Posts Tagged With: farm vocabulary words

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.  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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Whole Wheat

It’s almost here!  This Saturday is our wheat harvest day– Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  I’m excited to announce some additions to our event.  Most importantly, free pizza will be served!  You may thank the Quad County Cattleman’s Association for their donation for beef pizzas, as well as Casey’s for a nice discount.  There will also be a raffle with several prizes, including a Case IH toy tractor!  Entry for the raffle will be a card to be filled out at each of the stations.  When a card shows you have been to each area it may be placed in the drawing– good luck!

Don’t forget to check in here for weather information!

To get you primed and ready for this weekend, here is a lesson on whole wheat!

A whole grain is just what it sounds like– all of the grain.  It can be a grain of wheat, oats, barley, or any cereal plant, but to call it whole grain means you do not remove part of the grain before you crack, roll, grind or eat it.

whole wheatA grain of whole wheat is similar to an egg.  It has a husk for a carton, bran for an eggshell, endosperm for egg whites, and germ for the yolk.  The husk must be removed, but the rest of the grain is important!  The bran (eggshell) has lots of fiber and makes you feel full!  Germ (yolk )has fiber and minerals, but is also full of complex carbs, protein, and essential fatty acids, and is an excellent source of vitamins B and E.  Endosperm (whites) is mostly carbs.  White flour is made of only endosperm.  This helps it last longer in your cabinet, but takes away the most healthy parts of the grain !  The great thing about keeping all of the grain is that when mixed with the endosperm, the germ and bran work with it to make a slow burning complex carb– very healthy!

The best way to enjoy it is to grind the whole wheat flour yourself!  Even flour labled “whole wheat” at the store can be missing some of the bran and most of the germ.  The bran and germ cause the flour to go bad sitting on the store shelf, so it sells better without them.  On our farm we use a mill and simply turn the knob any time we want fresh, whole wheat flour.  Watch and see!

To make bread from this freshly ground whole wheat flour go to for the book, No More Bricks.

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Vocabulary Lesson with Farm and Garden Words

Gardening is the perfect way for children to experience a bit of the farm.  It is also an opportunity to teach some farm vocabulary words! Grab a packet of seeds, some soil in a pot, fertilizer and a pair of gloves.Gardening with kids in the winter

I won’t go into the gardening specifics here.  Many of you can probably figure out how to poke a few seeds into the ground.  Or search for websites.  Try lettuce if this is your first attempt!

One kid-friendly tid-bit; I like the fertilizer with the shaker top, so Brett can have at it. Gardening with kids in the winter

Before you plant the seeds check the back of the envelope.  Chances are there are a few great farm  vocabulary words!

Variety” means the differences in plants that are still the same species.  If you chose lettuce it could be Black Seeded Simpson or Buttercrunch.  Both are lettuce, but they will look and taste a little different.

On our farm we work closely with our seed salesmen to purchase just the right varieties.  Some seeds grow best on our flat, bottom ground.  Other kinds produce the most on hill ground.  Some will survive a drought, some have tough stalks to survive high winds, some are best for grinding into cornmeal, some are good protein for dog food.  You get the idea.

Farmers have been growing different varieties for centuries, but often they had to choose the seeds with the traits they wanted by hand.  Now companies and universities know all about genetics and can grow exactly what farmers need!Gardening with kids in the winter

Germination” means begin to develop.  On your packet you should see the number of days it will take before the seed sprouts are visible above the ground.

Germination is very important to farmers.  Not all seeds grow and not all seeds grow into healthy plants.  There are several things that affect how a seed grows and a farmer needs to take them all into consideration so as many seeds as possible turn into strong plants.

The temperature of the soil and how deep the seed is in the ground are the most important factors.  If you want to, keep track of the number of seeds you place in the soil and then record the number that germinate.  What is your germination rate?

Maturity” refers to when the plant will be developed, or finished growing.

You will want your lettuce to mature over time so you can its eat leaves for several weeks.  A farmer would like all his crops to be done all at one time so he can use a combine to harvest everything at once.

A farmer also wants to make sure his crops are done growing before a frost or snow fall kills plants that could have gotten bigger.  The trick is to plant late enough the ground is nice and warm for good germination, but not too late or the plants will not be mature before fall begins!

That leads us to “Culture” which means preparing the soil so you can plant.  The culture date on the envelope should give you a good idea of when your variety needs to be planted for best germination and to reach maturity with plenty of time to enjoy your veggies!

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