41.6 F
Muscatine
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Organic agriculture production concerns amid COVID-19

Muscatine Living

Mission Pawsible: Cornelius

Name: Cornelius "Corny" Age: Two-years-old Breed: Male red and orange...

‘The Wrong Missy’ – Pass the Raunch

In a case of mistaken identity, Tim Morris invites a blind date disaster rather than the women...

Do It Yourself Vacation

I was off work last week and loved every minute of it. During the nearly 11 years...
ISU Extension and Outreach
ISU Extension and Outreach
ISU Extension and Outreach reliable information about agriculture, 4H programs, food and nutrition, and family sciences. ISU Extension and Outreach has an office in Muscatine.

By Kathleen Delate–ISU Extension and Outreach

ISU Extension and Outreach will hold a field day in June highlighting organic agriculture.

AMES, Iowa–Farm activity has not ceased during the pandemic on Iowa’s organic farms, which are primarily family-operated and multi-functional with numerous enterprises. Organic farmers are observing exponential growth in their fields of small grains (rye, barley, oats, and spelt), especially those planted last fall, like annual and hybrid rye.

Hybrid rye is a relatively new crop that can be grazed or used in hog or cattle feed. In general, organic farmers are waiting until growing degree-days (GDD) reach 100 to 120 before planting corn and soybeans.

Because synthetic seed fungicides are not permitted in organic farming, crops need warm soils to germinate and emerge quickly to resist any damaging pests. There has been greater demand for organic seeds this year, as organic acres climbed to 103,136 in Iowa, which ranks fifth in the nation for number of certified organic farms.

Cover crops and grazing interest increases

More farmers are interested in raising cover crops, either as a “green manure” crop, or harvested for grain and straw. However, all cover crops could potentially be grazed by livestock in the early spring and summer.

Grazing is a low-input method to feed livestock, which could improve soil health by adding fresh manure to the field or pastures. Farmers who want to improve soil health and utilize a low-input grazing system may benefit from integrating crops and livestock in their system.

An experiment in Iowa, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, supported by the United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, examined the effect of grazing cover crops of wheat and rye on beef cattle health benefits and food safety of meat products deriving from this system. The grass-based system was found to support a more balanced omega-6/3 fatty acid ratio, which can accrue in cattle and beef.

The cover crops of winter wheat and winter rye provided an early start to the grazing season, averaging three weeks earlier than other perennial pastures on the farm. The integrated crop-livestock system in this study demonstrated a high probability of meeting food safety goals for limiting E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. contamination in the forage, feed, feces, hide, and meat, according to a study published by Iowa State University researchers.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Organic Ag Program is planning a virtual field day to demonstrate rolling rye in an organic no-till system on June 2 at the Levi Lyle Farm in Keota, Iowa, weather-permitting. Lyle expects the rye to be past anthesis at that date, which is necessary for proper termination of the rye crop where soybeans will be planted.

“We are happy the farm looks so good this spring,” Lyle said, “Especially our rye crops, which are about a foot high now.”

The ISU Organic Ag Program will host other virtual events this year. The 16-week “Transitioning to Organic Agriculture” on-line course is planned for January to May 2021. Details on all events will be posted on the ISU Extension and Outreach Organic Ag website.

Latest News

Local traffic now allowed on 300 block of East 2nd Street

MUSCATINE, Iowa – While the 300 block of East 2nd Street remains a construction zone, the contractor will allow...

City park playgrounds open to the public; activities resume

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The playgrounds in all City of Muscatine parks are now available for use by the public. Most facilities have reopened including...

Muscatine County primary election results 2020

MUSCATINE, Iowa--The Muscatine County Auditor released the following results June 2 following the primary elections. The auditor's office considers these totals unofficial,...

Third Street-Mulberry Avenue intersection to be closed June 4

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The intersection of Mulberry Avenue and 3rd Street will be closed to through traffic starting at 7 a.m. on Thursday, June...

Interaction was nothing short of positive – Chief Talkington

MUSCATINE, Iowa - The Muscatine Police Department plans to continue monitoring events occurring in Muscatine and the surrounding area to keep residents informed with...

More Articles Like This