January 18, 2021

Archives for May 2015

MaxYield 100 Years: 50th Annual Report, April 30 1965

50th coverRecently, MaxYield Cooperative celebrated its birthday, founded as West Bend Elevator Company on April 6, 1915. It was later incorporated on May 29th of that same year.

The 50th annual report to the membership documented the financials of the company for the year ending April 30, 1965.

Then, R. W. Jurgens was the general manager, with Earnie Schmidt serving as president, George Thatcher as Vice President, while R. W. Rittgers was the secretary.

The inside of the 50th annual report showed 27 employees on the West Bend location roster, and three for the Rodman location, which was purchased from the Quaker Oats Company that same year.

In his “Word from the Management” at the beginning of the annual report, Jurgens wrote, “It is with a great deal of pleasure and pride that I am allowed to report on your Cooperative’s 50th year in business. We have enjoyed another profitable year. Our volume of grain handled is quite a lot over last year. Sales are the largest in history–almost five and a quarter million dollars.”

He conclude his annual report remarks by saying, “You can be assured that your directors and management will continue to seek new methods that will keep your Cooperative abreast of these rapidly changing times. You can also be assured that all changes will be designed for the good of Cooperative and for the benefit of its members.”

Those words applied at the 50 year mark of West Bend Elevator Company, and as we celebrate a century of MaxYield Cooperative.

Thank you for your support and here’s to the next 100 years!

My MaxYield Internship: Kimberly Dornbier

Meet Kim Dornbier, MaxYield’s Grain Accounting/Finance Intern

Kim Dornbier• What inspired you to want to study in agriculture?
I have always had a love for the industry and knew wherever my future took me it would take me somewhere in agricultural.  Growing up around agriculture and being involved in my local 4H and FFA were all a big help in inspiring me.

• Why did you apply for MaxYield’s Grain Accounting/Finance Cooperative Internship?
I knew I wanted to gain experience in a grain accounting position to see if it was truly what I want to be doing in the future. And hearing from MaxYield’s past interns, and how they really enjoyed their time working there, made MaxYield a very appealing choice to me.

• Who are your mentors this summer, and how have they helped you through your first few weeks at MaxYield?
Rick Abrahamson & Susan Post are my mentors for the summer. Both have been very good in helping me adjust to MaxYield and the work environment. They both have given me good advice and I’m looking forward to see what the rest of the internship has to offer for me.

 What have you learned through your internship so far? What has been your favorite part about your internship so far?
I have learned a great deal of things over the past couple weeks. I am learning about settlements and agreements, and how to run the company’s grain program. I have truly enjoyed getting to know the people here, and I have also enjoyed not feeling like I am just an intern, but a full-time employee. One of my favorite parts over these first few weeks was when the other interns and I were able to tour the Belmond Fertilizer Facility.

 What are you most looking forward to this summer?
What I look forward to most this summer is getting to see the people every day and becoming more involved in the grain department. And as the summer progresses I hope to learn more about the hedging and marketing of grain.

High-Performance History: Ag and Motorsports Museum Offers Something for Everyone

20150114_maxyield_161 (1024x681)The 3 “R’s” mean reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic in school, but they mean racing, railroads, and rural heritage at the new Kossuth County Ag and Motorsports Museum in Algona.

“We hear ‘wow’ a lot when people visit the museum for the first time,” said Louie Bormann of Algona, board president.

Located on the north end of the Kossuth County Fairgrounds, the museum tells the story of rural and small-town life in north-central Iowa. The open areas on the main floor offer an ideal place to display vintage tractors and race cars, while the perimeters of both the main floor and upper level offer an array of interesting exhibits focused on agriculture and racing in north-central Iowa. From the unique 1960 John Deere 730 Turbo Diesel tractor, to a race car that belonged to Iowa racing legend Bob Shryock, the museum makes it easy to explore north-central Iowa history up close.

Nearly 3,000 guests visited the museum during the 2014 Kossuth County Fair. “There are a lot of racing enthusiasts in this area, plus this is a farming community, so we offer something for everyone,” said Ron Lohman, the museum’s curator and a board member from Algona.

Tractors and race cars aren’t the only attractions at the museum, whose guests have included Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. Just beyond the main exhibit hall is a massive model railroad that takes up a complete room. “People of all ages enjoy this place,” said Arlen Benschoter of Algona, a museum board member who’s the creative force behind the railroad, which continues to evolve. “Some kids are so fascinated by the train that they start crying when their parents tell them it’s time to go.”

20150114_maxyield_122 (1024x681)Small-town promoters accomplish big dreams
While the Ag and Motorsports Museum opened in July 2013, the roots of the $900,000 project run much deeper. The idea began and evolved in 2009.

“Louie and I go on a lot of tractor rides and started asking if we could create a museum in Algona to preserve ag history,” Lohman said. “This was uncharted territory for us. Once we got into it more and realized how big of a project this would be, we thought, ‘What did we get ourselves into?’”

The volunteers hired a consultant, Ralph Savoy, from Cedar Rapids to conduct a feasibility study. When the results were positive, they began recruiting volunteers like Jim Voigt, a local CPA, to help with fundraising. They also decided that the fairgrounds offered the best place to build the museum. “We didn’t want it to be seen just as an Algona project,” Bormann noted. “It’s a Kossuth County project.”

After generous donations from area residents started coming in, the volunteers secured a $20,000 grant from the Union Pacific Railroad and a $100,000 Vision Iowa grant. The museum’s volunteers were inspired by the layout of the Hancock County Agricultural Museum in Britt as they designed the Ag and Motorsports Museum. After the building was completed, some of its loudest critics became its biggest promoters. “This museum has become a big asset to the community and gives people another reason to visit the area,” Bormann said.

See what’s new
Measuring 80 feet wide by 172 feet long, the climate-controlled, energy-efficient museum includes plenty of exhibit space and a gallery showcasing the remarkable rural artwork of Russell Sonnenburg of Forest City. The Ag and Motorsports Museum offers prints of Sonnenburg’s vibrant paintings, which feature farm scenes and a variety of ag implements. Sales of these prints, which start at $35, help provide funds for the ongoing maintenance of the building.

20150114_maxyield_143 (1024x681)Funding also comes from rental fees for the museum’s spacious, first-floor meeting room featuring modern audio/visual equipment and Internet access. The museum is handicapped accessible, with a new elevator installed in February so all guests can also visit the balcony level while they are at the museum.

There’s always something new to see. “Since most of the items here are on loan, they can be swapped out frequently to keep things interesting,” said Bormann, who serves with 14 other volunteer board members from around the county. “We really appreciate the community’s support and interest in preserving our rich local history.”

Algona Boasts a Rich Racing History

The Ag and Motorsports Museum houses the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame, which was established in 2007 and recognizes individuals who achieved great success at the track or contributed to the betterment of racing in Kossuth County. Honorees must have lived in or raced in Kossuth County, IA.

Auto racing has been an integral part of Algona history since at least 1914, with automobile and motorcycle racing held during the Kossuth County Fair and at special events. Originally the race track was a half-mile in length and the large grandstand sat on the east side of the facility.

Weekly racing at the track began for the first time in 1961. During that time, high school football games were held in the infield of the speedway. This required volunteers to climb the light poles to turn the lights outward for racing, or inward for football games.

In the third race of 1961, tragedy struck when Larry Cordes died after his car left the speedway and caught fire. Prior to the start of the 1962 season, the speedway was reconfigured into a 1/4-mile track to reduce speeds.

Racing continued weekly at Algona until the conclusion of the 1975 season. Due to economics, the track sat dormant until 1986. The county fair board and local volunteers reopened the track.
Weekly racing has continued, with Joe Ringsdorf promoting the track the last 21 years, up to 2014.

In 2015, the fair board is promoting races on Thursday nights, with Al Thoreson from Fairmont, MN, as race night manager.

Plan Your Visit
The Kossuth County Ag and Motorsports Museum is located just off of Highway 169 on the north end of the Kossuth County Fairgrounds. Admission is $3.

For more information, log on to www.kossuthmuseum.com or call Louie Bormann (515-320-0332) or Ron Lohman (515-341-1312) to schedule a time to visit the museum.

Taylor Kluver: Client Relations/Communications Intern

Taylor Kluver 2015Time has flown by, I have now been MaxYield Cooperative’s Client Relations/Communications Intern for two weeks. Over the course of these past two weeks, I have learned a lot about MaxYield as a company and how they have become who there are today. I started May 13th, arriving at the corporate office and heading right into my first safety training led by Tom Winkle, MaxYield’s Safety Director. During the training, the other interns and I learned that everyone doing their part to practice safety is key!

I spent Thursday morning at an on-boarding training led by MaxYield’s Education Leader, Patti Guenther. After returning, I spent the rest of the afternoon meeting everyone in the office and learning their roles.

Friday we started our quest across MaxYield’s eastern territory, visiting the locations and getting to know their team members. Our last stop on Friday was at the Belmond Fertilizer Facility, which was the highlight of my day. Comparing operations from the earlier visited Algona Fertilizer Facility to Belmond’s was a great way to see how technology has evolved in agriculture.

The following Monday we headed west to visit and meet team members in those locations as well. On May 20th, the other interns and I attended the Kossuth & Palo Alto County Intern Breakfast. Our speaker Kent Stock talked about his life experiences, and the movie The Final Season that was created based upon his life story. After our speaker, we were informed about possible opportunities as interns to help out the community, and ways to work with other interns to build connections throughout the summer.

In my spare time I have started to work on one of my main projects for the summer, MaxYield’s 2016 Limited Edition Tractor Calendar. I have begun contacting the owners and making appointments to meet with them to learn more about their tractors. In the next few weeks I look forward to getting to know the owners, and hearing the stories that come along with the history of their tractors.

An Open Letter to Lakota

Editor’s note: Captain James Nash was one of the Marines honored during the 2013 Hunting with Heroes weekend. He was invited to the 2014 event. He was unable to make the event, but sent the following letter. Thank you Captain Nash on your commitment to our country, and sharing your story.

Dear Bernie and Jason,

Something amazing just happened, but to understand it I have to tell you a larger story.

Part one

August 2012. I lay in a hospital in Afghanistan, physically and mentally destroyed. I’ve lost one fourth of my platoon in a single battle and have a suicide watch over me at all times. I have doctors and nurses asking me questions, pumping me full of medicine. I couldn’t care less whether I lived or died, except for a black lab named Joe. He had been injured while serving as a bomb dog and came to visit me every day. I didn’t want to eat or drink or talk to anyone, but I loved seeing Joe.

Part two

November 2013. I’ve been having the time of my life in Lakota, talking with salt-of-the-earth, small-town Americans. They are the people I imagine when wondering if the sacrifices of so many are worth it. We’re walking through fields of tall grass and watching a black lab named Claire dart back and forth, flushing pheasants and retrieving them back to us again. At the end of the second day, on your place, Bernie, a bird got up a long ways out and I hit it, but it sailed into the next field. Several dogs took after it, including Claire. Then she hit a barbed-wire fence at full speed and got tangled in the wires. As she yelped in pain, hunters started to run to help her, but she freed herself. Instead of giving up, Claire ran into the field, overtook the other dogs, and chased the rooster until she caught it and retrieved it. I was nearly in tears.

Part three

I retired from the Marines in February 2014 and began the long drive from North Carolina to my home in Oregon. The drive was made longer because I stopped to look at every litter of black labs within 100 miles of my route. In Blackfoot, ID, I found the one I was looking for, set her in my truck, and finished my trip — a trip that had begun with me bleeding into the dust of a country you will never see, and ended with a female lab sleeping in my lap. Every time she woke up and looked at me, I could only smile and say, “Hi, Claire.” It had been a very long way home.

Part 4

This morning (Sunday, Nov. 9), while you were out hunting with heroes, I came home from duck hunting and saw a rooster pheasant in my back yard. This is the first pheasant I have ever seen on my property. I grabbed my Savage Over & Under you gave me, called Claire, and walked into the tall grass of the field next to my house. Claire flushed the rooster, and I wounded it and watched him sail out of sight. Claire went after him and so did I, at a dead run. She found where he landed and then 200 yards later jumped him. The two ran over the hill and out of sight again.
Then I heard barbed wire screeching and my dog yelping. It stopped me in my tracks, thinking my little dog was hurt. But in a moment she came back into sight with that rooster in her mouth. She retrieved him all the way to me. You see, Marines are called Devil Dogs. They have a job to do, and they execute that job. No matter what. I think black labs are the same. I know what it is like to be caught in the fence. Once I got out of the hospital in Afghanistan, I could have gone back to the States, but I went back to my platoon. Two months later I was wounded again. After one month in the hospital, I went back to my platoon again. When we left the country to come home, I was the last man on the plane. What you are offering those of us who are fortunate enough to hunt with you is much bigger than a fun weekend. It’s bigger than I can describe, and I thank you for it. I miss you, Lakota. I hope to see you again.

Semper Fidelis,
Capt. James Nash

Unwavering Support Strengthens Hunting With Heroes


Bernie Becker and his son, Jason, credit MaxYield Cooperative as one of the main reasons they were able to start Hunting with Heroes in 2011.

“Through the years, their support has been unwavering,” Jason Becker noted. “Thanks to MaxYield, we’ve been able to focus on our mission of providing the best healing experience possible for the Marines who come here.”

Even though Jason currently lives in England for his job with Caterpillar, he provided an email update to share his thoughts about Hunting with Heroes.

1. What inspired you about the Marines who came to Lakota in 2014?
The personal connection they made to the community really stood out. I know it must be difficult to come into a community like ours and suddenly be the center of attention. They were so appreciative, however, and it was very touching to see how much this experience meant to them.

2. What impressed you about the alumni’s interest in returning to Iowa?
Jamie Lantgen and Kevin Koffler were two of the first Marines we hosted, and they’ve always been close to the hearts of our community, our family, and our extended Hunting with Heroes family.

Having them back felt great. We always want to welcome alumni back for the event.

We’ve found that these guys want to see the community again and help at the event. While Jamie and Kevin hunted, they also supported the new guys who were here and gave them a comfort level we could not offer.

3. How does Hunting with Heroes define what’s great about rural Iowa?
The more times I relocate for my career at Caterpillar, the more I keep coming back to a love for rural Iowa and what it stands for. While we plan for Hunting with Heroes all year long, I’m always caught off guard by the tremendous response to the banquet each year. This has become a way to honor both the Marines and all branches of service represented in our area. Local community members’ willingness to band together to make Hunting with Heroes such a success is something that we can all be proud of. As long as there are Wounded Warriors, there will always be a place for them to hunt and come home to in our rural Iowa communities.

THE BEST YET: Fourth Annual Hunting With Heroes Honors Those Who Serve


For this week’s look back at MaxYield history…we share a story about a special town and special group of people that make a difference for those that serve our country. We are proud to play a very small part in the annual Hunting with Heroes weekend.


“What we’re doing really makes a positive difference”
—Bernie Becker

Want to know what rural Iowa’s all about? For the four Marines who participated in this year’s Hunting with Heroes event, they’ll never forget pulling up to Road Runners in Lakota on their first evening in town.

“It was quite an entrance, as we had police escorts and people were outside waving little flags to welcome the Marines,” said Jason Becker, who coordinated the fourth annual event with his father, Bernie, and other local volunteers. “During the meal, lots of people came over and thanked the guys for their service. Then one of the Marines pulled me aside and said, ‘Jason, you guys are too much. This is too much.”

Becker asked the Marine what he meant. “He told me that he and the other guys just couldn’t believe how much love and support they received here,” Becker said. “He said, ‘Never in my time in service have I ever seen or personally experienced anything like this—and from complete strangers besides.’”

DSC_0216 (1024x679)Hunting with Heroes brings four Marines from the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC, for an early November weekend of pheasant hunting in northern Iowa and a show of gratitude for their service. It’s a humbling—and inspiring—experience for these Marines, who between the four of them have been deployed more than 20 times in some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. Collectively, they have survived 15 enemy attacks from either an improvised explosive device (IED) or a rocket-propelled grenade.

“I was hurt in February 2013,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Owen Bradley Pottorff, who joined the Marines in 1995 and has been on 14 deployments. In 2013, he was in the Helmand province of Afghanistan as part of Operation Dynamic Partner. “I was blown up five times in four days. The fighting was so intense they couldn’t risk a helicopter to evac me out.”

Pottorff is a native Iowan who graduated from Albia High School. It’s been five years since he’s been back in Iowa, and 10 years since the last time he went pheasant hunting.

“When you see how much this weekend means to these Marines, I feel like what we’re doing really makes a positive difference,” Bernie Becker said.

Thanks for the experience of a lifetime
Sgt. Ryan Rogers agreed. He knew the minute the Twin Towers went down that becoming a Marine was his calling. Rogers enlisted in 2004 and has been deployed five times. The worst was in 2010. “I was in Afghanistan, where it was IEDs and gunfights from sunup to sundown,” Rogers told the Algona Upper Des Moines newspaper. “I lost Marines there. It was bad the entire time.”

While the Ohio native has been pheasant hunting before, the experience in Lakota was unforgettable. “I’ve never been treated like this before,” Rogers said. “The hospitality is amazing.”

Staff Sgt. Tony Musselman can relate. This Pennsylvania native has been deployed four times since he enlisted in 2007. The trip to Iowa brought back good memories of pheasant hunting with his father.

DSC_0133 (1024x679)“I can’t thank people enough for this,” Musselman said. “It’s relaxing, coming out here, clearing my mind. This has been the best hunting experience I’ve ever had.”

Staff Sgt. Phillip Lee Shockley was astounded by the welcome he and his fellow Marines received in Lakota. “Everyone has been great,” said Shockley, a North Carolina native, who enlisted in the Marines at age 18 shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.

He’s been deployed five times and was injured in 2006 and again in 2011. “While you know when you sign up that these things could happen, you don’t think they’ll happen to you.”

Alumni return to Iowa
When Bernie and Jason Becker began Hunting with Heroes in 2011, they didn’t know what to expect, or what impact a weekend of hunting pheasant would have on wounded Marines. For the second time, Jamie Lantgen came back to help with the hunt. The retired Marine sergeant now boasts a full beard and a much more relaxed demeanor than in 2011.

“This event makes a difference in lives,” Lantgen said. “It’s the genuine care and compassion you have for these guys. I like coming back, seeing the other Marines, and catching up with everyone. This also shows them that there are things you can do after being in that death trap, that there is no stigma.”

This year, Lantgen was joined by fellow retired Marine sergeant and 2011 alum, Kevin Koffler. “Coming here in 2011 meant a lot to me. Keep doing what you are doing,” Koffler said. “You can’t ask for a better event than this.”

DSC_0057 (1024x679)“You are my family now”
The weekend of hunting ended with a banquet at the Lakota Eagle Center to honor all area veterans, their spouses, and all of the sponsors of the entire weekend. The 2014 banquet attracted nearly 500 guests. “This shows true Iowa hospitality,” said Bernie Becker, who is already making plans for the next Hunting with Heroes during the first weekend in November 2015. “I’m amazed at how Hunting with Heroes keeps getting better.”

As in years’ past, the Heartwarmers Quilt Guild in Buffalo Center provided handmade quilts to each of the wounded Marines. This year, Quilts of Valor donated an additional group of quilts to hand out to attending Purple Heart recipient veterans at the banquet and to a Gold Star Mother.

Shockley brought the audience to tears as he offered a few parting words at the conclusion of the banquet. “Everything I’ve done on my deployments has been for you. You are my family now. I would do anything for you and am so grateful for this weekend.”

He then addressed the older veterans in the crowd. “You are the man I strive to be,” he said. “If it was not for the sacrifices you made, I would not be able to do what I do. You are the heroes here.”

Photos courtesy of Mindy Baker, Algona Upper Des Moines.


MaxYield attends seminar to leverage resources to connect veterans with jobs

In addition to learning about the employment needs of our veterans, Diane Streit, MaxYield HR Director and other HR professionals were given a ride on a Chinook helicopter used by the military.

In addition to learning about the employment needs of our veterans, Diane Streit, MaxYield HR Director and other HR professionals were given a ride on a Chinook helicopter used by the military.

SPENCER, Iowa (KTIV) – Original story plus video interview from KTIV

In Northwest Iowa, it’s considered the “first of its kind.” A training seminar for human resource personnel. The people that could hire veterans looking for work.

“We feel it’s our obligation to try and help returning veterans to find opportunity and employment here in the state,” said Alex Oponski.

Alex Oponski represents Northwest Financial Corp.. He’s just one of over 50 businesses invited, on behalf of the Northwest Iowa and Southwest Minnesota Society for Human Resources Management chapter, to the Iowa Armory in Spencer on Tuesday.

“Allows the opportunity for employers to connect with any, and all, resources that help military men and women transition into the workforce,” said Mike Koenecke, president of the Northwest Iowa and Southwest Minnesota Human Resource Association.

The goal was connecting and educating on HR representatives on to potentially hire active and former military.

On board the Chinook.

On board the Chinook.

“What are some of the specific skill sets that they have,” said Diane Streit, representing MaxYield Cooperative. “Then I can go back to my company and kind of match those up with jobs we might have available for them.”

Guests listened to anything from how military members transition to the workforce to the initiatives and programs already in place meant to aid military members and work professionals.

“Home Base Iowa, the VA (Veterans Affairs), we’ve got ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve), just to name a few,” said Koenecke.

In turn as part of the seminar, potential employers got to learn about some of the skills that potential employees would have used on a regular basis.

“We’re also letting them know well there’s current on-board guardsmen, too, that look for jobs,” said Colonel Timothy A. Glynn.

Colonel Timothy Glynn spoke on behalf of Home Base Iowa. An initiative that not only helps veterans locate potential jobs, but gives veterans initiatives to make Iowa a permanent home. For Glynn, the subject matter had a deeper connection.

“This happened to me back in 1992,” said Glynn. “I came off active duty and came back looking for a place to live and a job.”

Some businesses admit they might not always find what they need through this.

View out the back of the Chinook.

View out the back of the Chinook.

“Being a financial institution, it is difficult for us to find veterans who have those qualifications,” said Oponski.

Oponski says he’s optimistic they could still refer these potential employees to other opportunities.




Multi-hybrid planting holds promise

20150504_maxyield_285 (1024x681)The next big innovation in precision farming could be multi-hybrid planting—placing specific hybrids at optimum zones in a field.

SciMax Solutions, a subdivision of Iowa-based MaxYield Cooperative, has teamed up with WinField this spring to plant more than 1,000 acres of corn using a specially-designed multi-hybrid planter.

The Brownfield Network discussed the project with Peter Bixel, SciMax Solutions team leader. The audio is available here.

Maximize the Benefits of Grid Sampling

20131009_maxyield_110 (681x1024)There’s a good reason why grid sampling has been called one of the most important management practices for modern crop production. Accurate grid soil sampling is the first step to getting the most economic return on your precision farming investment.

“I’ve soil sampled ever since I started farming in the late 1990s and began grid sampling shortly after that,” said Eric Marchand, a SciMax Solutions® client who farms near Britt. “It helps me put the right nutrients in the right place.”

It’s important to update grid samples every four years for best results. Thanks to advances in technology, today’s grid sampling is much more sophisticated and can provide more useful results than the soil tests of yesteryear. All grid sampling services aren’t created equal, however. That’s why MaxYield Cooperative and SciMax Solutions took the process in-house in 2013.

“Quality is the key with soil sampling,” said Rachel Amundson, a SciMax Solutions specialist. “While SciMax partnered with other soil sampling companies in the past, we now run all our samples at a private lab to provide the highest quality service and data.”

MaxYield and SciMax have been working with Dr. Rick Vanden Heuvel of VH Consulting Inc., to provide this attention to detail since 2005. “Dr. Vanden Heuvel made everything easy to understand,” said Marchand, who was one of 20 growers who participated. “I was surprised by how much care he takes from start to finish to provide the best results possible.”

Put your soil to the test
The grid sampling process starts when trained SciMax professionals pull soil samples in the spring and fall using the latest technology. Samples are pulled every 2.5 acres using GPS technology, although the SciMax Solutions team is also testing 1.6-acre grids.

“We’re looking at this to address variability and help SciMax clients manage nutrients better,” said Rodney Legleiter, a SciMax Solutions specialist.

All of the samples are pulled according to SciMax Nitrogen protocols so nutrient recommendations can be made from the Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test (ISNT). This soil-based system promotes sustainable agriculture, offers growers increased profit potential, and enhances environmental stewardship.

The samples are then sent to Vanden Heuvel’s certified lab, where they are thoroughly analyzed. This can be a time-consuming, detailed process, Legleiter noted. Because heavy clay soils are common throughout MaxYield’s trade territory, the soil samples need to be dried properly for best testing results. Since heat drying samples with heavy clay content can tie up nutrients and lead to false readings of fertility levels, Vanden Heuvel air dries the samples.

SciMax tour participants viewed the various equipment and data entry systems Vanden Heuvel uses to provide the most accurate results possible. “This isn’t a huge lab that’s focused on volume,” Marchand said. “It’s clear that careful research and quality are very important to Dr. Vanden Heuvel.”

Feeding your high-yielding crops of the future
Once the grid sampling results are in, the SciMax team compiles maps for clients’ fields. These are the start of a customized fertilizer recommendation plan tailored to zones throughout each field.

“Increasing yields starts when you know how much variability is in your fields,” Amundson said. “Understanding your soil conditions will help you better manage nutrients so you can apply the right amount where they are needed and ensure that they work together most effectively.”

Amundson is pleased that the number of grid-sampled acres continues to grow through SciMax Solutions. She encourages more growers to take advantage of this opportunity. “Grid sampling is another time we’re out in your field, learning more about your acres, soil types, and fertility levels. Also, we hold the soil samples for one year, which gives you extra time to decide if you
want to utilize SciMax Nitrogen®.”

Grid sampling is one of the most cost-effective nutrient management solutions available.
It’s also a key to better stewardship of Iowa’s natural resources. “It’s a win-win, because it helps you make the most of your input dollars and yield potential while protecting water quality,” said Peter Bixel, SciMax Solutions’ team leader.

SciMax Solutions plans to host another trip to Wisconsin in the months ahead so more clients have the opportunity to see the level of expertise that goes into the grid sampling results. “Dr. Vanden Heuvel has studied nitrogen management throughout his career, and his expertise is helping us provide more sound agronomic results,” Amundson said.

Marchand is even more convinced about the value of grid sampling after visiting Vanden Heuvel’s lab. “Better fertilizer management makes sense for so many reasons, especially as margins get tighter. It’s good to know that SciMax and Dr. Vanden Heuvel put in the extra effort to make sure their clients receive the best solutions available.”

For more information on grid sampling or SciMax Solutions, log on to www.scimaxsolutions.com/soil-sampling.