Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Picking Corn


Yesterday was another good day to "pick corn." That is what they call shelling corn in parts of the country, I call it shelling corn. The header picks it and the separator in the combine shells it off the cob.

Dad still picked corn the old fashioned way with a corn picker clear up into this decade. He had good corn cribs so we would fill the cribs and shovel it out just like at been done on that farm for 100 years.

We raised a record 224 bushels in 1971 after the terrible corn blight in the midwest in 1970. N cytoplasm worked, the new T cytoplasm failed. Dad had some of both.

I came home from college one weekend in April and there was dad dumping seed corn into the planter with his winter coat and hat on. We planted that field beside the loafing shed and it snowed on it. The soil was very dry.

That corn came up and made the biggest ears you ever saw. They were so big they destroyed dad's old Oliver number 4 mounted two row corn picker. That one went into the ravine near Slab Camp Creek and he got another one just like and we finished picking corn. The old picker was worn out after 20 hard years of picking.

Us kids would ride the wagon and kick the corn back so he could fill the load. You had to duck ears flying out of the elevator but every once in awhile one would hit you in the head. A one pound ear flying out at 20 MPH makes a pretty good smack.

When I got bigger I got to pull the loads from the field with the other tractor and unload it into the elevator into the crib.

The last time I picked corn there was 2002. Mom just had to have some ear corn candy for her cows. I had a heck of a time getting everything running but I filled a crib for her, even though it was one of the worst droughts I can remember. That corn was shriveled up all summer but still made corn.

That is how we harvested corn for 60 years. Before that it was the same, just husked by hand and thrown into the crib. Dad and grandpa did 100 acres each year.

Can you imagine?

Ed Winkle

The video is a good little youtube on picking corn just like we did, looks like our rusty wagon!


  1. Fellow called me to see it we had a way to pick ear corn. We have a couple MM picker shellers. They ran in 1970 something. Would like to find a mounted picker for a Moline tractor. Know a fellow who wants to sell ear corn for bird food. Doesn't want to do it by hand.

  2. I was into it this decade but way beyond it now. Now it is a 12 row head, shelling corn at 5 MPH. Maybe I will want to go back someday?