DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — One of the new laws enacted this month allows an increase in the Iowa Corn Checkoff. It’s money collected from each bushel of corn sold to promote the grain. Checkoff funds have been used to promote ethanol, such as sponsoring an Indy Car race. The checkoff can only be increased after farmers approve it in a referendum.
The first authorization on the checkoff in 1977 set a maximum of 1 cent per bushel sold. In 2012 corn producers approved that amount, which meant state legislators had to update the law for the checkoff to go any higher. Corn promotion officials say they have no plans to increase the checkoff, which generates as much as $20 million a year.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A meteorologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says near-record-setting rainfall last month has nearly eradicated residual drought from much of the Midwest including Iowa. All that remains of the drought in Iowa are two small areas of abnormally dry conditions, one in the southeast corner of the state, and one in the southwest corner. Some areas now have too much water.
Meteorolgist Brad Rippey says in a Wednesday report drought covers just 5 percent of the U.S. soybean area and 8 percent of the nation’s corn. Corn, rated 75 percent good to excellent, has not been rated as highly at this time of year since 2003. Soybeans, at 72 percent good to excellent, have not been rated as highly at this time of year in the last two decades.
Twelve young ladies from Shelby County will be competing for the queen crown at this year’s 2014 Shelby County Fair. After a vigorous task, the Shelby County Fair Queen candidates were nominated at the annual luncheon held last Saturday.
The candidates include: Macy Bartley daughter of Lance and Shannon of Harlan; Mackenzie Goshorn daughter of Darren and Kaylee of Harlan; Chantel Schmidt daughter of Mike and Donna of Harlan; Carley McConnell daughter of Kevin and Shirley of rural Manilla; Marea Ferry daughter of Darin and Jill of Portsmouth; Liz Blum daughter of Brad Blum and Kim Johannsen of Shelby; Danielle Wingert daughter of Dan and Laura of Panama; Chelsea Assmann daughter of Larry and Chris of Panama; Lydia Madsen daughter of Todd and Angie of Harlan; Teresa Arkfeld daughter of Bill and Brenda of Portsmouth; Emily Pattee daughter of Cindy and Kurt of Harlan, and Lindsey Kaufmann, daughter of Leland and Lorene, of Harlan.
Each of the girls represent a 4-H club or FFA chapter. The candidates will walk on stage the evening of Thursday, July 10th to answer questions, with the winner being announced during the 2014 Shelby County Fair Queen contest.
The Harlan City Council, Tuesday, approved work on the Pioneer Park walking trail. During their regular meeting, the council held a public hearing on the reconstruction project. Once the hearing was closed, the council adopted two Resolutions pertaining to the plans, specifications and form of contract for, the Pioneer Park walking trail.
The project calls for the current trail to be torn out and replaced with a 10’ concrete trail in the same length. Howrey Construction Inc. of Rockwell City, Iowa was the lowest bid at slightly more than $281,039. The plan moving forward includes tearing out the current concrete in mid- to late-August, pouring the new pathway, and completing all work by early September.
Howrey Construction has completed other such projects in Lake City and Denison.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A farmer-owned ethanol plant in northwest Iowa is the first commercial facility in the state to make the fuel additive from something other than corn starch. Ethanol made from plant fiber is called cellulosic ethanol. It’s been in research for decades but production is expected to expand significantly this year. Several plants are in construction capable of turning corn leaves and stalks, wood scraps and even garbage into the fuel additive.
The Quad County Corn Processors plant in Galva has made Iowa’s first commercially produced gallons of cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber. The plant, which has the capacity to make 35 million gallons of ethanol the traditional way from corn starch, has added equipment to make an additional 2 million gallons a year in cellulosic ethanol.
DES MOINES, Iowa – The picnic tables will be loaded with fresh foods as friends and family gather for the Fourth of July, but some in Iowa believe there is a threat to the integrity of those locally produced fruits and vegetables. Donna Prizgintas, a chef in Ames who relies on fresh ingredients from area growers, said she has concerns about pesticide drift and residue for produce farmers, home gardeners and consumers.
“I think Iowans are not aware of … the levels of glyphosates and nitrates that are in our water, in our air,” she said. “Our food can be fairly pesticide-laden.” Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide and, in a recent assessment, it was frequently detected in Iowa surface waters, rain and air. The agricultural industry is vital to Iowa’s economy, Prizgintas said, adding that with better cooperation, pesticides and produce can coexist.
“Some farmers and companies spray very responsibly,” she said. “There are guidelines, there are registrations. You’re not supposed to spray if the wind is blowing. You have no-spray zones you’re supposed to observe – but regularly, there are mistakes.” Prizgintas said the careful application of pesticides will be even more important going forward, with the expected approval of corn and soybeans tolerant to the pesticide 24D.
“Now this may come as soon as next summer,” she said, “and this is adding a whole new pesticide to the equation.” The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship operates a registry for producers to list the locations of their sensitive crops, so pesticide applicators can identify those areas and minimize the potential for damage from drift.
More information is online at iowaagriculture.gov.
(Iowa News Service)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Preliminary rainfall figures show June was Iowa’s third wettest in the 141 years records have been kept, and all that much rain is damaging crops. It’s too early to tell the extent of damage from rain, hail and wind from the numerous thunderstorms in recent weeks. Farmers in some locations are reporting significant field flooding.
The most recent crop condition report released Monday shows 79 percent of the state’s corn crop in good or excellent condition and another 22 percent is fair. Soybeans are faring nearly as well with 75 percent good or excellent and 19 percent fair. Those conditions likely will change.
Iowa State University agronomist Mark Westgate says Tuesday the yield per acre for corn and soybeans will be reduced. It’s just too early to say how much.
Wet weather has done some damage to crops, but the latest U-S-D-A crop report out Monday showed 79-percent of corn and 75-percent of the soybeans were rated in good to excellent condition. Just five-percent of the corn crop was rated in either very poor or poor condition as were six percent of the soybeans. Another U-S-D-A report on planting showed a record number of soybean acres were planted, but corn planting remained about the same or was down in several Midwestern states. Nationwide about four million fewer acres were planted in corn this year — down four percent from last year. The U-S-D-A’s Anthony Prillaman says many farmers are sticking with what has worked during a run of good years.
“Definitely weather concerns, economic concerns, all of that goes into what the farmers end up deciding what they’re going to plant,” Prillaman says. A fear of lower corn prices may’ve moved many farmers to plant more soybeans. “The biggest thing for soybeans this year was just the economics, is what was driving that increase in that we’re seeing in soybeans acres across the country,” Prillaman says.
He says persistent drought conditions may have contributed to lower corn acres in Kansas, Colorado and the Dakotas. In Iowa, soybean acres are up slightly compared to last year, while farmers planted the same amount of corn. But heavy rains in the past week underscore that ultimately weather will be a major factor.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – American farmers have planted less corn than in any year since 2010 but more soybeans than ever, as expected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its annual Acreage Report released Monday that farmers planted 91.6 million acres of corn. That’s 4 percent less than last year but still the fifth-largest corn crop planted since 1944. Analysts expected some farmers to devote more acreage to soybeans because of a drop in corn prices.
The USDA says farmers planted a record high 84.8 million acres of soybeans, up 11 percent from last year. Record soybean acres have been planted in Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Seventy-six percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition, compared with 63 percent last year.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Area farmers are dealing with damage to their crops and fences after all the rain that fell in June. The Sioux City Journal reports farmers in northwest Iowa, southeast South Dakota and northeast Nebraska face significant work ahead because of the flooding on the Big Sioux, Rock and other rivers.
The flooding and heavy rains could also have a lasting effect on their crops because fertilizer may have been washed away and standing water in fields could have killed some plants. Janna Whitlock says her pasture in Union County, S.D., was underwater, and three lawn mowers, a snow blower and some other equipment in a shed was damaged.
Farmer Jack Kruse says he knows he faces weeks of fence repair ahead.