340 E 13th Street  |  PO Box 1205
Junction City, KS 66441
785-238-4177  |  877-838-4177


Grain Marketing

The old adage is “Good things to come to those who wait” has a lot of truth to it.  But when it comes to grain marketing, delaying needed decisions can be very costly.

All options of post-harvest marketing come with costs.  Costs can include storage fees, interest costs, option premiums and an added risk of paying these costs and accepting a still lower price at a later point. A better option is to use the period before harvest to forward contract.

Often times, there is a chance or several chances to forward contract grain during the growing season at a profitable level.  Producers need to be cautious in their marketing, but also have a solid plan nailed down.

Knowing the cost of production is important.  Adding the needed profit to the cost of production should give a good number to sell grain. Using target offers let producers decide ahead of time what prices they are willing to forward contract.  Doing this can help remove some of the emotion from grain marketing.

Another old saying is “You can’t go broke making a profit”.  This mostly eliminates the impossibility of selling at the high point of the market, but sets realistic goals for forward pricing. Using a proactive marketing plan helps to eliminate some of the stress from this part of the management system!

Keep the marketing plan simple.  Sell at a profit and avoid paying extra fees or taking unnecessary risk.

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Soybean Weed Program

The Easiest Way to Control Roundup Resistant Water Hemp and Palmer Amaranth is to Never Let it Come Up! Be Proactive, rather than Reactive. This Program May Help You Save Money and have Better Soybean Yields. Once you have seen the weeds, you are no longer timely!

Fall Program for 2017 Soybean Planting

After the soil cools in the fall is a good time to apply residual herbicides for control of winter annual weeds, downy brome and volunteer wheat, and marestail. After November 1, apply 1.1 oz Cloak EX with 8 oz of Dicamba and 8 oz of 24D. Add 32 oz of 4# glyphosate as needed to control emerged downy brome or volunteer wheat. The Cloak application should do a good job of controlling the winter annuals and marestail. Do Not Delay This Application! The temperatures after Thanksgiving can be cold enough to stop chemical and water applications.

Springtime of 2017, apply 5 oz Authority Max and 1.5 oz Zidua as early as March 15, but no later than April 15. If the weather works right, this will help keep the soil fairly weed free until right before planting. Option #2 at this point is 4 oz Authority XL with 1.5 oz Zidua, rather than the Authority Max. Authority Max has less Classic than Authority XL, reducing the chance of carryover to the subsequent crop.

Assuming the beans are planted May 15 to May 25, and the fields are still clean, plant the beans. Twenty one days after planting apply 16 oz Fomesafen, 42 oz 4# Glyphosate and 3 pints of Warrant. The weeds will be small and easier to kill, plus the Fomesafen and Warrant will help with residual control. If things work well, this would be the last weed treatment.

If weeds have emerged before planting, we have several options. Verdict gives good burndown results and has residual chemical in it. Paraquat has done a nice job on burndown, as long as we have warm temperatures.

Liberty Link soybeans are another option for 2017. For this program, use the same program as outlined above for the fall and the March/April treatment. Twenty one days after planting, apply 29 oz Liberty/Interline along with Clethodim for contact grass control, and Warrant for residual control.

Dicamba Resistant soybeans are not labeled for dicamba yet. Monsanto thinks they will have a label soon. Monsanto thinks the label will be for pre-plant, pre-emerge and post-emerge applications. This will present some drift challenges to non Dicamba resistant soybeans, but this will give us some good options for weed control.

Some producers are thinking about planting with air seeders or drills to get their row spacing down to 15 inches. If the producer can get a good stand of soybeans, the soybeans would canopy quicker than beans in 30 inch rows and help with weed control.

Tillage is an option that has helped some producers. More tillage and less glyphosate has helped with fewer glyphosate resistant weeds.

Fall Program for 2017 Corn Planting

After the soil cools in the fall, apply 1.5# Atrazine with Dicamba and 24D. This should give good control of winter annuals and marestail. Add glyphosate as needed for downy brome and volunteer wheat control, as needed. Once again, this application should be made as soon as possible after the first of November. The soil will be cool enough to slow the breakdown of chemicals and the temperatures are not too cold to apply water and chemicals.

At corn planting time, use 2 quarts of Trizmet II. Add Dicamba and glyphosate as needed. When the corn is V4 to V6, apply glyphosate and 3 ounces of Status. Fields that have been treated in this manner have had consistent control of grasses and broadleaves. Clean corn fields are much easier to rotate to soybeans in the subsequent crop year.

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Fall Alfalfa Weevil

Fall is the best time to start next year’s alfalfa weevil program. Alfalfa should be sprayed between October 15 and November 11 with 11.75 oz of Stallion. This treatment reduces the number of eggs laid in the fall. This in turn allows the alfalfa to green up quicker in the spring and have a lower level of infestation in the spring. The alfalfa will still need to be sprayed in the spring, but the fall treatment is be the first step in a much better first cutting of alfalfa.
Fall spraying of alfalfa has been shown to reduce the weevil numbers from 3-7 per stem in the spring, down to 1 weevil per stem. This also allows a later spring application for weevil control. A later application will provide better control and hopefully a good first cutting.

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Wheat Economics

Cash wheat is hovering around $3.10/bu. Even with good yields, this price is causing a lot of stress with producers.
If a producer has a 50 bu APH and buys 70% coverage at a $4.80/bu., the coverage is not good. Some producers will compare that to raising soybeans. November 17 futures are around $9.70/bu at the moment. If a producer has a 35 bu APH, 70% coverage would give approximately $238 per acre
One good producer said that he had a farm that produced 200 bu corn in 2015, was planted back to wheat that made 55 bushels per acre, then immediately planted back to soybeans that he thinks could make 40 bushel per acre. Using these production numbers, he thinks wheat fits well into his program. Those yields may be a good bit better than what many people would expect, but it does demonstrate what good management can produce.
Wheat planted back to wheat does not produce good returns at this point. Another producer is confident that he will price new crop 2017 wheat at something over $4.00/bu.

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Alfalfa Management

Protect your alfalfa crop and increase yields!
A proper management program will help protect your alfalfa stand and increase your yields.
For seeding a field to alfalfa, a soil sample is the first step. The soil should be corrected to a 6.8 PH using ag lime. The phosphorous level should be over 20 PPM. Potassium levels should be over 200 PPM.
Plant 15 pounds of a good quality seed per acre. Roundup Ready helps with grass control in the new and existing stand.
On seedling alfalfa, use glyphosate to control grass and small weeds if you have planted RR alfalfa. If you have conventional alfalfa, use Clethodim to control grass in the alfalfa. On established stands of alfalfa, it is very important to control grass, also. Typically, spraying after the removal of the second cutting will help greatly with summer grass control, using glyphosate if RR alfalfa, or Clethodim if conventional alfalfa.
Good crops of alfalfa remove large amounts of nutrients. During the dormant season, apply 100# 11-52-0 and 50# 0-0-60 to keep good levels in your fields. Gypsum can be used at a rate of 1000#/acre. TSypsum provides a lot of calcium and sulfur to the crop and has been really helped production.
Weevil control starts in the fall. Around November 5, spray the alfalfa with 16 oz Chlorpyrifos and 2 oz Lambda. This will reduce the weevil pressure in the spring. In the spring, usually when the redbud trees are in full bloom, spray again with 16 oz Chlorpyrifos and 2 oz Lambda. Proper management dictates scouting in the spring to monitor weevil pressure and then spraying at the correct time.
Thin stands of alfalfa should be destroyed and new fields planted. Thin stands produce a lot of grass with the remaining alfalfa plants under a lot of weevil pressure.

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Soybean Weed Management

We are at the time of year when we will be trying to control emerged water hemp and palmer amaranth prior to soybean planting. Sharpen and Sharpen products will greatly aid in the burndown effort.
Many of the burndown applications will include 24D, glyphosate, Sharpen and Authority XL (for residual control). Use 20 gallons of water with good pressure and always use MSO with Sharpen in the mix.
Newly emerged corn has a lot of weeds coming also. Prior to the corn reaching 6″ tall, 6-8 oz Dicamba can really help the broadleaf control, along with a glyphosate application. Status should be used with glyphosate after the corn is 4″ tall, but before the corn is 36″ tall. Controlling smaller weeds is much more effective than spraying larger weeds. Use 15 gallons of water and good pressure to get good coverage.

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Soybean Weed Control

Pre emerge herbicides are the key to clean soybean fields this year. Hopefully, 2016 bean fields were treated last fall and are still fairly clean. Now is the time to start pre emerge herbicide applications for this growing season.
A big key is to plant into clean fields. Burndown treatments will include 24D, glyphosate, dicamba (30 day wait) and Sharpen as needed. Sharpen is a very good product for burndown of emerged water hemp and palmer amaranth control.
For pre emerge weed control on soil less than 6.8 PH, use 4 oz Authority XL and 1.5 oz Zidua. If this treatment works the way it should, the glyphosate will only be a clean up pass post emerge. On soil higher than 6.8 PH, use 4 oz Authority First and 1.5 oz Zidua. Authority works best as a pre plant, and will need to be applied before the soybeans emerge. For best results, apply the pre emerge treatment 10 days before planting.
If the soybeans emerge before the pre emerge herbicide is applied, the treatment will change. Use 1.5 oz Zidua and 3 pints of Warrant. These products will not harm the beans and there are no PH restrictions.
Once again, timely treatments before the weeds emerge, or post treatments to small weeds will work much better than trying to kill larger weeds.

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Construction commences on the actual concrete grain tank structure today. Two months from now the structure will have the walls and roof complete. The millwright and electrical will finish this summer. The tank will be ready to use for fall harvest.
With this tank, we will be able to minimize ground piles, and allow us to efficiently run our elevator. Ground piles are a good short term solution, but a poor long term solution.
The new tank will have a capacity of 714,000 bushels, giving us a total capacity of around 2.4 million bushels. Over 90% of the storage is upright concrete, with the majority of the storage being built in the last 10 years. The newer storage has fast receiving capability with easy unloading systems and good aeration systems. Our goal is to run an efficient business!
Favorable long term interest rates have made this project happen sooner than would have otherwise been possible. Increasing acres of high yielding corn have prompted the need for more storage. Dump fast, pay faster!

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Control Expenses

Our experience has been that the manager of an already high-cost operation frequently is uncommonly resourceful in finding new ways to add to overhead, while the manager of a tightly-run operation usually continues to find additional methods to curtail costs, even when his costs are already well below those of his competitors”
Warren Buffett, 1978

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2016 Marketing

These are the spring insurance prices for corn for the last 6 years.
2011 $6.01
2012 $5.68
2013 $5.65
2014 $4.62
2015 $4.15
2016 $3.88 (MTD)
This could be a challenging marketing year. It does help highlight the fact that $4.00 to $4.50 Dec Corn futures could be a good place to price new crop corn.
A few things to think about when doing market planning.
Improbable things happen a lot, when given enough chances.
Make a decision based not just on the most likely future,but on the cloud of all possible futures, with attention to the ones that are most likely and which ones are not.
Regression to the mean is a mathematical fact. That dictum would mean that $6.00 corn is not a likely long term scenario.
Producers don’t plan to fail, but at times fail to plan.

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