Corn, also known as maize, is a cereal grain native to Central America. It is a source of food for humans and animals, as well as being a key ingredient in fuel production. Ancient farmers in the region that is now Southern Mexico first domesticated corn about 10,000 years ago. However, European countries didn’t discover the crop until 1492 when Christopher Columbus brought it back from Cuba. A growing number of diverse industries use corn to produce their products, with annual production of the crop now exceeding that of rice and wheat. Therefore, corn plays a critical role in the world economy. There are six varieties of the crop. All varieties grow in a similar manner. Farmers deposit seeds in an inch or two of soil and the seeds germinate in 5 to 12 days.
The corn variety and soil temperature impact the timing of this process. As the seeds sprout, they develop little leaves that resemble blades of grass. After further growth, the plants develop thick stalks and flat pointed leaves. Stalks can grow as high as 15 feet. Once the stalks reach two-thirds of their full height, they begin the process of reproduction through pollination by wind. To ensure successful fertilization, farmers plant the seeds in short rows or blocks. This allows the silks from the female flowers to easily reach neighboring plants.