Curt Lahr, QLF Agronomy Regional Sales Agronomist Northern Minnesota & North Dakota
There’s a famous saying that goes, “People do business with people,” and this timeless adage perfectly encapsulates the longstanding partnership between Quality Liquid Feeds (QLF) and Waage Farms of Greenbush, Minnesota. Waage Farms, now in its third generation, embarked on its journey with just a quarter section of land and a dairy operation back in the early 1960s. Over the years, it has transformed into a thriving grain and livestock enterprise, managing an impressive 14,000 acres of land and finishing 4,000 cattle per year. The third generation of the family, comprising Ross, his brother Ryan, and their cousin Todd, currently manages the farm. In recent years, they have also ventured into a Charolais cow/calf operation in partnership with Chad Zehnder of Purina Feeds, selling around 100 bulls each year through auctions and private treaty.
The relationship between QLF and Waage Farms first materialized on the feed side in 1997 when they began purchasing QLF liquid feed supplements through their local Land O Lakes cooperative while simultaneously focusing on cattle backgrounding. At the time, they collaborated with a Land O Lake’s beef specialist on rations and management recommendations. Waage Farms was one of the first feedlots in the region to adopt Total Mixed Ration (TMR) feeding and transition from dry supplements to liquid. The decision to switch to a liquid supplement was driven by the noticeable gains in feed efficiency and improved nutrient distribution. Known for their progressive approach, the Waage family always seeks ways to enhance their operations.
A few years later, when the local co-op had to let go of its sales support, Waage Farms briefly explored other liquid feed manufacturers. However, they returned to QLF because of the quality of the products and the exceptional service QLF offered. Subsequently, Waage Farms became a dealer for Purina products following the merger of Purina and Land O Lakes. They began selling QLF Feed supplements in addition to incorporating them into their farming operations.
In 2015, during a conversation with Ross after a local cattleman’s meeting, I, Curt Lahr, the QLF District Sales Manager, shared some exciting news about a new venture QLF was embarking on. Drawing from a prior discussion with Ross, during which he mentioned their substantial use of 28% UAN on wheat, I vividly recalled the topic. I showed Ross some images of wheat crops that exhibited no signs of nitrogen burn on the leaves despite the use of 28% UAN. These images were sourced from a compelling marketing piece from a large progressive Dairy in Eastern Wisconsin. In a bold move, they combined QLF’s L-CBF BOOST with the 28% UAN for their wheat, aiming to secure more grain yield and straw for bedding on their 6,000-cow dairy operation. Astonishingly, not only did this approach prevent nitrogen burn, but it also significantly BOOSTed their yields.
Ross expressed that he frequently considered the need for additional efforts to improve and rejuvenate soil health. The following year marked a pivotal moment for Waage’s as they integrated QLF’s L-CBF products into their wheat farming practices and explored QLF’s offerings tailored for corn and soybeans. Their experience with our agronomy products dates back to 2016, characterized by remarkable business growth. Encouraged by tangible benefits, including increased yields and enhanced soil health on their own farm, they gained the confidence to introduce these solutions to neighbors and friends. Reflecting their commitment, they have even brought a dedicated full-time salesperson on board to market and provide service for the LCBF products.
When asked about their partnership with QLF, Ross pointed out the reasons why they value this relationship. He appreciates that QLF is not solely focused on selling products but is always exploring ways to improve processes through research and development. Ross has visited the Dodgeville office and Agronomy Research Center, witnessing the dedication and investment by QLF Owner and President Cory Berg, the commitment to growth, and the alignment with a family-owned business similar to theirs. Moreover, he commends QLF for their unwavering dedication to customer care, their steadfast support for their products, and their consistent commitment to providing excellent service.