January 25, 2021

Archives for September 2013

Can You Unload Corn in Three Minutes?

Kerber Milling MaxYield For some clients who deliver to Kerber Milling in Emmetsburg, it only takes about three minutes from the time they weigh in with a full load of corn to the time they weigh in empty, thanks to Kerber’s facility upgrades.

“Our new high-speed corn-receiving facility has helped MaxYield take us to near 100% of our goal of buying farmer-direct corn,” said Glen Newhouse, director of operations for Kerber Milling.

Producers no longer have the time-consuming and inconvenient trek across town between the scale and the receiving station, he added. “With a MaxYield team member on site to weigh, probe, grade, dump, and reweigh the vehicle, without the vehicle moving we can get the driver in and out in record time.”

Roof removes weather from the equation

Kerber began revamping its facility in early 2013. The new high-speed unloading facility includes a 13- by 82-foot scale. The facility, which became operational on March 20, also includes a new receiving pit, conveyor, and grain leg, along with a roof over the scale and dump pit.

“This has taken the weather out of the equation and makes it easier to unroll tarps when it’s rainy or windy,” said Val Auten, MaxYield’s client care representative at Kerber Milling. “It also helps control dust in town and prevents problems with moisture in the grain probe.”

Kerber grinds about 7,000 to 10,000 bushels of corn each day, said Auten, who has run as many as 43 trucks through the facility on its busiest days. The efficient new system is helping MaxYield attract new clients and is encouraging previous clients to begin delivering grain to Kerber again.

Val Auten MaxYield “It used to take about 15 minutes from the time drivers weighed in to the time they weighed out, but now it’s down to about three minutes,” said Auten, who works right by the scale and can write checks and handle contracts, all without the driver ever having to leave his or her truck to pick up the paperwork.

MaxYield values the benefits that Kerber Milling offers area clients. “They provide an important end-user market in the Emmetsburg area, giving our farmer-clients three markets they can access,” said Harry Bormann, MaxYield’s grain team leader.

MaxYield’s relationship with Kerber dates back to 2005, and Kerber leaders appreciate this partnership, Newhouse said. “MaxYield has continuously and progressively helped us to achieve our goal of sourcing more local, high-quality, farm-direct corn to produce high-quality livestock feed.”

Val Auten, MaxYield’s client care representative at Kerber Milling in Emmetsburg, says trucks can move through the revamped facility in record time.

Meeting the Challenge: Riggert Brothers Rely on SciMax Solutions

MaxYield Seed & SciMax SolutionsThis is the second installment in a new My Solutions magazine series featuring Mike and Brian Riggert of Whittemore. Like many growers, the Riggerts are seeking new ways to unlock plant potential and take their farming operations to a higher level through SciMax Solutions. We’ll update you on their crops throughout the 2013 growing season to give you a behind-thescenes look at SciMax in action.

Ask Mike Riggert about the 2013 planting season, and he doesn’t mince words. “This was one of the worst springs we’ve ever seen. We’ve never been through anything like this.”

A late-spring storm dumped nearly 10 inches of snow in the Whittemore area on May 3. After the brothers started planting corn on May 12, heavy rains began falling and didn’t quit. As fields stayed wet, planting became almost impossible, said Brian Riggert, who noted that he and Mike finished planting soybeans around July 1.

“We had a whole month delay due to rain,” said Brian, who noted that the brothers had to take some prevented-plant acres.

While the Riggerts had gone into the 2013 planting season with a detailed plan developed with their SciMax Solutions team members, things changed quickly. “We’d have about one day each week to get fieldwork done, so our plan was changing constantly,” Brian said. “We’ve been talking to our SciMax specialists, Dan Stokes and Eric Goodman, at least once a week since April to deal with this.”

Finding new solutions

These conversations have changed the situation from “What are we going to do now?” to “Here’s what the next steps need to be.”

The Riggerts switched to some earlier-maturing corn hybrids, for example, and re-evaluated their crop protection plans.

“While we were able to get our pre-emerge herbicides on the early-planted corn, we ran out of time on the calendar to get everything done,” Brian said. “We didn’t get any pre-emerge herbicides on the soybeans, so we worked with SciMax to find some alternatives.”

The Riggerts value the broad perspective that SciMax offers. “Since the SciMax team works with a lot of farmers throughout the area, they can explain what options have worked well for other growers,” Mike said. “They give us more solutions than we might come up with on our own.”

As the Riggerts have scouted their crops this summer, they’ve also been working closely with SciMax to assess fertilizer options and pinpoint where nutrients should be placed for maximum returns. “There’s no way around it—without the right nutrients, productivity will go down,” Mike said.

Tissue testing helps determine the proper micronutrient uptake in crops and provides information that can’t be gathered through soil samples. SciMax data has proven the value of micronutrients, said Eric Goodman, a SciMax Solutions specialist who works closely with the Riggerts. Max-In® Boron, for example, assists in nitrogen and phosphorus utilization within the soybean plant. In 2011 and 2012 field studies, Max-In Boron boosted yields by an average of 2.14 bushels per acre.

Max-In Ultra ZMB® with Sulfur also boosts yield potential. It maximizes leaf and vascular growth, increases root growth for improved nutrient uptake, enhances water-use efficiency, and is essential in high-pH and high-phosphorus soils, Goodman noted. “Through SciMax, we look at everything we can to help our clients protect their yields, and micronutrients are an important part of the equation.”

Tiling and protecting water quality

To create a more conducive environment for crop growth and promote higher yield potential, the Riggerts planned to add more tile to their fields this summer to ensure adequate drainage.

“Tiling is almost like a crop input because it boosts production,” Mike said. “It also reduces runoff, which controls erosion and protects soil and water quality.”

As professional stewards of the land, the Riggerts are interested in implementing eco-friendly solutions, from tiling to precision agriculture, that make sense from a business management perspective. “We’re constantly thinking about ways we can do a better job of farming,” Brian said. “SciMax helps us sort through the data so we have the knowledge and confidence to try new things.”

SciMax can be especially useful in a year of extremes like 2013, Goodman added. “We’re all learning a lot, and the SciMax team will continue to provide guidance through the harvest season and into 2014 as growers plan for next year’s crop.”

Editor’s note: Mike and Brian Riggert farm north of Whittemore near the Lotts Creek area and have participated in SciMax Solutions for six years. They each farm more than 1,000 acres, for a total of nearly 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans. They utilize grid sampling, yield monitoring, and variable-rate technology for planting and fertilizer applications, including nitrogen.

Watch for the next update on the Riggert brothers’ experiences in the upcoming edition of My Solutions magazine.

Cover Crops Take Root

Cover cropsThis spring’s extreme weather and excessive rainfall made 2013 the year of the cover crop in parts of northern Iowa. MaxYield Cooperative took the lead to help growers find the right solutions for their acres.

“By late May, growers were talking about taking prevented planting acres, which is an option with crop insurance,” said Greg Sweeney, MaxYield’s seed team leader. “In some cases, prevented plant acres offered a more economic option than planting a crop.”

As May turned to June, MaxYield’s agronomists began fielding lots of questions about whether to leave wet fields idle or plant a cover crop. Cover crops help control weeds and alleviate the risk of fallow syndrome. “When a field is left unplanted, this can mess up the soil microbes,” Sweeney said. “I’ve seen fallow syndrome lead to 50-bushel-per-acre hits in corn.”

Since oats are economical and are a crop that many growers are familiar with, oats proved to be one of the most popular cover crops in MaxYield’s trade territory this year. With the help of MaxYield’s grain team, MaxYield’s agronomists and seed specialists were able to secure 8,000 bushels of oats by early June. Although these sold out quickly, MaxYield found more to meet the demand.

“We ended up seeding nearly 10,000 prevented planting acres with oats,” said Sweeney, who noted that MaxYield team members were seeding oats into early July.

Less stress means greater peace of mind

At first, MaxYield dedicated one of its fertilizer spreaders to seed the oats. As the demand for cover crops grew, MaxYield devoted three machines—and extra team members—to get the job done. “This turned out to be a more complicated process than we expected, but we did what it took to ramp up and get this accomplished,” Sweeney said.

The results were worth it, he added. “Procuring and seeding the oats allowed our clients to keep planting, replanting, or spraying where they could. This alleviated a lot of stress for our clients, and we were happy to provide a practical solution to help everyone out during a tough year.”

Did You Know?

In the spring and early summer of 2013, Iowa received the most rainfall in a record-breaking 141 years. From April to June 2013, much of the state received more than 130% of normal precipitation. MaxYield Cooperative’s and SciMax Solutions’ trade territory received anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of excess rainfall this spring.

Laura Reichert Wins Deanna Engstrom Memorial Scholarship

Laura ReichertEach year, MaxYield Cooperative is pleased to award a local student with the $1,000 Deanna Engstrom Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient, Laura Reichert, is carrying on the legacy of Deanna, a long-time cooperative employee who was committed to helping women advance their careers in business.

Reichert is studying business administration with an emphasis in marketing and management at Wartburg College, where she will earn her undergraduate degree in 2014.

Q: What motivated you to study business in college?

A: I was first inspired to study business through my job with K. Jackson & Co., a women’s clothing boutique in Emmetsburg where I worked part-time in high school. I was blessed with a nurturing and honest boss, Kathy Jackson, who was eager to explain all areas of the business I was interested in. I was able to get a taste for operating a small business in rural Iowa. I also knew I could take a business degree in several different directions.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: Thanks to my internship at the Pioneer Hi-Bred production plant in Algona this summer, I can see myself in an administrative position within an agricultural company. I think my marketing background will also be useful, since much of what goes into administration involves promoting the company and its mission. As my business career progresses, I hope to be in a management position someday. I also want to earn at least one, if not two, master’s degrees to further my career.

Q: Why do you appreciate the Deanna Engstrom Memorial Scholarship?

A: I’d like to thank MaxYield Cooperative for this scholarship and inspiring me to explore ag business further. Deanna Engstrom is a model for young women going into ag business, and

I’m inspired by her achievements. Also, the application and selection process for this scholarship is a learning experience in itself. It taught me a lot about interviewing, MaxYield Cooperative, and women in ag business. I appreciate not only the scholarship but the lesson of how determination and perseverance pay off when you want something badly enough.

Editor’s note: Laura is the daughter of Walt and Tricia Reichert. In addition to her classes, Laura works three part-time jobs at Wartburg College. She’s an admissions counselor’s assistant, a supplementary instructor for Accounting I and II classes, and the videographer for the Wartburg football team.



Big jump in gasoline prices

By Chad Besch, MaxYield Energy Team Leader

I have sent out a couple different notifications and talked about it in a couple different meetings but I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the upcoming changes in the gasoline available to us at the pump.

Here is the simplest recap I can do:

Today we offer 2 grades of gas in most of our pumps and through our bulk trucks. 87 octane UNL and 89 octane gasohol (90% regular UNL 10% ethanol). In the very near future regular 87 octane UNL gas is going away, pipelines in this part of the country will no longer ship that product.

In its place they will ship 84 octane gas. State law does not allow sale of any gasoline under 87 octane. Lucky for us when you blend 84 octane with 10% Ethanol you get 87 octane gasohol. That will be change number one, gasohol will go from 89 to 87 octane.

That’s the easy part. From there is where the noticeable change will come. At this point in time it is my intention for our second grade of gasoline to be what they call a “clear 87”. This product will be 50% 84 octane and 50% 91 Octane (premium) gasoline. As we all know premium gasoline is higher priced than regular gas. Because of that price spread we are going to see the difference between gasohol and “clear 87” widen.

If we were to make those blends today this is how things would look:

87 Octane Gasohol $3.59

87 Octane Clear UNL $3.94

There is also an option to blend 84 octane, premium gas, and ethanol that would give you an 89 octane gasohol. This will be used by some retailers as well. In reality there will likely be several different blends out there at a wide variation in price.

The big wild card in all of this is the availability of premium (A grade) gas. Right now supplies are extremely tight and will only get worse when this comes into effect. In time things will likely balance out but for a while supply will be tight. It might not be uncommon at all to see places only offering 87 octane gasohol if premium is unavailable.

The change will start to take place in the next couple of weeks, we think. As more information comes available I will pass it along.

For more information, you can contact MaxYield’s Energy Central, or myself at 1-800-383-0003; cbesch@MaxYieldCoop.com.


MaxYield decreases corn drying cost

MaxYield offers our clients the opportunity to harvest corn early and avoid high drying charges. MaxYield will only charge a 3 cent per point per bushel drying charge on wet corn delivered now, thru Saturday, October 5th. 

For more information, contact your nearest MaxYield location.

During the harvest of 2012, many of our clients were able to harvest 10 to 20 bu per acre MORE corn by harvesting corn at 22-25% moisture.

We know your entire year of work is sitting in the field. Harvesting early avoids several yield robbing issues, like stalk rot, down corn, wind damage, harvest shatter loss, hail, rain/snow, and possible price decline.

We also have plenty of on-farm trucks are available to haul your corn to MaxYield fast!


Haley Banwart Shares Ag’s Story

Haley BanwartAs a student at West Bend- Mallard High School, Haley Banwart enjoyed writing, editing, and designing the student newspaper and yearbook. After completing her freshman year at Iowa State University (ISU), this ag communications and journalism major wanted to hone her skills at MaxYield Cooperative.

“It has been great to have an internship close to home and spend another summer on the farm,” said Banwart, 19, who is a two-time recipient of MaxYield’s $1,000 Ag Scholarship.

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: My parents, John and Kim Banwart, run a diversified farm with corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sheep, and a cow-calf operation. We give a lot of tours of our farm, and I’ve learned how important it is to share agriculture’s story with people who don’t have a farm background. During my freshman year at ISU, I enjoyed working on news releases for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and writing articles for the college’s STORIES magazine.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield ag communications internship?

A: To be an intern at MaxYield is a true privilege. I’ve developed my communications skills and have gained a better understanding of what opportunities are available for me in my future career. This summer I’ve worked on MaxYield’s 2014 calendar and have enjoyed interviewing the tractor owners whose equipment will be featured in the calendar. I’ve also helped with event planning, filmed and produced YouTube videos of the 2013 MaxYield interns on the job, and written blog posts for MaxYield’s From the Field blog at www.fromthefield.com.

Q: How have you benefited by having Chad Meyer as your mentor at MaxYield?

A: Chad has helped me learn a lot about how cooperatives work and the importance of effective communication with clients. He’s always willing to answer all my questions, and he gives me lots of opportunities to challenge myself in a real-life business setting, which has been great.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A: I’m interested in working in communications. My MaxYield internship has helped me narrow down which career path I would like to pursue. It has also strengthened my enthusiasm to be an advocate for agriculture. I think a local cooperative could be a good fit for me. I’d also like to help out as my family considers offering more agri-tourism opportunities at our farm.

Interesting facts about Haley:

• Haley served as president of the Fern Valley 4-H Club, exhibited livestock at the Palo Alto County Fair, was a member of the Palo Alto County 4-H Council, and participated in the 4-H Washington, D.C. leadership trip in 2010. She enjoyed seeing the World War II Memorial, which honors veterans like her grandfather, Ralph Banwart. This year Haley returned to the Palo Alto County Fair to host the dairy show and Bill Riley Talent Show.

• During her years in 4-H, Haley tried her hand at woodworking and welding. She made a new frame for an old porch swing from her great aunt and uncle’s farm near Cylinder, and the swing now graces her family’s porch.

• In her free time, Haley likes to ride her horse, work with livestock, and go fishing at Mulroney’s Pits near Rodman or Silver Lake, where her Grandpa Ralph liked to fish.

Amber Wolter Scouts Career Opportunities

Amber WolterWhile Amber Wolter started off as an education major at Iowa State University (ISU), she decided that agriculture suited her better. When she took a class about cooperatives, her project on MaxYield Cooperative led to more opportunities than she anticipated.

“I learned about MaxYield’s history, the financial aspects of the business, and how the cooperative is structured,” said Wolter, 22, who is majoring in ag studies with a minor in agronomy. “I also learned that I wanted to complete an internship with MaxYield.”

Wolter is glad she has had the chance to work as a crop scout/agronomy intern. “All these experiences are helping me get a broad-based education and keep my career options open.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: By the time I graduated from Algona High School in 2009, I had showed livestock for many years through 4-H and FFA. My parents, Ernie and Lynn Wolter, were big into the livestock showing circuit, and my dad also sells Case IH equipment. My older sisters, Amanda and Mindy, and older brother E. J. are all involved in agriculture and encouraged me to study ag further.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield internship?

A: I feel like I’m not just an intern. MaxYield issued me a smartphone, a truck, and business cards, and the company treats me like a full-time team member. I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity. I stay busy with crop scouting and spend a lot of time on the farm checking for weed and insect pressure in clients’ fields. Earlier this summer, I helped clients find cover crops like oats, tillage radishes, and pearl millet, which one MaxYield client will feed to his cattle. I’ve also been doing some cold calling, and I’m helping farmers determine the right herbicide programs for their corn and soybean acres. It has been interesting to job shadow people throughout MaxYield. I went to Hobarton to see how they work with Murphy Brown. I also enjoyed seeing how the MaxYield team works with the ethanol plant at Lakota. I like the cooperative system and appreciate how people work together.

Q: How have you benefited by having Greg Ervin and Tim Bruns as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: My mentors are proactive in wanting to help me learn and advance. Tim spends a lot of time in the field and quizzes me on my weed identification skills. Greg is very science-minded and handles a lot of the paperwork and other behind-the-scenes jobs. I like the fact that there are no dumb questions, and Tim and Greg are here to help me. They both encourage me to try new things, get me out of my comfort zone, and set me on the right path. They’ve also helped me network by introducing me to representatives from the crop protection companies that MaxYield works with.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

When I graduate from ISU in December of 2013, I know I want to work in agriculture because it’s a diverse industry that’s always changing. Working in a cooperative is pretty interesting to me, and I’d like to stay in northern Iowa, if possible. It’s awesome to see how MaxYield is investing in the next generation through its internship program.

Interesting facts about Amber:

• Amber showed Suffolk and Southdown sheep for many years through 4-H and FFA and has exhibited livestock at the Palo Alto County Fair, the Iowa State Fair, and AK-Sar-Ben. She also won overall grand champion market lamb with one of her sheep at the Palo Alto County Fair during her freshmen year of high school.

• Throughout high school, Amber held many leadership roles in FFA, including chapter vice president her senior year. She also earned the Iowa FFA Degree and the American FFA Degree, performed in the state FFA choir, and served as an FFA/ Iowa State Fair grandstand usher for three years.

• As a member of ISU’s Agronomy Club, Amber helps plant flowers on campus and works with local elementary students to teach them how plants grow.

Semi-Tanker accident statement

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 10, a MaxYield Cooperative semi-tractor and tanker trailer was involved in a single vehicle accident near Salix, IA.

The vehicle transporting 32% liquid nitrogen rolled over at exit 135 on Interstate 29.

The driver was not injured.

All of the proper authorities and regulatory agencies were notified immediately after the accident and MaxYield cooperated fully with them through the accident cleanup process.

Removal of the 32% nitrogen from the tanker involved in the accident was completed in a timely manner. The minimal amount of liquid nitrogen that escaped from the damaged tanker was contained and removed following both company and environmental agency protocol. This liquid nitrogen product is neither caustic nor poisonous and did not reach any waterway.

MaxYield is thankful that no one was injured in the accident. We are also very grateful for the fast response of the authorities and agencies involved.


Clint McConnell Goes With the Grain

Clint McConnellWhen Clint McConnell was researching internship opportunities, MaxYield Cooperative moved to the top of the list. McConnell, 20, knew MaxYield was a good place to learn and grow based on the positive experiences his older brother, Caleb, had when he completed an agronomy and seed internship at MaxYield.

McConnell was interested in grain marketing, and he wanted an internship close to home so he could work on his family’s farm this summer. When he read about MaxYield’s internship programs through My Solutions magazine, he knew MaxYield fit the bill on all counts.

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: My parents, Bob and Lisa McConnell, run a corn and soybean operation near Armstrong, and I’d like to farm someday, too. I’m a sophomore at Iowa State University (ISU), where I’m majoring in ag business and minoring in agronomy and ag systems technology. I’ve also enjoyed learning more about agriculture by joining the Ag Business Club and Ag Systems Technology Club at ISU.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield grain marketing internship?

A: I’ve gotten to learn about many aspects of grain marketing at MaxYield and have helped load trains at Belmond. I’m based in the corporate office in West Bend, where I do the local grain bid comparisons and update the basis history and corn price history. I also work with Rick Abrahamson, who manages MaxYield’s grain records, and have helped with truck settlements. One week I got to work at the Hobarton location to see how they handle grain. I was impressed by how well they know their clients and how they’ve built strong relationships with them.

Q: How have you benefited by having Harry Bormann, Karl Setzer, and Rick Abrahamson as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: I’ve been very lucky to work with each of them. They are great mentors who answer my questions and have helped me learn a lot about grain marketing. They’ve also encouraged me to take advantage of other opportunities through my internship. I’ve participated in the CEO luncheon hosted by Kossuth County Economic Development, where I can learn from other local business leaders.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A: I have a real passion for farming and want to go into production agriculture someday. I’m also interested in precision ag, because it’s always changing and is a big part of production agriculture today.


Interesting facts about Clint:

• Clint, a 2012 graduate of Armstrong- Ringsted High School, was a member of the Jack Creek Feeders 4-H Club and showed cattle and poultry at the Emmet County Fair.

• Family is important to Clint. He helps his younger brother, Colton, with his show cattle. Clint is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Caleb, who was also an ag business major at ISU. Clint’s older sister, Caitlin, is studying to be a nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

• In addition to boating at Okoboji, Clint enjoys hunting deer and looks forward to his family’s annual trip in the late fall to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to hunt waterfowl.