MOUNT VERNON — When it comes to corn production the saying used to go “knee high by the Fourth of July.” Now, many farmers have adopted a new adage, “chest high by the Fourth of July.” Neither adage speaks of the height field corn in Knox County has reached this year.
Ohio Department of Agriculture statistics for 2008 show Knox County is No. 36 in corn production in the state. That year, county corn farmers planted 47,000 acres of corn, which yielded 6 million bushels, an average of 147 bushels per acre.
“I don’t think we’re too far from that for the last two years,” said Troy Cooper, Ohio State University Extension Office agriculture and horticulture educator.
In 2009, 48,100 acres of corn were planted locally.
“Overall, we can say that the conditions are good for corn crops in Ohio right now,” said Natalie Lehner, director of communications for Ohio Corn Growers Association. “There’s an old saying of ‘knee high by the Fourth of July,’ but in some places it’s a lot taller than that, up to 6 feet tall and tasseling already. Farmers have planted about 250,000 acres more corn than they did last year in Ohio, and a lot of that is to meet the demand of food, feed and fuel.”
Mount Vernon farmer Scott McCann has been planting corn for 20 years. This year he began at the end of April, planting approximately 200 acres.
“As of right now it looks pretty good, but if we don’t get any rain, a lot of things can happen. We are a long ways from being in the grain bin,” he said.
Lehner said corn yields are expected to be higher this year than last. USDA estimates of total acreage planted for Ohio show 3.6 million acres in 2010, compared to 3.35 million in 2009.