Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Second Floor
Since implementation of the USDA National Organic Program in 2002, several seed companies have marketed organically produced, untreated hybrid corn seed in accordance with the new organic production guidelines. University and extension evaluations of organic hybrids have been limited in scope – with limited numbers of hybrids compared and few test sites. In 2007 and 2008, we initiated a multistate testing program to evaluate the agronomic performance and grain quality of organically produced varieties and hybrids. Field trials were conducted at 18 locations across three states (Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin) in 2007 and 2008 on certified organic or transitional organic land. Seed companies marketing organic seed in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin were invited to enter organic hybrids in the trials. In addition, open-pollinated varieties, varietal blends, and conventionally produced untreated hybrids were included in the tests. A wide range in yield levels was present across states with the highest test site yields in Iowa and lowest in Ohio. Organic varieties and hybrids tested per site varied by 40 to 90 bu/A. These results demonstrate the economic advantage that organic farmers could obtain by planting high-yielding organic hybrids adapted to their regions.