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

Growing Corn on our Michigan Homestead


Our focus is on historical open pollinated varieties that were selected for the northern edge of the corn belt.  Here is major corn growing regions of the US per the USDA:

USDA Corn Belt in the US

Corn does grow in Michigan, but we're not famous for it.  To grow multiple varieties on our small farm, we will use length of maturity to manage multiple varieties as well as different fields on our farm.  Unfortunately, some with similar maturities will have to take turns from year to year.

Days until maturity are certainly just a guideline.  The real driver of plant (and insect life) is Growing Degree Days (GDD).  It will take me a few years to fine tune the listed 'maturity' of each type relative to the other, but for the moment, here they are:

Days  Named Variety

 65     Alberta Clipper Corn

         Alberta Clipper Corn seeds

 

 70     Gaspe' Flint Corn

         Gaspe Flint Corn

 

75     VK RX 2300 Flint Corn

         VK RX 2300 2300 Flint Corn

 

 87     Minnesota 13 Corn

          Minnesota 13 Corn

 

97      Floriani Red Flint Corn

         Floriani Red Flint Corn

 

100    Silver King Dent Corn

          Silver King Dent Corn

 

105    Reid Yellow Dent Corn

         Reid Yellow Dent Corn 

 

 

Integrated Pest Management of University of Missouri had an interesting 3 part series on corn pollination:

     The Male Role      The Female Role       Boy Meets Girl

It goes into the details of the mechanics, methods and perils reproduction without any birds or bees. Corn being monoecious has two unique traits among the grains: each plant has both male & female parts and they physically separated.  As a result, corn depends on wind to move its pollen.   Our honeybees can be seen gathering pollen from the tassels, but without a nectar treat on the female flower, they never land on the silks.

We do not grow a large enough plot size to be able to estimate yields on a commercial scale.  I like this graph from Purdue University on corn yield per acre since 1866:  

 

Historical Corn Yield from Purdue University (2020)

I like to think of the golden age of open pollinated corn breeding ended by 1940.  According to this article on corn breeding hybrids took on an increasing role.  Then came cheap chemicals, oil, irrigation and GMO...

So, it appears that one could expect 25 bushels per acre.  A bushel of shelled corn weighs 56 pounds, so, about 1400 pounds of shelled corn per acre, or 30 pounds for a 30 ft by 30 ft plot.  In my progression of the corn harvest, I calculate what I was harvesting.  Much to my surprise (& joy),  I've been able to beat these numbers.

Here is an interesting article on making tortillas including the nixtamalization process.