Michigan Grown Staple Crop Seeds that Fit Your Plant-based Nutritional Goals

around-our-homestead

Progression of the corn harvest (2020)

Scott Hucker

Oldest entries at the bottom, latest harvest at the top.

September 23

Finished pulling the Floriani Red Flint Corn from the Western plot... tomorrow, I'll finish the Eastern one.  Maybe I'll stage some photos.

 

September 22

Finished the last few ears of Silver King Dent Corns. I didn't time to walk the Floriani plot, maybe tomorrow, after planting more wheat!

 

September 20

Floriani Red Flint Corn is almost finished.  Silver King Dent had a nice haul.

 Silver King Dent Corn on the way to the barn for final drying

Within a few days, all of the corn will be in the barn drying.  Then, I'll do a dry weight and yield estimate.

 

September 16

Did some more harvesting of the Floriani Red Flint Corn.  Just as the husks brown, I take them before the bird damage gets to far down the ear.  I'm ok losing the 'tip seeds', I normally do not keep them for planting (but would make corn meal from them).

 

September 13

I needed to remove the Minnesota 13 from my drying trays to make room for the growing piles of Floriani Red Flint Corn. As this was just a test plot, I only had 256 sq ft.  I used 12 inches between plants (thinning to a single strong seedling) with 28 inches between rows. I'm satisfied with that spacing and will use it next year. 

Now that it is reasonably dry, I weighed it to find my corn on the cob weight of 51.1 pounds. That would be 8,700 pounds of ear corn per acre, or at 63.5 pounds per bushel of 10% moisture (internet), which is 137 bushels of ear corn per acre. Assuming 0.78 for the ratio of cob to shelled (internet), I would have 107 bushels of shelled corn per acre.  I'm quite pleased!  Yes, I do realize scaling up from such a small plot to an acre is not idea.

The sun was a bit bright, so the golden yellow is a little washed out (the Aug 30 photo is more true to color), but here are the ears I selected as the best 'form'.

Choice ears of Minnesota 13 Corn

Recall the image of historical yields that leads me to expect 25 to 30 bushels of shelled corn per acre for open pollinated corn, pre-chemicals, pre-irrigation. I tended (weeded) my little field with more love and attention one could apply to acre sized plots. And, with ears so close to the ground, there is little expectation of mechanical harvesting, but that's ok, I don't own a combine! (yet).

Meanwhile, over in the Floriani Red Flint Corn plot, more was harvested from half of the eastern plot.  I have two plots, east and west. They were planted at two different row spacings.  From my seed library, each plot has blocks using 5 different sets of seeds.  Once the harvest is finished and dried down, I'll analyze the performance of the 10 sub-plots.  In the meantime, care is taken to keep all the ears in the right piles.

 

September 12

Although I had taken a few ears of Silver King Dent Corn, they were from stalks that had been damaged in a wind storm... but today, there was a nice selection of ears naturally ready for  harvesting.

 Silver King Dent Corn, first ears harvested of the season

While working in the garden, I can hear a tapping sound.  I tracked it down to a woodpecker eating this corn!    He let me get quite close, where we negotiated that I would hang a suet feeder in that garden and maybe he'll leave my corn alone.

 

September 10 

Floriani Red Flint Corn is being harvested. 

 

September 3

Floriani Red Flint Corn had some very early ears.  Their color was more orange that I have aiming to grow, however it matches what I have seen for Floriani Flint Corn without the "Red".  I will keep these separate for a future project.

 

September 2

Floriani Red Flint Corn is ripening. It's my favorite for polenta and corn bread.

 

August 30

This is day 2 of harvesting the Minnesota 13 Corn. It is an 87 day corn made famous for moonshine back in the day.

 

August 21

The Gaspe Flint Corn (a Slow Food Variety)has been drying in the barn for several weeks.  I sorted through the harvest to admire these two bins of the best ears. It looks beautiful!

Best of the Best, by weight, this sample represented 25% of the cob weight harvested:

2nd Best, by weight, this was 30% of the cob weight harvested. The balance was not so photogenic:

 

I planted this corn the way I do wheat, in 9 inch rows. Then, I put 9 inches between plants (give or take). I've included a series of photos covering the entire season. I covered one plot with bird netting and left the other open. In both cases, no bird issues (while they did serious damage to nearby awnless spring wheat). Perhaps the birds don't like the dense foliage which can hide predators, or my corn was just lucky.

Between my two plots, I had 96 sq ft that yielded 8.8 pounds of ear corn (very well dried in the barn) from roughly 170 plants (equivalent of 77,000 plants per acre, but these are around 2.5 ft tall). That would be 4000 pounds of ear corn per acre, or at 63.5 pounds per bushel of 10% moisture (internet), which is 63 bushels of ear corn per acre. Assuming 0.78 for the ratio of cob to shelled (internet), I would have 49 bushels of shelled corn per acre. My goodness, assuming I made no math errors, I'm quite pleased!

 

This image of historical yields from the USDA leads me to expect 25 to 30 bushels of shelled corn per acre. I tended (weeded) my little field with more love and attention one could apply to acre sized plots. And, with ears so close to the ground, there is little expectation of mechanical harvesting, but that's ok, I don't own a combine! (yet).

John Sherck spent some years working to restore the health of this corn. This seed stock came from Sherck Seeds. Next year I'd like to plant 1500 plants using my dense method. In the spirit of genetic diversity, I will use seeds from every ear, including those not shown. The pollen transfer should be amazing. I'm not exactly sure how I will organize the planting pattern using my different ear quality 'groupings' of seed. I have all winter to think about it. Next year, I will separate from the herd the 'earliest' and 'best ears' to create two distinct breeding lines.

 

I am also thinking about planting into my early harvested wheat stubble to try for a second crop instead of letting the wheat stubble be idle. I'm thinking I could get it into the ground by mid-July and be a slight race with the late Sept frost. How nice would that be? Might require watering to pull off, but the wheat stubble could help with that.

 

July 11

Around this time, I had a few ears of Gaspe Flint Corn that I harvested. It was a balance between letting them dry in the field and the fear of raccoons. The bulk of the harvest was in early August, essentially 65 to 75 days since planting. By August 14th, the harvest was complete when I tore apart every stalk to be sure I captured the #2 and #3 ears no matter how small they were. I let all the ear dry on trays in a warm room in the barn with a running fan to finish drying.

 

July 2

I set up the net to protect the Gaspe Flint Corn.

Gaspe corn ripening under a protective net

 

 

June 30

This is one of our Gaspe' Flint Corn plots. It is our earliest corn, and weather, bugs, deer, chipmunks, birds permitting we may be able offer a small quantity this fall. I just wrapped it in bird netting. Many stalks are setting two ears. These are John Sherck's composite mix. I planted using my 9 inch grain row pattern. Next year I might put a little more space between the plants for better air circulation. On the other hand, this is working great for weed control.

When little ears first appeared, the plants were barely over a foot tall. Then, like magic, the stems elongated and out popped the tassels at 2.5 ft or so.

Gaspe Corn

 

 

 


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