Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Corn Has Reached Max Altitude

          Our corn has tasseled out and reached an average height of 10 feet.
          It grew the last 21 inches in just eight days. 
          That's a good corn year.
          Of course timing (as in choosing the right time to plant) is a huge factor but so is the weather.  We've had ample rainfall (actually more than ample but not so much as to be a liability) mixed with hot July days.
          The corn fields look like huge green building blocks a quarter mile square and 10 feet tall.  The tassels undulate in gentle ripples when the breeze picks up.  All the better to produce full ears.
          A big factor in our strong returns on corn production is the "push" Jonas gives the crop.  That's his word for a liberal application of chicken manure.  High in nitrogen, the chicken droppings and the growing corn are made for each other.
          The "push" didn't start yesterday.  Jonas feeds the fields on a regular basis and through the rotation of crops (alfalfa hay, "oatlage" oats, wheat and corn) continues to boost the quality of the soil.
          It's a delicate dance.  He tests each field, balances the nutrients with strategic application of lime and watches each crop with the fervor of an expectant parent.  Jonas mentally charts the signs that all is progressing according to the master plan.
          Ura (his dad) taught him well and Jonas paid rapt attention.  As does young Wayne.  Although only 12, to this young Burkholder, the animals, the soil and the weather are already his old friends.
          From the bare back of his favorite pony, the crops and critters are carefully observed although generally at full gallop. 
          Decades of corn crops to come will continue to stand tall.


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