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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

“Knee high by the 4th of July”

Hard to know how long this idiom has been in our American language. It refers to a healthy corn crop looking towards a healthy harvest, but is no longer accurate in our part of the country. In our fields, by July 4th, many of our hybrids are chest to neck high. In the North Country, I would suspect that knee high by the 4th of July still may be accurate and farther south than us here in Southeastern Wisconsin I would suspect that the corn would be even taller than neck high and beginning to tassel. All of this depends on planting dates, weather patterns and Growing Degree Days (GDD), variety, and the relative maturity of the corn planted.

“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye, An’ it looks like it’s climbin’ clear up to the sky.”  – This classic line from the song, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from the 1943 musical Oklahoma, is a little more accurate nowadays, thanks to all of the work that corn breeders have done over the years. Our own hybrids typically reach 3 meters, about 9 feet tall. We tend to favor fast and tall growing varieties in our organic systems to quickly reach above the weeds and shade them out. By the end of this month, we expect our hybrids will be quickly approaching that 3 meter mark and will appear to be climbing clear up to the sky.