Posts By: Kindra Plumb

Don’t Forget About Fall Tank Maintenance

Smaller, more intricate parts make today’s modern diesel engines more prone to injector failure and filter clogging, thus making it more important than ever to keep tanks and fuel clean. Fall is the ideal time to perform tank maintenance to remove water and other contaminants before cold weather hits.

Proper tank maintenance helps ensure the fuel supply stays clean and free of harmful contaminants in your storage tank — and remains that way until it reaches the fuel system. Removing water, microbes, and other impurities from the storage tank prevents them from entering your fuel system where they can lead to corrosion, filter plugging, and ice formation that severely hampers engine performance.

Managing the impact of water in your storage tanks is the foundation of proper tank maintenance. A significant amount of water in the tank will likely cause problems including oxidative degradation (rust, scale), particulates and microbiological growth.

AquaFighter simplifies testing for water buildup and resolving the problem. It uses a dip stick test to check for the presence of water and then uses one of four filters, depending on tank size, to absorb suspended water, which prevents bacteria from forming in the fuel tank. Removing bacteria from fuel significantly reduces the risk of diesel filter clogging.

For more information about AquaFighter, please contact your CHS certified energy specialist.

Schilling onboard as new controller

We are pleased to announce that Sueann Schilling has accepted the Controller position for the CHS Grainland, CHS (AIP), and CHS (Yuma) business units.

Sueann has worked at CHS for the past 14 years as an accountant.  In that time she has gained experience in a multitude of areas including accounts payable, accounts receivable, mark to market, general ledger accounting, CHS accounting policies, and extensive knowledge in Energy Force and implementation.  This experience will provide an excellent background for her new role.  She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Regis University.

Sueann’s official transition date will be Monday, August 16th. 

To reach out to Sueann, please email her at Sueann.Schilling@chsinc.com.

Information and innovation drive corn yields higher

Steve Millage spends countless hours sifting through data and results from his on-farm ten-acre test plot to continually better corn yields on his farm.  While 2020 may have been a challenging year, both on-and off-farm, Millage reaped the prestigious honor of being named the 2020 National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Yield Contest State Winner for Colorado in the no-till non-irrigated category. He attributes his win to careful seed variety selection based on his test plot results and innovative farming practices.

Millage has been submitting entries in the contest since the 1990s.  During those years, he’s won first place twice and second or third place 13 times.  The 2020 winning entry was Dekalb® DKC57-99RIB DG-VT2PRIB, which yielded 85.5 bushels/acre in the no-till, non-irrigated category.  Millage also submitted the second-place entry in the 2020 contest, Dekalb DKC51-20RIB DG-VT2P.  This variety yielded 80 bushels/acre in the no-till, non-irrigated category.

On-farm test plot

“The key to trying to stay on top of varieties is to have a test plot on your ground,” Millage said.  He credits his on-farm test plot for his success throughout the rest of his acres.  He doesn’t plant any varieties that haven’t gone through his test plot the year before.

Millage attributes his farm’s success to Dekalb corn varieties.  In the past ten to 15 years, Dekalb Hybrids have outpaced other seed corn brands on the Millage farm. Dekalb has brought varieties to Northeastern Colorado that perform well on the Millage farm.  The Dekalb DroughtGard® gene has been a real game changer, bringing yield and standability to his test plot varieties.  

Millage found that skip-row planting is beneficial in the often drought-stricken Northeastern Colorado region.  He began this practice of skip row farming (planting two rows, then skipping a row, then planting two more rows, etc.) about ten years ago.  Skip-row planting creates a moisture “sink” for corn roots to draw moisture from during the growing season.

Advanced technologies

Millage began farming in 1975.  By the 1990s, his goal was to raise 40 bushels/acre dryland corn.  Each year, he has worked hard to increase his knowledge of corn growing.  Seed companies such as Dekalb have advanced their hybrids and technologies and his yields have trended higher as well. Now his goal is to raise 100 bushel/acre dryland corn.  To reach his target yields, Millage reviews results from his own test plot and test plots on other farms and yield data from Climate FieldView™.

Millage has received an assortment of prizes throughout the years from his winnings.  In a typical year, Dekalb would send him on an all-expense paid trip to the Commodity Classic, which is annually held each spring.  This event features educational programs, speakers, entertainment and a trade show.  While the Commodity Classic was cancelled this past spring, Millage still walked away with a large banner, a new charcoal barbeque cooker, a box of steak, lobster and shrimp, a bottle of whiskey and a neon Dekalb sign.

Cooperative help

Thom Simpson serves as Millage’s CHS agronomy sales representative (ASR).  He also takes an active role in the on-farm test plot and assists in variety selection.  “It has been a real joy working with Steve over the past 13 years to make his farm successful.  Steve is one of the few growers that calls to schedule a test plot every year,” Simpson said.

For more information on seed varieties, contact Simpson at 970-520-1529 or by email at: thom.simpson@chsinc.com

Chemical arrives via rail at the Holyoke Shuttle

Creating connections to empower agriculture – that’s the slogan at CHS and this statement drives our business decisions each day.  The CHS shuttle facility, located northeast of Holyoke, ties together agronomy, grain and rail in one location.  The availability of a facility like this provides CHS with the unique opportunity to capitalize on the marketplace and receive product in a better cost position.  This provides cost savings benefits to growers when they purchase their crop nutrients and crop protection products from CHS.

Two trains, which were booked up to six months ago, arrived at the Holyoke shuttle within a few weeks of each other in December 2020.  These trains contained urea ammonium nitrate (32-0-0), which will eventually be applied to fields across northeastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska.  Additionally, CHS can receive base fertilizer products such as super phosphoric acid to make 10-34-0 and ammonium thiosulfate (12-0-0-26). A typical railcar unit will contain 110 cars and deliver 11,000 ton of product.

Once the product is unloaded, it is safely stored at a warehouse in Holyoke.  When spring rolls around, the product will be blended to the grower’s specifications at the newly constructed liquid plant, which sits at the same location as the shuttle.  CHS uses these base products and will blend according to each field’s requirements. 

Most of the liquid fertilizer used by CHS is domestic, but some of the dry fertilizer is imported from overseas.  While CHS may import some urea ammonium nitrate, the vast majority is domestically produced. 

When sprayers and planters begin covering fields again this-coming spring, think back to the long process to get product here and the careful planning that takes place to deliver a high-quality product to growers’ fields.  CHS works diligently to create connections of value for all growers and customers.

Grain Summary Report Launched in MyCHS

We’re launching another new feature available to our producers through the MyCHS app! The Grain Summary is a new report that totals a customer’s grain payments over a calendar year or any selected timeframe.  It can be found in the top left menu on the home page of MyCHS under the Reports drop-down section. 

Benefits of the Grain Summary:

  • Subtotals of dollars paid by commodity
  • Pull grain payment information easily by calendar year, or customize the date range
  • Data includes gross amounts, total charges and net paid amounts from grain sales
  • Easily print or save the report as a PDF for records or to send to key business partners
  • Updates several times per day and is available online 24/7

Log into MyCHS today to see the benefits of this new feature. If you have any questions, please contact mychs@chsinc.com.

Exciting new feature on MyCHS

Just in time for fall harvest, a helpful new feature is available to producers through the MyCHS app!  Proof of Yield, a report that totals a customer’s grain deliveries by bushels over any selected time frame, is now available in MyCHS.

With the Proof of Yield report, producers will be able to:

  • See subtotals per commodity
  • View simple summaries of total grain bushels by year and commodity
  • Pull historic data, as past years are often needed and MyCHS provides that data
  • Verify the details of grain deliveries including dates, bushel, weight, test weight and moisture
  • Easily print or save report as a PDF

Other benefits:

  • It’s useful for insurance and U.S. government for crop claims (determines APH history, too!)
  • It’s flexible to pull by month, calendar year, or a custom date range
  • Easy access to send to key business partners such as accountants, insurance agents or tax partners
  • No waiting for mail delivery

Click here to enroll in MyCHS today!

CHS supports the Holyoke Fire Protection District through $3,000 grant

Keeping our communities, customers and employees safe is a core value at CHS. Through the CHS Country Operations Seeds for Stewardship grant program, CHS is proud to support local organizations that focus on safety, agriculture industry leadership and supporting rural communities.

The Holyoke Fire Protection District received a $3,000 grant from CHS Grainland to purchase grain bin rescue equipment for the Holyoke Volunteer Fire Department through the CHS Country Operations Seeds for Stewardship grant program.

“Rural communities work hard to keep people safe while building and developing tomorrow’s leaders,” says Evan Fust, general manager, CHS, “We are thankful for those who are dedicated to making sure our communities continue to be strong, safe places for our customers and employees to live and work together. Their great work helps build connections that empower agriculture and our communities.”

Since 2019, CHS ag retail locations across the U.S. have awarded more than $340,000 to local organizations through the Seeds for Stewardship program. The funds provided in 2020 are being used to help protect firefighters, engage students in ag leadership and education projects, sustain local 4-H and FFA groups, and build gathering places where 4-Hers and community members can meet.

The grain rescue equipment purchase includes a portable rescue grain auger, patient rescue stretcher, and rescue personnel harnesses. 

“Through training and a response to a grain rescue call, we had determined the need for this additional equipment.  CHS Grainland has been a great partner for the Holyoke Volunteer Fire Department over the years, and we appreciate their continued support on this project,” says Holyoke Fire Chief Stacy Rueter.

Liquid plant undergoes major overhaul

Big changes have taken place at the CHS liquid fertilizer plant, which is located northeast of Holyoke, CO.  Originally built in 2000, the plant and its components were becoming obsolete and challenging to repair and operate.  Thanks to countless hours from CHS employees, both local and some from South Dakota, the liquid plant underwent a complete upgrade to serve area growers in a more efficient manner.

Simply put, the liquid plant blends fertilizer for growers.  Eighty-five percent of what leaves the plant goes straight to growers’ farms.  The plant in NE Colorado serves as a hub to get product in and out.  Bulk fertilizer comes in on a rail car and leaves via truck, blended to the farmer’s specifications and delivered to their farm.  Deliveries stretch from SW Nebraska to western Logan County in Colorado, then south to Yuma County, Colorado.

The liquid plant renovation project began in December 2019, with the first load being hauled out from the new facility in April 2020.  The updated liquid plant now boasts a new, fully automated system, new bulk storage tanks, re-routed piping to increase efficiency, upgraded pumps and a building to house micro-nutrients.  Thanks to the fully automated system, farmers will be able to load fertilizer 24/7 from the plant.  Currently, CHS employees are the only ones who can load at any time of day, but it is the goal to have the system set up by this fall for growers to load their own product at any time.

In addition to increasing efficiency of the liquid plant, the improvements will make CHS more competitive in the marketplace.  Product can be sourced faster because bigger units can be taken in.  The cost savings of buying large bulk units can be passed on to the grower.  It is the goal of all involved with the project to continue growing the market in Colorado and SW Nebraska.

Celebrating Five Years of the Shuttle

“Creating connections to empower agriculture.”  This is CHS’ purpose and a guiding principle for directing business operations.  CHS Grainland made a significant investment to create connections for our area growers in 2015, when the shuttle facility opened northeast of Holyoke.  Five years and 108 trains later, the shuttle gives global commodity marketing options to eastern Colorado and western Nebraska farmers.

The addition of the shuttle opened doors for different grain marketing strategies, which benefits our growers because it gives them a better basis for their crops.  Utilizing rail transportation vs. semi-trucks allows grain to move quickly and travel great distances.  One train loaded at the shuttle averages 435,000 bushels.  This is the equivalent of 375 grain trucks!  Shipping grain via rail presents a timing advantage that CHS Grainland didn’t possess prior to the shuttle.

Since the shuttle facility opened in 2015, 108 trains have been loaded as of May 13, 2020.  Corn, wheat and milo have been shipped out via rail, with each commodity destined for various locations.  Corn trains typically head into Mexico or to the Gulf of Mexico.  Occasionally corn will head to California ethanol plants or Texas feedlots.  Wheat can go to either the Pacific Northwest (PNW) or the Gulf of Mexico to be exported, or it will go to domestic mills to be made into flour.  Milo goes to the PNW or the gulf to be exported overseas.  

Loading one train takes anywhere from six and a half to eight hours.  Once the railroad delivers the train to the shuttle, CHS employees take over the controls and have 15 hours to get it loaded.  Usually a team of seven employees is used to load a train, which has an average of 115 rail cars.  One employee operates the train locomotives.  Three employees open and close the individual railcar lids and put seals on.  The seals are put in place for tracking purposes and show that the contents of the car have not been tampered with prior to arrival at the final destination.  One employee ensures bottom gates do not leak and hoists new seals up to employees on top of the car.  One employee controls the flow of grain into the railcars and coordinates the locomotive movements.  Another employee will set and release individual car brakes to assist in the movement of the train, checks the elevator facility as the grain is loaded, and takes care of any elevator issues that arise.

While the train is being loaded, small samples of grain are automatically sent down to a lab staffed by third party USDA certified grain grading individuals who ensure that the grain going into the cars meets certain specifications set forth via the buyers.  These will be the official grades used in the sales transaction of the grain.

CHS Grainland is one of four grain elevators in the region that have shuttle capacities and the ability to ship large quantities of grain out via rail.  The facility has succeeded in creating connections and opening new market opportunities for our local growers.

Frank Struck, Jr. hired as credit manager

We are pleased to announce that Frank Struck, Jr. has been hired to manage credit for our customers and owners. Frank will be providing support for the three Colorado CHS business units: CHS Grainland, CHS M&M, and CHS AIP.

Frank started in his new role with CHS on April 13, 2020 and brings a variety of experiences and knowledge to this new position.  He has been in the credit and collections business for the past 20 plus years. He began his career in third party collections, then became a legal investigator for an insurance subrogation law firm. Most recently, Frank has spent the last 11 years in the loss mitigation and credit risk department at the fourth largest credit union in Colorado.  Frank grew up in Denver and received an Associate of Arts in Spanish from the Community College of Aurora and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from CSU Global.  Currently, Frank lives with his two sons in Brighton and is looking forward to relocating to northeastern Colorado by the end of July.

In this new role, Frank will be working with our customers to find credit solutions tailored to their specific needs. He is also responsible for managing credit in accordance with the CHS Global Credit Policy.

You can reach Frank at 970-466-3420 or frank.struck@chsinc.com.

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