Agribusiness
New Publication Illustrates Energy Efficient Farm Lighting Options PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 12:28

AMES, Iowa – Farm lighting is a key factor for worker safety, animal production and overall farmsteadsecurity. Many farm facilities use incandescent bulbs in a variety of settings, but the upcoming phase-out of incandescents among U.S. retailers demands consideration of energy efficient lighting alternatives.
A variety of bulbs and fixtures already are available to replace incandescent bulbs. A new publication from Iowa State University Extension compares some of the indoor and outdoor lighting options and their features.

“Energy Fundamentals for Farm Lighting” (PM 2089N) is available to download from the Extension Online Store, www.extension.iastate.edu/store/.
“The incandescent bulb produces light using electrical resistance and much of its energy is wasted as heat,” saidJay Harmon, ISU Extension agricultural engineer. “In spite of low initial cost, the short bulb life and lack ofenergy efficiency make these bulbs a costly source of lighting.”

The incandescent phase-out officially begins with 100W bulbs in 2012 and will grow to include the lower wattage bulbs during the next few years. Alternative options for farm lighting include energy efficient technology such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), light-emitting diodes (LED) and tube fluorescent fixtures.This publication also explains lighting terminology for comparing the energy efficiency of different bulbs.

“Incandescent bulbs will begin disappearing from hardware store shelves throughout the coming months,” said Dana Petersen, ISU Extension program coordinator with ISU Farm Energy. “Contact your local electric utility provider to learn about available rebates on energy efficient lighting alternatives.”

For more tips on energy efficiency around the farmstead, visit http://farmenergy.exnet.iastate.edu or follow@ISU_Farm_Energy on Twitter.

The Farm Energy publications are part of a series of farm energy conservation and efficiency educational materials being developed through the ISU Farm Energy Initiative. The purpose is to increase farmers’awareness of opportunities for improving efficient use of farm energy. The initiative also will help farmers and utility providers to explore alternatives to reduce farm energy demand and to improve overall profitability in a rapidly changing energy environment.

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New Publication Illustrates Energy Efficient Farm Lighting Options PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 12:28

AMES, Iowa – Farm lighting is a key factor for worker safety, animal production and overall farmsteadsecurity. Many farm facilities use incandescent bulbs in a variety of settings, but the upcoming phase-out of incandescents among U.S. retailers demands consideration of energy efficient lighting alternatives.
A variety of bulbs and fixtures already are available to replace incandescent bulbs. A new publication from Iowa State University Extension compares some of the indoor and outdoor lighting options and their features.

“Energy Fundamentals for Farm Lighting” (PM 2089N) is available to download from the Extension Online Store, www.extension.iastate.edu/store/.
“The incandescent bulb produces light using electrical resistance and much of its energy is wasted as heat,” saidJay Harmon, ISU Extension agricultural engineer. “In spite of low initial cost, the short bulb life and lack ofenergy efficiency make these bulbs a costly source of lighting.”

The incandescent phase-out officially begins with 100W bulbs in 2012 and will grow to include the lower wattage bulbs during the next few years. Alternative options for farm lighting include energy efficient technology such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), light-emitting diodes (LED) and tube fluorescent fixtures.This publication also explains lighting terminology for comparing the energy efficiency of different bulbs.

“Incandescent bulbs will begin disappearing from hardware store shelves throughout the coming months,” said Dana Petersen, ISU Extension program coordinator with ISU Farm Energy. “Contact your local electric utility provider to learn about available rebates on energy efficient lighting alternatives.”

For more tips on energy efficiency around the farmstead, visit http://farmenergy.exnet.iastate.edu or follow@ISU_Farm_Energy on Twitter.

The Farm Energy publications are part of a series of farm energy conservation and efficiency educational materials being developed through the ISU Farm Energy Initiative. The purpose is to increase farmers’awareness of opportunities for improving efficient use of farm energy. The initiative also will help farmers and utility providers to explore alternatives to reduce farm energy demand and to improve overall profitability in a rapidly changing energy environment.

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Farmland Leasing Workshops Scheduled for July and August PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 12:24

AMES, Iowa—Landowners, tenants and other agri-business professionals with an interest in farmland ownership, management and leasing agreements should plan to attend one of more than 50 farmland leasing meetings scheduled forJuly and August. The workshops are facilitated by Iowa State University Extension farm management specialists and heldall across the state.

“I’ve had numerous contacts this year from persons who have questions about farmland values and rental rates,” saidMelissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension farm and agribusiness management specialist. “Due to the increases in land values and cash rents, there is definitely a heightened interest in farm leasing arrangements.”
O’Rourke said ISU Extension research indicates that the average age of farmland owners continues to rise; with 55 percent of Iowa's farmland owned by people over the age of 65 and 28 percent of the land owned by individuals over age 75. The research also indicates that children and surviving spouses of farmers are less likely to continue operating the farm themselves. That’s a major reason why farmland leasing continues to increase, according to O’Rourke

The workshops are approximately three hours in length and provide each workshop attendee with a set of useful materials about farm leasing arrangements. The topics to be covered during the 2011 workshops include:

Cash Rental Rate Survey and Land Values Survey
Comparison of different types of leases
Lease termination
Impacts of yields and prices
Calculating a fair cash rent
Use of spreadsheets to compare leases
Available Internet resources
The AgDM leasing meetings page www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/meetings.html lists meeting dates, locations and links to more information. Locations will be added as they become available, or contact an ISU Extension county office to find the nearest meeting location.

The leasing section of AgDM also provides useful materials for negotiating leases, information on various types of leases, lease forms and newly updated Decision Tools. ISU Extension farm management specialists believe having the latest information and knowing where to find the best resources will make decisions easier for those involved with farmland leases.

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Yard and Garden: Strawberries PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 12:16
The strawberry is the most popular small fruit grown in the home garden. It is relatively easy to grow, produces large quantitiesof fruit high in vitamin C without requiring extra equipment and can be grown in home gardens all over Iowa. Gardeners with questions about strawberries and other berries may contact the experts by emailing or calling the ISU Extension horticulture hotline at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 515-294-3108.

When should strawberries be harvested?
Harvest strawberries when the fruit are uniformly red (fully ripe). Pick the berries with the caps and stems attached to retain firmness and quality. Pinch off the stem about one-fourth inch above the cap. Don’t pull them off.

Strawberries should be picked about every other day in warm weather, every three to four days in cool weather. The harvest period for some June-bearing varieties may last three to four weeks. Strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five to seven days. Optimum storage conditions are a temperature of 32 F and a relative humidity of 90 to 95 percent.

Some of my strawberries are covered with a gray, velvety growth. What is it and how can it be controlled?
The gray, velvety growth on your berries may be gray mold. It also is known as Botrytis fruit rot. Gray mold is favored by poor air circulation and a high humidity in the strawberry planting. The most commonly infected berries are those touching the soil or other infected berries.

Cultural practices can reduce losses due to gray mold. Do not fertilize June-bearing strawberries in spring. The application of anitrogen-containing fertilizer in spring promotes lush, vegetative growth. Dense foliage slows the drying of the strawberry planting,resulting in a more favorable environment for gray mold. Control weeds in the strawberry bed. Weeds reduce air circulation and slow the drying of the strawberry plants. Mulch the planting with straw to keep the berries off the ground. Berries resting on a damp or wetsoil are more susceptible to gray mold. During dry weather, irrigate in the morning when using a sprinkler. Plants dry quickly when irrigated in the morning.

“Clean-pick” the strawberry planting. Harvest frequently. Pick berries as soon as they are ripe. Handle berries carefully during harvest to avoid bruising the fruit. Immediately refrigerate the unwashed berries. Berries that exhibit symptoms of gray mold should be picked and removed from the bed. Finally, fungicides are used by commercial strawberry growers to control gray mold. However, cultural practices are the best way to control Botrytis fruit rot in home gardens.

Why do my strawberries have a slightly bitter taste?
The flavor of most fruits and vegetables is influenced by weather conditions. In regards to strawberries, warm sunny weather produces the most flavorful fruit. When the weather is extremely hot, the berries may have a slightly bitter taste. Strawberry plants produce smaller quantities of sugars when the weather is cool and cloudy. As a result, berries are not as sweet when the weather is cool and rainy in May and June.

Leather rot, caused by a fungal disease, can be a problem in wet weather. Infected fruit have a leathery texture and bitter taste.
My June-bearing strawberry patch was flooded in June. Can I harvest the berries?

Berry fruits, such as strawberries, are highly susceptible to bacterial contamination. Silt and other contaminants may become imbedded in the fleshy fruit and are difficult to remove. Since the berries were present when the garden was flooded, do not harvestand eat any of the fruit. Renovate the strawberry patch in early July. Next year’s crop should be safe to eat if additional flooding doesn’t occur during fruit development.

How can I prevent birds from eating my strawberries?
Birds can destroy 20 to 30 percent of a strawberry crop. The best way to prevent crop loss in the home garden is to place protective netting over the planting. Netting can be purchased at garden centers or through mail-order catalogs. Attach the netting to a frame that sets over the strawberry planting. The netting should be kept several inches above the plants so birds can’t peck at the fruit through thenetting. The structure also should be designed so the netting can be easily removed to harvest the fruit.
There are small, black, yellow-spotted beetles feeding on my strawberries. What should I do?

The small, black beetles are likely sap beetles. They are also known as picnic beetles or picnic bugs. Sap beetles commonly feed on overripe or damaged fruits and vegetables in the garden.

Sanitation is the best management strategy for sap beetles in home gardens. Keep the strawberry patch as clean as possible through timely picking and removal of damaged, diseased and overripe fruit.

Insecticide sprays are available for sap beetles, but they are difficult to use because they are applied to a crop that is ready for harvest or while harvest is under way. If you do spray, use an insecticide with a short harvest-waiting interval and follow label directions carefully.

There are small masses of foam-like material on my strawberry plants. What are these foam-like masses?
The foam-like masses on the strawberry plants were probably created by the meadow spittlebug. The meadow spittlebug is one of several species of this commonly recognized group of sap-feeding insects. Spittlebugs are familiar because of the frothy, wet mass of "spittle" that surrounds the nymphs as they feed on sap from their host plants. The spittle is produced by the immature stage of the insect (the nymph) and protects the nymphs from natural enemies and desiccation.

While the foam-like masses of spittlebugs are conspicuous and somewhat obnoxious, spittlebugs cause little harm to plants. Control efforts usually are not warranted.

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Pasture Walk at Busch’s on July 6 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 12:14

Vinton – Pasture water systems and rotational grazing will be the focus of the discussion at the next pasture walk scheduled for Wednesday, July 6 at the Wayne Busch Farm north of Lost Nation.

Busch’s farm is located two miles north of Lost Nation, at 1253 140th Ave. Beef cows are rotated through several paddocks that feature a tile-fed water system. Busch tapped into a tile line, built his own concrete waterers which overflow back into the tile line to feed the next waterer.

This pasture walk will also be a part of the Greenhorn Grazing program which will continue at the Jackson County Extension Office in Maquoketa following the pasture walk. Several speakers will be on hand for both the pasture walk and the Greenhorn Grazing program, including Dr. Steve Barnhart, ISU Forage Agronomist, Dr. Dan Morrical, ISU grazing specialist, Dr. Greg Brenneman, ISU engineer and Denise Schwab, ISU beef specialist.

The pasture walk will run from 1:00-3:00 pm and is open to grass-based farmers or “graziers” of allspecies and at all levels. The Greenhorn Grazing program will follow, and interested participants can call Denise Schwab at 319-721-9624 for more information. The Busch farm is located at 1253 140th Ave, which is 2 miles directly north of Lost Nation on Western St. which turns into 140th Ave. The farm is on the right or east side of the road.

For more information about the 2011 Pasture Walks, contact Denise Schwab, ISU Extension Beef Specialist at 319-721-9624 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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