Press Bulletin No. 46.
Selecting Seed Corn.
[By C. M. CONNER, Professor of Agriculture.]
Few farmers give the attention to seed selection that
they should. It is true that the seed for a number of our
truck crops should be purchased from growers farther
north, but this is not true of the farm crops-for exam-
ple, corn, cotton, rye, etc.
There are no crops that will give greater returns for
the trouble taken in seed selection than corn and cotton.
While Florida is not classed as a corn State, it does not
follow that large yields of corn cannot be made here.
The largest yield of corn ever made was made in the South.
Florida has quite a large area of land which, if properly
used, will give good yields of corn year after year. 'We
cannot import our seed corn from the North, because it
does not make as good corn the first year as our native
corn. The weevil also attack it more readily, on account
of the thin shuck and soft condition of the grain.
If one is starting to improve his corn, seed may be
February 1st, 1904.
purchased from the North to start with, and by growing
it three or four years in this climate before using for field
crops, it will adapt itself to Southern conditions.
Native varieties may be used with good results.
In selecting your seed to start with, do not select a
corn having an ear too large. Select a medium-sized ear.
The color may be any you fancy, but if you expect to sell
seed to your neighbors it should be a white variety, and
preferably a white cob, length medium, grain rather
wedge-shaped and long. Grain should not be rough at
outside end, but rather horny; grain should set firmly
on the cob; there should be as little open space as pos-
sible between outside ends of grain on the ear; ear should
look compact and solid.
Seed, once selected, should be planted on a good piece
of land, apart from the rest of the crop, so that the pollen
from the field crop will not get to this field. The ground
should be well fertilized, but not over-fertilized. Care
should be taken not to over-stimulate the growth of -the
plant, as it will react when the seed is planted under nor-
mal or below normal conditions.
The selection of next year's seed should be made as
soon' as the corn is dry enough to keep and near the center
of the field.
You have the choice of two methods of selection:
One is to select stalks having two medium ears (no more)
and the other is to select stalks having one good ear.
When the crop is to be grown on good land, where a yield
of from twenty to thirty bushels or more can be expected,
I much prefer the former-stalks having two medium
eari. But when a crop is to be grown on thin, sandy
land giving a yield of from six to ten bushels, seed. pro-
ducing one ear to the stalk is better.
In the South, on account of a long growing season
and increased amount of sunlight, the corn plant has a
tendency to grow tall, and thus be easily blown down;
this can be remedied by selecting from stalks having the
ears lower down on the stalk. In the North they select
for small amount of shuck, while in this section we want
the shuck to come well over the end in order to protect it
as much as possible from the birds and insects.
After the selection has been made in the field, the
seed should be again selected, using only such ears for
next year't seed as come up to your standard. It is true
that the amount of good seed corn that you will get from
one acre will be rather small, but in a very short time you
will begin to notice that the percentage will increase rap-
idly. After enough seed has been secured to plant the
farm crop, the selection will be much easier and more
Does it pay to select seed corn? You may just as
well ask, Does it pay to improve your breeds of live stock?
The yield may be increased from 10 to 25 per cent., and
if one has a good variety, well suited to most parts of the
State, the profits per acre can be increased from 50 to 100
The time to begin making preparations for seed selec-
tion is now.
i' State papers please copy.