Open Pollinated Seed Corn

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Grown Here Since 1903

Burt Neal brought home seeds from the 1903 World Corn Exposition in Chicago.  That was the beginning of Abbe Hills Open Pollinated seed corn.  It's been continuously improved since then, and is planted by farmers all over the upper Midwest who value good quality feed for their livestock.

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Traditional Selection and Breeding

Because we wish  to support agricultural processes that lead to healthier soils and  people, and genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems, Abbe Hills Farm does not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. 

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Suited for Upper Midwest

Abbe Hills Open Pollinated (OP)  is a silage, grazing, and feed variety of yellow dent corn, originally selected from Reid's some time after the Civil War.  It is a moderately tall corn that requires about 100-103 days to reach maturity. 

Learn More About Abbe Hills OP

Traits of Abbe Hills

Abbe Hills OP seed has been  grown for many years using low input and biologic practices.  The seed has been treated with neither fungicides nor insecticides. To reduce the risk of disease or insect damage before germination, planting should be delayed until the soil is quite warm, which is usually late May in eastern Iowa.  

Like most open pollinated corn, Abbe Hills should be grown at relatively low plant  density with no more than 20,000 to 22,000 plants per acre in the final stand.   Nitrogen fertilizer should  be applied moderately.  Excessive nitrogen and too high plant density may actually decrease overall grain yield. 

Our 2017 seed is available as unsized mixed large and medium flats and large rounds. Please contact Laura if your planter requires sized seed.

Because Abbe Hills OP has been selected for so many years under Midwestern conditions, it may not  perform as expected if grown far outside the region.  With adequate  fertility, moisture, and management, Abbe Hills OP yields about 100-130  bushels of grain per acre.  Mid-season high winds and stalk rot seem to be its biggest problems in eastern  Iowa, although improvements made in the crop since 2006 have improved yield and standability considerably 

Ordering Seed in 2017

2016 was an excellent crop year, and we look forward to providing top quality, large and vigorous seed for planting in 2017.

In the winter, Abbe Hills OP was cleaned and graded, then germination tested at the Seed Lab at Iowa State University. 

Seed comes in bushel bags, with about 77,000 seeds per bag of flats (92% germination), and 62,000 seeds per bag of rounds (94% germination).  The seed grown in 2016 is exceptionally heavy. 

Seed cost is $75 per bushel, plus shipping.  Half-bushel (28 lbs) is $40, plus shipping.  Ten pounds or less is $2 per pound, plus $14 shipping.  Two pounds or less is $10 total.

Seed can be shipped by SpeeDee (best option usually), UPS, Postal Service, or picked up at the farm.  Abbe Hills zip code is 52314.  A bag of seed weighs nearly 60 pounds.

The 2017 seed order form can be printed from the link below.  Please contact Laura by phone or email before you mail the order form and your check for Abbe Hills OP seed corn so that we can confirm that seed is available, and to calculate your shipping costs. As soon as we are able after receiving your check, it will be shipped. Delivery is usually possible in about ten days.  If you decide to come to the farm to pick up your seed, you may pay for it then. 


Safe Seed Pledge

The widespread use of genetically engineered crops has resulted in slightly increased crop yields, much higher input costs for farmers, and increased use of several pesticides.  The increased use of more dangerous pesticides, plus the nearly constant presence of the products of the breakdown of genetically engineered crops affects all rural ecosystems.    

Abbe Hills Farm believes that widespread production of genetically engineered crops poses severe and  irreversible threats to biodiversity and to the integrity of our seed  resources, and that environmental risks have been insufficiently examined prior to release of genetically engineered crops.

Abbe Hills Farm does not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. 


Farmer Managed Breeding

Standability, ear retention, and disease resistance of Abbe Hills OP has improved significantly since an intensive program was begun in 2006 to improve stalk strength and yield while still maintaining high protein content.   

That year, two relatively flinty lines, one from Uruguay and another from Argentina, were selected for their ability to contribute  protein, stem strength, and yield to Abbe Hills OP, and were hand crossed in plots.    

The first  generation of the hybrid that resulted was planted in 2007.  Since then, the corn has been managed as an open pollinated variety, and selected  strongly for yellow dent qualities. 


Respecting Farmer Breeders

I have invested considerable energy and finances in the last 29 years to improve Abbe Hills OP, and to sell only the highest quality,  cleanest seed possible.  Purchasers of Abbe Hills OP seed are welcome to save seeds that you grow for replanting on your own farm in future years.   I would be especially happy if you used it as the starting material to develop your own yellow dent corn variety.  Selection for several years under the unique conditions on your farm will result in a more well adapted variety for farmers in your area. 

Please read the "Improving Corn" section of this website to learn more about the opportunities and responsibilities of being a farmer breeder. 

Genetic Contamination

Since the introduction of genetically engineered crops, Abbe Hills Farm  has done as much as possible to protect the seed crop from pollination by genetically engineered pollen by delaying planting and positioning seed fields as far away from neighboring corn fields as possible.  Currently, more than 90% of Iowa corn is genetically engineered to resist certain weed killers or kill certain insect pests, so perfect isolation is impossible.  

I will continue to advocate for the rights of those of us who grow organic and identity preserved crops.

Here is  a post by Seed Savers Exchange about their experience attempting to keep neighboring pollen out of their OP corn being grown for seed. 

2017 OP Seed Corn Order Form

Please print this form.  Then call or email Laura to confirm your shipping costs.  Finally, please mail the form and your check to Abbe Hills OP.

How to Contact Abbe Hills Farm

Pick up your seed corn at the farm

Please make sure that we know when to expect you. Call or email first!  We're not always here!

Abbe Hills Farm

825 Abbe Hills Road, Mount Vernon, IA 52314, US

(319) 895-6924