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Which Is Better: Flat or Round Seed Corn?

Jul 07, 2011

Question: I read your column about seed corn testing but didn’t see anything on using round seed versus flat seed. Do you have thoughts on one being better than the other?

Answer: We used to get that question quite a bit but not recently as today’s modern equipment can handle either rounds or flats. Our experience is that high-yielding genetics are high-yielding, regardless of whether the seed is flat or round. I would emphasize that you’re dealing with a living product, so how you handle that seed prior to planting and at planting is very important. Every kernel of seed corn is wrapped in a thin protective coat, called the pericarp, which covers the seed like skin and provides its first line of defense against insects and disease. The pericarp also helps shield the seed from any rough handling farmers may dish out during the planting and harvesting processes. Round seed can be a bit more vulnerable to damage because its germ area is not as well protected within the kernel as it is in flat seed. If you question whether the seed you purchased is in good shape, have it tested by an independent laboratory to determine the emergence level you can expect. Also, know as much as you can about where your seed is coming from. Ask questions and learn about the company’s quality standards and their quality assurance procedures. It doesn’t matter where the seed is sourced from as long as the seed quality is there.
Until soil conditions are right, don’t throw your expensive corn seed into the mud.
An exacting regimen goes into seed production.
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