Agriculture

Wed
26
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15-August 1: Primary Nesting Season
May 31: Office closed in observance of Memorial Day
June 15: COC Election Ballots Mailed to Producers in LAA 3
July 15: Crop Certification

Wed
26
May

New research predicts benefits to monarchs from habitat planted near crop fields

New research on monarchs by Iowa State University scientists offers important insights to those trying to boost populations by planting habitat close to corn and soybean fields.

The research indicates maximum increases in Iowa monarch populations are expected if habitat is established near crop fields, assuming that Integrated Pest Management recommendations are used and insecticide spray drift management practices are followed.

The research helps answer important questions related to the long-term sustainability of North America’s eastern monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), which is under consideration for listing as a threatened or endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wed
19
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Soil Health during Drought
by Jacob Hawes, Soil Conservationist
In the last several weeks, many farmers have expressed a concern over the lack of precipitation received this spring and the looming potential for a drought heading into summer. Although drought is experienced by all farmers, those who no-till will have a big advantage. At the surface level residue from the previous year provides a layer of protection that prevents evaporation by shielding the ground from the sun and wind.  There is much more going on below the surface in no-tilled fields where the soils are able to better tolerate dry conditions and maintain moisture.

Wed
19
May

“Producing and Marketing in Today’s Era” Feedlot Forum 2021 registration is open

Issues critical to beef feedlot producers to be discussed at late June event

The Feedlot Forum 2021 will be held Tuesday, June 29 at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. Built grassroots up, the event focuses on issues critical to beef feedlot producers and cutting-edge technology available from agribusiness professionals.

This year’s theme is “Producing and Marketing in Today’s Era,” and the forum features the following nationally recognized speakers and their topics, including speakers from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach:

Wed
19
May

Century and Heritage Farm Applications due June 1

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig reminds eligible farm owners to apply for the 2021 Century and Heritage Farm Program now. The program was created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation to recognize families who have owned their farms for 100 years and 150 years, respectively. To be included in the 2021 Century or Heritage Farm Program, completed applications must be received by June 1, 2021.

Wed
12
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Wed
12
May

Virtual Crop Scouting School now available

The 2021 Virtual Crop Scout School is now available and is free to the general public. The scout school consists of 22 webinars from crop protection specialists at 11 Midwest universities and is offered through the Crop Protection Network.

Crop scouts, farmers and other users can choose from a variety of diverse subjects to help them become more knowledgeable on crop scouting. Topics are split into digestible bits so crop scouts can interact with subject matter in a way that best suits their time and interest. Specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will present.

Wed
12
May

Farmers can use state cost share funds to add soil health, water quality practices to their fields

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that farmers and landowners can sign up now for state cost share funds to help adopt soil health and water quality practices. The funding can be used for in-field management practices, including planting cover crops, transitioning acres to no-till/strip-till soil management, or applying a nitrification inhibitor.

“2020 was a record year for engagement in the state’s conservation cost-share programs, yet we still have a lot of work to do to reach our soil health and water quality goals,” said Secretary Naig. “I encourage all farmers and landowners to look for opportunities to add soil health and water quality practices to their fields. This program is a great way to help you get started.”

Wed
05
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Soil Biology Important at Planting
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
Since we are in the middle of the planting season, I wanted to discuss the importance of soil biology to an emerging plant. Soil with good biology will include bacteria, fungi and other microscopic organisms. If a plant emerges in soil that does not have good biology it will send roots out searching for it, which could take 10-14 days. If there is good biology in the soil, the plant would begin to immediately absorb nutrients generated from the biology and put that energy towards growth and reproduction.

Wed
05
May

Virtual Forage Field Day to feature annuals

Annual forages can provide flexibility when managing forage supply, whether filling forage production gaps or serving as a primary forage source.

Learn more about annual forages and integrating them into a cropping rotation in a virtual field day set for June 3 beginning at 8:30 a.m., hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“We’ve seen an interest from producers wanting to integrate both cool and warm season annual forages into their farming operation,” said Erika Lundy, beef specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “However, many questions still remain regarding which forage species is best for a given situation or farm goal as well as their nutritional value and yield potential.”

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