The Kaelin Family

The Kaelin family immigrated to Canada in the mid-90’s, as many of their Swiss counterparts have done before them. The 40-acre family farm where Meinrad grew up with two brothers and five sisters was not enough to sustain their large, growing family in Switzerland. So, Meinrad, with his young family crossed the Atlantic Ocean hoping to have a shot in agriculture in Canada. Meinrad settled down with his wife, Therese, and two children, Roman and Claudia, in the bilingual part of Eastern Ontario. "In 1994, we bought a 60-cow dairy operation with 200 acres of land in St. Albert." But with very little space for expansion and a high cost for agricultural land, in 1998, the family made the decision to move to St. Pascal-Baylon, where "we bought a 100-cow dairy operation with 600 acres of good cropland," says Meinrad.

In 2003, the couple decided to sell the cows and concentrate their efforts in cash crop production.

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Today, Roman, the eldest, is a licensed heavy-duty mechanic and is working fulltime on the farm. Claudia, their daughter, got her diploma in farm business management from the MacDonald Campus of McGill University and is lending a hand too. Meinrad adds: "Roman is very good at pinpointing electrical and mechanical problems. These days, the technology is much more complex then before, with computers and sensors everywhere. Young people are good at this." Claudia is more animal oriented. She is starting a small cow-calf operation with some full-blood Limousin cows.

Since the original purchase of the farm, the Kaelins have increased their acreage more than 5-fold. They grow 1200 acres of corn, 1500 acres of soybeans, 300 acres of winter wheat and some hay. In 2002, Normand Surprenant, from Coop d’Embrun, was the first field representative to introduce DEKALB® products at Kaelin Farms. Now, Jovan Dozet is taking over.

Meinrad is very satisfied with the services Jovan is offering. “The young representative is passionate, he helps us to better manage our fields with soil mapping, calculating fertilizer needs, and recommending the best varieties and hybrids to use."

DEKALB® Territory Manager, Jason MacCuaig, also helps the Kaelins in the selection of the best hybrids and varieties for their variable soils. For a few years now, DKC38-03RIB corn (2675 CHU) has been the Kaelin's most reliable hybrid across their diverse soil types. "Some years, our farm may be subject to early frost," Meinrad says. "In our area, to be successful, corn hybrids must keep an adequate quality even in difficult conditions. We are looking for hybrids with a good test weight, early fall maturity and good yield.”

When it comes to soybean varieties, the Kaelins look for high yield, a great overall agronomic package, and white mould tolerance. They like DEKALB® 27-12RY, a 2700 CHU variety with great standability for their fields, that have had issues with white mould. This variety can also be harvested earlier in their zone, which gives them enough time for planting winter wheat. For their heavy clay soil in no-till management, they like the 28-15RY soybean variety for its vigour and taller plants.

Although the Kaelins aren't currently using the Roundup Ready Xtend® Crop System, Meinrad says they plan to try Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybean varieties in the future. He's interested to see how the genetics behind the trait technology will benefit his farm, and hopes to reduce the risk of developing resistant weeds with the added chemistry options. Jason MacCuaig explains that Jérôme Belzile, DEKALB® Technology Development Representative, is doing soybean and corn market development trials on Kaelin Farms. This gives Meinrad the opportunity to see the new genetics coming out of the DEKALB® breeding program, on his farm. He can also rely on multi-year trial data from plots all over the region, available on DEKALB.ca. “I use that data to compare the agronomic characteristics that are important for us under our conditions or conditions similar to our farm,” says Meinrad.

We thank Meinrad, Theresa, Roman and Claudia for choosing DEKALB® brand seed for their farm and wish them a safe and successful harvest this year and for many generations to come. Check out the results of the Kaelin Farms corn and soybean trials and other farm-managed Market Development trials on DEKALB.ca this fall.


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