Agriculture

Wed
21
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15: August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Crop Certification

New Research Shows up to 30% of crop Nitrogen may come from Soil Biology
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

The role of biological nitrogen fixation in crops such as cereals as an alternate source to chemical fertilizers has been a longtime goal in science and industry. Efforts in research and development of biological fixation in cereals still have not resulted in high enough Nitrogen (N) generation to be a total replacement for chemical fertilizers. However, recent research indicates biological nitrogen fixation can contribute up to 30 percent of N requirement of a corn crop.

Wed
21
Apr

Women Landowners are the focus of new outreach project

Owning nearly half of the farmland in Iowa, women landowners play an influential role in decisions that impact agriculture and natural resources. To better understand this demographic, a team of specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is beginning a three-year project to study the needs, challenges and opportunities of women landowners.

The project is called “Enhancing Conservation, Access and Generational Transition of Iowa Farmland through Women Landowners” and is being funded through a $300,000 grant by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

According to the 2017 Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure survey, 47% of all acres and 55% of all leased acres in Iowa were owned by women. In addition, most owners were over the age of 65 and 13% of female farmland owners in Iowa were over 80.

Wed
14
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15: August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Crop Certification

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2) Re-Opening
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, enacted December 2020 requires FSA to make certain payments to producers according to a mandated formula. USDA is now expediting these provisions because there is no discretion involved in interpreting such directives, they are self-enacting.  This includes:

• An increase in CFAP 1 payment rates for cattle. Cattle producers with approved CFAP 1 applications will automatically receive these payments beginning in April. Eligible producers do not need to submit new applications, since payments are based on previously approved CFAP 1 application.  Rates are below.  Please review your payment when received to ensure an accurate calculation.

Wed
14
Apr

Emerging drainage water recycling practice could improve yields and water quality


Illustrations of two types of drainage water recycling systems, overhead pivot irrigation (left) and subirrigation (right). Courtesy of TransformingDrainage.org.

Drainage water recycling (DWR) is a drainage management system designed to capture water during wet periods so it can be used later when growing crops are thirsty.

Versions of DWR have been around for years, but adoption has remained limited. Now, interest is growing as the practice is recognized for its potential to improve water quality and help farmers reduce risks from weather volatility.

Research underway by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center (INRC) and the Iowa Soybean Association is analyzing drainage water recycling’s costs and benefits, with funding from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the INRC and the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Wed
14
Apr

Early planting is possible as soils continue to warm

Agronomists say risk of cold snap far from over

A warm start to April is giving farmers an opportunity for an early start in the fields. How much to do now depends on where you farm and your level of risk assessment.

According to the April 5 soil temperature map provided by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, nearly all counties in Iowa are at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer – the minimum for planting corn.

However, agronomists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach say it’s still early, both in terms of the optimum planting window and the risk for spring frost.

Historically, the optimum planting window for Iowa corn has been April 11 to May 18, with a shorter window in the northern part of the state compared to the south. And the risk for a heavy frost (temperature below 28 F) remains above the 50th percentile until about mid-April.

Wed
07
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
April 9: Quality Loss Adjustment Program
May 15: August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Crop Certification

Summer Annuals for Forage
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

Today I’d like to talk about a new system we’re exploring that uses summer annuals following a winter hardy cover crop.  The summer annuals are harvested for silage rather than alfalfa haylage or successive years of corn silage.  The advantages are allowing for more plant diversity to boost soil health, a reduced cost of production while maintaining a green growing root in the soil for as long as possible, and opening up new manure application and harvest windows. It also might be possible to harvest more total forage biomass with a summer annual mix compared to alfalfa.

Wed
07
Apr

Soil Management Land Valuation Conference to return in May

Timely updates for those interested in the Iowa land market

The longest-running conference offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be offered May 19 via Zoom.

The Soil Management Land Valuation Conference – now in its 93rd year, was canceled last year due to COVID-19 concerns. The conference returns with timely updates for farm managers, rural appraisers, real estate brokers and others interested in the Iowa land market.

“The conference offers networking opportunities for those who have an interest in agricultural land, land management and land valuation,” said Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State. “Additionally, participants have an opportunity through an online survey before the conference to ‘gaze into their crystal balls,’ and will be asked to provide their estimates of future land values in Iowa and corn and soybean prices via an online survey distributed before the conference.”

Wed
07
Apr

ISU Extension Dairy Technology Field Day to be held April 14

Two dairy farms will be featured for tours in northeast Iowa

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy team is hosting a field day focused on dairy technology on the farm. The April 14 field day will feature two farm visits where attendees can see automated feeding and milking system technology in action and learn about calf barn management, ventilation and feeding calves with a milk taxi.

The first farm visit will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Honey Creek Dairy, 1636 400th St., Strawberry Point, Iowa. Honey Creek Dairy recently installed a Lely Vector automated feeding system as well as three Lely Astronaut automated milking units. Co-owner Dan Venteicher will be on hand to explain how the automated feeding system works and answer questions about the new facilities and equipment.

Wed
31
Mar

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
April 9: Quality Loss Adjustment Program
May 15: August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Crop Certification

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance for Producers Facing Inclement Weather
Most of the nation is facing unusually cold weather, as a winter storm moved coast-to-coast over the weekend. Winter storms create significant challenges and often result in catastrophic loss for agricultural producers, especially for those raising livestock, row crops and vulnerable crops like citrus. Despite every attempt to mitigate risk, your operation may suffer losses. USDA offers several programs to help with recovery.

Wed
31
Mar

Custom Rate Survey shows costs for Iowa farming

New data shows what Iowans charge and pay for custom farming

Many Iowa farmers continue to hire at least some of their fieldwork and livestock work to be done by others, and new data from a popular survey provides ranges and averages of what is being paid.

The “2021 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey,” conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, covers the amounts charged and paid for common crop and livestock services. Tillage, planting, harvesting, manure hauling and livestock transportation are all included, along with dozens of other tasks and data points.

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