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Monday, July 27, 2015

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Illinois is implementing a voluntary nutrient loss reduction strategy.  The strategy was developed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the University of Illinois, The fertilizer industry, and commodity groups active in Illinois.  The purpose of the strategy is to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous entering the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico. You can help to implement the strategy by applying phosphorous and potassium according to soil test indications.  You should consider applying nitrogen according to the Nrate calculator.  In season nitrogen tests and chlorophyll sensors are practices that might be useful to make in season corrections.

Another key to reducing nutrient loss is reducing soil loss on your farm.  High residue levels and no-till are very effective in soil loss reduction.  Sediment basins, grassed waterways, and filter strips can also be useful in keeping nutrients on the farm.  Safe manure handling is also part of the strategy.  It is time for farmers to get serious about the strategy to avoid further regulation.  A lot of environmentalists are saying it can't be done.  We all need to work together to prove them wrong.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Elk in Iowa

I was able to photograph the Elk below at Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa.  They are in an 800 acre confinement, not on the loose.  The confinement also contains Bison.  Most of the refuge is restored prairie.  There is also some effort being made to restore savanna habitat.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On the Fence about Cover Crops?

If you are still thinking about whether or not to plant cover crops this fall, it is decision time.  If you are deciding on species, The Midwest Cover Crops Council can help.  Species to choose depends on goals, desired planting method, desired kill method, and planned crop for 2016.  If you are deciding on fields, pick your least productive.  You are likely to get a quick response on poor ground. You need to get seed ordered now.  You need to figure out how you are going to plant now.  If you plan to fly seed on, you need to line up a flyer now.  We have seen some good results with cover crops including better weed control, better crop vigor, and excellent control of wind erosion.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pella Industry

Pella, Iowa impressed me as a neat little city with a lot to offer.  Of course there are grain elevators, but also tourism, and manufacturing. Vermeer and Pella Window and Door both make great products and help keep the community viable.  In addition to Red Rock Lake, Tulip Time and lots of small businesses draw on tourism.  Two agro-tourism businesses we visited were Frisian Cheese and Tassel Winery.  
Pella Elevator

Tulip Time stage


Monday, July 20, 2015

Corn Harvest in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim:

Here in Mato Grosso in areas that are reaping corn safrinha (second crop) 2015 producers are not very happy with the production, they expected average harvest of 130 to 140 bags per hectare, but are noticing a reduction of 15% in production. The problem is not only in reducing production, farmers are reaping poor quality corn, with moldy corn, and burned up with a white layer of plaster.

I heard the same reports to the State of Parana.

Producers are putting the bad quality of and low productivity on diseases, because there was too much rain that caused these problems.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Road Trip to Pella, Iowa

We took a road trip this weekend to Pella Iowa to visit family.  The Route out took us to Quincy then north to Muscatine, Iowa where we turned a but south then west to Pella.  The return trip was through Rock Island then over to Wyoming and thru Peoria turning south at Morton.  Crops looked decent North of Carthage, IL and on to Pella.  Return trip Crops looked decent as far south as Princeville, IL.  From there on, yellow and drowned corn was the rule.  I also have from a reliable source that says crops in Northern IL look much worse than even in our area south of Springfield.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tile Still Running

Tile outlets are still running.