Most of the corn grown in the United States is produced in the Corn Belt, which
includes Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri and South Dakota.
Within the USA, Michigan sits at the NE extremities of the corn belt. The map below
shows where the corn belt lies.
Source: Photograph by Randy Schaetzl, Professor of Geography - Michigan State University
Corn continues to be Michigan's NUMBER ONE CROP in terms of planted and harvested
acres, and value of production.
The southern 1/3 of the lower peninsula is considered as part of the midwestern US "Corn Belt". The northern limit of the corn belt is reached in Michigan, somewhere around Clare. North of there, corn has a difficult time ripening, due to the shorter growing season. Also, north of Clare the soils get sandier and are not as fertile.
Source: Michigan State University Department of Geography
Most corn in the US is grown for feed to animals or as food for humans. However,
large acreages of corn in SW lower Michigan are devoted to the production of hybrid seed
corn. The fertile, sandy soils in this region, coupled with abundant shallow
groundwater supplies, allows farmers to exactly control the soil moisture in their fields
through irrigation and subsurface drainage. Thus, yields are maximized and seed corn
quality is high. The largest Pioneer seed corn plant in the western world is located
in Constantine (St. Joseph County), on sandy outwash plains
with fertile Mollisol soils. Irrigation in the region
is typically done via large center-pivot irrigation rigs, which make circular field
patterns as shown below.
Corn is used for a number of purposes, from human food (corn flakes, corn meal) to sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup). However, the main use of corn is as cattle feed.
This material has been compiled for educational use only, and may not be reproduced without permission. One copy may be printed for personal use. Please contact Randall Schaetzl (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or permissions.