Heartland Cooperative Services
101 Parkside Dr.  Dorchester, WI 54425
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AGRICULTURE - INDUSTRY - RURAL LIVING
Featured Farmer Dave Tischendorf
Dave Tischendorf, along with his parents, Pat and Grace, run a 105 dairy cow operation. They produce corn, alfalfa, and grassy hay on their land, a majority of which is used to feed their herd. Dave grew up on the dairy farm, always helping out with field work and doing chores as a kid. Once he graduated high school, he decided to go to short course in Madison to further his education. When Dave finished that he came back to the farm in 2009. Agriculture is what Dave has done his whole life and returning to the farm was where his passion was.  
When we asked Dave how Heartland met his needs last year, he said he had, “great customer service”, from the agronomists and applicators. Whenever he had a question, he felt like the staff were knowledgeable on their products. He then mentioned that especially this year he had very timely herbicide application. When Dave was looking back to how his crop did last year, he stated that “Of course the dry weather hurt a little”, and that “at the end it was a challenge to get it off”. But overall, Dave said that the crops did well, and he had good production off his land. When wondering what activities Dave does off the farm for fun, we learned that he loves shooting darts and spending time with his nieces. He is a Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers fan but sadly with how the Packers did this year he didn’t have much to cheer for.  
We asked Dave what advice he would have for the next generation of farmers he stated that “When entering farming you have to realize that every operation is different. You can’t just do what you heard that someone else is doing just because it works for their operation doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Be open to look around but find what works best for your operation”.  
Lastly, we asked Dave if he had any questions for Gery the Agronomy manager. The question he had for Gery and Gery’s response is as follow:

Is the value of coating on alfalfa great enough to offset there being less seeds per bag compared to using uncoated alfalfa?
 
This is a great question; the value proposition of coated alfalfa seed has been a topic of much debate every winter when it comes time to choose seed for the coming spring. The first thing on any seeding equipment would be to make sure you calibrate it at the start of the season to account for any changes in seed lots over the prior year. This is one area where coated alfalfa can be a benefit, as it makes seed sizing more uniform in alfalfa. It can flow out faster, but proper calibration ensures that the target seeding rate is achieved in the field.  

The coating material contains many beneficial components for the heavier wetter soils we deal with around the Heartland trade territory. With Rhyzobium bacteria already in the coating uniformly, this allows early inoculation of the seedling roots which will allow seedlings to fix nitrogen sooner in their life cycle. Using uncoated seed, inoculant would need to be added separately at an additional cost, also with extra time taken during busy spring planting. There is also no certainty of the inoculant sticking and coating properly compared to being already in the coating material.  
Another component of the seed coating that is a benefit to us is fungicides. Early season diseases such as Pythium and Phytophtera can severely limit or outright destroy seedling alfalfa stands. With uncoated seed, there may be a need for an early season fungicide application which incurs more cost and that application may not be as effective on soilborne diseases compared to an on-seed fungicide.  
The final component that is included in seed coatings are growth promoters. With these on the seed it allows for quicker germination and healthier seedlings when used with the fungicides.  

To sum up if a grower is using uncoated seed, there is roughly $47 per acre additional outlay for inoculants, fungicides and growth promoters to be applied either in the seeder or by spraying. This doesn’t include any additional logistics or labor.  

Heartland thanks Dave for letting us get a look behind the curtain of your operation and for letting us be his provider over the years!