Agriculture

Wed
13
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

What’s New and Improved for Specialty Crop Producers?
Does your operation include specialty crops? Whether you grow fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, or nursery crops - USDA is here for you.

Over the past year, USDA has stepped up our support of specialty crop producers and local and regional food systems. USDA believes specialty crop producers are integral to the food system of the future, and we are working to improve available options for specialty crop producers as well as ensure equity in program delivery.

Wed
13
Apr

Think safety first when working near grain bins

Being aware and taking prevention measures are keys to safety

Unloading grain bins and delivering corn to local elevators, feed mills and ethanol plants has been in full swing for several weeks across the Midwest. In this article, Dirk Maier, professor of agriculture and biosystems engineering with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, provides some basic safety guidance.

Ideally, corn will gravity flow into the center floor outlet (sump), is transferred with an under-floor conveyor out of the bin and from there to another conveyor that fills a truck or to an overhead load-out bin to gravity-fill a truck.

Wed
13
Apr

Custom Rate Survey shows average costs of common farming practices

Many Iowa farmers hire some custom machine work in their farm business or perform custom work for others. Others rent machinery or perform other services.

In order to help producers and custom operators examine the market, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publishes the Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey, available online at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/html/a3-10.html.

This year’s survey, published in March, includes 122 responses and nearly 3,400 custom rates for tasks related to tillage, planting and seeding, spraying, harvesting, farm labor and more. Most custom rates saw an increase of 3-10%, according to Alejandro Plastina, associate professor in economics and extension economist at Iowa State, and one of the authors of the report. The cost for labor increased almost 14%, reflecting the challenges of a tight labor market nationwide.

Wed
06
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Manure is a Valuable Resource
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
We know what a busy time Spring can be. The window for field work can be short, and spring rainfall can keep soils wet, leading to concerns of compaction. There can be some clear economic and environmental advantages to applying manure in the spring, however. As input costs rise, producers using manure for crop production should consider how they can integrate more spring application into their production systems.

Wed
06
Apr

2022 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year nominations now open

Winner receives use of new John Deere 6E utility tractor for one year

Nominations are now being sought to recognize the 2022 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year.  Now in its 70th year, this prestigious honor has been awarded to celebrate conservation progress and Iowa farmers who are committed to exceptional environmental stewardship and conservation efforts.

The statewide and regional awards, co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), honor Iowa farmers who have distinguished track records of commitment to soil conservation and water quality improvement efforts. The grand prize winner will receive the use of a new John Deere 6E utility tractor for one year.

Wed
06
Apr

Solving the complex puzzle of dissolved phosphorus loss from farmland is topic of research project from Iowa State University

A research project by Iowa State University soil scientists provides new insight into the complex picture of phosphorus loss from farmland and evidence proving phosphorus runoff is often underestimated.

One of the project’s primary objectives was to determine how much dissolved phosphorus (P) in surface runoff may not be accurately measured by common methods. The work was conducted over three years with funding from the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State.

“Conventional views of P loss are that most of it is tightly bound to soil particles, so P is not a problem as long as erosion is controlled. Our study shows this is not necessarily the case,” said Antonio Mallarino, professor of agronomy and ISU Extension and Outreach soil fertility and nutrient management specialist. He led the project, working with Mazhar U. Haq, research specialist in agronomy, and former graduate student John D. Jones, Jr.

Wed
30
Mar

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Wed
30
Mar

ISU Extension answers common questions about Avian Influenza

Biosecurity and producer awareness are top issues

Avian influenza continues to be confirmed across Iowa and the nation. Here are some common questions and answers from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to help inform consumers, bird owners and poultry producers.

Wed
23
Mar

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
Mar. 25: Dairy Margin Coverage Program

Manure and Soil Health
by LuAnn Rolling, NRCS District Conservationist
Ruth Blomquist, the Southwest Iowa Soil Health specialist for the NRCS, says she was recently asked  about manure application and soil health. The question was, “Are we doing more harm than good if manure is applied with a high disturbance method like injection or if it is surface applied with incorporation?”  She did some research and found that the answer isn’t a simple yes or no, and it depends on multiple factors.

Wed
23
Mar

Prevent avian influenza by promoting good biosecurity

In a recent episode of the Small Farm Sustainability Podcast, Yuko Sato, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach poultry veterinarian and associate professor in Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses avian influenza and how good biosecurity practices can help prevent outbreaks in poultry.

Avian influenza, explains Sato, is a viral disease of poultry and other birds caused by type A influenza virus. There are two primary types of the virus, distinguished by their capacity to cause disease. The first, Low-Pathogenic Avian Influenza, results in mild respiratory symptoms. The second, and more concerning, is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, which spreads rapidly through chicken and turkey populations and has a high fatality rate.

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