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.

Atlantic named Tree City USA community for 20th year

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic has qualified for and is officially designated, as a “Tree City USA” community for the 20th year. Dolly Bergman, with the local Trees Forever group, told the Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening, that she and Atlantic Parks and Recreation Dept. Director Roger Herring, along with Assistant Parks Director Seth Staashelm, attended a Tree City USA event in Des Moines on April 10th, during which Atlantic once again received the honor of being a Tree City USA community.

(From left) IA DNR Director Chuck Gipp,  Atlantic Parks & Rec Director Roger Herring, Asst. Director Seth Staashelm, Trees Forever Chairperson Dolly Bergman &  State Forester Paul Tauke.

(From left) IA DNR Director Chuck Gipp, Atlantic Parks & Rec Director Roger Herring, Asst. Director Seth Staashelm, Trees Forever Chairperson Dolly Bergman & State Forester Paul Tauke.

Atlantic Asst. Parks & Rec Director Seth Stasshelm with the new Tree City USA signs.

Atlantic Asst. Parks & Rec Director Seth Stasshelm with the new Tree City USA signs. (Click on the photo to enlarge)

The City received two new signs that will be erected to replace signs located on the east and west sides of town. The old signs may be relocated along Olive Street and near Mahle Engine Components, if they can be cleaned-up and/or refurbished. The new signs will also be adorned with stickers acknowledging the fact the City has been a Tree City USA for 20 years. A new Tree City USA flag will be flown over the Atlantic City Park, as well.

Bergman reminded the Council there are four criteria in order to be eligible for the designation. There must be a “Trees Board” – which in Atlantic, is the Trees Forever group, a tree care ordinance is in place, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observation and proclamation.

Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones, surrounded by the local Trees Forever group, signs the annual Arbor Day Proclamation.

Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones, surrounded by the local Trees Forever group, signs the annual Arbor Day Proclamation.

Bergman said also, there will be an an Arbor Day event on Friday, April 24th, at the Schuler Elementary School, during which a tree will be planted with the help of 4th graders, at around 2:30-p.m. In addition, each of those 4th grade students will be presented with a tree.

Bergman also had some good news for local merchants with regard to “tree economics”: She said studies have shown shoppers will travel further and longer, to visit a district with high quality trees. They will also spend more time once they arrive in the community because of the trees. Visitors to well treed central business districts, she said, will spend 9-to 12-percent more for their products, a seven percent higher rental rate for commercial offices, due to high quality landscaping. She said also, trees located near a hospital have been shown to help patients recovering from surgery who have a view of trees, have shorter post-op hospital stays.

Emerald Ash Borer confirmed in Dallas County

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been positively identified in a residential tree in the southeast corner of rural Dallas County, making this the twenty-first county in Iowa where this invasive beetle has been found. EAB kills all ash tree species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.

The current EAB infestation was found as a result of an arborist contacting state officials about a suspect ash tree. Investigation by the Iowa EAB team revealed characteristic galleries, recent woodpecker activity, and live larvae that were positively identified by federal identifiers.

“This finding is the closest to Polk County and Iowa’s capital city to date” said Mike Kintner, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardships EAB and Gypsy Moth
Coordinator. “With this discovery, Iowa has declared three positive counties in 2015
where this ash-killing pest has been found.”

Twenty-one Iowa counties now have confirmed EAB infestations. A statewide quarantine, issued on Feb. 4, 2014, remains in place, restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states. “We still strongly urge Iowans to not move firewood long distances,” said State Entomologist Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. “A large portion of Iowa is not showing signs of EAB infestation; let’s keep those areas EAB-free as long as possible by not moving wood that potentially harbors EAB or other tree pests. Be vigilant and report suspicious symptoms in counties that are not yet known to be infested to a member of the Iowa EAB Team.”

The Iowa EAB Team provides EAB diagnostic assistance to landowners and includes
officials from Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Iowa
State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
(DNR), USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA Forest Service.

The Iowa EAB Team strongly cautions Iowans not to transport firewood across county
or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states
poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB and other plant pests. Most EAB
infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving
infested firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly
short distances, approximately 2 to 5 miles.

The window for preventive treatment measures (trunk injection, soil injection, soil
drench or basal trunk sprays) is mid-April to mid-May. If a landowner is interested
in protecting a valuable and healthy ash tree within 15 miles of a known infestation, they should have landscape and tree service companies bid on work, review the bids and treat during the recommended treatment time.

Please contact Iowa EAB Team members to have suspicious looking trees checked in
counties not currently known to be infested. The State of Iowa will continue to track the movement of EAB on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be officially recognized as infested, proof of a reproducing population is needed and an EAB must be collected and verified by USDA entomologists.

To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa’s tree population,
please visit www.IowaTreePests.com.

(Press Release)

Cass County Extension Report 04-15-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 15th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Bird flu confirmed in Iowa turkey flock

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bird-flu strain that has already hit numerous turkey farms in the Midwest has been found in a turkey flock in northwest Iowa. An Iowa Department of Agriculture spokesman says Tuesday the H5N2 strain of bird flu virus has been confirmed in a barn on a farm housing 27,000 birds in Buena Vista County. The disease was suspected when turkeys began dying in the barn.

An Iowa Poultry Association spokesman says the farm is under quarantine and the turkeys will be euthanized. Animal health officials have long said the virus is dangerous to all commercial poultry. Iowa has 130 turkey farms raising 11 million turkeys a year. The state also is the nation’s leading egg producer with 59.6 million egg layers. No chicken flocks in Iowa have been infected.

Some fieldwork getting done, planting could begin next week

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The U-S-D-A weekly crop report shows farmers got some field work done last week, but wet conditions — including snow in northern Iowa — slowed things down. Iowa State University Extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong, covers northwest Iowa, and says farmers are off to a good start as they move toward planting. “And as I think as the conditions warm up and dry up and if we can stay dry this week, I think early next week we can see a lot of planters in the field,” DeJong says.

Soil temperatures dictate when farmers will start putting seeds in the soil. “We’d like to see 50-degree soil temperature at four inches and rising, is kind of what our goal is. We’ve been measuring temperatures all the way into the upper 40’s, it’s dropped back just a shade again, because we cooled back again,” DeJong says. “If you want a real rough rule-of-thumb of what the temperature is at four-inch depth, you average the last three days of temperatures and you are usually pretty close at this stage of the game — unless there is a huge swing — and then sometimes it isn’t quite right.”

DeJong says there are some reports of drought-like conditions, but sub-soil moisture levels in northwest Iowa seem to be sufficient. Dejong says they took several measurements last November down to five feet, which is the rooting depth for corn and bean growth, and the numbers were a little higher. “And that doesn’t go away the winter time, it takes crops or plants growing in it to have it go away. So that tells us that we are at least average at all out sites or maybe a slight bit above average at this stage of the game,” DeJong says.

The U-S-D-A report shows soil moisture levels are adequate for most areas of the state. DeJong says most Iowa farmers will probably plant this year’s corn crop between April 20th and May 10th.

(Radio Iowa)

Egg executives sentenced to 3 months for salmonella outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two former egg industry executives have been sentenced to three months in jail for their roles in a major 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands. Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter were sentenced Monday on shipping adulterated food charges. They will remain free while appealing the sentence.

The DeCosters wanted to avoid jail, but U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett heeded prosecutors’ calls for a tough punishment because of the widespread harm the outbreak caused. Prosecutors also said the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for contamination.

Federal health officials linked 1,939 illnesses to the outbreak but estimate up to 56,000 people may have been sickened. The Quality Egg company paid a $6.8 million fine as part of a plea agreement, and the DeCosters paid $100,000 apiece.

Plans continue in Atlantic, for “Produce in the Park”

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A planning meeting for “Produce in the Park” will be held this Thursday, April 16th, beginning at 4:30-p.m. in the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce’ meeting room. Anyone interested in being a vendor, assisting with activities or having questions is invited to attend. The market will open June 4th in the Atlantic City Park. The hours will be 4:30- to 6:30-p.m.Produce in the Park logo

Fresh produce, locally made baked goods and hand crafted items will high light the market. Entertainment, children’s activities, food demonstrations and tasting, and educational exhibits are being planned. Atlantic businesses are assisting with marketing.

Applications for vendors are now available. A vendor fee of $60 is charged for the entire season. For more information contact Emily Krengel, LaVon Eblen, Susan Retz or the Atlantic Chamber or Commerce.

Morel mushroom hunters in Iowa are getting ready to go out

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who love to hunt, cook and eat morel mushrooms are ready to start scoping out their secret areas in hopes of finding their prized growths of fungus. Maxine Stone has hunted the elusive mushrooms for years and says they have a distinctive look. “A morel is either black or yellow or grey and it has ridges and pits, definite ridges and definite pits,” Stone says, “and when you cut it down from the top to the bottom, it’s totally hollow inside.”

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

Stone says those who are morel hunting for the first time should go with people who know what the mushroom looks like. She says you should never eat a wild mushroom without positively identifying it. “I think first time around, if you’re going to eat a mushroom, I wouldn’t go by a picture,” Stone says. “I would either take it to someone who knows what they’re doing or take really good pictures of the mushrooms and send them to someone who knows what they’re doing.”

Stone says her favorite way to cook morels is by sauteing them with onion, cream and cognac over pasta and bread. Some people prefer to bread and fry them, but she says that’s too “old school.” Stone adds, you should always cook a wild mushroom before you eat it. Morel hunter Malissa Briggler says morels can be found near dying elm trees but avid mushroom hunters keep quiet tabs on the places where they hunt.

Briggler says,  “A lot of times they’ll be popping up at the same spot next year so you want to kind of guard your area closely so you don’t let your secret out or you might have somebody beat you to the spot next year.” Briggler says you do not need a license to hunt morels, but hunters should get permission from landowners and check regulations on public land before collecting mushrooms.

(Radio Iowa)

Egg executives to be sentenced today (Monday) in salmonella outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two former egg industry executives are scheduled to be sentenced in Sioux City on Monday for their roles in a 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands. Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster pleaded guilty last June to misdemeanor charges of shipping adulterated food.  The two hope to avoid jail time, but prosecutors have argued for tough punishment because of the widespread harm caused by the outbreak.

Prosecutors also say the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for contamination. Federal health officials linked 1,939 illnesses to the 2010 outbreak, but they estimate that up to 56,000 people may have been sickened. The Quality Egg company agreed to pay a $6.8 million fine as part of a plea agreement, and the DeCosters will pay $100,000 apiece.

Research shows soaring nitrate levels in Iowa rivers

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers efforts to control the spread of nitrates in recent years appears to be helping but research shows that levels of the fertilizer byproduct have soared in the state’s major rivers. The Des Moines Register reports  that nitrate levels have more than tripled since the 1950s to more than 7 milligrams per liter in 2010.

Researcher Keith Schilling says the upward trend in nitrate levels is unmistakable. Schilling studies nitrate levels for the Iowa Geological Survey at the University of Iowa. Last month, the Des Moines Water Works sued Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties over high nitrate levels. The utility has invested in costly measures to control nitrates in drinking water.