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3614 Administrative Services Building
Ames, Iowa 50011-3614
(515) 294-9915



Tom Olsen, Ag Economics, (712) 732-5056,
Lyle Rossiter, Allee Farm Superintendent, (712) 272-3512
Jean McGuire, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-7033,

Research Project Examines Corn Pollen Drift

A Corn Pollen Drift Field Day will be held Oct. 3 at the Allee Farm, an Iowa State University (ISU) research and demonstration farm near Newell. The program starts at noon.

The results of a research project examining the distances corn pollen traveled to breed neighboring corn will be on display. Researchers planted a strip of purple popcorn within a 15-acre field of standard yellow corn. Separation distances of 30 to 150 feet were cut out of the yellow corn to represent the range of buffer strips recommended by the industry. As expected, the yellow corn near the popcorn developed the largest number of purple kernels. However, researchers were surprised to find that purple kernels developed in the entire test plot.

The popcorn pollen also infiltrated a nearby field of a standard yellow corn that was planted 19 days earlier. Purple kernels developed in that field every 100 feet up to 1,600 feet from the popcorn plants. Weather was monitored during pollination to investigate the relationship of pollen drift and prevailing winds.

Mark Westgate, associate professor, Agronomy, will discuss corn physiology with regard to pollination and unintended crossbreeding. Tom Olsen, ISU Extension farm business specialist, will explain the project's rationale and the economic considerations of drift and contamination. Lyle Rossiter, Allee Farm superintendent, will summarize current Allee Farm research and answer production questions. Members of the ISU Agronomy Club will attend the event to grid the plot and collect ears to determine cross-pollination percentage.

There is no cost and a free pork burger lunch will be served. In the addition, the Allee Mansion will be open for tours. The Allee family was a major sponsor of the Newell Corn Shows from the 1920s through the 1940s. A collection of photos, trophies and sample ears from those shows will be on display.

The farm is located 1.5 miles west on the gravel road that intersects Highway 7 at the curve southeast of Newell in Buena Vista County. For information about the research farm visit:

For more information about the field day call Tom Olsen at (712) 732-5056 or Lyle Rossiter at (712) 272-3512.


ml: isufarm

Editors: This is a photo from the text plot. This is not for publication. Anyone attending the field day will have the opportunity to take photos or record video.

Caption: Purple pollen yellow corn

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