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Serving: IN
cornfield
SHOULD BE MORE MATURE: It took effort to find this field. Most corn in Indiana is much shorter as the Fourth of July approaches. However, this field should be farther along than it is.

Knee-high by Fourth of July — and then some

There is some tall corn in Indiana; you just have to look hard to find it.

The corn in this picture taken on July 1 obviously beat the old axiom “knee-high by the Fourth of July.” In the early days of modern farming, if corn was knee-high by the Fourth of July, farmers felt confident it would mature on time and make a good crop.

In recent years, the saying normally is more of a relic from days gone by, but not this year. In some parts of Indiana, it’s easier to find fields that aren’t knee-high, or not much taller than knee-high, than fields that are. When judging whether corn is knee-high or not depends on whose knees you’re using, you know it’s a super-late season, with a long way to go.

There are some fields tasseling in the very northwest corner of Indiana, and in scattered spots where farmers could plant early on sandy ground. One of those spots is a small island of fields around Taylorsville in northern Bartholomew County. Not far from there, you can easily find corn barely knee-high.

Field in picture

Here’s the story on the field in the picture. Bryan Overstreet, Indiana Certified Crop Adviser of the Year in 2019 and Jasper County Extension ag educator, located this field north and east of Rensselaer. It was planted April 24 to a 94-day hybrid. The farmer hopes to harvest early and plant cover crops behind it, Overstreet says.

What’s a bit concerning, the ag educator notes, is that the field was not farther along on July 1. He found a tassel by unrolling the whorl, but no tassels were out yet. Cool weather that persisted until an abrupt shift to 90-degree-F heat during the last day of June slowed it down.

Overstreet flew an unmanned aerial vehicle over the field and found some drowned-out spots from earlier rains. Look for more on this field later.

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