Picking Corn



Had a good time picking corn with my Father the old fashioned way.  Dad said he used this New Idea corn picker 50 years ago to pick seed corn.  My Grandfather and his brothers owned a seed corn business years ago.

When my family moved to Wisconsin in 1975, my Dad was able to take this machine which was considered old even then.  He modified it by putting on a sheller attachment so you will notice the corn is shelled off the cob as it enters the wagon.

Even though its old, it works great.  Its tough to get parts, though.  And its slow.  We only picked about an acre per hour.




We used this machine all through my childhood until we got our first combine.  Recently we have hired our neighbor to combine our corn.  Big machine, very fast.

Probably too big to fit through my woods as this field of corn is mine and is difficult to access with today’s large machinery.  I didn’t want to have to cut trees to get a combine in, so we put our New Idea picker back in use.  They didn’t really think the name through, I guess.

Thankfully the corn was only 18% moisture so I was able to put it in a bin with a fan and will blow air through it to dry it a couple of points more.  That along with weekly use should keep the corn in good condition.  If it was wetter, or I planned to sell it, I would have used gas to dry it down to 15% which is the industry standard.


4 Responses to Picking Corn

  1. Heather Butler says:

    I love your blog. Your farm is wonderful.

  2. Dave Perozzi says:

    Do you ever run pigs into the picked fields? We’ve never done it since all the corn near us gets sheared off as low as possible for silage, so there’s not much aftermath in the fields for grazing. I was just curious what kind of feed value there was in that field in terms of hogs/acre/day. Or if the hassle of stringing polywire around a cornfield even justifies the effort…

    • It’s worth it depending on logistics. How far is your water source? How much corn was missed?
      This field is far and the picker did an excellent job so not worth it for me this year. I’ll feed hay and run my fall-calving cows with calves on it this fall and winter.
      My Grandpa was a creative man. One year, his corn field lodged badly, (fell over), and it would have made harvesting nearly impossible with the machinery they had available at the time. So he purchased feeder pigs and had shelter and water for them in the barn. Every morning he would open the gates and run them across the gravel road, and let them eat the down corn all day. Late afternoon, they would be tired and thirsty and he would open the gates back up and let them back into the barn.
      This was back when every field in Illinois was surrounded by woven wire. Now of course there’s hardly a fence to be seen and there probably isn’t one out of 100 farmers that would be able to think of this solution.
      Time’s change. Glad you’re thinking like an old fashioned farmer, Dave!

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