Monday, November 16, 2009

Day on the farm during corn harvest

Here is a typical day for me during corn harvest. After dropping my son off at school. I go to the farm shop and pick up supplies and any parts that I might need. Generally I make sure that I have engine oil, hydraulic fluid, and grease for the combine.

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An ear of corn on the plant with it's husk pulled back. This is what it looks like when it is ready to harvest.

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This is what it looks like as the combine's header moves through the corn. It pulls the plants down crushing the stalk while it strips the ears off.

When I get to the field I start fueling the combine. While it is fueling I check the fluid levels, grease the combine and check for anything that might to be out of place. The combine will normally take 50 gallons of diesel fuel or more, but that is enough for me to operate for 2 days. Combines have many moving parts that require grease to keep them operating smoothly and to prevent premature wear. I inspect much of the combine while I am greasing it. After fueling and greasing I wash the windows. A great deal of dust is produced while harvesting and it sticks to the windows, the dust makes it hard to see particularly at night.

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A load of corn on a semi. Something wasn't set right and we were getting part of the cob with the grain.

Corn is unique to other crops that we harvest in that the combine's header pulls the ears off and takes very little else of the plant. This allows us to begin harvesting earlier in the morning and stop later in the evening. With the other crops the plant is cut off and many times the dew from the previous night needs to dry off so that the grain will separate easier.

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corn,corn harvest,farm,harvest
These are a couple of pictures of our on farm grain storage and a truck unloading corn.

Then I begin harvesting corn. The combine's header will take 6 rows of corn at a time. I move through the field harvesting at about 3 miles an hour. When I get to the other end I unload and harvest back the the other end. I watch to stay lined up on the rows and monitor the grain coming into the grain tank. If I start getting too much of the plant or cob I will have to stop and adjust the combine. Many times I will spend 10 hours or more harvesting corn, sometimes longer if I have empty trucks to unload in.

We store most of the corn on the farm in grain bins and will sell it during the winter and spring. The part of Kansas that I live in is unique in the fact that we use more corn, mostly for cattle feed, than is raised. This allows for a strong market for corn throughout the year. Most of our corn will be sold and fed within 100 miles of where we raise it. There is an ethanol plant that is close, but they use grain sorghum.

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