Nebraska 4-H "Aspects of Ag" - Corn and Soybeans
Nebraska 4-H "Aspects of Ag" - Corn and Soybeans
Melissa Bartels, Nebraska Extension Educator
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- [00:00:13.880]Hello everyone.
- [00:00:14.420]My name is Melissa Bartels and I am
an extension educator with Nebraska
- [00:00:20.000]And my job is I work with farmers
here in Nebraska to help them grow
- [00:00:24.860]their corn soybeans and wheat.
- [00:00:27.260]So today we're going to talk about
two of the crops that we grow here in
- [00:00:30.620]Nebraska, corn and soybeans. So let's
get started. So here in Nebraska,
- [00:00:35.480]we use 93% of our land
for farming and ranching.
- [00:00:40.340]That is a ton of land that
we use here in Nebraska.
- [00:00:43.850]What do we think we use
the other 7% for schools,
- [00:00:48.590]homes, roads,
- [00:00:51.080]but 93% of our land here in Nebraska
is used for farming and ranching.
- [00:00:56.930]How big do you think the average
farm is here in Nebraska?
- [00:01:02.450]987 acres. And if you
don't know what an acre is,
- [00:01:06.500]we're going to cover
that here in a second.
- [00:01:10.220]So one farmer produces enough food
for how many people, any guesses,
- [00:01:15.950]155 people.
- [00:01:18.050]That's probably more people than are
sitting in your classroom right now.
- [00:01:21.920]So farmers are very,
- [00:01:23.180]very important because they make sure
there's enough food for you in me.
- [00:01:29.120]All right. So how big is an acre?
- [00:01:31.400]Do we think it's really
big or really small?
- [00:01:35.780]So one acre is 43,560 square feet.
- [00:01:40.940]So if we look at this,
- [00:01:42.110]this is one square foot and
we would have to lay down side
- [00:01:46.940]by side 43,560 of these to make one
- [00:01:53.030]Another way to think about
an acre is a football field.
- [00:01:56.870]So if you've ever been to Memorial
stadium and watched the corn Huskers
- [00:02:01.580]play, that is the size of an acre
about the size of a football field.
- [00:02:06.980]All right. So the first crop
we're going to talk about is corn.
- [00:02:10.370]And we grow a lot of
corn here in Nebraska.
- [00:02:13.070]That's probably why we're known as the
corn Huskers and the main corn we grow
- [00:02:17.810]here in Nebraska is yellow dent
corn. So if we look at our corn,
- [00:02:21.950]this is an ear of corn and you can see
here how there's dense in the Colonel.
- [00:02:26.690]And so this is field corn, or
also known as yellow dent corn.
- [00:02:30.620]And we can see here, if
we break the corn in half,
- [00:02:33.710]you can see the kernels are all
the way around and that corn we use
- [00:02:38.570]to feed to our animals. So
it's primarily for animal feed,
- [00:02:43.130]but we do grow some sweet corn, but
we are number one in growing popcorn.
- [00:02:47.930]So if you go to the movies
and you enjoy some popcorn,
- [00:02:50.330]it was likely grown here in Nebraska.
So if we look at our corn plant,
- [00:02:56.030]our corn can get really tall at the top.
- [00:02:58.610]We have the tassel that
produces the pollen,
- [00:03:02.670]and then the leaves that feed the
plant. And then down, down here,
- [00:03:07.080]we're going to have, this is where
our corn is actually produced.
- [00:03:11.250]So it's going to be produced on
the cob covered by the husks,
- [00:03:15.000]and that's going to produce our kernels,
our corn seed. So across the us,
- [00:03:19.500]we grow a lot of corn. 92 million
acres are planted each year.
- [00:03:24.480]So that would be 92 million
football fields here in
- [00:03:28.800]Nebraska. We plant about
10 million acres of corn.
- [00:03:33.420]And so that would be equivalent to
about 10 million football fields.
- [00:03:38.010]And corn is planted late April to mid may.
- [00:03:42.120]And we usually plan about
30,000 seeds per acre.
- [00:03:46.530]And that grows all summer long.
- [00:03:48.090]And we harvest our corn from
about September to October.
- [00:03:52.830]So farmers, the way they measure
their crops is by bushels.
- [00:03:57.840]So this is a bushel basket.
- [00:03:59.670]So how many pounds of corn
do you think create a bushel
- [00:04:06.060]56, 6 pounds of corn create one bushel.
- [00:04:09.090]So that's the unit of
measurement our farmers use.
- [00:04:13.500]So how many bushels per acre do you
think the Nebraska farmer produces about
- [00:04:19.320]So though we would get 190 of
these bushel baskets per one acre,
- [00:04:23.790]which remember is about the
size of a football field.
- [00:04:28.650]So how many kernels per year do
we think a farmer gets off of
- [00:04:33.360]one ear of corn,
- [00:04:35.850]about 800 kernels and how
many kernels per pound?
- [00:04:40.020]About 1300 kernels per pound.
- [00:04:43.350]So if we convert that to acres,
- [00:04:45.210]we'd have over 10,000
pounds of corn per acre
- [00:04:49.920]or 14 million kernels.
That's a lot of corn.
- [00:04:54.600]So if we talk a little bit about
the history of corn from the
- [00:04:59.130]1850s to the 1930s,
- [00:05:01.710]the average farmer produced about
25 bushels of corn per acre.
- [00:05:07.530]And so what they used to do is they
used to go to corn shows at the county
- [00:05:12.360]fairs and the state fairs.
- [00:05:14.160]But what they were doing is they were
looking at corn that was the most uniform.
- [00:05:18.390]So it looked pretty, not the corn
that produced the most corn per acre.
- [00:05:23.520]So they would go and they would pick
the corn based on how pretty it was.
- [00:05:27.750]And then later on in the 1920s to 1930s,
- [00:05:32.460]scientists observed how corn reproduces,
- [00:05:36.360]so how it pollinates and that allowed
them to start creating hybrid so they
- [00:05:41.010]could pick the mom plant and they could
pick the dad plant and they could get
- [00:05:44.760]corn that produced more per acre.
- [00:05:47.010]So he would get more
kernels of corn per acre.
- [00:05:50.490]And then as machinery became
more available in the 1920s and
- [00:05:56.280]now we could produce more because we
had machines and tractors to help us.
- [00:06:00.830]So they became more widespread and that
allowed us to be able to harvest more
- [00:06:05.000]and plant more quickly because we didn't
have to plant all of that by hand.
- [00:06:09.350]And we didn't have to harvest it
by hand, which took a long time.
- [00:06:13.460]And then in the 1950s and
1960s irrigation was developed.
- [00:06:18.320]So if you've ever driven by a field and
looked out and seen what looked like a
- [00:06:21.890]great big sprinkler, that's
an irrigation system.
- [00:06:25.250]And that allows us to water
plants, even if it doesn't rain,
- [00:06:28.850]which is important because
water is important for our
crops. The other thing is,
- [00:06:33.230]is we can also here in Nebraska,
we have really good soil.
- [00:06:36.830]So between the good soil and
being able to water the plants,
- [00:06:39.710]we're able to produce more
- [00:06:42.950]so because of tractors
and because of irrigation.
- [00:06:45.770]And because we started breeding corn
to produce more per acre in the 1970s,
- [00:06:50.660]we were able to produce
about 89 bushels per year.
- [00:06:53.560]Or if we fast forward to today,
- [00:06:57.250]the average across the U S we can
produce about 166 bushels of corn per
- [00:07:02.110]acre, but here in Nebraska,
- [00:07:04.180]because we have the most land that
is irrigated and we have good soil,
- [00:07:08.740]we're able to produce
just a little bit more.
- [00:07:11.050]So we're able to produce about
190 bushels of corn per acre.
- [00:07:16.600]And not only that there's many
researchers still researching,
- [00:07:20.950]researching how we can
make more corn per acre.
- [00:07:25.150]So they're still working on that.
- [00:07:27.340]So now let's talk about the second
crop that we grow here in Nebraska,
- [00:07:31.060]which is soybeans.
- [00:07:32.950]So Nebraska is number five in
the amount of soybeans we produce
- [00:07:37.750]compared to other states.
- [00:07:39.460]And here you can see there's a
soybean pod in the middle and behind
- [00:07:44.290]that, you can see the soybean
plant. So they're bushy,
- [00:07:47.470]and they have a lot of leaves
and they don't get very tall.
- [00:07:50.380]So they don't get nearly tall as corn,
but they can get about up to your hip.
- [00:07:56.020]So that's what they look like during
the growing season, but towards harvest,
- [00:08:01.330]all the leaves are going to fall off and
all that's going to be left is the stem
- [00:08:05.440]with the pods. And that's what
we're going to harvest in the fall.
- [00:08:10.120]And what we harvest out of
that is we harvest our soybean
- [00:08:14.560]seeds. So for soybeans
across the U S we produce
- [00:08:19.120]83.8 million acres of soybeans.
- [00:08:22.960]So that'd be 83 point million acres
about the size of a football field field
- [00:08:27.820]here in Nebraska, we produce
about 5.2 million acres.
- [00:08:34.180]And those are planted from late
April, all the way to mid June.
- [00:08:38.800]And we plant about 125,000
soybean seeds per acre.
- [00:08:44.590]So we plan a lot more soybean
seeds per acre than we do corn.
- [00:08:48.400]And when we go to harvest again, those
are going to grow all summer long,
- [00:08:52.240]just like corn, but we're going to
harvest those from September, October.
- [00:08:55.920]So we harvest those in the
fall also. So remember,
- [00:08:59.820]how do we measure seeds
for farmers buy bushels?
- [00:09:04.080]So how many pounds hounds
are in a bushel of soybeans,
- [00:09:10.550]60 pounds create one bushel of soybeans.
- [00:09:15.680]So how many bushels do you think a
Nebraska farmer can produce per acre,
- [00:09:20.330]60, which is about 3,600 pounds per acre,
- [00:09:25.970]and how many seeds per pound? About 2,800.
- [00:09:29.630]If we look at our soybean plant and I
pull off one of these pods and I open it,
- [00:09:34.730]how many seeds per pod
- [00:09:38.150]do we get about three?
- [00:09:40.730]So each pod on a soybean plant
produces about two to three seeds
- [00:09:46.220]that produces over 10
million seeds per acre.
- [00:09:51.620]So like we said,
- [00:09:52.880]how many pods do we think
are on a plant about 27?
- [00:09:57.440]So each soybean plant
produces about 67 seeds.
- [00:10:02.090]So here we see this as a combine
and this has a corn head on it.
- [00:10:05.960]So it has talents on the
front that go through and cut
- [00:10:10.970]the corn,
- [00:10:11.630]and it'll bring that whole plant in and
it'll basically chew it up and it'll
- [00:10:16.460]get to the corn cob,
- [00:10:19.220]and it will strip all of these kernels
off this cob and then shoot out all the
- [00:10:23.540]excess behind it. And it'll take these
colonels and store it up in the combine.
- [00:10:29.480]And this is a soybean head.
- [00:10:31.310]So it's almost like a
rolling pin that goes across.
- [00:10:36.170]And so that will basically pull
this whole soybean plant in,
- [00:10:40.580]and it will chew all this up and
collect the seeds, just like the corn.
- [00:10:46.070]And here we have a planter. So that's
what we're going to see in the spring.
- [00:10:50.750]And you can see here,
- [00:10:51.530]we have a tractor and that yellow piece
up at the top is the hopper where all
- [00:10:56.030]the seeds go. And then it distributes
all the seeds into each row.
- [00:11:00.440]So it can plant the seeds. And it,
you can determine how deeper planting,
- [00:11:04.580]how many rows. And it can also tell you
how many seeds you're planting per acre.
- [00:11:10.340]So there's a lot of technology here.
We have the inside of a combined.
- [00:11:15.020]He can see how much of
the field he's harvested.
- [00:11:18.200]He can see what his yield is in
different areas of the field.
- [00:11:22.700]He can see the moisture.
- [00:11:24.410]So all of those screens give
him all kinds of information.
- [00:11:28.640]And here we have a video and
this is how they used to harvest.
- [00:11:31.820]So they used to take the whole cob with
the husk and they would put it in these
- [00:11:36.170]piles because remember
they had a harvest by hand,
- [00:11:39.110]and then as technology came along,
they had tractors to help them.
- [00:11:43.940]So here we're harvesting,
- [00:11:46.220]you can see the soybean combine going
through and it's chopping down the whole
- [00:11:51.140]plant and you can see
the seed up at the top.
- [00:11:54.820]And we have a tractor driving alongside,
and he's basically he doesn't stop.
- [00:11:58.540]So those tractors drive
right alongside him.
- [00:12:00.820]And he transfers that seed as they're
going. So he can just keep harvesting.
- [00:12:07.590]And those tractors go through and
they're going to fill up semis and here
- [00:12:11.040]they're going to harvest some corn.
- [00:12:14.730]So harvest time is very busy. You'll
have somebody driving your combine,
- [00:12:19.470]somebody driving your tractor, and then
also your semis hauling the grain away.
- [00:12:24.000]As you can see,
- [00:12:24.630]he's hauling it out of the field and
he's going to take it to the co-op,
- [00:12:28.160]where they're going to sell it.
Thank you for joining me today.
- [00:12:32.800]And I hope you learned something
about corn and soybean reduction.
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