This Corn Isn’t Real: Visualizing a Crop’s Lifecycle with Artificial Corn Stalks
A few years ago, the team behind Exhibit Farm figured out a way to make some really convincing artificial corn stalks.
Why artificial corn? We’ll tell you why.
What these Artificial Corn Stalks Do
The corn stalks ended up being featured in an exhibit at AgroLiquid’s IQhub about soil nutrients. It’s a display that shows the different types of nutrients required by corn at different stages of its lifecycle. The multiple stalks of sculpted corn stand in a circular ring of fake soil (or soil soffit) that has fiberoptic lights of different colors. Each color represents a different nutrient, and the varying number of lights under each fake corn plant at different stages in its lifecycle shows the kinds of nutrients that the plant most needs at that time in its growth in order to remain a healthy corn plant. The detailed corn replicas show the unique characteristics of corn leaves and stalks as it ages from a seedling to a mature plant.
We made fake corn to teach how real corn works. And it turns out that real corn works best when the soil has the right nutrients.
Fertilizer and the Un-Farmed
It’s important to teach this sort of basic principle to the un-farmed because most people tend to overlook these important agricultural details. They often don’t get the complexity of a seemingly simple thing such as soil. Many don’t recognize the highly scientific function of fertilizers. But farmers know that whatever goes on beneath the dirt affects how the plant appears out in the open air. This is why fertilizers are necessary to producing healthy crops. They provide the nutrients that certain plants need in order to grow–nutrients that the soil itself lacks.
The Nice Things about Artificial Corn
But the fake corn has helped to change things. Thanks to this visual and highly detailed exhibit, visitors from the public can get a better understanding of the intimate connection between plants and the soil. And, without trespassing on a farmer’s field, they can get a taste of the complex science involved in fertilizing crops.
The nice part about having specifically fake corn and soil soffit, though, is that (1) it won’t die and (2) it’s not as dirty. So all of us here at Exhibit Farm figure it’s worth our time to make it all look as realistic as possible. That way it’ll be something worth keeping and using for a long time to continue teaching important agricultural principles and processes.