(Posted Fri. Aug 9th, 2013)

Aug. 9:  The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.


Today, Field Notes checks in with Missouri farmer Rob Korff to find out how about the condition of his corn crop. With the growing season well underway, Korff finds the corn to be in good condition but worries about how an early frost might impact its maturation.


“This year, we have had cooler temperatures and sporadic rains. Sometimes we have had more rain than others but, overall, the corn crop is in pretty good shape,” Korff explained. “It is coming along about three to four weeks later than normal. This means we do have a potential for an early frost when we would still need some more heat units to finish the crop out, but we aren’t in too bad a shape. Things are a lot better than they were last year.”


Korff went on to explain precisely what farmers mean when they refer to heat units, a term commonly used by those in agriculture.


“Corn maturity moves along relative to the number of heat units,” said Korff. “Heat units help describe how the conditions for growth are on a certain day. We need temperatures with an average mean of over 75 or 80 degrees to mature the corn crop. If the temperatures cool off, the corn development slows down. Right now, we need those heat units to mature the crop at the right time, before the winter gets here.”


To listen to the full interview with Korff, click here.


Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.