Corn and soybean growers in Iowa and across the country set new records in 2016. That’s according to a report from the USDA Ag Statistics Service. Doug Hartwig, deputy director for the Upper Midwest region, says the corn yield in Iowa is estimated at 2.74 billion bushels. “That’s a record high production. This is nine-percent above the previous record of 2.51 billion bushels set in 2015,” Hartwig says.
Iowa’s average corn yield topped 200 bushels per acre for the first time ever. “The average yield for the state ended up at 203 bushels per acre,” Hartwig says. “It was a pretty phenomenal year for corn production.” Iowa has now led the nation in corn production for 23 consecutive years and 38 of the last 39 years. Soybean production in Iowa in 2016 is estimated at 572 million bushels.
“This is a record high production as well, topping the previous record set (in 2015) at 554 million bushels,” Hartwig says. The average soybean yield last year was 60.5 bushels per acre, also topping the previous record of 56.5 in 2015. Nationally, 2016 corn production totaled 15.1 billion bushels with an average yield of 174.4 bushels per acre.
Those are both all-time highs, besting previous records set in 2014. U.S. soybean production totaled 4.3 billion bushels with an average yield of 52.1 bushels per acre, also new records.
Saute margarine, onion and celery. Mix together the broccoli, soup, cheese and rice in a 2 quart microwave/oven safe bowl. Stir in the onion mixture and microwave on high for about 10 to 12 minutes, or bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Crush potato chips on top for extra flavor.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is accepting applications for grant funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The grants are available to support projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa.
The final funding level for the 2017 Iowa Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is yet to be announced by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service that administer the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, but is expected to be similar to last years $244,352.23 funding.
“The Specialty Crop Block Grant funds can support food safety, research and marketing efforts that encourage Iowans to choose the products that are produced right here in our state,” Northey said. “Specialty crops are a very important part of Iowa agriculture as they allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products.”
Grant funds shall be used for projects that benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.
Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, and producer, industry, and community based organizations are all eligible to apply for funding. In addition, organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.
Grant awards will be considered up to a maximum of $24,000 and projects can have a duration of up to 30 months (2 ½ years). “Specialty Crops” that are eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Both fresh and processed specialty crops are eligible.
Proposals must be received by IDALS on or before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2017. For more information visit the IDALS Specialty Crop Block Grant program at the Department’s web site at www.IowaAgriculture.gov/Horticulture_and_FarmersMarkets/specialtyCropGrant.asp.
The Department is also again establishing a Review Committee to help review, evaluate, and make recommendations on grant proposals submitted to the Department. Those interested in participating in the Review Committee should have knowledge of specialty crops, and/or grant writing or grant management experience, and the ability to devote the necessary time to complete the review process. Additional information about reviewer responsibilities, meeting dates and an application form can also be found at www.IowaAgriculture.gov/Horticulture_and_FarmersMarkets/specialtyCropGrant.asp.
Applications to participate in the Reviewer Committee are due Friday, March 17, 2017 by 4 p.m. To ensure that funds are used in the most efficient manner possible, the Department is asking specialty crop stakeholders and organizations to submit public comments on program priorities. The comments will help the Department identify priorities; establish the criteria used to evaluate the projects proposed for funding, and to determine how the reviews are conducted.
Iowans interested in submitting comments about the program can do so online by emailing HorticultureAndFarmersMarkets@IowaAgriculture.gov or by mail to Horticulture and Farmers Market Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, 502 East 9th, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319. Comments received by April 3, 2017 will be presented to the review committee to assist in prioritizing projects.
“The Specialty Crop Block Grant program has been a tremendous benefit to Iowa and it is important we understand the priorities of the specialty crop producers as we consider this year’s applications,” Northey said. “The public comments will allow us to hear from all segments of Iowa’s specialty crop industries and give them a means to participate in the decisions surrounding this program.”
As we get deeper into January, some Iowan’s thoughts are turning to coyotes. Iowa Department of Natural Resources state furbearer biologist Vince Evelsizer says there’s a continual season on coyotes — but these winter days tend to get more hunters seeking the animal. “There’s more focus this time of year because there’s typically snow cover, a lot of the other hunting seasons are closing down after January 10th, and so some of the outdoors folks devote their time and attention to the coyote,” Evelsizer explains.
Another draw is the price paid for the fur of the animals. “Pelt value has remain decent for coyotes,” Evelsizer says, “mostly because of the trim trade where the coyote pelts are utilized in the hood of coats and jackets and that sort of thing.”
He says Iowa pelts can bring between 15 and 25 dollars, depending on their quality. In Iowa you can trap coyotes during the trapping season, or you can hunt them with a gun. Evelsizer says the method used to catch a coyote varies based on personal preference. “Some guys do very well calling in coyotes. Other guys do well working together in groups of hunters and getting them that way. Whereas some trappers do well trapping them, so it just kind of depends,” he says.
Evelsizer says the state population of coyotes has been steady to increasing, with the western and southwestern areas seeing more of the animals than in the eastern part of the state. “For the past couple of years we’ve had record harvests. It varies from year-to-year, but lately it’s been from 12 to 15-thousand coyotes harvested annually,” Evelsizer says.
There are fewer rules in hunting these animals. You can use predator calls, hunt day or night, use high powered rifles, hunt over bait and use groups of hunters and or hounds to round them up. There is no bag limit and coyotes. Evelsizer says the rules are more liberal for hunting coyotes because they are very good at avoiding detection. And they are very resilient in adapting to their habitat.
“Coyotes have the ability to compensate with liter size. Meaning that, in years when their numbers are down, the average litter size is typically higher because there is more food available. It’s sort of their way of rebuilding their numbers,” according to Evelsizer. “In years when coyote numbers are higher, the average liter size may be lower.”
While there are fewer regulations to hunt coyotes — Evelsizer says hunters need to take some precautions. “An adult coyote typically weighs around 35 to 40 pounds — but that can vary a little bit — so they are typically about the size of a dog,” Evelsizer says. “The number one thing for hunters is to be sure of their target so that they don’t mistake it for some sort of hybrid dog, coyote or a wolf for that matter. So, we just encourage hunters be sure of their target.”
He says there has been an increase in the number of reported wolf sightings over the years as they may’ve migrated in from Wisconsin or Minnesota. There have been at least four wolves shot by coyote hunters during the last two years. Wolves are protected in Iowa and there is no open season You can tell the difference between the two, as coyotes have a pointed snout and their ears are larger proportionally to their body. Wolves are taller than coyotes and have long front legs and a heavier, squarer frame. You can find out more about coyote hunting on the D-N-R’s website, http://www.iowadnr.gov/ .
Are you a farmer or are you involved in the agriculture industry? Are you curious where the ag markets might be headed this year? If yes, plan on attending Iowa State University Extension and Outreach – Shelby County’s Farmer’s Coffee January 31st at 9:30 a.m. ISUEO Farm Management Specialist Shane Ellis will be presenting a market outlook for both crops and livestock. Low commodity prices are impacting both producers and other industries related to agriculture. Knowing what to expect in the near future will help to make good management decisions for the future.
Please join us at the Shelby County Extension Office 906 6th Street for hot coffee and refreshments, catch up on the latest ag news, bring your questions, and visit with others and Shane about what the new holds for agriculture. There is no cost. This informational meeting is for anyone who is involved in the agriculture industry! Please call the Shelby County Extension and Outreach Office at (712)755-3104 for more information.