Micronutrients 101: Going Back to Basics

This article first appeared in the LIFT newsletter, a publication of CHS Agronomy. Read the entire article.

As growers finalize planting preparations and plan in-season fertilizer and sidedress applications, they may be looking for solutions for micronutrients deficiencies identified by soil or tissue sampling on their most productive acres. What are the most essential micronutrients and what products can help with yield and profitability?

The essential micronutrients include Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe), Boron (B), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo) and Manganese (Mn).

  • They are considered micros because they are needed in smaller amounts compared to macronutrients by the plant.
  • Many micronutrients hold the key to how well the other nutrients are used; attribute to how well the plant develops and effects the total yield it will produce come harvest.
  • They also help feed the microorganisms in the soil to perform important steps in various nutrient cycles of the growing process.
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CHS reports $125.4 million in second quarter net income

Sunset over a farm

April 8, 2020

Dear Owners:

We are pleased to share our second quarter results for fiscal year 2020. We reported net income of $125.4 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020, which ended Feb. 29, 2020. This compares to net income of $248.8 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019.

The company reported revenues of $6.6 billion for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 compared to revenues of $6.5 billion for the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. In the first six months of fiscal year 2020, CHS reported net income of $303.3 million compared to net income of $596.3 million in the first six months of fiscal year 2019.

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Update on COVID-19 from Jay Debertin

Dear valued customers and owners:

As our essential businesses work to meet spring season demands amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to focus on the health and safety of every person and community connected to CHS and the cooperative system.

We want you to know that CHS remains fully operational and committed to providing the essential products and services you need. Our supply chain is prepared and moving into action as spring fieldwork begins. Grain is moving and the spring shipping season has begun. We are grateful for those positive signs.

Thank you for your business. Please let us know how we can help you navigate through the days and weeks ahead.

Sincerely,

Jay D. Debertin
President and CEO

Updated message about COVID-19

On March 20, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued a state-wide shelter-in-place order to take effect at 5:00 PM CT, March 21. Consistent with guidance from the United States Department of Homeland Security, the order exempts certain essential infrastructure and services, including agriculture and food. After a full review of the order, CHS has determined that its operations fit within this exemption and we will continue to operate to provide essential products and services so cooperatives and farmers can plant and grow crops, raise livestock and bring the food they produce to market.

CHS employees across Illinois will continue to observe company guidance working from home or operating CHS facilities as they have been since March 17. Revised procedures introduced last week remain in place across our footprint to protect the health and safety of employees, customers, suppliers and the communities we serve. Those procedures include:

  • Remote work, social distancing and following CDC guidance to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of employees, customers, suppliers, and communities
  • No non-essential visitors to CHS locations and additional on-site health, safety and cleaning procedures
  • Use of voice, video and other technologies to serve customers and conduct business, including online meetings or phone coordination of farm services
  • Continued observation of all safety guidelines, including use of personal protective equipment
  • Leveraging our flexible supply chain and asset base if it becomes necessary to deliver to or from alternate locations
  • Continuity plans to flex employees between locations or business units as needed to better serve customers

At CHS, the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers, suppliers and communities are our highest priority. We remain committed to our purpose of creating connections to empower agriculture by supplying essential products and services for our customers and owners.

A message about COVID-19

With the impact of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 evolving rapidly, we want to reassure you that CHS is taking steps to protect the health and safety of our employees, our owners and customers, and the communities we serve.

We are developing plans with the goal of continuing to provide the highest possible level of service to our customers and owners. Specific measures include:

  • Close coordination and collaboration to ensure safety and wellbeing of employees, customers and communities
  • Cancelation of annual meetings and other meetings of large groups and limiting visits to CHS facilities
  • Additional use of voice, video and other technology to serve you, our customers and coordinate farm visits
  • Activating plans to flex employees between locations or business units to better serve you
  • New process and rigor for interactions with vendors, suppliers, contractors or other third parties to promote health and safety
  • Fully utilizing our powerful and flexible supply chain and asset base should it become necessary to deliver to or from alternate locations

As the busy spring season unfolds, we will continue to adjust as circumstances change. We don’t take this challenge lightly, but we’re committed to working through it with effective planning, communication and execution. With our talented and committed team, best-in-class assets and our values of safety and cooperative spirit, we are confident CHS will continue to deliver products and services for customers and value for owners.

Learn ways to stay safe during Grain Bin Safety Week

grain bin safety training

Grain bins can be dangerous places. Purdue University researchers report that bin-related injuries such as entrapments, equipment entanglements and asphyxia are on the rise – more than 60 incidents occurred in the U.S. in 2018. 

As part of our commitment to safety as a core value, CHS is partnering with other ag industry leaders to support Grain Bin Safety Week, Feb. 16-22. Here are the top three things you can do to promote safe practices around grain bins:

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Freeze warning

Decrease the risk of cold-weather downtime with the right diesel.

use the right premium diesel during cold weather

When temperatures drop, a farmer’s work doesn’t stop. Keeping equipment running at its peak during colder weather requires a watchful eye on what’s in your fuel tank.

Here’s the main problem that comes when temperatures drop: Diesel fuel hits its cloud point — the temperature at which wax crystals begin to appear in the fuel, also known as gelling. Cloud point is reached in #2 diesel fuel when fuel temperatures hit 4 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where you buy your fuel, says Chad Christiansen, manager of product quality and additives for CHS.

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Grain Commentary

January 23

CORN UP 4!  USDA announced a sale this morning of 141 tmt of old crop corn to unknown, 114.224 tmt of old crop corn to Guatemala and 29.724 tmt of new crop corn to Guatemala.  Support at the 50 Day MA at 3.835, we blew through resistance at 3.92 and bumped against the next level at 3.9375 already today.  Lots of farmers selling today, would not be a bad time to make a sale or price a few bushels on a basis contract. 

Beans… que the sad music.  Down again, 4 today-   bears seem to be watching bean harvest in Brazil.  No new bean sales to China to help stop the decline, they have closed down 4 out of the 5 last sessions (total -.15c in the last week).  Support at 9.03 and resistance at 9.21.  China’s Lunar New Year begins this Saturday, usually not a whole lot of news from them during this time.  New crop beans are at 9.45, not a bad place to start if you don’t have any on the books yet. 

Rumors flying about a trade deal with India, Pres. Trump is to visit India in February.  Little details lead to possibly a “mini deal” being revealed on the trip if anything at all.

Grain Commentary

Jan 17th Markets have been on a wild ride the last few days. Corn down 12 on Thursday and now up 13 here on Friday. Beans have also erased on gains trading up 7 cents. Funds seem to be covering short positions after they bought the rumor and sold the fact on the China Phase 1 deal.

CHS reports $177.9 million in first quarter net income

Truck delivering propane to residential home in winter

Significant increase in fall propane demand helped balance difficult market conditions

CHS reported net income of $177.9 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 that ended Nov. 30, 2019. This compares to net income of $347.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

The results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 reflect:

  • Revenues of $7.6 billion compared to revenues of $8.5 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Strong supply chain performance in our propane business that was a positive contributor resulting from efficient sourcing of propane during significantly increased fall demand – brought on by unseasonably early cold and wet weather during harvest – for crop drying and home heating.
  • Less advantageous market conditions in our refined fuels business compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, during which the company experienced historically wide pricing spreads between Canadian crude oil and crude oil from the United States. CHS processes Canadian crude oil at its refineries in Laurel, Montana, and McPherson, Kansas.
  • Poor weather conditions that occurred in fiscal year 2019 and the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 continued to negatively impact our Ag segment’s operations, resulting in lower crop yields, poor grain quality in some areas and lower fall crop nutrients sales.
  • Pressure on grain volume and margins due to slow movement of grain associated with unresolved trade issues between the United States and foreign trading partners.
  • Decreased fertilizer volumes compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 due to a slow harvest in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

“We are not immune to the challenges of our industry, and our first quarter results reflect the difficulties brought on by fall weather and ongoing trade tensions,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “The cooperative system, however, provides CHS and its owners stability to withstand these difficult times. Our focus remains on building efficiencies in our supply chain and on operating in this challenging agricultural environment.

“During a cold and wet harvest, we leveraged our supply chain to meet the significant increase in propane needs of our owners and customers,” Debertin continued. “Our focus on meeting the needs of our owners helped deliver the successful launch of two products – Acuvant™ and Trivar™ – that will be available for spring planting.

“We know the remainder of fiscal year 2020 will continue to present challenges, and we are confident in our ability to find opportunities in those challenges, to help our owners grow their businesses and to continue to strengthen our company,” he said. “No one feels those challenges more than our owners. We remain committed to supporting communities and experts as they address the stress felt across rural America.”

First Quarter Fiscal 2020 Business Segment Results

The following segment results were reported for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 as compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Energy
Pretax earnings of $162.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 compared to $232.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflect:

  • Significantly less advantageous market conditions, driven primarily by decreased crude oil spreads on heavy Canadian crude oil processed at our refineries and, to a lesser extent, decreased crack spreads in our refined fuels business compared to the same period during fiscal year 2019. The decreased crude oil differentials and lower crack spreads were partially offset by favorable hedging activity in refined fuels.
  • The decrease in pretax income for refined fuels was partially offset by significantly improved propane margins from a late, wet crop combined with unseasonably cold weather across much of CHS service area that led to increased fall demand for crop drying and home heating compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Ag
Pretax loss of $13.9 million compared to pretax earnings of $80.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflects:

  • Poor weather conditions in fiscal year 2019 that culminated in a late and smaller fall harvest, resulting in decreased demand for farm supplies and crop nutrient products.
  • Ongoing global trade tensions between the United States and foreign trading partners continued to negatively impact grain volumes and margins.
  • Lower margins in our processing and food ingredients business.

Nitrogen Production
Pretax earnings of $16.5 million compared to pretax earnings of $23.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflect:

  • Lower equity income from our investment in CF Nitrogen, of which CHS has partial ownership, attributable to decreased market pricing of urea and urea ammonium nitrate, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen.

Corporate and Other
Pretax earnings of $20.7 million compared to pretax earnings of $30.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflect:

  • Results primarily from lower equity income from our investments in Ardent Mills and Ventura Foods and decreased income in our financing and hedging businesses due to market-driven interest rate reductions and lower trading activity, respectively.
CHS 1st quarter balance sheet

© 2020 CHS Inc.