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Agri-Line - Le Mars Agricultural Connection

Soil And Water Conservation Week Observed

(Le Mars) -- Each year, the equivilant of a dump truck filled with soil, or about five tons of topsoil is lost on each acre of Iowa farmground due to either wind or water erosion.  This week is recognized as Soil and Water Conservation week as proclaimed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.  John Vogel a conservationist with the Plymouth County Soil and Water Conservation district office says soil erosion has been a concern for farmers, landowners, and conservationists since the Great Dust Bowl era in the 1930's.  He talks about how much soil is lost in Iowa each year due to erosion.

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Vogel says many farmers have implemented various types of conservation practices that have helped protect the soil and reduce erosion.

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Vogel says cover crops offer several benefits, not only do they help protect the soil from eroding, but cover crops also help replenish the soil with valuable nutrients, and cover crops act as a buffer or filter to reduce nitrate runoff into our waterways.

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Other conservation methods include grass waterways to help channel running water and buffer zones near streams and creeks to help filter soil sediment and nitrates from entering our waterways.

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Vogel says both the state and federal governments offer several cost-share programs to assist landowners and farmers to implement conservation practices.  Last year, many people may recall Governor Branstad had proclaimed this week as Soil and Water Conservation Week while visiting the Bob and Lisa Puetz farm located east of Le Mars.  At that time, Branstad was given a tour of the Puetz farm and shown different conservation practices and was informed about the Deep Creek Watershed Project that is educating farmers and landowners about the benefits of protecting the soil and the water.

 

   

Are Soil Conditions Right For Field Work?

(Le Mars) -- The calendar says it is time to be doing field work.  However, the soil conditions remain a little cool. So, should farmers be concerned?  Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist for Northwest Iowa Joel DeJong says despite the cooler temperatures, soil conditions are showing signs of being ready.

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Ideally, soil temperatures should be at least 50 degrees before planting takes place. DeJong says the four-inch soil temperatures are currently in the low 40's, but he says the ten-day weather forecast is favorable.

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Many farmers are still applying anhydrous ammonia for their fertilizer needs, and DeJong says conditions are still favorable, if farmers make certain they are applying that anhydrous ammonia at deep enough levels.

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DeJong says southern Iowa farmers have already started with their planting, but he says northern Iowa farmers may want to wait a few more days, even though research studies indicate better yields are obtained with early planted seed.

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The extension crops specialist says farmers still have plenty of time to plant their seed, and there is no reason to rush.

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State Officials Hope To Be Better Prepared For Bird Flu

(Des Moines) -- Nearly a year ago, the first outbreak of the Avian Bird Influenza was detected in an Iowa poultry operation.  Through the summer months, the deadly disease had spread and claimed nearly 30 million turkeys and chicken egg laying hens.  It was thought the deadly disease was transmitted in part by wildlife fowl during the migration.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is hopeful the avian bird flu will not strike the state's poultry industry this year, but if it should be detected, Northey says state agriculture officials are better prepared.

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Northey says one major change implemented will be the access poultry producers will have for state and federal agriculture officials in dealing with the problem.  He says officials should be able to act in a quicker manner to identify a potential infected farm, and to put down the birds, and control the spread of the disease.

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Since the outbreak of the bird flu last year, Northey says most of the state's poultry farms have been able to be back in production.  However, he says it may be a while before the poultry farms are back to full production as it takes some time to re-stock millions of lost birds.

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Pork Industry Continues To Expand

(Le Mars) -- The nation's pork industry continues to expand with announcements of new pork processing facilities to be built in Sioux City, Michigan, and this week Prestige Farms made the announcement to construct a new pork processing facility near Mason City, Iowa.  An Iowa State University livestock economist says the nation's hog numbers continue to increase.  Lee Schulz says pork production has set new inventory records for the last few years, and doesn't show signs of slowing down.

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Schulz says the added hog inventories will ultimately mean lower prices for producers and consumers as we will have an abundance of pork products.  He says the new processing facilities are strategically located to absorb the expansion within the pork industry.

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The Iowa State University livestock economist believes the only way for consumers to keep up with the loaded supplies is to see pork exports increase.

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On Friday, the U-S Department of Agriculture will issue its quarterly hogs and pigs report.  Schulz anticipates that report will show even more expansion in the pork industry.

   

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