Corn Farmer Scott Anderson.

''There's just something about it'' … Scott Anderson with his first-time crop of corn. The eastern Australian crop is estimated to be up by about 150,000 tonnes on the previous season. Photo: Justin McManus

THE evening light brings out the best in Scott Anderson's corn crop. The softer sunshine gives it a golden tinge, the abundant leaves look healthy and green, and when the breeze picks up they create a rustling chorus across 50 hectares.

Like a home gardener pleased with a much-loved plant he has grown, Mr Anderson is proud of his towering corn plants - all 3.8 million of them. This summer marks the first time the farmer has grown corn, but it will not be the last.

It's such a satisfying crop. You can actually physically watch it grow day by day.  

Tony Cogswell, from the grain merchant business Lachlan Commodities in Forbes, said a there was a wide variety of uses for the corn grown this season. Some will be used as stock feed, while some will be exported to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

There it will be processed and converted to modified starches and used to make confectionery, snack foods and drinks.

The eastern Australian crop is estimated to be about 630,000 tonnes, up about 150,000 tonnes on last season.

Much of the increase is being driven by production in the NSW Riverina, Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys and northern Victoria, he said.

Although Mr Anderson, from northern Victoria, had long wanted to grow corn, he is virtually growing it this season by default, after he struggled to get the seeds for another grain he wanted to grow. So he selected corn, which was planted in October.

Five months later, many of the plants are about three metres tall.

Leaning back on his dusty four-wheel-drive to assess the densely planted crop, he is pleased with the outcome. ''It's just such a great crop to grow. It's such a satisfying crop. You can actually physically watch it grow day by day. And look at it - it looks mean, doesn't it? There's just something about it,'' he said.

But to grow so well the corn - which is maize but not of the sweetcorn variety - needs to be well watered. During the 10 lengthy watering sessions the crop receives in the growing season the irrigation equipment needs to be adjusted every 2½ hours.

This means Mr Anderson has visited the crop many times in the middle of the night. ''It's great at night-time when you come and water, with the moon shining. I sit up here sometimes, it's a bit of an eerie feeling. You get a lot of wildlife coming out of it, a lot of foxes and wild cats, hares and snakes,'' he said.