Saturday, June 25, 2016

Meet Connor Klingele, Burrus Intern from Illinois

Connor Klingele is from a town of 600 people called Liberty, Illinois. Liberty is a rural, agricultural community that prides itself on the tight knit relations formed between community members. Connor will be a sophomore at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in the fall, pursuing a double major degree in Agribusiness Economics and Accounting. He is heavily involved in many clubs at SIU and takes an active role in what goes on throughout the College of Agricultural Sciences at SIU.

A quote from his previous employer very well describes why I wanted to join the Burrus team. My previous employer once told me something that I will never forget. He said, “Product will sell itself, it’s as simple as that. All we have to sell is our service… because that’s what separates us from everyone else.” I saw a lot of this same mentality when looking at Burrus. Burrus Hybrids is a family owned and operated company that truly puts their customers first. The service and care they provide is something that is often hard to come by. Their goals and images were one that I could easily get behind and be proud to be associated with. 

Connor was so shocked when he received a phone call within a couple weeks of first speaking with Burrus recruiter, Craig Patty. “I didn’t think it would be possible for a freshman to obtain an internship, so I was ecstatic when I found out that I was hired!"

My first few weeks at Burrus have been great! I’ve had a lot of fun meeting my fellow employees and the Burrus family, and I’ve already learned so much! My experiences have varied from all-inclusive training, agronomic training sessions, assisting with planting plots, making deliveries, and picking up return items from customers.

Connor has really valued the personal interactions that he has experienced with those inside the company and our customers. The Burrus family and their employees are all very down to earth people and have done a tremendous job making me feel like an important part of their operation. He also loved being able to interact with farmers from all over the area. They are always up for a good conversation and are helping him to learn new things every day.  What shocked him most about Burrus was their diverse combination of top of the line products offered through collaborative partnership with industry leaders, as well as their own research.

Connor states that, “I did not grow up on a farm, so I am hoping to take away a lot from this internship. I have already learned a lot about the differences in genetics and seed treatments and hope to expand my knowledge further in that area. I also want to pick up on any information or tips that will be related to sales.” 

Something different Connor would have read up on is different agricultural issues that farmers are facing. It is always important to be able to carry on a conversation and show that you are knowledgeable.

Burrus is a great company to work for if you are wanting to get a foot in the door in the seed industry, or expand your knowledge and experiences. It is rare to find a company who holds their values and morals so tightly. They do everything they can to ensure that every encounter with their company is nothing less than the best. If you want to be treated well, gain very valuable experience and knowledge then a Burrus internship is the way to go.

Meet Hayden Swanson, Burrus Intern in Illinois

Hayden Swanson is from Galva, IL, which is a small town that is primarily an agricultural town, but does offer some industrial jobs. He will be transferring to Western Illinois University in the fall of 2016 as a Junior. Not only does he go to school and work as an intern, but he is also a volunteer fireman. Hayden also enjoyed participating on the soils judging team at Black Hawk East campus in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016. 

From the years of working on the farm and enjoying the agricultural peers surrounding him, Hayden decided agriculture was his best career option. His father is a Burrus dealer and enjoys the company. A close, family friend also worked for Burrus and explained the internship program to Hayden. 

Excited was the only word he could use to describe his feeling when he received the call, considering he had just received the call after moving hay all day and was ready for another route in life to continue.  Hayden told me, “I’ve enjoyed my journey with the internship very much and have met a lot of wonderful people. I enjoy traveling from farm to farm and having good discussions with growers as well as future growers.” Working with Matt Montgomery and collecting agronomic knowledge has truly impacted Hayden. He also enjoys meeting farmers and getting their opinions and advice.  One of the things Hayden is amazed by is how large of a region Burrus covers!

 A positive relationship with Burrus and several growers, as well as some agronomic background, is something that has helped Hayden thrive as an intern.  In order to be more prepared for his internship, he wishes now that he would have attended more Burrus hosted events with his father to meet people as well as learn about the products sold. Hayden highly recommends this internship program because not only is it a great learning experience, but also an "eye opener" in the field of agriculture. 

Maggie Prather, Burrus Agronomy Intern

Meet Brent Frump, Burrus Intern in Illinois

Brent Frump is from Taylorville, IL, which is almost in the middle of Illinois. He will be a Sophomore at the University of Illinois this fall. Brent is a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, and is involved in various clubs and organizations on campus. He hopes to get more involved next year! The decision to choose his agricultural major was not a hard one, because he has grown up around agriculture his entire life.  His grandfather is a farmer and both of his parents have been grain merchandisers since before he was born.

 He first heard about Burrus from one of his best friends, Griffin Greene.  He was intrigued by the fact that it was a family company and that they treated each worker as such: family. This was a huge part of his decision to intern with Burrus Seed.

            When Brent first got the call from Burrus and found out that he had been offered the internship, he felt excited. In fact, he was so excited that he remembered that he was on his way to Springfield, IL at the time and forgot where he was going after he hung up from the phone call!

The first few weeks with Burrus have been fantastic for Brent. The people that he works with are more than just helpful, but are the kind of people that you will look up to forever. One thing that Brent didn’t know about Burrus was that they have such a wide variety of corn hybrids and soybean varieties. Initially, he thought that the only thing that Burrus produced was Burrus brand seed, but little did he know that the company had a multi-brand strategy and they are even partners with Hughes Hybrids!

From his experience with Burrus Seed, he hopes to learn more about the sales part of agriculture. Brent also wants to use this internship to help him find out if he would want to be a grain merchandizer or a salesman for an agricultural company. Brent would recommend that everyone try for an internship with Burrus.  He believes Burrus gives an opportunity to their interns like no other, especially in the quality of employees. Every person in the company would give you the shirt off their back if necessary. Brent is honored to work for a company as great as Burrus Seed Farms, Inc.  

Maggie Prather, Burrus Agronomy Intern

Friday, June 24, 2016

Meet Morgan McCormick, Burrus Intern in Missouri

When Morgan received her call about the Burrus internship, she immediately got excited. The first thing she did was run into the living room to tell her parents and boyfriend! Like any proud parent, her Dad was very excited for her new adventure. 

Morgan McCormick is from a small town in North Central Missouri called, Sumner and grew up on a farm about five miles outside of town. Sumner, Missouri is known for goose and duck hunting! In the park in Sumner, there is the World’s Largest Goose named Maxie. Sumner holds a festival every year called the Goose Festival.  Morgan goes to college at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri and is a hurdler on the Track and Field team. She is currently majoring in Agriculture Business, but is highly considering switching to Agronomy thanks to Dr. Matt Montgomery. 

Donny Marnin, Burrus Account Manager, was Morgan’s influence when asked why she was an Ag Business major and she hopes to one day to become a part of Burrus family. Donny would come to her family’s farm and help her dad with his seed. He was always willing to help and enjoyed his job! She always joked with him saying that all he does is drive around and talk to farmers. That is what Morgan wanted to do and now she’s living the dream! 

Morgan’s first couple of weeks at Burrus were very interesting. Rob Church, one of the Burrus Account managers that she is able to work with, had a lawn mowing accident, so she did a lot of sorting seed. The second week, Morgan was only able to work half days, because she was still running track and had practice. Morgan said to me, “I found myself more excited to go to work than go run at practice." Go figure! She would highly recommend the Burrus internship program to anyone! The “extras” that Burrus has given interns such as a truck and trailer as well as getting paid is a huge bonus. Everyone at Burrus is willing to help each other out. She believes that is what makes Burrus such a unique and great company. Lastly, Morgan hopes to learn and take away more information about the different corn hybrids, learn about the many different crop diseases, and how they affect the crop.

 Maggie Prather, Burrus Agronomy Intern

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How will the Heat, Drought, and Hail affect Critical Corn Growth Stages (V6 and V12)?

Recently, in training, we have been learning about critical growth stages of corn and this is what we have been discussing:

V6 Corn Growth Stage
Most of the corn has just reached or is just past the V6 corn growth stage.  As most know, this is one of the first critical growth stages because the growing point/tassel is above the soil surface. You can actually cut the lower stalk in half and find them. This growth stage is also very, critical because, thanks to the genetics, the kernel rows are being determined.  If you look at the base of the plant, you might see some lower leaves starting to die as well as some tillers. Some hybrids may form more tillers than others.  Lastly, if you dig, you will find nodal roots, which is going to allow for rapid stalk elongation as well as new leaf development every few days!   

What an Agronomist Fears at V6 Growth Stage
As an agronomist, I fear Mother Nature, because the growing point (hail, flooding, frost) can be now injured, since it is above ground.  Hail has also caused some major leaf defoliation at this growth stage in some areas and this could affect the row number, now determined, by the plant.  If hail causes total defoliation, with a healthy growing point, you could be looking at around 50% yield loss.  Without insurance at this point, a replant could be too late, if hail lowered plant populations.  Many have asked if they should apply a fungicide after hail at this growth stage.  IowaState has done research on this subject.  They have concluded that it would be a "flip of a coin", if you gained any yield with fungicide application, so at this point, I would not recommend fungicide.  Sometimes, plants injured by hail could be infected with common smut, but it rarely is an issue.  In addition, with dry conditions, leaf anthracnose will not be an issue. Corn rootworm hatch and feeding has begun (lightning bugs and shed of cottonwood tree are natural indicators). 

Hail injury at V5/V6 growth stage near Rockford, Illinois

V12 Corn Growth Stage
Some areas were able to plant during a very, early planting window at the beginning of April.  If so, these corn hybrids will be quickly approaching the V12 growth stage in the next few weeks.  If you grab the top of the plant and pull, you can count the number of leaves to the tassel.  Depending on the planting date and maturity, we could be looking at VT the first or second week of July.  We know the kernel row is set, but at this critical growth stage, the number of potential kernels and ear size is being determined. It is possible for a new vegetative growth stage to form every few days and if you look towards the base of the plant, you may discover brace roots forming on top of the soil. 

What an Agronomist Fears at V12 Growth Stage:
As an agronomist, I know that environmental stress can affect the number of potential kernels and ear size at the V12 growth stage.  On average, the plant could be utilizing around .25 inches of rain per day and a major amount of nutrients, so if limited, yield could be affected.  If the plant experiences extreme heat and drought, around 3% yield loss could be lost each day.  Defoliation from hail is now more of a concern and, if the stalk and growing point are not affected, complete defoliation could cause up to 80% yield loss.  I am worried about bacterial diseases like Goss's wilt, if hail injury has occured.  Fungicides will not protect against bacterial diseases, but hybrid resistance will manage this disease.  So, in most causes, if the weather remains dry and if no fungal diseases are present, I would not recommend fungicides.  Lastly, we have had some strong storms pass through in the last week.  You can now start to see difference in hybrid root strength or discover that roots are otherwise compromised.  Corn could bounce back, but at this growth stage, it is possible to start seeing some yield loss (2 to 6%) if corn remains lodged.  Weed escapes, especially waterhemp, can be found lurking beneath the canopy, which means competition for moisture, during drought.

Waterhemp escapes could compete for moisture in V9/V10 corn in Sangamon County, Illinois


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Scout Soybeans for Slug Damage

Some recent fields visits within the Northern Burrus footprint have shown indications of slug damage to soybean fields. Some scouting at dusk revealed signs of slugs in emerging soybeans at the end of May. 

Slugs are very delicate animals that can desiccate rather easily. They actually are little more than moist flesh folded over itself. Moisture and cool temperatures are therefore essential for slug populations to thrive.  Temperatures ranging from the 60s to the 70s with high relative humidity create the ideal environment for these members of the mollusk family. The need for moist conditions also explains why slugs prefer fields with abundant residue. Residue provides a moist microenvironment which once again allows adult slugs and their eggs to persist. When conditions become unfavorable, many slugs will die and others will go into an inactive state.
Soil moisture may keep seed slots open allowing high slug populations to inflict more stand-reducing injury. They do their damage with a tongue-like appendage that is very abrasive. Slugs may be able to reach the seed and/or growing point. Both are usually below ground with the growing point, moving above ground only later. Slugs grind long streaks or holes in leaf tissue giving that tissue a “ragged” appearance. They are usually deemed the culprit because they leave slime trails on ragged plants and on the ground surrounding ragged plants.
The heat should stop slugs, but we are still visiting fields in Mid-June and evaluating their feeding on leaves and stems:

If slug issues occur often within fields with heavy residue, row cleaners, strip till, and ensuring the seed slot is closed after planting may be some other management options.  Planting early and shallow disking may also help to defeat heavy slug pressure.  Pesticides or slug baits such as metaldehyde or iron phosphate can be used, but may not be economical and washed away from heavy rain.