Super Soy and King Corn
Soybeans and corn are Minnesota’s leading cash crops. These are the top crops that feed our cattle, hogs, and poultry. They are processed into thousands of other uses in human foods, industries, fuels, and more.
Planting and Harvesting
Soybeans and corn, both row crops, are planted in April and May. During the summer:
- Soybeans flower and produce pods (beans).
- Corn grows tassels and silks, producing ears with kernels.
Both crops are harvested in the fall.
Storage and Transportation
Soybeans and corn are stored in grain bins on the farm or at local elevators. They are kept dry to prevent mold and spoiling. Farmers raising livestock often grind and mix soybeans and corn with other grains to feed their animals. Many farmers sell their crops, which are then hauled away from the farm by truck.
Cleaning is the first step. Then crops are processed in different ways, depending on how they will be used.
- Soybeans are mainly processed for oil, meal (flour), and biodiesel (biofuel). Corn is mainly processed for livestock feed, human food, and ethanol (biofuel).
- Soybean hulls are usually removed. Beans are warmed and moistened. The heat expands the beans and the hulls pop off. Then the beans are flattened into flakes, making it easier to remove the oil.
- Corn may be soaked, softened, pressed, ground, cooked, mixed, or sometimes flaked before it is further processed into many different products.
- The U.S. produces nearly half of the world’s soybeans.
- Coffee cups, grocery bags, even surfboards made from corn plastic biodegrade in just a few months. The key is proper composting.
- Henry Ford once built a car from soybeans. It was so tough he could beat on it with an axe!
- Most of the corn grown in Minnesota is field corn. Its hard kernels are a main ingredient in livestock feed and industrial products. What is the sweet and tasty corn that you eat called?