Expanding Land and Expanding Demand

Published in Seed World – October 2020; Editor – Alex Martin

As cover crop seed continues to ramp up in popularity, will there be enough land to produce to meet the demand?

What have you heard in terms of cover crop news? Have you heard that the demand is increasing?

Well, did you happen to read a news story that suggested there might not be enough land to meet the demand for cover crop seed in the coming years?

In June 2020, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, in tandem with researchers from the University of Minnesota, University of Southern California, Saint Louis University, University of Hawaii and the Alliance of Biodiversity released a paper suggesting that sustainable agriculture has one major limitation facing it: the land to produce cover crop seed.

According to their press release in June, researchers believe between 3% to 6% of the 92 million acres of cropping land currently used for corn in the United States may be required to produce cover crop seed for that land area. The researchers estimated this range based on a study completed on 18 cover crops currently used on corn farmlands.

But, is this something that cover crop seed companies are worried about?

Cover Crop Demand

According to Risa DeMasi, co-founder and director of marketing of Grassland Oregon, cover crops aren’t anything new, even though the demand has been increasing year after year.

“Cover crops aren’t new by any means,” she says. “They’ve morphed and changed through the millennia. You may be familiar with the Three Sisters from Native American Traditions. Even our ancestors like Thomas Jefferson talked about cover cropping in their writings.”

And since then, DeMasi says people are really coming back to cover crops because of two reasons: the increase of fertilizer costs and regenerating soil resources.

“There’s a desire to control as much as you can in a natural system with fertilizer and other inputs,” she says. “However, we’ve learned since then that there are some consequences. Soils are wearing out, and it’s taking more and more inputs to get the same production.”

Not only that, but with the increase of fertilizer comes the increase in fertilizer costs.

“Farmers started to feel like they were losing control of their farms,” DeMasi says. “Cover crops help farmers take back that control, become more profitable and protect one of their most valuable assets, the soil.”

Terry Schultz, CEO of Mustang Seeds, says they’ve been seeing an increase in education and demand in cover crops as well.

“In the last five years, we’ve seen an increase in demand in folks using cover crops to help their land be more productive,” he says. “However, so far in 2020, we haven’t seen a large spike in demand.”

Schultz says one trend he’s seen in 2020 was that profitability was being stretched thin in terms of commodities, and due to that, there’s been a lackluster of enthusiasm for cover crops.

“In 2019, we had such a wet year, there was a lot of prevent planting in South Dakota,” he says. “In 2020, we saw more prevent plant in North Dakota. There are a lot of acres here that didn’t get farmed both years.”

Similarly, DeMasi notes a similar trend in demand.

“We’ve seen more people talk about cover crops lately,” she says. “And there have been some spikes in demand, such as in 2019.”

DeMasi says overall, COVID-19 hasn’t affected cover crop production majorly this year, but they are about a month late on some harvests due to weather and other conditions.

“Everything’s coming in well, but we are seeing a few issues in certain species,” she says. “We still see plenty of demand.”

All-in-all, Schultz notes that it certainly hasn’t been their biggest cover crop year.

“Last year, many farmers wanted to plant cover crops, but it was too wet for them to get in the ground,” he says. “This year, we’re moving some cover crops, but I really believe demand is tied to cash flow from farmers.”

Pulling the Trigger 

Both DeMasi and Schultz note one major thing about cover crops — it can be fickle for a farmer who’s never used cover crops before to pull the trigger.

“Putting a cover crop on the farm won’t give a grower a ROI this calendar year,” Schultz says. “It gives it to them the next year. It gives those farmers a hard decision to make when it comes to those restraints.”

Schultz says when reaching out to growers, particularly in the Eastern corner, he’s hearing a lot of feedback that farmers are finding it tough to make the decision to spend money on cover crops.

“We’ve got a very good inventory of cover crops, and there’s no shortage,” he says.

Schultz notes that one reason, besides prevent plant acres, they saw a spike in 2019 was a large USDA payout for planting cover crops.

“In 2020, that payment isn’t out there,” he says. “That was helping to drive cover crop sales in 2019. The producers that have been cover cropping for several years continue to do so. Even though it’s agronomically the right thing to do, growers new to cover crops find it difficult to pull the trigger.”

And unlike the research might suggest, currently, DeMasi isn’t worried about the land to cover crop seed ratio yet.

“Some of our seed is already sold out,” she says. “We aren’t close to overall shortages yet.”

However, DeMasi says one of the most important things that the cover crop industry can do right now is coach and educate growers new to cover cropping to plan ahead.

“We need to be communicating better and plan better,” DeMasi says. “We have people who want to buy the seed the day before they plant it. You can’t grow, produce, clean and harvest seed in 24 hours.”

Instead, DeMasi says ideally they should plan 18 months in advance.

“The more we plan, the better we can communicate and meet demand,” she says. “We’re not going to run out of opportunities to plant for the need, as long as we know what the need is.”

To find more information and data about cover crops in the U.S., please visit The Cover Crop Information Map developed by GO SEED at gocovercrops.com.

2020 Self Guide Plot Tour Winners

CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO ATTENDED OUR 2020 SELF GUIDED PLOT!  Here is a list of the winners!!

GRAND PRIZE CHUCKWAGON – Kyle Ashling – Montevideo, MN

SMOKERS:

Jennie Shumaker – Howard, SD

Arlan McNeil – Stratford, SD

Mark Braun – Mellette, SD

JR Perleberg – Pingree, ND

Aaron Olson – Warren, MN

Trent Eidem – Felton, MN

Sam Maanum – Beardsley, MN

Danelle Wersal – Morgan, MN

Dominic Facile – Morgan, MN

Skipper Pederson – Campbell, MN

Steve Anderson – Farwell, MN

Wayne Gronseth – Mitchell, SD

Nancy Christensen – Chamberlain, SD

Todd Jongeling – Estelline, SD

Mark Fuose – Armour, SD

John Neill – Elkton, SD

Joshua Hentz – Hankinson, ND

Danielle Gehrels & Ally Lembcke receive promotions at Mustang Seeds

Mustang Seeds Promotes Danielle Gehrels to Sales Administration Supervisor and
Ally Lembcke to Sales Administration and Customer Service

Madison, SD, September 3, 2020– Danielle Gehrels has recently been promoted to Sales Administration Supervisor at Mustang Seeds, Inc. in Madison, SD.   She will be responsible for supervising the Sales Administration Team in Madison along with assisting the Operations and Logistics team.  Danielle stated, “When I first joined the Mustang Seeds team, I started as the Small Grains and Front Counter assistant. From then on, I continuously strived to better myself and my knowledge so I would be able to grow within the company. I feel very fortunate to have been asked to advance to a new position that has now led me to the Sales Admin & Customer Service Supervisor. I am very blessed to be a part of the Mustang Seeds company and cannot wait to see what the coming year has to bring.”

As Sales Administration and Customer Service, Ally Lembcke will be responsible for the efficient handling of sales orders and to assist the District Sales Managers in their territories.   Ally stated, “I started at Mustang Seeds as a college intern working in the Accounting Department. After receiving excellent guidance and mentorship I knew I wanted to join the Mustang Seeds family full-time after college. I’m excited for the opportunity to step into my new role in Sales Administration and Customer Service, and I look forward to the future growth of the company.”

“I would like to welcome Danielle and Ally to their new positions within Mustang Seeds and I  see a bright future moving forward for both of them”, stated Josh Nelson, Operations and Logistics Lead.

Mustang Seeds has a complete line-up of seed corn, soybeans, and small grains suitable for growers in the upper Midwest.  Mustang Seeds prides itself on exceptional customer service and offering a wide range of products to fit any farm.

Tayler Anderson Added to the Red Horse Seed Production Team

Tayler Anderson has accepted the position as Accounting Manager at Red Horse Seed Production.  Tayler is a graduate of the University of South Dakota with his Bachelor of Business Administration/Accounting Degree along with his Master of Professional Accountancy.  Tayler will be responsible for managing all daily accounting activities, maintaining accurate accounting records, and preparing invoices and statements within the accounting department.  Tayler stated, “I am very excited for the opportunity as Accounting Manager along with being back in my hometown.  RHSP is a continuously growing and respected company and I am excited to be a part of that.”

“I am excited to have Tayler join the RHSP team.  His excitement and background in accounting will be an excellent addition to the company,” stated Justin Wise, General Manager of Red Horse Seed Production.  Red Horse Seed Production, Inc. is responsible for the operations and distribution of all seed products for Mustang Seeds and Coyote Seeds.

Mustang Seeds, Inc. Adds Legend Seeds, Inc. as a Distributor of Mustang Brand Seeds

Mustang Seeds, Inc. is pleased to add Legend Seeds, Inc. as a distributor of Mustang Brand Seeds.  Legend seeds will offer corn and soybeans through the Mustang Seeds brand along with small grains and cover crops.

Legend Seeds is a regional independent seed company headquartered in DeSmet, SD. Both Mustang Seeds and Legend Seeds product lines will match up well and both companies will continue to provide quality products and personal service to their customers.  In addition to distribution, this agreement will allow for both companies to share research, testing, and data to support Mustang Seeds product performance.

Terry Schultz, CEO of Mustang Seeds – “I have worked with Legend Seeds CEO, Glen Davis and President, Tim Bratland while serving on the Independent Professional Seed Association board.  Mustang Seeds and Legend Seeds are both independent seed companies that share some of the same values and goals.  I look forward to working with the Legend Seeds team to grow the Mustang Seeds brand further into our sales footprint.”

“We are excited as we work with Mustang Seeds to distribute products through the Mustang brand that complement the Legend Seeds portfolio across our dealer network.  Whenever independent companies can add efficiencies and value for our dealers and their customers, it is a win for everyone.  Our shared values and determination to serve our customers with more choices and the best products available, ensures the future is bright for both Mustang and Legend dealers and customers.” – Glen Davis, Legend Seeds CEO

For more information about both companies you can visit their websites at www.mustangseeds.com or www.legendseeds.com.

Adjusting to the Times

Published in the South Dakota Soybean Leader – Summer 2020

Farming is all about adjusting and adapting to changing circumstances. There are so many things outside of a farmer’s control, that the ability to react to shifting conditions can make a big difference in profitability and long-term viability. That adaptability also applies to agribusinesses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many aspects of life into disarray and has changed how most people and companies operate, including Mustang Seeds. Ordinarily, summer is a busy time of activities and events for growers to find out how products are performing or to get an idea of new products coming down the pike. As we’ve all seen, so far, 2020 has been far from an ordinary year.

“In a normal year, you could expect to see Mustang Seeds at a variety of plot tours, customer events, farm shows like Dakotafest and Farmfest, county fairs, or in a parade,” says Mustang Seeds Sales Manager Eric Brandenburger. “Due to COVID-19, many of these events have been cancelled.”

That’s where the adaptability comes in. Mustang Seeds is taking some alternative approaches to share information with growers this summer because knowledge helps farmers make informed decisions and few decisions are as impactful as selecting the right seed.

“We have to be creative this year to safely stay in front of our customers,” Brandenburger says. “Following the recommended guidelines, we will still meet with customers, just not in the same large event formats. We will also be introducing self-guided plot tours at select locations. This will enable customers to tour our plots and using a QR code, access data on each corn or soybean in our lineup. They will also have a chance to register for one of the incentives we will be giving at each plot.”

Plots will feature the latest in Mustang Seeds’ wide range of soybean traits and genetics. Farmers who take a self-guided tour can register for a smoker to be given away at each of the 17 plot locations. One grand prize, a smoker grill combination mounted on a trailer called a chuckwagon, will also be given away.

Farmers can enjoy the convenience of self-guided tours that easily fit into busy summer schedules. However, growers who are interested in learning more about seed performance from the experts, there are options for them as well.

“In addition to the self-guided tours, we will also offer personalized plot tours for interested customers,” Brandenburger adds.

Because Mustang Seeds offers a wide range of soybean seed options, it’s important that farmers learn about all the products that are available and see how they perform in real-world conditions.

‘Mustang Seeds offer a choice of traits including conventional, GT soybeans, Roundup Ready 2 YieldSoybeans, LibertyLink GT27, Enlist E3, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, and coming soon, the new XtendFlex soybeans,” Brandenburger explains.

Each year, farmers throughout the upper Midwest battle difficult weeds like waterhemp, kochia and giant ragweed. Pending approval, Xtendflex® soybeans will offer farmers another choice to help manage those challenging weeds.

“XtendFlex soybeans are tolerant to dicamba, glyphosate, and glufosinate,” Brandenburger says, “giving the grower more options for tough weed control.”

The methods for meeting with farmers and sharing information may have changed, but Mustang Seeds is committed to meeting the needs of current and future customers. To learn more about our seed options, our self-guided plot tours or to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Mustang Seeds representative, visit us online at www.mustangseeds.com or contact your local sales representative.

 

 

New soybean varieties at Mustang spur Red Horse growth

By MARY GALES ASKREN, Staff Reporter Jul 31, 2020

As Mustang Seeds expands its footprint, Red Horse Seed Production also grows to meet the increased demand. Evidence is seen in the changes to the facility located on S.W. 10th Street on the Madison bypass.

For the third time in five years, a row of 10 hopper bins is being added to the south side of the lot. In addition, Red Horse is adding a new seed cleaner and reconfiguring the warehouse to include a new repackaging center.

“I grow the Red Horse side of things to meet the demands of Mustang’s growth,” said CEO Terry Schultz.

With the changes, Red Horse is changing the way seed, primarily soybean seed, is handled. Rather than cleaning the seed prior to repackaging, the seed will be cleaned prior to storage. By doing this, Red Horse can repackage the seed more quickly when it is needed.

“We can clean it and have it ready and package it to meet the demand of the sales,” said Justin Wise, general manager of Red Horse Seed Production.

Previously, Red Horse would have to clean the seed and then shut down the cleaning facility to repackage the seed, slowing the response time. Now, seed can be repackaged on demand, improving the response time.

Cleaning the seed prior to storage also offers greater flexibility for customer service.

“We can load a semi out of the bin or bring the seed into the packaging center,” Schultz said, explaining that seed sold in Mustang Seeds’ ever-expanding service area is often packaged while local producers may simply load it into a semi.

These changes at Red Horse are being made in response to growth that Mustang Seeds is seeing. In recent years. Mustang Seeds has not only partnered with GDM, a company based in Argentina which is doing innovative research to improve soybean production, but also acquired Terning Seeds, a family-owned seed company in Minnesota.

“That increased our footprint and the need for different packaging types,” Schultz said.

With the acquisition, Mustang Seeds has increased its sales area east into Wisconsin. GDM was attracted to Mustang Seeds when the Argentine company began to look for a partner in the

U.S. because of growth like this, according to Schultz.

“We’re growing faster than any other seed company in the area,” he said.

He attributes this to a business philosophy that the company has had since it was started in 1963 — promoting its customers’ profitability.

“You build that rapport with your customers and that’s what helps you grow the business,” Schultz said.

This philosophy shapes not only relationships that the company builds with its customers but also business decisions.

In 2019, when flooding prevented area farmers from planting their crops, Mustang Seeds allowed customers to bring back their seed, reducing the hit that farmers would take. The seed was stored in a climate-controlled facility over the winter, tested this spring and sold this spring.

“This year, we have some of the best-looking crops I’ve seen in mid-June,” Schultz said. While harvest is weeks away, current conditions indicate farmers could see bumper crops this year.

The new hoppers at Red Horse are also necessary in response to another business decision at Mustang Seeds which is intended to increase customers’ profitability. In 2021, Mustang will begin to offer exclusive varieties of soybean seeds that result from research being conducted by GDM.

GDM uses gene-editing technology to replicate conventional breeding methods in a more precise and efficient manner. As a result of this research, the exclusive varieties should be among the highest yielding soybeans, according to Schultz.

“We will have the exclusive lines traited by 2022,” he said. Current varieties, such as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, offer traits upon which producers have come to rely.

Schultz is excited by this development, not only because it’s cutting edge and innovative but also because it’s consistent with his philosophy.

“The biggest thing has been to offer the customers choice and products to make their farms profitable,” he said. “If our customers are profitable, that’s what we focus on.”

ROWS OF HOPPER BINS enable Red Horse Seed Production to store and process soybean seed which will be sold by Mustang Seeds. With the addition of new, exclusive varieties by Mustang Seeds, Red Horse is adding another 10 bins this year.

Photo by Mary Gales Askren

Jill Strom promoted to Executive Project Administrator

Jill Strom has recently been promoted to Executive Project Administrator at Mustang Seeds, Inc. in Madison, SD.  Jill’s main responsibility will be managing distribution agreements and wholesale contracts along with assisting in budget development, reports and general point of sales for growers.  Jill began working for Red Horse Seed Production in September of 2019 as Accounting Manager.   Jill stated, “I feel fortunate to have been considered for this new position with Mustang Seeds. I am excited for the opportunities and diversity this position will create while still being able to utilize my accounting knowledge. I have enjoyed coming to work every day since I started working at Red Horse Seed Production in September and I am glad to be staying within the Mustang Seeds/RHSP family.”

“Jill will be a great fit for this new position at Mustang Seeds, her attention to detail and accounting background will be key to this position.  We are pleased to have her as part of our Mustang Seeds Team as we grow and continue to meet our customer’s needs,” stated Terry Schultz, CEO of Mustang Seeds.

Mustang Seeds partners with DSU for unique ag research project

Dakota State University has launched a new research project in conjunction with Mustang Seeds — the first collaborative project between the two, according to Terry Schultz, CEO of Mustang Seeds.

“It’s kind of a first for Mustang Seeds, and it’s a first for DSU to do a project like this,” Schultz said in a phone interview earlier this week.

Andrew Sathoff, assistant professor of biology at DSU, will be conducting an alfalfa disease survey, focusing on Aphanomyces root rot. With information obtained through the survey, producers will be able to select the best variety of seed for their alfalfa fields.

“We’re excited that DSU has a researcher that wants to work in alfalfa research,” Schultz said. “The more information we can provide our area producers, the more efficient they can be on their farms.”

Sathoff is a recent addition to the DSU faculty, having joined last fall after completing his Ph.D. in plant pathology at the University of Minnesota. There, he did research in crop improvement and more or less fell into alfalfa research because that was the primary area of interest for his adviser, Deborah Samac, who is also a supervisory research geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

“It turned out to be a great crop to work with,” Sathoff said. “There’s a lot of work to be done and it’s an important crop, too.”

He said no one is currently doing research on alfalfa in South Dakota, although alfalfa is the third most valuable crop in the U.S., and South Dakota farmers rank second in the nation when it comes to the number of acres they plant.

“My developing research program will try to fill this void and help farmers produce high-quality alfalfa in South Dakota,” Sathoff said.

He explained that while alfalfa is not native to the area, it is a perennial which has adapted well to the climate. Too, it is a high source of protein, making it a good food source for beef and dairy cattle.

“A lot of people grow it in South Dakota for feed,” he noted.

One of the challenges that producers face is Aphanomyces root rot, which functions much like a fungus and will cover a wide area once established.

“It produces spores. They can stay viable in the soil for 10 years. Winter doesn’t kill it. It’s a tough pathogen to deal with,” Sathoff said.

He explained that Aphanomyces affects the plant at multiple stages of life, not only causing root rot in mature plants but also preventing seedlings from growing.

In order to determine whether the disease is found in the soil, Sathoff and a team including two DSU students will take samples from a field in which alfalfa is being grown or has been grown in recent years. Using growth chambers, they will then grow alfalfa under controlled conditions in that soil.

“You grow plants and see if the plants get sick. You use the plants as bait,” Sathoff explained.

DNA extracted from the plants will enable the researchers to determine what strain of Aphanomyces is found in a given area. This will, in turn, provide producers with information that could help them to make better seed choices.

“There are some chemical treatments, but your best approach is to plant disease-resistant seed,” Sathoff said. “If there is Aphanomyces in the soil, your yield could radically increase [with disease-resistant seed].”

Planting disease-resistant varieties will also increase the longevity of the alfalfa once it is established in a field, he indicated.

“One reason they lose productivity is they get infected by Aphanomyces,” he explained. “The plants won’t get infected if you use the resistant plants like that Mustang Seeds sells.”

With a grant of $16,000 from Mustang Seeds, this service will be provided free of charge to interested producers. Sathoff said they will be contacting farmers who have purchased alfalfa seed from Mustang Seeds as a starting point for conducting their research, but the research will not be limited to those producers.

“Right now, we’re just looking in the eastern part of the state, but we hope to sample a wide range of counties,” he indicated. “Ideally, we would go to the field and do the soil survey.”

Sathoff is pleased that DSU students Jenni Giles and Conner Tordsen will be assisting him with the project because they will be learning practical skills that could prepare them for future employment.

The current goal for the research project is to sample 50 fields in the area over the course of the summer. Producers interested in having their fields sampled can contact Sathoff by email at andrew.sathoff.edu.Save

Growing Together

Published in the South Dakota Soybean Leader – Spring Issue 2020

Developing new seed varieties is of little use if those new products don’t deliver value to farmers. Mustang Seeds relies on a network of growers to help deliver quality products that meets the needs of their fellow farmers.

Rocky Schreurs of Baltic, South Dakota is one of those growers. Schreurs farms with his brother-in-law and father, raising corn, soybeans and alfalfa. They also have a cow-calf operation.

“We have been a grower for Mustang Seeds for around 20 years,” Schreurs says. “We have been planting Mustang products for about 30 years.”

Schreurs says he likes working with Mustang Seeds because the seed is regional, and the company is family owned. Those factors are important, but the seed still has to perform.

“We even buy our equipment from a family owned company because that’s how much it means to us,” Schreurs admits. “Mustang is not just a sales pitch; they have good quality products.”

Schreurs says the corn hybrids he grows ranges between 95- to 105-day corn including Mustang 4296, 5700, 6800. Soybean varieties range between 1.3 and 2.1 maturity.

“At the end of a year, yield is the measure of the choices made during the season,” Schreurs says. After all, “we’re just trying to make a living.”

Mustang Seeds Row Crop Production Manager Dale Nelson says the relationship with growers around the region is an important part of the company’s strategy to deliver quality seed that farmers need.

“We do extensive internal trials at several locations throughout our sales footprint,” Nelson says. “As a regional, independent company, we rely on and pay much attention to our growers’ comments and yield information that they feed back to us. They have the opportunity to see the seed in many different soil types and yield environments, and with today’s technologies, they deliver very reliable information.”

Nelson says Mustang Seeds has added several new corn hybrids to its strong lineup for the 2020 growing season. Soybean trait and offerings also continue to expand including conventional, XtendFlex, E-3, XTend, LLGT27, RR2Y, and GT varieties. Four new exclusive conventional soybeans will be added to the Mustang conventional lineup including 0.5, 1.6, 1.8 and 1.9 maturities. The newest soybean trait offering will be the XtendFlex trait. Mustang will have four new offerings. Nelson expects many new E-3 options will be added to the lineup as E-3 was first released in 2020.

“We continue to see added interest in the conventional soybeans and strong interest in the E-3 soybean trait,” Nelson explains. “The XtendFlex will be a new trait I feel will have strong interest in our western sales area.”

Delivering what works for farmers in the region is Mustang Seeds’ mission. That effort is aided by working closely with farmers like Rocky Schreurs.

“It helps us on making sound judgments on the demand that may be needed the next production year for that particular seed need. Being a regional independent seed company allows us to be in touch and have a better pulse on the needs of our customers,” Nelson says.

To learn more about Mustang Seeds 2020 offerings or to connect with a company representative, visit mustangseeds.com.

Jon Waba promoted to Seed Treatment Specialist

RED HORSE SEED PRODUCTION PROMOTES
Jon Waba to Seed Treatment Specialist

Madison, SD, April 14, 2020– Jon Waba has completed the testing for general applicators seed treatment certification and has been promoted to Seed Treatment Specialist.  As Seed Treatment Specialist, Jon will be responsible for applying a seed treatment to several types of agricultural seed along with managing the seed treatment facility; Jon will continue to assist in the warehouse for picking, bagging, receiving and loading product.  Jon began working for Red Horse Seed Production in August of 2019 as a warehouse team member.   Jon stated, “I started at Red Horse Seed Production in August and I enjoy every day I come to work.  The environment is fun, easy going and the people I get to work with every day make the days go by fast.  I look forward to the seed treatment position and all that comes with it.”

“Selecting Jon for the seed treatment position was an easy decision.  He is a hard worker, detail oriented and is quick to pick up and learn new things.  He knows quite a few of our local customers, so when they show up at Mustang Seeds, they will have a familiar face to assist them,” stated Kelley Riedel, Row Crop Warehouse Supervisor.

Red Horse Seed Production, Inc. is responsible for the operations and distribution of all seed products for Mustang Seeds and Coyote Seeds.

Mustang Seeds – Acts of Excellence

Posted: Monday, March 23, 2020 3:59 pm

Two Madison businesses are among nine organizations which were to have been honored on Tuesday at an Acts of Excellence celebration in Watertown.

Organized by the South Dakota Hall of Fame, the Acts of Excellence program recognizes individuals and organizations which help to build a culture of excellence in South Dakota.

The celebration was scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. on the Lake Area Technical Institute campus in Watertown, but it has been postponed as part of a nationwide effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday morning, the state of South Dakota had 28 positive cases.

Both Mustang Seeds and Montgomery Furniture were nominated by retired Associated Press reporter Terry Woster.

“I’ve been doing a few Acts of Excellence submissions for two or three years now,” Woster said in an email message. “It’s kind of a nice program to recognize people and groups that are doing good things in South Dakota, people who are trying to bring excellence into their lives and their work.”

Connection to agriculture

Woster said Mustang Seeds interested him because of the company’s connection to agriculture.

“Nearly 60 years in a business, providing basic agricultural needs, never getting content, but continuing to try to improve and expand — it just seemed to me that was a pretty compelling story,” he wrote.

As he began to research the company, he found the article published in The Madison Daily Leader when Mustang Seeds entered into partnership with GDM, the company based in Argentina which is doing research which could result in improved soybean production in the area. That, too, intrigued him.

“I found that fascinating, that a local company would go global in that way and still remain a family business essentially,” Woster said.

Mustang Seeds is described on the South Dakota Hall of Fame website in this way:

“Ray Schultz family founded Mustang Seeds in Madison in 1963 with a mission to provide quality small-grain seed to area farmers. For more than half a century, the family and the company have remained true to that mission, with a range of products that includes corn, soybean, alfalfa, pasture grasses, oats, native grasses, cover crops and sorghum. Cover crops have surged in recent years, due, the company says, largely to education about soil health and carbon sequestration.

“Since its founding, the company has expanded to neighboring states with a market footprint from Montana to Wisconsin. It has added steadily to its product line, and recently it formed a joint venture with another family-owned genetic company, GDM Seeds, based in Chacabuco, Argentina. The linkup gives Mustang Seeds access to exclusive genetics and a broader range of seed products.

“The Madison-based company, now overseen by CEO Terry Schultz, pledges to remain focused on its customers, basing its product offerings on customer choice as it has since its formation in 1963. GDM uses gene editing in its research and production, which results in an improved product that is not classified as a GMO (genetically modified organism),” Schultz said in an article in The Daily Leader.

“In the article, Schultz quotes a GDM executive as telling him that the difference between a publicly-traded company and a family-owned business is that `They live for the (business) quarter. Families live for generations.’ That remains the Mustang Seeds philosophy.”

Existed before statehood

Woster said he has been familiar with Montgomery Furniture “for years and years.” He has even purchased furniture from the business, most recently a sofa and chair.

“When I saw somewhere on their website that they were established in business before South Dakota’s statehood, it hit me what an amazing run that is for any business. It was a natural to submit for recognition,” Woster stated in an email message.

Montgomery’s Furniture is described on the South Dakota Hall of Fame website in this way:

“Before there was a state of South Dakota, there was a Montgomery Furniture. For more than 130 years, Montgomery Furniture has served South Dakota families. And for all of that time, the same family has owned the business and has been a significant presence in the business community of South Dakota.

“In 1884, George H. Montgomery left Vermont, heeding Horace Greeley’s advice to `go West, young man.’ In 1888, a year before South Dakota became a state, Montgomery reached Alexandria, where he established the furniture store and a funeral home. The business grew and prospered, and in 1902, Montgomery and his brother-in-law, William Ryburn, built a two-story building in downtown Alexandria, housing the store, a bank, a law office and the Masonic Temple.

“Montgomery died in 1922, leaving his business in the hands of his son, W.R. Montgomery, and his son-in-law, Gilbert Loomer. A fire in 1964 destroyed the original building, but the family rebuilt. That new building houses Montgomery Furniture today.

“Over the years and over the generations, the business expanded, with locations in Madison, Howard, Arlington, Sioux Falls and Mitchell, offering furniture, home accessories and flooring. Currently, Clark Sinclair and son Eric of Madison are co-owners. Eric is the fifth generation of the hardy family that arrived in Dakota Territory, put down roots and stayed.

“Greeley’s full quote, sometimes forgotten, was `Go West, young man and grow up with the country.’ The family that started Montgomery Furniture and continues to operate it today certainly has done that.”

The other organizations being recognized this year are Dawn Leuning’s fourth-grade class at Deubrook for a recycling project; restoration of the Goss Opera House in Watertown; Lake Area Technical Institute’s internships for the Electronic Systems Technology, Robotics and Aviation Maintenance Technology programs; preservation of the Melette House in Watertown; a resource guide for traditional Lakota and Dakota games produced by South Dakota State University Extension; the Terry Redlin Art Center; and WW Tire Service with locations throughout South Dakota.

COVID-19

Mustang Seeds continues to work together to provide a safe working environment for our employees and customers.  Agriculture is considered a critical need and we will remain open for our customers.  In order to do our best at making this happen, we have implemented recommended safety precautions that our employees are expected to follow.

We thank each and every one of you for your continued business.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at 800.952.3234 or your local DSM.

We hope you are doing your best to practice social distancing to keep you and your loved ones healthy.  The Mustang Seeds team is working to stay healthy to keep you healthy.

 

 

Right Choice Now, Positive Results Later

Published in the South Dakota Soybean Leader – Winter 2020

Most farmers are eager to put a very challenging 2019 growing season in the rearview mirror. Extremely wet conditions throughout much of the growing season delivered nearly unprecedented challenges for Midwest farmers, especially those in South Dakota.

The best way to move on from a difficult past is to look forward to a brighter future. While there are no guarantees for 2020, proper planning now can make a big impact on crop performance and yield in the year ahead.

Dale Nelson, Production Manager for Mustang Seeds’ Row Crop Division, says in addition to soil fertility and weed management plans, “choosing the correct seed for the field is the start to potentially a good year.”

Nelson says that farmers have many traited and non-traited soybean varieties available for 2020. Mustang Seeds offers a full range of options that have been developed to meet the needs of South Dakota soybean farmers.

“Mustang Seeds is a family owned company offering many choices in soybean selections,” Nelson says. “The two most recent choices for 2020 planting are the Liberty Link GT27™ and the Enlist E3™ soybeans. Also in Mustangs offering are Roundup Ready XTend®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and conventional soybeans.”

Another new and exciting soybean trait will be the XtendFlex® soybeans with a 4-way trait stack, giving farmers options for herbicide choices. “We anticipate seed production planting in the spring of 2020,” Nelson says.

Choosing the right traits is important, but a variety of other agronomic considerations should weigh into a growers’ decision on what seed varieties to plant. Nelson says among the factors farmers need to consider are their farms’ problematic weeds and the best herbicide control for that field. Solid agronomics are also a consideration in soybean selection including row spacing, field disease history, white mold possibilities, soil pH, weed spectrum and soil texture.

“White mold was a widespread factor in 2019 with all the excess moisture in the fields,” Nelson adds.

Because 2019 ended on a wet note for many South Dakota farmers, it’s likely 2020 will start off wet, as well.

In addition to white mold, farmers may need to use seed options to manage crop stressors like Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC) and Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN).

“IDC is always a factor on fields with soil pH levels of 7.8 above, along with environmental conditions able to place additional stress to young soybeans plants. SCN is another stress factor on the soybean plant during its reproductive stage,” Nelson explains.

Soybeans carry white mold and IDC tolerance ratings to help farmers narrow their variety choice. Nelson says soybeans will vary some year to year depending on the environmental. SCN soybeans have a resistance rating as susceptible or resistant. Cyst counts in many areas are rising due to increased tolerance of the PI88.788 gene. Farmers can choose other options including seeds with the Peking genetic resistance, or growers can include a seed treatment for SCN defense.

Whatever the farmer needs, Nelson says Mustang Seeds offers growers a range of viable options.

Mustang Seeds has plot and product guide information available at www.mustangseeds.com. The website also includes contact information for local district sales managers who will work with growers and help them locate a Mustang Seeds dealer to service farmer needs.

 

A Critical Choice

Published in the South Dakota Soybean leader – Fall 2019

A Critical Choice

Seed selection is one of the most important management decisions farmers make each year. Once the seed is in the ground, there’s no turning back. Given the weather, late planting and production struggles of 2019, choosing what to plant in 2020 may be more challenging than usual.

In 2019, many farmers were forced to adjusting their cropping intentions because of planting delays from a cool, wet spring. Mustang Seeds President Terry Schultz says some growers were forced to exchange seed for an earlier maturing variety because of the compressed growing season.

Seed companies also face the same production challenges as farmers. Schultz says that could mean there could be some spot shortages in seed maturities farmers are hoping to plant in 2020.

“Just as farmers are likely to see some of their fields yielding below trend line, seed yields aren’t likely to be any different,” Schultz says.

Schultz says that if farmers know what they want to plant in 2020, it may be in the grower’s best interest to make their seed selection sooner rather than later to avoid any potential seed shortages.

“If farmers know what they want to plant, get orders in. Farmers in a corn-soybean rotation probably know what their going to plant on 90 percent of their farm,” Schultz explains. “Now is the time to lock in.”

Given the wet soil profile for much of South Dakota, Schultz says growers may need to look at shorter maturing varieties because planting could also be delayed in 2020.

Long View

Because of the difficult and wide-ranging production problems in 2019, Schultz advises against picking this year’s top performer to be next season’s workhorse variety. Instead, select consistent high performers with a track record of success.

“2019 is not going to be the year to see how varieties performed individually,” Schultz contends. “Look at aggregated results over a couple of years. This is the last year farmers should use to pick their highest yielder, instead, look at what you’ve planted historically and see how it performed in a more normal year.”

Seed choice is an individual decision because every farm is different. Soil type and disease pressure

like phytophthora, white mold or iron deficiency chlorosis are factors farmers need to consider when making their decision.

“Farmers will need varieties that can protect against those diseases,” Schultz adds.

New for 2020, Mustang Seeds has a full line of Enlist E3® soybeans that can be sprayed with glyphosate, glufosinate and 2-4D. Mustang Seeds also has the new Balance GTLL soybeans and Roundup Ready Xtend® traited soybeans. Mustang Seeds offers conventional, non-GMO varieties, including a 2.2 maturity.

“As an independent, family-owned company, we offer all the traits from all the providers,” Schultz says. “We do have the farmers best interest at heart, because if they’re not profitable, neither are we. We keep a wide range of varieties so we can customize a seed package that will work best on their farm.”

To learn more about what Mustang Seeds has to offer or to connect with a company representative, visit mustangseeds.com.

Norman County Fair Sponsorship Spotlight

The Norman County Fair in Ada, MN and Mustang Seeds were recognized in the recent issue of the International Association of Fairs and Expos for their collaboration of the Ag Building on the fairgrounds. The Norman County Fair has also received the highest honor in the Sponsorship Category at the National Convention. Congratulations to the Norman County Fair!

Oats Used in Cover Crop Mixes – Liability?

June 6, 2019 Alert
Oats Used In Cover Crop Mixes – Liability?
by Neal R. Foster, PhD., Executive Director, SD Crop Improvement Association
Because of the extremely wet spring that South Dakota and the region has experienced, the demand for cover crop seed will be high this summer. Cover crop mixtures are normally a mixture of legumes, grasses, brassicas, and a few other species that are beneficial to soil health and stabilization. Each part of the mixture has an important role to play in soil health.
Legumes, usually peas or lentils, will fix nitrogen for other plants in the mixture and the future crop. Brassicas, like canola have a strong penetrating taproot that leaves a hole in the soil loosening it and providing for better water uptake. Additionally canola is a good at carbon sink that will help improve organic matter. Radishes, another Brassica, are also added to the mixture for the same reasons as canola. There are several types of radish seed available on the market, however forage or oilseed types are best for cover crops. Grasses, like oats have a large fibrous root system that improves soil structure and provides a food source for the microorganisms that are important to your soil health. Flax is also added to cover crop mixtures. The flax plant has lignin in the stem; this allows the plant to remain erect throughout the winter. The standing flax straw provides a way to break the wind preventing wind erosion and catching snow for better spring moisture.
When buying seed for cover crops the old adage “you get what you pay for and then some” fits very well. Buying the cheapest seed can cause you more grief in the long run. Cheap seed is cheap for a reason. Has it been tested to ensure performance and cleanliness? Is it free of noxious weed seed? There have been several instances of Palmer Amaranth being introduced into the state as a result of cheap, low quality seed. Is the seed in the mixture a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) variety being sold illegally?
Several years ago, the SDSU oat breeding program was about to be closed. At that time oats were becoming more of a minor crop and there was not much industry support. The South Dakota Crop Improvement Association (SDCIA) board of directors opposed closing the breeding program and decided to provide support to keep the program going. Over the last 10 years SDCIA has invested three quarters of a million dollars. This investment has paid off in varieties like Goliath, Hayden, Horsepower, Shelby 427 and Natty. With the continued support of SDCIA the oat breeding program will continue to develop oat varieties that meet the growing demands for grain and forage. The program is starting to develop oats that would be used specifically for cover crops – selecting for a larger, more vigorous root system.
Small grain variety releases from SDSU have royalties associated with them. This income stream is vital to maintain the breeding programs, providing land, equipment and research. With the tightening of state dollars for support, the royalties also help to maintain and grow the breeding programs and provide better seed for the future.
Additionally, all of the small grain varieties released from SDSU through SDCIA have Plant Variety Protection with Title V. This means that these varieties can only be sold as seed by variety name as a class of certified seed. When grain is sold from a local elevator it is grain and not seed. If the local elevator sells any of the protected varieties as grain for seeding purposes (this includes cover crop mixes) they are in violation of the Federal Plant Variety Protection Act. In recent years SDSU has taken a harder stance on infringement of their varieties. Recently a PVP case was settled in Iowa for 2.975 million dollars. This lawsuit involved SDSU oat varieties that were being illegally sold for cover crop mixtures. There is plenty of legal seed available for the cover crop market, so before contemplating using uncertified bin run seed you should ask yourself or your governing body if these sales are worth the risk.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact the SDCIA office: 605/688-4606.
Contact Us
Kathy Zander, Executive Director
Roxanne Rice, Finance Director
Phone: 605/224-2445
Fax: 605/224-9913
Email: info@sdaba.org
Website: www.sdaba.org

Partnership expands Mustang Seeds Family

Madison Daily Leader
By MARY GALES ASKREN, Staff Reporter | Posted: Monday, March 4, 2019 3:36 pm

Partnership expands Mustang Seeds family
PRESIDENT TERRY SCHULTZ, CEO of Mustang Seeds in Madison, said his family had the Mustang brand before Ford introduced the classic car. Now they are sharing it with GDM, another family-owned business, to offer farmers new products that promise to have strong yields.

The family at Mustang Seeds expanded last week. That’s the way CEO Terry Schultz is looking at a new business venture in which the business started by his father Ray will join forces with another family-owned business to offer customers access to new products.

“With GDM’s breeding, they are rapidly bringing new products to the United States,” Schultz said on Friday, just one day after signing paperwork which made GDM a partner in Mustang Seeds. “We are going to have direct access to all the new products that come out of their genetic research and development program.”
GDM is a global company based in Argentina, which focuses on soybean research, development and commercialization. According to its website, the company has a presence in 15 countries, and 21 percent of the world’s commercial soybean production is derived from genetics developed by GDM. Schultz said the company sold more than 41 million units of soybeans worldwide in 2018 and had 48 percent of the market share in South America.

“They also work in wheat and corn,” he added.
Despite this worldwide influence, the company is still family-owned, and that affects the way it does business.  Schultz spoke with Gerardo Bartolome‚, whose son Ignacio is the company’s business manager for the U.S. and Canada, after signing the paperwork on Thursday. Bartolome‚ noted the difference between a publicly-traded company and a family-owned business.  “They live for the quarter,” Schultz said, referring to a company’s quarterly report in quoting Bartolome “Families live for generations.”

This development is not one Schultz expected a year ago. Only after he was approached by a firm that indicated GDM’s interest in finding a U.S. partner to launch their products into the U.S. farm market did he begin to explore the possibility.  “Their research and development efforts in the United States have been going for approximately the last eight years,” Schultz said.

He traveled to both North Dakota and Minnesota to see the research plots GDM has there and was favorably impressed with what he saw.  “What impressed me is that all of their lines looked very agronomically sound and were easily converted to new trait platforms,” Schultz said.
While he was looking at GDM, GDM was looking at Mustang Seeds.

“They interviewed a number of seed companies. After doing their interviews, they felt Mustang Seeds was the best fit,” Schultz said.  With the company’s growth over the last five years; a loyal customer base in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota as well as a market footprint from Montana to Wisconsin; an established production, storage and distribution system; and a compatible business philosophy, Mustang Seeds had much to offer.

“Customer choice was key for both companies, and that was the biggest factor,” Schultz said.
In the end, the seed conditioning, warehousing and delivery systems were separated out of Mustang Seeds and a new company was launched, which will remain a Schultz family business — Red Horse Seed Production (RHSP), Inc.

According to a press release, Justin Wise will serve as the general manager of that company, which will have Mustang Seeds as a primary customer.  Schultz emphasized that customers will not see a difference in Mustang Seeds. They will have the same choices they have had in the past and will be served by the same people.  “We keep our customers in the front of our minds in selecting products,” he said.
The GDM influence will be seen later this year when Mustang Seeds plants the first local research plots so area farmers can see how those products developed by GDM fare in this region. These new products will be integrated into Mustang Seeds’ breeding platform over the next two or three years, and the first new products will be available in 2020, according to Schultz.

He is excited by the work being done by GDM because it results in a product that is not classified as a GMO. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are believed by some to be the cause of the increasing incidences of food allergies and other health problems such as Crohn’s disease.  “They are using gene editing to actually take a gene out of the plant, make it better, and it’s still considered a non-GMO,” Schultz said.  He believes this is beneficial to both growers and customers. As a result of the process used, they will be able to introduce new seed traits more easily, Schultz explained. This ensures the genetics will yield.

“Yield comes from the factor of the best genetics,” he indicated, not the traits as some people believe.
“The best genetics create the yield for farmers,” Schultz reiterated.  Because of the new partnership, Mustang Seeds will be able to deliver exclusive new products to area customers. Farmers won’t have to wonder whether the seed available from another company is essentially the same product.
In a press release on Friday, the company describes the partnership as “a first for Mustang Seeds” and “a milestone for GDM.”  “The future is bright with Mustang Seeds and GDM joining forces, and I am excited for the future,” Schultz is quoted as saying.  Ignacio Bartolome‚ also expressed his pleasure at the partnership in the press release.  “Through Mustang Seeds’ in-depth knowledge of the American producer and its vast distribution network, GDM will deliver the best genetics to the American farmers. We both share a vision and commitment to our customers and their growth.”

Mustang Seeds Forms Partnership

Madison, SD, March 1, 2019– Mustang Seeds, Inc. and GDM are pleased to announce we have entered into an exciting joint venture to bring the newest genetics and innovative technology to expand our seed line-ups.

“Our customers profitability and their needs have always been the number one focus of Mustang Seeds. This partnership with GDM will allow Mustang Seeds to deliver exclusive, new products to our customers,” said Terry Schultz, CEO of Mustang Seeds. “The future is bright with Mustang Seeds & GDM joining forces and I am excited for the future.”

This joint venture will be a first for Mustang Seeds, a family owned seed company and a milestone for GDM, also a family owned seed company. In a market that is consolidating, the two companies developed a plan with the ultimate goal of developing products and service for the American farmer. Mustang Seeds sales and office personnel, along with Red Horse Crop Insurance and Coyote Seeds, will continue to deliver the quality of excellence our customers rely on.

Ignacio Bartolome, US & Canada Business Director of GDM Seeds states, “We are very enthusiastic about our partnership with Mustang Seeds as we are confident it will bring exciting opportunities to the market. Through Mustang Seeds in depth knowledge of the American producer and its vast distribution network, GDM will deliver the best genetics to the American farmers. We both share a vision and commitment to our customers and their growth.”

Along with this joint venture, the Schultz family has created a new company, Red Horse Seed Production, Inc. (RHSP). Justin Wise has accepted the role as General Manager of RHSP. The operations and distribution of all seed products for Mustang Seeds and Coyote Seeds will be the primary focus of RHSP, just as it has been for Mustang Seeds for over 55 years.

For more information about both companies you can visit their websites at www.mustangseeds.com and www.gdmseeds.com.


Pictured:  Terry Schultz, CEO Mustang Seeds and Ignacio Bartolome, US & Canada Business Director of GDM Seeds

Mustang Seeds Hires Ken Packer

Ken Packer has been hired as a District Sales Manager in Barnesville, MN covering the following counties in South Dakota: Roberts, Marshall, Day and Grant along with customers he has worked with in the past. Most recently Ken worked for Wilbur-Ellis in Wahpeton, ND as a branch manager and he is a producer in Barnesville, MN. Ken and his wife Andrea live on Ken’s grandparents old farm southwest of Barnesville, MN. Andrea works as a paralegal at a law firm in Fargo, ND and they have two children; Evan who is 13 and Taryn who is 8. Ken stated, “I am excited to work with a family owned company that is committed to selling quality products that fit our area, combined with exceptional service that grows long lasting relationships.”

“Ken comes to us with 19 years of sales experience and 18 years of retail experience. He will be an excellent addition to Mustang Seeds. Ken’s leadership skills, passion and knowledge fit perfectly with Mustang Seeds mission.” says Terry Schultz, owner and president of Mustang Seeds.

You can contact Ken at kenpacker@mustangseeds.com or 701.640.2762.

Mustang Seeds has a complete line-up of seed corn, soybeans and small grains suitable for growers in the upper Midwest. Mustang Seeds prides itself on exceptional customer service and offering a wide range of products to fit any farm.

Mustang Seeds hires Nate Hoffmann

Nate Hoffman has been hired as a District Sales Manager in Starbuck, MN covering the following counties: Pope, Stevens, Douglas and Grant. Nate graduated in December of 2018 from the University of Minnesota Crookston with a degree in Ag Systems Management with an emphasis in Precision Ag and minor in Ag Business. Nate will be married to his fiancé, Megan Kokett in June of 2019. Nate stated, “I am excited to work for Mustang Seeds, a family owned company that can give farmers the traits and the service that they want for their operation.”

“We’re very excited to have Nate join our team at Mustang Seeds. Nate’s experience will not only benefit Mustang Seeds, but his knowledge will help the growers better their farms.” says Terry Schultz, owner and president of Mustang Seeds.

You can contact Nate at natehoffmann@mustangseeds.com or 320.805.0282.