Corn Returns As King

“The corn crop has never looked better.”

Not a day goes one by that somebody doesn’t comment about the tall, lush, green cornfields.

When we “started to farm” in 1965, our first crop was corn. Seven acres, now a soccer field, were rented, with a contract typed up at the bank.

A two-bottom plow on wheels, with hard-to-maneuver hand lift, was pulled behind our even- harder-to-steer ’39 John Deere “B.” Then, an eight-foot drag disc was used to smooth the field.

Major ordeal to attach our two-row “lister,” the planter. Bought from the elevator in 50-pound sacks, corn seed went in one lister box, and pellet fertilizer in the other.

To a 15-year-old grocery carryout boy, planting corn was a “really big deal.” Somebody insisted there wouldn’t be any gophers get the seeds, because our rows were so crooked the rodents would break their necks trying to find them.

Weeds came up with the corn, so we got a cultivator, which destroyed invaders, but also took seedlings, when we slipped off ridges into rows. Elmer insisted we needed a “curler” to “get more dirt around the stalks,” which we did, although few people remember that implement.

Believe it or not, we produced a crop, and hired a corn picker to harvest more corn than would fit in our little bin. Seems like made 30 bushels an acre on the cob, with most sold to the harvester for dollar a bushel.

Both yield and value sound low, but Dad produced ten bushels of corn an acre, and sold it for dime a bushel in 1933.

When we were a “corn grower,” there was a “100 bushel challenge,” and some farmer met it. Yields three times that are coffee shop talk now. Downside of advancement; cash corn bids are less than half of three years ago.

Milo acreage surpassed corn as eastern Kansas’ main feed grain for several decades, but driving the byways makes obvious corn is king again.

Reminds us of first Genesis 41:5: “He slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.” Then, Mark 2:23: “It came to pass that He went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.”