October 1, 2020

Seeing Is Believing: Fine-Tuning Management Styles to Match Hybrids

Making every penny count is more important than ever in crop production. What if you could match your management style to specific hybrids to maximize your crop input investment?

That’s why hybrids like CROPLAN® 4203 in MaxYield Cooperative’s learning plots are so fascinating. “When 4203 puts on an ear, it puts on a monster ear,” said Dan Bjorklund, seed team leader at MaxYield. “It pulls back, though, and almost always leaves a big tip.”

Still, 4203 produced a decent yield when it was grown in the basic-management section of MaxYield’s learning plot in 2019 near Algona. When it was grown in the high-yield management section of the learning plot, however, 4203 showed a big yield response. “It was the second highest yielder in the plot where we added the additional crop inputs,” Bjorklund said.

This prompted Bjorklund and his team members to dig deeper in 2020. “In the high-yield management plot, we’re using biologicals, fungicides and inputs that are prescribed to maximize yield response.”

“Our goal is to develop a prescription for feeding each unique hybrid like 4203,” Bjorklund said. “What if we can get those ears to fill out to the tip?”

Understanding how different hybrids respond to different management styles is the key to higher profit potential. “We can help you better manage your crop inputs, especially when it’s important to scrutinize every cent,” Bjorklund said.

 

STANDARD MANAGEMENT VERSUS FULL MANAGEMENT REVEALS SURPRISES

The unique design of MaxYield’s learning plot makes it easier for team members to gather data and help clients to see the results. The concept developed in 2019, when the MaxYield seed team planted 55 hybrids in the 600-foot-long learning plot near Algona.

The plot included an alleyway in the middle. While one side of the plot received basic management practices, the south side received a prescription of inputs based on crop needs. Along with 130 pounds of nitrogen in the fall, the south side received 50 pounds of additional nitrogen around the V5 stage, Bjorklund said. “We also applied a micronutrient package with boron, zinc and manganese. Around tassel time we applied fungicide.”

At harvest, some hybrids showed no yield difference between the basic-management plot and the high-yield management plot. Others, however, revealed a yield advantage of up to 40 bushels per acre in the high-yield management plot. The yield boost on other hybrids ranged somewhere within this range, Bjorklund said.

“Hybrid management responses across 20 different hybrids resulted in an average increase in yield of 18.4 bushels per acre. Even when we saw a yield response, we kept asking one big question: is that yield response repeatable and what is the ROI?”

That’s why MaxYield is working with two learning plots this year, including one near Algona and one near Fostoria. While the Algona plot has been rotated to a different site, it includes the same number of hybrids and same treatments. The MaxYield team is once again studying the results of normal-management practices compared to high-yield management practices.

The Fostoria plot includes 12 rows treated with the standard management system, and 12 rows treated with the high-yield management system. “We added these 24 rows to the end of the plot, so it’s a bigger sample size,” said Bjorklund, who noted that these rows run the length of the plot.

Clients enjoyed touring the Algona plot in 2019, and they’ve been eager to see results from the 2020 plots, as well. “When you walk in that alleyway, look at the standard-management side and compare it to high-yield management area, it’s easy to see vast differences in ear size and plant health by August and September,” Bjorklund said. “If we see these same results in 2020, I’ll be a lot more confident in sharing this knowledge.”

 

FIELD-SCALE TRIALS MIGHT BE NEXT

Selecting the right type of management style for a specific hybrid all goes back to genetics. “If we find a hybrid that’s highly responsive to high management, we’ll label it a ‘racehorse’ hybrid,’” Bjorklund said. “Then there are ‘workhorse’ hybrids, which perform about the same no matter what management style you use.”

Hybrids’ genetic heritage influence a variety of yield-influencing factors, including ear type. Some corn hybrids’ genetics mean the ear size is fixed, while other hybrids are “flex” ears that have the ability to adjust ear size, depending on growing conditions.

“If a hybrid puts on a big flex ear, it will need additional nitrogen at the end of the season to maximize its yield potential,” Bjorklund said.

Other hybrids may not need that level of management to maximize yield potential. “The next step is to evaluate the top four or five hybrids in the high-yield management trials and put them through field-scale trials with SciMax Solutions, taking soil type into consideration,” Bjorklund said. “That will help us gain more detailed knowledge about which hybrids are worth extra inputs to get an extra bushels per acre, especially since this can translate up to 40 bushels per acre.”

Being a solutions provider means finding these answers for MaxYield clients. “I’m in my 41st season in agronomy, and I can’t wait to keep learning,” Bjorklund said. “We’ll continue to seek more answers in 2021.”

 

LEARN MORE

If you’d like to get a one-on-one tour of the plots at Algona or Fostoria, contact your MaxYield agronomy specialist or MaxYield seed solutions specialist.

MaxYield Cooperative Pays Portion of Dickinson County 4-H Membership Dues

Madeleine Bretey, county youth coordinator, recently accepted a contribution from MaxYield Cooperative that will decrease the cost of 4-H for members in Dickinson County.

MaxYield Cooperative recently contributed $1290 towards the membership dues for Dickinson County 4-H members. The check was presented to Madeleine Bretey, county youth coordinator, on September 1. The funds will pay $10 of the $35 state dues for 4-H members in the county. This membership provides members with opportunities to participate in conferences, workshops, community service and many other worthwhile projects.

“We are thrilled to continue our support of local 4-H,” said Chad Meyer, MaxYield client relations/communications leader. “We want to make 4-H an affordable youth program for local families, especially families that have multiple children enrolled. Also, by paying a portion of each 4-H member’s enrollment fee, we are able to continue our mission of supporting 4-H so that each member benefits.”

The cooperative contributes nearly $13,000 to 4-H in seven Iowa counties annually.

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

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 25 locations and three Cenex convenience stores in Iowa. MaxYield also provides grain origination and accounting services for three Iowa feed mills. For more information, visit MaxYield online at www.MaxYieldCoop.com and www.FromTheField.com.

Top 3 Reasons to Fill Your Propane Tanks Now

As we head into harvest, do you find yourself thinking back to the propane shortages that hit parts of the Midwest last fall? Could this happen again?

“With the uncertainty that COVID-19 brought us, propane is still the biggest wildcard,” said Chad Besch, energy team leader at MaxYield Cooperative.

Uncertainty has driven the energy markets in this era of COVID-19. While the gasoline and diesel markets collapsed this spring, the propane market declined a little but didn’t crash.

Slightly less than half of American propane production in this country comes from crude-oil refining. When crude-oil refining slowed this spring, that also slowed down propane refining. Also, propane production had been declining since 2019.

What about demand? People aren’t driving as much as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, lowering gasoline demand. There’s still demand, however, for propane. Exports of propane have remained strong. “Buyers are having to pay up to keep propane here in this country,” Besch said.

 

PROPANE OFFERS GOOD VALUE

So, the question remains—will there be enough propane in MaxYield’s trade territory this fall? “I’m not saying we’re going to run out of propane,” Besch said. “It’s important to note that the propane shortages in some parts of Iowa and beyond last fall weren’t a supply issue; they were a distribution issue.”

 

HERE ARE THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE PROPANE MARKET IN THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Propane supplies are adequate. “There’s still a large amount of propane in America,” Besch said.

  1. The 2020 crop was planted in a more timely fashion than the 2019 crop, thanks to cooperation from Mother Nature. “This should help prevent this year’s harvest from turning into a repeat of the challenges of 2019, including propane distribution issues,” Besch said.
  2. Propane still offers a good value. “Prices are cheaper than the five-year average,” Besch said. “If you haven’t filled your propane tanks, it’s in your best interest to do it now.”
  3. MaxYield’s energy team will continue to monitor the energy markets, including propane, to provide the solutions clients need, when they need them. Contact your local MaxYield energy specialist or Energy Central for more details. We appreciate your business.

To schedule your fill, call the MaxYield team at 515-200-5115.

5 Pro Tips for Ag Interns, Job Hunters

Are internships the new entry-level job in the workplace? Time magazine described internships that way in a recent article published during National Intern Day (the last Thursday in July).

It’s more important than ever for internships to be a win-win for both students and employers like MaxYield Cooperative. Mike Gaul, director of career services for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Iowa State University, shares 5 tips to help students find the right internship:

  1. Take your years of experience into consideration. “Freshmen, just get your foot in the door and gain some experience to build upon for future internships,” Gaul said. “Realize that as a freshman you likely won’t be hired for upper-level internships with some of the heavy hitters in the industry.” These employers, however, do value the experience students gain as a freshman and sophomores when they complete internships at other companies. Expectations change the farther students advance in their education. “Juniors, this should be your dream internship, a capstone experience that offers a great chance to return to campus in the fall with a full-time offer in hand,” Gaul said.
  2. Beware of the 5 big mistakes an intern can make. Some simple things are often overlooked by students who don’t realize how important a successful internship can be to their career, including:
    • Lack of open-mindedness. Too many students are not willing to venture out of their comfort zone for summer internships – especially from a geographical perspective. “I need to live at home,” or “I’m paying rent in Ames” are common scenarios. Being geographically restricted, however, eliminates 99 percent of all employment opportunities. “More important, it limits your chance to get out of your personal comfort zone and grow as a person,” Gaul said. “Being open to new experiences will pay huge dividends when you interview for full-time jobs in the future.”
    • Too focused on money. A job is never just about the money. “I understand and respect the focus on money in this era of rising tuition and debt load, but money should not be a deciding factor,” Gaul said. “It’s the good work experience and opportunity to add value to one’s resume that offer the most valuable benefits.”
    • Tunnel vision. Sometimes students set their heart on interning at a well-known company, but overlook other internships that could also suit their career goals just as well—or even better. “I caution students against getting caught up in a ‘name’ and passing up a valuable, comprehensive experience at another company,” Gaul said.
    • Going back to the same internship year after year. “I can understand this, but unless you’re embarking upon work that’s totally different from your previous summer’s internship, look at other companies,” Gaul said. “When in your life are you going to have the opportunity to ‘sample’ three different summer experiences (companies) and walk away with no strings attached after three months?”
    • Having one or more summer voids on your resume. This is especially true if it’s your last summer before you graduate from college. “Nobody wants to be asked the question, ‘Why didn’t you have an internship last summer?’” Gaul said. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Gaul suspects many employers will understand if a student didn’t have a summer 2020 internship.
  3. Ask key questions as you discuss internships with various employers. “Tell me about your company’s track record of converting interns to full-time hires” should rise to the top of the list of must-ask questions, especially for juniors. “This sends a very positive message to the employer, especially in an era when companies are using internships as a feeder system for full-time employment,” Gaul said. It’s also worthwhile to say, “Tell me about the structure of your internship.” Students need to know whether they’ll be exposed to a variety of tasks, or stuck in mundane daily activities, Gaul said. Other great questions include inquiring about company culture, mentorship potential and a potential capstone project. “Students relish the opportunity to take personal ownership in a capstone project,” Gaul said.
  4. Never take a job for the sake of taking a taking a job. This applies to internships as well as full-time jobs. “Do your research on the company, talk to current employees and even talk to competitors to learn as much as possible about the true nature of the internships you’re considering,” Gaul said.
  5. Look beyond the work. View internships not only as a way to make money or gain experience, but to become a more well-rounded person. Take advantage of opportunities to grow your network. Focus on personal accountability. Be the first person to show up in the office each morning, Gaul said. “Also, look at the big picture about how your work fits into the company’s mission. Show that you don’t need much hand-holding and are willing to take the initiative to help the company thrive. People will notice.”

For more information on MaxYield’s internship program check out www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. Applications for 2021 internships are live NOW!

Scale Improvements to Speed Delivery to MaxYield’s Britt Location

 

Clients and members delivering grain to our Britt location this fall will not only notice the new 750,000-bushel storage bin, they’ll also enjoy an easier time weighing in and out.

Britt location leader, Sara Anderson noted that a new scale ticket printer and intercom system are a nice addition to the improvements there. “Clients will be able to communicate directly with us in the office and the scale ticket will print automatically. You won’t have to leave the truck during deliveries. We’ve also added a signal at the end of the scale so you easily know which pit to go to.”

The goal, she said, is to make it easier for grain deliveries at Britt. “It’s easy to see the big improvements, like the new bin. However, just as important is making the client experience here better. We’re excited about everything that’s happening here.”

The MaxYield team has also been hard at work adjusting and calibrating the new Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) grain handling system, which will increase productivity, efficiency and safety at the location.

Klemme Grain Project Pushes Forward

The skyline at our Klemme facility is changing rapidly. The main grain leg tower has been constructed with conveyance added to existing grain storage. Work on the receiving pits and grain load out area is moving forward.

The bin-jacking process has begun in earnest on the 750K-bushel storage bin too. Once the bin is completed, crews will work on electrical wiring and other infrastructure for the bin.

This $4.5 million project will dramatically improve grain storage and handling at our Klemme location and is expected to be operational this fall.

MaxYield Cooperative Announces Positive Fiscal 2020 Results

WEST BEND, IA, – MaxYield Cooperative® recently announced its fiscal results, for the year ending July 31, 2020. The board of directors for MaxYield reviewed and approved the financial audit at their board meeting on August 27.

MaxYield CEO Keith Heim stated that the cooperative had positive local and total savings to report. “Each year presents challenges and opportunities and Fiscal 2020 was no different. I am especially proud of how our team performed and showed grit and resiliency during this COVID-19 pandemic. MaxYield is a solution’s provider and I appreciate the solutions our team brings to our members and clients every day.”

MaxYield Cooperative’s Local Savings from Operations for the 2019-2020 fiscal year were $1,512,243 and pre-tax Total Savings for the cooperative totaled $8.6 million.

“In Fiscal 2020, we achieved the second best total revenue in company history”, Heim said. “Most all revenue areas showed consistency with the past year and remain on upward trend lines. Some areas of note include the second best drying revenue year, solid total energy and feed margins, strong total seed margins and exceptional soybean margins.”

The MaxYield board approved using a portion of this year’s available Section 199A tax deduction internally to mitigate the cooperative’s tax obligation. Heim added that the unused Section 199A tax deduction amount of approximately $1.4 million will be passed through to members for possible use on their individual tax returns.

Heim said that the cooperative maintains a solid balance sheet. “Term debt was reduced by approximately $4.0 million. We maintained adequate working capital levels while spending approximately $13 million on capital expenditures during the fiscal year.”

Member’s equity increased by about $2.65 million in 2020, noted Heim. “MaxYield once again increased retained savings, which now totals nearly $67 million as compared to 1997, when retained savings were ($122,242). The retained savings comparison is a good perspective of the financial improvement at MaxYield over the past 23 years.”

The cooperative’s annual meeting is December 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Ketelsen Community Center, located in Everly, IA. More details regarding the annual meeting will be sent to member’s closer to the event.

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 25 locations and three Cenex convenience stores in Iowa. MaxYield also provides grain origination and accounting services for three Iowa feed mills. For more information, visit MaxYield online at www.MaxYieldCoop.com and www.FromTheField.com.

Data + Confident Decisions = Generations of Success with SciMax

Data is easy to access in farming today. But how do you make sense of all those numbers you harvest with every crop?

Do it right, and you’ll maximize your profit potential. You’ll also set a course for success, not just for today, but for years to come.

The SciMax Solutions team is here to provide solutions tailored to your needs. We have more than 100,000 acres in our system. By combining layers of data and analyzing years of history, we can help you make the best possible agronomic and economic decisions for your operation.

 

THESE SOLUTIONS BECOME EVEN MORE VALUABLE WHEN YOU BECOME PART OF THE SCIMAX LEARNING GROUP.

  • Aggregated data helps you benchmark your operation and determine if you are profitable, compared to other farmers in our system.
  • While data is collected from thousands of acres, your individual farm data is confidential.
  • Easily access all your data to evaluate product performance, help save on crop inputs, grow yield potential and boost your return on investment.

 

Remember the old saying “knowledge is power?” We believe applied data is power. This gives you the confidence to make the best decisions to set your farm up for success, now and for future generations. It’s an honor to help you reach these goals. Learn more at www.scimax.com.

Kossuth County C.A.R.E. Team Receives $2500 Contribution from CoBank, via MaxYield Cooperative

Kossuth County C.A.R.E. Team Executive Director Linda Vaudt is presented with a $2500 check on behalf of CoBank’s “Sharing Success” program, facilitated by MaxYield Cooperative. The C.A.R.E. Team provides essential goods and services to those in need throughout the community.

ALGONA, IA – MaxYield Cooperative made a contribution of $2500 on behalf of CoBank to the Kossuth County C.A.R.E. Team. The check, presented to C.A.R.E. Team Executive Director Linda Vaudt on August 20th, will assist the team with covering operational and programming expenses at the C.A.R.E. Team’s location in Algona.

“MaxYield Cooperative is proud facilitate CoBank’s assistance to the Kossuth County C.A.R.E Team,” said Emily Campbell, Talent Recruitment and Communications Specialist at MaxYield. “The C.A.R.E. Team serves the Kossuth County community in a variety of ways. We are lucky to have such an organization in our area and are happy to assist them in their efforts.”

The funds were provided through CoBank’s “Sharing Success” program, which provides contributions through cooperatives to local nonprofit organizations. CoBank provides loans, leases, and financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states.

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 25 locations and three Cenex convenience stores in Iowa. MaxYield also provides grain origination and accounting services for three Iowa feed mills. For more information, visit MaxYield online at www.MaxYieldCoop.com and www.FromTheField.com

Building the ‘Big Three’: MaxYield Upgrades Grain Facilities in Britt, Belmond, Klemme

It’s rare for MaxYield Cooperative to take on three major capital improvements in one fiscal year, but 2020 is no typical year. The time was right to invest in Britt, Belmond and Klemme to serve clients’ needs more effectively.

Work is progressing well on new grain bins at Belmond and in Britt. Both are set to be completed before harvest 2020. Each of the 105-foot-diameter bins will hold approximately 750,000 bushels

Updates in Belmond

of grain. Construction is also nearing completion in Klemme on a new 750,000-bushel bin, 4,000-bushel-per-hour grain dryer, upgraded receiving speed and other infrastructure to modernize the Klemme grain complex.

“All these projects are on track and will be done in time for fall harvest,” said Keith Heim, CEO. MaxYield’s strong financial position makes these major investments possible, he added. “Not only do we have support from clients in these areas, but we’ve continued to strengthen our balance sheet by building working capital and managing cash flow to pay for these grain improvement

projects.”

 

BRITT AND BELMOND BINS TAKE SHAPE

Good spring and summer weather allowed crews to build the bins in Britt and Belmond by June. “We’ve been really fortunate with the weather,” said Jeff Marsh, operations team leader at

Updates in Britt

MaxYield.

Adding more grain storage at Britt means MaxYield will spend less money transporting harvest grain out of Britt to other MaxYield locations. Belmond was also due for upgrades.

“We’re phasing out the old Belmond east soybean receiving facility,” said Frank Uhde, East Area team leader at MaxYield. “This will allow us to position our team members in one location in Belmond. This will make things much more efficient, and team members are excited about this.”

 

UPGRADES IN KLEMME ARE “PHENOMENAL”

Big improvements at Klemme are also generating a lot of excitement. The time is right for these upgrades, especially after a severe storm hit the area in September 2019 and damaged much of Klemme’s grain-handling equipment. This created more challenges at the facility, which had suffered fire damage in 2003 and had been repaired as much as possible.

“If you saw this facility in the last 10 years, you knew it was time for improvements at Klemme,” said Uhde. “These upgrades will be phenomenal.”

In December 2019, MaxYield’s board of directors approved a $4.5 million investment at Klemme, which includes a new 105-foot, 750,000-bushel bin; 4,000-bushel-per-hour grain dryer; upgrades to two existing grain bins for holding wet corn; overhead truck load-out capability and all the infrastructure needed to complete the project, including upgraded grain legs. While the

Updates in Klemme

revamped facility will have the same number of grain dump pits, new grain-leg equipment at the receiving pits will considerably increase receiving capacity.

The new upgrades will be huge, not only to Klemme, but for clients in surrounding areas, Uhde added. “There’s talk all the way up to the Garner area about the Klemme project. This is progress, and I’m excited to see how many new grain receipts start flowing into Klemme.”

This project will wrap up right before harvest, since there are a lot of moving parts, Uhde added. “This is a rebirth of the co-op in Klemme.”

MaxYield directors and managers are looking ahead to determine where capital improvements will be directed throughout the company in 2021. “We’re having these conversations so we can better serve clients throughout all of MaxYield’s trade territory,” Marsh said.

 

WATCH FOR IMPROVEMENTS AT WHITTEMORE

The old wooden grain elevator in Whittemore that has served farmers for decades has seen its last harvest. “This elevator is being discontinued, and we’re upgrading the west elevator so we can speed things up,” said Ron Hutchison, Whittemore location leader for MaxYield Cooperative. “Clients are happy about not having to dump grain at the wood house anymore.”

The time is right to make these changes, since the amount of grain handled at the Whittemore location has nearly doubled in recent years. “We were handling around 2 million bushels of grain a

Grain-handling improvements in Whittemore

season, but now we’re closer to 4 million bushels,” said Hutchison, who noted that much of this increased volume is connected to Whittemore Feeder’s Supply.

Among the grain-handling improvements at Whittemore are upgrades to the distributor on the west elevator from an old-style cable system to an electrical system. Upgraded spouts will be added to the bins at Whittemore, as well.

“Our goal is to make grain handling faster and safer for both corn and soybeans,” said Hutchison, who noted that Whittemore has 1.2 million bushels of grain capacity. “These are definitely good upgrades that will benefit clients in this area.”