The Mottle's 5 are back on the road travel blog

Early start out on I-70 Eastbound

Farms, farms, and more farms


"Grainfield, Kansas" Isn't that redundant???

The yellow are sunflowers

Each of these farms are different

They go on for miles and miles


Sternberg Musum of Natural History


Everyone digs for oil these days!


Even in Hay fields

The oil well museum

OK we're off the Interstate for the next 85 miles on a...

Hay for feed is also a huge crop here


In Hoisington, KS the parking lanes were paved with red bricks- what's...



Huge graineries were present every five miles or so.

They advertize their crops on the light poles.


Hey, I love this place!

More farms.

Feets Don't Fail Me Now.....nice pedicure!!

In Central Kansas, natural gas is a big commodity.


I'm tired of this part of our trip! Wake me up in...

Natural Gas train cars

Hi everyone:

I’ll bet you thought we were going to give you a “pass” in Kansas; with no pictures and no text. NOT A CHANCE. If we’re going to drive through this state, you’re coming along.

********Actually when you get passed the flat and boring drive it is quite an experience to see the “Breadbasket of America” up close and personal. We started early and drove East on I-70 for over 150 miles through farms, farms and yes farms! Kansas grows wheat, corn, milo (also known as sorghum), soy beans and sunflowers – yes sunflowers.

**** SUNFLOWERS: Around the world, the sunflower is the only crop harvested for seed that was domesticated in the United States. Sunflower was a common crop among Native American tribes throughout North America. We passed as many miles of the bright yellow flowers as we did any of the other crops. In fact Kansas is listed as the fifth largest producer of sunflowers. The top 3 sunflower producing states are North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas. I’ll bet you’re glad our trip home does not take us through those other two states.

**** WHEAT: Between 1874 and 1884, 5,000 Russian Mennonites settled in Kansas. They brought with them Turkey Red winter wheat. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture also introduced wheats from eastern Europe in 1900. These wheats from the Russian Mennonites and the USDA provided the basic genetic material for the successful production of hard red winter wheat in the Great Plains. Although most of the early wheats are no longer grown for commercial production, most of the strains of hard red winter wheat grown on the Great Plains prior to 1969 were developed from those early ancestors, first brought to Kansas in 1872. In 2010 harvested over 8,000,000 acres of wheat.

****** CORN Corn is a member of the grass family of plants. Corn is a native grain of the American continents. Fossils of corn pollen that are over 80,000 years old have been found in lake sediment beneath Mexico City. It was first grown by the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca Indians more than 5,600 years ago. The Indians used the sugar-filled leaves of the corn plant as "chewing gum", immature corn as a fresh vegetable, and the dry, mature kernels of corn were ground into flour. Corn, squash and beans were known as the "Three Sisters" by the Native Americans - sisters who should be planted together. These three plants were important sources of food. Corn also has also been used in the production of alcohol for many years. There is evidence Native Americans used corn to brew beer before Europeans arrived in the Americas. The 1792 Whiskey Rebellion in the United States came about when efforts were made to tax corn whiskey. At the time, it was not easy to move large quantities of corn so Western farmers converted the corn into corn whiskey, which was much easier to transport to customers.

Long before the automobile became the common form of transportation in the United States, corn was being converted into ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. Many of the earliest engine prototypes were designed to run on ethanol. Ethanol is a growing market for corn. Corn is the largest crop in the United States, both in terms of acres planted and the value of the crop produced.

SOYBEANS: In 1829, U.S. farmers began growing soybeans as a crop and by 1898, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had begun bringing in new varieties of soybeans from Asia. In 1904, George Washington Carver discovered that soybeans were a source of protein and oil. Combines were first used to harvest soybeans in the early 1920’s. In 1922, the first soybean processing plant in the United States opened. Soybean pioneer William J. Morse spent 2 years in China in the late 1920’s, gathering more than 10,000 soybean varieties for United States’ researchers to study.

Today, more soybeans are grown in the United States that anywhere else in the world – nearly 2 1/2 billion bushels each year. Soybeans are grown in more than 29 states including Kansas, of course.

Soybeans can be found in a wide variety of products, ranging from tofu, soy milk and soy sauce to plywood, particle board, printing inks, soap, candy products, cosmetics, and antibiotics.

******** Sorgum: Grain sorghums are grown for the round, starchy seeds that can be ground or mixed into animal feeds. Sometimes, the entire grain sorghum plant is made into silage. Grain sorghum is often used to replace corn in animal feed. The grain is higher in protein and lower in fat content than corn but does not contain carotene. In the United States, grain sorghum is a major feed ingredient for both cattle and poultry. Livestock feeding uses more than 95% of the grain sorghum used in the United States. The state of Kansas ranks first in both the production of grain sorghum and sorghum silage, growing over 40% of the grain sorghum produced in the United States. Other major grain sorghum producing states are Texas and Nebraska.

Even though I referred to Kansas as part of America’s Breadbasket we were surprised to learn that 80% of the crops grown here are used as animal feed. We’ll I guess since we eat them too, that counts as feeding America! Tomorrow we’ll be in Oklahoma City for a couple of days. We’ve been there before but for not as long. We hope this visit will provide interest to us all. Stay Tuned!

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