KJAN Ag/Outdoor

From County extension to conservation to grain prices, we provide lots of information every day on KJAN.  Here is some of that information on the web too!  We hope you find it useful.

State parks packed for holiday weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Most of the reservable campsites with electricity in Iowa’s state parks have been claimed heading into the last big weekend of the summer recreation season. Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau, says campers are taking the “first come, first serve” sites as well. “I wouldn’t be surprised if by Thursday afternoon things were really tight…it’s going to be difficult to find a spot if you don’t have it secured already,” Szcodronski said.

Although the drought this summer has hurt Iowa’s ag industry, it’s led a boom in business for state parks. “Park use goes up when it doesn’t rain,” Szcodronski said. “I do know the peak of that hot time, when it was above 100 degrees, the tent campers…they stayed home because it’s pretty tough when it doesn’t get below 80 degrees in a tent.”

Many of the state parks will experience a significance drop off in visitors after this weekend, but other thrive in the fall months. Szcodronski notes the changing colors on trees can draw visitors similar to a major holiday weekend. Fall campers also enjoy fewer bugs and cooler temperatures.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 08-29-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

August 29th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Fewer Iowans buying hunting, fishing licenses

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

August 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Fewer Iowans are buying hunting and fishing licenses, but state officials say that doesn’t necessarily mean interest in the sports are waning.  Sales of hunting licenses to Iowa residents dropped 13 percent from 2007 to last year, and resident fishing licenses declined about 4 percent during that period. Nationally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates hunting is up 9 percent and fishing has increased 11 percent.

Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau, says that the national numbers are based on interviews. He says fishing remains strong in Iowa and license declines could reflect recent flooding.  DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says declining pheasant populations hurt hunting license sales. That decline is blamed on grassland losses and recent harsh winters.

Neb., Iowa officials watch for contaminated corn

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Farmers, crop inspectors and grain elevators in Nebraska, Iowa and other corn-producing states are keeping an eye out for corn contaminated by a poison-producing fungus.  They’re watching for signs of aflatoxins. Experts say aflatoxins are chemicals produced by certain mold fungi and that at high levels aflatoxins are poisonous to humans and animals. They tend to show up during hot, dry summers.

Mark Fulmer of the Lincoln Inspection Service said that during the drought year of 2002, there was a high amount of aflatoxin in the state’s corn. Fulmer says of the corn samples his company has tested this summer, most show little or no contamination. But he says some of the corn has tested out at more than four times the federal threshold.

Farmers Almanac predicts a bit harsher winter for Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting wild temperature swings and periods of storminess this coming winter for much of the Midwest – including Iowa. Almanac editor Peter Geiger says Iowans can expect something slightly more harsh than the rather mild weather of last winter. “It’s not going to be like the coldest winter ever, but I think you’re going to get some decent precipitation, which you need badly,” Geiger said.

The Almanac predicts areas east of Iowa, like Wisconsin and Illinois, will experience colder than normal temps with a varied mix of snow, sleet and rain. People from the Great Lakes to northern New England are being advised to prepare for a very cold and snowy winter. The Farmers’ Almanac has been releasing winter weather predictions for 196 years. Geiger notes the publication is accurate with the forecast about 75 to 80 percent of the time. According to Geiger, the forecast is based – in part – on a “mathematical and astronomical formula” created by Almanac founder David Young in 1818.

(Radio Iowa)

Rain may help Iowa soybeans, but too late for corn

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers are hopeful last week’s rain will help the soybean crop as the corn harvest gets under way during the nation’s worst dry spell in a generation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are still chopping corn for silage and starting to harvest corn for grain and seed. Fifty-three percent of the corn crop is in poor to very poor condition. The USDA says farmers are hoping soybean plants will produce more pods because of the rain, which averaged 1.29 inches last week. It was the wettest week in 10 weeks. Nineteen percent of the soybean crop is turning color, and some leaves are dropping. Soybeans are rated 36 percent poor or very poor, 39 percent in fair condition and 25 percent in good or excellent shape.

Producers Reminded of Deadlines for CRP Emergency Grazing and Haying


August 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers who requested emergency grazing and haying on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres of the deadline dates to remove cattle or hay from the CRP acres. Producers with emergency grazing authorization must remove livestock no later than September 30, 2012. For those producers haying the authorized acreage, all haying must be completed no later than August 31, 2012. Bales must be removed by September 30, 2012.

CRP participants who participated in the emergency grazing and haying must report the number of acres actually hayed or grazed no later than September 30, 2012, and reports are subject to spot check by USDA. In addition, participants must report the tonnage harvested or the number of livestock grazed by September 30. For more information about the deadline dates and required information for emergency grazing and haying of CRP acres contact your local FSA office.

Five Iowa Counties Now Eligible for Cost Share to Meet Emergency Water Needs


August 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Livestock producers, orchards and vineyards facing critical water needs due to this summer’s ongoing drought may soon find some relief announced John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).  Five Iowa counties; Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Davis, and Wapello, have been approved to implement and hold a sign up under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP).

Farmers experiencing severe drought conditions may be eligible for cost-share assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program or ECP.  This program provides cost-share assistance if the damage is so severe that water available for livestock, orchards, and vineyards has been reduced below normal to the extent that they cannot survive without additional water. 

Producers with water shortages will need to sign the required forms and have the area inspected prior to starting any work, which may include technical assistance to determine what is needed to bring a water supply to the area. “Contacting your local county office is critical.  Producers not completing the required forms and who were not inspected prior to starting the work could be ineligible and cost share could be denied,” stated Whitaker.

Farmers experiencing severe drought conditions may be eligible for cost-share assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program or ECP.  This program provides cost-share assistance if the damage is so severe that water available for livestock, orchards, and vineyards has been reduced below normal to the extent that they cannot survive without additional water.

A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost share not to exceed 75 percent of the cost of installing eligible temporary measures.  Cost share for permanent measures is based on 50 percent of the total eligible cost.  Cost-share assistance is limited to $200,000 per person or legal entity per natural disaster.  Water source related problems existing prior to the applicable disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.

Approved practices and measures may include:

  • Installing pipelines or other facilities for livestock water or existing irrigation systems for orchards and vineyards
  • Constructing and deepening wells for livestock water
  • Developing springs or seeps for livestock water.

Producers who have experienced severe drought conditions requiring outside assistance to provide supplemental water should contact their local county FSA office for more information or go on-line at www.fsa.usda.gov.

Sunnyside Skate Park Meeting Rescheduled

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 25th, 2012 by Chris Parks

The meeting for the Sunnyside Skate Park in Atlantic that was scheduled for 10:00am Saturday has been rescheduled to Monday, August 27th at 6:00pm at the skate park.  The meeting had to be moved due to the rain on Saturday.  Anyone intending to utilize the skate park facility should plan on attending and parents are encouraged to attend as well.


IA Dept. of Public Health says Mosquito repellant still necessary

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) say even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared the recent West Nile virus outbreak as the largest ever seen in the U.S., Iowa West Nile virus case reports have been consistent with recent years. The  (IDPH) says it has received five confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness and several additional cases are currently being investigated. The five confirmed cases include one each in Grundy, Linn, Lyon, Page, and Plymouth counties. All patients have recovered.

While overall mosquito activity has been lower this year, likely due to the extremely dry spring and summer, officials say the cases illustrate West Nile virus is circulating and causing illness. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “Iowans may think the use of mosquito spray while outdoors is unnecessary because there seem to be few mosquitoes bothering them.” But Quinlisk says they’re urging residents and visitors to continue the use of insect repellent with DEET while outdoors, to protect against mosquitoes which may be carrying the West Nile virus, and ticks, which may carry Lyme disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and to use insect repellent when outdoors. Iowans should take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children. For example, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2-months-old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3-years-old.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.
  • Eliminate standing water around the home because that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.

While West Nile virus case reports so far have been consistent with recent years, there has been a slight increase in Lyme diseases case reports. 113 cases of Lyme disease have been confirmed thus far in 2012. There were 100 confirmed cases in 2011.