Add Fuel Maintenance to Your Spring Planting Checklist

Add Fuel Maintenance to Your Spring Planting Checklist

From checking spare parts inventories to squeezing in one more maintenance check, equipment is always top of mind as you prepare for spring planting. And while it’s crucial to ensure engine components and moving parts are operating at peak performance, checking your fuel practices should carry equal weight. Your equipment is only as good as the fuel used in it, so it pays to get into the habit of keeping fuel clean.

Two key things affect the quality of your fuel supply: Keeping bulk fuel storage up to snuff and choosing the right fuel.

Better bulk fuel storage

If there’s one thing farmers should do during planting prep, it’s cleaning dirt and other debris that has accumulated in the tank, says Ron Jessen, director of Cenex® refined fuels marketing for CHS. That debris can be pumped into your equipment where it will cause engine build-up that leads to less-than-optimal performance and eventually can require expensive repairs. To reduce the risk, best practices call for fully cleaning out fuel tanks at least once per year and switching out filters each quarter.

Equally as important as getting rid of debris in your tank is keeping water out of your fuel supply. “Water is the natural enemy of fuel,” says Jessen.

Fuel contaminated with water can cause decreased acceleration, loss of horsepower and, in some cases, engine damage that spells costly downtime. Water in your fuel also allows for microbial growth to form inside your tanks and attack your fuel. Frosty springtime mornings add to risk with increased condensation.

Farmers can do a few things to mitigate water accumulation in fuel tanks, says Jessen. “Equipment today comes with water drain valves. As you prepare equipment for a busy growing season, use those valves to remove water from machinery, in addition to removing water from storage tanks regularly.”

There is one extra-easy way to minimize water  in your  equipment during the season, explains Jessen: “When you’re done working at the end of the day, take time to fill up the fuel tank. Condensation happens overnight — especially in spring weather — and reducing airspace by filling up your tank every day will reduce that risk.”

High-quality fuels deliver high-quality performance

As technology evolves, farm equipment and diesel engines are becoming more advanced and now, more efficient Tier 3 and Tier 4 engines are expected to pull large implements at high speeds during planting season. These newer engines have tighter tolerances for imperfections like dust, rust and other corrosive materials, making it especially important to protect engine components. A key way for farmers to maintain and get the most bang for their buck from their equipment is by investing in premium diesel fuel.

“Equipment keeps getting larger and farmers are planting more acres at a faster pace than ever before,” says Jessen. “Time during planting and harvest is of the essence.  The savings through fuel efficiency and additional horsepower with a premium diesel fuel will benefit any producer.”

The preparations you make for planting set the stage for the rest of the growing season. Don’t forget to add a fuel check-up to your equipment maintenance schedule. For more information on improving fleet operations or the value of premium diesel fuel, chat with our Energy Specialists to help figure out what is needed on your farm!

Orginal Source Cenex.com By: RON JESSEN  Director of product management and business development, Refined Fuels in FUEL EFFICIENCY

Case Trident has Arrived

Case Trident
 In mid-April, we received our brand new Case Trident Patriot® Spreader.

This is one of six Case Trident’s made this year as test run for Case. They are using our machine to pull data to fine tune this model for final production. We are one of two cooperatives in Wisconsin with this machine. The technology on this machine is a brand new design.

This will allow us the opportunity to apply two dry products at one time. It has technology on the box that will slow down the spinner on the edge of the field, so this will allow us to keep more product in the field, giving us more precise control of application. This also has a unique air suspension shock system which gives better control in the field and better precision in applying. It also has true 4-wheel drive.

CHS Larsen Co-op Employee Randy Weyland is the designated operator of this new machine. Ed Danke, Jeff Buttles, and Andy Colrue will be potentially also run this machine when needed.

By Scott Jones, Agronomy Department Manager

 

Have a Comprehensive Plan to Beat Heat Stress

Heat Stress Cows

Written by: Daniel Kohls, P.A.S. – Form-A-Feed Nutrition and Production Specialist

Even though hot summer days seem weeks away, now is the time to start protecting your herd against heat stress. Cow comfort, cow behavior, and grouping issues exacerbate themselves when heat stress is added to the mix. Lower milk production, poorer reproduction, elevated somatic cell count (SCC), increased lameness, and increased cull rate can all be magnified by heat stress events — as they happen and long after the heat has passed. This makes a well-designed plan a high priority for every dairy.

Auditing your dairy for heat stress preparedness and making appropriate changes are highly profitable practices.

Areas to review in your dairy  should include, but are not limited to:
  • Water quality and availability
  • Shade access
  • Air quality
  • Wind and ventilation
  • Parlor and holding area cooling
  • Evaporative cooling equipment such as sprinklers
  • Fly control
  • Nutrient balance
  • Hydration therapy strategies

The use of our Heat Stress Risk Snapshot is an easy to use tool to assist with preparing your dairy for the summer.

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Propane for Alternate Purposes on Your Farm

By Kim Leisner 

Propane is largely known for heating our homes, drying our corn and running forklifts at your local warehousing facility

But did you know that you can run your car or truck with propane?

Propane burns much cleaner which keeps maintenance costs down, while efficiently fueling your engine.  The Wisconsin Propane Gas Association is currently offering a $1,000 incentive to assist with the conversion to propane from gasoline or diesel.  Call your local Energy Sales Person for more details on this great opportunity.  Please click on the link below to hear what others have to say about using propane on their vehicles.

Click Here to Watch Video

Read more about our Propane Services

CHS reports fiscal 2017 second-quarter and first-half results

CHS office in winter

Earnings increase in second quarter on improved conditions across CHS wholesale and retail agricultural related businesses

ST. PAUL, MINN. (April 5, 2017)CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today reported net income of $14.6 million for the second quarter of its 2017 fiscal year (the three-month period ended Feb. 28, 2017), compared to a net loss of $31 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2016. Operating earnings for the company’s second quarter were $10.5 million, up from a loss of $91.8 million from the second quarter of fiscal 2016. Revenues for the second quarter were $7.3 billion, up 11 percent compared with $6.6 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2016.

Earnings for the six months of the company’s fiscal 2017 (the six-month period ended Feb. 28, 2017), were $223.7 million, compared to $235.5 million for the first six months of fiscal 2016, a decrease of 5 percent. The decrease is a result of increased loan loss reserves, higher income taxes and continued challenges in the energy operating environment, which were partially offset by improved conditions across CHS wholesale and retail agricultural related businesses.

Revenues for the first six months of fiscal 2017 were $15.4 billion, compared to $14.4 billion for the first six months of fiscal 2016, an increase of 7 percent.

“As our operating environment remains challenging, we continue to act prudently, taking appropriate and measured actions regarding costs and investments, while positioning ourselves to take advantage of opportunities as they arise while focusing on return on our invested capital,” said CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Casale. “We are on a journey and are starting to see the benefits of our focus.”

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Advice for Growers in Today’s Economy

advice for growers from John Laffey

Many growers are turning to agronomists, ag retailers and other industry experts for advice about the best ways to strengthen their farming operations. Topics including soil health, seed selection, insect and disease pressure and more have long been the starting point for growers looking for the best ways to make improvements that will make their operations stronger overall.

Today, as growers rely even more on data, research and other technology in addition to their traditional farming equipment, agronomists and their network of agricultural experts are as important as ever.

For growers, improving efficiency and making effective decisions can be crucial to achieving a high quality and profitable crop. Since they are always looking to make smart and strategic purchase decisions when it comes to seed, fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides and adjuvants, growers look to utilize the expertise of their agriculture retailer and other ag partner businesses to provide them guidance when making these decisions. Through these agriculture experts, growers hope to successfully plant and produce a high yielding crop by minimizing pest and disease pressures and managing weed resistance to increase overall profitability for their farming operation. (more…)

5 Things to Know about Dicamba in 2017

using dicamba on soybeans

United Soybean Board

The agriculture industry has been working hard to provide the most effective herbicides to help slow down and minimize the growing weed resistance problem. However, efforts with formulating dicamba products go further than the manufacturer. Federal and state rules and regulations dictate how applicators and growers are able to legally and safely use different herbicides to limit volatility and drift in undesired areas.

With each new year and with new products, comes new policies. It is important for growers, applicators and other ag professionals to be aware of these policies to avoid negative consequences. (more…)

Make the Switch: Propane-Powered School Buses

By: MATT KUMM, CHS propane marketing manager in PROPANE

Most people can’t tell from simply glancing at one as it passes down the road, but propane auto-gas school buses are becoming increasingly popular in communities across the country. Today, there are more than 11,000 propane school buses operating in the United States. Each year, more communities are making the switch as school officials continue to look for ways to cut emissions, provide healthier environments for students and save costs wherever possible.

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Evaluating Technologies and Innovations for Dairies

Written by: Dave Lahr, M.S., Form-A-Feed Nutritionist

Technologies and Innovations for Dairies

Dairies have been adopting new technologies for generations.  Our grandparents or great-grandparents may have been among the first in the area to use a milking machine, or AI.  Can you imagine dairying without bulk tanks and refrigeration, or automatic waterers?  Now, robotic milkers and computerized calf feeding systems are common.  New tools and technologies are becoming available with increasing frequency.

So how does a dairy manager decide which technologies are right for their operation?

The ones with the most enticing advertising, or the one used by that elite herd you just read about?

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© 2017 CHS Inc.