3. White Corn. Corn, prepared in a multitude of ways, is the principal food of the people of this country. Due to custom, the people of the central part prefer white corn while those of the eastern and western parts prefer yellow corn. When the corn improvement program was initiated in 1939, emphasis was placed on the selection of high yielding varieties of yellow corn with the hope that the people in the central region would take advantage of the improved seeds and perhaps learn to like yellow corn over a period of time, and thereby improve their diet. During the past two years this faint hope has been realized in certain areas in which the improved yellow corn, VENEZUELA-1, has given as much as 100% increase in yield over the local white varieties.
But in spite of this indication that a change in custom might be possible, we have finally yielded to public pressure to develop improved varieties of white corn (as a matter of fact, both white and yellow corn have been included in the corn improvement program since 1939, but the hybrids and the improved varieties of white corn have not been publicized). The few kernels of white corn which always appear in some of the ears of the variety Maiz Amarillo VENEZUELA-1 have been used as the basis of a new variety, Maiz Blanco VENEZUELA-3. From many thousands of ears of VENEZUELA-1, several hundred ears segregating white kernels were shelled together and planted in a small field. Before pollination the weakest plants were eliminated. At the time of harvest, two kinds of ears were found: those with all of the kernels yellow and those with some kernels white and some yellow. The yellow ears were discarded. Of the ears with both white and yellow kernels, the best were shelled together and the seeds were placed on tables where a group of women picked out the white kernels by hand. (The white kernels were not all pure white; some were a faint yellow). They were planted in several experiment stations and with several farmers for propagation.
The harvest from these propagation plots was not completely white but is commercially acceptable. Further selection is being carried on to improve this new variety, VENEZUELA-3, but this slightly mixed type is being distributed to the farmers for commercial production. In the yield tests conducted in five different states this year, the varieties, VENEZUELA-3 and VENEZUELA-1, were nearly identical in plant type and in yield.
D. G. Langham