January 25, 2021

Archives for October 2012

On the Verge: LibertyLink® Helps Fight Herbicide Resistance

When Denny Winterboer traveled to Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee earlier this summer, he’ll never forget the 6-foot-tall palmer amaranth weeds that were as tall as the corn and so thick you couldn’t walk through the rows. It was sobering to learn that herbicide resistance had cost some Southern growers up to 70% of their crop.

“This was one of the most eye-opening things I’d ever seen,” said Winterboer, who farms near Fostoria and traveled to the southern United States with MaxYield Cooperative’s Greg Sweeney in June. “This was definitely a wake-up call for Iowa farmers, because we’re on the verge of serious resistance issues.”

Southern soybean field plot without weed resistance strategy.

While many of the Southern cornfields had been sprayed two or three times with Roundup®, the applications had done nothing to control the weeds. Herbicide resistance has cost the Southern growers in more ways than one, added Winterboer, who recalled the conversations he heard among landowners in Mississippi. “Farmers who are renting land are losing ground to the guys who are learning to take care of these weed issues.”

For Southern farmers who are winning the war against weeds, the LibertyLink® system has become a key tool, noted Winterboer, who is taking a look at this system. “Roundup just isn’t working anymore. We really have to get educated in what works, or the weeds will win.”

LibertyLink system offers options

Liberty herbicide can help manage the herbicide-resistant waterhemp, giant ragweed, and lambsquarters that have shown up in MaxYield’s trade territory. Resistant waterhemp has been especially troublesome in the area around Belmond, where Neal Nelson farms with his brothers, Dennis and Dave. When Mother Nature complicates matters even more, weed control can be nearly impossible.

Nelson thinks back to June of 2010, when hail and 15 inches of rain fell in about 10 days. “We got 7 of those inches in several hours from just one storm. Weed control became really difficult, especially since Roundup has lost its punch.”

While the Nelsons applied 2,4-D, this didn’t solve all their weed control issues. Situations like this highlight the need for different weed control strategies, said Greg Sweeney, a MaxYield seed solutions specialist, who sees merit in the LibertyLink system.

“Liberty herbicide does a good job of killing weeds, and LibertyLink varieties are high-yielding soybeans. Some growers in our area have been raising these beans for more than four years, and the LibertyLink beans’ yields are comparable to the Roundup Ready® beans these growers have also been planting.”

Southern soybean field using weed resistant strategy.

While Liberty herbicide is not new technology, it has come to the forefront as herbicide resistance issues have become more serious, added Sweeney, who noted that proper seed placement is important for success with LibertyLink varieties. “In the South, most growers are now using both the LibertyLink and Roundup Ready systems. During our tour, we saw how clean these fields are.”

The days of easy weed control are over

Southern growers have also adjusted their weed control systems to include more pre-emerge herbicides and no longer rely on just one chemistry or one mode of action, said Scott Gaskill, a Bayer CropScience field sales representative who works with MaxYield. In addition, these growers use full rates, rather than partial rates, of both pre-emerge and post-emerge herbicides.

“In the past, growers were using partial rates of glyphosate, because it controlled weeds and saved money. Over time, however, the weeds began to metabolize these reduced rates while continuing to grow. While glyphosate was dinging the weeds, it was no longer killing them.”

Nelson knows that early-season control is also vital to weed management success. “We’ve got to change our ways and control weeds before they get taller than a couple inches. If Iowa farmers don’t get our weed challenges under control, it could be devastating.”

This is one reason why there’s a growing interest in the LibertyLink system among area farmers, said Mark Grundmeier, a seed product manager with Latham® Hi-Tech Seeds, which offers a wide range of LibertyLink soybean varieties. “When farmers try the LibertyLink system for the first time, they are amazed at the level of herbicide performance they see and how clean their fields are.”

The LibertyLink system also offers an alternate method of weed control that will extend the useful life of glyphosate and Roundup Ready technology, added Grundmeier. Winterboer is glad that options like this exist, because he knows the stakes are high with herbicide resistance.

“Farmers are good at adapting and overcoming obstacles. They’re smart, and they’ll figure out how to use tools like the LibertyLink system to make their operations work.”

To learn more about how LibertyLink may fit your operation, contact your MaxYield agronomy specialists Greg Sweeney, 641-494-7779; Dan Stokes, 712-358-1107; and Kurt Metzger, 712-260-4491.

MaxYield Supports Garner Fire Department

Adam Upmeyer - Terry Jass

Adam Upmeyer, MaxYield Lumber team leader (left), presents Garner fire chief Terry Jass with a contribution in support of their efforts managing the fire that destroyed the warehouse.

MaxYield Cooperative recently presented a contribution to the Garner Fire Department, totaling $1,000. MaxYield’s Lumber and Supply south warehouse was lost due to a fire that started in a neighboring garage on September 26th.

“We are grateful for the fast response of the Garner Fire Department that night,” said Adam Upmeyer, team leader at MaxYield Lumber store. “While our building was already engulfed when they arrived, their hard work prevented the fire from spreading to neighboring homes.” There were no injuries caused by the blaze.

Upmeyer also stated that in addition to fighting the fire, the Garner Fire Department provided equipment and manpower needed to help clean up the site in the days that followed. “There were several days we needed their help, and they were always right there,” he said.

MaxYield Cooperative is a local, farmer-owned agricultural cooperative, headquartered in West Bend, IA. They annually support communities, providing funding and volunteer opportunities for their team members.

More information about the company is found online at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com and www.FromTheField.com.

Homegrown Hot Rod: Gene Brass Unleashes the Power of Imagination

Gene Brass

Gene Brass of Buffalo Center and his grandson, Braden Ortman, have fun with this John Deere hot rod.

What do you get when you mix up an assortment of John Deere tractor parts, a powerful 283 c.i. V8 engine, and a lot of style? A one-of-a-kind John Deere street rod that never fails to wow the crowd.

“There’s no kit for this and no pictures to follow,” said Gene Brass, who built this head-turning ride at his farm near Buffalo Center. “It’s all just imagination.”

It’s also a passion for Brass, a gearhead who loves tinkering with machines when he’s not busy farming. This former auto mechanic spent two years building his two-seater John Deere street rod, which can hit 80 miles per hour with no problem.

“You get parts where you can,” said Brass, noted the rig includes a 283 cubic inch V8 Chevrolet engine with an Edelbrock intake, a Holley 550 carburetor, and a John Deere 4230 air filter. Built on a bucket t-style frame, the street rod’s cab came from a farm just down the road from Brass’s place, while the hood originated from a 6400 John Deere tractor in Rock Valley. Then there are the unexpected additions, like a Harley-Davidson brake pedal and a planter box on the back.

Gene Brass hot rod“I’d thought about adding a plow in the back, but it was too heavy,” said Brass, whose big ideas match his big personality and zest for life. “The planter box was lighter and also offers a little storage.”

That’s handy when Brass and his 14-year-old grandson, Braden Ortman, head to car shows from Sioux  Falls, SD, to Monticello, IA. Sometimes Brass puts his custom John Deere on a trailer, but other times he drives the street-legal rig, which includes an eight-gallon fuel tank and boasts a “JD PWR” vanity plate.

“People give me a thumbs-up when I’m driving it,” noted Brass, who has earned eight trophies at seven car shows across the Midwest.

The street rod could even be for sale if the price is right, said Brass, who admits that creating his unique ride was challenging at times. Getting the steering mechanism at just the right angle was tricky, and Brass said he would shorten the frame if he had to do it all over again.

Gene Brass hot rod“As I was building it, sometimes I’d try something that didn’t work, and I’d have to start all over, but I didn’t give up. That’s the nature of a lifelong tinkerer like me who likes to streamline things.”

Building the next big thing Brass has already started on another project—an old Dodge that’s “two steps higher than a rat rod,” as he says. This distinctive custom features a 400-horsepower, 383 stroker engine and is already on track to become quite an attention-getter.

“I totally enjoy working in my shop and making something that’s just a little different. My goal is to make people smile.”


Gene Brass hot rod







MaxYield Decreases Cost of Palo Alto County 4-H Membership

MaxYield - Palo Alto County 4-H

MaxYield’s Scott Shirk presents Julie Naig, Palo Alto County Extension & Outreach county youth coordinator with a contribution to decrease the cost of 4-H in the county.

MaxYield Cooperative announced that they are continuing their commitment to Palo Alto County 4-H members and clubs by decreasing the cost of enrollment in the youth program.

“We are continuing our support of local 4-H clubs and our commitment to 4-H,” said Chad Meyer, MaxYield Client Relations Director. “Recently, we presented a contribution for $10.00 per 4-H member in order to decrease the cost of 4-H membership.”

Meyer said the cooperative has two goals in providing the program. “First, we want to make 4-H an affordable youth program for local families. Secondly, by paying a portion of each 4-H member’s enrollment fee, we are able to continue our mission in supporting 4-H so that each member benefits.”

The cooperative contributed over $1600 to Palo Alto County Extension and annually contributes more than $15,000 across six counties in Iowa in support of 4-H.

“We believe that 4-H is one of the cornerstones in developing youth and 4-H provides an excellent foundation to build strong families in this area. 4-H also provides a great way for young people to learn more about agriculture and its exciting future,” commented Meyer.

MaxYield Cooperative is a local farmer-owned cooperative serving members and clients in northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and eastern Michigan. Founded in 1915, MaxYield Cooperative is headquartered in West Bend, Iowa. More information about the cooperative can be found online at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.

When Seconds Count: Train Loading Solutions Equal Big Savings

MaxYield West Bend

Gerald Zwiefel, center, discusses improvements to the rail loading area at MaxYield’s West Bend location with Ernie Bleuer (L) and Frank Schmidt.

Last fall, MaxYield CEO Keith Heim issued a challenge to each member of the senior management team: save the company $25,000, or add $25,000 to the bottom line. Loading trains faster at West Bend offered a key area for improvement, noted Gerald Zwiefel, MaxYield Cooperative’s central team leader.

“It was challenging to load 100-car trains in 15 hours. We’d been exploring the possibility of going to 110-car trains and knew we’d have to load more cars in the same amount of time, if this would ever become a reality.”

In any case, it was clear that loading train cars more efficiently could save MaxYield a great deal of time and money. Zwiefel enlisted Frank Schmidt, MaxYield’s maintenance electrician, and Ernie Bleuer, the grain superintendent at West Bend, to assess every step in the train loading system.

Maximizing capacity pays off

The team started with the load-out building, which houses the scale head and scale printer. “We had wanted to replace this 30-year-old building anyway, because it was too small and it was hard to keep the equipment from getting dirty,” Bleuer noted.

MaxYield’s maintenance team spent a few weeks dismantling the 6-foot-by-6-foot load-out facility and replacing it with a new 6-footby-10-foot building. The new facility is much more user-friendly and is also cleaner, which protects the equipment from dust, Bleuer said. Next, MaxYield team members observed the train loading process to identify areas for improvement.

“MaxYield receives an extra $10,000 from the railroad when team members can load a train in 15 hours or less, and penalties are imposed if the train isn’t loaded within this allotted time,” said Zwiefel, who noted that MaxYield loads an average of 15 trains per year at its West Bend location. “We looked for ways to trim the minutes and seconds between loading cars.”

After learning that MaxYield team members were loading grain at a rate of one rail car every eight minutes, the goal became six minutes. Options included using another available grain leg and maximizing the capacity of the load-out belt. A relatively inexpensive monitor streamlined the process, said Schmidt, who noted that it takes approximately 400,000 bushels of grain to fill a 100-car train.

“Before we installed this monitor, we didn’t have any way of knowing how full the belt was. If the belt was overloaded, it would plug, and we would have to scoop grain off by hand, which took two to three hours. Now we don’t have to worry about the belt being overloaded.”

Schmidt also evaluated the elevator’s main grain legs and found that they were only being used at 75% of capacity. New belt-slip monitors that could be purchased for a nominal cost allowed the team to speed up the system. After evaluating the motors on the legs, Frank found yet another area for improvement. While the legs were being run at 70 amps to move grain out of the elevators and into the load-out bins, he knew this should be well over 100 amps, based on the size of the motor.

“Speeding the legs up was essential so we could keep the grain flowing,” said Schmidt, who also worked with the team to speed up the Trackmobile’s passages across Highway 15.

The team installed a signal light that turns on when all the gates that feed grain to the belt are closed. Once those gates closed, it takes 20 seconds for the belt to empty out. “Before, there was no clear signal as to when the Trackmobile could move across the highway,” Bleuer said. “With the signal light, we’ve cut 20 to 30 seconds off the transition between each rail car.”

Success inspires more innovation

MaxYield West Bend Train Load

MaxYield’s West Bend train crew implements some of the changes that shaved two hours off the time it takes to load 100 rail cars.

The first test of the new system came on December 30, 2011. “We went from 16 hours to 14 hours to load a 100-car train, which was exciting,” Schmidt said.

The team also benefited from MaxYield’s purchase of a new trailer that allows instant grain grading. Previously, all the grain samples had to be sent to Fort Dodge for grading, and the process could take a few days. Now all the official grades can be done on-site. “This has been a wonderful tool,” said Zwiefel, who noted that MaxYield uses the trailer at five locations where team members load trains.

When all these factors are added up, the improved train-loading system has saved MaxYield $27,662. Cooperation from MaxYield’s team members made this success possible, Bleuer said.

“Who wants to stay here loading a train in 15 or 16 hours when you can do it in 14 hours? We knew we could do better, and we got better results by getting everyone’s input.”

While the new train-loading system has saved MaxYield a great deal of time and money, other benefits can’t be quantified in dollars and cents, noted Zwiefel, who values the improved safety and team member morale.

Heim’s challenge has put people in a new frame of mind, added Schmidt, who noted that team members are evaluating other ways to improve efficiencies, such as putting fish cakes from MaxYield’s soybean processing facility in 1-ton bulk bags rather than 65-pound burlap bags.

“By working together, we’re finding ways to make MaxYield an even better company that provides the solutions our clients need.”



Kossuth Ag & Motorsports Museum accepts CoBank grant

Kossuth County Ag and Motorsports Museum directors

MaxYield’s Kody Trampel (far right) presents museum director Arlen Benschoter with a contribution from CoBank. Other museum directors, from left: Jake Simpson, Edgar Meyer, Louie Bormann and Robert Barber

Directors of the Kossuth County Agriculture & Motorsports Museum recently received a $5000 contribution from CoBank’s “Sharing Success” charitable contribution grant program. The grant matches an earlier contribution from MaxYield Cooperative.

“Throughout rural America, cooperatives like MaxYield are working not only to provide value to their members, but to improve the quality of life in their local communities,” said CoBank president and CEO Robert Engel. “We’re delighted to support this worthy cause.”

Volunteers for the Kossuth County Ag & Motorsports museum are raising funds to construct a nearly 16,000 square foot facility. The facility will hold a two level agriculture and motorsports museum, plus a conference room. It will also be home to Arlen Benschoter’s substantial working model train collection.

CoBank is a national cooperative bank serving industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy.

Kossuth County Extension to host farm & business succession planning workshop

Click here for event poster

Algona will be the site of a two day workshop on Business and Farm Succession Planning starting at 1:00pm on Nov. 30st and ending at 3:00pm on Dec. 1. The workshop is jointly sponsored by the Kossuth County Extension Service, Farm Credit Services of America and the Iowa State University Beginning Farmer Center.

According to Jim Jensen, Farm & Agriculture Business Management Specialist with Iowa State University Extension, “This interactive workshop will address the process of transferring businesses from one generation to the next. The workshop is designed to guide people through the process and choices involved in transferring both business management and business ownership. It will help people form a written plan of action and discuss the procedures necessary to achieve success.”

The topics covered in the workshop include common wants, needs, expectations, and fears associated with trying to transfer a going business. Additional information will also be covered concerning the communication process, conflict resolution, retirement planning, goal setting, and estate planning.

The workshop will be at the Water’s Edge Nature Center 1010 250th St. Algona, IA 50511.

The registration cost for the interactive workshop is $100 for up to four family/business members and includes two meals.

Call the Kossuth County Extension Office at 515-295-2469 to obtain a brochure describing the program in detail or to register for the workshop. Registration is limited so call now!


Top Five Reasons to Visit MaxYield’s Revamped Website

When you’re looking for grain bids, or other ag information online, you want to find it as quickly as possible. We revamped www.maxyieldcoopertive.com to make it as user-friendly as possible.

Here are five big reasons to check out what’s new:

1. Find information fast. You don’t have to drill down through lots of links to find what you’re looking for. We’ve reorganized our main site (www.maxyieldcooperative.com) to make it simpler to navigate. We’ve also created specific sites for seed, energy, and grain that can be accessed with one click from the main site, including www.maxyieldseed.com, www.maxyieldenergy.com, and www.maxyieldgrain.com.


2. Enjoy easy access on the go. You can easily view MaxYield’s site, whether you log on with your smartphone, tablet computer, or other mobile device.


3. Keep current on the latest news. We’ve created a new blog (From the Field) at our main site to provide a one-stop resource with the latest updates from MaxYield and news that’s relevant to our local communities.


4. Connect through social media. If you like to check out Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, you’ll find MaxYield there.


5. Stay in touch. Looking for Karl Setzer’s grain commentary? Need to find contact information for a MaxYield team member? Want to apply for a job at MaxYield? You’ll find it all at our revamped site, which helps you learn more about the people who provide the solutions you need. “We want our new site to be an information solution that’s a valuable resource for you,” said Keith Heim, MaxYield’s CEO.


MaxYield Dickens sets harvest record

MaxYield DickensTuesday, October 16th was a record setting day at our Dickens location.

They surpassed their 2009 record of 2,000,000 bushels of grain with more harvest corn still coming in.

Thank you to our members and clients plus our dedicated team for their support! We appreciate it.


Doing Things Right: Barry Anderson Family Receives Good Neighbor Award

Barry AndersonWhile the poet Robert Frost noted that good fences make good neighbors, Barry Anderson and his family know there’s more to it than that. In rural Clay County, being a good neighbor means protecting the environment and connecting with the community.

“I’ve always wanted to farm, and I like helping to feed the world,” said Anderson, who is honored that he and his family received the April 2012 Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. “Agriculture is a huge part of life, and we need to tell the story.”

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers like the Andersons who take pride in doing things right. In April, nearly 90 guests gathered at the Legends Events and Social Center in Spencer to celebrate the Anderson family’s award, which included a presentation by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and a live radio broadcast on Des Moines’s 1040 WHO Radio.

“Barry is a great neighbor and community member,” said Leo Stephas, president of the Clay County Farm Bureau, who nominated the Andersons for the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. “He has taught his family to be volunteers, help others, and always do what is right. Barry and his family spend countless hours helping others, which is the core of just about every farmer you meet.”

Speaking up for agriculture

While farming is Anderson’s passion, it wasn’t always a clear-cut option for him after he graduated from South Clay High School in 1984. He double majored in agri-business and history at Buena Vista in Storm Lake but didn’t have the opportunity to return to the farm right after college.

Anderson took a job with Norwest Financial and moved to Chattanooga, TN, where he worked as a loan officer/branch manager. He later took a job with Associates Financial and moved to western Tennessee, where he spent the next eight years of his career.

When Anderson’s father, Wendell, called him one day in 1996, Barry knew the time was right to come home to northwest Iowa. “I enjoyed my job but disliked the corporate side of the business. When Dad said he was thinking about slowing down, I jumped at the chance to start farming.”

Barry AndersonAnderson is proud to carry on a family tradition that started when his great-grandfather began farming in the Greenville area decades ago. In 1996, Anderson built a 2,000-head swine finishing barn, and five years ago he added a tunnel-ventilated, 2,400-head finishing barn. Anderson also got into the cattle business about seven years ago and runs a cow-calf operation with his cousin, Brad Anderson.

Caring for livestock is second nature for Anderson, who handled plenty of hog chores when he was growing up on the farm. “I’ve always liked working with livestock, and I enjoy seeing new life come into the world,” said Anderson, who added that he and his wife, Dana, are glad they’ve had the chance to raise their children (daughters Megan and Taylor and son Christopher) on the farm.

While row-crop farming and livestock production are full-time jobs, Anderson makes time to give back to the community. He’s an active member of the Clay County Pork Producers Association and has served as president of the Clay County Farm Bureau. He has also served on the South Clay School Board and has contributed his time to MaxYield Cooperative’s Nominating Committee. Thanks to his training with Farm Bureau and other ag organizations, Anderson is prepared to give his 30-second “Why I enjoy being a farmer” speech whenever the opportunity arises.

“We need to speak up for agriculture, because we have a good story to tell. If we don’t speak out, someone else will, and they may not share such a positive message.”

Farmers protect the environment and the economy

Part of this positive message includes conservation practices, noted Anderson, who farms near the Little Sioux River. His fields include terraces that Wendell installed a number of years ago to prevent  soil erosion. In addition, the Andersons use minimum tillage practices to protect soil and water quality, said Anderson, who also relies on advice from MaxYield Cooperative’s agronomy specialists to help him produce higher yields with fewer crop inputs.

When the Andersons apply swine manure from their livestock barns, they knife the nutrients into the soil to control odors—a practice that the neighbors appreciate. The family has also planted many trees around their hog barns and added a windbreak near their home.

“Protecting the environment and focusing on the future are huge parts of what farmers do every day,” said Anderson, who is glad his father still plays an active role in the farming operation. “We have to be forward thinkers, so agriculture can continue to support the local economy.”

“Agriculture is a huge part of life, and we need to tell the story.”

—Barry Anderson, Clay County farmer and recipient of the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award