by Alicia Bosenko


2021 has been a tough year with nationwide droughts and elevated grain prices leading to intense culling and new management decisions for many farms. For many cow-calf producers, the fall marks the period for weaning and pregnancy checking. Annual income is derived from reproductive females and pounds sold of a healthy calf crop. While producers can’t control some market factors like seasonality and mother nature, they can control factors of reproductive health and calf performance starting now with early fetal development and dam health.  As we look forward at increasing hay cost and higher than average grain pricing, it is critical to utilize resources more efficiently and help your females do the heavy lifting.

Fetal programming is a term used repeatedly to highlight the importance of nutritional support throughout gestation to raise a healthier and more uniform calf crop. In the first 90 days of pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies already start to affect placental development and vasculature that will feed the fetus until parturition. As the fetus grows, any nutritional deficiencies of the dam will affect nutrient allocations to the fetus. Muscle development, for example, is a lower priority for nutritional partitioning than brain and heart development. However, there is no net increase in the number of muscle fibers after birth so any nutritional deficiencies in utero will lead to a poorer performing calf, with lower live and lower carcass weights even out to 30 months of age[i]. To ensure the best success of the females and the 2022 calf crop consider evaluating these areas on farm:

Pregnancy Check

Pregnancy checks help to identify females that are open and those that will be outside the calving window for a majority of the herd. In most operations, the calving window is approximately 60 days. This helps to have a uniform calf crop that can be marketed as a larger group. Studies have also shown that calves born earlier in the calving cycle are heavier at weaning than those born on later cycles. Consider culling females that are open, outside the calving window, or who are hard doers – need more feed to maintain a body condition of 5-6.

Test your forages

Testing forages will help identify the best use of your resources. Cows in late gestation and weaned calves will need higher energy and protein sources to meet their nutritional demands. To ensure good body condition into calving and early lactation, as well as with Wisconsin’s coldest months, utilize your better-quality forages in late gestation when 75% of fetal growth is occurring. If possible, consider feeding systems that control intake to minimize waste, optimize forage utilization, and support the cows most effectively.

Offer consistent, quality minerals

Minerals play a critical role in cow health and calf development and not all minerals are created equal. First and foremost, is it palatable? If the cows don’t eat it, they won’t receive the benefits from it. Second, are intakes consistent with the recommended feed rate?  If cows overconsume it costs the producer more money without added benefit. If cows under consume they aren’t meeting their nutrient requirements or the fetus’. Is it a complete mineral? Trace mineral blocks will not offer the same nutritional balance as a complete mineral. What is the mineral source? Sulfates, oxides, and chelated minerals have different costs, but also different bioavailability to the animal. In a 2016 study by Marques, et al.[ii], dams fed an organic or chelated trace mineral had improved hoof integrity and had calves that showed more mineral stores at birth, improved passive immunity transfer, improved health, and had heavier weaning weights. Trace minerals also play a key role in reproductive health of the dam to heal after calving and prepare for the next breeding season. This is critical in maintaining tight calving intervals in future years. A more thorough list of macro and trace minerals and their function to the cow is shown below:

Infographic of cow nursing a calf, with descriptions of how each mineral helps support healthy growth

Ultimately, in a year of high feed prices and potentially short forage supplies, management and nutritional support of your cow herd now will have lasting impacts on your next calf crop and total salable pounds come fall. For more information and on-farm support, please contact ALCIVIA’s Animal Nutrition Team.


[i] Vonnahme, K.A., Nutrition During Gestation and Fetal Programming. The Range Beef Cow Symposium. 2007 Dec;
[ii] Marques RS, Cooke RF, Rodrigues MC, Cappellozza BI, Mills RR, Larson CK, Moriel P, Bohnert DW. Effects of organic or inorganic cobalt, copper, manganese, and zinc supplementation to late-gestating beef cows on productive and physiological responses of the offspring. J Anim Sci. 2016 Mar;94(3):1215-26. doi: 10.2527/jas.2015-0036. PMID: 27065282.

COTTAGE GROVE, WI – ALCIVIA is excited to announce the purchase of Somsen Oil. Somsen Oil has been delivering home heating oil, farm fuels, and gasoline to customers in Polk, Barron, Dunn, and St. Croix counties for the last 40 years. ALCIVIA is looking forward to the opportunity to continue to provide a full range of energy products and great service that Somsen Oil customers deserve and are accustomed to. 

“I view ALCIVIA as a true partner for your energy needs and have confidence they will serve you extremely well. We both share a desire to make sure that this transition is as smooth as possible and that service continues without any issues,” said Dave Somsen, owner of Somsen Oil. “I’d like to thank my customers for your loyalty and your valued patronage, as it means more to me than I can express. I’m looking forward to my retirement knowing that your needs will be met with excellent customer service and by people who care as much as I do.”

Both Somsen Oil and ALCIVIA have similar approaches to the energy business. Both companies care about the customers, the services they receive, and the quality of products that are delivered. ALCIVIA is honored that Dave chose ALCIVIA as his partner for his business transition.

“On behalf of ALCIVIA, I’d like to congratulate Dave on his retirement. The energy team at ALCIVIA is eager to serve the Somsen Oil customers and welcome them to ALCIVIA,” commented Lee Parker, ALCIVIA Vice President of Energy and Retail.  “The certified energy professionals at ALCIVIA are committed to delivering outstanding products, customer service, and technical support to your home, farm, or business.”

“Our purchase of Somsen Oil allows us to continue our strategic growth and investment in the communities we serve,” said Jim Dell, ALCIVIA CEO and President.

ALCIVIA is a member-owned cooperative powered by engaged employees and passionate about each customer’s success.  The cooperative’s mission is to advance customers through innovative and responsible solutions, with a vision of customer success powered by engaged employees.

ALCIVIA is a leading, member-owned agricultural and energy cooperative driven by our passion for excellence and a future without boundaries. Located in Wisconsin and serving farm, business and retail customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa, our engaged employees provide innovative, responsible solutions to help drive the immediate and long-term success of our customers, including competitive operating loans and input financing, as well as best-in-class products and services for the agronomy, animal nutrition, energy, and grain needs of our customers.


Business card contact info for grain sales leader Beth Helding

Harvest pace is starting to pick up with 18% of the crop being reported harvested this week compared to 10% last week, 14% last year this week, and 15% on a 5-year average. We’re sure the memory of last year’s post-harvest rally is fresh in producers’ minds and we can’t blame you. No one can predict what will happen in the markets in the coming months and we are reminded that marketing years like this past year historically happen 2 in 10 years.

Questions to consider about marketing grain during harvest this year: At what point in harvest will we see the pressure released from the supply side of the equation and reflect in a softening cash market? Will the better-than-expected yields in certain areas of the country be enough to cover the drought areas? How will the USDA analyze and report this year’s production? If $5 corn and $12 is not high enough for you to sell, what level is and what is your risk tolerance to wait for this level? Are you making money selling grain at current?

We are encouraging producers to think about these questions and reward the strong cash market with sales. Wishing you all a safe and bountiful harvest! Please contact your local grain sales specialist to review sales and harvest progress and to look over your marketing options.

Make sure to have lunch on us this harvest at your local ALCIVIA elevator! Here is our harvest lunch schedule. Pick up a boxed lunch for you and your crew! We look forward to seeing you!

schedule for harvest meals where alcivia brings food for growers

Join Jon Lantz and Spencer Schroeder this week From the Field as they talk about what they are seeing for quality and yield as harvest kicks off.

As always, make sure to contact your local agronomist with any questions you may have. Stay safe!

By Joe Slosarczyk, Key Account Sales Manager

There are some key factors in proper hybrid/variety selection to successfully prepare for the 2022 planting season, as well as some new technological advancements that will be available to us for this next season and beyond. In this second part of our 2-part series, we would like to discuss some of the key factors in proper hybrid/variety selection to successfully prepare for our 2022 planting season.

Tools for Success

Proper seed selection takes careful consideration around the details to set us up for success for the following year. We will try to dive into a few of the important selection attributes and how to utilize different tools to achieve success.

There are many basic but important factors that go into seed selection. A few would be crop rotation, desired relative maturity, tillage system, nutrient management system, disease spectrum and fertility levels. First, we need to determine the maturity window for the particular crop you are intending to grow as it pertains to your specific environment. This will also help us better dial in hybrid maturity characteristics and harvest management considerations. We then need to consider if the hybrid/variety will be following a rotated or host crop. This will help us determine the right genetics for the rotation, the correct disease characteristics needed, and select the proper traits to protect our crop. Next, we need to take into consideration your specific tillage system. By knowing the tillage program, we can then properly place the hybrid/varieties based on emergence scores, fertility characteristics of the tillage system and aid in proper residue management. Following that, we need to discuss past and present disease spectrum factors for your area. This will help us not only pick the correct genetic characteristics for your particular farms, but also discuss potential seed treatment options and in-season management decisions to optimize your chosen genetics. The last basic factor will be to determine your fertility levels and your overall management system as to how we will deliver specific nutrients like nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, phosphorous and various micronutrients for the chosen genetics/system. All these basic factors make up the pillars and foundation to sound seed selection.

Once we have started our building blocks for success, we can then further dive into the finer details to hone in on the right seed choices. Some of the finer details could include your hybrid’s response to additional/late season nitrogen, response to increased population, response in fungicide and ultimately the yield goals for your farm. Fortunately, we have a great tool at our disposal to evaluate all those factors. This tool is Winfield United’s R7 Tool and Answer Plot system.  This system that spans across the United States and encompasses high quality local data gives us sound data to provide all those characteristics including yield performance by environment. By choosing the right population, the correct nitrogen management, and potential fungicide management decisions, we can then start to get laser-focused on placing and managing the best choices for your particular system.

dashboard showing how customer tools work

Variety Selection

Now, let’s dive into the proper variety on selection on soybeans. There are a few key elements to consider when choosing the best soybean portfolio for your farm. These would include maturity, tillage system, herbicide system, row width and disease environment.

Maturity depends on a few factors. These would include your geographic location, intended planting date, desired harvest date and if we are going to seed any crops after soybean harvest. Your particular tillage system has an impact on how we choose varieties. Depending on your tillage system, we can then make decisions on variety characteristics such as plant architecture, disease resistance, and herbicide options, along with other agronomic characteristics. Once we have determined our tillage system, we can then move onto the best options for your herbicide management program. This will affect the recommendation on the type of traits that would be most desired to ensure success in controlling your particular weed environment. ALCIVIA has great options for both the E3 Enlist System and the Xtend Flex System. Lastly, we can discuss your particular row width and disease spectrum. They both have an interaction together, and deciding which diseases are a potential detriment on your farm will help us choose the best variety to defend against those diseases. Putting all these factors together will give us the best opportunity to achieve the goals you have put in place for your farm.


At ALCIVIA, we realize how important it is that we are choosing the correct hybrid and management style that best fits your particular farm. We work hard to understand each of our hybrid’s unique characteristics and then truth those characteristics in the field throughout our territory. We have a great relationship with our vendor partners to keep our skills sharp and make sure you have the best support staff available. We take your seed selection very serious and look forward to the opportunity to help you reach success in 2022.

Business card contact info for associate grain merchandiser dylan beaver

The southern territory of the co-op has received its first new crop bushels. Harvest is starting to kick off in small pockets of the state. Basis values have moved more toward new crop values with few premiums left to sell as harvest is weeks or even days away. Understanding new crop basis and how the grain should flow is an important tactic this fall. The value of freight and time is what is important in these next months. Freight values in the Midwest continue to stay firm as there is a demand for grains and oilseeds to be moved in the last part of the old crop market and then transiting into a new crop harvest. The trucking market seems to carry on with driver and truck shortages. This may have an impact on fall harvest and how commodities need to flow. Basis, freight, and space are all influencers of each other and determine the market of where grain needs to go. 

The volumes of exports for the coming year are lower than last year that this time. The market has built carry in both the soybean and corn markets. Those spreads are continuously moving each day as the market tries to make its mind up. River markets have bounced back a hair this week after the pressure of Hurricane IDA. River terminals in the Gulf have turned back on, but barge freight continues to stay firm as the gulf does not see many purchases from China. The PNW is showing consistent values as China’s cargo freight is spreading to the west coast better than the gulf. Natural gas continues to rally as supplies stay tight and there are projections for a cold winter outlook. The fertilizer and input market seems to be keeping firm with the influences of Hurricane Ida and barge freight. We are in a high price environment for all commodities. Be forward-thinking and look for opportunities in the future while they still present themselves. Volumes never have to be large, but ask yourself if you’d profit and be satisfied with that choice.

Stay safe and enjoy harvest!!

This week From the Field, Greg Springer and Andy Beck discuss how soil sampling and VRT assist in keeping you on budget and making sure your crop gets what it needs.

As always, make sure to contact your local agronomist with any questions you may have. Stay safe!

By Joe Slosarczyk, Key Account Sales Manager

There are some key factors in proper hybrid/variety selection to successfully prepare for the 2022 planting season, as well as some new technological advancements that will be available to us for this next season and beyond. In this 2-part series, we will focus on new technologies for 2022.

SmartStax Pro with RNAi Technology

For this season, we have a few new technologies that will be available to us that are extremely exciting and will give you, the producer, some additional tools to manage rootworms and introduce us to a new hybrid system in general. The first technology that we would like to highlight is SmartStax Pro with RNAi technology from Bayer Crop Science. Since the introduction of transgenetic trait technology, we have been relying on multiple different BT modes of action to control the most devastating pest in corn, corn rootworm. While these technologies have delivered control for us since their introduction, as pest pressures evolve, crop rotations change, and management practices continue to progress, we have started to lose efficacy in certain areas when trying to control corn rootworm. For the past few seasons leading up to 2021, we had relatively low corn rootworm pressure in many of our trade territories. However, due to favorable conditions entering our 2021 season, we have seen a resurgence of corn rootworm pressure across our trade territory with record beetles being trapped and root-feeding for many to be an all-time high. It couldn’t have been better timing for the introduction and launch of SmartStax Pro than 2022.

So, what makes SmartStax Pro different than previous traits and how can we utilize it as a tool in our pest management program moving forward? SmartStax Pro takes the current SmartStax Technology (2 BT modes of action against corn rootworm) and adds a third brand new mode of action RNAi technology. This new RNAi technology interferes with the corn rootworm’s ability to create a specific protein essential for life. Because of this technology advancement, we now have a non-BT mode of action to enhance our rootworm control in corn while coupled with the SmartStax technology. This technology will be available at ALCIVIA, and while supply in the initial launch year will not be determined until late 2021, we would encourage you to engage in discussion with your local ALCIVIA agronomist to prepare for the launch moving into 2022.

sell sheet for smart stax pro technology showing what pests it is effective protecting crops from
graphic for rootworm control SmartStax PRO with RNAi Technology

Short Stature Corn

The second exciting new technology that will be entering the market will be the “short stature” corn system also from Bayer Crop Science. This corn system will take proven genetics paired with a native trait to produce a shorter statured plant. There will be a few key benefits to this new system of corn.  First will be improved standability and lodging tolerance. Second, this cropping system will allow us better access to in-season management of crop nutrients, fungicides, cover crops, and other applications. Third, this technology will potentially optimize water, essential nutrients, and land management practices. While 2022 will be a limited launch, 2023 is the anticipated full launch of the product line to the marketplace. If you would like to learn more about “short stature” corn or see it in person, please reach out to your local ALCIVIA agronomist.

At ALCIVIA, it is our mission to bring our customers innovative and responsible solutions for their farms.  We are very excited about the new technology advancements that are currently entering the marketplace. At the same time, we want to bring these new technologies to your farm in a responsible manner to ensure that they are managed properly to maximize their effectiveness for your operation’s system and help you to better achieve your goals.

Next week, we will then discuss the key factors in choosing hybrids for your farm, the tools we have available to fine-tune our selection, and ultimately have a laser focus on hybrid/variety selection to fit your management system. Until then, thank you for taking the time to learn about this year’s upcoming advancements and we look forward to assisting you in your seed decision-making process for 2022.

sell sheet for Short stature corn describing the multiple benefits of reduced height plants

This is the first part of a 2-part series regarding seed selection, placement, and new technologies for the 2022 crop year. Look forward to the second part soon!

Business card contact info for grain marketing specialist Melisa Schmidt

Happy September! The chatter in the market has to do with Hurricane Ida, but that is only 1% of what is happening. Here are a couple of reasons affecting the markets. For the last couple of months, export projections have been less than this time last year, with South America’s corn crop getting bigger because of cycles and more acres. South America is about to start planting again. Looking forward to the U.S. corn crop in 2022 with expanded acres. Higher prices do take a toll on demand. The chatter of being very tight for ending stocks has proven to be false again. Funds continue to stay long in grains with historic position sizes. Freight globally has been impacting all agricultural products.

USDA is set to release its monthly supply and demand report on Friday at 11 am central time. Private analysts have reduced corn yields from 176.5 bushels per acre to 174.4 and beans from 51.5 to 50.0 bushels per acre. These numbers are still higher than USDA’s August numbers. 

Exports are starting to resume in the lower Mississippi River, but some exports are unable to reach their facilities at this point. With drought conditions out west and in the northwestern corn belt, watch for corn to flow differently from this last year. There is a significant freight difference from the Gulf to PNW. 

With harvest right around the corner, make sure to visit your offers or put offers in. Don’t make decisions based on what the person next door is doing. Make smart decisions and goals for your operation only.  Please reach out to any one of us to help you with your goals.



Check out the latest ALCIVIA cooperative news to stay informed on all the happenings throughout the cooperative.

ALCIVIA Advisor – September 2021