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Dekalb Sales Rep. Meeting in Canandaigua, NY

Growing up on I dairy farm I have become pretty familiar with the sight of corn.  I wake up every morning and look out my window to see a five foot tall wall of it across the street from my house.  When I was little I spent my afternoons riding with my father in the silage truck.  As I got older, I then started spending those afternoons packing the silage pile.  I’ve seen many of our cornfields turn brown in the summer heat and have seen constant rains wash away seed that was just planted.  After a sack of corn seed is dropped off at our farm, I’m pretty familiar with what it takes to get that from the ground into the feed alley.  However, I knew nothing about what it takes to get that sack of corn to a farmer until last week.

Last week I went with two of the Helena salesman to a meeting with the Delkalb sales representatives of the northeast.  The meeting was at the Monsanto Research farm in Canandaigua, NY.  The meeting discussed some of the newest varieties of Dekalb corn seed and Asgrow soybean seed, new products coming in the future, and it included a tour of the farm.

Trial of one of Dekalb’s 113 day varieties.

One part of the meeting that I found the most interesting had to do with different varieties of corn and their potential as a silage crop.  Acres upon acres of corn that is taller than the tractor may fill up the silos, but it does not necessarily mean the silage will provide the farmer’s herd with the optimum nutrition that he is looking for.  Dekalb’s line of Silage Proven corn seed varieties are tested and proven to give dairy farmers the nutritional qualities that they are looking for in silage corn.  Dekalb’s Silage Proven varieties give farmers a corn variety that has high yields and a high digestibility to provide energy for lactation.

Another product discussed at the meeting that is designed to help growers is Dekalb’s line of R.I.B. (Refuge In Bag) Complete corn seed.  Depending on what area of the country, growers using Bt corn are supposed to plant a certain percentage of their acreage with corn seed that does not contain the Bt trait.  This percentage is called the refuge and is supposed to limit insects’ exposure to the Bt trait, thus preventing resistance.  If a grower’s refuge is 20%, then 20% of their acreage must be planted with non-Bt

Soybean plot for new Asgrow variety

corn.  This can be accomplished a number of ways.  If a farmer has a 100 acre field, he can plant one 20 acre section using non-Bt corn.  Dekalb’s R.I.B. Complete comes premixed with a 95% R.I.B. corn and 5% non-Bt corn that allows a farmer to simply dump the seed in the planter and go without having to mix seed or calculate refuge acreage.

After lunch, we were given a tour of the farm.  All over the farm are trials of different corn and soybean varieties.  There are also plots of corn varieties of some of Dekalb’s competitors.  These yields of both trials are compared so that salesman can make the best recommendations to growers.  There was also a plot that showed new Dekalb varieties growing side-by-side with varieties that Dekalb currently has on the market.  This side-by-side comparison gives the salesman a chance to see how the new products do against the ones that they may currently be selling to growers.  Some basic information on each variety was given as well. This included things like how well varieties did in different growing conditions and whether each variety was better suited as grain corn or silage corn.

The goal of the day was to better equip Helena salesman with the information and knowledge necessary to make the best recommendation of different Dekalb and Asgrow products to customers.  Helena is Dekalb’s major distributor in the Northeast.  The Hatfield branch started out selling around 400 bags a few years ago and is currently up to around 2,000.  By the estimates of one of the salesman that was about one third of the business in area of New England and eastern New York.  The goal is to expand upon that every year.  With the kind of information and commitment to product development displayed at the meeting, that goal should be attainable.

The competitor’s product struggling in the dry weather.

A plot with seed from one of Dekalb’s competitors.

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