KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Agronomy Class for Women to be Held at the Iowa State University McNay Memorial Research Farm


March 2nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Agronomy in the Field is a multi-session workshop being offered to women landowners, farmers, conservationists and other women who are interested in learning more about agronomy.  This series of workshops will be held monthly at the McNay Memorial Research Farm near Chariton, IA. The farm is located at 45249 170th Ave, Chariton, IA 50049.

The goals of this series are to strengthen agronomic skills for women that allow for better decision-making, provide a better understanding of inputs for crop production, see and understand different conservation practices and increase confidence in communication with spouse, farming partner, ag retailer or tenant.

“We plan to cover topics on planting conditions, crop growth and development, replant considerations, weed, disease and insect identification, pest management principles, scouting techniques, forage and pasture management, and additional practices and topics as they come up,” said Rebecca Vittetoe, ISU Extension Field Agronomist.

This series is designed to be hands-on and conducted in the field to see real-time conditions.  Each session will be approximately one hour long; you do not need to commit for the entire season to attend.

There is no charge for this series, but you must register either by signing up here: http://eepurl.com/cw1tA9 or by contacting Extension Field Agronomist, Rebecca Vittetoe at rka8@iastate.edu or 319-653-4811.

A start date will be identified this month and shared with registrants. The first session will be prior to planting, and will look at grazing cover crops. Agronomy in the Field is sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach in cooperation with NCR-SARE Partnership Grant Project ONC17-031.  Local support is provided by Lucas, Marion, Monroe, Warren, and Wayne County Extension.

(ISU Extension Press Release)

Forecast: Soybeans will buck all trends in 2017, corn to see declines


March 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa is the nation’s top soybean producer and the state’s growers are poised for an excellent year ahead, according to predictions from the U-S Department of Agriculture. Market analyst Rachel Trego says soybeans are forecast to buck all trends expected for the rest of the major grains and oilseeds in the 2017 growing season. “Planted area is set to decline except for soybeans,” Trego says. “Supplies declining except for soybeans, exports declining except for soybeans, domestic use declining except for soybeans, stocks decline except for soybeans.”

The general outlook for all grains and oilseeds will be modestly higher prices. Iowa’s -other- top crop, corn, does not have as bright a future, according to the agency’s predictions. Trego says corn acreage, supplies, exports and stocks are all expected to fall. “Planted area is forecast down 4%,” Trego says. “The yield is forecast down 2% from the record set in 2016-17. With lower expected harvest area and reduced yields, this results in production being down seven-percent.”

While corn production in general should be down in the year ahead, exports may drop even further. “These are forecast to decline nearly 15% to 1.9-billion bushels,” she says. “Ending stocks are thus set to decline, however, they do remain relatively robust with stocks to use at nearly 15-percent.”

One of few bright spots on the report, the USDA projects a small increase in the season average farm prices.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 3-1-2017

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 1st, 2017 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.


Iowa chicken & turkey producers again watch for bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Poultry producers in Iowa are again on-guard for avian influenza after a wild duck in Montana was recently diagnosed with the illness. Iowa had more losses than any other state after a bird flu outbreak in 2015. The U-S-D-A’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Jack Shere, says producers statewide need to be watchful for any problems in their flocks.

Dr. Shere says, “The fact that this strain is being maintained in the wild bird population, maybe not at a high level, but that it’s out there, tells us and tells our poultry producers you better be vigilant, you better be on your biosecurity, you better be looking out for this and you’d better be watching your birds very carefully for any signs of sickness.”

Shere says ramping up biosecurity is one answer but that’s hard to do after an outbreak is already underway.  “Many times in these outbreaks, you’re behind the eight ball when you find it and you’re chasing and tracing behind where infection has already occured,” Shere says. “The best thing you can do is cordon it off and try to depopulate the animals quickly, which is what we found out in 2015.”

A large bird flu outbreak was reported recently in South Korea and 30-million birds were destroyed, boosting demand for the export of eggs from Iowa producers. It’s believed the disease is spread by migrating wild waterfowl like geese and ducks. Given the latest case in Montana, Shere says the U-S-D-A is continuing to monitor for the virus.

“Most of the samples that we take are hunter harvest survey testing,” he says. “We have a blanketed plan that blankets the high poultry producing states in the United States with samples, a certain number per state and we use that plan to test. We do also test if there’s a large bird die-off.”

During the 2015 bird flu outbreak, cases were confirmed at 77 Iowa poultry operations in 18 counties. It resulted in the destruction of more than 31-million birds and an economic loss to the state of one-point-two billion dollars.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Master Gardeners to Host Garden Seminar on March 18: Early Registration Deadline March 10th

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Think Spring! The Cass County Master Gardeners are excited to present their annual Spring Garden Seminar, on Saturday, March 18 at the Atlantic High School. Registration begins at 8:30 AM, with the program beginning at 9 AM. Featured keynote speaker for the day is Kelly Norris- Director of Horticulture at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. 10 workshop topics are lined up for the day, with participants able to attend three breakout sessions of their choice. The day will also feature rolls and coffee to start the morning, a sandwich luncheon, garden vendor show and a great opportunity to network with old friends and new as we prepare for the 2017 gardening season!

The seminar is open to all interested gardeners no matter the level of experience! Participants are not required to have completed Master Gardener training to attend, but Master Gardeners who attend the full day will be given 5 credit hours toward their continuing education requirements. The morning will kick off with Norris sharing tips for adding “Plants with Style!” to the home garden. After lunch, he will also provide the second keynote presentation on “Native Plants in the American Garden”- highlighting plants and plans to incorporate natives beautifully into the landscape. Throughout the day, attendees will have the opportunity to attend 3 different breakout workshops on topics including succulents, rock gardens, mini hostas, iris, herbs, trees and more! Several of the workshop sessions are hands-on, where participants will make and take an item to enjoy at home.

The cost for this day of fun and learning is $35, including all meals and keynote materials. Some hands-on workshops may have an additional materials fee, which is payable on the day of the seminar.  A full list of all breakout sessions, a schedule for the day and printable registration form are all available online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or can be picked up at the Cass County Extension Office. Brochures are also available at many local businesses with a full schedule and registration form.

The early registration deadline is Friday March 10; registrations must be postmarked or dropped at the Cass County Extension Office by this date to be eligible for door prizes. In addition, organizers encourage attendees to register early for best selection of breakout sessions, as the sessions fill on a first-come basis. Registrations are also welcome after this date, and up to the day of the Garden Seminar, including walk-in registrations at the door.

For more information on the Spring Garden Seminar or the Cass County Master Gardener Program, call the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132, email keolson@iastate.edu, or stop by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic.

Shelby County Fire Danger “Moderate” this week

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is asking local fire stations and businesses in the County to move their “Fire Danger” placards into the “Moderate” category, this week. Authorities say as the snow cover disappears, the sunshine will quickly dry the vegetation, creating the potential for controlled burns to spread out of control.

Fires can start from most accidental causes, but with the exception of lightning fires in some areas, the number of starts is generally low. Fires in open-cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Woods fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel, especially draped fuel, may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent. Fires are not likely to become serious, and control is relatively easy. The color code is blue.

The next Local update will be Thursday, March 2nd.

GOP ponders putting a ‘nutrient exchange’ in water quality plan

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A “nutrient exchange” — similar to the “carbon credits” considered a few years ago at the federal level — would be created in Iowa if legislation being developed by Republicans in the Iowa House becomes law. Republican Representative Chip Baltimore of Boone says it’s about sparking “collaboration” rather than confrontation to clean up the state’s surface water.

“At least in my conversations, there’s broad-based, very generic…interest in a nutrient exchange,” Baltimore says. “We’ve got some pilot projects that are out there that are working their way through, but I think having some formal recognition of the nutrient exchange may help move that process along.”

Here’s how a “nutrient exchange” works: a facility that has to get a state permit because it discharges pollution — places like a water treatment plant or a manufacturing facility — enters into a swap with a farmer. The end result? New financing for on-the-farm improvements to reduce nutrient run-off from cropland. Critics like Jessica Mazour of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement call it “pollution trading.”

“You can make it as complicated as you want, but basically…it does nothing, but just transfers pollution across our state.” States like Connecticut, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio have established “nutrient exchanges.” Supporters say it’s a “market-based” way to address the nutrient and sediment loss from farms.

(Radio Iowa)

Turkey hunting offered at federal DeSoto wildlife refuge

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

February 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) – The DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in near the Iowa-Nebraska border will offer a limited number of turkey hunting permits this spring.

Archery turkey hunting will be allowed from April 17th though May 21 for people who obtain a free refuge hunting permit and hold a valid state hunting license. A special youth shotgun turkey hunt will be held on April 8-9, and a hunt for people with limited mobility will be held April 22-23.

The refuge is located north of Omaha, Nebraska, along on U.S. Highway 30 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. An entrance permit is required for all vehicles.
More details are available online at www.fws.gov/refuge/Desoto .

Iowa One Call spokesman says poor planning not an excuse for digging without calling

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s Attorney General announced seven lawsuits this past week against contractors who hit underground gas pipelines. State law requires contractors to phone Iowa One Call 48 hours before digging to have the lines marked. Iowa One Call communications manager, Ben Booth, says there’s no excuse for contractors who fail to make the call.

He says the call has been mandated since 1992 and became a law in 1993. “If you are a professional working in the industry, there’s no excuse not to know,” Booth says.
The law covers anyone in Iowa, and Booth says they try to keep everyone informed. “We do constantly have outreach…to target homeowners and new homeowners who may not know what the requirements of the law are,” Booth says. “For cases involving professional contractors, you do have to wonder if it is a matter of trying expedite your process and trying to avoid having to wait the required 48 hours — not planning effectively.”

Booth says not planning ahead is not an excuse to break the law. And he says saving a little time by digging without calling can end up costing contractors. “In the long run, you are really potentially opening up a much bigger can of worms by not waiting, by not planning appropriately,” Booth says.

The Attorney General says the seven lawsuits covered five counties. Four of the lawsuits have been resolved or have agreements pending Anyone planning to dig can notify the Iowa Once Call Notification Center or go online at www.iowaonecall.com, or by phone at 811 (or toll-free at 800-292-8989). The center is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

(Radio Iowa)

Conservation Report 02-25-2017

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 25th, 2017 by Chris Parks

Bob Bebensee and DNR Conservation Officer Grant Gelle talk about all things outdoors.