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Picking Corn


I decided to start the new year by reviving this blog.  Since many of my old posts here were things about farming as I remember it as a kid growing up in the 1960’s I figure a good starting point is what I was reminded of while at the Parke County IN Covered Bridge Festival last fall.  The photo is of an attachment that was once added to a tractor to pick corn.  I remember my father using something like this back in the early 60’s.  It could pick two rows of corn at a time.  There was a shoot with a conveyor in the back that moved the corn to a wagon attached to the rear of the tractor.  I remember the tractor that my father used was a John Deere.  When the wagon was full he would use another tractor to pull the wagon to where it would be unloaded.  I remember that the tractor he used for that was an International Farmall like the one in the photo. 


As I remember the wagon he used looked exactly like the one in this photo.   I saw both the wagon and the corn picker in a building that was part of the attractions at the CBF.  I ended up converting both images to B&W because the lighting in the building made a horrible color cast that I could not get rid of. Today this the corn picker and especially the wagon look like ancient history even to someone like me who remembers when they were commonplace and state of the art. And I imagine they seemed like a wonder to farmers who grew up picking corn by hand. Still even with these aids corn harvest was a long process. I remember that in the fall harvest occupied all of my father’s waking hours for weeks at a time. 


Once the corn was picked it was placed in a corn crib. Corn cribs are often identified as barns, however they were a specialized structure used for the purpose of drying and storing corn back in the days when corn was harvested as a whole ear, instead of being shelled in the field as is done today.  There was a conveyor called a corn dump which went to an opening at the top of the corn crib.  The corn was raised to the top of the corn crib and then directed by shoots within the crib to the bins within the corn crib.  So all of this was quite a bit of work.  Picking corn two rows at a time, then taking it to the corn crib and dumping it.  The corn crib in this photo was one of the last types of corn cribs to be built.  I actually remember it being built in the early 60’s.  It was only used for a few years until it was made obsolete by corn pickers that would shell the corn in the field. 

In one of my old blogs I described in some detail the process of using a corn crib as I remember it. I don’t think that post is online anymore.  Hopefully I can find that post and recreate it here.  Today when I see the huge combines and trucks that make fast work of harvest I wonder how primitive the harvest of just what seems like a short time ago must seem. 

So here is this blog alive again.  Looks like I haven’t posted here in over two years.  As some may know I have been doing a photography blog, however I have been getting a renewed desire to do a more general blog.  Maybe I will even offer some opinions which is something I have been avoiding for a while. 

  1. January 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Interesting to see how the genesis of mechanized farming has accelerated so much of late.

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