With every passing season, Craig Loen shares his passion: “To make growers succeed.” In his role as an agronomy sales rep, Loen knows that Federated’s success is dependent upon growers’ success, and vice versa.
As the yield monitors track the harvest, it’s time to look back at what impacted this year’s success. “If you remember the fall of 2017, we didn’t get very much P & K spread . . . and then Spring  was slow to show up,” said Loen. Snow and cold kept everyone out of the fields, making it hard to apply nutrients ahead of the planters. “And there was basically no rain in May,” he said.
Since Loen worked as a spraying applicator in his early years with Federated, he appreciates the complexities of scheduling nutrient applications in the spring, so he highly recommends applying P, K & S in the fall. “It’s good agronomic practice,” he said, both from a timing and economic perspective.
Loen has a good sense of the economic challenges for today’s growers. Late springs followed by late harvests (such as this year with the heavy rains) keep everyone wondering how to maximize ROI. His career has focused on managing those challenges for himself and the growers he serves.
Loen grew up on a dairy farm, attended the U of M in ag education, and worked several other jobs before he went back to milking cows for 16 years in the early 2000s (his wife’s cows, he said, “her passion”). When it’s time to milk the cows, you have to milk the cows, and it’s the same with crop management.
Anything done in the fall benefits spring planting, because when it’s time to plant, it’s time to plant. “You need to get it done,” said Loen.
Crop nutrients are a “get ‘er done” fact of farming, so whether it’s starting with a traditional soil sample or grid sampling for VRT applications, Loen stressed the need to avoid the rush of spring and get nutrients applied now. And that includes lime applications.
Success is measured by the harvest, and when the bushels per acre rise, the nutrients in the soil fall and need to be replenished.
Take advantage of Federated Agronomists like Loen who really enjoy their jobs. “This is my favorite job off the farm,” said Loen. “I enjoy helping growers make the right decisions . . . make sure they are profitable.”
Talk to Loen or your local Federated Agronomist to schedule fall nutrient applications soon!