World Record Cornstalk

"It's going to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records," says Wisconsin farmer Fred Muerman who grew a world record-breaking 22fl-ft. tall cornstalk last year on his Chetek, Wis., farm.

The towering stalk surpassed the previous record stalk of 20 ft.,1 1/2 in., grown by Howard Johnson, Anita, Iowa (See Vol. 8, No 2). Muerman's record stalk got special treatment in a plot next to the house. He kept it watered and fertilized heavily, especially toward the end of the growing season. A long cane fishpole provided support for the growing stalk, which would not have been able to stand on its own. The stalk formed just one tiny ear that didn't mature.

Muerman has become an experienced giant corn grower the last two years. "Two years ago I grew a stalk 19 ft., 6 1/2 in. tall. And this year's stalk reached 12 ft., 6 in. on July 13 and 18 ft. by August 3rd. It has a good chance to surpass last year's record," he told FARM SHOW.

Muerman grew the lengthy stalk as part of a competition sponsored by a local Funk seed corn dealer, Myron Mommsen, Rice Lake, Wis. Mommsen has sponsored the contest for the past three years, distributing several kernels of a special variety of giant seed corn to all participants. The tall-growing variety, labeled "Jala Valley", originates in Peru and is used by Funk seed growers to mark plots.

Mommsen says Jala Valley cornstalks make an interesting topic for conversation as they shoot up during the relatively short Wisconsin growing season. He says Jala Valley is probably a 180-day maturing variety while most varieties in the area run 90 to 100 days. "It's grows unusually in that a tall stalk like Fred Muerman's grew 7 sets of brace roots. The tallest set was 6 ft. up in the air at maturity," he notes.