Timing is the key

A second fact the seed agronomist knows about the male line is that it tends to flower about a week before the female line.



Because the male plant flowers one week before the female plant, Edmund should...

To review this concept click on the link Flowering Principles: Flower Development and Time.

Looks Good! Correct: Timing is important in making sure pollen sheds when the female is ready to receive it.

Because the hybrid seed production is done on a large scale, equipment has been engineered to help with this work. Two specialized equipment items are shown:

A cutter.  Credit: Joel Stuthman

The cutter will cut off the top of the corn plant. It works kind of like a lawn mower. Some of the longer leaves of the corn plant will be removed with the cutter.

The corn plants show above are at three stages of growth.  Plants at the youngest stage would be cut at the correct location to remove the male flower (tassel) but leave the female flower (ear) intact.  Based on where the female flower is developing on the two older plants you can judge where to make the cut on the younger plant and convert this to a female flowers only plant. (Credit: Todd Jensen, UNL)



The youngest plant in the picture above should be cut at which position?

Looks Good! Correct: Position # 1 is probably above the tassel. Position # 3 is probably below the shoot and tassel.

The puller is designed to grab and pull the top of the corn plant stem. The top of the stem will snap off when grabbed by the puller. It is used on taller corn plants after they have had some of their longer leaves cut off.

A Puller.  Credit: Joel Stuthman

The tassel will develop inside the growing corn plant and move up through the plant as it grows. The goal is to remove the tassel from the plant before it emerges from the top. The shoot female flower will likewise develop inside the corn plant but will emerge several leaves below the top of the plant. The goal of removing the tassel must not result in the removal or damage of the shoot.



The cutter is used first. The cutter will be used on...

Looks Good! Correct: The female rows need to have their tassels removed so they obtain pollen only from the males.

The cutter should cut the corn plant...

Looks Good! Correct: There is a point on the plant before the tassel emerges below the tassel and above the shoot. Cutting hat part off eliminates the tassel but leaves the shoot intact

The cutter and puller equipment save manual labor but do not eliminate it. For that reason, a crew of “detasselers” is hired each summer to walk the field and remove the tops of any corn plant that might have been missed by the equipment

Detasseling Crew. Credit: Joel Stuthman



What is the order that the seed agronomist should have operations completed in the seed production field?

Looks Good! Correct: The cutter gets some of the tassels and makes it easier for the puller to work. The pullers get most of the tassels. The detassling crew gets the rest.