Frederick Seed opened in 2011

Farm Forum

As air temperatures reached the 70s and 80s this week, soil is warming but not much.

The reports Tuesday showed frost depth still down to about 40” in Aberdeen, 16” in Sioux Falls. Thaw depth in Brown County was about 4”, according to Laura Edwards, SDSU Climate Field Specialst.

Soil temperatures were around 33 degrees Tuesday but supplies are ready whenever farmers head to the fields.

Rich Achen started as owner/manager of Frederick Seed LLC in 2011, selling DuPont Pioneer Seed. The 6000 sq. ft. building was put up in 2012 in a field just west of Frederick along U.S. Highway 281.

“I’ve always wanted to be involved in ag when I moved to the Achen family farm (east of Frederick) as a teenager,” Achen said. “A friend of mine was approached to take on the Pioneer dealership and I saw it as an opportunity.”

Achen sells Pioneer products, runs the seed treater, delivers product and everything else. Pioneer provides support and works with him on goals and plans for his sales territory that runs from the North Dakota state line south to the Westport area, and then from Leola east to Houghton.

The warehouse holds bulk, totes and bagged seed plus supplies of insecticides and fungicides and inoculants to be used in planting seeds and treating problems in fields.

Treating seeds is an important part of the business. Achen said that 90 percent of the soybeans are treated with insecticide, fungicide, and inoculants. The treatment helps protect the seed from diseases and insects during the early part of the plant’s life.

In addition, Achen scouts fields for growers, does field mapping for them, prints maps for them, works with them to come up with the right crop protection products. Achen can provide crop protection options at competitive pricing.

In the quest for yields approaching 300-bushels for corn, Achen noted that as always weather is a key factor in crop production. “Along with that, producers experiment with seed populations, different applications of fertilizer, and variety selection. Those are some of the big factors that help us achieve higher yields. Many have seen 200-bushel corn on an average in some fields. To get 300-bushel corn, weather conditions have to be perfect and farmers need to push populations.”

Achen recently heard a presentation by Fred Below, Professor of Plant Physiology with the University of Illinois, who shared that the most important factor in getting high yields in corn is weather and the second is fertilization. He noted that in Iowa and the southern United States, there are some that are producing 300-bushels of corn to the acre. They have to be planting high populations to achieve that yield.

As producers look at glysophate-resistant weeds, Achen encourages them to use different modes of action in their crop protection program. He stressed that farmers need to take action before there is a problem.

“For instance, on soybeans, use a pre-emergent before or right after you plant to stay ahead of kochia, pigweed and other broadleaf that may be causing problems, “ he advised. “Be ahead of the problem before it becomes one.”

Most of the selling of seed is done right after harvest and going into the winter. Now Achen is ready to deliver the seed he’s sold to those customers, as they’re ready to head to the field. “It can get hectic to get it done but that’s what it’s all about.”

Last fall, the company started carrying livestock equipment. He now has some items from Werkweld of Armor and Ranchers Livestock Equipment of Gregory.

“Frederick is a big agricultural community,” Achen said. “I take pride in keeping a business going within the city. The community itself struggles. I want to promote Frederick as much as possible. I have kids in school so want to do my part to continue to build a business that supports agriculture and the future of the area.”

To contact Frederick Seed, call 605-216-6777 or email