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Updated: 2017-04-28T19:00:35Z

 



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.  [...]



EAB Treatment Windows Open for Protecting Healthy Ash Trees

2017-04-19T09:06:52Z

Iowans who want to protect their ash trees have options for a brief time this spring. However, the options apply only to valuable and healthy ash trees within 15 miles of a known infestation of emerald ash borer.

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Cover Crops Reduce Loss of Nitrogen and Phosphorus to Waterways

2017-04-17T10:03:06Z

Reducing erosion is an important step in improving Iowa’s water quality. Planting cover crops is a proven and practical way to help reduce the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus into the state’s waterways.

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Hort and Home Pest Newsletter Celebrates Milestone Birthday

2017-04-07T14:30:19Z

Thirty years ago this week the first issue of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Horticulture and Home Pest Newsletter arrived in mailboxes across the state.

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Emerald Ash Borer Found in Fayette and Madison Counties, Iowa

2017-04-05T09:17:34Z

The emerald ash borer can now be linked to 45 counties in Iowa as Fayette and Madison counties are the most recent to be added to that growing list. EAB is a destructive wood-boring beetle that attacks and kills all ash tree species. This exotic pest was first discovered in Iowa in 2010.

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Harmon Named Interim Associate Dean for Extension in ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

2017-03-30T12:10:14Z

Jay Harmon has been named the interim associate dean for extension and outreach programs and the interim director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

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Additional Land to be Enrolled in CRP Program

2017-03-24T11:23:27Z

Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR), designed to combat water quality challenges in places like the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basin, and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), which sets aside 300,000 acres for wetland restoration and 100,000 acres for pollinator habitat across the country -  are new additions to the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program.

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Iowa Learning Farms to Host Filter Strips and Soil Health Workshop near Iowa City

2017-03-24T09:58:37Z

Filter strips and soil health are topics of the April 13 workshop hosted by Iowa Learning Farms and the Rapid Creek Watershed Project. The evening workshop will be held in Morse.

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, along with the Rapid Creek Watershed Project, will host a filter strips and soil health workshop on Thursday, April 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Morse Community Club near Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complementary meal.

Speaking at the field day is Tim Youngquist, Prairie STRIPS Farmer Liaison, discussing the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) project where a small percentage of a field is planted into strips of perennial prairie plants to reduce soil erosion, water runoff, improve soil health and to create habitat for pollinators and wildlife.

Also speaking is Johnson County Farm Service Agency Director Matt Berg, who will lead a discussion on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Adam Janke, wildlife specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will talk about ways to incorporate wildlife habitat on the farm. Rapid Creek Watershed Coordinator Wren Almitra will provide a project update.  

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own soil samples for a free SOILSCAN 360 analysis by Johnson County NRCS staff during the event.

The field day will be held at the Morse Community Club located at 2542 Putnam St NE, Iowa City, IA. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email ilf@iastate.edu.


Additional Contact:
Wren Almitra, watershed coordinator Rapid Creek Watershed Project, 319-337-2322 ext. 300




ISU Extension and Outreach Celebrates National Ag Day

2017-03-21T11:13:23Z

Celebrating the efforts of American agriculture and reminding Iowans that agriculture touches each of us is the focus behind the 2017 National Ag Day.

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Agronomy in the Field Meetings for Women Farmers Continues this Spring

2017-03-13T14:22:42Z

Agronomy in the Field for Women will be held this spring for women landowners, farmers and ag retailers to learn about Iowa crop production. The ISU Extension and Outreach program is in its third year.

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Agronomy in the Field for Women will be held this spring across Iowa. The program is in its third year bringing together women landowners, farmers and ag retailers to learn about Iowa crop production.

The goals of this series are to strengthen agronomic skills for women that allow for better decision-making, provide a better understanding of inputs for crop production, see and understand different conservation practices and increase confidence in communication with their spouse, farming partner, ag retailer or tenant.

These programs are hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists Angie Rieck-Hinz, Meaghan Anderson, Rebecca Vittetoe and Mike Witt. Five locations, covering many areas of the state, will be used.

“Depending on the location, we plan to have biweekly or monthly workshops to cover topics on crop growth and development, pasture management, pest management principles, scouting techniques, cover crops and water quality, and additional practices and topics as they come up this spring and summer,” said Anderson. “The individual groups really lead the topic selection and discussion.”

Following each session, a recap of the workshop with resources and information will be sent to those interested in the meetings. There is no charge to participate and women are not required to attend every session to participate. While a start date for the meetings is yet to be determined, please contact the location host to be kept up-to-date on individual sites:

Central Iowa: Meetings in central Iowa, hosted by Rieck-Hinz, will meet approximately biweekly at the Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) near Boone, Iowa this spring and summer. Please contact Angie Rieck-Hinz at 515-231-2830 or amrieck@iastate.edu.

West Central Iowa: Meetings in west central Iowa, hosted by Witt, will meet approximately biweekly in Guthrie County this spring and summer. Please contact Mike Witt at 641-430-2600 or witt@iastate.edu.

East Central Iowa: Meetings in east central Iowa, hosted by Anderson, will meet approximately biweekly on farms in Iowa and Benton Counties in conjunction with the Price Creek Watershed Project. Please contact Meaghan Anderson at 319-337-2145 or mjanders@iastate.edu.

Southeast Iowa: Meetings in southeast Iowa, hosted by Anderson and Vittetoe, will meet monthly at the Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Crawfordsville, Iowa. Please contact either Meaghan Anderson at 319-337-2145 or mjanders@iastate.edu, or Rebecca Vittetoe at 319-653-4811 or rka8@iastate.edu.

South Central Iowa: Meetings in south central Iowa, hosted by Vittetoe, will meet monthly at the McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm near Chariton, Iowa. Please contact Rebecca Vittetoe at 319-653-4811 or rka8@iastate.edu ,

Agronomy in the Field is sponsored by an NCR-SARE Partnership Grant Project. Local support is provided by Story, Boone, Iowa, Benton, Washington, Guthrie, Lucas, Wayne, and Warren County Extension.