The snap bean is a vegetable in the Fabaceae family and does have the capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen through a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium spp. Historically, easy access to nitrate-based soil amendments at a relatively low cost has precluded the need to develop cultivars with improved nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE). Excessive fertilizer applications containing 40 to over 100 lbs. of N / acre have resulted in leaching and the contamination of ground and surface water.
Very little sweet corn grown commercially today is open pollinated. Farmers who wish to save their own seed have few if any good choices of varieties to grow. Today’s hybrids have been developed for conditions that are different from those found on most organic farms. Organic sweet corn growers deserve better choices.
Organic growers consider weeds their number one problem in crop production. Organic growers whether they grow vegetables, grains, herbs, berries, or native plants are constantly on the lookout for finding new technology that reduce severity of weed problems and yield losses. One method is to assess whether the use of compost extract would lead to weed seed suppression for better crop seed emergence.
Identifying appropriate varieties for organic production in the mountains of Western North Carolina is considered a research priority by local growers.
The purpose of this five-year breeding project is to reduce transgenic contamination of organic maize grown in the USA by maintaining the integrity of organic maize seed. Organic farmers are not required to produce transgene-free crops, but they must plant seed that is free of transgene. An important objective of this project is the education of seed producers and organic farmers on how to use these “Organic-Ready” varieties for reducing the incidence of transgenic contamination.
Organic farmer interest in on-farm plant breeding has been on the rise due to a lack of available germplasm adapted to organic systems, a growing awareness of the value of regionally adapted varieties, and consolidations in the seed industry that have led to a decline in varietal offerings.
Investigator: William F. Tracy, Dept. of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin,
Project locations: Wisconsin, Minnesota
Participatory plant breeding to improve sweet corn for organic farmers
In the upper Midwest, fresh market sweet corn is an important part of many diversified organic vegetable operations. Many organic farmers consider sweet corn crucial for attracting customers to their market stands or to their CSAs.