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.

USDA Report 12-27-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 27th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Master Gardener Course Registration Deadline Approaching

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

If your New Year’s resolution has something to do with gardening, don’t miss your chance to become a trained Iowa Master Gardener in 2013! Classes start Tuesday, January 15 at the Cass County Extension Office, but you must have your registration form turned in by noon on Monday January 7 to avoid a late fee, according to Extension Program Coordinator, Kate Olson.

“We need to have all our names turned in to campus by January 7 so course materials can be sent out prior to class starting on the 15th,” says Olson. “It is a fantastic program and I would encourage anyone to sign up if they have a love for gardening, a desire to learn more about the world of gardening, and a commitment to being a positive part of their community!”

Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in any type of gardening and have a desire to share their knowledge through education and community involvement. Master Gardener trainees attend 40 hours of classes taught by Iowa State University Extension & Outreach staff and specialists on topics including lawn care, flower and vegetable gardening, ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit crops, and houseplants, insect, disease, and weed control, soil and plant nutrition, and pesticide safety.

In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer 40 hours of service in their local communities. The service opportunities are wide-ranging, from public educational activities to assisting with public garden spaces. Master Gardeners speak to local groups, teach youth about gardening, plant/maintain community gardens, staff plant clinics or displays, provide horticulture therapy activities for the elderly, and assist with county fair horticulture activities as judges or project coordinators, to name a few. Cass County also has an active Master Gardener group that meets regularly to coordinate volunteer and educational opportunities for members.

Classes will be held at the Cass County Extension office, located at 805 W. 10th Street in Atlantic. The first session will be Tuesday evening, January 15 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, and will continue on consecutive Tuesday’s through March 19.  There will also be three Thursday evening sessions held locally, and one Saturday in February spent on the ISU campus for hands-on training in the horticulture department.  The cost for the entire program, including reference materials and all training, is just $150 per person.

Registrations must be in the Cass County Extension office by noon on January 7 to have materials available for the first training session. A $25 late fee will be charged to anyone signing up after this date. Persons interested in becoming a trained Master Gardener in Cass County are encouraged to contact the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132 or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/cass for information on signing up for the winter certification classes, or to learn more about Iowa Master Gardeners.

(Press Release/Cass Co. Extension)

Iowa officials offer advice on ice fishing

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials are reminding ice fishing enthusiasts to be careful with newly developed ice caused by a major snowstorm last week. The state Department of Natural Resources says a minimum of four inches of quality ice is recommended for ice fishing. At least five inches of ice is recommended for snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. DNR officials also recommend using small baits and a light line for capturing finicky fish.

A major snowstorm dumped several inches of snow around the state last week. It also ushered in cold temperatures that covered most area lakes with a layer of ice.

USDA says Iowa has about 1.2M cattle on feed

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal authorities say the number of cattle and calves in large Iowa feedlots is unchanged from last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with capacities of 1,000 or more head totaled about 1.2 million on Dec. 1. That means inventory is unchanged from the same period last year. Cattle and calves for slaughter in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million on Dec. 1. That’s six percent below inventory from the same period last year. Another USDA report shows the number of cattle in Nebraska feedlots with capacities of 1,000 or more head contained 2.53 million on Dec. 1.

Recycling Christmas Trees and Poinsettias

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Now that Christmas is over, you may be thinking about what to do with your real Christmas tree and poinsettias.  Officials with ISU Extension say there are several ways to dispose of your Christmas tree.

You can place the tree in your yard or garden for use by birds and other wildlife.  The branches provide shelter from strong winds and cold.  You can also prune off the tree’s branches and place the boughs over perennials as winter mulch.  Chip the tree and use the chipped materials as mulch around trees, shrubs or in perennial flower beds.  If you can’t use the tree yourself, contact your solid waste agency or sanitation service.  Most communities have some type of Christmas tree disposal program.

If given good care to your poinsettias, they should remain active for 2-3 months.  Toss the poinsettias when you grow tired of them or they become unattractive.  If you enjoy a challenge, it is possible to get the poinsettia to bloom again next year.  Cut the stems back to within 4-6 inches of the soil in March.  They may be repotted at this time.  Place the poinsettia in a sunny window.  Continue to water when the soil surface becomes dry to the touch.  In late May, move the poinsettia outdoors.  Bring back indoors in mid-September.

If you have additional questions you would like to have answered, contact the ISU Hortline at hortline@iastate.edu or 515-294-3108.

Cass County Extension Report 12-26-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 26th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Blizzard covers pheasant & quail food & habitat

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says last week’s blizzard was not the way Iowa’s pheasant and quail wanted to start winter.  About half of the state received 6 to 12 inches of wet heavy snow that collapsed most “grassy” cover.  The cover that did not collapse was drifted full of snow from the high winds.  Todd Bogenschutz, state upland game biologist for the DNR said it was “A bad storm for upland game birds.” Bogenschutz said he thinks  “It’s very likely we saw some bird mortality with this blizzard.”

He says winter snowfall from December 1st thru March 31st is a good predictor of whether upland bird populations will increase or decrease the following year, and to have upwards of one foot of snow only 20 days into December does not bode well for pheasants. According to Bogenschutz,  “Iowa had only 17 inches of snow last winter. Parts of Iowa are close to that total already with this first storm.”

Iowa’s pheasant and quail populations were decimated by five consecutive winters of 30-50 inches of snow from 2007 thru 2011.  The winter of 2011-12 with only 17 inches of snow led to the first increase in pheasant numbers in years.  Bogenschutz says “Upland bird hunters were hopeful this winter would also be dry and mild to speed a population recovery.” He added that he hopes there are no more storms like the one experienced last week, for the rest of the winter.”

On a side note: The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Pheasants Forever chapters will meet jointly next month to discuss methods to improve winter habitat for pheasant and quail.
Iowa has 50,000 acres under a new Conservation Reserve Program called Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE.  Landowners have the opportunity to enroll in this program first come first serve until the acres are gone.  The catch is, that County FSA offices cannot enroll Iowa landowners until Congress gives USDA authority to begin enrollment under a new farm bill.

(Iowa DNR Press Release)

Neighbors are the ones buying Iowa land

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The annual farmland survey released earlier this month by Iowa State University showed a record average cost of land at eight-thousand-296 dollars an acre. I-S-U economist, Mike Duffy, who conducts the survey, says most of the purchases are by those who want to expand. He says the buyers are typically neighbors or those in the neighborhood, as the vast majority of those buying land are inside Iowa. Duffy says farmers see the high return in corn and soybeans as a reason for investing in more land.

“What we’re seeing is a continuing increase in the amount of land that’s going to farmers and a decrease in the amount of land going to investors,” Duffy explains. “And that’s I think due to the fact that farmers are the ones making the money off the land right now. Farmer view land in a different way, and so they are in the market much stronger now than the investors are.” Duffy says there is more transfer of land by inheritance right now than by sale. Duffy says the higher prices have made some of those who inherit land decide not to keep it.

“I think that’s particularly for non-farming heirs that have inherited. They are looking at the land and saying we would have held onto it with it at two or three-thousand dollars and acre, but with it at eight or nine-thousand dollars an acre, the price of sentimentality went up. We are seeing more activity from that group,” Duffy says. The annual survey from Iowa State University showed farmland values increased almost 24-percent over last year.

(Radio Iowa)

New options available for fishing and hunting licenses

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is offering several new options for fishing and hunting licenses in 2013. D-N-R Chief of Fisheries, Joe Larschied, says the new options were developed based on feedback from Iowans. “A lot of anglers came to us and said ‘you know we’d like to pay for the privilege to fish with three poles,’ especially bank anglers and ice anglers and things like that. So we’re offering that for the first time,” Larschied says. “The other things we’re offering are a three-year angling license, so you can lock current prices for three years…you gain some savings with administrative fees for each of those three years.”

There’s also what he calls the hunter’s special. “A three-year hunting license with the habitat stamp included, so again you can lock in the current years prices for three years. And then the other option is an outdoor combo license which combines the annual resident hunting, fishing and habitat combo for one year,” Larschied says. He says there’s a cost savings on the fees, but is mostly a convenience feature. Larschied says people who hunt and fish wanted to see the option tailored more like other licenses. He says you get a driver’s license and boat registration for several years and that’s why they decided to do the same for hunters and anglers.

Larschied says the program is self-supporting and hopefully making things more convenient will get more people involved. “The trust fund where all the license dollars goes is what allows us to hire game wardens, to hire the people to run the hatcheries and stock fish, and it is solely run on fishing and hunting license revenue,” Larschied says. “And so this just allows people to lock in for three years their commitment to shore up their trust fund, which is what we’re really trying to do.”

The cost of a bonus line fishing license is 12-dollars. The cost for an outdoor combo license is 47-dollars, a three-year fishing license 53-dollars, three-year hunting license 86-dollars. You can now purchase those new licenses and use them through the rest of this year up to their expiration date.

(Radio Iowa)

Carstens Farmstead Annual Meeting Set for January 8, 2013

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc. say their annual meeting will be held on Monday, January 8th, 2013, beginning at 7:00 pm,  at the Shelby Community Building in Shelby. Anyone wanting to re-new or begin a new membership in Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc., can download a membership form that’s available on the organization’s web page.

Memberships can be paid on January 8th during the annual meeting or they may be mailed to: Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc., PO Box 302, Shelby, IA 51570.  An election for positions on the board of directors will be held.  Proxy voting will be available for those who cannot attend the meeting.  Members may access a Proxy by visiting www.carstensfarm.com.

Carstens’ President Mel Hursey says they will “Discuss what is in store for visitors to the farm in 2013.” In addition, reports will be given on Farm Days 2012 and on-going repair and maintenance projects at the farm.  Immediately following the election, members of the board will vote on officers for 2013.  Hursey says also, they Will review the past year and hold elections for the 2013 officers.” Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc. members, as well as the general public, are encouraged to attend.

Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc., a non-profit group of local volunteer members, maintains the farm as a working museum exhibit.  It is located between Minden and Shelby, in Pottawattamie County.  The farmstead is the home of Carstens Farm Days, which is held the first weekend after Labor Day each September.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  For more information visit the web site: www.carstensfarm.com