AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
NEW REFERENCE GUIDE FOR IMPROVING SOYBEAN YIELDS
A new publication lists key findings from one of the largest soybean research studies ever undertaken to understand factors that conspire to limit yields. The study, led by Iowa State University, involved more than 30 researchers in five states, and ran from 1997 through the start of this year. "Some of the project's insights have led to new recommendations for reducing yield losses," said Bill Batchelor, ISU agricultural engineer and project coordinator. "Results also have proven useful in interpreting data from other projects, including those involving precision farming." The 32-page publication, "The Yields Project: A Reference Guide for Maximizing Yield," is free. Ask for publication EDC-206 when contacting ISU Extension's Distribution Center by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org; fax (515) 294-2945; or mail, 119 Printing and Publication Bldg., Ames, IA 50011. The project was funded by the Soybean Research and Development Council through the Iowa and Illinois soybean checkoff. ISU is leading a new multistate project that continues the research on soybean stresses. Contact Batchelor, (515) 294-1434, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
YEAR-ROUND GRAZING PRODUCES SAVINGS IN HAY COSTS
Research shows that producers who let their cattle graze year-round may come out ahead when hay prices fluctuate during periods of drought or too much rain. Cows that graze in spring and summer pastures, and graze cornstalks and stockpiled forages in winter, needed only 400 pounds of supplemental hay per animal compared to three tons of hay per animal for cows maintained in a dry lot during winter. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture's Animal Management Issue Team has been studying year-round grazing systems since 1989, and involves producers in deciding the direction and application of its work. A new summary of the team's work is available from the Center, (515) 294-3711, or on its Web site, www.leopold.iastate.edu. Contact Jim Russell, Animal Science, (515) 294-4631, or Laura Miller, (515) 294-5272.
SOY BYPRODUCTS JUICE THE SOIL FOR GROWING BLUEBERRIES
ISU researchers have discovered a new use for the byproducts of soybean processing: soil conditioner for blueberries. ISU agronomist Stan Henning is in the fifth year of an experiment that has explored environmentally friendly uses for soy byproducts, which otherwise can create disposal problems. "By applying soy byproducts to soil, we create a different soil environment that's very suitable for growing blueberries and other acid-loving plants," Henning said. "Our yields have been competitive with other areas where blueberries are grown." Iowa has fewer than 50 acres devoted to blueberry production, said Gail Nonnecke, ISU horticulturist. Henning also is studying whether the application of soy byproducts can benefit other crops, like lingonberries. Using the natural byproduct could qualify farmers as organic producers. Contact Henning,
(515) 294-7846, Nonnecke, (515) 294-0037, or Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture Communications,
NEW WAYS TO MANAGE MELON FIELDS MAY PROVE FRUITFUL
Each year, up to 1,000 acres of muskmelons are grown in Iowa. ISU researchers are studying new approaches to managing those fields. Plant pathologist Mark Gleason is conducting experiments to control disease, insects and weeds in muskmelons grown at an ISU research farm near Castana. In disease experiments, Gleason uses weather cues to determine the best times to spray. He also experiments with the use of organic products as an alternative to chemical sprays. In a weed study, he is examining the performance of mulch as a biological weed barrier. Gleason said the insect study is the most innovative part of the project. Cucumber beetles carry a bacteria that causes bacterial wilt in melon plants. "Normally to beat it, growers put on a lot of pesticides," Gleason said. "We're applying chemical attractants to influence the beetles' behavior." The chemicals attract the beetles into traps where they are treated with pesticides a more cost-effective alternative to spraying an entire field. Contact Gleason, (515) 294-0579, or Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture Communications,
ISU SOY OIL IS A GRAND SELECTION
A low-saturated-fat soybean oil developed at Iowa State has earned a place among the Grand Selections product line on Hy-Vee® supermarket shelves. The Grand Selections label is reserved for products of premium quality sold in Hy-Vee's 185 supermarkets across the Midwest. Grand Selections Low Saturated Soybean Oil tastes and performs the same as traditional vegetable oil with only half the saturated fat, one gram per serving. The oil, developed by Iowa State University researchers Walter Fehr and Earl Hammond, is produced from a Pioneer® brand soybean. The oil is available in Michigan grocery stores under the Spartan brand. In Japan, it is distributed by Maruetsu. The oil is available for foodservice use in Iowa under the Martin Bros. label and is approved for use in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Lunch Program. Contact Walter Fehr,
(515) 294-6865; Judi Eilertson, DuPont Specialty Grains, (515) 334-7052; or Glenda Webber, ISU Office of Biotechnology, (515) 294-4749.
NORTHWEST IOWA PORK GROUPS ADD VALUE TO THEIR PRODUCTS
Marketing activities in northwest Iowa are helping pork producers focus on adding value to their products. Iowa State University Extension livestock specialist Dave Stender said more than 30 participants are involved in four different groups, which are based on individuals' interests and goals. Group activities include exploring Internet meat sales, conducting feasibility studies at area county fairs, buying a local locker and placing products in local grocery stores. The project is funded primarily by the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University and the Extension 21 program. Contact Stender, (712) 225-6196, or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496.
FOOD SAFETY AND IRRADIATION FEATURED AT STATE FAIR
Iowa State's College of Agriculture exhibit in the Agriculture Building at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 10-20, will focus on food safety and food science. Visitors can see what food-borne bacteria and pathogens look like under a microscope, watch a simulation of new food safety technology called electronic pasteurization or irradiation and search for information in a food safety database. The Iowa Cattlemen's Association booth will have free samples of irradiated beef products in a complementary display, also in the Agriculture Building. The college's exhibit also will include a food-safety learning activity for children and a daily drawing for prizes from Iowa commodity groups, including certificates for free meat. Contact Barb McManus, Agriculture Communications,
(515) 294-0707, or Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2957.
ISU FIELD DAY FEATURES MANURE APPLICATION SYSTEM RESEARCH
Livestock producers are invited to a manure application field day at the Iowa State University Agronomy and Ag Engineering Research Farm on Aug. 8. The event offers opportunities to see a variety of liquid manure application systems in operation. Other topics include a pit additive demonstration, residue management and manure application laws. Studies on swine and poultry manure application also will be featured. The research farm is six miles west of Ames on the south side of Highway 30. Registration is at 1 p.m. and demonstrations start at 1:30 p.m.. Those attending should park at the main farm building. Shuttles will be available to the demonstration site. Contact Angie Rieck-Hinz, Agronomy, (515) 294-9590; Jeff Lorimor, Ag and Biosystems Enginering, (515) 294-9806; or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center (515) 294-4496.
CENTER ANNOUNCES NEW PROJECTS, SEEKS IDEAS FOR NEXT YEAR
Can grass-based dairies work in southern Iowa? Is there a better way to establish gamagrass to prevent erosion and for biomass production? How can farmers be sure they're getting uniform application of livestock manure and nutrients? These are some of the questions the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture's new projects propose to answer in the coming year. The Center will award $888,153 for 18 new and 29 renewed projects that are part of its competitive grants program. All active projects are summarized in the summer issue of the "Leopold Letter," available from the Center, (515) 294-3711, or on its Web site, www.leopold.iastate.edu. Preproposals for grants beginning July 1, 2001, are due Sept. 5. Contact Jeri Neal, Leopold Center grants coordinator, (515) 294-3711, or Laura Miller, (515) 294-5272.
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