SD Corn Harvest
If you’ve driven out in the country lately, there’s no denying that harvest is in full swing. Combines are rolling through the fields combining corn. Listen to this week's Farmer's Daughter Segment here! FARMERS_DAUGHTER-NOV_3RD.mp3
This time of year farmers are putting in long hours to harvest the corn before the snow sets in. Often times this means that farmers are getting up early in the morning and harvesting long after sunset. Eating meals in the combine and working 18 hour days are the norm during harvest season. Growing up on a farm meant that I became an expert at packing sandwiches, filling water jugs, and delivering field lunches.
Many people might wonder why farmers don’t just start harvest earlier in the season. Corn has to be harvested when it is dry. Harvesting wet corn can affect its storage ability, and result in lower quality corn. Corn harvested in South Dakota is used for ethanol, animal feed, and food production. Many of the products we use in daily life start out as corn in a field. Products like aspirin, body lotion, and detergents often include corn. Farmers want to make sure they are harvesting the best quality crop so South Dakota families can get the best product possible.
Like many other things on the farm, harvest is a team effort. Somebody has to be driving the combine and another person will drive beside the combine with a grain cart. If we’re lucky, we’ll have an extra person around to fill the grain bins on the farm. Our corn is harvested and stored to feed to the cattle in our feedlot. Other farmers will take the corn straight in to the elevator in town to be sold.
A record 14.7 billion bushels of corn is expected to be harvested this year, and storage could be an issue for local elevators to hold the harvested grain before it is shipped to end markets. Much of our South Dakota corn will end up being exported (40%). The rest will go to feed livestock (50%) and become food products, like corn flakes (10%). The corn harvested in South Dakota plays an important part in our state, nation, and the world!
This fall South Dakota farmers will harvest 5 ½ million acres of corn. Next time you see a combine out in a field, think of the work that farmer is doing to make life a little easier for the rest of us.
Sources: SD Corn, NASS