50 & Counting
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Because shelled corn is often harvested with a combine earlier in the season and at a higher moisture content, Pickard discussed in the fourth chapter common ways to artificially dry shelled corn: continuous dryer, batch dryer, combination dryer and integral holding bin, and a wagon dryer. The first three methods utilized heated air. The wagon dryer used unheated air and took considerably longer to reduce moisture content to a level safe for storage.
In the chapter entitled 'Can I Justify Corn Combining?,' Pickard suggested dollars-and-cents examples which a farmer could use to determine whether or not corn combining was practical for his operation. It should be noted that in his booklet, Pickard was careful not to endorse any specific make or model of corn combining, drying or storage equipment.
There remained in the late 1950s and early 1960s farmers who needed to harvest both ear corn and shelled corn. They wanted the ear corn for feeding and the shelled corn for selling or storage. For that reason, many of these farmers bought a shelling attachment for their corn picker. John Deere introduced a batch dryer for shelled corn and a portable dryer for ear corn, peanuts, hay and other crops. Both dryers used clean-burning LP gas to heat the air and speed the drying.
In 1955, the USDA estimated there were approximately 650,000 corn pickers on American farms. Today, a corn picker is seldom seen in the field and is about as scarce as the rotary hoe or spike-tooth harrow. After a half a century, corn combining has proved to be a new idea whose time had come. FC
- Ralph Hughes is retired from a 38-year career with Deere & Co. He joined the company in 1954 as a writer for The Furrow magazine, later worked as an advertising copywriter, and was director of advertising at the time of his retirement.
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