Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Better sweet corn research, better production

30.01.2014
While grain yield is economically important in field corn production, there are other metrics more important in sweet corn grown for processing, said Marty Williams, a USDA-ARS ecologist and University of Illinois crop sciences researcher.

In a study recently published in Field Crops Research, Williams questioned whether the crop yield responses that have been previously reported in sweet corn research are actually helpful to the industry.

"What has been done in the past is analogous to predicting someone's height based on their shoe size, as opposed to actually measuring their height," Williams said.

After collecting and studying sweet corn data representing 31 hybrids across 22 locations in Illinois over an 8-year period, Williams said he sees a disconnect in what researchers are measuring in the field and what processors and seed companies need to know in order to make improved production decisions.

In other words, Williams said researchers need to start speaking the same language as the sweet corn industry.

Williams explained that the two variables that affect processor decisions most include recovery (percentage of kernels that can be canned or bagged from the green-ear mass) and case production (cases per acre of processed kernels).

However, he added that nearly all historic and recent field research in processing sweet corn reports neither of these variables, regardless of whether the studies pertained to plant pathology, fertility management, pest control, or sweet corn breeding and genetics.

"Ear number or green-ear mass are often the only crop responses reported in research on field productivity of processing sweet corn. Sometimes, other crop responses are reported, including plant traits such as height or canopy density, or ear traits such as ear length or ear width," he said.

In his study, Williams looked for relationships between processor variables and 17 crop traits (5 plant traits, 8 ear traits, and 4 yield traits). He determined that none of the crop traits predicted recovery.

"Recovery is something that has to be measured directly. Currently, there's no way to predict it," he explained.

When comparing the variability of the estimates in case production based on traits such as green-ear mass, husked-ear mass, and ear number, he determined that fresh kernel mass also was a far superior predictor of case production.

"Essentially, the more a measured yield response physically resembled a case of sweet corn, the more precise and accurate the estimate of case production," he reported.

The challenge in getting the necessary data is the costs associated with the equipment and labor, according to Williams.

In order to collect information on fresh kernel mass, Williams and his team designed and built a portable, "mini-processing plant" that they use in the field at harvest to husk ears and cut fresh kernels.

"At the moment there isn't a viable alternative that's less expensive," he said. "Does the research community continue to report mediocre data, or do we invest in an approach that gives the sweet corn industry exactly what it needs to make use of our research?"

Another obstacle is the narrow window of time when sweet corn is harvested, usually by hand, for research. Though field corn for grain production is harvested at physiological maturity, sweet corn is harvested at the R3 stage (milk stage), while kernel moisture is at approximately 72 to 76 percent. "When sweet corn is ripe, waiting is not an option," Williams explained.

A change in the way sweet corn research is done will have an impact on how processors, growers, and seed companies make decisions in the future, according to the researcher.

"Applied research aimed at improving crop productivity is predicated on the ability to accurately measure important crop responses, such as yield. For processing sweet corn, the most important responses include recovery and case production," he said. "Those of us in the research community can't expect the sweet corn industry to adopt our research-based findings when we're failing to measure what's truly important."

"Few crop traits accurately predict variables important to productivity of processing sweet corn," is published in the February 2014 issue of Field Crops Research and can be accessed online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378429013004073.

Martin Williams | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>