Agriculture

The Final Days of Corn

This is the final installment in the series, “31 Days of Corn,” following the progress of a field of corn from planting to harvest. Before reading, be sure to check out the previous posts:
31 Days of Corn
35 More Days of Corn
A Lotta More Days of Corn

It’s hard to believe the field behind our house was planted back on May 2nd. From seeds, to baby corn plants, to tassles, and finally ears of corn, the field has seen many changes over the last few months.

 

“A Lotta More Days of Corn” left us at day 108. The corn was just starting to dry down, meaning harvest was getting closer and closer. At this stage, we are left to rely on time and the weather to dry the corn down to an acceptable moisture for harvest. The local elevator will charge us to dry the corn down to 15%, so we hope to get as close to that as possible to avoid those extra charges.

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By day 134, the corn had changed from luscious green to crinkly brown. William took a small sample of corn from the field to check the moisture. It tested around 24%. Harvest was nearing, but it wasn’t quite time yet.

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On day 137, our friend Matt brought the combine over to open up the field. William doesn’t own a combine, so Matt custom harvests the field for him. After picking a few end rows, the guys determined the corn was still just a little too wet to finish, so harvest was put on hold again.

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We were finally able to finish picking the corn on day 144. The field behind our house is a short 5 acres, so it doesn’t take very long to finish once all the conditions are right. Matt ran the combine, and William hauled wagons full of corn to the elevator. Luckily, the elevator is just a few miles down the road, so we will store the corn there until we need some to grind into feed for the pigs.

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Though it’s the end of the corn’s time in the field, it’s only just beginning its journey on our farm. Corn is the bulk of what we feed the pigs, so we will continue to use it all year long. William buys soybean meal to add to the corn, and it all gets ground together into a fine powdery texture that the pigs will eat. Pigs are very picky eaters, so we grind everything up into a uniform mixture so we can guarantee they get all the nutrients they need. (You might remember Flat Aggie showing us this mixture on his visit to the farm last winter!)

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After eating, the pigs produce manure which we can spread back on the field as a fertilizer for next year’s crop. Then the process wills start all over again when we plant the field next spring.

It has been so much fun sharing corn’s journey from seed to feed. Turns out, corn is pretty photogenic! I even learned a few things along the way. Did you learn something new about corn this summer? Let me know in the comments! And as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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