Nichols Agriservice, established in 1972, is a full service agronomy and grain dealer located in Nichols, Iowa. We integrate grid sampling, variable rate applications, crop scouting and other intense crop management systems into our custom recommendations.

Our expertise and commitment to customer service makes us a valuable partner in your ag business. From seed, chemicals and fertilizer to grain services, we provide outstanding solutions that help our customers produce a healthier crop with higher yields.

Hot Topics from Nichols Agriservice


Our offices will be closed Thursday, July 4th and Friday, July 5th for the Holiday.

We’re sorry for any inconvience this may cause.

Have a safe and Happy 4th!


Holiday Lights Drive-Thru

Holiday Lights Drive-Thru was hosted by Louisa 4-H County Council.  The fund raiser was held at the Louisa County Fairgrounds in Columbus Junction on Saturday 12/19 and Sunday 12/20.  Roger and Bev Howe with Red Power Museum was kind enough to partner with Nichols Ag for the event.  The display show cased a 1960’s International Combine with a bean head.  Roger loaned part of his pedal tractor collection as well.  The weekend brought more than 150 cars.  It was a great way to support our 4H clubs.  

Corn/Nitrogen Hedge

With corn prices on the rise and Nitrogen prices on the decline, the time is great to take advantage of our Corn/Nitro Hedge program. This program allows you to essentially swap corn now in exchange for Nitrogen in the spring. As seen in the graphic below, the ratio of bushels of corn to one ton of nitrogen is at a desirable level. It will take roughly 70 bushels of corn with basis factored in to equate to one ton of Nitrogen. For more information on this program please call Josh at 563-299-5786, Caleb at 563-299-0633, or Jake at 319-631-1966



New Grain Facility!

Nichols Ag is excited to announce the acquisition of another grain facility, Ag Junction! Ag Junction is conveniently located in Columbus Junction, just south of Nichols. This facility has both a corn and bean dump to limit your time waiting in line. The addition of this elevator allows us to better assist our current customer base and the opportunity to service new customers within the trade area. This facility will be known as Nichols Ag Columbus Junction and can be found at 3102 Center Street in Columbus Junction. For more information or questions please call our office at 319-723-4221.

Soybean Fungicide

Last year we sprayed Miravis Neo on a few of our soybean fields and the results were fantastic.  We suggest at least trying it on your farm this year.  Mirvais Neo won against another fungicide by 8 bushel an acre in the attached field.  Just a little quick math shows a 225 percent return on investment.  Let us know if you are interested today as we are fast approaching the ideal time to spray our beans.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)


Call your local FSA office on Tuesday May 26!!


The USDA announced $16 billion in direct aid. Nearly every type of farm operation across the U.S. is eligible. The funding will be a combined payment sourced from two pools of money: Congressional CARES Act and Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).


Payments for corn, soybeans, and wheat will be a per bushel payment based on either 50% of the 2019 production or 2019 inventory on January 15th, 2020, whichever is the least. The table below summarizes the non-specialty crop payment amounts.


Producers will initially receive 80% of their eligible payment, with the remainder delayed ensuring that as many farmers as possible receive payments before the $16B is exhausted. Payments are capped at $250,000 per person or entity.


If the PPP loan program is an indicator, it will not be surprising if the $16B runs out quickly and Congress must debate if and what additional funds they will add to the program. Make sure you are at the front of the line for the first round. The early bird gets the federal payment.


Call your local FSA office on Tuesday May 26 to schedule an appointment to apply for the program.


Watch this 3-minute video from the USDA describing the application process.


Learn more at the USDA CFAP website.

Know What You Are Planting!


As spring is right around the corner we all know the challenges we can face with getting the crop planted, but in 2020 it has never been more important to know what seed traits you are planting. With 6 different trait packages available to choose from communication is key in making sure the right herbicide is applied to the correct soybeans. We are not asking you to understand all the different modes of action with these chemicals but for us to better serve you, it all starts with making sure we know what soybeans got planted where.

We are recommending that if a grower chooses a certain trait platform that all the soybeans they plant are that SAME trait.

Also, we would like your help in communicating with your neighbors on all your fields to see what trait package of soybeans they are planting around your fields. You might ask why this is critical?  With some of the EPA regulations on certain chemicals there could be added buffers or certain wind directions that we may need to follow to be in compliance with the EPA label.

If you do not purchase your seed from one of our three locations we ask you either save the bag tag or send your agronomist a picture of the bag tag so we can identify the herbicide trait of those soybeans.

It is an exciting time in the soybean industry with all of these options available but WE ALL need to be good stewards and do our part to make sure these traits are around for years to come.

Making corn and soybean replant decisions

Is it time to re-plant now or when is the right time you might ask? Now is the time when producers should be out in their fields assessing to determine if replanting is necessary. Various conditions can cause reduced corn stands; it is important to identify the cause before deciding whether to replant. The difficulty of these decisions can stem from predicting how the effectiveness of replant will be along with the combination of planting date and changing environmental conditions. Again, replant decisions are never easy and are ultimately determined by which decision provides the greatest net income. Each field will have its own set of circumstances that will influence the decision. Recent thunderstorms have wreaked havoc on localized area with lots of heavy rain causing flooded areas in fields that may cause stand losses. Small corn plants are not tolerant of flooding and may succumb to this condition in 1-3 days. Soybean shows slightly better tolerance to flooding but still will not tolerate these conditions for very long.


Corn seed is very sensitive to soil and soil water temperatures below 50°F during the first 48 hours after planting. Soil temperatures regulate whether seeds will germinate or not. The ground temperature needs to be 50°F for a corn seed to start the germination process. During the first 24 to 48 hours the seedling imbibes or absorbs water and swells. Cold imbibition, cold chill imbibition, or cold shock are all terms used to describe the same affects caused to seedlings. If temperatures are below 50°F, cells can rupture, which can lead to nonviable swollen kernels and aborted growth of the root and shoot. Cold temperatures will interfere with proper hydration that could lead to chilling injury and reduced yield. When temperatures remain above 50°F for the first 48 hours after planting, seeds can be expected to germinate. If the soil temperature dips below 50°F after the imbibition period, it usually isn't an issue as the seed will be taking in water through a slower process known as osmosis. Also, with cooler temperatures germination will be delayed but should occur.


Cold stress also can occur in soybean seed if the soil temperature falls below 50°F during the first 48 hours after planting. The germination stage of soybean consists first of a very fast uptake of water (imbibitional phase) followed by a much slower uptake of water (osmotic phase). Chilling during the first phase can cause severe problems because the imbibed water is needed to rehydrate the cotyledons and embryo to the point that cell membranes become functional. Cold temperatures interfere with proper hydration of those membranes. The imbibitional phase typically is not very long (less than 24 hours) and can occur with relatively little soil moisture since the seed is dry. Thus, getting a cold rain 0-24 hours after you plant can lead to chilling injury in soybean and lower stands. A key point to consider is that chilling injury on soybeans is likely to be greater if soil temperatures were cold (conservatively, less than 50°F) at planting rather than becoming cold 24 or more hours after sowing. The longer the seed is in the ground at warm soil temperatures before cold temperatures occur, the less likelihood there is of chilling injury. The bottom line is: You can consider planting soybeans if you think soil temperatures won't get cold (less than 50°F) for at least 24-48 hours after planting. If you planted two or more days before the cold rain, there should be no imbibitional injury due to cold temperature.

Feel free to call the office at Nichols Ag, O’Toole or Muscatine Ag and talk to one of our trusted advisors.

Grain Blog

I’m sure everyone is wondering what happened last Friday after corn and beans took a huge dive.  I will save the beans for a different article but don’t expect China to save us.  African Swine Flu has killed soybean demand.  There are rumors of 30% hog feed reduction there.  That is 30% of 700 million hogs.  The USA only grows 121million hogs total.

Anyway on to corn, for months we have been talking about howgood the fundamentals have been.  Well last Friday that all changed. We are looking at close to 300 million more bushels of corn in the lateststocks report.  That would translate into a bearish 2.1 billion bushel carryout up from 1.8 billion bushels.

The second problem comes in the prospected planting acres.  At almost 93 million acres we have a corn problem.  I know people have been talking about flooding and weather issues but over time the USDA is 96 percent accurate when projecting final planted acres.  The two largest deviations in the last 30 years was 1993 at 2 million acres and 2010 at1 million acres.  So we are looking at a lot of corn acres this year.

The next problem is the yield.  If we are looking at174 bushel yield for 89 million harvested acres we are looking at 15.486billion bushel crop.  We will need record demand in feed, ethanol, andexport to just get to 15 billion bushel of demand.  I can see feed increasing to a record level but the other two could be tough giving thecurrent market outlook.  Therefore we are looking at adding another 400million bushels to our current 2.1 billion bushel carryout and that is conservative that this point.  Considering this year’s 178 bushel yield record, that is a another whopping 350 million bushel.  I think it is very likely we are heading for a plus 2.5 billion bushel carryout in 2020.

That is enough bad news for one article.  Let’s look at the good news. Forward prices still look somewhat attractive.  We are heading into a risk premium time of year.  We can lock in accumulators for over 4 dollars on corn and 9.80 on beans.  I do think there is some upside to these forward contracts due to weather premium but I would suggest being very aggressive in forward marketing this year.  Know when you are making money and take that risk off the table.  Be more afraid of taking 3 corn than waiting for $5.  We are here to help you get the very best price possible.

Field Study

Drought Expands

Though us in the Nichols Ag trade area have had some very nice rains the past few weeks, the rest of the country and state haven’t been so lucky.

Crop supplies are tighter than expected with the problems in the crop in South America.  The world stocks are dependent on our crop.  Any kind of supply hiccup in the US could lead to another nice rally like the one we have had in soybeans.

The drought in the Midwest and Iowa has expanded this week.  We have to be careful looking out our back window.  We have a ton of yield potential in this crop and should try to protect as much as we can.  I would suggest that we use every tool in the bag to complete this crop.

I have been seeing a lot of corn borers in non-gmo fields and there some reports on northern corn leaf blight showing up.  We can’t change the weather or control the markets but we can make sure we have done everything possible to make this the our very best crop. Call Nichols Ag today to make sure we have everything covered.


Josh O’Toole

Planting Recommendations

Updated planting date recommendations for Iowa

Lori Abendroth and Roger Elmore
8 March 2010

A full-length summary and publication on this data set will be available later this year. The statistical analysis and recommendations used and stated in this article may be changed slightly given further interpretation. The recommendations are not expected to be altered significantly though and are stated now to aid producers and agronomists this planting season.

Our research group at ISU has been working to update corn planting date recommendations based on new field data and combining that with what we understand of the environment and plant physiology. It has led to some exciting new findings and subsequent recommendations. As corn growers and agronomists know, corn planting dates have increasingly become earlier over the years. This change is largely due to advancements in equipment, seed treatments, hybrid stress tolerance, tile drainage, and reduced tillage. Combine these factors with a desire to maximize the length of the growing season and it is clear why we encourage earlier planting than before. Iowan’s plant approximately 2 weeks earlier today than during the 1970’s.

Corn will not germinate below a soil temperature of 50 F, although seeds absorb water irrespective oftemperature. Therefore, growers should plant when the soils are at or quickly approaching 50 F to avoid seed rot, poor emergence and/or poor stand establishment. Although planting too early can cause negative repercussions, in general, planting significantly after the recommended window has greater risk and potential loss for the grower.

Planting date recommendations are developed by conducting research at a number of locations and years to reduce the impact of site and weather variability that exists year to year. Weather impacts the yield response to planting date more than any other factor. Every year there are variables that can sway yields, such as: abnormally low or high number of heat units, late spring freeze, early fall freeze, dry conditions at pollination, etc. By having research at many locations and years, we minimize the impact of abnormal weather on final recommendations.

Our new recommendations are based on multi-year (2006, 2007, and 2009) and multi-location (7 research sites) data for a total of 21 site-years. We excluded data from 2008 primarily due to the exceptional amount of precipitation early in the growing season (flooded and water logged soils). A large amount of data was collected at the research sites including: plant population, leaf area, plant height, grain moisture, grain yield, and kernel weight. Here, we only discuss our findings in relation to grain yield.

The recommendations for maximizing yield are developed based on calendar date. At each location, our goal was to have 5 planting dates beginning on April 1 and ending on June 1, in 15 day increments. ISU farm managers and superintendents (listed at the end of this article) planted and managed these trials. Plots were planted as early as possible and adjustments were then made to the intervals between the remaining planting dates so that the trial always ended on 1 June. Once all the data was pooled and analyzed, three distinctive patterns or “regions” emerged for Iowa:

Recommendations are developed based on achieving a percentage of the maximum yield possible in relation to planting date. Each region had a different response curve, or optimum window of time. These “windows” were developed for each region by identifying the date that optimized yield on average and then expanding the window from there based on how narrow we want the window to be. Recommendations are given for achieving 95+% or 98+% maximum yield. The window of time that producers can expect to reach 98% to 100% yield potential in relation to planting date is narrower than the 95% to 100% window.

Northeast region (red):

This has the narrowest planting window due to the need to maximize the length of the available growing season. Grain yields begin to drop off more significantly here than the rest of the state if plantings are too late. We recommend planting between April 12 and May 2 (95-100% yield window) or between April 12 and 30 (98-100% yield window). The dataset is limited for plantings before April 12th in this region, which limits our ability to make recommendations prior to this date.

Northwest and central region (yellow):

This has a flatter yield response to planting date than the other regions. In other words, planting date does not appear as important of a management practice here as in other parts of the state. We recommend planting between April 15 and May 18 (95-100% yield window) or between April 15 and May 9 (98-100% yield window). The dataset is limited for plantings before April 15th in this region, which limits our ability to make recommendations prior to this date.

Southern region (blue):

The yield response in this part of the state is presumably related more closely to rainfall patterns and soil moisture than the length of the growing season since this typically is not a limitation as it is in the northern part of the state. We recommend planting between April 11 and May 13 (95-100% yield window) or between April 17 and May 8 (98-100% yield window).

Although planting date impacts yield and is an important factor, it is clear that an approximate 3- to 4- week window exists for growers in each Iowa region to plant their crop and realize 95% or greater yield. Other factors may limit yield, but in terms of planting date, growers should feel secure when planting within these windows. Interestingly, the regions and recommendations mimic fairly closely to what we see for average daily temperature patterns across the state during the growing season.

Thank you to the following ISU faculty and staff for their significant contributions to this project: Stephanie Marlay, Anthony Myers, Robert Foster, Dr. Philip Dixon, Jeff Butler, Mike Fiscus, David Haden, Ken Pecinovsky, Nick Piekema, David Rueber, Ryan Rusk, Jim Secor, and Kevin Van Dee.

Thank you to the following undergraduate and graduate research assistants of the ISU Extension Corn Production program who collected and managed the field and laboratory data: Lesa Andersen, Sarah Baune, Matthew Boyer, Matthew Brower, Tim Chwirka, Leslie Freehill, Nick Kastler, Wade Kent, Marcos Paulo da Silva, Derek Shalla, Eric Wilson, and Alicia Wulf.

Annual Customer Meeting 2016

Please accept our invitation for you and a guest to join us for happy hour, dinner and informative meeting!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Happy Hour

5:30 pm Dinner served with speakers immediately following

at The Rendezvous (3127 Lucas St, Muscatine, IA 52761)

Be sure to mark your calendar, you won’t want to miss this meeting! Help us plan for dinner by providing your RSVP by February 24, 2016 to one of the locations listed above or

Lodged Corn

Mid- to late-season lodging

Why did the plants root lodge?

First, hybrids vary in their tolerance to lodging. Second, root lodging can be directly tied to rootworm larvae feeding. Third, plants may lodge simply because of strong winds and saturated soils (may or may not exhibit rootworm damage). Warm, dry conditions during corn’s vegetative period result in deep root penetration while cool, wet conditions result in shallow root systems. The latter would result in corn that is more prone to root lodging from strong winds and saturated soils.

Roots act as guy ropes and props that anchor corn plants against lodging. Initially both windward and leeward roots play a role with slow wind speeds, however, as wind speeds increase, the role of the windward and leeward roots change. During high wind events, windward roots are pulled from the soil while leeward roots are pushed into the soil. Although it might make sense that lodging comes from windward roots that fail to hold fast to the soil, the fragile link in rooting structures is the weakness in compression of the leeward corn roots from bearing large downward loads. A rotation of 10 degrees is enough to cause the leeward roots to buckle and the plant to lodge (Ennos et al.).

Root mass reaches its maximum at silking (R1). Brace roots provide support to the stalk and are of considerable importance in “resurrecting” plants root lodged by strong winds. Fortunately, plants root lodged before R1/R2 are somewhat able to compensate for the canopy disruption caused by the lodging. After a couple of days, the upper portions of these plants resume a vertical growth pattern, “goosenecking.” Although this rearrangement of the crop canopy may limit potential yield losses, it does make harvesting slower and increases the potential for ear loss during harvest.

How will root lodging affect yield?

An Iowa State study forced V10-stage corn to “lodge” at a 45° angle in plots with and without rootworms. Grain yield of lodged corn without rootworms yielded 11 and 40 percent less than the control in the two years of the study while lodged corn with rootworms yielded 12 and 28 percent of the control. Years made a big difference in yield response. It was concluded that lodging was more detrimental to biomass accumulation and yield than corn rootworm larval feeding itself. In a separate study with natural root lodging, lodged plants intercepted 28 percent less light than un-lodged plants.

This gives us some idea of the wide variation in years and among treatments at V10. Simulated root-lodging work from the University of Wisconsin addresses the yield impact when lodging occurs at silking. Corn was lodged in two years at three different growth stages each year (see Table 1).


Lodging treatments in Year 1 Grain yield (bu/acre) Lodging treatments in Year 2 Grain yield (bu/acre)
Control 199 Control 187
V10 191 V11–V12 181
V13–V14 182 V15 168
V17–R1 151 VT 160
LSD (0.05) 20 LSD (0.05) 10

Table 1. Simulated root lodging. University of Wisconsin. 

Lodging did not affect plant development, but it did increase the number of barren plants. The yield loss varied across the two years, with losses in the first year up to 30 percent and half of that in the second year. Overall, yields were reduced 2-6% when corn was lodged from V10/V12, 5-15% when corn was lodged from V13/V15, and 12-31% when corn was lodged on or after V17. We would expect less yield reductions after R1 since VT/R1 are the most critical stages for leaf loss, plant loss, etc. to occur.

What can we learn that will reduce root lodging in the future?

  • Identify whether the lodging was primarily caused by rootworm larvae feeding, poor root development (due primarily to cold, wet soil conditions), poor seed placement at planting (too shallow of root mass), late-season stalk rot (see the Image Gallery for pictures of late-season lodging) or due to other circumstances. Understanding the cause will provide valuable information when managing this field in the future.
  • In areas where rootworm larvae feeding was the cause of the root lodging, use soil insecticides, crop rotations, or Bt hybrids resistant to rootworm feeding.
  • Hybrids vary in their susceptibility to lodging, select hybrids that withstand root lodging.

Your’e Invited!

Asgrow/DeKalb Breakfast

Date: Tuesday, May 27 2014

Time: 9 am – 10:30 am

Place:  Nichols Test Plot

Call Nichols Ag for details

Sudden Death

I would like to remind people that our seed treater is up and running.  We can run custom blends for any type of seed treatment available.  We will also treat anyone’s seed.  Give us call if you need something done.  I think the conditions are right for seed treatment to really show some value.



I might be a little late but here is some information on sudden death.

Disease Management

Management options for SDS are limited. Although soybean cultivars that are less susceptible to SDS have been developed, no highly resistant cultivars are available (Njiti et al., 2002). Fungicides applied in furrow during planting or as seed treatments have only limited effects on disease reduction. Fungicides applied to foliage have no effect on SDS suppression, presumably because the fungal infection is restricted to root systems and fungicides typically do not move downward in the plant to reach this site of infection. Several management practices may reduce the risk of SDS damage, although they will not prevent the disease:

Planting Date

Early planting predisposes soybean to infection. In cool, wet soils, young soybean plants are vulnerable to infection by the SDS pathogen. If early spring conditions are favorable for rapid soybean growth, and if saturating rains do not occur during early reproductive stages of growth, the risk for SDS may be less even though the fungus is present in the soil. Fields with no history of SDS should be planted first; fields where SDS has been a problem should be planted last.


Compacted soils impede water percolation and restrict root growth. A heavy rain when soybean has reached the reproductive stages will saturate compacted areas, which promotes SDS development. Correcting soil compaction and water permeability problems may reduce the risk for SDS. Soils respond differently to tillage system intensity changes; plowing, chiseling, or similar drastic soil disturbances strongly affect drainage, crop residue position, and the microbial composition of soil (Aon, 2001; Kladivko, 2001). Not surprisingly, reports on effects of tillage on SDS are contradictory. In some soils, no-tillage can be beneficial in reducing the severity of SDS compared to plow or chisel plow tillage (Seyb et al., 2007; Abney, unpublished). In other soils, intensive tillage reduces SDS presumably by maintaining sufficient vertical water movement compared to no-till (Vick et al., 2006). The best drainage and the most root growth-enhancing soil management may be facilitated in various ways — in some instances, this may require intensive tilling in some soil types, but no-till may be more appropriate in other soil types.


Crop rotation may reduce the risk for SDS (Rupe et al., 1997), but corn-soybean in yearly rotation, common in the Corn Belt, does not reduce the incidence and severity of SDS (Westphal, unpublished). Severe outbreaks of the disease have occurred even after several years of continuous corn. Crop rotation reduces the inoculum potential of other soybean pathogens, but shifting to annual rotations of corn and soybean (compared to longer rotations that involved small grains and perhaps forages) fails to reduce the risk for SDS. Studies at Purdue University have found that soybean roots are not visually healthier after a rotation with corn compared to continuous soybean (Xing and Westphal, unpublished). When corn is grown in the field, soilborne pathogens may decline to some extent, but not enough to substantially reduce the disease pressure when soybean is grown in the field the following year. Although a two-year rotation may hold SCN population densities below threshold levels when the initial population density is low, such a rotation appears to be too short to reduce risk for SDS.

Resistant Soybean Cultivars

Soybean breeders are striving to develop SDS-resistant cultivars, but progress has been slow. Greenhouse and field methods, employing high rates of artificially produced fungal inoculum on grain sorghum and carefully selected watering regimes were developed (Hartman et al., 1997; De Farrias et al., 2006). While most seed companies have removed highly susceptible cultivars from their inventories, no highly resistant cultivars are available. Because seed companies continually introduce new cultivars and retire older ones, accurate information about the reaction of new cultivars to SDS is essential.

Under these challenging management conditions, planting highly susceptible soybean cultivars into fields with high risk for SDS must be avoided. Field records of when and where SDS and other soilborne diseases occur are essential for management of SDS and other soilborne diseases. Handheld GPS receivers may assist in this strategy, but even simple sketched maps will help record problem areas. Fields severely affected by SDS should be earmarked for later planting and operations to improve water permeability should be considered, including compaction-correcting tillage or tile drainage. Finally, cultivars with some degree of resistance should be planted.

VRT Planting and Seed Treatment

Hello everyone,

I just have a few updates before what looks to be another hectic spring. If you are interested in variable rate planting, we have the technology available here on a local level with people you trust. We can do it if off of soil types or my preferred method, yield maps.  Give us a call soon if you are interested.

I have one another announcement.  We are currently installing a state of the art seed treatment system.  With the improvements in seed care I believe it will be one of our most important tools to increase and protect soybean yields in the coming years.  Even if you haven’t purchased seed from us we would gladly treat anyone’s soybeans.  These advanced treatments are very important and we want to make sure you can take advantage of them.  Contact Jerry Gerot for the details.

Thanks for your continued support,

Josh O’Toole

High Clearance Dry Spreader Now Available

We are now able to do custom side-dress application of dry product!

We are pleased to announce we have just purchased a Rogator High Clearance Dry Spreader which will be available for use by all locations.  This will be available on a first come, first serve basis so call your local sales representative today to get your work scheduled!

Please find our daily grain markets on Grower 360. Please call the office to get set up today! 319-723-4221