This spring, Heartland AG Systems’ footprint grew from nine locations to 12, covering more 17 states. Our new territory stretches across the Midwest, over the Rocky Mountains, and into the Pacific Northwest. This spring has been variable across our geography. We asked a few of our salesmen to recap what kind of conditions their territories have been experiencing lately, and their outlook for the remainder of the application season.
Southeast Minnesota – Dave Eckhoff
The theme of spring in southeast Minnesota has been cool and dry. Low soil moisture has made for an exceptionally productive planting season, but with that comes concern for uneven emergence. Generally speaking, the majority of corn will be planted, and soybeans are catching up. We were thankful for a bit of rain this week that gave us some much-needed moisture.
As far as application goes, anhydrous and corn fertilizer is all but wrapped up. We also saw a substantial amount of dry fertilizer be applied to soybean acres in 2021. Corn pre-emergence applications have gone well, and we are seeing an increase in UAN acres. This has let our large tank and high output sprayers shine. We have experienced quite the number of windy days, narrowing availability to apply soybean pre-emergence. However, in the shortened windows when conditions are good, customers with 120-foot booms, Aim Command Flex and 1,200-gallon spray tanks are getting the maximum productivity out of their machines.
The focus now has been shifted to preparing for early post-emergence applications on all acres, as it is looking like corn and soybean acres will emerge around the same time for most of my territory.
Southeast Kansas – Ed Zahn
Southeast Kansas has seen good moisture rates both this winter and spring. We have had several wide-open weeks of running at a time. Applicators have had good weather for anhydrous application, and most of those acres are completed. Dry fertilizer conditions have also been favorable and are beginning to slow down. Applicators were busy staying ahead of planters, but now that the crop is going in, the focus has shifted to top dressing wheat, spraying pesticides on alfalfa, applying wheat fungicide and burndown. Throughout my territory in southeast Kansas, customers are feeling good about their crops.
Wisconsin – Jeff Hodge
Wisconsin has been cool and dry, allowing our customers to get dry fertilizer applied before planters rolled into fields. Spraying season is now in full swing. A lot of the pre-plant and pre-emergence work has already been completed in southern Wisconsin, however, the northern part of the state just got started last week.
For the most part, our customers are feeling positive about the work that has already been completed and remain cautiously optimistic about the remainder of the season. Our service department has been busy, running all hours of the day and night to keep customers running. We are thankful for their dedication to the job.
Western Iowa – Todd Roland
Warmer temperatures came a bit later this year, and ever since we have been in the field, we have had an ideal planting season. Everyone has been in the field non-stop with no rainouts since it warmed up. In a normal year there is a delay between corn and soybeans. However, 2021’s optimal conditions and warm weather has allowed everything to go in non-stop. Every season has its challenges, and unfortunately this year we need rain. In a normal year, the northern half of my territory is delayed in getting the crop into the ground because of wet conditions. This year, that is not the case as they are dry. This week we should see planting wrapped up.
In the case of application season, the later planting season ended up being a positive, as it allowed applicators to get anhydrous and dry fertilizer on before planters rolled into the fields. Most of the dry fertilizer and anhydrous applications are completed. Sprayers in my territory are keeping up with the planters, and (hoping I don’t jinx this) may even get a break before posting corn this year. The Heartland AG Systems support team has been running around taking care of customer’s needs. Thanks Derek, Jake and Drew!
Eastern Missouri – Joe Rehmer
My territory in eastern Missouri has faced challenging spring weather conditions, a stark contrast from the picture-perfect fall application season we closed 2020 with. Our customers were very thankful to have a smooth harvest since we had not had one in the past three years. Several of our custom application customers had record fall application of fertilizer and anhydrous – some able to cover approximately 50-65% of their application acres.
Since March 1st, it’s been a struggle between rain every week and wind on days when application was needed. Every week has had some form of wet weather conditions – whether that was rain or snow. Corn planting finally started in some areas around Easter. That following Tuesday, the rain and cold weather set in. Colder than normal temperatures hurt emergence. However, last week we could finally see the corn emerging, and we are hoping for limited re-plant acres.
Weather conditions are holding off application season. While 85%-90% of the anhydrous application is finally complete, only about 10-15% of the corn has been sprayed, and about the same rate in burndown pre-plant has been sprayed for corn and soybeans.
Southern South Dakota – Matt Ellens
From the application standpoint, field conditions have been ideal in Southern South Dakota. We had a pretty dry winter, which helped dry fertilizer acres get applied throughout the cold months and reduced retailer's workloads. Spring started off cooler, and we would definitely welcome some rain and warmer temperatures in the region.
The majority of dry fertilizer has wrapped up, and sprayers are starting to hit the field. We have been working hard to serve them to make sure they can get more acres applied in less time. There has been a lot of buzz around different technologies like Slingshot and Viper 4+. Customers appreciate how they save them time and reduce downtime. We have been conducting on-site trainings, handling over the phone technical support as well as on-site visits to make sure every acre is optimally applied.
Northwest Region – Don Knopp
Spring came early in the Pacific northwest. We had warmer than average weather in February through the middle of March, then changing to cooler, dry and windy weather through the end of April. Crops were planted on time, but wind and frost have challenged the growers with replanting and the startup of irrigation. Dry fertilizer is winding down. Sprayers are waiting to get consistent weather without wind and frost to get their spraying applications completed consistently. Customers are optimistic about crop pricing if the growing season conditions are favorable. We enjoy supporting our customers in every step of their crop’s life cycle and look forward to better weather ahead.
Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado – Tyson Shelley
It has been a very challenging spring in my territory. We have had wild swings from warm weather to very cool conditions with moisture. We usually welcome any form of moisture, but it certainly sets the ground temperature back. Corn planting is 7 to 10 days behind in the majority of our area, with the exception of southern Colorado vegetable valleys. The wheat out west Is a little behind but catching up and looking good.
Application season has been slow this year because of the moisture levels, however now both liquid and dry applications are gaining ground quickly. The past 60 days have been extremely windy, but our customers have closed the gap with their use of technology and running liquid fertilizer with their chemical at higher volumes. Farmers are planting at every angle possible with favorable commodity prices. This will create timing challenges when it comes to post-spraying and fertilizer application. Every machine that runs is out there working hard – both liquid and dry.
Heartland AG Systems is with you through every season, no matter what conditions arise. Our company focuses exclusively on your application business, with zero distractions. While other dealerships must fix tractors, combines and lawn mowers too, you can rest assured when we come out, our focused experts will be completely ready to service your application needs.