SFG Update - Winter 2023

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In This Issue: Charles Smith, Agronomy Manager Mark White, Grain Manager Derrick Hoodjer , Programs Director Jason Jensen, Agronomy Sales Taylor Banks, Agronomy Sales Mark White, Grain Manager Mike King, Feed Sales

Grain Update Mark White Grain Division Manager

Harvest is all but finished in our trade area and with very few exceptions it was a good harvest. Most producers had above average corn yields along with very good bean yields. The biggest surprises came from the southern areas where it was feared there would be a short crop. Instead, some of these acres produced almost record yields. Everyone was caught by surprise including us as we thought we had plenty of storage available going into harvest and then suddenly we were fighting for space. All of this was a good problem to have as we all have more grain to market than we expected to. The extra corn production helps make up for the lower prices we are experiencing. Corn prices are currently almost 2.00 less than a year ago. For most of us the 2023 crop was the most expensive we have ever planted. That pushed our break evens higher than normal and now we must tackle it with lower crop prices. Crop marketing for the past 2 or 3 years has been somewhat simple as we had very good prices for an extended time. Now we must put more thought into how we can make this work. Barring a huge world problem corn is not headed back to 7.00 anytime soon. We need to get back to 5.00 first and that isn’t happening very fast. Chances are we will market some corn below our breakeven in the coming year. We will need to use rallies to

parcel out bushels and the hard part may be recognizing a rally. It probably won’t be 50 cents but more likely 25 cents at a time. If you have money borrowed the cost of carry increases rapidly. If you are paying 8% for money holding a bushel of corn costs 3 cents a month and a bushel of beans costs over 8 cents a month. In 3 months, your breakeven jumps 9 cents on corn and 25 cents on beans. These are scary numbers, but true. All this needs to be factored into your marketing decisions. It will not be fun or enjoyable, but we cannot ignore factors such as this. There is a little carry in the market, but it is not guaranteed to hold. Using some type of plan even if it just involves selling a percentage on a regular schedule, will be better than doing nothing and suddenly finding you must do something. I want to thank all our customers for allowing SFG to help with your harvest this fall. Our employees worked a lot of hours trying to stay ahead of the grain coming in. For the most part we were successful except for our Centerville location where we did have to slow the incoming grain for a short time. Everyone in that part of the state, including us, was trying to dump at the same terminal market and it did not work well. We were able to shuffle grain around at our other locations so we could continue to take grain. We are in the process of reviewing the fall harvest and judging ourselves and how we did. We will continue to look at things that can make our service even faster in the future so we can get your trucks and wagons back to the field as quickly as possible.

Central Region Update Derrick Hoodjer, Agronomy Programs Director 2023 is about to wrap up. There were many things to learn from this past growing season. First, we have proven we can grow a corn crop with half of our average rainfall. We have asked for drought tolerant corn, and I can say that we have it. In our trade territory there were times that we thought it was game over for the corn crop. Everyone was surprised with corn yields, and this shows us that even in a drought year we can achieve high yields. That said, the good fields and the parts of fields that held more water still produced better than dry areas. We must still plan for high yield and push for higher yield in these areas. 2024 is predicted to be another dry year, and it’s easy to say we won’t have good yields if it continues to stay dry. However, my recommendation is to push for higher yields in areas that can be pushed. For crop year 2024 items to look at are newer corn genetics, sulfur applications and nitrogen management. On corn genetics we still see the newer products working better. I went to the Iowa State Crop Management conference and again they confirmed that newer genetics on average bring us two additional bushels per acre per year. This has been a trend since the mid-90s, and yields are continuing to rise.

Newer products also bring new insect-resistance traits as well. Trecepta corn hybrids and products to control Soybean Cyst Nematode are on my list of talking points for the 2024 growing season. Both add control to pests that are problematic in our fields. Earworm is becoming a topic of discussion, and the Trecepta trait adds extra protection against it. Every fertilizer plan for corn in 2024 should have sulfur included. Sulfur has continued to show consistent results. Again in 2023, on farm trials we saw at least an extra 10 bushels per acre when sulfur was applied. This can equate to a return of $35-$40 per acre on an expenditure of $10-$15 per acre for sulfur application. That’s easy profit and an easy decision to make. There are many sulfur options available at SFG, but the easiest and most popular is adding elemental sulfur to your dry fertilizer application. Elemental Sulfur mixes right with P&K. Other options include ammonium sulfate applied with in-season urea application, or ammonium thiosulfate applied with your chemical burndown or liquid sidedress application. Sulfur is mobile like nitrogen and needs to be applied every year, just like nitrogen does. When discussing the next step to higher yielding corn fields, sulfur should be first on the list. Increased management, especially of nitrogen, proved to be beneficial in 2023 as well. Generally, the customers I talked with that had higher management strategies were happy with their decision to push the crop. I attribute some higher yield potential to the early planting we had in 2023, but increasing management and producing more yield should still be the goal. (Cont. next page)

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SFG Operations Update

For nitrogen applications we saw good things with split application. I believe in-season application of nitrogen helped this year because we did not receive as much nitrogen from organic matter decomposing. When the weather is dry the microbes in the soil don’t produce as much, so inseason application helps us out here.

Charles Smith Agronomy Operations Manager

We also saw increased nitrogen efficiency by utilizing variable rate programs. These methods add more fertilizer in higher production areas. It’s very easy to do, and produces consistent results. Essentially, we apply less nitrogen to poor areas of the field and high amounts of nitrogen in good areas of the field. This way your fertilizer goes where it can actually be utilized.

Once again we have had another great fall. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It’s allowed us to get about anything done outside that we’ve needed, with some exceptions. A lot of tillage work, tiling and terracing, fence rows, waterways, and of course fertilizer.

It’s not too late to adjust your plan to focus on higher yield potential. Call one of our highlytrained agronomists and get their opinion. Our goal is to help you succeed and grow your business. SFG is farmer-focused. Our motto is “Service is our Specialty”. We thank you for the business in 2023 and hope 2024 is a safe and prosperous growing season.

Tune in weekdays at noon to 96.7 KIIC for the latest market news, sponsored by Smith Fertilizer & Grain!

We have applied about 50%-55% of anhydrous, Super Grow, and dry fertilizer for the year. We are usually lucky to be 40% done by this time of year. Let’s hope the weather holds for another couple weeks so we can get finished up. We’ve also had a good run on spreading lime over most of our trade area. We are now in the process of putting together spring chemical prices and programs. This coming season most suppliers are not on allocations. The past three years we have been limited on many different products. This year we have not been limited. The supply of products looks to be about back to normal, so give us a call and we will see how we can help you out.

were short when combines hit the fields this fall.

Northwest Agronomy Update Jason Jensen Northwest District Agronomy Sales It seems just a few short months ago we were in 2022. Now we are just a few weeks from wrapping up the 2023 calendar year. 2023 harvest in the Northwest area taught us a few lessons, but there’s one that we are all still pondering. We don’t seem to need much rain to grow an excellent crop! 2023 harvest left many farmers in our area very surprised with corn yields in particular. Many timely rains early in the season set up a large corn harvest, even with a very warm and dry August. Fields that were well fertilized and treated with fungicide set record yields on several farms in our territory. We also had our first experience with tar spot. Fortunately, it appeared late enough in the growing season that it did not cause noticeable yield loss. However, it’s now here and we will have to manage our corn crop for it in the future.

Soybeans were a slightly different story this fall. We missed our August rain and most likely suffered some yield loss. Soybeans were headed for a terrific ending in late July and looked perfect in many fields. However, they seemed to shrink each hot August day without rainfall. Many of these soybean fields were headed to a record yield but

Overall, beans yielded fair to average. Conditions were quite dry throughout the fall, drying them from over 14% to a very dry 8-9% in an unusually short period of time. This caused an unrealized moisture-based loss of yield that was unpreventable throughout harvest, with many being harvested near 8.5% moisture. With 2023 harvest in the books, most farmers are very surprised with the yield. Many remember the fall of 2012, the last very dry summer we encountered, which left a poor corn crop with low grain quality and many toxins present. We were relieved to have dodged both of these bullets this growing season. We are now ready to look at the 2024 growing season and start making decisions to impact next year’s crop.

Northeast Agronomy Update Greg Willer Northeast District Agronomy Sales

beans have been out yielding the shorter maturing beans. The late maturing beans have a better chance of catching rain in late August and/or early September, which helps to boost yields. As with every harvest, it is important to remember what we learned this year so we can use that information as we work towards next year’s harvest. Be sure to let your SFG agronomist know what worked and what didn’t, so we can better serve you in the years to come.

The 2023 harvest is wrapped up except for a few acres of corn. From what I have heard and seen, the harvest went better than expected. Dry weather allowed for the crops to come out in a timely manner and there were few delays. All in all, everyone seemed pleased with the yields and they’re looking forward to next year. There were a few things I noticed about this harvest that are worth mentioning: Cornfields that were not sprayed with a fungicide fell apart a lot earlier than fields that were. This led to a significant yield decline. Tar Spot snuck into the area and fields that were not sprayed were down 20 to 25 bushel per acre. Unsprayed fields were also harder to harvest due to plants falling over. Those who sprayed fungicide on their corn enjoyed an easier corn harvest and increased yield. Unfortunately, tar spot is not going to go away and fungicide use will become a requirement on most corn acres. Beans were up and down on yield. I heard some growers having the best yields they have ever had and others who were a little disappointed. Lack of rain in August had a hand in lowering the bean yields across much of the area. Over the last few years, we have noticed that the late maturing

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Southern Agronomy Update

Feed Update Mike King SFG Feed Sales

Taylor Banks Southern District Agronomy Sales This year’s harvest went about as smoothly as anyone could ask for. There were only one or two days of rainy weather that stopped combines in our area. We were dry pretty much all year, but you would hardly know that by our corn yields. As a whole, it seemed corn performance across brands was very strong in my area this year, with some yields being close to a record. It goes to show that maybe we do lose more bushels in a wet year than a dry year. Genetics have advanced a long way in the past 10 years, and we keep seeing advances even in inclement weather due to that.

By the time you’ve read this article, we’ll have held two feed open houses, one at our Milo location nand one at our Albia location. Hopefully you got a chance to come in and talk feed and have a good lunch. If you’ve got cows out on corn stalks, you need protein to utilize the stalks they are eating. Good options for this are Crystalyx HE20 tubs or EnergiLass 30 tubs. Some of you will be calving in January and/or February. You certainly don’t want scours to be an issue. We have calving minerals with Biomoss, which helps reduces scours at calving time.

Soybean yields were more variable, with there being some very good yields and just some average yields. This seemed to really follow the areas that had more rain – those with moisture seemed to have better yields.

If you have calves you are backgrounding and you want to talk diets, we’d be pleased to do so. We have very competitively-priced meal and pelleted balancers. We can get your info to the excellent nutritionists at Hubbard or Kent, and they can do custom diets for your cattle.

The dry fall weather allowed for quite a bit of dry fertilizer, NH3, and cover crop to be put on this fall. As it sits today we still have some Nh3 and dry to put on. The weather has turned a little wetter now but we will still need a bit more to fill in the deficit that we find ourselves in.

You also need to consider Rumensin in your beef cattle diets. Its cost effective and gets results. We have R400 crumbles that you can add to your existing rations. You’ll get a 6% improvement in feed efficiency, which will stretch your feeds and save on costs.

As we look to the new year, this is a good time to get products and services locked in for spring. Now is the time to put the final touches on our 2024 agronomy plans. As always, if there’s anything you would like to meet about and discuss, contact your local SFG agronomist. We would be happy to assist you!

SFG is dedicated to being your feed supplier. We have what you need at competitive prices, the best technology, and proven performance. Give us a call today and see how we can increase your bottom line.

Knoxville Main Office

Pleasantville Location

Centerville Location

Albia Location

1650 Quebec St

702 E. Jasper

1605 S. 24th St

805 Hwy 5 North

Knoxville, IA 50138

Pleasantville, IA 50228

Centerville, IA 52544

Albia, IA 52531

Office: 641-828-8500

Office: 515-848-5000

Office: 641-856-2828

Office: 641-932-2100

Milo Location

Columbia Fuel Station

101 1st St

2441 Hwy 14

Milo, IA 50166

Columbia, IA 50057

Office: 641-942-6223

Cell: 641-218-4035

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