Unveiling Innovations: Liqui-Grow L.E.A.D. Academy Webinar November 30th!


The Liqui-Grow L.E.A.D. Academy is back in session on November 30th. Dr. Jake Vosennkemper will be diving into the latest research and insights that are shaping the future of farming.

Agenda Highlights:

ExactStrip Distance Study:

Jake shares his findings from this year’s ExactStrip Distance Study to discover how close your nutrients need to be applied to achieve the best results!

Multi-Location Fertilizer Placement Study:

Uncover the secrets of effective fertilizer placement through a comprehensive study conducted across multiple locations. Discover the best practices that can enhance nutrient uptake and contribute to healthier crops.

In-Furrow Additives for Corn:

Stay at the forefront of corn production with the latest updates on in-furrow additives as Dr. Jake explores how these additives ultimately increase your crop yields.

Multi-Location Foliar Applied Biological Screening Study in Soybeans:

Dr. Jake takes a deep dive into how new technologies and management strategies play a key role in improving soybean performance and yield.

The Importance of Including Zn in Starter Fertilizer:

Witness the impact of zinc (Zn) in starter fertilizers through a compelling real-world example. Learn why including this essential micronutrient is a game-changer for crop development and yield optimization.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn new strategies for your operation. Join the Liqui-Grow L.E.A.D. Academy Webinar on November 30th, and empower yourself with the knowledge to elevate your farming practices. 

Register TODAY!


Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email

How to Achieve Consistent Fertilizer Applications With Every Pass


Technology has given every grower the opportunity to precisely manage input costs and achieve maximum yield potential. When it comes to fertilizer applications, though, most farmers just throw nutrients on the field and hope the plant gets the benefit. 

Flat rate dry fertilizer application is a perfect example of this. Growers using this method spread a flat rate of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus on their field each year to keep nutrients available in the soil and increase yield potential. However, flat rate application fails to account for nutrient differences across the field and assumes that every acre needs the same amount of fertilizer each year.

To provide more accuracy and reduce cost, many growers shifted to using variable rate application methods. Based on annual soil sample results, growers could have custom recommendations for every field they sampled and calculate exactly how much of each fertilizer they needed each year. This allowed growers to save on input costs while providing the nutrients necessary to hit desired yield goals.

Unfortunately, the problem wasn’t fully solved.

Research has revealed that each type of dry fertilizer has a different spread pattern. This means even with a variable rate application, some nutrients are still spread heavier or lighter than desired. 

A 2018 Iowa State University study also found that dry fertilizer spreaders often have uneven distribution across their swath, even with proper calibration. The study showed that across a normal 90-120 foot spread pattern, the application directly behind the machine was less than on each side. The lack of consistent application results in fertilizer granules being scattered across the ground, oftentimes too far from the plant roots to be easily absorbed. 


The good news is Liqui-Grow has a solution.

The Liqui-Grow Advantage

Rather than spreading dry fertilizer that has to be dissolved and broken down to be absorbed, we start with liquid fertilizer. Liquid P & K Suspensions provide equal amounts of liquid fertilizer evenly across every acre. 

Why does this matter?

Our standard liquid suspension is applied in 15” centered rows, which we call banding.  Placing highly concentrated nutrients in close proximity to the plant improves uptake and utilization. Because the fertilizer is already in liquid form, it doesn’t get bound up in the soil, or by other nutrients like Calcium, Iron and Aluminum. This allows the plant to absorb it quicker than dry fertilizer. Learn more about banding fertilizer here.

Arguably the biggest benefit of liquid suspension fertilizer, though, is the increased performance in the field and profit potential. 

In our field trials of dry and liquid fertilizer application, we tested both flat fields and farms with hillsides to compare uniformity and harvest results. Not only did liquid suspension fertilizer provide a more even application with every pass, the dry fertilizer application resulted in higher levels of inconsistency as the rate increased, or when applied on a hillside.

This result is a leading cause for the multiple issues we see in fields with nutrient deficiencies, and it means growers are not receiving the full benefit from their investment. When the floater drives across your field, you should be confident every plant on every acre receives the nutrients it needs to perform.  

More efficient application always results in more profit potential. That’s why liquid fertilizer was developed. In fact, our research has shown that applying a liquid suspension band can result in five bushel per acre yield increase compared to broadcast applications. That’s money back in your pocket every time!

To feed your crop evenly, improve your field performance and profit potential, text us at 564-220-2508 or email

Celebrating the Backbone of Our Nation: National Farmer’s Day


When you wake up everyday just happy to do what you love, it’s easy to overlook the true significance of the work you do.

National Farmer's Day gives us the perfect opportunity to take a moment and acknowledge the value you bring to our world. Farmers are the backbone of our nation.

Day in and day out, you work tirelessly to provide the food, fuel and fiber that our world relies on, often facing unpredictable weather and challenging market conditions, as well as physical and mental stress. Through it all, you carry on with relentless determination and a humble commitment to help feed the world.

On this National Farmer's Day, we celebrate you. Thank you, farmers, for everything you do.

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Comparing ‘24 Seed Options


Determining which hybrids and varieties are the best fit for your operation in the new year. 

Harvest is underway and NOW is the time to lock in your seed for 2024. Although there are a ton of good options for seed in 2024, here are five corn hybrids and soybean varieties we recommend you look at as you head into the new year:

5 Corn Hybrids for ‘24


Brevant B11C37AM 

B11C37AM is a 111 day hybrid that offers a high level of resistance to a variety of common diseases, specifically:

  • Gray Leaf Spot
  • Northern/Southern Corn Leaf Blight 
  • Goss’s Wilt

Additionally, this seed hybrid showcases strong stalk and root structure, and good green snap tolerance. We have also been pleased with its performance on drought acres. Keep your eyes peeled in the fall as B11C37AM has great stay green tolerance and harvest appearance, so it can stand well into the season and offers up the ability to be harvested later.


Brevant B14H38AM

B14H38AM is a 114 day, late-maturing hybrid. It is strictly an Acre Max (AM) product, and performs best when planted into bean stubble.

This product is the real deal! It’s a true 114, with a nice combination of yield and agronomics to back it up! Keep it on your highly productive acres to maximize its potential. Here’s what you can expect to see from B14H38: 

  • Good green snap tolerance. 
  • High response to fungicide applications. 
  • Strong tolerance to Gray Leaf Spot, Northern/Southern Corn Leaf Blight and Goss’s Wilt.


DeKalb DKC66-04SS/DKC66-06TRE  

This hybrid comes in 2 trait options: SmartStax (SS) & Trecepta (TRE) and is a 116 day hybrid. DKC66-04/06RIB has great agronomic performance and yield potential across all acres, but performs best on well-drained soils. As for disease tolerance, DKC66-04RIB has good tolerance to: 

  • Northern Corn Leaf Blight
  • Gray Leaf Spot
  • Goss’s Wilt
  • Anthracnose Stalk Rot

As we move South where Southern Rust is common, we recommend a fungicide application. We’re excited about the yield potential this 116 day hybrid brings to our farmers with good dry down to be able to manage harvest.    

In 2022, DKC66-04RIB had a 67% win rate against 187 comparisons in local research plots. DKC66-04RIB is once again having a very good year across a lot of acres.  Be sure to ask us about it!


DeKalb DKC56-26TRE

DKC56-26TRE is unique in that it comes only in a Trecepta trait package. Ask our Liqui-Grow reps on how to place Trecepta! DKC56-26TRE is a solid early corn hybrid that has the ability to perform on any acre including sand, stress or high yielding fields. This corn has some ear flex, so don’t push the populations too high. This seed option performs exceptionally well in high heat and drought years, but like always, if we’re going to ask it to work, we need to apply a fungicide on it to help it along.  

Additionally, DKC56-26TRE has a strong tolerance to the following diseases: 

  • Southern Rust
  • Gray Leaf Spot
  • Anthracnose Stalk Rot

If your field’s are prone to Northern Corn Leaf Blight, consider a fungicide application.

In 2022, DCK56-24TRE ranked 16 out of 111 hybrids in our Liqui-Grow Research Plots.  It’s a head turner for sure, and has been once again as combines have started to roll here in 2023!


DeKalb DKC110-10SS

**New Hybrid in 2024!

DKC110-10RIB is new for 2024, and what a year it will make its debut! Even through all the stress and drought, it’s still performing to expectations. This hybrid will only be available in a SmartStax trait package.  

This seed option has very good root and stalk strength, with some ear flex, so don’t overpopulate. If you’re used to the Fast Die/Fast Dry products from DeKalb, this is going to look a little different as it has more staygreen into the fall. DKC110-10RIB is a good candidate for a fungicide application. 


5 Soybean Varieties for ‘24


Asgrow AG24XF4

**New Variety in 2024!

Packaged to perfection, AG24XF4 is an overall upgrade to the AG24XF1 with more yield potential. It offers a nice defensive package within the 2.4 maturity range. Consider AG24XF4 on acres where White Mold and Sudden Death Syndrome are a concern.



Brevant B283EE  

**New Variety in 2024!

B283EE is out of the Next Gen of soybeans for Brevant, bringing more yield and genetics to Brevant’s lineup. B283EE is a great bean for farmers who want to start their planting early in the spring.

With its exceptional disease package, B283EE has great tolerance to Sudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot, Charcoal Rot and White Mold diseases.



Merschman Cherokee 2429E 

Cherokee 2429E is a 2.9 soybean that is developed to be better on Sudden Death Syndrome acres and increase standability than the varieties that came before it. This seed option is packaged to perform East to West on a variety of soil types. After seeing heavy Phytophthora Root Rot (PRR) this year, we have found that this variety has exceptional tolerance to PRR. 

In 2022, Cherokee 2429E  yielded 106.7% through Merschman testing. We’re very excited to get this bean out into our customers' fields!



Xitavo XO3131E 

XO313E is good out of the ground and a go-to option for farmers who want to start planting early. XO3131 is versatile enough to go across a variety of acres.

It’s a medium bush plant type so to maximize branching & yield within your soybean crops, consider a moderate to lower plant population. XO3131E can handle both wide row or narrow row planting.

In 2022, Cherokee 2429E  yielded 106.7% through Merschman testing. We’re very excited to get this bean out into our customers' fields!



This is just the tip of the iceberg for seed options for your farm! As ‘23 harvest rolls on, be sure to check out our seed variety plot data results!

To hear more of what we have to offer heading into the new year, and to lock in your seed hybrids and varieties, talk with your local Liqui-Grow Sales Rep! Some varieties have limited supply, so we recommend securing your seed options as soon as possible. 

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email

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Increasing Yield Potential Through ExactStrip Fertilizer Technology


Agriculture technology has revolutionized the way we farm and produce food for the world. Over the last 20+ years, equipment manufacturers have introduced software that helps operators be more precise with a multitude of farming activities. Now, everything from planting and spraying, to harvesting and collecting yield data, can be accomplished with a high level of accuracy.  But why stop there?  

As Liqui-Grow saw the need for greater precision in applying fertilizer, we developed a technology called ExactStrip that allows our liquid fertilizer to be applied precisely where you are going to plant your crop.

How does this work? We’re glad you asked!

Precise Communication

Nearly all tractors, sprayers and combines manufactured since 2000 are equipped with a receiver and field monitor. These receive a guidance signal and interpret the location to the machine, which can respond by maneuvering the appropriate direction in the field. Later, Real Time Kinematics (RTK) technology was introduced, allowing the Receiver to use radio signals to communicate GPS locations, rather than a standard transmitter. 

In recent years, a new RTK signal was introduced, which is cellular based. This enabled equipment to receive signals from a wider range and made the signal more standardized. Finally, to allow machines to talk to each other, third-party software was created to standardize the monitor and data information collected. This final step made it possible for sprayers and combines to follow the exact path of a planting tractor in the same field. 

With a heightened level of accuracy available, the door was open for precision application of liquid fertilizer. Thus, ExactStrip was born.

Enhanced Yield Potential

ExactStrip technology allows sprayers to apply liquid fertilizer within inches of the field row with straight stream nozzles. Using the guidance lines from each field we cover, our sales applicators are able to follow the exact intended path of the planter. 

When we first tested this new technology, Dr. Jake selected fields that were strip tilled to provide an obvious reference point for where the fertilizer should be applied. Following the application, we measured the fertilizer band compared to the trench and found that across 35 nozzles, the fertilizer was applied within 2.5” of the trench. See Exactstrip in action

Why is this significant?

In Dr. Jake’s research, he’s found that most immobile nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium are only absorbed by the plant if they are within an 8” x 8” box surrounding the roots, as those nutrients do not move horizontally within the soil. Additionally, yield potential is greatly increased when nutrients are made available within six inches from the row, since a corn’s root system often only reaches 6”-8” wide. To see this visual in action check out the Liqui Grow Loop


Applying fertilizer in close proximity to the plant’s roots provides a multitude of benefits. Not only does it help you optimize your nutrient management and yield potential, but precise application can help feed your plants during periods of stress or drought. Keeping nutrients within the root zone reduces the need for water to move those nutrients through the soil. This means even if moisture is limited, your crop will still get the nutrients it needs to perform. 

Through our small plot research trials, we have found ExactStrip application provides a six and nine bushel per acre yield increase compared to applying a 15” dribble band and broadcast application, respectively. While we still see value in a 15” dribble band application, the ExactStrip allows customers a more precise application that can lead to higher potential yields.  

These results have given us a lot of confidence in the performance of ExactStrip technology, and we continue to do further research to find ways to maximize the impact of ExactStrip on your crop. This year, Dr. Jake is analyzing the impact of tillage in relation to fertilizer absorption, so be watching for more information in our upcoming L.E.A.D. Academy webinars. 

If you have any questions about the ExactStrip technology and how it can benefit your operation, please contact your local sales applicator or email 

Keeping Your Place on the Farm: How Planning Ahead Makes or Breaks Farm Safety


September 17-23 is National Farm Safety & Health Week, and it’s the perfect time to refresh ourselves on the staples of farm safety as we prepare for the harvest season. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 410 agriculture workers died on the job or from an agriculture-related injury in 2019. That’s more than one farmer every day who didn’t make it home to their family.

“No one can take your place,” this year’s National Farm Safety & Health Week theme, reminds us there are often no second chances when it comes to farm safety.

Facing the Facts

Of the agricultural worker deaths in 2019, the leading cause was transportation accidents, such as trailers overturning. University of Missouri Extension echoes the dangers of machinery, stating tractor rollovers are the leading cause of fatalities in the agriculture industry, accounting for more than half of all farm-related deaths.

Some additional factors that commonly cause farm accidents include:

  • Defective equipment
  • Missing product labels or equipment warnings
  • Farm structure or equipment fails
  • Improper training
  • Grain engulfment or entrapment

While the list of possible causes could stretch on further, the list of potential impacts on farmers extends even longer, including:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Hearing loss
  • Stress
  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Cuts and scrapes from tractor injuries
  • Skin conditions from chemical burns or sun exposure
  • Eye irritation
  • Exhaustion
  • Heat stroke 
  • Electrocution
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Respiratory disease
  • Cancer 

Researchers used data from National Electronic Injury Surveillance to determine these leading health effects, and they uncovered some eye-opening statistics while they were at it.

Over a five-year period, an estimated 62,079 people were treated in an emergency department for agricultural-related injuries. Of those, approximately 30% were young patients and 22% were elderly. 

These age groups typically aren’t in the workforce for other industries, but they are commonly involved in agriculture, creating additional risk.

Finding the Solution

While these facts remind us of harsh realities in agriculture’s history, we each can play a role in creating a more optimistic future for the industry. 

“Failure to plan is planning to fail.” We’ve all heard it before, but it’s said for a reason. Planning ahead and being prepared for emergencies are some of the most important steps you can take to make your farm a safe place to be.

Developing a safety checklist and creating a farm emergency plan helps you be proactive rather than reactive. These documents make sure everyone involved in the farm is on the same page about how to handle these intense and scary situations.

Make the list and check it twice

Your safety checklist should contain a list of all equipment that should be checked before operating. Review recommendations from the NIOSH, the National Ag Safety Database and your local codes to ensure your equipment meets lighting and marking requirements. While you’re taking a look around the shop, take note of any repairs that may be needed before harvest, too.

Put proper protocol in place

A quality emergency plan answers the immediate questions that come to mind in the event of an emergency. Who do you call? Where do you meet? What do you bring? Include answers to these and other questions you anticipate in emergency situations.

It’s also important to train anyone who will be around or operating equipment so everyone is aware of proper protocol. Include this training when you go over your safety checklist and emergency plan. During this training with your farm crew, it can be helpful to walk through potential scenarios to see the plan in action.

For more information on aspects of farm safety that may be overlooked, join educational webinars throughout the week and learn how to protect you and your family and keep your place on the farm.

Caring for Communities


Liqui-Grow is more than just an ag retailer in the 23 towns we service across Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. We are active members of each of those communities, committed to being your trusted partner and neighbor.

As a family-owned business, we recognize the importance of supporting the local communities that give our team members and customers a safe place to raise their families.

Volunteering and Contributing 

Whether it’s purchasing a show animal at a county fair premium auction, spraying water on a track to prepare for a tractor pull or providing monetary contributions, Liqui-Grow is proud to support local events throughout our trade territory.

Along with Liqui-Grow supporting our local communities as a business, our team also takes pride in being active participants through serving on boards, volunteering and more. 

Each of the locations Liqui-Grow operates in was chosen for a reason, and we truly value the communities we are involved in.

Recommend a Charity

Have an event or organization you would like to see added to the list? Talk with your local Liqui-Grow representative, text us at 564-220-2508 or email

The Importance of Selecting A Quality Seed Treatment Package


The potential of one's crop starts long before the seed is even planted in the ground. How seed is harvested, dried, stored and treated before planting all make an impact in that seed’s ability to perform best in the soil it is planted in. 

Although seed treatment packages have been around for some time, the agriculture industry is constantly researching and testing new treatments to protect your crop – starting at the seed. 

As the weather allows, farmers continue to creep into the fields earlier and earlier each year with their planters. Farmers risk planting early into cold wet soils to maximize the amount of sunlight the plants are exposed to and drive those high yield potentials. Cold wet soils are often associated with early season pests and diseases.

We've seen that longer growing seasons in soybeans results in higher yielding crops at harvest, thus the importance of planting our soybean crops as timely as possible. 

Farmers who use a high-quality broad-spectrum seed treatment package can help protect their soybeans from harsh weather conditions we often expose early planted soybeans to. By adding a seed treatment package to your soybeans, you will receive better germination rates and protect your seed from early pests and diseases. 

But what is really in that seed treatment? Oftentimes there is a mix of fungicides and insecticides. Let’s dive into how the right seed treatment package can maximize bushels for your farm operation!

Fungicides on Treated Seed

Seed treatments we use today are hand-selected by Dr. Jake Vossenkemper and a team of experts to try and protect soybeans from an array of diseases we combat in the spring.  Without a crystal ball, we are unsure of which disease could show up, and using a broad-spectrum seed treatment can mitigate the risk from different diseases present.  

Currently, our most popular seed treatment has four fungicides that boost protection against Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Phytophthora and other yield robbing seedling diseases. It also has a 5th component from a fungicide, to help give extra protection against Fusarium, early on.  

We recommend adding Ilevo® Seed Treatment to this strong seed treatment package to protect against Sudden Death Syndrome and Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN). Today SCN is the #1 yield robber in soybeans, and on average loses 1.5bu/ac, across the 12 most northern states. Learn more about Soybean Cyst Nematodes here

Insecticides on Treated Seed

Seed Corn Maggots and Bean Leaf Beetles are two popular insects we often see in early spring planted fields throughout Northeast Iowa and Northwest Illinois’ fields. Seed Corn Maggots burrow through the seed corn and affect the germination.  Bean Leaf Beetles chew on leaves and can potentially infect crops with Bean Pod Mottle Virus. This virus can cause yield damage and seed discoloration. Using soybean seed treatments can ward off these insects along with others and protect yield from an early start.  

What to look for in your corn seed treatment package:

If you are finding secondary insect pests such as wire worm, grape colaspis and true white grub in your fields, it may be beneficial to consider up-treating your seedcorn with Poncho® 1250. One of the many benefits of up-treating your seed with Poncho® 1250 is you don’t have to worry about applying an in-furrow insecticide or granular insecticide to combat these insect pests. Don’t wait though!  Most companies require you to order higher rates of seed treatment early and most companies have cut off dates.  Check with your Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator to learn more!


Here to Help You Choose

Determining the best seed treatment package for your operation can be a stressful task. Lean on your local Liqui-Grow Sales Rep to help you determine the best seed treatment package for your operation. We test a variety of seed treatments on the market and ensure our customers are receiving quality products that will get the job done right. 

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email

Meet Liqui-Grow’s 2023 Research Interns

research interns with jake out in the fields doing research

This summer, Dr. Jake Vossenkemper is leading a team of research interns throughout the Liqui-Grow territory to learn the latest in crop technology and nutrient management and apply their knowledge out in the field.

Some are learning about Liqui-Grow for the first time, while others are returning to the intern team to soak in more knowledge and experience. We’re excited to share how these young leaders are contributing to Dr. Jake’s ongoing research.

Ella Garret

Growing up in the small town of Port Byron, Illinois, Ella Garret heard about Liqui-Grow through a friend, who recommended the internship to her. “I recently changed my degree to ag business and I wanted to learn more about it and what I can do with it,” Ella G. says. “I love the lifestyle and wanted to do something in the workforce with it!”

Ella G. has been able to experience multiple aspects of the agriculture workforce throughout the summer. Her primary focus, however, has been working hard in Dr. Jake’s research fields, from soil sampling and planting, to helping spray the fields this summer.

“Working with Dr. Jake has been great,” Ella G. says. “He’s excellent at slowing down and teaching you about anything.”

Ella G. admits she didn’t know what to expect coming into her summer internship with Liqui-Grow, but says, “I loved every part of this internship. Liqui-Grow is a great company to intern for, and you learn a ton.”

Ella Krukow

ella krukow researching in the fieldElla Krukow grew up on a large row crop and cattle operation, but she wanted to expand her agronomy knowledge. “I’ve been involved with livestock my whole life. I wanted an internship that would provide more insight to row crops,” she says.

Ella K.’s time in the field with Dr. Jake and the other research interns taught her about crop protection products, plant biology and soil science. “Agronomy can be fun!” she says, also noting how she enjoyed building relationships with others in the company. “Liqui-Grow is definitely a family-oriented company,” Ella K. says.

Learning under Dr. Jake was a great experience for her. “I didn’t expect he would be there all the time, but he was, and he taught me a lot,” she says.

Some of her biggest takeaways from the summer include seeing the difference of a traditional planting season versus windy, hot days planting research plots, doing a lot of stop-and-go with the planter. “It was hard for me to see planting go so slow coming from a large row crop background,” she says.

Ella K. also discovered her interest in marketing and plans to help promote the internship program for future students to show how fun and educational the experience is.

Ryan Parchert

Ryan Parchert comes from a diversified family operation started by his grandpa, consisting of row crops, cattle and show pigs. He learned about Liqui-Grow’s internship opportunities from Liqui-Grow employee Cheyenne Bush and was interested in the research aspect.

“My goal is to be an agronomy salesman and sell fertilizer,” Ryan says. The research internship is helping him gain the technical knowledge needed to excel in that career path.

His prior knowledge of Liqui-Grow was pretty limited, but over the past few months, he’s learned much more about the company, services and quality of products they offer to customers. He’s also witnessed the crop performance benefits of liquid suspension products compared to dry fertilizer.

A couple of Ryan’s favorite things about the internship are working with Dr. Jake and interacting with customers on service calls. “Everyday is an adventure,” he says. “That’s why I think I enjoy it so much. I like to have fun while I’m working.”

Ryan has really enjoyed spending time with farmers and talking through their problems to find a good solution. “I’m a big people-person and I enjoy connections,” he says.

Working on research trials has also helped Ryan gain a deeper understanding of agronomy and crop nutrition. “We had a field where we were all pretty certain what the problem was, but on closer examination, it was a different nutrient deficiency than what we originally thought,” he says. “We looked at the soil reports and what was causing the deficiencies in the plant. They lined up, but not close enough to explain what we were seeing. We thought it was Zinc, but it ended up being Manganese.”

As Ryan wraps up his internship next month, he’s excited to explore more opportunities in sales and see the results from his work in the research plot. “This internship has really been an integral part of what I want to do with my future,” he says. “I’m really excited to see what the next day holds.”

Hope Saroka

hope saroka standing in fieldHope Saroka didn’t come from a farming background, but got involved in agriculture through FFA, and found her love of crops through competitions. During a job shadow in college, she met Dr. Jake, who suggested she apply for the research internship. Now, she’s back for her second year!

Dr. Jake gave Hope a deeper understanding of agronomy, beyond what she was hearing in the classroom. “I’m applying to the research trials what I learned in the classroom the spring before,” she says.

Hope enjoys the diversity of her work, including pulling soil samples and working with the lab to understand the nutrients better. Service calls are also a highlight of her summer. “I’m a very social person, so that fulfills my social butterfly needs. We also get to talk through problems that customers have in their fields and help them decide what to do next,” she says.

Her greatest lesson, though, has been the importance of building relationships with people throughout the company, as she has been able to learn all aspects of the business through meeting sales applicators, location managers and customers. “I didn’t realize how family oriented Liqui-Grow is. Everyone cares about everyone,” she says. “This was a perfect fit for me. I got the taste of plant sciences, sales and office management. It goes hand-in-hand with what I learned in college.”

Wyatt Wessel

wyatt wessell standing in fieldWyatt Wessel is a first time research intern for Liqui-Grow, but a longtime follower of Dr. Jake’s work, as Wyatt’s father owns a contract research business and has worked with Dr. Jake for several years prior.

Seeing life on the inside of the company, though, has given Wyatt an even greater appreciation of the company and research that Dr. Jake leads. “I never realized how widespread the territory Liqui-Grow covers and how diverse Twin State Inc. is,” he says.

Working in research, Wyatt knows the importance of accuracy and detail, but the biggest lesson he learned this year was patience. “There’s no reason to get upset about a mistake,” he says. In his trials, he faced less than favorable conditions for ideal results and had to make adjustments for the test to work properly. “The microbes needed to achieve the results didn’t have the moisture they needed,” Wyatt says.

Wyatt’s internship also helped him expand his network and opened up doors for future opportunities. “It’ll help me become more diversified in the world of research, especially if I’m wanting to get into contract work. The N2O study I did could be a potentially huge market for contract work,” he says. Combining his education in the field with classroom learning is exciting for Wyatt, who already has a list of questions for his professors this fall.

Each of these interns came into their summer experiences with different backgrounds and aspirations for the future, but all are leaving with the same feelings of gratitude and growth. We are proud to support the next generation of agriculture, and we look forward to providing hands-on educational opportunities each year through research internships.

Managing Tar Spot This Season


Tar Spot. This seven letter word is causing headaches to many farmers across the nation. Tar Spot Disease has been on a non-stop track of multiplying since its first appearance in the corn belt back in 2015. 

Originating from South America, this disease is quite a ways from “home,” so what keeps it sticking around year after year? Let’s find out. 

When conditions are right

Summer months bring much more than watermelon, pool days and bonfires. Not only are people more active, but these warmer days and cool, dewy nights create the perfect environment for Tar Spot to become active in your fields too. 

The sweet-spot for this fungus to grow is when temperatures average around 60-70ºF at night with high humidity levels (we’re talking 75% plus!). Not only are these temperatures and humidity levels ideal for Tar Spot, but the corn leaves seem to be quite the resting place for this disease to develop — especially if the leaves are dewy for an average of seven hours per night. 

On average, we see Tar Spot pop up in corn fields starting at V10, but if the conditions are right, this disease is able to infest fields at earlier growth stages too. Having the ability to identify and manage Tar Spot in a timely manner not only impacts your crops, but your economic payback at harvest too. 

Putting Tar Spot under the microscope

Tar Spot is commonly mistaken as Southern Rust or Common Rust, but what makes it different? Tar Spot shows up as black spots within the leaf, whereas rust is commonly found on top of the surface. Plus, rust is able to be scraped away, but not Tar Spot. Tar Spot lesions are also dark brown to black in color, whereas rust has more red-orange toned specks on the leaf surface. 

Though individual Tar Spot lesions might not look too deadly on your crop, they quickly multiply. Each speck has over 10,000 spores infected with this disease, and once you get it, it is quite a pain to get rid of. 

In fact, Tar Spot is able to overwinter in fields and be passed down from crop generation to generation—not to mention the ease of infestation through wind transfer. Another reason why it is important to monitor your fields and take action quickly if the disease starts to appear. 

Tar Spot is commonly found near the ear leaf on the plant, both on the upper and lower sides of the leaves. From the ear leaf up on the plant, sugars are being developed to help build yield as the crop progresses towards harvest. Thus, it is important to identify and manage this disease early on.  As it works its way up the plant, you may see the ends of some leaves start to turn brown and die off.

To ensure you identify this disease properly—and a proper plan of action is implemented—talk with your local Liqui-Grow agronomist. 

Impacting your crop

Though these tiny specks might not seem too detrimental to your crop, Tar Spot has been proven to result in poor grain fill, kernel abortion, reduced kernel weight and can even cause the stalks to fold over in half – literally bringing them to their “knees.”

In more severe cases, Tar Spot has reduced yield by more than 100 bushels per acre!

Management practices to consider

Though tar spot may already be infesting your fields, it is hard to see the visual impact until around 20 days after the infestation has started. As time progresses, you will start to see the black lesions appear, and you’ll want to ensure you have a timely fungicide application to reduce crop risk as the season continues. 

A fungicide application at VT with multiple modes of action such as RevyTech®, Veltyma® or Delaro® Complete is preferred, but depending on the time of year, product availability may be limited. 

We’re here to help! Contact your local Liqui-Grow office for assistance in scouting your fields for Tar Spot and other diseases and determining the right fungicide application, to help protect the yield you’ve been generating this season. 


Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email