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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Flat Aggie Goes to Delaware For Fall Harvest

Our first report from Flat Aggie's Adventures has came back!  If you don't know about Flat Aggie, check out this page.  This year I have FOUR amazing teachers that have sent their own Flat Aggie to learn about farming.  I will feature each of them as the school year progresses.  Flat Aggie went back to Delaware for an adventure like their sister had last spring. -KFM

Dear Mrs. Leiker's Class,

I am writing you today from the First State; Delaware, I spent most of my time in Sussex county in the town of Laurel which consist of roughly 3,700 people. In the time I spent here I have seen and done so much I never knew there was so much agriculture in one of the smallest states.
·         Nearly 40% of the land is in Agriculture use
·         Nearly 90% of the Farms are Family Owned
·         Sussex County is No.1 County in the U.S. for Poultry Production
·         Humid Climate with hot summers and mild winters
·         Poultry, Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Dairy Products are the top 5 Commodities, although 35 other vegetable crops are grown as well
·         One of the leading States for Baby Lima bean Production
·         Is a Peninsula
·         Has approximately 2,500 farms totaling 510,253 acres

While in Southern Delaware, I visited Cory’s Produce, LLC, where they grow Field Corn, Soybeans, Barley, Wheat, Grain Sorghum, Watermelons, Peas, Lima Beans, squash, cucumbers, cantaloupes, tomatoes, raise poultry and operation a custom application business.

Being one of the smallest states of all 50, the Agriculture is big here.  The fall harvest consists of much more than Grain crops.  At Cory’s Produce, they were busy harvesting field corn and baby lima beans.  

Wow what an experience lima bean harvest was for me!

Lima beans are planted from late May to late July, and are harvested from late August through early November. This year, while I was there the temperatures were really cool and Cory and other growers are worried about an early frost on many of the crops that would keep the crops from maturing properly.

Lima beans are harvested with combines. 

Not your typical grain combines, but combines that harvest both peas in the spring and summer months and lima beans in the fall months. 

Once they are harvested they are hauled to local processing plants where they are cleaned and frozen, through a process called  IQF or individually quick frozen  This type of freezing allows the beans from not being a frozen block and can be easily handled once they reach the consumer's home. Lima beans in Delaware can be planted as a full season crop or double cropped behind small grains, peas, sweet corn, and pickling cucumbers.  Approximately 10,000 acres of lima beans are produced annually in Delaware.

Once Cory’s Produce has harvested a crop in the fall, they plant winter wheat and barley on a number of their acres. This is to help improve soil quality, reduce run-off and nutrient leaching.  Cory plants cover crops on the remaining acres. This is a common practice by many producers in the Delaware and Maryland area due to pressure to help protect the Chesapeake Bay which divides the two states on the western coast of Delaware.

Besides the harvesting of lima beans,

I got to ride along while hauling corn to the local feed mills, and see the harvest of some other fall crops including pumpkins.

Pumpkins are a common scene in Delaware. 

They are planted during the month of June and are harvested from mid September through late October mostly for the use of decorations, though for carving and baking as well. 

Many of the left over pumpkins are donated to an annual event in November called Punpkin Chunkin. Pumpkin Chunkin is a nationally known event that takes place in Delaware and the proceeds from the event go to local non-profit groups.   

And well it just so happens Cory’s neighbor and co-owner of Dickerson Farms raises pumpkins. Another neat adventure was being able to harvest my own pumpkins.

While most producers are heavily into field corn harvest, other crops beside lima beans and pumpkins were being harvested as well.  Potatoes, Peppers, Sweet corn, watermelons, soybeans, pickling cucumbers, squash, strawberries and Turf were all being harvested around the area by various producers.

Yes, some may be wondering and I was myself about the whole turf deal and well Cory explained it briefly. Acres and acres of grass or turf is also known as Sod are grown, dug up by machines, and sold to sports complexes, homeowners, business owners etc to have an instantly beautiful lawn.

Wow! I sure am tired, there was so much to see and do here and my stay was very short, hopefully I get to come back real soon and visit and learn more about Delaware Agriculture, and well that pumpkin chunkin really has me thinking I may need to come back right after Halloween.  Although, maybe your teacher will let you check out their website or this punkin chuckin video.  (Reichenberger's Pumpkin Patch also has a pretty good pumpkin chucker in Kansas.-KFM)

To learn more about the History of Delaware agriculture watch the video at:  Farming the First State.

Until my next adventure you friend,
Flat Aggie

Farmer Math:  

In an effort to teach my own kids how important school is even for farmers, I am adding a section called Farmer Math to the Flat Aggie posts.  These will be sent on to the schools that are viewing the reports.  The problems have various levels of difficulty due to the wide age range of kids that will be getting to learn from Flat Aggie and their farmer hosts.  Let me know what you think of this idea!
1. If Flat Aggie helped Cory haul 3 loads of corn to the feed mill in the morning and 2 loads after they ate lunch, how many loads of corn did they haul to the feed mill?

2.  If Cory grows 3 row crops, 2 small grain crops and 7 vegetables, how many different things does Cory grow in all?

3.  If the world record for punkin chuckin is 4,438 feet and the first year they did punkin chuckin in Delaware it only went 126 feet, how much farther did the world record holder go than the  first year pumpkin?  Bonus What percentage of a mile is the world record?

4.  Cory planted 100 acres of Lima Beans.  He harvested 260,000 pounds of lima beans.  What is the average yield in pounds per acre?

5.  Cory is planting wheat.  He wants to plant 75 pounds of seed per acre.  He has 150 acres of wheat to plant.  How much wheat seed does he need in all?

6.  Flat Aggie helped haul corn to the feed mill.  Corn weighs 56 pounds per bushel.  A semi truck can haul 56,000 pounds of corn.  Farmers are paid by the bushel for their corn.  Cory needs to know how many bushels of corn he hauled to the feed mill in one load. Bonus: If Cory is paid $4.33 per bushel of corn, how much will he be paid for 1 load of corn?

Answers: 1. 5 loads 2. 12 crops  3. 4,312 feet Bonus 84% 4. 2600 pounds per acre  5.  11250 pounds 6.  1000 bushel Bonus $4,330.00

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