Wednesday, July 6, 2011
There has been a long standing joke among some farmers when they find corn smut in their fields. That ugly gray fungus that grows on corn in certain conditions is edible.
It looks like a brain full of gray matter and of course is really slimy. I have had to deal with it in sweet corn patches where you get "up close and dirty" with your corn.
Now some enterprising entrepreneurs are selling it or serving it. It's been analyzed for food value and turns out it has nutrients in it the corn doesn't even have.
It's popular enough in Mexican culture that it is worth more than the corn it ruins. Now I would hate to set up my corn fields for failure but someone has figured out how to market and make a profit off "fungus among us." Consider it no worse than boring holes in logs and trees to grow rare delicacies called mushrooms. I don't think that business took off very well around here either because we don't really have the proper growing conditions for it and they must be man made to imitate when "nature throws us a curve ball."
She sure threw me one this year. I wasn't prepared for the wettest spring in recent history as Cincinnati is 18 inches above normal rainfall. Now when we need it most we aren't getting it.
Even conservative weathermen are forecasting a hot dry July already. That dome of hot air has engulfed most of the continent and has spread to Ohio. If your crop hasn't canopied or covered the ground by now, it is getting hurt by the lack of moisture.
Steve Horstmeyer showed the big ridge on the 11 o'clock channel 12 Cincinnati Weather Authority news last night and it verifies what I thought those first hot days in June. Fortunately we have had some showers since then but now it's hot and muggy again an no relief in sight.
Dr. Elwynn Taylor, my climatologist friend from Iowa State thinks we will get enough moisture this summer for above trend line yields in the midwest.
I hope he is right but you have to remember we are a month to six weeks behind the midwest in crop planting date so even if our crop has caught up some this month, it's way behind normal and parts of the country.
There isn't a thing I can do about it but write about it right now so if Mother Nature throws you a lemon, figure out how to made lemonade from it. Or, that's huitlacoche down south.