Maize also known as corn, is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescences and separate ovuliferous inflorescences called ears that yield kernels or seeds, which are fruits.
Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, with the total production of maize surpassing that of wheat or rice. However, little of this maize is consumed directly by humans: most is used for corn ethanol, animal feed and other maize products, such as corn starch and corn syrup. The six major types of maize are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn, and sweet corn.
Maize is widely cultivated throughout the world, and a greater weight of maize is produced each year than any other grain. In 2014, total world production was 1.04 billion tonnes, led by the United States with 35% of the total. China produced 21% of the global total.
In 2016, maize (corn) production was forecast to be over 15 billion bushels, an increase of 11% over 2014 American production. Based on conditions as of August 2016, the expected yield would be the highest ever for the United States. The area of harvested maize was forecast to be 87 million acres, an increase of 7% over 2015. Maize is especially popular in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Illinois; in the latter, it was named the state's official grain in 2017