Field Corn

Breeding Population (WQS C4) of Corn for Enhanced Silage Production

Dairy cows require a lot of energy to produce milk. Corn silage is commonly fed to dairy cattle because it is a highly digestible, high energy food source. Increasing the digestibility of corn silage should increase the amount of energy dairy cows consume and thereby increase milk production. This technology features a new corn population, known as the Wisconsin Quality Synthetic-C4 (WQS C4), with superior milk production potential. Inbred corn lines derived from WQS C4 can be combined with inbred lines derived from the Stiff Stalk Synthetic corn population to provide high yield, high quality hybrids that are adapted to the Northern Corn Belt.


Provides a source population for developing superior inbred corn lines to be used as parents for hybrid silage varieties

High milk production potential

Low neutral detergent fiber (NDF)

High in vitro true digestibility (IVTD)

High in vitro NDF digestibility (IVNDFD)

High protein

Relative maturity of approximately 110 days


Inventors: James G. Coors, Natalia de Leon, Dustin T. Eilert, Patrick J. Flannery

Source:, WARF: P08445US



Inbred Corn Lines (W601S, W602S, W603S, W604S and W605S) for Developing Silage Hybrids (Released in 2003/2004)

Corn silage is a high quality forage crop used on many dairy and cattle farms. The goal of making silage is to preserve the harvested crop by anaerobic fermentation, where bacteria convert soluble carbohydrates into acetic and lactic acid. To obtain high quality silage, it’s important to start with a crop variety that has high grain and high forage yield. A team of UW-Madison researchers has developed four inbred lines of corn that are useful for developing silage hybrids. The lines have been tested extensively and detailed yield and compositional data are available on them. Line W601-S shows high forage yield potential; above-average in vitro neutral detergent fiber digestibility; and above-average protein content. W602-S possesses low neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber content; high in vitro true digestibility; high in vitro neutral detergent fiber digestibility; and high starch content. W603-S shows below-average neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber content and high protein content. W604-S exhibits below-average neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber content; high in vitro true digestibility; and high in vitro neutral detergent fiber digestibility.


May enable development of high quality silage hybrids


Inventors: James G. Coors, Dustin T. Eilert, Patrick J. Flannery

Source:, WARF: P03302US and P05228US



Corn Population (WGRCOMP C2) Comprising Brown Midrib and gt1 Genes for Forage (Released in 2004)

Corn plants containing a brown midrib gene have less lignin in their cell walls, making forage from those plants more digestible. The independent grassy-tiller1 gene (gt1) enhances the regrowth of corn after cutting, producing multiple stalks and thus extra forage, and even enabling a second harvest in some latitudes. This invention describes lines of corn that are homozygous for brown midrib and grassy-tiller1 genes. Corn including these two genes is bred for vigorous growth, uniformity and phenotypic stability. The enhanced regrowth leads to increased quantity and the reduced lignin leads to increased quality in the resultant forage.


Increases per-acre yield of forage in corn fields

Other commercially desirable traits may be added via backcrossing or transgene insertion

Suitable for late-season planting

High-fiber digestibility has been shown to increase milk yield in ruminants like dairy cattle

Grows quickly and offers flexibility to forage producers


Inventors: James G. Coors, Dustin T. Eilert, Patrick J. Flannery

Source:, WARF: P05229US



Cross-incompatibility Traits from Teosinte and Their Use in Corn

Teosinte is a wild relative of cultivated maize that is native to Mexico and unable to grow in the United States. Although closely related to maize, teosinte does not interbreed naturally with cultivated corn. The inventor has discovered a gene cluster in teosinte that creates a genetic barrier between teosinte and maize – specifically, this gene cluster blocks successful cross-pollination of teosinte by traditional corn varieties. The inventor has bred this “cross-incompatibility” gene cluster into a cultivated corn variety, preventing its pollination by other cultivars with which it would normally readily hybridize. They key benefit of this technology is that the cross-incompatibility gene cluster from teosinte will only be used in non-genetically modified (non-GM), conventional corn, where it should block cross-pollination by other varieties, including GM maize. Thus, this invention provides a means to support the segregation of GM and non-GM maize crops.


Gene cluster is transferred to cultivated corn using classical breeding techniques, leaving corn eligible for organic status

Provides opportunity to produce certified non-GM maize, which may earn producers 10 to 50 cents more per bushel (translating to up to $70 more per acre), and which some foreign markets prefer

May prevent unintentional contamination of non-GM corn by GM varieties, as recently occurred with Starlink corn

May be used to identify similar genes or gene clusters in other commercially important crops

May reduce or eliminate the need for buffer zones between GM and non-GM crops, so that farmers may safely grow GM and non-GM varieties in the same field


Inventors: Jerry L. Kermicle, Steven R. Gerrish, Matthew M. Evans

Source:, WARF: P00005US