KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa grapes likely survived Wednesday’s frost

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Frost and freezing conditions hit the state the last couple of nights and that has grape growers hoping they don’t see another drop in production like the one brought on by the cold last season. State Viticulture Specialist Mike White says he had not had any reports of damage following Wednesday’s freeze warning. “For the most part things look pretty good in Iowa. There might have been a vineyard or two in southern Iowa in a low area that might have had some frost, but I think right now we’re looking pretty good,” White says.

White says however, grapevines do have some built in insurance against frost damage. He says each plant has three buds inside with the first being 100 percent fruitful. “Now if it gets out there with one or two leaves and let’s say its April 27th and you get a frost, well the secondary bud inside there will bust open, and it has the ability to produce maybe 30 to 50 percent of a crop,” according to White.

White says the third layer will not produce fruit but it will sustain the plant through the season. He says wineries last year took a hit from a cold and wet spring and a late summer thunderstorm in western Iowa. Yields were cut by as much as 40 percent. Iowa has more than 100 wineries across the state.

(Radio Iowa)

Bird flu cuts into egg, poultry exports in Iowa, Midwest


April 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some international trade partners are declining to buy egg and poultry products from states affected by a deadly strain of bird flu while others are excluding imports only from counties where the virus has surfaced. Agriculture officials say the food supply is safe. But Mexico, Japan and Canada are among 33 countries declining to accept poultry products from entire states, including Iowa, the nation’s leading egg producer, and Minnesota, the top turkey grower in the U.S.

Other countries, including Hong Kong, limit the ban to counties where the virus has been confirmed. Jim Sumner, president of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, says 110 countries trade with no restrictions. Also Thursday, the governor of Minnesota, the nation’s leading turkey producer, declared a state of emergency to fight the H5N2 virus.

State officials confirm Sac Co. farm is 3rd with bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Agriculture says a turkey farm in Sac County has become the third farm in Iowa to have confirmed cases of bird flu. The farm’s 34,000 turkeys will be killed to contain the virus. The farm is within a six-mile monitoring zone of the first turkey farm identified in Iowa to have the H5N2 virus.

Sac County is the adjacent county south of Buena Vista County where a farm with 27,000 turkeys was confirmed to have the virus on April 13. An egg-laying facility with 3.8 million chickens in Osceola County northwest of the turkey farms also has the virus. State agriculture officials say in the latest case announced Thursday, turkeys began dying and tests at Iowa State University confirmed the bird flu virus is present.

Recent rainfall lessens drought conditions in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the past two weeks have seen needed rainfall over much of the state, ending a very dry stretch of weather. The rains reflect improvements to the drought, streamflow and shallow groundwater conditions.

Areas in yellow are experiencing "Abnormally Dry" conditions. Areas in white are considered to have "Normal" soil conditions as of April 21st.

Areas in yellow are experiencing “Abnormally Dry” conditions. Areas in white are considered to have “Normal” soil conditions as of April 21st.

Rainfall totals varied from just over seven-tenths (0.70) inches at Muscatine to more than six-inches inches at Lake Mills.  In Atlantic, rainfall from April 7th through this past Tuesday, amounted to 2.39-inches, which matches the statewide average. Temperatures have averaged 4.5 degrees above normal, as well. Officials say the wet weather comes at a time when Iowa is entering its traditionally wet months, and is a positive sign for conditions through spring.

The area of the state classified as abnormally dry has dropped from 50 percent to 25 percent according to the National Drought Monitor, a significant improvement over one year ago when more than 75 percent of the state was abnormally dry. Slight drought conditions remain present in far northwest and eastern Iowa.

For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate. The report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

Adair County property info. available in a new format

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Adair County residents have new tools available to them. Pam Jensen, Adair County Assessor, and the Adair County Board of Supervisors have announced that complete Adair County property information is now available to the public, 24/7, in an enhanced mapping format on the Internet at http://adair.gisworkshop.com/ through a partnership with GIS Workshop, LLC.

Visitors to the user-friendly mapping site will now find County property information at their fingertips through the Property Search tool. The search fields allow searches by parcel ID, owner name, address or legal description. All matching results will appear both on the map and in list format. In addition, residents can perform a more advanced search by sale information such as sale date, price range, acreage, or year built.

Full data regarding values, taxes, and even a photo of the property is now  conveniently available to anyone with an internet connection. Additional enhancements to the site include a Measurement tool, Quick Identify tool, Photo tool, Advanced Printing tool, and Zoom in/out and Aerial Imagery slider bars featuring several years of FSA aerial imagery. The enhanced site allows anyone to access informative GIS mapping information quickly and easily.

USDA Report 04-23-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 23rd, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin


CDC eyeing bird flu vaccine for humans, though risk is low

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Federal officials say they’re taking steps to create a human vaccine for the bird flu virus that’s affected the Midwest poultry industry, though they still consider the danger to be low. Dr. Alicia Fry, an influenza expert with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says they’re optimistic there won’t be any human cases of the H5N2 strain that has cost chicken and turkey producers nearly 6.8 million birds so far.

She said Wednesday that most human infections with other bird flu viruses have required close, prolonged contact with infected birds. So, officials are monitoring farm workers who’ve been exposed to affected flocks. Fry said the CDC has taken early steps toward developing a human vaccine in case it’s needed, but that’s a standard procedure with all emerging diseases.

Cass County Extension Report 04-23-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 22nd, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Earth Day 2015

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Today is the 45th Anniversary of “Earth Day,” a day set aside each year to perform acts to clean-up our environment by picking up trash in parks, along roadsides and elsewhere, plant trees, and participate in various programs for recycling and conservation. In some areas, citizens will sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.

Here in Atlantic, Earth Day will be marked by clean-up of the Schildberg Recreation Area. Jolene Smith, Secretary of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, says the activities begin this afternoon.

Anyone who wants help clean-up the park, should show-up in the west parking beginning at 2-p.m., wearing old clothes, old shoes and gloves. The Parks and Rec Dept. will furnish the trash bags and trailer to throw full bags in, for disposal. Various local civic organizations and local students will be participating in the effort. The clean-up effort will run as long as volunteers are willing to stay, or until around 8-p.m. You can show up anytime throughout the afternoon. You don’t have to be there at 2-p.m.

Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said they removed a lot of trash from the area last year. For more information about Earth Day, go to www.earthday.org.

Warm weather could stop any more bird flu outbreaks

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

State and national officials held a conference all with reporters to answer questions surrounding the latest bird flu out break in northwest Iowa. Officials first clarified that the facility in Osceola County has a capacity of five-point-three million egg-laying hens, but there are were three-point-eight million hens there when the disease was discovered. It is still the largest outbreak discovered in the U-S thus far. U-S-D-A chief veterinary officer, John Clifford, says the large number of birds at the Osceola County facility raised concerns.

“A lot of people ask the question ‘well what can we do about it?’ Well, one of the things that we’re doing, we are trying to determine the pathway of introduction into these houses,” Clifford says. “My guess is — and right now there is no solid evidence as such — my guess is there are multiple pathways of entry and it doesn’t mean that people are using poor biosecurity.” The disease is believe to be carried by wild waterfowl. Clifford says other states like Minnesota have seen more cases than Iowa thus far because they have more lakes and more wild migratory birds. He says other states have also had some colder weather.

“And hopefully through the summer we would expect to stop seeing these cases because of the heat. This virus does not like the heat much at all, it prefers cooler temperatures in weather,” Clifford says. He says we could see more cases of the virus as the waterfowl move gain in the fall and spring. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey was asked about the economic impact. He says it has varied since the first outbreaks were reported in other states in January.

“In some cases we’ve lost some markets, some export markets. In that case maybe we see a negative impact to prices — we actually see lower prices because there are less place for these egg products and poultry products to move,” Northey says. “In other cases we now are starting to see some significant reductions in the supply, so we are kind of counterbalancing, so it depends on how this plays out on what the impact might be.” But Northey says while millions of birds have died in Iowa and other states, the impact has not been major in terms of prices.

“Right now it does not appear that the loss of supply in either turkey products or egg products is significant at this time to show a significant impact on prices,” Northey says. The first outbreak in Iowa was in a turkey facility in Buena Vista County. The 37-thousand turkeys there were destroyed and Northey says state and local officials are helping the Osceola County facility euthanized the birds there. Northey says the cases appear to be isolated at this point.

“We do not believe this is spreading in a way that is likely to create other problems on other farms. We believe this is coming from wild birds to these farms. That does not mean we might not see a significant number of new cases,” according to Northey. But he says this could also be the last case found in Iowa too. Northey says these two facilities are a small part of the large egg and turkey industry in the state.

“As of today, eggs are still rolling out of most of our facilities. These are good, healthy eggs,” Northey says. “Consumers need to feel very comfortable eating Iowa eggs, eating Iowa turkey and eating Iowa chicken meat as well.” Doctor Clifford with the U-S-D-A says the eggs from the facility in Osceola are cracked and pasteurized for use in egg products, so that would have killed any of the virus in those eggs. And the chickens are not being released into the market, so they do not pose any threat.

(Radio Iowa)