Making Hay
Week of October 5th, 2003 | The weather was nice. Happy Harvest.

Our newly built grain wagon

Our newly built grain wagon

Happy Harvest! I had a busy week. It was Homecoming Week at our school. There were a lot of activities throughout the week. Thursday night we had a parade down Main Street and a pep rally at the park. I helped decorate the FFA float and rode on it during the parade. I played in the band at the park afterwards for the pep rally and announcement of the Homecoming King. Friday we had a fun afternoon, including a picnic lunch for all the students. We had a couple of high school rock bands playing for us. It was awesome! After that, there was a powder puff football game with the senior girls. That was funny! Everybody had a good time. Friday night was the big game. I'm in marching band. We performed just briefly during halftime because of the queen coronation. That was also during halftime. We won our football game (41-7)!!!

For Agriculture Education class, (Animal Science) we are required to do an SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) project. I decided to do my project on raising a few pigs. I purchased five organic pigs from Dad last week. They weighed about 40 pounds each. I housed them in a straw bedded pen in the barn. I fed them, watered, and checked them each morning before school. It was a lot of fun! I turned my SAE Project in (by paper) to my teacher this past week. The essay included the care of the pigs, feed ration, and weight gain. I am planning on keeping the pigs on a feed trial (information for Dad) and sell them through Organic Valley next year.

This past week, Dad finished building a grain wagon. (Refer to journal 08/03/2003) In the past two months, we had the box and frame built, hoist attached, roll tarp installed, painted, and finishing touches done. It took a long time and a lot of work, but Dad and I made a good grain wagon.

Since harvesting is going full swing around the area, I thought it would be interesting to share some information about corn and soybean plants.

Corn is grown in all 50 states. The first time that white people heard of corn was when Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492. There, he found out about "a sort of grain called maize."

The very top part of a corn plant (when matured) is a tassel. It is like the head. To me, it looks like a small bush. On corn plants, the hair from the corn ear is called silk. The corn stalk is weak on the top, but strong on the bottom. Corn plants have roots above ground and below ground. The roots above the ground surface are called prop roots, or brace roots. They are very strong and will break if you try to bend it. The roots, (below ground) are weak compared to the brace roots.

Corn is used for human consumption, livestock consumption, and oils.

Did you know that there are six main kinds of corn? They are: dent corn, which many farmers grow for livestock; sweet corn- human consumption; flint corn; popcorn, (you know what that's for!!); flour corn, one of the oldest kind of corn; and pod corn, the ancestor of all other types of corn. They all look very different.

The stalk and leaves are called husks when harvested. The husks can be used for livestock bedding. Corncobs are good bedding material, too.

Corn can be grown from three to ten feet tall. The giant corn of the Jala Valley in Mexico has ears three feet long! Its stalks can be used to make fences.

The soybean plant stands from two to four feet high. Each pod contains two or three seeds or beans, which grow for 30 to 40 days. Soybeans belong to the pea family. While maturing, the leaves turn yellow and fall off of the plant. Soybeans are mainly used for meal and oil. The meal is used for livestock food. The oil can be used for human consumption, or is made into plastic, wax, and many other things.

Soybeans are one of the oldest crops grown by humans. They were first cultivated in Eastern Asia about 5000 years ago. Ancient Chinese considered soybeans their most important crop and one of the five sacred grains necessary for life. Soybeans grown on an acre of land can provide about 10 times as much protein as can beef cattle raised on the same land. They provide more protein than most other vegetables or grains.

Soybeans have 34.1% protein, 33.5% carbohydrates, 17.7% fat, 10.0% water, and 4.7% ash.

Farm Fact: This year our farm has handled yellow, red, blue, white, and waxy corn. Most of these grain corn types have about the same feed value.

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