Raising Corn Post SHTF: Some Info

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Blackjack, Jan 13, 2007.


  1. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Here are some figures for raising corn and it's use. Keep in mind these numbers are generalizations, but most numbers I found on the net or in books I kept to the conservative side of.

    Everyone with some planting space would do well to keep a bucket of seed corn in storage. It is an extremely useful plant.


    Corn: about 35 lbs of corn heat a house in a pellet stove for a day
    26.1 pounds of corn make 1 gallon of ethanol fuel
    1 acre of corn makes 328 gallons of ethanol or 8,560 pounds of corn.
    1 acre of corn will heat a house (by pellet stove) for 200+ days.
    1 acre of corn will feed a pig, a milk cow, a beef steer, and 30 laying hens for a year!
     
  2. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    I almost forgot.... for ethanol (and molasses) sweet sorghum can't be beat

    1 Acre of Sweet Sorghum will yield 500 to 600 gallons of Ethanol.
     
  3. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Are your numbers based on organic farming meathods or comercial with all of the chemicals and such? Just asking since I know that the hybrid types of corn most farmers grow along with all the chemicals andso on do produce a lot more from a given acre so would make a difference if you didnt have all that stuff.

    Also might be worth pointing out that for post SHTF, unless you have a source for electricity, the pellet stoves would not be working since they wouldnt be able to run the motor to feed the pellets into the burn box.

    That said, if you have some space to plant it corn would be a good crop to have.
     
  4. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++


    Good point, I don't have a pellet stove and had not considered that.


    I gleaned the figures out of books and from articles on the net, everybody comes up with a different number so I chose the conservative ones. They are probably based on hybrids, which (as we know) is a no-no.

    I would think that taking into account using non-hybrids and losses to deer and such, you could produce at least half of the original figure per acre.... dunno for sure though.
     
  5. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Some pellet stoves have a battery conversion kit
     
  6. jim

    jim Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Even at 1/2 rate production, corn, wheat, sorgum and other small grains would be well worth their effort. Bio-intensive planting in rows will make production easier and more effecient, so it should be considered.

    Potatoes are good too. Let a bushel of them sprout, and you get tons of produce per acre. These and cabbage make great calorie crops.

    jim
     
  7. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    I read or heard somewhere that cabbage was the best producer per acre there was? Don't know if it's true, but it's not hard to believe.
     
  8. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    To be on the safe side I would assume about 1/4 production at best compareing traditional grains and meathods to hybrids with all the chemicals and so on.

    They would still be escential to grow unless you had a place to trade for them reliably. You would need the grains for flours/meals and such aside from anything else which is used in probably at least half of all the stuff we eat, not to mention being able to make the corn syrup or molasas to sweeten stuff, brew alcohol for medicinal/sanitation use as well as for trade and recreational/celibratory use.

    It would be a must have, just dont count on getting the yield per acre or whatever anywhere NEAR what comercial farming meathods produce. Another thing to keep in mind is that from my experience, and have heard others mention the same thing, a newly turned garden will generaly take at LEAST untill the second or third year to start giving a full yield. So in other words, if you just have to pick an area to clear and break sod (plow/turn/till) then your first years crop will likely not be all that great and at least the second is questionable.

    After a few years the things that will produce in your garden will also change. Climate isnt the only thing that decides if you can grow a given crop since I know some things grow great in gardens a mile or so from here that wont do anything in ours and visa versa. One thing I have found to help more than most would imagine with all the crops (not just corn) is to catch small fish (any size would work) and use pieces about half the size of your hand to drop under each plant/seed. I did this with tomatoes the first time and that was the only difference between one 1/2 the plants and the other 1/2. The half with fish started produceing 3-4 weeks sooner, grew bigger, and produced about twice as much for any given period than the others ever did. Burning the garden off each year and adding as much manure as possible tends to help as well.
     
  9. jim

    jim Monkey+++ Founding Member

    The Indians did that fish trick and it worked well for them. The manure and burning are something that everyone should do.

    jim
     
  10. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    Also check out companion planting. Corn, bean or peas, and squash are all good companions. Start with the corn. Corn uses a lot of nitrogen from the soil. Legumes (beans & peas) put nitrogen back in the soil and can use the corn stalk for support. Squash plants generally have large leaves and vine out across the ground blocking light from hitting the ground and helping with weed control.

    Also, for gardening in general, check out www.squarefootgardening.com I'm trying this method this year - supposedly you can get the same amount of food from only 20% of the space that is required for traditional row planting. I have real bad soil for growing a garden (heavy clay and poor drainage), so I'm giving this method a try, I ain't got nothin' to loose!!

    Ryan
     
  11. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Corn, beans, and squash. I believe the Natives called it "3 sisters". They all do very well together.
     
  12. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Monkeyman is correct....1/4 or less using open pollinated seed and no commercial fertilizers.

    30 bushels per acre typically, whereas even a fairly sorry commercial operation raises 120 bushels/ac nowdays.

    A bushel weighs 56lbs.....so a 30bu/ac yield would generate around 1700-1800lbs per ac.

    Even that is not sustainable without rotation and green manure practices (plant clover/etc in rotation)
     
  13. duanet

    duanet Monkey+++

    We raised "organic" corn when I was a kid. The chemicals weren't in use then. Rotating the crops, planting corn one year, followed by grain with alfalfa the second year, and alfalfa the third year, and using hybrid seed, in the l940s we got about 60 bushels of corn per acre. Granddad said that with the locally selected non hybrid corn, he had got about 45 bushels per acre in the 1920s. Raising the hay replenished the nitrogin and crowded out the weeds. On my brothers farm with insecticide, herbicide, dry and anhydros amonia, hybrid seed and all, they get close to 300 bushels per acre I think. That corn is in my opinion a frankenstein type thing. It is genetically modified to withstand the herbacide and to kill the ability to save the seeds. The best crop of corn I ever saw as a kid was on a piece of ground that had been a pasture for 100 years and the first year it made almost 100 bushels per acre. If you are thinking of raising corn in a SHTF situation, I would humbly suggest that you send off for one of the organic heirloom varieties and plant some NOW and save the seeds for next year from the best plants. Thats how the corn plant used to be raised. In 3 or 4 years, you will have the plants that do best in your garden, with you raising them. That being said, you will also get a crash course in the effects of corn borers, smut, rust, ear worms, fertilizer needs, proper ph of the soil, growing season, moisture and drought resistance and such. As a starter read about the 3 sisters, with Bloody butcher corn, a native bean for storing, and a squash for eating and drying as that was the things that most of the farming indians depended on for food. I also rember the blisters I used to get from hoing weeds for 6 hours a day in the cornfield when I was a kid.
     
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