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A familiar sight, and standing cornshocks were great for pheasants and partridges. I've always wondered if they had any agricultural purpose other than that, though.
Back before corn yields were so high, and planting was so dense, and it was more of a manual operation, shucks served as a way to "store" and gather the corn. This is the only purpose I was aware of - but you've raised another - that perhaps some farmers did it for cover for pheasants and hunting habitat or wildlife.