Agriculture

Wed
27
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season - No MCM work on CRP acres
May 26 – August 28: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Signup
June 30: 2020 ARCPLC Election
July 15: Crop Certification
September 30: PLC Yield Update

Wed
27
May

Iowa cash rents show slight increase

Cash rent per acre up over last year, but economic challenges could influence the future

Despite another difficult year in agriculture, cash rents still posted an increase of about 1.4%, according to this year’s Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2020 Survey, released earlier this month.

Rates across the state averaged $222 per acre, compared to $219 per acre in 2019, the fourth year of relatively stable rates, but at levels about 18% lower than the historical peak reached in 2013, of $270 per acre.

“It’s surprising for me to see that cash rents are pretty stable and have not gone down,” said Alejandro Plastina, associate professor and extension economist at Iowa State University. “And that’s likely a reflection that government programs last year were injecting enough liquidity.”

Wed
27
May

Dairy News and Views Podcast keeps Iowa producers informed

Dairy producers across Iowa have a new way of receiving information, thanks to a new podcast launched by dairy specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Dairy News & Views from Iowa State University” began recording in April, featuring timely topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and dairy production in general.

The podcasts are recorded every two weeks, and feature commentary by ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialists Jennifer Bentley and Fred Hall, in conversation with other Iowa State dairy industry experts.

“The podcasts offer another way for dairy producers and the dairy industry in Iowa to receive current and timely information and resources on dairy production practices, financial management and practical strategies in dealing with farm stress,” said Bentley.

Wed
20
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season – No MCM work on CRP acres
June 30: 2020 ARCPLC Election
July 15: Crop Certification
September 30: PLC Yield Update

2020 Crop Certification
The on-going COVID-19 situation has changed the way we operate at the office.  We are conducting much more business through phone and email.  Unfortunately, at this time, it appears we will not be able to certify crops face-to-face at the office.  Our office has mailed out farm maps to the operator for them to mark the crops planted, date planted, and shares.

Wed
20
May

To spray or not to spray?


Frost damaged pennycress (April 2007). Reduced control would be likely if spraying weeds with this extent of frost injury.

by Dr. Bob Hartzler, professor of agronomy and extension weed specialist

Although most crop fields have not reached the stage for regularly planned POST herbicide applications, there likely are situations where people would like to get weeds controlled prior to the rain forecast later this week.  The question is what impact will this weekend’s frost have on herbicide performance.

Herbicides perform best on actively growing weeds, thus weeds damaged by the frost will have decreased sensitivity.  If the target is small summer annuals (2 or less true leaves) I suspect effective control can still be achieved.  If summer annuals are bigger than this and showing signs of frost damage, it probably would be best to delay applications until new growth is present.

Wed
20
May

2020 scouting recommendations for black cutworm


Figure 1. Estimated black cutworm dates for each Iowa crop reporting district based on peak flights during April.

Figure 2. Black cutworm larvae have grainy and light grey to black skin. Photo by Adam Sisson.

Figure 3. Black cutworm (left) can be distinguished from other larvae, such as dingy cutworm (right), by the dark tubercles along their bodies. For black cutworm, the tubercles nearest the head on each segment are about 1/3 the size of the tubercle closest to the rear. Corresponding tubercles on dingy cutworm are about the same size. Photos by Adam Sisson.

Figure 4. Black cutworm is known for completely severing corn seedlings. However, injury from black cutworm larvae usually begins above the soil surface. Leaf feeding can occur (left), or larvae can severely damage or kill plants (right). Photo on left copyright Marlin Rice; photo on right courtesy of Jon Kiel.

by Ashley Dean, extension program specialist, Erin Hodgson, associate professor, Integrated Crop Management News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Black cutworm (BCW) is a migratory pest that arrives in Iowa with spring storms each year. BCW moths lay eggs in and near crop fields, and larvae can cut corn seedlings or feed on leaves. Even though crops were planted earlier this year than previous years, cold temperatures may slow growth and allow BCW larvae to coincide with early vegetative corn that is vulnerable to BCW injury.

Wed
13
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 - August 1: Primary Nesting Season - No MCM work on CRP acres
June 30: 2020 ARCPLC Election
July 15: Crop Certification
September 30: PLC Yield Update

May 2020 FSFL Interest Rates
New rates were issued for the month of May and are as follows:
• 0.250% for 3 years
• 0.375% for 5 years
• 0.625% for 7 years
• 0.750% for 10 years
• 0.750% for 12 years
• 0.875% for 15 years

Wed
13
May

Alfalfa weevils active throughout Iowa


Figure 1. Accumulated growing degree days (base 48°F) in Iowa from January 1 – May 2, 2020. Map courtesy of Iowa Environmental Mesonet, ISU Department of Agronomy.

Photo 1. Mature alfalfa weevil larvae have a dark head and pale green body with a white stripe down the back. Fully-grown larvae are about 5/16 inches long. Photo by John Obermeyer, Purdue University Extension.

Photo 2. Alfalfa weevil adults have an elongated snout and elbowed antennae. Their wings and body are mottled or brown. Photo by Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org.

Photo 3. Heavily-defoliated alfalfa fields appear frosted from a distance. Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, ipmimages.org.

Table 1. Economic threshold of alfalfa weevil, based on the average number of larvae in a 30-stem sample (Originally published by John Tooker, Penn State Extension). For more information on how to interpret the table, visit https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/explanation-updated-threshold-table-alfalfa-weevil.

by Erin Hodgson, associate professor, Ashley Dean, extension program specialist, Integrated Crop Management News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Adult alfalfa weevils become active and start laying eggs as soon as temperatures exceed 48°F. Like other insects, the development of alfalfa weevil depends on temperature and we can rely on the accumulation of growing degree days (GDD) to predict activity. Alfalfa weevil egg hatching begins when 200-300 degree days have accumulated since January 1.

Based on accumulated temperatures since January, alfalfa weevils may be active in much of the state (Figure 1). Some areas in northern Iowa have lower GDD accumulation and may not see activity yet. In Iowa, fields south of Interstate 80 should be scouted beginning at 200 GDD and fields north of Interstate 80 should be scouted beginning at 250 GDD.

Wed
13
May

SWCD coordinates soil health project through Regional Conservation Partnership Program

The Allamakee SWCD is coordinating a project through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), a program funded through the USDA. The practices funded through this project are:

1. Cover crops on manure applied acres
2. Cropland conversion to hay/pasture (and all related practices including fencing, watering systems, prescribed grazing, and heavy use protection)
3. Adding a small grain to a rotation
4. Utilizing cover crops as part of a 3-crop system (corn-soybean-small grain)

Only a fraction of conventional row crop farmers grow cover crops after harvest, but a new global analysis from the University of Illinois shows the practice can boost soil microbial abundance by 27%.There are many benefits to planting cover crops including reducing erosion, increasing organic matter, reducing compaction, improving nutrient cycling, and providing food for beneficial soil microorganisms.

Wed
06
May

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season – No MCM work on CRP acres
June 30: 2020 ARCPLC Election
July 15: Crop Certification
September 30: PLC Yield Update

2020 Crop Certification
The on-going COVID19 situation has changed the way we operate at the office.  We are doing much more through phone and email.  Unfortunately, at this time, it appears we will not be able to certify crops face-to-face at the office.  While the final details are still being decided, it looks like we will be mailing out farm maps to the operator for them to mark the crops planted, date planted, and shares.  Then return them to us via mail, email or the drop-box outside the office.  We would then load them and determine the best way for you to sign the certification whether via mail, email, or drop box. Our goal is to start getting maps mailed out the week of May 11.

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