Large scale corn producers ( 10`s or more of acreage ) and tips

hobbiestNovember 21, 2012

How do you folks do it?

I would think that it would be cost prohibitive to fertilize & water several football field sizes full of corn or other produce.

I have seen some of the equipment you folks use to plant and harvest multiple acres of produce. You folks have John Deere equipment that would need an escalator to get into! LOL!

In growing corn, what is your choice of what gives the most yield? I have tried Silver Queen in the years past and since it is a hybrid, I always seem to only get one ear per plant that is of decent size and the rest of the ears were mostly unusable. I am working with a small garden plot that is easy to water and add nutrients to, but for the life of me, I have no idea how anyone could manage a very LARGE scale plot and not spend more to get a decent yield than what was cost effective to grow something else. I have never seen any of my plants with 3 or 4 ears growing on them, ever produce anymore than one or 2 ears that were of usable size. I don`t know why the researchers keep trying to develop a plant that makes many ears but doesn`t yield much in the long run.

Maybe I am doing something wrong. Not sure...but my small backyard garden again, is easier to manage than what you big guys have to work with.

I tip my hat to all of you large scale working folks. I am proud of your efforts to stay in the produce business.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Fertilizer types (even down to types of N you apply, NH4/NO3), as well as fertilizer timing is very important in grain production for the highest yields depending on the soil/environment you're working.

For most home gardeners this process is a bit too picky, but when you're getting paid by the bushel or ton for what your field can produce it's more important. Also, using the least amount for the best production at the right time is just as important for these high input applications.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think maybe the OP is talking about large-scale sweet corn production, rather than grain. Of course the factors are similar.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 8:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nobody said it was easy. Farming is a high risk business. Irrigation has lessened that risk to some extent, but a prolonged drought such as that endured by Georgia as well as much of the rest of the country severely impacts the amount of water available. Those who grow without irrigation are at the mercy of the weather.
Silver Queen will produce two good ears if given adequate space. However for mechanical harvest, one ear is the target as you only get one pass with harvester. Today it is used mostly by small market growers (roadside stands, farmers markets) It is a very late corn, but has a avid following in Georgia.

Here is a link that might be useful: commercial sweet corn-Georgia.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have read somewhere that fertilization of corn needs to be done at the start of planting the seed and also at around 18" of height. If you are using driven machinery, how is ( the 18" requirement ) it done? The 18" height seems like a feat to me. Seems like the guy running the machinery would be mowing down the plants left and right. I hope those that are reading this had put down the soda pop before they laughed at my remark! Wouldn`t want them to have to clean off their monitor after spraying soda on it ). :) I thought about this tonight and was curious.


I was talking about sweet corn. You were right. :)
Is grain corn easier to grow and do you get a better yield from it?

I am also guessing that grain corn is for feeding cattle and other commercial uses? It isn`t much for human consumption as the taste is probably not what most want?


Have found that it is interesting to see 3 or 4 ears on a stalk but only 1, MAYBE 2 ears are usable. The first time that I grew it, I was drooling over the fact that I had so many ears coming off of each stalk. I thought I would be in hog heaven. When it came time to pick, I was soooo disappointed. I would pretty much get one decent long ear from each stalk but the rest were pitiful. Hehehe! Those corporate chemists ought to at least make a variety with one guaranteed nice fat ear and be done with it!!! LOL!

What spacing is good to get 2 good ears? I am running mine at about 10 to 12 inches per plant. The rows are about 18 inches apart.



I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday! The turkey knocked me out for about an hour and a half tonight! Was doing OK until I got home from running the roads to visit family and friends. My couch and the turkey tag teamed me and I lost the fight. Sneaky buggers.......

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hobbiest. I plant Silver Queen and Silver King at 18 inch interval on 42 inch rows. I am traditional so use mechanical cultivation with an old row crop tractor. Last cultivation (lay by) when the first tassel peeks out. ( two to 3 feet tall). Have the fertilizer attachment mounted with the cultivator and use granulated fertilizer. Large growers with modern equipment use liquid ammonia type fertilizers. I don't irrigate. Closer spacings require a lot of water.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 8:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


There are very many OP varieties of corn traditionally used for grain, meaning that they are delicious for that purpose. Those who have not used fresh grain for corn-pone don't know what they have not tasted. There are roughly three categories of grain corn and which you will use depends on your climate:

Traditional dents are used in the southeast, mid-atlantic and into the Mississippi valley (FD knows a lot about these), flints are used in the northeast and middle north, flour corns are used in the southwest. All types are tougher and more productive than sweet corn.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 12:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not a farmer, or market gardenter but I have been growing a comparatively large amount, per space of corn for forty years.

Now my garden/s are not even large by market standards (this year to pick, pull the plants, cut off the root balls and then make one very, very large shock only took me about 8hrs total)but over the years I have found row spacing to be more critical than plant spacing.

I would widen your rows to at least two-feet.
I side dress my corn with nitrogen and use foliar feed on the weakest plants when they are small on the sweet corn some times.
The number of ears can often depend on the variety planted but I usually get two good ears off of varieties known to produce multiple ears.

This year the weather played havoc with the corn, late germination, slow growth, heavy watering needed after a wet cool spring, etc.

I had replanted some types only to have the original planting start coming up a month, or more, after it was planted so I ended up pulling plants.

I found nothing works better than putting manure in the ground the in the fall. Beats all the bagged fertilizers.
I do not have the time to do it often, nor would the neighbors like it if I did but I put in semi-sloppy sheep manure and do not have to worry about fertilizing for at least one year.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm no pro either, but this summer, I planted 5 rows 100 feet each of and had excellent yield of Silver Queen. Planted in July in the midst of the two week 100F heat wave and drought and started harvesting a little over 2 months later. We did have OK rain after that short period. Best yield I've ever had with any corn. I can't explain it.

My point was going to be that the smaller immature ears are tender enough to eat whole as in salad corn, so I did that with some that were finger size. And they were delicious. I should have shucked more of them for that purpose, but laziness takes over after a couple hundred full size ears are shucked.

This post was edited by chrisb_sc_z7 on Tue, Dec 4, 12 at 12:40

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To everyone who replied in this posting, a heartfelt thank you is in order to each and every one. :)


That was a very beautiful picture of your garden that you posted!

I wish that I had that kind of space!

I am still trying to figure out how it is that deep south landowners grow in soil that is naturally light brown and has a very powdery texture. Easy to till and breaks up easily in ones hand. I was stuck with red clay originally but over the course of 8 years or so, have managed to get my soil to turn darker brown with amendments.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 12:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Soil types vary enormously and they can do so over very short distances. Clay will never be sand. Nor will any soil in a humid climate behave like one in an arid climate.

The WSS online tool is quite excellent and allows one to identify and learn about the soil series in any location.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:40AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Cucumber leaves turning white
Hi, I am totally new to having any sort of garden and...
Looking for Actaea 'Black Negligee' seeds
Anybody has Avtaea 'Black Negliee' seeds for postage...
ridding tomato cages of septoria leaf spot
It is my understanding that septoria lasts on tomato...
which tomato seeds to get?
Live in zone 9b (about 60 miles North of Galveston...
Pea eggplants or kittily
Has anyone ever grown pea eggplants or kittily? Or...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™