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Corn Pics Document Growing Years
Pictures of ears of corn taken every year on July 31 offer a quick reminder to Dick Mercer and his son Steve of what kind of crop year it was. The simple record is fun to look at and emphasizes how different each year can be.
"In 1992, there was a volcano in the Philippines, and the ash sent into the atmosphere was blamed for the cool year worldwide," recalls Mercer. "It really set the corn back. It was way behind maturing that year."
The first year that photos were taken was 1986, a year when corn matured early. The corn was way ahead. Even though it was only the end of July, the kernels were filled and dented and the shucks were loose, says Mercer.
"We were sitting in the office having a cup of coffee and looking at a nearby field," he recalls. "It looked ready to pick."
He grabbed a Polaroid camera and took a picture of a couple of ears. That shot became the first of 23 years of corn pictures, and each tells a slightly different story. "We usually plant around the 14th of April every year, so it's either the maturity, the weather or a combination that makes the difference."
It was another 21 years before a picture captured corn that matured that early. It was 2007, and the corn was fully dented on July 31 and being picked by the end of August.
This year the corn was still in the milk stage when the picture was taken. Dick's son Steve has taken over the camera work and is maintaining the collection. He notes that while the planting date was about the same as other years, heat units weren't the same, and it showed. "The cooler weather delayed maturity," says Steve.
By harvest, the crop had caught up and then some. Dick reports some of the best yields the area has ever received. "We are seeing yields well over 200 bushels per acre with some neighbors reporting yields at or near 300 bushels."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dick Mercer, 5815 4th Ave., Kearney, Neb. 68845 (ph 308 237-2906; smercer2@yahoo.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #6