Evaluating Flex Characteristics of DEKALB® Brand Corn Products

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Trial Objective:

  • ​Recommended seeding rates of new DEKALB® brand corn products may be affected by the ability to “flex” depending on growing conditions.
  • Flex-ear corn products have the ability to adjust ear size depending on growing conditions and to yield well at lower populations, but yields generally plateau at higher populations, whereas fixed-ear products generally show increased yield as seeding rate increases.
  • An understanding of a product’s ability to flex is important when setting the ideal agronomic population and is useful when making replant decisions on tough stands. 
  • The objective of this trial was to evaluate four DEKALB® brand corn products for their response to seeding rate to provide guidance to growers about how flex should be considered when planting DEKALB® brand corn products.

Research Site Details



  • Seeding rates ranged from 10,000 to 45,000 seeds/acre, planted in increments of 5,000 seeds/acre.
  • All agronomic practices were per local standards. 
  • 240 lb/acre of actual nitrogen was applied. 
  • Plots were approximately 0.1 acres each or 4 rows by 200 feet long.
  • Because it is difficult to quantitatively measure fixed and flex characteristics, yield was used as a general means to evaluate these traits. 
  • All data were collected and corrected to 15.5% moisture.

Understanding the Results





  • Final populations averaged 80% of stand targets.
  • This is lower than expected due to the harsh early-season conditions in 2018.
  • Most of the tested corn products appear to be optimized at 35,000 seeds/acre as several of the product’s yields plateaued around this rate (Figures 1 and 2). Though yields continued to increase as seeding rate increased, standability can become an issue with certain products and should be considered.

What Does This Mean For Your farm?

  • Understanding the flex characteristics of a corn product provides insight into how it will respond to different seeding rates and to stress during the growing season.
  • Standability for each product should be carefully weighed against potential yield responses and seed cost before making the decision to increase seeding rate. 
  • Growers should discuss with their DEKALB® brand seed representative how a corn product of interest performs under different growing conditions and management practices.
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