MADISON CO., N.Y. — We all know the age old saying “knee high by the 4th of July” as it pertains to corn growth here in the United States, but did you have a chance to look and see how tall our corn really was this 4th of July? It was likely taller than the knee around here!
Corn is a major field crop in New York State with more than 1 million acres planted annually. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Madison County has approximately 13,679 acres of corn being grown for grain and 12,329 acres of corn being grown for silage. Typically, grain corn (including dry-shelled and high-moisture) represents 55% of the acreage, whereas corn silage represents the remaining 45% of the acreage. Although corn is mostly profitable on NY farms, it is also an expensive crop to produce. The high costs of seed, fertilizers, and chemicals require a high degree of crop management to obtain top yields and economic returns. Corn producers must also carefully manage the crop to insure a high quality crop.
High-yielding corn requires moderately well-drained or well-drained soil with a pH above 6.0 as well as timely and skillful management practices. Management practices to consider carefully include planting techniques, hybrid selection, fertilization, and control of insects, weeds, and diseases. Correct management of all these practices is essential for maximum economic yield.
This is where that old saying kicks in… in years gone by, corn that was knee high by the 4th of July had a significant chance of meaning a higher yield for the year. Today, that is not the case. Stalks that are just knee high in early July can mean trouble, and in some areas like ours in the North East, lack of rain is a current issue that can be causing shorter stalks. However, generally speaking, advancements in technology, plant health and genetics within the agricultural sector have helped our farmers to expect corn to be taller come July 4th.
Another exciting part of summertime and keeping up with corn growth is watching for local sweet corn stands to pop up. Since most of the corn we see from the roads is meant for livestock, getting that first glimpse of the corn stand can be extra thrilling! Sweet corn can be eaten fresh (corn on the cob, roasted corn, scalloped corn) or frozen to eat at a later date throughout the winter months. Nothing tastes better than the sweet taste of freshly frozen corn when the snow is swirling outside! Looking for a new sweet corn recipe? Look no further…
Looking for more information on crops in Madison County? Please find Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County at http://madisoncountycce.org/ or contact Ag Subject Educator Tess Southern at firstname.lastname@example.org and (315)684-3001 ext. 101.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Madison County
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