Planting the Corn Maze and the 2015 failure

By the time we got around to ordering corn seed the only thing available was GMO corn. We were offered Indian corn and thought we'd give it a try. We didn't have much of a choice. The field we planted it in had a cover drop of daikon or tillage radishes that breaks up compacted soils. This was tilled in before planting.

I planted the corn on a day it was forecast to start raining by noon. At 9:00 am, one hour into the planting it was raining pretty hard and when the tractor tires started to rut I stopped planting. I had planted about 2/3 of the maze. I had to let the field dry out for a couple of days before finishing the planting.

I was concerned about planting in the rain but the corn came up nicely. I put out the fiberglass poles and then waited too long before cutting so the stalks hid most of the poles. As I cut the maze I had to count rows in order to have the final product resemble my design I had on paper.

The corn grew amazingly and then one day the crew came in and told me that something had knocked down a lot of corn stalks on the south side of the maze. "Alien crop circles" they said. The stalks were 8-10 feet tall and just starting to tassel. I went down and walked the maze and the cut part had not been affected.

About a week later the crew came in and said the north side was laid down. Again, I went to take a look and was extremely disappointed. When I say the corn was laid down I am talking about a swath 6-8 feet wide and 10-20 feet or more in length. No sign of animals (we do have that new 8 foot woven wire deer fence) or their scat. The stalks were bent 1-2 feet above the soil.

This time the damage cut into the maze in numerous areas destroying this year's maze. The next day I put the sepi-mower on and mowed the entire corn field down.

We called the company we bought the corn seeds from, the same company we purchased the daikon radishes from, and told them of our problem. Here is what he said, "It is lodging from wind. Happens when fertility is real good. Plant density looks high.  Combination results in tall plants but slender stalks that have not had time to build structural cells of lignin and cellulose that help hold the plant up. They have probably started to try to stand up again but they won't make it all the way.  Will have a gooseneck curve at the bottom. "

"Fertility is really good"! We don't hear that very often. Most of the lodging happened during a week we had fog and drizzle and the weight the moisture added caused a few stalks to collapse and then it was like dominoes.

There is always next year and we need to order our corn seed earlier.

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