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Children playing in a maize kernel box

An unusual use for maize is to create a "corn maze" (or "maize maze") as a tourist attraction. The idea of a maize maze was introduced by the American Maze Company who created a maze in Pennsylvania in 1993.[109] Traditional mazes are most commonly grown using yew hedges, but these take several years to mature. The rapid growth of a field of maize allows a maze to be laid out using GPS at the start of a growing season and for the maize to grow tall enough to obstruct a visitor's line of sight by the start of the summer. In Canada and the US, these are popular in many farming communities.

Maize kernels can be used in place of sand in a sandboxlike enclosure for children's play.[110]

Stigmas from female maize flowers, popularly called corn silk, are sold as herbal supplements.[citation needed]

Maize is used as a fish bait, called "dough balls". It is particularly popular in Europe for coarse fishing.

Additionally, feed corn is sometimes used by hunters to bait animals such

Maize has suboptimal amounts of the essential amino acids tryptophan and lysine, which accounts for its lower status as a protein source.[98] However, the proteins of beans and legumes complement those of maize.[98]

Maize is a major source of both grain feed and fodder for livestock. It is fed to the livestock in various ways. When it is used as a grain crop, the dried kernels are used as feed. They are often kept on the cob for storage in a corn crib, or they may be shelled off for storage in a grain bin. The farm that consumes the feed may produce it, purchase it on the market, or some of both. When the grain is used for feed, the rest of the plant (the corn stover) can be used later as fodder, bedding (litter), or soil amendment. When the whole maize plant (grain plus stalks and leaves) is used for fodder, it is usually chopped all at once and ensilaged, as digestibility and palatability are higher in the ensilaged form than in the dried form. Maize silage is one of the most valuable forages for ruminants.[99] Before the advent of widespread ensilaging, it was traditional to gather the corn into shocks after harvesting, where it dried further. With or without a subsequent move to the cover of a barn, it was then stored for weeks to several months until fed to the livestock. Today ensilaging can occur not only in siloes but also in silage wrappers. However, in the tropics maize can be harvested year-round and fed as green forage to the animals.[100]

Chemicals

Starch from maize can also be made into plastics, fabrics, Starch from maize can also be made into plastics, fabrics, adhesives, and many other chemical products.

The c

The corn steep liquor, a plentiful watery byproduct of maize wet milling process, is widely used in the biochemical industry and research as a culture medium to grow many kinds of microorganisms.[101]

Chrysanthemin is found in purple corn and is used as a food coloring.

"Feed maize" is being used increasingly for heating;[102] specialized corn stoves (similar to wood stoves) are available and use either feed maize or wood pellets to generate heat. Maize cobs are also used as a biomass fuel source. Maize is relatively cheap and home-heating furnaces have been developed which use maize kernels as a fuel. They feature a large hopper that feeds the uniformly sized maize kernels (or wood pellets or cherry pits) into the fire.

Maize is increasingly used as a feedstock for the production of ethanol fuel.[103] When considering where to construct an ethanol plant

Maize is increasingly used as a feedstock for the production of ethanol fuel.[103] When considering where to construct an ethanol plant, one of the site selection criteria is to ensure there is locally available feedstock.[104] Ethanol is mixed with gasoline to decrease the amount of pollutants emitted when used to fuel motor vehicles. High fuel prices in mid-2007 led to higher demand for ethanol, which in turn led to higher prices paid to farmers for maize. This led to the 2007 harvest being one of the most profitable maize crops in modern history for farmers. Because of the relationship between fuel and maize, prices paid for the crop now tend to track the price of oil.[citation needed]

The price of food is affected to a certain degree by the use of maize for biofuel production. The cost of transportation, production, and marketing are a large portion (80%) of the price of food in the United States. Higher energy costs affect these costs, especially transportation. The increase in food prices the consumer has been seeing is mainly due to the higher energy cost. The effect of biofuel production on other food crop prices is indirect. Use of maize for biofuel production increases the demand, and therefore price of maize. This, in turn, results in farm acreage being diverted from other food crops to maize production. This reduces the supply of the other food crops and increases their prices.[105][106]

Maize is widely used in Germany as a feedstock for biogas plants. Here the maize is harvested, shredded then placed in silage clamps from which it is fed into the biogas plants. This process makes use of the whole plant rather than simply using the kernels as in the production of fuel ethanol.

A biomass gasification power plant in Strem near Güssing, Burgenland, Austria, began in 2005. Research is being done to make diesel out of the biogas by the Fischer Tropsch method.

Increasingly, ethanol is being used at low concentrations (10% or less) as an additive in gasoline (gasohol) for motor fuels to increase the octane rating, lower pollutants, and reduce petroleum use (what is nowadays also known as "biofuels"

A biomass gasification power plant in Strem near Güssing, Burgenland, Austria, began in 2005. Research is being done to make diesel out of the biogas by the Fischer Tropsch method.

Increasingly, ethanol is being used at low concentrations (10% or less) as an additive in gasoline (gasohol) for motor fuels to increase the octane rating, lower pollutants, and reduce petroleum use (what is nowadays also known as "biofuels" and has been generating an intense debate regarding the human beings' necessity of new sources of energy, on the one hand, and the need to maintain, in regions such as Latin America, the food habits and culture which has been the essence of civilizations such as the one originated in Mesoamerica; the entry, January 2008, of maize among the commercial agreements of NAFTA has increased this debate, considering the bad labor conditions of workers in the fields, and mainly the fact that NAFTA "opened the doors to the import of maize from the United States, where the farmers who grow it receive multimillion dollar subsidies and other government supports. ... According to OXFAM UK, after NAFTA went into effect, the price of maize in Mexico fell 70% between 1994 and 2001. The number of farm jobs dropped as well: from 8.1 million in 1993 to 6.8 million in 2002. Many of those who found themselves without work were small-scale maize growers.").[107] However, introduction in the northern latitudes of the US of tropical maize for biofuels, and not for human or animal consumption, may potentially alleviate this.


Maize is bought and sold by investors and price speculators as a tradable commodity using corn futures contracts. These "futures" are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) under ticker symbol C. They are delivered every year in March, May, July, September, and December.[108]

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