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The "Last Days" Of Ear Corn
Veteran farm writer C.F. Marley of Nokomis, Ill., has been writing about "made it myself" farm inventions for 50 years. From time to time, he plucks a "jewel" from his archives. Here's one from the 1950's when farmers were starting to change over from harvesting ear corn to shelling corn on-the-go with their combines.
Before cornheads became widely available, innovative farmers found all kinds of ways to get their corn crop into the combine.
The attached photo shows a rig put together at that time by Wayne Best and Vince Meisner of Raymond, Ill. It consisted of a conventional grain header fitted with rotating vertical gathering drums that were equipped with retractible fingers. The fingers would come out to grab the stalks and pull them into the combine, and then retract to release them into the machine. The vertical drums were produced by Hesston for another machine.
This method meant that the entire stalk would pass through the combine. That took a lot of power. To help handle the load, an extra engine was mounted on the back of the combine above the existing engine compartment to run the stalk chopper.
The machine worked very well during those years of transition to combines equipped to handle both small grains and corn."

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #2