Texas corn production contributes billions of dollars to the state’s economy. A recent Texas A&M AgriLife study found corn contributes more than $3.5 billion, and over 22,000 jobs to the High Plains region alone.
Irrigated corn accounts for approximately 65-70 percent of the state’s corn production, while just 40 percent of total corn acres in Texas are irrigated.
In 2016, Texas corn growers:
Corn is planted when the soil is warm enough to germinate the seeds, but not so early that the young plants are likely to be damaged by frost. With so many diverse climates across our state, planting dates vary by geographic location. Texas’ planting season begins as early as mid-February and ends as late as mid-June. The map below shows the number of acres planted across Texas in 2015.
Corn is harvested when the plant has reached physical maturity. Similar to planting season, harvest time depends greatly on geographic location, as well as weather conditions. Additionally, different corn hybrids take different lengths of time to reach maturity.
Planting and harvesting dates for the state:
Where does corn come from?
Modern corn descended from a plant called teosinte, which still grows in Mexico. The first corn plants appear to have originated in Mexico. However, the first-known ears of corn were only a few inches long. Centuries of breeding have resulted in bigger, fuller ears of corn.
How many ears grow on a corn plant?
The number of ears grown on a plant is based on its genetics. Most Texas corn is bred to develop one large ear, but sometimes there’s a second, smaller ear.
How many rows are there on an ear of corn?
The average corn ear has 16 rows. Corn ears always have an even number of rows.
How many kernels are there on an ear of corn?
A typical ear has approximately 800 kernels, but this number can vary from 500-1,200 kernels.
How tall is a corn plant?
A typical corn plant is anywhere from 5 to 12 feet tall. Generally, the corn plant is approximately 7-8 feet tall in Texas.
Why are there silks on corn?
Corn silks are necessary for pollen from the tassels to fertilize the plant. Each silk will concentrate pollen to a developing ear of corn, allowing it to form a kernel. In harsh, hot summers the silks can dry out before all the sites on a cob are fertilized, creating gaps where no kernels are developed.
How big is an acre?
One acre is 4,840 square yards, or 43,560 square feet – approximately the size of a standard football field.
How big is a bushel?
Originally, a bushel was a measure of volume, but now the accepted standard for a bushel of shelled corn is measured by weight: 56 pounds – approximately the size of a large bag of pet food.