Corn is grown all around the world. Most of the corn grown in
the United States is grown in the Corn Belt. The Corn
Belt includes the states of Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota,
Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and
Nebraska. The United States is the leading corn grower and
grows more than 35% of the world's
corn field that is half harvested.
Corn is grown in other countries, too. China, Argentina,
Brazil, France, Mexico, Romania and Africa grow it. China is
the second largest producer in the world. Japan is the largest
importer of corn in the world. This means that they buy more
corn than any other country.
There are many kinds of corn. Some kinds
are popcorn, sweet, flour, flint, dent, and pod corn. Corn is
a member of the grass family. Some grasses can grow wild but
corn can't. It needs to be planted in rows so that the stalks
can cross-pollinate each
other. If they don't pollinate each other, there won't be any
ears of corn.
Corn stems have long, skinny leaves. At the
end of the stem is a tassel that
looks like silk threads. The cob, or center of the corn that
is inside the leaves, has thousands of seeds that are called kernels.
Corn plants start as a seed. Each kernel on an
ear of corn is a seed. In the spring, farmers use row
planters, or machines to plant the seeds. These will plant
between two and 24 rows of corn at a time. Row planters spread
weed killer and plant the seeds.. About two or three
days after it is planted, it begins to swell with water from the
ground. The roots break open the shell and attach to the
dirt. Three to five days after that, you can see the plant
coming up through the dirt. The stalk [or stem] gets taller as
more leaves grow on the plant. The tassel
forms at the top of the plant. The pollen from the tassels
falls all over the silk at the end of the husk.
This pollinates the silk so that it makes corn kernels inside the
husk. Buds start to grow where the lower leaves and the stalk
meet. Buds that are higher on the stalk will form into one or
more ears of corn.
For 5-6 weeks, the corn plant starts to grow
fast. The plant roots grow stronger so that they can hold up
the extra weight of the corn as it grows. By the middle of
summer, the corn can be taller than the farmer. Slowly the
silk turns from a pretty light yellow to a dark brown. When it
becomes brown, it's time to pick the corn.
The farmer uses a machine harvester, or combine,
to take the husks [the ear of corn with the leaves around it] off of
the corn. A combine can take the ears off of the stalks, take
the husks off of the ears, shell and clean the corn. What is
done depends on what is going to happen to the corn when it is
sold. Some of the kernels are kept so that the farmer has
seeds to plant for the next year. Some corn is sold for food
and some is sold to feed cattle. Some is sent to mills to be
ground into flour.
Some breakfast cereals, salad dressings,
margarines, syrups, cornstarch and snacks have corn in them.
Cornmeal is ground up corn that is used for corn bread, tamales, and
tortillas. We also use it for things like baby powder, glue,
soap, alcohol, and medicine.
Corn is used to feed livestock, too. Hogs,
cattle, sheep, and poultry eat about half of the corn grain that is
grown each year. Some corn is used for silage. Corn
silage is livestock food that is made from the parts of the corn
plant that are left after the roots and ears of corn have been taken
to Crop Page
you know that...
Corn grows better if you put a dead fish in
the hole with the corn seed?
Or that corn is sometimes called maize?