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Vincent A. Fritz and James B. Hebel

Germination and stand establishment of shrunken-2 sweet corn is a major production-related problem, particularly during early spring in the upper Midwest U.S. Several potential physical and physiological factors have been identified as contributors to poor stand establishment. Poor pericarp integrity and high sucrose levels may lead to non-uniform moisturization and imbibitional injury. Studies were conducted to determine if the use of “controlled moisturization” preplant treatments reduced imbibitional injury and improved germination and seedling vigor. Both laboratory and field results will be discussed.

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Vincent A. Fritz and Carl J. Rosen

Recent adoption of a raised bed production system for improved drainage on muck soils prompted experimentation to improve N use efficiency. The established methods of N fertilization was to simply broadcast 908 kg·ha–1 of 10–26–27 prior to planting in single rows. The raised bed production system results in a concentrated rooting zone directly underneath the raised bed. A system that places the N fertilizer within the root zone of influence at a peak time of crop utilization would increase N use efficiency, reduce fertilizer costs, and promote appropriate environmental stewardship. The use of a spoke wheel injector to sidedress N fertilizer effectively reduced total fertilizer costs by half, while producing onion yields equal to or greater than the established broadcast method under the raised bed production system. In addition, the use of the spoke wheel injector was not intrusive to the integrity of the raised bed, which allowed realization of benefits from using raised beds for the entire growing season.

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Charles L. Rohwer and Vincent A. Fritz

It is commonly recommended to apply phosphorus- or nitrogen- and phosphorus-containing water-soluble fertilizers to annual vegetables at transplant to improve establishment and enhance yield. Plastic mulches are also recommended to increase soil temperature and enhance yield through similar root growth-promoting mechanisms early in the season. Our aim was to determine if the recommendations for transplant fertilizer solutions and plastic mulch are justified, and if the effects are interactive in a clay loam soil with moderate or high levels of existing phosphorus fertility and organic matter. We transplanted ‘Plum Dandy’ tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in 2014 and 2015 into a field with high fertility using black polyethylene mulch or no mulch, and transplant solution containing water, 320 mg/plant nitrogen, or 320 mg/plant nitrogen + 475 mg/plant phosphorus. Mulch was removed 26 to 28 days after transplanting to eliminate midseason and late season mulch effects. We found yield-promoting and maturity-hastening effects in both years from transplant solutions containing both nitrogen and phosphorus (18% greater total ripe fruit weight than water control), and similar benefits of early season black plastic mulch (24% greater total ripe fruit weight than no mulch), indicating usefulness of either treatment in tomato production. We found no interactive effects of mulch and transplant solution.

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Veronica L. Justen and Vincent A. Fritz

Turnips (Brassica rapa. subsp. rapa L.) produce glucosinolates (GSLs), thioglucosides whose hydrolyzed derivatives have been shown to provide chemopreventive benefits. Two cultivars of turnips [‘Just Right’ (JR) and ‘Scarlet Queen’ (SQ)] were grown under three different temperature regimes to assess the role of temperature on GSL production in roots and shoots. When compared with low-temperature treatments, high-temperature treatments increased total and individual GSLs in a tissue- and genotype-specific manner. When compared with low-temperature treatments, total GSLs were ≈70% and 130% higher in JR shoots and roots, respectively, grown at high-temperature treatments. High temperatures also increased total GSLs in SQ shoots and roots by ≈80% and 85%, respectively, when compared with low temperatures. Gluconasturtiin (GNS, 2-phenylethyl GSL) concentration was inversely correlated with temperature with high-temperature treatments resulting in 20% and 48% less GNS than low-temperature treatments in JR and SQ roots, respectively. The indolic GSL, 1-methoxyglucobrassicin (1MGB; 1-methoxy-3-ylmethyl GSL), was the root GSL most elevated by increased temperature resulting in a 1000% increase on average in both cultivars between the low- and high-temperature treatments. These results show promise for the use of temperature to enhance the health-promoting properties of turnip because 1MGB has potent chemopreventive effects. Gene expression analysis suggests that some BrMYB transcription factor expression levels are associated with temperature-dependent changes in GSL accumulation; however, this association varies between cultivar and tissue type.

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Mark A. Bennett, Nancy W. Callan, and Vincent A. Fritz

Disease management is an important step in any crop establishment system. Emergence of field-seeded crops may take several weeks for many species and represents a vulnerable stage of plant growth. This paper considers various biological, chemical, and physical seed treatments for improved seed performance. The role of seed quality and cultural practices in seedling establishment also is reviewed. Multidisciplinary approaches to improving horticultural crop establishment are promising.

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Mark A. Bennett, Vincent A. Fritz, and Nancy W. Callan

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Alicia M. Borowski, Vincent A. Fritz, and Luther Waters Jr.

This study was conducted to determine if changes in the raffinose: sucrose ratio in embryos of shrunken-2 sweet corn (Zea mays L.) hybrids were related to differences in seed leachate conductivity between two hybrids harvested at four maturities and artificially dried to 0.10 g H2O/g fresh weight. The ratio of raffinose: sucrose differed for `Crisp N' Sweet 710' (CNS) and `How Sweet It Is' (HSII). The mass ratio of raffinose: sucrose in CNS was >0.3 in seed harvested between 0.44 to 0.64 g H2O/g fresh weight and increased as seed dried from the initial harvest moisture to 0.10 g H2O/g fresh weight. Raffinose: sucrose ratios of HSII were <0.3 at all harvests between 0.55 to 0.72 g H2O/g fresh weight, but changes during desiccation were not as pronounced. Leachate conductivity of whole seeds of CNS and HSII decreased as seeds were harvested at progressively lower moisture contents. We suggest that a higher raffinose: sucrose ratio may be indicative of increased seed vigor in shrunken-2 hybrids.

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Patricia E. Hung, Vincent A. Fritz, and Luther Waters Jr.

Sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa Bonaf.) seed carrying the mutant endosperm gene shrunken-2 (sh2) are very susceptible to seed rot and pre- and post-emergence damping off. Experiments were conducted to determine if selected organic solvents were suitable carriers for fungicide infusion of sh2 sweet corn seed for improved germination and stand establishment. Seed of `Florida Staysweet' and `Crisp-n-Sweet 710' were immersed in acetone, cyclohexane, decahydronaphthalene (Decalin), dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), ethanol, or xylene for 5 seconds, 0.25, 0.50, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, or 8.0 hours, air-dried, and subjected to a cold-stress test. Total germination and percentage of normal seedlings in both cultivars were significantly decreased after 8 hours of immersion in acetone. Average seedling dry weight, however, did not decrease. DMSO was highly toxic to both cultivars. Ethanol increased seed mortality with increasing immersion times. Cyclohexane, Decalin, and xylene caused erratic responses in all measured variables as immersion time increased. In a second experiment, the effects of immersion time up to 4 hours in acetone on germination and vigor of 11 sh2 cultivars were compared. There was no correlation between cultivar germination or vigor and immersion in acetone. Results indicate acetone could be used to infuse fungicides into the seed of some sh2 cultivars without compromising seed germination or vigor. However, each sh2 cultivar must be screened individually to determine if it is a suitable candidate for organic solvent infusion of fungicides.

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Vincent A. Fritz, Gyles W. Randall, and Carl J. Rosen

Sweet corn silage waste is ≈18% dry matter and contains 1.2% N and 0.26% P on a dry-weight basis. Silage waste in rates of 0 to 448 T·ha–1 was applied to a previously harvested sweet corn field in late summer. Beginning the following spring, soil samples were periodically collected to follow the rate of N mineralization. Field corn was planted to the site the following spring as the test crop. At harvest, grain, stover, and silage yields were recorded and N removal from the system was followed through grain and tissue sampling. Additional studies were also conducted to evaluate the impact of primary tillage method on subsequent N mobilization from sweet corn silage waste and to assess the residual N release potential beyond the first year following silage waste application. Results suggest that land application of sweet corn silage waste at 224 T·ha–1 would be environmentally responsible, provided that adequate nitrogen credit from the silage waste is integrated into the total nitrogen needs of the subsequent crop. Greater mineralization is achieved when the silage waste is moldboard plowed compared to chisel plowing. Chisel plowing could result in greater residual N carryover during the year following silage waste application. Seedling emergence rates were faster and grain yield was superior in some years in moldboard-plowed plots compared to chisel-plowed plots. Further calibration of additional N fertilizer on land that received silage waste is necessary for improved production efficiency and sweet corn silage waste use in production systems.