GRAYMONT – A family seed business is still going strong after a century.
Roeschley Hybrids corn is marking 100 years this year. The privately-owned seed company based near Graymont offers various corn and soybean varieties for central and northern Illinois farmers.
“Our great uncle started selling open pollinated corn in 1918 and then in the mid-1930s, they started having some classes for hybrid seed corn and he went to some classes at the U of I,” said co-owner Dennis Roeschley.
Roeschley’s great uncle attended class with members of the Pfister and Funk families who also started their own seed companies. Roeschley’s father took over the business from his great uncle in the 1950s before he and his brother, Mark, came back to run the company in the mid-1970s.
Dennis was spotted operating a detasseling machine on a recent morning south of Graymont. The machine pulls tassels from the seed corn fields by rolling them.
“It gets about 85-90 percent of the tassels. Then we have crews come in getting what we didn’t get,” Roeschley explained.
Those crews usually return a few days later to clean everything up. The Roeschleys have around 250 acres of seed corn this year which means it can take a while to get the corn detasseled. The family used to hire their own detasselers but now uses a crew known as “Team Corn” with workers mostly from the Gilman and Fairbury areas.