Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/3/2017
Publication Date: 1/18/2018
Citation: Williams II, M.M. 2018. Genotype adoption in processing sweet corn relates to stability in case production. HortScience. 52:1748-1754.
Interpretive Summary: Yield stability is a crop cultivar’s ability to produce across a range of different growing conditions. An ideal cultivar is both high yielding and highly stabile (i.e. less sensitive to changes in growing conditions). We determined the yield stability of widely used sweet corn cultivars grown for processing. None of the cultivars were ‘ideal’; some were high-yielding and some were highly stabile, but none were both high-yielding and highly stabile. We then related yield and yield stability of the cultivars to their adoption by the processor. The processor favored cultivars with high stability in the cases of sweet corn produced per acre over any other trait. The impact of this research is two-fold. First, sweet corn breeding programs now know that processors most need cultivars with high stability in case production. More broadly, this appears to be the first research relating yield stability to cultivar adoption, an important step in the quest to adapt cropping systems to climate change.
Technical Abstract: Yield stability is a crop genotype’s performance over a range of environmental conditions, such that a specific genotype may be less sensitive to environmental change (i.e. above-average stability) or more sensitive to environmental change (i.e. below-average stability) relative to other genotypes. The ideal genotype for most crops has both above-average yield and yield stability. The objectives of the study were to 1) quantify yield stability in processing sweet corn, and 2) determine the pattern of genotype adoption in relation to yield and yield stability. Stability analyses of ear mass, recovery, and case production were conducted on processing sweet corn genotypes grown in varied environments of the United States’ Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Yield and yield stability of the 12 most tested genotypes were then related to the extent of their adoption by a sweet corn processor over a 21-year period. While some of the genotypes exhibited above-average yield or above-average yield stability, there was little evidence of both traits in individual genotypes. Adoption of genotypes with below-average yield or stability was less than other genotypes. Genotype adoption pattern of case production showed the greatest proportion of adoption of above-average stability genotypes. Stable case production across all environments is a more important trait in a genotype to the sweet corn processor than a genotype with record yields under favorable conditions. This conclusion is consistent with the industry’s need to have a predictable supply of ears to the processing facility on a daily basis for the approximately three-month window of harvest in the U.S.