Sweet corn, a staple in many diets, is now under the scientific lens. An intriguing study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Agricultural Research Service is spotlighting the role of seed sources in shaping their yields.
The research was vast, pulling data from a whopping 16,000 fields over 27 years. While the year of production and region were expected influencers, the seed source’s crucial role came as a surprise. Marty Williams, the study's lead voice, highlights the industry's power in this revelation, highlighting their ability to select their seed source.
Venturing into the details, this study evaluated a multitude of 67 factors, ranging from weather patterns and soil characteristics to management techniques and crop genetics. Harnessing machine learning, Williams, with Daljeet Dhaliwal, distilled these to identify the most impactful determinants.
However, a clear ranking among seed companies remains elusive. Williams hints at diverse cultivation conditions for hybrids from various companies as a reason for this ambiguity.
The study also rings alarm bells regarding nighttime temperatures. Warm nights, specifically over 61 degrees Fahrenheit, can potentially curtail yields, posing challenges in the face of global warming.
Despite these hurdles, Williams is optimistic. The spotlight on the seed source’s significant role offers the industry a pathway to influence yield outcomes positively. Source : wisconsinagconnection