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Reports on Maize Grown in the Midwest in 1854


Statement of Martin Mondy, of Vermillion county, Illinois

     Corn is the principal crop in this county. The White and Yellow Gourd-seed ate the varieties most in favor here, as they produce more abundantly than any others. The yield per acre is from 60 to 80 bushels. Our prairie farmers usually sell their surplus corn in the shock to cattle-feeders at an average price of 38 cents a bushel. It is generally cut up in October. Those who send their corn to market find a ready sale on the Wabash and Erie canal at an average proce of 38 cents per bushel when shelled; cost of transporting to the canal 5 cents a bushel. The cost of raising and harvesting and acre of corn is about $9, leaving a profit to the farmer of $13.80, when the yield is 60 bushels.


Statement of John Spiny, of Connersville, Fayette county, Indiana.

     The kind of soil best adapted for corn, in this region, is a warm loam; and should be sod land broken up in the spring after the grass starts, which prevents the ravages of the cut-worm. After ploughing the ground should be harrowed in the direction of the furrows, to prevent turning back the sod. Then cross harrow, and it is ready to plant.

Statement of A. B. McKee, of Vincennes, Knox county, Indiana

     Corn is one of our principal crops. Average yield 40 bushels to the acre. Market value from 20 to 50 cents a bushel.

      The rotation of crops generally adopted is first, clover, then wheat, then corn; or if rye is raised, first rye, corn next, then wheat.


Statement of H. F. Moore, of Big Mound, Lee county, Iowa

     Corn is extensively cultivated here for feeding to hogs and other stock. The average yield without manure is 40 bushels to the acre; but when well manured with stable or barnyard dung, over 100 bushels are sometimes obtained.

     The average price on the farm is usually 40 cents per bushel; but this year, in consequence of the drought, it is double that price.

Statement of Admiral B. Miller and Joseph Brobst, of Knoxville, Marion county, Iowa

    Corn is the principal crop in this State. The average yield is about 60 bushels to the acre. Present value 25 cents a bushel.

     The manner of bringing our prairies into cultivation, is to break up the sod with a strong team of four or five yoke of cattle. This is generally done in June, at an expense of $2 per acre. Corn is planted, by being dropped in the furrows after the plough, and covered by the succeeding furrow-slice. This crop is called sod corn, and commonly produces about 25 bushels to the acre. Nothing is done to the corn, after planting, until ready to harvest. The first crop will generally pay the expense of breaking up the prairie lands.


Statement of Henry H. Holt, of Cascade, Kent county, Michigan.

   Next to wheat, corn is considered our most valuable crop. It is usually planted after wheat. The time of planting is from the 10th to the 25th of May. For the last two years, early-planted corn has been the most successful, being less affected by drought. The yield is from 20 to 50 bushels to the acre. Price from 38 to 75 cents per bushel.


Statement of S. S. G. Franklin, of Cuba, Clinton county, Ohio.

     Owing to the severe drought last summer, our present crop has been cut short. The average yield to the acre will probably not exceed 25 bushels, though from some good "bottom lands" 75 bushels may be gathered.

     The cost of production is 10 cents a bushel. Present price at Wilmington, 56 cents, and at Cincinnati 66 cents per bushel.  

     We generally break up sward land in the winter, harrow it well in the spring, mark it out into squares 3½ each way, and cover the seed by hoes. Our time of planting os from the 1st to the 20th of May. When the corn is up, we keep the ground loose and free from weeds with the cultivator or the double-shovel plough. We cut up the stalks in the fall for fodder, and sometimes sow the ground with wheat.


Statement of J. W. Clarke, Marquette, Marquette county, Wisconsin

     Corn is a sure crop in Northern Wisconsin, on all varieties of soil existing here. The average yield on the prairies, is about 35 bushels to the acre; in the "openings," about 25 bushels. This difference of yield is on account of the stumps in the "openings," as they prevent the ground from being all cultivated. When the stumps shall have rotted out, the yield will probably be equal to that of the prairies, and perhaps the case will be reversed before long, since the more general cultivation of the prairies will sooner exhaust their fertility.

     The corn is cultivated by running a shovel-plough or cultivator two or three times between the rows, and then using a light plough once or twice if the weeds require it. Distance between the rows and hills, about 4 feet. The varieties cultivated are the "Yellow" and "White-dent corn.