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Sweet Corn On A Decades Long Decline

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Sweet corn destined for the freezer or the canned food aisle has been steadily decreasing over the last three decades, according to a new study published in HortScience. Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign(UIUC) analyzed a 27-year data set spanning 20,000 sweet corn fields across four states. Between 1992 and 2018, this data set tracked things such as yield, acres planted and hybrid lifespan.

Over that time, processing sweet corn trends have seen an overall reduction in acres planted and in production. This study looked at trends independent of causes, but the researchers’ previous findings suggest a direct link to climate change, since higher temperatures were associated with drops in yield. The study also says that declines could also be partially consumer-driven. Since processing corn is grown for canning or freezing, not eaten fresh on the cob, a consumer preference for fresh corn could be contributing to the waning numbers.

The fields were grouped into five categories based on region and water sourcing—Illinois irrigated, Illinois rainfed, Washington irrigated, Minnesota rainfed and Wisconsin irrigated. The researchers saw a decline in acres planted in every category, and Wisconsin’s fields were the only ones to see an increase in yield.


Read more here. 

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