In Ontario, over 5.5 million tonnes of corn are grown every year, and almost all of that corn is dent, or “field,” corn. In fact, over 50 per cent of our cropland is used for “field” corn, whereas less than one per cent is used for sweet corn.
What is the difference between the types of corn?
Sweet corn is the type that we eat with butter and salt. It is bred for its sweet taste and has twice the amount of sugar than field corn.
The seeds that are planted are wrinkled looking and the sweet corn stalk tends to be weak compared to the field corn stalk. The corn ears are large and dark yellow with big kernels.
Sweet corn is harvested in the summer between July and September when it is high in moisture content.
Field corn is the type used for animal feed and industrial products. Field corn seeds are smooth looking and the field corn stalks are about 2 feet taller than sweet corn stalks.
It’s a very strong plant with big leaves and a wide stem, but the ears and kernels are smaller than sweet corn.
This corn is bred for its high starch content and is harvested in the fall between October and November when the kernels are hard and dry so they can be stored for a long time.