Posts By: Midwest AgCenter

Soil Compaction

The weather is finally starting to feel like fall after the warm stretch we had in September. As you start to combine, plan ahead to avoid driving on fields when they are still wet from any rain events that we will receive. Unseen by our eyes, soil compaction can be a key factor in the decreased productivity in some fields. A healthy soil in our area will be about half solid material and half pore space. Soil organic matter and soil minerals make up the solid portion of soil while air and water should be split between the total pore space. Normally, water would infiltrate the soil profile and pass through the soil pores until the excess water has drained away and the soil has returned to its water holding capacity. Compacting the soil reduces the amount pore space in soil which can lead to ponding in fields from reduced infiltration. Poor water infiltration will also cause most of the soil pore space remaining to be taken up by water with little room for air. The plant roots won’t get the oxygen they need so they start to suffocate which is one cause of the short, yellow plants we observe. Anytime we drive on soil we are causing some compaction so we can never eliminate it entirely but there are ways that we can try to reduce soil compaction. Attempt to reduce axel load on soil by only using the horsepower you need to per-form each field operation. Avoid excessive tire pressures and inflate tires to what the manufacturer recommends. Waiting until fields have dried out will reduce the compaction done to a field. Con-trolled traffic limits soil compaction to only the areas you need to drive on for each field operation. Taproot crops penetrate deep into the soil and break up some of the compaction that we cause. The research on the positive effects of subsoiling is generally inconclusive so that is an area to look at more in depth before you try it on your farm. Soil compaction causes more problems and has more solutions than the ones I have mentioned but these are some ideas to get you thinking in the right direction. Like with many problems, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to soil compaction.

News & Views

As we are in the midst of another harvest (which by the way we can feel blessed about) we need to reflect on the challenges we face each day in the commodities market. Currently we are at a break-even or slightly above in the corn market depending on if we took advantage of the short summer rally. As we look back on the markets from last year, Corn is presently up $.55 while Soybeans are down $.70. We all need to be ready to take advantage of what the market gives us at certain times of the year, no matter what the commodity is. We also need to take advantage of the technology available to benefit from cost-savings of prescription treating and variable-rate application of your crop inputs to maximize your yield potential and help you control your costs. Right now the common thread in the industry is about new technology and using what is available to project well into the future, consolidation, projecting crop production costs and using historical trends in weather, land values and more. Now is the time to adopt what is available with educated farm marketers and agronomists to formulate a successful farming operation. We at WS Ag have these tools, partnered with qualified personnel available to help you move ahead and maximize the profit potential of your farming operation. So get in touch with one of our qualified staff to develop a plan for your 2016 crop year.

New Team Member!

WS Ag has recently hired Katie Meiselwitz as a new Agronomist and a member of our sales team! Katie Meiselwitz graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a major in Soil and Crop Science and a minor in Agribusiness. Over the past year she has been working at Country Visions Cooperative as an Agronomist. Katie grew up on a 300 acre cash crop farm in Cleveland, Wisconsin and in her free time she enjoys hunting, fishing, and farming. We are excited to have her join the WS Ag team!

Wheat Stand Evaluation Before Winter Sets In

Make time this fall to evaluate your wheat stands and put the information into play for next year.
Soon, the first of the 2016 wheat crop will be emerging. With good conditions for planting emergence should be fairly good. But wheat emergence is something we should get some feedback on.
Ideally in our typical seeding situations we are shooting for about 1.3 million plants per acre and this requires about 19-20 plants per foot of row in 7.5 inch rows. With a seeding rate of around 1.5 million seeds and good emergence, we should get plant stands in this range. With some fall tillering generating an average of 2 to 2.5 tillers per plant, we should be able to end up with a wheat stand with 40-50 heads/foot of row, which often results in a crop with high yield potential. In early seeded wheat, there is some potential for more tillering, so sometimes we can achieve good yields with lower plant populations and seeding rates.
But the bigger issue is when planting into high residue conditions following high yielding soybeans or especially corn. In these situations, we may not always achieve the desired stands in the 19-20 plants/foot of row. In some cases, even with normal mid-season planting dates, it may be good to consider a higher seeding rate in the 1.7 million/acre or 25 seeds per foot of row if stands are not reaching desired levels. So take some time after wheat emergence this fall under different conditions and make some estimates of emergence to use as feedback for seeding rate recommendations for the future. It’s best to do this shortly after emergence before the wheat tillers.

Contact your WSAG Center Sales Rep for any other seeding questions.

WS AG Center Now Offers: Custom Treated NK Soybean Seed

We are excited to offer a new service to our customers, custom treated NK Soybeans. With the recent addition of our new state of the art USC seed treating system, we have the ability to apply Cruiser Max Vibrance + Optimize Inoculant, and deliver to your farm ready to load the planter.

Research on Soybean Seed Treatment Return on Investment

Madison, WI, May 27, 2014 — Earlier soybean planting coupled with increasing seed costs and higher commodity prices have led to a surge in the number of acres planted with seed treatments. Since 2008, research has been conducted in trials throughout Wisconsin to examine if seed treatments are economically viable for soybean production. “Our study found differences in yield, profitability and economic risk due to seed treatment and seeding rate,” says Shawn Conley, Soybean and Wheat Extension Specialist. “Growers should account for their expected grain sale price and seed treatment use when determining their seeding rate and addition ally, the components of the seed treatment should be considered. They need to assess the economic risk and profitability of seed treatments and seeding rates, including calculating economically optimal seeding rate (EOSR) for each seed treatment.”

ApronMaxx RFC and CruiserMaxx (Syngenta Crop Protection) seed treatments were used to achieve these objectives because they differ in their components and relative cost per unit. This study was conducted in 2012 and 2013 at nine Wisconsin locations. All locations were planted in 15 inch rows within the first 3 weeks of May.

Darlington newsletter October 2015Researchers found that reducing seeding rates when using no seed treatment or a fungicide only seed treatment (ApronMaxx) may be too risky and provided minimal profit gains. In contrast, the study also showed that a fungicide/insecticide seed treatment (CruiserMaxx) reduced economic risk and increased profit across an array of environments, seeding rates (80,000–140,000 seeds/a), and grain sale prices ($9/bu and $12/bu). Furthermore, to realize the lowest risk and highest profit increase with CruiserMaxx, producers should consider lowering their seeding rates to the EOSR according to their expected grain sale price. The EOSR for CruiserMaxx ranged from 94,000 to 101,000 seeds/a and was on average, 16% (18,000 seeds/a) less than ApronMaxx and the UTC across grain sale prices of $9/bu and $12/bu. “It is important to examine these responses across a variety of soybean commodity prices and we started by examining $6, $9 and $12/bu. soybeans,” says Conley. “Using the different cost-price structures, we quantified the probability of breaking even based on the percentage increase or decrease in yield with the use of a seed treatment compared to the untreated control.” For more information on this research, visit

Stabilizing Anhydrous Ammonia

Applying anhydrous ammonia in the fall is a common practice in the Midwest. It’s a great opportunity to minimize spring soil compaction and to lessen the spring workload which gives you a wider window for timely planting.
Anhydrous ammonia is subject to environmental losses, whether it is fall or spring applied. To minimize these losses, I highly recommend stabilizing your NH3 with N-Serve and wait for soil temperatures to approach 50 degrees and trending cooler before applying NH3 in the fall.
Why 50 degrees? Let’s talk about it.

When you apply NH3 to the soil, it converts to ammonium nitrogen (Nh4) which has a positive charge. This positive charged N “attaches” to small soil particles that have negative charges. This “magnet” effect holds the NH4 nitrogen at the application depth. However, there are bacteria in the soil, called nitrosomonas bacteria, which convert the ammonium nitrogen to nitrate nitrogen (NO3) which has a negative charge. With a negative charge the NO3 nitrogen is not “attached” to the soil particles which leaves it vulnerable to environmental losses and not available to next years’ corn crop. When soil temperatures are at 50 degrees and trending lower, the nitrosomonas bacteria start slowing down their activity and do nothing when the soil freezes. N-Serve in the soil stops the nitrosomonas bacteria’s ability to convert NH4 to NO3, no matter what the soil temperatures is. N-Serve will naturally start to break down in the soil when soil temperatures are at 50 degrees and higher. So when NH3 treated with N-Serve is applied when soil temperatures are at or above 50 degrees in the fall, the N-Serve is still stabilizing your fall applied NH3, but there will be less N-Serve in the soil next spring to do its job. If you have any questions or concerns about fall applied anhydrous ammonia, please contact WS AG Center.

Importance of Potassium to Corn Production

Potassium is a vital nutrient for corn production second to nitrogen in terms of quantity of a corn plant’s needs, requiring an average uptake of around 274 pounds K20 per acres, in order to produce a 200 bushel yield.
Some of potassium’s vital functions in corn development are, being a supporter for water uptake in the plant which is essential in times when water is not readily available. Potassium regulates the plants leaf tissue openings, thus reducing water loss through the leaves. It also activates enzymes required for growth which helps prevent disease and control insects and also maintain stalk strength and stand ability.
Also hybrids designed to resist corn rootworm requires an extra boost of an important nutrient potassium. Corn rootworm protected hybrids yielded, on average, ten percent more than there conventional counterparts, and showed a thirteen percent increase in potassium uptake. More of an increase than nitrogen and sulfur like wise.
So as we are beginning what seems to be a harvest with better than expected yields we need to be aware of potassium levels. Your WS Ag Center representative will be able to help you with fertilizer recommendations and whether or not soil sampling is needed.

Preparing the Aging Horse for Winter

Winter will soon be upon us, and that means it is time to start making sure your horses, and especially your older horses are prepped and ready to take on the cold. Ideally your horse should be between a five and six on the body condition scoring scale. This way they will have plenty of fleshy coverage to help insulate them against the cold. A horse that is below a score of a five will have a harder time staying warm because they will need to burn more calories to maintain their base body temperature. You should also be sure to record the weights of your horses so that you have an objective measurement to compare to later in the winter or spring to make sure they have been maintaining their weight.

Be certain that your senior horse’s teeth are free of any sharp points so that they are able to properly chew their hay and swallow it. If you see any balls or clumps of hay on the ground then your horse is having troubles chewing and it is best to get your vet out to have their teeth floated.

The next step is to make sure that you have plenty of quality hay that is ready for winter because horses will eat nearly two percent of their body weight in hay when it is cold out. This can be upwards of twenty pounds of hay per day. Another option to substitute for hay is alfalfa pellets or cubes. Cubes are soft and easy to chew making them perfect for senior horses. We currently have many types available and in stock.

Another option for horses having trouble eating hay is to feed a complete feed. A complete senior feed is a great option because all of the roughage they need is already included into the feed its self. A senior feed will also be easier for the horses to chew, as the texture is softer and even more importantly digest. Aging horses benefit so greatly from senior feeds because the feeds are further processed to compensate for the less effective hind gut that older horses are plagued by, thus ensuring that they are able to absorb all of the nutrients in the feed. As always make sure that your horse has adequate shelter, plenty of fresh water and access to free choice salt/minerals.

Preparing for Corn Silage Harvest

Although we don’t like to see summer go, the cooler nights remind us that fall is on its way. The temperature changes remind us to start preparing for harvest season. For some that means corn silage or small grain harvest.

Your crop hopefully is doing well now but the process of ensuring a quality corn silage or small grain silage can be challenging. The industry has given us many ideas to help with proper cut length, moisture levels and packing ideas. However, we maybe are less prepared for bag busts, rips, tears and other ways that our hard work is exposed to air. The process of opening up our bunks and bags to feed creates the ideal environment for nutrient loss as this exposure to air creates the environment for yeast and molds to grow.

Lactic acid alone will not stop the growth of yeast and molds. However, products that provide both propionic acid and lactic acid producing bacteria will give you comfort in knowing that you are providing your silage with the maximum aerobic stability. Propionic acid inhibits the growth of yeast and molds during your feed out timeline which reduces the mycotoxin levels and provides less spoilage.

Take some time to consider the long-term protection plan on your corn silage or grain silage this year by discussing the “Silage Supreme Line” of products available to you through WS Ag Center. Have a safe and bountiful harvest!


Coccidiosis has been a problem for cattle producers in this part of the world for years. I’ve seen a large increase in the incidence of Cocci over the past year and a half. Ionophores such as Rumensin and Bovatec traditionally have done a decent job of helping to control the severity of outbreaks of this disease. Recently, however, we have seen that it takes a more aggressive approach to control Coccidiosis.

Amprolium is the drug of choice. Corid is the main brand of amprolium that we handle at WS Ag Center. Structurally, Corid mimics Thiamine (Vitamin B-12) which is required by Coccidia for normal growth and reproduction. When Coccidia ingest Corid, they experience thiamin deficiency and starve from malnutrition. Corid for prevention administer when experience tells you conditions are favorable for the development of Coccidiosis or any time cattle are exposed to unusual stress. Feed or use water soluble products at Label recommended levels for 21 days during these times. During periods when you see clinical signs of coccidiosis (dark or bloody diarrhea) treat using either product at label recommended levels for five days.