Posts By: Anne Moore

Weekly Grain Update – Aug 21, 2017

August 21, 2017

One way our co-op can help add value to your farming operation is to communicate when different opportunities come about during the grain marketing year.  In an attempt to add value to the grain marketing services we provide at CHS Larsen Co-op, I will begin to write a Weekly Grain Update in which I will try and highlight significant events that have occurred in the past week and share them with our customers through email and posting on the web.  These weekly comments will be located on a tab directly below the grain bids tab on the CHS Larsen Co-op website.

The grain markets have been trading in one direction since the USDA released its August crop report on August 10, 2017 .  The government pegged the average corn yield at 169.5 bu and the beans at 49.4 bu.  Immediately once these numbers were released, the market sank to new lows and it has not looked back.  Frankly, these numbers shocked the market, and caused the funds to sell, and sell in a big way.  After having moderate long positions, the funds now have blown out of the long positions and are now slightly short.  All of this selling has been a constant downward pressure on the market, and the path of least resistance has been down.

However, I get the sense that this market is very oversold and the funds are looking at various buying opportunities to purchase value.  I get the sense that we have pressed this market enough, and we are due for a bounce of some kind.  Some supportive justification could be the results from the Pro Farmer Tour, which starts on Monday, August 21, 2017, which find yields not as good as once thought.  Additionally, harvest is beginning in the south and much more accurate yield results will start to come in.  If there are any surprises, this will add support.  However, the trend is clearly lower.  If we get a bounce, please view this as an opportunity to make sales on bushels which must be moved to town this harvest.  It is very unlikely that this trend will change anytime soon and a bounce is a selling opportunity, and not the opportunity to become bullish.

As I look at the charts today, we have broken below previous low points.  This in itself is bearish.  Once we hit solid support, we will likely bounce back until these previous lows now become resistance points.  Now, Dec 17 corn futures are trading at $363 and it broke down through previous support at $374.  This tells me that you should have selling targets in at $372 vs Dec 17 corn futures.  On beans, the previous support on Nov 17 beans was $955.  I would have targets at $950 vs Nov 17 bean futures for bushels that still need to be sold for this harvest.  If we get to these levels, I would seriously consider selling.  It could likely be one of the last opportunities we have before harvest to take advantage of a nice pop in the market.

If I can be of further assistance to you, please call me at the Readfield office.

Thanks,

Marcus

Fine-tune your calf barn cleaning procedures

Calf Sleeping

What sets farms with great calf health apart from those that struggle to get calves started? Sanitation. It is a bigger investment of time than money and is certainly near the top of the list of important criteria for getting calves off to a good start.

The fewer disease-causing organisms the calf is exposed to, the lower the risk she will get sick.

Manure is the enemy; scours organisms spread by manure of an infected calf getting in the mouth of a healthy calf. The more exposure, the more likely the calf will get sick. Exposure starts in the calving area with manure from adult cows getting in the calf’s mouth, or from it touching the walls, bedding, the cow’s flank – and even from the calf licking itself.

Hands are another common source of infection. Make sure employees caring for newborns have disposable gloves to put on when handling the calf. The hands that helped move the cow into the calving pen probably carry manure from the hair coat of the cow.

Using those same hands to get the nipple in the calf’s mouth is an easy way for bacteria to spread. Make sure gloves are readily available in the maternity area and employees use them when handling the newborn calf.

In addition to exposure in the calving environment, sometimes there is a piece of equipment not getting cleaned thoroughly and transferring bacteria to calves. It may be the colostrum collection bucket, the bottle or nipple colostrum is fed with, the walls of the newborn calf pen, the warming box floor, etc.

The feeding equipment used every day also needs to be cleaned and sanitized between uses. When we see calf after calf coming down with scours at about the same age, we search for something every calf comes in contact with to find the source.

It is often something simple which has been overlooked in the cleaning process. If you’re struggling with sick calves, reduce exposure by fine-tuning your cleaning procedures.

While cleaning calf equipment sounds like an easy task, milk is a difficult substance to clean off of surfaces. You need hot water to remove the fat, but the heat bakes the protein onto the surface. Using warm water to get rid of the protein leaves a film of fat.

When fats and proteins stick to the surface of equipment, they form a biofilm, a nutrient-rich layer in which bacteria grow.

The biofilm protects bacteria from the cleaning process and results in equipment that appears clean but has bacteria on the surface. The cleaning process not only needs to remove fat and protein from surfaces but prevent the formation of a biofilm.

Dr. Don Sockett at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory recommends producers follow a six-step procedure. First, rinse with warm water. Soak in hot water (140ºF) that contains a chlorinated alkaline detergent, then wash in hot water (140ºF) with a chlorinated alkaline detergent. Be sure to scrub with a brush inside and out.

You’ll need more than one brush. Invest in a brush for the inside of bottles, one for nipples, one that fits the tube of the tube feeder and one for buckets or flat surfaces. Next, rinse with cold water containing 50 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine dioxide.

Finally, allow equipment to dry thoroughly. Use a rack or hang equipment so water can drain out and air can flow in.

Before using calf equipment, spray it with a 50 ppm solution of chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide sprayed on feeding equipment is safe for the calf and does not need to be rinsed before using. The process to wash calf pens and maternity areas is the same – rinse, wash and scrub, rinse and sanitize – use a 100 ppm solution of chlorine dioxide to sanitize.

Chlorine dioxide is different than household bleach and is the preferred sanitizer for calf equipment. Many farms now use chlorine dioxide for calf-feeding equipment and to disinfect calf pens or hutches after washing. Your calf specialist or animal health supply company will be able to direct you to a supplier.

Raising healthy calves starts by using good sanitation practices to reduce exposure to pathogens in the environment. Cleaning may not be a favorite job on the farm, but to quote Sockett, “You cannot disinfect filth.” In order for the disinfectant to do its job, the surface must be clean.

The investment in time and effort pays off in healthy calves. Get yourself or your team set up with the equipment needed to make the job efficient and make proper cleaning and disinfecting part of the daily routine.

Written by: Dr. Anne Proctor, Form-A-Feed Dairy Technical Specialist

Article originally written for and published by Progressive Dairyman.

In a Weather Market

 

It’s been just over two weeks since I started as the Grain Department Manager at CHS Larsen Co-op.  We have accomplished many things during this period.  I have been able to visit all of our grain facilities and nearly all of our employees.  Wheat harvest is all but over, and we were blessed with decent yields and good quality.  The Readfield area received nice rains over the last three days, and this was the perfect answer to the crops planted on sandy soils.  These rains will put additional corn and bean bushels in the bin and even though the crops are later than normal, these rains should make final yields quite desirable.

(more…)

Feed Mill Modifications Fiscal Year 2018

Feed Mill

Effective September 1, 2017

The sale of baby chicks will no longer be offered at the Weyauwega Feed Mill. They are still available to order and pick-up at the New London Farm Store  (1104 Mulligan Dr., New London, WI).

We will be phasing out the tying of poly bags. All bagged feed will be sewn shut in bags effective September 1, 2017. This will allow us to attach a paper label to each bag helping us to adhere to FDA regulations for labeling of feed. Both Poly and Paper bags will still be available. One ton poly totes are also available; however, they are not returnable, and are designed for one time use.

We will also be enacting a 1 ton minimum order on all custom mixed feeds bagged or bulk. If you cannot utilize a whole ton of feed at one time, we encourage you to consider our expanded CHS Larsen branded floor stock line-up. The bulk of our custom mixed feeds are very close in analysis to our floor stock feeds, consolidating these mixes helps us streamline our process. If you need help selecting the appropriate floor stock item for your application, please feel free to contact Ben or Dustin.

If you currently use grain bank in orders less than one ton, we encourage you to market your grain in exchange for the grain in our floor stock items. The costs of our floor stock items follow grain markets, and will be comparable to selling the grain outright.

We will be expanding our floor stock line up to include:

  • Sheep feed
  • Poultry
  • Pig feed
  • Calf feed
  • All Purpose 17% Non-Medicated, Texturized feed
  • Minerals
  • Grain Products

Consolidating our lineup will result in labor efficiencies, regulatory compliance in labeling, and optimized warehouse space, all things that will allow us to lower our price point on our floor stock lineup.

We will be reinforcing a time frame on ordering. Any orders that are needed same day will need to be placed on our answering service by 8 a.m. of that business day, this includes pickups of floor stock items, as well as delivery of bagged or bulk feeds. If we do not have an order for you, we cannot guarantee that we will have items in stock, or the ability of delivery. In emergencies we will provide same day delivery, but are asking for your cooperation to help us adhere to FDA regulations regarding sequencing of feed.

Welcoming Marcus Cordonnier

 

Starting Wednesday, July 19 2017, CHS Larsen Cooperative welcomes our new grain department manager, Marcus Cordonnier. Marcus brings with him 22 years of experience, managing country elevators and rail terminals.  He has worked for ADM and Bunge as well as being the Grain Manager of several co-op’s.

Growing up in western Ohio, Marcus was raised on a grain and beef farm. He milked cows for his uncle during his high school years and drove a milk truck on the weekends to help pay for college.  Marcus attended The Ohio State University and graduated in June 1994 with a degree in Agricultural Economics.  He later received his MBA from Ashland University in May 2004.

Marcus has a deep passion for the grain business and loves to manage the grain position.  In addition to trading grain, he has much experience with managing rail terminals, building relationships with end users, and helping customers market their grain.  He takes the harvest planning process seriously and has a lot of experience with operations and logistics, especially during harvest.  There is nothing more important to him than to keep all facilities open and ready for business during the harvest push.

Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself to meet Marcus in person. He is very excited to start meeting the employees and customers of our co-op and to learn how we conduct business.  His door is always open and willing to work with any employee or customer.  He enjoys conversations about all possibilities in the grain markets.

Marcus will be relocating to the New London area, where he plans to find his new home. He enjoys fishing, watching football, and spending the summer months going to tractor pulls.  Marcus is an avid Buckeye fan and cannot wait until the Badgers play the Buckeyes this fall.  But don’t worry; he’s already a loyal Packer fan!

Please help me in welcoming Marcus to CHS Larsen Cooperative. With a sales territory that is so large I have decided to communicate these messages through this memo; however, group or in person meetings with me are available upon request. Also, I would like to thank everyone for handling this transition period well.

Thank you,

Todd Reif

General Manager

CHS Larsen Cooperative

Improving Plant Nutrition: Understanding Nutrient Effectiveness

Center Valley Facility ResponsibleAg Certified

ResponsibleAg Certification Group

CHS Larsen Cooperative’s Center Valley location was honored to receive their ResponsibleAg Certification. This certification recognizes the commitment this facility has made to the safety and security of employees, customers and community.

ResponsibleAg is the only program in the nation that provides a comprehensive assessment of retailers and wholesalers to achieve and maintain federal regulatory compliance. Certification requires a facility to meet stringent regulatory-based criteria, to implement industry leading safety and security measures, and to resolve the facility safety as their highest priority.

All of the Center Valley employees participated in the corrective actions necessary to meet the requirements for this certification. Most actions were safety related items, as well as, proper identification with labels, proper waste management and communication.

CHS Larsen Cooperative is proud to be a part of this voluntary program that is a proactive commitment to providing a safe, secure and complaint workplace for their employees, customers and neighbors.

“Having the ResponsibleAg Certification will help us show the community around us that this is a safe place for the neighborhood and employees,” said Andy VanDyck, CHS Larsen Co-op Operations Manager. “We want to ensure those living in our community feel safe knowing that our business is compliant.”

To learn more about the ResponsbileAg program check out their website www.responsibleag.org

Pictured above are the Center Valley employees that helped make this certification possible. Left to Right: Jeremy Hunt, Taylor Coy, Jeff Beresford, Dave Barth, Paul Tank, Andy “Dutch” VanDyck, John Andraschko, Clay Alexander, and Tom Rose. Not Pictured: Hailey Sorenson and Mary Kay Cleven.

 

Setting Your Fresh Cows Up for Success with Hydro-Lac®

Fresh Cow Hydro-Lac

Returning fresh cows to positive energy balance as fast as you can after calving is the end goal of any transition program.  We do this by feeding a well-balanced, consistent particle length pre-fresh ration to maximize dry matter intake.  At the same time, we provide a clean, comfortable, well-ventilated facility and try not to overcrowd this group.  They calve and we repeat these same principles in the fresh pen.

Then all the daily variables happen such as feeder deviation, forage quality changes, employees not performing as well as we would like, cold weather, hot weather, humidity, etc.  How do we give ourselves an advantage to overcome these obstacles?

One way many of our customers take the next step in bettering their transition program is adding Hydro-Lac in their pre-fresh and fresh cow programs all year round. In 2014, a field demonstration trial¹ was done on 17 Minnesota herds from January to July.  The trial results ultimately resulted in an increase of 979 lbs. of Fresh ME and a 6.6:1 return on investment.  When I joined Form-A-Feed last March, I wanted to conduct a study that proved Hydro-Lac increased fresh cow performance.

We asked a 450-cow dairy in central Minnesota to use 0.33 lbs. of Hydro-Lac in their fresh pen from the middle of July 2016 to middle of September 2016.  We changed nothing in the nutrition except for the addition of Hydro-Lac.  Fresh cows were in this pen for 14-30 days. The results we saw were incredible.

I compared all cows that calved in July-September 2015 to the cows that calved July-September 2016.  There was a 7 pound increase at week 4 in milk production over cows that calved in 2015.  Why is this significant?  A lactation data set based on 3.5 million cows published by the University of Wisconsin shows that a 1 lb. increase of week 4 milk will result in approximately 405 lbs. of milk over the entire lactation.  So, this means that the cows that calved in the summer of 2016 that were fed Hydro-Lac will have the potential to produce 2,837 lbs. of milk more than the cows that calved in the same time in 2015 without Hydro-Lac.²

All of this from 0.33 lbs. of Hydro-Lac during the fresh period?  When I sit back and think about this, it makes sense why it would work.  Hydro-Lac helps tissues preserve glucose and keeps fluids in the cells.  It has antioxidant immune support properties, and quick sources of energy for the cow to metabolize during this stressful time.  All this makes cows more hydrated, which will lead to an opportunity for higher dry matter intake and thus lead to quicker return to positive energy balance.

This small investment for 14-21 days can be worth over 2,800 lbs. of milk over their lactation.  What can you do outside of Hydro-Lac that you can get that big of a return?  I am a believer in it now and have seen incredible responses on dairies all year round.

For details or a report summary of this and other fresh cow studies involving Hydro-Lac, click on the whitepapers below (¹´²). Better yet, ask your CHS Larsen Cooperative Representative about their experiences with Hydro-Lac in transition programs all year round.

  ¹Kohls, et.al. 2014 HL#1501 

²Kinches, et.al. 2017 HL#1607 

Original Source: Form-A-Feed Written by: Tim Kinches, Technical Services Specialist

Making the Most of Your Hay

Hay BaleWith early season drought conditions spreading from the eastern half of Montana, across the Dakotas, and into northwest Minnesota, finding high quality pasture and range land has been a challenge. With limited grazing resources, many cattle producers have been forced to turn to hay or other harvested forage much earlier in the season than usual. With hay prices expected to climb due to the increased demand, it is more important than ever to get the most out of hay through minimizing harvest, storage, and feeding losses.

The time from cutting to baling is the number one factor which will influence harvest loss. Rapid drying is the key to minimize losses and maintain nutritive value. Mother nature has a mind of her own when it comes to providing ideal conditions for drying, but every effort should be made to select a cutting date which offers the lowest chance of precipitation or one which offers only a chance for precipitation closer to the cutting time (less dry matter loss if rain falls on wetter hay materials than dry). Mechanical conditioning can also be used to hasten the drying process by exposing more plant surface to moisture losses. If necessary, hay can also be baled at a higher moisture content than normal (18-22%) and treated with a preservative such as Crop Cure®.

You may not have control over the weather and its impacts on your hay crop, but you do have a choice in how your bales are packaged. Based upon cost alone, twine wrapping is the easy winner when compared to net wrapping. However, twine-wrapped bales can cost you dearly in operating speed (more wraps slows down bale production), handling losses (struggle to maintain shape, less uniform and instable), and storage losses (poor water shedding if stored outside) when compared to net-wrapped bales. When it comes to minimizing material and nutritive losses, net wrap is the clear winner. While it may pain many to spend a significant amount more (2-3x cost per bale) on a material which simply gets thrown away after use, return on investment economics win the argument. Assuming an added cost of 80 cents per bale for net wrap, reducing storage loss by as little as 1% will recoup your investment with current hay values.

Avoiding Loss

With the cost of harvesting and packaging already invested, it is essential to properly store hay to maximize its value. According to a study conducted at the University of Tennessee, storage losses can range from as little as 5% when stored in a hay barn to as much as 30% when stored uncovered. Storage losses when bales are stacked on pallets and tarped falls intermediate at 14%. Taking these additional measures to preserve your crop will certainly add cost, but the return is that much greater with higher hay costs. It will also allow for more effective stockpiling to ensure supply when drought conditions arise.

All your good work can be undone if your hay ends up as glorified bedding due to feeding losses. Feeding hay in small amounts (daily rather than weekly), using a hay feeder rather than feeding on the ground, and locating your feeding area in a well-drained area are all methods to reduce feeding loss. It is also best to first feed hay stored outside before hay stored inside. The longer hay is stored outside, the more prone it is to spoilage and cattle are much more likely to waste and refuse poor quality hay.

Using even the best management practices from cutting to feeding, you can still expect dry matter losses in the range of 15-20%, but these losses can easily run over 50% if corners are cut. Preserving and maximizing your feed resources is crucial for the financial wellbeing of your operation. Please contact your CHS Larsen Cooperative representative to discuss a comprehensive forage management program for your operation.

Original Source: Form-A-Feed Written by: Simon Kern, M.S., Form-A-Feed Business Manager

6 Tips for Minimizing Heat Stress on Your Dairy

Cooling Cattle

Minimizing heat stress is a goal of every dairyman. Tunnel or cross ventilated barns have given us a cow comfort standard that we can try to attain in many barns. There have been improvements in air movement and sprinkler systems in most dairies. But what else can we do?

 1. Feeding more digestible forages. Low quality forages stay in the rumen longer and produce more heat than high quality forages.

Target these mineral levels in summer:

Potassium                          >1.5%

Sodium                                 .4-.55%

Chloride                                <.35

DCAD                                   At least 300 meq/Kg

2. Lowering stocking density.  If possible, especially in pre- and post-fresh pens. This will help reduce metabolic disease incidence.

3. Provide shade. Cows under stress are light sensitive and bunch up in areas away from sunlight.  Shade cloth on outside walls or lowering the lower curtain can allow cows to spread out.

4. Feed multiples time a day. Feeding multiple times a day will keep fresh feed in front of cows and ensure adequate feed at night as cows will eat more in cooler temperatures.

5. Water. Waterers need to be cleaned more often in hot weather. Access to water immediately after milking is more important than ever.

6. Hydro-Lac. 

Hydro-Lac Provides Hydration and Energy Support During Periods of Stress.

It’s a palatable source of blended electrolytes, multiple energy sources, minerals, vitamins, and osmolytes. From this patented technology, Hydro-Lac provides the necessary nutrients to recover from the effects of heat stress, such as dehydration, and help restore animal health for better all around productivity.

Using Hydro-Lac can improve cow performance by helping reduce milk loss due to heat stress, promote more rapid production response post-calving, and encourage feed and water intake to overcome health challenges.

Field results have shown that cows fed Hydro-Lac maintain and drink more water and have positive responses in milk production.

“In warm weather, it’s a no brainer! It just makes good sense. Hydro-Lac is a tool that should be in everybody’s cattle feeding toolbox.”Ron Nykamp

Hydro-Lan Proven Cattle Hydration Product

Combat heat stress this summer!

To learn more about Hydro-Lac click here.

Original Source: FormAFeed Blog

© 2018 CHS Inc.