Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Local Ag News

Farmers Discuss Drought

(Le Mars) -- More than 300 concerned farmers attended a drought meeting on Thursday hosted by the Plymouth County Extension Services.  Each, with probably the same question on their minds, "What options do I have with my crop as a result of this ongoing drought?" Many farmers are wondering if chopping the corn for silage would be economical, feasible and safe.

Both Joel DeJong, Extension Crops Specialist, and Beth Doran, Extension Livestock and Forage Specialist, suggested to the farmers they need to test their corn for nitrates before chopping it for silage.  De Jong also stressed to wait before cutting the corn to make certain the moisture percentage is at the right level.  DeJong says a common mistake made by farmers during drought conditions is believing the corn is drier than the actual moisture level.  He told the group that cut silage should be between 65 and 70 percent moisture if the silage is stored in either a bunker or an ag bag.  Silage stored in an upright silo should be of at least 60 to 65 percent moisture.  Both Doran and DeJong warned farmers of how silage seepage can be a danger to fish in local ponds.  Doran also cautioned farmers if they have a farm pond to check it for algae.  She says if cattle drink from the pond with algae, it could prove to be deadly.  She was also asked by a cattle
producer how long should a farmer wait before feeding green cut silage to cattle  Her reply was, "three weeks."

Agricultural economist, Dr. William Edwards appeared via a web cam from Ames. He told farmers they need to visit with their crop insurance agent, and they should do so in the near future.  Edwards offered a series of scenerios as to how much revenue return farmers could expect based on their yield loss and the average price per bushel.


Northey Plans Northwest Iowa Visits

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that he will be visiting Ida, Cherokee, Sioux and Plymouth Counties on Monday, July 23rd as part of his efforts to visit each of Iowa's 99 counties  again in 2012.  Northey will visit the Ida County Fair in Ida Grove at 10:30 a.m., then he will tour Little Sioux Corn Processing in Marcus at 12:30 p.m.  Northey is scheduled to tour Van Beek Natural Science in Orange City at 2:00 p.m.  and then he will visit the Remsen Processing in Remsen at 3:30 p.m.  All events are open to the public.


Crop Conditions Continue to Worsen

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Not since 1988... that's the phrase that is being heard by farmers as they describe the current hot and dry conditions as it is taking a  toll on Iowa crops. The condition of corn and soybeans continues to decline.  1988 was the last time Iowa suffered a major state-wide drought.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's weekly report that only 46 percent of the corn is in good to excellent shape. That's the lowest level for the first week of July since 1993. A week ago, it was 62 percent.
     Forty-eight percent of soybeans are in good to excellent condition, down from 59 percent last week.
     The USDA says 88 percent of topsoil moisture and 82 percent of subsoil moisture are short or very short.  Roger Elmore serves as the corn specialist for Iowa State University.  He says farmers have probably already lost nine percent of the yield potential.

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Mark Licht is an extension agronomist with Iowa State University.  He says farmers can calculate the amount of lost yield by adding up the number of hours corn leaves are rolled.

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Iowa had 100-plus temperatures from Wednesday through Saturday.  The highest temps so far this year were on Saturday with eight communities reaching 105 degrees. There was no widespread rain.


Corn Acreage On The Increase

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers planted 96.4 million acres of corn this spring, up 5 percent from last year.
     It's the largest number of planted acres since 97 million in 1937. The revised estimate, based on early June farm surveys, is up from May's estimate of nearly 92 million acres.
     The USDA says farmers expect to make more profit from corn than other commodities.
     Iowa corn acres fell to 14 million from 14.1 million. Nebraska rose to 9.9 million from 9.85 million.
     Record corn acreage is expected in Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and the Dakotas.
     The USDA estimates 76.1 million acres are planted in soybeans. That's up 1 percent from 2011 and the third highest on record.



Ethanol Plants Face Slim Profit Margins

  WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - High corns prices and less consumer demand for gasoline have ethanol plants across the Midwest cutting back production.
     More than 95 percent of the nation's ethanol plants use corn as their feedstock. Analysts say corn prices have been skyrocketing because of fears triple-digit temperatures and drought in the middle of the country will destroy, or greatly reduce, this year's crop.
     Meanwhile, the country has an ethanol glut. People are not driving as much given the poor economy and the high gasoline prices. Ethanol is primarily used in gasoline blends.
     Valero Energy operates 10 ethanol plants. It is temporarily idling one in Nebraska and another in Indiana because it costs more to make ethanol at those plants than the company can sell it for.


Corn Checkoff Elections

(Des Moines) -- Corn growers in Crop Reporting Districts 1...2...4...5...7...and 8 will vote July 10 at their county extension offices for representatives to serve on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB).  Elected directors will serve a three-year term representing corn growers from their respective crop reporting districts.  Anyone who has produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the last year is eligible to vote in the election.  Producers unable to visit an extension office on July 10, may vote by absentee ballot.  Absentee ballots are available by contacting the Ioiwa Corn Promotion Board office at (515) 225-9242.  All absentee ballots must be postmarked by July 10. 

Candidates for each district include:

Crop District #1

Kent Harms - George, Lyon County

Gary Small - Rembrandt, Buena Vista County

Crop District #2

Deb Keller - Clarion, Wright County

Chris Weydert - Algona, Kossuth County

Crop District #4

Larry Klever - Audubon, Audubon County

David Leiting - Carroll, Carroll County

Crop District #5

Jon Brockman - Melbourne, Marshall County

Kevin Rempp - Montezuma, Poweshiek County

Crop District #7

Doug Holliday - Greenfield, Adair County

Trevor Whipple - Northboro, Fremont County

Crop District #8

Ray Cook - Seymour, Wayne County

Don Hunerdosse - Milo, Warren County

Biographies for all of the candidates and a list of counties in each crop reporting district are available at




Heat Wave May Be Stressful To Cattle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farmers are being urged to watch their cattle for signs of stress as the heat builds across the Midwest.
     The Iowa Cattlemen's Association says cattle could be at risk with temperatures around 100 degrees on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. CEO Matte Deppe says cattle rely on respiration more than sweating to cool down, which means producers must also consider other means to keep them comfortable.
     Some suggestions from Iowa State University Extension include clean fresh water, shade and using a higher percentage of feed in the afternoon.
     If necessary, farmers should begin sprinkling cattle with water if there are signs of heat stress. Officials say producers who use fans or water on their cattle should continue to use the process
until the heat wave breaks.


Corn Needs Moisture

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Topsoil in more than half of Iowa's fields still needs more rain to reach adequate levels.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's weekly report that topsoil in 54 percent of Iowa's field rated very short or short of adequate moisture. The east-central part of the state
was the driest, with 78 percent of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short.  Roger Elmore, Iowa State University Corn Specialist, says now is the critical time when the corn needs additional moisture.  He says it is likely farmers will see reduced yields if rainfall amounts continue to produce only a tenth of an inch or less.
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Elmore says corn can absorb up to a half an inch of moisture per day during the reproduction stage. 
     The USDA says 68 percent of the corn crop, which is silking in most parts of the state, is in good or excellent condition.
     The soybean crop is rated 63 percent good to excellent.
     The USDA report says 98 percent of the state's oat crop has headed, which is nearly three weeks ahead of normal progression.


Fair Entries Are Due

(Le Mars) -- 4-H and FFA members intending to exhibit at the 2012 Plymouth County Fair are reminded of the upcoming entry deadline of Friday, July 13.  Members planning to enter exhibits in sheep, swine, market and breeding beef, cow-calf projects, feeder calf, horses, poultry, rabbits, dog, pet, cat and dairy, including dairy goats, are required to complete and submit an entry form.

Fair entries are also due July 13 in the communications division which includes Educational Presentations, Working Exhibits, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Share-The-Fun.

Entries should be completed by the 4-H or FFA member and then submitted to the Plymouth County Extension Office by the local club leader or FFA advisor.  The Plymouth County Extension Office is located at 251 12th Street SE in Le Mars.  The office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon and then from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  For more information on this or any other 4-H program contact the Extension Office at (712) -546-7835 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


State Fair Entries Due By July 3rd

(Des Moines) -- The 2012 Iowa State Fair is only a few months away.  This year's event, "Nothing Compares" will run from August 9 - 19 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Hundreds of 4-Hers that choose to exhibit their livestock projects at the Iowa State Fair must make an official entry.  Plymouth County 4-Hers will need to complete the necessary entry on-line within the member's 4-H Online records at by July 2, 2012.  Registration fees must be mailed or taken to the Plymouth County Extension Office no later than July 3, 2012.  The Extension Office is open Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. til noon, and 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.  No late entries will be accepted.  For more information contact the Plymouth County Extension Office at (712) 546-7835 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Dry Conditions Persist Across Iowa

Weekly Crop Conditions Decline 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has received some much-needed rain but the state is still dry.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's weekly report that Iowa received an average of 1.5 inches of rain last week. That's above the normal of about 1.2 inches. Even so, more than half the topsoil and subsoil remains dry.
     The USDA says 67 percent of the corn crop, which is beginning to silk, is in good or excellent condition. That's the same as last week.
     Soybeans, which are starting to bloom, are rated 61 percent good to excellent. That's down from 62 percent a week ago.
     More than half the state's pastures and range land are in poor or fair condition. However, stress on livestock is minimal with no issues reported.


June 30th Deadline For Reporting Acres

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, John Whitaker reminds farmers and ranchers that filing an accurate acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits for a variety of  programs.  

Acreage reports are required for many Farm Service Agency programs.  For crops enrolled in programs other than NAP (Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program) acreage reports are to be certified by the June 30, 2012 deadline on all crops.  Acreage reports on crops covered by NAP are due in the county office by the earlier of June 30, 2012, or 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing of the specific crop acreage being reported. 

Crop reports also include planting dates for each crop by field.  Failed acreage must be reported before disposition of the crop.  Prevented planting must be reported no later than 15 days after the final planting date.

Reporting forage crops and pastures is also required.  All crops on the farm, including forage crops and pasture are used to determine overall eligibility for some programs such as SURE and LFP, so accurately reporting these crops is important.  Since the make up of a forage crop's stand changes over time, the legumes and/or grass mixture may be needed or the age of the stand in order to file an accurate report.  The Iowa FSA office issued guidance regarding the percent of alfalfa or other legume/grass that is present in the stand for producers to accurately report their crops.  Another change: for 2013, perennial forage, fall wheat, and other fall seeded small grains will have a December 15th reporting date.


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