Home > Friends, Traveling > Harvesting corn in Illinois

Harvesting corn in Illinois


We visited Romola’s classmate Jan Knollenberg, who we hadn’t seen for many years.   They had a great time catching up.  Meanwhile, Jan’s husband Jack invited me to ride along in his new combine, harvesting corn.   Jack farms some 1,400 acres of corn and soy beans.  I was most pleased to take this ride, and I learned a lot.  One thing I learned that farmers are high tech risk takers, and gamble much of their their existence every year on crop outcome.

The combine was new this year (Jack gets a new one every 2 years) and was a technological marvel.  From a picking point of view, the corn is cut, picked up, cobs are stripped off, and the kernels are stripped off of the cob.  The corn falls in a bin behind the driver, the remnants spread behind the combine, making new compost for one year.

But it is more technical than that.  The combine can drive itself, with GPS keeping an accuracy close to one inch.  I was amazed at the system that tracks combine movement exactly, the machine drives itself.  Plus, it tracks weather, crop moisture, bin contents, what fields have been cut, and so on, all while keeping the cutting heads at the right height and matching ground contours.  Pretty amazing.

I forgot my camera, so had to make do with my cell phone camera.  Thanks for the informative morning, Jack!

Jack, climbing into the new John Deere combine

Jack, climbing into the new John Deere combine

Driving to the corn field to be cut

Driving to the corn field to be cut

Approaching the corn rows

Approaching the corn rows

Here, the cutters grab the corn stalk, and move it into the processing area.

Here, the cutters grab the corn stalk, and move it into the processing area.

The husked corn kernels fall into the bin behind the driver.

The husked corn kernels fall into the bin behind the driver.

There goes some 275 bushels of corn.

There goes some 275 bushels of corn.

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