Corn is again king.
While other grains have often received more hurrahs in the wheat and sunflower state, corn, since the beginning of time, has been the most prevalent all-purpose crop. What is predicted to be one of the largest corn harvests ever is under way. Forty years ago, corn fields were not uncommon, but infrequent in many locales, compared to wheat and milo.
Present expanded corn plantings resemble the late 1800s and early 1900s. Corn has always been a diverse crop, not only as livestock feed, but for human consumption and a variety of other products. Usage further expanded after scientists discovered that with precise processing, corn could be made into ethanol fuel for automobiles.
When that occurred, corn demand soared, and prices went up. Livestock producers frowned from the pinch on
profits, due to increased inputs. Row crop farmers smiled as they sharply
expanded plantings. That action, coupled with desirable growing conditions, has
brought the value down some.
With 3.4 million acres of corn to be picked this fall in Kansas, acreage is well below the 8.5 millions acres harvested in 1910, when yield was only 18 bushels an acre. Production of 259 million bushels was grown on 7.3 million acres in 1889, a yield of 35
bushels an acre. This year’s forecasted 448-million-bushel crop is 132 bushels an acre.
Interestingly, corn was estimated by an economist to be about 15 cents a bushel in 1889, and it had moved to 48 cents a bushel by 1910, one of the first years prices are in state records. In 1932, corn dropped to 27 cents a bushel. It expanded to $3.32 in 1980, was a record $5 a bushel in 1996, and has been a high of $4.15 at elevators this year.
Our first experience farming was 1966 as a high school freshman when we leased seven acres and planted it to corn using a 1937 John Deere B with a two–row lister. Landlord harvested the crop that made less than 50 bushels an acre. It was worth $1.17 a bushel. Corn is an excellent feed, and we’ve found it to be especially desirable for horses.
Since the beginning of time, corn has been an appreciated grain. It is indicated in Psalms 65:13: “The valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.” Progression of corn growth is noted in Mark 4:28:“For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.”
Today’s yields are remarkable, but low compared to imaginings of early day growers. That is revealed in Genesis 41.5: “And he slept and dreamed the second time; and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.”
While corn is king in agronomy, one must not overlook the king of salvation. Reminder is emphasized in 1 Kings 10:9: “Blessed be the Lord thy God, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.”