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Agri-Line - Le Mars Agricultural Connection

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.

   

Northey Comments About National Ag Week

(Le Mars) -- One farmer produces enough food to feed more than 144 people. This is National Agriculture Week, a time when we honor the nation's farmers and everyone involved with agriculture and who is responsible for bringing food to our table.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says Iowa agriculture is an amazing industry.

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Northey says agriculture has a bright future and he is encouraged to see so many young people getting involved with an agricultural career.

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The Iowa Agriculture Secretary says agriculture has a great story to tell, and farmers need to continually tell the story of agriculture through social media, and the general media.  Northey says people need to be reminded that our food is not necessarily produced by a large mega corporate entity, but by farm families who care about the quality of food that we consume everyday.

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