AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND
NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
MOTHER NATURE SAYS NUTS TO SQUIRRELS
This year's acorn crop was almost nonexistent. It's not unusual for one species of oak tree to fail to produce acorns, but this year most of Iowa's oak species didn't produce, said Paul Wray, ISU professor of forestry. He said the shortage means direct seeding of acorns won't be an option this year and may lead to a shortage of oak seedlings for the next couple of years. Jim Pease, professor of animal ecology, said the acorn shortage is bad news for squirrels, bluejays, wood ducks and other Iowa wildlife for which acorns are a major source of food. Contact Wray, (515) 294-1168; Pease, (515) 294-7429, or Barbara McManus, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0707.
IOWA TASK FORCE TO STUDY PHOSPHORUS LEVELS
The USDA has developed a new national standard for managing the application of nutrients to farmland. The nutrient-management standard applies to farmers who receive federal and state cost-share money for conservation work, and is meant to help minimize potential water pollution, maintain soil quality and properly apply manure. In Iowa, a committee is studying how to match state guidelines to federal guidelines. The group has decided that more information on phosphorus is needed before that aspect of the code can be addressed. A phosphorus task force has been formed, led by Gerald Miller, associate dean of ISU's College of Agriculture. The group includes ISU scientists, state officials and representatives from farm and commodity groups and private industry. The main thrust now for nutrient management is limiting the amount of nitrogen applied to land. But applying nitrogen at the highest levels allowed can lead to excess phosphorus and potassium. The task force is holding a series of fact-finding meetings that will continue into March. Contact Miller, (515) 294-4333, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
STUDENTS' COMMUNITY SERVICE HELPS BEAUTIFY CAMPUS
Planting perennial flower bulbs has allowed a group of Iowa State students to grow as leaders. Cary Trexler, a professor of agricultural education and studies, said learning to perform community-service projects helps students become better leaders. The 28 students in Trexler's class on leadership in agriculture raised more than $3,000 to buy 7,500 bulbs of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths to plant around Curtiss Hall on campus. The students planted the bulbs on Nov. 12-13. Contact Trexler, (515) 294-5904; Jenny Holtkamp, student, (515) 268-3080; or Barbara McManus, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0707. (Editor's note: Digital photos of the students at work are available.)
CAN IOWA TAKE BIGGER BITE OF APPLE MARKET?
Once a top apple-producing state, Iowa now provides a fraction of the fresh apples eaten by Iowans annually. More information about changes in Iowa's apple industry, and potential for local sales today, is available in a report on the Leopold Center's Web site: www.leopold.iastate.edu. Written by education program coordinator Rich Pirog and intern John Tyndall, the paper explores the potential for locally grown apples to augment Iowa farm income. Contact Pirog, (515) 294-1854, or Anne Larson, Leopold Center, (515) 294-0626.
WORK TO BEGIN ON NEW DAIRY LAB IN NORTHEAST IOWA
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Friday, Nov. 19, in Calmar for the Northeast Iowa Dairy Education and Applied Research Laboratory. The new lab is a collaboration of the Northeast Iowa Community-based Dairy Foundation, a grassroots citizens group; ISU; and Northeast Iowa Community College. The foundation bought land near the community college for the lab, which will conduct programs to help ensure the success of the region's dairy industry. ISU and NICC will expand a dairy management program to a two-year associate degree, with the potential for students to finish bachelor's degrees at ISU. The new building will include space for an ISU research farms staff person and an extension specialist. Construction is scheduled to begin next March. Northeast Iowa accounts for 72 percent of the dairy cattle in the state and supports 3,000 farm families. Contact Paul Brown, ISU Extension area education director, or Barbara Parrish, ISU Extension field communications specialist, both at (319) 296-4025.
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