KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Research shows soaring nitrate levels in Iowa rivers

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers efforts to control the spread of nitrates in recent years appears to be helping but research shows that levels of the fertilizer byproduct have soared in the state’s major rivers. The Des Moines Register reports  that nitrate levels have more than tripled since the 1950s to more than 7 milligrams per liter in 2010.

Researcher Keith Schilling says the upward trend in nitrate levels is unmistakable. Schilling studies nitrate levels for the Iowa Geological Survey at the University of Iowa. Last month, the Des Moines Water Works sued Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties over high nitrate levels. The utility has invested in costly measures to control nitrates in drinking water.

Conservation Report 04-11-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 11th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Lavon Eblen and Cass and Adair County Conservation Officer Brian Smith.

Play

Court upholds Iowa natural gas tax reviled by ethanol plants

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Rejecting a challenge from the ethanol industry, the Iowa Supreme Court says the state’s tax on the use of natural gas is constitutional. Several ethanol plants argue the law is unfair because it requires them to pay higher taxes than many competitors for natural gas, which is heavily used in the manufacturing process.

The affected plants are those that obtain natural gas directly from interstate pipelines rather than local utilities. They are assessed the tax based on the amount they use and their geographic location. Little Sioux Corn Processors, which operates an ethanol plant in Marcus, argued the tax was unconstitutional because it treats similar plants differently and punishes consumers who buy gas from out-of-state suppliers.

The court says the tax may not create uniform results, but it is constitutional.

Deadly bird flu confirmed in three states bordering Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A strain of bird flu that’s particularly deadly to chickens and turkeys is now confirmed in three states that border Iowa. Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association and Egg Council, says while the disease has mostly hit turkey flocks elsewhere, poultry producers statewide need to be vigilant about biosecurity to prevent spreading the disease. “It’s one that our producers are very cognizant of, they’ve been very concerned about biosecurity protocols,” Olson says. “It’s important to known there’s no human health consequence to this disease but it’s very consequential to a commercial operation that has an infection.”

Olson says Iowa producers with backyard flocks need to especially be on the lookout for the disease, known as H-5-N-2, and take precautions. “We’re encouraging anybody with backyard flocks to be very diligent in your biosafety protocols,” Olson says, “You shouldn’t be allowing your birds to mix with migratory waterfowl. Keep them indoors if possible. It’s a very serious disease that causes a rapid increase of mortality.”

This bird flu strain is confirmed in several states, including Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg-producing state with 60-million laying hens that produced 16 and a half billion eggs in 2014.

(Radio Iowa)

Lack of snow good news for pheasants and quail

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A dry winter with below-normal snowfall is improving the odds for better pheasant hunting again this season. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz, says the snowfall numbers are a good predictor of how well wild birds handle the winter. “Anytime that we are kind of upwards of over 30 inches of snow or beyond, it’s generally not a good winter for pheasant or quail. We kind of had a lot of those winters from ’07 to 2011, which really depressed our pheasant numbers,” Bogenschutz says. “Here in the last couple years things have been a little bit better. This past winter we came in at about 21 inches.”

Bogenschutz says many pheasant hunters reported seeing more birds last fall after five years of winters with heavy snow and cool wet springs that hurt the numbers. The fall sightings combined with the winter numbers add up to potentially good news. “We’re thinking right now — at least I am cautiously optimistic — that we carried a good number of the hens we have out there through the winter in pretty good shape,” Bogenschutz says. The more hens that survive the winter, the more chance they’ll raise new birds this spring.

“I think the stage could be set for maybe another increase this year because we got all those hens through the winter, they’re out there, they can nest,” Bogenschutz explains. “Now we just need some good weather through nesting season — and we’ll see what the roadside counts bring.” Bogenschutz is referring to the annual August roadside counts that give an estimate on the number of pheasants. Bogenschutz says landowners can help to ensure the positive trend continues by planting shelterbelts and food plots for the birds.

“We just don’t have a lot of that type of winter cover out there on the landscape, so we’re trying to encourage landowners, you know if you are worried about pheasants or see them struggling, do you have an opportunity to do a food plot?,” Bogenschutz says. He says they also provide information about the shelterbelts, which provide cover and food for pheasants. Cost share assistance or seed for food plot establishment is available from most county Pheasants Forever chapters or local co-ops.

For information on how to establish or design shelterbelts or food plots that benefit wildlife, contact your local wildlife biologist, or go to: www.iowadnr.gov/privatelands.

(Radio Iowa)

Posted County Prices for Grains 04/08/2015

Ag/Outdoor

April 8th, 2015 by admin

Cass County: Corn $3.54, Beans $9.40
Adair County: Corn $3.51, Beans $9.43
Adams County: Corn $3.51, Beans $9.39
Audubon County: Corn $3.53, Beans $9.42
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.57, Beans $9.40
Guthrie County: Corn $3.56, Beans $9.44
Montgomery County: Corn $3.56, Beans $9.42
Shelby County: Corn $3.57, Beans $9.40
Oats $2.58 (always the same in all counties)

Iowa field work is starting as farmers are prepping for planting

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The U-S-D-A’s first crop update for the 2015 growing season says nearly 75-percent of Iowa’s cropland has adequate-to-surplus soil moisture. It also finds almost one-third of the state’s fields are short-to-very short of moisture for the upcoming growing season. Iowa State University agronomist Aaron Saeugling, who covers 14 southwest Iowa counties, says many Iowa farmers are starting their field work in preparation for planting.

“We’ve been busy applying fertilizer this spring,” Saeugling says. “A little bit of tillage, very little seeding has occurred at this point in the growing season. As moisture goes, I would say this is one of the drier springs that we have experienced here as of late, although the forecast is for precipitation all week, so hopefully we can get some measureable precipitation out of that.”

Joel DeJong, a field agronomist with the Iowa State University Extension based in Le Mars in northwest Iowa, says the dry conditions during March helped many growers to check off their pre-planting chores. DeJong says a little rain could help, but soil conditions are okay. He says he’s optimistic about the chances of growers getting the needed moisture to recharge the soil once they begin seeding.

Right after planting, he says farmers will need water to re-wet that top surface so the seeds will get started and get those root systems growing down to where that water is stored.

(Radio Iowa)

Public meeting to be held with regard to River Valley OHV Park

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS – A public meeting will be held regarding the River Valley OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) Park in Council Bluffs on April 15th, from 6-7 p.m., at the Western Historic Trail Center. The center is located at 3434 Richard Downing Ave. in Council Bluffs. The meeting is being held to discuss temporary closing of the park due to hazardous
trees, plans to remove the trees and the time frame for reopening the park.

Information will be presented on the proposed forestry plan, environmental review,
proposed logging, timber sale and removal of invasive tree and plant species at the
park.

Public comments and questions will be taken following the informational portion of
the meeting. Those unable to attend can submit comments to David Downing, DNR OHV program manager at David.Downing@dnr.iowa.gov.

Drought expands across large section of nation’s crop region

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Drought conditions are expanding across a large section of the U.S., from California to the Great Plains. The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska says the area covered by moderate drought or worse expanded by nearly five percentage points to 36.8 percent during March.

The drought monitor shows dry conditions broadened in the Midwest with 22 percent of the U.S. corn production area and 18 percent of the soybean area in some degree of drought. That’s up sharply from early March when just 6 percent of the corn growing area and 5 percent of the soybean region were in drought conditions.

Dryness worsened during March in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Two-thirds of California is in extreme to exceptional drought.

Iowa photographer focuses on women in agriculture

Ag/Outdoor

April 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A central Iowa photographer is using her talents to document the important role that women play in agriculture. Marji Guyler-Alaniz launched the Farm-Her organization and website in 2013. The Grimes resident takes photos of women farmers and ranchers as they go about their daily chores. “In a way, it empowers them to say there’s all these other people out there like you and you are a super important part of agriculture…and of your farming operation or ranching operation and let’s shine a light on that,” Guylur-Alaniz says.FarmHer Marji Guyler-Alaniz

The latest Census data shows women are the principal operators of roughly 14-percent of the farms in the U.S. That’s up from 5-percent in the 1980s. Guyler-Alaniz hopes her photos will inspire more young women to become farmers and ranchers. “We think about ways to bring young people into agriculture, into actively farming and ranching, showing them that there are already women in these super strong roles is a really, really important thing,” Guylur-Alaniz says.

Back on March 18th, Guylur-Alaniz was in Washington, D.C. as a FarmHer photo exhibit was featured at a National Ag Day event.

(Radio Iowa)