Posts By: Meghan Hinnenkamp

Cleaning Bins, Bridged Grain and General Safety

Last fall, many bushels of grain went into storage in poor conditions. This increases the risk of bridging, crusting, and other grain storage dangers. Especially this year, please review the safety tips below to ensure you and your family remain safe while working with grain.

Grain bins can be dangerous places. Purdue University researchers report that bin-related injuries such as entrapments, equipment entanglements and asphyxia are on the rise – more than 60 incidents occurred in the U.S. in 2018.

Here are the top three things you can do to promote safe practices around grain bins:

  1. Review safe grain bin entry procedures. Sometimes it’s necessary to enter a grain bin but think twice before you do to avoid falling victim to the top hazards associated with grain bins.
  2. Remind those around you to stay safe. Encourage your employees, loved ones and fellow farmers to always wear safety harnesses when working around bins. Never enter a grain bin alone and turn off augers before entering a grain bin or silo.
  3. Using a fan can help move air and move any potential hazardous gas out of the bin. If the air in a bin smells like spoiled or moldy grain, that could indicate there are grain bridges or vertical grain walls that could collapse.

Believing in Balanced Crop Nutrition

MicroEssentials® SZ™ Raises the Perceived Corn Yield Ceiling

With improved technology helping farmers take advantage of every inch of the field, corn yields have been increasing over the past decade. But the yield ceiling for many fields is yet to be reached, often because
key nutrients removed by high-yield systems are not being replenished to a level needed for increased yields.

The importance of balanced crop nutrition can’t be overlooked. In fact, with up to 60 percent of yield dependent on soil fertility, choosing the right fertilizer is critical. Providing corn crops complete nutrition from the moment the seed hits the ground through the entire growing season is one of the best ways to improve plant health and increase the yield of each plant.

With so much on the line, it makes sense to depend on the most advanced fertilizer product on the market to provide your corn crop the nutrition it needs. MicroEssentials® SZ™ is proven to increase corn yields by providing industry-best effectiveness and efficiency.

The Difference Is in the Research and Technology

Built on more than 10 years of agronomic research, The Mosaic Company’s line of premium fertilizer products, including MicroEssentials SZ, provides a balanced cornbinatioo of nutrients. Each granule of MicroEssentials SZ (12-40-0-10S-1Zn) contains nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and zinc together to ensure the right balance of nutrients is available to the plant. Only MicroEssentials with patented Fusion® technology combines four key nutrients into one nutritionally balanced granule, creating a single source for balanced crop nutrition.

Long-term research shows that MicroEssentials SZ outperforms MAP, providing a yield increase of 7.2 bu/ac on average and a yield increase of 8.8 bu/ac on average compared to DAP.

Four Key Benefits of Micro Essentials SZ

Uniform nutrient distribution
Each granule of MicroEssentials SZ is uniquely formulated, so when it is applied, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and zinc are all delivered at an even rate across the field to easily achieve uniform nutrient distribution. This means plant roots have more access to reach the key nutrients needed for optimal growth.

Improved nutrient uptake
The innovative Fusion technology used to develop MicroEssentials SZ also gives every granule an identical chemical makeup that promotes interaction between the different nutrients, which in turn encourages nutrient uptake. In fact, across a broad range of soil types, research has shown that MicroEssentials SZ helps plants take up as much as 28 percent more phosphorus.

Season-long sulfur availability
Today, crops need additional sulfur, and need it through the entire growng season. MicroEssentials SZ helps address this increased need. Sulfur is immobile in the corn plant, so two types of sulfur are recommended to ensure season-long availability. MicroEssentials SZ contains both sulfate, which is available immediately and used as a corn plant begins to grow, and elemental sulfur, which breaks down in soil over time and is available for the later stages of growth.

Return on investment
MicroEssentials provides a return on your investment by increasing yield and your bottom line. Develop a fertilizer plan with MicroEssentials that is customized for your yield goals and soil nutrient levels.

Get Your Head in the Dirt

As long as corn has been grown, the focus on improvement has remained above ground, with increased yields. But perhaps it’s time to look several feet lower to find additional yield potential. Providing a corn crop with balanced crop nutrition right from the start gives it the advantage it needs to yield higher. MicroEssentials SZ offers four nutrients in each balanced granule. With up to 60 percent of yield dependent on soil fertility, isn’t it time to change your perspective on what it takes to reach your yield ceiling?
Get your head in the dirt at

CHS Prairie Lakes Awards Fund to Local Communities

STARBUCK, MINNESOTA. (AUGUST 3, 2020) – CHS Prairie Lakes is proud to support our local communities and provides funds to numerous local organizations. The CHS Prairie Lakes Community Funds program is used for funding requests of $100-$1,000 and was established to provide project funding for local schools, agricultural groups, and community organizations. Each year, the Community Funds program runs quarterly, with the first application deadline occurring in October. 

Receiving funding in the amount of $1,000 are the Hoffman, Villard, and Forada Fire Departments. Each group received the funds to go towards a grain bin rescue auger to enrich safety initiatives in their communities.  

BIO Girls will have five of their locations receive funding in the amount of $500 towards programming to support their mission of improving the self-esteem of adolescent girls through empowerment and service to others. BIO Girls is a self-worth building program that combines life-skills lessons, small-group mentoring and physical activity. These five locations are located in Alexandria, Glenwood, Morris, Park Rapids, and Sauk Centre. 

The Hoffman Economic Development Authority has been awarded $500 in funding to be put towards a water fountain in Hoffman Square.  

Discovery Days Preschool in Lowry, Minnesota is selected to receive $500 to update their equipment for students. Discovery Days is a non-profit, state licensed, parent cooperative preschool that serves children ages 3, 4 and 5.  

Rounding out the recipients of $500 in funding is the Lakes Area Leaders 4-H Club. The money received will be used towards various community projects on behalf of the club.  

Receiving $325 in funding is the Long Prairie Gray Eagle School District Spanish department. This money will be used towards purchasing books for students.  

Finally, Glacial Hills Elementary School in Starbuck, Minnesota is receiving $200 that will be be used for noise cancelling headphones to accommodate students with sensory needs.  

CHS Prairie Lakes would like to congratulate all the recipients of these funds and thank organizations such as the ones listed above for the work they do in local communities. Applications to receive funds for 2020-2021 will re-open in September of this year. Please visit our website,, to access the application this fall.  

The CHS ag retail business based out of Starbuck, Minnesota delivers agronomy, energy, grain and feed products and services to western Minnesota ag producers and other customers from seven locations. It is part of CHS Inc., ( a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, agronomy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to creating connections to empower agriculture, helping its farmer-owners, customers and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS supplies energy, crop nutrients, seed, crop protection products, grain marketing services, production and agricultural services, animal nutrition products, foods and food ingredients, and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries and pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.  

The Important Role of Balanced Crop Nutrition

For Soybeans, MicroEssentials® SZ Maximizes Nutrition and Optimizes Yields

With farm profits riding on every bushel grown and new soybean varieties optimizing yields, it’s more important than ever to get the most out of every acre. Up to 60 percent of yield is dependent on soil fertility, so the focus on and commitment to balanced crop nutrition is essential. Choosing the right fertilizer program that offers multiple nutrients and maximizes yield is a great investment.
Providing soybeans complete nutrition from the moment the seed is planted throughout the entire growing season is the best way to improve plant health and maximize productivity. With so much on the line, it makes sense to depend on the most advanced fertilizer product on the market. MicroEssentials® SZ is proven to increase yields and provide the balanced crop nutrition soybeans require.

The Difference Is in the Research and Technology

Built on more than 10 years of research, The Mosaic Company’s line of premium fertilizer products, including MicroEssentials SZ, provides a balanced combination of nutrients. Each granule of MicroEssentials SZ (12-40-0-10S-1Zn) contains nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and zinc together in a single granule to ensure these critical nutrients are available to the plant. The patented Fusion® technology behind MicroEssentials provides the most efficient delivery of crop nutrients on the market and can be part of your customized fertilizer plans.

Four Key Benefits of MicroEssentials SZ

Each granule of MicroEssentials SZ is the same, so when it is applied, the nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and zinc are all delivered at a uniform rate across the field. This means each plant has the right level of key nutrients available to it. And the Fusion technology eliminates the risk of segregation, as can happen with traditional blends. The unique technology used to develop MicroEssentials SZ also gives every granule an identical chemical makeup that promotes interaction between the different nutrients, which in turn encourages nutrient uptake. In fact, MicroEssentials SZ provides more efficient nutrient uptake across diverse soil conditions.

Sulfur is another nutrient critical to soybean growth and protein formation throughout the entire growing season. MicroEssentials SZ contains both sulfate, which is used as soybeans begin to grow, and elemental sulfur, which breaks down in soil over time and is available for the later stages of growth.

MicroEssentials SZ also contains the micronutrient zinc. Zinc is critical in the early stages of soybean growth, and helps produce chlorophyll in the plant. Despite being needed in very small amounts, MicroEssentials SZ delivers this essential nutrient uniformly, and at the precise rates required to optimize soybean growth.

Increasing Yields Means Getting Your Head in the Dirt

High-yield systems are possible with today’s advancing soybean varieties. But it takes a look below the ground to truly harvest a crop’s full potential. Providing soybeans the balanced crop nutrition they need from the very start gives them the advantage required to push yields higher. With up to 60 percent of yield dependent on soil fertility, isn’t it time to change your perspective on what it takes to push your best yield to the next level?

Get your head in the dirt at

Plan Ahead to Purchase Cenex® Grease this Summer for Gift Cards

Now through August 14, 2020, end-users can earn VISA® gift cards on qualifying Cenex® grease products. End-users will receive a $15 gift card for every qualifying 4-10 pack or 35-pound pail purchased during the qualifying time frame.

Customers may also receive a $50 VISA gift card for every qualifying 120-pound keg purchased during the promotional window. Qualifying grease products include:

  • HD Moly Xtreme
  • Poly-Xtreme®
  • Maxtron® EP
  • Blue Gard 500+™
  • Molyplex 500+
  • Maxtron® FS
  • Red Protect XT™
  • ML 365®
  • Fluid Gear Grease
How it works:
  1. Provide a copy of the redemption form to the end-user to submit their claim. You can get these forms from your Certified Energy Specialist
  2. End-user completes the Summer Grease for Gift Cards redemption form, attaches required receipts, and mails it to CHS post-marked no later than September 16, 2020.

Contact your local CHS Prairie Lakes CES with any questions!

Working Safely in Hot Weather

Working in the ag industry, many members of our team are frequently outside in the summer months, as are many of our farmers. The combination of heat and humidity can be a serious health threat. If you work outside you may be at increased risk for heat-related illness. So, take precautions. Here’s how:

  • Drink small amounts of water frequently  
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing—cotton is good  
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool shade  
  • Eat smaller meals before work activity  
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol or large amounts of sugar  
  • Work in the shade  
  • Find out from your health care provider if your medications and heat don’t mix  
  • Know that equipment such as respirators or work suits can increase heat stress  

If you’re working outdoors, make sure you are protecting yourself by blocking those harmful UV rays as well:  

  • Cover up. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light. Try this test: Place your hand between a single layer of the clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, the garment offers little protection.  
  • Use sunscreen  
  • Wear a hat  
  • Wear UV-absorbent shades  
  • Limit exposure 

Grain Outlook Broadcast

In light of current conditions with COVID-19 and the inability to have in-person meetings they way we’d like, CHS wants to bring market information to you in a different way. At 10am CST on Tuesday, July 14, Chris Stringer (Corn) and Justin Friesz (Soybeans) will be sharing their perspective on the current markets, the July report, and more.

These sessions will be held on Skype Broadcast. Skype is a web-based meeting so it’s very user friendly for you to join in using your computer, tablet, or phone.

Please note that there is a login step for webinar participants, so please login before the webinar begins.

Corn and Beans (10 a.m. Central) : Please click here to enter your name and location information shortly before the webinar starts.

The links will become active 15 minutes prior to the start. To allow time for the registration process, we ask that you plan to register at least five minutes before the webinars start. 

Corn and Beans link:

We hope you can join us for this Grain Outlook Forecast and reach out to our CHS Grain Origination team with any questions.

CHS Awards $10,000 Grant to Support West Central Area Agriculture Program

Agricultural education is all about hands-on learning, and through a donation from CHS, students at West Central Area High School will have an even greater opportunity for those important hands-on experiences in horticulture, agronomy and other plant-based classes.

The school’s agriculture program received a $10,000 grant from CHS Prairie Lakes to support the building of a school greenhouse. The greenhouse will be used to enhance current course offerings, with students able to experience year-round plant growth. Currently, the classes rely on what can be grown during the May to September growing season, which limits what students are able to learn during the school year.

Eric Sawatzke, agriculture instructor, is excited to develop a fully modernized hands-on plant science curriculum and facilities for West Central Area Schools.

“Not only will this be a highly educational space for students enrolled in Agricultural Education, but it will also provide a year round source of vegetables that will be useful for Family and Consumer Science classes, food service, and donations to the Grant County and Hoffman Food Shelves,” says Sawatzke. “A one time donation of this kind will provide decades of stable, nutritious food for the communities that make up the West Central Area School District and beyond.”

CHS is committed to supporting the development of youth agricultural education and has dedicated money to fund projects in safety and ag leadership through the CHS Seeds for Stewardship program.

“CHS Prairie Lakes has a strong history of supporting our local communities through our donation programs,” says Brad Manderschied, general manager, CHS Prairie Lakes. “We’re proud to be able to support this initiative. I look forward to students gaining exposure to agronomy through these course offerings, which tie into many careers we offer locally, including right at our Hoffman agronomy center.”

Since 2019, CHS retail locations have awarded more than $270,000 in matching funds through the program.

Propane Rebate Program

If you’re looking to replace any appliances, did you know Minnesota residents can get a rebate if you switch to propane for your water heater, furnace, boiler, or garage heaters? These rebates are available through Minnesota Propane Association. You must work through CHS Prairie Lakes when buying your new propane appliances for these rebates, so contact a member of our energy team to learn more before you make your next appliance purchase!  

See additional information on the Minnesota Propane Rebate Program here.

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