July 4, 2018

Farmers Opt For Alternatives To 'Knee-High By Fourth Of July' Saying

Pixabay/public domain - The standards for determining a good crop have changed in recent years.

Pixabay/public domain

The standards for determining a good crop have changed in recent years.

The old saying goes corn should be knee-high by the fourth of July.

But an influx of genetically modified seed, advanced pesticides, and numerous technological advancements are changing expectations for farmers.

Harry Pearson farms in Blackford, Wells and Grant counties. He says he first heard the phrase as a child.

“At that point it was sort of like gospel,” he says. “If you didn’t have corn knee high by the fourth there was a good chance, it wouldn’t be mature by harvest time.”

Pearson says, with today’s climate and technology, corn should actually be further along by July Fourth.

Purdue University Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Mitch Tuinstra agrees.

He says a new standard has largely replaced the previous one.

“Under normal Indiana conditions farmers are going to want to plant and have their corn much further along and much closer to tasseling.”

Tuinstra and other experts say this year’s corn crop looks promising.  The most recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows the majority of Indiana corn is classified as “good” or “excellent”.

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