said Howard. “It would be great if everybody used N-Watch.”
GROWMARK generously supports the non-profit organization Farm Safety 4 Just Kids in their effort to keep youth safe in rural areas. GROWMARK provides their customers with agricultural products as well as the means to deliver, market, and store those products. “GROWMARK’s sponsorship of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids demonstrates their commitment to their curstomers,” David Schweitz, executive director of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. “And it will help us ensure the safety of the next generation of farmers.”
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids was created in 1987 by Marilyn Adams after the death of her 11-year-old son. The organization works to raise awareness about the health and safety hazards that are an inherent part of the rural environment in which children live, work, and play. Over 130 chapters in the United States and Canada conduct safety and health programs within their communities.
Thanks to the support of agri-business sponsors like GROWMARK, Farm Safety 4 Just Kids is able to provide their volunteers with up to date and pertinent safety education and demonstration resources.
Each October, cooperatives across the United States celebrate the cooperative difference, business model and the contributions of cooperatives to their communities during National Co-op Month and this year continues the celebration of 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives with the slogan “Cooperative enterprises build a better world.”
As one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, GROWMARK has been celebrating all year long, so we talked with president and chairman of the board Dan Kelley about why co-ops are so important for agriculture, both nationally and globally. Kelley says he was surprised to learn this year that nearly a billion people around the world are members of some type of cooperative. In addition to celebrating a year and a month dedicated to cooperatives, Dan says GROWMARK has been celebrating 85 years of existence as a cooperative.
The second largest division of GROWMARK is their agronomy division with the FS Seed and FS Green Plan Solutions brand, which provides fertilizers, seed and crop protection products and advice for producers. Kelley says while 2012 has been a challenging year for farmers thanks to the very hot and dry conditions during the growing season, cooperative members remain optimistic. “The future of agriculture is bright and the future of agricultural cooperatives is bright,” he says. “We have a great opportunity as we think about the growing economies in the world and the growing population that we have to feed.”
GROWMARK‘s core cooperative membership is in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, but in recent years have expanded into other states including Colorado, Pennsylvania and Maryland and a solid membership in Canada as well.
Shawn Kinkade of Piper City, Ill., was selected as the winner of a social media contest in which people reported sightings of the new FS InVISION™ logo. Kinkade’s photograph showed the logo prominently displayed on a fertilizer storage tank at the Heritage FS facility near Herscher, Ill.
The contest was launched to raise awareness of the newly re-branded FS seed corn line as FS InVISION by placing the logo in a variety of locations. Entries were received from throughout the Midwest. To celebrate the re-branding and support the next generation of local Midwest growers, the FS System also made monetary donations to the Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin state FFA associations for each sighting uploaded to the FS System on Facebook where visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite photo. Visitors to the GROWMARK/FS exhibit at the 2012 Farm Progress Show were also able to vote and the winner was determined on August 30.
As we learned from FS Seed reps at Farm Progress Show, a focus on local development, local results, and local recommendations means that there is an FS InVISION hybrid to work in any farm operation. A key component of a successful crop is seed selection, and FS InVISION offers innovative technologies and cutting-edge genetics to ensure FS crop specialists can offer the right hybrid for any field and growing conditions. FS InVISION is powered by FS Green Plan Solutions.