With the Fourth of July coming up later this week, I’m always reminded of an old adage about farming.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Knee-high by the Fourth of July?”
Well, it is in reference to Midwestern corn crops. The old saying was that if your corn crop was knee-high by the Fourth of July, you could expect a good crop come harvest.
According to the Minnesota Weekly Crop Weather Report that arrived in my e-mail inbox Monday afternoon, the average corn height in the state was at 27 inches on Sunday. Condition ratings were at 3 percent poor, 15 percent fair, 59 percent good and 23 percent excellent.
In Iowa, the outlook is even better.
Iowa Agriculture Commissioner Bill Northey reported the following in a Monday e-mail: Nearly all of Iowa’s corn acres have emerged. Corn condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 15 percent fair, 56 percent good, and 25 percent excellent. The corn stand was rated at 95 percent of normal with 100 percent considered normal. The corn stand’s average tallest height was 51 inches with an overall average height of 37 inches.
Now, if you have really long legs, perhaps your corn crop isn’t knee-high yet. I measured the distance from the bottom of my foot to my knee this afternoon (behind my desk when no one was watching, of course) and it measured 20 inches … so I guess that means we’ll have a good crop in Minnesota and Iowa again this year.
Farmers in these parts can breathe a little easier right about now.
But wait … the old adage didn’t say anything about a late July hail storm or an August drought.
Knee-high by the Fourth of July won’t mean a whole lot if the crops don’t get an adequate amount of moisture and some warm temperatures to boost up the number of growing degree days between now and mid-September.
We’re just not going to worry about that this week … after all, it’s time to celebrate. Please have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend and, if you have a chance, take a drive in the country and admire the taller-than-knee-high corn crop.