Well we are off and runnin' - harvest officially started earlier this week - going at it slow and steady right now!
Three generations in the cab ready to roll!
They started and had to stop to make a slight adjustment to the "new" to us corn head,
finally ready to roll! Do you think he might be excited - he lives for this!
The corn is "wet" now, mature, but not dry enough for storage-it would spoil and rot in the bin if put straight in for storage. The corn is "dried", with heat and forced air. Most of the corn we have harvested so far has been in the "high 20's", that is 26% to 30% moisture, or water by weight. Corn needs to be 15% for storage. Wetter corn spends a hour or more in the dryer, later in the season, as the corn loses more moisture just standing in the field, we will not need to dry the corn as much. The dryer has several parameters that change the rate of drying.
Though drying corn is expensive and time consuming, we like to get a jump start on harvest. Field losses are less earlier in the season. As the weather takes it's toll on the dying plant, more falls down, or falls off. The more corn we shell "wet", the less we shell in November, and experience down corn then, as well as avoiding late fall weather concerns, such as mud and snow.
The fans on the dryer, the flames are always on but cycles between high and low heat cycles to regulate the tempreture of the dryer.
It is a full time job to make sure the settings are always adjusted exactly right so that the corn is discharged at the right moisture and tempreture. You can burn corn, on the other hand you don't want to have to run it thru the dryer twice.
The dryer fans running at night - there is really no good way to get a picture of how briiliant they are and the amazing smell of corn drying - it is truly what Fall is to me!
My Mom tells a story about visiting the Frito Lay factory when I was little and while everyone else in the tour was adjusting to what they considered an odd smell I looked at her and said:
"It smells just like home Mom!"
Every semi load of 27% corn contains apprx. 9000 pounds of excess water or a 1000 gallons that we remove with the dryer!