Apples and Diphenylamine (DPA)


Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.
Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.

The Environmental Working Group recently blogged about apples and DPA, the pesticide applied to apples once they’re harvested to protect them during storage.

DPA is an antioxidant that slows the development of black patches on the skins of picked apples in storage.

This chemical has caused a debate in both the US and EU on whether or not DPA should continue to be used on our produce.

The EU recently restricted DPA to 0.1 part per million, because people would not be at risk with concentrations that low, but some apples, although not sprayed with DPA, can have trace amounts of the pesticide if stored in a warehouse that once used it.

Although the EPA must review pesticides every 15 years to make sure there is no harm to humans, they haven’t reviewed DPA in 16 years.

Purchasing organic apples, organic apple juice, or organic apple sauce, is an easy change to make to reduce the risk of ingesting potentially harmful chemicals.

To read the full story on apples and DPA, click here.

Iowa’s Deer Harvest Declined for Eighth Straight Year


Photo by Rich Herrmann; Flickr
Photo by Rich Herrmann; Flickr

For the first time since the mid-1990’s, the DNR reported that Iowa’s deer harvest has dropped below 100,000. In 2013, hunters reported 99,406 deer.

This indicates a positive response from hunters when asked to reduce the size of the herd, but now the DNR is encouraging hunters to work with landowners and base their harvest on local herd conditions.

Deer hunting provides an economic impact of almost $214 million, paying more than $15 million in federal taxes and nearly $15 million in state taxes. It also supports 2,800 jobs and provides more than $67 million in earnings.

On the Radio: University of Iowa uses local pine trees as biofuel


TreeHarvest

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses renewable energy at the University of Iowa.

The University of Iowa and Johnson County are teaming up to increase renewable energy production on campus.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

Some Iowa farmers report better than expected harvest


Photo by wattpublishing, Flickr.

While the results are mixed, many Iowa farmers are reporting surprisingly high corn and soybean yields. In fact, some farmers had their highest yields ever this year despite the drought.

The reason for the large differences between farmers’ yields has to do with the high variability in this year’s rainfall. This led to some farmers receiving enough rain during pollination, while other farmers’ crops suffered.

Better than expected results have been reflected in Iowa’s estimated soybean yields, which have risen 10 percent since September.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Deer harvest reduced for sixth consecutive year


Photo by BugDNA, Flickr.

Iowa hunters reported harvesting 121,407 deer during the 2011-2012 hunting seasons – a 4.5 percent drop from the 127,094 deer harvested in 2010 – 2011. Since 2006, Iowa’s deer population has dropped by 30 percent.

“Deer numbers in many areas are near or below the department’s objective,” said Dale Garner, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau. “We are hearing complaints from hunters that they are not seeing the number of deer that they had in the past and some are voicing their concerns that the herd reduction may have gone too far.”

This spring, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources intends to review the population surveys and take appropriate action.

For more information, read the full DNR news release.

Iowa hits record ethanol production


An ethanol plant in Iowa. Photo by Hendrixson, Flickr.

Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants produced a record 3.7 billion gallons in 2011, a 200 million gallon increase from 2010. Monte Shaw, Executive Director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, largely attrbitues this rise to exports.

“2011 was certainly a good year for Iowa ethanol producers with increased production and profitability,” said Shaw. “However, we relied on export markets for growth.”

Roughly 62 percent of Iowa’s 2010 corn harvest were used to produce the 3.7 billion gallons of ethanol.

For more information, view the full story at the Des Moines Register.