Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Sept. 28 field day focuses on high-methionine corn

From the Michael Fields institute — You are invited to attend our corn field day at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, near East Troy, Wisconsin on Friday, September 28th.  We will begin at 10:30 AM and end at 3 PM.  There will be a lunch and the event will occur rain or shine. The field day is free; please bring your spouse or friends with an interest in this kind of work.  Just make sure that you come prepared for mosquitoes just in case there are any! We hope to show you what we have going on in terms of:

  • corn hybrids that have enhanced methionine and carotene
  • comparisons between private hybrids and publicly available hybrids
  • corn with natural borer resistance from Cornell University.

This year our field day will focus on our efforts to develop high methionine corn.  Methionine is an important amino acid needed by all creatures for proper protein nutrition.  It is also the first limiting amino acid for poultry and it strongly affects health, growth, and egg production. Organic poultry producers have supplemented their feed with synthetic methionine but the USDA National Organic Programs have stated that they can no longer do that after October, 2008. We formed a team that involves people from USDA, Iowa State University, Practical Farms of Iowa, the Organic Valley Egg Pool, the University of Minnesota, Prairie Hybrid Seed Company, and several others.  At the field day we will talk about the things we are doing (breeding corn for methionine and carotene, producing hybrid seed, organizing trials to clarify the best hybrids, doing feeding trials with layers, and developing a quick test for methionine for grain elevators).   Nick Levendoski from the Organic Valley Egg Pool will show us new results from a feeding trial with methionine corn and layers, carried out with the University of Minnesota.  Linda Pollak from USDA will describe our overall project and speak about results from Iowa.  Finally, Joe Lauer, from the Dept. of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will talk about testing organic corn hybrids on different organic sites for five years, and about some new work with seed blends.