Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvesting Corn

In the past week, all the corn fields around this little place here have disappeared.  Or, rather, the corn in the fields has disappeared.

First, the dairy farmers finished chopping their silage corn (that is what they say when they are harvesting silage:  "Gotta go chop the corn", so when I say "chop corn" I am always referring to corn cut with some green still in it, to be stored and fed as silage).

field across the street (my hay field in foreground) being chopped

When the farmers chop corn, they drive two tractors, side by side, through the field.  One tractor pulls the chopper, which cuts and shreds the corn stalks, including the ears.  The other pulls the silage wagon, and the chopper has an arm that extends up in the air and blows the silage down into the waiting wagon.  When one silage wagon is full, a farm worker will pull up with an empty wagon to replace it, and the chopping continues with wagons being filled, hauled off to be emptied, then empty ones returned to the field for refilling.  This goes on for hours every day, and days each week for about two weeks, until all the silage is harvested.

empty wagon being pulled up into position alongside the chopper

Then, this past weekend, our own field was harvested.  The farmer who rents it from us does not chop corn, rather he grows corn that is harvested once it is completely dried down.  That corn is taken to the elevator and sold as commodities: either for animal feed or to make corn products for human consumption.  It is harvested by a combine with a corn head on it.  The corn head has big 'teeth' that protrude in front of the combine and go between the rows of corn.  The stalks get cut off, the ears get stripped from the stalk, and inside the combine, the kernels of corn are tumbled off of the cobs.

When the combine pulls up the driveway, we say the farmer is here to "take the corn", rather than referring to it as being cut or harvested.  I don't know why; that's just the terminology used in these parts.

taking the corn

corn head more visible in this photo

When the combine is full (about two passes through our field), it is driven up alongside a waiting semi truck with an empty grain trailer (which holds approx. 900-1000 bushels) and the shelled corn is off-loaded through the chute that comes out the top of the combine.

K3 has been enthralled watching the tractors and the combine at work.  Which has made meal times somewhat disruptive lately.

eating a biscuit (and venison stew) 
while watching the combine take the corn

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