Bergkamp Family Farm

Come along with Jim Shroyer and meet Mark Bergkamp, owner and operator of the Bergkamp Family Farm located in Sedgwick County near Clearwater, Kansas. Learn the history of how Mark’s Great Great Grandfather’s family came to America from Germany, settled here and began farming. Then Mark shares information about the farm’s current cropping operation that consists of wheat, corn, soybeans and sorghum.

(Jim) Welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host for today. And today we’re in Sedgwick County. We’re on the Bergkamp Family Farm and we’re gonna be talking to Mark Bergkamp in a moment. And you can see in the background we’re cutting corn and we’re gonna be talking about corn and some other crops here in Sedgwick County. We’ll be right back.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Jim) Good morning folks, I’m Jim Shroyer, the host of That’s My Farm and we’re in luck because we’re in Sedgwick County, near Clearwater. And we’re on the Bergkamp Family Farm and with us today we have Mark Bergkamp and Mark thanks for being with us and glad you’re taking time. I know you gotta get into the corn patch here in a minute to cut some corn. But tell us a little bit about how your family got here and then a little bit about your crop rotation. I know you’ve got an interesting history on how your family got here, so let us have it. (Mark) Alright. The way I take it, I’m not the most adept historian but my Great Great Grandfather’s family came over from Germany. On the boat over here my Great Great Grandfather was a little baby. He got a fever and the crew wanted everybody …wanted them to throw him overboard. Fortunately, they decided you know to keep him, he got better. They settled in Illinois. And eventually my Great Grandfather made his way to Mount Vernon, Kansas. He had a convenience store though in St. Mark’s and I don’t know, through the course of running the business, I guess they got robbed once and after he got robbed, he said, “That’s enough of that. I’m going back to the farm.” So he raised eight boys out near Mount Vernon and my Grandpa settled around Garden Plain, raised… they had nine kids and three boys he got started farming in different parts. Like, one uncle up in Harvey County. Another one stayed in the Garden Plains area. And my Dad here near Clearwater. It was a half section, they bought it in ’72 or ’73, my folks got married in ’75. My Dad worked as an electrician in town for several years, then got to be just during the winter. And then in the mid ’90s we farmed enough to where he could farm full time. And I went to college at Wichita State and then… (Jim) So, you’re not too far from home. (Mark) No. That’s right exactly, I stayed at home and then I helped him through my whole college. knew I wanted to farm but I also wanted to go to college and… (Jim) And you met your lovely wife there. (Mark) I met my lovely wife there, so everything worked out. (Jim) Good deal. I want to know, off camera, I want to know what that cruise line was, I don’t want to get sick on that cruise line. (Mark) That’s pretty brutal. (Jim) Throwing the baby overboard. So, good thing he got better. So, let’s talk a little bit about your crop rotations and I know your Dad…you’ve diversified a little bit more than just a few years ago. (Mark) Yeah, when he first started I’m sure they were growing mostly wheat. In fact, this half section, especially the east quarter was super wheat, just super flat. And he laser leveled it and then got into irrigation. And then he, once it was irrigated, I think as a kid I always remember beans, beans everywhere. And then the late ’90s we started growing more corn. And now we’re probably… we’ll grow three years of corn to one year of soybeans under irrigated. (Jim) No wheat in that rotation? or irrigated? (Mark) No,no. I mean I think that’s a good rotation. It’s just so labor intensive and we get wet here in June. I mean, we’ve had a year where we did have wheat on an irrigated. We harvested it in late July and so then we went ahead and planted our double crop beans. They ended up making 30 bushel, but it didn’t freeze til November. (Jim) I tell you what, hang on. We’re gonna talk more about those crops because we have to hear from our sponsor. So folks, don’t go away we’ll be right back.

(Jim) Welcome back folks to That’s My Farm and as I said earlier we’re in Sedgwick County near Clearwater. We’re on the Bergkamp Family Farm. We have Mark with us. And we talked a little bit about how the family got here. A little bit about crop rotation and I know we’re in wheat country down in this area. A lot of corn, sorghum, soybeans grown. But let’s talk about your wheat production for a few minutes here. So what… take me from a field. How do you get to wheat? (Mark) OK. From a field, say we’ve got corn growing on some fields now. We’re hoping to get a little bit of rain here in September, have some decent planting conditions. And then… (Jim) Well, July hasn’t been too good. (Mark) No, it hasn’t. No, it hasn’t. If we can just get a couple inches, enough to get the wheat up, we’ll plant wheat. Put some starter down, put some phos, probably 50 to 75 pounds. You know, February time frame of course I’ll have soil samples and I’ll figure out how much nitrogen I’m gonna need to raise 55-60 bushel wheat. And I’ll try to put the rest of it on February sometime after the ground thaws. (Jim) So, you’re looking probably at an 80-90 maybe 100 pounds of nitrogen for that crop, that wheat crop? (Mark) A lot of time it’s pushing a hundred after corn. (Jim) So, you’ve still got some nitrogen possibly left over from the corn. (Mark) Depending on how it does, yeah. (Jim) What about planting into that residue? You’re mainly no till wheat after corn, so tell me a little bit about that. (Mark) We have a John Deere Air Seeder. The keys are, we just try to keep the discs in good condition. (Jim) Sharp. (Mark) Sharp. I’ll drive five mile an hour if it’s extremely thick residue and then if there is a lot of dew I’ll probably hold off in the morning and just plant a little bit, with the hair pin. (Jim) You want a good depth. (Mark) Right, try to get it sliced through that trash instead of hair pinning it. (Jim) OK. Yeah, that’s a big issue with a lot of residue. So, OK, what about seeding rates and time of planting? (Mark) We’ll get started first of October, roughly and I’ll plant…at that time I’ll put 80-90 pounds usually and then if it’s later if we’re late October, I’ve never had to go up to 120, but I think it might be worthwhile doing it. (Jim) Let’s talk about varieties for a second here. What varieties do you mainly use? (Mark) Last year we were all Everest. This year our seed dealer, kind of said they’d had some pretty good luck with Gallagher. (Jim) From OSU? (Mark) From OSU, yeah. So, we’re gonna try some Gallagher. Well, I tell you what, that’s pretty good coverage of wheat. I know your wheat yields weren’t all that great this year, due to the dry conditions. But we have to pause for a second. for a word from our sponsors. Folks, don’t go away, we’ll be right back in Sedgwick County.

(Jim) Welcome back folks to That’s My Farm. We’re in Sedgwick County near Clearwater on the Bergkamp Family Farm and we have Mark with us. And we’ve talked a little bit about the family history and a little bit on wheat production. Maybe not as much as I want, but now we’re gonna talk about corn. Because corn has really taken off down in this area. So, Mark tell us…take a field and go through the life cycle of corn for us on your farm. (Mark) OK,OK. I’m gonna break down in irrigated and dry land cause they’re really two different rotations. Our irrigated, we grow three years of corn and in between those years, we need to turbo till it in the fall. And then we’ll come back and strip till and plant corn. Just to get rid of a little bit of that residue. (Jim) Right. (Mark) Then beans. The only reason we’re doing that type of rotation, that long of corn, is because of the sudden death issue in soybeans. (Jim) We’ll talk about soybeans here in a second. (Mark) OK. (Jim) Three years corn, then to soybeans. (Mark) On our dryland where we’re trying to do more of a no till type system, I think rotation is just key. And so after wheat, we’ll harvest a field that’s got wheat. We’ll try and go back to double crop soybeans. And then we’ll plant corn the following April. (Jim) OK, so how many years of corn in that situation? (Mark) One, but sometimes we’re pushing two. So, a lot of probably half of our corn acres this year, our dry land corn acres are corn on corn. (Jim) OK. (Mark) And we’ve had good luck with that because it gives it time to replenish moisture. You know you’re harvesting in August and the plants probably died in late July, so you… (Jim) Depends on the moisture in July and the heat… (Mark) Yeah, exactly. (Jim) Right, right. (Mark) And then we’ll do second year of corn. (Jim) OK. So, you do have… then you go back to wheat after this? (Mark) Yes, then we go back to wheat after that. (Jim) Whether it’s one year of corn or two years of corn on dryland. (Mark) Yes, yes. (Jim) OK, so let’s talk about populations on irrigated and the irrigated rotation and dry land as well. So, what do you shoot for, for what are you dropping seeds? (Mark) On our irrigated we’re dropping 30,000. And I’m shooting for 210, if we have a great year it will do better. Our dry land it depends if it’s sandier soil or shallower soil, I’ll plant 15,000, I’ll drop 15,000. (Jim) And hope for 13,500 or 14,000? (Mark) Yeah, yeah to come up that’s about right. And it can still… if you have a great year, I think that probably tops out around 100. So we are limiting ourselves a little bit there. But a lot of our stuff, when we’re in a rotation with wheat, double crop beans, corn. If I drop 15,000 corn, a lot of times it only takes 50-60 pounds of nitrogen to get me 90-100 bushel of corn. (Jim) And that’s what you shoot for? Somewhere in that 90-100. (Mark) Yes. (Jim) And a good year, obviously better. (Mark) Yeah, well like this year… (Jim) Tell me about your dry land corn this year. (Mark) Yeah, some of the fields, you know they were surprising me, anywhere from 120 to 140. We are… the one field of dry land that I dropped 15 on and I put 60 pounds of nitrogen on it, kind of sandy and I planted a 96 day hyrid on it, it’s only gonna make maybe 85 or 90 this year. So, I definitely left some on the table, but that’s kind of the law of averages. (Jim) OK. Let’s talk a little bit about fertility, now, irrigated. (Mark) On our irrigated now we’ll take…we have Crop Quest and they always take our soil samples and typically in the fall if I can just generalize everything, we’ll put on 100 pounds of 1152 and a 100 pounds of 006. (Jim) On a field that’s gonna go to… (Mark) Going to corn or beans. (Jim) Yep. (Mark) Corn or beans. We’ll just do that every year. And then we’ll put our fall anhydrous on the heavy ground. And then sand is in the spring. (Jim) OK. So, tell me… let’s talk a little bit more about fertility and the herbicides you’re using on corn. (Mark) OK, sure. On fertility, our sandy pivots we try not to put an anhydrous on because you are one rain away from losing it. So, we’re either try to fertigate it or get some… (Jim) Put it through the sprinkler. (Mark) Put it through the sprinkler. And herbicides… with our no till we put down fall herbicide on everything, just to take care of mares tail. So mares tail is not an issue anymore. Pig weed is kind of the big problem. But we’re posting corn and the nice thing about it, if you’re using a Lumax or something like that you put it on the corn canopies and you’re done. (Jim) And you don’t have any issues with coming back to wheat after planting in the fall? (Mark) No. Uh huh. (Jim) OK. Hang on we’re gonna go to another crop in a second, so folks stay with us, we’ll be right back.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, we’re here in Sedgwick County with Mark Bergkamp. And Mark, we’re obviously standing in a soybean patch right here, irrigated soybeans. So, tell me how you get it going? (Mark) Our practices on soybeans, usually after the third year of corn, we’ll go ahead and rotate the soybeans. I won’t plant my irrigated beans full season until the first part of June. If I can hold off til June 1, I like it and that helps us with our SDS problems. (Jim) Sudden Death Syndrome. (Mark) Yeah, exactly. (Jim) Your fuller season tend to show a little bit more problems with SDS. (Mark) Yeah, if we try to plant them in May, I don’t know if it’s getting a cold snap in there or what it is, but yeah, we just can’t do it. I mean I can raise better beans planting them in late June. If it would happen to start raining my irrigated beans that I can plant in late June will still do better than my May beans. (Jim) Well, your beans here look pretty healthy. I don’t see a whole lot of holes from insects in here. So what about any type of fungicide or insecticide that you would use. (Mark) Not typically. I mean if we have a problem, we have a Crop Quest, they do scout once a week. So, if we have some bugs, then we’ll go ahead and do what we have to … (Jim) Bean leaf beetle and that sort of thing. (Mark) Yeah, bean leaf beetle or a lot of times the pod worms coming. (Jim) Right, exactly. (Mark) But this year, not yet. I mean she comes today so, we’ll find out. (Jim) Well, they look pretty good. Really major time of putting on water? (Mark) We try and hold off when they’re small, keep ’em alive and then when they start blooming a little bit later, usually late July we start watering them and watering ’em and just keep watering ’em. (Jim) Well I’ve always found that if you water soybeans it’s kind of like spoiled kids. If you spoil them early you kind of have to keep the water on the whole season long. (Mark) Yeah, they get big and they’re never your best fielders. (Jim) That’s right. Well, Mark I tell you what, we’re gonna have to take a break from our sponsors here, so stay with us we’ll be right back. You folks at home stay with us, we’ll be right back. (Jim) Welcome back folks to That’s My Farm. We’re in Sedgwick County with Mark Bergkamp on the Bergkamp Family Farm. So Mark, we’ve talked a little bit about crop rotations and that sort of thing, or history. Let’s talk about the nuts and bolts here of marketing. So, real briefly here tell me what your marketing strategy is. (Mark) OK, that’s probably the toughest part, when we can make the most or lose the most. But we try to keep it simple. I mean if we feel like we’re getting a good basis and a good bid, early, we may presell ten percent of something. But a lot of times we like to wait until we get things harvested. We’ll try and move some out in September. (Jim) Just shortly after harvest? (Mark) Or during harvest. And then we try and do some every month. Which with the grain set up now it’s kind of maybe disciplined us a little more. Where you can’t haul everything out in one month, so you just kind of make some sales. (Jim) Well, you’ve got quite a bit of storage here. (Mark) Yeah. And it’s helped a bunch. During harvest you know, we can start harvesting at 18, we’ll bring it in. (Jim) Dry… (Mark) Dry down. Or if we have some 13 we can blend it out and make 15, and so… yeah, I think it’s disciplined our marketing. We just try and we don’t shoot for the home run, we don’t try to hold things for a year til the price comes up or something. We just move it. (Jim) It’s expensive to hold it. (Mark) Yeah, it is. (Jim) So OK, tell me, what with the falling commodity prices, how’s that going to affect your strategy as far as what you’re gonna be planting this fall and next spring? (Mark) Yeah, we’ll probably stay with a similar rotation. You know, we’ll take a beating for one year I guess. I mean it’s so tempting…. (Jim) You learned your lesson? (Mark) Yeah, it’s so tempting to just go ahead and plant some beans cause you’re gonna have a lot less inputs and everything. But who knows, next fall could be totally different. Bean prices could be in the tank and corn could be decent. (Jim) Well, that’s true. So, what about what you plant though, versus… a bag of corn’s kind of pricey. (Mark) Yes, I always said I hope I never have to plant milo again. But it’s kind of back on the table now. You know you look at spending ten bucks an acre instead of fifty or sixty for corn. You know a guy has to consider that or even with wheat. I mean, low commodity prices could transition over to more wheat than we have now. (Jim) Right, right, so that’s gonna… so that does obviously… commodity does affect what you’re gonna be, your strategy is down the road. (Mark) Yes, it does. (Jim) So Mark, we talked a little bit about how you’ve marketed it. But where do you market the grain? (Mark) Yes, our soybeans, Cargill has a crushing plant here in Wichita. (Jim) So that’s not too far away. (Mark) No, not too far away. A lot of the corn, it will go to feed yards, ethanol plants, swine lots. Stuff like that. So, when we can we like to market to the end user as much as possible. (Jim) OK. Well, good. Mark, I want to thank you for being on the show with us and I hope you watch it next week. (Mark) Yes, I’ll tune in. (Jim) You folks at home, I hope you watch That’s My Farm again next week and thanks for being with us today.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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