Dryland Hopi Corn 2024

Corn from 2023 harvest was stored on the cob at 72°F until Febrary 10th 2024 and there was in total 57lbs of shelled Hopi Blue Corn suitable for planting. We have 3 strains of corn from 2023 including Hopi Blue, Hopi White (1lb), Hopi Pink (2lbs), as well as some crosses. Of this about 20% is from Field 1 and 80% from Field 2 with another 10lbs of immature corn from Field 2. The Hopi Blue ears varied in color from almost black to pale blue depending on the maturity. Corn was sorted into batches based on strain, kernel color variations, cob size/quality, plant color, and kernel maturity to test germination rates. Germination was greater than 95% for all batches except the lightest Hopi Blue tested where the germination was 75%. The Hopi Pink produced more with fewer plants than the Hopi White but kernel color, plant size, and plant appearance were very similar. We have also collected additional Hopi Pink, Hopi White, and other varieties for testing.

Batch List 2023 Pictures of Hopi Corn / Corn Maturity

The left image below shows a grey maroon color variation that appeared among Hopi Blue Corn (not crossed pure strain). Hopi Blue color darkens with maturity and the image in middle shows a cob with light immature kernels that probably will not germinate. In right image below the middle cob is darker and has a deep maroon shade while the two on the left have a white cob are dark blue. This difference is not very noticable in the image but clear enough to the naked eye and the stalks and leaves of this maroon corn display varying degrees of red. One plant from Field 1 was completely dark maroon red including the ear. stalk, and leaves.

2023 Harvest / Hopi Blue Earthtone
2023 Harvest / Hopi Blue Earthtone
2023 Harvest / Hopi Blue Chinmark Earthtone
Hopi Blue Mature Color
Hopi Blue Mature Color
Hopi Blue / Maturity Affects Color
Hopi Blue Colors
Hopi Blue Colors
Hopi Blue / Color Variation

Fertlizer

In contrast to 2023, fertlizer was applied to all fields and tilled in at recommended levels (120lbs N/acre, 80lbs P2O5/acre, 100lbs K2O/acre, plus some micronutrients).

Seed Preparation / Pre-Sprouting

I also found that prolonged soaking of fresh corn seeds, more than 12 hours, can result in a lack of oxygen and result in poor germination and that seeds which are too far along in the germination process (have roots emerging) are easily damaged by handling. Old seeds may benefit from a longer presprouting period but fresh seeds from the previous year only need an 8-12 hours soak at room temperature. After soaking seeds should be drained and can be kept another 8-12 hours at room temperature after which roots should begin to emerge. Sometimes seeds are soaked but planting the next day is not possible due to weather (wind) and we found that putting soaked seeds in the refrigerator delays germination and may damage the seeds. In the Hopi Blue field the first 8 rows sprouted followed by rows 14+ which all sprouted before rows 9-14 which were planted a few days earlier than the 14+ rows but were refrigerated.

Varieties In Order Of Planting 2024
Wikti Corn / Hopi Greasy Head
Wikti Corn / Hopi Greasy Head
Wikti Corn / Hopi Greasy Head
Wikti (Hopi Greasy Head)

Six-hundred Wikti seeds were soaked planted in east-west rows in an area that partially overlapped 2023 Field 1. For half we used a 1 foot middle buster at maximum depth resulting in a trench 8-12 inches deep and placed seeds evenly in the bottom of the trench by hand which was followed by dragging a rebar harrow upside down to cover them with 3-12 inches of soil. The tractor is 4 feet wide plus so driving on the high part between the trenches and overlapping the tire mark rows are 3-4 feet apart. The second half of the seeds were then planted, between the trenches, on the high parts using a drill and 2" garden augur 6-10 inches deep in a rough zig-zag pattern resulting in a double row about 1\' between the double row and 1\' between plants in the row. This closer planting should result in earlier canopy closure, shading from sunlight, and reduced evaporation. Soil was partially or fully replaced and while emergence was similar plant health seemed to get more moisture and do better when the soil was completely replaced (holes filled). The probability of freeze is usually past by May 15th but there was an early hot summer like period followed by several nights in May dipped below freezing much later than usual until late May 30th. Our temperatures in spring are typically at least 5° colder than reported by weather station ½ a mile away at the same elevation on the same "flats" and a prediction of 38°F or colder indicates a possibility of freeze (with observed frost on the squash leaves that took damage). About half of the the corn sprouted and despite a little damage to the outer leaves is growing well. In the patch there was better emergence with the trench planted seeds. Wikti is an earthtone colored flour corn and one of the first types if not the first type of corn to mature in summer.


Smoik Hu:n (Pima 60 Day Corn)

One-thousand-two-hundred Smoik Hu:n seeds were soaked and planted in north-south rows with an augur 300 feet west of the Wikti (2023 Field 1). Soil was dry on top but a few inches down there was sufficient moisture for germination. Part of this field were planted in straight rows and part using the zig-zag pattern to make double rows explained above. Emergence was very poor but a few of the emergent corn are bigger than the Wikti which was planted earlier. This type of corn makes tillers early and seedlings in partially backfilled holes did not perform as well as seedlings in fully backfilled holes. Pima 60 day corn is a white flour/flint corn and one of the earliest maturing type of flour corn.

Smoik Hu:n Corn
Smoik Hu:n Corn
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Not Ideal
Smoik Hu:n Corn
Smoik Hu:n Corn
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Not Ideal
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Backfill Completely
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Backfill Completely
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Backfill Completely
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Backfill Completely
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Backfill Completely
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Backfill Completely
Smoik Hu:n Corn
Smoik Hu:n Corn
Smoik Hu:n Corn / Backfill Completely


Hopi White Corn
Hopi White Corn
Hopi White Corn
Hopi White

One-thousand-seven-hundred Hopi White from 2023 and NSS combined were soaked and planted by trench method and with an augur 300 feet south and 300 feet west of the Smoik Hu:n field. Soil moisture was acceptable. Several planting methods were tried including with an augur 6-10 inches deep, with augur drilled holes at bottom of a filled trench (deep planting), with augur at the bottom of an un-filled trench, and with seeds placed at the bottom of a rebar harrow filled trench. Emergence was varied but in contrast to other strains Hopi White emergence was better with augur "only" but emergence was also good in some trench "only" rows. Combined augur drilled holes at bottom of a "filled" trench with seeds being 8-16 inches deep resulted in extremely poor emergence (seeds were planted individually one per hole). It is possible that planting multiple seeds per hole compensates for poor emergence when seeds are planted deeply. Hopi White is pink tinged white flour corn with plants being short, 3-5\' high, that is normally planted deeply in clumps with 6-10 seeds per hole and then thinned to 3-6 plants per group (hill method).

Hopi Pink Corn
Hopi Pink Corn
Hopi Pink Corn
Hopi Pink

Two-thousand-six-hundred Hopi Pink from 2023 and new Hopi Pink were each soaked and planted in separate areas of the same field by trench method and augur 300 feet south of the Hopi White field. The 2023 Hopi Pink were white with varying degrees of pink/red while the new seeds were a darker "rose" color. Hopi Pink seeds from 2023 with more intense red coloration were grouped together. This area is next to our south fence is the lowest on the the property, and soil is deep sandy loam with acceptable moisture. This area have patches of weeds that grow higher and stay greener indicating the deep loam may cover areas with underground soil seepage. Hopi Pink seeds are difficult to find so some of the 2023 seed were reserved for 2025 and only 40%, the lowest, of the prepared area was planted. This area is sloped and trenches were made roughly east-west following the contour of the slope which should help trap moisture. Two planting methods were used including augur drilled holes in a zig-zag pattern at the bottom of un-filled trenches and in a zig-zag pattern on the high parts between the trenches with an augur 6-10 inches deep. Auger holes were backfilled for both methods. Emergence was poor but still better than for the Smoik Hu:n and about the same as the Hopi White. The growth and appearance of Hopi Pink is very similar to Hopi White and plants are less than 5 feet tall.

The Intermission

By mid May weather predicitions were for a very hot dry summer, windspeeds were generally high during the days, and we took a week to decide if we should continue planting or save seeds for 2025. I had soaked 2500 Kikam Hu:n seeds and had 2 more prepared fields, one west of the Smoik Hu:n and another 1 1/2 acres spanning the width of property 400 feet north of any other fields.

Kikam Hu:n

The Kikam Hu:n seeds were soaked during "the intermission", sprouted, and were 2-4 inches high at the time of planting. A few of these seedlings (120) were selected and planted in an irrigated bed. Kikam Hu:n is another fast maturing corn similar to Pima 60 Day Corn which is 80% soft flour and 20% flint.

North Field / Hopi Blue Corn
North Field / Hopi Blue Corn
North Field / Hopi Blue Corn
Hopi Blue

Between May 26th and June 6th we planted 1 1/2 acres of Hopi Blue corn. The area was plowed and trenched roughly on contour in areas where the grass was taller and the soil had higher levels of moisture. In this area rain is usually light and doesn't last long so contours will help trap snow and increase water absorbtion during spring thaw, but perfectly level berms aren't necessary. Soil in most areas was moist, dark, and clumpy after using the middle buster. Seeds from the best ears of Hopi Blue from 2023 were selected for planting, and 50 Hopi Blue seeds from an outside source were mixed in to maintain population diversity and reduce the chance of inbreeding depression. A few ears from 2023 had a mixture of white and blue kernels or had maroon/blue chinmarked kernels and these were saved but not planted with regular blue. The seeds from the Hopi Blue (pure red plant) were planted at one end of the field surrounded by seeds of reddish plants surrounded by seeds of regular Hopi Blue corn. Seeds were soaked overnight, allowed to rest 9 hours, rinsed, and planted using trench, hand seed, cover with rebar harrow method. Four rows were planted first, followed by four rows 2 days later, and this was continued until the field was entirely planted (with the exception of an area with dry powdery soil). Seedling emergence was excellent with the first 4 rows emerging on June 7th follow by the next 4 rows on June 9th and then a few seedlings emerged in rows 9-17 on June 11th. The results from this area should be interesting since there is a small slope south of the field which drains north to the field and spring snow melt collects on the driveway at the northeast corner of this field.

Concha White

In 2023 the Concha White performed better than some other non-irrigated strains (plants survived but did not produce). Planting the field west of the Smoik Hu:n was posponed because it was windy and the soil appeared very dry on top. After testing several areas with an augur the soil moisture appeared relatively good (soil was darker and clumpier a few inches down). Seeds were soaked on the Friday the 7th and planted Sunday morning. Four-hundred Concha White (with 200 kept in reserve) were combined with less than 100 selected white kernels from the 2023 Hopi White, Hopi Pink, and Hopi Blue batches and planted in north-south rows using the augur zig-zag method. Double zig-zag rows were made 2 feet apart to test the effect of closer planting and early canopy closure on soil evaporation and growth. To give the seeds a head start and to compensate for reduced soil moisture the holes were sparingly watered after seed placement and then backfilled.

See our Winter Wheat planting here.