Posts By: Anne Moore

The Difference Between Oil and Grease

Often when people think about lubricants, they only think about oil. But oil isn’t the only lubricant equipment owners need to keep their operation moving.

Grease plays a critical part in the health of their equipment and is an essential part for any well-rounded equipment maintenance plan. Grease provides different benefits to keep crucial components protected. To keep your customers’ operations moving and decrease downtime, here’s what you should know about the special role of grease.

How grease is different

Despite their physical differences, common ingredients are found in both oils and greases. The type of base oil, either classified as conventional or synthetic, determines how thermally stable the product is when exposed to extreme conditions. Specific chemical ingredients, also known as additives, are then added to provide each product with a specific slate of benefits.

The biggest difference setting grease apart from oil is its thickener. Grease is a thickened oil, not a thicker oil. The thickener within a grease acts as a sponge, holding the base oil and the additives together. This creates a grease’s semi-fluid or solid structure, as opposed to the syrup-like consistency of oil. This added thickener is crucial when it comes to the applications where grease is needed.

How grease functions differently

At the most basic level, oil and grease both perform the same general function: to prevent metal-on-metal contact and protect equipment from wear. However, there are many ways components move and environments they endure inside equipment.

For intense friction and high-speed applications, an oil is typically the best choice. But other components that endure heavy loads or move vertically typically require a grease. Grease is engineered to stay in place and provide a longer lasting barrier between metal components, such as wheel-bearings.

Grease also acts as an excellent seal. Moving parts that are exposed to the elements are a welcome mat for dirt and debris waiting to contaminate equipment. Grease seals out harmful contaminants, keeping equipment protected for maximum performance and minimum downtime.

How grease maintenance works (not so) differently

Owner’s manuals almost always provide instruction on the oil maintenance routine recommended for a piece of equipment. However, few manuals offer guidance on grease maintenance, even though it’s a vital part of an overall maintenance routine.

Because of its significant role in keeping equipment protected, it is important to use a high-quality grease product. For guidance on the best grease for your customers’ equipment, visit the Cenex Equipment Look-up Tool.

Bulk Fuel Storage Reminders

One important thing to remind all our customers to do during planting prep is to clean out dirt and other debris that has accumulated in your fuel tanks.  Debris can be pumped into equipment where it will cause 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 tanks is keeping water out of the fuel supply. Fuel contaminated with water can cause decreased acceleration, loss of horsepower and, in some cases, engine damage that spells costly downtime. Water in the fuel also allows for microbial growth to form inside tanks that attack the fuel. Frosty springtime mornings add to risk with increased condensation.

Equipment today comes with water drain valves. As you prepare for a busy growing season, remember to 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 equipment during the season, 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 tanks every day will reduce that risk.

For more information about bulk fuel storage or to learn more about the importance of Cenex premium diesel fuels, please contact your local sales representative. 

Nicolet Fire District Hosts Emergency Response Fire Training

The Nicolet Fire District, in partnership with the Wisconsin Propane Education & Research Council (WiPERC), is hosting an emergency response, live propane fire training on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 6:00 PM.   Approximately 50 fire fighters from the Nicolet Fire District, White Lake Fire Dept., Riverview Fire Dept. and the Doty Fire Dept. are expected to attend.  At times during the training, area residents may see flames shooting 20 feet or more into the air.  Local media and other observers are welcome to watch.

The training consists of classroom instruction on the physical properties of propane and a hands-on portion that includes five fire scenarios including a grill, forklift, bulk tank, and propane terminal piping props. All hands-on training is overseen by Wisconsin certified fire instructors, FIRE LLC and is conducted in accordance with NFPA 1403.The Doty Fire Dept. is providing local coordination and the location for the training.  WiPERC estimates the value of this training is $4,000 to $5,000 depending on the size of the group trained and the number of trainers required.  

Propane will be provided by CHS Larsen Cooperative, who is a WPGA member and participates in the propane industry check-off program, which provides the funding for this training.

The Wisconsin Propane Education & Research Council is the education foundation of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association (WPGA). 

The training will be held at the Town of Doty Town Hall located at 14899 County Road T Mountain, WI  54149.

For more information on this program contact Emma Corning, WPGA/WiPERC Executive Director at emma@wipga.org or 608-210-3307.                

Take a Critical Look at Your Open Silage Today

By now, you’ve opened up your new crop silage. This is a good time to assess both the silage — and the management decisions that got it there. Deciding what went right, and what went wrong, is helpful to ensuring an even better 2021 silage season.

Most silage challenges fall into one of two categories: dry matter (DM) loss or aerobic instability.

DM loss, or “shrink,” results in less available, and less high-quality, feedstuffs. This can occur due to many management factors but can be addressed by:

  • Harvesting at the right moisture and stage of maturity
  • Cutting at the correct length and with adequate processing (if necessary)
  • Using a proven inoculant to fit your needs
  • Packing tightly
  • Sealing the storage structure

Aerobic instability — often seen as heating — contributes to silage losses by leaving producers with spoiled feed that must be thrown out. In addition, heating normally reduces the forage’s nutritive value. Aerobic spoilage is caused by yeast growth in the majority of the cases. Yeasts need oxygen to grow, making the above management missteps likely suspects when there is heating, especially inadequate packing and sealing. Silages with high population of yeasts have lower nutrient digestibility (fiber, DM), and this leads to reduced animal intakes and performance.

At feedout, when silage is again exposed to air, spoilage yeasts “wake-up” and can grow rapidly, causing heating and spoilage. At this stage, common management practices can help reduce losses, including:

  • Keeping the silage surface tight and clean
  • Not removing silage too far ahead of feeding and leaving it sitting in loose piles, and/or
  • Feeding out at the correct rate

Inoculant choices can help address both DM loss and aerobic spoilage. For example, elite lactic acid bacteria and enzymes, like those found in MAGNIVA® Titanium forage inoculant, can maximize dry matter, nutrient retention and improve aerobic stability to deliver stable, high quality and palatable feed.

Forage inoculants including Lactobacillus buchneri NCIMB 40788 will be more resistant to heating and spoilage as this organism dramatically reduces yeast levels. L. buchneri 40788 applied at a minimum of 400,000 CFU per gram of silage, or 600,000 CFU per gram of high-moisture corn (HMC), has been uniquely reviewed by the FDA and allowed to claim improved aerobic stability.

By taking a critical look at this year’s silage, producers will be on their way to even better silage results next year.

Written by Renato J. Schmidt, Ph.D., Forage Products Specialist, Lallemand Animal Nutrition North America

Introducing an easier way to pay CHS

Sign-up to Pay Online Today

Pay Online is now available through the MyCHS app.

With Pay Online, anyone who has signed up for MyCHS can now easily pay statements or current balances securely from single or multiple bank accounts, view scheduled payments, and look up past online payments.

Pay Online saves you time and money as you no longer need to write and mail checks. Find the Pay Online feature in the lower-left hand corner. It’s easy to set up bank accounts so gather up your bank account number and routing number to get started today!

If you have not yet signed up for MyCHS, go to mychs.chsinc.com to register. Questions or comments, email MyCHS@chsinc.com or call 800-548-9727.

Dicamba-specific training is required to apply Engenia® herbicide.

Dear Engenia herbicide Customer,  

BASF is excited to announce new options for annual dicamba applicator training. This training is required for Engenia herbicide and other dicamba products approved for over-the-top (OTT) applications on dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton.   

Join us to learn about new application requirements and label enhancements for the 2021 season. Applicator training and certification can be obtained in multiple formats based on your schedule and needs. Due to COVID-19, dicamba applicator training will be primarily available through online offerings such as a self-paced training module and live virtual webinars.  

Please visit www.engeniastewardship.com for training options:   

Self-Paced Online Module:  This self-paced option will take approximately 1 hour to complete and contains a quiz at the end of the module. Once the module is completed a certificate is displayed that should be kept for your records. You will have the option to print and/or save your dicamba certificate. It is recommended that you complete this training on a web browser through a computer with a reliable internet connection.   

Live Virtual Webinars:  Live webinars, hosted by BASF experts, provide the opportunity for interaction and Q/A. There are a total of 6 remaining events that are scheduled to occur every Tuesday @ 10 am eastern with the next one scheduled for January 26, 2021. Attendance is limited to the first 250 attendees per event so register early for the event that best fits your schedule. Live Virtual Webinars are scheduled for: 
January 26, 2021 @ 10 am eastern 
February 2, 2021 @ 10 am eastern
February 9, 2021 @ 10 am eastern
February 16, 2021 @ 10 am eastern 
February 23, 2021 @ 10 am eastern
March 2, 2021 @ 10 am eastern

As a reminder only certified applicators may apply Engenia herbicide or other OTT dicamba herbicides. Some states have additional restrictions and requirements. Check with your state pesticide regulatory agency for additional training and application requirements or restrictions. 

Original email sent by BASF Agricultural Solutions

CHS to Host Educational Grain Webinar Series

CHS is kicking off the new year with a series of educational grain marketing webinars.

Tune in to hear from grain experts across CHS as they dive into all aspects of grain marketing, from futures to basis and all things in between. They will also be discussing grain marketing contracts and the benefits and strategies behind each type. All of this is designed to help you get the most out of every bushel.

Understanding Grain Marketing: A CHS Educational Webinar Series

February 16: Intro to the Grain Markets- understanding how futures and basis work.

February 23: Basic Grain Marketing Contracts

March 2: Managed Price Contracts, Average Price Contracts

Please note, you must pre-register in order to attend.

Each session begins at 3 p.m. CST and is free to attend. Please pre-register for one or all sessions. The link for access will be sent prior to each session. Access is available by computer, tablet or smartphone.

We hope you can join us for this educational series. Reach out to your local CHS grain team with questions.

Do I Really Need to Contract Fuel?

Do I really need to contract? When is the right time to contract?  How do I know if I’m getting a good price?  Why is the price of the contract higher than today’s price?

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion and even a slight bit of controversy over the subject of fuel contracting on the farm.  Let me tell you this, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions.  I honestly don’t know if these are even the questions you want to be asking yourself when thinking about contracting. 

This time last year crude oil was hanging out around $60/barrel, which was about the average for 2019, and the beginning of 2020.  Until Covid hit the US, and along with it came the potential for an economic disaster that could top the Great Depression.  On April 20, 2020 the crude market made history; closing the day at -$36.98.  For 1-day crude oil was worth less than nothing! What a day, filled with fear and uncertainty. Since this day the markets have seen a slow steady recovery, very slow.  Non the less, we are currently hanging out around $45/barrel.  With no sign of complete economic recovery in the near future, the market has bounced a bit in the past few months; but seems to really like that $45/barrel marker. 

Though the energy markets seem very content under $50/barrel right now, we have to ask ourselves, what does the next 9 -12 months actually have in store for us?  Will the US continue to struggle financially?  Will Covid continue to rule the energy markets?  Will the new administration bring in new changes that will ultimately affect the markets?  The unknown can be quite scary. 

So, let’s go back to the original questions:

Do I really need to contract? 

That depends, how will you be affected by a price spike that could bring diesel fuel up over $1+/gallon higher than the current price?

Does contracting give you piece of mind?  Do you like to gamble?  When is the right time to contract? 

There is no right or wrong time to contract.  Historically, pricing is at it’s best between December & March…but history doesn’t always repeat itself!  If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that!  Leaning on your energy sales consultant is the best idea. 

How do I know if I’m getting a good price?  What is a good price? 

The question you really need to ask yourself is; does this price work with my annual budget? In other words, can I spend this much for fuel and still make the necessary profit for my business.

Why is the price of the contract higher than today’s price? 

Contract prices can sometimes be higher than the current rack price (not always) because we are buying “futures”.  With “futures” purchase there is always a risk, and risky behavior comes with a higher price-tag!  Speculations of the futures markets can also wreak havoc on contract pricing-will there be supply issues in spring or fall?  Will there be a bumper crop and cause for higher demand for fall?  Will the prospect of a new administration cutting US drilling cause prices to skyrocket?  These types of conversations will definitely raise eyebrows and lock in pricing!

Back to the original question of “is contracting your fuel important?”

The answer is = YES, it is important, but it is not the best option for everyone.  Only you can make that decision if contracting is right for you. 

One statement I make to my customers: DON’T LOOK BACK!  What I mean by this, if you lock in your fuel at a price that you are comfortable with, stop shopping.  There is no reason to waste precious time looking for the cheaper price, there is always going to be a cheaper price, but there is always going to be a higher price too.  For your own piece of mind, lock it in and forget about it.  DON’T LOOK BACK, you might trip over something in front of you!

Written by Kim Leisner, Certified Energy Specialist

Your December Statement will Look Different!

We would like to introduce changes to our monthly mailed statements. Our intent is to provide a statement in the same detailed manner but easier to read.  To reduce personal contact with each statement as they are prepared for mailing, we are progressing to an automated system that will process and mail them. 

With this conversion invoices will not be sent with the statements but are still available online at MyCHS where they can be viewed or printed. Invoices can also be emailed upon request. This improved method will reduce costs and paper waste.

Starting with the December 2020 statement you will see these changes go into effect.

Here is an example of what the new statement will look like.

January’s statement will come a little late in the mail due to the holidays.


If you wish to see and print your individual invoices you can do so by signing up for MyCHS, our free web app. A single sign-on lets you see your CHS activity in one place: agronomy, energy (propane), grain and seed. Find contracts, bookings, settlements, prepays, invoices, and more. Download data for tax planning or proof-of-yield for insurance claims. Access multiple accounts with a single sign-on.  

We are focused on sustainability with a commitment to helping our customers and community.  

Address Mycotoxin Risks from 2020 Corn Silage

By Anthony Hall, MSc MSB, PAS, Technical Services – Ruminant, Lallemand Animal Nutrition

This year, producers endured multiple challenges during the corn growing and harvesting season. Today, producers find themselves feeding out newly fermented corn silage and worrying about exposing their herd to higher-than-average levels of molds or mycotoxins.

Assess conditions during harvest

Mycotoxins are produced by specific molds, which cannot be completely be avoided in the process of growing and storing crops for feed. Harvest conditions are an important factor to assess your operation’s risk of mycotoxin contamination. If corn was grown under stressors like drought, weed or insect infestation, or drought, the resulting silage is more susceptible to fungal infestation and could possibly lead to production of mycotoxins.

There will likely be lower the natural population of lactic acid bacteria on the plants. Yet, this risk can be offset if a research-proven forage inoculant was used at ensiling.

Understand risks to productivity

Mycotoxins can be the source of several important herd health and production problems ranging from reduced feed intake to suppressed immune response. Although, ruminants are more resistant to the effects of mycotoxins than monogastric animals like pigs and poultry. However, the toxins can disrupt rumen function in important ways. In addition, it can be risky for producers to estimate how much mycotoxin exposure a herd can withstand.

Often, mycotoxin testing is performed after animals’ exhibit reduced performance or health problems — meaning producers are already dealing with the financial effects. Researchers have found that, when ingested, mycotoxins can cause lactic acid to build up. This can result in Sub Acute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA). When SARA occurs, the animal’s ability to use the ration efficiently is impaired and can lead to other, more serious, health problems.1

Maintain optimal rumen function

To avoid these consequences, do not feed visibly moldy silage. This solves part of the problem as mycotoxin content is not necessarily related to the amount of mold seen. If contaminated feed manages to reach the feed bunk, it’s important for animals to have optimal rumen function. Producers can include a research-proven active dry yeast (ADY) probiotic in the ration to help achieve this goal.

ADY probiotics like LEVUCELL® SC that include the strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 have a high capacity to increase pH and fiber digestibility in the rumen. Probiotic feed additives can help improve rumen function and increase fiber digestion. This can help avoid reduced production due to several herd health challenges, including mycotoxins.

Lallemand Animal Nutrition is committed to optimizing animal performance and well-being with specific natural microbial product and service solutions. Using sound science, proven results and knowledge, Lallemand Animal Nutrition develops, produces and markets high value yeast and bacteria products ─ including probiotics, silage inoculants and yeast derivatives. Lallemand offers a higher level of expertise, leadership and industry commitment with long-term and profitable solutions to move our partners Forward. Lallemand Animal Nutrition is Specific for your success. For more information, please visit www.lallemandanimalnutrition.com.

© 2021 CHS Inc.