Landmark Services Cooperative donates over 81,000 meals to families in need

Landmark Services Cooperative donates over 81,000 meals to families in need
Ag cooperative and food banks have shared mission to feed the world

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, Dec. 28, 2018 – During the season of giving, Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) did just that to help local families in need. Thanks to the generosity and caring nature of the employees, members, and business partners, LSC was able to raise and donate 81,982 meals to Second Harvest Foodbank through their NBC15 Share Your Holidays campaign.

LSC is proud to be a diamond sponsor and support this campaign to help end hunger in our communities. This is the sixth year of partnering with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin on the NBC15 Share Your Holidays campaign. The foodbank receives over one million requests for help with food security in the 16 counties it serves.

Together, over the course of the campaign employees and members participated in various events, including an online auction, closet clearance sale, pumpkin carving contest, soup & bread contest, dessert bake-off, pie in the face contest and much more. Money raised from each of the events was donated to the campaign.

“Our Landmark team truly exceeded all my expectations with their generosity and big hearts during this campaign. The impact their donations will have in our local communities is absolutely remarkable,” said a heartfelt Shannon Horstmeyer, executive assistant of LSC.

Donation to Second Harvest Foodbank

Grain News: December 27, 2018 – Lock in your Future Price

Kasey of LandmarkHope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Both corn and beans had a bit of a dip during this holiday season. The explanation I have seen for the drop in price is other countries including the UK and South America have had better grain numbers than expected. With all of the new technologies and information on growing crops I would assume you are not surprised when yields are higher than expected. I would be confident in saying that great yields every year is to be expected, unless significant weather issues occur.

However, looking in to fall 2019 the numbers seem to have not taken as much of a hit. Even looking into fall 2020 the numbers are still positive. Locking in a HTA for 2020 is a way to lock in your future price and set your basis when they are available.

As 2018 comes to an end, you should have a small percent of your grain for next year contracted. If you are unsure of when you should market or how much to contract contact your local grain marketing specialist.

Kasey Baker

Prevent Stinky, Slimy Haylage & Avoid Clostridia Haylage

Larry Roth, Provimi North America, Inc

You have been looking forward to feeding an excellent first-cut haylage but you find wet, slimy haylage with a smell not leaving your hands and, even worse, cows want no part of it! Sooner or later, many harvesting haylage end up in this situation. Recognizing the factors involved in formation of clostridia haylage and then managing accordingly can reduce these headaches.

A Perfect Storm for Clostridia Haylage

Numerous factors contribute to clostridia haylage. Legumes and small grains are popular choices for haylage; however, their higher protein and mineral content work as buffers against decreasing forage pH during fermentation and nutrient preservation. They are generally lower in water-soluble sugars, feeding the lactate-producing bacteria critical for reducing forage pH. Often, legumes and small grains are harvested when forage drying is difficult, entering fermentation wetter than desired. Further, while a disc mower enables a high rate of mowing and the air turbulence created under the hood lifts the forage for easier cutting, it also creates whirlwinds in the soil, increasing the chances of clostridia inoculation after heavy manure application.

Suggestions for Reducing Clostridia Haylage

Mow at 2.5-3″ cutting height. While raising the mower bar may reduce yield slightly, leaving more photosynthetic material speeds up plant growth for the next cutting and increases stand longevity. The higher height reduces soil incorporation from sickle bar mowers and lowers soil contamination from disc mowers. Twisted or angled disc blades are great for lifting heavy or lodged forage, but such blades also increase soil contamination.

Wide swaths encourage faster and more even drying. Mown forage will continue photosynthesis while lying in the field. Photosynthesis will combine CO2 and sunlight with forage moisture to create water-soluble sugars. This reaction is a win-win, with more sugars to foster fermentation and less water hauled to storage. Wide swaths enable forage to be heated by sunlight, causing wilting as the plant attempts to cool itself by moving stem moisture through leaves. If the swath is lying on a 2.5-3″ forage stubble, air can move under it to encourage drying and lessen the chances of moisture wicking into the mown crop from wet soil.

Manage raking, tedding, and merging equipment to reduce soil contamination. High-capacity forage choppers require wide swaths to be raked and merged for more efficient harvesting. Tedder use can speed up drying. Any time equipment touches the forage there is risk for soil incorporation and leaf loss. Consult your manufacturer and adjust equipment accordingly to minimize soil pick-up.

Chop haylage at <65% moisture. Hopefully sunshine has been fostering photosynthesis and causing wilting, and the wind has been removing moisture. Cloudy and humid days do not help. The wetter the haylage, the more lactate must be produced to sufficiently lower forage pH to preserve nutrients. Further, clostridia like higher pH conditions. Waiting for appropriate moisture may test a person’s patience, but it is a critical step in the process.

Inoculate with lactate-producing bacteria to decrease forage pH. Inoculation helps overcome inherent forage buffering capacity and acidifies water in haylage. Most companies supply haylage-specific inoculants providing 200,000+ colony-forming units per gram of forage, or recommend doubling applications of standard products in challenging conditions. Fermentation can be summed as “The side that gets there first with the most wins.” A few suppliers have developed organisms and products specifically designed for clostridia-prone situations.

Pack haylage to remove oxygen and stop plant respiration. Chopped plants in storage are deprived of sunlight, and consequently conduct the “dark reaction” (respiration reaction of photosynthesis; O2 and sugars combine creating H2O, CO2, and heat). The minimal O2 present in well-packed haylage is quickly used up in plant respiration. Lactic fermentation can then occur to rapidly reduce forage pH and hinder clostridia growth. Clostridia Haylage Does Not Have to Happen!

Forage, weather, and agronomic conditions can come together at the wrong time to cause clostridia haylage. Developing a plan to reduce potential for clostridia haylage can improve overall haylage quality and limit chances of being greeted by a stinky, slimy mess.

Grain News: December 20, 2018 – Quiet Markets in Holiday Mode

Doug of LandmarkThe grain markets are quiet this week with traders already in holiday mode. Last week’s WASDE report did not give anything new for the market to trade from. Ethanol demand was reduced by 50 million bushels; otherwise not many changes. The ethanol margins continue to be weak with more reports of plants slowing down grind or shutting down completely.

There has been some Chinese buying of soybeans, but not to the extent that will cause the burdensome supply to go away. Despite rumors that China would also buy some U.S. corn, there have been no confirmations yet.

This morning’s export sales report showed soybean exports larger than expected at 104.2 million bushels. This was the highest total for this marketing year. Even with these purchases by China, U.S. soybean sales remain 33% below last year. The USDA is forecasting just a 11% drop in soybean exports.

Corn exports were reported at 77.7 million bushels vs 35.6 million last week and wheat was lower than expected at 11.5 million bushels vs. 25.7 million last week. Corn exports continue to be decent for the year showing good demand. This will be needed going forward to help support some weakness in ethanol demand.

The average estimate for today’s Cattle on Feed Report has the number of cattle placed in November at 94% of a year ago. The number of cattle on feed is pegged at 102%. The Hogs and Pigs reports come out today as well with all hogs inventory being estimated at 102.7% of a year ago.

There is more chatter about dryness in Brazil’s center south region. Reports of some localized damage due to dry conditions are being reported. Brazil state statistics agency lowered its soy production forecast for the state of Parana to 19.1 MMTs, down from 19.6 MMTs. There is rain forecast in many of these regions in the next two weeks however this is worth keeping an eye on.

Will the second round of Market Facilitation Payments cause more selling of soybeans? Or will it allow more time so that sales can be put on hold for a bit?  With the $1.65 added to the average sales price received this fall many producers have a price average well over $10.00 for their 2018 soybean production.

With lower volumes being traded over the holiday season the markets can move around a bit and a short-lived price jump could occur. Now is the time to sit down and look at how 2018 marketing plans worked or didn’t work and use that information to put together plans for old crop and the 2019 crop.  Having working offers at your pricing targets is a great way to get some sales on and get started with a marketing plan. We can help put together a profitable plan for your operation. Call us and set up an appointment with one of our marketing specialists today.

Merry Christmas!

Doug Cropp


What Caused The Molds and Mycotoxins In My Forages?

Article by Larry Roth, Ph.D., PAS – Cargill Animal Nutrition


Imagine the scene: Your nutritionist walks into your office, sits down across the desk from you, and hands you assays of your forages that indicate you have high levels of molds and mycotoxins. “Where did these evil organisms come from?”, you ask. It is helpful to be aware of the many factors at play when forages are affected by molds and mycotoxins.

A mycotoxin is a secondary metabolite produced by mold. One mold species may produce many different mycotoxins, and several mold species may produce the same mycotoxin. High mold levels do not necessarily mean mycotoxin levels will be high. Different micro-environmental conditions can trigger production of varying levels of various mycotoxins by a given mold species. The exact environmental triggers for particular mycotoxins and levels are not precisely clear, but understanding and managing the factors contributing to mold growth can lessen mycotoxin presence in forages.

There are favorable and optimum temperature ranges for growth of the Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Fusarium molds (Figure 1). Certain Aspergillus and Penicillium molds prefer warm, Summer conditions, while Fusarium generally thrive in cooler temperatures, as in the Fall, for optimal growth. Aspergillus molds are the primary aflatoxin producers; aflatoxin is most commonly observed in heat and drought conditions. Although a few Penicillium molds produce aflatoxin, most members of this genus produce mycotoxins of lesser importance. The Fusarium genus is perhaps of greatest concern in the Upper Midwest due to the production of vomitoxin (DON), zearalenone, and fumonisin mycotoxins. Fusarium species like the cool, wet conditions which have come to typify Fall in the Midwest.

Larry Roth Mycotoxin paper

Figure 1. Favorable and Optimum Temperature Ranges For Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Fusarium molds

While forage producers cannot control temperature, rainfall, and humidity, they can influence other factors involved in mold growth and the potential for mycotoxin production.

Soil Health: A healthy and diverse microbial population in the soil will enhance crop residue degradation, which could otherwise serve as a mold reservoir. A young corn plant pushing its first green leaf through last year’s crop residue could become infected with harmful molds. Healthy soil will also have greater water-holding capacity to sustain growing plants during dry spells and allow water to readily drain during excessive rainfall. Proper tillage can maintain some surface residue to reduce soil erosion, while excessive tillage may reduce soil aggregation, lowering nutrient and water-holding capabilities.

Agronomic Practices: Any stressors on the plant can tip plant health in favor of mold production. Proper planting time, plant population, plant genetics, insect control, and fungicide use are among the many agronomic practices that influence plant health and can bolster the plant in its battle against harmful molds.

Harvest Conditions: Timing harvest before the appearance of cool, wet conditions favorable for Fusarium growth may reduce molds and mycotoxins brought from the field to the silage storage structure. Chopping at a proper moisture, reducing chop length as the crop dries, and proper packing can reduce mold growth during ensiling. Segregating mold-infected crops from clean forages during ensiling may pose logistical challenges, but could pay-off in animal health and production by keeping clean forages clean and enabling feeding strategies based on animal susceptibility to mycotoxins.

Storage and Feed-Out Conditions: Proper packing to exclude oxygen is essential in controlling the growth of aerobic molds, such as Fusarium and most Aspergillus. Recent research suggests P. roqueforti may continue growing in well-packed silage, however. Mold spores can survive ensiling, and then start growing with the reintroduction of oxygen and proper temperature at feed-out. Proper feed-out practices are always essential when managing ensiled feeds, and even more critical with forages infected with mold at harvest.

High mold levels do not necessarily mean high mycotoxin concentrations in forage. On the other hand, mycotoxin concentrations could be high in forage with low mold counts due to toxin production pre-ensiling. Viewing a forage assay with high mold counts or high mycotoxin levels is never a pleasant experience for a forage producer. Taking the time to review the production practices that resulted in the particular forage can help change the course for future forage crops, however.

Grain News: December 18, 2018 – Market Facilitation Payments

jim photoYesterday in Washington the President has authorized the second round of payments from a 12-billion-dollar aid package for farmers stung by the U.S. trade war with China, but did not specify an amount.

“Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers and Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. I have authorized Secretary Perdue to implement the 2nd Round of Market Facilitation Payments,” he said in a Twitter post.

Corn export inspections last week reached 34.8 million bushels, moving slightly ahead of the prior week’s total of 34.5 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year, which began September 1, are now at 629.6 million bushels, trending 73% higher year-over-year. Japan was the top destination last week, with 11.6 million bushels.

European Union corn imports for 2018/19 reached 389.7 million bushels as of December 16, which is up 41% so far compared to 2017/18. The EU is currently a net grain importer this marketing year for the first time in a decade, due in part to a record pace of corn imports.

Soybean export inspections reached 35.8 million bushels last week, moving slightly higher than the prior week’s tally of 34.0 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year, which began September 1, are now at 557 million bushels, down more than 41% compared to the same point a year ago. Spain was last week’s top destination, with 8.5 million bushels.

The National Oilseed Processors Association’s latest monthly report shows a November crush totaling 166.959 million bushels, which is the largest November crush on record but slightly below October’s all-time best of 172.346 million bushels. Analysts were expecting NOPA to report a larger crush of around 168.444 million bushels.

Wheat export inspections reached 25.1 million bushels last week, moving 52% ahead of the prior week’s total of 16.5 million bushels. Cumulative year-to-date totals for the 2018/19 marketing year, which began June 1, topped 430 million bushels but remain nearly 15% below the pace of 2017/18. Mexico was the No. 1 destination last week, with 3.3 million bushels.

Landmark Grain will be offering again this year the very popular “Average Grain Pricing Program”. This will be for new crop 2019 corn and beans and is a short-term contract design to pick up the seasonal trend for higher prices. There is no knock out or doubling up with this contract. Deadline for signing up will be March 15th. with the contract running from March 18th.  through July 12th. Contact your Landmark Grain Marketing Specialist for more details. With that I would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Jim Fleming

Grain News: December 13, 2018 – Holidays Almost Here

Melissa of Landmark

With the holidays almost here, do you have your offers in for old crop and new crop? Call any one of us about setting up a grain marketing plan. Look out to Spring of 2020, there are some good numbers for corn available now. If you are making money at those levels sell some and offer some at a higher price.

Soybeans are all over the place. You need to have offers in to take advantage the quick swings, we have seen in the last week. Export numbers are disappointing due to the lack luster buying from China. At 8 a.m., the USDA announced the sales of 1.13 million metric tons of soybeans to China. The market was looking for a larger number.

Corn continues to do little but trade a bit each way. Continue to work offers and figure out your break-even number for old and new crop.

Wheat traded the highest since September. Russia’s ag ministry will again meet with grain exporters on Dec 21 according to reports to discuss grain exports and the market outlook. Traders fear the Russian government will take steps to limit wheat exports going forward. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange

cut their Argentine wheat estimate to 19.0 mmt from a previous estimate of 19.2 mmt due to frost and hail; 57% of their wheat has been harvested. Look for wheat to continue to change with news coming from the World market.

Keep an eye on our upcoming winter marketing meeting dates. Have a great holiday season and enjoy the family time.


Grain News: December 11, 2018 – WASDE Report Out Today; Trump Tweets “Productive Conversations”

Kasey of Landmark


There are a few news articles to catch up on today-

The new Farm Bill is finally getting presented to the House and Senate today. Hopefully there should be some resolution as it is processed as early as next week. What will this do for grain? It is said to have improvements to the major commodity programs. It also looks like there will be more incentives for conservation programs.

WASDE report comes out today at 11:00am. We will have better numbers as to what will happen in South America as they come into harvest with the drought that they have been faced with.  South America should be on your watch list. As you know, they have been very competitive in the bean market and have been helping China out in their time of need. Between the WASDE report and Trump’s morning Tweet of:

Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump

Very productive conversations going on with China! Watch for some important announcements!

You could see some movement in the grain market. Call your grain originator to get an open offer in if you feel the market will reach your target price for old or new crop.

Final comment for the day, Landmark has come out with a Bushel Tracker spreadsheet where you can see fertilizer cost and grain price to create your profit. For more information call any of the other grain originators or myself to discuss how that can work for you!


Grain News: December 6, 2018 – World Supply and Demand News

Josh of LandmarkIt is no surprise the market continues to look at headlines for direction. Last night CFO of China’s most important technology company was arrested in Canada and is being extradited to the US. The arrest appears to be related to alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran. This headline interests me as it relates to the grain market. So far grain wires have not spoken much of technology and intellectual capital and how it relates to the negotiations, but these issues are all included in bargaining mix which sure adds complexity to our soybean exports. Grain wires report of new cases of African swine fever in China and wonder if China will buy 5 mmt of beans for their state reserves.

In world supply and demand news, private exporters reported sales of 198,120 metric tons of corn to Mexico while Algeria looks to Argentina for their corn needs. Ukrainian corn harvest is expecting a record-breaking harvest this year at 70.2 mmt with an average corn yield of 122.5 bpa. Weather maps for South America remains generally favorable.

WASDE report will be released on Tuesday, December 11th and normally this time of year the trade is in a debate over the January grain stocks report, but it seems like spring planting intentions are already taking up that space. Maybe stocks are a forgone conclusion or maybe acres are just that interesting of a story? I would choose the latter. SRW had a hard time getting seeded this fall and we are already seeing spreads and interest reflect lower wheat acres but how much and how many of these acres will get added into the corn and bean discussion? If the SRW acres discussion isn’t interesting enough the corn/bean ratio suggest we will see a sizable shift to corn while South America ramps up bean production but there is the overarching question of what kind of say will farmer financing have in the acres discussion (beans are much cheaper to put in the ground). To bring it full circle somehow the discussion over US/China intellectual property is in some why effecting spring planting intentions. At this point it seems prudent to read less headlines and spend the time looking at your costs and if there is an opportunity to sell 2019 corn and beans put an offer in and enjoy the holidays.

Grain News: December 4, 2018 – Trade Truce

Judy of LandmarkLast weekend’s meeting at the G20 summit in Argentina has positive impact on the market.  The results of the dinner between President Trump and Xi was a “trade truce” that will result in the US not raising tariffs on Jan 1.  There was also the signing of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

After the dinner President Trump tweeted:  “Farmers will be a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China.  They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately.  We make the finest and cleanest product in the World, and this is what China wants.  Farmers, I LOVE YOU!”

Also on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressed optimism about the future of an overall trade agreement with China.  He said China has a current offer on the table valued at $1.2 trillion in additional commitments.  It consists of more than just agricultural goods, but agriculture will be a part of the Deal.

Corn is trading higher this morning on spillover strength from soybeans.  Corn exports last week reached 40.8 million bushels, falling in the middle of trade estimates.  Mexico was the No. 1 destination.

Soybeans are trading higher this morning.  Buyers appear to have the prove it to me attitude.  Exports are still lagging with Argentina the biggest destination.  There is still a lot to digest over the China truce.  Negotiations with China have already started.

Now that harvest is slowly coming to a close please keep in contact with your grain marketing specialist to work on marketing bushels in the bins as well as 2019 crop.  We have many marketing tools in our toolbox to help you market your crop.   Please contact us to discuss your needs.