Author

Sally Krueger

Sally Krueger

Sally is a city kid with an ag degree. She has more than 13 years of experience sharing stories about why farming family businesses and rural communities matter. Sally has worked with some of the most recognizable brand names in agriculture, as well as a number of long-standing organizations advocating for farmers, ranchers and rural America. At FBN, Sally’s primarily role is developing compelling content and storytelling that helps farmers to become more independent and profitable, and the agriculture industry to become fairer and more transparent—that means putting Farmers First® every day. Sally is an eighth-generation Georgian; she was born and raised in Atlanta, and earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications from Auburn University in 2006. She was also an NCAA student athlete on the Auburn Equestrian Team. She now resides in eastern Kansas, but considers herself to be only a novice Midwesterner.


Oct 03, 2019

by Sally Krueger

Our latest report on shares some of the recent trends that we've observed in seed pricing based on information provided anonymously to by our farmer-members. In the report, we analyzed: More than 33,000 seed price records Prices spanning 2010-2019 (with 99% of the records from 2015-2019) Prices for corn, soybeans, cotton and sorghum Prices from 41 states Prices from more than 6,000 products from more than 180 seed companies Based on our analysis, in-state price differences of . The following maps show the most expensive trait packages by state for corn. In our analysis, trait packages needed to have data from at least 10 farmers to be included. The following maps show the most expensive seed companies (by median price per bag) among the most popular seed companies among members (with prices from at least 10 farmers) in each state. Download the report Beck’s is a trademark of Beck’s Hybrids. Agrigold is a registered trademark of AgReliant Genetics LLC. Asgrow, Channel, Dekalb, Deltapine, Fontanelle, Genuity, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, Roundup Ready 2 Yield, Stone, SmartStax and VT Double PRO are registered trademarks of Bayer AG or its affiliates. AcreMax, AcreMax TRIsect, AcreMax Xtra, AcreMax XTreme, Optimum, Phytogen and Pioneer are registered trademarks of Corteva Agriscience or their respective owners.


Sep 04, 2019

by Sally Krueger

At , we believe that farmers deserve more transparency around data, pricing and genetic/parental lineage of seed, so you can manage risk at whatever level fits your farm best. That’s because transparency helps you make better-informed decisions, which ultimately can help you to increase your farm’s overall profitability.  Instead, farmers like you have the opportunity to work directly with a network of breeders who are developing the next generation of top-performing hybrids and varieties. You can now help breeders to identify the right combination of genetics and traits for your farm.  When farmers and breeders are working more closely together, farmers can actually help drive new seed development . This means breeders then have access to anonymized, aggregated, real-world performance data they can use to develop new seed with a thorough understanding of micro-environments and agronomics.  Getting farmers closer to seed breeders matters, so we asked four farmers to tell us why it matters to them, in their own words.  Dennis Anderson, Alta Vista, Kansas Zack Johnson, Lowry, Minnesota Eric Wappel, North Judson, Indiana John Heitkamp, New Bremen, Ohio Farmers like you are participating in accelerated seed innovation instead of just passively consuming what seed companies determine is best for your farm.  By bringing new and different genetics separately from trait technology, we have the opportunity to bring you seed products at a lower cost. When you plant them, you and other farmers in the network are contributing anonymized product performance data that helps to create the industry’s only unbiased and transparent dataset on seed. 


Aug 30, 2019

by Sally Krueger

Well, I used to always plant “the best of the best,” but I'm starting to realize that just because you spend a lot, doesn’t always mean you get a lot. This year, we decided that with dairy prices getting pretty tight, we needed to trim costs. A friend of mine told me was coming out with a seed brand. It was affordable, and the yield results looked pretty good, so I decided to try two products. We also decided to go almost all conventional corn this year, just to give it a shot. That’s all we used to plant, so I know how to manage it. I’m impressed so far. My corn from popped right out of the ground. We went through some tough conditions this season, but populations are right where they should be. It’s all about what’s right for your farm. You know, the price of what I bought from is less than half of the price of seed from some of the bigger name companies. So I’ve saved quite a bit of money there. I’m always skeptical, so we won’t know the real turnout until harvest. So after price, and yield, the biggest thing I’m looking for is stand, because nobody wants to be out there at harvest picking up downed corn. For weed management, we use various products containing acetochlor and atrazine. I do that on the whole farm and it keeps it pretty clean. On my borders, and on a farm that has a ragweed problem, I use a mesotrione product. We’re mostly corn-on-corn, so we use bifenthrin to protect against insects. And with the cold winter we had, I’m hoping that will keep our insect pressure down a bit. I'm also planning on doing a double fungicide application. We’ve always planted conventional corn behind alfalfa, and I’ve never worried about a fungicide, because it was the first year in corn. But this year, we’re about 90 percent corn-after-corn, so we’re planning to add fungicide to the mix on all our conventional. Well, we need the yield to feed all the livestock, but it absolutely has to be profitable. If we can yield high enough and put it in with less money, that’s ideal. We run the numbers, and my brother [who handles the financial side of the operation] tells me where we can cut expenses. If we can get a similar return from a $100 bag of seed that we do a $300 bag of seed, that’s great.  When I first joined , he grumbled a little about that expense. But then when I ordered the seed, we realized that the savings there alone had already paid for our membership. And honestly, we’ve saved a fair amount on the chemical side, too.  “F2F Genetics Network” branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at anytime and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions.


Aug 30, 2019

by Sally Krueger

Well, I like to diversify the corn hybrids and plant a lot. I love seeing different types of corn grow. I think I'm at around 32 different hybrids this year. It's a little bit obnoxious sometimes. Every fall I say I'm only going to grow these three or four, but then come winter time, I'm ordering all different types. But you can't just do it all for fun. In the end, it's all about return on investment. So you’ve got to look at the price. There are certain seed companies just cost too much. I won't even look at them. Other ones, I'll try if they are a decent price, and take it to yield and see what happens. I try to plant as much conventional as I can manage. Most of the conventional corn ends up in the larger fields under irrigation. With irrigation, I'm probably gonna make a fungicide application trip anyway, making it a lot more cost effective to throw the insecticide pass in there, too. This usually happens about the same time as Western bean cutworm, which is our biggest pest. And some of the traited products don't even protect for that anyway. A lot of the double-stacked products are starting to miss them. I keep the traited products in our smaller fields that are harder to get the airplane on and probably won’t get a fungicide pass anyway.  No. It’s still corn. The traits just protect the yield. So you just have to protect the yield in a different way. But fertility-wise, it's exactly the same. We rarely use glyphosate on corn. We grow glyphosate-tolerant soybeans, so we didn't want to have glyphosate after glyphosate and so on. What we’ve typically done on most acres is a one pass pre-emerge. But there are some trouble acres, our higher organic matter soils, where we come back with a post emergent spray prior to the corn crop reaching canopy. I chose four maturities from the line up, after talking to the folks at Farmer2Farmer about the placement on them and what would work best for our area. They look good now. We’ll see what happens.  Well, to get corn on my farm, it's got to be priced right, because I'm not going to try something new if it's more expensive than what I'm currently using. Then, based on the cost of the other corn I'm buying, we're going to take the yield performance and figure out the return on investment versus traited products in the past. As long as we can protect the yield on the conventional, they almost always beat the return on investment for the traited products on our farm.  Genetics absolutely create the yield. Traits protect it. And from my experience in my farm, every single test plot I've done, the more traits the corn has, the more yield drag there is in a non-insect environment. If you haven't planted conventional a long time, I would challenge you to try at least some acres. It might mean higher management, if you’re in a zone with high rootworm pressure, corn borer or Western bean cutworm. You do have to scout a little harder. If you’re going to plant your corn and go to the lake, you should probably plant the most traits you can. Just for peace of mind. But I think with a little bit more management, you can get a lot higher return. “F2F Genetics Network” branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at anytime and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions.


Aug 29, 2019

by Sally Krueger

The biggest reason I bought it was because of the price. I went from buying a $300 bag of traited corn, to a $99 bag of conventional corn, bringing my per acre seed cost down to about $30 an acre. That was our goal this year—to get our price per acre down as much as we could so that we could make a profit, based on the prices at the time we booked everything. Honestly, it looks as good as any crop we've ever grown. I mean, you can’t tell a difference. We did a pre-emergent chemical program on it, because we were worried about not being able to use glyphosate, and that has helped a lot.  It was a pretty big stress honestly. I didn’t know what the yield checks should be for this farm. But, I talked to other farmers around the area that were growing conventional, and you know, they have no problem doing it. What really sold me on it was the opportunity to sell it at a premium—a possible additional 15-20 cents a bushel. Those markets have been a little harder to find, though. I’ve been working with a few companies, as well as some farmers who grind non-GMO corn for feed, so I think we're going to be able to market a fair amount as non-GMO. When I think about seed, I try to look at what kind of yields they say I can get, and then I look at what we will most likely get and compare the prices. You would think that a more expensive bag of corn would give you higher yields, but that’s all in a perfect world. We probably can't grow those perfect yields on this farm. So, our goal this year was to get our breakeven down and pick the best conventional to do that. For the conventional corn, we ran a pre-emergent with our nitrogen, we tilled it and we got it planted, with a plan to spray again at 8 inches tall. I was a little stressed about not having the option to spray glyphosate over the top, but honestly, our fields are actually cleaner doing a pre-emergent program. Having weedy fields was my biggest concern, and we haven’t had a problem with that at all. We're going to be on fourth year corn in some of our fields, so, yes, there is some concern. That’s why we put an insecticide down with the corn. As long as you have the right rate of insecticide out, there's nothing to worry about. And, I’ll add that we bought our insecticide through , at one-third the price of the local co-op. I’d show him my cost per acre and what I got per acre on yield. I mean, that's going to be the decision maker at the end of the year—what we actually get out of it. They honestly look better than any beans we've planted. I have high hopes for them at harvest. “F2F Genetics Network” branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at anytime and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions.


Aug 27, 2019

by Sally Krueger

When I heard that was coming out with a seed brand, I was intrigued. Seed was one of those things that was always a huge expense for me, and I did question whether I needed all those traits, but I wasn't familiar with conventional corn. So when you guys came out with a conventional option, I talked to my rep, and he reassured me that raising conventional is not as scary as it sounds. So, I tried it, and this year I'm 100 percent corn and bean seed. Yeah. Not spraying glyphosate was a big change. I had to apply more residuals, especially with my soybeans. It's critical to get multiple modes of action down. I tried to have at least three this year. You have to start clean, and in a 100 percent no-till operation with cover crops, it's hard to do that because you want it growing until you want it dead. But I will say, since I use cover crops, I don't have nearly the weed pressure. I guess, for me, the biggest change was making sure I had a really good burndown program and lots of residual. When I think about ROI, I look at my input cost and my labor cost, and I use that to determine what I have to get to break even, then I decide what I can and can’t do. And it just wasn't working out with the traited stuff. I mean, you might have to get 170 bushels (on corn) just to break even—that’s not going to happen on my farm.  On my farm, with its soil types, I'm never going to grow 250 or 300 bushel corn. If I can get 170 or 180 bushel corn, that's a good year for me. I have to base my seed decisions on my return on investment. Why would I want to spend $350 a bag for all these traits, especially if it's only going to yield 170 or 180 bushels. Why not raise a conventional seed? If it's within 10 bushels, for the lower cost, it's worth it for me to do it.  Price was a big factor. The conventional corn seed was a third of the cost of traited seed. Having a resource at who could reassure me that we could do this and having the support on the chemical side was a big help.  I would say try it on a few acres. I keep my operation in a rotation, so I don’t have a lot of the worry about the bugs and rootworm and that type of thing. You just have to try it, because it will be different for every farm. Some people are corn-on-corn and may need traits to protect their yields. It's not as challenging to control the weeds as you might think. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to control pests. I guess I’ve been pleasantly surprised. So far, it’s easier than I thought it would be. Yes. My concerns were put to rest, and now I’m working to see what kinds of premium I can get for conventionals. That would make them even more lucrative to plant. I planted all 2.5 maturity soybeans this year, and they are all the first-generation glyphosate-tolerant varieties from F2F. I plant on 30-inch rows with my corn planter, so I’m able to lower my populations. They emerged really well. Even though some of them went in kind of wet and the trenches didn't close the best, it looks like every seed germinated. They’ve still got some time, but they got off to a really great start. Like I mentioned earlier with corn, the residual is very important. The biggest change in my chem plan was adding more modes of action there. Previously, I used one, but now I do three modes of action. And, I was more adamant about starting clean. I beefed up my burndown program, so that I didn't have any escapes or any weeds out there when I started. We have a pretty prevalent mare’s tail issue in this area. If it gets going, it's hard to control. No, I think there have been a lot of options for buying seed, maybe too many. What has bothered me is the lack of transparency as to what’s actually in those bags. With different companies selling the same seed in different bags, under different names, it just seemed so dishonest to me. With I could get past the mystery of genetics and traits, and be just a few steps away from the breeder. So, I think there's a lot of options out there, the key is knowing what’s right for your farm and your ROI. That’s what we needed.  “F2F Genetics Network” branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at anytime and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions.


Aug 15, 2019

by Sally Krueger

Buying the right seed is complicated. Every year, you have to choose from hundreds of seed hybrids and varieties. With so many seeds to choose from, how do you know if you’re getting the right seed.. with the right yield potential... for the right price? And you may not know it, but the exact same variety of seeds can be sold under multiple brand names at a completely different price. We believe you deserve complete transparency, because all of this can be the difference between profit and loss for your farm. That’s why we created Seed Finder — so you can fi nd the best seeds for each of your fields. Seed Finder is independent and unbiased, and shows you how seeds actually performed on more than 5,000 farms and across more than 36 million acres of real-world data in the network. See what other farmers are paying for seed in your state, so you can maximize the return on your seed cost. You can filter performance by rotation, traits, region and soil type. And see how to optimize each seed by breaking out actual performance on factors like seeding rate, planting date, row spacing or nitrogen use. Best of all: the data comes from farmers like you so you can find the right seed for the right price for each field. You can turn the world into your plot trial with Seed Finder.  Interested in putting Seed Finder to work on your farm? Become an member today.


Jul 16, 2019

by Sally Krueger

If you’re new to organic production, or are considering it, one of the biggest concerns you may have is around weed control. Without the use of herbicides, you may be wondering whether weed control is even possible. While it can take a bit more attention around management, weed control in organic systems is not only possible, but you can achieve a similar level of control as you can in conventional systems. The key is to create a plan and implement the right tools and practices at the right time. To learn more about controlling weeds in your organic row crops, check out this article from AgriSecure . 


Jul 02, 2019

by Sally Krueger

When Steve Merfeld heard was investing in AgriSecure , he started to think about whether his 2,200-acre farm in Nashua, Iowa, should get into organic production. He presented the idea to two farmers he works with, and they agreed to investigate further. After meeting with AgriSecure and reflecting on their experiences with practices that are part of organic production, they decided to move forward and are in the process of transitioning some of their acres. They plan to continue transitioning additional fields into organic over time. While there were many factors that sold Merfeld and his partners on getting into organics, the key was recognizing the long-term consumer demand they could leverage to build security and sustainability on their operations . . .  Read the rest of Merfeld's story from AgriSecure here . 


Jun 24, 2019

by Sally Krueger

There are many use cases for satellite imagery in agriculture. Farmers commonly take various measurements from satellite imagery (e.g. red, green, blue, near-infrared) to calculate metrics/indices and help estimate crop health. Satellite imagery allows you to be an even better scout and problem solver, and this is a big time-saver. That's why satellite imagery is your field-scouting wingman! Satellite Imagery Gives You a Bird’s-Eye View Images for Every Field NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) is a popular vegetation index, but provides EVI (Enhanced Vegetation Index) images . Both NDVI and EVI measure vegetation biomass by looking at the difference in light reflected in near-infrared (which healthy vegetation strongly reflects) and visible (which healthy vegetation absorbs) bands. However, EVI compensates for atmospheric distortions and distortions due to the ground cover below the canopy. In addition, EVI has higher sensitivity to dense vegetation. By reading the light spectrums of crop images, EVI provides an indication of the stage of crop growth and health. It is similar to NDVI satellite images, but includes image improvements that are not included in NDVI. What Types of Images Does  Use?  Satellite imagery is now accessible directly within FBN Maps and is included with FBN membership at no extra charge. Any member who has field boundaries drawn in FBN will receive satellite images. We display three types of images: Absolute Relative Raw The layer can be used to show how far along a crop is in its growth, to identify the variation of vegetative vigor within a field, and to compare a field’s vegetative growth against other fields on the operation. The layer takes the range of EVI values from the Absolute layer and effectively amplifies the variation across a green to red color scale. This layer is used to identify the variation of vegetative growth within a single field. The layer shows a raw image of the field on the date the image was taken. This layer can be used to identify clouds or shadows of clouds that might be showing up in the EVI layers. Are There Any Obstacles to Getting Pictures of Crops and Fields via Satellite Imagery?  No technology is perfect, but satellite imagery has advanced tremendously over the years, and the images are helpful for detecting problematic parts of your fields. Keep in mind it is… well, ...taking a picture from space. If clouds and other obstacles do block the satellite’s view of cropland, you should get an indication of that in your map view. It might appear as a grey patch, for example. That’s why reviewing multiple layers of imagery, and having several images at different stages of crop development, will provide the most useful imagery of activity in your fields. When it’s scouting and fieldwork season, wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra set of hands, or eyes, to help you spot potential problem areas across your fields? Technical Specs for  Satellite Imagery  New images are loaded every 5 to 7 days Members can access images going back 12 months The imagery has a 10-meter resolution WATCH: Types of Images and How to Access FBN Satellite Imagery (9 min video) How do I find EVI Satellite images in ? EVI imagery is located in the Maps section of My Operation. You can see satellite maps by using the “map types” drop-down menu located on the left of the screen, just above the map image and selecting "Satellite." Members can access new satellite images every few days from their online account or the App, and images go back 12 months, so you can benchmark progress and see how fields compare, year over year.