Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hand Shelling a Sample of Corn

Along time ago I cross stitched a small plaque for my Grandpa that read
"A Farmer is a Man Outstanding in His Field."
The double meaning is clear to those of us familiar with the work of managing a farm. There is no substitute for first hand knowledge. 
 Farmer Fred is on his way to check some corn fields.
There is evidence in the pickup cab that he has recently been to a corn field. He keeps corn cobs around to compare fields of the same variety, or two different varieties as he travels down the road.
Today Farmer Fred has decided to hand shell a corn sample in order to determine if it would be prudent to change over from soybeans to harvest corn. 
The corn is ripe, but wet. The questions are:
 How wet? or Too wet? 
To hand shell corn, the small end of the cob is placed into the metal sheller and the cob is twisted. The ridges built up on the sides of the sheller work to remove the kernels of corn as the cob is twisted down.
We recall that there was a day when corn was shelled this way, with varying degrees of automation. The corn was stored on the cob in corn cribs and not shelled out with combines. 
 Farmer Fred holds the cob and sheller above the pail to catch the kernels as he twists.
To have a representative sample, he will twist off all of the kernels on each cob. 
Out standing in another nearby field to choose a few representative cobs. 
 He repeats the process which eventually yielded the answers to our questions: 
 "Too wet." 
 We will continue with the soybean harvest as the recent snow on the corn cobs will not improve the moisture percentage.
The snow will need to melt, then dry, which can still happen to a certain degree, despite the cooler days. We need sunshine and a breeze. 
For now, we will leave the corn out standing in the fields of GriggsDakota.

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