Blogging by the Bushel
With numerous challenges over the past several years for producers, we at Mercer Landmark understand the need for a comprehensive risk management solution. We seek to provide our customers with unparalleled service to ensure maximum results.

Archive for December, 2016

By~ Rick Mollenkopf

What are we talking about ?    That is how many days we have to get our farms and fields ready for 2017. Another year is coming quick and in that time we have those fields to put fertilizer on , wheat top dress, corn seed in the barns, and seed beans on the auger wagons. Are all my chemicals in at the fertilizer plants? Do I have the ones I need on farm ?   WOW I AM NOT READY!!!

Sit back, take a breath, and relax. The people at Mercer Landmark  are here to help you with all those things and more.

Some items of note.

Remember, starting in September 30,2017 fertilizer certification is required if you put fertilizer on more than 50 acres.  So what better time to get ready than NOW.  Let us help with planning  your work load this year with all the new requirements and responsibilities .

Soil samples with Yield Mark and crop protection products with all the many rebates and prices.  January CPP pricing is most always cheaper than in season. Take advantage now and save.

Go ahead and book your wheat top dressing. Take time to get those corn & bean crop protection products booked, so when its time to spray you’re just a phone call away.   Now is a GREAT time to get corn fields and soybean fields like   Liberty Link,  Round up Ready,  NON GMO,  and those new Xtend Soybean fields all mapped and booked for application.  Let your sales person know with ANY LATER CHANGES PLEASE.   There is still time yet, so just take some time and do it. The sales staff at Mercer Landmark are here to help you with that.  We are all in this together.  As a reminder, plant health programs are out now and can be signed up anytime to take advantage of lower pricing on all the fungicides for  wheat, corn, soybeans, and popcorn.

By~ Steve Heckler

Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century or longer and then sprout when conditions are right?

Understanding weed seeds and their lifespan is critical because that means if a single weed is allowed to go to seed, you may be battling the aftermath for years to come.

Here are some ways that weed seed can travel: Used equipment purchases, custom harvesters, hay, contaminated seed, cottonseed and weeds that didn’t die during the growing season. Some new research has been conducted that ducks and geese are carriers also.

When you are planning for next year  weed control, make sure you are considering residuals for beans and corn. Some growers have more weed pressure in fields than others and should consider consulting with their Mercer Landmark Agronomist on ways to combat this problem.

Trading is winding down for 2016, and what a year it’s been. From the first opening bell in January, volatility reigned supreme as one surprise after another rocked the markets. Some of the news was good for grain prices, and some bad, in a year that was anything but dull. Here’s a look at 10 of the biggest market-moving days.

January 4, 2016

Grain markets opened to news that trading on Chinese stock exchanges was halted after dropping 7% on weak manufacturing data that reignited fears if a slowing economy. U.S. stocks plunged, taking corn, soybeans and wheat lower too. Anxiety continued through the Lunar New Year holiday to the end of February, when the Chinese stock market finally bottomed. Soybean futures turned around a few days later, after making their 2016 lows.

January 20, 2016

Crude oil futures lost nearly 7%, closing at $26.55 on a global supply gut. The market finally bottomed at $26.05 on February 11, the lowest price in 13 years. The collapse prompted several oil producing countries, including Russia and Saudia Arabia to agree on a freeze of production. While a deal would take until November to work out, prices eventually more than doubled.

March 31, 2016

Old and new crop corn contracts plunged to new contract lows after USDA said growers wanted to plant 93.6 acres in 2016. That triggered one of the heaviest days of futures volume in history, with 930,250 contracts changing hands on massive fund selling. March 1 corn stocks of 7.8 billion were one of the highest in history, but USDA also said farmers would plant only 49.6 million acres of wheat, one of the lowest totals on record.

April 12, 2016

Soybean futures confirmed a move to new eight-month highs after USDA cut its estimate of ending stocks due to stronger exports. Chinese imports in March were up 35% from the previous month and year, as traders began watching heavy rains in Argentina for signs of harvest delays and possible damage.

May 10, 2016

USDA cuts its estimate of corn carryout due to a pick-up in exports triggered by hot, dry weather that hurt second crop safrinha corn in Brazil. The agency also trimmed 45 million bushels off its projection of Sept. 1 soybean supplies due to stronger exports and crus. Problems in Argentina, the world’s largest exporter of soy products, caused meal to rally its daily trading limit, taking soybean futures 57.25 cents higher.

June 15, 2016

While rains missed some parts of a growing region baked by 100-degree heat, forecasts for more storms and cooler weather caused bearish reversals on corn and soybean charts. The decline in corn was swift. The drama in soybeans took a little longer to play out, as outside markets began to focus on a new threat.

June 23, 2016

British voters shocked the world by approving a referendum to leave the European Union. Brexit caused the Dow Jones to drop 611 points, and grain markets also tumbled. Total losses on the Dow neared 1,000 points over the next day of trading but quickly recovered in just a week, as investors moved on. A sign of the market’s resilience.

July 5, 2016

Fireworks in the grain market came the day after the 4th. Good rains over the long holiday weekend and forecasts for more caused funds to throw in the towel on bullish bets. Both corn and soybean futures left bearish gaps on charts, with December corn making a new contract low.

September 1, 2016

Nearby corn futures ended the 2015 crop marketing year by plunging all the way to $3.01, the lowest in almost seven years. The sell-off was the culmination of bearishness caused by USDA’s forecasts for huge 2016 crops and record yields. But the start of the new marketing year was a turning point for corn when the market finally held. Soybeans wouldn’t bottom for another month, but were also priming the pump for a modest, and surprisingly, fall rally.

November 9, 2016

Markets began to sell off around the world as prospects for Donald Trump’s victory began to emerge election night. Corn, soybeans and wheat fell victim to the hemorrhaging, and USDA the next day raised its estimates of corn and soybean yields to new records. But investors quickly turned bullish on the new president elect, creating a “Trump turnaround” fueled on ideas tax cuts and infrastructure spend would be good for the economy. Commodities found favor as a hedge against inflation, helping the grain market stabilize.

By~ Brian Mitchem

Fall of 2016 allowed many farmers to apply lime, dry fertilizer and litter in a timely manner. Year over year macro nutrient prices have been favorable at the farm and Mercer customers took advantage with a good fall.

With crop and livestock commodity prices also declining from previous levels the decisions for all crop inputs needs to be evaluated for each field. In addition the environmental pressures all are encountering in the Lake Erie and St Marys watershed are forcing most to fully evaluate fertility practices.

Accurate and timely soil testing remains the foundation of fertility programs. Mercer has an outstanding Precision program that we rely heavily upon for accurate testing, guidance and evaluation. Many can pull soil samples and send to a lab but few can provide the needed expertise and evaluation of results that the Mercer Precision program can provide.

The corn plants above shows one of the most common nutrient deficiencies we saw in the area in 2016. The plants show a deficiency in potassium. The plants are visible deficient with the lower leaves exhibiting limited levels. Follow up was done with both soil and foliar testing to confirm levels.

An application was made on this corn of Max-In Sulfur which is Potassium Sulfate and contains only potassium and sulfur.

Follow up was done after application to measure the difference in foliar levels of the nutrients. Tissue testing was repeated and the corn responded very well with increased levels of potassium in the tissue. At harvest the corn demonstrated a significant increase in yield of 4.8 bushels measured over 5 replications.

For most of the area our bean yields were very good considering the weather challenges we had in 2016.

Pictured above are from an experimental nutrition plot from the area.

The plants on the left show increased pod numbers especially in the middle canopy which is the main area of production in a soy plant. The beans on the right are from the same field and represent the untreated check. This farm would be rated average in soil fertility. The beans had a pass of Max-In Sulfur as a source of potassium and sulfur along with Winfield Asend plant growth regulator at R2 growth stage followed by an application of Gainer N-P-K foliar fertility with higher Phosphorous levels. This was done as recent research shows that modern bean genetics need additional K at R2 and additional P at R4 growth stages. The results of this plot demonstrated a solid yield increase and was especially strong at higher yield levels of the field.

By~Alex Fullenkamp

As many farmers consider prepaying some Crop Protection products over the next month or two, many will be evaluating what to do different to increase profitability.

Something to look at for information would be the yield book recently put together by some of Mercer Landmarks agronomy employees.  These books include local trials and tests conducted by Mercer Landmark employees and their customers.  These books are available at most of our locations.  There are more comparisons and tests than I can go over in the book, but I would like to hit on a few that have offered great ROI in our test, over a 4 year average.

Soybean Fungicide & Insecticide             + 4.5bpa

Corn Nitrogen Stabilizer                            + 7.4bpa

Wheat Fungicide & Insecticie                   + 7.5bpa

Aside from the yield benefits, some of these products can help with harvestability, toxin levels, etc.  Please look at the book and talk to your local location.  We can work together to come up with a plan to apply and evaluate products like this on your farm.

By~Amy Hayes

As we put together 2017 Cropping Plans with local growers we have continued to have discussions regarding the Liberty Link system as a different option for tough to control, glyphosate resistant weeds. Along with marestail and giant ragweed being consistent problem weeds across our area, waterhemp has also made a comeback, and if not properly managed, will prove to be an even bigger issue than marestail or giant ragweed.

If you are thinking about switching to Liberty, or are currently using the technology, below are a few items to brush up on.

-Liberty herbicide DOES NOT work the same as Roundup.
-Glyphosate is systemic, making it easier to control larger weeds because the herbicide moves
throughout the weed (if it isn’t glyphosate tolerant).
-Liberty is a CONTACT herbicide, meaning it only affects the plant tissue it has directly
contacted. When you think of Liberty ALWAYS remember- COVERAGE IS KEY!
-You still need a BURNDOWN + RESIDUAL
-Planting into a clean field is a necessity when utilizing the Liberty system (same goes for the
Roundup system). Eliminate early emerged weeds with a burndown or tillage application, and
apply a residual herbicide to suppress weed emergence.
-Postemerge applications MUST be based on weed height
-Applications work exponentially better when spraying smaller weeds vs larger weeds. Try to
target weeds between 2-4 inches.

Coverage, Coverage, Coverage!
-Keep a MINIMUM of 15-20 GPA carrier volume (20 gallon preferred)
-Use the correct nozzles, it is important to have medium to course sized droplets, below are a
few examples: TeeJet®AIXR, Hypro®GA, Wilger®MR
-An AMS source is required, ClassAct NG of Class Act Flex are excellent options that also include
WinField’s patented CornSorb Technology to improve herbicide uptake into plants.
-2 to 4 ounces of Interlock will greatly improve spray drop deposition as well as reduce driftable
fines, meaning more droplets land on the weeds, as well as penetrating the plant canopy.

Mercer Landmark offers a variety of Libery Link Soybeans from the Credenz lineup by Bayer CropScience, as well as varieties from the Croplan brand, including several WinPaks for the 2017 season. If you have questions about utilizing the Liberty Link system on your farm to knock out tough to control weeds, talk with your local Mercer Landmark Agronomist today.

By~ Ben Stoller

A recent Ohio Farmer article on intensive wheat management reviews some practices a North Dakota farmer will not discontinue-despite discouraging wheat prices.  While some of his practices are commonly implemented in our geography, there are some that may not be as utilized:

  1. Treating Seed: while many treat seed with a fungicide and/or insecticide, consider Ascend plant growth regulator for faster plant growth.
  2. Applying fungicides: many growers now apply fungicides at early flowering (Feekes 10.5.1), but consider applying at 3-5 leaf stage for early season diseases such as powdery mildew and leaf blotch and later at early flag leaf.
  3. Max-IN® Copper-early season use enhances plant health and growth.
  4. Applying sulfur: whether utilizing a common source such as ammonium sulfate and/or a foliar application such as Max-IN Sulfur, ensure your wheat crop is not starving for this vital nutrient: a 75 bushel wheat crop will consume and remove 18 pounds of actual sulfur (75 pounds of ammonium sulfate) and a 95 bushel crop 23 actual pounds of sulfur, or 96 pounds of ammonium sulfate (source, IPNI).

Please remember to ask your Mercer Landmark agronomy sales representative about the 2017 Plant Health Program; another great tool for greater wheat potential.