WINNEBAGO - Martin County West FFA students spent Friday afternoon in a field near Winnebago learning about soybean yields.
FFA instructor Jeremy Daberkow said students were searching the field for plants with three or more seeds per pod, and learning how soybean technology can increase the number of beans per plant.
"The foundations of FFA is to learn by doing," he said. "We need the next generation of agriculturists to identify with technology."
COUNT ’EM?UP — Martin County West FFA students pull pods off soybean plants Friday and separate them into yield containers.
Even students who live and work on a farm benefit from this type of activity because their activities in the field are often task-oriented.
"When they get home it is, 'Move this tractor to this place,'" Daberkow said. "Sometimes it is more of a job than a learning experience. ... The students don't always have a lot of chance to get out in the field to learn about agronomy."
Walking through the drying beans Friday, students pulled plants they saw with lots of beans per pod and brought them back to the meeting area, where they pulled off the pods and separated them into groups to see how the field is doing.
Most plants yielded three and four beans per pod. No students pulled any plants with five beans per pod, but they did report seeing some in the field.
Agronomist Melanie Guyer spoke with students about yield potential, evaluating wind damage, weed stress and drought effects on the plants. (Guyer also spoke briefly about jobs related to agriculture off the farm.)
Daberkow said he could have taught students the information in the classroom with a textbook, but they are much more likely to remember it when they have been out doing it.