Tuesday, September 4, 2012

About the Corn

 It surprised me to find a little water in the creek at the pass.
 The meadow near the creek has produced some hay this year and a cornfield grows beyond it in the photo above. When checking our corn, I am not looking for juicy sweet cobs to cook for supper. That would be sweet corn, like you can buy at the grocery store or vegetable stand. This field of corn will be harvested for grain.
Earlier, I stopped by the cornfield on CRP ground. It looked poor near the road. When it is dry on the bottom of a green plant, it is referred to as firing. It is a sign that the plant has run out of water, nutrients or both. 
So I feared the worst as I trudged into the field, but things improved as I walked further into the field.
 The worst part of the field was near the road. We refer to this area as the headlands. It is where soil compaction is the worst. It is also where weed seeds drift in and germinate most abundantly. 
Things looked better as I walked into the field. There are cobs on most plants in this field and they appear to be mature and denting.
Stalk quality varied from field to field  and differed within each field. That is important because the stalk of the corn plant must stand up as it dries and waits for harvest.
 When corn is raised for grain, each kernel needs to dry out. The drying on the cob will cause a small dent in the kernel. Last year we dealt with mud and frost during harvest. Click Here to see photos of cobs as they dry down.
Mature corn cobs with dry kernels are needed to allow corn harvest to begin. That is weeks away in this field. 
When mature, the corn plant will look like this with the cobs hanging down. 
The brown silk, which develops at the top of the cob, will travel to point toward the ground as the corn matures and dries. 
Mature kernels of corn are removed by our combines. It is harvested, stored and sold as grain, by the bushel in the USA.
The kernels of corn are smaller this year which will affect yield. 
The birds find the corn tasty and I found some cob damage caused by blackbirds. 
Most of the cobs are long and well formed. The number of rows of corn circling around each cob is  determined by the length of season which means the number of days it takes the cobs to mature. So 14 rows around a cob is a short season variety, 16 rows would be a few days longer, 20 rows would need more days for the cobs of corn to mature. 
Although it is dry and the leaves look parched, there is plenty of green in them to finish the corn if the stalk is healthy. 
 We believe this corn will be ready to harvest in October if the weather cooperates.
 We are expecting lots of sunshine.
And assuming the creek won't rise much this Fall in GriggsDakota.

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