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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 16 No. 5, p. 706-709
    Received: June 19, 1975

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Effects of Plant Density on the Quality of Cobs Used for Corn Cob Pipes1

  1. P. J. Loesch,
  2. C. F. Stark and
  3. M. S. Zuber2



Special purpose corn (Zea mays L.) cultivars and hybrids have been developed for manufacture of cob pipes. Little information is available concerning cultural practices most suited to the production of pipe corn. The objectives of the present investigation were to 1) determine whether plant density affects cob quality and 2) determine the simple correlations among cob quality traits.

Tour corn (Zea mays L.) hybrids characterized by large cob size were evaluated at three densities at two locations in 2 years. Significant differences among hybrids were obtained for every trait studied and interactions among combinations of hybrids, years, locations, and plant spacing occurred frequently. Cob quality, as expressed by length, diameter, weight, and the length of cob exceeding a specified diameter, was improved significantly by reducing plant density. Similarly, crushing strength, weight, and density of 5.1-cm cob sections increased significantly as plant density was reduced. Increased size, weight, density, and crushing strength would improve cob machinability and presumably increase the life expectancy of the pipes. We concluded that the pipe corn manufacturer would benefit appreciably by contracting pipe corn to be grown at relatively low plant densities to improve the quality and increase the frequency of acceptable cobs. Economic considerations will determine the appropriate plant density to achieve an acceptable balance between high quality cobs and grain yield per unit area.

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