Choosing seed at Parr Field

Today we went to Parr Field to look for the individuals corn plants that will serve as seed for next year.  The most important thing that we were looking for were the biggest, tallest, and most mature plants of the field.  We are hoping that selecting the most mature plants at this stage will help us move the entire population toward a shorter and shorter growing season as time goes on and we continue to select the most mature, fastest growing plants in the years to come.

We feel that by selecting for a shorter growing season we will help our crops in the need to avert the negative impacts of crazy weather and climate change.  If our crops can mature faster, they can be planted later and harvested earlier, thereby having better insurance for a stable window of climate to complete their life cycles.

And even though we are in the process of selecting and saving seed, it is important to note that the maintenance of diversity is most important in this process.  The more diverse individuals there are in the population, the better the chance that some of the individuals will not only survive, but perhaps thrive, in adverse climate conditions.  I learned from some Hopi wisdom that, like people, all of the corn is important.  What you think might be weak this year will be strong next year and vice versa…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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