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Title:Optimum plant density for crowding stress tolerant processing sweet corn in the Upper Midwest
Author(s):Dhaliwal, Daljeet Singh
Advisor(s):Williams, Martin M.
Contributor(s):Hager, Aaron G.; Davis, Adam
Department / Program:Crop Sciences
Discipline:Crop Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):sweet corn
crowding stress tolerance
Abstract:Advances in grain yield of field corn (Zea mays L.) over the last quarter century have been driven in large part by the ability of modern hybrids to better tolerate higher plant densities (i.e., crowding stress) than their predecessors. Yield gains in processing sweet corn, however, pale in comparison to field corn. Recent studies have identified modern sweet corn hybrids with crowding stress tolerance (CST); however, such hybrids appear to be under-planted in the Upper Midwest – where most of the world’s processing sweet corn is grown. Both contract growers and vegetable processors may realize improved sustainability by growing CST hybrids at optimum plant densities. In collaboration with vegetable processors and their contract growers, on-farm experiments with CST hybrids were conducted to: (1) identify optimum plant densities of CST hybrids under actual conditions in which the crop is grown and, (2) to determine the best approach to making recommendations on plant densities for individual fields in the Upper Midwest. Optimum plant densities for CST processing sweet corn hybrid ranged from 65,900 to 79,500 plants ha-1 in the Upper Midwest. Also, optimum plant densities increased average profitability of both the processor and contract grower without compromising ear traits important to the sweet corn processing industry. Six candidate recommendation domains were compared to identify the best approach for making plant density recommendations for individual fields. This study identified the ‘Production Area’ recommendation domain model (RDMPA) as the most appropriate for setting target plant densities for CST sweet corn. Fortuitously, the vegetable crop industry organizes field management decisions largely along the lines of the RDMPA model; therefore, production area-specific plant densities recommendations have a familiar appeal to the practitioner. Vegetable processors and their contract growers stand to increase sweet corn profitability up to $600 and $82 ha-1, respectively, by fully utilizing the genetic potential of CST hybrids in the Upper Midwest. This research reveals a relatively simple approach to improve a yield trend in processing sweet corn which has been largely stagnant for two decades.
Issue Date:2018-04-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Daljeet Dhaliwal
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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