Crops

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Crop Dusting Pilots Navigate Dangerous Airspace

A pilot for Earl’s Flying Service sprays chemicals on a field in southeastern Missouri.
Courtesy of Mike Lee

Mike Lee steers his plane over the Missouri-Arkansas state line, checking out a checkerboard of green and brown fields of rice, cotton, corn and soybeans.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:00 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Farmers Gear Up for Record Harvest, Brace for Lower Prices

Nationwide, farmers are expected to harvest record-breaking amounts of corn and soybeans this year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

U.S. farmers are bringing in what’s expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:50 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Monsanto set to settle GMO wheat cases

Genetically modified wheat has never been approved for farming, so nearly all of the wheat grown in the U.S. is a conventional variety.
Lauren Tucker/Flickr

Monsanto has agreed to settle some of the lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers who allege they lost money when an Oregon field was discovered to have been contaminated with an experimental genetically modified strain of wheat.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States is genetically modified, but GMO wheat has never been approved for farming.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
1:42 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Fighting In Ukraine Could Mean Profit for U.S. Wheat Farmers

Farmers in Ukraine produced more than 22 million metric tons of wheat in the 2013-14 marketing year, to the U.S.’s nearly 58 million metric tons, according to USDA estimates.
Valdemar Fishmen/Flickr

The ongoing turmoil in Ukraine could impact the world’s wheat supply and with reports that fighting is edging closer to a key Black Sea trading port, farmers and commodity brokers are paying attention.

Pro-Russian rebels appear to be pushing closer to the Ukranian city of Mariupol, a strategic port city. As Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, any disruption in the harvest or transport of the country’s wheat crop could put a kink in global supply lines and could raise grain prices across the world.

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Soil Erosion
4:22 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Combating Climate Change Through Soil Science

Much of Iowa's soil is eroded due to certain farming practices
Lynn Betts Wikimedia Commons

Iowa is nestled in the center of America’s breadbasket; one of our most precious resources is beneath our feet. But it’s a resource in jeopardy.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Palmer Amaranth Begins March Through Iowa

In Muscatine County, farmer Roger Hargrafen is doing all he can to eradicate the Palmer amaranth that emerged on his farm last year.
Amy Mayer/IPR

A fast spreading, crop destroying weed may be coming to the farms near you.

Palmer amaranth, which has plagued southern farms for decades, has been marching across the Midwest. It can decimate a crop. It can withstand many common herbicides. And it can cost farmers millions.

Roger Hargrafen, a farmer in Muscatine County, Iowa, is on the front lines in the battle against Palmer amaranth. His is one of four Iowa farms confirmed as having it.

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News
5:30 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Miscanthus: Crop of the Future?

A stalk of miscanthus resembles a thin bamboo fishing pole.
Rick Fredericksen Iowa Public Radio

It could be Iowa’s next energy crop: a relative of sugar cane, that looks like bamboo. It’s about to become much more abundant in a state dominated by corn and soybeans. 

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Horticulture Day
1:53 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Starting Seeds Indoors

Common chickweed
Tico http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode

Spring may still seem far off, but now is the time to plan the garden, and in some cases it is time to start seeds indoors.  Iowa State University Extension Horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes are guests and give advice and answer listener questions.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:54 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Online Commodity Challenge helps farmers learn market tools

Robbie Maass shows his mother, Leah, the Commodity Challenge game that is helping him understand market tools. He hopes to help the family farm in Hamilton County by taking on some marketing responsibilities.
Amy Mayer/IPR

On a frigid winter day , Chad Hart tries to warm his economics students at Iowa State University to the idea of managing some of the risk of farming using the commodity markets. Because as he told them on the first day of class, farmers don’t make money planting or harvesting crops; they make money selling them. And Hart knows that marketing—managing those sales for the best profit—can be intimidating.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:40 am
Mon January 6, 2014

USDA one step closer to approving new herbicide resistant crops

Water hemp is one of several weeds building resistance to Roundup herbicide.
Bob Hartzler/Iowa State University

New herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans are a step closer to reaching farm fields in the U.S. They would help farmers control weeds that are no longer killed by the popular herbicide, Roundup.

Roundup resistant crops dominate corn, soybean and cotton production in the U.S. But the list of weeds that have evolved to withstand Roundup is growing, and as a result, farmers are using more chemicals to keep up.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon December 30, 2013

The new wheat behind whole grain white bread

Scott Haley, the leader of Colorado State University’s wheat breeding program and the researcher who developed the Snowmass wheat variety, in his lab.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A new wheat variety may have cracked the code to marry the fluffiness of white bread with whole grain nutrition.

For a long time, American bread makers have been in a bind. Many consumers like the texture and taste of white bread, but want the nutritional benefits of whole grains.

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River to River
2:13 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

News Buzz: Ethanol and Harvest Wrap Up

Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10 percent of ethanol—a corn-based liquid often added to gasoline.
Stefanie Seskin

Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10 percent of ethanol—a corn-based liquid often added to gasoline. As a renewable fuel ethanol reduces the amount of petroleum-based gasoline on the market and many farmers receive subsidies to grow corn for the biofuel. But now the Environmental Protection Agency is considering a reduction in the required amount of ethanol for the country's gasoline supply.  Harvest Public Media's Ames-based reporter Amy Mayer and host Ben Kieffer discuss the future of ethanol in the U.S.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:05 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Bringing in the Harvest

North Iowa farmer Pam Johnson helps bring in the crops Sunday
Credit IPR's Pat Blank

Pam Johnson has just wrapped up a term as president of the National Corn Growers Association. She and her husband and two sons farm in Floyd County in North Iowa. Johnson testified in July before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy about the need to continue the Renewable Fuels Standard for ethanol.

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River to River
2:40 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

2013 World Food Prize

The 2013 World Food Prize laureates (from the right) Robert T. Fraley, Marc Van Montagu and Mary-Dell Chilton in Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines studio.
John Pemble IPR

The 2013 World Food Prize is honoring Marc Van Montagu, Mary-Dell Chilton, and Robert T. Fraley, three scientists whose individual discoveries led to the creation of genetically modified crops. 

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Talk of Iowa
2:26 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Homegrown Apples: This Year's Bumper Crop

Apple tree at Honey Creek Acres apple orchard in Swisher, IA
Emily Woodbury / IPR

Bailey Sweet, American Mother, Chieftain, Empire...there are many thousands of different kinds of apples in the world. And this year, Iowa apple growers are harvesting bumper crops. Today on Talk of Iowa, we talk apple history, apples in Iowa, heirloom apples, and your favorites.

Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Paul Rasch, owner of Wilson’s Orchard in Iowa City, Dan Bussey, orchard manager for the Seed Savers Exchange, Erika Janik, author of Apple: A Global History, and Patrick O’Malley, of Iowa State University Extension.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Corn belt researchers advance soybean science

University of Missouri plant scientist Melissa Mitchum inspects a plant for soybean cyst nematode in her greenhouse.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the nation’s farmerswill deliver a record 3.42 billion bushels of soybeans this year. The USDA is also forecasting that this year for the first time Brazil will overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of soybeans.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:03 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Corn Crew

Veteran detasslers Mackenzie McLaughlin and David Jaramillo
Pat Blank

A Midwest summertime tradition is in full swing: corn detasseling.  Every summer, seed corn companies hire thousands of seasonal workers to remove the top of the corn plant to produce hybrid varieties.  The minimum age in Iowa to do the work is 14. Those as young as 12 can detassel in Illinois and Nebraska.  Many crew leaders who started in their teens are now in their 50s and 60s.  Workers say even though it's often hot in the cornfield and the work is tedious, they return year after year because they are paid good money by the companies.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:51 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Detasseling Delay

Most detasseling crews include teens and young adults
Credit Courtesy photo

The wet spring has delayed the growth of corn used for seed by Iowa companies including the largest, DuPont Pioneer. That, in turn, has pushed back the schedule of hundreds of part time workers who make money in the fields by removing the top of the plant known as the tassel.  Production manager for the Reinbeck facility, Colby Entriken says ,"we're hoping to start pulling tassels next week which is about a week behind schedule.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:05 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Who wants biotech wheat?

Nebraska farmer Larry Flohr, squeezes out a kernel of unripened wheat.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Many farmers say they would like to grow genetically engineered wheat to help them feed a hungry world, but it’s not what everyone’s hungry for. And now, with the mysterious appearance of Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer’s field in Oregon a few weeks ago, consumer resistance may grow even stronger.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified, but GMO wheat has never been approved for farming.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:20 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Soybean planting slow

Rick and Grant Kimberley plant soybeans on their farm near Maxwell
Credit Courtesy photo

Spring planting could linger into the summer for many Iowa soybean farmers. The state's trading partners and commodity markets are keeping a close eye on what happens here and it could impact the economy down the road. Grant Kimberley is the market development director for the Iowa Soybean Association. He tells Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank, this year has been a challenge.

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Talk of Iowa
2:55 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Science of the Seed

Corn plants grow in a roof-top greenhouse at Monsanto's Chesterfield Village Research Facility
Amy Mayer/IPR

People have been cross-breeding plants for thousands of year… Manipulating traits in agricultural crops from generation to generation. When scientists discovered that they could actually modify the genes of these plants in a laboratory the landscape of agriculture changed dramatically and fast. Host Charity Nebbe, explores the science of seeds, as a continuation of the Harvest Public Media series.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Science of the Seed part 3

Carefully organized ears of corn wait to be hulled at the DuPont Pioneer Dallas Center Corn Research Center.
Amy Mayer/IPR

We continue now with Harvest Public Media’s three-part series on the Science of the Seed. Over the past two days we’ve considered the beginnings of genetic modification and how control of the technology is changing as patents expire. Today, we wrap up with the question that drives seed company executives and farmers alike: how can we grow more crops?  Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer looks at how seed innovations push the boundaries of what the land can produce.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
8:37 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Drought Update: Iowa Soil Still Drier Than Normal

This summer's drought damaged crops across the region.
Credit Tom Woodward / Flickr

     

Like many Midwestern states, Iowa is closing the 2012 calendar year with soil moisture deficits after this summer's drought. But with the new crop year at least four months away, Iowa State University Climatologist Elwynn Taylor is seeing some spotty

Taylor credits abundant fall rains with helping mitigate the drought, at least for now.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
12:11 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Dust Bowl memories offer present warning

A corn field withered and broken by drought and wind in Shawnee County, Kan., 1936
courtesy kansasmemory.org Kansas Historical Society

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s is the subject of a new documentary from Ken Burns airing this month on PBS television stations. The man-made disaster left an indelible mark on the Midwest and on history — and, as Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, today’s extensive corn production could make the region vulnerable once again.

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Talk of Iowa
11:27 am
Wed October 31, 2012

A Study on Crop Rotation

Theresa Wysocki Flickr

A lot of Iowa farmers use a two-year rotation of corn one year and soybeans the next. But what if a longer rotation could yield better crops and was good for the soil? Host Charity Nebbe talks with researchers from Iowa State University whose research found longer crop rotations improved the crops and reduced fertilizer runoff.

  

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Roundup Resistant Weeds
7:25 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Roundup resistance leading to more chemicals, study finds

Water hemp in this soybean field was not killed by Roundup. (Courtesy Bob Hartzler/Iowa State University)

Farmers and weeds are in a constant competition. When the herbicide called Roundup came along, farmers got a clear edge. But now weeds are beginning to catch up. Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media has more on how Roundup-resistant weeds are changing the game.

River to River
12:23 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

World Food Prize Laureate Daniel Hillel & AARP Foundation, Jo Ann Jenkins

Daniel Hillel
Daniel Hillel / Headshot photo

On today's River to River the 2012 World Food Prize laureate, Daniel Hillel, talks about his role bringing advanced irrigation techniques to crops in arid and dry regions in the Middle East. Hillel has impacted farming lands in more than 30 countries with his technique of “micro-irrigation” that keeps the soil continuously moist without overusing the water supply.

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Cover Crops
2:18 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Cover Crops Use Expanding

Jeff Longnecker's cows will graze next spring on rye planted now.
Amy Mayer

While many farmers were bringing in this year’s harvest, they also were planting.  Cover crops—like oats and winter rye—are becoming more popular, despite the time and expense involved in growing green fields that won’t ever make money—directly.  Together with Harvest Public Media, Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer explains why.

Talk of Iowa
11:16 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Horticulture Day: Cover Crops

NRCS Soil Health Flickr

This year’s harvest is nearly complete, but some gardeners and farmers are planting right now. Horticulturist Ajay Nair talks about cover crops, how to plant them, and what they can do for your soil. Then, Richard Jauron joins the conversation and he and Ajay answer listener questions.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:47 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Drought Means Mixed Harvest for Pumpkin Growers

Pumpkin harvests are varied across Iowa - another effect of this summer's severe drought.
Dean Borg Iowa Public Radio

With Halloween approaching, attention is turning to pumpkins. But not all pumpkin fields are filled with orange.

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