Img Homepage Header

We Stand with You

April 24, 2017 – UPDATE:  Many organizations have been working tirelessly to provide solutions to those who have lost their milk processor. Over the last couple weeks there has been a lot of dialogue but unfortunately not all producers have been able to source a new processor. As a follow up to my last communication, I wanted to share some updates and points that are important to those farms impacted as well as what each one of us can do:

Update:

  • It’s the last week for notified producers to find a new processor for their product.
  • Mullins Cheese has stepped up to take on 8 new accounts.
  • Grassland has taken back a few accounts that had forward contracts with them.
  • There is positivity that more producers will find a home for their milk this week with DFA or cheesemakers.
  • The unfortunate reality is that many producers may not have a solution by May 1st, 2017.

Impacted farms:

  • Talk to your suppliers and look for ways to become more cost effective without losing sight of profitability and the “right fit” for your operation.
  • If you have lost your milk market and have not yet called the Wisconsin Farm Center or your status has changed, call 1-800-942-2474. This will help the efforts to find solutions.
  • In the event that your farm is not picked up by a processor, be sure to contact your lender and landlords to collaborate on a plan. Communication and a strong financial plan will be important in the coming week.

Everyone can help:

  • It will be important to continue the dialogue with your representatives to help shape long term solutions including trade.
  • Continue to have conversations to inform others and keep this situation in the media.
  • In the meantime please consume as many dairy products as you possibly can.

This is an unprecedented and difficult time for our industry. Know that we are here to support our members and will continue to work towards solutions with our producers.

Aric Dieter
Executive Vice President, Animal Nutrition


April 8, 2017

After learning that a number of dairy producers, including members of Landmark Services Cooperative, were no longer having their milk supply accepted by Grassland, we are working to learn more on how this will affect our members, as well as, what assistance we can provide our members as this situation unfolds through the dairy market.

Since the announcement, Bob Carlson (chief executive officer) and I have been in contact with Laurie Fischer of the American Dairy Coalition (ADC) and the Dairy Business Association (DBA). We will not likely be able to provide any “solutions” at this time, but we are hoping to provide a centralized source for what is happening and where our members might be able to get much needed information and assistance.

At issue is a U.S-Canada trade dispute over what’s called “ultra-filtered milk,” a protein liquid concentrate used to make cheese. Until recently, it had entered Canada duty-free from the United States according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Your cooperative is working to help provide solutions and I want to share a message from our partner PDPW. This message speaks to the heart of the dairy industry. It gives light to the supportive community surrounding you.

“During these difficult times it is critically important to stay focused on what you can control. While we all work together on behalf of farm families, we remind our farmers to remain steadfast at taking care of their own health, their families and taking care of their cows. And, know that they are not alone – continue to communicate with their leaders… The Wisconsin dairy industry is one of strength and resilience. We will get through this challenge like we have all the others before – together. Remain strong, milk the cows and take care of your neighbors and families.”

We encourage our members affected by the announcement to contact the Farm Center at DATCP at 800-942-2474 to ensure you are part of an ongoing dialogue. The Farm Center is working diligently to find possible processors and truckers to alleviate your situation. In addition, contact your local representative (find yours here) to make sure they understand the importance of this situation. If you have been affected by the milk supply contract cancellation, please inform us so that we can include you on any updates as we monitor this situation.

Sincerely,

Aric Dieter
Executive Vice President, Animal Nutrition

Posted in Landmark News

The Importance of Equine Foot Health

Landmark hosted an equine education meeting in early April and we were fortunate to have great speakers and topics. The first speaker and topic that we will be recapping from the equine meeting is Floyd Sutton from Zinpro Corporation who spoke on Equine Hoof Health.

Vitamins and minerals are already formulated in most equine feeds. Although some are formulated for the minimum daily requirements, some are formulated for daily optimal requirements. A balanced combination of: Zinc, Manganese, Copper, and Cobalt supports:

  • Hoof integrity
  • Skeletal Development
  • Energy for Growth and Performance
  • Immunity
  • Lifetime Performance

Biotin is a B vitamin that is used for cell to cell adhesion in the outer hoof wall. Essentially it is an inter-cellular cementing substance similar to mortar in a brick wall. Horses cannot produce it themselves and obtain it through their diet. In some cases, additional Biotin can be fed at a therapeutic level. However, a horse’s body can only absorb so much on a daily basis so any excess will be excreted out through their urine.

While bricks and blocks have been the “go-to” mineral source for many years, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The texture on a horses tongue is not the same as on the tongues of cattle. Consumption rates won’t be the same and meeting nutritional requirements can be challenging.
  • Horses on no form of fortified grain, supplemental vitamins or minerals run a higher chance of being nutrient deficient.
  • Although quality forage can provide the daily nutrients needed, it’s not commonly seen.

We are fortunate that there are many other palatable sources of mineral now available. Forage, pasture and soil testing are the best way to identify where the deficiencies start. Your Landmark Services Cooperative representative can pull these samples, share the analysis results, and provide options as needed.

Next month we will look at Understanding Essential Nutrients – Amino Acids & Omega Amino Acids from Kalambach Feeds.

Posted in Animal Nutrition, Blog

Planter Checkup List

This is the time of year that most farms have a planter in the shop so you’re working on the most important machine on your farm. There is a very popular saying that goes something like, “the sins of planting will haunt you the entire season.” This rings true if you have even minor issues on your planter at the start of the season. The focus this year is all about getting all of our plants we planted out of the ground and at the same time so we get stand counts that turn into ear counts. Losing even 1,000 plants per acre costs you 7-8 bushels at harvest so let’s get this first pass right. The following are some preseason planter checkups you should be doing.

  • Row Cleaners: Check overall appearance and bearings. If they are floating check the full range of motion checking for any wiring or hoses that can become entangled.

  • No-till Coulters: Check diameter and sharpness of coulters. Put planter on a level surface and make sure they are running ¼” above double disk openers to prevent false trench bottoms. If you won’t be in heavy residue no-till consider removing them if you have row cleaners to prevent pinning residue in trench ahead of openers.
  • Disk Openers: Take a business card and come in from front and back marking where there is contact on the disks, the space in between this should be around 2”. If it’s more or less than 2” check the shims and recheck the disk contact. Disks on John Deere and Kinze planters should be no less than 14.5” in diameter, check and replace worn ones as needed.

  • Chains and Sprockets: Check all chains and sprockets for wear and kinks. Even small kinks and vibrations can greatly affect seed spacing and singulation. Consider replacing if in doubt.

  • Shaft Alignment: Check hex shafts to make sure they align when planter is unfolded. Also check for spacing and any warping in the shaft.
  • Seed Tubes: Check seed tubes for any feathering or wear at the bottom, and replace if you see any. Some have warped when left in storage so check to see if they line up when placed in planter. John Deere planters should have the seed tube protector checked, buy a new one and compare to current, replace any that are worn.
  • Seed Firmers: Keeton seed firmers should have an audible smack if pull and release them when planter is placed on a level surface. Other brands will have specific instructions for checking pressure, refer to their material on how to set them up.

  • Row Units: Take each row unit and pick up on them checking for any wiggle. Check the bushings on parallel arms for any play and replace as needed.
  • Gauge Wheels: Gauge wheels should have contact with disk openers and should have no play in them side to side. When the planter is put down they should not be able to spin freely.

  • Closing Wheels: Place the planter on a flat surface and pull a few feet forward scratching with disk openers. Closing wheels should line up with disk openers running perfectly down the middle of them.
  • Finger Meters: Check fingers for any defects, check holes at base of arm for any wear also checking springs for pressure. Check brushes for any issues or wear. Check backing plate for wear or warping.
  • Vac Meters: Check plates for warping, and check singulators for any issues. Double check vac tubing and pressure before taking planter to field.
  • Seed Lube: Most manufacturers have a recommended seed lubricant, but from experience an 80/20 graphite talc blend seems to cover most needs. If you are using a corn planter for planting soybeans, don’t skip on the lubricant. In the past no lubricant on treated soybeans has shown major issues in plantabilty. Bayer has also come out with their new fluency agent that reduces dust from vac and air planters while cutting down on residue left in planter.

For more information, contact your local Landmark agronomist @800-236-3276.

Posted in Agronomy, Blog

5 Major Farm Income Set-backs to Avoid

With the spring weather approaching, preparations for crop inputs and seasonal labor are at the forefront. Every producer should try to reduce costs of production. Here is a list of major set-backs to avoid which reduce farm income:

  1. Lack of marketing plans. Either no plan, or waiting on pulling the trigger thinking price will go up loses money. Lack of forward contracting or no contracting decreases farm income.
  2. Decrease in milk price which is nothing new to dairy farmers. With this commodity being so volatile, you need to plan ahead. This can change from month to month.
  3. High rents. Weigh out how much it will take to put the crop in and get it to harvest. What is the maximum amount of rent you can handle and still have profit? Competing with the Joneses may not be profitable and may add stress to your financial health.
  4. Land values have been exaggerated in some counties. Do your research and get an appraisal. Ask the questions: What is the land worth vs. what is the land worth to me?; Does it help my bottom line?
  5. Most important – Know your working capital. This is an important number in the financing world. Working capital is what you have available after all your debts are paid. Many banks/financial institutions put increased weight on this figure when determining if you are eligible for a loan. Higher working capital and equity along with low costs of production should be the goal. Completing a year-end balance sheet is essential.

In closing, every producer should ask themselves the following questions:

  1. What am I doing well?
  2. What can I improve?
  3. Which products am I currently using that are working/improving my bottom line?
  4. Which one’s aren’t?
  5. Where can I make changes to improve my overall farm financial health?

Maybe you know some of the answers, for the ones you don’t, that is where you start the planning process to improve your financial position.

Posted in Blog, Verity Business Solutions