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Seed Corn Field Pattern Depends Upon Hybrids Farmer ProducesSeed Corn Field Pattern Depends Upon Hybrids Farmer Produces

Some require delayed male plantings, some don't.

Tom Bechman 1

May 20, 2012

2 Min Read

If there are lots of center pivots around, which there are in various areas of south-central Indiana, but particularly in northern Indiana, then odds are one or more farmers are growing seed corn. It's one of the crops that brings a premium and justifies the expense of installing, maintaining and operating irrigation.


If you know you're driving by a seed field, you're likely to see different patterns. That's because how the male and female inbreds are planted varies upon the hybrids. I rode a couple rounds the other day with a farmer planting two inbreds at the same time. The male was in every fourth box. Actually, to make it come out correctly. One outside box was set at half rate, and he had to plant back into that row a second time to get it right. So he was really planting 15 and one-half rows at a time. To make sure he got back in the row and stayed there, he used a camera focused on that row with a display monitor in the cab.

What's more common is to hear seed producers talking about the need to plant the female, then come back in some many days and plant the male. Some use regular planters. Others have specialized equipment to accomplish this. One farmer has a toolbar that would accommodate 16 row units, with only four row units on it. That allows him to go back in and plant the male delay corn where the female corn has already been planted.

Getting the nick right for male and female inbreds is both art and science, and depends upon the inbred. At least some companies don't tell growers which hybrids they are producing. But every grower knows some are harder to produce than others. Most seed companies provide a field man to work with the grower. He's often there when the crop is planted, partly to make sure the correct differences are left from seed to commercial corn or sweet corn.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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