KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa furbearer season begins November 5


October 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa fur harvesters will find good numbers of raccoons, muskrats, beaver, coyotes, bobcats, river otters and mink when the furbearer trapping and hunting season opens on Nov. 5th. “Population-wise, all species are doing pretty well except for gray fox,” said Vince Evelsizer, furbearer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  Trappers who like to pursue muskrats should find better numbers on area marshes this year. All indications show better muskrat numbers in many parts of the state for the second year in a row, which is great news, he said.

“It’s still not what is used to be in some areas, but definitely an improvement.  Muskrats are a bread-and-butter species for Iowa trappers, but the population has been on a downward trend for the past 25 years or so. So it’s good to see their numbers rebound some,” Evelsizer said. What hasn’t come back is the fur market outlook – fur prices remain low.IA DNR Outdoor logo

The number of fur harvesters fluctuates with the market prices and for the third year in a row, the fur market outlook is poor. “We gained about 2,000 furharvesters per year from 2009 through 2013, and then lost about 2,000 furharvesters per year from 2014 through 2015,” said Evelsizer. He expects the decrease in trappers to continue for the 2016-17 season.“This is a good year to spend time with youth or older adults trapping, coon hunting, or predator hunting.  It’s a great way to spend time together in the outdoors, regardless of the fur market,” he said.  “On the positive side, we are still one of the top five states in the nation for the number of furharvesters per capita.”

Regulation Change: Furharvesters are no longer required to obtain a permit to hold furs for sale after the season closes on Jan. 31, 2017.

Otter, Bobcat Reminder: Furharvesters are reminded that it is important that they turn in the lower jaw or skull of any otter and bobcat they harvest. “This enables us to extract a tooth for aging and monitor the age distribution of otters and bobcats. This information helps assess the feasibility of possible changes to the otter or bobcat harvest season,” said Evelsizer.

A map of the counties open to bobcat harvest is on p. 20 in the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations book available at license vendors and on the Iowa DNR’s website at www.iowadnr.gov/huntingregs  

Gray Fox Study: Iowa is participating in an ongoing Midwest gray fox DNA tissue study by working with trappers to collect tissue samples used for genetic information. “Iowa’s gray fox numbers have declined over the past ten years. Southeast Iowa has the highest population but there are small pockets of gray fox throughout the state,” Evelsizer said.

Trappers who catch a gray fox can contact Evelsizer at 641-357-3517 or their local DNR biologist or conservation officer.

Harvest moves ahead, but is still behind average


October 25th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Farmers made more progress with the harvest in the last week. The U-S-D-A crop report says drier weather gave farmers more time in the fields. That led to a jump in the corn harvest from 33 percent last week to 52 percent this week. The soybean harvest moved from 62 percent completed last week, to 77 percent of the beans now in the bin.

The corn harvest is still four days behind the five-year average, and southeast Iowa is the only area of the state where more than two-thirds of the corn crop has been harvested. The soybean harvest is more than one week behind last year, and six days behind the five-year average.

(Radio Iowa)

Fire Danger to remain “High” in Shelby County this week

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency said today (Monday), the County Fire Danger rating will remain HIGH through Thursday, even though we are supposed to receive some moisture. Wind and continued drying after short duration moisture will keep Fire Danger in the HIGH category through Thursday.  Predominate fuel at this time is grass, and will completely cure, and be ready to burn within 1 hour of rain event. High fire danger

Burning of any kind is restricted unless approval is received from local Fire Chief. Controlled burns that are not reported will result in Fire Department being dispatched, and Fires extinguished if determined to be un-safe. Please call 712-755-2124 if you have any questions.

Keep Your Cider Safe

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

There are many traditions associated with autumn, including visits to pumpkin patches, apple orchards and fall farmers markets. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans to check the labels of apple cider containers to ensure the product is pasteurized. Unpasteurized cider can contain cryptosporidiosis (‘crypto’), salmonella or E. coli. All of these bacteria can be dangerous to the very young and those who are immune-compromised.

“You can’t tell if cider is contaminated just by looking at it,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk.Apple Cider Safety “In fact, there is no difference in smell or taste either. The key to preventing illness associated with apple cider is purchasing product that has been pasteurized, or by heating unpasteurized apple cider to at least 170°F.”

Unpasteurized products may be purchased as freshly pressed from local orchards, roadside stands, or farmers markets. They may also be found on ice or in refrigerated display cases, and in produce sections at grocery stores. Do not assume that because the juice is hot or bottled that it is safe for consumption. Complete pasteurization is necessary to kill organisms that have the potential to cause significant illness. If product labeling is unclear, ask the location owners or operators whether the juice or cider being offered has been pasteurized.

Symptoms of foodborne illness caused by contaminated food include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, fatigue, and fever. Symptoms may start within hours of eating the contaminated food or drink, or may begin days later. If you suspect you may have a foodborne illness, call the IowaSic hotline at 1-844-469-2742. The IowaSic hotline will be answered by IDPH specialists who will ask callers about the illness, symptoms, onset and duration, and also complete a history of all foods consumed for the past several days. Illnesses associated with foods purchased from or consumed at food establishments will be investigated by staff in DIA’s Food and Consumer Safety Bureau.

For more information about foodborne illnesses, visit idph.iowa.gov/cade/foodborne-illness.

Conservation Report 10-22-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 22nd, 2016 by Chris Parks

Bob Beebensee and Conservation Officer for Cass and Adair Counties Grant Gelly talk about all things outdoors in the Nishna Valley.


Fire causes $2M damage to livestock feed plant in SE Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

An investigation is underway after fire heavily damaged a livestock feed plant in southeast Iowa. Firefighters were called to the Church & Dwight plant south of Oskaloosa on Highway 23 shortly before 6-a.m. Thursday, morning where a livestock feed dryer caught fire. The fire caused extensive damage to one of two production lines, estimated at $2 million. There were no injuries reported.

(Radio Iowa)

La Nina pattern may influence Iowa’s winter weather

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The National Climate Prediction Center is again issuing a La Nina watch into next year, though an Iowa climatologist says it likely isn’t much reason for farmers and snow shovelers to worry. Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says the La Nina watch won’t mean any significant changes in the long-range outlook.snowstorm “Okay, yeah, it could end up being La Nina,” Todey says. “Still, I don’t think it’s going to be a major issue. It doesn’t really change too much about what it says for the winter or for next growing season.”

La Nina occurs when Pacific Ocean surface temperatures fall and it has some effect on the weather across North America. Todey says the looming La Nina may be a contributing factor to the winter ahead. “The storm pattern may be a bit more active across the northern U.S. this year,” Todey says. “I’m not saying we’re calling for more precipitation than average but it could be more active and we’ll probably see more storm systems coming through.”

Todey says other factors may have more of an effect on the weather through next spring. “Probably something else is going to kick in and be more of a driver this winter than the La Nina will be,” Todey says, “and then, it becomes a non-factor by next summer.” The La Nina pattern comes on the heels of a two-year, record-breaking El Nino pattern that faded away late this summer.

(Radio Iowa)

Farmers should scout for Corn Molds and Ear Rots This Harvest Season


October 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) has received several questions from southwest Iowa producers about corn mold this harvest season. Based on producer descriptions of black mold or black dust that becomes airborne when the plants are disturbed, common corn smut is the most likely culprit in many of these cases.

Corn smut is caused by the fungus Ustilago maydis or Ustilago zeae and at harvest can typically be identified as black masses of spores that create a dark dust when the corn plants are disturbed.



This spore material often is described as powdery or sooty in consistency and can be found on various parts of the corn plant including ears, tassels, stalks, and leaves.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Chris Clark said corn smut can impact grain quality and yield but generally is not directly associated with mycotoxin production. “If a mold in question is truly corn smut, the grain can probably be fed to livestock without any great concern about toxicity,” he said.

Corn smut can, however, be confused with other corn molds and fungal ear rot organisms that can produce dangerous mycotoxins. Corn plants are susceptible to numerous fungal organisms, some of which are commonly associated with mycotoxin production. Iowa State veterinary toxicologist Steve Ensley said Aspergillus, Fusarium, Gibberella, and Penicillium organisms are most commonly associated with production of mycotoxins that can be negatively impact animal health and performance.

There also is evidence that smut-infected ears are more susceptible to infection by Fusarium and Aspergillus. The smut fungus may not directly produce mycotoxins but can potentially cause greater susceptibility to secondary infections with organisms that are associated with mycotoxin production. That’s why it’s important to scout fields and identify corn molds affecting the crop.

The Iowa State VDL offers mycotoxin screening of grain and feed samples. Producers can find sampling guidelines, submission forms, prices and other information on the VDL website here https://vetmed.iastate.edu/vdl/resources/client-services/pathogens/mycotoxins. The site also includes a great deal of information about mycotoxins including species affected and health effects.

Clark and Ensley are available to address questions and concerns about corn molds and mycotoxins.  Clark can be reached at (712) 250-0070 or by email at caclark@iastate.edu.  Ensley can be reached at (515) 294-2783 or by email at sensley@iastate.edu.

Tiptoeing through the (future) tulips (a lot of them) in Lee County…


October 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

MONTROSE, Iowa (AP) – Lee County’s community members have attempted to set the world record for most people planting flower bulbs simultaneously. The Hawk Eye reports that about 1,700 students and community members tried Tuesday to double the previous record of 850 people in the United Kingdom. County participants had five tulip bulbs to plant within an hour, and officials say the task was completed in less than 30 minutes.

Dana Millard with Lee County Economic Development, and one of the event’s organizers, says Guinness World Records must verify paperwork before the potential record is acknowledged. Conservation group Pheasants Forever donated tulips to the event and considers it an investment in the future of nature conservation.

Vertical farming idea proposed for Davenport riverfront


October 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – Preliminary discussions have begun over a proposal to bring a hydroponic, vertical farming operation along the Davenport riverfront. The Quad-City Times reports that Friday’s Fresh Market operation is in a 40-foot, insulated shipping container. Local farm owner and manufacturing consultant Andrew Freitag says the container is one of the models his company uses to promote sustainable farming practices.

The company and the Davenport Levee Commission are discussing the proposal. Commission executive director Steve Ahrens says there are many details to be worked out before any plan could come to fruition. According to Freitag, the shipping container uses an LED lighting system as well as 90 percent less water and 50 percent less nutrients than traditional farming methods. Freitag says the operations could be a year-round source for the Food Hub and farmers market.