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.

Earth Day 2015

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Today is the 45th Anniversary of “Earth Day,” a day set aside each year to perform acts to clean-up our environment by picking up trash in parks, along roadsides and elsewhere, plant trees, and participate in various programs for recycling and conservation. In some areas, citizens will sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.

Here in Atlantic, Earth Day will be marked by clean-up of the Schildberg Recreation Area. Jolene Smith, Secretary of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, says the activities begin this afternoon.

Anyone who wants help clean-up the park, should show-up in the west parking beginning at 2-p.m., wearing old clothes, old shoes and gloves. The Parks and Rec Dept. will furnish the trash bags and trailer to throw full bags in, for disposal. Various local civic organizations and local students will be participating in the effort. The clean-up effort will run as long as volunteers are willing to stay, or until around 8-p.m. You can show up anytime throughout the afternoon. You don’t have to be there at 2-p.m.

Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said they removed a lot of trash from the area last year. For more information about Earth Day, go to www.earthday.org.

Warm weather could stop any more bird flu outbreaks

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

State and national officials held a conference all with reporters to answer questions surrounding the latest bird flu out break in northwest Iowa. Officials first clarified that the facility in Osceola County has a capacity of five-point-three million egg-laying hens, but there are were three-point-eight million hens there when the disease was discovered. It is still the largest outbreak discovered in the U-S thus far. U-S-D-A chief veterinary officer, John Clifford, says the large number of birds at the Osceola County facility raised concerns.

“A lot of people ask the question ‘well what can we do about it?’ Well, one of the things that we’re doing, we are trying to determine the pathway of introduction into these houses,” Clifford says. “My guess is — and right now there is no solid evidence as such — my guess is there are multiple pathways of entry and it doesn’t mean that people are using poor biosecurity.” The disease is believe to be carried by wild waterfowl. Clifford says other states like Minnesota have seen more cases than Iowa thus far because they have more lakes and more wild migratory birds. He says other states have also had some colder weather.

“And hopefully through the summer we would expect to stop seeing these cases because of the heat. This virus does not like the heat much at all, it prefers cooler temperatures in weather,” Clifford says. He says we could see more cases of the virus as the waterfowl move gain in the fall and spring. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey was asked about the economic impact. He says it has varied since the first outbreaks were reported in other states in January.

“In some cases we’ve lost some markets, some export markets. In that case maybe we see a negative impact to prices — we actually see lower prices because there are less place for these egg products and poultry products to move,” Northey says. “In other cases we now are starting to see some significant reductions in the supply, so we are kind of counterbalancing, so it depends on how this plays out on what the impact might be.” But Northey says while millions of birds have died in Iowa and other states, the impact has not been major in terms of prices.

“Right now it does not appear that the loss of supply in either turkey products or egg products is significant at this time to show a significant impact on prices,” Northey says. The first outbreak in Iowa was in a turkey facility in Buena Vista County. The 37-thousand turkeys there were destroyed and Northey says state and local officials are helping the Osceola County facility euthanized the birds there. Northey says the cases appear to be isolated at this point.

“We do not believe this is spreading in a way that is likely to create other problems on other farms. We believe this is coming from wild birds to these farms. That does not mean we might not see a significant number of new cases,” according to Northey. But he says this could also be the last case found in Iowa too. Northey says these two facilities are a small part of the large egg and turkey industry in the state.

“As of today, eggs are still rolling out of most of our facilities. These are good, healthy eggs,” Northey says. “Consumers need to feel very comfortable eating Iowa eggs, eating Iowa turkey and eating Iowa chicken meat as well.” Doctor Clifford with the U-S-D-A says the eggs from the facility in Osceola are cracked and pasteurized for use in egg products, so that would have killed any of the virus in those eggs. And the chickens are not being released into the market, so they do not pose any threat.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic: Buck Creek Off-leash Dog Park update

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Buck Creek Dog Park at the Schildberg Recreation Area in Atlantic is closer to becoming a reality. Over the past month, Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring and Assistant Director Seth Staashelm have been working with Snyder and Associates Engineers to come up with a site plan for the park, and devised a conceptual layout.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Director Roger Herring talks about the Schildberg Rec Area Dog Park site plan. (Ric Hanson/photo)

Atlantic Parks & Rec Director Roger Herring talks about the Schildberg Rec Area Dog Park site plan. (Ric Hanson/photo)

Herring told the Parks Board Monday night, that the next step is to contact local vendors of fencing materials to determine the cost and availability of the material. Thanks to $10,000 grant from the Cass County Community Foundation, Herring said the off-leash dog park will be enclosed in a chain-link fence, which the grant will take care of nearly two-thirds of the cost for. The rest will be paid for through the department’s Capital Projects funds.

The nearly three-acre park will be divided into areas for large and small dogs, providing ample space for them to run and play. Herring said the plan is to have the dog park open sometime around Memorial Day.

Buck Creek Dog Park site plan at the Schildberg Rec Area. (Click on image to enlarge)

Buck Creek Dog Park site plan at the Schildberg Rec Area. (Click on image to enlarge)

Herring said also, a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant in the amount of $103,000 has been approved from the Iowa Department of Transportation, with regard to the Lake #2 Trail at the Schildberg Recreation Area. The project is expected to cost $134,000. The Atlantic City Council, in February, had agreed to sponsor the grant application with a $26,800 commitment for the project.

In other news, construction on the replacement Kiddie Korral Shelter at Sunnyside Park is expected to be completed by around Sept. 15th, and the Camblin Shelter refurbishment project at Sunnyside Park,should be wrapped-up by around May 15th. Staashelm reported to the Parks Board, Monday, that pieces for the recycled plastic, cedar colored park benches to be located in the Senior Activity Area at Sunnyside have arrived, and are in the process of being assembled. He said also and ADA compliant drinking fountain has been installed near the tennis courts, and is being used a lot. The stylish foundation is equipped with a jug filling outlet, in addition to bubblers for water dispensing.

Posted County Prices for Grains 04/21/2015

Ag/Outdoor

April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.55, Beans $9.32
Adair County: Corn $3.52, Beans $9.35
Adams County: Corn $3.52, Beans $9.31
Audubon County: Corn $3.54, Beans $9.34
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.58, Beans $9.32
Guthrie County: Corn $3.57, Beans $9.36
Montgomery County: Corn $3.57, Beans $9.34
Shelby County: Corn $3.58, Beans $9.32
Oats $2.60 (always the same in all counties)

Planting season is underway

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Some farmers were able to get the planters rolling last week. The U-S-D-A’s weekly crop report shows farmers used some warmer weather to get into the fields and seven percent of the corn crop is now planted. The report says the planting is four days ahead of normal compared to last year — but right at what the state has seen in the five-year average.

Nearly one-third of the State’s expected oat crop was planted during the week, third highest percentage seeded for the third week of April in 20 years. Seventy-four percent of the oat crop has been planted, over two weeks ahead of last year, and one week ahead of the average. Some areas are seeing faster planting of corn than others. Iowa State University extension agronomist, Angie Reik-Hinz, monitors nine counties from Hamilton to Cerro Gordo.

“Right around Webster City, Fort Dodge, Stanhope, Stratford area, we’re seeing a lot of corn in the ground. Maybe upwards of thirty to forty percent,” Reik-Hinz says. The temperature has kept some parts of the state from keeping up early on. “As we move a little further east, it’s a little bit less corn in the ground, and as we go north it significantly tapers off. It’s been a lot colder and wetter up north.”

Another I-S-U agronomist, Mark Licht, in Ames, has also heard a lot of different results when it comes to planting progress. “Reports of farmers who are either 100-percent done, 50-percent done or maybe, three-four-five percent,” Licht says. He also has found central Iowa saw the most progress. “From where I’m getting my reports, it seems like really the area west of Ames — kind of between Ames and Carroll — was where a lot of the progress was made before the rains finally came on Saturday,” according to Licht”

The U-S-D-A crop report says north-central and west-central Iowa have the highest soil moisture reserves, with ninety-to-one-hundred-percent adequate to surplus moisture.

(Radio Iowa)

Avian Influenza confirmed in Osceola County, IA

Ag/Outdoor

April 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Monday, confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic
H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) at a commercial laying facility in Osceola County, Iowa.
The facility has 5.3 million hens and is the second confirmed case in the state.avianinfluenza

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected.

The flock experienced increased mortality and as a result samples were sent to the
South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for preliminary
testing. The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, confirmed the findings. NVSL is the only internationally recognized Avian Influenza
reference laboratory in the United States.

USDA APHIS is working closely with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land
Stewardship (IDALS) on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the
premise and birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread
of the disease.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should
continue to practice good bio-security, prevent contact between their birds and wild
birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials,
either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free
number at 1-866-536-7593.

WASTEWATER DISCHARGE IN AUDUBON

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Dept. of Natural resources reports a citywide power outage in Audubon caused an estimated 200,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater to discharge to Bluegrass Creek south of Audubon, Sunday night. The city lost power about 5:30-p.m. Sunday and a backup generator at the wastewater treatment plant failed to start. Although city crews restored power about 10-p.m., the discharge continued until an electrician made repairs at the treatment plant Monday morning.

Officials say residents should keep children and pets away from Bluegrass Creek for the next 48 hours. The DNR is working with the plant operator to determine why the backup generator failed and will continue to monitor the situation.

Shelby County Fire Danger index “Moderate” this week

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Strong winds early this week across western Iowa have prompted the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency to ask participating businesses and fire departments in the County, to move their Fire Danger placards into the “Moderate” danger category, through Thursday.Moderate Fire Danger rating The winds are expected to be problematic for those who may have been considering burning brush or fields. Exercise extreme caution.

Officials say if you have a large burn, please notify your Fire Chief, prior to ignition. Call the Emergency Mgmt. Agency at 712-755-2124 for assistance, if needed.

Scam artists likely to follow spread of EAB in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is spreading across Iowa and scam artists are likely to follow. The destructive beetle, which kills ash trees, has been confirmed in 21 Iowa counties. Donald Lewis, an entomologist at Iowa State University, is advising property owners who’d like to try and save their ash trees to only do business with certified arborists who are properly insured. “So, a beat-up truck coming down your street offering a cheap treatment may not be your best option,” Lewis said. “So, as you’re approached with possibilities…it will pay to shop around, it will pay to contact reputable companies and it will pay to get their references.”

There are about three million urban ash trees in Iowa and an estimated 52 million ash trees in the state’s forests. Ash trees can be protected with insecticide treatments, but the treatments are most effective when the ash tree is still healthy. “If it’s half dead, if it’s half broken, if it’s got dead branches at the top already, if it’s got loose bark in the trunk, it’s probably not a good candidate for treatment,” Lewis said.

The best time to make preventive applications for EAB is during the spring, according to Lewis. More information about emerald ash borer can been found online through Iowa State University Extension or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

(Radio Iowa)

A Challenge to Iowa Farm Conservation: Absentee Landowners

Ag/Outdoor

April 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

WATERLOO, Iowa – As Iowa continues to look for ways to improve water quality and reduce erosion with some 30 million acres of farmland in the state, one growing challenge is the number of absentee landowners. Clark Porter, who manages Porter Family Farms in Waterloo, says more than half of farmland in Iowa is now farmed by someone other than the owner, and owners need to better connect with their tenant farmers on conservation practices.

“Whether it’s for healthy soil and conservation of soil and clean water and various other environmental goals,” he states. “So I think that’s the challenge or the opportunity – really, it’s the same thing – is to develop this partnership between the landowner and the farmer.” Clark points out more than 16 million acres of Iowa farmland is rented out and a significant number of those landowners have either never farmed, live out of state or rarely visit their land.

Clark says while the landowners must be more actively engaged, the tenant farmers also must be vocal in wanting to establish sustainable farming practices such as waterways and cover crops, which when planted can help reduce nitrate loss by as much as 60 percent. Clark notes that the conversation can be tricky, because of any possible associated costs and must be handled with diplomacy.

“A tenant farmer may not be in the best position to bring it up because they’re already financially at risk when they’re renting the land,” he points out. “There’s a heavy amount of competition to rent and hold land among tenant farmers and a thin margin on which they’re operating. And to bring up anything that might be potentially uncomfortable or whatever with a landowner, it could be a delicate situation.”

Porter says for tenant farmers and landowners who want to begin the conversation on lease agreements that support sustainable practices, there are helpful resources available from organizations such as the Drake Law School, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

(Iowa News Service)