Harvest Time! bESTology Week 15

Harvest Time! bESTology Week 15
Thank you for participating in bESTology 2016. It is Harvest Time and time to reflect on the past 14 weeks of bESTology.
Remember, it is never to early to jumpstart your team’s preparations for Bet The Farm 2016. You and your team can begin:

writing your research paper
recruiting new BEST team members and organizing your team
creating marketing materials
learning agriculture terminology
building robot prototypes
understanding the impact of robots and automation on …

Space: The Final Farming Frontier – bESTology Week 14

Space: The Final Farming Frontier – bESTology Week 14
Farming from one end of the earth to the other has become possible due to research and technology. Creating green space in deserts, harvesting wheat in Africa and growing pest resistant crops have each been accomplished.   Now it is time to set one’s sights on the next grand farming challenge – Space: The Final Farming Frontier.
As NASA and other commercial space corporations launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) …

When Pigs Fly! Or Do They? bESTology Week 13

When Pigs Fly! Or Do They? bESTology Week 13
Can pigs fly? Maybe not with wings and a jetpack but can they be transported on an airline?
Transporting livestock, plants and farm commodities by various modes of transportation requires careful planning and must meet all local, state and federal transport regulations.
Each transport vehicle must be constructed and loaded to prevent any of the load from falling, blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping from the vehicle. Handling procedures and …

It’s Time to Grow Up! bESTology Week 12

It’s Time to Grow Up! bESTology Week 12
As the world’s population potentially increases an additional three billion by 2050, feeding the populace is a major concern.  Will there be enough farmland or will we need to move the farm?
Farmers and researchers are already experimenting with vertical and hydroponic farms. In contrast to traditional farming, these new and innovative practices use less space, reduce the amount of water required, make weeding unnecessary, generate less pests and diseases, provide shorter …

Robots Have Arrived! bESTology Week 11

Robots Have Arrived! bESTology Week 11
As bESTologists, we may ask:

Are the current methods of farming sustainable?
Are farming tools becoming less effective?
Are farmers damaging the ecosystem?
Are we producing enough food to feed the increasing global population?
Does something have to be done?

If so, are robots the answer?
Laser guided radio navigation systems, field smart artificial intelligence and pan-tilt cameras are only three of the thousands of new types of high-tech high-demand digital technologies being embraced by farmers around the …

Don’t Be A Pest – bESTology Week 10

Don’t Be A Pest – bESTology Week 10
 Farmers have to deal with pests everyday. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a pest is any biological organism, including weeds, pathogens, and arthropods, that interferes with the production of crops affecting quality and/or yield.
Pests come in all shape and sizes. Let’s not forget fungi, nematodes, mites, bacteria, viruses, mice and rodents.
Farmers around the world must use crop protection products such as herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. to help control the thousands …

Seeds of Knowledge – bESTology Week 9

Seeds of Knowledge – bESTology Week 9 
Living organisms (plants and animals) require many elements to successfully grow. The “seeds” of life require proper growing conditions such as temperature, water, oxygen, etc. to jumpstart their growth cycle. As farmers begin to plant their crops, let’s plant the seeds of knowledge of GMO’s and bees.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. Some benefits of genetic engineering in …

Plant Safety First – bESTology Week 8

Plant Safety First 
Health and safety must be sown first to ensure a bountiful harvest.
Just as farms come in various types, so do safety practices. Safety practices for weather, dust, livestock, hauling, manure pits, ponds, noise, silos, equipment, wells, hand tools, chemicals and pesticides are all concerns for a farmer.
Grab a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich and let’s research safety protocols from the farm to our table.
Resources

Farm Safety – Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
Hay …

Circling the Farm – bESTology Week 7

Circling The Farm 
Let’s celebrate Pi Week by Circling the Farm.
Pi can be traced back to the Babylonians and Egyptians, nearly 4000 years ago. Archimedes of Syracuse, 287 – 212 B.C., one of the greatest mathematicians of the Ancient World, did the first calculation of Pi.
Today, pi turns up everywhere!

electrical engineers use pi to solve problems for electrical applications
statisticians use pi to track population dynamics
doctors use pi to study the structure of the eye

Comparing Apples to Oranges – bESTology Week 6

Comparing Apples to Oranges – bESTology Week 6
Money does not grow on trees, or does it? Oranges, apples, coconuts, bananas and walnuts are just a few of America’s tree cash crops. Our nation’s economy relies heavily on the fruit and nut industries, thus money does grow on trees.
From the apple and orange growers to the packers, graders, juicers, transporters and grocers, the economic impact is tremendous. Millions of American’s careers rely on the agriculture industry, in particular the …

Fields of Opportunities – bESTology Week 5

Fields of Opportunities – bESTology Week 5
Farmers can be ranchers, grazers, goatherds, shepherds, sharecroppers and more, but no matter what a farmer grows or manages, knowledge of chemistry, business, management, weather, biological sciences, engineering and technology are a must.
A farmer must be a highly skilled problem-solver and critical thinker. In addition, he or she must be able to apply the engineering design process or scientific method, sell their product(s), write clear and concise documents and have the spirit …

BEST Digs Soil – bESTology Week 4

BEST Digs Soil! bESTology Week 4
Healthy soil is the FOUNDATION to a healthy life.  
Soil is the thin layer of material on the Earth’s surface, consisting of weathered rock, organic materials, air and water. Plants establish themselves in soil and grow, providing the world with food as well as contributing to the regulation of water and atmospheric gases. Therefore, healthy soil plays a role in a healthy climate regulation.
Over 20 soil types are found across the United …