800-218-1862 Contact Us

How Winter Growouts in Puerto Rico Play a Role in Above Industry Standard Seed Quality

At Cornelius Seed, our production practices and quality standards are unlike anyone else in the industry.  We do not have minimum standards we try to pass.  In fact, we make it simpler than that.  We strive for perfection on every lot of seed we produce and that means "minimums" rarely enter our equation.

Isolation and quality control are two extremely important factors of hybrid seed production at Cornelius Seed.  When creating a single cross hybrid, we begin with two inbred parent lines.  One inbred is used as the female which is the rows we will harvest the ears of corn from.  The tassels from these plants are removed or bred to be sterile of pollen.  The other inbred is called the male because only the pollen is needed and the ears are not harvested for seed.  The pollen from the tassels of the male rows is shed onto the silks of the female rows.  This results in our finished product, hybrid seed corn.

Throughout the entire production process, we strive for perfection based on the high standards we have set at Cornelius Seed.  To prove those high standards are met and our customers are delivered a high-yielding, above industry standard quality product, we test all new production seed using what is called, "growouts" with third party organizations.

In addition to trait and germination testing done in a third-party lab, immediately following harvest, our hybrid seed is sent off for additional testing, called seedling growouts.  This helps us identify if there are any surprise concerns with a hybrid lot as results are known within fourteen days of planting.

We also send our seed for testing in what's called winter growouts.  Our winter growouts are done in the southern region of Puerto Rico, near the city of Ponce.  Seed is planted in November and evaluations begin 62-70 days from planting.  At this time evaluations are taken at full plant height for any off-types.  Examples of off-types would be plants that are selfed (female pollen shed onto the female silks) or outcrosses (blown-in pollen).  The plants are also monitored to ensure proper pollination occurs.

Growouts confirm our high production standards are met and we can be confident our hybrid seed delivered to farmers will perform at maximum genetic and trait capacity.

James and Janie Cornelius had the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico last January to evaluate our winter growouts.

With ideal weather conditions, the growout plots have quick emergence and even stands shortly after planting in November.
Here, James Cornelius is evaluating a hybrid. He walks up and down the rows looking back and forth at the plants, evaluating the crop growth and looking for any off-types. Then, he captures his notes in a spreadsheet for each hybrid and seed size being tested.
Here is C575DP, a 109-day hybrid that likes its roots in your best soils with high-end management which will result in you reaping great yields.


James is evaluating C5695DP. This hybrid was produced on the farm where James and Janie live. It was fun seeing the finished product at full height in Puerto Rico!


Here is C6401SS. It is a 104-day hybrid with excellent emergence for early planting in our wet, cool spring soils across Cornelius Country.
The plots receive insect control, but the plants are still at the mercy of high bug pressure due to the climate of southern Puerto Rico. Here's the conventional hybrid, C6438. Notice the leaf damage from insect feeding on this conventional version with no trait protection from pests.


Next to the conventional C6438 is the DoublePro version, C6438DP. The DoublePro trait provides protection from above-ground pests. The trait is doing its job, these leaves are virtually damage free from insect feeding compared to the conventional version.
The hybrids are planted in two 60 ft. rows and replicated twice in the plot. This is done for both flat and round sizes. Here is C7125DP, an 111-day hybrid with top-notch greensnap tolerance.


Puerto Rico is the perfect environment for growing corn with sunny days and constant temperatures with annual highs in the 80's and lows in the 60's. The soils in the southern region are carbon-rich mollisols and highly fertile. The air is dry off the coast so the corn receives daily, drip irrigation. The black cloth tubes can be seen running alongside the corn roots.


This southern region of Puerto Rico is a hub of agriculture and crop testing. The corn's neighbor to the north was a beautiful field of blooming cotton.


Much like areas of Cornelius Country, Puerto Rico is also home to wind farms. The neighboring fields to the east had production pineapple and plantains.