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Thread: Corn sex

  1. #1
    Banned glowplug is on a distinguished road
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    Corn sex

    Well the thread title gets your attention. Yes my son, it is time we had that little talk:


    December 3, 2012

    Hybrid plants provide much higher yield than their homozygous parents. Plant breeders have known this for more than 100 years and used this effect called heterosis for richer harvests. Until now, science has puzzled over the molecular processes underlying this phenomenon. Researchers at the University of Bonn and partners from Tübingen and the USA have now decoded one possible mechanism in corn roots. More genes are active in hybrid plants than in their homozygous parents. This might increase growth and yield of the corn plants. The results are published in the renowned scientific journal Genome Research.

    The world population continues to grow and needs to be fed. Cereals provide more than 70 per cent of human nutritional energy. Their yield increases significantly when plant breeders make use of the heterosis effect: “Heterozygous hybrids are significantly more vigorous than homozygous varieties” says Prof. Dr. Frank Hochholdinger, chair of Crop Functional Genomics at the University of Bonn. Heterosis can double the yield of grains like corn or rye. Hence, a hybrid corn cob is usually much larger than that of a homozygous plant.

    Molecular causes elusive

    Homozygous plants are a result of inbreeding depression: yield shrinks with every generation. Hence, most of the corn grown in Europe and the USA are hybrids. But why are hybrid plants more efficient than their homozygous relatives? “This effect has been known for over 100 years, yet its molecular cause remained unknown until now” reports first author Dr. Anja Paschold, associate of Prof. Hochholdinger at the Institute for Crop Science and Resource Conservation. The findings of the research team now support at a molecular level the complementation model hypothesized in 1917, which suggests that beneficial heritable characters from both parental lines complement deleterious or absent characters in the hybrid plant.

    Transcripts indicate the status of gene activity

    Researchers at the University of Bonn and their colleagues at Iowa State University and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen compared gene activity in roots of young homozygous and hybrid corn plants. Transcripts provide the blueprints for important proteins. If a certain protein is required, a copy of the corresponding gene is made from the DNA in the nucleus of the cell. This copy of the gene – a ‘transcript’ – is used as a blueprint for producing the relevant protein. “Transcripts are present whenever the corresponding gene is active,” explains Prof. Hochholdinger. Researchers are now surveying all transcripts present in the cell to know which genes are active.

    Researchers doing detective work

    “Our methods are similar to those of a crime scene investigator. We try matching transcripts – the ‘fingerprints’ – to the corresponding genes – the criminal records” says Prof. Hochholdinger. If a fingerprint is found, then it proves that the corresponding gene is active. “It's just like a fingerprint found at a crime scene,” the biologist explains, “The investigators then know which individual must have been active on the scene.” High-throughput automatic sequencing machines at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen helped to identify the gene transcripts. “Of the 39,656 known corn genes, close to 90% were active in the studied plants,” reports Dr. Paschold.

    A few hundred additional genes are active in hybrid plants

    However, it has been demonstrated that in hybrids several hundred additional genes were active compared to the homozygous parental lines. The same number of genes is inherited from the two parental plants, however, their activity can differ in the mother and father plant. In hybrids, these different activities are combined. “Compared to the approximately 34,000 active genes the number of 350 to 750 genes that are additionally activated in hybrids is relatively small” says Prof. Hochholdinger, “And yet the small genetic contribution of each of these gene could significantly increase growth and vigor of hybrids.”

    Practical benefit for plant breeders

    Researchers now want to find out more about the advantages that additional gene activity in hybrids could provide. These findings might provide practical benefits in the future. Until now, plant breeders use extensive field trials to find out which combinations of the thousands of various corn varieties result in efficient hybrids. “Our findings could result in a preselection that could reduce breeders' efforts and expenses,” says Prof. Hochholdinger.

  2. #2
    Banned glowplug is on a distinguished road
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    December 5, 2012

    Chris Kelley’s family-owned farm, Kelley Family Farms LLC, operates 4,000 acres of land in Sharpsville, Ind., rotating between corn and soybeans each year. Kelley’s farm includes cash-rented and commercial land, and he also produces seed corn for Beck’s Hybrids© seed company.

    “In 2009, I noticed stunting and yellowing of the corn in several locations. My contact at Beck’s Hybrids suggested it might be water damage or a slight nematode problem and recommended Poncho® 1250/VOTiVO® seed treatment,” stated Kelley. “We planted a test plot and didn’t experience stunting and yellowing in the test plot. The Poncho 1250/VOTiVO corn looked healthier, so we decided to use it on our entire corn crop the following year and this year as well.”

    Poncho 1250/VOTiVO seed treatment protects young plants from pests during the critical early development stages, which can lead to healthier root development and stronger stands. Applied directly to the seed, its systemic agent is quickly absorbed by new roots, never giving pests the opportunity to strike. Its revolutionary biological component – a unique bacteria strain that lives and grows with young roots – prevents nematodes, including needle, root-lesion, lance, dagger, stubby root, sting, spiral, root-knot, and stunt, from reaching the plant and causing damage.

    It protects the whole plant, above and below ground, supporting healthier plant performance, improving vigor and positively impacting yield. The insecticide component of Poncho 1250/ VOTiVO provides powerful control of critical early-season insects, such as black cutworms, wireworms and white grubs, which are commonly found in corn.
    “In Indiana, there are three major nematodes we encounter in corn – needle, lance and lesion,” stated Dr. Jamal Faghihi, research and extension nematologist at Purdue University. “Out of these three nematodes, the lance nematode is becoming more of a problem every year because it is parasitic to corn and soybeans and is not dependent on the soil type, moisture or weather.”

    Poncho 1250/VOTiVO’s control and suppression of damaging pests, and unique combination of an insecticide and biological seed treatment, represents an exciting proof point of Bayer CropScience’s commitment to cultivating ideas and answers.

    “I actually didn’t even realize we had a potential nematode problem. But, after using Poncho 1250/VOTiVO and seeing the difference in our crop, I’m certain nematodes were one of the reasons we were experiencing stunting and yellowing in our corn,” stated Kelley. “The difference was noticeably visible, and the corn treated with Poncho 1250/VOTiVO yielded an increase of 8-to-10 bushels per acre.”

    Before finding Poncho 1250/VOTiVO, Kelley used a granular insecticide, and employees had to take special precautions while applying the product and disposing of the bags. “Poncho 1250/VOTiVO is much easier to handle because the product is on the seed and all you have to do is plant it,” stated Kelley.

    Since Kelley started using Poncho 1250/VOTiVO, he has experienced less plant stunting and yellowing. He also is seeing improved emergence and earlier growth, especially through the V3 and V4 stages of corn growth.

    After seeing the increased yield and positive impact it had on his corn, Kelley plans to continue using Poncho 1250/VOTiVO for the foreseeable future and “absolutely” recommends it for other growers. He has not yet used Poncho®/VOTiVO® on his soybeans but anticipates the opportunity.

  3. #3
    Senior Member davidm479 is on a distinguished road
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    is this Poncho1250 avable at other companys now------------dave

  4. #4
    Banned glowplug is on a distinguished road
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    Yes. Poncho-Votivo will be automatically included on the SmartStax varieties by the regional seed company I sell for. Some other companies offer it, too. Check around your state to find a source that matches your needs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 48 is on a distinguished road
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    GP: Good posts. The truth of the matter is that your buddy Wallace at your favorite seed company started the hybrid route so farmers could not save their seed, and this practice has continued to the present day. The truth of the matter is that corns could be developed on an Open Pollinated platform just like wheat and SB. And, it should be by the land grant universities. But, then their biggest donors of grant and research money would be out of business.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 48 is on a distinguished road
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    GP: BTW, Golden Harvest has had GMO nematode corn for years now.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 82 is on a distinguished road 82's Avatar
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    The 1250 rate of Poncho makes the seed very sticky use plenty of graphite or talc.

  8. #8
    Banned glowplug is on a distinguished road
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    Good point 82. And maybe it's just me but I have a preference for JD graphite over the generics out there. Yeah, it's more money but it seems to plant out better with it.

    Expect to be brushing the seed tubes, the generous graphite or talc will booger up, and your monitor will scream. I have only a few acres where the 1250 rate must be used due to a cutworm history. Otherwise the standard rates offer adequate protection. WI is the belly button above the IA, IL, IN corn belt (MN is the anus) so we don't much count as "real" corn farmers. But our harsh WI winters kill a lot of nasties that overwinter in IA, IL and IN whimpy winters.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jabber1 is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by glowplug View Post
    Good point 82. And maybe it's just me but I have a preference for JD graphite over the generics out there. Yeah, it's more money but it seems to plant out better with it.

    Expect to be brushing the seed tubes, the generous graphite or talc will booger up, and your monitor will scream. I have only a few acres where the 1250 rate must be used due to a cutworm history. Otherwise the standard rates offer adequate protection. WI is the belly button above the IA, IL, IN corn belt (MN is the anus) so we don't much count as "real" corn farmers. But our harsh WI winters kill a lot of nasties that overwinter in IA, IL and IN whimpy winters.
    Using plenty of graphite with every fill is good business when you have finger pickup seed meters(or the brush soybean meters). The new seed coatings, even those coated with a great polymer, are still a bit gritty. Without enough graphite, the backing plate will warm up a bit due to friction, the seeds squirm a bit under the finger with some falling out (more skips if you don't use enough graphite), and of course you end up spending more money on parts. If you doubt that lack of a seed lubricant causes more skips and the backing plate to heat up, stop by at a place that has a unit test stand and have them do a test with and without graphite. I will end up averaging about 2 squeeze bottles of graphite with every 50 bags. Same goes for beans. I too wonder if the Deere graphite is a bit better lubricant but have used some Deere and some Kinze. The Deere appears to be a finer grind.

    I can't remember for sure but my Precision meters may have 4000 to 5000 acres on them with no parts needed other than the brushes. I have these corn units inspected and run on a test stand before each crop year. We put in new brushes each year to avoid the risk that we will start getting variable performance in the second year. As a seed dealer, I plant a wide range of seed sizes to get the hybrids that I want. Highly variable seed sizes increase the risks of rapid wear on the brushes.
    I carry plenty of extra graphite right on the planter with a pair of side cutters in one of the unused seed or insecticide hoppers. That way there is no excuse to fail putting some in with every fill.

    I also keep the big bottle brushes that we need to clean photo sensors with the planter. I don't have to use them very often. Most photo cells are cleaned just 2 times per year. Once before I start, and once when I change over to soybeans.
    Last edited by jabber1; 12-07-2012 at 08:53 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member 82 is on a distinguished road 82's Avatar
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    (MN is the anus)LOL

    gp-At least you belly buttons acknowledge our exsistence. The "real" corn farmers from the I states never will.

    I'm pretty sure the anus is more important than the belly button though.

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