Corn Breeding Program

Fast-Generation Corn Breeding

Stine’s one-of-a-kind corn breeding program has one primary goal: to build better corn, faster. At our primary breeding facility in Adel, Iowa, breeders top-cross more than 40,000 new lines of corn each year. We also take advantage of off-season research in South America through a process called fast-generation breeding. Fast-generation breeding allows us to turn four generations of seed per year, which means newer, better lines are in your hands faster.

To overcome the weather obstacles that limit domestic production in the U.S. Corn Belt, Stine relies on off-season research through a process called fast generation breeding.

The process begins when two Stine Elite corn lines are crossed to make a new population, which will serve as a source for new inbred lines.

After the first U.S. growing season, this seed is sent to Stine’s breeding facility in South America.

Researchers “turn” a generation of corn every 90 days, even if the genetics involved normally mature in 120 or more days. That equates to four generations of corn each calendar year in a field environment.

Stine is one of six companies in the world involved in the development of new corn inbreds, with a unique “bank” of germplasm. Stine’s germplasm base has, for several decades now, undergone high-population testing, shaping what Stine uses today.

The process now shifts to pre-elite trials where Stine’s hybrids are tested in six-row plots, unlike most competitors who test in two- or four-row plots.

Stine’s six-row plots, across the cornbelt, have proven to deliver more consistent and more realistic yield data than smaller plots.

Only five percent of the hybrids tested will make it through the Pre-Elite Yield Trials.

Lines that successfully complete the Pre-Elite Trials act as a source for new populations and continuing on through at least three more years of testing before heading into production.

Fast generation breeding allows Stine to produce a new line of corn in about six years, compared to eight years or more for most other companies. Stine’s vigorous yield trials ensure growers get the top-performing, highest-yielding corn on the market.