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Organic Consumers Association

Organic Corn Seed Outperforms Many GM Varieties in MN Trials

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Results from the Minnesota State Corn Trials show that organic corn seed from Blue River Hybrids produced better yields than many genetically modified varieties.

Blue River Hybrids entered six of its hybrids in the trials. "The Minnesota Crop Improvement Association suggested to me that Minnesota farmers would be interested in seeing our hybrids in state trials," said Maury Johnson, president of Blue River Hybrids, based in Ames, Iowa.

Of the six corn hybrid seed varieties Blue River entered in the trials, three varieties finished in the top 10 in three different trials:

• Corn seed variety 44R57 ranked 9th out of 34 hybrids in the "Late Maturity Hybrids, Central Locations" portion of the trial, producing 193 bushels per acre. Thirtyone of the other hybrids in the trial were GMO.

• Corn seed variety 48B30 ranked 7th out of 34 hybrids in another maturity group of the same trial, producing 192 bushels per acre.

• Corn seed variety 53R57 ranked 4th out of 47 hybrids in the "Late Maturity Hybrids, Southern Locations," producing an average of 214 bushels per acre. In this trial, 45 of the hybrids were GMO.

"This demonstrated that some organic corn seed is as good as anything out there," Johnson says.

Johnson says more research investment and help from universities is needed to produce good organic seed varieties. "If we want to improve the quality of organic seed, we have to invest," he says.

Some conventional farmers near Blue River's facility in Ames, Iowa buy their organic soybean seeds instead of genetically modified Roundup Ready varieties and raise them conventionally. "They buy our seed instead of Roundup Ready because the price for our seed is cheaper and they can get better yields," Johnson says.

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