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.

Cass County Extension Report 09-24-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 24th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

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The vine that ate the south climbing it’s way toward Iowa

Ag/Outdoor

September 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An invasive plant that’s referred to as “the vine that ate the south” is spreading north and some experts are forecasting it’ll reach Iowa within a decade. Kudzu has been a problem in the southern U.S. for decades. Doctor Lewis Ziska, with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, says one theory for kudzu’s spread northward is climate change. “One of the things that has kept kudzu in check in the past has basically been cold winters. And as the winters warm, kudzu is essentially migrating northward and so you’re seeing it in locations where it hasn’t been seen in the past,” Ziska says. Kudzu was planted in the south in the 1920s and 30s to control soil erosion, which it does quite well. But otherwise, it’s mostly useless and damaging.

“It basically eliminates all of the other species. There’s only going to be kudzu,” Ziska says. “Kudzu is also a host for soybean rust. Kudzu is a sort of a super weed, if you will, one that we need to really keep an eye on and one that we need to come up with new ways to try and detect and of course to try and manage and that’s really, truly difficult.” The climbing plant with purple flowers can grow almost a foot a day under proper conditions. Ziska says it you find kudzu, you should physically remove it or consider getting a goat.

“Goats love kudzu. And if you can get the goats to basically attack the kudzu, keep eating the kudzu, eventually the kudzu can be controlled,” Ziska says. Studies have shown kudzu can be turned into a biofuel and used in medicines. Bob Hartlzer, a weed scientist with Iowa State University Extension, says there was a report of kudzu being found in southeast Iowa, but it was never confirmed. Most reports show kudzu has reached two of Iowa’s neighboring states, with the plant climbing into southern Missouri and Illinois.

(Radio Iowa)

Posted County Prices for the Grains – 09/22/2014

Ag/Outdoor

September 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.12, Beans $10.40
Adair County: Corn $3.09, Beans $10.43
Adams County: Corn $3.09, Beans $10.39
Audubon County: Corn $3.11, Beans $10.42
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.15, Beans $10.40
Guthrie County: Corn $3.14, Beans $10.44
Montgomery County: Corn $3.14, Beans $10.42
Shelby County: Corn $3.15, Beans $10.40
Oats $3.13 (always the same in all counties)

The Humane Society of the US defends itself from claim it’s “anti-agriculture”

Ag/Outdoor

September 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An official with the Humane Society of the United States is responding to recent criticism that the animal rights organization is “anti-agriculture.” Joe Maxwell, the vice president for outreach with the H-S-U-S, says they have many thousands of members in Iowa and across the region. “The Humane Society of the United States is not trying to eliminate animal agriculture,” Maxwell says. “It does believe there are certain corporate industrialized ag policies and practices that are just inhumane.”

Maxwell specifically makes reference to tight quarters for laying hens and small gestation crates for sows. A spokesman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association calls the Humane Society of the United States an “extremist activist group” that is “against livestock producers and cattle producers.” Other critics of the H-S-U-S have blasted it for having an alleged goal of ending all livestock operations. Maxwell says, “They try to take one piece of information and twist it to make it a negative and ignore the full truth and facts of who HSUS is and how we operate and what we’re for.”

He insists the organization isn’t against farmers, but it is against agricultural practices which treat animals cruelly. Maxwell farms in Missouri and is a former lieutenant governor in Missouri. He says people in Iowa and elsewhere need to know there are distortions of the truth and flat-out lies being told about the Humane Society of the United States.  “It’s unfortunate but we are working hard every day for them know who we are, to get out into the countryside with our ag council members and have a dialogue with the farmers and ranchers,” he says.

The Humane Society of the United States has tangled with Iowa farming operations in recent years, including in 2012, threatening to sue 28 swine operations in Iowa over what it said were inhumane conditions. The National Pork Producers Council accuses what they refer to as “radical animal rights groups” of having the “goal of ending food-animal production in the U.S.”

After negative messages were made about the Nebraska State Fair last month, that state’s Governor Dave Heineman said: “The Humane Society of the United States is anti-agriculture and they’re out to destroy thousands of job opportunities for young people in this state.” A recent Purdue University study found many consumers get their view of farming from the H-S-U-S or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

(Radio Iowa)

Vilsack in Quad Cities to hand out conservation grants

Ag/Outdoor

September 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U-S-D-A has awarded new grants to universities and organizations in Iowa and 30 other states that are working to develop new conservation methods. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack: “Farmers want to know how to deal with the variations of weather that they’re beginning to see — the more intense storms, the longer droughts, the occasional flood or the tornado that’s very destructive,” Vilsack said. “These are the kind of programs that will help us learn a little bit more about that.” Vilsack made the announcement this past week at a farm near the Quad Cities, in Rock Island County, Illinois.

“Conservation has this extraordinary opportunity not only to preserve the soil which is critically important to this farming operation and every farming operation, but also to preserve the quality of the water and the quantity of the water available,” Vilsack said. The U-S-D-A awarded nearly 16 million dollars from the Conservation Innovation Grant program this week. Vilsack says half of those grants will focus on soil health.

“It’s a way of preserving this great topsoil that we’ve been blessed to have in the Midwest and also preserving and conserving our scarce water resources so that we continue to have not just an abundance of water, but the ability of that water to provide additional economic opportunity in the form of tourism,” Vilsack says.

One of the grants is going to the National Corn Growers Assocaition, to find new ways to increase productivity and increase farmer participation in conservation efforts. Since it started several years ago, the Conservation Innovation Grant program has handed out 126-million dollars to finance more than 300 research project. Two of the grants handed out this week will be used to experiment with cover crops in Iowa to improve soil health.

(Radio Iowa)

USDA Report 09-18-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 18th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

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Commodities prices predicted to drop further for farmers

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmers are preparing to roll out their combines for harvest season but they may be hitting the fields in a few weeks with mixed emotions. A new report from the U-S Department of Agriculture projects a four-point-three bushel-per-acre increase in the corn yield nationwide. The U-S-D-A’s chief economist Joe Glauber says that much corn means only one thing. “No question, looking at lower prices as a result,” Glauber says.

Corn prices have been falling all summer and the latest projection shows another 21-percent decrease in prices in the next marketing year for corn. Soybean prices are also expected to drop 23-percent. Iowa is the nation’s top producer of both corn and soybeans so those statistics will hit especially hard here. “The question is, where does all this look once you’ve netted out the cost of production,” Glauber says. “I think the real factor there looming has been the high cash rents. We know cash rents have gone up over the last few years. In some areas, they’ve begun to come down a little bit and we’d expect with lower returns, certainly, that those will come down.”

However, what was paid for cash rent this year is what will go into the production formulas. A U-S-D-A report out last week found the average price to rent Iowa farmland has gone up slightly this year, averaging 260-dollars per acre for corn and soybean ground. That’s about five-dollars an acre higher than last year. Glauber says it may be a challenge to find places to put all of the bumper crop.
“Pressure on storage capacity is going to put pressure on transportation,” he says. “There are already problems in the transportation service, particularly in the Northern Plains, where we’ve seen bases widening, long delays.”

Glauber says the good news is — there is a market for all that corn about to be harvested as ethanol production and exports remain very strong. Iowa is the nation’s top ethanol producer.

(Radio Iowa)

Late season diseases are hitting some Iowa corn fields

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A crop specialist with Iowa State University Extension says some late-season diseases are cropping up in northwest Iowa fields. Joel DeJong says some hybrids aren’t tolerating “Northern Corn Leaf Blight” very well. “We’ve kind of seen an explosion of that disease in some fields,” DeJong says. “And all of a sudden we’ve got a lot of brown leaves and we’re starting to see some, maybe, premature death in some of those fields which is going to hurt yields somewhat.” Some corn stalks are rotting in the field, too, because of soggy conditions.

“I think our environment for this whole season leads us to have more stalk rot,” DeJong says, “so we’re going to be a little concerned about standability at harvest time.” Combines only harvest corn from upright stalks, so if the corn stalk falls over, farmers lose those ears of corn. This year’s Iowa corn crop hasn’t reached maturity yet and the harvest in northern Iowa won’t begin until the end of this month.

“We’re hoping for more sunshine now and also some more sunshine and maybe warmer than normal days as we get into October so we can dry that crop and don’t have to spend so much money,” DeJong says. Propane prices have been steady for several weeks, but farmers have been urged to buy propane in advance to run the dryers on their corn bins. DeJong has inspected soybean fields, too, and his analysis indicates there are enough pods on the plants, but the question is how big the beans are inside those pods.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa board OKs hog facilities despite opposition

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa officials cleared the way for two hog facilities in Adair County to expand their operations even though local leaders twice rejected the projects. The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission on Tuesday backed a state Department of Natural Resources ruling on the facilities, The Des Moines Register reported.

That means Circle G and Geidel Pork, operated by the same family, can double the number of pigs to nearly 5,000 at each site even though Adair County supervisors twice voted no. Local leaders asked the commission to deny the expansions because of concerns about air and water pollution, farming practices, and the impact of the operations on nearby properties.

State leaders said they can’t require more distance between hog facilities and neighbors than the one mile currently required by law.

Sisters Ann Hatfield Merritt and Jane Anchustegui, who operate a 1,500-acre outdoor retreat called Hatfield Lakes near Creston, said they would consider shutting down their resort. Merritt said the family has invested at least $2.5 million, provided jobs for about a dozen people and is considering an expansion.

“We’re done. We will not invest another dime,” Merritt said. “Why would anyone want to visit a recreational lakefront when they’re forced to smell hog odors?”

Dean Anderson, who has chronic pulmonary disease and uses oxygen full-time, sent the commission a video saying the expansions would make him “a prisoner in his own home.” He said the hog facilities deny him and his neighbors their “God-given right to fresh, clean air.”

Cass County Extension Report 09-17-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 17th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play