About Ryan Duell

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far has created 54 blog entries.

Some Fertilizer Prices Dropping / Grain Cart Inspections

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

The prices of some fertilizers are dropping as we go into fall. The price of nitrogen as urea and ammonia are both dropping. The lower prices of oil and the lower commodity prices are causing this drop. The big story is the pricing of potash dropping due to large inventories and lower commodities. We are currently able to buy potash at the Twin Cites terminals for $350.00/ton on October loads. We are also able to get even lower prices with direct-to-farm shipping from Canada, as compared to shipped from the Twin Cities.

Equipment Tips by Doug Gaspar

Have you inspected your Grain Cart for Harvest?

Although grain carts are simple in design, preventive maintenance can help maximize the opportunity to be effective and efficient at harvest. Efficiency is the key during the harvest hustle. Farmers need adequately sized grain carts that run smoothly and keep the grain flowing during harvest. By the time harvest rolls around, it may have been 10 months since your cart has been used. Carts get used hard at harvest and usually don’t get looked at again until the following year. When you rely on a piece of equipment this much, it’s imperative to take preventive measures to be certain there are no surprises in the field. Here are some general tips on what to inspect before harvest:
  • Inspect augers for noticeable wear – over time augers may become smaller in diameter, which will diminish their performance.
  • Check for proper adjustment of the drive belts and make sure serviceable parts of the power take off (PTO) shafts are greased or serviced.
  • If wheels carry your cart, reset the torque on the wheel nuts and check the tire pressure.
  • If tracks carry your cart, check the torque on various bolts and tension on the track itself.
  • Check the oil in the gearbox.
  • Look over the tarp to make sure there aren’t any tears or spots showing wear.
  • Confirm the accuracy of the scale system by checking the weight and load of your cart with the legal for trade scale at your local grain elevator.
  • Inspect the hydraulic hoses to ensure they have no visible wear spots or leaks.
  • Make sure the lights are working properly.
  • Check to see that the safety chains are attached securely and in good condition.
  • Make sure your “Slow Moving Vehicle” sign is clean and clearly visible.
Cameras on the unload auger and on the back of carts for road travel have been a nice feature, since every piece of equipment is getting larger, and drivers on the road seem to be in a bigger hurry these days. Give us a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Doug an e-mail.    

Fertilizer Prices to Hold/Fall Soil Sampling

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

The fertilizer market is looking to stay the course in the short term, unless something crazy happens in the grain markets and supply chains. I expect to see P prices to hold because if we see a price lowing the producers will export product to limit domestic supplies, which will hold the market up. The only product that we could see some price drops as we go through the fall is potash. Currently we can pick up K at the twin cities for $360.00/ton.







Equipment Tips

Fall Soil Sampling

Mike Bemboom - mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

Mike Bemboom – mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

Wheat harvest is in full swing, if not finished in some areas, leaving many fields of wheat stubble. Between now and soybean or corn harvest think about getting soil sampling done on those wheat fields, or any other open field, while you have time. Soil sampling is very simple and there are tablet and phone apps that help walk you through setting up farms, fields, grid sizes and take you right to the sampling points in the field. Sending samples in to be analyzed is easy. The results are usually back to you in about a week which should give you time to get with your agronomist and plan any fertilizer applications this fall.

Give Mike a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “3” not found /]
   

Lock in Fertilizer Prices/Is Your Combine Ready for Harvest?

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

It is still looking like the right time to lock in fertilizer for next season, especially nitrogen. N is lower than last season and the markets look to keep rising as we go into harvest. P and K are flat and should stay that way with only small increases expected.







Equipment Tips

Is Your Combine Ready for Harvest?

The harvest season puts huge demands on your equipment and unexpected breakdowns or poor performance can cost money. With the season ahead, now is the time to give your harvester a full service so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.

The importance of replacing worn components on a combine harvester cannot be overemphasized. Worn components result in poor combine performance, reducing profits. For example, up to 80 percent of crop loss can occur at the platform or header area of the combine. Whether you’re harvesting wheat, barley, rice, soybeans, corn, grain-sorghum, or other crops, proper cutter bar or gatherer unit maintenance and regular replacement of worn parts will reduce loss and increase profits.

Feeding, threshing, and separating performance is reduced if maintenance and replacement of worn parts are not done at the proper time. Poor feeding of material to the threshing area can cause plugging, which can result in cylinder drive component failure or incomplete threshing. Worn threshing components cause incomplete threshing or grain damage when cylinder speed is increased to compensate for worn components.

Worn material-handling components, such as augers and elevator paddles, can result in reduced combine productivity. So in a nutshell, spend some time going over your combine to save yourself from the unexpected breakdowns during harvest this year.

Doug Gaspar Give us a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send us an e-mail.   [table “3” not found /]
   

Spring Fertilization / Planter Maintenance

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

We are seeing the pricing for fall fill come in on the Nitrogen products. The prices are down from last season at this time so we are seeing a trend in the right direction. I think the bottom of the market is here or will be soon because the markets look like they are trending up through the harvest season. I expect to see pricing soon on P and K for fall fill. I expect the pricing to be steady through fall.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Purchasing Guidance Systems

This time of year is the beginning of farm show season. Aftermarket guidance and steering systems, sprayer control, planter rate and section control and other upgrades to name a few are many of the products that will be showcased at these events. The middle of summer might not seem like the time to think about purchasing guidance systems or components but many manufacturers will start to offer price incentives on adding or upgrading during the off season. If you’ve been thinking about adding any of these type of components now is a good time to pay attention to summer deals and get in touch with your local dealer. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “3” not found /]
   

Fertilizer Shortages Keep Prices High / Combine Sensor Calibration

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Supply shortages and delivery delays have kept fertilizer prices higher than they should be. Phosphates are flat. Potash is up, but urea is softening. Expect these trends to continue through the fall.  

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Combine Sensor Calibration

With harvest underway, make sure you are getting accurate yield data from your combine by properly calibrating the moisture sensor and yield monitor. It is a good idea to calibrate these each season. It can be done many ways, but usually involves harvesting a certain amount of crop and checking the weight or bushels with a weigh wagon or scale ticket. The moisture reading can be checked against a portable moisture tester. If you’re not familiar with how to calibrate your machine’s system, check the operators manual for step-by-step instructions. It might not seem like much, but if the calibration is off a small percentage over the course of a field or whole farm, it can be a significant factor on your bottom line. This information should be as accurate as possible especially if you’d like to use yield maps to make prescription planting maps next spring. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

End of 2014 Fertilizer Season and Prepping Harvested Wheat Acres

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

We have now reached the end of the fertilizer season for the 2014 crop. We have not been getting in any numbers for fall fill yet but do expect them in the coming weeks. Terminal supplies are still at very low levels from the spring rush and rail car delays are still an issue. I have a feeling that we may see a repeat of last year where the bottom for fertilizer is found right at year end. I expect the fertilizer prices to be very resistant to dropping even though the corn/soy price demands it.  

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Prepping Harvested Wheat Acres

Wheat harvest has started west of here and some of those wheat fields were planted for a very specific reason. These fields are ready to be tiled well before corn and bean harvest starts. If you can plan for it planting wheat is a great way to give yourself time to get into a field that needs tile. Also, if you’ve been hearing talk of cover crops a field like this would be a great opportunity to try some fall cover crop on your acres. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Urea and AMS in Short Supply and Side Dressing Nitrogen

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Urea and AMS are all in extremely short supply at this time due to high water levels at the twin cities terminals. The supply issues are holding 28% markets steady. We should be seeing the end of sidedress N use soon and getting summer fill pricing soon.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Side Dressing N

There are lot of acres of corn that could use some mid -season nitrogen. Side dressing can be done many different ways, coulters with knife or liquid injectors, drop nozzles or drag hoses. One of these options might be a good way for you to give your corn crop a boost during this fast growth stage. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Supply Meets Demand and Call Before You Dig

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

We are seeing slow downward progression of nitrogen pricing in the terminals.  We expect that to continue through the sidedressing season.  Supplies of fertilizer products are keeping up with demand, and I expect that to continue.  However, look for increases in energy costs to affect fall fill pricing on fertilizer. I have also had many ask about where one could find a mobile fertilizer mixing system.  We recently bought one for use on our farm at Baltic, SD, and it’s been a huge asset.  It has two tanks that you can custom blend the products out with by adjusting each slide – nothing too fancy, but it works.  This is also quite portable.  In fact, one like that pictured below is currently available from a local dealer. mobilefertmixsys Contact number for this is 605-428-5494. Call us for more fertility information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

811 One Call

We talk a lot about when to tile and how to tile, but we also want you to remember to be careful. Calling 8-1-1 is just as important when installing tile in fields as it is digging holes in your yard, no one wants to hit any underground electric, fiber-optic or especially gas lines. So be safe and ‘Call Before You Dig’. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Nitrogen Prices Dropping and Tiling In-Crop

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

N prices are continuing to drop at the terminals. We look for that trend to continue as we continue through the spring into summer. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Tiling In-Crop

Now is a great time to do some tiling in-crop while crop damage would minimal. Just remember future yield increases usually outweigh the small, if any, yield loss of in-crop tiling. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Fertilizer Prices Dropping and Elevation Maps in the Fields

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Fertilizer supply is growing and prices at the terminals are dropping.  Urea price has started to decrease and we expect to soon see 28% do the same. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

GPS Elevation Maps

Set your GPS to get elevation maps of your fields as you make tillage or planting passes this spring.  You then have the information required to make a drainage plan. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

More Fertilizer Supply Delays / Spring Planter Prep

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

We are just beginning to see a few tons of fertilizer hit the terminals in the Twin Cities as the river is finally starting to de-ice.  Rail delays mean all of the potash supply is currently unavailable in all of the local terminals. Supply of 10-34-0 is also short as rail issues have delayed green acid deliveries.  I predict this trend to continue through planting season. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Spring Planter Prep

Planters are a very important part of any farming operation.  Make sure your row units are ready to give your seed the best chance it can get.  Check your disc openers, residue managers, packer wheels and closing wheels for wear. Also, check all of the bearings on each of those items. You should additionally check your metering system for wear: mechanical fingers, seed brushes, corn and bean discs, seed tubes and drive system all need to be inspected.  Anything you can repair now will save valuable time while you need to be planting. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Dry Fertilizer Supply Prospects Improve / Be Ready for Spring Tiling

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Dry fertilizer can be purchased currently for river open pickup.  River terminals are expected to be open by April 25.  We may see daily tonnage limits until more supply arrives from downriver. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Be Ready for Spring Tiling

Temperatures keep going up and then right back down; but sooner or later, it will have to warm up and stay warm. Be ready for it.  Make sure you have the drain tile sizes, connectors, tees, plugs, etc. you need for this spring if you have tiling projects to get done.  Also, make sure your paperwork is in order and complete. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Fertilizer Supplies Limited / DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid)

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Spring fertilizer supplies could be very limited.  A combination of limited supplies and difficulties transporting product up and down the river due to the extremely cold winter will strain availability of many products.  Flexibility when choosing inputs might be necessary this spring. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid)

DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) is becoming very common with new tractors, combines, semi trucks and even pickup trucks. You may have started seeing blue fill caps next to the fuel tank caps; those caps are where the DEF tank is filled. There should be a gauge on the vehicle’s instrument cluster just like a fuel gauge. You’ll want to make sure you don’t run out. If you do, you’ll be able to move but most tractors will derate to 50% HP or less. Some diesel pickups will limit you to 5 mph if you run out. Spring is coming, no matter what it looks and feels like outside.  Make sure you have enough DEF for the equipment that requires it. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Liquid Fertilizer Storage / Fertilizer Prices Increase Due to Weather Issues

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Fertilizer prices continue to increase in the Twin Cities due to possible spring supply issues.  There is concern about barge traffic having difficulties getting to the Twin Cities due to heavy ice and the late spring.  Today, we are focusing mainly on the more locally supplied liquid products due to the price being more competitive. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Liquid Fertilizer Storage

We get a lot of calls about liquid fertilizer from people looking into adding liquid into their fertility program.  Their questions range in topics from pricing to how to get it applied. You should also consider how you’ll handle or store large quantities of liquid fertilizer and how you’ll get it to your planter or other application equipment. There are quite a few options as far as tanks go for both portable or stationary units. There is usually a price advantage to taking bulk fertilizer early, which can help offset the cost of tanks. However, large tanks can take some time to get if they are not sitting on a local dealer’s lot. It’s not too late to get a storage system in place before spring. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

GPS Software Updates / Fertilizer Market Increases in Volatility

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Grain markets are putting pressure on the fertilizer market, especially nitrogen.  We’re seeing higher volatility in the fertilizer pricing on a day-to-day basis.  Fertilizer producers have been looking for a reason to increase prices, and now they have it. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

GPS Software Updates

The winter farm show season has started. If you’re heading to any shows, now is a good time to check with your GPS display and equipment reps to see if there are any new software updates available for any of your displays or computer software. Most of them are free and can be installed online or by copying the update to a jump drive to be uploaded later. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Pricing Outlook Good for Spring-Applied Fertilizers / Winterizing Your Equipment

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Fall application season is coming to an end because the weather has turned and soil temperatures will be below freezing soon.  Pricing is still very good on the dry fertilizers.  I anticipate the best price point for spring-applied fertilizers to occur in the next month.  We are now pricing most products for spring delivery. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Winterizing Your Equipment

Don’t forget to winterize your sprayer and any other equipment with liquid pumps like planters with liquid fertilizer and even chemical transfer pumps. If the pumps won’t be staying in a heated area over the winter, using an RV antifreeze to flush out remaining liquid the system is usually recommended. Always check your owner’s manual for the manufacturers recommended winterization procedure. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
   

Low River Levels Affect Nitrogen Availability / Getting Ready for Fall Tiling

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Low river levels have led to supply issues in the Twin Cities on nitrogen.  It is currently on allocation, so loads can be difficult to come by.  However, prices have not significantly increased because of this. P and K supplies are very good.  Phosphate pricing has stabilized, and K prices continue to drop by the week.  I expect both of these trends to continue. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Getting Ready for Fall Tiling

Plenty of crop is coming out, which opens up the opportunity to start tiling those fields. If tiling is on your list of things to do this fall, make sure you have the drain tile and fittings you’ll need to get started. Also, there are software updates available for many of the GPS Grade Control systems out there. Ag Leader has an update for the Integra and the Intellislope Water Management software. Version 4.5 adds the ability to collect elevation data to be used as a topography reference layer. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “5” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
 

Commodity, Fertilizer Prices Dip / Air Filter Inspections

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

P and K prices have dropped at the terminals.  We are starting to see some product being purchased at these current lower levels.  Commodity price drops continue to support lower fertilizer prices.  Supply is still excellent for all products at this time. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Air Filter Inspections

When doing your daily inspection of tractors, sprayers or any other farm vehicle, make sure to check the cab air filter as well. They can be hard to find, but when they are  clean they will allow the air conditioner to work more efficiently, last longer and keep the cab that much more comfortable in hotter weather. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
 

Low Commodity Prices and Demand Keep Fertilizer Prices Down / Ditch Upkeep

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Low demand and big supply combined with lower commodity pricing levels are causing lower prices on fertilizer when compared to last spring/fall. I expect to see flat pricing on P and a possible drop on K in the next month or two. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Ditch Upkeep

Keeping grass and weeds mowed to manageable heights in road ditches and around approaches can increase visibility for vehicle traffic, not to mention it will look better. Be careful when driving in and out of ditches or on steep side hills. Make sure your flashers are working on your tractor and mower and that all guards and shields are installed properly. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
 

Urea Price Declines / Nozzle Inspections

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Prices on dry urea continue to drop in the Twin Cities.  Consider urea over the top of standing corn with a nitrogen stabilizer for side-dress. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Nozzle Inspections

Now that a majority of the corn has been planted, spraying will be the next thing done in those fields.  Make sure your spray nozzles are performing the way they should.  Nozzles wear out and can become less consistent in spray pattern and amount applied per acre after two to three years or about 20,000 to 30,000 acres, depending on if they are plastic, brass or stainless. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
 

Short Planting Season Creates Fertilizer Delivery Delays / Make Sure Your Chemical Handling Equipment is Ready

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

Fertilizer supply at the terminals is excellent, and pricing remains stable.  If you have dry fertilizer needs for the spring, the biggest issue will be delivery issues to your farm due to limited trucks pulling during planting season.  I expect liquid deliveries to also become more problematic because the shorter planting season creates more pressure on fertilizer trucking schedules. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.    

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Make Sure Your Chemical Handling Equipment is Ready for the Spring Rush

Check the condition of your chemical handling equipment because as we get into spring, you may need to pump bulk chemical or fertilizer. Pumps are like most pieces of equipment and need maintenance to work properly year in and year out. Cracked or leaking hoses should be replaced to prevent any possible spills or down time when you need to get rolling in the later planting season. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]

Take Fertilizer Now During Lower Prices / Stock Up On Parts Before Spring

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

If you have an interest in taking urea and 10-34-0 right now, then you better take your product sooner rather than later.  Prices are low, but as soon as demand increases into planting time, expect prices to increase along with it. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.    

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Stock Up On Parts Before Spring

Even though it is still March and still cold, now is a good time to get parts for your spring tillage, planting and maintenance needs. Quite a few equipment dealers will have some sort of spring sale on parts for you, so you can stock up on parts you know you’re going to need. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]

Spring Planter Preparation / Liquid 28% Pricing Increasing Into Spring

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

We’ve seen a price increase in the liquid 28% market.  Expect that trend to continue until spring.  If you are planning to sidedress later in season with your 28%, I would look to price it after the spring planting season is finished. 10-34-0 price has remained steady and looks to remain relatively flat into the season.  The dry fertilizer market has continued to remain steady. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.    

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Spring Planter Preparation

Spring should be here in a few weeks. Make sure your planter is ready with a planter checklist.  The following list would be a good place to start:
  1. Frame: Check the frame for cracks, separated welds or bends.
  2. Hydraulic System: Check hoses, cylinders, hydraulic lines and reservoirs for leaks.
  3. Drive Line:
    1. Ground Drive Systems: Chains, sprockets, tensioners and shafts.
    2. Hydraulic Drive: Drive motor, sprockets and shafts.
  4. Row Unit: Parallel linkage, down pressure springs or airbags and seed tubes.
  5. Disc Openers: Should be replaced if diameter is ½” less than new blade diameter (replace in pairs).
  6. Gauge Wheels: These should contact the disc opener to act as a scraper. May be able to adjust shims or replace the bearings.
  7. Closing System:
    1. Closing Wheels/Wheel: Check bearings and alignment.
    2. Chains/Discs: Check for wear.
  8. Metering System:
    1. Mechanical Fingers: Check for damages fingers, springs, carrier plates, belts, sprockets and brushes
    2. Plate Meters, Air/Vac: Check cells on the plates for wear, dust seals and knock off brushes.
    3. Vacuum Lines: Vacuum lines should be checked for potential cracks or leaks where debris can enter the airstream.
    4. Positive Air Lines: These are not as susceptible to debris since they force air through the system and are designed to release air at the meters, although extra holes or leaks in the line will require the fan to work harder.
Once you’ve gone through your checklist, make sure you get replacement parts on hand so you are not held up when you want to be planting. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.   [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]

Ship Fertilizer Before Load Limits Increase / Ag PhD Drainage Tile Calculator

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

We are starting to see a lot of activity in the dry and liquid fertilizer market.  Prices are remaining stable and product supply is good.  All urea being sold is for spring river open pickup.  Every other product is in excellent supply right now and can be shipped while the roads are still without load limits when the weather is good. If you have on-farm storage, now would be a good time to bring in product before load limits take effect.  I expect prices to remain flat over the next few weeks. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.    

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Ag PhD Drainage Tile Calculator

The Ag PhD Drainage Tile Calculator helps you determine your tile supply and capabilities for your field drainage project. You can calculate acres drained for single wall and dual wall tile in any size and grade, the pipe size needed to effectively drain acres, and the length of pipe you will need to purchase to complete your project.  An update coming soon will also allow you to calculate your field slope and lift station pump size needed for your particular drainage needs. This is a great tool that provides all the functionality of the slide cards we handed out at our tiling clinics, and we have used it in drainage discussions in our workshops, tiling clinics and more. Here is the App Store link for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drainage-tile-calculator/id584976425?ls=1&mt=8 Here is the Google Play Store link for Android devices: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.agphd.drainagecalculator&hl=en Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.     [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Spring Water Level Predictions Keep Fertilizer Prices Low / Using Google Earth for Tile Planning

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

Due to reports that water levels will not be an issue in the Mississippi River, we are now taking orders on spring delivered products for the river open time frame in the Twin Cities.  That announcement has caused pricing to remain steady or drop on most products.  We expect pricing to remain at current levels for the time being. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Using Google Earth to Plan Tile Projects

Winter is also a good time to do tile planning.  Programs like Google Earth (which is a free download) can be very helpful in designing a layout, checking approximate elevations and grades, and estimating the amount of tile for a field.             Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.     [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Winter Tiling Activities / Mississippi Barge Traffic Expected to Decrease in Twin Cities

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

Prepay prices for spring fertilizer are available right now for most products.  We expect continued steady pricing in the fertilizer market for the near future. However, we are expecting to have problems in the Twin Cities with spring availability on products because low water flow in the Mississippi River is expected to impede barge traffic this spring.  We are looking to other places to source products to guarantee product availability in the spring. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Winter Tiling Activities

The ground is getting colder and harder, and we’re starting to get a little snow cover in places, but now is still a good time to try to get your wetland determinations done.  At least get the paperwork started so you are that much farther ahead come spring time. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.     [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Intellislope Functionality Now Available on Ag Leader Integra / Urea Prepay Pricing Available

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

Dry fertilizer prices at the terminals are remaining stable for fall application.  We have some prepay pricing for spring on urea.  Prices have remained steady to slightly weakening over the past few weeks, and I do expect that trend to continue. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Intellislope Functionality Now Available on Ag Leader Integra

Intellislope Water Management  is now available on the Ag Leader Integra. It still has the same easy to use Intellislope functions with the added features of the Touchscreen Integra. It is offered as a complete system with Integra monitor, Intellislope software, plow module and cables or as an upgrade to your existing Integra with a software unlock, plow module and cables. There is a trade-up program for Intellislope users who have purchased their system prior to the Integra release. Contact us to find out the trade-up program details and availability. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.     [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fall Conditions Ideal for Fertilization / Hard, Dry Ground Increases Equipment Wear

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz

Fall weather has been ideal for fertilizer applications, and we are much ahead of schedule on harvest.  The greatest restriction at this time is the trucking out of the terminal.  Supplies remain good, and pricing continues to remain stable.  If you are planning fall fertilization, order your product and take delivery soon to ensure you receive your order in time. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom

Hard, Dry Ground Increases Equipment Wear

Fall tillage has begun, and the ground is hard and dry. That means you could see accelerated wear on your points, sweeps, wear strips or blades. Make sure you have enough of these parts on hand, so you don’t have unnecessary down time. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.     [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Harvest 2012 Keeps Fertilizer Prices Stable / Considerations for Equipment Operators on the Highway

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Prices on fertilizer are remaining stable, with activity levels low due to the beginning of harvest.  Expect prices to remain stable until harvest is finished. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom - mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

Considerations for Equipment Operators on the Highway

When you’re out driving this fall, keep traffic safety in mind.  The combines, tractors, wagons or grain carts being used are large pieces of equipment, and seeing around them as a driver or passing motorist can be difficult.  If you are operating equipment like this, take your time entering busy roads and make sure your hazard lights are on.  The majority of drivers in passenger vehicles are not used to maneuvering around this type of large equipment.  If you are the passing motorist, give the equipment operators some room and don’t crowd them; they are most likely going as fast as they can already. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.

Featured Equipment

This Equipment Needs a Home.  Call 800.274.3389 for details.

3pt Folding Planter Bar

Redball 12-row Strip Till Bar

Redball 4-Row Strip-Till

                          [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Nitrogen Prices Trend Upward / Fire Safety in a Dry Harvest

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Nitrogen is continuing its steady move upward in price.  Urea is currently priced competitively with anhydrous ammonia.  P and K are holding their prices steady.  I expect the nitrogen to continue to trend upward, and P and K should remain steady. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom - mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

Fire Safety in a Dry Harvest

Combines are starting to harvest corn in some areas due to the dry conditions, and that is creating a lot of dust and potential for fires.  Make sure you take the necessary precautions in case of a fire.  Have a fire extinguisher or a compressed water canister close enough for quick access when you’re out there in the field.  Be safe. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Expect NPK Prices to Increase Into Fall 2012 / Benefits of Late Season Tiling

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Pricing for all products is for the most part available and supplies are good at this time.  Look for increased pricing, especially in the nitrogen market.  I expect P and K to increase, but not significantly between now and fall. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom - mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

Benefits of Late Season Tiling

Even if you weren’t at the Ag PhD Field Day this year, you probably still know that wheat is coming off the fields. Also, more and more growers are getting their silage cutting done. It might sound odd because of how dry it has been lately, but now is a great time to get some tile put in those corn and wheat fields due to the warm weather and ideal ground conditions. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Summer Fill Fertilizer Price Increases Expected / Change Spray Tips to Improve Weed Kill

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

We have pricing for summer fill dry and liquid  fertilizers.  Supplies are great and trucks are plentiful if you’re willing to store between now and application season.  Market indicators show prices will most likely increase in the next 30 days. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Change Spray Tips to Improve Weed Kill

If you are struggling with hard-to-kill weeds in your beans right now and the weeds are starting to get large, you may want to consider changing spray tips. If you use an air induction tip, I would highly recommend switching to a Turbo TeeJet, Turbo TwinJet or XR flat fan. Improved spray coverage means improved kill, and if you have tall, hard-to-control weeds, you may need to do more than increase your glyphosate rate to control these weeds. Also, although we have not seen a soybean aphid outbreak yet this season, we more than likely will have an outbreak before the end of summer. If you are going to spray insecticide as a preventative measure, you are going to want the best coverage possible. I would recommend 15 gallons per acre of water and, if possible, use a twin fan or at least a flat fan spray tip at high pressure (40 psi or more). This will also improve your coverage for weed control.

Turbo TwinJet

Turbo TeeJet

XR Flat Fan

            Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Spring 2012 Side-dress Time Winds Down / Side-dressing Equipment

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Spring sidedress time is wrapping up.  Urea supply in the Twin Cities is pretty much all used up, and it will be some time until we determine summer fill program numbers.  28% through irrigators will continue through the summer.  Supplies are good, and prices are stable. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Side-dressing Equipment

I have been getting a lot of calls this week about side dressing equipment.  If you have not applied any N yet this season, if you are afraid you have lost your N to leaching because of excessive rains, or if you are simply looking for a way to take advantage of our ample moisture to try to punch your yields to the next level, side dressing might be for you. Many of the companies that build side dressing equipment still have some units for sale.  You can expect to pay from just under $20,000 to around $30,000 for a 12-row and $30,000 to $40,000 for a 16-row. If you are looking to build something on the cheap or for one-time use, that old row crop cultivator sitting out in the trees may make itself useful again.  By stripping it down and only using 1 or 2 shanks per row or replacing the shanks with coulters and pairing it with a saddle tank, a front mount tank, or a tow behind caddy, you can build your own applicator for half the cost of a production model. Also, some companies have started offering special attachments for sprayers to drop fertilizer in between the rows or right next to the row.  This method can work if you get a timely rain and don’t over-apply. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices Begin Steady Decline / Causes of Spray Drift

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

28% and urea prices are coming down.  Urea out of the Twin Cities is now priced less than $700/ton.  The price of both forms of nitrogen is expected to drop slowly over the next few weeks. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Causes of Spray Drift

I know that with the wide use of Round-Up ready crops you probably don’t consider spray drift to be an important issue anymore, but with all the extra helpers we put with our glyphosate anymore drift is becoming an issue again.  There are a lot of variables that contribute to spray drift.  Although most people consider wind to be a major cause, your spray equipment and method are also contributors.  Here are a few things to keep in mind about your application methods.
Droplet Size
Droplet size is the most influential factor and one of the most controllable factors.  The smaller the nozzle size or the greater the operating pressure, the smaller the droplets and the greater potential for drift.  This can be minimized even with the smallest nozzle sizes by selecting the appropriate nozzle type.  An air induction or pre-orifice style nozzle will increase your droplet size compared to traditional flat fan nozzles at the same operating pressures and volumes.
Spray Tip Height
As the distance between your spray tip and your target increase so does the potential for drift.  Newer spray tips offer a wider angled pattern.  This allows you to reduce the distance between your spray tip and your target.  When I say spray target I am talking about growing point of the weed or the location of the insect you are trying to kill.  Or the ground or plant foliage you are trying to cover.  You should move your sprayer boom in relation to your target.
Operating Speed
Faster operating speeds can cause spray to be diverted into wind currents and vortexes caused by your sprayer moving through the field which will trap smaller droplets and contribute to drift.  As wind velocities increase, your operating speed should decrease.
Spray Volume, Wind Velocity, Air Temperature and Humidity
Of all the weather variables we deal with when spraying, wind velocity has the greatest impact.  As wind velocity increases, spray pressure should be reduced and spray volume should be increased.  Similarly as the ambient temperature increases or relative humidity decreases you should decrease your spray pressure and increase spray volume to reduce evaporation. I wish I could tell you about a new spray tip that would work for every application and every weather variable, but there isn’t.  So the best thing you can do is evaluate your situation, habits, and practices and have a couple different types or sizes of spray tips on your sprayer or in your toolbox, in order to be prepared. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Urea Prices Drop / Monsanto Acquires Precision Planting Inc.

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Urea prices are dropping in the Twin Cities, but supply is still short.  Terminal-to-farm trucking has been difficult to arrange, which has been slowing deliveries of fertilizer to the farm.  Supplies of 28% are still good, and pricing is stable. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Monsanto Acquires Precision Planting Inc.

On May 23, it was officially announced that Monsanto had purchased Precision Planting Inc.  Precision Planting is a manufacturer of aftermarket planter technology developed to improve seed singulation, placement, and monitoring.  They build replacement parts to “finger style” and vacuum meters, along with their own line of replacement meters for John Deere and Kinze planters.  Precision Planting also has their own line of planter monitors (Seed Sense 20/20), pneumatic down pressure, and variable rate control. The acquisition will become part of Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems division and for now will continue to operate through Precision Planting’s current dealer network. For more information, check out http://www.monsanto.com/investors/Documents/2012/FINAL_%20Robb_GS%2005-23-12_NoNotes_modified_Manny.pdf. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Urea Demand Still High / What Solar Interference Means for Your Farm Equipment

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Supplies of 28% are still great, and prices have leveled off.  Urea demand is still very high, and prices remain very high.  Twin Cities terminals are suffering intermittent supply shortages, and that should continue through the spring.  Look for very little price drop between now and late July. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom - mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

What Solar Interference Means for Your Farm Equipment

In the past few weeks, there has been some abnormal solar activity. Solar storms like these have been known to affect GPS signals, which in turn can affect the accuracy of your tractor’s GPS-based guidance and steering. There are websites, like this one http://www.navcomtech.com/Support/Tools/satellitepredictor/main.cfm, that track satellites and can show you how many satellites you should be able to see during the day specific to your location. With the information websites like this provide, you can see the number of satellites available to you during the day and plan your GPS activity around any poor coverage times. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Product Shortages Continue / Importance of Proper Seed Handling

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Intermittent product shortages continue at the terminals due to the early spring.  Barges are making it to the Twin Cities as planned, but planting is ahead of normal for this time of year, causing demand to be drastically higher.  Urea is priced insanely high, with no immediate relief in sight.  The high urea prices have caused 28% and 32% to go up in price, but supplies are great. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom - mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

Importance of Proper Seed Handling

Handling your grain or seed is something that needs to be done, but moving it while causing as little damage as possible is the trick. Bean ladders can offer some help. Bean ladders installed on augers, conveyors, or in bins can reduce your handling losses and possibly germination losses, which is particularly important this year. They can also make handling your grain more quiet and less dusty by reducing the distance the grain must fall before contacting the next “rung” on the ladder. There are a few different styles to choose from, but all offer similar results.  Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Nitrogen Prices Skyrocket / Expect Drainage Tile Price Increases This Season

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Prices on nitrogen products have drastically increased.  I look for no improvement in those prices until after planting, which should happen at a fairly rapid rate this season.  We are dealing with spot shortages in the Twin Cities on all products due to the early spring. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Expect Drainage Tile Price Increases This Season

The cost of raw materials for plastic keeps going up, and recycled plastic material is getting hard to find. The price on drainage tile from many of the manufacturers has already gone up a little. I expect the price to continue to rise through this spring and summer. We continue to hold our pricing steady for the time being. Now would be a good time to order tile for late spring and early summer to save some money versus buying later. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “4” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Early Spring Affects Fertilizer Prices / Drainage Tile Prices Expected to Increase

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Prices on all products are highly volatile at this time.  We have entered the spring season, which means that all bets are off in price predictions.  Supplies are starting to roll into the Twin Cities terminals.  It remains to be seen if that will affect prices in any way.  Early planting will put restrictions on supplies and cause spot shortages. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Drainage Tile Prices Expected to Increase

With the excellent weather we have been having, many of you are anxious to go to the field.  If you are planning to do any tiling this spring either before or after planting, I would suggest getting the pipe on your farm now.  Most years, the tile manufacturers have a large inventory built up to supply everyone for spring, but since many custom installers and farmers in the southern states were tiling all winter long, those inventories are not as big as in other years.  The plastic resin market has been on a steady increase since December, and with high demand, I would predict to see a price increase in drain tile in the near future. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Prices Remain Stable / Using Land Rollers to Aid Clod Breakdown

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Spot prices on urea in the Twin Cities remain near $600/ton U.S.  P and K prices remain stable, but price increases for spring are expected.  Liquid 28% is holding steady and supplies are good. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Mike Bemboom - mike.bemboom@heftyseed.com

Using Land Rollers to Aid Clod Breakdown

With all of the rough fields filled with large dirt clods, there has been talk of using land rollers to break them up this spring if mother nature doesn’t do it herself.  Keep in mind that land rollers are designed to push large solid objects (rocks or perhaps large hard dirt clods) into the ground.  So if you go out and try to break up the clods with a land roller, make sure you’re actually breaking them up and not just pushing them down into the soil. If the clods don’t break up as planned, you may need to resort to another type of tillage. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Urea Prices Skyrocket / Ag Leader Acquires Soil-Max and Gradient

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Last week, urea took a HUGE price increase, and at this point, we are anticipating a price somewhere north of $570/ton.  We also expect a price spike in liquid 28% to follow shortly.  P and K still look to remain stable as of this writing. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Ag Leader Acquires Soil-Max and Gradient

If you haven’t already heard the news, I will make it official.  Ag Leader, a leading name in GPS, virtual displays and desktop software, has purchased Soil-Max and Gradient. The purchase of Soil-Max and Gradient allows Ag Leader to enter the Water Management market with the industry’s leading control system and will serve a base point for developing additional products for machine control in the field of Water Management (i.e. land leveling, grading and ditching). Soil-Max will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Ag Leader under the Soil-Max name and will continue to manufacture Gold Digger tile plows from its current locations in Brazil, Indiana and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It will maintain its current dealer distribution system, which will be enhanced by the addition of select Ag Leader dealers. We will continue to sell the Soil-Max product line with the current Intellislope display.  At some point, Ag Leader will offer the Intellislope product as an unlock to operate on Ag Leader displays, hopefully before the end of 2012.  As a Soil-Max dealer, we will be able to offer the Ag Leader display for Gold Digger plows.  The display will also be available to select Ag Leader dealers for use on other brands of tile plows. Ag Leader’s market-leading SMS desktop software will be enhanced to include water management design and mapping. We are hopeful that by the time Intellislope is available on the Ag Leader displays that we will be able to offer the entire Ag Leader product line to our customers for more than just tiling. I want to assure all of our current Gold Digger and Intellislope customers that this change is going to enhance what they already have on the farm.  The addition of Ag Leader’s software development, virtual displays and technical support will ensure Intellislope is the leading tile plow control system on the market for years to come. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Spring 2012 MAP and DAP Spot Barge Pricing / Order Your Planter Attachments Now

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzSpring spot barge pricing for MAP and DAP will most likely be lower than current prices.  However, the price levels are still being determined. Urea prices look like they will be increasing as we enter the spring planting season. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Order Your Planter Attachments Now

If you are planning on setting up your planter with new fertilizer coulters or residue managers, you need to get those items ordered now.  All of the manufacturers are behind on orders, and it looks like we could have an early spring.  I would say if you want to have any chance of getting planter attachments in time this spring, they need to be ordered by the end of February. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Prices Holding Steady / On-Farm Bulk Fertilizer Storage

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzPricing continues to remain stable.  MAP has now dropped and is priced similarly to DAP, and potash has remained at the same price point.  I look for this trend to continue, barring any surprises in the market or market issues. Urea pricing out of the terminals continues to be very attractive when compared to the liquid forms. 10-34-0 supplies are short.  However, pricing is stable.  Lock in your 10-34-0 soon to prevent a supply issue in spring. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

On-Farm Bulk Fertilizer Storage

On-farm storage for bulk fertilizer can help you out in a variety of ways. First, you might be able to buy your tank for a better price if you can take it before the season starts. When demand is low, supply is usually high.  Also, you don’t have to set your application schedule around when the tank can be delivered. You can find tanks ranging from less than 100 gallons to tanks that will hold over 3,000 gallons. Some are vertical, some are horizontal, and many of them can be set on trailers to make them mobile.  That means there is likely a tank out there that will work for you. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

All Quiet on the Fertilizer Front / Tile Pricing Update

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzPricing on fertilizer continues to be very stable, and the long-term market appears to be stable, as well.  Supplies of products are good at this point, and we look for very few supply issues toward spring. Urea pricing out of the terminals continues to be very attractive when compared to the liquid forms. 10-34-0 supplies are short.  However, pricing is stable.  Lock in your 10-34-0 soon to prevent a supply issue in spring. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Tile Pricing Update

Tile prices are becoming available for this season. Make sure you get yours ordered and delivered so you can tile when you want to this year. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Pricing Appears Stable into Early 2012 / Advantages of Owning Your Own Fertilizer Spreader

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzPricing on fertilizer has been very stable over the past two weeks.  The long-term market outlook appears to be stable, as well.  Supplies of products are good at this point, and we look for very few supply issues toward spring. Urea pricing out of the terminals continues to be very attractive when compared to the liquid forms.  I look for this trend to continue into the spring. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Advantages of Owning Your Own Fertilizer Spreader

A fertilizer spreader can be a valuable piece of equipment on your farm.  Being able to spread your own fertilizer can be a way for you to save some money on your farm by not having to hire it out. It can also save you money by allowing you to buy wholesale fertilizer when the price is most attractive. You don’t need much for storage or transport. A payloader would make quick work of loading a spreader, but a tractor with a loader or a large skid loader would also work. Most spreaders range from a 5-ton to 8-ton capacity and are PTO-driven. Stainless steel is a high-quality material that holds up very well, making it a popular choice for most spreaders.  Spreaders made from this material will give you years of use and savings. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Prices Unknown Due to New Year / Last Chance for Lower Prices on Tile Plows

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzHappy New Year 2012!  As we begin 2012, fertilizer pricing is looking to be stable, with no real apparent direction.  Look for the next two weeks to bring more clarity on pricing.  Due to the New Year, we are not pricing out any dry products, but we should learn more over the next couple of days. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Last Chance for Lower Prices on Tile Plows

Effective January 1, Soil-Max is implementing a $2000 price increase on all Gold Digger Tile plows.  We have a very limited number of plows available at the 2011 price.  Please call us at 1-800-274-3389 if you are interested. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Prices Drop Leading Into 2012 / Late-Season Tiling

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzAll products have just recently begun to drop in price.  The most significant price drop has been in the urea market.  Where the bottom of the market could be, no one knows, but we are watching it on a daily basis. We finally have pricing on 10-34-0 for spring delivery. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Tile for Late-Season Operators Still Available

It’s getting late into the year, but there is still some tile going in the ground. The frost is getting a little thicker, but it can still be tiled through. We are delivering tile and the availability is good, so give us a call if you need some. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Prices Steady for Now / Preparing Equipment Fuel Systems for Winter

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzPricing has continued to remain flat on all fertilizer products, and has started weakening slightly. Expect this to last until about the middle of December. So if you’re planning to prepay for fertilizer in December, it would be better to prepay immediately because based on what we’re seeing today, prices will be higher by the end of December. We finally have pricing on 10-34-0. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Call me at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Preparing Fuel Systems for Winter

It’s been getting cooler at night, and eventually the big freeze is going to get here. Make sure your trucks, tractors and combines have the proper maintenance to be ready for it. Check your batteries to make sure they will turn your engine over, and take advantage of block and sump heaters if they are available, as they will help with cold weather start-ups. Also, depending how cold it gets, be prepared to use blended fuel or even No. 1 Diesel. It’s a good idea to have extra fuel filters on hand, too. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Trucking Availability Increases / Drainage Tile Available for November

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzFertilizer supply in the Twin Cities is still good.  With harvest finishing in the area, trucks are beginning to become more available to bring product back from the Cities.  Pricing has remained flat on all products with no expected increases in the near future. We are still unable to price any 10-34-0 and have no idea when we will see it priced. Call me at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Drainage Tile Still Available for November

If you are still in need of drain tile, we have access to 4”, 5” and 6” tile for November. 8” and 10” are a little more difficult to get, but we might be able to help you with these sizes, as well.  The sooner you contact us, the more likely we can get the supply you need. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Fertilizer Update / Sprayer Winterization

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzThe fertilizer market has continued to remain stable.  At this point, the most limiting factor to bring fertilizer back from the Twin Cities is trucking.  Otherwise, supply is good at this time.  There are no expectations of any product supply issues for this fall. We are still unable to price any 10-34-0 and have no idea when we will see it priced. Call me at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Is Your Sprayer Winterized?

I realize many of you may still be working hard on harvest or may be trying to get some fall tillage work started, but I have to ask this question:  Is your sprayer winterized, and is it winterized properly? Here is a checklist for an end of the season sprayer inspection and winterization.
  1. Thoroughly clean and rinse the interior of the tank and flush out the plumbing.  Use a quality tank cleaner.  Allow for circulation through the rinse balls and agitation plumbing.
  2. Drain as much water out of tank and plumbing as possible.  The success of your winterization process is dependent on the amount of water removed.  Excessive water left in the system will dilute antifreeze and reduce its effectiveness.  Drain the solution tank and clean water rinse tank.  Remove all inline strainers and clean them out.  Drain agitation lines and rinse ball lines.  Remove the drain plug from the pump, but remember to reinstall it after the pump is drained.  To drain your line, elevate the spray booms and remove a nozzle check valve at bottom end.
  3. Change all plumbing with RV antifreeze.  Use a minimum of 15 gallons of RV antifreeze on most sprayers.  On some machines, extra large tanks or booms may need more.  Do not use automotive antifreeze.  Some automotive types can damage seals, gaskets and hoses on sprayers.  I like to load the antifreeze in the rinse tanks and move it from there to the product tank through the rinse ball lines and agitation lines.  Then, I pump it from the product tank to the booms one section at a time until I see it spraying out the nozzles.
  4. If you have a foam marker or chemical inductor, these must be winterized too.
  5. Verify that the antifreeze has been circulated through the whole system.
  6. Disconnect the electrical connections and apply a coating of dielectric grease on all the terminals to prevent corrosion.
  7. Wash the sprayer off and use a tank cleaner or a sprayer washdown product.  Chemicals can damage a sprayer from the outside in just as bad as from the inside out.  Inspect the complete machine for repairs for next season.
  8. Grease all pivot points and lubricate any other moving parts.
Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Trucking Limits Otherwise Good Fertilizer Supply / Reducing Harvest Compaction

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzThe fertilizer market has continued to remain stable.  At this point, the most limiting factor to bring fertilizer back from the Twin Cities is trucking.  Otherwise, supply is good at this time.  There are no expectations of any product supply issues for this fall. We are still unable to price any 10-34-0 and have no idea when we will see it priced. Call me at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Reducing Harvest Compaction

Right now is a good time to think about compaction.  Combines, grain carts and semis with grain trailers are three of the biggest sources of in-field compaction.  Just think – an average class 7 combine weighs about 30,000 lbs.  Put on a 10,000 lb. head and add 350 bushels of 60 lb. corn in it and you’ve got 61,000 lbs. riding on 6 tires – 4 tires if you have singles. A 1,000 bushel grain cart weighs about 11,000 lbs. empty.  With 60,000 lbs. of corn, the cart weighs more than 70,000 lbs.  That’s a lot of weight running across your fields. Tracked tractors, grain carts with tracks and tracked combines will reduce compaction to the ground by spreading the weight over a larger area or footprint. However, it’s almost impossible to eliminate all compaction, and I know tracks aren’t for everybody, so you can reduce excess compaction by trying a few things. First, try not to overload your hoppers, carts and trailers and then drive through the field or down roads. Most of us have seen firsthand how poor gravel road conditions can get because of too much weight.  Second, keeping your in-field high traffic areas to a minimum will reduce unneeded field compaction. Finally, try to avoid wet or soft spots which compact easily and are prone to getting equipment stuck and possibly damaged. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Falling Commodity Prices Stabilize Fertilizer Market / Harvest Safety

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob FritzCommodity prices have taken a pretty large drop, and it has led to a stabilization of the fertilizer market. If we continue to see drops in commodity prices, I do expect to see some drops in fertilizer to follow. We are still unable to price any 10-34-0 and have no idea when we will see it priced. Call me at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Mike Bemboom

Harvest Safety

It’s been a dry fall, which makes harvesting easier on lots of things, not to mention more fun. However, it can also increase chances of fire. I’ve already heard of at least three combines catching fire this fall. One way you could reduce fire risk from static electricity is to drag a chain from your combine, usually the middle of the rear axle. Also, most combines have a bracket or defined place for a fire extinguisher. If they don’t, portable extinguishers will fit almost anywhere in the cab. Pressurized water canisters are also effective in stopping small fires or hot spots and have less of a mess to clean up after use. Either way, make sure you have a fire extinguisher or water source close by in case of an emergency. Please call me at our Baltic office (1-800-274-3389) if you have any questions. Click here to send Mike an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]

Tile Availability/Fertilizer Prices Remain Steady

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz Fertilizer prices have remained steady for the past week.  We expect small increases to come within the next week or two on both dry and liquid fertilizers. We are still unable to price any 10-34-0 and have no idea when we will see it priced. Call me at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Tile Availability

Once again, it seems that drain tile is going to be difficult to buy this fall if you don’t have it already. I have been working very hard for the last few weeks trying to find a reliable source, and we have been able to secure a limited supply of drain tile for this fall. Please call me at our Baltic office (1-800-274-3389), and we can discuss pricing and availability. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
aclf

New Tank Regulations – How to Read a UN Label/Fall Fertilizer Prices on the Rise

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz We are seeing pricing for all products climb steadily as we go into the fall season. This trend will likely continue up to the winter months; after that, we will watch the market. If commodities continue to be high, expect fertilizer to follow. We are still unable to price any 10-34-0 and have no idea when we will see it priced. Call me at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

How to Read a UN Label

Over the last month, I have shown you what to look for on your chemical mini bulk tank to know if it will be approved under the new regulations. The last item I want to explain to you is the UN label (Figure 1). The UN label is a marking or decal on the tank that gives valuable information about when the tank was manufactured and what standards it was tested for. Most Ag chemicals only require a lower level Package Group III tank. Only a very few products require a Group I or Group II tank. The most important item to look at on the UN label is the date on the last leak proof test. Any tank that is going to be used for hazardous products is required to be leak proof tested every 2 ½ years. A leak proof test is done by pumping air into the tank to a specific pressure (this pressure is based on the package group of the tank). If the tank can hold that pressure for one minute without leaking, then that tank can be recertified for another 2 ½ years. Leak proof tests should only be performed by certified manufacturers and reconditioners. Give us a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
[table “3” not found /]
[table “2” not found /]
aclf