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Grain, Oil, and Specialty Field-Crop Production. by Larry Stine Estherville Lincoln Central High School. Competencies:. define important terms used in crop production identify major crops grown for grain, oil, and special purposes

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Grain, Oil, and Specialty Field-Crop Production


Larry Stine

Estherville Lincoln Central High School

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  • define important terms used in crop production

  • identify major crops grown for grain, oil, and special purposes

  • classify field crops according to use and thermo requirements

  • describe how to select field crops, varieties, and seed

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  • prepare proper seedbeds for grain, oil, and specialty crops

  • plant field crops

  • describe current irrigation practices for field crops to meet their water needs

  • control pests in field crops

  • harvest and store field crops

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Terms to Know

  • Field Crops

  • Grain Crops

  • Malting

  • Forage

  • Cover Crops

  • Green Manure Crops

  • Oilseed Crops

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Terms to Know

  • Linen

  • Linseed Oil

  • Ginning

  • Seed Pieces

  • Cash Crop

  • Thermo

  • Cereal Crops

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Terms to Know

  • Seed Legume Crops

  • Root Crops

  • Sugar Crops

  • Tuber Crops

  • Stimulant Crops

  • Conventional Tillage

  • No-till

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Term to Know

  • Row Crop Planters

  • Drill Planters

  • Broadcast Planters

  • Irrigation

  • Sprinklers

  • Surface Irrigation

  • Mechanical Pest Control

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Terms to Know

  • Cultural Control

  • Biological Control

  • Genetic Control

  • Chemical Control

  • Threshing

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History of Crop Production

  • Began about 10,000 years ago

  • Changed early humans from hunters to farmers

  • Observed what animals were eating

  • Trial and error and thousands of years of selection

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In the United States

  • Occupies more than 450 million acres

  • Acreage represents about 20% of the U.S.

  • About 2% of American workers are in production agriculture

  • 11% of personal income in U.S. spent on food

  • Helps to maintain balance of trade

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Major Field Crops in the United States

  • Seven major grain crops in the United States

  • Are grasses grown for their edible seeds

  • Major Grain Crops:

    Corn Oats

    Wheat Rye

    Barley Rice

    Grain Sorghum

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  • Most important field crop in the U.S.

  • 35-40% of total production from midwest

  • 50% of corn produced in the world

  • Origin in Central America

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  • Less than 10% of U.S. production is for human consumption

  • Major classifications:

    Dent corn

    Flint corn


    Sweet corn

    Flour or soft corn

    Pod corn

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  • Most important grain crop in the world

  • 2nd to corn in U.S.

  • Primarily for human consumption

  • Ground into flour:





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  • Types of Wheat:

    Common Poulard

    Durum Polish

    Club Emmer


  • Classes of Common Wheat:

    Soft red winter Hard red winter

    Hard red spring White

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  • Ranks fifth among grain crops in U.S.

  • Most is used in livestock feed

  • Same feed value as corn

  • Production for malting is also important

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  • Fourth in acres produced in the United States

  • Value is well documented for livestock:

    Adding bulk to the diet

    Adding protein to the diet

  • 5% is made into oatmeal and cookies

  • Used in production of plastics, pesticides, and preservatives

  • Important in paper and brewing industries

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  • Least economically important grain crop

  • 25-35% of rye acreage used for grain

  • Remainder used for forage:

    Cover crop

    Green manure crop

  • Rye grown for grain is used for livestock feed, flour, whiskey & alcohol production

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  • Major grain crop grown for food for over half the people in the world

  • Only commercially grown grain crop that can grow and thrive in standing water

  • Types grown in U.S.:

    Short grain

    Medium grain

    Long grain

  • Majority used for human consumption

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  • In U.S. used primarily for livestock feed

  • About equal to corn in food value

  • Other uses include:


    Manufacture of syrup or sugar

    Making of brooms

  • Third most important U.S. grain crop

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  • Types of sorghum:






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Oilseed Crops

  • Crops grown for the production of oil from their seeds

  • Growing in importance each year

  • Important crops are:

    Soybeans Safflower

    Peanuts Flax

    Corn Sunflower


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  • 60 million acres in U.S.

  • Average yield 34 bu/acre

  • Gross $11 billion/year

  • Oil and grain products are major uses

  • Meal fed to livestock

  • Also used for hay, pasture, and other forage

  • 100’s of other uses

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  • Actually a pea and not a nut

  • Grown primarily in the South

  • One ton will yield:

    500 lbs. oil

    800 lbs. meal

    700 lbs. shell

  • Meal used for livestock feed and in human diets

  • Other foods include peanut butter and dry roasted peanuts

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  • Production for oil occurs mainly in California

  • Plants grow 2 to 5 feet high with heads resembling Canadian thistles

  • 25-35 percent oil

  • Used in production of paint and other industrial products

  • Used for cooking oil and low cholesterol diets

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  • Originally, the production was for fiber

  • Fibers were used to produce linen

  • Oil is called linseed oil

  • Important raw product in many types of paint

  • 100’s of uses in industry

  • Meal is excellent source of protein for animal feeds

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  • Production of oil-type important in recent years

  • 90% of production oil-type

  • 49-53% oil

  • Meal has 14-19% protein

  • Meal used for livestock feed

  • Oil used for margarine and cooking oil

  • Oil can substitute for diesel fuel in tractors

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Specialty Crops

  • Include:

    Fiber Crops

    Sugar Crops

    Stimulant Crops

  • Examples include:


    Sugar beets



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  • Originated in Central and South America

  • Important crop in South since colonial times

  • Need warm temperatures and a long growing season

  • Can produce up to three crops per year under irrigation

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  • Over 15 million bales of cotton produced in U.S. per year

  • 9 million bales used in textile industry, rest is exported

  • Removing seed from cotton is called ginning

  • Seed is processed to remove the oil which contributes to vegetable oil needs

  • Meal is used for animal feed

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Sugar Beets

  • Accounts for about 35% of the refined sugar produced in the U.S.

  • Produces a thick, fleshy storage root

  • Center of production is the western states and the upper Midwest

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Sugar Cane

  • Accounts for 65% of the sugar refined in the U.S.

  • Crop is a grass grown from sections of stalk called seed pieces

  • Takes about 2 years to reach harvesting stage in Hawaii

  • Takes 7 months until harvest in the southern states

  • Can harvest several times before replanting

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  • Original North American product used by Native Americans

  • Produced as a cash crop

  • Production dropped in the 1980’s and increased again in the 1990’s

  • Requires large amounts of labor and is adapted to small farming operations

  • Warm temperatures and plenty of rainfall are required for optimum production

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Classification of Field Crops

  • Three ways of classifying field crops:


    Thermo requirements

    Life span

  • Classification by use:

    Cereal crops-grown for their edible seeds

    Seed legume crops-nitrogen-fixing crops that produce edible seeds

    Root crops-grown for their thick, fleshy storage roots

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Classification of Field Crops

Forage crops-grown for hay, silage, or pastures for livestock feed

Sugar crops-grown for their ability to store sugars in their stems or roots

Oil crops-produced for the oil content of their seeds

Tuber crops-grown for their thickened, underground storage stems

Stimulant crops-grown for their ability to stimulate the sense of the user

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Classification of Field Crops

  • Thermo classifications:

    Warm season

    Cool season

  • Warm season crops must have warm temperatures in order to live and grow

  • Cool season crops often need a period of cool weather in order to attain maximum production

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Classification of Field Crops

  • Classification by life span:




  • Factors to consider for the selection of field crops:

    1. Crops that will grow and produce the desired yields under the type of climate available.

    2. Crops that are adapted to the type of soil available.

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Classification of Field Crops

3. Demand on market available for the crop to be produced.

4. Labor requirements and availability of labor for the crop.

5. Machinery and equipment necessary to grow the crop.

6. Availability of enough land to justify production of the crop.

7. Pest-control problems.

8. Expected yields.

9. Anticipated production costs.

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Seedbed Preparation

  • Purpose is to provide conditions favorable for germination and growth

  • Eliminating competition from weeds and crop residues is a consideration

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Seedbed Preparation

  • Can increase availability of soil nutrients

  • Should not be overworked

  • Fineness of seedbed is dependent on size of seed

  • Should contain enough fertility to encourage germination and growth

  • Control and elimination of weeds, insects, and diseases is an important consideration

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Seedbed Preparation

  • Three categories of tillage preparation:

    Conventional tillage-land is plowed with a moldboard plow

    Minimum tillage-seedbed is prepared only enough so that the seed can make contact with the soil and germinate

    No-till-planting seeds directly into the residue of the previous crop

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Planting Field Crops

  • Three general types of planters:

    Row crop planters-plant seeds in precise rows with even spacing within the rows

    Drill planters-plant seeds in narrow rows at high population rates

    Broadcast planters-scatter the seed in a random pattern on top of the seedbed

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Planting Field Crops

  • Other considerations include:

    Date to plant

    Germination rate of seeds

    Uniformity of seed

    Weather conditions

    Insect and disease control problems

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Meeting Water Needs of Crops

  • Ideally 1/2 of pore space is filled with water

  • About 1/2 of the water in the pore spaces are available for plant use

  • Factors affecting water availability include:

    Type of soil

    Natural rainfall

    Water-table levels

    Prevailing winds

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Meeting Water Needs of Crops

  • Irrigation may be the answer to obtaining profitable yields

  • Irrigation has been practiced for over 5,000 years

    Egyptians used water from the Nile River for irrigation

    Chinese and Native Americans used irrigation

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Meeting Water Needs of Crops

  • Major methods of supplying irrigation water to crops:

    Sprinklers-spray water through the air, much like rainfall

    Surface irrigation-water gets to the crop by gravity, flowing over the surface of the soil or in ditches or furrows

    Subsurface irrigation-supplies water to the roots of crops underground

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Pest Control in Field Crops

  • Control of pests in field crops often determines profits

  • Pests include:





  • Economic losses total billions of dollars each year

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Pest Control in Field Crops

  • Three main categories of losses:

    Reduced yields

    Reduced quality


  • Methods of controlling pests in field crops:

    Mechanical pest control Genetic control

    Cultural pest control Chemical control

    Biological pest control

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Mechanical Pest Control

  • Anything that affects the environment of the pest or the pest itself

  • Cultivation is the normal mechanical control of weeds

  • Other types include:

    Pulling or mowing weeds

    Use of screens, barriers, traps, and electricity

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Cultural Control

  • Adapting farming practices to control pests

  • Includes:

    Timing farming operations to eliminate pests

    Rotating crops

    Planting resistant varieties

    Planting trap crops that are more attractive to insects than is the primary crop

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Biological Control

  • Involves the use of predators or diseases as the control mechanisms

  • Examples:

    Release of sterile male insects

    Uses of baits and repellents

  • Important that the control be specific to the intended pest

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Genetic Control

  • Development of varieties of crops that are resistant to pests

  • May involve making the crop less attractive to pest because of:



    Blooming time

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Chemical Control

  • Involves the use of pesticides to control pests

  • Excellent management practices must be exercised

  • Care in pest identification and selection of the chemical are important

  • Dosage, runoff, and pesticide residues need to be monitored

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Harvesting and Storing Field Crops

  • Harvesting at proper stage of maturity is a key to maximizing profits

  • Culmination of a growing season of work and anticipation of the rewards of a job well done

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Harvesting and Storing Field Crops

  • Development of mechanical harvesting equipment

  • Primary harvesting machine is the combine which performs the tasks of:

    Cutting the crop

    Threshing the crop

    Separating crop from debris

    Cleaning the crop

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Harvesting and Storing Field Crops

  • Threats to quality of stored crops include:






  • Production of field crops generates more income for American agriculturists than any other production enterprise