Archive | May 2013


Good afternoon!

Parts of the Midwest are experiencing heavy rains and waterlogged fields.

Servi-Tech agronomist Pat Mai sent this photo from Iowa.

Servi-Tech agronomist Pat Mai sent this photo from Iowa.

Here’s a story from Ag Professional about how the crops fair in heavy rains.

Corn and soybean survival in waterlogged soils

Over the last five days, some areas in South Dakota, Iowa and other states have received more than 6 inches of rainfall leading to ponded or flooded areas in fields. Water saturated or waterlogged soils lack enough oxygen for root respiration and many wonder, “How long can corn and soybeans plants at early growth stages survive in these waterlogged soils?” There are many factors that lead to this question’s answer says Nathan Mueller, South Dakota State University Extension Agronomist.

“We know that the crop growth stage, variety/hybrid, duration of ponding/saturation, soil type, soil/air temperature, and other factors can affect the survival of corn and soybean plants under these waterlogged conditions,” Mueller said. “Unfortunately other factors reduce plant population related to flooding including crusting, plants covered in sediment or buried under residue, and increase in seed/seedling diseases like damping-off in soybean.”

Currently, the crop growth stages of most corn and soybean range from germination to V3 and germination to V1, respectively. At these early growth stages of germination, emergence and early vegetative, Mueller says both corn and soybean plants are negatively impacted quite quickly by waterlogged conditions.

“Crops that are not completely submerged have some limited capacity for diffusion of oxygen to occur from the shoot to the root, which increase survival time,” he said. “Oxygen is needed by plant cells for growth and development including germination.”

Read the rest of the story here, or at

Do Farmers Have Choices?

Some excellent input on the choices that farmers are given.

[ j. l. d. ] Photograph Blog

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There seems to be a consensus going around that farmers have no choice when it comes to the seed they choose to plant. Or if they do have a choice, large corporations like Monsanto force it upon them. And if anybody tries to voice their opinion and let the farmer’s themselves speak upon their choices, the individual suddenly becomes a pawn for Monsanto.

Okay so the above example may be a little extreme. Doesn’t mean I haven’t seen it happen again and again online. Why is it that because we are behind a computer it gives us the license to be disrespectful? Anyway, back to farmers. I was interested in what the farmers themselves have to say about their seed choices, how they choose the seed they do, and why do they CHOOSE to plant GMOs or maybe they don’t? So I asked several farmers some questions… And here’s what…

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Learning Ag First Hand

Dr. Julie McClure, a science policy associate at the Soil Science Society of America, spent two days in April taking an agricultural tour of the High Plains with Fred Vocasek, a senior lab agronomist at Servi-Tech.

Here’s a video of Dr. McClure talking about her experience.

An article about the trip can be found here, or by going to

From the article:

During my two days, I learned a lot, much more than I could describe in one article. But here are the three take away points that really stuck with me:

Farmers are highly innovative. I was absolutely blown away by the technology and precision agriculture practices so many farmers, ranchers, and fuel producers employ today. It was great to see how the basic, and sometimes theoretical, research conducted at universities is actually applied in the field.

Farmers are incredible business-men and -women. During my trip I met with many different sectors of the agriculture enterprise and one of the common themes was efficiency. No matter the field, everyone’s top priority was to make the most out of the resources available. That doesn’t just apply to productivity, but also to wise and responsible use of resources.


McClure (left) at the ethanol plant, Bonanza BioEnergy, in Garden City, Kan. with plant production manager Angie Richardson.

In the News: Canola

Good morning!

Here’s a cool story from The Garden City (Kansas) Telegram: Kearny County farmer takes a chance with canola

Along the River Road between Deerfield and Lakin, families and farmers have stopped along the south side of the road to inspect a field of vibrant yellow blooms.

Fred Ritsema, a Kearny County farmer and owner of Lakin Dairy, said his canola field has been in bloom since last week.


Fred Ritsema stands in his canola field near Lakin. Ritsema planted canola for the first time this year. (Photo by Becky Malewitz/Telegram )

Ritsema, who is from Holland, used to grow the crop there and decided to try his luck with the Kansas soil.

Since canola is a winter crop, Ritsema thinks more farmers may be interested in growing it.

Ritsema has farmed in Kearny County since 1997. Growing corn and alfalfa has been difficult in recent years due to the drought.

“This has gotten a lot of farmers’ attention. I think in the near future more farmers will be turning to winter crops instead of summer crops,” he said.

Read more:

This Week in Photos

Good morning!

It’s been a busy week here at Servi-Tech. Here are some photos.


“Nice stand of non irrigated corn with 24 inches of soil moisture. We’ll see how long it lasts.” (Photo by Orvin Bontrager, director of education)


“Planting by the light of the moon” (Photo by agronomist John Payne near Brownell, Kansas)


First emergence of the season. (Photo by Chase Johnson, Nebraska)

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Loading fertilizer in Sublette, Kansas, at Sublette Coop.

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Irrigating in southwest Kansas.

Servi-Tech in the News

Servi-Tech has been in the news recently!

Here’s a link to a news article from the Dodge City (Kan.) Daily Globe, in which Bryan Boroughs, a technical support agronomist, talked about frost damage done to wheat in the area.

And here’s the latest column in The Wichita Eagle from Mark Vierthaler, Servi-Tech’s director of communications.

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Video of Corn Planting

Good afternoon!

Corn planting is currently underway in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa. This year our agronomists are taking videos of the process.

Here’s our video.