Posts By: Jennifer Chick

Plan Ahead for Your Fertilizer Needs

Fertilizer has been a hot topic for nearly a year. Last fall it all started as grain prices soared putting pressure on an already stressed supply chain. On top of that, last fall, an import duty was placed on phosphate products from multiple countries causing the domestic price of all phosphate-based products to skyrocket seemingly overnight. Next comes spring with the largest amount of optimism we have had in agriculture in several years. With optimism comes increased utilization of fertilizers, simple economics tell us that increased demand equates to increased prices. All these outside pressures affected prices for products bought in season this crop year. However, fortunately putting on fall fertilizer and prepaying early for spring products paid off massively this year. The last pressure on the market that really needs to be discussed is the potential duties on nitrogen.

Much like the duties we saw put on phosphates last fall (finalized last winter) there may be some duties on UAN from Russia and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The claim is that product from Russia and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago have hurt the US market by “dumping” product into the market to force prices down. These claims will go through a series of court hearings to see if there is validity to the claims. Weather or not these claims hold up in court, the uncertainty is being priced into the market. This claim is on UAN but that ultimately affects all nitrogen sources (UAN, Urea, Anhydrous ammonia). If you have more questions on these petitions filed, please reach out to your CHS agronomist.

With all the above pressures still impacting the fertilizer market today, locking in your fertilizer input needs early again and putting as much as possible down in the fall is looking to be the best option. Quite frankly there is some serious sticker shock when you are looking at fertilizer prices for this fall and coming spring compared to what you paid last fall and winter. This should not come as a surprise with the gain in the grain markets as well. I encourage you to sit down with your agronomists and do the math on the bushels of crop needed to cover the fertilizer bill for your crops individually. Even with the increase in prices, in most cases the actual bushels needed to pay for the fertilizer is similar to last year.

Overall, the fertilizer market is incredibly strong, much like the rain markets. Again, I encourage you to sit down and make a plan with your agronomist to get as much as possible out this fall as spring prices are likely going to be significantly higher than fall for P and K. Also, take a few minutes and read the article (linked below) about Levesol products and specifically Trivar for broadcast applications. With the investment you will be making on your farm for fertilizer, specifically phosphorus lets make sure it is protected and able to be utilized by the next crop. We have seen some incredible yield advantages with these products in both high and low yield environments. Talk to your agronomist to find out more on which of the Levesol products would work best for your operation.

Thank you for your continued support and business!

Written by Jordan Thiel, Agronomy Sales Manager

Supporting your Farm and Rural Lifestyle

The Kasson and Chatfield retail stores offer a wide range of products to support the farm and rural lifestyle.  We lead with bagged feed for almost any kind of livestock and companion animals.   But, we have so much more.  We carry a full-line of mineral and protein lick tubs.  New this year are tubs with garlic for fly control.  These have proven very effective bases on customer reports.  Loose mineral and blocks are also available.

A wide range of forage, turf and food plot seeds are available at your CHS stores. We also do seed quotes for CRP projects.  Bagged fertilizer and package herbicides are available to keep the homestead green and looking good throughout the growing season.

We have pest control products, quality Cenex lubricants, LP bottle fills, wild bird seeds, farm and home products and so much more to support the country lifestyle.

Stop in to meet our friendly staff and see all that your CHS retail stores have to offer.  Let us show you why we should be your first stop for the things you need to make the country life a little more rewarding.   

New Efficiencies in Energy

Exciting news in the energy department! We are moving all our fuel delivery and propane bobtails to a new in-truck software called Energy Force. Our old software was good but getting outdated. With this new software, we will be able to tie the tank monitors to the system and that will optimize the routes and plan our deliveries every day.

This will greatly improve our efficiencies and maybe even help the drivers schedule so they are home at night enjoying time with their families. Of course, as with any change, they are some bumps to work through, but it is starting off smoothly. Please be patient with us as we implement this new software but rest assured, we are doing our best to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible for you, our patrons.

If you have any questions feel free to call our office: 507-289-4086

July 2021 Plot Update

Corn Aerial

Soybean Aerial

Plots are looking strong and have been helped by excellent planting conditions and timely rain. Timely rain will need to continue as we are roughly 5 inches of precipitation behind the 30 year average and as plant uptake increases during the reproductive (R) stages. For instance, corn uses 0.25 – 0.32 inches per day at R1 growth stage. Many plots were planted early and have accumulated 150 GDUs (or more) above than the 30 year average. This combination has pushed us a week or two ahead of where we would “normally” be at for corn and soybean growth stages. The most surprising is how far soybeans have come. In some plots, we flowered before the Summer Solstice! Currently, we are in the R3 growth stage in soybeans, which usually occurs late July or early August.

We just applied a foliar fungicide to the corn and soybeans. CHS Acuvant™ was helpful because we were early on the corn. Acuvant is NPE-free; therefore, it will not cause arrested ear syndrome in corn. We are seeing significantly better canopy penetration as well as leaf coverage with Acuvant.

Thank you,

Michael Gehling, Precision Ag Specialist

There’s Still Time

To say grain markets are volatile right now would be an understatement.  Let’s start with corn.  In the May WASDE report, we got our first look at the 2021/2022 balance sheet. This first look at the carry out for next year came in a 1.5 billion bushels, 250 million bushels than the current carry out for this fall.  This was accomplished by using a trend line yield of 179.5 bushels per acre.  Since that report corn futures have lost nearly $0.60 in both old crop and new crop.  From a basis perspective, there have been wild moves there as well.  Demand for ethanol continues to pick up pace as more driving picks up across the country. On the other hand, river and export facilities have seen their demand slip some as lower priced South American supplies start to fill the global market.  Despite the 1.2 billion bushel estimated carry out projected for this fall, the market feels tight, meaning there is potential for the market to recover a portion of the recent losses.

On the soybean balance sheet, very little has changed: soybeans are in very short supply.  Just a few weeks ago many domestic soybean users were very concerned with supply for this summer which was reflected in the strongly positive basis values paid throughout the area.  However, as the futures market put in new highs in early May, producers rewarded the rally and sold more beans than expected. This resulted in a precipitous drop in basis values as crushers became more comfortable with ownership and have opted to slow their purchases. 

In spite of the dramatic loses in futures prices recently, it is worthwhile to remember there is still opportunity to protect a profit in this years crop.  There is still time. While it is late May, there is a lot of weather to get through before the crop is in the bin.  Bullish markets like we have been experiencing recently often give us more than one chance to participate. There are plenty of tools available to help protect these profitable prices, in many cases for more than one crop year.  Contracts such as the CHI Foundation contract can protect a floor price while also participating in upside market movement.  Other available compass contracts can allow bushels to be priced at a premium to the current market, provided the market stays above a predetermined trigger value.  For more information on any of the available contracts CHS has to offer, and how we can help protect these attractive prices, reach out to your local grain originator.  We are here to help you.

Written by Aaron Ulland 

Spring Update

Spring season was as fast as it ever has been for us all this year. With little rain and good ground conditions most of the crop went in without much for issues at all! We have seen some replant around the area and a fair amount of crusting issues caused by some driving rain and hail in some places.

As we turn the page to post spraying it is going to be more important than ever to make sure you have a robust herbicide program in place. While there are many perks to an early planting including better yields typically; the down side is a longer window that we need to control weeds. We also need to be aware that in many cases our pre herbicides have already been out for 4+ weeks with little moisture to properly activate them. This means we will likely see ragweed and waterhemp start rearing their ugly heads soon if they haven’t already. This rain we are getting will likely give us a bit of “reachback” activity on small weeds but it will not be 100% at all.

As you are finalizing post emerge herbicide programs consider thinking about a layered residual or a sequential pass plan if you have not already. Another thing to think about is checking your adjuvant program. The efficacy of herbicides is heavily dependent on the adjuvant package in the sprayer tank. Consider adding in a product such as Level Best to assist in water conditioning and to speed up the kill on tough weeds and grasses. We have seen significant benefits from the addition of this product in the tank. Read this article on adjuvants from our LIFT academy. Be sure to consult your agronomist about your herbicide plan to make sure it is still the right plan for the weeds in your fields.

Thank you for your continued support and business!

Written by Jordan Thiel, Agronomy Sales Manager

Meet the 2021 Interns

CHS is excited to Welcome three agronomy sales interns for the summer. Read more about each intern below.

Meet Barrent Herman, from Osseo, MN. He is currently attending UW River Falls. In college he is a part of the DTS Fraternity, intramural softball, and crops & soils club. His favorite class is plant science. He was also a NRCS soil conservationist trainee and has been an agronomy intern for other cooperatives. His ultimate career goal is to become a sales agronomist or crop consultant. He is looking forward to learning all the ins & outs of a sales agronomist position. Barrent will be working from our Grand Meadow location.

Meet Jessie Schwartz, from LeSuer, MN. She is an Agribusiness student at North Dakota State University. She grew up on a hog & crop farm. Her favorite class in college so far was her cooperative’s class. She is involved in agribusiness club, accounting club and NDSU Saddle & Sirloin. She has previously interned at Compeer Financial crop insurance and U of M Extension Brown County 4-H Intern. She hopes to use this internship as an opportunity to explore different options at CHS. Jessie will be working from our Claremont location.

Meet Kaylee Wendt, from Eyota, MN. She is currently attending UW River Falls and studying Ag Business. She also grew up on a crop farm. In college she is involved with showing horses on the UWRF IHSA Western show team and on the POAC breed circuit. Her favorite classes have been Ag Markets & Prices and Ag Policy. Some day she hopes to be working full-time within sales at an agribusiness. This summer she would like to gain sales experience and get insight of an agronomist day-to-day work schedule. Kaylee will be working at our St. Charles location.

As you meet our interns please welcome them to the CHS family.

NH3 Checklist for Spring

As we look forward to another planting season, we would like to talk about an important part of our business – SAFETY. In today’s agribusiness, the safety of our employees and our customers has become a huge part of our culture. In an effort to focus on being compliant with OSHA standards and regulations from the MN Department of Agriculture, CHS feels communication is the best avenue.

Anhydrous ammonia has long been a great fertility tool for many producers, while also presenting the greatest of scrutiny and risk to those of us handling the product. We continue to see tougher restrictions and penalties for those who do not follow proper protocol when it comes to the safety of handling NH3. OSHA rulings state that we as a retailer must operate under the same regulations as a manufacturer. Along with this letter is a checklist from the Department of Agriculture that our business must follow when evaluating NH3 equipment and tanks at our locations. We will not be able to fill tanks that do not meet the standards on the checklist. Our employees will be very diligent in making sure we are compliant with these standards. The hope is that you, our valued grower can use this list when evaluating your NH3 equipment for this spring. Our staff will be happy to provide resources to help you in getting your tanks up to code. CHS is dedicated to everyone’s safety, and if we work together, we can succeed in keeping NH3 a viable resource now and in the future.

Thank you for your cooperation and patronage.

Don’t get Left Behind


Grain markets since the beginning of the year have been on a tear. Opportunity has been abundant to retain profits, forward contract new crop for profitable values, and to manage risk. The recent planting intentions report from March 31st paints the picture of continued tight stocks for the 21/22 growing season. Both domestic and export demand continues to be strong for corn and soybeans as we enter the planting season. All signs point to steady/ firmer markets. But also keep in mind a good growing season should bring quality yields. With the recent rally we may see the planting report on June 30th show larger planted acres of corn and soybeans than were noted on the March 31st report which might bring pressure to markets come late June into July.

The next big wild card is weather. A lot of conversation of drought pressure and warmer temps throughout the summer which could put pressure on pollination. As we can’t predict the future, one thing we can do is protect profits. There are certainly contracts available to protect profitable values as well as leave room for further improvement. Our Compass programs can bring added value like the foundation, price builder, and daily price contracts. Min price contracts could be used to open up participation in any rally to come. Min/max offers a floor to protect profitability today, but allows room for further participation in any rally. Bullish markets are exciting and fun. Don’t let the party end and be left without a way home. Sales in the next 60 days should be considered as we begin to finalize some unknowns like planting progress, export demand strength, feed usage, and early growing season moisture levels.

You can contact our grain team to help you decide what contracts would fit best for you!

Written by Brady Beyer, Grain Originator

2021 Ag Chemical Supply Update

Over the last year, we have all seen and almost become accustomed to disruptions in the supply chains for goods and services. Because of this we want to inform our customers on some of the challenges we are facing in the supply chains of the products we use each day in your fields.

It comes as no surprise that agricultural products are not immune to supply challenges. There are several reasons for these delays, and they all compile into a domino effect of sorts. Here we’ll highlight some of the main challenges, but please keep in mind CHS is in a good position on most of these products today and are continually sourcing more with the help of our teammates at CHS Agronomy.

Zinc 9%

Many of the ingredients needed for this product are made at a factory in Texas. The cold snap Texas had caused severe plant damage and ultimately product loss. Most wholesale companies have removed this product from their price sheets and retailers are not able to order any.

Remedy – We are fortunate that as CHS we have access to our own branded Levesol Zinc and have ample supply of this superior product.

Clethodim & Generic Glufosinate (Volunteer Corn Killer & Generic Liberty)

A factory that makes large quantities of these products had a massive fire late in February. This put pressure on other manufactures of these products late in the production season.

Remedy – CHS took early positions on BASF Liberty 280SL late last summer and have enough on hand to cover prepays. We also are fortunate to partner with CHS Agronomy for our Clethodim needs (Gatlin). We also have access to Fusilade DX from Syngenta that is an excellent volunteer corn herbicide.

In-Furrow Insecticides

Many brands are running out of supply of these products. A decrease in demand over the past 5-7 years has reduced production. Crop prices and insect pressure have increased significantly combined with delayed logistics have caused a severe bottleneck in the system.

Remedy – CHS Agronomy planned for some of this and does have supply of a couple brands, but they are selling quickly. If you have not already planned your needs for these products please do so with your agronomist, we have only two types available.

All other products

Raw ingredients are challenged for multiple reasons, some because of Covid shutdowns, some do to freight logistics and others do to consumer products commanding a larger portion of the shipping availabilities. We are also seeing some issues in the availability of packaging products. So, once the herbicides/insecticides are manufactured they are being held up because there aren’t enough plastic jugs or even cardboard boxes available.

I do not write this with intention of using scare tactics to make you run out and buy more products just to have. My goal is to inform you of the supply challenges we are working with and through. My ask is if you have concerns please contact your agronomist and make sure you have a plan in place. Please know and understand that we are working with our vendors to make sure we minimize the impact of these challenges.

Thank you for your continued business and support!

Written by Jordan Thiel, CHS Agronomy Sales Manager

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