DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Although rain has slowed progress in some regions of the country, farmers planting corn remain ahead of schedule. Nationally, 94 percent of the crop is planted, two percentage points ahead of the five-year average. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday virtually all the corn is planted in Iowa and 90 percent of the plants have emerged from the dirt, about five days ahead of average.
Iowa’s soybean planting is 10 percentage points ahead of normal with 88 percent planted. Nebraska’s corn crop is at 96 percent, near the five-year average and soybean planting is at 73 percent, behind the average of 82 percent.
Rain is presenting challenges in areas of both states and water is reported standing in some fields from the frequent showers and thunderstorms in recent days.
Atlantic, Iowa – The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program is again offering a summer webinar series in 2016. The series is free, and open to anyone interested in attending to learn more about the benefits of shade in landscape, tree problems and native garden insects. In addition, Master Gardeners who attend will gain educational hours for attending. The Cass County Extension office in Atlantic will be one of the host sites for these two-hour webinars in June, July and August of 2016.
To register, contact the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132 or email email@example.com. The webinars are free of charge and open to anyone who may be interested.
(Press Release from Cass County Extension)
Iowa ranks in the top ten states in all things beef. On Thursday, June 16th, join Women, Land & Legacy of Southwest Iowa in learning details about different kinds of cattle operations and where your beef products come from. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a supper served by the Mills-Montgomery County Cattlemen. The meal will be held at the Will & Deb Frazee Century Farm at 1080 230th St., Emerson. Following supper, The Frazee family will present information about their cow-calf operation.
As a group, they will then caravan to Gregory Feedlots, located on J-18 between Randolph and Tabor. David Trowbridge will give a presentation and a tour of the feedlot operation beginning around 7:45 p.m. The event is expected to conclude at approximately 8:30.
Not only will this be a wonderful learning opportunity for women interested in learning more about varying aspects of ag production, it will provide excellent information to youth who might be contemplating a career in beef production, or 4-H and FFA members enrolled in either market or breeding beef projects.
This event is open to anyone, with pre-registration required by Monday, June 13th. To register, call Iowa State University Extension & Outreach-Mills County at (712) 527-3316, Fremont County at (712) 374-2351, or Montgomery County at (712) 623-2592. Special accommodations may be requested by contacting these offices. The cost is $5 per person, including the meal, payable at the door. Proceeds will be used to offset the cost of the program. Participants should dress casually and appropriately for the outdoors, and wear close-toed shoes.
This event is sponsored through a partnership of Fremont, Mills and Montgomery counties Farm Service Agency, Soil and Water Conservation District, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, and Women, Land & Legacy of Southwest Iowa. Women, Land & Legacy is committed to offering learning opportunities for rural women in areas such as business, management, agriculture and family.
(Press Release from Montgomery County Extension)
Iowa is the nation’s top pork producer and the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has killed more than six-million piglets nationwide since 2013. The virus likely originated in China, but no one has determined how it got to the U-S. A new study simulates the trip pig feed ingredients make on the way from production in China to an American hog farm. Lead author Scott Dee says the P-E-D virus survived on one-third of the tested ingredients after a 37-day experimental journey.
“It’s not the container that these things are traveling in,” Dee says. “It’s potentially the ingredient or the contents of the container that allows the virus to survive.” An earlier study from the U-S Department of Agriculture suggested fabric shipping totes were inadvertently offering the virus a free ride. Dee says he’s shown imported ingredients may have brought the virus here from China.
Dee says, “Contaminated feed ingredients, if they’re the right ones, could have certainly supported virus survival throughout this entire 37-day trip.” Dee’s research also showed two treatments successfully killed P-E-D in contaminated ingredients. He says he hopes the findings will lead to more research on animal diseases that have not yet arrived here from other continents. Dee is director of research at Pipestone Veterinary Services in Pipestone, Minnesota.
Iowa’s third largest recreational area has a host of family-friendly events planned for this Memorial Day weekend. Conrad Kramer, executive director of the Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids, says a Slow Sunday Drive is planned for tomorrow. Folks can bring an A-T-V or utility vehicle for a 13-mile guided tour through the forest, pastures and prairieland.
“We thought it would be great if people could just bring their vehicles and drive our new main loop trail,” Kramer says. “It circles our entire 5,000 acre landscape. It’s a double track and we lead you through with a pilot Gator. It’s a nice, slow 3-hour roll through some absolutely beautiful landscape, through the prairies, through the savannah, with some great scenic overlooks.”
It’s a particular treat as Whiterock is usually closed to private motorized vehicles. On Monday, events will include a fishing derby at the Garst Home Farm. The derby will be held at the old Garst family pond which has some seven decades of history. A few years back, the pond was cleaned completely out and restocked.
“It’s got all kinds of great fish in it, some great panfish, bass, catfish, and this particular pond even has some nice little surprises,” Kramer says. “It has walleye and even some northern pike in it.” Each participant will receive a dozen worms and there will be prizes with experts on-hand to guide angling novices. For more information on the weekend’s events, visit: www.whiterockconservancy.org
Many Iowa boat owners will be hitting a lake or river for the first time this year over the Memorial Day weekend. Susan Stocker, a boating law administrator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is hoping it’ll be a safe season on the state’s waterways. “Our boat accident rate has been going down,” Stocker says. “It all has to do with education and making sure everybody is safe out there.” Iowa’s late spring has probably kept many boats in storage later than normal, increasing the likelihood that Memorial Day weekend will be a busy one on the water.
Stocker is reminding boaters that a life jacket may be the key to survival in the event of an accident. “Make sure that when you are out there boating that you have a wearable life jacket for every person on board and make sure they fit the intended user,” Stocker says. The boat should also be equipped with fire extinguisher and a horn or whistle. Stocker says getting used to the water each spring is much like re-learning winter driving skills after the first snow fall.
She says with a little practice the good habits often return quickly. Stocker adds, if there’s alcohol on the boat, there should also be a designated driver. In 2014, more than 70-percent of the boating fatalities in Iowa involved alcohol, according to Stocker.
Whether they’re baked into pies, sprinkled over ice cream, blended into margaritas or eaten fresh right off the plant, strawberries are ripening in Iowa and in most regions, they’re ready for picking. Tami Stotts, with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says the weather is finally cooperating for strawberry growers statewide.
“I’ve heard that the crop looks really good,” Stotts says. “They were in need of a little rain in some areas and a little heat and this week we’ve had both. I’ve had a few reports that they’re ripening just a little behind schedule but many of them are opening this weekend.” Fresh-picked strawberries are a tasty, fat-free treat and they kick off the growing season in Iowa. She says visiting a local farmers market or going to a you-pick farm is a great way to find fresh berries.
“I would suggest that before you head out to a strawberry patch you contact them because it can vary so much around the state,” Stotts says. “Before you pack up the family and head out, make sure the place you want to go is open.” Once picked, strawberries don’t continue to ripen like some fruits and vegetables, so select vibrant red berries. Also, strawberries have a short shelf life and should be eaten within a few days of being picked. You can find strawberry growers by visiting the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association’s “Farm Search” website: www.ifvga.org/en/about_us/farm_search