Jon’s 15 Acres—August 2015

August 24, 2015

For farmers, the season and weather dictate how and where they spend their energy and resources.

As a Paulsen art director, my days have a very comfortable flow to them. I have a whole team along side me to help schedule and prioritize projects. Most days are fabulous, some days are hectic, and some days I struggle to get the creativity flowing. But through all of that, Mother Nature doesn’t really get a say.

In my post last month, I described how my family and I quickly put away machinery under threat of a storm. Thankfully, that storm did not come.

Unfortunately, another storm did hit at the beginning of this month. The hail was uneven, hitting some areas hard and others not at all.

Some of the corn in surrounding fields has been completely stripped of leaves. My fifteen acres only sustained light damage. The final word in how my corn did will come during harvest, but now is the perfect time to do some yield estimates.

There are several ways to estimate corn yields. I chose one of the more simple, straightforward methods without complicated formulas or fancy gadgets.

My 15 acres was planted with 30-inch row widths. I picked a random section of the field, measured out 17.5 feet and counted how many corn plants were in that section. In my case there were 28, which means 28,000 plants per acre.

Next, I peeled back the husks on an ear and counted the number of kernels along its length as well as around the circumference of the ear. My corn ear had 18 kernels around its circumference, and 36 kernels along its length – leaving out the small and irregular-spaced kernels on the ends of the ear. Multiplying these two identified the number of kernels on the ear, 648 kernels for me.

Then I multiplied the plant population per acre (28,000) by the number of kernels on an ear (648) for the number of kernels in an acre, which equaled 18,144,000.

I divided that number by 90,000, which is the approximate number of kernels in a bushel. And I came up with a grand total of 201.6 bushels per acre.

Not too shabby! If my estimate holds, I could potentially see more than 3,000 bushels from my 15 acres! But it is important to remember that even if my estimate is accurate, it’s only accurate for the section of field that I measured.

It has been immensely satisfying to actually hold an ear of corn from my field in my hands. I am proud of it. It is something I helped produce, and I am looking forward to learning more as fall approaches.

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