The unusually warm winter allowed many American farmers to plant their farmland with corn ahead of schedule. They in turn planted a record amount of farmland with corn. For those farmers who are going to cut a maze in their crop, they’ve planned the design of the corn maze by now. They are probably at the stage where they are marking or cutting the field with the design before the crop has grown too much. For those who are interested in the process, Treinen Farm has been blogging about the design of their corn maze.
But Mother Nature isn’t cooperating in many parts of the country. There just hasn’t been enough rain to support the corn. In northern Colorado, Glen Fritzler of the Fritzler corn maze spoke to reporters about a request to the Colorado Governor by local farmers to allow them to supplement surface water with irrigation from underground wells. A recent status update on Twitter indicates that they are cutting the corn for the maze so hopefully all will be well there.
Colorado isn’t the only area that is worried about the lack of rain. If you visit the U.S. Drought Monitor, you can see that a larger portion of the country is either suffering from drought or abnormally dry. There have also been a number of news reports about the situation across the country as well.
If the dry conditions continue, you can expect that the corn at corn mazes in affected areas will be shorter than usual this fall. They’ll probably also be smaller (less acreage) and thinner (more space between corn stalks). That’s based on my research from past corn mazes who opened after facing droughts. Farms with irrigation systems will do the best. So my guess is that profitable corn mazes have spent the money to have them installed in order to ensure that they can open.
In the future, farmers may be using drought tolerant corn that has been developed by biotechnology companies. Although presently controversial, I suspect that more genetically modified crops will be planted in the future in order to deal with the variations in weather from year to year.
In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for rain so that we’ll all be able to get lost in a beautiful field of cornstalks when September rolls around.