Popcorn, anyone?

I’ve been struggling trying to find something interesting to write about, and thought, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with photography or art, why not do a piece about harvesting this years corn crop? It’s a change of pace at least.

This years corn harvest started yesterday afternoon when the first two wagon loads of corn were taken out of the field. The corn needs to be down to a 15% moisture content in order to keep it from molding and spoiling in the storage bins.  Unfortunately, the corn is testing just a couple points over 21% right now as it comes out of the combine. So… In the drier it has to go…

First two wagon loads of the 2017 harvest
Looking down from the stairs of the storage bin

The drier is a funny contraption. Sort of a cross between a really large gas grill, and a really large hot air popcorn popper.  In operation, you just fill it up with wet corn, ignite a large gas burner, and force the hot air through the corn as the corn is continuously cycled through the drier – pretty much just like a hot air popcorn popper!  😉 

Unloading the wagon into the drier loading auger
Drier / Gas Grill / Popcorn popper?

Once the corn reaches a certain temperature, the corn is tested again, and when enough water has been removed from the corn, the corn can then be transferred from the drier to the storage bins. Once inside the storage bins, a large high capacity fan blows air beneath the floor of the bin, and up through the corn, cooling it for proper storage.  It’s really a simple process in principle, but requires a few pieces of machinery to accomplish.

Unloading the drier into a gravity feed box, which then empties into the storage bin loading auger
A different view of unloading the drier
Looking straight along the main auger up to one of the storage bins
“Outhouse” building use to store the scales and moisture tester
Scales and moisture tester
Storage bin fans