Making Hay
Week of September 14th, 2003 | The weather was a little bit rainy.

"Tug of Grain" demonstration

Hello! We finally got some rain! We received about an inch this past week. We were happy to see the rain, but we are still very dry.

This past week, I helped at a Farm Safety Day Camp for the New Hampton FFA Chapter. This was done with two other area schools and their FFA chapters. Did you know that September is Farm Safety Month?

At the Farm Safety Day Camp, I helped out with the grain safety session. First, our group showed 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students (about 200 students) from these area schools about playing in grain wagons full of grain. If a child was playing on top of a load of grain, and the farmer starts unloading it, this is what will happen:

The child can easily be sucked into the flowing grain. He or she will get buried and can suffocate due to lack of air. The same thing can happen in a grain bin.

If the farm kid weighed 53 pounds, a rescue crew would have to pull 71 pounds just to pull him/her out of the grain if it was waist deep.

As you can see in the picture, we had another demonstration. We had a model of a grain bin. Through the door, there is a rope. To the side, there is a scale monitor. We had everyone come up to the grain bin and see how many pounds that they could pull. "There's a 53 pound farm kid in this grain bin and the grain is up to his/her shoulders. Let's see how many of you can pull him/her out by pulling at least 115 pounds," I said to the groups at the Farm Safety Day Camp. Each student took their turn and pulled. Only about half of the students were able to pull the weight.

Here are some questions that the FFA group and I asked to the students:

True/False - It is smart not to ride in grain wagons or play in grain bins. (Answer: True)

If an adult is buried in grain a few feet below the surface, it will take how much of pull to get him out?
a. Twice his weight
b. Two 55-gallon tanks full of water
c. The weight of a small car
(Answer: c. It could take 2000 pounds of pull to lift him out.)

What should you do when someone is trapped in grain?

1. Turn off the loading/unloading equipment
2. Have everyone present try to pull him/her out
3. Call 911 even if he/she is pulled out.

Did you know that 1/3 of grain entrapments are children under the age of 14? In 1993, ten farmers were killed due to grain accidents in the state of Iowa alone. We shared other facts about grain safety at the Safety Day Camp.What does SMV stand for? (Answer- Slow Moving Vehicle). Any vehicles that travel 35 miles per hour or less (farm equipment) need to have a SMV sign attached. SMV sign is a blaze orange triangle with red outline.

Augers can be dangerous to operate. Since augers are tall, it is very dangerous to be transported around power lines. Many farmers have been electrocuted due to augers. An auger is a farm implement that transports grain from a wagon to a bin, or a bin to a wagon. Augers can easily cut your fingers off. Farmers need to be careful around augers, and other equipment. When unloading grain, never cross over the PTO (power take off), which is hitched, to the tractor. It turns very fast and you or your clothing could get caught in it.

Other groups, like the one I was with, covered other farm safety areas during the day. The students enjoyed the day. It was very educational and hopefully, useful advice shared.

Source: Iowa State University Extension

Farm Fact: On our farm, we try to apply many safety precaution measures while handling grain, working in the fields and around the farm, using equipment, and livestock chores. We take this very seriously so no one gets hurt and our work can be safe and fun.

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Kay from from Cooperative Extension Penn State on June 8, 2011 at 10:00:05 AM
I could not open the pictures. I am intersted in doing more grain activities with Amish and Mennonite school students. Any other suggestions for hands-on activities in one room schools
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