One Landmark Team Makes a Difference

One Landmark Team Makes a Difference
Landmark Services Cooperative donates over 115,000 meals to families in need

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, December 23, 2019 – 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 115,614 meals to Second Harvest Foodbank through their NBC15 Share Your Holidays campaign, far exceeding last year’s number of 81,982.

LSC is proud to be a diamond sponsor and support this campaign to help end hunger in our communities. This is the seventh 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, online pet/farm animal costume contest, balloon pop, soup & bread contest, ice cream social 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.

Grain Exchange

Every year the harvest season feels unique, this year was especially different as we powered through a Halloween with winter-type weather and now Christmas feeling more like autumn. Moreover, here at Landmark our grain dryers are still working very hard on BEANS, crazy!  Phase 1 China trade agreement, USMCA and South American weather are the headlines in this holiday interrupted week as CME will close grain trading at 12:05 on Christmas Eve and re-open Dec 26th at 8:30am.

Chinese President XI has stated his support of Phase 1 agreement to trade has private analysts already inching higher exports for next year and predicting 20/21 ending stocks-to-use forecast below 10%.  This trade deal is now expected to be signed in January and take effect 30 days later.  The USDA is working on a website to answer questions how Phase 1 will unfold.  Meanwhile Sen. Grassley hopes to put the USMCA agreement before the Senate finance panel Jan 7th.

South American weather forecasts are favorable with as much as 85% of Argentina seeing showers while Brazil could see normal rainfalls in the 6-10 day diminishing short-term concerns of production stress for spring planted crop.   Fund position has remained short corn and soybeans.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Facing Forage and Grain Obstacles in 2020

As we close out the challenging harvest season of 2019, our producers will turn to their next set of obstacles: lack of feed inventory, high yeast counts and mycotoxins in forages, and lack of feed quality. The Landmark animal nutrition team can help with these hardships and educate producers about mitigation strategies.

Addressing the lack of feed inventory, the most common issue is hay shortage. We advise seeking out alternative sources of fiber in diets rather than buying hay, which can be expensive and difficult to find in the current market. Our formulation team has been searching for other sources of fiber to keep overall feed costs down and bring value to your operation.

Next, we face the problem of high yeast counts and mycotoxins in forages and grains. We offer testing to assess your situation, and your nutritionist can counteract any identified issues with specialized additives or binders.

Lastly, the Landmark team strives to educate producers on making the highest quality forage possible. You have the opportunity to work with Dr. Larry Roth, a forage specialist from Provimi, who lives by the saying, “Treat your forage like a bunch of dollar bills. It doesn’t matter how many dollar bills you put into the bunker, it’s how many you get out.” In cooperation with Larry, we offer fermentation analysis on forages and look for ways to assist you in harvesting the highest quality feed possible from your land. To achieve this goal, we have worked with Provimi to develop an industry-leading line of inoculants.

At Landmark, we offer these inoculants at the end of the year for a discounted price. Contact your local Landmark representative to benefit from the following discounts: Pre-Booking until 12/31/19, Booking until 2/28/2020, and in-season prices after 2/28/2020.  Be sure to take advantage of these specials to help your bottom line!

Season’s Greetings from the Landmark Nutrition Team

Grain Exchange – An Early Christmas Present

Ag markets received an early Christmas present with announcement of phase one trade deal with China. The details of the deal are slowly being released. The agreement specifies $32 bil gain in agriculture purchases or $40 billion/year. The “when and how much” grain is the big question. It seems like China will make good faith effort to accelerate US purchases of soy, DDG’s, sorghum, bean oil, corn, wheat and pork.

Also in the news, USMCA was on the fast track to approval but hit a road block over labor issues included in the agreement. Trade negotiators met and cleared the issue. The House is expected to vote on the pact Thursday, but the Senate will not take up the legislation until later in January, after the impeachment trial.

Corn has rallied 17 cents in the last three days. Corn could have more upside potential if ethanol sales open up with China. December 2020 is now trading above $4.00 on the board. Tyson received clearance to ship poultry from all US plants to China. IEG estimates that China could purchase up to 330 million bushels US corn in 2020 for both food and ethanol use. This would translate corn futures trading closer to $4.20 in 2019/20 and $3.70 in 2020/21.

Soybeans futures are higher after US trade leaders reaffirmed the finalization of phase one trade deal with China. Argentina’s new government announcement of higher export duties on corn, wheat, soybean and soy products also contributes to the rally in soybeans. Soybeans also got a boost with the announcement that the new tax package included extending the $1 per gallon break for biodiesel producers, which expired the end of 2017. A lot of positive news is driving the rally in soybeans.
Wheat had an explosive session yesterday on news that Argentina is raising export taxes on wheat that could possibly increase US business. The prospect that China will increase US wheat purchases also fueled the fire. Wheat has gained 21 cents in the last 2 days.

There has been a lot of news to digest the last few days. As always keep in touch with your grain marketing specialist to work offers and take advantage of the rallying markets.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Grain Exchange

The USDA supply and demand report will be out this morning at 11:00. While the last USDA update of the year typically is a non-event, traders are worried about the terrible pace of corn exports and if further cuts in demand and increases in ending stocks will be an unwelcome surprise. Today’s report will hold the attention of the trade for a few minutes then it will all be about trade news and the Sunday Dec 15th tariff deadline.

The last weekly harvest report was issued yesterday with corn coming in at 92% (94% estimate).  The slowest states are 74% harvested in MI and WI while ND is well below half-way done at 43%.  This leaves about 1.1 BBU still in the field.

The President’s administration sent House Speaker Pelosi a new proposal with changes for the USMCA, Pelosi should be feeling the pressure to get this voted on and approved by the year end and a vote could come as soon as next week.

China imported 8.28 MMT of soybeans in November, the highest number since August and 53.9% ahead of last year.  Their hog herd also continues to grow with last month’s numbers putting their increased numbers up 2% from October, and sow herd numbers are up 4% from October.

Trump administration sees partial waivers as potential fix in biofuel debate -sources – Reuters…will consider granting small refineries exemptions on a part of their blending requirement rather than taking a 100% or nothing approach of the past…this had been done even when the Department of Energy had recommended only partial exemptions. The ethanol industry is waiting for the 2020 blending requirements to be finalized, the EPA last week sent their latest proposal to the White House for approval.

End of harvest is near, be safe.

Jim Fleming

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.

What Caused The Molds and Mycotoxins In My Forages?

Article by Larry Roth, Provimi North America, Inc

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.

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 Exchange

As the market is looking forward to the December 10th crop report, local farmers are pushing hard to try to get the crop out of the field.  Average trade estimates for U.S. corn ending stocks is 1.919 billion bu, soybeans at 476 million bu and wheat at 1.01 billion bu.  IEG released a smaller guess at Argentina 19/20 corn production vs the USDA at 46 MMT vs 50 MMT and a smaller bean production of 52.5 MMT vs USDA at 53 MMT.  The private analysts had Brazil with a larger crop in corn and beans than the USDA.

While much can be made of the production side that is only half of the story as there are a lot of questions with the demand side of the equation.  How do the politics of Argentina affect the bean meal market?  How much demand will China have with their hog situation?  When do we get a new headline on trade relations out of Washington?  USDA did report 245,000 tons of beans sold to unknown in 19/20 this morning.

Much of the chatter in the marketplace is getting tuned out by the growers in the north as their focus is to will their way through the growing season.

Good luck and be safe!

Grain Exchange – A Good Week For Harvest

Well, it looks like a great week to get some harvest done or finish.  The market continues to look to news to rally with.  Harvest remains slow at 89% complete on corn and 96% complete on beans.  Planting in South America remains slow and markets are watching weather.  South America has a couple of areas that are on the drier side.

Beans still needed to be harvested in Wisconsin (14%) and Michigan (15%).  Beans seem to trade both sides of the market with concerns on trade wars and consolidation with funds.  October bean crush numbers was a record at 187 million bushels.

Corn harvest is right in line with trade expected.  North Dakota still has 64% to harvest while WI has 36%.  Corn remains uncompetitive against South America and Black Seas.  Please see below for bushels left by states.


Make sure to have offers working for Spring and Fall 2020.  We are here to start your marketing plans for Fall 2020 and beyond.  Enjoy the sun this week!