AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
U.S. SOYBEANS MAY BENEFIT FROM CHINA'S GROWING INCOMES
China has acquired a powerful appetite for imported vegetable oils, which may bode well for U.S. soybean producers. China's imports of vegetable oil and oilseeds are expected to increase substantially in the coming years, says ISU economists John Beghin and Cheng Fang. Their study for the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute examined the demand for vegetable oils in urban households in China. They found per capita vegetable oil consumption had increased by 440 percent from 1979 to 1999, primarily due to remarkable growth in incomes. Consumption of soybean and palm oils is growing faster than that of other oils. As the Chinese become more affluent and population continues to grow, demand for soy oil, rapeseed oil and peanut oil will continue to grow. Rural areas may see even higher growth, because rural residents currently consume less edible oil. "These changes may benefit large soybean product exporters, such as the United States, Brazil and Argentina," said Beghin. Contact Beghin, (515) 294-5811, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications,
DIVERSITY GARDENS OPEN DOORS TO ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE
Hot peppers and tomatillos aren't standard fare in most Iowa vegetable gardens. In Storm Lake's Diversity Gardens, however, Hispanic families are growing produce not available locally. The families are volunteer gardeners in a pilot program developed to determine the feasibility of growing specific crops and their marketability as alternative crops for northwest Iowa. "The project has meant a lot to the families whove had an opportunity to garden and to grow crops theyre familiar with for their diets," said Rex Wittrock, Farmers Service Administration /USDA. Families chose what they planted in the nine garden plots. Seed companies and a local greenhouse donated some seeds and plants; the families brought in others. Produce from the gardens will be used by the families or marketed at the local farmers market. Eldon Everhart, ISU Extension horticulturist, Harlan, assisted with early organization of the gardens, approved crop selection and makes suggestions for pest control measures. "It would be great if the project could stimulate one or more of the participants to start a commercial business growing ethnic produce," Everhart said. In addition to ISU Extension, agencies involved included National Resources and Conservation Service, Pastoral Outreach Ministry (Catholic Diocese of Sioux City), Comm Unity Education, Ag Connect and IBP Inc. Contact Wittrock, (712) 732-1200;
Everhart, (712) 755-3104; or Jolene Stevens, ISU Extension Outreach Center, (712) 274-0048
COMPUTER MODEL TACKLES MULTIPLE STRESSES OF SOYBEANS
A computer's insights may help soybean growers better manage yield losses caused by multiple stresses in the field. "We've found the impact of interactive stresses can be successfully predicted using our soybean growth model," said Bill Batchelor, agricultural engineer. Batchelor and other scientists used the computer model, called CROPGRO, to simulate conditions in which soybeans were subjected to stress from diseases, lack of moisture and herbicide injury. They grounded their model in real-world data collected from field trials conducted in 1997 and 1998. "Studying the CROPGRO results suggests that the best management strategy to follow to reduce yield from these multiple stresses is to plant a variety that's resistant to known diseases at your location," Batchelor said. "Herbicide injury was not usually a big problem. Weather is still a wild card, but we've shown that we can factor in weather conditions to give a good idea of what final yield will be." The research was part of a five-state, six-university project on improving soybean yields funded by Iowa and Illinois soybean groups. Contact Batchelor, (515) 294-1434, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
NEW BOOK HELPS FAMILIES DISCUSS FARM HAZARDS
No central registry of farm injuries to children exists in the United States, but safety experts estimate that more than 100 children die and almost 22,000 are seriously injured each year on farms. Iowa State University Extension has published a new book designed to help families talk about farm hazards and discuss family rules. "What Would You Do? Helping Young Children Understand Farm Hazards," features full-page illustrations for children and information for parents, including 24 real-life situations. Specifics about the book are available on the Web at www.ae.iastate.edu/safety.htm. ISU Extension farm safety specialist Charles Schwab helped write and develop the book. Contact Schwab or Laura Miller, Extension Communications, (515) 294-6360.
LIVESTOCK COMPOSTING PROJECT PROVIDES USEFUL INFORMATION
Because of the high cost of using on-farm rendering services, more producers are considering composting as a way to deal with their dead livestock. Two ISU Extension field specialists, Dennis DeWitt and Kris Kohl, are working with several producers on a composting demonstration project in northwest Iowa. Most participants are pork producers from several types of operations. DeWitt said the project offers valuable information for producers who seek a biologically and environmentally safe method of livestock disposal. The Iowa Pork Industry Center funds the project. Contact DeWitt, (712) 336-3498, or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496.
BOOSTING CAMARADERIE AMONG OFF-CAMPUS STUDENTS
Learning communities have become a popular way for college students to study together, encourage each other and develop camaraderie. ISU wants to test the concept with students who never come to campus. In September, two pilot groups will begin meeting in Cedar Rapids to learn more about ISU's off-campus agriculture programsand about each other. Adult learners in the groups will begin pursuing bachelor's or master's degrees in professional agriculture this fall or next spring. ISU will partner with Kirkwood Community College to deliver the programs via videotape, ICN and classes at Kirkwood. "The whole idea is to build peer support," said Richard Carter, director of the Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer in ISU's College of Agriculture. "When students can learn from and encourage each other, it's a factor in success with their studies." For more information on the program, call (800) 747-4478. Contact Carter, (515) 294-6950; Wade Miller, Agricultural Education and Studies, (515) 294-0895; or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706
BEEF INDUSTRY LEADER HONORED AT ISU RESEARCH FARM
A gift from a 1938 ISU alumnus will improve the headquarters at ISU's Rhodes Research and Demonstration Farm in Marshall County. John Airy was recognized at the farm's summer field day for his gift and his lifetime contributions to the beef cattle industry. Airy, who lives in California, established a beef cattle breeding program for Pioneer Hi-Bred International in the 1950s. Airy's work influenced beef programs nationwide. The program was based at the Rhodes farm until 1973, when it was transferred from Pioneer to Iowa State. Currently, the farm is a primary site for ISU's beef breeding research. Airy's gift will be used for a building addition and to establish the John Airy Beef Cattle Genetics Seminar in ISU's Department of Animal Science. Contact Dennis Marple, Animal Science, (515) 294-2160, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
WHAT'S NEW IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY EXAMINED AT ISU ON AUG. 31
Iowa State's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition will hold its annual Iowa Food Industry Day on Aug. 31. Representatives from Iowa's food industries will be updated on value-added agriculture, irradiation, soyfoods, food labeling and other food-related issues. Maury Wills of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Rose Ann Shea of Hy-Vee will discuss organic foods. ISU researchers and extension specialists will speak on what's new in their programs. Contact Connie Hardy, Center for Crops Utilization Research, (515) 294-3394; Bill LaGrange, Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-3156; or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
LATE-SUMMER FIELD DAYS BEGIN AT ISU RESEARCH FARMS
Late-summer field days begin on Aug. 23 at ISU's research and demonstration farms. Six field days are scheduled. Locations, topics and dates are:
- Northwest Farm, near Doon, crops, Aug. 23, 9 a.m.
- Neely-Kinyon Farm, near Greenfield, crops, Aug. 24, 4 p.m.
- Northeast Farm, near Nashua, crops and GPS, Aug. 24, 2 and 6 p.m.
- McNay Farm, near Chariton, crops, livestock and horticulture, Sept. 7, 4 p.m.
- Southeast Farm, near Crawfordsville, crops, Sept. 12, 1 p.m.
- Lauren Christian Swine Farm, near Atlantic, swine, Sept. 19 (time to be announced)
Directions to the farms can be found on the Web at www.ag.iastate.edu/farms/. Contact Dennis Shannon, Research and Demonstration Farms, (515) 294-1608, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Communications,
IOWA FOOD AND ISU FOOTBALL: A COMMODITY CLASSIC SEPT. 2
A heaping helping of Iowa food awaits hungry fans attending the kickoff of Iowa State's football season on Sept. 2. The Iowa Commodity Classic and Taste of Iowa will feature Iowa-produced foods, which will be sold at stadium stands before and during ISU's 11:30 a.m. game with Ohio University. Iowa corn and soybean groups will display foods and hold a drawing for a shopping spree. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) will have tents promoting the Taste of Iowa and the state's food industry. The event is organized by ISU's colleges of agriculture and family and consumer sciences, ISU Athletics and IDED. More information is available on the Web at www.ag.iastate.edu/goodfood. Contact Mike Telford, Alumni Relations, (515) 294-7677, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2314.