Northwest Area Extension September 2004
Fall Cornstalk Test - The concentration of nitrate in the stalk at the end of
Post Season Nitrogen Assessment . . . . . . . . 1 the season reflects all factors (including weather) that
Hoop Barns and Bedding Systems for Livestock influenced N availability and N needs during the
Production National Conference . . . . . . . . . 1
growing season. Lower than desired concentrations
Harvest Prep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Beef of Merit Grid Marketing Class . . . . . . . . . . . 2 should be expected in years having unusually large
Store A Large Crop? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 amounts of in-season rainfall that results in unusually
McEowen Seminars Scheduled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 large losses of N and (or) high yield potential.
The time for sampling is between one and three
Fall Cornstalk Test – weeks after black layer has formed on about 80
Post Season Nitrogen Assesssment percent of the kernels of most ears. Sampling is
By Todd Vagts, ISU Extension Crop Field Specialist
easier during harvest, but interpretation of results
With the excessive amount of precipitation across may be more difficult past the optimum sampling
much of N.W. Iowa this year, nitrogen availability to period. The portion of each plant sampled is the 8-
the corn crop has been questionable. If you are inch segment of stalk found between 6 and 14 inches
wondering if corn yields may have been reduced by above the soil. Fifteen 8-inch segments should be
the lack of nitrogen, the nitrogen (N) status of a corn collected to form a single sample to be sent for
crop can be assessed by measuring nitrate analysis. Concentrations are expressed as parts
concentrations in the lower portion of cornstalks at nitrate-N per million parts of dry stover (PPM).
the end of the growing season. The test is called the
“end-of-season cornstalk test.” The test does not directly indicate how much N rates
should be increased or decreased, but continued use
Corn plants suffering from inadequate N availability of the test for several years provides information to
remove N from the lower cornstalks and leaves make adjustments toward optimal rates. For more
during the grain-filling period. Corn plants that have information on the cornstalk test, refer to PM-1584
more N than needed to attain maximum yields, available at ISU Extension offices or online at:
however, accumulate nitrate in their lower stalks at
the end of the season. The use of the test enables a Adapted from PM-1584: Cornstalk Testing
producer to ask if the crop had adequate N late in the
Hoop Barns and Bedding Systems for Livestock
Interpretation of stalk nitrate concentrations can be
Production National Conference
divided into four categories; low, marginal, optimal, by Jerry Weiss, ISU Extension Swine Field Specialist
and excess. The low category indicates high
probability that greater availability of N would have If you are a swine, beef or dairy cattle producer
resulted in higher yields. The marginal category looking for low-capital cost, competitive returns and
indicates that N availability was very close to the exploring process-verified or niche market
minimal amounts needed. The optimal category production as well as addressing animal welfare
indicates high probability that N availability was issues you may want to attend a day-long conference.
within the range needed to maximize profits. The This conference will be held September 14, 2004 at
excess category indicates high probability that N Gateway Center in Ames. The opening session
availability was greater than if fertilizer N had been begins at 9 am. with sessions concluding at 5 pm.
applied at rates that maximize profits.
The keynote session will provide an overview on the flow is the key to drying. Our drying bins should
use of alternative livestock bedding systems, where have at least 1.2 cfm (cubic feet of air per minute)
the industry is at, how animals respond, and reasons when full. A good rule of thumb is that a fan will
why hoop structures are a viable alternative for produce about 1000 cfm per horse power (hp).
consideration. Therefore a 10,000 bu bin needs 10hp.
The agenda is setup with three breakout sessions If the bin is only ½ full, you will increase your
during the day. Topics include: Deep bedding drying capacity by about 50%.
systems for Dairy and other Livestock - Marketing
For natural-air drying, at 1.25 cfm/bu (when full),
Swine from Deep bedded systems - Deep bedding
maximum moisture contents are as follows:
systems for Sows and Piglets - Animal Welfare
24% - ¼ bin full
Issues - Pork Quality - Interfacing Hoops with
21% - ½ bin full
Conventional Systems - as well as other topics.
19% - ¾ bin full
17% - full bin
Pre-registration fee of $25 before September 1 - after
Over filling will result in spoilage.
September 1, pre-registration fee is $35. A brochure
may be picked up at your county Extension Office or This September, producers should clean up the fines
by contacting Ag & Biosystems Engineering, Iowa on top of drying floors. Make sure there is at least 8”
State University, 208 Davidson Hall, Ames, IA between the drying floor and fines below the floor.
50011 (515-294-0557) or online at Turn on all the fans and service the motors, fill the
http://www.abe.iastate.edu/ABLS/ propane tanks and hope for some warm weather.
Harvest will be here before you know it.
by Kris Kohl, ISU Extension Ag Engineer
Beef of Merit Grid Marketing Class
By this time next month, the harvest push will be on. by Dennis DeWitt, ISU Extension Livestock Field Specialist
It has been a long time since we have had to deal
with a wet crop, but this one looks like we will need The Beef of Merit Grid Marketing Class purpose is
to review the basics of corn drying. to provide 4-H and FFA market beef exhibitors an
opportunity to participate in a live show combined
Corn is about 30% moisture at black layer and dries with a value added carcass competition where the
down in the field at about: traits that add value to a beef carcass and the industry
2 points per week in September are evaluated in a scientific way.
1 ½ points per week in October
¾ point per week in November Exhibitors must choose which grid window they will
¼ point per week in December participate in for the live show when entering. The
live show will award ribbons only. The final placing
Harvest losses are the lowest at 20% to 24% will be determined after harvest and carcass
moisture. Above these levels, the corn does not shell evaluation. Carcass desirability and trait value as
off the cob clean and a lot of damage is done at the well as growth rate are incorporated to calculate beef
germ end of the kernel which will allow mold to retail value added per day on feed.
enter and reduce the storage life. At lower harvest
moistures, ear droppage and shelling at the head Two typical grid windows are:
increase. “High Cutability” and “High Quality.”
Drying Basics: The High Cutability Grid offers more premium for
There are two ways to dry corn: superior yield grades and less premium for quality
low-temp - which is less than 60 degrees grades. The High Quality Grid offers more premium
or for average & high Choice and Prime carcasses and
high-temp - which is greater than 120 degrees less premium for superior yield grades. There are
discounts for too light or too heavy carcasses
The real danger zone is between 60° and 120°where depending on grid program.
the corn may sprout and spoilage happens fast. Air
The equations for calculating the retail value added be some price recovery from mid-December into
per day on feed are: mid-winter after excess supplies in outside storage
1. Percent retail product is calculated as follows: have been reduced. Late winter and spring prospects
(65.69 - (9.931 x fat thickness) + (1.2259 x rib look brighter for corn prices than for soybeans until
eye area) - (.013166 x carcass weight) - (1.29 x the size of the South American crop is known.
% kidney, pelvic, heart fat))
McEowen Seminars Scheduled
2. Carcass retail value added per day on feed is by Ron Hook, ISUE Farm Management Specialist
calculated as follows:
((Hot carcass weight at packer-(.55 x beginning Roger A. McEowen, the newly-named associate
weight) x % retail product x carcass price as professor of Agricultural Law at Iowa State
determined by appropriate grid))/.7/days on feed. University, is scheduled to present a series of get
acquainted seminars in several locations around the
The 2004 Iowa State Fair Beef of Merit show set a state in September. McEowen was chosen after an
record number with 74 entries. The number of 18-month search to replace Neil E. Harl who has held
entries has increased in the last 7 years from about 50 the position for nearly 40 years and is retiring at the
to now over 70! $4200 in fair premiums were paid to end of the year.
2004 exhibitors. The steers averaged 1302 pounds
with a 3.20 average daily gain. The average steer McEowen joined the Iowa State University faculty in
carcass weighed 828 pounds and exhibited 0.43 Agricultural Education and Studies on August 15,
inches of backfat, 13.8 square inches of ribeye area, 2004, from Kansas State University where he
2.7 yield grade and 64.9% retail product. Seventy developed a strong program in teaching, extension
percent of the carcasses graded Choice and were and research from 1993 to 2004. McEowen received
yield grade 1&2’s. the Distinguished Service Award from the American
Agricultural Law Association in 2003, the youngest
Youth beef exhibitors need to consider participating recipient ever for that award.
in the 2005 Beef of Merit Class at both their county
fair and Iowa State Fair. This is the real world of Professor McEowen is a native of Indiana with a
feedlot cattle marketing. Color of the cattle and hair bachelors degree from Purdue University, a Juris
coat does not matter because once the hide is Doctor degree from Drake University and a Master
removed at harvest the carcasses all have a similar of Science in Agricultural Economics from Iowa
amount of bone, and varying amounts of red meat State University.
and white fat!
McEowen will present a seminar on important recent
Store a Large Crop? developments in Agricultural Law for approximately
by Ron Hook, ISUE Farm Management Specialist one hour and then follow-up with a question and
answer session. Seminars scheduled in northwest
Grain markets are nervous over prospects of record Iowa include:
corn and soybean crops. However, there is concern
for the slow maturity of crops in northern Iowa, September 1 - 12:00 lunch, 1:00 seminar
Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Iowa State Lakeshore Café
Entomology website reports that northwest Iowa is North Lake Avenue
239 degree days below average. This uncertainty Storm Lake, IA
makes additional sales of new crop grain even more For reservations contact: Tom Olsen at Buena Vista
difficult. If the September 10 USDA crop forecasts Co Extension Office, 712-732-5056
show production near the August forecasts, it would
September 29 - 1:00 seminar
indicate that farmers with on-farm storage should Northwest Iowa Community College,
consider storage this fall. Rm 116-119A,
A large crop will likely keep pressure on cash corn
For reservations contact: Ron Hook at Osceola
and soybean prices and the basis during the harvest County Extension, 712-754-3648
season. A review of LDP mechanics and Lunch available in college cafeteria for anyone so
management strategies may be in order if LDPs are desiring.
triggered by lower prices. It is likely that there will