Derek's Notes

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.


Only Seed Treatment to Offer Cutworm Control in Canola

Exciting stuff in canola seed treatment from DuPont. Lumiderm is the first and only canola seed treatment to offer extended flea beetle control (much better control on striped flea beetle) up to 35 days AND cutworm control. Low-toxicity to pollinators, mammals, non-target organisms and other beneficial insects. This seed treatment is only available on a few selected Dupont Pioneer hybrids Clearfield 46H75 and RR 45H29, 45H31 and 45S54. 46H75 had a huge year and if you have read my earlier posts you know how much I like this variety. 45H29 had another great year and 45S54 is our highest yielding sclerotinia resistant hybrid. See info sheet on Lumiderm.


There is limited quantites of this new seed treatment so if you have concerns with cutworm or flea beetles this is a great combination of outstanding hybrids and new seed treatment technology. We have an early pay program until October 31st 10% discount on cash and 6% discount on deferred pay program. BASF also has some really good early book programs on right now.

204 792 6744

Plot Tour Thursday September 19th Changed to Tuesday September 24th

Plot Tour Thursday September 19th Changed to Tuesday September 24th @ 9:00 A.M.
What you are going to see!

New corn hybrids P7632HR 76 day BT corn, two possible additions to our lineup 75 day BT and 75 Day Acre Max (refuge in a bag).

Two new early soybeans plus possibly our first RR2 soybean.

What you are going to hear!
How to stage corn maturity.
European Corn Borer harvest tips.
Goss’s Wilt update.
What is Optimum AcreMax

Better Start Better Harvest
Trash the yield killer.
Compaction how does it hurt yields.
How to manage root diseases

New seed treatment product from DuPont Lumiderm provides extended control on flea beetle and cutworms

This will be an excellent chance to see and hear about some very exciting things coming from DuPont Pioneer and Derek Erb Seeds

Tour Starts at 9:30 9:00 A.M. at corn plot which is 3 miles east of Oak Bluff air McGillvary Blvd. and old La Salle Rd. watch for signs on south side of McGillvary. We will then move on to soybean plot which is just 1.5 miles south where lunch will also be provided.

Call or text Derek @ 204 792 6744 if you are planning on attending!
Rain date is Tuesday September 24th

46H75 what a Hybrid

I have been boasting about 46H75 all year. Most of the results are IN and yields backed up what I have been saying. This hybrid performed great and definitely deserves a chance to be on your farm. DuPont Pioneer has a great canola lineup.  45H29 is a yield leader especially in the glyphosate segment.  Our Sclerotinia Protector products are the real deal for greatly reducing disease incidence and severity and 45H73 has been a leader in the Clearfield segment the past few years.

With soybeans and corn becoming staple parts of our rotations, a big chunk of our canola products have been taken out of the equation strictly on account of herbicide systems.

46H75 is a game changer for us. 46H75’s yield ,which is the number one factor for growers when choosing a canola hybrid, is right there or better than leading hybrids on the market. Glufosinate tolerant canola is no longer the default option for corn and soybean growers. 46H75 agronomics are not sacrificed for outstanding yield.

Some Key Strengths of 46H75

-Very good early growth

-Handled early cool wet conditions extremely well

-Mid to Tall plant that stands very well, nice lean to it in fact one grower straight cut it with very good results

-2 days later maturity than checks to spread out canola swathing time

-R rated for Blackleg and Fusarium Wilt

-Clearfield system offers excellent weed control options

Some Yields results from some of my growers.

Tri-Man Farms in Domain 55 bus/ac

Darren Enns in Domain 58 bus/ac (straight cut)

Rick Fossay in Starbuck 55 bus/ac

Erb Farms Oak Bluff 57 bus/ac

Bossuyt Bros in Oak Bluff had wild life damage (geese) and still pulled off 45 bus/ac

Field in Sanford 57 bus/ac

Field in Starbuck 52 bus/ac

These are NOT yield or test strips!  These are whole field or farm yields!

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When deciding on canola hybrids for 2014,  46H75 should be included in the discussion.

Keep sending in your pictures for a chance to win a pair of Jet tickets!

Plot Tour and cowgirl boots

Derek Erb Seeds is having a soybean and corn plot tour September 19th . Click here for details derek-erb-seeds-corn-and-soybean-plot-tour

Harvest has been awesome so far and hopefully we can get started on soybeans in the next 7-10 days and possibly corn by beginning of October.

Kids come up with the darndest things, Erin stopped by the farm with the kids about a week ago in the middle of the heat wave, Grace our 4 year old was wearing her new cowgirl boots. I said “Grace, I love your new boots” to which she responded “Thanks, my Mom says I can cook in them later.  They are my new cooking boots”. I was puzzled and asked Erin what the heck Grace was talking about. Erin had no idea what she meant. However Maggie our older daughter said “I know what she means, when Grace put her boots on this morning Mom told her it was going to get hot out later and she was going to “cook” in those boots”. It doesn’t get much better than that!



Rain Day

Its a rain day so I thought I’d do a little update on harvest so far. Wow the heat and humidity have been crazy, not much fun to work in but it sure has helped the corn and soybeans move along nicely. While the heat certainly has been big news, the yields are even the bigger news. In the area spring wheat yields have ranged from 60-85 bus/ac. Canola has also been extremely good 40-60 bus/ac. Some of the early soybeans are starting to drop leaves and corn is in the R4 dough stage with the odd early field starting to dent R5 stage.

We are just getting started with the weigh wagon and I will be posting yield results as we go along. I would like to remind growers of 45H29, 46H75, 45H73 or one of our Sclerotinia tolerant varieties of canola, 900Y71 and 900Y61 soybeans plus corn growers to call me before harvesting so we can get the weigh wagon out to do a yield check.

Also, we are asking growers of DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred varieties to take pictures (with you in front of combine, trucks, in the field or ?) and send them into me via text 204-792-6744 or email, those of you that send in will be entered into a draw for a pair of Jet tickets.

I was in Winnipeg yesterday for our DuPont Pioneer sales launch meeting and wow we have some very exciting offers for the 2014 seed sales season. The combination of our incredible product lineup and new discount programs is very leading edge. Over the next few weeks I will be announcing some of these offers and I know that growers are going to be impressed. So stay tuned and don’t jump the gun ordering seed.

Here are some pictures of the week.

Grasshopper damage in soybean field.


I took this picture of my soybean plot today these are two new early soybeans P001T34R on the left and P002T04R on the right we have for next year (very limited supply) but as you can see they are really early. The plot is on Old La Salle Rd. between Perimeter Hwy and McGillivray Blvd. We will be having a Plot Tour Day on September 19th more details on that to come.



The tale of two hybrids the top variety is P7443R (74-day corn or 2100 HU) the bottom one is of a competitor hybrid (claim 76-day corn or 2150 HU) maturity looks like a little wider spread than that, this plot was planted in the 3rd week of May.


Picture of my corn plot which is on McGillivray Blvd and Old La Salle Rd. Thanks to Rob and Lori Anseeuw for letting us put the plot on their field and to Tommy, Baumgartner and Luc for planting, it looks great.

Fossay's corn
Fossay’s 39D95 (79-day corn or 2175HU) looking very good and maturity right on pace.

That doesn’t look right! At least it was only 35 degrees out that day. That’s my brother Brad doing all the work while I take pictures and make smartass comments, a true team effort.

Combine Yield Calibration at Silverwinds Colony.

So in summary hot weather, great yields so far, corn & beans moving along nicely, send pictures in, Philadelphia Flyers rule, plot tour on September 19th and amazing DuPont Pioneer fall seed programs. Also, I will be posting yield results as they come in. Oh and lastly happy Anniversary to Slug and Mar aka. my Mom and Dad (not in that order we don’t call my mom Slug).

Start Your Engines

Its the start of the most exciting time for farmers, harvest. Even thou we usually have pretty good idea of how the crops are going to yield there is always that nervous/anticipation when the combine hits the field for the first time. This is our Stanley Cup final, as usual our biggest opponent is Mother Nature, she has made us work pretty hard so far but I think we have the upper hand right now. I believe she only has two plays left to snatch victory from us, we are by no means wet but after yesterdays rain and some of the crops not using anymore moisture it wouldn’t take too many more of those rains to make it challenging. Her biggest play to try and defeat us would be an early frost. The weather for the next three weeks is going to be important we need some nice warm dry weather. If you are someone who looks to the skies to determine when we could potentially get our first frost, I think the first full moon in September falls on the 18th. Most soybeans and corn should be far enough along to handle a frost at that time.

All the winter wheat for the most part has been harvested and while we certainly didn’t have the same crop as last year yields were generally good, I’ve heard between 70-90 bus/ac. Some canola has been swathed, preharvest on spring wheat has begun. Late this week things should get into full swing.

I would love to have my weigh wagon very busy this fall so if you have Pioneer Hi-Bred canola, soybeans or corn please give me a call so we can get out to your fields and do a yield check. If you have my products in same field and one of my competitors it would be awesome to get a yield comparison. Also we are running our yield challenge again this year so again let me know when you are harvesting so I can get weigh wagon out to you.

Something that is getting more and more challenging every year is moving large equipment on roads and highways. I can not believe how much traffic there is now. To make matters worse it seems everyone is in a hurry, so be careful this fall out there and one thing I have learned is that you can’t assume the people driving vehicles are going to adhere to traffic laws, it seems that solid no pass lines don’t apply when passing a combine with a 35 foot header or a left turn signal doesn’t mean anything when its attached to something other than a car.

It was my birthday last week and I got one of the best birthday presents ever, a friend who I have not seen in 16 years stopped by. Dmitri worked for us in the mid 90’s and quickly became a huge part of our family, pretty much the fifth Erb son. He is a remarkable person, in 1991 he left Moldova a small country that was once part of the USSR with his wife, 2 year old son, a suitcase and the clothes on their back to come to Canada. They had no family or friends here and didn’t speak a word of English. Somehow he ended up working for us and after 3 years he moved to Southern Ontario. I missed him a lot after he left at first I thought is was because he was such a great worker but quickly realized it was because I missed my friend. By the time he left for Ontario his family had expanded to include two daughters and the suitcase became a small trailer. Over the last 16 years he has started his own business, built a new house and sent two kids to university (son has a Master Degree, oldest daughter is in her 3rd year and youngest is still in high school).They all came for a visit last week and it was a great day. They thanked us for helping them make a life in Canada which was humbling considering how much they have done since coming to Canada, like I said him and his family are remarkable.
From left to right Dimitri Jr., Anna, his wife Anna, Amy and Dmitri.
Me, the Boss, Dmitri and Brad
My Mom and Dad with Dmitri’s family.

Two last things check out this old Pioneer Hi-Bred commercial its amazing it still applies today.
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And lastly hope no one is going fishing in Lake of the Woods the next few days I have heard fishing is terrible. Good luck Bobliciuos and gang.

Early August Update

At least I think its August, 6 degrees yesterday morning, yikes my folliclely challenged head needed a toque. But it must be August because this little cutie just turned 4!

20130803-222433.jpg HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACE!

I have been out looking at a lot of crops the past couple of days and wanted to give an update on what I saw and have heard growers talking about. Perennial ryegrass harvest is getting underway and winter wheat should not be too far behind.


The canola “lean” is back and its awful nice to see. This cool weather has been tremendous for canola flowering and pod fill. I have been raving about 46H75 our Clearfield Canola and I am not about to stop it looks fantastic. Here is a photo of a field north of Starbuck.

20130803-195842.jpg 20130803-195859.jpg

Be sure to ask how this beauty performed this fall. If it does as well as it looks you will want this hybrid on your farm in 2014. Some growers have been spraying for grasshoppers. Swathing early canola should start in 7-10 days.


This cool weather has slowed down soybeans a bit. That being said the crop is podding well. Again some growers have been spraying grasshoppers, I have seen very few aphids but we should continue to scout. I have been watching fields that were planted into heavy trash all year and while they have greened up and look much better but they are still behind and shorter than other fields although they seem to be developing the same number of pods as the taller beans, it will be interesting to see the final results this fall. Speaking of tall soybeans this is a picture taken Friday in my brother Brad’s 900Y61.


I showed this photo to a few people and they all said I should get off my knees! I like to have taller soybeans because they look good and it can make them easier to harvest but there can be a point were too tall can be a problem, so I am glad the majority of this field was not over my waist like this for a few reasons, last year growers were having some real challenges harvesting very tall soybeans, luckily 900Y61’s have good white mold tolerance but having fields this lush and with favorable weather conditions it could lead to some white mold issues and lastly soybean trash can be hard to manage especially if harvest is late.

IMG_0151 IMG_0219

The top picture is of a field of 900Y71’s west of Brunkild and the bottom from a field south of Oak Bluff.

We have two new very early soybeans P001T34R which is in the 001RM maturity group and P002T04R which is in the 002RM group. This is a picture taken 7 days ago of P002T04R you can see it how well it has developed to that point.

IMG_0331 Again this picture was taken a week ago.

You can see these two varieties along with some new experimentals in my soybean plot which is located on old La Salle Rd. between McGillivary Blvd and the Perimeter Hwy. We will be having a plot tour in September so we can see maturity differences in the varieties, so be on the look out for the announcement of that tour date.

Some other things I have seen and heard about in soybeans this year.


This is a photo of a plant wilting because of Phytophthora root rot in one of the varieties in my soybean plot. I have seen this disease the last few years and it is found mainly in fields that have had waterlogged or saturated soils, which is not uncommon in our heavy clay soils. This disease can affect the plant at any stage but very noticeable later in the season when large plants are dying off. 900Y61 and 900Y71’s do have multi race Phytophthora resistance that doesn’t mean they are bullet proof from this disease as there are many different races found in our soil but it does give you a much better field tolerance against this increasing problem. In talking to growers and from what I have seen this year one of our main challenges in soybean production going forward may end up being root rot issues. I think our heavy clay soils make seedling and root diseases more prevalent. I have also seen some Bacterial Blight which looks like this and have heard it is around other areas as well.


It is not shocking that we might see some of this it favors cool rainy weather and shows up after rainstorms with high winds. Fortunately I have seen very little of it and higher temperatures will halt the disease development so another reason we need to get back to some typical Gold Bond August temps! Generally soybeans look great this year lets hope they finish off great.


Corn is moving along nicely but just like soybeans it would be great to get a warm stretch through August. I was checking some corn fields yesterday and found this in a field of P7443R north of Starbuck.


Classic “shot hole” damage from corn borer and on further inspection of the plant I found this little guy.


I found a few in one area but none in a couple other spots I checked. I have not seen much corn borer damage in the corn fields I have checked but corn growers should still be out monitoring fields. Look for the shot holes on the leaves or broken tassels like this picture which was taken in the same field as above.


I was looking for some common smut so I could show you what it looked like and it was tough to find but I ended up finding it in a competitor field (some varieties are more susceptible to this disease than others we have varieties that are susceptible and I have no idea what variety of the pictured corn is it just so happened that’s where I found it) this is what it looks like.


Like I said corn is moving along nicely it is either flowering or in most cases pollination is complete.  Some pictures of corn in the area.

IMG_0228 This is a field of 39D95 west of Oak Bluff

IMG_0203 Field of 39D97 west of Starbuck

IMG_018920130803-194439.jpg This is a field south of Oak Bluff that has P7213R, P7443R and a competitor all in the same field. Here is a picture of the maturity difference in competitor and P7443R.

IMG_0147 P7443R on the left and competitor on the right, will be interesting this fall when we bring weigh wagon out.

We have a new BT corn out this year P7632HR I have a few growers trying it out this year. It was a little slower out of the ground than P7443R but has come along nicely as of late and is in full tassel and silking. Here is a picture of a field near Fannystelle.


This hybrid should be a really good fit for our area, providing excellent yield potential with BT protection. Be sure to ask how this hybrid performs this fall it maybe a good fit for your farm in 2014. We will be having a corn plot tour in September so be on the look out for that announcement coming in the next few weeks.

So that about covers some of the things going on out in the fields, everything is looking good and providing we get some heat in the next few weeks we should be in for a very good harvest. If you are seeing anything that you want to share or have a concern about please feel free to contact me. Hope you are having a great long weekend.


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


Chicago and Snuffy the Seal

Hello Everyone!

I hope you and your crops are doing well! I’m just heading out to see the growth of crops in the area since I last checked a week ago but wanted to send you a quick update.

Erin, the Kids and I just got back from a quick trip to Chicago. We drove through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

The crops in North Dakota were average at best, and further behind ours. In Minnesota the corn and soybeans looked good, but no further ahead than ours. In Wisconsin and Illinois the crops looked really good and we did see some corn fields that had started to tassel. I did not see anyone harvesting their winter wheat. Keep in mind this was all just from the interstate.

I hear we missed some warm weather here. It was pretty hot and humid on our trip. Last night in Minneapolis the temp never got below 90 degrees F. As much as I wanted to go on a bit of a crop tour in different areas, I’m sure you can imagine mine and Erin’s desire to not prolong the time spent in a car with two young kids. That being said the girls did very well on the trip (God bless the inventor of portable DVD players). It is amazing how much we got done in just 6 days.

While we were gone we heard a very touching story about a seal. I have attached a very short video, have a quick look. I haven’t had a chance to watch it so hope it turns out ok!

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Spraying Soybeans and Flying Turkeys

I have gotten some calls the past few days about spraying glyphosate on flowering soybeans. The label states that soybeans can be sprayed through flowering. This can be a bit confusing as a soybean plant will flower while pods are being developed. The R1 stage is emergence of first flower, R2 stage is full bloom and R3 stage is beginning pod but the plant will continue to add flowers as pods begin to form. Glyphosate should be applied only up to R2 stage and not after. Also look at the days to harvest restrictions on the label as well. I would also recommend using the rate suggested for weed control of target weeds. In other words do not spray high rates just because glyphosate is cheap, also in later applications of glyphosate the different surfactants may have an adverse effect on the flowers so I would use higher end product like Touchdown or Transorb. Soybeans have to use energy to metabolize the chemical and if they are under stress spraying could put them under more stress. I have included a sheet about soybean growth stages so you can compare to your crops.


If you are thinking about using a fungicide on your soybeans this year such as Headline or Acapela we are certainly getting close to the proper timing for these products. Check with the reps with these respective companies for their staging recommendations. Generally for Headline is early pod and Acapela is R1-R3 stage.

We were having a discussion in the shop the other day about old T.V. shows and WKRP in Cincinnati came up and I recalled my favorite episode of the show and found a clip of it on youtube here it is.

It’s a classic!





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