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Q: Process of corn ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Process of corn
Category: Science > Agriculture and Farming
Asked by: lisa77-ga
List Price: $8.00
Posted: 28 Sep 2005 07:33 PDT
Expires: 28 Oct 2005 07:33 PDT
Question ID: 573703
I need information pertaining to the logistics of corn.  Starting from
seed and all the processes it goes through, till it is served on the
Subject: Re: Process of corn
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 29 Sep 2005 19:14 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi lisa77,

Thank you for your question.

Farm & Garden Growing Sweet Corn by Gregg Banse

"Sweet corn is a warm season crop that requires a minimum soil
temperature of 50F for soil germination. For maximum growth and yield
plant sweet corn in full sun.

Seed Sources:

High Mowing Sweet Corn Seeds
Thompson & Morgan Sweet Corn Seeds
Sweet corn thrives best in a sandy loam soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
As a general guide, plant early corn in light soil (sand or loam) and
late corn in heavier soil (silt, clay) when there is an option. Light
soils warm up faster than heavy soils, so seed germinates more
readily. Under hot, dry midsummer conditions, heavier soils have the
advantage of holding much more moisture than light soil.

Sweet corn requires rich soil with ample nitrogen and moisture. Amend
the soil well-aged manure or compost. Plant corn in an area that had
healthy beans or peas the previous year is helpful because these
legumes contribute more nitrogen to the soil especially if an
inoculant was used.

Corn should be planted where the soil has been prepared to about 6"-8"
deep. Make sure clumps are broken up and debris such as rocks and
twigs removed.

Corn is a tall plant susceptible to wind and therefore benefits from
blocks of at least 4 rows of corn plants for support and pollination.
Corn should be spaced at 8"-10" for early cultivars and 9"-12" for
late cultivars, within rows spaced 30"-36" apart.

If planting more than one cultivar, space the corn stands at least
250' apart to prevent cross-pollination. An alternate method to
prevent cross-pollination of different corn cultivars is to stagger
planting dates of the different cultivars by a minimum of 14 days.

Direct Seeding
Sow corn seed 1" deep, 2-3 seeds per 6"-8" within rows spaced 30"-36"
apart. Thin corn seedlings to 1 seedling per 6"-8". Gently tamp and
rake soil smooth after planting seed.

An alternate method for planting corn is to use hills. Sow 5-6 seeds
per hill. Space hills at 36" apart. Thin to 3 healthy corn seedlings
per hill.

Sow corn seed no earlier than 10-14 days after the last spring frost date.

For a steady supply of sweet corn throughout the season, include
early, mid-season, and late cultivars in your initial planting. 2-3
successive plantings of each corn cultivar, every 2 weeks, will extend
the harvest season.

Seeding For Transplants
Corn is not normally transplanted.

These seeds germinate best in soils around 80F-95F.
Germination will take 7-10 days.

It is important to maintain an adequate level of soil moisture during
critical periods of corn development. Corn water consumption will rise
dramatically as it approaches tassel formation and silking.

A properly spaced stand of corn uses water most efficiently. Corn that
is poorly spaced will experience excessive water loss from bare soil.

Corn is fully mature when the stalks are anywhere from 5'-7' tall or
more and have at least one or two ears. Corn silk should actually
start to turn brown and the kernels should be full to the touch and
produce a milky white fluid when broken.

To harvest, pull down quickly on the ear of corn and turn it at the same time.

Post-Harvest Handling
Corn will quickly begin to convert sugars into starch after harvest so
it is very important to quickly cool the ears after harvest. The rate
of conversion of sugars to starch in the corn kernels increases with
the rise of temperature.

Corn should be stored at 32F and relative humidity of 98%-100%. In
ideal conditions corn may last up to 4-6 days."


Corn (Zea mays var. saccharata)

"Corn prefers hot or warm, frost-free weather. It needs full sun and
windbreaks in areas where strong winds are a problem. Corn is
pollinated by the fall of pollen from male flowers (tassels) at the
top of the stem onto female flowers (silks) lower down. When corn is
pollinating, water at ground level so as not to disturb the process.

Preparing the Soil

Corn is a heavy feeder and requires a rich soil. Plan to enrich the
soil well in advance of planting. If possible, work in a 1-inch layer
of manure the preceding fall. Alternatively, you can grow a green
manure crop, such as buckwheat, oats, clover, rye, winter wheat, or
vetch that will be plowed under in the spring.


Plant seeds 8 to 10 inches apart in a furrow or trench, then hill the
plants as they grow. This supports the plants and helps get rid of
weeds. You will need to plant blocks of at least 4 rows for good

If you plan to plant different varieties of corn, allow at least 100
feet between them. They will cross pollinate each other, and you will
only get one variety. This is especially important if will be planting
popcorn, as it usually dominates.


During a dry season, watering is essential both when the corn is
tasseling and when the kernels are forming. Try to saturate the ground
to a depth of about 4 inches. Surface dampness will only encourage
shallow roots.


For best results, side dress twice during the growing season with
liquid plant food. Fish emulsion and manure tea are good choices. Soak
the soil around each plant with plant food when the seedlings are
about 8 inches high an again when they are about knee high.


The prime time for corn to be harvested comes 12-14 weeks after
planting and lasts only a few days, so check repeatedly to see if the
corn is ready. Puncture a kernel with your fingernail to see if milky
juice spurts out. If you are too early, the juice will be watery.
Later, the kernels turn doughy inside as moisture recedes and sugar
turns to starch. Hear are some other signs of readiness:

Dark green husks 
Brown, but not brittle, silks 
Well-filled ears"


The following site has an interactive video titled: "Growing Corn
There's more than meets the eye in a field of growing corn",1607,7-163-15943_20529---,00.html

Click on the next button 


Purdue University Department of Argonomy

The Germination Process in Corn

Visible Germination Events in Corn Photo Gallery:


How to Grow Corn


Planting sweet corn


Ehow - How to Grow Corn

3 photos where you click to enlarge photo


Ehow - How to Harvest and Store Corn


Ehow - How to Cook Corn


Cooking Corn on the Cob


keyword search:

logistics of growing corn
how to grow corn from seed
corn grow from seed to table
how to cook corn


Best regards,

Request for Answer Clarification by lisa77-ga on 01 Oct 2005 09:49 PDT
Did you include information regarding once corn was grown and
harvested, where it went and what the process of that was (grain
elevators, exporting of grain --then onto products that can be eaten. 
I am forwarding onto my daughter for help in a paper she is doing.


Clarification of Answer by tlspiegel-ga on 01 Oct 2005 10:16 PDT
Hi lisa,

Thank you for your clarification request.

No, I didn't include "information regarding once corn was grown and
harvested, where it went and what the process of that was (grain
elevators, exporting of grain --then onto products that can be eaten."

I'll try to locate the additional information for you and post as soon
as I find what happens after harvest.

Thank you for your patience,

Clarification of Answer by tlspiegel-ga on 01 Oct 2005 11:26 PDT
Hi lisa77,

Here is the additional information you requested.


"In autumn, corn is harvested with combines. Combines are machines
which pick, shuck,and shell the ears of corn right in the field. The
corn is unloaded from the combine into a truck or wagon with an
unloading auger. When the trucks and wagons are filled with corn, the
corn is taken to a grain elevator or unloaded into a storage bin on
the farmer?s farm. A grain elevator is a cylinder made out of poured
concrete. When a truck or wagon with grain arrives at the elevator, it
is weighed. The clerk at the elevator measures the moisture content of
the corn by using a sample and weighs the truck and wagons with corn
in them. Next, the trucks and wagons go to the elevator storage area.
Here the corn is dumped into a pit and then drawn into the elevators
with augers in a pipe system. When the trucks and wagons are empty,
the farmer drives them back over the scale to determine the weight of
the truck and wagons. The clerk at the elevator then takes the weight
from before (when the corn was in the truck/wagons) and subtracts the
weight of the empty truck/wagons. This gives the elevator the weight
of the corn that the farmer brought in."


"The Corn Belt is the region covering western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri,Nebraska, and South Dakota. Three-fourths of
the corn grown in the U.S. is from the Corn Belt. Corn fields are
harvested in the fall and planted in the spring. In the early 1900?s,
a large family could barely keep up with the work of a 80-120 acre
farm because most of the labor was done with horses or by hand.

Today, farmers have tractors and implements and they are able to
manage hundreds of acres. A cultivator is an implement that is pulled
behind a tractor to scrape (remove) weeds.  Farmers used to say that
corn should be ?knee-high by the Fourth of July,? but now corn is as
tall as a person?s head by the Fourth of July. The brace roots of a
corn plant help support the stalk. Most dent corn is used as feed for
livestock. A combine is a machine which picks, shucks, and shells corn
in the field. Corn that is not fed to livestock may be processed at
mills or exported to other countries."


Autumn on a Farm By Brenda Hyde

"Farmers use many pieces of large and small equipment to take care of
their farm. Before winter they make sure everything is working like it
should and they repair anything that needs it.

A lot of farmers plow their fields in the fall so it will give them a
headstart for the spring. September is also the time that farmers
plant winter wheat. It grows until it gets cold and then it goes
dormant, which means it stops growing, until spring when it starts
growing again.

Most farm animals love corn, but it has to picked at just the right
time so the farmers can have a supply all winter long. Most corn today
is picked with a picker-sheller or a combine, both machines shell the
corn off the cob and then the farmer dumps it in a gas batch dryer
which dries it to a certain hardness, otherwise it will get moldy in
storage.Some farmers still just pick the whole ear with a regular corn
picker and store it in a corn crib, if they are going to just pick it,
they leave it in the field longer so it will dry. They test the
moisture by shelling the corn off the cob and putting a handful into a
moisture tester.

A lot of corn is chopped up in small pieces when it is still green,
and stored in a silo, where it ferments, just like cider will. This is
a treat for cows, who love silage!"


Moving Kansas Crops to Markets

"Following harvest, farmers deliver the grains and oilseeds to markets
or storage facilities so that they can be sold into the processing
sector. This second sector of the production cycle transforms the
grains and oilseeds into the products.

Grain elevators are the chief tool for the movement and storage of
grains and oilseeds. Students may recognize them as the large white
cylinders or "prairie skyscrapers."  How the crop is moved and stored
before processing is as important to the grain buyer or processor as
the quality characteristics of the crop at harvest.

The quality characteristics that farmers can monitor include moisture
content, protein content, color and the amount of foreign material.
Foreign materials, or dockage, are weed seeds, stems, leaves, dirt or
other items that may get mixed into the grains and oilseeds. Too much
moisture may cause the seeds to sprout, mold, rot or ferment. Insects
and rodents may also damage the grains and oilseeds if they are not

These quality characteristics play an important part in the price that
will be paid for the crop and whether the grain elevator will accept
the grain for storage. The quality characteristics of the grains and
oilseeds also have an important role in determining what products it
will be processed into.

There are numerous products made from wheat, grain sorghum,
sunflowers, corn and soybeans; some end up on your table and others in
your closet. The processes that the crops go hrough vary as much as
the products that result.

Throughout the processing chain the products are sold and resold.
Every business transaction may have several buyers and sellers and the
price that is paid is negotiated between them. In every transaction
the buyers and sellers have to make sure their business can make a

After the crop is grown, the farmer monitors it to see when it becomes
ripe, or mature. When it is mature, it is ready to harvest and be
moved by truck to a storage facility. The farmer may store the crop on
the farm in bins or deliver it to a grain elevator to be sold. The
grain elevator has an essential part in getting crops from the farm to
the processor to be made into consumable products.

This link of the chain provides three vital services - buying grains
and oilseeds from farmers, storing them until they're needed and
reselling them to processors. Crops are measured to determine how much
money a farmer receives for his/ her crop. Wheat, corn and soybeans
are sold by the bushel. Grain sorghum and sunflowers are sold by
hundredweight or by the pound.

Many of the processors that receive crops from grain elevators are in
the United States. At these processing plants, crops are processed
into many products including ethanol, baked goods, livestock feed,
plastics, oils, tofu and snacks and birdseed.

The grains and oilseeds may be exported, or sent to a customer
overseas. There, they are processed into many of the same products.

(scroll to page 5 to BACKGROUND INFORMATION)

(continue to page 6 and 7)


Iowa Corn - It Begins With a Kernel

The corn refining process - see diagrams for:
Corn Dry Milling
Corn Wet Milling
Dry Grind Ethanol
Masa Process

Frequently Asked Questions about Corn in Iowa

Is it true that there's corn in hundreds of products?
Actually, thousands of products in a typical supermarket contain corn.
For many years, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has conducted
surveys by sending researchers into a typical supermarket to read all
the labels and tally all the products containing corn ingredients. The
last CRA study found corn ingredients in almost 4,000 products - and
that doesn't count all the meat, dairy, and poultry products that
depend on corn for livestock feed or the many paper products that
don't have ingredient labels but do contain corn.


Iowa Corn - Primary Products from Corn

Corn Starches
Antibiotics, Aspirin, Baked Goods, Candies, Condiments, Mixes &
Instant Preparations, Processed Meats, Puddings

Corn Syrups 
Antibiotics, Aspirin, Baked Goods, Candies, Condiments, Mixes &
Instant Preparations, Processed Meats, Puddings

Brownies & Baked Goods, Canned Fruits, Cheese Spreads, Cured Meats
(such as bacon), Dessert Mixes, Intravenous Solutions, Jams & Jellies,
Soda Fountain Preparations, Marshmallows, Soups

High Fructose Corn Syrups
Carbonated Beverages, Fruit Fillings, Cereals, Frostings, Ice Cream &
Frozen Desserts, Pancakes, Pastries, Relishes & Sauces, Syrups &
Dessert Toppings



Three countries account for 88 percent of world corn trade

"A lot of corn is produced worldwide, 23.3 billion bushels,
but most of it is consumed domestically. Less than 13
percent of total production is exported. This relatively
small percentage of corn actually reaching the export
market may come as a surprise to those who follow shortterm
day-to-day fluctuations in futures prices."


ERD Econoomic Research Service - United States Department of Agriculture
Briefing Room - corn:  market outloook


Wikipedia - Grain Elevator


keyword search:

harvest corn to grain elevator
corn grain elevator
export corn
corn food products


Best regards,
lisa77-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Process of corn
From: tlspiegel-ga on 01 Oct 2005 21:03 PDT
Hi lisa77,

Thank you for the 5 star rating and comment!  :)   

Best regards,

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