Agronomy •  2020-12-16

Conventional Corn Production

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farmer holding a leaf of corn


Statistics Canada reports that there was 356,400 acres of Conventional corn in Eastern Canada in 2020 (Ontario 284,100 acres and Quebec 72,300 acres).

Many growers are choosing conventional corn to take advantage of the non-GMO and organic markets.

Pioneer® brand is the market leader in providing conventional corn seed, providing high yield potential and comes with 98% plus purity in our Pioneer® brand conventional corn seed bags.

The Pioneer® brand conventional corn product line up offers high yielding products with strong agronomic traits. Many of the conventional corn products also have very good root strength and husk cover scores. These hybrids paired with leading Corteva Agriscience™ herbicide options will maximize returns from conventional corn production.

High yielding conventional corn

  • Pioneer® brand conventional corn products have the high yield potential, agronomic traits, and performance stability that corn growers have come to expect and trust from Pioneer® brand corn.
  • Yield data from the last two years (2018-2020) illustrates that Pioneer® brand conventional corn delivers more, with 10.7 bu/acre higher yield than conventional competitor hybrids across 39 field comparisons in Eastern Canada*.

*Yield data was calculated as weighted averages across multiple conventional corn hybrids across two years (2018-2020) with comparisons greater than one location. 

Seed quality and purity

  • Pioneer® brand conventional corn seed is a leader in conventional corn seed purity. We have 98% plus purity of our conventional corn seed. This ensures a high level of purity in your production, which maximizes the marketing opportunities for the end-use product for conventional corn producers.
  • Corteva Agriscience™ seed products undergo one of the highest seed quality testing standards in the industry. Pioneer® brand corn seed gets tested for quality at least three times prior to a grower planting the product.
  • The purity of the seed impacts the crop purity. Starting with the highest quality seed will give the best opportunity for a high yielding, high quality crop.

Production steps to maximize genetic purity


  • Plan to take the necessary time to thoroughly clean the planter before planting a field for a non-GMO contract. Any traited seeds planted in the field could result in load rejection.
  • Plant on land that did not have the specific hybrid type grown the previous year that you are trying to isolate against.
  • To help minimize cross pollination growers can stagger planting dates, utilize different hybrid flowering characteristics and plant different maturities if you have more than one product option.
  • Maximize isolation distances from all other corn. Acceptable distances may vary from 24 rows to as much as 600 meters separation, depending on target purity level, prevailing winds, planting date, hybrid characteristics and general weather conditions.
  • Exact isolation guidelines will depend on purity standards for acceptance of grain. However, the greater the isolation distance used, the greater the chance of maximizing purity.
  • Even under the best conditions and practices, the biology and logistics of corn production and pollen movement make 100% purity nearly impossible to attain.


  • Understand that you could be required to do extensive cleaning of the combine to maintain grain purity to fulfill a non-GMO contract.
  • Harvest outside rows of the field where you are trying to maximize purity to segregate this grain for other uses.
  • Consider keeping samples of the seed, harvested grain, and delivered grain. Preserve the samples until the grain has met all identity and quality standards of the buyer.
  • Maintaining your crop identity also involves cleaning of combines, trucks, wagons, grain carts and as well as augers, elevators, dryers and storage bins.
  • Remember that achieving 100% purity is virtually impossible in seed or grain production. These management practices are designed to help maximize production purity but do not guarantee absolute purity.

For more detailed information on Pioneer® brand products and best practices for maintaining grain purity for a non-GMO production contact your local Pioneer® sales representative.

Weed management in conventional corn

  • Effective planning of weed management is even more important in conventional corn production than it is in herbicide-tolerant corn.
  • Research trials and grower experience has demonstrated the importance of early weed removal in field corn to optimize yields. Starting early with a pre-emergence herbicide such as Engarde™ to remove annual weed competition is a good agronomic practice.
  • Corteva Agriscience has excellent herbicide options for controlling weeds in conventional corn –starting with Engarde™ for pre-emergent weed control, followed by Steadfast™ IS for strong post-emergent grass control. 

Engarde herbicide logo

Engarde™ herbicide delivers twice the protection with two modes of action (Group 2 and 27) and the powerful activity of knockdown and residual weed control. It has the flexibility to be applied between pre-emergence to the two-leaf stage.

Steadfast IS Herbicide logo

Steadfast™ IS herbicide is your go-to solution for post emergent control of grasses in conventional corn. It comes with a built-in crop safener allowing for a wide window of application up to the 8-leaf stage (V6 stage) of conventional corn.


  • Corteva Agriscience is committed to providing farmers with choices in their seed purchases with our industry leading Pioneer® brand conventional corn products along with herbicide options that can help growers achieve high conventional corn yields.
  • Management of grain purity is a key consideration when committing to a non-GMO market. Pioneer® brand conventional corn seed has a high purity standard to give you the best opportunity for your crop to pass quality inspections in your targeted conventional corn market.

Crop Protection You Know and Trust

Corteva Agriscience™ Destra™ IS herbicide is a post-emergence herbicide that gives growers an effective tool to control weeds in corn while managing herbicide resistance.

Destra Herbicide logo