AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE, AND NATURAL RESOURCES
NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
TECHNOLOGY TO ANALYZE GRAIN MAY WORK ON MANURE, TOO
Near infrared (NIR) technology can help determine grain quality. Can it do the same for manure quality? ISU agricultural engineers Jeff Lorimor and Charles Hurburgh are studying whether NIR can help farmers get a better handle on nutrients they add to their cropland. If NIR can be adapted to work with manure, it would be a fast way to determine nutrient content so that farmers could apply manure at rates that are appropriate to their crop's needs. It also would lessen the potential for over-application, which could endanger water quality. Lorimor plans to conduct lab tests using different NIR instruments on liquid and solid manures from pigs, beef cattle and poultry. Preliminary studies show promise but results are still highly variable, Lorimor says. One hurdle is simply to find a way to measure liquids with machines that were built to test solids like grain. ISU is collaborating with the University of Missouri and Oklahoma State University on the research, which is being for funded for two years. Contact Jeff Lorimor, (515) 294-9806, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
HOW PRECISE IS PRECISION AGRICULTURE?
Integrated crop management (ICM) programs recognize that many factors affect crop productivity and profitability. Precision agriculture tries to couple ICM techniques such as crop scouting and enterprise recordkeeping with data gathered using global positioning and geographic information systems (GPS/GIS) technologies. Farmers use the resulting information to make decisions that may increase profitability and protect the environment. ISU has several precision agriculture efforts under way. Contact Susan Thompson, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705. Following are five sources and the research topics they can discuss:
- Dale Farnham, agronomy, (515) 294-1923, research on private farms to answer farmers' specific questions about precision-ag technology;
- Antonio Mallarino, agronomy, (515) 294-6200, research on soil sampling and variable rate technology to manage nutrients;
- Alfred Blackmer, agronomy, (515) 294-7284, research on using the technologies to manage nitrogen for corn;
- Tom Colvin, USDA National Soil Tilth Laboratory, (515) 294-5724, research on different types of GPS monitoring equipment; and
- George Cummins, ISU Extension crops specialist, (515) 228-1453, research to demonstrate ICM decision-making using GPS/GIS information.
ISU HOSTS UNIQUE SWINE ULTRASOUND CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
A national swine ultrasound training and certification conference is set for May 22-23 at Iowa State University. Tom Baas of ISU's Iowa Pork Industry Center organizes this one-of-a-kind program. It was established by the National Swine Improvement Federation to standardize ultrasonic measurement of backfat thickness and loin muscle area in the live pig. Baas, assistant professor of animal science, says producers and other pork industry professionals from nine states attended last year's program. To become certified, participants must pass a written exam and complete a scanning practicum on 50 pigs. Contact Baas, (515) 294-6728, or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BIOTECH AT NEW OUTREACH CENTER
At Iowa State's new Biotechnology Outreach Education Center, agricultural producers, consumer groups, farm organizations and others can experience first-hand the science behind new products developed using biotechnology. Adults can conduct biotech experiments developed for teachers and students, or center staff can customize their educational activities. In addition, expert guest speakers can facilitate discussions about the scientific, social, economic and ethical issues associated with new biotech products. Mike Zeller, ISU's biotechnology outreach education coordinator, will work with groups to plan learning experiences tailored to their time and interests. Contact Zeller, (515) 294-5949, or Glenda Webber, Office of Biotechnology, (515) 294-9818.
NEW MANAGER NAMED FOR ISU SEED TESTING LAB
Daniel Curry has been named the manager of the Seed Testing Laboratory in Iowa State's Seed Science Center. He succeeds Susana Goggi, who was recently named an assistant professor in ISU's agronomy department. She will serve as the Seed Science Center's seed physiologist. Curry has been an industrial specialist in ISU Extension's value-added agriculture program since 1996. Prior to that, he worked for six years as a researcher in the Seed Science Center. He also worked as plant manager and assistant production manager for Curry Seed Company in South Dakota. Contact Curry, (515) 294-0117, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
ISU GROUP TO LEARN EUROPEANS' PERSPECTIVE ON FOOD ISSUES
A dozen Iowa State University agriculture faculty and staff will visit Europe in May to study issues surrounding food safety and processing, including genetically modified organisms. "We need to know what the trends are to do a better job educating students and helping farmers and companies in Iowa," said David Acker, director of International Agriculture Programs, which is helping to organize the trip. Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, is sponsoring the visit to England and Belgium where the group will meet with consumer groups, business people, government officials and university leaders. The 10-day trip begins May 13 and will be led by Eric Hoiberg, associate dean of agriculture. Contact Hoiberg, (515) 294-6614, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2314.