On September 11, 2012 the fifth graders of Cherokee Middle School went on the farm field trip to learn about the agriculture in our county. We boarded the school bus and headed out for a "farm-tastic" time! We traveled to a dairy farm, a hog farm, and an ethanol plant. We also learned about farm safety. The day before we had speakers come and talk to us about corn, beef cattle, hogs, soybeans, and dairy cattle.
Britt Carlson, a veterinarian from Cherokee, came and spoke to us. Zinc, iron, and protein are in beef! There are lots of things you can make from beef cattle such as ribs, ground beef, and steak! Zinc helps your brain think, iron carries oxygen to your brain, and protein gives you energy. A cowhide can be made into twenty or more footballs! We also learned cows have four compartments in their stomach. (Damon, Matthew, Dakota)
We went to the Fordyce Dairy Farm and saw dairy cows, calves, and where the farmer milks the cows. We also saw the calf huts where the calves are kept. Dairy cows eat 30-40 pounds of grain and drink 35 gallons of water each day. You must milk a cow twice each day or it will get sick. You cannot drink milk from a cow for five days after it has had a calf. You have to clean the udders before milking the cow. It takes ten gallons of blood to circulate through the milk vein and udder to make one gallon of milk. It takes nine months for a calf to develop inside its mother. (Madison, James, Brayden)
We went to the Sleezer hog farm to learn more about hogs. Hogs are used for many different things other than meat such as crayons, glue, footballs, etc. There are different breeds of hogs. The Berkshire is black and white with ears that stand up. Another, the Chester White, is all white with ears that droop. There are several other kinds of breeds. There are five parts of a hog: the shoulder butt, the loin, the side, the leg, and picnic shoulder. That is what we learned at the hog farm. (Emma, Eleanor, Bryce)
Mr. Zindel, from Pioneer, talked to us about soybeans. Beans are legumes. One seed makes over 150 seeds on a single plant. He also taught us 50 to 60 pods are on a plant, and beans are vegetables. He said that beans are used for food and fuel. We learned that the seeds can be brown, black, yellow, or green. It takes 105 to 115 days to harvest. (Bryce, Suzannah, Kaysie)
Mr. Zindel also talked to us about corn. Corn is important because it makes feed, fuel, and industrial products. Corn is planted in the spring when the chance of frost has passed. By July 4, the corn should be tasseling. In autumn the corn is harvested, and this can take several weeks to a month or more in September or October depending on the climate and portion of rain we get. The height of the corn depends on the hybrid. Corn can get as tall as a person or more commonly, taller. According to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the average corn yield is 183 bushels per acre. This is what we learned from Mr. Zindel. (Anna Kaye, Natalie, Emily, Ben)
These are some facts we learned about ethanol. The blending of 10% ethanol boosts the octane rating of gasoline by an average of three points. One bushel of corn can produce 2.7 gallons of ethanol. One acre of corn can produce 300 gallons of ethanol. This is enough to fuel four cars for one year! The ethanol plant has many different smells: a smell of yeast, a creamy corn smell, and an alcohol smell. (Madison, Jordyn, Teagan)
We traveled to Sands Seed to learn about farm safety. We saw the PTO, the Power Take Off. The PTO powers whatever machine is hooked up to the tractor. You should wear tight fitting clothes around the power take off so you have a smaller chance of getting caught. Stay away from farm machinery that you are unfamiliar with. Be careful when you are using all machines and wear earplugs around loud machinery. (Katlynn, Tayven, James)
The fifth grade would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce, the farmers, and the speakers who helped make this field trip possible. It was an exciting and educational day! We hope you enjoyed our farm facts. We had a "moo-velous" time!