The seed industry is buzzing with reports of the success of Hefty Brand 40 Series Corn.

With a recommendation of planting into soils as cold as 40 degrees, 40 Series Corn was grown on more acres than ever before in 2023 – and didn’t have a single issue where cold soil conditions led to a replant! More and more farmers across the region are seeing for themselves the yield benefits of planting corn earlier and the value of pairing the industry’s most comprehensive seed treatment with the most highly rated hybrids for early season vigor.

One such farmer is Derek Brockberg, 29, who runs an operation with his wife, Crystal, near Pipestone, Minnesota. The couple raises primarily corn and soybeans, and they have a well-established relationship with Hefty Seed Agronomist Dave Timmerman from the Marshall location, leveraging his knowledge to gain answers to his farm’s agronomic challenges.

“Dave is great to work with,” Derek said. “I can always give him a shout with any questions I have. Any bug problem or whatever, he’ll always get back to me. We’re out there a long ways, but he scouts our fields a lot, looking to determine if there is something we need to fertilize for, checking insect thresholds, and coming up with ideas of what to plant.”

Insight from an agronomic expert is invaluable to any farmer, but it’s especially critical to the Brockbergs, who work a relatively limited number of acres and are focused on maximizing the output of each acre as they look to expand their operation. Lately, they’ve been focused on fertility, using soil tests and variable rate applications to make the most out of every dollar.

“I’ve done some sampling with Dave, and he helps me figure out the liming and what I need to add for everything,” Derek said. “We do variable rates of P and K, but we’ve been grid sampling at 2.5-acre grids. We’re due for sampling this coming year, and now we’re thinking of doing one-acre grids to really narrow down where fertilizer needs to be. We’re just trying to get our soil fertility up and trying to increase organic matter.”

On the seed side, the Brockbergs historically plant all of their corn acres with Hefty Brand, again working with their agronomist to find the right fit for their acres. They target a maturity range from the upper 90-day to lower 100-day, and the growing environment tends to favor DroughtGard hybrids like H4653 and H4933.

“Dave has helped pick out the best corn numbers I like to plant every year over the whole farm,” Derek said. “He’s always trying to help out, and he knows how to find the best numbers for our soil type.”

This season, they tried out 40 Series Corn with H5212, and Derek observed the strong early vigor allowed his corn to better withstand some early season stresses brought by the cold weather.

“I can’t complain about the emergence at all. It was awesome!” Derek said. “We actually got a little bit of frost right after emergence, and the corn came right back. It was a really nice stand.”

Derek Brockberg with his wife, Crystal, and two-year-old daughter, Hannah.

Although his experience with the performance of 40 Series Corn last spring had already sold him on future seasons, when Derek came by the Hefty Seed booth at the Ag PhD Field Day, he saw a promotion that prompted him to put in an order early – the chance to win a snowmobile that was hooked up to a planter and placed under a snow machine, simulating the idea that 40 Series Corn is hardy enough to be recommended as the first corn to plant on any farm.

“It was funny to see that snowmobile hooked to the planter,” Derek said.

The Field Day is an event the Brockbergs attend regularly, as they always come away with something new to think about for their farm, but the trip to the Hefty booth alone ended up making the whole day worthwhile.

“We like going to the Field Day – it’s really good with a lot to learn,” he said. “But this year, the trip was especially worth it because we ended up winning that snowmobile.”