Sunday Funday – Let’s Harvest!

The harvest moon the other night let it be known that it is time for the harvest to begin in the very near future. Here are some questions about Iowa and American crops and other things to do with the harvest and the season.

1) Iowa produces lots and lots of corn. The yield is measured in bushels. Just what exactly is the standard measurement for a bushel of corn?
a) a cubic measure 2’x 2′ x 2′ of shelled corn
b) a weight measure equaling 56 pounds of shelled corn
c) the amount of corn in a standard 5 gallon bucket of shelled corn.
d) The amount of shelled corn from one square yard of planted corn.

2) This year the yield per acre will be around 155 bushels per acre. What approximately was the yield per acre 20 years ago?
a) 150 bu/acre
b) 75 bu/acre
c) 135 bu/acre
d 110 bu/acre

3) Iowa’s other major crop is soybeans. The United States is by far the largest producers of soybeans. Which country is second?
a) Russia
b) Canada
c) Brazil
d) Australia

4) What industrialist experimented using soybean product as an essential part of his company’s main product?
a) Henry Ford’s cars had bodies made of soybean products.
b) Thomas Edison’s light bulbs had filaments made from soy product
c) George Westinghouse made insulation from soybeans to wrap power lines
d) Andrew Carnegie used soy products to stabilize steel beams.

5) Ahhhhh! Who doesn’t love a tomato in late summer? Botanically speaking, what is a tomato?
a) a vegetable
b) one of the newly designated crossover category called ‘vegi-fruits’
c) a berry.
d) a fungus

6) John Deere is deeply entwined with farming in the Midwest. Why?
a) Deere adapted the plow to an early steam engine, creating the first tractor
b) He created the polished steel plow which could break the soil better than any other plows available at the time.
c) His adaptation of engineering techniques to the harness team greatly increased the pulling power of the horses. This technique was later used in tractors.
d) Deere’s reaper was the first mechanical method of harvesting.

7) BTW, what familiar area approximates the size of an acre?
a) a city block
b) a football field
c) a basketball court
d) a baseball field

8) What percentage of the earth’s surface is arable (available to grow food on)?
a) 1/8
b) 1/64
c) 1/32
d) 1/50

9) as of 2006, approximately how many acres of arable land were there per person in the United States?
a) 2
b) 10
c) 1/2
d) 25

10) Corn is actually a type of
a) legume
b) grass
c) fruit
d) fungus

Well, my love affair with my corn burning stove for heating our house has came to an end last winter. The price of corn is such that it may be cheaper to burn dollar bills. The corn burner has mechanical problems that are not worth fixing for what corn costs. But oh, what a wonderful heat it was when we had it!

Answers? All Right!

1) b) 1 bushel = 56 pounds
2) d) just 20 years ago, the average yield in Iowa is 109 (110) bu/acre. Quite an increase in 20 years!
3) c) Brazil. In order it is the US, Brazil, Argentina and India.
4) a) Henry Ford used soy products in his car bodies. Soy was used as an ingredient in plastic bodies.
5) c) as my biologist daughter tells me, the tomato is a berry!
6) b) Deere was a blacksmith whose polished steel blade worked much better than iron blades in tough Illinois soil.
7) b) an acre is approximately equal to a football field
8) c) only about 1/32 of the earth’s surface is arable
9) a) about 2 acres, but population is growing and arable land is decreasing.
10) b) Corn is a grass – or at least descended from a type of grass.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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