HYBRID Seed Corn
Hybrid seed corn has been specifically developed with special characteristics for: wet/dry growing seasons, soil types, plant strength, disease resistance, days to maturity, etc. More than 100 varieties are available from major suppliers.
It is very expensive to produce hybrid seed corn. Six rows of one variety of corn are planted between two rows of another variety. Tassels are removed from the center rows. Pollination from the two outside rows produces seed with properties from both species. The center rows (female corn) produce the hybrid seed. The two outside rows (male corn) are harvested separately.
Multiple plantings with distinct species may be required to produce the desired hybrid seed characteristic. The hybrid seed is then carefully dried, sorted for size, and treated with fungicide to improve planting and storage viability.
Not all the seed is sold each season. It is less expensive to store unused seed in environmentally controlled warehouses for use during the next growing season than it is to discard unused seed and regenerate it.
Typical storage conditions are 50°F and 50% relative humidity. These conditions were derived in the 1950’s from experimental data. They maintain constant seed moisture content at cool storage temperature.
Some seeds are stored in hermetic containers. The total moisture content of the seed in the hermetic container remains approximately constant since the hermetic container maintains a constant total moisture content.
While designing and building seed storage warehouses, we found that vapor pressure is a very important variable. Later, we applied this concept to heat and moisture transfer between a seed and its environment. This model disagreed with others that used the text book theory of osmosis for moisture transfer. We then studied osmosis.