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.

Corn harvest advances in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The corn harvest in Iowa is under way with farmers focusing on getting storm damaged crops out of the fields first. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey released his weekly crop report Monday, saying this week’s sunshine will help dry the corn and let the harvest move forward. He says some scattered soybean fields have been harvested but the harvest is a week away for most soybean farmers. Sixty percent of the corn crop is mature, about one week behind last year but four days ahead of normal. Fifty-five percent of the corn crop is in good or excellent condition with just 16 percent being poor or very poor. Sixty-two percent of the soybean crop is in good or excellent condition with just 12 percent being poor or very poor.

First of 18 meetings is tonight on DNR’s Resource Enhancement Program


September 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowans will get the chance to help guide the plans of the state’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, known as REAP, at a series of 18 meetings statewide starting tonight (Tuesday) in Cedar Falls. Tammie Krausman is a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “These meetings are for anyone who has an interest in natural resources and outdoor recreation,” Krausman says. “They should really consider attending so they can give their voice and help shape the future for Iowa’s natural resources and outdoor rec.” For more than two decades, she says REAP has been a positive force in Iowa’s outdoor recreation and conservation activities.

Krausman says, “REAP is a 22-year-old program that’s given out $260-million that has funded parks, soil and water and habitat improvements, roadside prairies, historical development and conservation education.” She says Iowans are invited to offer their views on REAP at the meetings, in addition to a chance to take part in a REAP Congress next January at the Iowa House of Representatives.

“The Congress is a very cool thing,” she says. “You sit at the legislators’ desks and you can vote. People at that time provide motions or votes on what they want to have happen to the REAP program, perhaps they want to keep the formula the same, perhaps they want increase funding for REAP.” Iowa legislators appropriated 15-million dollars to the program last year and 12-million this year. The full funding of the REAP Act is at $20 million. Tonight’s meeting is in Cedar Falls with meetings to be held over the next month in 17 cities, including: Shenandoah, Council Bluffs, Carroll, and Creston. Learn more at: www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/REAP

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board discusses skate park options

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors Monday, continued discussion with regard to the skateboard park, and whether or not it should be moved to another, more centrally located area. Councilman Kern Miller has explored the possibility of moving the park to a lot located across the street from Iowa Western Community College, because it was thought the concrete pad for the half-pipe out at Sunnyside Park might have been originally intended for use as a Parks and Rec maintenance shed, but Mayor Dave Jones said that was never the case.  He says contrary to rumors, the pad was poured for a skateboard park, because the half-pipe is a heavy piece of equipment.

Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said the pad would require extensive modifications in order to build a shed at that location. He added there are other options when it comes to building a new maintenance shed, including a location further off to the south of the skate park. He says the utilities are already in place to make the location useable.

Park and Rec Board members said the proposed location for a new skate park is too small, too close to a local church, and that Iowa Western Center Director Ann Pross was not willing to say either way whether they would want it located on the lot across the street.  Herring said the half-pipe, which was damaged when it was moved to it’s current location, and is currently unusable, can be repaired, resurfaced and sealed, and left where it is, for about $2,500.

He says the location that they have is adequate, if they get some pieces added to the pipe once it‘s repaired, that will make it more user friendly, including “rails.” Herring says the people who use the park are willing to step forward to get the funds necessary to make that happen. Herring says the people who use the skate park vary in age from the early teens to their mid-30’s. He says “They deserve a place to skateboard,”  other than on peoples’ driveways, and city sidewalks, and Herring credited Councilman Miller for his efforts to make sure there is a place for the skateboarders to enjoy their sport.

Schildberg Quarry Trail ribbon cutting to be held Thursday

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Parks and Recreation Director Roger Herring said Monday, a public “Open House” event will be held Thursday evening for the newly resurfaced Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area Trail, around Lake number One. Herring said the trail is done, with the exception of seeding, which has been delayed because of recent rains.  He says the Chamber will hold an Ambassador’s ribbon cutting ceremony at 10-a.m., with another ribbon cutting and public open house later that same evening, from about 5:30-until 7.

The trail he says, has seen a lot of use, but hopes are that the event planned for Thursday will make more people aware of what’s available at the Recreation Area, and the work that has been done to make it more user friendly.

The Parks & Rec Board is also looking at placing bag dispensers at the entrance to the park, so that persons who walk their dogs can dispose of their animals’ droppings. There may also be signs urging people to be considerate of others, by picking up their dogs’ droppings.

Herring said another idea is to include signs showing a map of the trails, and the distance for each trail, so people can keep track of their walking mileage.

Weekend festival in western Iowa celebrates aronia berry

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A festival dedicated to a type of berry many Americans haven’t heard of is taking place this weekend in western Iowa. Saw Mill Hollow in Missouri Valley is believed to have the largest aronia berry crop in the country. Andrew Pittz says his father, Vaughn, first heard about aronia berries being used in a juice drink.  “We looked into it and it was a native North American plant that no one was growing,” Pittz said. “So, we took it upon ourselves to plant the first 207 cultivated aronia berry plants in the United States.” That was 1995. Today, the Pittz family manages 25 acres of aronia berries. The dark colored berry has long been popular in Russia and Poland. Pittz says sales are picking up in the U.S. among those searching for healthier food products.

He notes studies have shown the aronia berry contains two to four times the antioxidants of a blueberry. “And the blueberry is kind of the go to super fruit,” Pittz said. Aronia berries have a unique tart taste, lacking the sweetness of grapes and blueberries. Pittz admits aronia berries probably aren’t best in the raw.  “It might not be as good – eating it fresh – as a grape, blueberry or raspberry. But, because of its profile, it makes a great wine and it bakes really well. There are all kinds of things you can do with it,” Pittz said. The 4th Annual North American Aronia Berry Festival is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both today (Saturday) and Sunday.

learn more about the event at: www.sawmillhollow.com.

(Radio Iowa)

Pumpkin found growing in Iowa tree

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa couple have discovered an eerie presence in their pear tree, just in time for the approaching Halloween season. Phil and JaNelle Lovely, of Greenfield, recently discovered a pumpkin growing in the tree. The couple say they have no idea how the pumpkin ended up in their tree, but it appears to be the work of Mother Nature. A nearby garden vine climbed the tree, giving the now-green pumpkin the appearance of having sprouted from one the tree’s branches. JaNelle says people have been stopping by to see the suspended pumpkin since it was discovered on Labor Day. She’s hoping it remains in the tree until it turns orange.

Survey suggests slow growth in Midwest, Plains

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states continues to slow, but the region is helped by  strong farm income. The overall Rural Mainstreet index for the region improved to 52.2 in September from last month’s 49.3, suggesting weak economic growth. Anytime that index, which ranges from 0 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says this month’s results don’t suggest a recession but the numbers have deteriorated. Bankers in rural parts of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are surveyed.

Gov. Terry Branstad signs proclamation allowing overweight loads for harvest season

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) -  Gov. Terry E. Branstad today will sign a proclamation to allow the transportation of overweight loads of soybeans, corn, hay, straw and stover. The proclamation takes effect September, 15, 2011, and expires after 60 days. “Many Iowans’ livelihoods depend on a smooth, efficient harvest season,” said Branstad. “I am pleased sign this proclamation, which will allow the movement of Iowa’s commodities and help Iowa farmers during harvest.”

The proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the interstate system, and which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non-primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code section 321.463 paragraph “5.b”, by more than twelve and one-half percent (12.5%), do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges.   

The action is intended to allow vehicles transporting soybeans, corn, hay, straw, and stover to be overweight, not exceeding 90,000 pounds gross weight, without a permit, but only for the duration of this proclamation. The Iowa Department of Transportation is directed to monitor the operation of the proclamation, to assure the public’s safety and facilitate the movement of the trucks involved.

USDA Report 09-15-2011

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 15th, 2011 by Chris Parks

Max Dirks at the Cass County FSA office.


Iowa cropland values up nearly 13-percent over the past 6 months

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A recently released survey of Iowa land trends and values shows a statewide increase in cropland values of nearly 13-percent over the past six-months. The survey by the Iowa Farm and Land Chapter number Two of the Realtors Land Institute, shows a 12.9-percent increase in cropland values from March 2011 through September 1st. The estimates are for bare, unimproved land, with a sale price on a cash basis. Pasture and timberland values were requested from participants in the survey, as supplemental information.

In southwest Iowa, the value of High Quality Crop Land increased $643 per acre over the past six-months, to $7,555. Medium Quality Crop Land increased $531, to $5,837 per acre. Even Low Quality Crop Land increased more than $315 per acre, to $4,116. Non-tillable Pasture was valued at $2,328 per acre, which was a loss of $8. And, Timber acreage gained $17, with a value of $1,678 per acre. On average, land values were up 9.3-percent.

In western central Iowa, High Quality Crop land was valued at $9,085 per acre, which is an increase of nearly $1,050 over the past six-months. Medium Quality Crop Land was valued at $7,275, which was a slightly more than $850 increase. Low Quality Crop Land in West Central Iowa saw the least amount of increase per acre, at $316, averaging out to $5,260. Non-tillable Pasture fared better in the valuation in the West Central part of the state as compared to the southwest, by increasing just over $320 per acre, while Timber acreage increased modestly as well, to $2,160 per acre. On average, the West Central part of the state realized a 12-percent gain in tillable cropland values from March through September.

All nine crop reporting districts in the state showed an increase in land values, ranging from 8.5-percent in Southeast Iowa, to as much as 17-percent in northeast Iowa, from March 2011 to September, 2011. The Realtors Land Institute said factors contributing to the increase in farmland values included strong commodity prices, favorable long-term interest rates, and a limited amount of land being offered for sale. For more information, log on to www.rlifarmandranch.com.