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Corn maze designed using precision ag

High-tech corn maze planted in Arkansas with smart technology.

Whitney Haigwood, Staff Writer

June 30, 2023

4 Min Read
Green tractor pulling planter to plant corn field
The Pumpkin Hollow corn maze planted April 25 highlights the capabilities of modern-day ag technology, utilizing smart technology to plant the design into the field.Ellen Dalton

At a Glance

  • Pumpkin Hollow is the longest running agritourism farm in Arkansas.
  • Arkansas's first ever corn maze was planted at Pumpkin Hollow in 1999.
  • In 2023, the Pumpkin Hollow corn maze was drawn into the field at planting utilizing smart technology, saving time and labor.

Pumpkin Hollow is the longest running agritourism attraction in Arkansas, providing an array of fall activities each year since 1993. The farm is owned and operated by the Dalton Family in Piggott, and it is the site of Arkansas’s first cornfield maze – going back to 1999. This season marks the 25th maze on the farm, and the Daltons took a new, precision ag approach to construct the maze at planting. 

The family collaborated with local equipment distributors and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The cornfield was planted with a high-tech planter in the spring, saving time and labor later in the season. Ellen Dalton said the process saved a week’s worth of work that would have typically taken place after the corn reached a foot tall.  

“This was such an incredible experience. I got to ride in the tractor as the maze was planted and see the planter turn on and off. It saved a lot of work from the way we have designed the maze in the past, which was walking the six-acre field in June, measuring, marking with ribbons and flags, then cutting the design in the field.” 

Other community members got involved in the process too, including a seed company representative, local farmers, and the Piggott High School art teacher.  

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Designing the 2023 corn maze 

For several years now, the Daltons have relied on the creativity of local art teacher, Jerri Tate to draw the design they envisioned for the maze. This year, the design reflects the 150th sesquicentennial anniversary of Clay County. 

Once complete, Tate’s original drawing on graph paper was digitized by Jason Davis, application technologist with the Division of Ag. Davis mapped the information necessary for John Deere’s system to plant the corn on a much larger scale and replicate the design in the field.  

Planting equipment was loaned by southeast Missouri farmers, Chad Fullerton and Chris Leible. From there, Kyle Runsick, equipment account manager at Legacy Equipment helped import the information and assisted with planting while Adam Pulliam at Greenway Equipment uploaded the map onto the computer system. 

Group of 8 people standing in front of a planter hooked to a tractor in a field

The maze was planted April 25, with seed donated by Bradley Jackson, Dyna-Gro area manager, South region for Nutrien Ag Solutions. In addition, Allison Howell, Clay County Extension agent, was on the scene to assist with the maze just as she has every year since 2019. Howell noted the ease of the process this year compared to previous years. 

“In years past, maze construction was time consuming, requiring a lot of physical labor. Alleys were measured off with tape measurers, marked with flags, and cut with a mower and weed eater. Fast forward to this year, and the alleys of the corn field that are typically cut out were never even planted. 

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“The technology utilized by the tractor and planter brought to life the artwork drawn by Jerri and eliminated the need for mowing down any of the corn. The process essentially printed the maze through the planter,” Howell described. 

Davis and Howell worked to coordinate this project. They both noted that construction of this high-tech corn maze highlights the capabilities of modern ag technology and also showcases the collaborative efforts of the many involved in the process. 

Aerial view of corn maze in the shape of Arkansas

Autumn fun at Pumpkin Hollow 

This year marks the 31st season for Pumpkin Hollow. The farm’s first season was on just one-to-two acres. Dalton said today the farm has grown to 100 acres including parking and all. 

While Pumpkin Hollow is known for their corn maze, that is just one of many activities offered to families visiting each fall. Attractions include hayrides, farm animals, pony rides, and a kiddie train. There is also mini golf and even a zip line across the pumpkins.  

“We are always updating, and we even have a new haunted attraction this year,” Dalton said. 

Pumpkin Hollow also hosts an annual 5K run/walk featuring a path across the farm and through a local cemetery. Most of the event’s proceeds are donated to the Northeast Arkansas Food Bank in Jonesboro in addition to a donation to the cemetery used for the running path. 

Of course, a visit to Pumpkin Hollow involves pumpkins. They are available for purchase, and Dalton said this year she has seed for 50 different types of pumpkins and ornamental gourds. Mums and corn stalks are also for sale. 

To learn more about Pumpkin Hollow, check out their website at Plan your visit and be sure to set aside some time to solve the corn maze with a walk through the smart-planted cornfield.

Extension agent Allison Howell is a contributing writer for this feature. 

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