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Field day focus on breeding non-GMO corn

By Staff | Sep 9, 2014

LUTHER (GEI) – GMO seeds haven’t been around that long, but thanks to a slew of traits that help crops cope with weeds, pests and chemical applications, they quickly came to dominate the seed market, said Genetic Enterprises International corn breeder Alix Paez.

“This has led some farmers to be unsure if non-GMO hybrids are available or who is developing them,” Paez said. “Farmers need to know that work is still going on to develop non-GMO hybrids, and there are food companies that are actively looking for non-GMO corn, but need farmers who will undertake to grow them.”

To learn about GEI’s non-GMO corn breeding program for conventional and specialty corn, and market opportunities for this corn, a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day is from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, in Luther.

The field day site is located at 3 Boone St. (County Road E57), on the southeastern side of town. From U.S. Highway 30, take exit 137 for Iowa Highway 17 toward Madrid and head south for about five miles. Turn right on Co Rd E57 / 270th Street. Look for PFI field day signs.

The event – “Breeding Conventional and Specialty Corn Hybrids for Iowa” – is free to attend and will feature a southwestern-style lunch made with GEI corn products.

Due to space constraints, there is a limit of 50 people for lunch, so RSVPs are required for the meal by contacting Lauren Zastrow at (515) 232-5661 by Monday.

Visitors may still attend if they choose not to have lunch.

Attendees will learn the process a corn breeder goes through from beginning to end, and see a display of 30 conventional and specialty hybrids developed by GEI that range in maturity from RM 105 to RM 114.

Specialty hybrids on display will include high lysine, waxy, resistant starch, and colored and white corn.

GEI breeders will describe the hybrids on display and discuss their agronomic characteristics, uses and attributes.

Guests will also learn how GMO corn yields compare to non-GMO corn hybrids, and markets available for specialty hybrids.

GEI is a seed company developing corn hybrids for all maturity zones. The company has breeding and selection nurseries in central Iowa for the temperate zones, and an active tropical corn breeding program.

GEI develops products for specific niche markets or special applications in the food and feed industry, as well as hybrids of different maturities to fit the various growing areas in Iowa.

GEI hybrids are suitable for conventional, organic or high-intensity farming practices.

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