1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
World's Longest CornfieldLeo Scherer can drive for 20 miles and never lose sight of his crops but the Evan, Minn., farmer's field is just 32 rows, or 96 ft., wide.
Scherer's stretched-out field is actually an old railroad right-of-way that's being converted back to farmland. He leases the land from a company that bought it and plans to eventually sell it back to the farmers whose land borders on it. But first it has to be brought back into farming shape.
Farming the field, which runs from near Evan to Redwood Falls, Minn., demands planning and patience. Scherer says the ground is full of junk - spikes, wires, planks, and other stuff. Some of it damages his equipment, such as one large creosoted board that did $250 worth of damage to his plow.
The first year Scherer farmed the right of way - he's had it for 4 seasons - he tried soybeans. He had trouble combining, however, because small rocks that had covered the bed of the tracks kept getting into his machine. Corn works better because he can hold the header higher-off the ground.
Total acreage of the lengthy field should be about 240 because there's about 12 acres to every mile. But, in reality, the field is interrupted by towns, bridges and roads, reducing the total acreage and creating lots of logistical headaches. Scherer simply figures his yields by the mile, shooting for about 1,000 bu. per mile.
When Scherer leaves the house in the morning, he teases his wife that he'll have lunch 10 miles down the road in Morgan and stay the night in Redwood Falls at the other end of the field before coming home the next day.
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