Derek's Notes

Sortan™ IS on Corn

Sortan IS Field Results Looking Impressive

 New Sortan IS is another versatile tool that can be applied from pre-emergence or spike to the V3 stage, which will help growers keep their corn weed free during the critical weed-free period.


  • The critical weed free period in corn is from emergence to the V4 (6 leaf) stage.


  • Removing weeds during this period is key to minimizing yield loss due to weed competition in corn.


Our corn growers fields are approaching V3 leaf stage, so in the next coming days the window is still open to apply Sortan IS. Below are some pictures of recently sprayed weeds in corn.


Sortan control in Domain, MB



2016 Nitrate Testing


~This weeks blog is brought to you by Dwight Willoughby, P.Ag, CCSC~

Corn Stalk Nitrate Testing

More agronomists are using the “cornstalk nitrate test” late in the season to evaluate their “N” management. This tissue testing procedure was developed at Iowa State University to help evaluate nitrogen management practices in corn as the crop matures.

The research shows that when corn has not had enough nitrogen, the nitrate value in the lower portion of the cornstalk will be low. If too much nitrogen was applied, the nitrate level in the lower stalk will test high.

This test may be of particular interest to growers who deal with manure or those wishing to evaluate their nitrogen fertility program.


Corn Stalk Nitrate Test Interpretations / Ranges and indexes used to interpret shown below

Low: (Less than 250 ppm) Likely that nitrogen was deficient and limited yield

Marginal: (250 – 700 ppm) Possible that nitrogen deficiency limited yield

Optimal: (700 – 2000 ppm) Yield was not limited by nitrogen

Excess: (> 2000 ppm) Nitrogen supply was excessive


2016 Samples Results

Corn stalks were collected midway through harvest in a random pattern and shipped to Agvise North Dakota.  Results were interesting, a couple fields were manure, others conventional programs and a couple top dressed.  Plans are to continue this service for interested customers

Wrapping up Harvest 2016


~ This week’s blog is brought to you by Erin Erb

It’s a beautiful sunny Monday morning.   There are signs of the weather we had this past weekend on the ground in the form of puddles and mud, allowing Derek a chance to work in the office for the morning rather than in the field harvesting beans.  And as I sit here in the office next to him (who is currently on his phone for a conference call) I hear him tell colleagues that we had a little over an inch of rain and that our farm still has around 900 acres left to go before we can call an end to Harvest 2016 on our farm.    Wait, did Derek just say we are nearly done?  Or am I just convincing myself that is what he is telling the boys?   In the meantime, every 10 minutes or so, our little heater here in the office turns on, reminding me that it isn’t as warm as it was weeks ago.  Within a month or two, the heater may be pumping out warm air more frequently in our tiny 10 x 10 office, and I will be wearing a jacket to work rather than a light sweater.

I know that there are some of you out there that are still working on getting your beans off,  and perhaps getting your equipment ready for corn harvest, there are others in our area that have officially put Harvest 2016 to bed.    But the truth is, it’s never really over… right?

Years ago, I just assumed that once harvest was done, that was when my Grandfather would put his feet up and rest.   I admit, I was very wrong in that assumption.   I quickly learned that when the combines leave the field at the end of the season, all that truly happens is more work.  Drying, ditching, field work prepping for the next season, marketing, courses, grower meetings, learning about new products and technologies and deciding what might work for your next years crop, paying bills, getting bookwork in order for the accountant, working your second job, hauling grain, building new sheds, putting up new bins, tuning up equipment, deciding which pieces of equipment stays or goes, pricing out seed and fertilizer,  and for some working on their succession plans.  I’m sure I have missed many other tasks that are associated with farming, it feels at times the list never ends.  I’ve only been part of this life for 16 years.  I’m no expert, I’m just an observer of all the hard work you all put in to your operations and to say I’m impressed by you all is really a huge understatement.

With the large to-do list noted above, I do hope that you can carve out  some time to put your feet up for a moment, and enjoy the fruits of your hard work this past growing season.  Spend time with your families, that either worked side by side with you, or missed having you around during the late summer and during the fall.

I will never forget the tweet Derek sent out last year, followed up by a voice mail message to our daughters on how much he missed them and how thankful he was that they supported him.



We here at Derek Erb Seeds hope that each and every one of you have a safe and successful harvest this year, and we hope you know how much your hard work on your farm is appreciated by so many!

~ Erin

Field Day and Contest Announcement

Derek Erb Seeds Inc 005

fielddayWhat a great way to spend a Wednesday morning, with a wonderful group of local growers and industry experts sharing information, technology and ideas.  Days like yesterday are just a small example of how Canadian Farmers are constantly educating themselves.  And our plot, located 1.5 miles South of Oak Bluff, was the classroom!

The plot, seeded by JR Brothers of Fannystelle, was in excellent condition.  The crops included were Soybeans, Corn and Canola with multiple varieties of each.  Plots like ours take a great deal of time and care when planting, and we are very thankful to Richard for his work.

Derek Erb Seeds Inc 020

Here is just a taste of the topics covered by our highly knowledgeable and respected speakers;

  • Straight Cutting Canola and Desiccation Timing  /  Lynn Van De Spiegle of BASF  
  • Blackleg in Canola and Best Management Practices  / Dwight Willoughby of Derek Erb Seeds
  • Phytophthora Root Rot Identification in Soybeans, Causes and Management / Mike Weir Agronomist with DuPont Pioneer
  • Soybean Seeding Depth and Supplemental N Fertilizer / Terry Buss of MAFRD
  • Pre and Post Emergent Corn Herbicide / Caelyn Shearer of DuPont Crop Protection
  • Yield 360 Y-Drop Fertilizer Application System for Corn / Frank Prince of Yield 360
  • Crop Imaging with a Fixed Wing Drone equipped with NDVI Camera / Matt Johnson of M3 Aerial
  • Wolverine Rotary Ditcher for effective field drainage / Robin Karlowsky from KNR


We also had the pleasure of doing a draw for those in attendance during lunch.  One grower walked away with two tickets to the NHL Jets Heritage Classic taking place this fall at the Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.


Derek Erb Seeds Inc 039P7211hr

And finally we kicked off our 2016 Guess the Yield Contest, by having those in attendance submit  a yield guess for P006T46R Soybeans or P7211HR Corn.



Growers picked one (1) crop; either the Corn or the Soybeans, which we had a chance to view in our plot during the field day.  They entered their yield guess (bushels).  The person closest to the yield recorded for the corn and the person closest to the yield recorded for the soybeans at harvest without going over wins for their selected crop.  Then, and finally, the winners of the Corn and Soybeans guess the yield will be put in a hat for a draw to determine the Winter Getaway WINNER!


tropical getaway




Managing Rotations and Weed Resistance in Corn

~ This week’s blog is brought to you by Dwight Willoughby  P.Ag, CCSC


In our farming area we have been long aware of resistant weeds.  In RR corn, glyphosate is the foundation of your weed control but, it should not be relied upon to do all the heavy lifting.  We know what the consequences would be of losing such a valuable herbicide to resistance and we need to manage to avoid that.  A few years ago, popular wisdom was to just rotate different modes of action with our crop rotations to delay the onset of resistance.  Today, with the ever expanding RR crops and acres, weed scientists now recommend an integrated approach of rotating modes of action and employing tank mix options with different modes of action with our corn rotations.



Recently, research has indicated that tank-mixes are potentially more effective then rotation in delaying the development of herbicide resistance.  What’s important to note is to be prudent and chose tank mix partners from 2 different modes of action groups that overlap on the target weed in question.





The Western Canadian experience of glyphosate resistance weeds is relatively new, but we need to be scouting for weeds that have a history of glyphosate resistance in neighbouring provinces and states such as; kochia, fleabane, volunteer canola, Russian thistle, tall waterhemp, common and giant ragweed plus annual sow thistle.

Suggested Tank Mixes

Pre-seed and Pre-ground crack burn-off

Mode of Action         Weeds

Heat LQ                         14   –   Kochia, giant ragweed, common ragweed, annual sow thistle, Russian thistle, volunteer canola.

Armezon                        26 –  Giant ragweed, kochia, suppression of common ragweed, volunteer canola

Basagran                         6 – Volunteer canola, suppression of kochia

Setting a Target Plant Stand

~ This week’s blog is brought to you by Dwight Willoughby, P Ag, CCSC.

Okay, so we’ve applied our fertilizer, completed the fall field work and booked our 2016 seed.  Feels good right?  But wait! You’re not finished yet!  We can’t control weather, but there are key controllables to optimizing plant stands in corn. Why is this important?  Consider this; each ear contributes approximately 5.5 bushels/acre.  In this example below we took five random ears in a 27.5 foot row which represents 1/1000 of an acre.   Knowing the target plant stand in the spring and measuring the final plant stand in at harvest shows why it’s important to check plant population at harvest to realize what is controllable.

Sample Ear Rows Around Row Length


1 16 31
2 16 34
3 16 35
4 14 26
5 16 32
Average 15.6 31.6



Yield = (rows around x row length x ears/acre) / 90

Yield = (15.6 x 31.6 x 27*) / 90

Yield = 147.9 bu/acre  Approx 5.5 bu/ac

Below is a planting chart showing economic yield loss from reduced plant stands.  Not all varieties respond exactly the same to plant density.


Variety Population Harvestable


Yield Moisture + Seed

Cost $ / acre

Net Returns
P7202AM 32,000 29,000 151 18% $0  
P7202AM 35,600 30,300 160 18% +$11.23 +$31.52
P7202AM 37,000 36,000 149 18% +$15.60 -$25.10
P7005AM 32,000 32,000 139 19% $0  
P7005AM 35,600 35,300 144 18% +$9.46 +$14.29
P7005AM 37,000 35,300 132 16.5% +$13.15 -$46.40
P7332R 29,900 30,000 173 19% -$6.05 +$6.05
P7332R 32,000 31,000 173 19% $0  
P7332R 35,600 34,000 179 19% +$10.37 +$18.13
P7332R 37,700 36,000 186 19% +$16.42 +$45.33

*Data provided by Pioneer Hi-Bred Ltd.

As always, we are here to help you maximize your yields and get you the best return for your operation.  Our goal has been and will continue to be placing the right product on the right acre.

Derek Erb Seeds Trials

7 trials, 34,000 plant pop, head to head ,includes 2014 MCGA yield variety winner and 70 & 72 day varieities

7 trials, 34,000 plant pop, head to head ,includes 2014 MCGA yield variety winner and 70 & 72 day varieities

Dwight Willoughby, P Ag  CCSC

Dwight Willoughby, P Ag CCSC


~ This weeks blog is brought to you by Dwight Willoughby, P Ag, CCSC~

P7632AMMASSE2015 Trials seeded across canola, soybeans and corn on 5 different locations testing DuPont Pioneer’s newest traits in Canola, product launch of 70 day and 72 day corn with BT protection, head to head product comparisons of DuPont Pioneer’s new T Series vs competitors, plus new for us this year, a University of Manitoba canola fertility site.  We would like to thank Masse Bros and Fossay Farms for sharing their time and efforts establishing parts of these promising trails.

Stay tuned!  Tour dates will be announced in the coming days.





European Corn Borer

European Corn Borer

After scouting fields over the last few days I have found larvae and shot holes in leaves.  Most activity has been found high in the plant and on the tassel.  Tassels are beginning to push up so this is a opportune time for scouting and if needed, insecticide application.  So far I haven’t seen anything close to application threshold.

Check out this info sheet on ECB. Take note in MB there is generally only one generation.


When scouting for ECB scout earliest planted fields first. In each field check in 5-10 locations (10 plants in each location) for egg masses and young larvae. The masses are generally found on underside of leaf, leaf midrib, or leaf axil (leaf attaches to stalk). Pull open the whorl to check for larvae feeding. If no masses or larvae are found continue to check every 5-7 days for the next 2 weeks.

Here is a video on scouting for ECB.

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Other things to what for are shot holes in the leaves.

Early-stage larvae feed on developing leaves inside the corn whorl.  When the leaves emerge a series of small, repeating holes or long, narrow strips are indications that European corn borers may have caused the injury.


More pictures of ECB signs

Shot Holes  ecbeggs injury-shotholes-whorl-2-23   Corn Borer 2 imagesCALUWG8DCorn BorerecbtasselecbimagesCA7PIMN6ecbinstalk ecbincob

Last year we saw some ECB damage and combined with hot dry fall stalk breakage was a concern. Picture of a ECB damaged field at harvest.


As you can see there maybe harvest complications and yield losses especially if the stalk breaks below the cob and/or we have a big wind event. ECB may reduce yield by restricting nutrient flow with in the plant as well.

Here is an economic threshold calculator to help determine if you should spray or not.



Once the ECB has bored into the stalk control is difficult one product that has great potential is Coragen which is systemic and will not kill beneficial insects such as bees.

If you have any questions please call or text me.

Also be sure to leave comments about the blog and possible topics you want me to discuss, Thanks Derek


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