Corn that develops two or more ears on each plant may someday be more common than single-ear hybrids, says Denise McWilliams, University of Minnesota extension agronomist.

Researchers have found that multiple-ear hybrids often produce more consistent yields than single-ear varieties, says McWilliams. They can better adjust to available moisture and fertility, and are less likely to go barren at high populations. Also, they may be able to compensate for reduced stands by producing more ears per plant.

"These characteristics could help stabilize yields," she says.