KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Potential killing freeze to affect Iowa crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Weather and crop experts are expressing cautious optimism that Iowa’s corn, soybean and hay crops won’t be greatly affected by the frost predicted for north-central and northwest Iowa Thursday morning. The U-S-D-A estimates about one-third of Iowa’s corn crop is fully mature and most areas need another 10-days to reach that level. That’s why Iowa State University corn specialist Roger Elmore doesn’t believe freezing temperatures will greatly affect yields. “What that’ll do is shut the plant down and it will result in some reduction in yield, maybe at the most three to five percent,” Elmore said. “That yield reduction is coming from those kernels being shortchanged the last few days…so it’ll be a reduction in kernel weight.” Iowa State University Climatologist Elwyn Taylor says cloudiness in the approaching cold air could mitigate the frost damage.

“If it’s a perfectly clear sky, then we will get at least (a partial) killing freeze,” Taylor said. “That means, maybe not whole fields, but spots when we go through Wednesday night. We don’t expect it to stay around long. It would just be that one night with the killing freeze, which is basically 28-degrees for corn and soybeans.” I-S-U forage specialist Steve Barnhart says grasses respond well to cool temperatures, so the badly-needed late fall hay crop should be fine.

“A standing alfalfa crop and grass hay crops will tolerate a light frost and really won’t stop their growth for the remainder of the season,” Barnhart said. “It takes a 23 or 24 degree overnight freeze to really stop the hay crop.” The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Watch for late Wednesday night through Thursday morning over north-central and northwest Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Neely-Kinyon Field Day Slated for September 21

Ag/Outdoor

September 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The ISU Neely-Kinyon Research Farm located south of Greenfield will be hosting a special field day on Wednesday, September 21. Activities will begin at 4:00 p.m. with wagon tours. Wagon stops will feature both pasture management and organic field crop and vegetable crop production. Featured presenters at the field stops will be Joe Sellers, ISU Extension Beef Specialist and Kathleen Delate, ISU Extension Organic Specialist. Sellers will discuss grazing management, selecting the right forage for your system and stockpiling grazing to reduce feed costs. Delate will share results of her 13 years of research at the farm on organic production. She will highlight both her work with traditional agronomic crops of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa and organic vegetable production.

Following the wagon tours there will be a weed ID contest, corn and soybean skill-a-thons, and displays at the building site along with a complimentary supper featuring pork prepared by the Adair County Pork Producers.

Field day goers also will have the chance to select one of two workshops to attend at 6:00 p.m. Dr. Ajay Nair, ISU Horticulture Department, will present information on improving soil biology. Diane Weiland of Wallace Centers of Iowa will do a workshop on Growing and Marketing Vegetables.

The field day is free and supported by the USDA-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. The N-K Farm is located 2 miles south of Greenfield on Hwy 25, ½ mile East on 260th Street and ½ mile North on Norfolk Ave. For more information, contact the Adair County Extension office at 641-743-8412 or 1-800-ISUE399.

Missouri River farmers offered advice on “reclaiming” flooded farmland

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Farmers along the Missouri River are getting advice on reclaiming their land from receding floodwaters. Crop specialists from Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska spoke Monday with farmers gathered at 20 computer linked sites in Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri and Nebraska. ISU Ag engineer Shawn Shouse,  says, in some cases, sand may be washed too deep over farmland to be moved. “In severe cases, if the sand is extremely thick, the cost of moving the sand may get to the point where you want to consider selective abandonment of small areas that have extremely deep deposits of sand – as opposed to moving that sand off,” Shouse said.

Aside from sand, farmers along the Missouri River are clearing flood debris from their land. Paul Jasa, with the University of Nebraska, advised farmers to get a cover crop on the barren land as quickly as possible this fall to restore the soil’s microbial activity. He noted, however, seeds for those cover crops are in short supply. Jasa said a lot of cover crop seeds that are normally available in the Midwest have been sent to drought-ridden Texas. For some farmers, Jasa said recovering the farmland to productivity may take another season.

(Radio Iowa)

Dry weather allows fall harvest to begin

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The condition of the state’s corn and soybeans crops have improved and dry weather has allowed the fall harvest to begin in Iowa. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey released his weekly update on the condition of the state’s crops Monday, saying one-third of the corn crop is mature. That’s behind 56 percent at this time last year but ahead of normal, which is 30 percent. Fifty-seven percent of the corn crop is in good or excellent shape; 28 percent fair and 15 percent poor or very poor. About half of the state’s soybeans are turning color, behind 70 percent last year and behind the five-year average of 63 percent. Sixty-four percent of the soybeans are in good or excellent condition with 12 percent being poor or very poor.

Workshop helps farmers dealing with flood damage

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – This summer’s prolonged flooding along the Missouri River caused significant damage to several hundred thousand acres of farmland. At a workshop this (Monday) morning, farmers in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Missouri can get some advice about dealing with the issues they will face after the floodwaters recede. Experts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and Iowa State University Extension will participate in the event from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

The workshop will be broadcast over the Internet to 20 locations along the river, so farmers shouldn’t have to travel far. Details are available online at http://flood.unl.edu . Experts say farmers will have clear debris and sand deposits from their land and repair erosion damage. And they may have to restore microscopic organisms to the soil, so it will be fertile again.

Smaller corn surplus could push food prices higher

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) – Food prices could rise next year because an unseasonably hot summer is expected to damage much of this year’s corn crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates a surplus of 672 million bushels of corn will be left over at the end of next summer. The estimated surplus is down from last month’s forecast and well below levels that are considered healthy.

This spring, farmers planted the second-largest crop since World War II. But high temperatures stunted the plants. Corn prices soared to record levels earlier this year because of limited supplies. More expensive corn drives food prices higher because corn is an ingredient in everything from animal feed to cereal to soft drinks. It takes about six months for corn prices to trickle down to products at the grocery store.

Iowa pheasant population may not be as low as official count suggest

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A survey released last week showing Iowa’s pheasant population is at an all-time low is not only bad news for hunters, it’s a big blow for the Iowa economy. Kevin Baskins, spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says hunters spend a lot of money on hotels, food and equipment – but they’re not spending as much when their chances for a successful hunt are affected.

“A lot of that spending occurs in Iowa’s most rural areas, where there’s more amble hunting opportunities,” Baskins said. “So, certainly this can have a big impact on main streets across the state because if we don’t have the pheasants, we’re not going to have the hunters coming into those smaller communities and spending money during that time frame.”

Iowa’s 2011 pheasant hunting season runs from October 29 through January 10, 2012. The D-N-R’s roadside survey, conducted in August, found an average of 7 birds counted for each 30 miles of route driven. That compares to 11 birds per route last year. Baskins says the situation may not be as bad as it seems.

“A lot of our biologists and people who were involved in with that roadside count have noted that since the official count was over, they have been seeing more birds,” Baskins said. “We would guess at this point, if we are off in terms of our estimations, we’re probably off on the low side. There may be more birds out there than what we’re projecting at this point.”

The dwindling pheasant population is blamed primarily on five consecutive winters of above average snowfall, in addition to a series of cold and wet springs.

(Radio Iowa)

Adair-Casey FFA takes 1st place in challenge program (updated)

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Monsanto Company say members of the Adair-Casey FFA Chapter based in Adair, have been awarded first-place in a pilot FFA Chapter Challenge program, sponsored by the seed company. The Adair-Casey Chapter of the FFA has a total of 65 members, both in- and-out of school. Their Advisor, Mike Cooley, says it’s the biggest school organization in their district. Cooley says while the organization is the “Future Farmers of America,” his students learn much more than becoming good stewards of the land. He says they promote leadership, which is accomplished in-part by participating in Career Development Events. The CDE helps prepare students in communication skills and honing their leadership abilities.

Since early March, FFA chapters in Iowa and six other states have reached out in their communities, to local farmers, in an effort to meet them, learn about their operations, and connect with those persons, by sharing what their local FFA chapter is doing in their community. Cooley says it’s important to note that the Adair-Casey FFA students didn’t do anything different to earn the honor, than what they’ve been doing all along. 

He says the students are always active in the communities they serve, and strive to set good examples for others. Cooley says when the members put on their trademark blue corduroy FFA jacket, he stresses to them the importance of being a “first-class” organization, and he’s never had a problem with them upholding his expectations.

He says one of the main reasons they won the award, is because they have a good working relationship with the residents and business in the communities of Adair and Casey, who are truly supportive of the program. Farmers were asked to visit FFAChapterChallenge.com, and vote for their favorite FFA chapter.

More than 360 FFA chapters and a combined 22,000 FFA members, earned over 10,000 votes from farmers across the seven-state area. The Adair-Casey chapter won a cash award, for receiving the most votes out of more than 230 other FFA chapters in the state of Iowa. Cooley says they’ll receive a giant credit card for $1,500.

The award will be presented at around 8-p.m. Friday, during the half-time program at A-C’s season opener with East Union. Cooley says they will use part of the funds to send another student to a leadership camp in Washington, D.C., and the rest will go toward additional leadership events. He says they are grateful to the everyone who voted for the Adair-Casey chapter of the FFA.

USDA Report 09-08-2011

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 8th, 2011 by Chris Parks

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No hearing on hog lot expansion near Walnut, but written comments still being accepted

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors has decided not to hold a public hearing on a request by Lincoln Center Farms, to expand its hog operation south of Walnut. There are no complaints on record about the farm, and a public hearing on the company’s expansion plan is not mandatory in order for it to proceed. Regardless, the Board agreed to keep the application for expansion on file at the Planning Department, so that  accept any written comments may be accepted.

County Planning Director Kay Mocha said Lincoln Farms has asked the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for a construction permit to add a fourth building at the farm. The farm has about 3,300 head of swine and is looking to add 1,100. Mocha says it’s the first request for expansion of a livestock lot that the county has received since a master matrix program was enacted in 2002. The master matrix is a scoring system for concentrated animal feeding operations, with point allocations in three categories: water, air and community impacts.

The Iowa DNR will have the final say on whether the farm can expand.