News from Your Federated Agronomists | October 9, 2018
soybeans ready for harvest
Don’t Wait to Buy.
Pre-pay on Seed This Fall.

Going into harvest it’s easy to focus on this season, and not think too much about next, but the different options Federated offers for seed purchases are worth a serious look this fall. “There’s one that fits every farmer,” said Steiner.

“Every year Federated talks about the importance of pre-paying to lock in the best price of the year,” said Keith Steiner, Federated’s business relationship specialist. And, with commodity prices as low as they’ve been, pre-paying has become “one of the most important things to remain profitable on the farm,” said Steiner.

“One of the best options this time of year is through John Deere Financial,” Steiner said. Most of the major seed companies offer financing with low (or even 0%) fixed interest rates, early purchase discounts, and due dates of November and December 2019.

“Most farmers already have a credit line with John Deere Financial,” he said, “and if they do not the application process is very quick and easy.”

Federated Agronomists area ready to assist with the seed decision-making process, and since some of the largest discounts end in October and November, it’s important to talk to them now – and throughout harvest.

Steiner also noted that Federated also offers crop input loans through CFA, a financing cooperative; those loans can be used to pre-pay seed at the full cash discount that Federated offers.

CFA loans are a popular way Federated growers finance their operations. “CFA offers one of the most flexible and low interest rate crop financing options that fits the needs of our farmers,” said Steiner.

Steiner encouraged farmers to “sit down and pencil out the numbers” on pre-paying seed this fall versus waiting until spring. “I’m always open to help anyone put together their numbers and help them find the best options for financing on their farm,” he added.

Talk to Steiner or your Federated Agronomist soon to take advantage of the best pre-pay options Federated offers this fall.
Soil sampling: Just do it.

Federated Agronomists could stamp the slogan "just do it" on their farm caps, but they wouldn’t be advertising athletic gear – they’d be promoting their rally cry: Start with a soil sample.

It’s not just a saying, and it’s not just a nice recommendation. It’s a way to save money and get the most out of crop inputs. For the small price of a soil sample test, it’s possible to know what the soil has or doesn’t have to offer next year’s crop. It’s all about getting a good return on every investment in seed, fertilizer, and crop protection.

Duane Droogsma, Federated Agronomist at the Rush City location, highlighted the two types of soil sampling Federated offers:

  • Grid sampling, using GPS locations at 2.5 ac. increments, takes eight cores per grid at a depth of 0-6 inches across a field.
  • Grid sampling sets things up for variable rate (VT) application wherein fertilizer is applied as needed to the field, and not necessarily to the entire field.
  • Composite soil sampling, across a whole field or 20- to 40-acre parcels, takes about one core per acre at 0-6 inches, which are then mixed together.

 “We send the samples to Midwest Labs to do an analysis of the ground,” said Droogsma. That analysis provides the information agronomists need to make good recommendations. The Soil Analysis Report reveals what any given field needs, based on future crop and nutrient plans.

Federated Agronomists study the report and make recommendations in order of importance. “The most important factors are the pH and macronutrients (N-P-K-Sulfur),” he said. Once the big four are covered, you can “dwell on your micronutrients,” he added.
In the final analysis, it’s all about maximizing yield. And that is why Federated Agronomists sound like a broken record: Start with a soil sample. Your local Federated Agronomist can help. Call today.
Thinking Ahead: Weeds in Soybeans

Jake Hansen, Federated agronomist at the Rush City location, mused that “weed control in soybeans has been slightly better in 2018 than 2017 . . . and most of that can be attributed to growers identifying their problem fields and planning ahead.”

However, improvement doesn’t mean the weeds were beaten for good. The problem weeds – common waterhemp, giant ragweed, yellow nutsedge – will continue to cause issues unless they get the attention they require. Starting now.

“As harvest begins,” said Hansen, “it will be important to be scouting for weeds from the combine.” Watch for weeds, take note of their locations, and consult your Federated Agronomist as needed.

“We can help identify what you’re up against,” Hansen said, “and [we can] also identify ways to help control the problem.” Effective weed control is a combination of “cultural, chemical, and mechanical practices,” said Hansen, and your Federated Agronomist can help determine which practices best fit your growing operation. 
Ron Paulson
Federated Focus: A Service, A Person
Experienced Mentors Balance
the Federated Agronomy Team

When an employer hears prospective employees say they “like to work with people,” they may chuckle and go on to the next interview question, but for Ron Paulson, that’s exactly the case: He likes to work with people.

Paulson has been the location manager at Federated’s Isanti location since 2000, and he insists the best part of his job is the people he works with – “the customers,” he said, “and that’s a big thing.” Even after 18 years on the job with Federated and another decade or two managing grain elevators elsewhere around Minnesota, the customers are at the heart of Paulson’s job.

The important role of the customer is the one thing that hasn’t changed since Paulson joined the co-op. Federated’s newest employees are often students of agriculture without farming backgrounds, unlike Paulson and his eight siblings who grew up on a grain and hog farm near New Ulm, MN. (With fewer family farms it’s less common to have been raised on a farm, Paulson remarked.) Thus, Paulson often finds himself in a mentoring role. “I train [new ag sales reps] on the basics of agronomy and crops, and they train me on computer stuff – they are all better than me in the technology area” he said with a laugh.

“I lived on a farm, and I had to be out in the fields. They have to start basically from scratch,” he said, but that is the beauty of the team effort Federated Co-op provides. The agronomy team brings together the experience of more seasoned agronomists with the innovative thinking of young ag specialists, all for the benefit of Federated’s growers.

“We are able to tell [growers] what’s going to work, and help them with their situation,” said Paulson, adding, “We can keep them up to date with the new things that are out there.”

Paulson described himself as a sort of “hired hand” for today’s growers. “[ Federated Agronomists] are here to give them what they are looking for; they look to us for what they need.”

When Federated growers don’t need him, he might be travelling to visit a son at the U of M, Duluth, or a daughter who is a deputy sheriff in Freeborn County. But, in keeping with his commitment to customers, “I’m here whenever needed,” he said.