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Iowa Corn Growers Association
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Corn Facts

Did you know?

  • Iowa has approximately 86,900 farms. More than 97 percent of those farms are owned by farm families.
  • Iowa ranks number one in producing corn, soybeans, hogs, eggs, ethanol and Dry Distillers Grain Solubles (DDGS) which serve as a premium source of protein for livestock. It also ranks among the top three in soybeans and fourth in beef cattle.
  • Iowa farmers produced around 2.4 billion bushels of corn for grain and harvested 12.9 million acres according to the U.S. Department of Agricultural Statistics Service.

Sweet Corn vs. Field Corn

  • Only one percent of corn planted in the United States is sweet corn.
  • 99 percent of corn grown in Iowa is “Field Corn”. When Iowa’s corn farmers deliver corn from the field, it’s “Field Corn”.  Not the delicious sweet corn you might enjoy on the cob or in a can.
  • Field corn is the classic big ears of yellow dented corn you see dried and harvested in the fall. It’s called “dent corn” because of the distinctive dent that forms on the kernel as the corn dries.
  • While a small portion of “Field Corn” is processed for use as corn cereal, corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup and nearly 4,000 other products for human consumption, it is primarily used for livestock feed, ethanol production and manufactured goods. It’s considered a grain.
  • Sweet corn is what people purchase fresh, frozen or canned for eating. It’s consumed as a vegetable. Unlike “Field Corn”, which is harvested when the kernels are dry and fully mature, sweet corn is picked when immature. 

What is it used for?

  • Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, with 62 percent (1.6 billion bushels) of the corn grown in Iowa going to create nearly 30 percent of all American ethanol.
  • Iowa livestock consume around 370 million bushel or 15 percent of Iowa corn went directly into livestock feed. In livestock feeding, one bushel of corn converts to about 8 pounds of beef, 15.6 pounds of pork, or 21.6 pounds of chicken. Learn more.
  • One bushel of corn produces 17 pounds of DDGS as well as 2.8 gallons of ethanol. Learn more
  • Corn is in more than 4,000 grocery store items a few examples include: shampoo, toothpaste, chewing gum, marshmallows, crayons and paper. Learn more.

Debunking FOod & FUel Myths 

  • Many products depend on corn as well, from paper goods and cardboard packaging, to all the meat, milk, eggs, poultry and other protein products that come from corn-fed animals.
  • Humans have also been consuming genetically modified or bioengineered foods since 1996 also. Hundreds of scientific studies have confirmed the safety of these biotechnology products. In fact in the United States, alone, 9 billion food-producing animals are produced annually, with 95 percent of them consuming feed that contains bioengineered ingredients.
  • The great thing about corn is that it provides:
    • A renewable, environmentally-friendly fuel source (Ethanol)
    • Animal feed for livestock which is important to our food supply
    • Exports supplying the world with corn and corn products which boosts our economy
    • Food ingredients necessary for preparing many of our favorite meals
    • Bio-based, renewable materials for industrial uses such as bioplastics  

Other Fun Corn Facts

  • Corn can be produced in various colors including blackish, bluish-gray, purple, green, red and white but the most common color grown is yellow
  • There is one silk for every kernel that grows in an ear of corn
  • The number of kernels per ear can vary from 500 to about 1,200, but a typical ear would have 800 kernels in 16 rows
  • Corn is grown in every continent except Antarctica
  • One acre of corn is about the size of a football field
  • A bushel of corn is 56 pounds, about the weight of a large bag of dog food.
  • A single corn bushel can sweeten about 400 cans of soda pop. Learn more.
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