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Discovery Plot Days Underway

Discovery Plot Days began yesterday and continue through this week and next. It's not too late to get in on one of these info-rich tours. Key topics include:
  • The Do's and Don'ts of the RR 2 Xtend Soybean System
  • Adding Value with a Soil Sample
  • Fall Fertilizer Programs
All Discovery Plots start at 10 a.m., followed by a steak dinner at noon. RSVP to your Federated Agronomist.
Tuesday, Aug. 23
Isanti - Paul & Janet Bostrom Farm
Wednesday, Aug. 24
Princeton -  Larry & Sharon Wilhelm Farm
Thursday, Aug. 25
Rush City - Cramaur Farm
Friday, Aug. 26 
Hinckley - Nathan Nelson Farm
Monday, Aug. 29 
Foley - Lezer Farm
Tuesday, Aug. 30 
Albertville - Lenneman Farm
Wednesday, Aug. 31 
Ogilvie - Steffen Farm

August 23, 2016
Corn Maturity Right on Schedule

Corn maturation_ Aug. 20
The summer growing season is at its peak and "most of the crop is in the late milk to dough stage" (see photo) if it was planted on time, according to Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist.
In Federated's service areas the corn is right on course, or a little bit early, he indicated, "maybe about a week ahead, so we are doing well to make it [to full maturity] for a normal frost date."
Depending on where your farm is located, the typical frost dates in east-central Minnesota and western Wisconsin range from Sept. 20-25 - so "we should make it easily before the normal frost date," said Carlson.
Discovery Plot tour sign
Don't forget to attend one of the Discover Plot tours near you 
this week or next!
If weather, temperatures, and moisture keep falling into place, "we should have good test weight -- and corn that will dry naturally in the field -- if it matures to black layer before a killing frost," Carlson said (see chart on corn maturity).
Contact your nearest Federated location to discuss propane and/or drying options, as needed. And as always, talk to your Federated Agronomist about any late-season crop concerns. 
Best Bets for Fall Alfalfa Fertilization

Timing it Right
Fall is by far the best time to feed alfalfa, according to Cody Lezer, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. Fertilizer applied "after the last harvest will increase the availability of potassium and phosphorous in the soil," said Lezer, and will improve the crop's winter hardiness and stand.
Plus, those nutrients will give the alfalfa a big boost in the spring. Fall, however, is when growers need to soil sample to determine fertilizer application needs.
Applying the Right Nutrients
Federated offers SuperCal SO4, by Gypsoil, to help alfalfa thrive. SuperCal SO4 is a very good source of calcium and sulfur (see analysis here). Lezer said, "SuperCal SO4 is a slow-release sulfur source, making it available to the plants for the entire growing season."
SuperCal SO4 promotes better roots and, a good sulfur level produces forage with more protein and less nitrate (see fact sheet). SuperCal SO4 is available in a pelleted, blendable form for easy one-pass application.
Contact your Federated Agronomist for soil sampling and alfalfa fertilizer recommendations or assistance.
Procuring Propane for Fall Corn Drying

grain bin
As the propane markets enter the fall corn drying season a substantial market contango has developed. "A contango market is a situation where the futures price of a commodity, [in this case] propane, is above the current market price," said Mark Grave, Federated's propane operations manager.
The drivers for this uptrend in the futures market is based on a number of factors:
  • current propane markets are slightly depressed,
  • propane storage costs are rising,
  • crude futures are slowly increasing, and
  • the end of El Nino weather patterns, as predicted.
Growers face a challenge for purchasing and contracting for propane with the upward price curve in the propane futures market for October/November. Growers may ask: Will the current price of propane rise to meet the higher futures market? Will the contango unwind as fall progresses? Will lower prices prevail? According to Grave, "Time will tell."
Grave added, "The propane supply plan is a constantly evolving document. When market conditions such as this present themselves, plans are adjusted on a daily basis."
Federated is putting additional inventory in place at current market conditions. A portion of replacement gallons are hedged to provide fall pricing stability, while a portion of replacement gallons are left open to provide stability should this uptrend fail to materialize.
"[Federated's] goal is to provide steady propane supply through the harvest season at the most stable price possible," Grave said.
Grave's best advice to growers? Fill all available propane storage now. "That is the best place to start," he said. Then, contract 50% to 75% of expected gallons needed for this fall to provide a safety net should the markets rise to meet the higher futures prices.
Contact Grave with specific propane questions, and your Federated Agronomist with other related concerns.
Federated Co-ops | 763-389-2582 | 502 S 2nd St. | Princeton, MN 55371-1941