April Newsletter: Production Updates, New Hybrids, & a Nutritious Recipe

We Are Corn Breeders

We recently met a woman in her 90s who was very curious about what we do and how we do it.  When we told her that we were corn breeders, she wanted more information.  We told her about our work in the corn field and how we cross pollinate corn by hand.  We take pollen from the male plant and shake it on the silks of the female plant.  She thought about it a moment and then asked with a very low voice, “How do you tell the difference?”  I told her, “We lift their leaves.”

To learn more about how we pollinate, watch this short video.
Spring Has Arrived: Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Spring is a busy and exciting time for us.  As we receive hybrid corn seed from our producers, we also fill orders and make arrangements for delivery to our customers.

Seed Production
Winter nursery and seed production in Chile turned out very well.  Planning ahead is necessary to ensure that we have enough parent seed produced to fulfill future needs.  We are making plans for producing a new white hybrid (GEI 9584W) and also a later high lysine hybrid (GEI 114 lys).  This fills out our lineup of early (GEI 9887 lys) and mid-season high lysine corn hybrids (GEI 101 lys).

Post-Production Nutritional Uses
One customer is milling our high lysine corn (GEI 101 lys) for making high quality protein kits for making corn bread destined for humanitarian aid to east Africa.  GEI 101 lys is being used for growing Niman Ranch pigs.  Our blue corn hybrid (GEI 411C)is going into production for blue corn tortilla chips and blue cornmeal.  The high carotene hybrid (GEI 2318) is becoming very popular as a milled product and also for a ration for laying hens that produce deep orange-yolked eggs.  It is gratifying to know that our hybrids are being used to enhance the nutrition of locally produced food.

“If you are going to eat something, why not make it nutritious.”

Our Hybrids: Hard Texture & Waxy

Hard Texture Corns
The hard endosperm hybrid lineup is expanding to cover the maturity areas between RM 95-RM 115. Early to late hybrids have the potential for local production in each region and the availability of quality hard texture grain for milling in the different geographical regions. GEI 9717 is our lead midseason hard texture corn hybrid.  GEI is testing several of these hybrids with cooperators this year.

Waxy Corns
Waxy hybrid seed production of GEI 9700 wx is also in more acres than in 2016.  A new waxy hybrid (GEI 9887 wx) will also go into production this year. The market for waxy corn is primarily for swine feed and for grain export.

Yield Tests
We have been preparing and shipping hybrid seed for test plots across the Midwest region and Canada.  After we do our own yield testing, we send out the most promising hybrids to other areas to see their adaptability to other regions.  We are finally able to put together our plans for our nursery and yield test for this year.  We have a number of projects that we are working on.

Save the Date
In addition, we will be planting twenty-three hybrids in our expo plot for examination during our Field Day that will be held on Thursday, September 7th.

Organic Transition Projects

Cover Crop Benefits
There has been lots of excitement on the adoption of cover crops in the Midwest as a result of the nutrient reduction efforts in the farming areas to reduce the leaching of nitrates in the water. There are other benefits for adopting cover crops as part of the farm management and grain production by organic farmers.  Weed control and soil fertility enhancement are two important benefits.

GEI Corn Seed for Cover Crop Evaluation
There is a project to evaluate a management system that includes the use of crown vetch as a cover crop, followed by roller crimping after the flowering stage and planting corn no-till. The farmers involved in this research and production have chosen GEI 9700 and GEI 9717 to plant. We are excited about the use of our seed in this project. For more details on this research, we will keep you updated as the project progresses.

Taste Test of High Carotene Eggs


We got some eggs from Early Morning Harvest to compare with store bought eggs.  EMH uses our high carotene corn in their hen ration.  The difference is very apparent as you see in the picture.  Research indicates the yolk has a high level of lutein which is a precursor of vitamin A.

Go to Early Morning Harvest to purchase high carotene cornmeal
Local Source for Gluten-Free Flour

Each year, our Johnston Lions Club has a pancake breakfast on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  There is one member who is very allergic to gluten.  After eating Whole Grain Milling’s High Lysine Corn Hotcake Mix pancakes, we suggested that these non-gluten pancakes could be offered as an option at the breakfast.  The past couple of years the word has spread and these “special” pancakes have become increasingly asked for.  One customer said that she hadn’t been to a pancake breakfast in years.  There are rave reviews.

Go to Whole Grain Milling to purchase high lysine cornmeal

Recipe: Blue Cornmeal Pancakes

¾ cup blue cornmeal                          ½ cup milk
1 tsp. salt                                              2 Tsp. melted butter
1 Tsp. sugar                                          ¾ cup flour
1 cup boiling water                             2 tsp. baking powder
1 beaten egg

Mix together the blue cornmeal, salt and sugar in a bowl.  Stir in the boiling water until all the ingredients are wet.  Cover and let stand for a few minutes.
Combine the milk, egg and melted butter and combine this mixture with the cornmeal mixture.

Combine the flour and baking powder and stir this into the cornmeal mixture until just incorporated.

Add a little more milk, if needed, until the batter flows off the spoon thickly but smoothly.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and grease with a dab of oil.  Use about 2 tsp. of batter for each pancake.  Flip the pancake over when the surface of the pancake is full of bubbles. Cook other side until golden.

This will make about 12 4” pancakes.