KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Egg prices jump as impact of bird flu begins pinching supply

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Egg prices have surged higher as the death of millions of hens from bird flu is beginning to tighten supplies. The Midwest price of a dozen large eggs rose to $1.88. That’s 58 percent higher than they were a month ago when the bird flu first hit Iowa chicken farms. Prices have been climbing at a rate of about 5 percent a day for the past week as supplies become tighter.

Rick Brown, an egg industry analyst with commodity market firm Urner Barry, says it’s because 10 percent of chickens that lay eggs for food are dead or dying from bird flu. Eggs used principally as an ingredient in ice cream, mayonnaise and other products are up even more, about 162 percent to $1.65 a dozen since April 22.

Iowa reports 2 more chicken farms, turkey farm with bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa agriculture officials say bird flu has been found on another turkey farm in Buena Vista County, two more chicken farms in Sioux County and in a backyard flock of chickens. The four new cases announced Tuesday raise the state’s total to 60 and boosts the number of chickens dead or dying to about 26 million. The latest turkey farm has 24,000 birds raising turkey losses in Iowa to more than 960,000.

One chicken farm has 150,000 egg laying hens and the other 100,000 pullets, younger chickens that were to be egg layers. The backyard flock had 15 chickens. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed more than 39 million birds in 15 states with the H5N2 virus that scientists believe came to the Midwest this spring with migrating waterfowl.

Planting stays ahead of schedule despite weather delays

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Weather kept farmers out of the fields much of last week, but the latest crop report shows planting is still on schedule. The report shows 92-percent of the corn has been planted, which is six days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the five-year average. Northwest Iowa stayed ahead of the pace — with 98-percent of the corn planting there complete. Southwest Iowa lags behind the state average with just 75-percent of the corn crop in. Sixty-three-percent of the corn has emerged, which is one week ahead of last year and five days ahead of normal. Soybean planting crossed the halfway point at 51-percent complete — three-days days ahead of last year and two days ahead of the average.

(Radio Iowa)

4 cases of highly pathenogenic Avian Influenza in Sac & Sioux Counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said Monday afternoon they were responding to four probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Sac and Sioux counties. With the new announcements, Iowa now has 56 cases of the disease in the state. The Department has quarantined the premises and once the presence of the disease is confirmed, all birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

Two of sites in Sac County are turkey farms that have experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

The two sites in Sioux County have backyard duck flocks with a total of around 62 birds that was found during monitoring activities by the Department around a previous case. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

As the Department receives final confirmations of the disease updated information will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/avianinfluenza.asp.

Branstad urging landfill operators to accept ‘millions of dead birds’ hit by flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad says Iowa landfills should not take advantage of a bad situation and “gouge” poultry operations hit with bird flu with exorbitant landfill fees. “We do have millions of dead birds that need to be disposed of,” Branstad says. “And we want to dispose of them in an appropriate and correct way.” Branstad and U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack talked about the issue by phone on Friday.

Bill Northey, the state’s ag secretary, and the head of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have sent a letter to the state’s landfills, explaining the dead chickens and turkeys are being properly prepared for burial. Branstad is appealing to landfill operators to be “reasonable and fair” in determining the appropriate fees for accepting the birds. “We want them to be compensated fairly, but it’s not appropriate to gouge people when you have a disaster situation like this,” Branstad says.

Branstad has asked for a federal disaster declaration from the U.S.D.A., but Ag Secretary Vilsack says the loans that would be made available through that action actually have higher interest rates than would be available from other lenders. Branstad says he’s concerned about the job losses at the facilities which have been hit by bird flu as well as the steep decline in Iowa poultry production.

“This is a significant loss that we’re very concerned about and the impact on our economy could be something that at this point we don’t know how great, but we’re already beginning to see its impact,” Branstad says. The U-S-D-A does have an “indemnity” fund that will pay poultry producers for the “fair market value” of the birds that have to be killed. Federal payments will also cover the “reasonable costs” of sanitizing facilities where bird flu has been found.

(Radio Iowa)

Draft Iowa Impaired Waters list available for review

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The DNR has released the most recent draft of the state’s impaired waters list, which will be discussed at the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission meeting May 19th. The DNR will present commissioners with the state’s 2014 draft list of 572 impaired waterbodies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires the biennial report as a comprehensive summary of water quality in the state.

John Olson, Senior Environmental Specialist with the DNR, says “The list is tied to Iowa’s water quality standards. Making the list does not necessarily mean the river or lake has a severe impairment like a stream running with open sewage. Most of the time making the list is more like an early warning system, indicating potential water quality problems exist or are developing.”

Some impairments, however, can be more severe, such as frequent algal blooms that prevent recreational uses such as swimming at lakes. Fish kills caused by pollution also remain a severe impact of concern. The most typical impairments for lakes are algae and turbid or cloudy water. A high level of indicator bacteria is the most frequent impairment in rivers.

The DNR says Iowans are working together to address the state’s water quality issues. Communities come together through efforts to make changes on the land – in the watershed, the area of land that drains to a stream, lake or river – to reduce pollutants reaching our waters. Additionally, communities continue to upgrade or add new wastewater treatment systems and improve the way they handle stormwater.

The draft 2014 list is available at www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/WaterQuality/WaterMonitoring/ImpairedWaters.aspx. Public comments can be sent to John Olson, DNR, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319, or John.Olson@dnr.iowa.gov until July 2nd. At that time, the DNR will consider public comments and submit a revised draft of the list to the EPA for review and final approval.

Pesticide Drift: A Years-Long Loss for Iowa Organic Farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – When it comes to organic farming, Iowa has one of the largest numbers of certified operations in the nation, but there’s a real danger in the air for those farms and other growers this time of year due to the potential of pesticide drift.
Allowing pesticides to drift is against the law in Iowa, and among those who have been impacted is Andrew Dunham, owner with Grinnell Heritage Farm. He’s had pesticide drift on two of his organic crops, which then require a re-certification process that takes three years.

“In the case of the hay field in 2009, we had to wait until 2012 to be re-certified, so we had non-organic hay,” says Dunham. “The market price isn’t so different there, so that wasn’t as big a loss as the asparagus.” Dunham says his asparagus was hit by pesticide drift in the fall of 2013, and the loss of the organic certification will mean $2 to $5 less per-pound until their crop of 2017.

Also at risk of damages from pesticide drift are some home gardens, along with the state’s fruit and vegetable farms. Paul Ovrum, program planner with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, urges owners of such specialty and organic farms to report any pesticide misuse and sign up for the Sensitive Crops Registry. “This is a registry for producers of sensitive crops, and also bee-keepers,” syas Ovrum. “To list their locations and it’s used by pesticide applicators so that they can minimize the potential for pesticide drift damage.”

Ovrum says the latest count shows more than 2,000 farms and apiaries on the Sensitive Crops Registry statewide.

(Iowa News Service)

Iowa posts 2 additional bird flu cases, 1 in Plymouth Co.

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 15th, 2015 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Two more Iowa farms have tested positive for bird flu.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture says two northwest Iowa farms raising young chickens to eventually lay eggs likely have the virus. No estimate of numbers was immediately released for a farm in Sioux County, the 12th case in that county and one in Plymouth County, the first case there.

Iowa has 52 bird flu cases in 14 counties. Nearly 25 million chickens and 970,000 turkeys will die.

South Dakota announced Thursday its first chicken farm with 1.3 million egg layers. The state earlier found the virus on turkey farms.

Nebraska officials confirmed their second case, a chicken flock, and Minnesota reported two new cases.

The USDA lists 162 confirmed cases nationwide affecting more than 33 million birds.

Posted County Prices for the grains, 05/15/2015


May 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.39, Beans $9.38
Adair County: Corn $3.36, Beans $9.41
Adams County: Corn $3.36, Beans $9.37
Audubon County: Corn $3.38, Beans $9.40
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.42, Beans $9.38
Guthrie County: Corn $3.41, Beans $9.42
Montgomery County: Corn $3.41, Beans $9.40
Shelby County: Corn $3.42, Beans $9.38
Oats $2.40 (always the same in all counties)

(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)

Virus that attacks horse’s nervous system confirmed in Iowa


May 14th, 2015 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A virus known for attacking a horse’s nervous system has been confirmed at a stable in Iowa’s Warren County.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that the stable has several confirmed cases of a neurological disease associated with Equine Herpesvirus infections. Officials say the disease poses no threat to humans.

The disease was detected at the Warren County stable when horses began to show symptoms including fever, decreased coordination, lethargy and inability to rise.

A news release says the horses are being monitored and aren’t permitted to leave the stable. The virus is spread through direct horse-to-horse contact. Objects contaminated with the virus, such as grooming equipment and feed and water buckets, also contribute to its transmission.