We can’t help but toot our own horn…this year’s Abbey Farm’s Corn Maze is a-maize-ing! Yea, bad pun and spelling, we know.
For those of you who enjoy a challenge, we have nearly 15 acres of corn maze puzzle to explore. It is broken into two separate mazes, with an 11-foot high bridge in-between. We think our maze is big; however, Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon, California holds the Guinness World Record for the largest temporary corn maze. It is 60 acres and was verified on October 3, 2014!
The Abbey Farms’ maze closest to the main park attractions is the more difficult maze. It is based on the movie “Signs,” which starred Mel Gibson. As you explore, make your way to the newly built lookout bridge in the middle of the maze to wave at family and friends. As to the second maze, we guarantee that Cubs fans will like the crop sign cut into the northern cornfield – it is that of the “W” flag!
Admission to Corn Maze
General admission tickets cost $14.99 each on weekends and $10.99 each on weekdays and are available online or walk-up. This one price includes access to most activities, including the corn maze. A few attractions cost extra on the weekends, as are store purchases and pumpkins.
For those of you looking to add an extra challenge to your corn maze sleuthing, the maze is open late on Saturday nights! The jumping pillow, pedal go-karts, and tractor tire hill stay open until close at 10 p.m. as well. Make certain you bring a flashlight to explore the maze after dark. Fear not – we do not haunt the maze. General admission after 6 p.m. on Saturday is only $7.99.
Facts about Corn
Just for fun, we’re sharing some facts about corn. Perhaps you’ll a-maize your friends with this trivia!
Corn is a cereal crop that is part of the grass family
- On average, an ear of corn has 800 kernels in 16 rows
- Corn will always have an even number of rows on each cob
- A pound of corn consists of approximately 1,300 kernels
- 100 bushels of corn produces approximately 7,280,000 kernels
- Each year, a single U.S. farmer provides food and fiber for 129 people – 97 in the U.S. and 32 overseas
- In the U.S., corn production measures more than two times that of any other crop
- In the days of the early settlers to North America corn was so valuable that it was used as money and traded for other products such as meat and furs
- There are over 3,500 uses for corn
- It is a major component in many food items like cereals, peanut butter, snack foods and soft drinks
- Corn and its by products are also found in many non-food items such as fireworks, rust preventatives, glue, paint, dyes, laundry detergent, soap, aspirin, antibiotics, paint, shoe polish, ink, cosmetics, the manufacturing of photographic film, and in the production of plastics
- Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota account for over 50 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. Other major corn growing states are Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky
- The “Corn Belt” includes the states of Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky
- Illinois ranks just behind Iowa as the leading producer of corn in the United States
- Corn is produced on every continent of the world with the exception of Antarctica
Building a Corn Maze
This year (2017) is the first year we took over planting the corn. Previously, we didn’t own the proper equipment, so we contracted out all aspects of the corn maze. With the purchase of a new four-row MaterMacc vacuum precision planter from Italy, we now can plant corn, pumpkins and a variety of other crops on a larger scale if we choose to.
Tilling the ground.
For those of you unfamiliar with farming, the goal is to give the seed the best chance to sprout and grow that you can. That means disking and tilling the soil, to bury old vegetation, leaving as few dirt clods as possible. If it rains before we can plant, there is a good chance we need to till the ground again to break up the crust. Otherwise, the seeds have to work too hard to push out of the ground.
After the first disking, we applied a dry fertilizer, with mainly phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). Did you know that phosphorous is a major component of a plant’s DNA? It is also critical for root development. Likewise, potassium is essential to activate over 80 enzymes in the plant. The nutrient helps the plant to withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures, drought and pests.
After the fertilizer application, we disked again, followed by field cultivating, one or two times.
Planting the seeds.
We were excited that we would get to use a new planter. We did use a new planter, just not the one we ordered months prior. Ours was still on the boat from Italy. However, our equipment dealer took care of us, loaning a two-row planter made from the same company.
The good news was that we could begin learning how to use the intricate planter, as there are many settings to calibrate to get the seeds dropped correctly. The bad news was that it took us twice as long because it planted two rows, versus the four-row planter we ordered.
Also, when planting a corn maze, you plant the field twice, making the rows perpendicular to each other. We spaced the seeds 11 inches apart within a row, making each row 30 inches apart. We planted our corn in mid- to late-May.
Growing the corn.
After planting, CHS Elburn applied a fertilizer (primarily with nitrogen), with a pre-emergence herbicide. Nitrogen is primarily responsible for vegetative growth. Later, another round of herbicide was applied, but unfortunately it rained and it didn’t help control the weeds as well as we would have liked. Nevertheless, this is not unusual when farming.
Cutting the maze.
In mid- to late-June, we cut the pattern of the maze into the field. Prior to cutting, we work on ideas, and then contact our contractor, Precision Mazes, who puts together a drawing. The company then utilizes the most accurate GPS technology, along with cornfield cutting techniques to produce our maze.
Time to enjoy!
We were blessed with good growing conditions and now our corn is 9 to 11 feet tall. Eric Mott, farm operations manager, is over the moon with how this year’s corn turned out. Of course, he did his research on every step, starting by choosing a corn variety from Pioneer that touts tall and strong stalks. No doubt, Mother Nature was on our side, too.
Before the sun sets on Abbey Farms’ 2017 Pumpkin Daze, we hope you’ll visit us to explore the signs in our cornfield. Visitors on Saturday evening may even catch a picture-perfect sunset. We look forward to hosting you, your family, and your friends. Pre-order your tickets here!
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