Corn Flowers and Hybrid Seeds - Introduction

Brandon, a farmer in Giltner, Nebraska grows corn plants for profit. He can plant a single corn seed that will develop into a single plant. This plant can produce 600 seeds. These seeds or grain are in demand from two main customers for Brandon. Some customers buy this corn grain and feed it to their cattle. Your next hamburger could be traced back to one of these cows. Brandon’s other customer is an ethanol plant near his farm. This plant grinds the corn grain and uses it as a food source for yeast that ferment the starch in the grain to ethanol. Your next tank of gasoline could contain ethanol from these fermenting yeast.

Brandon and family in the field. Credit: Lisa Hunnicutt

Brandon can make a living from selling corn grain for his family because he grows thousands and thousands of corn plants on his farm. Because corn is an annual plant he must plant seed every spring. Use the table below to predict which kind of seed Brandon will plant.



Which type of corn should Brandon plant?

To review this concept, view Flowering Principals: The Flower and Sexual Reproduction.

Looks Good! Correct: The yield potential of hybrid corn provides economic incentives.

Because corn farmers like Brandon can have a more profitable business by growing hybrid corn, there is a demand for seeds each year that are hybrids. There are companies that will develop and discover parent lines that can be crossed and make a better yielding hybrid, hybrids that produce more bushels of grain per acre. These companies have corn breeders who discover the parent lines and they hire farmers who grow the parent lines and produce large quantities of hybrid seed. These companies then can sell the hybrid seed to farmers like Brandon. This lesson will focus on the work of the hybrid seed producer.