Agriculture

Wed
20
Jun

June 27 field day to highlight ag weather forecast, soils and crops

The Annual Spring Field Day at the ISU Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm will run from 1:00 to 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 27. Elwynn Taylor, Extension climatologist, will kick-off the program in the Borlaug Learning Center, by providing his insights on crop weather for the 2018 growing season. Mahdi Al-Kaisi, Extension soil/tillage specialist, follows with updates on various strip-till and no-till studies at the research farm. We will then convene outside for the farm wagon tours; John Sawyer, Extension soil fertility specialist, to share his expertise on corn nitrogen fertilizer management (rate, timing, split-apply, N sensors, etc.), and finish with Brian Lang, Extension agronomist, to discuss and demonstrate crop scouting for insect pests.

Wed
20
Jun

Reports update research results at Iowa State University Research Farms

The results of more than 120 agricultural research trials conducted last year at Iowa State University’s Research and Demonstration Farms are available online and can be downloaded at no charge.

“These research reports are a valuable resource for farmers, agricultural educators and agribusiness people needing the latest information on crops, soils, horticulture and livestock management,” said Mark Honeyman, associate dean for operations for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

The college, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, conducts research on Iowa farmland every year. Staff at the farms also coordinate demonstration trials with producers on their farms in those areas.

Wed
20
Jun

What happened to our grassed waterways?

By LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

Driving around Allamakee County today I am shocked by the lack of grassed waterways and the number of undersized waterways that have gullies running down both sides. We are experiencing more higher volume, higher velocity rainfalls than we have ever had in the past.

This should prompt the installation of more and bigger waterways, not the removal.

When USDA conducts random 5% spot checks of conservation plans, one of the easiest ways to tell if a producer is not following the plan is seeing gullies in the field. This is usually obvious when water runs off a field and leaves a gully where grass should be. To best transport water, the grassed waterway should be “parabolic” or bowl shaped so water stays in the grassed area.

Wed
13
Jun

What's Up at the FSA Office?

by Jeremy Leitz, Allamakee County Executive Director (563) 568-2148

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
• May 15 - August 2: Primary Nesting Season. No MCM Activities on CRP Acres
• June 15: Final Planting Date for Soybeans
• July 15: 2018 Crop Reports
• August 1: ARC/PLC Sign-up

CRP Sign-up
USDA announced a CRP signup beginning June 4 and running through August 17.  This sign-up will be for limited practices only to ensure the most sensitive land is protected, while staying under the 24-million-acre cap.

The limited practices include:

• Filter strips
• Riparian buffers
• Grass waterways

All eligible practices are on the USDA website.
Sign-up incentive payments, practice incentive payments, and 10 or 20% per acre rental rate incentives are not authorized for this signup.

Wed
13
Jun

Wide variety of cover crop mixes available to meet certain goals

by Sara Berges,
Allamakee Soil and Water Conservation District

If you plan to plant cover crops after small grain or silage harvest, you have many options available for what to plant rather than just cereal rye. The longer growing season and warmer temperatures allow for a wide variety of species that provide many different benefits. The first step is to determine what goals you have for your cover crop. Many companies sell mixes that are designed to meet specific goals, but you can also create your own mix. 

For each cover crop goal below, several species options are listed. Species that are likely to winter kill are marked with (WK). If we have a mild winter, there is a chance some non-winter hardy species may survive and need to be chemically or mechanically terminated in the spring.

Wed
13
Jun

June 21 field day will explore unique vegetable farm business set-up, financials of starting a farm

When Hannah Breckbill and Emily Fagan started farming together at Humble Hands Harvest in 2017, they took an unconventional approach: They structured their business to function like a cooperative.

“We think this approach needs to be replicated in order to bring more farmers onto the land,” Hannah says.

Humble Hands Harvest is a 2-acre organic vegetable farm that sells to local restaurants, at farmers markets and through a CSA. Hannah has been farming since 2009 and started Humble Hands Harvest in 2013. After a flood during harvest in 2016 destroyed half of the original land she was farming, she decided to relocate. In 2017, she bought an old hay field and teamed up with Emily to build a diversified farm from scratch. In addition to vegetables, they are developing a perennial polyculture system, integrating nut and fruit crops, and incorporating livestock.

Wed
13
Jun

Dairy experts to present on range of topics at Iowa-Wisconsin Silage Conference June 21

Dairy experts from across the Midwest will present at the Iowa-Wisconsin Silage Conference on June 21 in Dubuque. Experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, as well as from the University of Wisconsin, University of Nebraska and industry will provide information on a wide range of topics dealing with growing and using silage.

Registration and check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. on June 21. The program starts at 9:30 a.m. and adjourns at 3:30 p.m. It will be held at the Best Western Plus Dubuque Hotel and Conference Center (3100 Dodge Street, Dubuque).

The following topics will be discussed during the conference:

Wed
06
Jun

What's Up at the FSA Office?

by Jeremy Leitz, Allamakee County Executive Director (563) 568-2148

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
• May 15 – August 2: Primary Nesting Season. No MCM Activities on CRP Acres
• June 15: Final Planting Date for Soybeans
• July 15: 2018 Crop Reports
• August 1: ARC/PLC Sign-up

Crop Reporting
The Allamakee County FSA office welcomes all county farmers to come in and report their 2018 crops.  Certifying your crops is a requirement for many FSA programs.  This includes all spring planted crops and land uses.  Forages and pastures were to be reported last fall, and if you missed that deadline, we will be asking for that report now and collecting a late fee.  100% of the farm must be reported to be eligible for programs.  Please report what is planted on your farm by the deadline of July 15.

Wed
06
Jun

Peake Orchards and Dairy hosts the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Network


Peake Orchards and Dairy ... A group touring the orchard is pictured above. Jeremy and Jodi Peake, pictured below, show Dayna Burtness and Nick Nguyen the suction of the milking machine. Submitted photos.

Touring the dairy facility ... Jodi Peake, pictured above, showing a milker to Dayna Burtness. Submitted photo.

Rain showers stayed at bay to provide a small group of local farmers with a beautiful evening tour of Peake Orchards and Dairy Sunday, May 20. Jeremy and Jodi Peake and their daughters Molly and Leah hosted the farm tour.

Some of the group arrived early to see milking in progress in the tie-stall barn, which was an opportunity for experiential learning. Many of the attendees specialized in other farming systems including vegetable production or small livestock, so there were many in-depth questions about how the dairy production system works from start to finish.

Jeremy shared that he selects his herd (mainly Jerseys and some Ayrshire genetics) to succeed in their grazing system, where the cows are never fed any grain. They milk year-round, utilizing baleage and hayleage over the winter months. The herd of around 40 milking cows are moved to fresh pastures 3-4 times per day, and are milked twice per day.

Wed
06
Jun

Iowa leaders celebrate fifth anniversary of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy


Mike Naig ... Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig speaking at the event. Submitted photo.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based framework to assess and reduce nutrient loss from both point sources (such as municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants) and nonpoint sources (stormwater runoff from both urban and agricultural landscapes) in Iowa.

The Strategy was finalized May 29, 2013, and in the five years since there has been significant work by farmers, landowners, communities, businesses, stakeholders and partners to help improve water quality in Iowa.

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