Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

aMAZE-ing Ag! 

Corn and Cubs are not the most likely topics to combine, but this combination is proving to be a huge hit at a corn maze in Illinois.  Ever since I read the articles about local corn mazes, I just couldn’t stop myself from investigating if this could possibly involve another career in ag.  The answer is a resounding YES!  In fact, corn mazes have become such a popular supplemental income option for farmers that there are now businesses that exist solely to help farmers build and run mazes. A few I ran across include Corn Mazes, Maze Play, Precision Mazes and The MAiZE.  There are a few basic steps to creating the end product which include the use of technology. One example of the process is described as follows.

GPS tracking is used to create a path for the corn maze to be cut. It starts by creating a grid plot, either on graph paper or digitally. Then a vehicle is fitted with a GPS tracking device which is driven around the land where the maze will be and GPS coordinates are obtained. The electronic version of the maze design is overlaid over the map of the field, where a program plots the maze and lets a mower go through the GPS-guided path for cutting the maze at the right locations. Many farmers lay down seed twice as thick as they normally would, to create a much denser field.  When the corn stalks reach a foot tall, the tractor will cut through the field according to what the GPS tracking system came up with for the maze. With constantly changing technology options, now, a GPS-equipped mower can zoom in on a single stalk within an inch. Add in a drone and you can even get more elaborate.  Drones can be used to take overhead shots following the planting to see if the design is coming to fruition or if adjustments need to be made. After the season wrap up, the maze gets harvested by a combine, which separates the ears of corn from the stalks.  

 Whether you own a business to create and execute the development of corn mazes or you are an artistic type who creates the cornfield design, agriculture has another option for careers.  I hope you and your family have the opportunity to visit a field and try your luck on navigating out of the field of corn.  A tip I read is to not get stuck in the eye or you’ll go around and around and around.  Enjoy!   

Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove celebrates the Cubs World Series win with their corn maze this year. Source Chicago Tribune.