March 24, 2018

A Floor and Maybe More: Protect Profit Potential with Minimum Price Contracts

In times like this, wouldn’t it be great to have price protection against the downside of weather markets and still be able to capture upside potential? It’s not only possible, but also quite simple with a minimum price contract.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest in minimum price contracts,” said Karl Setzer, risk management team leader for MaxYield Cooperative. “The potential for this contract to work is much greater when the market isn’t near seasonal or historical highs.” A minimum price contract involves a simple, two-step process, including:

  1. Cash sale
  2. Re-ownership of the grain in the deferred months, with a set price floor

While some risk management tools still have downside risk, that’s not the case with the minimum price contract. Along with price protection, you retain the opportunity to take advantage of market rallies.

For example, on minimum price contract bushels that MaxYield was pricing in mid-October, the market was trading at $3.88 for September 2018. “Since we put the re-ownership out into future months, rather than the spot market, you have the chance to participate in a weather market in the next growing season,” Setzer said.

Think of it like insurance

Think of a minimum price contract like car insurance and homeowners insurance. When you buy these risk management tools, you hope that you never have to collect on them. If you do suffer a loss, however, the premium seems like a small price to pay for the coverage.

This is similar to a minimum price contract, which offers you a more affordable way to retain ownership, protect against losses, capture future weather rallies and avoid grain storage costs.

“Storage could easily cost you twice as much as the fee for the minimum price contract,” Setzer said. “This contract almost sounds too good to be true, but it’s the real deal.”

After you pay the fee for this contract, there are no hidden costs or additional fees. “It’s not like buying a car and having to pay more money for rust protection,” Setzer said. “With a minimum price contract, everything is spelled out right up front.”

In addition, you only have to handle the grain once with a minimum price contract. Don’t want to mess with hauling grain to the elevator? Sign up for MaxYield’s convenient, on-farm grain pickup service and check one more thing off your to-do list.

Effective risk management doesn’t have to be fancy

Along with minimum price contracts, MaxYield offers a variety of risk management programs and tailors them to your specific situation.

“We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter solutions, but we do believe effective risk management doesn’t have to be complex,” said Setzer, who added that no MaxYield grain team members work on commission. “Think of risk management like an old farm truck. It doesn’t have to be fancy to work for you.”

Don’t overlook one of the biggest benefits of the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) philosophy of risk management, Setzer said. “The simpler your system is, the more likely you are to follow it.”

Let’s talk

Want to learn more about minimum price contracts or other risk management tools from MaxYield? Interested in on-farm grain pickup? Contact your nearest MaxYield location for details.

Secrets of Top Producers:

Top 10 High-Yield Management Strategies Revealed

In SciMax Solutions’ High Management Yield Contests, it’s not unusual for top producers to achieve 260-bushel to 280-bushelper-acre corn yields. In 2016, many of the entries were north of 250 bushels per acre.

What’s their secret?

“In the past several years we’ve studied these results and have put together a high-yield management program that’s working well,” said Dan Bjorklund, seed team leader at MaxYield Cooperative. “By working with this elite group of SciMax growers, we’ve identified proven strategies anyone can use to maximize bushels.”

These top 10 strategies include:

  1. Crop rotation. Almost all of the highest yields in the SciMax group came from first-year corn, which is corn following soybeans.
  2. Variable-rate planting. Nearly all of the SciMax growers used variable-rate planting, so they can match higher plant populations with higher productivity areas in the field.
  3. Early planting. “The growers who planted the earliest did the best,” Bjorklund said. “That means April for corn and as soon as possible after corn for soybeans.”
  4. Planting in proper conditions. While Mother Nature’s whims can make it tricky sometimes to plant when the seedbed is ready, it’s a worthy goal. “You run into a lot of challenges if you plant into a seedbed that’s too wet,” Bjorklund said. “When you plant into a seedbed that’s ready, the plants tend to develop the best root systems and produce the highest yields.”
  5. Variable-rate fertilizer. Nearly all of the SciMax growers with top yields used variable-rate fertilizer, including SciMax Nitrogen. “The goal of SciMax Nitrogen is to have nitrogen that’s readily available to the plant,” Bjorklund said. “You also apply the nutrients accordingly, since some areas need more than others.” For both corn and soybeans, the highest yields come on acres with proper fertility levels of phosphorus and potassium, Bjorklund added.
  6. Placing the right seed genetics on the right acres. Selecting the right genetics for the environment in which the seeds will grow is a key to high yield potential. “Use the knowledge of your MaxYield agronomy specialist and MaxYield seed specialist to place the right genetics on the right acre,” Bjorklund said.
  7. Proper fungicide use. Fungicides were used more than 90 percent of the time in the highest-yielding fields in the High Management Yield Contest.
  8. Fine-tuning fertilizer in the growing season. High-yield growers tend to follow some of the practices embraced by Randy Dowdy, the famous Georgia crop producer who has shattered national corn yield contests with 503 bushels per acre and 171 bushels per acre on soybeans. These include checking the crop weekly, using tissue sampling and making management adjustments as necessary, such as foliarapplying nutrients, Bjorklund said.
  9. Genetic diversity. Since there’s no way to accurately predict what weather conditions might influence the next growing season, genetic diversity is a key to success. “Not only is genetic selection critical, but we also need to get the most out of the genetics on each acre,” Bjorklund said. “That involves matching the right genetics to the right environment, rather than just going with the high-yielding genetics from the previous year.”
  10. Sticking with the plan. While these top 10 strategies reflect 2016 data, when excellent growing conditions were common throughout MaxYield’s trade territory, will they still work in high-stress years? Yes, based on observations from 2017. “It’s clear that these practices work in good years and not-so-good years,” Bjorklund said. “These high-yield management strategies are a workable system, not a guessing game. The key is to make these strategies part of your system and then stick to the plan.”

For more information on developing high-yield management strategies for your acres in 2018, contact your MaxYield agronomy specialist.



Developing Strategies & Utilizing Tools: Building a Crop Marketing Plan

Download: Building a Crop Marketing Plan Flyer

There’s an old adage that states, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Do you plan to fail in marketing your old and new crop corn and soybeans? If the answer is “no” then what is your plan? Could you write it down and share it with your business partner and primary ag lender?

Join Steve Johnson, farm management specialist for an evening of fun and educational learning filled with strategies and tools to prepare you to market old and new crop bushels.

February 21, 2018

6 p.m. Meal
7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Steve Johnson

The Shores
14 N. Lawler St.
Emmetsburg, IA

Cost is $30 per person or $45 per couple

To register, call 712-852-2865 or

Women in Ag: Annie’s Project Starts Soon!

Annie’s Project: Farm Business Management

Download: Annie’s Project Flyer

A six-session course created to guide women in making good decisions for their farm businesses.

Classes starting Tuesday, February 13, 2018 and continuing February 20, 27 and March 6, 13, 20.

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., meal at noon

Farm Credit Services of America
3675 450th Ave.
Emmetsburg, IA

Annie’s Project is the agricultural business education program that empowers farm and ranch women who want to be more knowledgeable about their agricultural enterprises. Women learn best with and from other women, and Annie’s Project takes advantage of that by creating a comfortable and supportive learning environment focused on the best farm business management practices.

Course participants will learn effective strategies to make good decisions in five key management areas including financial, human resources, legal, marketing and production topics.

For more information, head to

Superior City Park Project Receives Contribution from MaxYield

MaxYield Cooperative recently presented the City of Superior with a contribution of $1000. The funds will be used to help complete the recent city park improvement project, which brought new playground equipment to the park.

Presenting the contribution to City of Superior Mayor Julie Nelson was MaxYield’s Mike Smith.

MaxYield also presented the city matching funds totaling $1000 from the Land O’Lakes Foundation. Land O’Lakes Foundation helps rural communities prosper and prepare for tomorrow by donating resources that develop and strengthen organizations dedicated to Hunger, Education and Community. Since 1997, the Foundation has awarded millions of dollars in grants through a variety of giving programs.

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




Master Now to Market Later

Join Hancock and Winnebago County Extension and Outreach, along with guest speaker Angie Setzer, to talk about marketing grain! Lean marketing strategies, principles, and risk management as part of an operation full marketing plan. At the end of the four-week course, you will walk away with your own personalized grain marketing strategy. This is also a great opportunity to network with other farmers in ag business.

4 Sessions

Cost:      $40.00 singles
$60.00 couples

February 6
February 13
February 20
February 27


6:00 p.m.
Waldorf University Ballroom in Salverson Hall
Forest City, IA

Registration Deadline: January 26

Call your County Extension Office:
Hancock County: 641-923-2856
Winnebago County: 641-584-2261

MaxYield Decreases Cost of 4-H Membership in Kossuth County

Darcie Kramer, Kossuth County Extension program coordinator and office manager, accepts a contribution from MaxYield that will decrease the cost of 4-H membership.

MaxYield Cooperative recently presented Kossuth County Extension and Outreach with a contribution aimed at decreasing the cost of enrollment in 4-H youth programs.

“We are continuing our support of local 4-H and commitment to our youth,” 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, especially families that have multiple children enrolled. 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 nearly $2600 to Kossuth County Extension and Outreach and will contribute more than $18,000 to 4-H in seven Iowa counties annually.

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

About MaxYield Cooperative

MaxYield Cooperative is a member-owned, diversified agricultural cooperative founded in 1915 and is headquartered in West Bend, IA. The cooperative has 24 locations and three Cenex convenience stores in Iowa. MaxYield also provides grain origination and accounting services for two Iowa feed mills. For more information, visit MaxYield online at and


Does Premium Diesel Fuel Pay?

With today’s high-tech engines and ever-tightening fuel specifications, it’s more important than ever to run premium diesel fuel. Still, some people stick with #2 diesel because it’s cheaper.

You’ve probably heard us talk about the many advantages of Cenex® fuels like Ruby FieldMaster® and RoadMaster®, which offer the best premium fuel package available. Maybe you’ve seen the advertisements that claim how these fuels can boost fuel mileage by 4 to 5 percent.

With clever marketing, however, a company can promise anything about a product. “That’s why we decided to put these fuels to the test with our own trucks,” said Chad Besch, energy team leader at MaxYield Cooperative. “We wanted to conduct our own real-life fuel mileage test to find out whether it pays to use premium diesel.”

The results even surprised us

The test was conducted in the summer months. MaxYield worked with Steve Leman, an experienced fuel-transport driver who is one of the most detailoriented members of MaxYield’s transportation team.

The test with Leman’s semi-tractor and trailer included six weeks of running regular #2 diesel, followed by six weeks of running Cenex RoadMaster premium diesel. “We didn’t stop there, though,” Besch said. “We switched to another truck with Steve as the driver and conducted the same experiment.”

It turns out that the advertisements’ fuel mileage claims for RoadMaster premium diesel were not only accurate, but conservative. “The literature talks about a 4 to 5 percent boost in fuel mileage with Cenex premium diesel fuels,” Besch said. “Steve consistently saw a 6 to 7 percent increase.”

If fuel is $2.50 per gallon, a 5 to 6 percent increase in fuel mileage is like saving 15 cents per gallon, Besch added. “Paying a nickel to save 15 cents means the odds are in your favor.”

Less expensive #2 diesel might not be such a bargain after all. “After conducting our own test, we’re convinced that Cenex premium diesel fuels are the real deal,” Besch said.

Want to learn more about energy solutions from MaxYield, including Cenex premium diesel? Contact your route delivery driver, or call MaxYield’s Energy Central at 866-711-7282.


Corn is King in Kossuth County

By Karl Setzer, Risk Management Team Leader

There is an old adage in the market that “corn is king,” and nothing could be more true for Kossuth County. Corn production in Kossuth County has been on a steady incline for the past several years, and shows no signs of slowing down.

In 1997, farmers in Kossuth County seeded 299,000 acres of corn. The average yield that year was 147.2 bushels per acre for a country production figure of 44 million bushels. Within twenty years this yield grew considerably. By 2016 the average county yield had grown to 204.7 bushels on 334,000 acres according to Farm Service Agency and U.S.D.A. data. This gave the country a production figure of 68.4 million bushels of corn.

The real noticeable increase in corn yield and production came in the early 2000’s. In the year 2001 the county corn yield was 138 bushels for an average. Just a year later this average jumped to 171 bushels per acre. Even in the drought year of 2012 the country yield only decreased to 164.6 bushels as most soils in the country yield better when dry rather than having excess moisture to contend with.

There are several reasons for the steady growth in corn yield. The main one is simple improvements to farming practices as a whole. Today’s farmers are planting much higher quality genetics than just a few years ago. Many of these are able to withstand insect pressure as well as adverse weather. This was proven last year when the corn crop seemed resilient to drought conditions. We have also seen practices such as variable rate fertilizer applications and variable rate seeding, which plant higher populations on parts of fields where yields tend to be higher.

While we have witnessed increases to corn yields and production in the county, more is needed. This is from the fact that demand has grown at a greater pace than production has, causing the country to import corn from other areas. If one would draw a circle with a fifty-mile radius of Algona, corn consumption is nearly 1 million bushels per day. This means country corn production is only a little over a two-month supply.

The big push for corn in the country came in the 1990’s with the expansion of hog production. This was most noticed in the southern half of the country. Within ten years the ethanol boom started, and created a large demand base in the northern half of the country. Since then corn demand has steadily increased in counties surrounding Kossuth, creating even more competition for corn stocks. As a result, corn values in the regions have went from being some of the poorest in the nation to the strongest in just a few short years. This demand has also helped isolate our market from many of the factors that used to impact prices when corn exports were more common.

For more information, you may contact Karl Setzer at 1-800-383-0003, or e-mail at The opinions and views expressed in this commentary are solely those of Karl Setzer. Data used in writing this commentary obtained from various sources believed to be accurate. This commentary is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended for developing specific commodity trading strategies. Any and all risk involved with commodity trading should be determined before establishing a futures position.



MaxYield Cooperative Announces $1000 Agriculture Scholarships

Ag scholarship application 2018

MaxYield Cooperative announced today details of their scholarship program for area college students and graduating high school seniors.  MaxYield will once again offer up to six $1000 scholarships to students who are in pursuit of a degree in agriculture.

“The purpose of the scholarship program is to encourage area youth to pursue and prepare for careers in agriculture.  This program is designed to provide financial assistance for students pursuing higher education in the field of agriculture,” stated Chad Meyer, client relations/communications director for MaxYield.

Applications are available at area high schools, local community colleges, and any MaxYield Cooperative location.  As a part of the application process, students must submit an essay entitled “Why I selected agriculture as my career.”

Meyer continued, “Often, MaxYield is the largest employer in many of our communities.  We feel we have an obligation to provide opportunities for our children to return to our local communities.  This is one avenue by which we can support that goal.”

The deadline to apply is March 1, 2018.

MaxYield Cooperative serves nearly 1700 members in 24 communities, with 212 team members.  For additional information on the MaxYield scholarship program, contact any MaxYield location.

Scholarship applications are also available online at