Flex Characteristics of DEKALB® Brand Corn Products

Trial Overview

  • As new corn products enter the market, it is critical to define a recommended planting population. 
  • Recommendations may be affected by what we refer to as the “flex” characteristic in corn products. 
  • “Flex” is often referred to as a single factor; however, it is a complicated multifactor response to the growing season and conditions. 
  • This demonstration was conducted to provide guidance to growers about what “flex” really is and how it should be considered when planting DEKALB® brand corn products. This is a long overdue conversation.

Research Objective

  • Evaluate five DEKALB® brand corn products for their response to planting population. Yield, ear size, and ear number (both primary and secondary) were captured during the season.
Soil Type
Previous Crop
Tillage Type
Planting Date
Harvest Date
Potential Yield
Planting Rate
Scott, MS
Clay Loam
300 bu/acre

Site Notes:

All agronomics were per local standards.Emergence was in excess of 95% in all plots.240 lbs/acre of actual N were applied.Ear numbers and weights were taken from 8 row feet of each plot.Plots were approximately 0.1 of an acre each or 4 rows x 260 feet long.



Understanding the Results

Figure 1. Average grain yield by population and corn product.
  • Yield levels were extremely high ( an increase of 20% compared to historical yields) during the 2017 growing season. This is likely due to mild conditions during the growing season.
  • Corn products responded differentially to population. For this reason,  flex information is critical to the success of a new corn product.
  • Few plants had secondary ears at populations above 15,000 kernels planted/acre.
  • As population increased, ear weights decreased; however, some differences were observed between corn products.
  • Little yield response was observed at populations higher than the high 30,000’s kernels/acre.
  • Most of the tested corn products appear to be yield optimized in the 35,000-38,000 kernels planted/acre range.

What Does This Mean for Your Farm

  • All corn products should be carefully evaluated, considering potential responses to environment prior to planting.
  • “Flex” is a complicated interaction that is significantly affected by the environment.
  • Reduced stands cannot be overcome with multiple ears per plant.
  • 1000 plants in the field was worth an average of 6.0 bu/acre in the range of yield response. This is similar to previous results at the Monsanto Learning Center at Scott, MS.
  • Consult your local DEKALB® brand representative for further information.