Investigator: Dave Christensen, Seed We Need, Big Timber, Montana Project locations: Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin Related links: Dave Christensen talks about his breeding work in 2009. Listen»
1. To investigate the abilities of six in–row weeding implements to control in-row weeds in organic soybeans and corn. The initial selected six implements were reduced to five after preliminary trials showed that the Bezzerides Cultivator System with spyder set and spring hoe, was similar with the Bezzerides Cultivator System with spyder set and torsion weeders. This change was made with the agreement of the farmer. Also it was decided to use the Williams tool system as the tine weeder without the optional side knives offered.
The purpose of this project is to work with a group of diversified vegetable farmers in the Northeast to evaluate an integrated non-chemical strategy for managing key caterpillar pests in sweet corn. In New England, corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) migrates annually into the region and causes serious ear damage in late-season corn. European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) is a resident pest of sweet corn which also contributes to ear damage, especially in the later part of the season.
Corn is a plant with high nitrogen requirements. Levels of soil nitrogen that are lower than what the plants need at specific times during growth can limit yield and feed quality characteristics. We set out to investigate the utility of several methods of addressing possible low soil N on corn grown in the organic farming system used in central New York State. These methods were inoculation with symbiotic fungi (T-22, Trichoderma harzianum), choice of variety, and planting density.
The purpose of this project has been to develop and evaluate our open-pollinated corn varieties for organic farmers. Our major efforts have been to increase the qualitative value and future marketability of these populations and also to increase their genetic diversity and agronomic value. This year we continued to breed white, yellow, red, and blue field corn varieties towards fitting niche markets that would give farmers that used this corn economic benefits.
Elkhorn, WI - In 2006, researchers at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) tested methods for evaluating corn for its ability to compete with weeds, using corn that was bred under organic conditions with weeds at MFAI, and compared with commercially available organic corn, and corn bred under conventional conditions.
Maize (corn) is an incredibly productive and profitable crop that works well in organic crop rotations in many parts of North America. Since the release of transgenic (GMO) varieties of maize in the mid-1990s it has become increasingly difficult to grow uncontaminated organic maize or to find maize seed that is free of transgene contamination.
Very little sweet corn grown commercially today is open pollinated. Farmers who wish to save their own seed have few if any good choices of varieties to grow. And the hybrids of today have been developed for conditions that are different from those found on most organic farms, as they were selected to rely on fungicides and pesticides, and to effectively utilize soluble synthetic fertilizers in large quantities.
Very little sweet corn grown commercially today is open pollinated. Farmers who wish to save their own seed have few if any good choices of varieties to grow. Today’s hybrids have been developed for conditions that are different from those found on most organic farms. Organic sweet corn growers deserve better choices.