- Agronomic: corn
- Crop Production: seed saving, varieties and cultivars
- Education and Training: farmer to farmer
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities
Corn prices are low, input costs are high. We know rotation, cover crops, and reduced tillage can improve this and our environment, but reduced seed costs and seed sales could also improve economic viability in a socially responsible manner. Open pollinated (OP) corn is cheap and great for silage, but rarely for grain. We have a good OP (Dairyland) that deserves improvement for yield. The fastest way to improve corn is hybridization, so we propose to identify modern and exotic lines using reported genomic and new field-testing to boost the performance of Dairyland. We could then make topcross hybrids and also form a new synthetic OP population (intermate the best of these crosses) to increase yields and seed sale opportunities. Testcrosses were generated from identified lines and exotics in 2019/20. These would be compared with Dairyland and check varieties in university variety trials in ND, WI, MI, NY, and VT in 2021. We would measure grain nutritional quality and other factors to evaluate the economics of on-farm seed production (reviewer suggestion), and provide outreach events to discuss our project and sustainable corn production with the public to evaluate possible social benefits. Information and seeds will be released to the public.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Evaluate 30 corn testcrosses and check varieties in university trials and on our farms.
- Hold field events in MN, WI, and MI to discuss sustainable corn and seed production.
- Evaluate changes in knowledge and predicted changes in behavior among attendees.
- Evaluate the economics of on-farm seed production with a collaborating student (reviewer suggestion).
- Post our methods and findings to the internet and Extension/NGO cooperators.
- Hold a webinar about our methods and findings, evaluate changes among audience as above.
- Increase and release seeds so farmers can grow their own superior topcross hybrids or OP corn varieties.