Genotype Adoption in Processing Sweet Corn Relates to Stability in Case Production

in HortScience

Yield stability (simply “stability”) is a crop genotype’s performance over a range of environmental conditions, such that a specific genotype may be less sensitive to environmental change (i.e., above-average stability) or more sensitive to environmental change (i.e., below-average stability) relative to other genotypes. The ideal genotype for most crops is believed to have both above-average yield and above-average stability. The objective of the study was to determine the pattern of genotype adoption and use of processing sweet corn in relation to yield and stability. I hypothesized that if yield and stability influence decision-making on genotype choice, then differences among commercial genotypes in such traits would relate to the pattern of adoption and use of those genotypes. Stability analyses of ear mass and case production were conducted on processing sweet corn genotypes grown in varied environments of the United States’ Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Yield and stability of the 12 most tested genotypes were then related to the extent of their adoption and use by a sweet corn processing company over a 20-year period. Although some genotypes exhibited above-average yield or above-average stability, data revealed there was no evidence of both traits in individual genotypes currently used in processing sweet corn. Adoption of genotypes with below-average yield or stability was less than other genotypes. Genotype adoption pattern of case production showed the greatest proportion of adoption of above-average stability genotypes. Stable case production across all environments is a more important trait in a genotype to the sweet corn processor than a genotype with record yields under favorable conditions. This conclusion is consistent with the industry’s need to have a predictable level of performance in the processing facility, through which all raw product must flow, on a daily basis for the about three-month window of harvest in the northern United States.

Contributor Notes

I express sincere gratitude to the anonymous processing company for providing the datasets used in this research.

Mention of a trademark, proprietary product, or vendor does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products or vendors that also may be suitable.

Corresponding author. E-mail: martin.williams@ars.usda.gov.

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    Ear mass response of 12 processing sweet corn genotypes (Code1 to Code12) to environmental index (i.e., mean yield of all genotypes in each environment). Genotype yield estimates in boldface type are significantly different from mean ear mass across genotypes (21.8 Mt·ha−1) based on two sample t tests. Genotype stability estimates in boldface type are significantly different from mean stability across genotypes (bi = 1.00; illustrated as dotted line) based on linear regression analysis. Dashed lines represent 95% confidence intervals of regression estimates.

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    Case production response of 12 processing sweet corn genotypes (Code1 to Code12) to environmental index (i.e., mean yield of all genotypes in each environment). Genotype yield estimates in boldface type are significantly different from mean case production across genotypes (1230 cases/ha) based on two sample t tests. Genotype stability estimates in boldface type are significantly different from mean stability across genotypes (bi = 1.00; illustrated as dotted line) based on linear regression analysis. Dashed lines represent 95% confidence intervals of regression estimates.

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