Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Monday April 23 Crop Progress + Ag News


For the week ending April 22, 2018, there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 18 short, 76 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 25 short, 70 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 2 percent, behind 15 last year and 9 for the five-year average.

Soybeans planted was 1 percent, near 3 last year, and equal to average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 poor, 37 fair, 46 good, and 10 excellent.

Oats planted was 46 percent, well behind 79 last year and 78 average. Emerged was 15 percent, well
behind 37 both last year and average.


The week began with below normal temperatures and counties in the northern half of Iowa received snow at mid-week before temperatures warmed to near normal by the week’s end. Statewide there were 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending April 22, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. When conditions allowed farmers applied anhydrous and dry fertilizer to their fields and seeded oats with a few scattered reports of corn being planted.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 7 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 13 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Northern Iowa has received an abundance of snow, while southern Iowa is in need of precipitation with south central Iowa the driest.

Twenty-three percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, almost 2 weeks behind last year and the 5-year average. Below normal temperatures have delayed oat emergence, with just 1 percent of the crop being reported as emerged, the lowest level at this time since 2001.

Extended winter conditions have delayed pasture development. Calving losses have been reported as higher than normal in areas of northern Iowa.

Soybean Planting Starts on Average Pace

Soybean planting is on an average pace nationwide, but corn planting remains well behind average in the week ended April 22, according to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

Soybeans are 2% planted, compared to 5% last year and a 2% average. Corn planting is 5% complete, compared to 3% last week, 15% last year and a 15% average.

Winter wheat is 13% headed, compared to 9% last week, 30% last year and a 19% average. Winter wheat condition improved slightly to 6% excellent, compared to 5% last week.

Ricketts Issues Veto to Protect Ranchers

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed LB 449, which proposed repealing the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act.  LB 449 was introduced by State Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha and opposed by agriculture groups, sportsmen, and local officials.  The bill was passed by the Legislature 26-13-10.

“This legislation repeals the authority of counties to prevent the spread of prairie dogs when an individual landowner refuses to implement effective control measures on his property,” said Governor Ricketts.  “My primary concern with LB 449 is that it fails to protect the individual property rights of those landowners who are detrimentally harmed by a neighbor’s inaction.  This bill has been represented to be a landowner protection bill; however, repeal of these statutes would actually infringe on the property rights of responsible landowners.”

The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act, passed in 2012, gives county governments the authority to manage prairie dog populations across Nebraska.  The bill empowered counties to manage invasive prairie dog populations.  Prairie dog populations create expansive tunnel systems, which can destroy farm and ranch land, hurt animals, and lower property values if left unmanaged.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Governor Veto of Bill Repealing Prairie Dog Management Act

“We greatly appreciate Governor Ricketts’ veto of LB 449, legislation to repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act. While we understand the importance of preserving native species in Nebraska, our members know all too well the reproductive capability and damage that prairie dogs cause when competing with cattle and other livestock for forage. Nebraska Farm Bureau has long supported proper prairie dog management and programs that help landowners control the spread of the species on their own land and onto neighboring property. Repealing this Act would be a step in the wrong direction. We thank Governor Ricketts for recognizing the importance of this issue to Nebraska’s agriculture producers.”

Controlling Horn Flies on Pastured Cattle 

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator 

Pasture fly season is approaching and now is the time to evaluate your horn fly management plan for the 2018 grazing season. First, re-evaluate last year’s plan. Did it provide adequate fly control? If yes, do you have a resistance management plan for the new fly season? If fly control was less than desired, now is the time to alter the plan and make necessary changes to reduce impact of horn flies on pastured cattle.

Large populations of horn flies on pastured cattle impose significant economic impacts in addition to affecting animal welfare. Horn flies on pastured cattle impact U. S. producers over a $ 1 billion annually. Nebraska studies have shown calf weaning weights were 10-20 pounds higher when horn flies were controlled on mother cows. Studies conducted in the U. S. and Canada have shown horn flies can impact calf weaning weights from 4 to 15 percent. On a typical 500 cow ranch that could equate to an $8000 to $16,000 increase in profit. Yearling cattle are also affected; other studies have shown yearling weights can be reduced by as much as 18 percent. Horn fly impact is measured by the economic injury level, which is defined as the lowest pest population density that will cause economic damage equal to the cost of treatment. The economic injury level (EIL) for horn flies is 200 flies per animal, and fly control should be implemented if the EIL is exceeded. Horn fly numbers on untreated Nebraska cattle can easily exceed several thousand during late summer.

Horn flies are smaller than house flies, approximately 3/16” long, and are usually found on backs, sides, and poll area of cattle. During a warm summer afternoon they may be found on the belly region of cattle. Horn flies, both male and female flies acquire more than 30 blood meals per day and are almost always found on the animal. After mating the female fly will leave the animal to deposit eggs in fresh cattle manure and then return to the animal to resume feeding. Eggs hatch within one week, and larvae feed and mature in manure, pupating in the soil beneath the manure pat. Newly emerged horn flies can travel several miles searching for a host. The entire life cycle can be completed in 10 to 20 days depending upon the weather. Multiple generations are produced during the summer with adult populations peaking in late summer.

Due to economic losses from horn flies, fly control is warranted. Many effective insecticide control methods are available to manage horn flies on pastured cattle. Selecting the most desirable control method for your operation will depend on efficacy, cost, convenience, and herd management practices. Current horn fly control delivery methods are described below.

DUST BAGS – Dust bags deliver insecticides that are incorporated into a very fine dust that filters through the bottom of the bag when cattle contact the bag. The most effective way to use this delivery system is to locate bags so cattle must pass under the bags on their way to water, feed or mineral. This can be accomplished by fencing around water tanks and suspending the bags in the entrance/exit opening. Studies have shown dust bags placed in a free-choice arrangement will provided between 25 -50 % less control compared with forced-use dust bags. One dusting location with two bags is adequate for treating approximately 50 to 60 head of cattle. Dust bags should be hung at mid-shoulder level (of the cow), so cattle make maximum contact with the bags. Bags should be checked on a regular basis and recharged with insecticide dust as needed.

BACK RUBBERS AND OILERS – As with dust bags, these devices are more effective when placed in a forced-use arrangement such as mineral stations or entrances to watering locations. Insecticides used with these devices should be mixed with No. 2 diesel fuel or mineral oil and should be recharged weekly. Do not use motor oil to dilute the insecticide as this will be harm to cattle.

POUR-ONS – Ready-to-use insecticide products applied in measured doses along the back line of animals. They provide fly reduction for several weeks, so re-application is required throughout the fly season depending on horn fly pressure.

ANIMAL SPRAYS – Insecticide sprays can be applied with low and high pressure sprayers or by mist blower sprayers. When using low and high pressure sprayers, cattle should be gathered and corralled to insure adequate spray coverage. Mist blower applications are made in the pasture where cattle are grazing, thereby reducing animal stress related to gathering and penning cattle. Animal sprays will provide 7-21 days of control and will need to be re-applied throughout the fly season.

ORAL LARVICIDES (feed additives) – Oral larvicides (feed additives, Insect Growth Regulators, IGR’s) are insecticides that are incorporated into mineral blocks, tubs or loose mineral. These products prevent horn fly larvae in manure pats from becoming adults. Oral larvicides are effective when consumed in sufficient quantities throughout the fly season. Adult horn fly numbers may appear unaffected if cattle consuming feed additives are in close proximity to an untreated herd. An untreated herd may provide enough flies to keep fly numbers above the economic injury level for both treated and untreated cattle.

INSECTICIDE EAR TAGS AND STRIPS- Ear tags and strips have one or more insecticides embedded in a plastic matrix. Movement of the head or grooming of the animal slowly releases small amounts of insecticide over time that travels through the hair coat of the animal. In Nebraska, ear tags and strips should be applied during the last week of May or the first week of June to achieve maximum control through the fly season. Ear tags and strips applied too early may decline in efficacy while fly numbers are still high and result in economic loss. Adult animals should receive two tags or strips, tagging just the calf will not provide the desired level of horn fly control. All insecticide ear tags and strips should be removed at the end of each fly season to help manage fly resistance.

COMPRESSED AIR APPLICATION – The Vet Gun™, a device similar to a paintball gun, applies an individual capsule of insecticide (VetCap) to an animal and can provide horn fly control between 21 to 35 days. VetCaps can be used on all beef cattle weighing at least 600 lbs.

Regardless of your choice of application method, you need a Resistance Management Plan. Many horn fly populations in Nebraska exhibit a level of resistance to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. The recommended practice to manage resistance is to alternate insecticide classes, and that applies to dusts, insecticide ear tags, animal sprays, pour-ons, feed-throughs (IGR’s) and compressed air application devices.

Insecticides have been placed into numbered Insecticide Mode of Action groups (MoA) based on how they work against insects. Continual use of products from a single group against a pest species can lead to reduce control (resistance to all products in the group). To improve fly control and minimize resistance, do not apply insecticides within the same group number repeatedly. Rotate between (MoA) groups during the fly season.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Stabilizers in Corn

Charles Wortmann - NE Extension Soil and Nutrient Management Specialist

Nitrogen (N) is essential to plant growth and development. On average, 1.2 lbs of N is needed to produce a bushel of corn, with a 200 bu/ac corn crop needing 240 lbs N/ac. This high demand is partially met through the application of N fertilizer.

Partial factor productivity of N (PFPN), a measure of how many pounds of grain are produced per pound of fertilizer N, can be used to inform N use efficiency (NUE) at the farm level. On average, Nebraska corn farms have a PFPN of 65 lbs grain per pound of N. Assuming a grain N concentration of 1.3%, this means that 0.84 lbs of N is exported in the grain for each pound of N applied as fertilizer. While PFPN does not differentiate N sources (like from fertilizer, soil organic matter, mineralization, residual nitrate, manure and previous crop), it is a starting point for NUE benchmarking. Under high N fertilizer loss scenarios, PFPN will decrease. This means that either 1) less grain was produced due to N stress, or 2) a similar amount of grain was produced at a higher-than-normal N rate to compensate for losses.

In situations with a high potential for N loss coupled with inappropriate management for loss prevention, low NUE may be due to high N loss because of excessive N supply and asynchrony between N supply and plant N demand. Most agricultural N losses occur due to nitrate leaching, ammonia volatilization, and denitrification.

The degree to which N is lost by different mechanisms depends on
-    fertilizer management practices like N application timing, N source, N placement, and N rate, and
-    environmental conditions like soil type and weather patterns.

While a nutrient management plan can help decrease the chance for N loss, weather can still play a major role. One way to decrease the impact of unpredictable weather is by using an N fertilizer stabilizer. The decision to use one, however, can be complicated as the decision needs to be made before you know the effect weather will play in a given season. Because of that, it becomes important to understand your management practices, production environment, and how different stabilizers work in order to select the most profitable strategy to reduce N losses, improve NUE, and improve or maintain yields.

Types of Nitrogen Fertilizer Stabilizers
Nitrogen fertilizer stabilizers can be classified into three major types:
-    nitrification inhibitors,
-    urease inhibitors, and
-    slow-release coated fertilizers.

Nitrification inhibitors (NIs) are compounds mixed with ammonium-forming N fertilizers to decrease the rate of transformation of ammonium (NH4+) to nitrate (NO3-). Both N forms are plant-available, but nitrate is prone to leaching and denitrification. Leaching of nitrate-N can cause losses of up to 50% of fertilizer N applied on sandy soils. Denitrification can account for about 15% N losses under low-lying, heavy-texture soils in extreme conditions. Despite this high loss potential with nitrate-N, an NI is only expected to have a positive impact on grain yield when weather patterns favor losses large enough that N becomes insufficient to meet crop needs.

Urease inhibitors (UI) are compounds mixed with urea-based fertilizers to decrease the rate of urea hydrolysis by temporarily blocking the active site of urease enzyme. UIs can be especially important when urea-based fertilizers are surface-applied on high-pH soil and in high-residue conditions like no-till as crop residue contains high concentrations of urease. If unprotected, urea hydrolysis on the soil surface can lead to about 30% fertilizer N lost through ammonia volatilization. UIs protect urea from being quickly hydrolyzed and potentially volatilized before it is incorporated (mechanically or via more than 0.25 inch of rainfall/irrigation) and becomes protected in the soil. Similarly to NI, the UI effect on yield is weather dependent and may only be beneficial if no rainfall/irrigation occurs in the first five days after fertilizer application on drying soil conditions.

Slow-release coated fertilizers are conventional fertilizers such as urea coated with sulfur, polymers, or both. Release of fertilizer through coating is a function of coating characteristics affected by soil water and temperature. Once urea is released through coating, it is exposed to the same transformations in the soil as non-coated fertilizer. The coating technology can provide a gradual supply of N for the developing crop. Soil and climatic conditions can alter the effectiveness of coatings.

Stabilizers, Weather and Yield

In a 28-year study near Clay Center where the NI nitrapyrin was evaluated along with spring-applied anhydrous ammonia on a silt loam soil, a positive yield response was observed 36% of the time. However, a negative yield response from using NI was observed 18% of the time, with the remaining 46% having no effect on yield. NI had a positive impact on yield (from 8 to 13 bu/ac higher than fertilizer alone) when weather during the six weeks after N application included
-    moderate-volume, well-distributed rainfall, or
-    higher-volume rainfall coupled with higher temperatures.

UIs also were tested in central Nebraska the last three years. Nitrogen fertilizer in the form of urea or urea-ammonium nitrate was surface-applied near corn planting time with and without UI. UI only had a positive effect on yield at one site, where UI+urea produced 20 bu/ac more than urea alone. This site received 2.3 inches of rain 5-10 days after fertilizer application. (Also, at four and five days after application, it received rain of 0.03 and 0.09 inches.) Rainfall volumes less than 0.25 are not enough to move fertilizer into the soil yet allow for urea hydrolysis on the surface, increasing volatilization potential. In other years, UI had no effect on yield. In all years, using UI decreased potential ammonia volatilization losses from 3.6 to 13.3 lbs N-NH3/ac less than fertilizer alone, which meant 3%-7% of applied N was not lost.

The three-year study in coarse-textured soil in south-central Nebraska demonstrated the benefit of using polymer-coated urea (ESN®) irrespective of inter-annual climatic variation. ESN consistently improved corn yield compared to UAN at various rates of N application. Averaged across N rates, corn yield with ESN was greater than with UAN by 49%. A laboratory study simulating those field conditions suggested that ESN reduced ammonia loss by 15% in a dry year while in a wet year, it reduced nitrate leaching by 60% compared to UAN.


-    N fertilizer stabilizer use will only have a positive impact on yield if weather conditions are conducive to N losses to the point of N becoming limiting in relation to crop demand.
-    NI may increase yield with a single application of ammonium-forming fertilizer on irrigated fields. Timing of NI use should allow for high effectiveness in May and June when greatest nitrate-N leaching commonly occurs.
-    UI is more likely to have a positive impact on yield when urea-based fertilizer is surface-applied on high-pH (more than 7) and low cation exchange capacity soil with high residue cover, where no incorporation (mechanical or rainfall) occurs in the first five days after application on a drying soil.
-    ESN is more likely to have a positive impact on yield when field conditions  represent extremes for weather risk of N loss to leaching, volatilization, or denitrification.

Nitrogen Loss Assessment Tool

Producers can use the Nitrogen Loss Assessment Tool (N-LAT, Wortmann et al., 2014) to better understand how their N management practices can be impacted by county-specific soil and weather data. Based on this information, N-LAT calculates long-term average N loss associated with different N management practices for given fields.

For more information about N-LAT, including a link to download the spreadsheet, see the Nebraska Extension publication, Nitrogen Loss Assessment Tool (N-LAT) for Nebraska: Background and Users Guide.

NPR Showcases the Benefits of the Burgeoning Soil Health Movement

Don't think dirt is beautiful? You don't know Deb Gangwish. She has a thing for soil and openly espoused her infatuation recently in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR). And Del Ficke, another Nebraska farmer, understands her crush completely.

Gangwish, who serves on the National Corn Growers Association Freedom to Operate Action Team, is part of a growing legion of farmers at the forefront of a swelling soil health movement. And this movement is turning the historic soil management "evolution" into more of a "revolution" because of the momentum and accelerated change.

"For years, talk of "healthy soil" was mostly limited to organic farmers and others on the fringes of mainstream American agriculture. No more. Articles about soil health fill major farm publications. It's the subject of  several recent books . Big food companies are on board, and some of them are discussing a new eco-label for food, alongside "organic" and "fair trade," that would reward farmers for adopting practices that build healthy soil - what many are calling "regenerative agriculture." Dan Charles - NPR

Farmers have been discussing, adopting and tweaking agronomic practices that are better for the soil for decades but more in the context of saving soil from wind and water erosion rather than how to keep soil "healthy." Keeping soil in the field became a growing priority in the 1990s which spawned many ways to farm under the heading of conservation tillage and no-till.

But today, the quest for healthy soil is saving the soil and a whole lot more. Farmers are developing techniques that capture carbon, cut the need for adding as much fertilizer, and literally build new, more productive soil.

Efforts are being aided by the Soil Health Partnership and NCGA. SHP is leading and facilitating efforts to identify, test and measure management practices to improve soil health to assist in assessing the economic and environmental benefits to farmers' operations.


All layers in Nebraska during March 2018 totaled 7.69 million, down from 8.42 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during March totaled 198 million eggs, down from 225 million in 2017. March egg production per 100 layers was 2,571 eggs, compared to 2,675 eggs in 2017.


Iowa egg production during March 2018 was 1.35 billion eggs, up 12 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during March 2018 was 56.8 million, up 1 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for March were 2,377, up 11 percent from last month but down 4 percent from last year.

March U.S. Egg Production Up 1 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.10 billion during March 2018, up 1 percent from last year. Production included 7.93 billion table eggs, and 1.17 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.08 billion were broiler-type and 83.0 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during March 2018 totaled 386 million, up 3 percent from last year. March egg production per 100 layers was 2,355 eggs, down 2 percent from March 2017.
All layers in the United States on April 1, 2018 totaled 387 million, up 3 percent from last year. The 387 million layers consisted of 324 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 59.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.52 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on April 1, 2018, averaged 75.9 eggs per 100 layers, down 2 percent from April 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 4 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during March 2018 totaled 58.1 million, up 4 percent from March 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 56.2 million on April 1, 2018, up 8 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 181 thousand during March 2018, down 4 percent from March 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during March 2018 totaled 828 million, up 1 percent from March 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 683 million on April 1, 2018, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 8.11 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during March 2018, down 2 percent from March 2017.

Who Buys Ag Land?

Randy Dickhut, Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations, Farmers National Company

In the land market, it is important on several levels to know who the buyers and sellers of agricultural land are. Previously we discussed the topic of who sells land. Today, we will take a look at who normally is buying farm and ranch land. The information provided by Iowa State University and the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers is fairly representative of what is happening in other agricultural states except for the few where investor purchases might be higher.

In Iowa, latest statistics show that farmers buy 77% of the ag land that is sold, local investors buy 11%, non-local investors purchase 8%, and "others" take 4% of the sales. Illinois shows farmers purchasing 70% of the land for sale, local investors buying 15%, non-local investors at 8%, institutions buying 6%, and "other" at 1%. You will notice that Illinois buyers include the category of "institutions". This points out the difference in state laws and regulations concerning ownership of agricultural land. Illinois allows corporate ownership of farmland whereas Iowa has restrictions on corporate ownership as do other states.

The real story shown by the current statistics on who is buying ag land is that farmers, ranchers, and local investors normally purchase 85-90% of the farms that come up for sale. Out of area or out of state investors and institutions buy 8-14%. Again, these statistics on who is buying land will vary somewhat by state and will also vary during the ups and downs in land price cycles. In the end, it takes both local and non-local buyers of land to make a functioning land market.

Iowa Corn Promotion Board to Hold Director Elections for USDA Crop Reporting Districts 4, 5, 8, and 9

Since 1978, Iowa corn growers have elected their peers to serve on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff program.

On July 17, 2018, corn growers in Crop Reporting Districts 4, 5, 8, and 9 can vote at their local county ISU extension office for their representation on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board for a 3-year term. The Board’s primary priorities and responsibilities include domestic and foreign market development, research into news and value-added corn uses, and education on corn and the farmers who grow it.

Corn producers within Districts 4, 5, 8, and 9 who have produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year (September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017) and are interested in running for a position may still file a petition with the ICPB. Petitions can be obtained by contacting the Iowa Corn office and must contain the signatures of 25 corn producers from the same district as the prospective candidate. Completed and notarized petitions must be delivered to the Iowa Corn office no later than 4:30 p.m. on April 27, 2017. Once all grower petitions have been received, a final list of candidates will be generated, and all names will be listed on the election ballots.

Current candidates are as follows:

USDA Crop Reporting District #4 (Audubon, Calhoun, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie, Harrison, Ida, Monona, Sac, Shelby, and Woodbury)
-    Larry Buss, Harrison County
-    Brandon Strutzenberg, Calhoun County

USDA Crop Reporting District #5 (Boone, Dallas, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story, Tama, and Webster)
-    Michael Fritch, Jasper County
-    Rod Pierce, Boone County 

USDA Crop Reporting District #8 (Appanoose, Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Ringgold, Union, Warren, and Wayne)
-    Corwin Fee, Marion County
-    Gary Petersohn, Ringgold County

USDA Crop Reporting District #9 (Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Mahaska, Van Buren, Wapello, and Washington)
-    Paul Gieselman, Louisa County
-    Stan Nelson, Des Moines County

Anyone who has produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year is eligible to vote in the election. Producers unable to visit the local ISU extension office on July 17 may vote by absentee ballot. Absentee ballots can be requested beginning May 30, requests must be made no later than June 25 by contacting the Iowa Corn office at (515)225-9242 or on our website at www.iowacorn.org. Absentee ballots must be postmarked or returned to the Iowa Corn Office no later than July 17. Results of the election will be made public on July 22.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that three locally-led watershed-based demonstration projects will be expanding their work in targeted watersheds to accelerate implementation of practices that improve water quality.

“We are excited for the next phase of these three projects as they focus on accelerating adoption of practices and broadening their reach to even more farmers and landowners,” Naig said. “The 55 rural and urban demonstration projects in place across the state have played a critical role in reaching out and demonstrating new water quality focused practices and encouraging Iowans to try something new.”

The projects receiving extensions are:
Headwaters North Raccoon River Water Quality Initiative Project: The project is led by the Buena Vista and Pocahontas Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership Water Quality Initiative, formerly the Elk Run Watershed Water Quality Initiative Project: The project is located in Carroll, Sac, and Calhoun Counties and led by Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance.

Leading a New Collaborative Approach to Improving Water Quality in the Squaw Creek Watershed: The project is located in Boone, Story, and Hamilton Counties and is led by Prairie Rivers of Iowa Resource Conservation & Development.

These projects had a number of successes during the first three years, for example:
-    The Headwaters North Raccoon River project had a more than 400% increase in cover crop adoption from 2016-2017
-    The North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership project developed an effective edge-of-field strategy for implementation of bioreactors and saturated buffers
-    The Squaw Creek Watershed project partnered with the local Watershed Management Authority to support implementation and outreach efforts.

Looking forward to the next phase of implementation, these projects will focus on further developing partnerships and local leadership, targeted practice installation, development of actionable, locally-led watershed plans, and continuing to effectively leverage resources.

Thirteen new partners have joined the existing 39 partners currently involved in these projects. Partners include agriculture organizations, institutions of higher education, private industry, the local, state and federal government, and others, all working together to move conservation-based water quality efforts forward.

More details about each of the projects can be found at https://www.cleanwateriowa.org/farm-1/.

These projects will receive a total of $1.43 million in additional funding through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative over the next three years. In addition to the state funds, these three projects will access over $2.27 million in matching funds to support water quality improvement efforts as well as other in-kind contributions.

These funds will allow the projects to focus on scaling up implementation of conservation practices identified in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and continue to build on existing assessment and evaluation methods.  Also, an additional $475,000 of funds has been allocated for these projects which will be targeted towards implementation of edge-of-field nutrient reduction conservation practices such as wetlands, saturated buffers and bioreactors.

“Extending these projects will allow us to build on the strong foundation that has been created in these watersheds and continue learn more about the best ways to get water quality focused practices on the land. These projects are hitting their stride in terms of engaging farmers, getting practices on the ground and coordinating with partners and stakeholders.  We have always understood that it would take a long-term commitment to improvement in these watersheds and I’m excited to continue this important work,” Naig said.

USDA Cold Storage March 2018 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on March 31, 2018 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down slightly from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up slightly from the previous month and up 12 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 21 percent from last month and up 188 percent from last year.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on March 31, 2018 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 5 percent from March 31, 2017.  Butter stocks were up 3 percent from last month and up slightly from a year ago.

Total frozen poultry supplies on March 31, 2018 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 12 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 14 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 8 percent from last month and up 8 percent from March 31, 2017.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 11 percent from last month and down 22 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 9 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.


The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released for public comment the draft human health and ecological risk assessments for glyphosate, one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States. EPA's risk assessment concludes that gylphosate is NOT likely to be a carcinogenic to humans.  The agency found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.  These scientific findings are consistent with conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institutes of Health Agricultural Health Survey.

Please consider submitting comments by the EPA announced deadline as it is critical the agency hears from ARA members on the importance of this class of pesticide products. The EPA public comment period closes on April 30, 2018.

Glyphosate is a versatile herbicide used by American farmers, land managers, and gardners to safely and effectively control unwanted weeds and other vegetation.  Since their introduction in 1974, glyphosate-based products have become the most commonly user herbicides in the United States. This widespread adoption is the result of the products ability to control a broad spectrum of weeds while providing extensive economic and environmental benefits.

CWT Assists with 3.4 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 12 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Land O’Lakes, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and United Dairymen of Arizona. These cooperatives have contracts to sell 881,849 pounds (400 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 2.547 million pounds (1,156 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from May through October 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 32.730 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 9.556 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 25 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 517.179 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

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