Agriculture

Wed
16
Dec

What's Up at the USDA Office?


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Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
December 25: Office Closed in Observance of Christmas
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Benefits of Cover Crop Growth Prior to Soybeans
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
According to a  study funded by the United Soybean Board (USB), winter cereal rye that grew an extra three weeks prior to soybean planting produced about 300-400% more biomass (Figure 1) with a 100% increase in nitrogen retention (Figure 2), when compared with early terminated cover crops.

Results from this study showed no difference in soybean yield following a cover crop killed 3 weeks prior to soybean planting compared to a cover crop that was killed one day before soybean planting.

Wed
16
Dec

Iowa State researchers find antibody response to vaccination helps predict swine reproductive success

Measuring antibody response to a commonly used vaccination against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, or PRRSV, could better predict swine reproductive success than common genetic selection strategies, according to new research conducted at Iowa State University.

Reproductive performance is an important component of success for the swine industry - and genetic selection in purebred herds is the primary strategy the industry uses to improve litter size. However, reproductive traits are strongly influenced by the environment while genetics explain only about 10 percent of reproductive outcomes, creating challenges for rapid genetic improvements influencing litter size and survival.

Wed
09
Dec

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
December 11: CFAP 2 Signup; Dairy Margin Coverage Signup
December 25: Office Closed in Observance of Christmas
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

December 2020 FSFL Interest Rates
New rates were issued for the month of December and are as follows:
• 0.250% for 3 years
• 0.375% for 5 years
• 0.625% for 7 years
• 0.875% for 10 years
• 1.000% for 12 years

Wed
02
Dec

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
December 11: CFAP 2 Signup; Dairy Margin Coverage Signup
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Treat the Disease, Not the symptoms
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

We know that healthy soil is bursting with life, it is just that most of the life is at the microscopic level so we can’t readily see it. A single teaspoon of soil is estimated to include one billion microbes including bacteria, fungi, nematodes and more. All of these microbes serve a purpose in a very complex ecosystem that we cannot see.

We have heard some bad things about some of the microscopic life. The word “nematode” is considered bad. In truth the “bad” nematodes make up 5 percent of the nematodes and the rest are doing “good” things like eating bacteria and excreting plant available nitrogen because of it.

Wed
02
Dec

Welsh Family Organic Farm honored as Century Farm in 2020


Family pride ... The Welsh family of Welsh Family Organic Farms, rural Lansing. Left to right: Clinton, Brooke, Madelyn, Kelly, Clayton, Gabrielle, Easden, Emery, Ada, Oden, Kim, Gary and Esther. Submitted photo.

Early start ... This graphic was printed on a t-shirt the Welsh family had created for Bill Welsh. The Welsh family farm was certified organic in 1988. Submitted photo.

submitted by Welsh Family Organic Farm

Welsh Family Organic Farm of rural Lansing is a 2020 Farm Bureau Federation Century Farm honoree. To qualify for this award the farm has to be in the family for 100 years. The 200-acre farm was first purchased by Gary Welsh’s great grandparents, Fred and Mary Weber, in 1920 and later sold to their son, William Weber.
William (Bill) and Esther Welsh, Gary’s parents, purchased the farm August 15, 1963. The farm was then transferred March 16, 1994 to Welsh Properties, Inc., which was owned by William and Esther Welsh. July 22, 2005, Gary and Kim Welsh purchased Welsh Properties, Inc.

Wed
25
Nov

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
November 26: Office closed in observance of Thanksgiving
December 11: CFAP 2 Signup; Dairy Margin Coverage Signup
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Enrollment Begins for Ag. Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021
Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year. Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes March 15, 2021.

Wed
25
Nov

Iowa State researchers find biochar mitigates manure-related odors and emissions

A new study from Iowa State University shows that carbon-rich biochar could be used to mitigate many odors and potentially toxic volatile organic compounds emitted from swine manure.

“The results of this study and related research shows the potential to use biochar treatments to improve air quality inside barns, thus improving worker and animal safety, especially during manure agitation, ” said Jacek Koziel, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, one of the leading researchers on the work.  

Biochar is a material obtained from a high-temperature process called pyrolysis of certain types of biomass and biowaste. The research team tested two types of biochar with different characteristics: biochar from red oak and a highly alkaline, porous biochar made from corn stover.

Wed
18
Nov

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
Dec. 11: CFAP 2 Signup; Dairy Margin Coverage Signup
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Herbicide Resistance
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
The first synthetic herbicide was discovered in the 1940s. Scientists discovered new modes of action every few years through the 1980s. That changed with the introduction of glyphosate-resistant crops.  Roundup, paired with glyphosate-resistant crops, was so effective it overwhelmed most competition, contributing to a lapse in herbicide research.

According to the EPA, about 280 million pounds of glyphosate are used in the U.S. annually - three times more than all other pesticides.  Unfortunately the excessive use of this and other herbicides has led to crops “evolving” to be resistant to chemicals.

Wed
18
Nov

Interseeding cover crops early could solve fall establishment issues


Cover crop conversation ... Allamakee County farmer Brady Kruger (left) talks to Eric Novey (right) of the Allamakee County Soil and Water Conservation District about his 30” corn rows he planted in late April 2020 no-tilled into a living cereal rye cover crop. Submitted photo.

60” rows at Kruger farm ... Allamakee County farmer Brady Kruger also planted 60” twin row corn and interseeded a cover crop mix in June as part of a NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) in 2020. Submitted photo.

Success of 60” corn rows ... Postville farmer Aarik Deering (left) discusses the success of his 60” corn and interseeded cover crop mix with Eric Novey (right) of the Allamakee County Soil and Water Conservation District. Deering planted corn and cover crop trials through a USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Submitted photo.

Deering farm 30” rows ... Rural Postville farmer Aarik Deering also grew 30” corn rows interseeded with a cover crop mix as part of a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) trial through USDA-NRCS in 2020. Submitted photo.

by Jason Johnson, State Public Affairs Specialist, USDA-NRCS, Des Moines

After years of struggling to consistently establish cover crops in the fall on cropland in Iowa’s northern tier counties, more than a dozen Allamakee County producers are participating in a new USDA-sponsored soil health demonstration project that - after one growing season - is showing promising results.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded the Allamakee Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) $236,000 through a three-year grant to lead, manage and analyze a series of data from interseeding cover crops at the V4-V7 corn growth stages (June).

Interseeding allows cover crops to establish prior to corn canopy. After canopy, the cover crop can go dormant from being shaded out and then restart growth once the corn is harvested.

Wed
18
Nov

Farm financial associates through ISU Extension program can help producers in challenging times

The year 2020 brought many challenges and uncertainties to the world, and agriculture most definitely felt the impact.

Wild price swings, supply chain disruptions and economic hardships caused farmers across Iowa to review their finances and operating plan in great detail.

During these difficult times – and any time farmers are looking for financial advice, they can turn to the Farm Financial Planning Program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Seven farm financial associates are available to help, and will work one-on-one to develop confidential financial plans that help producers across the state. The associates are part-time extension employees with career training in farm budgeting and financial analysis, with farm backgrounds and an understanding of the current farm situation.

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