Most farmers living now probably don't remember what corn farming was like prior to hybrid corn. However, there are still a few growers living who can remember the old ways. I recently asked my father, Ralph Pike who is 97 years old, to tell me what he remembered about seed selection in his youth. His account of his seed selection activities as a young man helping his dad farm 240 acres in southern Minnesota is as follows:
"I remember that each fall I would go out into the field before harvest and select some of the better ears. I would bring these in with the husks still attached and then strip the husks back and hang the ears inside. After they had dried awhile, I would take them down and shell them. At the time we had a hand powered sheller, which I think we put an electric motor on eventually. The shelled corn would be put through a sizing grid to get rid of all the small kernels. I had to use the sizing grid so that the right number of kernels would be dropped through the planter plates. After the corn was sized, I hung it up in sacks in the granary until spring. We didn't grow a lot of corn at that time. Mostly we grew hay and oats, barley, and wheat. Maybe I would shell out one or two bushels of corn at the most in this way."
Note: At that time one bushel of seed corn would plant 7 - 8 acres of corn. (36 inch rows and spacing with 3 kernels planted per hill)
Choosing the right seed has changed quite a bit since then. Now there are thousands of different varieties to choose from, all promising the highest yields for your unique growing conditions. We wanted to help growers easily sift through all of that data, so we compiled thousands of third-party, independent seed trials into Find My Seed. It helps growers easily find the right seed based on the facts that are important to them.
Learn more at the Find My Seed website.