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.

Doc Leonard’s Pet Pointers 02-28-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 28th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Dr. Keith Leonard


Report says most wind energy goes to distant cities

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A report from the Center for Rural Affairs finds those giant wind turbines that dot the farmland skyline are helping power distant cities, not rural homes. Johnathan Hladik, the center’s energy policy advocate, says major power lines are -not- connected to the areas where the wind power is generated. Hladik says, “We’re finding that all of the important, big transmission lines that can move a lot of capacity, the kind of capacity we need, are far away from the rural areas that are home to all of our wind turbines.”

Iowa ranks third in the nation for wind energy production, behind Texas and California. Under the old model of generation, power plants were located close to the population areas they serve. Now, utilities are finding it difficult to locate new plants in heavily-populated areas. Hladik says the study found only a few miles of the modern, major power lines are located close to the wind turbines. “Only 6% of the lines 400 kilovolts and above are located in the top ten states for wind energy potential and most of those states are in the upper Midwest and the Great Plains areas,” Hladik says. “But even more importantly, less than 1% of the lines over 600 kilovolts are located in these areas. That’s only nine miles.”

Hladik says making a more efficient use of infrastructure now in place is a critical first step, and to make major improvements, it will take some creative partnerships. “It’s not only the job of individual utilities and public utility commissions in each state to recognize the problem and to recognize what we need to do to tap our wind resources, but the onus also falls on states working together, on regional collaboratives,” he says. The utilities need to come up with plans to move more power over a more efficient energy grid, he says, to insure a clean energy future and more jobs. The Center for Rural Affairs is based in Lyons, Nebraska. Learn more about the report at: www.cfra.org

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 02-27-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 27th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson


DNR to hold Listening Session on fall hunting and trapping regulations

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

February 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it will host public meetings over the Iowa Communications Network on March 7th from 6- to 9- p.m., to listen to the public’s thoughts on the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall. The meetings are part of the new process instituted for making rules in state government. Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau, says “Any rule changes must be discussed with Iowa’s citizens who might be impacted by the changes before the rule changes are proposed. The new process helps ensure that rule changes serve the public’s wishes and do not impact Iowa’s economy.”

At each meeting DNR staff will facilitate a discussion about what went well last fall, what didn’t, and what changes hunters and trappers would like to see for this fall. The discussions along with the data that the wildlife bureau collects on harvest and population numbers will be used to develop recommendations for any rule changes this fall. Any changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall.

Meetings will be held in several communities, including: Council Bluffs, Creston, and Sac City. Complete ICN locations are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.

Fire at Villisca chicken farm under investigation

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A fire at a farm early this (Monday) morning, resulted in the death of several chickens in Montgomery County.

Photo’s courtesy Brian Hamman.

According to Montgomery County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman, the blaze at Sunbest Papetti’s Chicken farm happened shortly after 5:30-a.m.  Firefighters from the Villisca and Stanton Fire Departments responded to the scene, along with the Montgomery County EMA.

Hamman says the blaze was quickly contained by Villisca Firefighter’s to the east end of the south building before it spread throughout the entire structure or endangered other buildings in the complex. No injuries were reported to any firefighters. Crews were on scene for roughly 3 hours. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Iowa farmer feeds cows sawdust to cut feed costs

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) – A Southeast Iowa farmer has come up with a surprising solution to the high cost of cattle feed.   Bob Batey, of Mount Pleasant, says his 50 cows devour the sawdust mixture he feeds them. Batey, who is 85, stumbled upon the idea in the 1970s when he noticed cows eating sawdust that had washed into their pasture from a nearby paper mill.

Experiments on his farm led him to discover a way to treat and cook sawdust that results in a digestible feed cows find tasty. It has a nutritional value equivalent to grass hay.  Veterinarian Tara Wellman-Gerdes of West Point confirms Batey’s cows are healthy.

The drought created a shortage of corn and hay, causing prices to jump for livestock farmers.

Statewide network of soil moisture level stations is being created

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

February 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Whether the drought continues or not, Iowa farmers will soon be able to check soil moisture levels at a dozen key spots statewide.

ISU Soil monitor.

Elwynn Taylor, an agronomist at the Iowa State University Extension, says moisture levels can vary greatly over short distances, but this new network will offer farmers good ballpark figures. “People that have a sandy place and a place with clay already know they have great differences,” Taylor says, “but still, if we have some idea on a very common soil for the county, if we know what is going on there, it will give an idea of how things are changing and the likely direction it will be moving in.”

I-S-U’s Department of Agronomy is upgrading weather stations at several research and demonstration farms. At least 12 should be fully functional in several weeks when spring arrives. Farmers can always dig a hole themselves to try and gauge the soil moisture, but Taylor says doing so accurately is a hassle. “To really know, you have to get a measure of soil from a certain depth, weigh it, dry it, weigh it again and see how much water the drying removed from it to know how much water was really there in your soil,” Taylor says. “It gets to be a real headache and, of course, people aren’t going to do that on a day by day, week by week, month by month basis.”

At each station, moisture sensors will be placed a foot, two feet and four feet deep in the soil. Readings will be taken every 15 minutes and sent by cellular phone text messages to the network. Each station costs about 12-thousand dollars to buy and install. It’s hoped the network of weather stations can be expanded so there’s one in every county, but for now, a dozen will give a good snapshot of drought conditions to help farmers manage their risks.  “If you see that the weather station received an inch of rain and the soil moisture has moved up to such and such a level from where it was at the moisture station, and you know that at your farm because of the gauge out on your post that you got an inch and a quarter, you probably did a little better,” Taylor says, “or if you got half an inch, you didn’t do as well.”

The new weather stations replace ones that have been monitoring data at the farms for more than 30 years. Taylor said the original units made up the world’s first non-military network of automatic reporting weather stations. The weather stations will also measure rainfall, air and soil temperature, humidity, sunlight, wind speed and direction. A solar collector powers the units.

(Radio Iowa)

ISU plant research could divert attention from the controversy over genetic engineering


February 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An improved technique for breeding new varieties of crop plants may help researchers improve them without introducing genes from other organisms. Iowa State University agronomy professor Kan Wang says “genomic editing” is a method of slightly altering a plant’s own genetics to reduce disease susceptibility, for example. The method is known by the acronym TALEN. “Essentially, this TALEN technology will allow us to precisely, at a specific site of genome or plant genome, to make changes that will bring new beneficial traits to farmers and consumers,” Wang said.

The technique doesn’t carry the same concerns as gene transformation or genetic modification, according to Wang.  “I don’t believe it should be regulated as a GMO because there are no extra pieces going in,” Wang said.

ISU researchers have conducted tests showing rice can become more disease resistance when the genome is edited. Scientists are exploring whether similar results will be found in corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum. Wang made her comments on Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa program.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa’s long-range forecast: Flood risk is low, drought will likely continue

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

There are no surprises in the statewide outlook being issued for the spring flood season. Jeff Zogg, senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in metro Des Moines, says it appears the drought that plagued Iowa most of last year will continue into 2013. One upside of that is — flooding is less likely. “The spring flood risk is lower than normal statewide, however, across the north-central part of the state, there’s a little bit of a different situation,” Zogg says. “We have a combination of frozen ground and some ice in the upper layers of the soil which may result in more runoff than we’d otherwise expect once the snow melts and we get any kind of rainfall in the spring.”

While 2012 was one of Iowa’s driest years in decades, the report indicates there’s no alteration in course coming in the weeks ahead. “Since the risk of flooding is lower than normal, that just infers that the drought conditions are continuing,” Zogg says. “We see no indications right now that there’s going to be a significant change in the dry conditions we’ve been experiencing.”

The worst drought conditions are in the northwest half of Iowa. The state’s snow pack is below-normal, except for the upper-most portion of the Des Moines River basin in southwest Minnesota where it is above normal. For Iowa’s farmers, the report means more headaches and scanning the skies, praying for rain. “The soil moisture conditions statewide are below normal,” Zogg says. “They’re driest across the northwest part of the state and a little bit closer to normal across the southeast part of Iowa and that’s been the theme since last summer.”

A report in December claimed Iowa would need eight feet of snow this winter to make up for the rainfall we lacked all of last year. Zogg isn’t sure about that eight-foot figure but says the end result is still the same. “The fact of the matter is, we are definitely dry and we are going to need a prolonged period of above-normal precipitation to end the drought,” Zogg says. “Unfortunately, with snowfall, the water content is lower obviously than if it falls as rain, so snowfall itself won’t make much of an impact. It’s also important that we don’t receive it all at once, especially as rainfall, because that will result in flooding.”

(Radio Iowa)

UNL-ISU Beef Feedlot Roundtable Is Re-Scheduled

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2013 by Jim Field

The UNL-ISU Beef Feedlot Roundtable Webinar that was scheduled for today (2/21) at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm has been rescheduled for March 12. Same time, 12:45 – 3:30 p.m. There is no fee to attend.


12:45 Registration

1 p.m. Animal Welfare Challenges Facing the Beef Feedlot Industry – Temple Grandin, Colorado State University

2 p.m. Market Outlook and Key issues Related to Formula Pricing – Jim Robb, Livestock Marketing Information Center

3 p.m. ISU Research update – Stephanie Hansen & Dan Loy, ISU

3:30 p.m. Adjourn