From Strip Till to Harvest and Uses of Grain; Urbana Students Learn About Ag
This past fall,
Stikkers said that rain drops dislodge the soil and cause it to move away into ponds, reservoirs and rivers. The more crop residue that is left on fields lessens soil erosion problems with runoff and pollution. Farming practices such as no-till or strip-till slow down soil erosion too.
Stikkers, one-third of the soybeans in
Specific strip till machinery is required for this practice which many farmers do not own. United Prairie and Illini FS will provide custom strip till work in the fall upon request for farmers to enable them to give the soil conservation practice of strip till a try without a tremendous financial commitment in machinery to do so.
Also on hand to present information to students was CCSWCD Administrative Coordinator Renee Weitekamp who brought a soil profile of the state soil called “Drummer” and also discussed the horizons and how the color can give us information on well drained versus poorly drained soils.
How do we know what is under our feet? Weitekamp explained that soil scientists walked the county and state taking soil samples and mapped the soils they found. In all, there are five soil forming factors, one of which is the soil’s texture. This is defined as the mixture of sand, silt, and clay particles.
Director Robbie Berg explained how corn and soybeans are renewable resources
and gave students examples of products made from corn and soybeans. She told students that all of the Frito Lay
corn for corn chips comes from the farmers in
Bill Stierwalt provided combine rides to each student with Steve Stierwalt explaining the transportation of harvested grains. During their combine rides, Bill Stierwalt first told students about farm safety and safety measures everyone should take when using a combine. As he harvested, students were amazed at how many different operations the combine could perform at one time.
When learning about the yield monitor and the use of satellites to help the farmer locate each area of their field, the students commented that it looked much like a video game. Yield differences within one pass through a field were also interesting to the students and they were intrigued at the many variables that could affect yields at any given point in the round.
Students were also surprised to learn about the many different varieties of corn utilized for different end products ranging from food to livestock feed to ethanol production and more.
During lunch, Judi
Stierwalt led the students through an agriculture jeopardy game that she
created. While the students participated
in this activity, they learned about products made from corn and soybeans,
global markets for corn and soybeans and what crops besides these grains are
The day concluded
with Roger Miller, General Manager of Premier Cooperative, providing an
“up-close look” at the Tolono Premier Cooperative Grain Elevator. Miller explained that Premier ships out 50
million bushels of grain from its 25 facilities in
Miller said the
railroad network is very important for shipping grain and Premier uses the
provides for every aspect of our daily lives and it all begins right here in