Balancing Grain Drying and Propane Storage Needs

Right-size your propane tank

The 2016 harvest season has been one for the books with the USDA expecting farmers to harvest record amounts of corn and soybeans. These record yields highlight the fact that modern farming operations are bigger than ever – both in acreage and bushels.

During the busiest times of harvest, the number one question farmers ask themselves is how much crop they can take off each day – and if they have the appropriate resources to dry and store it. A cool, wet and windy fall has resulted in farmers harvesting corn at higher, moister levels than originally anticipated. This has increased pressure on grain dryers and localized propane supplies.

Although the last few weeks of harvest can be hectic, it is also the best time to evaluate how efficiently grain is moving through your operation and identify any areas that might need improvements in 2017.

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How Growers Can Overcome Low Commodity Prices

Dr. Fred BelowThere are many issues growers face in today’s agricultural industry. One rising to the top of the list is low commodity prices.

Growers across the country are facing the harsh reality of a decrease in income forecasted for the third straight year due to an extended decline in corn and soybean prices. According to the USDA, net cash farm income for 2016 is forecast at $94.1 billion, and net farm income at $71.5 billion – following the declines in 2015.

One way growers can help their profitability during this time is to make sure they are getting the best yield possible, so they simply have more crop to sell.

Growers should make sure they are maximizing their production practices to help capitalize on the best potential yield:

  • Proper soil preparation, prior to planting
  • Applying crop nutrients and fertilizers as appropriate to help with emergence and throughout the life of the plant
  • Applying crop protection products as appropriate to help combat disease, weeds and insects
  • Proper irrigation, as appropriate
  • Effective harvesting practices and techniques

Secondly, growers should make sure they are using these efforts in collaboration with the appropriate seed genetics to get the best yield they can, which will give them more bushels to sell at harvest time.

In this video clip from June 2016, Dr. Fred Below with University of Illinois, explains that low commodity prices are one of the most important issues facing agriculture today and explains how growers can best deal with this issue.

Transcript:
Low commodity prices are a real problem, and the only way I can see to overcome those is to be able to produce more. If the price is low I need to have more of it to sell. So, I don’t think I’m going to save myself to prosperity because that would imply that I’m wasting money.

I think it comes down to having the basics to production correct, and make sure you’re using those to get as much yield as you can out of today’s genetics.

Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central

Don’t Leave Fall Nitrogen Unstable

In the field applying nutrients

Nutrient management is as important in fall as it is at planting.

Growers considering a fall anhydrous ammonia application can take measures to make the most out of their fertilizer investment, while supporting nitrogen management best practices, says Eric Scherder, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences.

“Nitrogen isn’t a one-time event,” Scherder says. “There has to be forethought about how to manage it today and tomorrow.”

Growers who are serious about reducing nitrate loss into groundwater can take steps when making fall applications. These steps include evaluating application methods, paying attention to temperature and using a nitrogen stabilizer to reduce nitrate loss due to leaching and denitrification.

Important Considerations Before Fall Application

Soil Temp at 50 degrees or lessThere are best management practices growers can follow this fall to optimize fertilizer applications.

In the fall, let temperature drive timing. Fall nitrogen applications should be based on soil temperature, not calendar date, Scherder says. Wait to apply nitrogen until soil temperatures drop below 50 F.

Nitrosomonas bacteria, which converts ammonium nitrogen to the nitrate form that’s susceptible to loss, are active until soils reach freezing temperatures; however, their activity is significantly reduced once soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees,” Scherder says. “This is important to consider when making fall applications to protect that investment.”

To learn more about nutrient management visit with our agronomy team today.

CHS posts fiscal 2016 earnings of $424.2 million

ST. PAUL, MINN. (Nov. 3, 2016) – CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today announced earnings for fiscal 2016 of $424.2 million.

CHS net income for fiscal 2016 (Sept. 1, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2016) of $424.2 million was down 46 percent from $781.0 million for fiscal 2015, reflecting lower pre-tax earnings within the company’s Energy and Ag segments, as well as its Corporate and Other category. Lower pre-tax earnings within these two segments were partly offset by increased pretax earnings in its Foods segment, and seven months of earnings from its Nitrogen Production segment which was created by the February 2016 strategic investment CHS made in CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CF Nitrogen). These results reflect the continued economic down cycle in the company’s core energy and agriculture businesses, as well as the impact of one-time events.

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How Growers Can Achieve Nutrient Efficiency

Analyzing Crop Conditions

With continuing economic pressures on commodity prices and the ongoing need to increase yield, maximizing nutrient efficiency is becoming an even more critical component. This is also an ongoing challenge for growers as they are typically looking at their current crop while already planning for the next season.

The key to healthy plant nutrition and optimum crop production is a balance of all the essential nutrients, which is obtained by managing fertility and nutrient availability factors like proper placement, targeted timings and appropriate use rates to ensure nutrient availability throughout the season. In order to maximize crop production, growers need to provide all key macro and micronutrients for their plants at the appropriate time they are needed.

Growers can’t do it alone and it’s crucial they get the most out of their fertilizer, and take a look at the positive return on their crop nutrient investment. This is also important for retailers, as they want to maintain profitability within their business, but also to look out for their grower customers’ best interests too. Even in times of lower commodity prices, crop fertility is very important to maintain optimum conditions for the crops, to maximize their yield potential.

Two Key Factors:

Phosphorus
The first focus to achieve nutrient efficiency is to effectively leverage the nutrients already present in the soil and in the fertilizer that you apply — specifically phosphorus. Phosphorus is a critical macronutrient with a huge impact on increasing yields, and includes an important energy-producing molecule found in all living cells called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). But unlike other nutrients, phosphorus has extremely limited soil mobility, and consistently gets tied up in the soil becoming unavailable for plant uptake.

A Full-Season Job
Typical Nutrient Uptake Pattern of a Corn Plant

With increased understanding and knowledge of nutrient uptake, growers can now move beyond the common practice of fertilizing acres to a strategy where they are fertilizing plants. This strategy helps match a plant’s life cycle with in-furrow application for better emergence and makes sure that plants have the necessary nutrients available as needed.

Solution: New Chelate Technology

This is where an effective chelating agent is critical for growers. Chelates are not new and there have been several common types available for decades. Throughout the years there have been significant advances in chelate technology in addition to an understanding of how each chelate works and its impact.

A new chelate technology now available for growers is Levesol DFC – the only chelate that is strong enough and stable enough to remain in the soil for the length of time that allows for increased solubility and uptake and can be impregnated onto dry fertilizer. Levesol DFC has an extremely unique chemical structure that sets it apart from all other chelate products on the market, and provides a three-mode action plan to ensure nutrient efficiency throughout the entire season:

  1. Unlocks the nutrients it’s applied with
  2. Unlocks the nutrients in the soil – Levesol DFC unlocks essential nutrients and increases the availability of phosphorus by up to 47%
  3. Unlocks the nutrients like phosphorus in the plant all season long adding more grain and increasing grower’s yields.

Contact us today to learn more about nutrient efficiencies.

Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central

CHS Board addresses 2016 equity management; delays individual equity redemption program changes

CHS Equity Management ProgramThe CHS Board has delayed implementation of the company’s new individual equity redemption program, a decision made following its regular review of the CHS equity management program.

“This decision was made as we considered a number of factors, including our commitment to balance sheet management and the current economic cycle,” says CHS Board Chairman Dave Bielenberg. “CHS remains financially sound and profitable, but as we navigate this economic cycle, the board believes this delay was appropriate as we continue to take a long-term view in managing equity redemptions.”

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4 Top Things Growers Need To Know about Adjuvants

sprayingcrops1. What Are Spray Adjuvants?

Adjuvants aren’t new — in fact, they’ve been around as long as herbicides. However, with the recent conversations about the new trait and herbicide technologies, adjuvants are getting a lot more discussion, as they rightfully should.

With the upcoming changes, it is now even more important to make sure you are using the proper adjuvants to ensure your herbicide application is as effective as possible and to help minimize the development of herbicide resistant weeds.

Let’s start with the basics:

A spray adjuvant is a broad term encompassing any product added to the spray tank to help increase herbicide performance. Adjuvant products can take a number of forms, including surfactants, water conditioners, defoamers, oils, drift control agents, or any combination of these.

Adjuvants are a critical part of a crop protection strategy because they help ensure herbicides work as effectively as possible, ultimately protecting the grower’s investment.

Today, herbicide effectiveness is more important than ever. Currently there are a number of weed biotypes that have become resistant to some of the existing herbicide technology.

As a result, the ag industry has developed new herbicide technologies to help control resistant weeds and minimize the spread of these biotypes. In addition new trait technologies have been developed to create varieties that are tolerant to the new herbicide technologies.

In fact, industry experts estimate up to 20 million acres (1 in 4 U.S. soybean fields) will include these herbicide tolerant traits during the 2017 season and up to 70 million acres will include these traits over the next five years.

Because of these anticipated adoption rates, it’s important to know what the different adjuvant characteristics are designed to accomplish, and the best available options.

2. Navigating Adjuvants

Below is a breakdown of the various types of adjuvant characteristics and how they help herbicide efficacy:

Surfactants

  • The word surfactant comes from the phrase “surface active agents.”
  • Since most adjuvants are applied as a foliar application, it’s important for the spray droplet to spread out evenly to wet the entire surface area. Surface area is critical, as it increases the physical reach of the herbicide on the plant.
  • It’s important to strike the right balance with a surfactant. Using too much can cause runoff that decreases effectiveness of the herbicide as well as crop injury.

Water Conditioners or Buffering Agents

  • Molecules in hard water can bind with active ingredients in herbicides, potentially lowering the effectiveness of the product.
  • Agents that act as buffers can alter the water pH and create a stabilizing effect in the tank.

Defoamers

  • Adjuvant products that contain defoamers can reduce the amount of foam that certain herbicides generate within a spray tank, making the application process smoother.

Oils

  • Adding an oil component can help the herbicide penetrate through a weed’s waxy exterior.

Drift Control

  • Drift control agents can help adjust the overall droplet spectrum to minimize off-target application.
  • Droplet size has a direct impact on a spray’s drift potential. Smaller droplets are more likely to drift off target and potentially damage neighboring crops or vegetation.

3. Best Practices for Selecting an Adjuvant

With a variety of adjuvants to choose from, you may wonder what’s the best way to select the most appropriate adjuvant to help you maximize herbicide efficacy. Here are some considerations when selecting an adjuvant:

  1. Read your herbicide label carefully, every time you use it and always follow the label instructions. Formulations can change even within the same product, and the changes may alter which types of adjuvants are recommended for use with specific products.
  2. Use adjuvants that are specifically developed for agricultural uses. Products developed for industrial use will not work, and may even hurt the quality of the herbicide.
  3. Use adjuvants with characteristics that will help your herbicide be the most effective, but avoid mixing products together without doing a compatibility test. Even if a specific operation could benefit from the combination of a surfactant and a defoamer does not mean two separate products are compatible together or with the herbicide product.
  4. Conduct a test first, especially if you’re unsure about your product combination. Jar tests or other methods of mixing can save you from having to clean sludge out of your tank.
  5. Check to make sure the adjuvant is approved for use with the new herbicide. Check the product’s website for a list of approved adjuvants and learn as much as you can before using the product.
  6. Talk to the experts. With the new herbicide and trait technology rapidly approaching, retailers and other agronomic professionals should communicate with their distributors to determine when to use a specific product.

4. The Future of Adjuvants

Working in tandem with emerging technology designed to battle resistant weeds, CHS has a new line of Pro Adjuvants to help maximize the effectiveness of your herbicide and work along with the new herbicide technology, while helping growers maintain stewardship with better drift control and lower volatility.

For more information contact your CHS Agronomist today.

Why you should celebrate Global Fertilizer Day

Global Fertilizer Day — October 13The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and its members (including CHS) will celebrate the first annual Global Fertilizer Day this coming Thursday, October 13. Organized by TFI and a network of international organizations, the day is dedicated to spreading the word about the vital role our industry plays in improving peoples’ lives. As Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said on numerous occasions, two out of every five people in the world owe their lives to fertilizer.

A generation ago, a Nobel Peace Prize winner proclaimed the same message. He was the great-grandchild of Norwegian immigrants, attended a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade, and failed his first college entrance exam. But when he was finally admitted to the University of Minnesota, Norman Borlaug took a Depression-era job with the Civilian Conservation Corps to pay for his tuition and living expenses. Through that experience he met hungry people and saw the way having enough food changed them.

Despite his humble beginnings, he went on to do great things. For over a half-century, his scientific and humanitarian achievements kept starvation at bay for millions of people in Third World countries. As a result of his work, global food production everywhere other than sub-Saharan Africa has increased faster than the population.

But Borlaug’s story doesn’t end there. In addition to his scientific work, he was a tireless advocate of fertilizer use and other modern agricultural practices. He remained active into his nineties, traveling, speaking and teaching.

On October 13th we encourage you to remember Borlaug’s shining example of what it means to engage the public on behalf of the fertilizer industry. To make the job easier, TFI, the Global Fertilizer Day Coalition and the Nutrients for Life Foundation have assembled tools to help you spread the word.

They highlight interesting facts and figures, including:

  • Half of all the food grown around the world today, for both people and animals, is possible through the use of fertilizer.
  • The fertilizer industry contributes more than 452,000 American jobs and in excess of $139 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • U.S. farmers are using fertilizer with amazing efficiency, growing 87 percent more corn today with just 4 percent more fertilizer than they did in 1980.

If each of the industry’s 84,000 employees took time to spread just one of these messages on social media or through personal interaction, just think of the impact it could make.

CHS Pro Advantage contract now signing up bushels for 2017, 2018

Corn field - commoditiesWhen commodity markets turn volatile, pulling the trigger gets tougher. Grain producers looking for a seamless way to diversify – and simplify – their marketing have one more choice with CHS Pro Advantage.

This contract allows a grower to pledge a specific quantity of bushels to be professionally priced over a specific period of time, essentially taking the emotion out of selling. Bushels are priced by the trading professionals at CHS Hedging-owned Russell Consulting Group.

“The 2016 crop year was our inaugural offering for CHS Pro Advantage and we saw a tremendous interest from farmers who wanted to take advantage of pricing by experts who have a track record of success,” says John Whittle, merchandiser, CHS Grain Marketing NA.

“It’s important to remember the basis decision remains with the grower,” says Kent Beadle, marketing manager, Russell Consulting Group. “The settlement price to the grower is based on the performance of the futures and options hedges traded by our licensed brokers.”

Contract participants receive regular email updates about marketing progress and there is a price-out option available at any time during the pricing period.

Enrollment for CHS Pro Advantage corn, soybean and spring wheat bushels is now through Dec. 14, 2016. With one and two-year sign-ups, growers can enroll 2017 as well as 2018 bushels. Contact your local grain merchandiser for more details. Remember, there is a risk of loss when trading commodity futures and options.

© 2019 CHS Inc.