Renewable Farming

Mature corn ears on green stalks… in mid-October! Here’s how you can do it too

Healthy soil and full-season, biologically sound nutrition can apparently overcome the trend toward earlier “die-down” we’ve seen in Midwest cornfields for about the past seven or eight seasons. One field with the evidence is just west of Guthrie Center, Iowa.

Oct. 15, 2017 — We had earlier asked Dave Schwartz to send us updated photos on his corn as it matured following the farmers’ field day at his place on Oct. 2. 

Yesterday we updated our report on that field day with this photo taken a few days ago. The closeup shows the old ideal of maturing ears in white, healthy shucks — on green, still-vigorous corn. That means the leaves are still generating sugars and feeding kernel depth and density all the way to normal black layer. Compared with corn that dies down 30 to 50 days before its natural senescence, that extra life can easily add a bushel a day.

Close-up of Schwartz corn, taken a few days ago

The field pictured is from some “back acres” beyond hills which aren’t easily accessible to the crowd. It’s corn where Dave applied most of the biological aids and foliar nutrients in his kit.  As the Executive VP of Sales in plant nutrition for Verdesian Life Sciences, he has access to some of the latest technologies from his crop nutrient and biological product manufacturer based in North Carolina.

Today, Dave sent another photo of that corn. This shot was taken today, October 15. We haven’t yet had a hard overnight frost, and the week ahead shows temps in the 70s. So this field still has some opportunity to gain test weight. Because of the back lighting, it’s a little more difficult to see that the stalks are still mostly green. But it’s clear that these stalks are healthy: No deterioration and broken tops, no lodging.   Please refer to our earlier article on the nutritional outline Dave recommends. 

Photo taken Oct. 15, 2017