Posts Tagged With: combine

A Field Trip to a Farm

If you’re going to take a field trip, why not visit a field?!  DeKalb county Farm Bureau is once again sponsoring “Where Does Your Pizza Come From?” field trip to the farm!  Last year we had a lot of fun, but it rained so that put a damper on our plans.  Well, if at first you don’t succeed… we’re doing it again!

where does your pizza come from

If you can make the journey to the Cameron, Missouri area save Saturday, July 6th for a day to ride in the combine as it harvests wheat, milk a goat at learn how to make mozzarella cheese, pet beef cows, and get dirty!  We’ll be harvesting at the Bray’s farm– directions will be available soon!!

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History of Agriculture Theme Unit

One of the best things about homeschooling is choosing to study what you like!  We recently completed a theme unit on the history of agriculture.  If this sounds like fun to you, here ya go!

HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE THEME UNIT

Reading

The American Family Farm by Joan Anderson

Farming Then and Now by Katie Roden

Pictures from the Farm by JC Allen and Son, Inc. (Brett loved this one!)

Case Photographic History by April Halberstadt

The Big Book of Tractors by John Deere

Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm by Billy Steers (and other Tractor Mac books)

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingles Wilder, Chapters 10 &11

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Writing

Keep a vocabulary list of all the new words you learn

Brainstorm facts you’ve learned about farming; choose one to write in your journal

Explore the poem “One for the Mouse, one for the crow, one to rot, one to grow”

Pretend you are living on a family farm __ years ago.  Write a letter to someone telling them about your day.

Math

Create a timeline of farm history (We started about 1800.).  Add to it through the unit.  These ready-made timelines were great resources!

“Plant” (glue) ears of corn in numerical order.  For older students, plant numbers by 2s, 5s, etc. or backwards.

Use this website from nps.gov to learn how many miles a man walked to plant one acre, how much a plow cost and billions of other math facts from the 19th Century!

Use the “one for the mouse” poem to do a little hands-on subtraction

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Science

Try this experiment to learn why rubber tires were a great improvement over horses hooves and steel wheels.

Experiment with tying straw sheaves.  If you don’t have straw large weeds from the side of  the road will work as well.  Will your sheaves protect the straw from the rain?

Make a farm diorama with a shoe box, clay, plastic toy cowboys and horses (can you figure out a way to dress your cowboys to look like farmers?), and any other things you can imagine!

Social Studies

Try sowing seeds yourself.  Grass seed is a great choice.

Use a hand grinder to grind wheat.

Watch the archival footage on these John Deere DVDs. CombinesTractors

Field Trip!  The best part of homeschooling– right?!  Visit Missouri Town, an Amish community, or similar location

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Art

Make a collage of seeds

Design a piece of machinery the could help farmers.  Use food boxes, paper towel tubes, brads, yarn, whatever!

Roll toy tractors in (washable) paint and create prints

Scripture

The Parable of the Sower, Luke 8:5-8

Other Internet Resources

Country Life vs. City Life from Home School Year Blog

Farm Theme Pinterest board

Fun on the Farm by Fabulous in First Blog

Counting 1-5 Grain Bins from Hands On: As We Grow Blog

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Harvest Photographs

Harvest photograph

Harvest Photographs

Harvest Photographs

Harvest Photographs

Harvest photograph

These are a few of my favorite pics I snapped during harvest season this year.  l.eave me a message and tell me which is your favorite!

 

 

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Visit to the Farm

Last Saturday we enjoyed friends coming for a visit to the farm.  Like most families, these friends don’t have a combine in their backyard, so we had a grand time climbing up the ladders to look in the hopper, checking out the engine, riding around the field, “steering” the tractor and cart, and honking the semi’s horn.

Visit to the Farm

Visit to the Farm

Visit to the farm

Visit to the Farm

Now that you’ve seen the photos, what would you most like to do on a visit to the farm?  Use your journal and your imagination!

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What Farmers want you to know about Safety During Harvest

Harvest season is in full swing throughout the midwest.  As those tractors, carts, wagons, combines, head wagons, semis, augers, and pick-ups move from field to field, here are a few things farmers want you to know about safety during harvest!

Safety During Harvest

We don’t like it any better than you do, but sometimes farm equipment must drive on the highway.  Dealing with the slow-moving machinery that produces our food is just part of eating!  First, stay back for the sake of your vehicle– you don’t want beans smacking your window and the farmer can’t see you very well anyhow.

Be patient.  Most farm equipment won’t be driving on the highway for a long way.  As soon as a back road is available, the tractor or combine is probably going to turn off.

When you are traveling on a back road, keep a close eye out.  If you see a pick-up or car with flashing lights at the top of a hill watch out!  This is the signal to warn you that a large or slow-moving machine is coming towards you on the road.   Slow down or even stop and get as far over on the shoulder as you can.  Don’t ignore flashing lights!

Some neighborhoods are built where a field used to be and are still surrounded by farm ground.  Many farmers are happy to talk to families and kids about the equipment they drive or what they are doing, but never approach a farmer while he is driving.  Wait until he has fully stopped before you approach your neighbor to ask a question!

And never play on parked equipment!  Farmers sometimes need to leave combines and carts in the field over night and come back to finish later, but these are not giant toys!  But if you ask nicely you just might get a chance to sit in the driver’s seat with the help of the farmer!

So from our farm family to yours, be safe!

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5 Steps to Combining Corn

Harvest is in full swing on Marshall farms!  Ride along with us to learn the 5 steps to combining corn!

For more videos from Marshall Farms, click here!

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Super Simple Soil Experiment

If you didn’t see them last week, scroll down to Law of Supply and Demand Lesson Plan and check out the tires on the tractor, cart, and combine.

What do you think?  Pretty big, huh.  Well, today you will learn why farm equipment needs to have such large tires!

To begin, let’s try a super simple soil experiment.  You will need three things.

1.) Either some soil or sand

2.) Your finger

3.) Your hand

Like I said, super simple soil experiment.  Let’s start with the soil or sand.  All you need is a pile.  It can be in a pot, in the bag you bought it in, or in the sandbox, but you need a pile, not just the ground in your backyard.

Soil Science experiment

Next you need your finger.  Got it?  Good.  Poke your finger down into the soil.

soil experiment

Did your finger go down into the soil?  Unless your dirt is really a rock, your finger likely went in all the way.  Now, spread your fingers wide and place your whole hand on the soil.  Push down again.

soil experiment

Unless your soil is more like oozy mud, your hand probably made little more than a print.  Compare the two “holes” you made.  Do they look like mine?

soil experiment

Your finger made a much deeper hole, didn’t it.  And this hole was not made by taking soil out of the pile, but by pushing it in.  Soil being pushed down is called “compaction.”  Compacted soil is hard.  It has little room for air, water, or roots to grow.  Compaction is bad!

Unfortunately, compaction is also a reality.  Farmers must drive tractors, combines, sprayers, and other equipment over the ground.  So they have to do something about it.  Historically farmers have solved this problem by plowing their fields.  Horses pulled the first steel plows through the ground hundreds of years ago.  The metal knife cut into the ground, breaking the soil into pieces.  This helped with compaction, but can you guess what it hurt?  Erosion.  When the dark brown dirt was turned over and the seed bed was smooth even a small rain could wash away the soil into ditches, streams, and rivers.  Big rains could wash away entire portions of a field.

So today many farmers use a method called “no-till”.  Instead of plowing the ground farmers plant seeds into dirt that was left just as it was after last year’s crop was harvested.  Roots from the old plant hold the soil together, preventing erosion, BUT the soil was again compacted.

Engineers, Scientists, and others worked with equipment companies like Case IH and John Deere to make new tires that would cause less compaction.  They used the same idea you just did with your finger and hand.  Old tractor tires were small and thin, sort of like your finger.  New tractor tires are wide and gigantic, sort of like your open hand!  New tires were made of rubber, instead of steel and farmers often let some air out of the tires to make them squash even more, the way a balloon will squeeze flat when it is almost out of air.  Some tractors and combines even run on tracks, like a bulldozer, which lessens compaction even more.

Farmers care about the earth and the soil on it because they understand how important healthy soil is to happy eating!  And who knows?  Maybe one day you will become a scientist and help create new technologies that will allow farmers to take even better care of our world!

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Law of Supply and Demand Lesson Plan

harvesting wheat

Despite the wind and rain that kept us out of the wheat field in June, we have finished harvesting our crop!

harvesting wheat

But what happens after the combine cuts the wheat?  Great question  😉

The picture above show the combine unloading onto the cart.  We use the tractor and cart because of those huge wheels you see.  A semi drives on roads, but wheels on the tractor and cart can drive through fields  much better.  After the cart is full the tractor pulls it out to the road and unloads on the semi.  Then the semi drives back to the grain bins and unloads the grain into the bins.

And then what?

So glad you ask!  Then we sell the grain.  Have you ever clipped coupons or watched for sales on your favorite foods?  Have you ever purchased lots of something because it was a good price?  Well, grain prices change almost EVERY day and farmers are always watching for a good price!  Is it too cold in the states where wheat is growing?  Prices might go up because buyers believe the wheat will not grow well.  There will be less wheat and they want to be sure to get some!  If they really, REALLY want that wheat they will pay more to make sure they have it.

Is it sunny, warm, and just perfect in the states where wheat is growing?  Prices might go down.  People believe there will be lots of wheat.  Everyone will have wheat to sell and you can get wheat whenever you want it.  There is no need to pay a lot.

We call this the Law of Supply and Demand.  The amount of wheat we have is our “supply” of wheat.  “Demand” means how many people want it.  Lots of supply can mean low prices and not enough demand can do the same thing.  High prices come when there is a low supply and lots of demand.  American farmers help feed the world, so right now demand is pretty high.  Wheat prices often depend on weather– how well did wheat grow?  What is the supply?

When we can, farmers like to sell grain at high prices.  But we can’t always do this.  Sometimes prices stay low for long periods of time and farmers need money.  They have to sell their wheat for whatever price they can to pay for seeds for next year, diesel for the tractor, or to buy groceries for their families!

Sometimes farmers make choices to sell, thinking prices are good, but then prices go up the next day, week, or month.  It can be very difficult to predict the future!

Try this activity to see what its like to buy and sell grain like a farmer!  This website has a simple table so you can see what corn is selling for at three hog farms.  http://www.psfarms.com/missouri_corn_bids.asp  Pretend you have corn to sell.  Choose a time frame, such as two weeks, and check the website everyday to see what prices are.  Write them down in a notebook.  At some point during the two weeks pretend to sell your corn.  Make sure to continue recording until your time frame has ended.  Now, how did you do?  Did you sell at the best price?  Was it good?  Bad?  Did the Law of Supply and Demand affect prices?  Do you think this year’s drought will make prices go up or down?

*Note: you can also try this activity using produce from your gorcery store.  Take your notebook with you and jot down prices.  Do they go up or down?  What factors affect price?

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Where Does Your Pizza Come From?

where does your pizza come from

Have you ever wondered where the ingredients in your pizza come from?  Well here’s your chance to find out!  You are invited to spend a day on our family farm as we harvest our wheat crop!  DeKalb County Farm Bureau is hosting this event where you will be able to grind wheat into flour, milk a goat, ride in the combine, pet barnyard animals and just get dirty!

The event will be held June 23rd from 11:00-3:00.  Click our Field Trip page to learn more!

See you soon!

 

Categories: Animals, Science | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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