Ask The Agronomist Blog

Brian Hartman Fun Corn Facts

January 10, 2008
Posted by: Brian Hartman, Director of Agronomy

Urban America sometimes fails to realize how important farmers, and the crops they produce, are to the world. I was recently talking to some "urbanites"and I found the conversation rather humorous.  For example, they commented on how we people eat the same things as cows do, “sweet corn.”  Another corn misperception they had was that Farmer Joe's ground must be better, and subsequently worth more, because his corn tasted better. Their reasoning for that one only became clear to me once I discovered that they had once stopped along the road and, not knowing the difference, picked some field corn for supper! 

After explaining to them more about corn, and all its uses, I thought I would pass on some fun corn facts:

  • How many kernels are on an average ear of corn?  640
  • How many kernels are in one pound?  1,300
  • How many kernels are in an average (150 bushel) acre?  10,920,000

For you soft drink people:

  • America's favorite sweetener is made from corn, capturing more than 50 percent of the non-diet sweetener market.
  • Every major non-diet soft drink on the market uses high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener.
  • Many powdered drinks, like lemonades and fruit drinks, use crystalline fructose made from corn.

Although paper is made from trees not corn:

  • Nearly every single sheet of printing paper uses cornstarch to improve printability.
  • Paper packaging materials such as corrugated cardboard, also use cornstarch.
  • Each ton of paper produced uses 28 pounds of cornstarch.

Where else does the corn produced get used?

  • More than half of the crop puts meat on American dinner tables.  A bushel of corn fed to livestock produces: 5.6 pounds of retail beef, 13 pounds of retail pork, 19.6 pounds of chicken, or 28 pounds of catfish.
  • Paints that are more environmentally friendly than their petroleum counterparts.
  • CMA (Calcium Magnesium Acetate) is a non-corrosive road de-icer made from Corn or Petroleum.  CMA does not contain sodium or chloride so it is safe in watersheds and agricultural areas and will not damage roads and bridges.

All in all, there are more than 3,500 different uses for corn products, with more uses found daily.