Corn

The educational materials listed on this page are about Corn.

Field corn is a commodity crop that is grown for many different purposes, especially livestock feed, fuel and further processing for human consumption. Sometimes called  maize cultivation,  cultivating corn is predominant in the Midwestern region. Field corn cannot be readily eaten and must undergo some form of processing first. Sweet corn, on the other hand, is grown for human consumption and can be eaten fresh. Conventional corn, organic corn and no-till corn are all important players in the corn market. Understanding your inputs, acreage and fertility can aid in using a corn yield calculator to determine corn crop. Corn production will vary depending on region, but not necessarily corn production by state. Corn growing is an important part of our agricultural food system. Key practices in corn production include organic agriculturecommoditiesagronomiccornno-tillconservation tillagecover cropscrop rotationnutrient managementdrought tolerancecrop improvement and selection.

A key resource to discovering the balance between soil and crop is SARE’s book Building Soils for Better Crops. This resource lays the foundation for understanding soil structure, soil fertility and overall soil management in order to improve corn production. SARE’s Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual is a resource for farmers looking to integrate crop rotation into their operation to practice more sustainable methods, and to enhance organic matter and boost production. The Cover Crop Topic Room is a good starting point to learn more about the benefits that cover crops can have on overall soil management to improve corn yield.

Videos from the Field

SARE, in partnership with Cooking Up A Story, has produced a series of how-to videos showcasing production and marketing practices used by some of the nation’s most successful sustainable farmers and ranchers.

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Conservation Tillage Systems in the Southeast

This production manual provides comprehensive guidance on conservation tillage systems for farms in the southeastern United States. It covers the core components of conservation tillage systems and includes both regional considerations and producer experiences.

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Free Fact Sheets Identify Broad Benefits of Cover Crops

Along with cutting costs and increasing crop productivity, cover crops provide various ecosystem services that benefit the environment both on and off the farm. For instance, adding cover crops to a rotation can significantly increase the portion of the year when living roots are present for soil organisms to feed on, which can have a […]

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Cover Crop Economics Report Now Available in Print

Cover Crops Offer Options in Wet Soil As more farmers across the nation begin to incorporate covers into their rotations, they find that this valuable conservation practice pays in more ways than one. Many farmers in states suffering from oversaturated fields that prevented or delayed planting are considering cover crops. To help farmers evaluate the […]

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When Do Cover Crops Pay? New USDA-SARE Report Addresses the Question

Farmers around the country are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use cover crops, the more they value this conservation practice. Cover Crop Economics, a new report published by USDA-SARE looks at the economics of cover crops to help farmers answer that big […]

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Cover Crop Economics

Cover crops can build soil health, control weeds, conserve moisture, provide grazing opportunities and more. But when do they start to pay for themselves? This analysis looks at the economics behind different management scenarios to determine if cover crops are likely to improve profitability in one, three or five years of use in corn and soybean rotations. 

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Improving Soil Health Through Cover Crops

Farmers around the country are discovering the power of cover crops to curb erosion and improve soil health. This video is from Pennsylvania, where a Penn State researcher and a grain farmer are partnering to spread the word.

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Sustainable Production and Use of On-Farm Energy

Using solar or wind energy or producing biofuels from crop feedstocks and anaerobic digestion helps farmers achieve energy independence while improving profitability and reducing fossil fuel emissions.

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Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop

All session recordings and slide presentations from this three-day professional development workshop are available online. Hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016, this event addressed the latest research on the benefits and successful management of cover crops in grain, vegetable and animal production systems.

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Cover Crops

Cover crops are one of the best ways to improve soil health, reduce off-farm inputs and protect natural resources. Find a wealth of educational materials developed out of decades of SARE-funded cover crop research.

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Cover Crop Management and Termination

Planning for proper spring management of your cover crop needs to happen before April. Learn from two experts in the field on a couple different methods for termination.

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2014 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

All session recordings and slide presentations from the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health are available online. Held in 2014 in Omaha, Neb., the event brought together 300 agricultural leaders and innovators to explore how we can make American agriculture more sustainable through improved soil health. Attendees represented agricultural industry, the farm community, academia, government, commodity and conservation organizations.
Joel Myers at NoTill Workshop

No-Till and Cover Crop Innovations Increase Dairy Profits

Summertime for dairy farmers in New England is anything but slow. Silage corn must be planted and harvested in a short window to provide high-quality forage for cattle, leaving little time to plant cover crops to replenish the soil. Under pressure to get corn planted early, farmers may delay the first cutting of hay, sacrificing […]

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Sustainable Bioenergy Course

In association with an NCR-SARE Professional Development Program grant, the Bioenergy Training Center, in collaboration with the Farm Energy CoP, has developed a Sustainable Bioenergy Course to provide educational training resources focused not only on the technical feasibility of bioenergy generation, but also on approaches and processes that assist communities in understanding the comprehensive implications of bio-based alternative energy. This course can provide foundational materials for teaching undergraduates or for community education sessions.

Impact of Biomass Removal for Bioenergy

The rapid increase in ethanol production from corn rain, and the proposed use of crop residues for ethanol production poses significant challenges in increasing awareness and providing needed training to extension educators and agency staff to address the potential environmental impacts of intensive corn production and corn residue use. Mahdi Al-Kaisi conducted an educational training […]