• ISU Extension beef specialist excited to work with industry

    ARMSTRONG — Although the current concern for area cattle producers is the drought, the new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist in southwest Iowa said his background and experience will help him build a program that’s beneficial to all facets of the industry.

  • USDA designates 76 additional counties as primary disaster areas

    WASHINGTON D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 76 additional counties in six states last week as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

  • Gov. Branstad issues disaster proclamation

    DES MOINES —  Gov. Branstad issued a disaster emergency proclamation Thursday that will provide relief to Iowa farmers hit hard by the drought being experienced in the state.

    This proclamation remains in affect for the next 60 days.  The assistance comes in the form of a suspension of state laws and regulations affecting the transport of hay, straw and stover.

    The drought has destroyed or depleted sources of these products that are necessary for livestock production and feed.

    Specifically, this proclamation allows for:

  • Tips offered to help conserve water

    AMES — Cracks in the yard, brown lawn, wilting plants. These are just surface indicators of severe drought conditions in your area.

    The more serious issue is the reduction of groundwater for necessary uses, including potable (drinking) water, said Kristi Cooper, family life specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Cooper offers several tips for homeowners to start conserving water.

  • Emergency haying, grazing available Aug. 2

    DES MOINES —  Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director John R. Whitaker announced last week the emergency haying and grazing for all Iowa counties for certain practices enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), effective on Aug. 2.  

    Haying activities must be completed by Aug. 31.  All livestock and hay must be removed by Sept. 30.

  • Ask the Experts: Growing potatoes

    Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists share information about the potato (Solanum tuberosum), one of the most important vegetable crops in the world. To have additional plant and garden questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

    Why are my potatoes knobby?

    Fluctuations in soil moisture levels during tuber development may cause knobby potatoes. Watering on a regular basis (about once a week) during dry periods will help prevent this problem.

  • Webinar examines livestock, crop options during drought

    AMES – Iowa crop and livestock producers dealing with drought–related issues are invited to attend an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach webinar Wednesday, July 25 to learn more about options available to them.

    Several county extension offices will be hosting the 1- 3 p.m. webinar. There is no charge to attend the webinar.


    Livestock issues covered  will include options to help producers manage immediate needs related to stressed pastures and reduced hay supplies.

  • Yard and Garden: Cucumbers, tomatoes and raspberries

    AMES — Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists share information about bitter cucumbers, tomatoes that aren’t setting fruit and why red raspberries may be partly white. To have additional plant and garden questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

    Why are my cucumbers bitter?

    Hot, dry conditions are usually responsible for bitterness in cucumbers in Iowa.

  • Ask the Experts: Offering advice on keeping trees healthy

    AMES — Iowans are noticing changes in their trees this summer and asking Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulture specialists about symptoms that may indicate stress or decline in the health of their trees. The specialists answer several of those questions and are available to answer additional questions through the Iowa State Hortline at hortline@iastate.edu or 515-294-3108. Visit the Yard and Garden FAQs website at http://expert.hort.iastate.edu/ to find answers to tree and other yard and garden questions.

  • Tips to avoid cattle heat stress

    AMES — With continuing weather forecasts of temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90s and heat index topping 100 degrees, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef veterinarian Grant Dewell reminds cattle producers properly preparing for these weather conditions is vital to maintaining herd health. Five steps to avoiding heat stress in your herd:

    — Plan ahead. After cattle get hot, it’s too late to prevent problems.