Corn

The educational materials listed on this page are about Corn.

Field corn is a commodity crop that is grown for many different purposes, especially livestock feed, fuel and further processing for human consumption. Sometimes called  maize cultivation,  cultivating corn is predominant in the Midwestern region. Field corn cannot be readily eaten and must undergo some form of processing first. Sweet corn, on the other hand, is grown for human consumption and can be eaten fresh. Conventional corn, organic corn and no-till corn are all important players in the corn market. Understanding your inputs, acreage and fertility can aid in using a corn yield calculator to determine corn crop. Corn production will vary depending on region, but not necessarily corn production by state. Corn growing is an important part of our agricultural food system. Key practices in corn production include organic agriculturecommoditiesagronomiccornno-tillconservation tillagecover cropscrop rotationnutrient managementdrought tolerancecrop improvement and selection.

A key resource to discovering the balance between soil and crop is SARE’s book Building Soils for Better Crops. This resource lays the foundation for understanding soil structure, soil fertility and overall soil management in order to improve corn production. SARE’s Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual is a resource for farmers looking to integrate crop rotation into their operation to practice more sustainable methods, and to enhance organic matter and boost production. The Cover Crop Topic Room is a good starting point to learn more about the benefits that cover crops can have on overall soil management to improve corn yield.

Entomopathogenic Nematodes for Control of the Asiatic Garden Beetle

Developed through a SARE project, this handout shows how certain naturally-occurring nematodes can kill insect pests, and how they can be isolated from the field, mass-reared, and applied back into the field for potential long-term control of Asiatic garden beetle grubs. The benefits and disadvantages of using locally-isolated nematodes for grub control are discussed. 

Traditional Fertilizer, Modern Applications for Iroquois White Corn

Farmers have long relied on liquid fish fertilizers because they are a source burn-free nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Traditional Native American growers were well aware of the benefits that decaying fish could bring to their soil; they buried fish under mounded soil and planted the 3 Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) directly on top of […]

Does Open-Pollinated Corn Have a Place on Today’s Organic Farm?

On 205 acres near the picturesque bluffs of the On 205 acres near the picturesque bluffs of the Mississippi River, Stanley Smith raises beef cows and grows organic corn in southeastern Minnesota. He grew up on this small farm in the rolling hills of Winona County, and worked in partnership with his dad until his dad retired. Smith and his wife, Vickie, […]

Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Terraced Ground

The beauty of the rolling hills in Northwestern Missouri can be downright dazzling. But these rolling hills, which captivate with their natural grace, also present a unique set of challenges for the producers who live and work there. Many farmers utilize a practice known as terracing to prevent erosion and surface runoff in their fields. […]

Illinois Farmer Builds Precision Seeder to Maximize Cover Crop Advantage

Ralph “Junior” Upton is no novice when it comes to no-till and cover crops. His grain farm in the northeast corner of Hamilton county Illinois is 100% no-till with 1,800 acres of corn, beans, and wheat, and approximately 1,200 acres in cover crops. Upton has been farming more than 50 years, and the farm has […]

Adapting Cover Crops to Northern Climate Conventional Cropping Systems

Northeast Minnesota is home to a large beef cow-calf sector, several dairy farms, and an increasing amount of cash grain farming. In each of these types of operations, annual cultivation of corn, soybeans, oats, and barley is common.  Annual cultivation of these crops can lead to high rates of nutrient leaching and soil erosion, decreased […]

Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Terraced Ground

In northwest Missouri, a practice known as terracing is used to prevent ditches. Michael Willis, a beginning farmer in northwest Missouri, says that cover crops can reduce the need for terraces, but terraces still prove to be important to prevent ditch formation during the transitional phase from traditional no-till to no-till with cover crops.  Willis […]

Towards a Sustainable Agriculture: A Curriculum for High School Classes

This free high-school curriculum addresses the social, environmental and economic impacts of agriculture. The curriculum provides a critical analysis of agricultural and food systems, and helps students understand new concepts through hands-on examples. The curriculum includes six modules, designed to be incorporated into existing classes.

Producers and Researchers Collaborate to Improve Soil Health in North Dakota

Soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through soil-improving practices like cover crops and no till. In the semiarid plains of western North Dakota, a team of producers and researchers are working to boost soil health for improved yield stability, farm income, and natural resource health of farms. The Southwest North Dakota Soil Health Project is a […]

SARE Cover Crops Webinars

As part of the Missouri SARE State Program, Debi Kelly hosted two webinars on Cover Crops in fall 2012. Presenters included Charles Ellis, a Natural Resource Engineer with the Lincoln County University of Missouri Extension Center, and Rich Hoormann, an Agronomy Specialist with Montgomery County University of Missouri Extension Center. 

Dakota Farmer’s Success Catches On

Dan Forgey has always had an abiding respect for the land that he has farmed for more than 40 years, which is why, as manager of the 8,500-acre Cronin Farms in Gettysburg, S.D., he strives to build soil health—and yields—sustainably. First, he shifted the farm to 100 percent no-till in 1993, around the time that […]

Adapting Crop Share Agreements for Sustainable and Organic Agriculture

When the farming system deviates from a conventional corn-soybean rotation, the usual division of costs and returns in a 50-50 crop share lease may no longer fairly reflect the inputs of each party. This sheet demonstrates how crop share agreements can be adapted for sustainable and organic agriculture.