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Trip Through Seed Plant Would Make Great 'How it Works' Episode

Trip Through Seed Plant Would Make Great 'How it Works' Episode
Firsthand chance to see seed bagging and tagging in action.

My son Daniel has just enough mechanical inclination that two of his favorite TV shows are "How Did They Make That" and, of course," Mythbusters". Both air on cable channels. There's no cable where we live, but they do come in on satellite TV.

Trip Through Seed Plant Would Make Great 'How it Works' Episode

How they Make It takes you to factories of all sorts and shows how products are made. Many manufacturing processes involve more automation than you might imagine. If I could suggest an episode, I would send a film crew to the Pioneer Hi-Bred proce4ssign plant at St. Joseph, Ill. The plant bags more than two dozen different hybrids during a season, and takes corn all the way from receiving it on the air for drying to putting it into the bag. Today they even blend traited corn with non-traited corn.

Computers control a good part of this process as well. There are still live bodies in the plant. They're the ones that make sure the computers do what they're supposed to do. Instead of lifting bags after they're filled and tagged, a person or two makes sure they move on down the conveyor, to where they're tipped and eventually placed on a pallet. Even packaging pallets in plastic happens by machine.

There are also people needed to help drive forklifts and place pallets and proboxes in the warehouse. Meanwhile, when it's time to fill proboxes, it's takes a couple of people about five minutes to convert the system form filling seed bags to filling the plastic boxes. Instead of tagging every bag, the proper tag information is placed on the designated place on the box. Some information is required by seed law, such as germination percentage. Other information tells farmers what traits are in the seed, and what refuge, if any is needed.

A shot of seed filling those big boxes would like mighty impressive on TV. I hope someone out there with the show is reading!
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