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He Raises Organic Hybrid Blue Corn

Do you ever wonder where they get the corn for those blue corn chips in the grocery store?
  Jack Erisman, a farmer in Pana, Ill. knows because he sells organic hybrid blue corn to a middleman who sells it to a corn chip maker.
  He says his yield varies a lot. In six years, his lowest has been 50 bushels per acre and 84 the high. Yet, he's heard it go as low as 35 and as high as 110. Hybrid blue corn sells for between 12 and 16 cents per lb. (or $6 to $8 per bushel).
  Farming blue hybrid corn isn't much different than it is for any other food-quality corn, he says.
  But farming it among other fields of corn can produce problems. "Blue corn can certainly mess up a field of white corn," Erisman says. "It cross pollinates quite easily." To reduce that risk, he plants his "hybrid blues" after everyone else does. And that's created a few problems. One year, everyone else planted early in the season and then it rained a lot which meant a later start for Erisman's corn.
  Yet, he farms about 240 acres of it among the 2,300 of all organic crops. It's planted between farms or just at different times.
  Erisman's been strictly organic since 1993. He has a herd of 200 organic cattle and practices crop rotation. He's used no insecticides or anhydrous since 1969.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jack Erisman, 781 U.S. Highway 51, Pana, Ill. 62557 (ph 217 226-4050).


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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4