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.

Wed
24
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

Small Grains and Planting into Green Covers Can be the Answer
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
I believe that every farmer I work with wants to be profitable, take care of the soil, water and wildlife and make sure their children and grandchildren can keep farming in the future. How do farmers find profitability with the many different kinds of uncertainty right now, none of which we can control?  

Wed
24
Mar

Achieves 300 bushels per acre adding to history of improving yields and family ties ...

George Beardmore of Dorchester was recently honored for his third-place finish in the 2020 National Corn Grower Association Yield Contest for Iowa with a yield of 300.39 bushels per acre using Pioneer 1366AM. The photo above represents a 68-year history of yield improvement from that same field where this year’s yield award was won and an even longer history of family ties to the same farm.

Wed
24
Mar

Aerial drone cover crop planting


Successful aerial drone seeding ... The photo above was taken March 11, 2021 and shows excellent germination as a result of aerial seeding. Submitted photo.

Harpers Ferry farmer Jon Kruse utilized a unique method of planting cover crops this past fall - a drone. September 16, Kruse hired a private contractor, to fly a drone over standing soybeans to seed red clover as a cover crop.

Aerial cover crop application is growing in popularity across Iowa because of the upsides. A big advantage of aerial seeding is that more acres can be seeded in less time than with ground equipment. Aerial application also allows seeding to be done when it is physically impossible to use ground equipment such as when crops are present, or the soil is too wet for regular equipment.

Wed
17
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

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