Derek's Notes

Meeting and Big Announcement

Sorry for the delay on getting the summary of grower meeting up on blog, we finished corn harvest on the weekend. The grower meeting was great lots of great topics and discussions. I wanted to get summarize the meeting for those who were not able to attend and refresh for those who did.

We first heard from Marla Riekman Land Specialist with MAFRI, she discussed more than just vertical tillage. Soil structure, soil compaction, residue management and vertical tillage. Marla made it clear all these things are related. My take aways from here presentation were 1) 80% of compaction is caused by the first tillage pass made, soil that is moist not saturated are most prone to compaction so in other words probably when we think its perfect time to till is perfect time to compact. The number one defense for compaction is soil structure. 2) Soil compaction can lead to many problems such as causes nutrient deficiencies, reduces crop productivity, restricts root development, reduces soil aeration, decreases soil available water, reduces infiltration rate, nutrient losses and increases surface runoff. 3) Vertical tillage does help with some compaction but only top 2-6 inches, vertical tillage can be useful in sizing residue, especially where crop type or weather conditions lead to slow decomposition. 4) When deciding whether a vertical tillage tool or which tillage tool is right for you make sure it fits the needs or expectations you want to achieve. 5) Good soil structure, reducing compaction and residue management will not occur over night there will be a transition period.

John Heard was next up and talked about soybean fertility and specifically phosphate. Soybeans roots do not react the same as many crops. While crops like wheat, corn and canola will concentrate in banded applied phosphate, soybeans are similar to flax, they will scavenge the soil for phosphate and grow past the banded fertilizer. Soybeans perform best in fertile soils and it is very tough to visually identify a phosphate deficiency so it is key to maintain adequate phosphate levels. Maintaining these levels can be done many ways, choose which option is best for your operation.

  1. Fall or spring banding
  2. Fall or spring broadcasting
  3. Some phosphate can be applied with seed but reduced plant population is a big risk
  4. Preloading crops in non soybean years, cereals can handle more phosphate in seed furrow that crop requires

One bushel  of soybean removes between 0.8 to 1.1 lbs of phosphate from soil. So maintaining phosphate levels is not just important for soybean crop but also the following crop, its important to remember that only about 30% of spring applied phosphate with seed will be available to that years crop thus applied phosphate the year following likely will not correct any very low levels following soybeans.  Also unlike some crops soybeans require the majority of their phosphate requirements later in the season and the majority ends up in seed which gets hauled to the elevator therefore removing it completely from the field. Potassium requirements are also large for soybeans and while our clay soils are for the most part high in K it should not be completely ignored. Key to understanding your nutrient requirements is regular and properly done soil testing.


Darcy Catellier talked about Lumiderm which is a new canola insecticide seed treatment it will extend flea beetle control up 35 days and is the only seed treatment to control cutworms. I know in the past few years canola fields in the area have been regularly sprayed for flea beetle control and cutworm control. If you have concerns for the upcoming growing year choosing Lumiderm treated canola seed may be an option for you. It is only available on selected hybrids and must be ordered by January.

We wrapped the meeting up with announcing that Dwight Willoughby has joined Derek Erb Seeds and we are extremely excited to have him, our key products and programs. 46H75 canola is a game changing and is gaining momentum across our area as one of the top hybrids to grow. The combination of DuPont Pioneer canola genetics and BASF’s new Clearfield chemistry make 46H75 a logical choice for canola growers especially if RR soybeans or corn are a part of your rotation. October 31st marks the end of our first discount period of 10% off for cash and 6% off for deferred pay.

So that was meeting in a nutshell, thanks for all who came and participated in the meeting.


Grower Meeting and Major Announcement

A quick update on harvest. Close to 100% of the soybeans have been harvested, yield ranges I have heard are 30-50 bus/ac. Once again for the most part higher yields in areas that received more rain. 900Y71 had some consistency issues some fields as high as 55 bus/ac while others in the low 30’s. 900Y61’s however showed well across several different conditions and maintained consistency. Moving forward 900Y61 is a soybean we feel very comfortable placing anywhere in our growing area and will compete with other top yielding varieties. The common theme growers mentioned about 900Y61 was ease of harvest.

Corn harvest has began, most growers are reporting moisture levels of 25-19%. Early yields have ranged from 120-160 bus/ac. Plants are holding up well in the field, I haven’t heard or seen any major stalk lodging or breakage thus far. I will be sending out more info on harvest as we move along. Corn growers should be planning for next years corn and applying fall fertilizer on the fields corn is going to be grown.

We are having a Grower Information Meeting October 22nd @ Bridges Golf Course in Starbuck it will run from 9:00 AM to 12 noon and then have lunch. We are going to cover two of the hottest topics I have heard growers talk about this fall. How to manage phosphate with soybeans in your rotation. This is certainly a critical component for successful soybean yields as well as crops that follow soybeans in your rotation. The second hot button is vertical tillage. Marla Riekman Land Management Specialist from MAFRI will discuss some of the myths and truths about vertical tillage. Darcy Catellier from DuPont will discuss Lumiderm the new and only seed treatment that will control cutworm in canola. Shane Falk will also be at meeting to discuss the benefits of Alpine fertilizer. Also Derek Erb Seeds is going to have a major announcement at the meeting, it is something we are very excited about and will dramatically elevate our already enormous commitment to our growers. So as you can see we are going to have a very informative and exciting morning planned make a point to attend. Please RSVP to Erin @ 204-832-7553 or Derek @ 204-792-6744

Lastly Our 1st early pay deadline October 31st is fast approaching 10% cash and 6% deferred payment options. Contact Derek so you do not miss out on this opportunity. BASF has a great rebate for canola growers who did not grow Clearfield Canola last year book 400 acres of 46H75 and get a $3000 rebate. Check with your local BASF rep or myself for details.

Corn Harvest


Corn reaches physiological maturity (black layer) at about 32% kernel moisture. Once physiological maturity has been reached, maximum yield has been achieved. However, corn at 32% kernel moisture does not harvest or store well, so growers wait until kernel moisture decreases. Corn stores well at around 15% kernel moisture, but at this moisture content harvest losses from the field (ear drop, lodging) and from the combine (header loss, shattering) can be significant. Field and combine losses are minimized when corn is about 24-25% kernel moisture. At this moisture content, kernels shell off the cob easily, stalk quality is generally good, and ears do not drop or shatter too easily during the harvest operation. Harvesting corn with kernel moisture in the low to mid 20’s reduces losses, but higher drying costs will be incurred compared to delaying harvest to allow additional field drying.

In years that experience some level of drought stress during the growing season, which will reduce late season stalk quality. All these factors suggest that harvest management this fall will be critical to minimize corn harvest losses.

Here are some key factors to keep in mind to reduce corn field and combine harvest losses and maximize profitability:
• Field and combine losses are minimized when corn kernel moisture is about 25%. Plan to begin harvest when kernel moisture is in the mid to low 20’s.
• Closely monitor stalk quality for every hybrid and every field. Quickly harvest any field where stalk quality is poor even though kernel moisture may be higher than you like.
• Drought stress reduces stalk quality and increases ear drop potential, so pay special attention to fields or areas with higher stress levels.
• Corn that is harvested can be managed, while corn in the field is continually vulnerable to losses due to weather events and other factors.

Assessing Stalk Quality
Weak stalks can be detected by pinching the stalk at the first or second elongated internode above the ground. If the stalk collapses, this indicates poor stalk quality, and stalks that are very vulnerable to lodging. Another technique you can use to assess stalk quality is to push the plant sideways about 8-12 inches at ear level. If the stalk crimps near the base or fails to return to the vertical position, poor stalk quality is indicated. Check 20 plants in several areas of the field. If more than 15-20 percent of the stalks are of poor quality, that field should be scheduled for early harvest.

Stalk Management Strategies:
1. Scout your fields to determine stalk quality: In 10 different places (choose both stressed and non-stressed areas) in the field do one of 2 tests:
a. The Push Test: Push 10 consecutive plants around ear height 12 inches off center and count the number of plants that don’t return to the erect position.
b. The Pinch Test: Pinch the lower 2 inter-nodes on 10 consecutive plants and count the number that collapse.
2. Based on the results, you may want to consider early harvest or it may provide insight on harvest order.
3. Recommendations:
a. <20% = Wait a week and re-scout b. >20% = Candidate for early harvest
c. 50+% = Consider harvesting ASAP
4. Drying costs are going to be associated with early harvest. Fortunately we are early enough that there is opportunity to take advantage of warm ambient air temperatures in early October which changes the dynamics and costs of drying corn. Early harvest reduces harvest losses as well.

2013 environmental conditions that likely contributed to increase stalk lodging risk:
1. Good growing conditions in June and during pollination: When plants are determining kernel set V10 to V17, good growing conditions drive larger ears and more yield potential. Also good seed set during pollination to blister provides the draw of carbohydrates from the plant to the ear. Plants will cannibalize leaves and stalks to feed the ear.
2. Stresses in many locations but not all:
a. Solar Radiation – Cloudy conditions reduce photosynthetic efficiency
b. Drought – Currently much of the corn belt is in a moderate to severe drought
c. Nutrients – Above average rainfall early in the season resulted in significant losses of mobile nutrients like Nitrogen and Sulfur
d. Late Season Heat – In tandem with drought stress increases leaf firing and early plant death
e. Other possible contributors – Population, Overall Fertility, Insects, Diseases etc.


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