Leading With Service

Harvest Land Co-op employeesThe past two years have seen a dramatic increase of cooperative mergers in the Midwest, as once fierce competitors find benefit in merging to create larger organizations that are better able to weather volatile changes in prices and market conditions – and provide optimal customer service.

Last year, Harvest Land Co-op Inc. and Ag One Co-op Inc., which together serve part or all of 21 counties in west central Ohio and east central Indiana, made the decision to join forces and do business under the Harvest Land brand. The benefit of additional resources has served the combined cooperative well, putting 400 employees and 60 facilities under one organization and delivering over $300 million in annual sales.

In particular, the cooperative’s agronomic services have blossomed as it has made improvements to its comprehensive YieldPro program. Harvest Land describes the program as “a partnered process that integrates agronomic expertise and technology by developing and implementing site-specific crop solutions that optimize yield and maximize profit. Or, as Otto Clausen, the Decatur, IN, branch sales specialist says more simply: “completely servicing the whole acre.”

Clausen and Branch Manager Jamie Cressman work out of the Decatur, IN, location, where they have worked to bring the YieldPro program to all the cooperative’s grower-customers. The roots of the program date back to combining two successful programs. Ag One started offering precision agriculture services back in 1985 when the Dunreith branch received its first Soilection machine. Harvest Land started offering comprehensive precision agriculture services in 1996.

Sampling And Seed

The YieldPro program has evolved over the years, and in particular over the past four seasons with the addition of an in field diagnostic component. Today, YieldPro is a complete consultation and service solution for grower clients who buy into the program, from seed selection, nutrient analysis and crop planning to in field diagnostics.

Growers can enroll acres into the program at any time during the season. But like the traditional site-specific agronomy program, the first step for the new customer is geo-referenced soil analysis. This serves as the basis for building a total acre cropping recommendation for the season ahead.

Like many successful full-service retailers, Harvest Land has increased its emphasis on seed sales in recent years. Its seed efforts have gotten a boost from the YieldPro program — seed sales have grown 50% from  2007 to 2008.

Seed placement is a critical aspect of Harvest Land’s comprehensive approach to crop management. Making the best seed recommendation takes into consideration the soil test values, the genetic backgrounds of the available hybrids and varieties, and the appropriate use of fertilizer and crop protection products.

Trait selection is important, but Clausen and Cressman assert that understanding the genetic basis for variety selections is just as critical. For example, with corn, they take into consideration the region where each hybrid was developed as a factor in the decision process.

On-farm trials are also factored into variety consideration in addition to the cooperative’s own test plots. The idea is to unearth the strengths and weaknesses of each seed hybrid or variety, place these factors up against field factors, and make the best seed placement. Then, using all the information about field and seed, Harvest Land sales specialists can make the best determination about the nutrient and crop protection recommendations, says Clausen.

Crop protection includes not only applied products, but seed treatment as well. The Decatur location features a state-of-the-art seed treatment facility with built in features that reduce seed damage and minimize weighing error.

Clausen says that Harvest Land thrives on having as much program flexibility as possible on all inputs, and has come to value seed and input programs that allow that flexibility. He points to the AgriEdge program from NK Seeds, which Harvest Land carries along with Croplan, Dekalb, Asgrow, and Mycogen, as a good example.

“We base our recommendations on field by field recommendations, so we need a certain amount of flexibility,” says Clausen. “AgriEdge give us that flexibility.”

As an integrated part of the YieldPro program, getting growers to lock in seed decisions has become more viable. By harvest, Clausen says that about 80% of the upcoming year’s seed orders are booked, and by Christmas, 90% of orders are committed.

Walking The Acres

In-season is where Yield-Pro really shines, when the focus is on putting people in the field as frequently as possible. The agronomy department brings college students on board to spend the summer looking at fields and generating reports for growers. Cressman and Clausen are also out walking fields during the summer — Cressman focuses on larger acre farms and key customers. “In 2008, we had 17 students scouting fields across our 25 ag locations,” says Cressman. The company plans to bring in more than 20 next year.

The field techs receive daily briefings from the Harvest Land agronomy team, and then hit the fields. Each field tech can cover from 400 to 500 acres per day. “You can only maximize yields by staying on top of things,” says Clausen.

An upgrade offering available to growers is CropWatch.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Leading With Service

Management Stories

ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Chesapeake Bay
StewardshipKeeping A Watch On Water Issues
February 2, 2016
During a down cycle in the market, it’s difficult to think about investing for the long term. For retail businesses, Read More
FertilizerFort Wayne 4R Farming Event Set For February 12
January 29, 2016
The Nutrient Stewardship Council will host a complimentary “4R Farming 4 Sustainability” educational workshop Feb. 12 in Fort Wayne, IN, Read More
Legvold Farm, Northfield, MN
LegislationASA Notes Progress, Urges EU To Improve Biotech Approval Process
January 29, 2016
The American Soybean Association (ASA) urged the European Commission today to continue its work in addressing delays in the approvals Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina Nearing Deal To Buy Syngenta For Record $43 B…
February 3, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 Read More
Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide…
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Potash storage at Growmark
FertilizerThe Phosphate And Potash Outlook For 2016
February 2, 2016
Like other commodities, prices of the leading plant nutrient products dropped sharply in 2015. At this writing, the price of Read More