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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Economic Impact of a County Fair

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The Economic Impact of a County Fair
Zach Kennedy, Community & Economic Development - University of Illinois

Have you been to your local county fair this year. There is a pretty good chance that’s the case. Did you know in Illinois the county fairs create about 170 million dollars worth of economic activity. Todd Gleason does, and he files this report.

These agricultural celebrations are money makers…
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These agricultural celebrations are money makers knitted tightly into the fabric of rural America and its economy.

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The Community and Economic Development crew at the University of Illinois surveyed fair goers last summer to get an idea just how much they spend and why they go.

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Entertainment, of course is high on the list says Zach Kennedey.

Kennedy :08 …were there just for the food.

Quote Summary - We also found that they were there for anything ranging from doing activities to seeing exhibits. Some folks were there just for the food.

And those folks spend a lot of money… the biggest spenders live in southern Illinois averaging more than $200 a person for the run of the fair. The northern Illinois fairs bring in the most money - almost a 100 million dollars. But really, to be honest, going to the county fair isn’t so much about the money.

Kennedy :08 …of the things that folks said the fair meant to their family.

Quote Summary - The ideas of tradition, and unity, and educational opportunities rose to the top as some of the things that folks said the fair meant to their family.

The traditions are deep and the social fabric is colored by the 4-H clover. The county fair is time a to work hard and play hard with neighbors and friends and to share those experiences with others. Along the way, in the state of Illinois, the county fairs create a 1000 jobs and something approaching a couple hundred million dollars.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Feeding Poor Quality Wheat & Straw to Cattle

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Feeding Poor Quality Wheat & Straw to Cattle
Travis Meteer, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist - University of Illinois

The soft red winter wheat crop in the United States is in pretty bad condition. Some of it will most certainly be fed to livestock. Todd Gleason has more on how beef producers should use wheat and wheat straw.

The soft red winter wheat crop is in poor condition and some…
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The soft red winter wheat crop is in poor condition and some of it will not be used to make cookies and crackers and pastries. Instead it will be fed to livestock, most likely beef cattle. If this is the case the first thing to do with the wheat says University of Illinois Beef Cattle Specialist Travis Meteer (meh-tir) is to store it properly.

Meteer :25 …and stop any future problems in storage.

Quote Summary - What I mean by that is to quickly get the grain dried down and stop the growth of that mycotoxin. At higher moisture levels, over eighteen percent, that problem can proliferate. So, we recommend producers harvest the grain, get it dried down, and stop any future problems in storage.

Meteer goes on to say it is important to know how much mycotoxin, in this case vomitoxin sometimes referred to as DON (don), is present in the wheat.

Meteer :27 …parts per million would, then, be the limit for the total ration.

Quote Summary - That will be key to understanding how much can be put into the ration and how to prepare the feed blend. FDA puts out recommended levels. In cattle it is ten parts per million if we are feeding fifty percent of the ration as grain. Five parts per million would, then, be the limit for the total ration.

These levels are based in part on feed refusal data. Meaning, if there is more vomitoxin in the ration than five parts per million the cattle might simply decide not to eat it. The other part of this picture relates to the straw harvested from a damaged soft red winter wheat crop.

Meteer :25 …may be useable for feed.

Quote Summary - If you choose to feed the straw, then it must be included in the parts per million calculation. It does impact the total level of mycotoxin in the ration and whether or not it is useable for feed.

The FDA feed ration parts per million guidelines are post on the web. If you search Google for the following terms ‘mycotoxin, FDA, and livestock feed’ the first item that comes up should be a pdf file on NGFA’s website. NGFA stands for National Grain and Feed Association.

Wheat Consumption Tracks Our Eating Habits

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Wheat Consumption Tracks Our Eating Habits
USDA ERS

The following chart and commentary are posted to a USDA ERS website. Essentially it tracks how many pounds of wheat flour the average U.S. citizen has consumed per year since 1964. The ERS commentary on the reasons for the increase in consumption through the mid–1990’s and sudden drop near the turn of the century reflect the eating habits of a couple generations of Americans.

Wheat consumption stable among U.S. consumers in recent years
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Per capita wheat flour consumption has been relatively stable in recent years, and is estimated in 2014 at 135 pounds per person, unchanged from 2013 but down 3 pounds from the recent peak in 2007. The 2014 estimate is down 11 pounds from the 2000 level when flour use started dropping sharply, partially due to increased consumer interest in low-carbohydrate diets. From the turn of the 20th century until about 1970, U.S. per capita wheat use generally declined, as strenuous physical labor became less common and diets became more diversified. However, from the early 1970s until the late 1990s, wheat consumption trended upward, reflecting growth in the foodservice industry and away-from-home eating, greater use and availability of prepared foods for home consumption, and promotion by industry organizations of the benefits of wheat flour and pasta product consumption. During this time, the domestic wheat market expanded on both rising per capita food use and a growing U.S. population.  Relatively stable per capita flour use in more recent years means that expansion of the domestic market for U.S. wheat is largely limited to the growth of the U.S. population. This chart is based on the April 2015 Wheat Outlook report.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Foliar Diseases of the Corn Plant

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Foliar Diseases of the Corn Plant
Emerson Nafziger, Extension Agronomist - University of Illinois

Now is probably not the time to spray for diseases in the corn crop. Todd Gleason has more…

University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger…
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University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger says foliar fungicides should not be used on the corn crop just prior to pollination.

Nafziger :20 …that the decision needs to be made.

Quote Summary - We certainly don’t want to do that before pollination time. Also, it is important to actually have the disease in the field and for it to still be developing at the time a decision is made.

Nafziger is not opposed to making a foliar fungicide application, but he is fully aware it doesn’t make as much economic sense today as it did when corn was worth $6 a bushel.

Nafziger :11 …we need to keep that in mind as well.

Quote Summary - It is just with the price of corn it takes more bushels than it did a few years ago to pay for that application. We need to keep that in mind as well.

The University of Illinois hasn’t ever advocated using a foliar fungicide for yield boost.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Consequences of a Foot of Rain in June

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The Consequences of a Foot of Rain in June
Emerson Nafziger, Extension Agronomist - University of Illinois
Mike Tannura, tStorm Weather - Chicago, Illinois

The rainfall in May and June has put the corn crop in a difficult position this growing season. Todd Gleason has more on how it might weather the storms.

Late in June the corn crop in eastern Illinois…
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Late in June the corn crop in eastern Illinois north of Interstate 74 was under water. It looked bad, really bad. Oh there was some of it that looked pretty good, but not much. Things across the border in Indiana aren’t much better, and neither, apparently, is a large part of Missouri and southern Illinois. The crop has just gotten way to much water says University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger.

Nafziger :20 …is going to have a serious affect on the crop.
Quote Summary - This is one of those times when the consequences of having a foot of rain in June is not something we would want to ever have and this year it is going to have a serious affect on the crop.
There are two primary concerns related to corn. The moisture is a great haven for the development of disease. The other concern, and this may be more important moving through July and August, is that the root system of the crop hasn’t had any need to develop…not just the roots of the corn under water, but of the whole corn crop from Missouri to Ohio.

Nafziger :44 …and produce higher yields.
Quote Summary - The closer we get to pollination the slower this root regrowth is and the less potential there is to recover a healthy root system on this crop. This could come back to hurt the crop later in the season because it won’t be very resilient during periods of dry weather. A crop in the first week of August cannot grow its root system deeper. It does not have that capability. If the system has been damaged, even if there is nitrogen and water left deep in the soil, it may not be able to access it and produce higher yields.
There in lies a new concern for the water logged corn crop. It looks now as if there may be a change in the weather pattern. Mike Tannura of tStorm Weather in Chicago has been talking about this on the radio.

Tannura :24 …changes in weather forecast over the next few weeks.
Quote Summary - We not a hot area of upper level high pressure is going to drive the U.S. weather pattern over the next couple of weeks and probably beyond that. It’s location is key. Right now we think it will center somewhere near Nebraska / Kansas and on to the west, which would just keep things warm, but not too warm. Any deviation in that system would lead to dramatic changes in weather forecast over the next few weeks.
So, too much rain has stressed the corn crop from Missouri to Ohio. It’s about to pollinate, and then begin grain fill. Even if the weather only turns hot, it could be a compounding problem.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Declaration of Independence

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The Declaration of Independence
I’m Todd Gleason for University of Illinois Extension…
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I’m Todd Gleason for University of Illinois Extension. Two-hundred-twenty-five years ago our fore-fathers declared sovereignty when 56 men of the American Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence. It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776. What Jefferson did was to summarize “self-evident truths” and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the Great Britain. What follows is an excerpt of the beginning and ending of the Unite States Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776…

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence. If you’d like to read an entire transcription of the document visit the National Archives on line. For University of Illinois Extension I’m Todd Gleason.

Historical Accounts of the Weather’s Impact

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Historical Accounts of the Weather’s Impact
Mike Tannura, tStorm Weather - Chicago, Illinois

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