Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Corn: Sweeten up your profits with the right hybrid

Date:
January 23, 2012
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
Sweet corn research shows that higher yield and profitability are possible with greater plant populations of certain hybrids.

Although it is a common practice to study plant populations in field corn, almost no research exists for determining the number of plants needed to optimize yield in processing sweet corn, which accounts for most of the U.S. sweet corn acreage.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

New University of Illinois sweet corn research shows that higher yield and profitability are possible with greater plant populations of certain hybrids.

Although it's a common practice to study plant populations in field corn, U of I associate professor of crop sciences and USDA-ARS ecologist Marty Williams, said almost no research exists for determining the number of plants needed to optimize yield in processing sweet corn, which accounts for most of the U.S. sweet corn acreage.

"The only published results on this subject took place in the mid-1960s on the varieties Golden Cross Bantam and Jubilee," Williams said. "Today those hybrids are 79 and 50 years old, respectively. The sweet corn industry, both growers and processors, needs relevant information on modern varieties to help them achieve maximum profits."

The priorities of processing sweet corn are quite different than fresh-market sweet corn, he said.

"Unlike fresh-market sweet corn, ear size and appearance don't really matter in processing sweet corn," Williams said. "What's important is how many cases of sweet corn are produced per acre."

Because of this, fresh-market sweet corn research simply doesn't apply since different hybrids are used and different traits are important. In 2009, the Midwest Food Processors Association asked Williams to conduct research on the relationship between plant populations and profitability in processing sweet corn.

So where does yield peak for processing sweet corn, and what plant population does it take to get there?

The answer is not that simple. Williams evaluated six widely used hybrids from Del Monte, Syngenta Seeds and Crookham Company. The hybrids were planted under a wide range of plant populations and growing conditions.

"We looked at relationships among different crop traits and found that increasing plant populations affected crop growth and development in plausible ways," he said. "Increasing plant populations increased canopy density and light capture, delayed silk emergence, and reduced filled ear length and recovery."

Recovery, or the percentage of ear mass that's represented by kernel mass, was surprisingly varied and ranged between 32 to 38 percent among hybrids, he said. Higher recovery reduces processors' costs because less volume of corn is handled.

Across all environments, plant populations to maximize yield differed by more than 9,000 plants per acre among the hybrids.

The average plant population of the six hybrids -- 23,500 plants per acre -- would not be enough to maximize yield for some varieties, but would be too much for others, Williams said. None of the hybrids came close to optimal plant populations of field corn, which in recent reports from the upper Midwest, range from 32,000 to 35,000 plants per acre.

"The sweet corn hybrid itself has a major effect on profitability," he said. "The gross profit margin to processors varied $1,500 an acre among hybrids. If I were growing sweet corn under contract, I'd want to know the hybrid, since profit to the grower varied as much $211 per acre among the varieties we tested."

One of the challenges Williams noted was that the top-performing hybrids looked nothing alike, nor was it clear exactly why they had better stress tolerance to higher populations. More research is needed to provide sweet corn breeders with this information.

"We compared these results to plant populations observed in growers' fields throughout Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin," Williams said. "We found evidence that higher profit, to growers and processors alike, is possible with greater plant populations of certain hybrids."

This study, "Agronomics and economics of plant population density on processing sweet corn," was funded by USDA-ARS and published in Field Crops Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The original article was written by Jennifer Shike. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Corn: Sweeten up your profits with the right hybrid." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120123102222.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2012, January 23). Corn: Sweeten up your profits with the right hybrid. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120123102222.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Corn: Sweeten up your profits with the right hybrid." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120123102222.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins