4 Corn HistoryMaize is a grass and in the United States it is known as corn.It is a direct descendent from teosinte which is native to Mexico.Maize is widely grown in many countries with the United States being the top producer in 2007.It has been hybridized over the years and serves many purposes including animal food, human food and fuel for vehicle engines.
11 CornThe plant material known as fodder is also used for animal feed.
12 Planting CornPlanting is done using a corn planter that plants many rows at a time.The planting depth is very important and needs to be between 1 ½ and 2 inches deep.If too shallow the seed may dry out before germinating and if too deep may not come up through the ground.Farmers space the seed about six to eight inches within the row. However, this spacing can vary from area to area of the country.
13 Corn Growing Season Requirements Maize doesn’t like cold conditions.Planting takes place in the spring when soils are warm enough to support seed sprouting.The plant generally grows between six to twelve feet tall with an average of one ear per plant.Corn must mature the grain on the ear before the first killing frost in the fall.
14 Corn Hybrids (Varieties) Different corn hybrids require a different number of days to mature.Earlier hybrids require fewer days to mature and are used in more northern areas where the growing season is shorter.Later maturing hybrids require more days to mature and are therefore used further south where the growing season is longer.
15 Corn Soil Requirements Maize does best on soils with good soil fertility and good water availability.It can do well on soils with poorer water availability if irrigated by the farmer.The better the soil fertility the more productive maize is likely to be.Lower yields can be expected on soils that are not as good.
16 Insects That Attack Corn Many insects can harm maize. A few of these include:Seed corn maggots eat the seed after plantingWireworms eat the seed after planting and the young plant below the soil surfaceArmyworms eat the foliage of the plant after emergenceEuropean corn borer feed on the plant foliage, seeds in the ear and inner stalks
21 Corn DiseasesStalk rots, can cause the plant to fall down prior to harvest due to rotting of the inner portion of the stalk.Once the stalk becomes too weak to hold up the ear it will fall down and make it very difficult for the mechanical harvester, called a combine to pick up the ear.Most of the organisms that cause stalk rot are fungi.
22 Corn DiseasesEar rots can rot the kernels prior to harvest and make the grain useless or even toxic for animal and humansThese diseases are likely to be worse when the grain doesn’t mature correctly or there is insect damage to the ear.
23 Corn WeedsThere are many grass and broadleaf weeds that can reduce plant growth and grain yield.They compete with maize for water and fertilizer nutrients and can reduce the grain and plant yields.Weeds must either be controlled mechanically (cultivation) or with chemicals (herbicides).
24 Harvesting Corn Grain harvest is generally done using a combine. It shells the grain off of the ear and leaves the plant and corn cob in the field.The entire plant can be harvested and fed to animals by using a silage chopper. It harvests the plant including the ear.
26 Soybean History The soybean began in East Asia It is an annual type plant.It has been cultivated in China for at least 5000 years.The soybean spread to many other countries over the years and is one of the leading crops in the United States.The soybean plant has been used in the past for hay but is used now mainly for seed.
28 SoybeansThe seed is high in protein and oil and can be consumed by both humans and animals.Biotechnology has created a better soybean that can better tolerate herbicides (weed killers) that would have killed the soybean plant while trying to control some weeds.There is also ongoing research to enhance the protein and oil content of the seed.In 2006 the United States was the top producer of soybeans in the world.
29 Planting SoybeansPlanting in the United States generally is done with a tractor pulling a planter in the spring.The planting rate can vary a great deal and can be anywhere from 40 pounds of seed per acre up to 90 pounds of seed per acre.Planting rate depends on seed size and row width.
30 Soybeans When the seeds are small, fewer pounds are needed per acre. The narrower the row the more seeds per acre are needed.Planting depth is best accomplished at about 3/4 to 1 ½ inches.Sometimes planting slightly deeper is required in some soils that tend to dry out quickly.Less acid soils are preferred.
31 Soybean Growing Season Requirements The soybean doesn’t like cold conditions at planting because sprouting of the seed can be very slow or the seed can rot and not sprout at all.It must be grown where it can mature before the first killing frost in the fall.
32 SoybeansThe soybean plant can grow to a height of as little as one to two feet up to a height of four or five feet.It is a legume (produces nitrogen nodules on the roots) and is sensitive to the number of hours of sunlight/darkness each day.
33 Soybean Soil Requirements The soybean prefers a high fertility and well drained soil.If it is in soil that is too wet, it can wilt and die if exposed to this condition too long.A less acid soil is best for higher yields and better plant health.
34 Soybean Insects and Diseases There are several insects and diseases that are troublesome to soybeans.The insect pests includefoliage feederspod feedersroot feedersstem feedersbacterial, fungalviral diseases.
43 Soybean Root and Stem Feeders Soybean stem borer
44 Bacterial, Fungal, and Viral Diseases of Soybeans Pod and stem blight
45 Bacterial, Fungal, and Viral Diseases of Soybeans Bacterial blight
46 Bacterial, Fungal, and Viral Diseases of Soybeans Bacterial wilt
47 Bacterial, Fungal, and Viral Diseases of Soybeans Soybean mosaic
48 Soybean Weeds Weeds in any crop can reduce yields and crop health. They can compete for plant nutrients and water.Generally, since the soybean is a broadleaf plant, broadleaf weeds have been more difficult to control because broadleaf weed chemicals would also kill the soybean.However, with biotechnology, the soybean can now tolerate broadleaf weed killers.
49 Soybean HarvestingSoybean seed is harvested using a combine to separate the seed from the plant.The seed is hauled from the field in a truck or wagon and later processed into human and animal food and feed.The seed pods must be dry enough for the combine to separate the seed from the pod.If there has been a heavy dew or rain the pods may take several hours to dry out enough to harvest.
52 Wheat History Wheat originated in the Middle East. It is the second most produced crop around the world after maize.The grain is used in bread, cookies, pasta and cereal in addition to many other products.
53 Wheat It first was cultivated somewhere between 9500 and 7500 BC. It finally made its way to the United States and us used extensively for animal and human consumption.The plant can be grazed or fed to animals in various ways.
54 Wheat Planting and Development Winter wheat is planted extensively in the United States.The seed can be broadcast over the field or planted with a wheat drill.Most wheat is planted with a drill pulled by a tractor.Seeding rates can vary considerably but in areas with good rainfall it usually is planted at a rate of 75 to 150 pounds of seed per acre.
55 WheatSeed size varies a lot. Because of this there are many more seeds per pound with small seeds than with large seeds.This helps explain the large differences in pound seeding rates per acre.The seed is planted in the fall, sprouts and emerges above the soil surface.The plant grows several inches before cold weather stops its growth.The plant then lies dormant during the winter months and begins growth again in early spring.
56 Wheat Growing Season Requirements The seed heads that form in late spring form at the top of the plant.Seed normally matures in the head in late June or early July in the “Corn Belt” states of the United States.Too much moisture will cause plant and grain disease problems and early plant death.Too much moisture leads to leaf diseases that reduce yield and grain quality.
57 Wheat Soil Requirements Wheat can grow on many soil types. Like most crops, it always does best on well fertilized soils but can also do well on less healthy soils.Wheat has fewer disease problems where there is less rainfall but still enough for good growth.
58 WheatWestern states in the United States have less rainfall and generally fewer disease problems.These states are better suited to wheat production. States east of the Mississippi River usually have more rainfall and more plant and grain diseases.
67 Wheat WeedsThere are several grass and broadleaf weeds that must be controlled for good plant growth and seed yields.Some weeds can contaminate the seed at harvest time for processing purposes.These include wild garlic and wild onion. If they are not controlled with herbicides the crop could be ruined.
69 Wheat HarvestHarvest is accomplished with a combine and usually occurs in later June or early July.It separates the grain from the plant and leaves the straw (plant stems) in the field.The grain is then stored or transported to a grain elevator to be sold to processors to make bread and pasta
70 WheatThe straw is usually baled and used on the farm for animal bedding.It can also be sold to landscapers for mulching over newly seeded grass or around landscape plants.Some farmers plant soybeans in the wheat field as soon as the wheat is harvested. This allows two crops to be grown on the same acre in one growing season.
72 Alfalfa HistoryAlfalfa is a cool season plant that can re-grow each year.Being a legume means that it can make, or fix, nitrogen on the root system.The United States is the largest alfalfa producer in the world.The top producing alfalfa states are California, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
74 AlfalfaWisconsin has a lot of dairy cattle and therefore is a top milk producer.Alfalfa is very well suited to feed to dairy cattle because of its high protein content.Many other states including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and several eastern states also produce alfalfa.
75 AlfalfaIt is used for forage for cattle and is usually harvested as hay.It can also be chopped, grazed and made into silage.
76 Alfalfa Alfalfa is also used for beef cattle, horses and sheep. Humans also eat some alfalfa in the form of very young sprouts in salads and sometimes on sandwiches.
77 Alfalfa Planting and Growth Alfalfa can be planted either in the fall or spring. In the “corn belt” states it goes dormant in the fall and begins regrowth in the spring.The seeding rate can vary from pounds per acre and depends on variety used, soil type, area of the United States being planted, how moist the soil is and the method of seeding.Seeding depth is shallow and must be in a very firm seedbed.
78 AlfalfaAlfalfa is a very small seed and it does not have much food storage in the seed.It must not be planted too deep because it doesn’t have enough food reserve to nourish it long enough for the shoot to reach the soil surface.
79 Alfalfa Alfalfa can grow up to about three feet tall before harvest. It can be cut three to five times during the growing season in the northern states and as many as eight to ten times or more in more southern areas with great soil and plenty of water.At harvest, farmers can get 2-3 tons per acre up to as high as tons per acre.
80 Cutting AlfalfaSome varieties initially grow faster and recover faster after cutting for harvest.These varieties allow for more cuttings per growing season.If alfalfa is managed correctly it can last for as long as years.
81 Alfalfa Growing Season Requirements Alfalfa can grow in cooler climates like the northern plains to climates similar to the Mediterranean.For top yields it needs good soil moisture.A continuous soil moisture supply either through irrigation or rainfall is needed for good yields and lasting plants.
82 Alfalfa Soil Requirements Alfalfa has roots that can go into the soil up to feet. Therefore, it requires a deep soil to do well.Deep roots allow it to survive dry conditions very well.It prefers a soil pH ofBecause it can be harvested several times during the growing season it requires high fertility, especially potassium.
88 Alfalfa WeedsWeed control is critical in alfalfa especially as the seeds begin to grow.There are several herbicides used to control weeds at this stage of growth.Once a good stand of alfalfa is established it competes well with weeds.
89 Alfalfa Harvesting The main use for alfalfa is hay. It is generally harvested as round or “square” bales.After the crop has been cut and dried in the field it is raked into windrows.Then a tractor pulling a baler collects the alfalfa and packs it into bales.Alfalfa can also be chopped for silage or grazed by livestock.