Making Hay
Week of February 8th, 2004 | The weather was very snowy.

Standing by a pile of snow.

Standing by a pile of snow.

Hello! We received a lot of snow this past week. School was cancelled on Monday and Friday due to bad weather. Right now, we have about 15 inches of snow on the ground. There is much less water in snow than in rain. On average, it takes 10 inches of snow to make 1 inch of rainfall. How much precipitation do we receive in a year?

In Northeast Iowa, we receive about 32-36 inches of precipitation on average per year. That's about 3 feet per square foot. There is 43,560 square feet in an acre. I've calculated 977,486.4 gallons of precipitation per acre in one year! That's 7240.64 gallons of precipitation for one bushel of corn! Where does all of that water go?

Water that enters soil dissolves minerals and nutrients. It also forms a soil solution. Much of the solution drains away, but some remains in the pore spaces. Green plants obtain water and some nutrients by absorbing soil solution through their roots. Air replaces the water that drains from the larger pore spaces. Soil organisms live best in soils that contain almost equal amounts of air and water.

Most ground water is found in the upper 3,000 feet of the earth's surface. In this surface, there is a water table. This water table shows how much ground water is in the soil. If it is low, then more precipitation is needed. If it is high, then tile is needed to lower the table. (See Glossary of Farm Terms at top of the page) If too much precipitation is added to the water table, then it overflows- water on top of surface moves down hill because the soil cannot absorb any more. This moving water flows into streams and lakes, occasionally creating floods.

On Tuesday, Dad sold our crop of calves. These calves were born last year. We sold 45 calves. They weighed about 675 pounds. A cow is a female and a bull is a male. Males whose reproductive organs have been removed are called steers. A young cow is called a heifer until she gives birth to a calf. A calf is a young animal being fed by its mother. Cattle can be reared for many different reasons, but the main two are for meat (beef cattle) and milk (dairy cattle).

On Saturday, I went to State Speech competition. There, I participated in Reader's Theatre. This is a play where no props are allowed, but you can use scripts. We received an I rating, so did the One Act play. This is a short play. Two of my classmates performed a group improvisation. They also received an I rating. On Tuesday of next week, we will find out who's going on to All- State, which will be held in Ames, Iowa.

Farm Fact: On our farm (333 acres), we have 185,000 feet of tile drainage. That costs about $80,000. These drain tile were installed over a 50 year time frame. Farmers see tile as a good investment because too much water can ruin crops.

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