The Ruppert Family

Tucked within the patchwork quilt of the Norfolk region of Ontario, surrounded by horticultural crops and orchards, sits the Ruppert farm. The landscape has evolved a lot over the years, and the operation – owned and managed by Scott Ruppert – is no different. In fact, Scott still remembers those days vividly. “My parents have always farmed in this area,” says Scott. “They grew tobacco, and some corn on the side.”

Today, tobacco crops have lost favour and been replaced by a diverse blend of small crops, nurseries, and larger-scale operations like the Rupperts’. The area is practically characterized by the willingness of the farmers in the area to try new things – sometimes out of curiosity, and sometimes out of necessity. Scott is familiar with both sides of that coin. “I went to school for mechanical engineering and worked off-farm for 14 years. You get a different perspective when you go off to work in a new field.” Scott explains. “Then when my wife and I started having kids, we had to make a change.”

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For the Rupperts, transitioning from working day jobs and shift work into farming full time was a big leap, followed by a marathon, to get the 1200-acre farm to where it is today. “We started off with no bins, and my Dad and I shared a combine,” Scott says.

That was 14 years ago. Since then, Scott’s background in mechanical engineering has served him well. These days, his son Bryce is studying Ag Science at the University of Guelph. Scott is proud to see Bryce taking advantage of higher education while becoming the fourth generation to carry on the farm.

Together, they’ve experimented and analyzed their way through various products and management techniques, and as a result the farm has grown rapidly over the past decade and a half. “We’re getting pretty streamlined now where we don’t need to get re-sold on things,” adds Scott. “We just know.”

That includes the corn hybrids and soybean varieties in his fields. When Scott’s dad was still farming, he grew DEKALB® corn because he knew the dealer.

For Scott, that may be a factor, but it all comes back to the plots. “We like DKC59-50RIB corn for sands and tougher soils, we tried a bag and noticed a huge difference,” says Scott. “Sometimes I step out of the combine to walk the knolls, and you can tell the difference in plant health down to the row.”

In fact, when Scott and his family grow corn, they noticed they get their best results with DEKALB® Disease Shield™ corn hybrids, such as DKC50-26RIB. DKC55-05RIB and DKC52-84RIB are also staples in the Rupperts' corn fields. A lot of this has to do with Scott’s meticulously planned irrigation strategy. “We have learned that irrigation is the key in Norfolk with the sand, but we also get the heat. It’s about keeping these plants alive,” Scott says. “We’ve experimented with pivot irrigation and pushing maturity levels and pushing population to see what kind of maximum yields we could get. It’s exciting.”

Darryl Whittington, Scott’s DEKALB® Agronomist, can attest to that. Having worked with Scott over the years, helping Scott manage his many test plots in addition to his 45-acre “experiment field”, the two of them are great complements to the other’s skill set. Darryl has the agronomic wisdom, while Scott has the engineering chops and open mind to try new things season after season. “We learned a few years ago that plant health and stalk strength is getting a lot more important,” says Darryl. “He can teach me about as much as I can teach him.”

The feeling is mutual. “He looks at our best interests,” Scott says about Darryl. “When he says, ‘you really gotta try this’, that means something to us, and we’ll try it.”

In fact, with so many experiments and trials going on at the Rupperts’ operation, there may only be one thing left on the farm that hasn’t changed over all these years – Scott’s gratitude to be back on the farm. “I knew I was going to come back sometime,” he says with a smile. “The question was just, ‘when?’”

We thank the Rupperts for choosing DEKALB® brand seed for their farm and wish their family a safe and successful harvest this year and for many years to come. Check out the results of the Rupperts' corn trial and other farm-managed Market Development trials on DEKALB.ca this fall.


If you're interested in growing DEKALB this growing season​…

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