DMC Event of the Month — July

Listening to Corn Growing


One of the true joys of summer on a quiet evening: walk out into a corn field, stand still, listen. Listen to music from fibers as they pull and grind pushing the corn upwards. It’s amazing. It’s a great reason to visit Iowa.



The Sound of Corn Growing” — an alternative explanation from the Acoustical Society of America

 A press release from the society in 1999 (click here) states: “Farming legends suggest that one can hear corn growing, especially at night, with distinctive popping sounds. These popping sounds actually do occur, but David G. Browning of the University of Rhode Island attributes them to something different than suggested by legend: puffs of wind during otherwise calm conditions cause adjacent leaves to strike each other, producing in many cases a distinctive spectrum of sounds. The sound spectrum changes as the corn matures (the increased weight of the corn ears causes the stalks to sway more pronouncedly) and as it loses moisture (the leaves become more brittle). Browning says that the “sound of corn growing” can therefore be transformed from a fanciful legend into a practical tool for monitoring the condition of crops.”