<ul><li>The food you eat takes an incredible journey from field to plate. Follow the journey of Corny Kernel from his home in a bag of seed to his resting place in the bin…. </li></ul>Hi! I’m Corny Kernel.
This is a picture of me when I was just a seed. I’m surrounded by all my brothers and sisters. Ethanol Ed, Feedstuff Freddy, Sugar Susie, and many of my cousins.
Here’s a picture of my first home. Dekalb is just one of many seed corn companies in the area. I know many of my friends came from Pioneer, Asgrow, Garst, Pau, and Mycogen. TRIVIA: Do you know the “Corn Capital of the World” is located in Minnesota? Olivia, located in Renville County, was designated this in 1973 by the Minnesota Senate. It is home to more than nine different seed research facilities …and…..
… home to this 50 foot corn monument ! Olivia, Renville County
Well, once my bag of seed was purchased by this nice farmer, I traveled by truck to his farm. There, he poured me and my siblings into this John Deere planter.
He added an insecticide into the back units on the planter so I wouldn’t have to fight with worms that may be in the ground when I was planted. I got to ride in one of the front units! Woohoo!
<ul><li>It was a perfect day to be planted and several things needed to be in place for it to happen: </li></ul><ul><li>great weather </li></ul><ul><li>right soil temperature </li></ul><ul><li>moisture in the ground </li></ul><ul><li>and someone willing to put me in the ground! </li></ul>
I couldn’t have asked for a better day to be planted! Wheeee!!!! What a ride!
I emerged from the ground and started to grow straight and tall!!!
I grew bigger every day thanks to good rainfall, lots of sunshine and some help from my farmer friend!
These nasty little bugs often try and hurt corn like me. Japanese Beetles Corn Bore
But my farmer friend didn’t let that happen to me! He sprayed chemicals to keep the bugs from bothering me.
Soon, the whole field looked strong and healthy.
Sometimes strong storms blow through the area and knock down corn. When this happens, most of the crop is lost and farmers must collect insurance money to help pay for the next year’s seed and input costs.
Other times, hail rains down on crops and strips the leaves and shreds the plant. Again, the crop is lost and farmers are left to collect insurance and hope for a better crop the next year.
And if that’s not enough, too much rain can also accumulate….
and flood the area. Sometimes corn can survive if the water drains fast enough; if not, the plants die and again, the farmer loses the crop.
If it doesn’t rain enough, corn will wither and dry as seen here.
If a farmer has access to water and can afford the cost, he or she might use irrigation, especially in areas with soil that does not hold moisture and is sandy and dry.
Luckily for me, I grew up in Renville County, where rich, black soil helped me grow and grow and grow….
As fall approached, the cobs dried out, which is exactly what the farmer wanted!
Corn needs to be around 15% moisture in order for it to be stored properly. So farmers wait as long as possible before picking so that they do not have to spend a lot of money on “drying” corn. However, if they wait too long, cold weather may move in or the corn might start dropping off the stalk and onto the ground!
So farmers drive big combines to harvest the corn. The stalk is pulled down into the “head” of the machine where the corn is stripped from the cob and the cob, stalks, and leaves are chopped and shot out the back of the combine onto the ground.
When the corn is separated, it is put into the “hopper” of the combine until the farmer uses an auger to dump the corn into a waiting trailer or truck.
That’s why you see so many vehicles on the road in the fall – trucks, trailers, combines, tractors, and pickups – all hurrying to get the harvest in quickly!
You know, I thought getting planted was fun, but getting to ride in that combine was even more fun! What a journey that was!
Of course, I wasn’t dry enough to be stored yet, so I got a nice warm nap in the corn dryer on the farm. It felt wonderful after being out in the cold weather for so long! Two types of corn drying units
After I was nice and dry, I was put into this nice new bin with all the other corn kernels. Because we had been so warm, the farmer made sure we didn’t keep too much heat inside the bin by turning on giant bin fans. Whew – we really felt like we were being treated well!
Now, I didn’t see it for myself, but this is what the corn field looked like after we left it.
The farmer had a lot of work to do after we left the field. Depending on what crop he decided to put into the field next year, he either disked or plowed the ground. Whatever his method, the object was to work the ground so that the corn stalks and leaves would be worked back into the ground as fertilizer for the next year.
It takes a lot of hours to go up and down the field in small swats at slow speeds in order to turn the soil.
But I didn’t have to worry about all that. I was snug and safe in the bin on the farm. That is, until I was sold. Then I was put into a truck and got a ride to the town elevator.
Once we got to the elevator, I was dumped into a holding bin and then transferred to one of the tall bins you see here.
I waited in the bin for awhile until I was sold again. Then I was loaded on the train cars and……
… ..Where did Corny go? Now it’s your turn to document his journey…..