Burning "ear corn" in wood furnace.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HermitJohn, May 27, 2006.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    I've heard of people doing this in corn producing areas back in 1930s due to very depressed prices on commodities. Always wondered how well it would work. Here is article I found of guy in MN who raises ear corn just to burn in his outside wood furnace. http://www.farmshow.com/issues/30/02/300204.asp Unfortunately not lot of details. I wonder how well this would work in a modern air tight wood stove as opposed to an outside wood boiler unit like this fellow uses?

    Anybody here ever experimented burning ear corn?
  2. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Western NY
    Wow, I'd thought about this last year and thought that maybe I was crazy. So when I saw the post I laughed. I'd think of keeping my outdoor boiler if i didn't have to cut 2 semi loads of wood every year! I wonder if you can get ear corn here in NY and how much it would cost, I'd like to experiment with it.
    Look forward to hearing more from others.

    Carol K

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    My belief is that the oil content of corn would prefer more air to make an efficient fire that what a regular wood stove would provide. As in, it would work to make heat if you had to, but with normal crop prices it would not be a good way to go.

    Perhaps a coal stove would do better - wood likes to burn from the top down, coal likes to burn from the bottom up? A true coal stove has diff airflow than a true wood stove - tho many are sold as both.

  4. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    All the old timers around here swear by the heat of the cobs (tightly packed cellulose).

    With today's combine practices, tho, most of the cobs are left in the field.

    Corn can be a decent fuel, however it has an extremely high ignition temperature, and that usually means some sort of professionally engineered air jet is required.

    Dried corn is a tremendous capacitor, and if you microwave a quarter pound for a few minutes, it will stay warm for more than 30.

    Some people here make "bean bags" using corn and in winter heat them in the microwave and use for feet and hand warmers.

    I'd think a bucket or two of corn near a stove would offer tremendous heat storage.
  5. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    Effingham, Illinois 5b
    Alot of ear corn was burned in stoves around here during the depression when corn was worth less than coal. They got more heat out of the corn than the coal they could buy with the price corn sold for. :cowboy:
  6. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

    May 2, 2005
    SW Missouri near Branson (Cape Fair)
    Yes, corn stoves (like pellet stoves for corn), use a blower to infuse more air into the firebox and make it burn hotter.