Corn is grown in all 50 states in the U.S. and it can be found in every county in Kansas. Harvest time is different for every farmer because the different elevation levels determine when the corn can be planted in the different regions of the state. Most corn in Kansas is harvested in September and October.
There are two types of corn with different purposes and different harvest methods. Sweet corn is what you buy in the store to eat. It is harvested with a piece of equipment called a corn harvester or corn picker (very original name) that pulls the whole ear of corn off the stalk with the husk still intact.
Sweet corn is harvested in the summer and makes up only 1 percent of the nation’s corn acres. Many corn farming families will plant a few rows of sweet corn to cook and freeze for their family to enjoy all year.
Field corn is harvested when the corn is dry. Corn that is too wet at harvest can have trouble storing in the grain bins. Elevators have giant dryers that they will use when the corn is too wet. This type of corn uses a machine called a combine, named for its ability to combine three different harvesting processes; reaping, threshing and winnowing.
The combine was invented in the U.S. by Hiram Moore in 1834 and the earliest versions were pulled through the field with horses or oxen.
- Likes: Moisture, sunshine and soil nutrients while growing
- Dislikes: Water during harvesting
- Interesting fact: The average Midwest farmer plants at a rate that will produce about 30,000 ears of corn per acre
- Interesting fact: The average newer combine will harvest about 10 acres per hour
- Interesting fact: 30,000 ears X 10 acres = 300,000 ears per hour