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Updated: 2017-04-27T00:13:57Z

 



Survey Shows Iowa Farmers Increasing Nutrient Loss Reduction Practices

2017-04-26T16:02:41Z

The 2016 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll examined trends in farming practices and strategies since 2013, the year that the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was started. The results indicate that farmers are increasing their use of recommended practices and decreasing use of some practices that are not recommended.AMES, Iowa – The 2016 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll examined trends in farming practices and strategies since 2013, the year that the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was started. The Farm Poll survey listed a number of nutrient loss reduction practices as well as some practices that are not recommended, and asked farmers if they had changed their use of the practices since 2013. “For the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy to meet its goals, most of Iowa’s farmers will have to continuously improve their nutrient management practices,” said J. Gordon Arbuckle, associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University and director of the Farm Poll. “These survey questions give us an idea of which practices are being adopted more or less quickly.” The results indicate that farmers are increasing their use of recommended practices and decreasing use of some practices that are not recommended. For example, about 26 percent of farmers reported they had increased their use of conservation tillage methods and 19 percent increased their use of continuous no-till. About 21 percent reported a reduction in fall tillage and 19 percent had reduced spring tillage. Only five and seven percent of respondents reported an increase in their fall and spring tillage, respectively. “Reductions in tillage decrease soil loss, which means less phosphorus in waterways,” said Arbuckle. “Of course, there’s also the added benefit of keeping the soil where you want it – in the field growing crops.” The poll also found farmers had increased their use of several nutrient management practices since 2013. The greatest change was reported in the use of precision agriculture practices such as variable rate fertilizer application, with 34 percent of farmers reporting either moderate or major increases in the practice. Soil testing and similar methods of determining fertilizer rates saw 31 percent of respondents reporting an increase in the practice while 27 percent reported increasing their use of nitrogen stabilizers. Twenty-two and 20 percent of farmers reported an increase in spring or growing season applications of nitrogen, respectively. A decrease in fall application of nitrogen fertilizer was reported by 17 percent. “Research shows that applying nitrogen during the growing season instead of the fall can reduce nutrient loss and potentially increase profits,” Arbuckle said. A significant number of farmers reported increases in the use of other important conservation practices. Thirty-five percent reported having increased use of structural practices such as terraces, buffer strips or grassed waterways. Twenty percent reported an increase in cover crop use, and 14 percent indicated they had shifted at least some marginal cropland into other uses such as pasture or hay. About 36 percent reported increasing their use of tile or other drainage practices, which can lead to nutrient loss. “These results show positive trends in the use of practices that can reduce nutrient loss into waterways,” Arbuckle said. “Although the results indicate that many farmers are headed in the right direction, many more will need to adopt or increase their use of a diversity of nutrient loss reduction practices to meet strategy goals.” The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has been in existence since 1982, surveying Iowa farmers on issues of importance to agricultural stakeholders. It is the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation.  [...]



Yard and Garden: Successfully Planting Trees during Spring

2017-04-26T16:05:43Z

Spring is a time for renewal and growth, and it’s also an excellent time for new beginnings. Planting a new tree (or trees) is a great way to create a legacy that can last for generations on a landscape. However, planting trees requires specific care and steps to ensure a successful outcome.

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Iowa Pork Industry Center Schedules PQA Advisor Certification for June

2017-04-26T15:54:22Z

The Iowa Pork Industry Center has scheduled a Pork Quality Assurance Plus 3.0 advisor certification session during the 2017 World Pork Expo in Des Moines.

AMES, Iowa -- To help meet an ongoing industry need, Iowa Pork Industry Center has scheduled a Pork Quality Assurance Plus 3.0 advisor certification session during the 2017 World Pork Expo in Des Moines. Iowa State University Extension swine veterinarian Chris Rademacher is coordinating the session that’s set for Thursday, June 8 at the Iowa State Fair Grounds.

“This session is for those who need certification for the first time and also for those whose certifications expired when the PQA 3.0 program went into effect last year,” Rademacher said. “All potential attendees need to complete the two-page application form and be approved in order to attend.”

There’s a 15-person minimum to hold the session, and the application deadline is May 26 or when the 30-person limit has been reached. No walk-ins are allowed and individual spots are not guaranteed until specific payment is accepted by IPIC. The cost is $75 per person and includes refreshments and the noon meal.

Those who qualify and are interested in the program should download the application form from the IPIC website, then complete and submit it soon. The exact location is still to be determined, and approved applicants will be notified as soon as the location is determined.

To be eligible to submit an application or recertify as a current advisor, people must meet the following qualifications:

  1. Be a veterinarian, extension specialist or ag educator (defined for this program as a person who spends full time in adult education or at least half time in production training) AND
  2. Have a D.V.M. or B.S. in animal science (or equivalent) AND
  3. Have two years of recent documentable swine production experience.
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Beef Management Workshops Offer Fescue and Supplementation Info

2017-04-26T16:55:58Z

Grazing management and managing tall fescue are the topics to be covered during southern Iowa beef management workshops May 30, 31 and June 1.

CHARITON, Iowa -- Southern Iowa beef producers who want to learn more about grazing management and managing tall fescue are invited to attend a beef management workshop this spring.  Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers is organizing the workshops. He said the session dates of May 30, May 31 and June 1 will allow attendees to hear from experts from University of Missouri and AgBotanica who will be presenting at the 2017 Veterinarian Update session on May 31.

“We’re fortunate to have speakers Diane Spurlock and Craig Roberts, who also will be presenting at the Iowa Beef Center’s annual Veterinarian Update at the Iowa State McNay Research Farm,” Sellers said. “They will share current information in their expertise area at the workshops."

Spurlock will describe use of the T-Snip test to identify fescue tolerant breeding stock, and Roberts will explain renovating fescue pastures with spray/smother/spray. Sellers also will talk about supplementation strategies.

Beef management workshop dates, times and locations

  • May 30, 6:30 p.m., ISU Extension and Outreach Davis County Office, 402 E. North Street, Bloomfield
  • May 31, 6:30 p.m., Decatur County Fairgrounds, 1700 NW Church Street, Leon
  • June 1, 8 a.m., Carpenter’s Hall Rotary Room, 1215 Court Avenue, Chariton
  • June 1, 1 p.m., ISU Extension and Outreach Wayne County Office, 220 East Jefferson Street, Corydon

The series is sponsored by the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. A flyer with information for all sessions is available on the Iowa Beef Center website.

The registration fee is $10 per person to cover speaker expenses and is payable at the door. Snacks and soft drinks will be served at each location. For more information, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or email sellers@iastate.edu  
 

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Southeast Iowa Greenhorn Grazing Series Features Forage and Grazing Education

2017-04-26T08:34:59Z

Southeast Iowa producers who want to conserve natural resources while being able to optimize their forage and livestock production are invited to attend the 2017 Greenhorn Grazing series in Mount Pleasant this summer.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa -- Southeast Iowa producers who want to conserve natural resources while being able to optimize their forage and livestock production are invited to attend the 2017 Greenhorn Grazing series in Mount Pleasant this summer. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Patrick Wall said the series has been a popular management course with more than 250 producers attending over the past seven years.

"This five-part series covers concepts relevant to all producers of grass-based livestock with topics ranging from the importance of managing forage, weed and brush control, water and fencing systems, forage species selection, legal fencing and lease issues to winter feeding plans," Wall said. "The five sessions are set in late May through August, and all will have classroom and field segments."

Wall and other experts from Iowa State and private industry will lead the discussions. Local producers or even participants in the classes will host the pasture walk portions of the course, explaining their operation goals, challenges and management practices.

"This series was developed to deliver timely materials and hands-on workshops for producers interested in improving their forage management system," Wall said. “Producers will learn how to improve the productivity of their land while protecting it for the next generation.”

Individual workshops are scheduled for May 23, June 6, June 14, June 20, and Aug. 22. The first meeting will begin at 5 p.m. at the ISU Extension and Outreach Henry County office at 127 N. Main St. in Mount Pleasant, and conclude at a farm location in the evening.

Support from Dow AgroSciences, the Iowa Forage & Grassland Council, and the Iowa Beef Center helps keep the series cost low at $60. Participants are urged to attend all sessions, but fees for individual sessions are available upon request. The fee includes a meal and educational materials for each session.

Producers are asked to register by June 1 by calling the ISU Extension and Outreach Henry County office at 319-385-8126 or Wall at 515-450-7665, or by emailing Wall at patwall@iastate.edu.
 

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Introduction to High Tunnel Course Offered Online

2017-04-24T14:11:39Z

Producers interested in learning about high tunnel production now have the option to take an online ISU Extension and Outreach course.

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Update for Veterinarians to be Held by ISU Extension and Outreach

2017-04-24T14:08:57Z

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host an update for veterinarians on May 31 at the McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm near Chariton, Iowa.

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Iowa 4-H Clover Kids Celebrates 20 Years of Educational Programming

2017-04-21T10:20:18Z

The Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program is celebrating 20 years of providing Clover Kids programs to children and youth statewide. Iowa 4-H Clover Kids reaches more than 9,000 Iowa youth in kindergarten through third grade.

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One-Day Field Scouting Basics Course for Corn and Soybean Crop Scouts

2017-04-21T09:36:14Z

The Field Scouting Basics Workshop, designed for beginning-level crop scouts, provides hands-on, in-field experience to crop scouts for the 2017 growing season.

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Level 1 GAP Training Available through Online Videos

2017-04-20T16:23:24Z

A series of three videos to help fruit and vegetable growers understand and implement good agricultural practices replaces the day-long Iowa Level 1 GAP program.

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