Field corn

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Field corn is every variety of maize that is not grown primarily for consumption as human food in the form of fresh kernels in the United States. In contrast, sweet corn is grown primary as an edible crop. Popcorn, although it is not grown for human consumption in the form of fresh kernels, is not considered to be field corn. More than 98% of corn-growing land in the U.S. is in use for field-corn production.[1]

Principal field corn varieties are:[1]


Large-scale applications for field corn include:[1]

  • Livestock fodder, whether as whole cobs (for hogs only), whole or ground kernels, or (after chopping and ensilage) the entire above-ground portion of the unripe plant
  • Cereal products including corn flour, corn meal, hominy, grits, nixtamal, tortillas, corn bread, and cold breakfast cereals (such as corn flakes).
  • Other processed human-food products including corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Alcohol and corn whiskey

Field corn is not generally regarded, in industrialized societies, as desirable for human food without commercial pre-processing. An exception is "roasting ears", similar in appearance to corn on the cob, although it is necessarily roasted (rather than boiled or steamed as is usual with sweet corn), and is neither tender nor sweet even after the roasting. Field corn is commonly eaten in third world countries, e.g. a variety of Field corn, known as Cuzco corn, is commonly eaten in the Andes region of South America.


  1. ^ a b c "Corn" at Purdue Agriculture
  2. ^ Jian Li, p. 3 in Total Anthocyanin Content in Blue Corn Cookies as Affected by Ingredients and Oven Types, 2009, dissertation in Department of Grain Science and Industry, College of Agriculture, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas