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Commodity Investing: Maximizing Returns through Fundamental Analysis by SARAH MULHOLLAND, JESS GASPAR, JOHN ECKSTEIN, ADAM DUNSBY

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CHAPTER 8

Corn

Corn is a unique grain with no close counterpart in the plant world. The origins of corn remain controversial. There is no historical evidence of wild corn as we know it today. Genetically its closest wild relative is teosinte. Teosinte looks more like a bunch of wild grasses, and its ears are smaller and simpler than those of corn. The name teosinte is derived from the Nahuatl Indian language teotl, meaning god, and centil, meaning dried ears of maize. This name, God's corn, is additional indication that corn was derived from teosinte. Scientists believe corn was developed in Central Mexico, thanks to aggressive breeders who searched for desired traits within the teosinte plant. This manmade plant transformation is a significant achievement, but in the process corn was significantly altered. It is not able to survive in the wild as it has no way of distributing its seeds, or kernels. It must be planted and cultivated each year by humans in order to produce a crop.

Corn started as a primary food source for humans, but today it's mainly used as animal feed. We consume corn as food in kernel form and in products such as corn flakes, tortillas, and popcorn. Corn also yields other products such as vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and ethanol. This versatility makes it one of the most important crops in the world. Corn is grown in more countries than any other crop and on all continents except Antarctica.1 It can thrive in many climates. There are many ...

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