Fall 2013Easing Into a New RoleThis newsletter article is a small milestone—my first as generalmanager of Country Partners Cooperative. My transition has beenwonderfully smooth, thanks to the help of our board of directors,patrons, employees, and Tom Connelly. Tom stayed on a part-timebasis until July 5, and I can’t thank him enough for his years of serviceand the help he has given me in moving into my new role.Some of us have transitioned physically, too, with the completionof the Spalding office remodel. Josh, Ray, Michelle,and I moved up April 1 and are all settled in now.One project that was underway prior to the transition wasthe business case assessment conducted by Land O’LakesBusiness Development Services. The assessment analyzes ourtrade territory, grain and agronomy businesses, and our facilitiesin order to help the board and management plot the futuredirection of your cooperative. The input will help guide usas we budget for new construction, equipment, and facilityupdates. We’ll keep you posted on the results.Tough year takes a tollOur fiscal year will conclude Sept. 30. The drought of 2012resulted in a year that wasn’t as strong as the previous two, aswe were down 2.5 million bushels of corn compared to 2011.Our agronomy division did turn in a strongperformance, and this year looks muchmore promising on the grain side—withthe exception of those areas that receiveddevastating hail.In anticipation of our annual meeting inJanuary, we will have two Board of Directorpositions up for election, one from thewest and one from the central district. Ifyou’re interested in either of these positions,please contact me.RON RUTTENGeneralManagerI want to emphasize two points in closing. First, please notethat the board of directors has approved a change in our creditpolicy. Basically, we’ve moved the statement due date to receivediscounts from the 15th of the month to the 20th to accommodatechanging mail delivery schedules. Our credit policy can befound on our website in the About Us section under Credit.Second, Country Partners is once again a proud sponsor ofthe FFA I Believe in the Future of Ag program. If you’re interestedin donating to support the program, we have donationcards at every location. You can also donate online at www.neffafoundation.org. nINSIDE:Bigger Crops,Softer MarketsPage 2Greener Pastures StillUnder PressurePage 3New Year,New Seed ChoicesPage 5
Bigger Crops, Softer MarketsIt’s amazing how different crop growing conditions can beyear to year. Last year at this time, we were burning up in themiddle of a drought and couldn’t buy a rain. Now, this year,we are getting plenty of rain (some may argue too much) andcooler weather. This, in turn, has resulted in our fields lookingmuch better as we make our way towards harvest time—for themost part. Some of the recent rains have arrived via thunderstormsthat carried very damaging hail. While rains and stormswere spotty at times, we have seen both bean and corn fieldshailed out around Ord, North Loup, Spalding, and everywherein between.Along with the huge change in weather from last year,we’re also dealing with a wildly different market than that in2012. This year, when you combine good weather with muchof the crop in good/excellent condition, you get a recipe forfutures markets to take a huge hit compared to last year.This year, we have seen a near-record number of acresplanted to corn and beans. Even with a huge number of acresconverted from CRP to crops, many are wondering where allthese reported acres are coming from. Naturally, these expandedacres are having an impact on estimated domestic carryout,further driving the grain markets down. On top of all this,we’ve seen a smattering of USDA reports, almost all of whichhave been bearish. Old-crop stocks are consistently reported asbeing much higher than what many think they should be, especiallyconsidering the poor harvest from last year, leading morethan one to believe that the reports are being used as a way tokeep the market from heading too high.Looking toward harvestAs for the new-crop prospects, the expanded acres and goodweather mean huge stock numbers, which predictably lead tolower prices. These prices are not favorable, as many of youhave told me that your break-even numbers are much higherthan current bids. While the rains were appreciated, there havebeen rumblings that they made conditionstoo wet, planting was delayed enough,and an early frost may cut into totalyields. That could be a potential reprievefrom the constant hammering the marketshave received. Only time will tell.There’s one final piece of informationto note. Around July 24, we suddenly sawthe soybean market take a big hit. Basistook a dive along with the futures. One of JEFF CRAVENthe biggest culprits was our largest export Grain Originatordestination, China. They released someof their bean reserves, cutting into what they would need toimport. This led to panic in the East, with suppliers looking toget out of their long positions, and caused a ripple effect thatwe saw here in the Midwest. While the basis has since comeback, though not as far as it fell, the bean markets are stillstruggling to make up the lost ground.Shortly thereafter, we saw a similar drop in the corn market.There is some speculation as to the reason for this. Someare saying that this was a knee jerk reaction based on fear thatwhat happened with the bean market could happen to corn.Others say that the larger terminals, the ADMs and Cargills,did it to get prices down because they could. Whatever youbelieve, it was not fun to deal with, as any farmer can tell you.Hopefully, harvest will go well in our area, though it lookslike it will be later and wetter than the last couple of years.As always, we have our direct ship program that allows youto take advantage of end-user prices while still being able todo business with your local cooperative. Also, this year wehave started offering the GrainBridge risk management program,which allows you to track inputs for your fields, trackdelivery contracts, and monitor the overall profitability ofyour farm. nEnergy Veteran Joins Country PartnersLon Zeller brings 25 years of experience inthe energy business to the newly created positionof Country Partners petroleum operationsmanager. Working most recently with Ag ValleyCooperative in Arapahoe, NE, Lon startedhis career with a propane company in 1988, andmoved over to the cooperative side for good in1993.“I joined Country Partners July 8, and myrole here is to get out in the country and call oncustomers and potential customers as well ashelp Scott (Haller) on the operations side,” Lonstates. “My background is in energy sales andmanagement, which I think will be a good fithere.”Lon also has considerable experience withconvenience stores and cardtrol systems, whichwill be helpful as cardtrol systems are added inSpalding and Cedar Rapids.A native of Ravenna, NE, Lon has two children:a daughter, 24, and a son, 21. “My wifedied suddenly a little more than two years ago,”Lon says. “This move is a good change for meand a chance to start over. I’ve already found aplace in Cedar Rapids, and I’m looking forwardto meeting our customers.” n2©2013 Country Partners Cooperative. All Rights Reserved. Published in partnership with VistaComm ® (www.VistaComm.com).
Greener Pastures Still Under PressureKEVIN WAGNERFeed DepartmentManagerAfter the drought of 2012, one ofthe worst we’ve seen since possiblythe 1930s, 2013 has seen considerablymore moisture, and that has led to asignificant improvement in pasture andcrop conditions. We’ve seen a lot ofweed pressure in pastures with lightersoils that were overgrazed. Continue toaddress those weed problems, and youmay also want to consider creep feedingcalves this year. It will take the pressureoff those pastures and your cows.Those who creep fed calves in 2012 thought it was wellworth the cost. You will have bigger, healthier calves that alsograde better when they are finished and fat in the feedlot scenario.Calves also wean easier when they have been started oncreep feed in the pasture because they know how to eat feed.This is another year when the financial benefits of creepfeeding should be easy to see, because calf prices shouldremain very strong. We always have new creep feeders forsale, and we’ll do our best to have a creep feeder for you torent as well.Hay alternativesWith some dryland corn fields not delivering high yieldsthis year, and cow/calf producers understanding how valuablea big silage pile can be, I would expect there to be a lot of cornand forage sorghum silage put up this year. Supplies of alfalfa,prairie hay, and other hay forages are still somewhat tight, sohay prices continue to be high. Silage can reduce your relianceon alfalfa and other hay forages.This winter and coming spring, we may want to considerfeeding some corn and/or distillers grain in total mixed rationsfor cows, as the price may warrant it. Baled corn stalks canalso be good feed when hay forages are limited, as we foundout last year.When putting up corn or sorghum silage, we should workhard to make it the best-quality feed we can. Using an inoculant,liquid or dry, will deliver a very substantial returnon your investment. We handle Cargill Promote liquidinoculants that are applied at the silage cutter. Researchhas shown significant benefits when inoculants are used withhail-damaged and drought-stressed corn silage and forages.Research has shown a return on investment, in terms of drymatter recovery and improved feed quality, ranging from 5 to 1up to 15 to 1 for every dollar spent on inoculants.Another excellent way to preserve forage quality is to coveryour silage pile with 5 mil plastic, an investment with an 8 to1 return. So, strongly consider the use of inoculants and plasticthis fall for your corn silage and forage sorghum pile.High moisture optionsHeat units were in short supply midsummer, and that mightwell delay corn drydown. It may be advantageous to put upsome high-moisture corn or earlage to prevent ear and bushelloss in the field due to delayed harvesting. Both make excellentfeed for calves and cows.We carry starter feed and balancers to build a balancedration with whatever feeds you have on the farm and get thosecalves off to a good, healthy start. We can run breakevens andbalance rations to meet the specific needs of your operation.With corn prices heading down, this may be a good year tolook at walking your corn to market through livestock ratherthan hauling it to town.When cows do get out into the corn stalks, be looking at theprotein supplementation that works best and is the most economicalfor you. We will have a mineral this fall with proteinbuilt in to help cattle better utilize corn stalks and the corn onthe ground. It will be a balanced product with trace mineralsand vitamins.Also, when you feed ground corn stalks this winter andnext spring, you may want to look at pouring your low-qualitybales with a liquid feed to increase protein and the utilizationof those poorer quality roughages. If you get them lined up, wecan easily pour the bales for you. Talk to us about this option.Thank you for your feed business. We will continue to earnit by providing quality products and excellent service. Have asafe, and good, fall and winter. nCOUNTRY PARTNERS COOPERATIVEBOARD OF DIRECTORSJohn FreyChairman, AlbionByron MosemanCedar RapidsGeorge ValasekVice Chairman, SpaldingJeff WaltmanSecretary/TreasurerNorth LoupTravis HeinzSpaldingJim EschlimanEricsonSteve HornickelOrdRon RuttenGeneral Manager
New Year, New Seed ChoicesOnce upon a time, you could staywith a tried and true hybrid for seasonafter season and be pretty sure it wouldperform within a few bushels of thelatest releases. Not so anymore. Seedtechnology is advancing so rapidly, andyields climbing so dramatically, thatyou have to incorporate some of thenew numbers in your plans every year.PHIL KOWALSKI That’s why you need to visit our plots,Seed Coordinator and particularly the Answer Plot ® nearAlbion.Here’s a brief rundown on what’s new for 2014. Croplan willoffer all their SmartStax RIB Complete hybrids with 500 Poncho/Votivoand zinc already on board. That’s a pretty unbeatablecombination of insect and disease protection with the zinc neededfor the proper development of the seedling corn plant.Also new to the Croplan corn lineup this year are two (111-112 RM) Genuity ® DroughtGard TM hybrids well suited for thewestern Corn Belt.New weapon against rootwormsThough supplies will be somewhat limited for 2014, Syngentawill roll out hybrids with their new Agrisure Duracade TMcorn rootworm trait. The Duracade lineup adds a new modeof action to their existing event to help control rootworms andfight resistance.Overall, Croplan, Mycogen, and NK have strong newhybrids and varieties that have posted yield advantages overtheir current corn and beans in trials. You don’t have to betrayyour old friends to consider adding some new numbers for2014.Seed treatment updateLast year, our preferred seed treatment was Cruiser Maxx TMAdvanced with the option of adding Vibrance. In 2014, wewill be applying Warden ® CX, which is basically a premixedcombination of Cruiser Maxx and Vibrance TM , at our treatmentfacilities in Albion and Ord.What Vibrance brings to the table is a new mode of actionagainst a wide range of diseases carried in soil and air. It provideslong-lasting protection of the entire plant root systemthrough critical development stages of the crop and under awide range of environmental conditions. The resulting optimizedroot performance lays the foundation for strong yields.If you have questions about upgrading your seed lineup for 2014,talk to me or any of our agronomists. We’re happy to help. nAct Now to CaptureLow PricesWe’ve set our prepay fertilizerprices for spring and fall purchases.Fertilizer prices are at the lowest levelswe’ve seen in the past six years,so it makes sense to lock in a goodportion of your needs as soon as possible.Overall, the fertilizer market is flatand may be showing signs of stabilizing.It’s been taking its cues from thegrain markets and will likely continue to do so.RAY PINNEYCrop NutrientManagerIf you have questions about how to best address yourfertilizer needs while managing risk, talk to us. nVisit Country Partner’s New Online HomeIf you haven’t visited our website recently,I’d encourage you to do so. The address is thesame, but the look is completely new. The site isdesigned to be clean and easy to navigate, and itlooks great and retains full functionality whetheryou are viewing it on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.One feature I particularly appreciate is our interactivelocation map that lets you pull up contactinformation and pictures of key staff. And you5can still take advantage of online account access,which allows you to keep track of your bushelsduring harvest, and online fuel ordering.One additional note regarding our new site, ifyou are using Internet Explorer 8, or an earlier version,as your browser, you won’t be able to fullyappreciate the functionality of our website. Considerupgrading to a newer version or switching toMozilla or Google Chrome. If you have any questions,please give me a call at 308-497-2266. nMICHELLEWELTRUSKIInformationTechnology
PO Box BSpalding, NE 68665PRSRT STDU.S. POSTAGEPAIDVISTACOMMINSIDE:Regulations Result inFuel ReformulationPAGE 4Schedule Soil Sampling ASAPWe’re anticipating an extended harvestwith the potential for large corn and beancrops. High yields pull a lot of nutrients out ofthe fields, and many of those fields are reachingthe point where they should be grid sampledagain. If that time has come for some ofyour fields, let us know as soon as possible sowe can get in and sample once the crop comesout. We may not have much fall, so we’ll needto move fast.Product scorecardEvery year we evaluate the products weapply during the production year. Two bacterialproducts stood out this year. One wasAccomplish ® , a liquid that can be applied withor without fertilizer to break down crop residueon the soil surface. The second product,Titan, is applied as a dry fertilizer coating. Itdoes its work in the soilto break down residue andrelease the nutrients.The results we’ve seenhave convinced us to recommendthem going forward.In fact, Accomplishwould work well this fallas part of your burndownherbicide application andhelp get those fields readyfor spring.FRANK JASAAlbion CropProtectionEverything we’ve heard leads us to believethat chemical prices will rise 3-8% next year.That makes this a good time to consider prepayingto lock in prices on glyphosate andother herbicides. Why wait to pay more forproducts you know you’ll need next year? nDIRECTORYALBIONOffice 402-395-2139Petroleum 308-358-0660BARTLETT308-654-3555Fax 308-654-3557CEDAR RAPIDSOffice 308-358-0250Petroleum 308-358-0660888-368-0250GREELEY308-428-5065Fax 308-428-4135MIDWAY ELEVATOR308-396-1461NORTH LOUP308-496-4280888-247-4258Fax 308-496-3307ORD308-728-3254Fax 308-728-5940PRIMROSEOffice 308-396-1650SPALDING308-497-2266Fax 308-497-2118WEBSITEcountrypartnerscoop.com