Agriculture

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.”

Wed
05
May

Sharing rural roads with farm equipment requires patience and caution

With planting season underway, drivers should expect to encounter slow moving equipment

Favorable weather in the forecast has farm equipment and motorists back on Iowa’s roadways, and with that combination comes the need for patience and caution.

“Every year there are thousands of collisions between motor vehicles and farm machinery on our rural roads,” said Steven Freeman, professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University.

The most common incidents occur when an approaching motorist hits a farm vehicle from behind or when a passing motorist hits a farm vehicle that is attempting to make a wide left turn, according to Freeman, who authored a handy guide called “Sharing Rural Roads.”

Additional information is also available in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication “Safely Sharing the Road with Farm Vehicles.”

Wed
28
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Wed
28
Apr

Video series explains how to inspect seed emergence

Good yields begin with proper seed emergence and stand, and to help producers understand how to check for both, the crops team at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has developed a new YouTube channel with timely updates.

The first four videos focus on stand assessments, poor stand and uniformity, assessing emergence and conducting stand counts.

Each video is recorded in a recently planted field, with instruction by Mark Licht, assistant professor in agronomy and cropping systems specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Stand assessment is important every year and should be done for each field, according to Licht. He said it’s even more important this year, for those who planted early and experienced cold, wet conditions soon after that planting.

If problems are found, the producer may be able to correct the issue for this year, or if not, make a note of what needs to be corrected for next year.

Wed
21
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

New Research Shows up to 30% of crop Nitrogen may come from Soil Biology
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

The role of biological nitrogen fixation in crops such as cereals as an alternate source to chemical fertilizers has been a longtime goal in science and industry. Efforts in research and development of biological fixation in cereals still have not resulted in high enough Nitrogen (N) generation to be a total replacement for chemical fertilizers. However, recent research indicates biological nitrogen fixation can contribute up to 30 percent of N requirement of a corn crop.

Wed
21
Apr

Women Landowners are the focus of new outreach project

Owning nearly half of the farmland in Iowa, women landowners play an influential role in decisions that impact agriculture and natural resources. To better understand this demographic, a team of specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is beginning a three-year project to study the needs, challenges and opportunities of women landowners.

The project is called “Enhancing Conservation, Access and Generational Transition of Iowa Farmland through Women Landowners” and is being funded through a $300,000 grant by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

According to the 2017 Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure survey, 47% of all acres and 55% of all leased acres in Iowa were owned by women. In addition, most owners were over the age of 65 and 13% of female farmland owners in Iowa were over 80.

Wed
14
Apr

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2) Re-Opening
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, enacted December 2020 requires FSA to make certain payments to producers according to a mandated formula. USDA is now expediting these provisions because there is no discretion involved in interpreting such directives, they are self-enacting.  This includes:

• An increase in CFAP 1 payment rates for cattle. Cattle producers with approved CFAP 1 applications will automatically receive these payments beginning in April. Eligible producers do not need to submit new applications, since payments are based on previously approved CFAP 1 application.  Rates are below.  Please review your payment when received to ensure an accurate calculation.

Wed
14
Apr

Emerging drainage water recycling practice could improve yields and water quality


Illustrations of two types of drainage water recycling systems, overhead pivot irrigation (left) and subirrigation (right). Courtesy of TransformingDrainage.org.

Drainage water recycling (DWR) is a drainage management system designed to capture water during wet periods so it can be used later when growing crops are thirsty.

Versions of DWR have been around for years, but adoption has remained limited. Now, interest is growing as the practice is recognized for its potential to improve water quality and help farmers reduce risks from weather volatility.

Research underway by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center (INRC) and the Iowa Soybean Association is analyzing drainage water recycling’s costs and benefits, with funding from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the INRC and the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Wed
14
Apr

Early planting is possible as soils continue to warm

Agronomists say risk of cold snap far from over

A warm start to April is giving farmers an opportunity for an early start in the fields. How much to do now depends on where you farm and your level of risk assessment.

According to the April 5 soil temperature map provided by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, nearly all counties in Iowa are at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer – the minimum for planting corn.

However, agronomists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach say it’s still early, both in terms of the optimum planting window and the risk for spring frost.

Historically, the optimum planting window for Iowa corn has been April 11 to May 18, with a shorter window in the northern part of the state compared to the south. And the risk for a heavy frost (temperature below 28 F) remains above the 50th percentile until about mid-April.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Agriculture