Take a trip anywhere across Illinois and you’ll see thousands of acres of corn, soybeans, and small grains. This project prepares you for what it takes to understand Illinois’ #1 industry. Learn to test corn germination, study growing degree days, experiment with soil tilth, manage pests, calculate drying time, cross pollinate plants, learn about corn markets, and discover the vast number of careers related to corn.
Show Your Skills
- Showcase different uses of corn
- Yield comparison based on hybrids, planting dates
- Poster detailing information on seed labels
- Photo journal of actual crop fields with or without drainage/irrigation - note growing conditions such as weather, fertilizer, etc.
Service and Leadership
- Create care packages for farming friends and neighbors during planting or harvest
- Donate a percentage of your corn harvest to support local food banks or food pantries
- Give a presentation on sampling soil
- Plan a tour of a seed corn plant for your group
- Create farm safety rules for your family
- Grow sweet corn, popcorn or decorative corn to sell at a local farmers market
- Create a corn maze
- Plant a corn plot and evaluate different hybrids
- Plant breeding and plant improvements
- GPS yield mapping and automatic steering
- Variable-rate fertilizer application, cover cropping and soil sampling help care for the environment
- Drones identify corn stand counts, and detect plant stress and plant density
Connecting with a Mentor
- Soil and Water Conservation District staff
- Seed representatives
- 4-H Illini Summer Academies
- Crops judging contests
- County and state fairs and shows
- Attend adult pesticide applicator training workshops through University of Illinois Extension
- Farm Progress Show
- Crop Research Field Days - Illinois Extension
- University of Illinois Commercial Ag Programs
Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements
Purchase manuals on the Shop Illinois 4-H Store.
View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.
Illinois 4-H project guide
4-H Corn Manual
North Dakota 4-H Project Sheet – 4-H Crop Production
Iowa State University – 4-H Agronomy Project Hot Sheet
University of Illinois Extension staff that contributed to this resource include Kathy Book and Martha Ebbesmeyer.
4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!