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Agronomy Accuweather News

Posted in News

Record Average Temps in December

ag records

With the 5th warmest November on record followed by the warmest and wettest December on record it has many of us wondering how these crops will make it through the winter. For the most part winter hasn’t been bad on these crops.

Steve Fuecht
Malone Agronomist

Alfalfa was Prepared

Now let’s talk about alfalfa. Alfalfa starts to harden or prepare for winter when the crown temperature reaches 60 degrees. Hardening actually increases by the fluctuating temperatures of daytime highs around 50 degrees and the lows near freezing. Looking back at November and December of 2015, November daytime temperature averaged 49.6 degrees with 15 nights at or below freezing and December averaging 42 degrees with 22 nights at or below freezing. This weather should have allowed the alfalfa plant adequate time to prepare for its winters nap and stocked the cellar with enough food to get it through winter. December 28th and 29th blessed us with a nice blanket of snow to keep our alfalfa plants tucked in tight. So what do we have to be concerned about? Fortunately there was little to no frost in the ground at the time of the rain.

As we lose our snow cover, some fields will have or had ponding. What is the fate of alfalfa there? Injury can occur in 1 to 3 weeks. Death is possible if flooded for 2-6 weeks. If 6-8 inches of growth was left in fall, this can reduce the chances of ice sheets forming and provides a little insulation to protect those crowns. Heaving is another concern in alfalfa, which normally occurs on heavy soils that have high moisture content, in which we have plenty of moisture. Repeated freezing and thawing causes the soil to expand and contract thus pushing the tap root out of the soil. Tap roots that are pushed out of the ground 1.5 inches or more will likely have broken taproots and will suffer damage from harvesting equipment. These fields will be better off terminated and rotate to a crop like corn.

In 2015, the winterkill in Minnesota and Wisconsin was caused by crown temps below 13 degrees according to Dan Undersander, UW Extension Forage specialist. Our snow cover protected us from these issues and also, our average lows rarely reached those temps.

The last thing to ponder on is the fact that our snow cover blanket is gone now exposing our alfalfa plants to the elements. Hardened alfalfa crowns and roots can be injured when air temperatures drop below 0. When temperatures rise to the 50 to 60 degree mark and the soil temperature at the 2 to 4 inch soil is 40 degrees or more for several days alfalfa will start to break dormancy. When this happens the alfalfa plant opens up its cellar doors and eats the last of its winter reserves to fuel the plant for new growth from the crown.


Modest temps in November and December allowed our wheat to tiller and grow late into the fall. This helps increase the head count for this season. However, it also exposes us to a greater risk of freeze damage on exposed tissue. Early observations look good. Very little freeze damage is observed due to the snow cover protection. Localized pockets of water and ice have been observed. However, widespread winterkill is unlikely at this point.

According to Phil Needham, of Needham Technologies, planting wheat 1” deep protects the crown. It also promotes the plants to all emerge uniformly due to consistent moisture and temperatures. Uniform emergence makes for uniform heading. “High yields come from uniform fields.” Making the field level and firm before planting allows for a uniform emergence.

Ben Franz
Chilton- Agronomist

Helping You.... "How to help your pet shed some pounds"

Posted in Country Store News

Country Visions Country Stores have trained, knowledgeable staff members to help you with questions about your pets nutrition. 

The following was provided by April at Country Visions Kiel Country Store location...


1. CALCULATE THE CALORIES---Use this general guide for calculating per day calories needed for your pet. Take your pets weight and divide by 2.2 then multiply that by 30 and then add 70. (example: 26/2.2=11.81X30=354.30+70=424.30 In this example, approx. 424 calories per day.)

2. MEASURE MEALS---Use a measuring cup! After calculating the calories your pet needs, figure out how much to feed at each meal and MEASURE IT!

3. TREATING TASTEFULLY---Using low calorie and sugar free treats, or ones with specific health benefits are great ways to reward your pet. Be sure to figure those extra calories into the daily calorie intake, or all efforts will be lost.

4. FRUITS AND VEGGIES---Make a move away from highly processed treats and try offering green beans, broccoli, sliced apples, bananas, or ice cubes. These are nutritious healthy options for many dogs. A flake of salmon or tuna are great alternatives for cats.

5. EXERCISE ANYONE?---Did you know that 20-30 minutes of fast walking can boost immune function, heart health, and tame down some behavioral problems in dogs? Forwalking dog cats, try getting interactive self-motivated toys that keep your furry feline busy, so they are not creating havoc in your home while you are away at work.

6. SUPPLEMENTS---Almost every pet and person can benefit from a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement. These fish oils are a potent anti-oxidant. L-carnitine also has shown to help aid in weight loss and promote lean muscle mass.

7. CARB TAKE OUT---Most of our pets don’t need a high carb diet, yet many pet foods contain 60% or more. Try feeding low or no-grain food with a protein source as the first ingredient. High protein/low carb diets are recommended for weight loss.


Entry Date Extended for 2016 Youth Broiler JackPot Shows

Posted in Country Store News

IMG 1209Country Visions Country Stores in De Pere and Kiel will be hosting this year's Youth Broiler JackPot Shows.  The show dates are June 28 and 29.  The contest is open to youth ages 3 to 18 years.  The entries will be accepted up until May 17-18 or until 25 entrants are reached at each location at any of the Country Store or Feed Store locations.  An entry fee of $20 is required when you enter and order your chicks.  Pick-up dates and further details are available in stores and herepdfjackpot_show_2016.pdf

What is a Co-op?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a cooperative as a user-owned, user-controlled business that distributes benefits on the basis of use. Member users, or patrons, own and democratically elect the board of directors, which provides oversight of the co-op. Net earnings are distributed on the basis of proportional use, or patronage, rather than on investment.

Cooperative associations have been organized throughout history to carry out many different activities, often in response to economic and social stress. Cooperative organizations in the United States first appeared in the late 1700's and today co-ops can be found in all sectors of the U.S. economy. Consumer, purchasing and farm supply cooperatives are all organized to provide the specialized goods or services that their member patrons want to buy.

By combining member demand, a co-op can provide better availability, selection, pricing, or delivery of products or services to individual consumers, businesses or farmers. Farm supply co-ops cost-effectively supply input, fuel and agronomy services to farm business owners.