Not all that long. Under ideal conditions corn can produce edible ears ~90 days after planting, though most farmers will let their corn dry on the plant until later in the fall. You can tell when corn is ready to harvest by feeling the ear. When the kernels have “filled out” all the way to the end of the ear it is ready to harvest.
Interesting, thank you! Do you know what do the farmer’s gain by allowing the corn to dry on the plant? Wouldn’t this increase the likelihood that it could get eaten by animals?
To store the corn for long periods of time in silos or grain elevators it needs to be dried or it will rot. The wetter the corn is when it’s harvested the more time and energy it takes to dry it which costs the farmers a lot of money (especially now that natural gas prices are so high.) So it makes sense for them to risk losing a bit more corn to hungry deer and raccoons if waiting lets the corn naturally dry more.
For example the harvest this year was much wetter than usual, which is still causing problems. Here’s an article on the subject: http://www.sj-r.com/business/x640757969/Late-wet-harvest-still-affecting-costs
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