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.

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

Ag/Outdoor

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.

Agenda:

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

Doc Leonard’s Pet Pointers 02-21-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 21st, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Dr. Keith Leonard

Play

Leash on Life 02-21-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 21st, 2013 by Chris Parks

Info from the Atlantic Animal Shelter.

Play

USDA Report 02-21-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 21st, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Play

Sentences issued in Page County livestock neglect and assault cases

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Attorney’s Office reports two sentences were handed down earlier this week in separate cases. In one of the cases, 24-year-old Kiel Mark Brittain, of Clarinda, plead guilty to livestock neglect, in association with a Nov. 2012 investigation into malnourished cows, calves and a bull found on a property in rural Page County. Brittain was sentenced Monday to one-year  in jail, with all but 4 days suspended. He was also placed on unsupervised probation for an unspecified length of time, and ordered to have no livestock during that time of probation. Brittain must also pay a fine of $315, plus related court costs.

And, 54-year-old Michael D. Weaver, of Shenandoah, plead guilty Monday in Page County District Court, to a charge of assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse. He had originally been charged with Enticing away a person under the age of 13, Lascivious Acts with a Child/Solicitation, in association with events that occurred in August of 2011. Weaver was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $625, but both were suspended. He was instead placed on supervised probation for a period of two-years, and ordered to reside at a Residential Correctional Facility.

In addition, the judge ordered Weaver to complete a psychological evaluation, risk assessment, and a Sex Offender Treatment Program. Weaver was also ordered to pay related court costs, restitution to his victims, and he must have no contact with the victims for five years.

Sandhill Cranes drop in on western Iowa by the thousands

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

While a major winter storm is expected to clobber Iowa today (Thursday), a sure sign of spring is already here. The migrating Sandhill Cranes are beginning to appear at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in the Missouri River valley, straddling the Iowa/Nebraska border. Greg Wagner, a spokesman for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, says many hundreds of the large white-and-grey birds have already landed in the area. All told, perhaps 650-thousand cranes will stop off in the region over the next few weeks.

“This is one of the most unique things that happens around the world with birds and with wildlife,” Wagner says. “This is the largest gathering of cranes in the world, starting about now and all the way into early April.” The cranes are making a pit stop on the way north to breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Siberia. The numbers should peak here in mid-March.

“You’ll see the cranes out feeding in the fields,” Wagner says. “Take along a good zoom lens with your camera, a good pair of binoculars. Enjoy the cranes at a distance. Don’t try to approach them. They’ll fly and go elsewhere.” Several hundred eagles and thousands of ducks and geese have already been spotted along the river, too. The Sandhill Cranes draw some 70-thousand visitors from around the world to the region every year, with an economic impact of about 8-million dollars.

(Radio Iowa)

2013 Iowa Pork Regional Conferences slated for February 25-28

Ag/Outdoor

February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Pork Producers Association has teamed up with the Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach swine specialists to host regional conferences February 25-28. All sessions are hosted from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  One of the sessions will be held on Mon., Feb. 25th, in Carroll, at the Carroll County Extension Office. Conferences are free for those who pre-register or $5 at the door. Individuals can pre-register by calling IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or sending an e-mail to schristensen@iowapork.org.

Fore more information or to pre-register, contact Tyler Bettin at (800) 372-7675 or tbettin@iowapork.org.