From an address to agricultural officials of the regions of the southeast Marcy 18, 1955

What hybrid maize seeds are required for the central chernozem zone?

T D Lysenko

Here we need hybrids that will produce large cobs in the milk-wax stage at least 10-15 days before the first frosts set in that kill off maize plants, the idea being to have time to silo both the maize cobs and stalks on the farms.

The early-ripening maize varieties, particularly those from the south-east districts, and also the ultra-early-ripening Siberian varieties produce small cobs and plants of low growth, hence little greenery and grain.

Consequently, such varieties cannot produce good grain crops in the milk-wax stage. All the same I advised people time and again, and advise you too, to propagate these early and ultra-early varieties. They are very valuable in the central districts for crossing with the late-ripening southern varieties, from which big cobs are obtained. If we cross in the central zone districts the ultra-early-ripening Siberian varieties with the southern late-ripening ones, such crossings produce early-ripening and powerfully developed plants with big cobs already in the first generation.

It is necessary that as early as 1955 the research institute workers and also the advanced collective farmers and state-farm specialists should develop the propagation of early-ripening varieties and at the same time should cross these varieties with the late-ripening ones of the south. By comparative crop tests in the various districts the best combinations will be ascertained—the best pairs for crossing, with the purpose of obtaining hybrid seeds.

It is interesting to note that Anderson and Brown (1952) concluded similarly that, "the heterosis of Corn Belt maize would seem to be largely the heterosis acquired by mingling the germ plasms of the Northern Flints and Southern Dents." They recommended going back to the old open-pollinated strains, rather than continually deriving new inbred lines from existing Corn Belt Dents.

They mentioned John Lorain (1825), who had previously written:

Either the big yellow or white [flints] should be mixed with the gourdseed, for planting in every climate where this mixture will certainly ripen. Their cobs being very long, and the grain so much wider and deeper than those of the little yellow or white, the mixture with them will be much more productive. It is also thought, that the length of the ear communicated by the big yellow or white, will fully compensate for the shortening the grains of the gourdseed: therefore, if the mixture be properly formed, its product may even exceed that of the original gourdseed corn; I have measured the product from ears of this mixture, which, when shelled, yielded a full pint of corn, after they had lain twelve months in a very dry place, although the mixture had not been well improved.
     The little yellow and white [flints], being earlier than the big, they should form mixtures with the gourdseed corn for being grown in climates more unfavourable for maize. But whoever may form either of those mixtures, will find, that he must grow out either the big or little flinty corns, with many others, as they are more or less mixed.

To "grow out", as Lorain wrote, means to purify the strains, or "breed out" undesirable qualities while retaining those of value.

All agree that "old" strains should not be discarded because they retain qualities that may be of use for future breeding.