Corn School: Profit strategies for fixed and flex ear hybrids

Not all corn fields are created equal. Some will produce higher profits when planted with a fixed ear hybrid, others will benefit from a flex ear hybrid, and some fields will perform best with a bit of both.

In this episode of RealAgriculture Corn School, Pride Seeds market agronomist Aaron Stevanus explains the basic difference between fixed and flex hybrids. He also shares management strategies for employing the different hybrids throughout your farm operation and across fields.

Stevanus says fixed ear hybrids are the product of a new corn breeding style that produces stout, consistent-sized ears throughout a range of plant populations – from 28,000 to 38,000. The idea here is to maintain consistent ear size and increase yield through higher populations.

Flex hybrids perform much differently. These hybrids have the ability to flex and create larger ears with more girth at lower populations. They produce higher yields when planted at 28,000 to 32,000.

In the video, Stevanus collects ears and calculates yield estimates to demonstrate how the fixed and flex hybrids perform when planted at different populations. The yield results illustrate how fixed hybrids can produce a significant yield increase just by simply pushing populations while flex hybrids can deliver higher yields at lower populations and also save seed costs.


Stevanus also discusses the key role fixed and flex hybrids will play as multi-hybrid corn planting and variable rate seeding becomes more common. “It will be great for managing variability and addressing different management zones,” says Stevanus.

“For higher yielding zones that are receptive to more intense management, choose a fixed ear,” says Stevanus. “In those areas where you get less yield, plant a flex ear and take advantage of a hybrid that can flex out and give you a higher yield with less seed.”




Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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