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Corn Pickers Picking

October 23, 2010
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Well with rain in the forecast for this afternoon, in this nearly totally dried out region known as the Greater Bippus Area, the combines have been running day, and night.  They are trying to get their corn in, before the fields get wet, and perhaps, too muddy to run the big machines in.

Most all of the beans have been picked, and more than half of the corn in the GBA is in. So there is this big push for corn before the rain.  If you check out this video by CanadianaSally, you will see a green John Deere combine transforming standing corn stalks into stubble, and shell corn.  Sally shows the combine running towards the viewer in the opening scene, with a green John Deere tractor pulling a red grain cart alongside, as the combine transfers shell corn (no cobs) over into the cart with it’s big boom.  Notice at the end of the corn row how the combine driver raises the corn head, in preparation to make the corner.  The red J&M grain cart also has a big boom, which is an auger-like transfer device.  By filling the grain cart, the combine can continue to harvest, while the cart moves adjacent to the road and transfers corn into a waiting semi-truck.

Notice the shredded corn stalks emitted from the rear of the combine.  That bio-mass is deposited onto the ground to decay further and then be turned in, the next time that the ground is worked, to improve the soil.

You might have noticed that this combine picks six rows of corn at a time.  The head is detachable, and they come in many different sizes.  Six row corn heads are common in the GBA, but out in Iowa and Nebraska this would be considered a baby, or a toy.  They run 12 row corn heads, and I understand there is even a 16 row model.

With all of this equipment being utilyzed, efficiency becomes ever more important.  Toward the end of the video (Good Job, Sally!) you see the combine chock-full of corn as he approaches the grain cart.  With good planning, the cart (or carts) can be sitting full near the road before the truck(s) arrive.  A quick transfer and the truck driver is off to the drop point.  The combine can continue harvesting while the grain is transferred.  The trucker just “keeps on truckin”.   When the corn is at the proper dryness, the combine takes it off just as quickly as possible.  And all of this happens through the use of diesel fuel.  Hold on to that thought, as in an upcoming article I want to talk about fuel.

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