It's UT Extension Month &
National Agriculture Week!
Celebrate with a fun fact for the day…
Did you know?
Sweet corn is pretty awesome stuff in the summer, and Tennessee grows A LOT of it (well over a couple thousand acres on less than a thousand farms), BUT did you know the majority of the corn you see growing across the state is actually field corn? This corn is used for feed and fuel! There is a BIG difference between the two. Read on for the details…
Sweet corn is juicier and contains more natural sugars, which is what contributes to its fabulous flavor. However, corn is an ample provider of vitamins C and A, thiamine, and fiber, so although starchy, it provides good nutrition! Sweet corn is harvested when the kernels are still young and moist (one strand of silk = a kernel of corn…). If you wanna try your hand at growing an acre of sweet corn on your farm, homestead, or in your garden, plan on about 14,000 pounds to be produced. That’s a LOT of corn to be grilled out at cookouts during the summer months (don’t forget to invite your favorite UT Extension Agent over when you fire up the grill…).
Now how about field corn? Well, it is typically harvested AFTER the kernels have dried, and then used to feed livestock and/or make the renewable fuel ethanol. A bushel of shelled corn weighs in at 56 pounds and has the potential to produce several goods you use on a daily basis (but may not necessarily think of corn being the primary ingredient).
Here’s a few examples for ya: Remember that cookout I was referring to earlier? The one where you invite your favorite UT Extension Agent over to share? Well, what do you typically serve picnic fare on in the summer months? Paper plates? Well, you guessed it! Corn is an ingredient! Raw starch is used in manufacturing process. How about the tires on your vehicle? Did you know cornstarch is sprinkled on the molds before pouring the rubber? How about paint and varnish on your home improvement projects (special note: favorite UT Extension Agent may or may not assist in these endeavors but must receive corn on the cob as payment)? Resins developed from corncobs are used as solvents, lacquers, and dyes. In addition, drywall has it source in corn.
On the subject of corncobs, ladies, how many of you slather on lipstick every day, apply eye or face make-up or use hand soap? You guessed it…corn! And fellas, how about a favorite summer beverage? If you like beer, you’re probably consuming corn in some fashion (primarily in lighter beers). Check your medicine cabinet. Are you stocked with aspirin, antibiotics, and toothpaste? Corn! The pantry? Pudding mixes, cereal, and even Splenda all have corn in them! What about Elmer’s glue and adhesives on envelopes? You guessed it! They contain corn. How about fertilizers, cat litter, spark plugs, Windex, matches, paving bricks, diapers? You get my point…the list goes on…
Corn touches most all of our lives on a daily basis. From your shower in the morning to your drive to work to a lunch (processed or not) to a steak grilled to perfection in the evening, corn is a by-product. Next time you see a field of corn (sweet or not), think about all the endless possibilities corn contributes to agriculture and your daily life…