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Posts Tagged With: wheat

View From the Combine’s Seat

Sure, many crops are harvested in the summer, but for corn and soybean farmers pulling the combine out of the shed conjures thought of apples and pumpkins, chilly nights and football games.  Not so with wheat harvest.

Wheat harvest-- pictures from the combine's seat.

We have been planting a small percentage of our acres to wheat over the past few years to help build terraces.  Summer is the time to take the bulldozer out to the fields to fix any damage done by torrential rains or the effects of time.  That doesn’t work so well if you’ve got crops growing in those fields, so we started growing wheat because the late June/early July harvest window means time to work on our soil conservation efforts.

Wheat harvest-- pictures from the combine's seat.

For those who are new, I love growing wheat.  It’s the first thing to green up after a long winter and it’s beautiful in all it’s growing stages.

This year, however, I thought instead of snapping my usual photos I’d ask Wayne to take some shots from his place in the driver’s seat.

Wheat harvest-- pictures from the combine's seat.

How’s that for a workplace view?

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Categories: Farming | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

6 Things to Know About Wheat and Gluten

If you haven’t gone gluten-free yet, you’re simply not with it.  In fact, for every person diagnosed with Celiac disease, 20 others are choosing a gluten-free diet!  But aside from being the hottest trend, what is the real story about wheat?  If you’re working on a healthier new you for the new year (or if you left those goals back in January!!) here are six things you need to know about wheat.

What are organics? Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

1.) Wheat contains vital nutrients.  If you truly have Celiac disease then skipping gluten 100% of the time is crucial.  However, avoiding this food source is going to leave you missing nutrients, like B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber.  You’ll need to plan carefully to add these elements back into your diet in other ways.  Going gluten-free needs to be carefully considered, not jumped into lightly.

2.) Gluten-intolerance is not caused by GMO wheat.  How do I know this?  There is no GMO wheat.  Wait for it.  Someone is going to tell me Monsanto just doesn’t want me to know about it (Is it you? You know you want to!) but if wheat farmers who buy, plant, and harvest the wheat don’t have access to GMO wheat then where would you be getting it?!

growing wheat

I love growing wheat in the fields around our house. It’s so pretty!

 

3.) The post that went viral about farmers spraying their wheat with Round-Up before harvest is over-reaching.  To say the least.  The post says farmers spray wheat before harvest to increase yields, but this account of a fellow farm wife tells her story of wheat harvest in the north.  What you need to know is there are farms that benefit from this practice, but it’s done according to regulations.  More importantly, only about 5% of the wheat in the US is harvested this way.

4.) Scientific studies don’t support a gluten-free diet.  A double-blind study in Australia showed people felt better when they thought they weren’t eating gluten, but their bodies had no measurable difference.  Their bodies did have differences when their diets cut out FODMAPs, which are confusing substances found in all sorts of foods, from apples to beans to, yes, wheat.  The moral of that very difficult article was to be tested if you think you are intolerant of foods.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From? {DaddysTractor.com}

5.) If a test reveals that you are gluten-intolerant it’s also important to know that a gluten-free diet is only effective if it is completely gluten-free.  So avoiding wheat “most of the time” is a pointless effort.

Generally, eating healthier is the way to feel better.  If cutting wheat means skipping the white bread in favor of some carrot sticks, well, that may be part of the success of gluten-free food.

6.) But don’t be fooled. Read the labels on gluten-free alternatives.  Some of the additives they use to recreate the natural texture or taste of wheat are high in cholesterol or low in nutrition.

So what’s your take?  Is bread on the menu tonight?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A Farmer’s Gamble

This is our wheat field.

A farmer's gamble

There are different ways to grow wheat, but on our farm we plant it in the fall when the wheat has a chance to germinate and grow just a little before the cold weather sets in.  During the coldest months wheat hibernates and then with the first rays of spring sun the little sprouts are ready to green up again.

Or they’re supposed to.

 

The reality of this year was the POLAR VORTEX.  Snow flurries began just days after the wheat was planted and the spring sun, well, we’re still not sure its around to stay.

Which means an entire wheat crop has been lost.

A farmer's gamble

We brought out an agronomist and the insurance adjuster to look at the fields.  Both pointed out that, besides the bare spots where no wheat is even growing, the plants that are growing are not healthy and only a third will develop wheat berries.  Of that third almost all are developing wheat heads that are growing sideways instead of straight up.  That means they won’t pollinate well, loosing another third of whatever crop we might have had.  Then there is the matter of the plants being small and stunted, meaning the combine won’t be able to pull the crop into its reel and we’ll loose even more grain.

The end result was estimated to be less than 2 bushel of wheat per acre.

DSC_0054

Yeah.  That’s about the same as nothing.

Thankfully we will be able to kill the wheat (the lingo is “burn” the wheat) and go ahead and plant beans in those fields.  It will hurt most where we planned for a wheat harvest in June so we could repair terraces in the summer.  Beans won’t be harvested until after repair work is over, meaning these fields will wait another year.

A farmer's gamble

But farming has always been a risky business and we knew that before we planted wheat last fall, or before we planted crops the previous spring, and even before we ever began to farm at all.  Every year is uncertian; every crop is just hope.

Every day is a gamble for a farmer.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Its Planting Time!

Yes, I can see that it is fall.  There are pumpkins on my counter top and apple cider in my fridge.  But I promise, it really is planting time.  For wheat anyway.

Planting wheat

This is the field behind our house.  Cory is using the drill to put the wheat seeds into the ground.  It was so windy and the dirt is so dry I couldn’t get a great photo of the equipment, but here’s one of the drill planting beans in the spring.

drilling beans

It may look a lot like our planter, but a drill is quite a bit different.  To a farmer anyway.  A planter precisely places seeds in the ground.  A drill is for crops that are much less picky about their conditions, but no matter how you put them in the ground, these wheat seeds need to be planted in the fall.

Planting wheat

The weather man says its going to rain next week, which would be great for our wheat crop.  Ideally it needs to be planted in cool temps, but with enough time to grow a little before freezing weather hits.  The field will hopefully sprout green in a few more days and then be ready to go dormant when the snow flies.  Some wheat needs cooler temps than others, which is why you’ll hear of wheat being grown in states like Montana.  Other types are fine here in the Midwest– mostly in Kansas. 😉

Wheat is one of my favorite crops and I love having it grow in the fields around our house.  It will be among the first signs of spring and long before our yard looks lush the wheat will be several inches high.

growing wheat

I snapped this shot on March 27, 2012.

So harvest continues.  Hand in hand with planting.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

A Day at the Farm

So much fun!  Our weekend adventure of harvesting wheat and learning about where the ingredients in our pizza come from was a HUGE success!  Thanks so much to the Brays for hosting this awesome event; their farm was perfect.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

FSA brought coloring books and rulers.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Our Farm Bureau agent helped kids plant their own seeds.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

This is me, showing how the harvested wheat is turned into flour.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Grinding wheat with electricity was much easier than doing it by hand!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

These are beef cows for the hamburger toppings!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

And Nubian milk goats for making the mozzarella cheese.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

There was a straw maze.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

The sensory bin filled with wheat to play in!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Riding in the combine was probably the best part!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Caroline waits for her turn to ride and sports a “Thank a Farmer” sticker!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Finally, its Carson’s turn!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Is this machine way cool or what?!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

The stalks from the wheat are baled into straw. These huge bales are being sold to the highway dept. to be used to keep dirt in place while workers fix roads.

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

All right, maybe the pizza was the best part! Yummy!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Pepperoni comes from hogs!

Where Does Your Pizza Come From?  {DaddysTractor.com}

Lovin’ the cheese!

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tomorrow’s the Big Day!

Ready to find out Where Your Pizza Comes From?!  Tomorrow’s the Big Day– combine rides, hay bales to climb on, and FREE PIZZA!

Come on out any time between 9:00-1:00 to the Bray Farm.  The weather looks GREAT for our event.  Since some of you may be wondering, yes, Brad and Minnie Bray welcomed a sweet baby girl last night (an Independence Day baby!) but we are all set to celebrate their new addition and combine their wheat for them! 😉  We can’t wait to see you!

Wheat Harvest

Directions to the Brays farm:

From the South:

From US Hwy 36 and Hwy 69 in Cameron: North on 69 1 mile.  69 Hwy curves right and EE blacktop forks off straight North.  Take EE 6 miles.  At 6 mile point EE curves right and Willow forks off straight North.  Take Willow Road North 1/2 mile and then curves to the left.  Continue on Willow for 2 miles until you get to Irwin.  On Irwin go 1/4 mile and arrive at 2966 SE Irwin Rd., Cameron MO 64429.  Enter at the 2nd Driveway.

From the North:

From Hwy 6 from Mayville going East to Weatherby: Take Irwin Rd. South (Irwin is the first gravel road west of Weatherby).  Go 2 1/2 miles to Valley.  Go right (west) on Valley 1/2 mils to Irwin.  Go left (south) on Irwin 1/2 mile to 2966 SE Irwin Rd., Cameron MO 64429.

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Its Almost Here! Where Does Your Pizza Come From Field Trip

It’s almost here!  The “Where Does Your Pizza Come From?” field trip is next Saturday, July 6th from 9:00-1:00 at the Bray Farm.  There will be goats to milk, a tractor to “drive,” wheat to grind, hay bales to climb, and a combine to ride!  The events scheduled are aimed at children entereing 2-6th grades, but this will be fun for the whole family!

And if that weren’t enough, there will be free pizza!

harvesting wheat

Directions to the Brays farm:

From the South:

From US Hwy 36 and Hwy 69 in Cameron: North on 69 1 mile.  69 Hwy curves right and EE blacktop forks off straight North.  Take EE 6 miles.  At 6 mile point EE curves right and Willow forks off straight North.  Take Willow Road North 1/2 mile and then curves to the left.  Continue on Willow for 2 miles until you get to Irwin.  On Irwin go 1/4 mile and arrive at 2966 SE Irwin Rd., Cameron MO 64429.  Enter at the 2nd Driveway.

From the North:

From Hwy 6 from Mayville going East to Weatherby: Take Irwin Rd. South (Irwin is the first gravel road west of Weatherby).  Go 2 1/2 miles to Valley.  Go right (west) on Valley 1/2 mils to Irwin.  Go left (south) on Irwin 1/2 mile to 2966 SE Irwin Rd., Cameron MO 64429.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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!!

Categories: Family | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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?

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

Farm Bureau Event

It wasn’t quite what we envisioned, but “Where Does Your Pizza Come From?” event was lots of fun!  The last-minute rain sent us inside, but we ground wheat into flour, “made” pizza sauce, milked goats and learned about making cheese, pet chickens and a calf, planted seeds, learned about farm safety, and ate pizza!  Early’s Tractor in Cameron donated a remote control tractor and a barn set which were given away as prizes, and despite being literally blown away by it all, we had a lot of fun!

Here are the pictures from the event, as well as the questions from the game.  Do you know the answers?

1.) How many people does one farmer feed?

Farm Bureau event

2. What two states grow the most green peppers?

Farm Bureau event

3.) How long does it take a tomato plant to produce mature fruit?

Farm Bureau event

4.) How many states have cattle farms or ranches?

Farm Bureau event

5.) What is meat from a hog called?

Farm Bureau event

6.) What two kinds of wheat are usually used in pizza crust?

Farm Bureau event

7.) Beef is a great source of what three nutrients?

Farm Bureau event

8.) As a nation, how many acres of pizza does America consume in one day?

Stumped?  Here are the answers! 1.) One farmer feeds 155 people. 2.) California and Florida grow the most green peppers. 3.) It takes a tomato plant 75-85 days to become a mature plant. 4.) All 50 states produce beef. 5.) Meat from a hog (or pig) is called pork. 6.) Hard red spring wheat and Hard red winter wheat are primarily used in pizza crusts. 7.) Beef is a great source of “zip”– zinc, iron, and protein.  8.) Americans eat 100 acres of pizza each day!

Categories: Animals, Science | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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