Iowa's race for short, weather-sturdy corn
Corn genetics is trending to far shorter stalks with some limited new varieties hitting fields next spring, Myron Stine, president of the Adel-based Stine Seed Co., tells Axios.
Why it matters: The stocky stalks produce higher yields and are more resistant to wind.
- Short corn is planted closer together and can produce as much as 15% higher yield, Stine said.
- They can also make it easier to apply herbicides, potentially lowering production costs.
Driving the news: Bayer — the nation's largest seed seller — plans to market short-corn varieties in 2024, the Wall Street Journal reported this month.
Yes, but: Stine — a company best known for soybean seeds — introduced some shorter corn varieties more than a decade ago.
- CEO Harry Stine developed them after identifying how a "shading effect" from tall plants blocked light and hid the potential of shorter varieties in test plots.
- It came after decades of testing and was not an intentional trait sought by Stine.
- The company's scientists theorize that their varieties will not get much smaller.
By the numbers: Some of Stine Co.'s plants grow to just over seven feet, roughly two feet shorter than other common varieties. Some can grow more than 12 feet.
Bonus: The Stine Co. recently released a podcast about their research.
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