Negative Effects of Growing Corn


It is always a good feeling whenever you taste the freshly picked corm during summer picnic and able to grilled them to perfection. The taste will be much better with drizzled melted butter on top of the corn along with seasoning that you sprinkled on the grilled corn. Corn that has been grown negatively provides certain impacts to the environment. Due to the corn high nutrient needs, pests are attract to the corn crop tenaciously and sometime will be difficult to control them. Therefore, in order to maintain the corn production, farmers normally relies on fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The usage of all these chemicals creates a never ending list of problems to the surrounding environment.

What you need to know about negative effects of growing corn:

  • Fertilizers
  • Herbicides and Pesticides
  • Irrigation

About Negative Effects of Growing Corn

Negative Effects of Growing Corn

  • Corn crops need extensive volume of nitrogen to grow and it is a sweet tooth for phosphorus.
    • Due to this reason, farmers keep on reapplying fertilizers several times especially during the corn growing season. As a result, it also increases the potential for runoff of the excess nitrogen and phosphorus.
    • The runoff will in the end start to contaminate the surrounding surface and ground water. Apart from that, it also produces the growth of algae in large amount and able to deplete the oxygen in waterways thus killing all the fish and other wildlife nearby the area.
  • One of the most common herbicides used in corn production is known as Atrazine
    • The herbicides can also contaminate groundwater
    • Not only that, Atrazine can also cause cancer in rats and it is the main reason behind carcinogenic in humans.
  • Insecticide that has been used regularly in corn production includes Chlorpyrifos.
    • It contains a neurotoxin that poses high risks and endangers children.

According to survey done by USDA, in the year 2000 nearly 70 metric tons of herbicides and more than 4 metric tones of insecticides were used in the United States for corn production.

  • The growing of corn crops in dry areas has increased and resulting to detrimental effects on the area especially related to water supplies.
    • For areas that do not receive enough rain definitely rely mainly on irrigation in order to provide sufficient moisture to make the corn crop successful.
    • Due to the demand of water through irrigation for the corn crop, it reduces the amount of water available for the local population.

    Always remember that if you want to reduce the negative effects of growing corn,

    • Try to reduce the usage of chemical fertilizers. You can simply grow a cover crop of legumes once your corn crop has been harvested. Legumes have the ability to transfer nitrogen from the environment into the soil enabling the next crop to use the nitrogen.
    • Apart from that, use compost and other organic material such as natural non-toxic fertilizer alternatives or even use a layer of mulch to help the corn to retain water easily.
    • In order to reduce the need of using chemical pesticides, you can also practice rotating crops, planting during the right period along with sowing resistant varieties of corn.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC