Title: Growing corn in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084596/00001
 Material Information
Title: Growing corn in Florida
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Smith, J. Lee.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service,
Copyright Date: 1944
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084596
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 222327416

Full Text

Circular 76
(Revised November, 1944)

Feb., 1944

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
A. P. SPENCER, Director

Growing Corn in Florida

Extension Agronomist

-1~ ~


Fig. 1.-Proper cultural practices, combined
with the use of good varieties or hybrids, can
increase corn yields 100% in Florida. This field,
grown by a Hillsborough County 4-H club boy,
yielded 105 bushels per acre.

Corn grown in Florida is consumed
within the state. Between 80 and 85 per-
:ent of it is used for feed, most of which
.s fed to work animals.


The national feed grain supply per ani
mal-consuming unit is low and feed i
likely to be comparatively high in price(
if not scarce. There is always a largE
number of cattle, hogs and chickens as
well as work animals to be fed on the
There is need, therefore, for Floridz
farmers to grow all the grain feed it is
possible for them to produce on the lan
devoted to the crop and with the labol
and equipment available, since FloridE
livestock producers can use all the corr
they will produce. Labor is always to(
scarce and high in price to be wasted or
low yields. All production factors that
will assist in getting high yields and eco
nomical production should be employed.

Every acre of land devoted to the pro
duction of corn for grain or silage should
be grown to Florida W-l, Florident Yellow
Florident White, or other high-yielding
Florida W-l, a hybrid developed by th
Florida Experiment Station, for a 5-yea
period produced an average of 41.6 and
29.6 bushels per acre at Quincy and Gaines.
ville, respectively. This was 20% more
than the highest yielding varieties and
44% better than the composite sample of
the corns commonly grown or the best
common field corn varieties. Florident
White produced 35 and 24.2 bushels and
the Florident Yellow 35.7 and 23.7 bushels
per acre for the same period and at the
same places. These yields were better
than those produced by any other corns
of equal quality.
Florida W-1 proved to be as resistant to
weevils as any of the old field corns and
better than the known varieties commonly
grown within the state except one, Cuban

Flint. Though Cuban Flint produced about
40% less, because of its weevil resistance
it is desirable for extreme southern Flor-
ida when grain only is wanted. "Big Joe"
can be used if seed can be secured. The
Floridents are more resistant than the
higher-yielding varieties commonly grown.
Munroe Little Cob and Dubose are slightly
more resistant to weevils, but their yields
are much lower.
Oklahoma Silvermine, Snowflake and
Improved White Dent are the leading
green or roasting ear corns.

Grown Alone.-Flatwoods, muck and
other lands which do not produce peanuts
well and lands on which one expects or
strives to produce 30 or more bushels of
grain per acre should be planted to corn
alone. High yields reduce labor costs per
bushel. A study of 20 farms in Jackson
County with average yields of 11.4 bushels
per acre showed that 24.8 hours of man
labor and 27.1 hours of horse labor were
required to produce and harvest the crop
when corn was planted alone. Theoretic-
ally, on the same basis a 25-bushel crop
requires only 29.7 man hours and 29.1
horse hours in doing the same job, or only
.9 man hours and 2 horse hours more.
t 200 per hour for man labor and 100
er hour for horse labor, the labor alone in
reducing and harvesting 11.4-bushel
ields was 67.30 per bushel, 25-bushel
ields 35.4 per bushel.
Combination.-Corn grown on all other
hands should be grown in combination with
eanuts or peanuts and velvet beans or
oybeans, thereby doubling the income per
cre with very little more labor. Land
which is capable of producing no more than
0 bushels per acre without fertilizer and
producing peanuts satisfactorily should

be planted to peanuts as the major crop
and the amount of corn which the land
will carry should be put in the row with
the peanuts. All other lands should be
planted with corn and peanuts in alter-
nate rows, 3 or 31 feet apart. In tractor
farming some other combinations may be
necessary for convenience in cultivation.
Three separate survey studies involving
many hundreds of farms show that pea-
nuts grown in alternate rows with corn
reduced corn yields less than 10%. One
study showed that 31.3 man hours, includ-
ing 5.4 hours of hoeing peanuts, and 28.3
horse hours per acre were required to
produce a crop of peanuts and corn and to
harvest the crop of 9.1 bushels of corn
when grown in combination, as against
24.8 hours of man labor and 27.1 hours of
horse labor spent in producing and har-
vest 11.4 bushels of corn grown alone.
The crop of peanuts, therefore, was pro-
duced for 2.3 bushels of corn (lost in pro-
duction), 1 bushel of peanut seed and 61/
hours of man labor and 1 hour of mule
labor, or at a maximum cost of $7.22 cents
per acre, when peanuts were valued at
$2.00 per bushel, corn at $1.50 per bushel,
man labor at 25f and horse labor at 121/0
per hour.
A summary of 3 experiments during 1
year, conducted by Mobile Unit No. 1 (at
Monticello) of the North Florida Experi-
ment Station, with corn planted in 7-foot
rows and spaced 30 inches (2,520 stalks
per acre) showed that peanuts planted in
the middle (the alternate row) affected the
yield of corn per acre but very little.
Grown alone, the corn yielded 24.1 bushels;
grown with peanuts spaced 6 inches, yields
were 22.6 bushels of corn and 502 pounds
of peanuts; with peanuts spaced 12 inches,
yields were 22.9 bushels of corn and 408
pounds of peanuts; and with peanuts

spaced 18 inches, yields were 23.6 bushels
f corn and 357 pounds of peanuts. In
another experiment with corn spaced 18
inches and peanuts 6 inches in alternate
ows, the yields were corn 30.2 bushels
nd peanuts 436 pounds.
When corn was spaced 30 inches and
eanuts 6 inches, the 502 pounds of pea-
uts cost 1 bushel seed peanuts, 11/2
ushels of corn (loss in yield), 61/2 hours
f man labor and 1 hour of horse labor
sed on peanuts. Using the same values
s above, the total cost of the crop of pea-
uts was $6.00. Allowing 3 pounds in 1
et of experiments and 2.1 in another, fig-
ring pork at 130 per pound, the peanuts
ere worth as feed $21.71, or when har-
ested they had a gross value of better
han $35.00 if sold at $140.00 per ton.

Corn, whether interplanted with peanuts
r grown alone, should be well fertilized.
ountrary to general belief, the primary
actor limiting yields in Florida is low soil
ertility and not rainfall. Proportionately,

Fig. 2.-Good seed and 300 pounds of fertilizer
combinedd to produce a yield of 32 bushels (right)
n a Jefferson County farm, compared with 20
ushels from ordinary seed and 200 pounds of
ertilizer on an adjoining field.

fertilizer is usually cheaper than labor
The ratio between the price of fertilizer
and the price of corn usually is such that
investments in fertilizer for corn are due
to pay good dividends.
When mineral soils, to which none or
a small amount of fertilizer was applied
the previous year, are to be planted solic
or interplanted in alternate rows 200 t(
400 pounds per acre of 3-8-5, 4-8-4 or some
other complete fertilizer should be place
under the corn at time of planting and
side-dressing of 75 to 150 pounds of nitrate
of soda or its equivalent made about 5
weeks later. When the land has been pre-
viously well fertilized the side-dressing
alone may be used. Where corn may be
affected with "white bud" 8 to 10 pounds
of zinc sulphate per acre may be used
On organic or muck soils 400 to 600 pounds
of 0-8-24 will be profitable. On Everglades
mucks 50 to 75 pounds of copper sulphate
per acre often pays. Also 50 to 75 pounds
of manganese sulphate if the land has
been burned.
High yields cannot be made without a
large number of stalks to "hang it on."
Whether corn is grown "solid" or in alter-
nate rows with peanuts, there should be
about the same number of stalks per acre.
From 2,500 to 5,000 stalks ordinarily will
give a good stand, the number depending
on the amount of fertilizer under the corn,
the soil's natural fertility level and its
ability to hold moisture. Muck soils will
carry many more.
When planted in alternate rows corn
should be spaced from 30 to 15 inches in
6- to 7-foot rows; where planted alone it
should be 21/2 to 3 feet in 3- to 4/-foot
Experiments have shown that corn fol-
lowing 9,000 pounds per acre green weight
of Austrian peas, vetch or blue lupine

turned under, to which 300 pounds of
superphosphate was applied, averaged 8 to
10 bushels per acre increase in yield. Other
experiments have shown that when 400
pounds per acre of 4-8-4 was applied from
6 to 14 bushels increase per acre was se-
cured, but generally about 8 bushels. A
side-dressing of nitrate of soda applied at
time recommended usually gave an in-
crease of about 7 bushels per acre for the
first 100 pounds.

Generally, the best method of planting
corn in Florida is in the water furrow,
thus placing the roots deep in the soil.
It can better withstand drought. Ob-
viously, on soils where the water table is
high it should be planted on the level or
on a bed. When heavy fertilization is used
caution should be exercised to be sure the
seed is not put next to the fertilizer.
There are 2 times when corn planting
can be done in northern and central Flor-
ida for surest hope of success. First, very
early in the spring season. "Dare the
frost" should be the slogan of the planter
in all northern and central Florida. This
enables one to take advantage of the mois-
ture stored up in the soil and early spring
rains to mature the crop. Early planted
corn can be laid by early and thus permit
a heavy crop of legume vegetation to
volunteer. This conserves and improves
the soil.
The second time for planting corn is
from the fifth to the twentieth of April.
When planted at this time, the early sum-
mer rains make and mature the crop.
Planted at almost any time during these
dates the drought will not "cut" the crop
but about 1 year out of 3.
In southern Florida the times to plant
are in August and January.

Cultivation may be deep until roots
begin to spread out into the middle. There-
after it must be shallow to prevent cutting
the feeder roots. It is better not to culti-
vate at all than to destroy the roots. Cul-
tivation must be sufficient to keep down
the weeds and laying by should be done
at or before the beginning of the rainy
season. "Run from the field when the
first good summer rain comes" is another
good slogan for Florida corn growers to
follow. This will assure a good volunteer
summer legume cover in the field.

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