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Monday, October 26, 2015

Flat Aggie Learns About Beans and Cows

Hi, everyone I am reporting back from my first farm adventure to Southeast Kansas on the Small Family's Farm.  The farm I visited grows corn, wheat, soybeans, milo, and cattle.  I found out that at this time of the year, chores begin with cattle every morning.  During the summer, the cattle are out in the pastures and the grass fulfills all their nutritional needs, but when winter starts to set in, they need more to eat.  The sunrise the morning I was there was absolutely amazing!


I had to meet the crew that helps with the cattle.  Their names are Zimi, Zeke and Zane.  Zimi and Zane are Border Collie and Zeke is an Australian Shepherd.  They work hard to get the cattle to go where we want them to.
I have always heard how flat Kansas is and Southeast Kansas is not flat.  There are plenty of hills and river valleys here.
 These calves were recently weaned from their mothers and get a little bit of grain fed to them each morning, but mainly they eat lots of grass.  These calves are raised for beef like hamburgers and steaks that are full of protein, iron, and B-vitamins.
 The feeder they are all gathered around contains their vitamins and minerals they need in addition to what they get in the grass.  Instead of their mom's giving them a Flintstones vitamin in the morning, they go lick what is in this feeder.
 After we were sure all the calves were healthy, it was off to the soybean field.  I was surprised at how much we had to do to the combine before we could start harvesting.  When we pulled up to the combine, the first thing we saw was a deer antler sticking out of the tire.  I soon learned that deer shed their antlers every year and they can ruin a tire very easily.  We were lucky that the antler didn't go all the way into the tire!

  First, we used the pickup truck to haul fuel to the combine.  It takes a lot of diesel fuel to keep that big combine going everyday!  Did you know they can actually make diesel fuel from the very soybeans we harvested?
 We also checked the oil in the motor and fixed a few things that were broken the night before.
 I felt really small up in the cab of the combine.
 We were trying to get done with this field before it rained, so there was no time to stop for lunch.

In fact, this farm seldom stops for lunch during harvest.  I sure did enjoy my sandwich and carrot sticks and I am thankful for the wheat, pig, carrot and corn farmers that made my lunch possible.

 It was such a good feeling to get done with the field and they got ready to move to the next one. I said I didn't think I had ever eaten a soybean and my farmer laughed.  She told me that nearly 70% of the items found in the grocery store have soybeans in them!  Vegetable oil is almost always soybean oil and many of our snacks have soy lecithen in them to keep them fresh.  Wow!  I was surprised are you?!  I found out that there are lots of uses for soybeans other than livestock feed.
My farmers did a videos of soybean harvest a few years back and thought you might like to watch it. 

 You might also like to see this post that is up close and inside a combine harvester. 

Try your hand at Soybean and Cow Farmer Math, too!

I can't wait to see where my next Flat Aggie Adventure takes me.

Your Friend,
Flat Aggie