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Local Ag News

Low Corn Prices Give Cattle Producers Optimism

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A livestock specialist at Iowa State University says falling corn prices are generating some optimism that cattle farmers can again make money.
      Historically high corn prices during the last several years drove up the cost of feed and many producers cut herd numbers as drought intensified.
      Lee Schulz, a livestock specialist and assistant professor of economics, says producers have been in survival mode but are beginning to talk about expansion. There's interest in building new facilities and growing herds.
      Feedlots made money on cattle sold in October, breaking a long streak of monthly losses. 
      He says it will take several years to build the herd with increased calf crops and increasing cattle supplies because of the time it takes for calves to mature.

   

Harvest Better Than Expected

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - This year's corn crop is the largest the nation has ever seen, and exceeds earlier government projections.
In its first report since the government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday it expects 13.99 billion bushels of corn. It had forecast 13.8 billion bushels. The previous record was 13.1 billion in 2009.
Heavy rains delayed spring planting and drought conditions returned to parts of the Midwest. Some analysts thought there would be a subpar harvest.
But adequate rain and cooler temperatures at pollination time produced exceptional results, especially in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
Prices dropped below $4.20 a bushel Friday, the lowest since 2010.
That means some farmers see lower profits, but chicken, pork, and beef producers will have lower feed costs. Grocery prices won't be impacted.

   

Harvest Progressing

(Le Mars) -- Farmers are making progress with this year's harvest.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports 55 percent of Iowa's corn crop and 87 percent of the soybean crop have been harvested.
Monday's weekly report showed the corn crop was about 5 percentage points behind normal,
while The soybean harvest was about two days ahead of normal.  Joel DeJong, Iowa State
University extension crop specialist says the soybean harvest in Plymouth County is close to completion.

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DeJong says generally the corn harvest is doing well, but a few farmers have had to deal with lodging issues and dropped ears.

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The crop specialist says the recent rains are helping replenish the lost soil moisture levels from the last two years due to the drought conditions.


   

Surprise Harvest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers in many states are surprised at the abundance of corn coming from their fields, and record harvests are likely in many states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio.

In southeastern Nebraska, farmer Ben Steffen says his first field brought in 168 bushels an acre, above the average of 140.

The best crops are in areas with adequate rain and where corn pollinated amid cooler temperatures.

The positive surprise is welcome after the dismal harvest for many farmers last year when drought spread across the country reducing corn and soybean crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates this year's harvest to bring in 13.8 billion bushels of corn, beating the 2009 record of 13.1 billion bushels. Some analysts believe farmers may exceed the estimates.

   

Farmers Should Plan For Inconsistent Grain Moisture Levels

AMES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa State University grain storage expert says farmers should make sure they have a plan in place to handle corn that could have inconsistent levels of moisture, making this year's crop more likely to develop mold problems.
Professor Charles Hurburgh says the cold and wet spring followed by a heat wave late in
the growing season results in a crop characterized by inconsistency.
He says farmers should make sure to get their corn cooled and dried as soon as possible
after harvest because sharp differences in maturity, weight and moisture content create the
potential for spoilage once the grain is stored in a bin. 
Corn value drops if more than 5 percent shows mold and falls dramatically if mold
spreads to more than 20 percent of the kernels.

   

Ag Department Offers Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nine Iowa organizations focused on growing specialty crops will receive government grants totaling more than $250,000.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides the funding to allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says in a statement Tuesday agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, and producer groups could to apply for funding.
Iowa State University received money to develop and improve the production of organic apples.
Other recipients include Iowa City Parks and Recreation to fund a perennial specialty crops demonstration site and classes, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development to train Iowa Valley Food Co-op producers to become wholesale marketers, and Practical Farmers of Iowa to educate specialty crop producers about pesticide drift and prevention.


   

Iowa State To Offer Corn Genome Research Teaching Position

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A new teaching job at Iowa State University will focus on corn genetics research.
The university says an endowed faculty position in genetics will be established at its agronomy department. Patrick Schnable, a current ISU professor, will hold the inaugural position.
The Iowa Corn Promotion Board, which is helping to fund the endowment, is also investing in a new public-private collaboration that develops genomic information.
Schnable is an agronomy professor and director of ISU's Center for Plant Genomics. He is credited with leading wide-ranging research into the corn genome.

   

Pork Producers Create Book On Northwest Iowa Pork Industry

(LE MARS, Iowa) —The history of the pork industry’s prominence in Lyon, Sioux and Plymouth Counties is the focus of a new book Pigs! Lifting Mortgages, People and Communities being released by pork producer associations within the three counties.
Bill Tentinger of Le Mars, immediate past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, said the book includes not only an overview of historical data on the hogs’ early arrival in the area and the industry’s early struggles, but stories and accompanying photos of current day producers meeting their own challenges of today.

Also included are chapters on what the industry has meant to communities in northwest
Iowa and additional interviews and photos with those in industry-related businesses and
industries.


The soft-cover history was compiled by Jolene Stevens, of Sioux City, a veteran agriculture and newspaper writer with additional experience in television and public relations as well as with the National Pork Producers Association and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. She is presently a freelance writer/photographer for several agricultural publications.

The book will be available through pork producer association members within the three-county area and from the Dordt College Book Store, Sioux Center, at a cost of $10 with a handling charge for copies mailed out.

   

Soybean Growers Elect Officers

Ankeny, Iowa – Six farmers were elected to leadership positions at the Sept. 5 meeting of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) board of directors.
Brian Kemp of Sibley took his seat as president and Tom Oswald of Cleghorn was elected president-elect. Rolland Schnell of Newton was chosen as treasurer and Wayne Fredericks of Osage was elected secretary. Jeff Jorgenson of Sidney was also elected to the executive committee.
ISA directors re-elected Mark Jackson of Rose Hill, immediate past president, and Ray Gaesser of Corning to represent Iowa on the American Soybean Association board of directors.
In addition, the directors discussed a number of issues concerning soybean farmers including the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, consumer outreach efforts, new and continuing crop research, sustainability programs and more during the meeting.
“Iowa soybean farmers look to these leaders as they work to be more efficient and productive on their own farms,” said Kemp. “ISA plays an important role in agriculture, from state to national to international levels;  working to secure and strengthen new and existing markets for soybeans and support our farmers as they continue to be the leaders in national soybean production.”
To learn more about ISA, visit its website at www.iasoybeans.com.

   

Thurman Gaskill Honored By Corn Growers


Aug 30, 2013 - Thurman Gaskill, retired farmer from Corwith and retired Iowa State Senator, received the Iowa Corn Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Iowa Corn Growers Association Annual meeting.

"In many different leadership positions, Thurman Gaskill has touched farmers around the globe," said Craig Floss, Iowa Corn CEO. "We thank him for his many contributions to agriculture." 

Gaskill served as president of the National and Iowa Corn Growers Associations, chairman of the U.S. Feed Grains Council and an agricultural advisor to presidential campaigns. He retired from the Iowa Senate in 2008. 

In the late 1960s, Governor Robert Ray appointed Gaskill to the Iowa Development Commission where he served as vice chair of the Ag Promotion Board. In the early 1970s, Gaskill was involved with the Agriculture Council of America and traveled to U.S. media centers to speak on the importance of food production.

Also in the early 1970s as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Board, Gaskill worked to help build NCGA membership. He first focused on revamping the Iowa Corn Growers Association, increasing membership and encouraging other farm groups to work with the corn growers on important issues.

Gaskill was also active in the U.S. Feed Grains Council which sought to develop overseas markets in Asia and Europe. Funding in this situation was tight. Under Gaskill's leadership, he sought the interest of corn farmers in the state to see if they would be interested in a corn checkoff program. This led to a referendum in 1977. The referendum passed and Iowa became the first state to establish funding to promote corn export programs via the U.S. Feed Grains Council.

"The corn industry and our state has benefitted greatly by Gaskill's work and dedication," said Floss. "We are proud to honor him for his years of service."

The Iowa Corn Lifetime Achievement Award is given in recognition of outstanding service and commitment to advance the corn industry and keep the industry cutting edge through technology, political action and time devoted to the Iowa corn industry. Thurman Gaskill is the third recipient of this award.

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