Evaluating Open-Pollinated Corn Varieties

2002 Annual Report for LNC01-188

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $75,300.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Zeno Wicks, III
South Dakota State University

Evaluating Open-Pollinated Corn Varieties


Evaluation across twelve environments demonstrated that open-pollinated corn could be economically feasible for corn producers and small companies in the northern Corn Belt. Three replications of a NC+ hybrid check, a variety of choice, plus three open-pollinated populations adapted to a particular region (north or south) were evaluated. In both regions, the open-pollinated populations had lower grain yields than the commercial hybrids. These results are similar to those previously reported (Troyer, 2001). However, economic feasibility can be demonstrated (Table 1). Assuming annual $9.3/A technology fee and $32.1/A seed costs, each region had open-pollinated varieties that demonstrated comparable profitability.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. Assess agronomic performance and economic viability of open-pollinated corn varieties and varietal hybrids.
2. Produce a manual and CD-ROM video with pertinent breeding and technical information that will instruct and aid producers in improving and propagating open-pollinated varieties.
3. Increase awareness and knowledge of open-pollinated corn though workshops, seminars, and field tours.
4. Gain feedback from producers.


1. Agronomic performance was assessed for open-pollinated corn populations. Preliminary results suggest that yields are similar to those previously reported. However, based on a primitive economic analysis, this study demonstrates that some farmers could be profitable by utilizing open-pollinated populations in their operations.
2. Instructional materials will be produced after concluding the evaluation of the second year data.
3. The 2002 results will be reported at the North Central Regional Corn Breeding (NCR 167) meetings on February 16-18, 2003. Information will also be shared during 2003 field tours throughout four states.
4. Overall, producer comments were favorable toward the open-pollinated corn varieties. However, some producers were concerned about standability due to drought conditions.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Assuming annual $9.3/A technology fee and $32.1/A seed costs, the use of top performing variety crosses can be a profitable alternative in small to medium-sized farms. Profitability can increase if corn prices are not high, kernel quality is improved, and yields reduced by environmental stresses are improved.


Derrick Exner

Iowa State University
Kendall Lamkey

Iowa State University