2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1, Page #24[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home-Built Self-Propelled, 4-Row Picker-Sheller Was World's First
Today, John's son, Czerny, still owns the self-propelled, 4-row picker-sheller and often displays it at local shows.
"As far as I know it was the world's first 4-row self-propelled picker-sheller," says Czerny. "I don't operate the machine any more, but almost every year I drive it five miles back and forth to a local corn husking festival."
The machine was used from 1947 to 1964 and is designed to harvest 40-in. rows. Stories on it were published in the late 1940's and early 1950's in nationwide farm magazines.
"At the time there were 2-row self-propelled picker-shellers on the market, and some farmer in Nebraska had mounted a 4-row picker head on front of a Cat D-4. But no one had made a self-propelled 4-row picker-sheller. Dad built it for use on his own farm and to do custom work. He didn't have an engineering degree but he really knew how to build machinery.
"He had been using a Minneapolis Moline pull-type picker behind a Case DC tractor, pulling a sheller and 150 bu. bin alongside. But the sheller was too heavy and caused problems. Also, he wanted something bigger. Back in those days farmers picked a lot of corn in the mud. They tried to get the corn reasonably dry before they picked it, so hardly anyone started picking corn before November, and picking often went into January or even February.
"I kept the machine because it's one-of-a-kind and has a lot of historic value. Many of the people who see it nowadays are too young to understand anything about picker shellers. Deere put a 4-row picker on a combine in 1963, but the combine wasn't big enough so it didn't catch on. Finally, in 1965, Deere came out with its model 105 combine and that caught on."
According to Czerny, his dad's machine could pick corn as fast as a commercial dryer could handle it, at about 300 bu. per hour. "In 1947, the best corn you could expect to pick yielded 28 bu. per acre. But hybrid corn was just coming into its own and yields were starting to go up. By the mid to late 1950's corn yields were high enough that the picker often harvested more corn than the sheller could handle and some of it ended up on the ground."
By 1964 the machine was pretty well worn out, so Czerny and his dad built a bigger picker-sheller which Czerny used for 22 years."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Czerny Eyestone, 9002 Township Hwy. 124, Upper Sandusky, Ohio 43351 (ph 419 294-3941).
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