Is the Corn Dry Already?
It was a perfect fall day for a photo shoot! My sister, Megan, and brother-in-law, Kyle, asked if I would be willing to take their maternity photos. Of course I said yes! I always enjoy the opportunity to dust off my 4-H photography skills. Megan and Kyle are your typical farm couple during harvest! To do lists a mile long, working from sunrise to sunset, prepping harvest meals, and racing the clock to haul grain from field to field. We were lucky it rained the day before, otherwise we may have heard some grumbles from Kyle haha. We couldn't have asked for better weather and the sun was glorious! You know a true farm girl when you see one! Megan is 7 months pregnant and was wearing heels but that didn't stop us from climbing to the very top of the grain bin!
The views were spectacular! I never miss the chance to document the real-life moments for future #LinnCoAg content. As we walked around the farm, I began to notice the different tools and equipment set up ready for the next load of grain to be brought in.
The two major Iowa commodity crops include Dent corn and soybeans. Why do we grow so much? We have ideal climate/weather conditions and our soil is some of the richest around the world. We rank number one in corn, soybeans (alternating every other year with IL haha), pigs, and eggs! We also raise a lot of broilers and beef calves. It makes sense to raise livestock where there is a feed source.
Uses for Dent (field) corn:
-Human consumption (corn starch, chips, corn syrup, corn oil, etc.)
-Household products: batteries, cleaners, plastics, etc.
Uses for soybeans:
-Human consumption (soy oil, tofu, soy sauce, etc.)
-Household products: crayons, candles, paints, ink, etc.)
Corn and soybeans reach the last stage in their life cycle and are ready for harvesting towards the end of September or by early October. Mature grain appears dry and ready for harvest but most farmers will wait until corn is between a moisture level of 23-25% and soybeans are anywhere from 13-15%. To much moisture can lead to mushed seeds (especially for soybeans) when brought into the combine and a low moisture level could result in cracking.
Many farmers will store or sell their grain post harvest. Moisture content is important for storage, seeds that are too wet will spoil and mold. Farmers who choose to sell their grain can be docked on price if not in the proper percent range. Grain is sold by weight, this creates uniformity among all farmers.
How does a dryer work? Well on the Johnson Farm, one of the four transports the grain from a grain cart to a hopper truck. They unload the grain to one bin. It slowly goes through the dryer and it travels from one bin to the next. Some bins have a built in dryer that is ran by gas to heat the air. Fans push the air up through the grain.
Others are part of a community owned co-op where collectively they contribute to the cost of the grain drying system.
Every farm is different but what matters is good storage, good price, and good quality grain.
According to the Spokesman, harvest is going pretty well this year and after chatting with Kyle, I would say he probably agrees. It seems to be going pretty fast compared to the last few years. Well hopefully for Megan and Kyle's sake, harvest wraps up sooner rather than later because baby J is due in December!
Can't wait to meet my nephew!
Additional information Grain Drying – Why Do They Do That? | Iowa Agriculture Literacy (wordpress.com)