Making Hay
Week of October 19th, 2003 | The weather was beautiful .

Pickin' ear corn.

Pickin' ear corn.

Hello! The weather has been beautiful! We've had a little bit of rain, sunshine, and warm temperatures. We've enjoyed ideal weather to pick corn this past week, but still could use a little more wind. The wind helps blow the dirt away from the corn as it is being harvested.

Sunday, Mom drove to Owatonna, Minnesota to visit Jess. She didn't have to work on Monday, so decided to stay overnight. They watched the ball game together (hoping the Cubs would win). They are both big Cubs fans. Jess had to teach on Monday, so Mom went shopping. After school was finished for the day, Mom, Jess, and her roommate, went out for supper to celebrate Mom's birthday, which was on Tuesday this past week. Mom had a good time. She enjoyed the drive with all the pretty fall colors.

Dad and I fixed the ear corn picker on Monday and Wednesday morning. (Of course, I had school, so I did not do much work on it.) We replaced the two damaged shafts and chain (refer to last week's journal). We also fixed some of the lights so I can pick corn at night.

Dad went to a meeting at Organic Valley headquarters in LaFarge, Wisconsin, on Tuesday. This took the whole day. He is on the executive committee of the Organic Meat Company.

Wednesday we started picking ear corn. After school I jumped right in the UNI system picker. I love picking corn. Picking corn isn't hard to do at all. First, you start the machine up. I turn the heater on (only if it is cold outside). Then, I hitch a grain wagon on the picker. I start picking in the cornfield. An elevator attached to the picker transports the ear corn from the machine and into the wagon. I have to have an accurate count on the cornrows so that I am on the right rows. I have to count by four (the picker picks four rows at a time). When the wagon is full, I unhitch it and click the counter inside the cab (counter keeps track of how many loads). Then, Dad hitches me up to an empty wagon and hauls the full one away. The ear corn is transported from the grain wagon to a corncrib by an elevator.

The corn can naturally dry in the crib. Wind and sunshine removes moisture. It is much cheaper than to use electricity by running a fan in a grain bin. When we need shell corn, we hire a custom operator to come with a corn sheller. We remove the ear corn from the crib and it gets shelled. We use the corncobs and husks for livestock bedding. This past year, we sold most of our corn that we shelled. Then, we fix any repair spots on the corncribs and get them ready for the next harvest.

For more information and pictures on harvesting, scroll to the top of this screen and click on 'Glossary of Farm Terms'. Look through the glossary to find pictures on ear corn picker, corncrib, elevator, and shelling corn.

Farm Fact: Corn must be 14% moisture or less to be placed in a grain bin. If it is more than that, then the corn will get moldy and will degrade in storage. The moisture can be as high as 22 percent when going in a corncrib because the crib is open, has a lot of ventilation, and Mother Nature to dry the ears.

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