Harvest time

It’s corn harvest time in parts of Minnesota.  Most the fields have either been cut down to stubble, or had the stubble plowed under, but a few fields were still being harvested when we drove through central Minnesota the other day.

corn harvest - central MN-

A harvester chewed its way down a row and prepared to turn around for another swipe churning up a lot of dust in the process. When it’s bin is full, it shoots the grain out the long arm into the bed of a waiting truck.

corn harvest in central MN

Corn stubble fields like this will attract numbers of migrating blackbirds, cranes, and waterfowl, but these harvesters are so efficient, they don’t leave much grain behind.

Rail cars full of corn dot the landscape, trucks hauling grain crowd the highways, and grain silos are bulging with feed left over from last winter’s storage plus the additional grain deposited this fall.  Sometimes there just isn’t anywhere to put all that corn, except on the ground waiting for the next available transport.

Mountain of corn at Sunburg, MN during fall harvest

A mountain of corn is building up on the ground next to two full storage silos in Sunburg, MN

corn harvest - central MN-

More trucks arrive in a steady stream, getting weighed first and then depositing their load in the growing mountain of corn.

mountain of corn-Sunburg, MN

At this point the mountain of excess corn is about 20 feet high and 150-200 feet long. How many tons would that be, I wonder? And what is the fate of this pile of corn left out to the elements for how many days?

old barn near Sundberg, MN

This old barn near Sunburg, MN has been falling down for several years, and this past year really took its toll on the structure.

6 thoughts on “Harvest time

  1. Driving back from Wisconsin this morning, we did note two recently harvested fields with large numbers of gulls feeding.
    We could calculate an answer to your question if we knew the density of closely packed corn!

    • thanks for writing, Lynn. Isn’t a great time of year to drive around the back roads in this area? I’m not surprised you found gulls feeding in the fields — in fact, I wonder if aren’t a lot of crows there too.

    • Yes, indeed, it’s a big mountain, but I’ve been told that this is typical at this time of year, and even represents a rather smallish pile, compared to some of the places where there are larger fields to harvest!!

  2. Wow. I am a product of the city and the suburbs, so the whole idea of harvesting on this scale is simply mind-blowing to me. I don’t understand the machinery and how it works, but I can’t help but be impressed by its efficiency. Your mountains of corn are impressive, Sue, and your wonderful photos show a side of American life that is quite simply foreign to my personal experience.

    • hey Mike — you need to take a field trip out West and come see our part of the country. Seriously, if you ever do find yourself in these parts, please do give me a call/email so we can meet up.

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