Ted Cruz & Iowa Corn Farmers

Although Ted Cruz entered the Republican primaries, I guess I would say that Senator Cruz and Rand Paul were the most tea-party-esque candidates in that race.

And or course, like always, Iowa had their caucuses, went before even the first primary in New Hampshire, and got to set the tone early on for how the campaign would go.  And lo-and-behold, few in Iowa are more powerful than the corn lobby and big family farmers who hold a lot of the money and the sway in that state.

Typically, Republican candidates go to Iowa, and even suggesting that you would take away their punch bowl (corn subsidies) would get you tossed out on your ear.  So I was incredibly interested to see how Ted Cruz, who skirts along the tea party libertarian edge without fully commiting, was going to handle the corn farmers.

To my great amazement, Ted Cruz stood his ground.  He was asked – repeatedly – if he believed in corn subsidies and each time he said “no”. He would elaborate further and tell those listening that he believed in free markets.  But, they just kept asking it, over and over.  It was as if they were hoping he would tell them something different so they could do what they really wanted to do – support him – and still get their subsidies protected.

In the end, the caucus goers of Iowa supported him anyways!

Now, we all know that Ted Cruz eventually succumbed to Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, but NOT because he wouldn’t support subsidies for the corn farmers of Iowa.  I was extremely impressed with this, because maybe — just maybe — the American public is getting to the point where the survival of the republic takes precedence over their individual fiefdom of handouts they’ve secured for themselves.  Possibly, the adults are ready to reenter the room, take a hard look at what we’re doing to our sovereignty by taking on massive debts to foreign banks and governments and realigning our priorities to strengthen our rights and liberties for the generations to come.

Fertilizer for Corn

NPK for Corn

Corn that has been adequately fertilized will dramatically outperform fields who have limiting factors of nutrient deficiencies. When choosing a corn fertilizer you should look carefully at not just the N-P-K listed in big print on the front label, but you should be able to read and understand the details on the smaller label.

example-label-10-10-10Above is an example of a sample label.

Nitrogen Gets Most of The Focus

Nitrogen is broken up into the two forms of nitrogen that a plant can readily take up into the plant. Plants take up nutrients in the ionic form. Plants take nitrate and ammoniacal nitrogen up.  Between the two, nitrate is the form of N that leads to more vegetative growth, but ammonium is for the roots of the plant and more useful for reproductive growth. Labels will also frequently break down the nitrogen listed on labels into water soluble organic N and water insoluble N.

How Much Nitrogen Does A Corn Plant Need?

If you’re trying to boost yields, a general rule of thumb is that it will take somewhere between .7 to a full lb of nitrogen in order to produce a bushel of corn.  Some of that can be biological nitrogen, but generally speaking a portion of the plants needs will be made of up of either organic or inorganic inputs put into the field for the specific purpose of making up for the crop losses incurred by harvest.

Timing of Nitrogen Applications

While it can take as much as a pound of nitrogen for a bushel of corn, some studies and experimentation by growers in the field have found that the timing is critical for maximizing yields.

In the video below, David Hula, the world record breaking corn grower from Charles City, VA talks about the importance of timing his nitrogen applications in order to maximize his corn yields.

What Are The Other Nutrients A Corn Plant Needs?

Corn fertilizer frequently includes phosphorus, potassium and often sulfur to go along with nitrogen and possibly micronutrients.  Mr. Hula feels the appropriate balance of nitrogen to sulfur is about 8 : 1.

Other nutrients will depend on deficiencies found either in the soil test, or in plant and tissue tests taken throughout the season.

The Corn Challenge Video

The Corn Challenge

Essentially, the corn challenge pitted matt stonie a world champion competitive eater trying to consume 12 cans of corn in one sitting. The 12 cans of corn amount to over 2500 calories and 420% of the recommended daily fiber intake for an individual.

Surprisingly, given Matt’s frame he gave the nearly 12 pound bowl of canned corn a serious run for its money. Watch until the end to see how Matt does with the bowl and whether or not he makes it to the end and whether or not he can keep it down without blowing chunks.