Thursday, July 13, 2017

Corny Business

"Later this month, when you bite into that first cob of Minnesota grown sweet corn, think of this - you are getting the best of the best. Besides keeping our state's economy robust, we help feed billions in the world today. We are blessed folks, it is as simple as that."  

We are once again on the doorstep of another bumper corn crop. That is a bumper crop in yield per acre. Over 80% of the planted corn in Minnesota is now listed to be in the good to excellent category.  Due to the glut of corn we have from the past two years due to extraordinary growing seasons, 8% less acreage was planted this year. What does that mean? For example, I buy a lot of corn, both whole and cracked for back yard wild turkey feeding. I can buy a 50# bag of corn for about $6.50. That is dirt cheap. And when it is that cheap, it hurts our farmers.

So where does most of our corn go, other than feeding my wild turkeys? Most stays right here in the good old USA. Much of the rest is used for trade, sale or donation.  In fact, the second biggest customer (besides ourselves) of our corn is China. Not Russia? Nope - not even close. It is China. 

How big of a market is China? Big. In fact, China is the second biggest producer of corn in the world. Even with that, their production is less than half of ours. So China produces a lot, and imports a lot. If we had a trade war with China, they would be hard pressed to find another place on Earth which could make up the difference in corn. Yes, corn is a major player with our trade.

Yesterday when we were out and about, we were noticing the corn fields. If seems like most every July, something happens where corn explodes from knee high, to a tasseling in two or three weeks. In many fields across the land this time of year, there is an endless sea of green corn plants.

By the way - an interesting fact. Corn uses a lot of water and produces a lot of moisture. So much so, one of our local weather guys blames part of our summer humidity on corn. So on those hot and sweltering days, remember this - that is our food growing which causes part of your discomfort.  

Once again the United States regains the title of "corn king". What does that mean? We have lots of "corny business" in this country. Our agri-business is simply amazing. At our colleges and universities, we have developed hybrids to our corn which makes it more drought resistant, disease resistant and much giving it a much higher yield. We have so much corn, we are able to ship much of our excess over to poor and famine prone countries. 

Later this month, when you bite into that first cob of Minnesota sweet corn, think of this - you are getting the best of the best. What you are biting into is the result of decades of technology (much of which happened here) and a season of hard work. Besides keeping our state's economy robust, our corn helps feed billions in the world today. We are blessed folks, it is as simple as that.  


  1. "It is by the grace of God that the seeds grow and another harvest is realized. He finds it in his love to bless us with a bountiful crop."

    1. Now Dave - don't get all churchy on me! It might become a habit with you!

  2. Just trying to get on your good side, so you leave my posts up.
    I have read a bit about the corn/humidity connection. It seems to be true and can make for some miserable days in what should be pleasant summer days. Anxiously waiting for MN corn, not that Georgia crap.
    Dave Gjerdingen

  3. One reason for the increase: Corn used to be planted in rows 40 inches apart, like railroad tracks so you could get the horse teams between them. Then we got tractors and made it 30", and now much of our corn is in 20" rows, moving to 15". It's getting to where it is hard to even see rows anymore, and it works.

    Of course all that humidity going into the air is bad for the Climate, you know. H20 is the most prevalent Greenhouse Gas, so we should stop growing corn altogether!