KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa farmers fret over what crops to plant this spring

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmers are considering some difficult options as they try to determine what crops they’ll plant in the spring, given how 2014 wrapped up poorly for so many growers. Joe Glauber, the chief economist for the U-S Department of Agriculture, says plenty of farmers took a big hit last year after commodity prices dropped. “Large corn crop, large soybean crop, and that came on top of big crops last year and because of that, prices did fall,” Glauber says. “We’ve seen crop receipts off over $20-billion, down from last year.” Glauber says producers need to decide soon what crops will be most profitable to plant this spring. He says many growers were hurt financially by the drop in commodity prices this past year, especially when compared to 2013.

“If you’re a crop producer and you locked in for some high cash rents, you had a tough year and 2015 could be a tough year,” he says. “You’re looking around at what to plant. Unfortunately, corn prices have come down and so have soybean prices.” Glauber says some producers may find themselves between that proverbial rock and hard place as they decide what to plant this spring. He notes, they also need to decide which new Farm Bill Risk Management Program to select for the upcoming year.

(Radio Iowa)

Oil could drive down ethanol profits, but industry shielded

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SHENANDOAH, Iowa (AP) — Ethanol producers will likely have to endure leaner profits this year because of the collapse of oil prices, but demand for the fuel additive will remain strong. The cheap oil will likely cut into ethanol profits because oil refiners will want to pay less for the corn-based additive. But the industry is somewhat shielded by a federal biofuel mandate and the need to boost octane in gasoline.

Plus, University of Illinois agricultural economist Scott Irwin says, ethanol producers might thrive if exports or gas consumption surge higher than expected. At Green Plains’ ethanol plant near Shenandoah, Iowa, roughly 100 grain trucks a day continue to deliver corn to be converted into ethanol. CEO Todd Becker says ethanol has a permanent place in the fuel supply.

Iowa uses corn rows to keep snow off highways

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Transportation is paying dozens of Iowa farmers to leave rows of corn that can create snow barriers along highways. KCRG-TV reports the state agency has about 70 contracts with farmers. Agency transportation planner Cathy Cutler says farmers are asked to leave four to 10 rows adjacent to roads. The corn acts as a natural barrier, keeping the snow off highways.

Dean Williams, who farms near Vinton, participates in the program. He says his corn can cause up to 4 feet of snow to pile up in the stalks, keeping Highway 150 clearer. The farmers are paid a little more than they would earn from the corn, and they still can harvest the rows in the spring.

Heifer shot in Union County

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Union County Sheriff’s office reports a heifer was shot sometime over the past couple of days in a rural part of the County. The incident was reported Thursday afternoon. The heifer, belonging to Randy Wuebker, was located in a field on Redwood Avenue. It was valued at $1,500. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Cass County Extension Report 01-07-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 7th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Des Moines water nitrates problem likely to lead to lawsuit

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An official says Des Moines Water Works likely will sue three counties that manage drainage districts with high concentrations of nitrates. Water Works officials say the nitrates flow into the Raccoon River and threaten the city’s water quality. Water with concentrations above a certain threshold can be deadly to children younger than 6 months because nitrates can reduce the amount of oxygen carried in their blood.

Water Works board chairman Graham Gillette told The Des Moines Register that the board will vote Thursday to move forward with the lawsuit.  The trustees’ vote would trigger a notice to the boards of supervisors in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties, notifying them of Water Works’ intention to sue.

Experts say most of the nitrates come from fertilizer applied to farm fields.

Deer, antlers and Wildlife Seized from Cass County Residence

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports two Cass County men are under suspicion for allegedly possessing deer and other wildlife illegally after officers followed a trail that began with an illegal dumping complaint. The Sheriff’s Office received a call on December 29th about someone dumping litter on the side of a level B road. During the investigation, deputies found hides from four deer, a raccoon and badger carcass. Information uncovered from the trash pointed officers to 23-year old Sean Chamberlin, and 47-year old John Chamberlin, Jr., of rural Atlantic.

The Sheriff and an officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources were granted access to the property on Dec. 30, and seized 111 deer, including an untagged deer; a badger and a raccoon, all allegedly taken illegally, and a bow and an unfilled archery deer tag as evidence. Most of the deer that were seized were deer antlers. The case remains under investigation and charges are pending. Wildlife violations are simple misdemeanors.

In a Press Release, Sheriff Darby McLaren said “This is a good example of the public helping law enforcement by making a simple phone call, and different agencies working together in order to make a case.”  State Conservation Officer Brian Smith said the person who made the initial phone call deserves thanks. Smith said “We would not have had the opportunity to make this case without that phone call.”

The Atlantic Police Department assisted with the investigation.

For Hottest Fire, Use Driest Wood

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

January 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – Burning a cleaner fire in wood stoves or fireplaces over the winter months is helpful to the health of Iowans, and also to the state’s climate, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Alison Davis, a senior adviser in the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, says a good way to burn the hottest and most efficient fire is to use only dry, seasoned wood.

“The reason this is important is that dry wood burns more completely, and that benefits you in two ways,” she explains. “One, you get more energy out of the firewood, because it burns more of the actual wood itself. And the other is, the fire then produces less smoke.”

It’s also suggested that to maintain proper airflow and efficiency, regularly remove the ashes from your wood burning stove or fireplace. Davis adds that wood smoke produces fine particle pollution, which can be harmful to human health.

“When you breathe in air that has fine particles in it, it can penetrate deep into the lungs where it can harm the heart, the blood vessels and the lungs,” she stresses. “Fine particles are linked to heart attacks, strokes.” In addition to particle pollution, there’s also the danger of smoke filled with toxins or harmful chemicals if certain materials end up in the fire.

So, the EPA advises never burning such items as plastics, foam and other garbage, or wood that’s been coated, painted, or pressure treated.

(Iowa News Service)

Looking for winter-time weekend retreat? DNR suggests state park cabins

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is encouraging Iowans who are looking for a post-holiday getaway to consider a weekend in a state park cabin. The DNR’s Jim Lawson says there are nine state parks and one state-owned resort that have cabins available for use in the winter. “The amenities range anywhere from our camping cabins, which are heated and use alternate restroom facilities, to the more modern cabins at Honey Creek Resort, which has an indoor water park nearby,” Lawson said.

Sherburne House at Springbrook State Park near Guthrie Center.

Sherburne House at Springbrook State Park near Guthrie Center.

The four cabins available for rent at Pine Lake State Park in Eldora include built-in fireplaces and two have attached bedrooms. There’s a large house available at Springbrook State Park near Guthrie Center, while other cabins scattered around the state are small and don’t include much more than an electric heater and a futon. “Prices vary quite a bit according to the area, but they can range from several hundred dollars a night at the resort…to just 35-dollars a night for our camping cabins,” Lawson said.

“We try to have a certain percentage, in some cases just one cabin in an area available, that will accept pets,” Lawson said. Many of the state park cabins are available for reservation just a few weeks in advance. In the summer, those same cabins are often fully booked many months ahead of time.

(Radio Iowa)

Online course offered for people who love horses

Ag/Outdoor

January 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – People who want to become experts in managing and training horses can now take an online course from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State University. The master equine manager program offers comprehensive training for people involved in the horse industry.

UNL Extension specialist Kathy Anderson says the program focuses on quality horse care and responsible horse ownership. The course costs $325 for adults or $250 for youths. More details are available online at www.extension.iastate.edu/masterequine .