Fifth Grade Farm Facts

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On September 11, 2012, the Cherokee County fifth graders traveled to see local farms. We visited the ethanol plant, a hog farm, a dairy farm, and Sand Seed for farm safety. The day before, speakers informed us about beef cattle, soybeans, corn, hogs, and dairy cattle. We went on this trip to learn about Iowa's agriculture and where our food comes from.

The bus took us to Sleezer's hog farm. Pork is the world's most widely eaten meat. Bacon was the first food made and eaten on the moon! We learned the normal market weight of a hog is 250 pounds. Hogs produce bacon, ham, hotdogs, and other meats. Hogs are also used to make crayons, chalk, footballs, glass, and glue. There can be 6-24 hogs in a litter. A piglet is two to three pounds at birth. There are different breeds of hogs. We were glad to learn so much about hogs. (Strody, Gavin, Noah, Kobe)

Here are some facts about dairy cows. Dairy cows eat up to 40 pounds of food each day. They feed on soybeans, corn, hay, and other nutrients. A female that has had a baby is called a cow and a male is a bull. The baby is a calf. A heifer is a female that has not had a calf. Cows drink about 35 gallons of water in day. Ten gallons of blood must travel through the milk vein and the udder to make one gallon of milk. Before the farmer milks the cows, the udders must be cleaned to prevent germs getting into the milk. One cow can produce 2,500 gallons of milk in one year. When a calf is born, the farmer takes it away from its mother and feeds it powdered milk replacement. The farmer will dump the mother cow's milk for five days because her milk would not be good for us to drink. (Kale, Nathanael, Molly, Mia)

We fifth graders went to Sand Seed where Paul Wilkens taught us about farm safety. We learned you should stay away from the PTO (Power Take Off). If you work near a PTO, make sure to not wear fringed or frayed clothing that is loose. The PTO could drag you in as fast as you can snap your fingers! The number of seats on a piece of machinery equals the number of people that should ride on that machine. If there is a seatbelt, wear it. Children should be watched carefully around machinery. Use lights at night. ALWAYS have a first aid kit handy. (Liz, Coriyel, Aliyah)

Facts about soybeans are interesting. Soybeans are legumes, which means they put nitrogen into the soil. You can use soybeans for food and fuel. It takes 105-115 days to grow a soybean plant. One soybean equals 150 new seeds. They can be yellow, green, brown, or black. There are two to four beans in a pod. There are 40-50 pods on a soybean plant. Some of the soybeans are cleaned, and the broken or misshaped seeds are removed to use as seed for next year's crop. We learned so much about soybeans! (Kayden, Peyton, Kaleb)

Learning about corn is fun! One fact about corn is it grows on an ear. Corn can be as tall as a human depending on the hybrid. Around July 4 the female plant tassels. To get seed corn, the female is detasseled so the make corn can pollinate the female. Silk on the ear takes in the pollen. Another fact about corn is 3000 kernels equal 200 bushels. The kernel grows on a cob and is usually yellow, but can be white. Corn is usually used for ethanol, food, and feed. We learned a lot about corn! (Michael, Nathan)

We went to the Little Sioux Corn Processing Plant. Ethanol is made from corn and is used for fuel. We learned DDG is dry distilled grain and is fed to livestock. Ethanol production helps boost U.S. farm income by $4.5 billion. The blending of 10% ethanol boosts the octane rating of gasoline by three points. Ethanol guards against gas line freeze by absorbing moisture that gets in the gas tank. Ethanol reduces carbon dioxide by 27%, and that's good for the environment! We learned a lot at the ethanol plant. (Megan, Lea, Abby)

Dr. Britt Carlson came to our school to tell us about beef cattle. When a calf is born it weighs about 75-90 pounds. Cattle have a stomach with four parts. Hamburgers made with lean beef have zinc, iron, and protein in them. Bones and hooves help make camera film, dog food, china dishes, glue, fertilizer, and marshmallows.

We were tired and thirsty when we returned to school. We learned a lot about the farm that we did not know before! We would like to thank the farmers and businesses, the teachers, bus drivers, and our principal for a wonderful day in the country!

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