'Knee-high by Fourth of July'? Not anymore - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

'Knee-high by Fourth of July'? Not anymore

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JACKSON, Minn. (AP) -- "Knee high by the Fourth of July" used to be a common saying that helped people gauge how the corn crop was doing.

But these days, it's a poor corn crop that isn't way past that point, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Rachel Hollerich, a southern Minnesota farmer, says the corn probably should be chest-high by the Fourth. Hers was nearly 6 feet tall on July 3 this year.

That says a lot about how plant breeders have improved corn genetics after more than a century of effort. Modern corn can flourish in conditions that might have stunted the plant in the past.

And that toughness allows farmers to get it in the ground earlier each spring, giving it a lot more time to shoot up.

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