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 Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>