acreage living May 1998

ISU cooperative extension

In this issue: acreage living home page

Crop and Forage Potpourri

(Prepared by Carroll R. Olsen, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Crops, SW Area Extension Center, 712/769-2600)

First, a tough winter. I always like to see some hard freezes to help the soil freeze and thaw. Not always sure it helps but it makes me feel better. If you had livestock on the fields this winter, there was a good chance they caused some compaction in crop fields. That compaction may show up in row crops later. Light tillage may help alleviate the problem. If you had livestock on pastures, you not only may have some com paction but the grass itself may be damaged. Generally speaking, only TLC and common sense will help pastures.

I've had a few calls about how late forages for hay and pasture can be planted. Since I work for a quasi-government entity, it's hard to give an outright answer, but I generally say mid-May is a little risky. We started to get warm weather last week and I was fearfil for new seedings that were just starting. Warm, dry winds tend to dry out and kill those little seedlings that do not have a well developed root system, even though there is plenty of moisture an inch or so lower. I've also seen years when it was cool and wet into June and new seedings still worked.

But year in and year out, we're coming to the end of seeding time. If you do plan to do a new seeding or plan some interseeding, try to plant no deeper than half an inch and insure good seed soil contact by rolling or some other operation to get the soil around that seed. If you were fortunate enough to have completed your new seeding before the wet spell, you should be in good shape. Many areas only had light rains and overcast skies which helped keep the little seedlings moist.

How about oats as a nurse crop? This is too late to plant oats and get a grain crop. May be too late to get much of a hay crop. So, I'd only use oats if I was concerned about erosion and then I'd probably clip them early so as to not act as a weed in the new seeding.

Fertilizing new seedings? Iowa State University research would say that if you are trying to start a legume, you need to put on at least 30 pounds of phosphorous per acre as a starter, no matter what the soil test says.

Speaking of soil tests, never too late. For pas tures, where you aren't annually removing hay, a medium level of phosphorous and potash is adequate. Afier all, very little nutrient is re moved even by growing animals and all of the manure is returned to the pasture. Select sample areas by soil type, or at the very least keep the bottoms, side hills, and high flats separate. Take 15-20 cores per sample, mix and withdraw a composite sample to submit to the lab. Do the best job you can. Labs test less than a thimble full of soil and that is supposed to represent your whole field.

Got a question this morning about when to control biennial thistles. You can imagine my elation that somebody would actually ask the question now instead of afier the bloom stock (called bolting) shoots up. Biennial thistles can easily be controlled whenever they are still in the rosette stage and that could be either fall or spring. Two 4-D is my product of choice~heap and effective if applied at labeled rates, usually two quarts per acre of a four pound per gallon product. Best to add some dishwater detergent or "sticker" to help the product get through the leaf coating.

There are other products, all good if applied at the correct time. You can either broadcast the prod uct or use a backpack sprayer and do spot spray ing. Most products that kill thistles will also kill legumes, so a spade is your only alternative. Either spot spraying or a spade is good exercise. If you miss the rosette stage, a spade is the only choice and you may have to haul the plants off the field to prevent seeding. You just aren't going to prevent seed production after the plant bolts.

Some of you are probably seeing white or yellow blooms in your forages. But they aren't forages. Anything blooming now is either a perennial or winter annual and there is nothing you are going to do to stop seed development. Weeds recognize opportunities but are usually poor competitors with established plants. So if you've got the weed, I'd say you didn't have a good stand at some time. The yellow flowers could be dandelions (a perennial) or a mustard. The white ones could also be a mustard.

Dandelions are better controlled in the fall (a thistle control would also control dandelions) when plants are getting ready for winter and moving carbohydrates to the root. Food move ment will also carry the herbicide to the roots. Spring spraying usually isn't as effective even though they curl up causing us to think we did a good job. Mustards are winter annuals, sprout ing in the fall, and competition is the best pre ventative and control. Don't worry about doing something about them now. As soon as they seed, they will die.

If you have questions concerning any of the above topics, stop at your county ISU Extension office. If Iowa State has not done the research or have information about a topic, the county office will find it somewhere else. For those of you into technology, Iowa State Extension's URL is and there are appropriate links to many of the above topics. Some of the bulletins may be on-line. If you have questions of me, my e-mail address is


U.S. citizens consumed 98 pounds
of beef and veal per capita in 1994.
Uruguay was the world leader,
consuming 189 pounds per person.

Only 3 percent of U.S. hog farms have
more than 2,000 hogs per farm, yet these
account for 51 percent of the
nation's hog inventory.

Nine of the top ten selling pesticide
compounds are herbicides.

Corn, soybean, and cotton crops account
for 60% of all pesticide expenditures.

The number of America's largest farms,
those with sales of $100,000 or more,
has grown six fold in the past twenty years


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Windbreak Planning and Planting

(Prepared by Eldon Everhart, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Horticulture, Shelby County, 712/755-3104)

Windbreaks add value to acreages in many ways. They reduce wind speed, control snow drifting, provide wildlife habitat, enhance property value, and provide pleasant surroundings. Monetary benefits include a 7 to 25 percent savings in heating fuel. Livestock protected by a windbreak are 3 to 7 percent more efficient in conversion of feed to weight gain. But most important of all, windbreaks improve the quality of life and enjoy ment of acreage living.

However, to get the greatest benefit, you must carefully design and locate your windbreak. Consider the following factors when planning and planting a new windbreak.

Plant at least 3 rows. For maximum benefits, you will need 8 to 11 rows.

Use evergreen conifers as the predominate tree in the windbreak where soil conditions allow. Deciduous trees are only 5 to 20 percent as effective.

Locate your windbreak on the north and west side of the property. Do not surround the acreage with a solid barrier of trees.

The standard L-shaped, square comer wind break can be varied by planting in groups instead of rows and by rounding the comers.

Use several different species in the windbreak; plant within rows and blocks to minimize compe tition caused by different growth rates. For example, one half of the first row could be Norway spruce with the other half blue spruce.

* Match the plants you select to the site. For example, evergreens will not tolerate poorly drained or wet soils.

* Plant trees and slrrubs that are hardy, adapted, and recommended for Iowa. For example, do not plant Austrian pine or Russian olive - they are prone to several damaging diseases.

The distance between all rows should be at least 20 feet; the spacing between trees and shrubs within a row will vary from 4 to 20 feet depending on mature size of the plant.

For best wind lift, plant the tallest trees inside and the shortest shrubs on the upwind (north and west) side of the windbreak.

The inside row of the windbreak should be 50 feet away from the protected site (to minimize snow accumulation) or with wider windbreaks 100 feet from the outside rows. The greatest wind protection will occur closest to the wind break. Protection becomes minimal at is to 20 times the height of the windbreak.

If snow accumulation is a serious problem, use a double row of shrubs on the outside of the windbreak spaced at least 30 to 40 feet apart.

Where possible, take advantage of contours and locate the windbreak uphill from the protected site.

Hi, Dad! Mom sent us out here to help you!For additional help and assistance contact your local county ISU Extension office and ask for the publications entitled, "Farrnstead Windbreaks: Planning" (Pm -1716) and "Farmstead Wind breaks: Establishment, Care, and Maintenance" (Pm-1717). For cost-share information, contact the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office that serves your county.





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Plant those vegetables . . . . .

(Prepared by Pat Anderson, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Nutrition & Health, East Pottawattamie County, 712/482-6449)

A recent study again shows that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for our health. This study was called "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" or DASH for short. For eight weeks participants ate one of the following diets:

1. a typical American diet
2. a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
3. a "combination" diet rich in fruits and vegetables, containing low fat dairy foods, and low in saturated and total fat (the DASH diet).

The results showed that the diet rich in fruits and vegetables and the DASH or "combination" diet both lowered systolic blood pressure, but the DASH diet also lowered diastolic blood pressure. The DASH eating plan based on a 2000-calorie diet would include:

7-8 servings from the grain group
4-5 servings from the vegetable group
4-5 servings from the fruits group
2-3 servings from low fat or nonfat dairy foods
2 or less servings from the meats, poultry and fish group
4-5 servings from nuts, seeds, and legum~s per week

Other key factors to lower blood pressure, besides diet, include exercising, losing excess weight, not smoking, and limiting alcohol.

If you like mint

I wish someone had told me, before I planted mint, that it spreads like wildfire. I have since leamed it's a good idea to sink a large clay pot in the ground and plant your mint in that to keep it under control.

You might try growing a little mint this summer to flavor this wonderful chicken salad.

Summertime Chicken Salad
4 ounces cooked boneless, skinless
chicken breast cut into bite-sized chunks
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup diced fresh peaches
1/2 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks(juice packed & drained)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind (the zest)
4 cups lettuce leaves

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, fruit, and celery. Mix together yogurt, mint, cinnamon, and lemon rind in a separate bowl. Pour this dressing over the chicken and fruit mixture and toss to coat. Spoon salad on lettuce leaves and serve chilled.

Attention Gardeners:
The new instant hand sanitizers on the
market cannot substitute for soap and
water. Dirt must first be removed with
soap for the alcohol in the sanitizers to be
effective in killing germs.

Acreage Living is published monthly. For more information, contact your local county ISU Extension Office.
Editor: Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension FS/Ag Engineering, SW Area Extension, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, Iowa, 51544, Ph: 712/769-2600
Layout & Design: Paulette Cambridge, Office Assistant, SW Area Extension, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, Iowa 51544, Ph: 712/769-2600

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