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Indiana Sweet Corn Could Be Scarce Later In Year

Last updated on Friday, July 20, 2012

(WEST LAFAYETTE) - Hot weather is creating plenty of Indiana sweet corn from irrigated farms, but a Purdue University expert says the drought might shrink the supply over the long term.

Purdue Extension horticulture specialist Liz Maynard says high temperatures cause sweet corn to mature faster. Plantings that would normally take about another week to mature are ready now.

But Maynard says farmers without irrigation are likely to have serious losses in yields, and even irrigation might not provide enough water for a crop.

Maynard says it's unclear how the supply will affect sweet corn prices.

Scientists developing drought resistant crops

Scientists at Purdue University are working on developing drought-resistant crops.

Mitch Tuinstra, an Agronomy Professor, says there are other types of corn grown in places like Mexico, South Asia and Africa. "In some of those places, it's really hot and dry and farmers have developed varieties that are adapted to those conditions and so we're accessing these corn varieties from different parts of the world where they're used to growing in hot and dry conditions."

Tuinstra says the challenge is finding out how to take the resources of the exotic crops and move them into the local crops. He says the types of corn crops grown in more tropical areas look different than the ones we see in the midwest. He says a lot of them are much taller.

Tuinstra says the two types of crops are cross-compatible, meaning the type of crops they're trying to create are not genetically-modified.

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