Organic or not, the most common corn grown for consumption is dent corn. And organic or not, dent corn seed usually comes from the midwest. That means it’s best suited for growing conditions far away from North Carolina. This fact got a student from NC State thinking…why not develop organic corn seed especially for our climate and soil?
So, in a quest to build a better corn, a partnership with RAFI, NC State, and Reedy Fork Farm began. Here’s what we’re doing…
The students at the university did genetic research to find which corns do best in various conditions. They found two breeds that had the best traits, and decided to create a hybrid from the two. They asked us if we would be willing to grow the corn.
If you don’t remember from biology, every corn plant has male and female parts. The tassel is the male part; the flowers have pollen that has the male sex cell. The ear is the female part. A baby ear has a cob, eggs that turn into kernels, and silks. When pollen falls on the silk, travels down the silk into the kernel, and it is fertilized.
Here at the farm, we planted ten rows of corn. The six middle are females and the outer two rows on each side are males. We detasseled the outer two rows on each side so they will fertilize the inner six rows making a hybrid.
We’re really excited about this collaborative effort. The hope is that this project yields a new breed of corn that will benefit farmers and families in North Carolina.