Well, we are finally going to harvest some soybeans!
It's been about 145 days since we planted this field back in May. I
thought we might want one last look at our field. The soybeans are
dry. They are are about 10% moisture.
another look at our row. By the way, I counted the number of pods on
both plants that we watched all season. The first plant had 75 pods
and the second plant had 117 pods. Not bad, especially when you
consider I was pretty worried if we were going to have any pods
because it was so hot and dry.
is a combine. This machine takes in the plants and separates the
grain (In our case, soybeans are the grain!) from the pods and other
part of the combine is called the header. There is a sickle bar that
cuts the plants off near the soil surface and the black reel pulls
the plants into the main part of the combine (which is under the
cab). You can see by the blur that the reel is turning.
the grain has been separated from the plants, the plant parts or
residue is spread out over the field. That's why it is so dusty.
Here's a completely unrelated question for you...if the combine is
heading west, which way is the wind coming from? That's right, from
|Here's the residue
spread over the soil surface. This residue protects the soil from
erosion during the winter months. We could plant wheat into this
residue quite easily without even tilling the soil, in fact, I think
that's what we are going to do in a few days.
combine's grain bin is full, the grain is dumped into a big farm
truck, Then we'll continue to cut the rest of the field. As it
turns out, our field yielded better than we thought it would. The
yield for our field was 37 bushels per acre. That's not great, but
not too shabby in a dry year. A bushel of soybean weighs 60 pounds
and the price a farmer receives for each bushel varies from year to
year, but at this time the local price is about $4.00 per bushel.
You're probably wondering how much money did we make on our field?
Well, 37 bushels times $4.00 per bushel is $148 per acre. Sounds
pretty good, huh? Not so fast, it's not all profit. It costs money
to buy the seed, plant the seed, fertilizer, herbicides to kill
weeds, and to harvest the field. These are called variable costs and
they add up to about $90 to $100 per acre. So, at the most we made
$48.00 per acre (but that's not counting land costs, taxes, etc.
that we don't have to pay that a real farmer would have to
|After the truck is full, we're going to put these soybeans
in a bin and store them for awhile. A farmer would either haul the grain to
the elevator to sell the grain or store the grain in grain bins.
|Well, that's the
end of the story. Or is it? What happens to soybeans after they
leave the farm? Can you think of anything made from soybeans?