Agriculture

Wed
11
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Spring Crop Reporting

May 2022 CCC and FSFL Interest Rates
New rates were issued for the month of May and are as follows:
• 2.625% for 3 years
• 2.625% for 5 years
• 2.625% for 7 years
• 2.625% for 10 years
• 2.750% for 12 years

Wed
04
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Spring Crop Reporting

It Can be Scary to Make the Switch to Soil Health
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
Barry Fisher, recently retired from the USDA in the NRCS Soil Health Division, is now a Certified Crop Advisor and operates Fisher Soil Health, a consulting firm specializing in soil health and regenerative farming.  In an article in the April 2022 Issue of No-Till Farmer he says he can understand that it’s easy for a producer to be complacent about soil health, particularly when overall yields continue to climb and growers are raising some of the best crops of their careers.  He states that, “Psychologically, it’s a challenge to make management decisions which pose risks to a long string of successful harvests.”  

Wed
04
May

Land Stewardship Project Pasture Walk to feature spring grazing of cover crops May 19 near Ossian

Spring grazing of cover crops will be the focus of a Land Stewardship Project (LSP) pasture walk May 19, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Oak Creek Pastures near Ossian (1963 155th Street). This event is free and open to the public and sign-in begins at 4:45 p.m. Supper will feature Oak Creek Pastures grass-finished beef sloppy joes, homemade baked beans with bacon, chips, and bars (a small donation is requested to cover the cost of the meal).

Participants are asked to dress for the weather. Reserve a spot by May 17 at https://bit.ly/37GLJVm or by contacting LSP’s Alex Romano at aromano@landstewardshipproject.org.

Directions: From Highway 52, turn onto 155th Street; look for LSP signs.  

Wed
04
May

Forage options for horses described and compared in new guide

Horse owners in Iowa have multiple options to choose from

Equine owners have numerous choices when it comes to which forages to feed their horses. In order to help make the decision easier, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released a new publication called “Forages for Horses in Iowa.”

A dozen different species of legumes and grasses are covered, along with information on how to seed each species and maximize the yield potential.

“A mature horse that is not working hard will eat 1.5 to 2 pounds of air-dry feed per 100 pounds of body weight,” said Peggy Auwerda, associate professor in animal science and extension equine specialist. “That would be 15 to 20 pounds of hay daily for a 1,000-pound horse. In Iowa, horses will require about 2 tons of hay per head per year, plus summer pasture.”

Pasture is an ideal forage for horses in the spring, summer and fall, but during winter months, a high-quality hay is essential.

Wed
27
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
April 29: Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Spring Crop Reporting

Five Facts About the United States Drought Monitor
This is likely no surprise to you, but drought persists across the western U.S. and is intensifying in some areas. No geographic area is immune to the potential of drought at any given time. The U.S. Drought Monitor provides a weekly drought assessment, and it plays an important role in USDA programs that help farmers and ranchers recover from drought.

Wed
27
Apr

Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference is May 18

Topics will include an agricultural economy outlook, weather and its impact and rising input costs

Record high commodity prices, crop inputs and land values are topics that will drive discussion at the 94th annual Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference, May 18 in Ames.

The average acre of Iowa farmland increased nearly 30% last year, according to results of the Iowa State University Land Value Survey, released in November. Many variables continue to change in today’s agricultural landscape and will be part of the discussion.

This year’s conference will be offered in person at Iowa State University’s Scheman Building from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well as virtually via Zoom.

Wed
27
Apr

Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference set for June

Dairy nutrition, management and heat stress among topics

Learn the latest information about dairy nutrition and management at the 2022 Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference June 1 and 2 at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa. This conference features information on improving transition cow performance as well as other pertinent information.

RP Nutrient’s pre-conference symposium focuses on uncovering profit opportunities. Anita Menconi, of Evonik, will provide an overview and outlook of the global dairy nutrition industry. Jesse Goff, professor emeritus with Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, will cover common pitfalls when feeding a low DCAD diet. Milk Money CEO Jay Joy will discuss how to develop your business by developing your people and Mark Hanigan, Virginia Tech, will show how to balance for amino acids using the NASEM 2021 model.

Wed
20
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Spring Crop Reporting

Human Health is Related to Soil Health
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
New research from Penn State shows that tillage on farms may significantly reduce the availability of ergothioneine (ERGO) in crops.  ERGO is an amino acid produced by certain types of soil-borne fungi and bacteria that is known as a “longevity vitamin” due to its potent antioxidant properties. This research, conducted by an interdisciplinary team at Penn State, is among the first to demonstrate that soil disturbance can directly impact a key dietary factor associated with long-term human health.

Wed
20
Apr

Kickapoo Grazing Initiative Pasture Walks scheduled

Pasture walks scheduled in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota

The Kickapoo Grazing Initiative (KGI), now in its tenth year, is a public/private conservation partnership focusing on the promotion of economic and environmental incentives for landowners and farmers to adopt the managed grazing of grass-fed beef, dairy and multi-species. “Because of the benefits of increased soil organic matter, reduced runoff, and value-added healthy food production, the KGI believes that managed rotational grazing can help protect water quality while sustaining our small farmers in the area,” remarked Cynthia Olmstead, KGI Project Director.

Wed
20
Apr

Soil temperature map available through Iowa State can help guide planting decisions for farmers

Know the 4-inch soil temperature before putting seed in the ground

Soil temperature is one of the most important factors crop farmers use to guide their planting decisions. The rule of thumb is to wait until the upper 4 inches reach at least 50° degrees Fahrenheit, with a warming trend in the forecast.

One way farmers can keep track of soil temperature in their county and across the state is by using the soil temperatures map available at https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/agclimate/soilt.php, compiled by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet at Iowa State University. Updated daily in the spring, this map provides current and historical soil temperatures for each county in Iowa.

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