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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #435084

Research Project: Improving Organic Maize Production in the Northern Corn Belt

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Project Number: 5030-21000-066-11-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 13, 2018
End Date: Jul 14, 2019

Objective:
1. Joint Release of corn germplasm with traits desired by organic corn producers in the Northern Corn Belt including improved nutritional quality and pollen exclusion systems. 2. Develop agronomic systems suitable for organic producers in the Northern Corn Belt that improve soil health and weed control using as cover crops, optimized planting densities and corn variety selection. This includes development of reliable no-till organic corn systems.

Approach:
1. Make breeding crosses between germplasm developed by cooperating institutions. Each cooperator will advance these crosses at their location to develop varieties with optimal performance at their locations. Carry out shared organic yield trial evaluations at cooperator locations to identify germplasm that performs well in cooperators' regions. Produce hybrid seed for evaluation in shared isolated crossing blocks in cooperators locations. Carry out a shared organic winter nursery that will increase the speed of our breeding programs and serve as an opportunity to share and observe germplasm. 2. Conduct a replicated field trial experiment with cover crop systems in which plant density is varied and cover crops are interseeded. Test cooperators' varieties with known variation in plant density optimum. Collect data on corn yield, plant phenology, and weed levels. 3. Conduct replicated field trials which will evaluate management practices and techniques for no-till establishment of corn into residue of cover crops which have been terminated mechanically with a roller crimper. This includes cover crop species (sole seeded and in combination) evaluation, termination timing, timing of corn planting, and hybrid selection for early season vigor under no-till conditions and tolerance to organic herbicide. Will evaluate system performance based on cover crop performance (biomass yield, nitrogen accumulation and durability of the residue mat), weed suppression, nitrogen dynamics/ sufficiency and corn yield.