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.