April Newsletter 2018

What We’re Up To

Ready for research planting

While waiting impatiently for spring to spring…it sprung! Farmers have been chomping at the bit to get into the fields. From one last snowfall last week to full blown spring, the temperatures soared and the fields dried nicely.

We have been very busy with incoming seed from our producers and making arrangements for seed deliveries to our customers. We are also preparing envelopes for planting nursery rows and yield test plots, and have placed hybrids in wide area testing networks in the early (RM 95 to 105) and the medium (RM 110 to 112) zones. We will show a lineup of hybrids in our expo that will include new hybrids with different maturities and specialties.

It has been gratifying to hear how our hybrids performed last year for our customers. We are particularly pleased to see the new attention consumers are paying to the nutritional value of specialty corn. There is new excitement with some of our customers who are coming up with new ideas for developing products with our specialty corns.

Model for Corn Planting Dates & Delayed Planting

GEI developed a model to adjust hybrid planting dates to weather conditions during the planting season in central Iowa. Using a 25 year heat unit accumulation model, we plotted the 50% shedding data of two GEI early hybrids, GEI 9010 ORG and GEI 9700 that were planted on May 3, 2017.

The GEI 9010 ORG corn planting date model reached 50% pollen shed on July 12 with 1262 H.U. accumulated. The GEI 9700 corn planting date model reached 50% pollen shed on July 14 with 1314 H.U. accumulated. Other maturity hybrids reached their pollen shed at different dates with the latest hybrid shedding on July 20. Most of the commercial hybrids in the area shed between July 10 to July 15 with planting during the first week of May in a normal year. This period would define the ideal maturity of hybrids in the area (RM 105-110). In our breeding nurseries, the latest possible shedding could be up to the last week of July (1600-1737 H.U. accumulation from planting date on May 3).

In the case of a late season planting, because of unseasonal rains and cold weather, a farmer could plant a hybrid that would reach 50% pollen shed not later than the last week of July. 

Using the two early hybrids GEI 9010 ORG and GEI 9700 as an example 

GEI 9010  H.U. 50% SHD =1262Maximum late SHD 1600 minus 1262 = 338 H.U. delay in planting possible with this hybrid. (delay planting possible in the model up to May 31- June 1)

GEI 9700 H.U 50% SHD=1314Maximum late SHD 1600- minus 1314 = 286 H.U. delay in planting possible with this hybrid. (delay planting possible in the model up to May 28)

The take home from this type of modeling is that the two GEI 9010 ORG and GEI 9700 can be planted up until the last week of May and can complete flowering observed in a normal year. After flowering, there is enough normal season to reach physiological maturity.
The agronomic advice is for early planting to avoid stress periods that could affect the overall performance of a hybrid. When a hybrid is planted off season the plants are growing under a different seasonal environment that affects the corn at different stages of development.  This might be more stressful to the plant and that could affect yield results. Late planting is not without risk.

Lions Club Non-Gluten Pancakes

Once again this year, our Johnston Lions Club advertised that there would be gluten-free pancakes available for those people who needed that option. We used Whole Grain Milling’s Hi Lysine Hotcake/Waffle Mix and once again received rave reviews. Even people without the need for gluten-free “cakes” ordered these tasty treats. After experience from last year, they said they were better than the usual fare.

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I found this recipe online and gave it a try. It calls for 1/3 cup of popcorn mixed in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil or canola oil. Pour this mixture into a paper sack, add ½ teaspoon of salt and fold over the top of the sack. Place a folded paper towel on the floor of the microwave and set the paper sack on it. Microwave for 2 to 2 ½ minutes until the popping seems to be stopping. Our popcorn must be more powerful than “store bought” because it forced the 4# bag to open. I would suggest ¼ cup of popcorn to see how your popcorn performs.