[Originally published: January 15, 2016]
We’ve got some great photos in the IL Corn library – photos that speak volumes about what we do and who we are as an organization as well as who the farmers are that we serve! This week, we’ll feature a few of those photos as well as share the lessons you can glean from them!
Huge Piles of Corn!
- When corn comes out of the field, farmers put it into semi trucks (or other sorts of trucks, but usually semis) and haul it to the elevator. The elevator is a company that buys, sells, and stores grain. It is called an “elevator” because the corn is elevated into huge silos for storage.
- But in some years like 2014, we produce more corn than we have room to store. So the elevators put up temporary storage, like the piles you see above, just to keep grain moving out of the field. To maintain the grain in the same quality in which it arrived, these piles will be covered with huge tarps to keep moisture from getting in. The piles were also poured on top of huge tiles that will circulate air under the pile and prevent spoilage, damage, and mold
- Elevators must apply for a permit from the state to create temporary storage like this – and they can only leave this corn laying here for a short time. So as they sell the corn, the corn in these piles will be the first to go.
- Corn leaves the elevator via train, truck, or river barge to go to other states (like Texas) or other countries to feed livestock. In Illinois, just under half of our corn leaves the state to feed livestock.
- Many people who aren’t familiar with farming understand that the yields we get per acre are pretty static, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every year, because of superior seed genetics and more efficient crop management practices, our potential yields increase. Weather or pests sometimes challenge the yields, but the fact remains that our yield potential has a significant upward trend. We are producing more corn every year than the year before! That’s great news for a growing world population!