University of Florida

Turf & Corn Breeding

Situation or Issue Identification

The mission of this research project is the development of turf and corn varieties adapted to the Florida environment.

Rationale for Research Support Resources

Turf is a multibillion dollar industry in Florida and currently one of the few agricultural industries that continues to enlarge statewide. Corn: Florida is the largest fresh market sweet corn producer in the U.S. Gross annual sales of over $100 million dollars are produced on 35,000 acres. The field corn industry encompasses about 140,000 acres with a much lower farm gate value. This industry primarily supports on-farm activities including grain and silage feed for animals.

Measurable or potential impact in terms of social, economic, and/or environmental factors resulting from expenditure of research support funds: The turf industry has generally relied on varieties that are 25 to 35 years old. The original resistance these cultivars had to diseases and pests has broken down. New varieties are needed.

The sweet corn industry went through a massive growth phase in the 1970's primarily due to the development of super sweet varieties at EREC. Presently, seed companies produce many of the varieties grown, but rely on the University of Florida for the development of germplasm and inbreds with improved adaption and disease resistance. With field corn the Florida dairy industry has requested the University to develop silage corn with adaption to tropical conditions. With each species the breeding program focuses on the development of protective germplasm with improved disease and pest resistance, and tolerance to reduced inputs.

Collaborating Organizations/Agencies & Teaching/Research/Extension Partnerships


  • Alger Farms
  • Bonita Bay Golf & Country Club
  • Borek Farms
  • Circle M Farm
  • Clonts Farms
  • A. Duda & Sons
  • Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
  • Hundley Farms
  • Knight Management
  • Larson Dairy
  • Gregg Norman Turf
  • Zellwin Farms

Out-Of-State Cooperators

  • Columbian Trade Bureau
  • Crookham Co.
  • Florida Turfgrass Association
  • Harris Moran Seed Co.
  • Idaho Foundation Seed
  • Novartis Vegetable Seed Co.
  • Pioneer Hybrids
  • Seminas Seed Co.

Public-Institution Cooperators

  • Cornell University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Wisconsin

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corn field