Skip to Main Content

Corn Hybrid Grain End-Use Characteristics

Categories: PLANNING, CORN
  • Consider how harvested corn grain will be used to help in the hybrid selection process.
  • Some hybrids will consistently produce higher levels of specific grain end-use characteristics.

Golden Harvest is committed to sharing agronomic knowledge with customers to help them grow more corn. The Golden Harvest® Corn Hybrid Grain End-Use Ratings provide information that can help optimize corn production for livestock, the ethanol industry or other corn grain end uses where grain quality is just as important as yield. These Corn Hybrid Grain End-Use Ratings are generated by collecting corn grain samples from internal Golden Harvest trials, which are sent to an independent laboratory for protein, oil and starch analyses.

The data from these analyses are then categorized for the end use based on the level of each characteristic with four ratings:

  • Best (highest level)
  • Good (above-average level)
  • Fair (average to below-average level)
  • Poor (lowest level)

Uses for High Quality Corn Grain

  • Greater feed value per unit of grain
  • Can improve feed efficiency, reducing cost per pound of gain
  • Reduces the need for feed supplements, and the storage and handling costs associated with those supplements
  • Potential for premium on grain

Understanding Grain Quality Traits

Protein: Represents the ability of a feed to supply the animal with amino acids and nitrogen, the basic building blocks needed for growth and maintenance of the body.

Oil and starch: Both traits are an indication of the ability of a feed to meet the animal’s energy, fat deposition and heat production needs. Starch is the largest single component in corn grain and the primary source of most of the energy in corn. Oil is more energy-dense than starch, thus a unit change in oil content affects the energy supplied by the feed more than a similar unit change in starch.


  • Specific hybrids can yield 2-5% more ethanol than bulk commodity corn.1
  • Ideal hybrids for dry-grind ethanol production have a larger portion of high total fermentables (HTF), which is starch plus small amounts of free glucose, fructose, maltose and sucrose within kernels.
  • Grain starch content alone is not a good indicator of ethanol yield.

Factors Influencing Grain End-Use Characteristic Content

  • Environment: Corn grown in the northern U.S. tends to be higher in protein, while corn grown in the central and southern U.S. tends to be higher in starch.
  • Genetics: Some hybrids will consistently produce higher levels of specific grain end-use characteristics, regardless of growing conditions and crop management.
  • Soils: High fertility soils tend to produce higher levels of protein.
  • Management: Proper nitrogen fertility correlates to increased protein levels.

Using This Chart:
: A source of nitrogen and amino acids needed for animal growth
Oil: A secondary source of energy in corn grain and more energy dense than starch
Starch: The largest single component in corn grain and the primary source of energy


1 Bothast, R.J. and Schlicher, M.A. 2005.
Biotechnological processes for conversion of corn into
ethanol. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 67: 19-25.

Photos are either the property of Syngenta or used under agreement.
Syngenta hereby disclaims liability for third-party websites.


You are viewing from

Thank you for visiting the Golden Harvest website. We understand how important it is for you to find agronomic and product information pertinent to your local area. Please enter your zip code or select your area below to ensure you are seeing the information that matters most to you.
Learn more about regions >


We’re sorry. Golden Harvest is not available in this area. Please try another zip code or contact a Golden Harvest Seed Advisor for more information.

Is this page helpful to you?

How can we improve
this page? (optional)

Can you tell us your
role in agriculture? (optional)

Thanks for the feedback.

We appreciate your participation