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 04-15-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 15th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Bird flu confirmed in Iowa turkey flock

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bird-flu strain that has already hit numerous turkey farms in the Midwest has been found in a turkey flock in northwest Iowa. An Iowa Department of Agriculture spokesman says Tuesday the H5N2 strain of bird flu virus has been confirmed in a barn on a farm housing 27,000 birds in Buena Vista County. The disease was suspected when turkeys began dying in the barn.

An Iowa Poultry Association spokesman says the farm is under quarantine and the turkeys will be euthanized. Animal health officials have long said the virus is dangerous to all commercial poultry. Iowa has 130 turkey farms raising 11 million turkeys a year. The state also is the nation’s leading egg producer with 59.6 million egg layers. No chicken flocks in Iowa have been infected.

Some fieldwork getting done, planting could begin next week

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The U-S-D-A weekly crop report shows farmers got some field work done last week, but wet conditions — including snow in northern Iowa — slowed things down. Iowa State University Extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong, covers northwest Iowa, and says farmers are off to a good start as they move toward planting. “And as I think as the conditions warm up and dry up and if we can stay dry this week, I think early next week we can see a lot of planters in the field,” DeJong says.

Soil temperatures dictate when farmers will start putting seeds in the soil. “We’d like to see 50-degree soil temperature at four inches and rising, is kind of what our goal is. We’ve been measuring temperatures all the way into the upper 40’s, it’s dropped back just a shade again, because we cooled back again,” DeJong says. “If you want a real rough rule-of-thumb of what the temperature is at four-inch depth, you average the last three days of temperatures and you are usually pretty close at this stage of the game — unless there is a huge swing — and then sometimes it isn’t quite right.”

DeJong says there are some reports of drought-like conditions, but sub-soil moisture levels in northwest Iowa seem to be sufficient. Dejong says they took several measurements last November down to five feet, which is the rooting depth for corn and bean growth, and the numbers were a little higher. “And that doesn’t go away the winter time, it takes crops or plants growing in it to have it go away. So that tells us that we are at least average at all out sites or maybe a slight bit above average at this stage of the game,” DeJong says.

The U-S-D-A report shows soil moisture levels are adequate for most areas of the state. DeJong says most Iowa farmers will probably plant this year’s corn crop between April 20th and May 10th.

(Radio Iowa)

Egg executives sentenced to 3 months for salmonella outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two former egg industry executives have been sentenced to three months in jail for their roles in a major 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands. Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter were sentenced Monday on shipping adulterated food charges. They will remain free while appealing the sentence.

The DeCosters wanted to avoid jail, but U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett heeded prosecutors’ calls for a tough punishment because of the widespread harm the outbreak caused. Prosecutors also said the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for contamination.

Federal health officials linked 1,939 illnesses to the outbreak but estimate up to 56,000 people may have been sickened. The Quality Egg company paid a $6.8 million fine as part of a plea agreement, and the DeCosters paid $100,000 apiece.

Plans continue in Atlantic, for “Produce in the Park”

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A planning meeting for “Produce in the Park” will be held this Thursday, April 16th, beginning at 4:30-p.m. in the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce’ meeting room. Anyone interested in being a vendor, assisting with activities or having questions is invited to attend. The market will open June 4th in the Atlantic City Park. The hours will be 4:30- to 6:30-p.m.Produce in the Park logo

Fresh produce, locally made baked goods and hand crafted items will high light the market. Entertainment, children’s activities, food demonstrations and tasting, and educational exhibits are being planned. Atlantic businesses are assisting with marketing.

Applications for vendors are now available. A vendor fee of $60 is charged for the entire season. For more information contact Emily Krengel, LaVon Eblen, Susan Retz or the Atlantic Chamber or Commerce.

Morel mushroom hunters in Iowa are getting ready to go out

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who love to hunt, cook and eat morel mushrooms are ready to start scoping out their secret areas in hopes of finding their prized growths of fungus. Maxine Stone has hunted the elusive mushrooms for years and says they have a distinctive look. “A morel is either black or yellow or grey and it has ridges and pits, definite ridges and definite pits,” Stone says, “and when you cut it down from the top to the bottom, it’s totally hollow inside.”

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

Stone says those who are morel hunting for the first time should go with people who know what the mushroom looks like. She says you should never eat a wild mushroom without positively identifying it. “I think first time around, if you’re going to eat a mushroom, I wouldn’t go by a picture,” Stone says. “I would either take it to someone who knows what they’re doing or take really good pictures of the mushrooms and send them to someone who knows what they’re doing.”

Stone says her favorite way to cook morels is by sauteing them with onion, cream and cognac over pasta and bread. Some people prefer to bread and fry them, but she says that’s too “old school.” Stone adds, you should always cook a wild mushroom before you eat it. Morel hunter Malissa Briggler says morels can be found near dying elm trees but avid mushroom hunters keep quiet tabs on the places where they hunt.

Briggler says,  “A lot of times they’ll be popping up at the same spot next year so you want to kind of guard your area closely so you don’t let your secret out or you might have somebody beat you to the spot next year.” Briggler says you do not need a license to hunt morels, but hunters should get permission from landowners and check regulations on public land before collecting mushrooms.

(Radio Iowa)

Egg executives to be sentenced today (Monday) in salmonella outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two former egg industry executives are scheduled to be sentenced in Sioux City on Monday for their roles in a 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands. Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster pleaded guilty last June to misdemeanor charges of shipping adulterated food.  The two hope to avoid jail time, but prosecutors have argued for tough punishment because of the widespread harm caused by the outbreak.

Prosecutors also say the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for contamination. Federal health officials linked 1,939 illnesses to the 2010 outbreak, but they estimate that up to 56,000 people may have been sickened. The Quality Egg company agreed to pay a $6.8 million fine as part of a plea agreement, and the DeCosters will pay $100,000 apiece.

Research shows soaring nitrate levels in Iowa rivers

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers efforts to control the spread of nitrates in recent years appears to be helping but research shows that levels of the fertilizer byproduct have soared in the state’s major rivers. The Des Moines Register reports  that nitrate levels have more than tripled since the 1950s to more than 7 milligrams per liter in 2010.

Researcher Keith Schilling says the upward trend in nitrate levels is unmistakable. Schilling studies nitrate levels for the Iowa Geological Survey at the University of Iowa. Last month, the Des Moines Water Works sued Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties over high nitrate levels. The utility has invested in costly measures to control nitrates in drinking water.

Conservation Report 04-11-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 11th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Lavon Eblen and Cass and Adair County Conservation Officer Brian Smith.

Court upholds Iowa natural gas tax reviled by ethanol plants

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Rejecting a challenge from the ethanol industry, the Iowa Supreme Court says the state’s tax on the use of natural gas is constitutional. Several ethanol plants argue the law is unfair because it requires them to pay higher taxes than many competitors for natural gas, which is heavily used in the manufacturing process.

The affected plants are those that obtain natural gas directly from interstate pipelines rather than local utilities. They are assessed the tax based on the amount they use and their geographic location. Little Sioux Corn Processors, which operates an ethanol plant in Marcus, argued the tax was unconstitutional because it treats similar plants differently and punishes consumers who buy gas from out-of-state suppliers.

The court says the tax may not create uniform results, but it is constitutional.