Solar Corridor Crop System Community
The Solar Corridor Crop System Community is an ASA Community within the Agronomic Production Systems Section.
More crop production is required to meet current and growing long term needs for sustainable food, biofuels, carbon sequestration, etc. The Community offers an alternative approach to maximize the capture of photo-chemical solar radiation to effectively address above demand. (For a description of the Solar Corridor Crop System, click here.)
Our interests include:
1. Peer testing the protocol as proposed in “The Solar Corridor Hypothesis“ at the 2007 International Annual Meetings as measured by yield, lodging, biosynthesis of atmospheric CO2, soil sequestration of carbon, soil Mycorrhizal fungi populations, fossil N loss, soil erosion loss, other measures of soil quality and 360 degree sustainability.
Corn breeders, geneticists or those of you who work with variety testing programs could help expedite the preliminary step of the protocol which we call the preliminary variety screening trials. Trying to implement the solar corridor treatments without this step makes the difference between success and failure of solar corridor corn yield performance. The variety specific expression of solar corridor corn yield results indicate a need for the genetics/breeding disciplines to be represented in your test of the protocol and in our Community.(See hybrids A, B, C & D in the data slides on next page. Hybrid A is from the 179 high yielding commercial popular corn hybrids that did not meet our criterion for further testing in our solar corridor studies; B,C & D come from those 21 hybrids that did.)
2. Publishing the results for all related scientific disciplines & societies.
While no one has run our protocol yet, Nelson, Table 2, Solar Corridor Symposium Article, Issue 5 Volume 106 Agronomy Journal also produced as much or more corn on one 60 inch wide twin row as he produced on two best management practices 30 inch controls with 1 hybrid.
Soil microbiologist, Kremer measured more labile carbon in the root exudates of the light enriched solar corridor production environment as well as other soil quality benefits in the same article.
3. Pending results of above; identify & develop as appropriate, the supporting practices to maximize current value & long term sustainability.
4. Determine the potential that we have if all of the productive chloroplasts are engaged by the energy catalyst of direct sunlight.
5. Fully communicate our conclusions.
At the upcoming 2015 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, November 15-18, we've planned an informative symposium on Wednesday, November 18 from 8:15 AM until noon.
The Solar Corridor: Origin, Concept and Potential Application for Crop Production.
Charles (LeRoy) L. Deichman, Deichman Consulting, Shelbyville, MO
Early in my career I was fortunate to observe Johnny Pendleton's studies at the University of Illinois where he increased corn yields by reflecting more light onto the lower corn leaves. During the rest of my career I've been reflecting on how to maximize the well-known principles that light is basic to crop yield, leaves host chloroplasts that catch incident sunlight that serves as an optimum energy catalyst to capture atmospheric CO2, enabling the bio-synthesis of metabolites and carbohydrates that are partitioned to reproductive and/or vegetative sinks, ultimately contributing to grain yield. The production environment and environment specific genetics, determine the performance potential of this principle. Accordingly, this has been the guiding goal of the work on what we now call the solar corridor crop system. The name describes the basic component of the system, a corridor of incident sunlight between each row or pairs of rows that enables a more uniform vertical distribution of incident sunlight to chloroplasts within the entire corn leaf canopy. The site-specific cultivar selection to maximize the yield expression of our production environment has been the initial focus of our studies.
Preliminary data has been presented which begs your peer review and subsequent development! This data holds great promise but lacks the peer review studies that are vital for the scientific process to maximize the value of the system’s basic role in meeting today's critical and growing demand for food, fuel, carbon sequestration and outsource-resistant jobs. This chronological narrative review is intended to set the stage for well-informed peer testing of the protocol offered in "Solar Corridor Hypothesis" presented by Deichman & R. Nelson at the 2007 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings.
Our first findings suggested that corn hybrid selection is a vital source of variation. In our preliminary hybrid screening trials, 179 of the first 200 high yielding commercial corn hybrids* failed to meet our threshold for further testing. Four hybrids chosen for further testing have been described in various ASA International Annual Meeting presentations. Hybrid A was 1 of the 179 hybrids that exhibited the typical negative response, B and C were from about 20 that exhibited similar positive responses, and Hybrid D was chosen based on a positive response that was unlike the positive responses shown by the other 20 positive responding hybrids. After working intimately with those 4 hybrids, I can conclude that the fallacy of choosing commercial hybrids whose genotype is proprietary and undisclosed was not a problem for our further testing studies. The phenotypes were profoundly different and stable over years and environments.
Please refer to the detailed results we've presented at previous Annual Meetings. The results speak for themselves, but if you allow me to preface with the following summary, results show that Hybrids B,C and D produced as much or more corn in 1 60-inch (152-cm) North/South twin row as 2, 30-inch (76-cm) rows in the control. Hybrid D produced up to 39% more corn at the highest population.
Preliminary data from four different crops suggest that we can produce another crop on the solar corridor floor vacated by the extra 30-inch row without impacting corn yield. This is a vast area of unfinished research that needs further work to confirm the specifics!
I stand ready to help as best I can and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish!
* 200 bu/A (12.5 Mg/ha) previous but unverified yields qualified as our high threshold. Each of the 4 hybrids chosen for further study met or exceeded that qualification.