Holmes Co. corn

Improved genetics?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

This is the fun part of my job. I get asked questions or am told I misguided someone and so I do a little field work to investigate what may be the reality. I thank Joe, Nick and Zack at the OSU Western Agricultural Research Station for giving me the space to work, and I think they enjoy the challenge and quest to find answers too.

So once again I ran a trial comparing “older” open pollinated corn genetics to modern corn hybrids. I still use Reid’s yellow dent as a basis for my work because there is so much of that old variety carried through into modern genetics. A chance cross occurred in Ohio at about the time of the Civil War and that accident carries through to today’s genetics and yield improvement.

WARS 2020 Antique corn trial, for yield and harvest stand.
YieldStand
Variety/ hybridbu/Athou. Pl/A
1Reid yellow dent 110105.721.1
2Green Field 114121.415.0
3Krug 9595.119.1
4Lancaster Sure Crop 120129.722.5
5Rebellion 110129.721.0
6modern transgenic hybrid228.329.3
7modern hybrid (2) organic236.529.2
8Wapsie Valley 85114.022.0
LSD19.11.7
C.V.10.86.1
Prob > F1.2285E-111.2863E-11

In the Table, except for item number 6, these are all available and sold as organic corn seed. I was chastised a year or so ago that I was comparing varieties to hybrids, “of course they don’t yield as well.” So we have two modern hybrids here and yes the organic hybrid yielded right with the transgenic hybrid — no significant difference. Many of the organic varieties trace their lineage back to Reid’s yellow dent.

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