Department of Agriculture
Master of Science
High oil corn (HOC) is essentially dent corn that has been selected for high oil content in the scutellum. It is a value-added crop that can potentially offer a premium price for producers. Though southeastern U.S. producers have not had problems achieving sufficient yields, the oil content necessary for premium prices has been elusive. One of the most evident differences between these growers and their northern counterparts is the climate. Temperatures during the reproductive growth and grain fill periods are higher in southern latitudes. A two-part research project was conducted to further investigate the significance of temperature on oil content. The field project consisted of three different plantings; the first being planted May 11th, 2000, the second three weeks later on June 1st, 2000, and the third three weeks after the second, on June 22nd, 2000. The intention of the three plantings was to force the reproductive period and grain fill to occur during different times in the growing season. Ambient temperature data was supplied by the WKU Weather Center. Each planting was harvested and analyzed for oil content. The project resulted in a significant difference in oil content between the first planting and the last two plantings. The laboratory project began in the field. Sixteen ears per planting were hand pollinated and then harvested ten days after pollination. Six to twelve kernels, still attached to the cob, were removed from each ear. These pieces were placed on growth media in petri dishes and divided into two groups. One group was placed in an incubator set at 25°C, an optimum temperature for grain fill. The other group was placed in an incubator set at 35°C, a temperature representing heat stress during grain fill. There was no significant difference in oil content between the two different temperatures.
Goldman, Summer, "The Effects of Heat Stress on High Oil Corn" (2005). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 497.