The dominant crops in Minnesota are corn and soybeans; together, they are responsible for more than 80% of the $9.25 billion value of the state’s field and miscellaneous crops in 2014 (USDANASS, 2015). As part of the Midwest, the state is within one of the most intense agricultural areas in the world. Corn and soybeans, the main crops, are typically grown in rotation using conventional cropping practices, including high external inputs. The practice is under scrutiny due to issues with soil erosion and nutrient losses,
Research Category: Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Grain yield in corn has improved constantly over the past century due to many factors including improved genetics, the advent of hybrid seed production, changes in agronomic practices, and implementation of biotechnology. In 2012, Minnesota corn growers produced corn on nearly 9 million acres statewide, and harvested approximately 1.4 billion bushels of grain. While dramatic improvements have been made, the ceiling for grain yield has not been reached. Understanding the genetic basis of corn grain yield and yield component traits,
This project addresses northern corn productivity and profitability as well as value-added market opportunities by breeding the next generation of short-season corn products. This project is innovative as it focuses on the invention of new products and the generation of new cost/effective methodologies for breeders and farmers. Growing productive shorter season corn solves most of the agronomic problems facing Minnesota corn farmers. Still, the market offers slower-drying hybrids that are not stable to northern Minnesota environmental conditions.
Minnesota farmers oftentimes face the possibility of not being able to plant corn until after the optimum planting date due to wet soil conditions in the spring. Current yield by planting date tables are based on data obtained a decade ago. Consequently, there are questions as to the validity of this data given advances in corn genetics over time. As corn acreage in northern Minnesota increases, this information becomes even more critical given new corn genetics.
This is a multi-state effort involving Minnesota and North Dakota corn and soybean growers. This study is based on the following producer questions: What are the benefits of using chisel plow, vertical tillage and strip till on clay and/or loamy soils; how do I manage residue in each type of tillage system; can I achieve the same yields under all three types of tillage; and how does my choice in tillage practice affect the bottom line of my farming operation?
Although corn producers in Minnesota have historically had few significant problems with
leaf diseases, this has changed recently with the emergence of Goss’s leaf blight and wilt. Goss’s wilt is now known to be widespread in corn fields across the state and, thus, more inoculum is available than ever to increase the risk of this disease, which can greatly reduce yields.
Management of Goss’s wilt is based on genetic resistance, although crop rotation and tillage may also be important.
The purpose of this project is to expand corn to cooler seasons and increase the profitability of northern Minnesota farmers. A long-term solution for improving profitability in this vast region is to develop cold tolerant high quality products for the sustainable corn production in central and northern Minnesota. For that purpose, this project will utilize unique corn products and methods developed in joint historical successful efforts between North Dakota and Minnesota. Thousands of lines and hybrids will be screened in marginal regions under severe controlled cold stress short-season environments aiming at fast cold tolerance short-season genetic improvement.