Corn, (Zea mays), also called Indian corn or maize, cereal plant of the grass family ( Poaceae ) and its edible grain. Corn is used as livestock feed, as human food, as biofuel, and as raw material in industry.


Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, with the total production of maize surpassing that of wheat or rice. In addition to being consumed directly by humans, maize is also used for corn ethanol, animal feed and other maize products, such as corn starch and corn syrup. Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption as kernels, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed, various corn-based human food uses (including grinding into cornmeal or masa, pressing into corn oil, and fermentation and distillation into alcoholic beverages like bourbon whiskey), and as chemical feedstocks. Maize is also used in making ethanol and other biofuels.

Maize is widely cultivated throughout the world, and a greater weight of maize is produced each year than any other grain. In 2014, total world production was 1.04 billion tonnes.

Cultivation and harvesting of corn

In Europe, corn is sown between April and May; it germinates and flowers in July and August. Corn kernels form after pollination and grow as they fill with sugar (starch), proteins and lipids, before becoming fully ripe in October. Corn is harvested when the kernels start to turn yellow and when a black dot is visible at the base of the kernel. For optimal storage conditions, corn requires a dry environment (between 9% and 15% maximum humidity).

It is recommended not to grow two successive corn crops on the same area of land, due to its high requirement for nitrogen. Ideally, it should be planted after a crop of pulses, potatoes or spelt which require little nitrogen. Corn also requires soil irrigated by large quantities of water.

About two-thirds of the world's corn is used as feed. In some countries the average yield reaches the amount of 10 t / ha, and a large part of this amount is harvested in a mature state, and used as feed grain. Both grain maize and silage corn is the food with the highest caloric content with which animals can be fed, and which contains more oil than wheat or barley, but has a lower protein content than other cereals.

Due to the high starch content, corn decomposes slowly in the cattleā€™s stomach, so it is widely used as an energy resource of vital importance. Because corn is digested and passes slowly through the animal, the digestion process takes longer, so the plant is used in a higher percentage compared to other fodder plants, such as wheat or barley.

The nutritional regime of birds cannot miss a large amount of feed with high caloric content, so using corn is very widespread due to the energy content of 15 Mj / kg (relative to dry matter) that can be metabolized. Birds easily digest corn which has a high starch content, it is tasty and does not contain anti-nutritive materials.

Due to its high edible energy value (ED) and low protein content, corn is indispensable in pig feed, both grain and in the form of a mixture of silage cobs