Rural Lifestyle

Estimating First Crop Alfalfa Harvest Using PEAQ

The growth and development of alfalfa is affected by many factors, including temperature, soil moisture, stand age and even cultivar. Alfalfa growth has been slower than normal due to cool conditions in April. This is a good reminder that using a calendar date to determine when to harvest the first crop of alfalfa may not the best method. In order to accurately predict the optimal time for the first cutting, the University of Wisconsin developed the Predictive Equations for Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) method.

Sweet Corn Planting

In few weeks growers will be planting sweet corn in Iowa. Sweet corn is an important commercial crop in Iowa. Based on the 2017 Agriculture Census, sweet corn is planted across 329 farms in Iowa with a collective acreage of  2,739 acres. Of the total acres, 1,743 is harvested for fresh market and the remaining for processing. For the fresh markets, growers practice succession planting of sweet corn to have a continuous supply for their customers during the growing season.

Managing March Madness: Mud in Iowa

Significant presence of mud can increase energy requirements by as much as 30%. Wading through mud burns more calories, resulting in reduced gain for developing breeding stock and fed cattle as well as reduced milk production for cows. Confounding things further, cattle to tend eat less by simply avoiding putting in effort to get to feed.

Optimizing Ventilation in Small Scale Production

The environment inside our livestock and poultry houses is important for maintaining a productive and healthy herd or flock. Ventilation or fresh air exchange is important to remove undesirable moisture and noxious gases during winter months and in summer, make sure the indoor temperature is not too much warmer than outdoors.

Protecting Water From Freezing

A recurring challenge every winter in Iowa is keeping the water you use from freezing. Keeping water thawed requires adequate heat to keep the temperature of the water above freezing. The three most common approaches are adding heat with a heating device, insulating to conserve heat, and adding heat by bringing in warmer water.

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