Booming Native Plants

A quick way to overview LAMP data
--Kutka, FJ

With my northerly location, on the edge of frigid Lake Superior's cooling effects, I have found maize cultivation rather challenging. "Early" inbreds rarely fully mature and the classic New England flints and Wisconsin 25 dent are not fully dependable either. To remedy this I read what I could about maize in its latitudinal extremes and requested a copy of the data from the Latin American Maize Project (LAMP). I wanted to see what there was to know about the races Northern Flint (NF) from North America and Araucano (AR) from central Chile.

Unfortunately there are only a few dozen accessions of NF left, but there are many dozens of accessions of Araucano and other central Chilean races. To deal with this incredible mountain of data I searched the data base for US and Chilean races that silked in less than 65 days. This gave me a look at all materials that had any chance of maturing here. Then I sorted the resulting files by race and had a nice spreadsheet for NF and AR. To make sense of all of this information I plotted grain production by days to silk for each race (Figs. 1 and 2). This clearly showed the most productive accessions for each, which follow a line of increasing production from early to later silking. This quickly reduced the many dozens of accessions to a very few most promising ones. From here it is easy to compare these for other characteristics and choose the best for a first round of trials. Given that LAMP did not choose to do further work on the early maize, this is a good first pass at these materials for anyone who might be interested.

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