Outcome of Developing open-pollinated corn varieties for organic farmers

We discussed the project with farmers at three field days. The first was at the Walworth County Farm on Sept. 22. Thirty-five people attended, mostly farmers, and there was a lively discussion with a lot of questions. 'The following week a group of farmers were shown how to select corn on the farm of one of our cooperators. Two field days (July and September) were held on an organic farm for (Mike Hartmann, Gibbon, Minnesota) for a group of 12 farmers that are growing our variety Nokomis Gold 98 in Minnesota. They learned how to selectively de-tassle corn before pollination and learned, hands-on, how to select it at harvest (considering plant type, stalk strength, standing ability, health, grain moisture, and yield).

Farmers would like to know whether mass selection on their farms over several years might increase the value of corn for their individual farms. Therefore, we carried out mass selection on several organic farms with the variety Nokomis Gold 98 under their normal field conditions. Farmers either did the selection themselves, were assisted by us in making selections, or we made selections for them. The selected corn will be planted again in the following years and hopefully re-selected each year. Seed from each harvest will be kept and eventually grown out together to on farms to show whether we have made progress.

Outcome PDF: