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The end of August signals the end of summer, the start of the school year, and the beginning of harvest season for our local farmers. This past week Currituck County farmers began harvesting their corn crop, a process that will continue through September and will end with the start of the soybean harvest. The soybean harvest will continue through the fall and will conclude around Thanksgiving. Both the corn and the soybeans will ultimately make their way to livestock producers as food for hogs, cattle, or chickens, but how does it get there?
Once the corn and soybeans have reached maturity and dried to a level that will help keep them from getting moldy, farmers will head out to their fields with combines. These combines separate the grain, either the corn kernels off of their cobs, or the soybeans out of their pods, from the plants and shoot all of the leaves, stems, and other plant parts out of the back of the combine. The grain will continue to collect in the combine until its storage is full, then the combine will unload the grain using an auger into a truck for transport out of the field.
From there, trucks transport the grain to a grain bin. These large metal silos help to dry the grain for long-term storage (image below). Some farmers have grain bins on their farm, while others will sell their grain directly to local grain buyers like Tyson, Smithfield, and Parkway Ag. At the buyers, the grain will be weighed and the moisture will be taken to correct the total weight of the grain. Who knew there was so much work to get the grain from the fields to the markets?
So, along with looking out for those big yellow buses this time of year, exercise caution driving around farm equipment moving from field to field. If you want to learn more about our local agriculture, celebrate our local farmers (and play fun games, eat good food, and compete in fall competitions!!), join us here at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Currituck County Center on October 2, 2021, from 1–4 p.m. for our Currituck Farm Festival. Check out our website for updates, and make sure to follow us on social media @CurrituckCES to see video and photo progress of the fall harvest here in Currituck County. For more information or questions, contact Adam Formella via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 252-232-2261.