How Does a Combine Work?

Published January 2nd 2017

By Troy By now, you’ve seen a combine a couple of times on the site (when I talked about the 2016 harvest results, and when we actually harvested the plots). When you see a combine in action, at first glance it may not seem like the big, ambling heap of machinery is doing much more than chopping apart the corn stalks. You can guess that there’s a lot more to it than that. So how does...

Fantasy Farming Featured in Tri States Public Radio

Published December 20th 2016

By Troy This photo was taken over the summer, about halfway through the growing season. We had the pleasure of hosting a visit from Rich Egger, a reporter from Tri States Public Radio (TSPR), this fall. Mercer County High School students were here for their field trip to see their plot, so Rich tagged along and got a firsthand look at the Fantasy Farming Challenge project. Everyone – the Mercer County students and Rich –...

2016 Harvest Results!

Published November 7th 2016

By Troy Corn kernels at harvest. Both came from the same ear, but the kernel on the right shows the abscission (black) layer. That means it’s mature and will be ready for harvest soon! We’ve calculated the totals, we’ve done some analyzing of the results, and now we’re ready to announce the winner of the Fantasy Farming Challenge for 2016! For the second year in a row, one school was first place in both yield...

Harvesting the Fantasy Farming Challenge Plots

Published October 19th 2016

By Troy We have finished harvesting the plots at the Learning Center in Monmouth. We have tallied the results of the winner, and we will be sharing that very soon! FFC Harvest 2016 from Monsanto STEM Education Outreach on Vimeo. ABOUT TROY Troy is formerly a high school Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor who is passionate about teaching Agronomics, Ag Science, and Plant Biology. Now the manager of the Monmouth Learning Center, Troy has led...

How Many Ears?

Published September 27th 2016

By Troy How many ears of corn grow on a corn plant? To some people, this might seem like a silly question. But in truth, there’s not one cut-and-dry answer. Take a guess, and then hit PLAY on this video to find out! # Corn Ears Per Stalk from Monsanto STEM Education Outreach on Vimeo. ABOUT TROY Troy is formerly a high school Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor who is passionate about teaching Agronomics, Ag...

Corn Root Lodging

Published September 13th 2016

By Troy Corn root lodging is a term we’ve used a few times – I talked about it in the last video update, and I mentioned it last year when I talked about the importance of strong roots. The term refers to what happens to corn plants when a number of other factors are at play: weather, soil conditions, pest pressure, and more. It’s sort of like ‘fouls’ in football; there are many ways to...

On-the-Farm Update: Storm Damage, Disease Pressure, & Grain Fill

Published August 16th 2016

By Troy Fantasy Farming Challenge 2016 – July Update from Monsanto STEM Education Outreach on Vimeo. Since our last on-the-farm update, the corn plants on the Fantasy Farming Challenge plots have seen quite a bit of action. Aside from shaking off the storm that rolled through on June 22, the corn has grown from the vegetative stage to the reproductive stage, gone through pollination, and (for those who chose it) had fungicide applied during R1....

Time-Lapse of June 22-July 22

Published July 27th 2016

By Troy Back in June, the Monmouth area (and a good part of west central Illinois) experienced some pretty nasty storms. If you saw the photos on our Facebook page, you might have thought the worst about the Fantasy Farming Challenge plots. However, one amazing thing about agriculture is that plants tend to be very resilient – let me show you what I mean. We set up a camera in a spot that captured the...

Calculating GDDs for Corn

Published July 22nd 2016

By Troy Growing Degree Days (GDDs) is very closely tied to the development of the various growth stages in corn.  Calculating GDDs is a mathematical approach to accurately track and predict crop development based on daily temperatures, starting the day after planting and ending when the corn reaches physiological maturity. Accumulated GDDs are called heat units. Using degrees Fahrenheit, the formula to calculate how many heat units have accumulated each day is:   Example:  Maximum temp = 80...

On the Farm Plot Updates: Nitrogen, Growth Stages, CRW Dig

Published July 1st 2016

By Troy Fantasy Farming Challenge 2016 – June Update from Monsanto STEM Education Outreach on Vimeo. During this update, we have a couple of great opportunities to talk about stuff we’ve covered in the past. At the time of shooting, the early plots were at about the V6 growth stage and had just received their side-dress nitrogen application with a dry fertilizer. I also take you through a root dig on a separate plot so...