KIWA Introduces New Web Look

Sheldon, Iowa — Visitors to the website are going to notice some big changes.  Thursday afternoon, April 27th, we began to migrate to a new look for the website. Please bear with us, however, as this continues to be a work in progress.  The new website is the culmination of several months of meetings and work by Jon Hellinga of Super Hi-Tech, to get everything “just so”.

KIWA has had a web presence since 2004, when our first website, went live on the internet.  That site was replaced by our current site, in 2006, and now the new site will be going live at the same address.

The website keeps listeners, and other interested parties locally and around the world, connected to the goings on here in northwest Iowa.  One of our proudest times was providing a “voice of home” to members of Sheldon’s 2168th Transportation Company of the Iowa National Guard, as they listened to the website stream of our morning show while deployed in the Middle East.  It made us very proud, and rather humbled, to know that these brave people were looking to us as their lifeline to home while deployed.

The site has seen huge amounts of traffic, often registering more than 200-thousand hits during the course of a week.

So please, take some time to browse through the new site, get yourself accustomed to it, and continue to depend upon KIWA Radio and for news and information 24/7.

Corn Planting Slightly Delayed By Cold, Wet Conditions

Northwest Iowa — It’s about time to plant corn. But conditions could be better.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Agronomist Joel De Jong says Thursday morning’s soil temperatures were pretty cold. He says that according to Chris Klumpp, a technical agronomist with Ag Partners LLC in Hartley, the Hartley soil temperatures were 35 degrees at a depth of two inches and 36 degrees at a depth of four inches, with an air temperature of 29 degrees.

He says that’s pretty cold for corn.

He says soil temperatures this low mean that the seedlings don’t do much growing, and the stress induced could reduce stands. He says it’s especially a problem if the seeds are planted right before a cold rain.

Plus, De Jong says the weather has not been on the farmers’ side as far as good planting conditions. He says it’s been both cold and wet. He says, unfortunately, the immediate forecast doesn’t look like it will be much better. The National Weather Service says high temperatures are only forecast to be in the 30’s to maybe the low 50’s at best until at least Tuesday when things should warm up just a little. Plus it’s going to be fairly wet, with chances for rain and even snow from Saturday night through midday Monday. He says if it does warm up by the middle of next week, he predicts a lot of corn being planted then.

Expert: There’s A Good Way To Tell When To Cut Alfalfa

Orange City, Iowa — A northwest Iowa extension expert is telling farmers about a way to determine the feed value of alfalfa.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist Fred Hall says there’s a pretty good way to determine the “butter zone” between harvesting too early and missing some yield; and harvesting too late and missing some feed value.

Hall says it’s called ” Predictive Equations of Alfalfa Quality or “PEAQ,” and it provides an estimate of the quality, measured as Relative Feed Value, for the first cutting alfalfa standing in the field.

Hall says the relative feed value of alfalfa can be estimated by factoring in the height of the plant and its maturity. He says relative feed values start high (around 240), but get lower as the plant ages. However, the yield or volume starts low and increases as the plant ages. So it’s when these two factors are balanced the time is right to cut alfalfa — weather permitting, of course.

He says by the time you allow for some losses, you end up with alfalfa in the 150 range for relative feed value.

Click here for a chart that helps you estimate that relative feed value.

Hall will be monitoring alfalfa fields during late April and May in Sioux and Plymouth counties and the information will be posted on the ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Team website, and will be added to the Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlook blog at

He says for more information you can call him at 712-737-4230.

UPDATE: Railroad Crossing Enforcement / Education Event Wednesday (Includes Video)

Sheldon, Iowa — An enforcement/education effort by the Sheldon Police Department and Union Pacific Railroad Wednesday afternoon nabbed four drivers for Railroad Crossing violations.

Sheldon Police Officer Todd Wood tells KIWA that those four violations were witnessed by the officers aboard the moving train, then radioed to officers in cars who stopped the violators.  Wood says all four were issued citations for Railroad Crossing violations, no warnings were issued.  Wood says each driver was also given an educational pamphlet about railroad crossing safety.

Union Pacific Spokesperson Calli Hite says the reason for Wednesday’s operation is due to some unsafe behavior Union Pacific personnel have seen in Sheldon.

She says the citations were unfortunate, but Wednesday’s operation netted some positive results, as well.

KIWA had an opportunity to ride on the train during a portion of Wednesday’s enforcement/education effort.  In visiting with one of the train’s crew, we were told that about 15 years ago he had actually struck a loaded ready-mix truck with his train.  He says he never felt the impact.  Even fully loaded a heavy ready-mix truck is no match for a 200-ton train.  When asked what message they might have for drivers who come upon a railroad crossing whose lights are flashing, and the gates are down, they all advised to just be patient.  They said their goal is for everybody to make it home safely, train operators as well as motorists.

Remember, depending upon the weight of the train and its cargo, and the speed at which it is traveling, a train can require a mile-and-a-half, sometimes more, in order to come to a stop.

Union Pacific officials say you should always expect a train and look both ways before crossing the railroad tracks, wait for trains and don’t attempt to beat approaching trains, do not stop your vehicle on the railroad tracks, make sure there is enough room on the OTHER side of the crossing to allow your cehicle to completely clear the tracks, and avoid distractions like loud music texting or talking on cell phones when crossing railroad tracks.  In addition, pedestrians should only cross the tracks at designated railroad crossings, and you should NEVER walk between the rails in other areas that are not designated railroad crossings.  The railroad says being on rail property is not only illegal, it’s dangerous.

Below is some video we shot from the engine of the train during Wednesday’s enforcement/education effort.  Notice how much taller the train sits compared to the tractor-trailer rig that stops for the crossing.

Original story posted 1:10 pm, Tuesday 4/25/17

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Police Department, in cooperation with the Union Pacific Railroad, O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, and Iowa State Patrol, will be conducting an enforcement and education  project tomorrow (Wednesday April 26th) in Sheldon, according to Sheldon Police Officer Todd Wood.

Wood says the project will be carried out at every Union Pacific crossing in Sheldon, namely Merietta Road, Park Street (Highway 18 near Casey’s West), West 7th Street, West 8th Street, and West 16th Street.

The enforcement and education project will run from 3:00 to 5:30 pm Wednesday, according to Officer Wood.

Wood says the purpose of the event is to remind drivers of the safety issues at railroad crossings.

Baum Harmon Mercy Hospital Adds Wound Care Center

Primghar, Iowa — At any given time, nearly 6-million people in America suffer from problem wounds.  Now, a northwest Iowa hospital has added a Wound Care Center to care specifically for those in our area with problem wounds.

Amanda Rausch is a Nurse Practitioner working in the Wound Care Center at Baum Harmon Mercy Hospital in Primghar.  She tells us about the purpose of the new Wound Center.

We asked Rausch what sets the new Wound Care Center apart from wound treatment at other area facilities.

She tells us about the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

Rausch stressed that the Wound Center isn’t just effective in the treatment of diabetes-related wounds, but for a wide variety of problem wounds.

She says patients may be referred to the Wound Care Center at Baum Harmon Mercy Hospital by a physician, health-care professional, or by self-referral.  For more information you can call 712-957-5575.

Iowa Ag Department MAY See Funding For Future Bird Flu Fights

Northwest Iowa — Before adjourning for the year, Iowa legislators voted to give the state ag department $100-thousand to prepare for disease outbreaks, like the bird flu that decimated several northwest Iowa pultry operations in 2015.

Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says the governor could still reject the proposal, so the “help wanted” sign isn’t up quite yet.

Last year, a year after the state’s poultry industry was hit hard by the bird flu, Northey asked legislators for $500-thousand to establish a “foreign animal disease” program in his agency. That request wasn’t granted last year, but Northey asked again this year.

Northey says farm commodity groups have expressed “some interest” in contributing funds, too, to create a public-private partnership for this project.

Northey is interested in hiring an “animal health professional” for the new unit. That could be a veterinarian or someone already working in the Iowa Department of Agriculture who has “animal disease planning experience.” Federal officials define “foreign animal diseases” as serious illnesses that are not generally present in the U.S., but can be transmitted among U.S. livestock and poultry and have “significant health or economic impact.” Diseases commonly called “bird flu” and “mad cow disease” are on the list.