Extension Information


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

4-H Leader Pre-Fair Meeting, 7:00 p.m., FreedomBank, Elkader

 Tuesday, August 4th

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 4-H & FFA non-livestock conference judging


Wednesday, August 5th

9:00 a.m. Horse Show

3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.    Open Class entries received

4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Rabbits may be brought to the fair

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.                4-H Exhibit Hall Open (Commercial Exhibit Hall CLOSED)

5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.              BBQ sponsored by the county commodity groups

6:30 p.m.                                          Flag Raising Ceremony & Fair Queen Pageant

7:00 p.m.                                        4-H Style Show & Share the Fun Show

9:00 p.m. – 10:00 pm Swine may be brought to the fair


Thursday, August 6th

7:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.                         4-H & FFA Livestock entries received

9:00 a.m. – Noon                          Open Class entries received

Noon – 9:00 p.m.                           4-H & Commercial Exhibit Halls Open

12:30 p.m.                                         Rabbit Show (small arena)

1:00 p.m.                                       Open Class entries judging

1:30 p.m.                                          Dog Show (large arena)

3:00 p.m.                                        Open Class Foods Department Bake Sale

8:30 p.m.                                         Jon Pardi (grandstands)

10:00 p.m. – Midnight                      Teen Dance

Friday, August 7th

8:30 a.m.                                        Poultry Show (large arena)

9:00 a.m.                                        Other Animal judging (barn)

9:30 a.m.                                      Meat Goat Show (small arena)

10:00 a.m.                                       Bucket Bottle Calf judging (large arena)

11:00 p.m.                                          Sheep Show (small arena)

Noon – 9:00 p.m.                           4-H & Commercial Exhibit Halls Open

2:00 p.m.                                          Beef Heifer Show (large arena)

5:30 p.m.                                         Market Beef Show (large arena)

8:30 p.m.                                        Lorrie Morgan (grandstands)

10:00 p.m. – Midnight                     Teen Dance


Saturday, August 8th

9:00 a.m.                                         Swine Show (small arena)

9:30 a.m.                                       Dairy Show (large arena)

11:00 a.m.                                        Kiddie Tractor Pull

Noon – 9:00 p.m.                             4-H & Commercial Exhibit Halls Open

1:00 p.m. Demolition Derby

4:00 p.m. Dairy Goat Show (large arena)

5:00 p.m. Open & Celebrity Stick Pony Rodeo (grandstands)

7:00 p.m. Clayton County Bull Bash (grandstands)

10:00 p.m. – Midnight                       Teen Dance


Sunday, August 9th

9:30 a.m. 4-H & FFA Dairy & Livestock Judging Contest

11:00 a.m.                                        Truck and Tractor Pull

Noon – 8:00 p.m.                              4-H Exhibit Hall & Commercial Exhibit Hall Open                             

Noon                                               Kiddie Calf Show (large arena)

2:30 p.m. Youth Olympics (large arena)

5:00 p.m.                                            Celebrity Donkey Races (grandstands)

7:30 p.m.                                         4-H & FFA Non- livestock entries released

8:00 p.m.                                         Open Class entries released

8:00 p.m. 4-H & FFA Livestock entries released


Monday, August 10th

9:00 a.m.                              Livestock Auction


2819 4-H & FFA Exhibits Entered for 2015 County Fair

Clayton County 4-H and FFA members have entered 2819 exhibits for the county fair competition according to Tammy Muller, County 4-H & Youth Program Coordinator. The 161st annual Clayton County Fair is scheduled for August 5-10, 2015 at the fairgrounds located at the village of National (5 miles north of Garnavillo).

The exhibits that will be displayed include:

135 Market Beeves

95 Beef Breeding Heifers

33 Cow/Calf entries

173 Dairy

5 Bucket/Bottle Calves

Swine (25 derby pens, 13 non-derby pens, 36 derby individuals, 47 non-derby individuals)

Sheep (6 market pens, 18 market individuals, 18 breeding individuals)

39 Horses

69 Meat Goats

22 Dairy Goats

37 Dogs

109 Rabbit exhibits

5 Other Livestock

12 Poultry Skill-a-Thon

1740 Non-Livestock Exhibits (Agriculture & Natural Resources, Expressive Arts, Family

& Consumer Sciences, Personal Development, and Science, Mechanics, & Engineering)

77 Clover Kid Exhibits

8 Home-Judged Gardens

57 Fashion Revue/Clothing Selection/$15 Challenge Exhibits

24 4-H Communication Presentations and Working Exhibits

16 Share-the-Fun entries



More than half of Iowa farmland is rented. In some Iowa locations, as much as 70 percent of the land is farmed by farmers who don’t own the land.

In Northeast Iowa, the result is many conversations and negotiations between farmland owners and producer-tenants to determine what makes sense for farmland leases and cash rental rates.

These are just a few reasons why Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers workshops designed to answer questions that land owners and tenants have about farmland leasing and land values.

Melissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present a wide range of topics related to farmland values and leasing.

O’Rourke is a licensed attorney with extensive experience in working with farm, ranch and agribusiness interests.

Year after year, I receive numerous contacts from persons who have questions about farmland values and rental rates,” says O’Rourke.

The interest in and conversations about farm leasing arrangements continues to grow, and 2015 is no different,” O’Rourke noted. “We always have good attendance and discussion at these meetings.”

Due to the volatility of land and commodity markets, we have seen had increased inquiries regarding flexible cash lease methodologies,” says O’Rourke. “There are dozens of methods for putting together flexible cash lease arrangements, and we will work through several examples.”

O’Rourke has also had calls from landowners about filing landlord liens to help assure the rent is paid, so she will be present some information on that topic.”

O’Rourke has also seen that farmland owners and producer-tenants need to have more conversation about the cost of inputs to put in the crop and reasonable expectations on profit margins.

ISU Extension and Outreach has good resources for people to use to gain an understanding of how crop input costs can be considered in setting cash lease rates, and I’ll show how those can be used.”

O’Rourke also noted is the increasing age of farmland owners. “ISU Extension research indicates that the average age of farmland owners continues to rise,” stated O’Rourke. “Fifty-five percent of Iowa's farmland is owned by people over the age of 65, while 28 percent of the land is owned by individuals over age 75. We find that children and surviving spouses may be less likely to continue operating the farm themselves. That’s a major reason why farmland leasing continues to increase.”

O’Rourke encourages anyone with an interest in farmland rental rates to attend these meetings. “Both farmland owners and producer-tenants should attend. In fact, the ideal situation is for these folks to attend together and then sit down at the kitchen table to discuss their farm lease arrangements for the coming year.”

Workshop attendees will receive a comprehensive workbook packed with information about land values, leasing and different types of farm lease arrangements. “Everyone should leave with a heightened understanding of farmland leasing.”

ISU/Clayton County Extension will be hosting this event on August 20th beginning at 6:30 p.m. at FreedomBank in Elkader.

Registration Information

A registration fee of $20 per person is charged to cover costs and includes a 90-page workbook.  Pre-registration is preferred by calling the Clayton County Extension and Outreach Office at 563-245-1451 by August 14th. Walk-ins may attend for a $25 fee at the door.

More information about this and other farmland leasing meetings in Iowa can be found at ISU Extension’s Ag Decision Maker website: www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm

Grain Market Trends and Forecast Highlighted at the ISU Field Day on Aug. 19 at Nashua

NASHUA – The Annual August Field Day at the ISU Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm is from 1:00 to 4:15 PM. The program will start with Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Market Specialist, discussing grain market trends and providing a market forecast; followed by Ram Shrestha, ISU Entomologist, to cover the latest research on corn rootworm resistance; then Mahdi Al-Kaisi, ISU Extension Soil Management Specialist, will address soil health issues in crop production; and Mark Licht, ISU Agronomist, will discuss corn and soybean growth and development along with other crop production issues.

The field day is free and open to the public. It starts at the Borlaug Learning Center Headquarters on the ISU Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm. Directions: From Nashua at the Jct. of Hwy 218 (Exit 220) and Co. Rd. B60, go west on B60 1.1 miles to Windfall Ave., then south 1 mile to 290th St., then east 0.2 miles to the farm. CCA credits are available (1 SW, 1 PM, 1CM, 1 PD). For more information about the event, call Brian Lang at 563-387-7058.


Yard and Garden: Harvesting Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a widely cultivated plant that grow well in warmer weather, making them a perfect summer plant in any home garden. As it gets time to harvest, there can be a few problems that may arise. Follow these tips from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists on what to look out for when harvesting cucumbers.  

To have additional questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or at

When should I harvest cucumbers? 

Harvest cucumbers every two to three days and promptly pick the fruits when they reach the desired size. Pickling cultivars should be harvested when the fruits are two to four inches long. Slicing cucumbers should be six to eight inches long and 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter, but still dark green and firm. Over-mature cucumbers left on the vine inhibit additional fruit set. 

Why are some of my cucumbers misshapen? 

Poorly shaped fruit are usually the result of poor pollination. Poor pollination may be due to cool, wet weather and improperly applied insecticides that limit bee activity. When insecticides are necessary, select an insecticide with a low toxicity to bees and apply it early in the morning or late in the evening to reduce the risk to bees. 

Why are some of my cucumbers bitter? 

The bitterness in cucumbers is produced by the compound cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacins are normally found in the leaves, stems and roots of cucumber plants. The cucurbitacins spread from the vegetative parts of the plant into the cucumber fruit when plants are under stress. Hot, dry weather is usually responsible for bitterness in cucumbers in Iowa.  

Cucurbitacins tend to be concentrated in the stem end of the cucumber and just under the skin. To eliminate most of the bitterness, cut off the stem end of the fruit and peel the remaining portion of the cucumber.

To avoid this problem, try planting bitter free cucumber cultivars, such as ‘Sweet Slice’ and ‘Sweet Success.’ Watering cucumber plants once a week during hot, dry weather may also be helpful. 

Some of my cucumbers rot at the blossom end.  Why? 

The rotting is probably due to blossom-end rot. Blossom-end rot is a physiological disorder that occurs on tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cucurbits. On cucumbers and other vine crops, the blossom end of the fruit begins to rot and within a short time the entire fruit has rotted.

Blossom-end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruit. In most cases, there is no need to apply calcium to the soil. Try to maintain an even moisture supply by watering once a week during dry weather. Also, do not over-fertilize plants. Uneven moisture supplies and excessive nitrogen inhibit calcium uptake.  


Avoid Heat Stress in Cattle by Planning Ahead

With continuing weather forecasts of temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s and heat index topping 100 degrees in Iowa, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef veterinarian Grant Dewell reminds beef cattle producers that properly preparing for these weather conditions is vital to maintaining herd health.

Five steps to avoiding heat stress in beef cattle

  1. Plan ahead. After cattle get hot, it’s too late to prevent problems.

  2. Don’t work cattle when it is hot. Finish working cattle early (before 9 to 10 a.m.) in summer, and remember that during a heat wave it’s best to not work cattle at all.

  3. Provide plenty of fresh clean water. When it’s hot and humid, consuming water is the only way cattle can cool down. Make sure the water flow is sufficient to keep tanks full, and ensure there’s enough space at water tanks (3 inches linear space per head.) Introduce new water tanks before a heat event occurs so cattle know where they are.

  4. Feed 70 percent of ration in the afternoon. Heat from fermentation in the rumen is primary source of heat for cattle. When cattle are fed in the morning, peak rumen temperature production occurs during the heat of day when they can’t get rid of it. By feeding 70 percent of the ration in late afternoon, rumen heat production occurs when it is cooler.

  5. Provide ventilation, shade and/or sprinklers. Environmental temperatures compound the heat load for cattle during a heat wave. Remove objects that are obstructing natural air movement. Indoor cattle will benefit from shade provided by the building as long as ventilation is good. Outdoor cattle will benefit from sprinklers to cool them off. Make sure cattle are used to sprinklers before employing them during a heat wave.