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

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

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.

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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