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Monday, August 6, 2012

Picking Corn

Corn harvest arrived this week.  Just like much of the country we are in a drought and corn harvest is not looking really great.  In a normal year, we would start picking corn the first part of September.  This year it looks like we could be done before the boys go back to school.

The corn we are picking is not sweet corn, but it is called field corn.  It is the corn used to feed livestock, make ethanol, corn oil and lots of other industrial uses.

Most of our corn goes to Arkansas and Missouri to be fed to chickens and turkeys.  If you drive through the back roads of the Ozarks, you will find lots of chicken and turkey barns every few miles.  The birds are usually grown close to a processing facility.

Did you notice I call it picking corn not cutting corn?  The corn header for the combine actually pulls the ears off the corn stalk.  When we have good healthy corn plants, the ears are the only thing that goes through the combine.  When drought weakens the plants, the leaves and tops of the plants break easily when the header starts to shake the plants.  This slows the harvesting process quite a lot.  Check out this video of us picking corn today.

As I have said before, this is the second year that our area has been in a drought.  So far, the corn actually looks better than last year.  We have also heard that there possibly isn't as much aflatoxin affecting the quality of the corn this year.  That would be great news to those of us that feed corn to our livestock.

And a few pictures for the men.  Here are some up close pictures of the corn header while it was in the shop being repaired today after I hit something I shouldn't have.