For the past 10 years, harvesting corn and selling the cobs has been a humble little business for Ty and Jay Stukenholtz, 34-year-old twin brothers.
By trial and error, computer designing, tinkering and banging away, the Stukenholtz brothers, who farm the 350-acre family farm near Nebraska City, came up with a way to harvest corn cobs and kernels at the same time and keep the materials separate.
Until now, the brothers’ invention has had limited appeal because of the small market for corn cobs, save as cattle feed or in some limited industrial uses.
But that might be about to change as ethanol makers look into producing ethanol from crop residue and other biomass, including the cobs, leaves and stalks from corn plants.
The potential use of corn cobs and other plant material as an ethanol feedstock has the brothers Stukenholtz and their business partner, Beth Pihlblad of Waukee, thinking that they might be sitting on the hottest new product in the farm equipment business.
Photo by JOHN GAPS III.