KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Heat, drought lower some predictions for Iowa corn

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a brutally hot July and a relatively dry summer have caused a moderate to severe drought in about a third of Iowa and have lowered expectations for the state’s corn crop. Crop yield predictions are down, and some lawns, particularly in southeast Iowa, have yellowed without adequate rain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted early last month that Iowa would average 177 bushels of corn per acre, down from 182 bushels in 2009 but higher than the 165 bushels per acre last year. But the continued lack of rain has prompted some private forecasters to drop the projection for Iowa’s corn yields to as low as 164 bushels per acre.

10 companies recall fuel gel for firepots

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) – Ten companies are recalling 2 million bottles and jugs of the gel fuel used in outdoor decorations known as firepots because of the risk of serious burns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the gel fuel has been linked to several dozen injuries when users could not tell whether the flame was extinguished. Pouring more gel on a burning pot can lead to dangerous flares or burns.

The companies recalling gel fuel are: Bird Brain Inc. of Ypsilanti, Mich.; Bond Manufacturing of Antioch, Calif.; Sunjel Company of Milwaukee; Fuel Barons Inc. of Lake Tahoe, Nev.; Lamplight Farms Inc, of Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Luminosities Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.; Marshall Group of Elkhart, Ind.; Pacific Decor Ltd. of Woodinville, Wash.; Real Flame of Racine, Wis.; Smart Solar USA of Oldsmar, Fla.

Walk up campsites going fast for the weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The last summer holiday has once again put camping spots at state parks at a premium. Department of Natural Resources Parks Bureau Chief, Kevin Sczdronski, says the on-line reserved spots always go quickly. But he says a visit to Rock Creek State Park east of Grinnell Tuesday showed how quickly the other spots go too.

He says the park staff already declared the campground full as all the “walk-in” sites already have people there and they are booked up for the weekend. “So there’s just one example that’s probably pretty indicative of what we are looking at across the state of the demand,” Szcodronski says. He says the numbers have been good for the parks throughout the summer. Szcodronski says extreme heat hurt attendance at some parks, but it helped others.

Szcodronski says the parks with beaches and lakes see even more people when it is hot. He says most of the campgrounds have been full almost every weekend. The D-N-R received some more money for maintenance of the parks when the new budget year began July first and Szcodronski says people should notice some improvement this weekend.

He says a lot of parks were able to hire some people and one of their first priorities is to get into day use areas and mow where they hadn’t mowed in awhile. You can find out more about the state parks on the D-N-R’s website at: IowaDNR.gov.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 08-31-2011

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

August 31st, 2011 by admin

w/ Kate Olsen


Lake Manawa special Deer Hunt Cancelled


August 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has cancelled the
special deer hunt in Lake Manawa State Park, scheduled to begin October 1.
An estimated 90 percent of the area in Lake Manawa where the hunt was planned is
still under several feet of water.

Webinar to Address Flood Recovery for Cropland

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa–As waters recede from farmland that has been covered for several months by Missouri River flooding, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension are jointly planning a workshop for Monday, Sept. 12 to address cropland issues. The workshop will be conducted via webinar at several viewing sites in both states from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Extension agriculture staff will host the workshop sites and facilitate questions to the panel.

Topics to be covered during the webinar and extension presenters include: sedimentation and debris removal, Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension ag engineer; managing post flooding soils: flooded soil syndrome, Mahdi Al-Kaisi, ISU Extension soil specialist; cover crops for soil health, Paul Jasa, UNL Extension engineer; and leases and crop insurance on flooded land, William Edwards, ISU Extension farm management specialist. Rick Koeslsch, UNL associate dean of extension, will moderate the panel.

“It is important for us to share information with those tasked with caring for farmland post flooding, but it is also important for Extension to hear the concerns and specific issues these folks have on their land,” said Shawn Shouse, extension ag engineer and planning committee member. “There is science that we can apply to this situation, but there is much that comes from farmer experience.”

Physical damage to farm ground may include obvious things like erosion and sand deposition. But some effects are invisible, having to do with the loss of soil microbes and soil structure. Land managers need to start planning and acting as the waters recede so that the soil can be productive again for next year.

“Using webinar technology helps us reach the most people on both sides of the river without having them travel great distances,” said John Wilson, UNL Extension educator and event co-chair. “It also allows for informal discussion at each site among those who have been most affected by the flood and with extension staff.”

In Iowa, the workshop will be held at the following ISU Extension offices: Fremont County in Sidney, Harrison County in Logan, Mills County in Malvern and Monona County in Onawa. ISU Extension in West Pottawattamie County is hosting the session at the Lied Multipurpose Center, 3501 Harry Langdon Blvd, Council Bluffs and Woodbury County Extension is hosting at a site to be determined. Nebraska viewing sites will be in Auburn at a site to be announced, in Blair at the Blair City Hall Council Chambers, in Dakota City at the USDA Service Center, in Falls City at the Courthouse, in Omaha at the Douglas/Sarpy Extension Office and in Tekamah at the City Auditorium. The Extension agriculture educator hosting the workshop at each location will be available after the webinar to address additional questions and concerns, if needed.

The webinar will also be available in South Dakota at the Davison County Extension Complex in Mitchell and in Kennebec at the Lyman County Courthouse. Further information on the Flood Recovery for Cropland Workshop, including additional sites and information as it becomes available, is available on ISU and UNL extension websites: www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/recovering-disasters and flood.unl.edu .

(Press Release from Cass Co. Extension)

Iowa’s new dove hunting season opens this week

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

August 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s newest hunting season opens later this week following months of heated debate about the use of lead shot and the killing of mourning doves. Iowa’s new dove hunting season will run from September 1 through November 9. Experienced dove hunters, like Scott Gritters of Guttenberg, are excited they won’t have to travel out of state to test their skills. Gritters, a DNR fisheries biologist, says dove hunting is a relaxing, yet challenging sport.

“They’re very sporty and acrobatic. It takes a good shot to get ’em,” Gritters said. The dove season is expected to attract around 20,000 resident hunters, including many who have never before hunted doves. Gritters says it can be frustrating for beginners. He suggests practicing with clay targets. “I think those people who are really good at shooting teal, which is a very fast duck…I think those people will have a better chance at (shooting doves),” Gritters said. “But hunting is like anything, you’ll be better if you practice.” Doves are most active in the morning and evening and tend to flock near water and low-standing or harvested crops. Hunters can wear camouflage, but are not allowed to use live decoys or bird calls. Gritters says doves are not only a challenge to shoot, but good to eat.

“I’m really looking forward to cooking the first batch up. They are an awesome eating bird,” Gritters said. “We usually just wrap ’em in bacon on the grill.” Iowa is now one of 41 states to allow dove hunting. Hunters are being allowed to use lead shot this season, despite protests from some individuals who’ve raised environmental concerns. The Iowa Legislature is expected to debate a ban on lead shot before the 2012 dove hunting season.
For more information, surf to:  www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/MigratoryGameBirds/MourningDoves.aspx

(Radio Iowa)

Storms, dry weather affecting Iowa crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – While destructive storms have battered crops in some parts of Iowa, crops in other parts of the state are beginning to show stress from a lack of rainfall. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey released the weekly Iowa crop report Monday, saying some areas in southeast Iowa have received less than an inch of rain since June 30.

Topsoil moisture is rated 52 percent short or very short and subsoil moisture is rated 48 percent short or very short. Corn is rated at 15 percent poor or very poor, 26 percent fair and 59 percent good or excellent. Soybeans are reported at 12 percent poor or very poor, 24 percent fair and 64 percent good or excellent. Northey says the condition of crops is concerning as the fall harvest approaches.

“Mysterious Monarchs” Program

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with The Cass County Conservation Service say the Conservation Board is holding aMysterious Monarchs” Program this Thursday afternoon (Sept. 1st). The public program will be held at the Main Campground at Lake Anita State Park in Anita.

During the free, 4-p.m. event, you can discover the Monarch Butterflies before their journey south! Conservation staffers will tag monarchs and show you how to same. If you’d would like a home tagging kit, you must attend and pre-register for the Kit.


Call 712-769-2372 to pre-register for your kit. You DO NOT have to be a registered camper to attend the program.

Inspection reports show violations at Iowa egg farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A investigation by the Des Moines Register has revealed safeguards at some Iowa egg production facilities remain inadequate, one-year after salmonella sickened at least 1,600 people and led to the recall of a half-billion eggs. The paper reported in its Sunday edition, Iowa egg producers don’t have to disclose salmonella test results to state or federal regulators, egg farms are told days in advance about inspections, federal regulators don’t fine or close egg farms where violations are found and some egg farms refuse to tell government inspectors what brands their eggs are sold under.

One of the egg farms mentioned in the article, was Southwest Iowa Egg, in Massena. During a visit by FDA inspectors four-months ago, the co-op was noted for four violations. Inspectors found the company was not: following its own protocol for preventing salmonella; was failing to review internal plant records as required; was failing to properly document cleaning, disinfecting and efforts to control flied and rodents; and, maintained no records documenting the number of hours eggs were stored on site before being shipped out. The FDA give company officials a poster detailing some of the regulations pertaining to egg production, but imposed no penalties.

In an interview to air 7:30-a.m. Monday on KJAN’s “Heartbeat Today,” with Jim Field, Rich Hall, General Manager of Southwest Iowa Egg says the company has a bio-security plan in place to prevent salmonella from forming at the facility. He says when facility first opened, they allowed tours, but that practice was stopped not long thereafter, to prevent contamination, and provide for a safe product that’s shipped to the consumer.

Hall says the violations were tied to the manner in which paperwork was maintained by the company. He says the documentation is there, but officials with the FDA thought information pertaining to rodent and fly activity should be on separate logs. He says for the past three-years, the birds are vaccinated for salmonella, which is not required. In addition, their facilities have been tested twice, once by the FDA, and a second time by an independent lab. No evidence of salmonella was ever found.

Hall says their new security plan was developed when eggs produced at another Iowa farm were recalled in August 2010, following an investigation into the salmonella outbreak that affected more than two-dozen states. He says they hired a veterinary consultant to help develop the plan, and have implemented that plan according to its interpretation. Hall says they discussed the paperwork issues mentioned by the FDA, and have made modifications to comply with the recommendations.

Hall says an audit in July of the cooperative’s north facility, did not reveal any problems with documentation. Another area egg production facility, Rose Acre Farms, in Guthrie Center, was inspected in April, but the process was aborted when officials discovered that birds in one of the henhouses had been diagnosed by the company, with a viral infection that is harmful to hens, but poses no risks to humans. The diagnosis was not reported to the state veterinarian, as required by law. The veterinarian advised the FDA not to re-enter the farm or any other facilities for at least five days, following the Rose Acre inspection. Officials with Rose Acre Farms say the FDA did complete its inspection, and no action was taken against the company for failing to report the disease, or refusing to provide the requested information about it.

Hall says Southwest Iowa Egg has made significant improvements to its documentation processes, based on discussion with the FDA. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg producer, with 57 million hens laying 14 billion eggs per year.