OSKALOOSA, Iowa — It’s an invention that has had an impact on corn harvesting. It’s called the corn reel, and it’s an idea dreamed up by a southeast Iowa farmer.

“My dad‘s Gary Kelderman and he invented the corn reel in 1977,” said Clint Kelderman. “Farmers trying to harvest wind-down corn or storm damaged corn, it will lay flat and just pile up on the head, so what happens if you get a buildup of material the operator has to get out of the cab, clean everything out, and then go another 20 yards.” 

After the invention came out Kelderman found people were willing to buy the product.

“When we invented it, we had in mind what will keep our material flowing through the head, so the guy can stay in the combine,” said Clint. “It will be a reduced rate of harvest, but at least you can still get the job done.”

Farmers do appreciate this product, even though they wish they did not have to buy it.

“It’s kind of a catch-22, because guys don’t want to have to buy a corn row reel, that means you got some storm damage, but then on the other hand at least you can salvage the harvest,” said Kelderman.

The firm has 70 full-time employees who work on agriculture products, like the corn reel, and the firm is also expanding into building after-market truck and trailer suspension systems.

“We’re a family-owned business, we’ve been here for over 50 years,” said Clint. “My brother supports the Cyclones, I support the Hawkeyes and we’ve got a real good group of guys out here and we try to create an atmosphere where guys do want to come in to work. I am proud of the employees here and we try to build a superior product, whatever we build.”