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From The Archives: Moving From Ear Corn Harvest To Shelled corn
Veteran farm writer C.F. Marley has made another trip to the archives. This time he pulled out a decades-old photo from a time when most farmers still harvested corn with a picker and then shelled what they needed back at the farm.
  "The first big change in corn harvest came when farmers switched from harvesting corn by ear to using mechanical corn pickers. It started in the 1930's but didn't really catch on big until after World War II.
  "But then guys became dissatisfied with harvesting corn on the ear. So they began to search for ways to shell corn right in the field.
  "This picture is from my collection at the Archives of the University of Illinois. It shows the late Bernard Todt, Morrisonville, Ill., with a 2-row corn picker pulled by a Deere tractor. Behind it is a pto-powered corn sheller made for stationary work but equipped with wheels for pulling in the field. The corn sheller had an enlarged hopper to catch corn ears as they are elevated from the corn picker.
  "The corn sheller, in turn, pulls a conventional flat bed box wagon. The wagon is equipped with a hydraulic dump for putting corn into a bin.
  "It wasn't long after that companies came out with picker-shellers. Then some farmers got the idea that they could harvest corn with a combine. At first many people thought this was an outrageous idea that couldn't be done. But as we all know, it worked out very well.
  "It's interesting to note that throughout all of this development, it was usually the farmer and not the manufacturing companies who led the way in making these breakthroughs. It has been my observation, over 50 years of covering farm equipment developments in the heart of North America, that all major developments have come about this way."

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1999 - Volume #23, Issue #5