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Iowa Corn Stalk Is World's Tallest
It may sound like another "tall" story but Iowa corn farmer Howard Johnson, of Anita, grew a stalk last year that measured a whopping 19 ft. 8 1/2 in. tall.
"I've been trying to grow really tall corn for the past 10 years," says Johnson. "I'd contacted seed companies for special seed but they really didn't have anything. I even checked my fields for the tallest stalks, taking seed from them to plant the following year. That didn't get me very far, either.
"Then, I discovered an ad in the Des Moines Register for Cornnuts that mentioned that they sponsored a Tall Corn Contest and had tall corn seed available upon written request. So, I wrote to them and got my seed. The seed is a derivative of a Peruvian corn hybrid," Johnson told FARM SHOW.
"I planted the seed in my garden on May 2nd. The stalk didn't grow real fast but just seemed to keep growing. I put posts up to support it and keep the wind from blowing it over. Also, I watered it twice a week and gave it a lot of fertilizer."
Part of the agreement in the "Cornnuts Contest" was that entrants measure the corn on Sept. 1, and mail the information to the company. Johnson did that and found out he was a strong contender for having the overall champion stalk. An "official" measurement Sept. 15 confirmed him as the contest winner. Steve Sick, Fremont, Neb., was a close "runner-up".
As contest winner, Johnson was awarded $1,000 and an expense paid trip to San Francisco. However, a prize just as important to him lies in the ear of corn his record stalk produced. It'll provide seed for the "tall stalk" he plans to grow this year.
Leaving nothing to chance, Johnson shook the pollen from the tassel into a paper bag and then attached the bag to the silk.
Linda Gebroe, a public relations representative for Cornnuts, Inc., San Francisco, Cal., notes that Johnson was "one of 2,182 entrants for the first Cornnuts Tall Corn Contest. The contest was in a five state area (Iowa, Ill., Ind., Neb., and Ohio) with the winner from each state receiving a $200 ęshopping spree' at their local supermarket."
Gebroe says plans for the 1983 Tall Corn Contest are "up in the air".
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cornnuts, Inc., Tall Corn Contest, Box 476, San Francisco, Cal. 94101.

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #1