As more people look to have control over how their food is grown, many are planting gardens for the first time. Some are even turning their backyards into chicken coops. On a recent Thursday night at a Cedar Falls farm store, Cargill animal nutrition specialist Jodi Holmes was answering questions about raising the birds. “How much space do I need, how much feed will I go through, do I need a rooster to get eggs? Some of those basic questions, clear up to what temperature do I need to set the brooder at, so it can get pretty technical,” according toe Holmes.
Paul Keller and his family raise organic vegetables near Janesville. He says they spent a good deal of time doing research before deciding to add poultry to the mix. “We did a lot reading and a lot of videos and stuff like that. We just got our chicks and we’re setting up the hen house. We want to make sure we’re doing it right and don’t have any major mistakes,” Keller says. Animal specialist Holmes admits sometimes finding out what it takes to be a backyard farmer is enough to curb the enthusiasm.
“And I started telling her you need a brooder and a heat lamp and this for feed and this for water and she was instantly “it’s too much I’m out’ and you know- you are going to have people like that. That’s where the education part of these seminars comes in. Because if you get into and lose a whole batch of chicks, it’s frustrating and a lot people will never do it again,” Holmes says. Iowa had a costly brush with avian flu last spring which killed millions of the state’s chickens. Holmes says now there’s extra attention being placed on bio security.
“So making sure that they’re washing their hands and their tools, and not sharing between their farm and their neighbor’s farm,” Holmes explains, “quarantining new birds until they’re proven healthy to integrate with their existing flocks.” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says while most of the bird flu was confined to large commercial flocks it would be foolish not to be vigilant about what’s going on in our backyard.
The DNR said Wednesday, it was investigating an anonymous complaint about runoff from a cattle feedlot about three miles southwest of Carson, in Pottawattamie County. DNR field specialists identified two sources of runoff, Cyclone Cattle and a facility owned by Aaron Vorthmann. Both are cattle open feedlots. With DNR’s advice, the producers successfully stopped runoff from each facility.
Previously, an unknown amount of runoff flowed from each operation into the same field, then into a grass waterway before reaching an unnamed tributary of the Nishnabotna River. DNR staff will continue to monitor the situation, including any impacts on water quality or aquatic life. DNR will consider appropriate enforcement actions.
Anyone who notices a spill or fish kill should call the DNR’s 24-hour emergency response line at 515-725-8694.
Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says recent rain and the greening-up of brush and grassy areas, has allowed the grassland and field fire danger index rating in Shelby County to be moved to “Low.”
Seivert says “I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation with this program. It is very unique in Iowa. It allows us to keep the public up to date on conditions which could otherwise be a surprise, when burning brush and cleaning up after the winter. We have shown this program reduces the number fire calls. The process of calling in your controlled burn, works very well. We will begin this, again, as the drying out for harvest occurs this fall.”
The Iowa Natural Resources Commission has given preliminary approval for the 2016-2017 deer hunting seasons. D-N-R spokesman, Kevin Baskins, says the proposed season will look much like this year’s. “We really are not seeing any changes, we’re looking at a status quo type season compared to last year. And I think that reflects that we have a herd population that is stabilizing over a great part of the state,” Baskins says.
While he says the population is stabilizing, it’s not uniform across the state. “We still have parts of the state that have an abundance of deer, and the antlerless quotas we have that we have reflect that,” Baskins says. “We still see an area of northwest Iowa where we’ve probably gone a little too far in terms of reducing deer. Up there we still have some buck only restrictions for some of those counties during the early muzzle loader season and the first shotgun season.” Baskins says the D-N-R has a variety of different ways to keep track of the deer population.
“We do it through surveying our hunters, through looking at road kills, and also right now we are still kind of wrapping up some of our spotlight surveys where we go out at night and run some routes to determine what we are seeing out on the countryside,” Baskins says. He says they also talk with landowners about any damage that may be done to crops by deer. Baskins says they have a deer task force that helps set up the hunting
“That includes people who are deer hunters, obviously the agricultural production groups, and also insurance companies,” Baskins says. “And one of the goals that was established by that task force was to get kind of to where we were in the 1990s when everything seemed to be in balance in terms of not having too many complaints from any of those three groups.”
There is a hearing on the proposed seasons on June 1st. You can send written comments to the Department of Natural Resources, Dale Garner, Wildlife Bureau Chief, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034; by e-mail at Dale.Garner@dnr.iowa.gov or by Fax at 515-725-8201. You can see the full proposal on the Iowa D-N-R’s website at: www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.
Here are the proposed dates for the deer hunting seasons.
Regular Gun 1 Dec. 3-7
Regular Gun 2 Dec. 10-18
Bow Oct. 1-Dec. 2 and Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2017
Early Muzzleloader Oct. 15-23
Muzzleloader Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2017
Youth Sept. 17-Oct. 2
Disabled Hunter Sept. 17-Oct. 2
Holiday Antlerless-Only Dec. 24-Jan. 2
The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department has completed the Vision Iowa CAT grant application and turned it in by last Friday’s deadline. The application seeks $360,000 for improvements to the Schildberg Recreation Area campsite and related matters. Assistant Parks and Rec Director Seth Staashelm said during Monday’s meeting of the Parks and Recreation Dept. Board, that Director Roger Herring burned the midnight oil last week putting together a thick binder full of information. He says they hope to hear something back in the next month or two.
A 5-minute dvd virtual tour of the Schildberg Rec Area was included in the application. The video was shot by a drone under the guidance of Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager Tim Snyder. Staashelm added the c-g graphics and special effects. Herring said he hopes the Vision Iowa judges take a moment to view the dvd and note that the intent is to make Atlantic a “Destination Point,” which will in-turn benefit the County in the form of tourism. Parks and Rec Board member Charlene Beane suggested the video be included on the Chamber’s website.
In other business, the Parks and Rec Board Monday evening gave the go-ahead for the purchase of an interlocking basketball court surface at the Harl-Holt park. The low bid was from Versa Court, at $13,806. Seth Staashelm said a grant will help to pay for new court surface, which will come with pre-printed, versatile lines for different sporting activities. It’s much safer to use than hard surfaces, and only requires assembly, a job which the parks and rec crew will be able to handle, thereby saving on costs.
The surface has a 10-year warranty. And, costs for the summer recreation programs in Atlantic, including youth tennis, swim team and men’s slow pitch softball, are unchanged. New this year, is Adult Tennis, Pickleball and Sunnyside Activity Hour.
Updated information about those programs will be on the Parks and Rec Department website, later this week. http://www.atlanticiowa.com/atlantic/city-departments/parks-recreation/
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A stretch of sunny and dry weather has given Midwest farmers a good start on planting corn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report was released Monday. It shows 13 percent of Iowa’s corn crop is planted, significantly ahead of the five-year average of 3 percent planted by mid-April.
Missouri farmers have 58 percent planted, ahead of their average of 21 percent. Kansas has more than a third of the corn crop planted, compared to the average 16 percent. Other states ahead of average are Kentucky and Minnesota. Nebraska is at 7 percent, ahead of its five-year average of 3 percent.
Planting corn early can result in an improved harvest because plants can mature to the pollination stage before summer heat stresses them.
WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farm equipment maker Kinze Manufacturing says it must lay off 121 workers as low grain prices have slowed farmer purchases. The Des Moines Register reports the Williamsburg-based company announced Monday that office and factory worker cuts will be effective June 18. The eastern Iowa company makes planters and grain carts.
The company released a statement Monday that says it implemented a 30-hour work last year and started “aggressive marketing campaigns” to address market conditions, but the current demand for farming equipment doesn’t support the company’s staff size. Kinze also cut 215 workers last June also citing slowed business and the farm downturn.