Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Peoria 4-H Club to Make Contact with Astronaut

Peoria 4-H Club to Make Contact with Astronaut
Judy Schmidt, 4-H Youth Development - University of Illinois Extension

A temporary 4-H Club in Peoria Illinois is just getting started on an out-of-this-world journey. Todd Gleason has more on how the club, and maybe your 11–14 year old too, will make contact with the International Space Station at the end of July.

0:57 radio
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Tonight, through the month of July, 4-H’ers interested in radio, electronics, computers, space, and NASA will meet at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. It’s a club open to any 11–14 year olds around the state says Extension’s Judy Schmidt.

Schmidt :30 …that’s when the actual call will happen.

Quote Summary - It only meets four Tuesdays and it is in the evening from 6–7:30pm. This might make it more accessible for families that have to work. The first three sessions will be devoted to activities related to HAM radio, Morse code, and satellites. During the last session they’ll plan questions and what they’ll talk about (with the astronaut) and during the last week the actual call will happen.

A call to talk with an astronaut on the space station. The 4-H Club meets at the Peoria Riverfront Museum tonight at 6pm. All 11–14 year olds are welcome to join.

Modest Pork Expansion, but Brexit Casts Shadow

Modest Pork Expansion, but Brexit Casts Shadow
Christ Hurt, Purdue Extension Agricultural Economist

If you’re wondering how the Brexit will impact U.S. agriculture, you might skip on over to the FarmDocDaily website. You’ll find an article there titled Modest Pork Expansion, but Brexit Casts Shadow.

It is written by Purdue Extension Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt. In it he says since the Brexit announcement, the dollar has increased by about 3.5 percent relative to the Euro and that the countries in the European Union have been the largest exporters of pork in the world for the last two years. He goes on say that farmers selling pork from the 19 countries in the EU that use the Euro now have an immediate price advantage over U.S. pork producers. too.

Hurt :09 …competitor a sizable and immediate price advantage.

Quote Summary - Brexit gives our biggest global pork competitor a sizable and immediate price advantage.

You may read more from Purdue’s Chris Hurt about the #Brexit and last Friday’s June Hogs and Pigs report on the FarmDocDaily website.

Monday, June 27, 2016

University of Illinois Weed Science Field Research Tour

VOICER (radio & tv)
University of Illinois Weed Science Field Research Tour
Aaron Hager, Extension Weed Scientist - University of Illinois

This Wednesday farmers and others interested in weeds can learn more at University of Illinois’ Weed Science Field Tour. The tour kicks off early in the morning says U of I’s Aaron Hager.

Hager :24 …plots on the Animal Sciences tracts.

Quote Summary - It’ll be at the South Farms and will begin roughly between 7:30 and 8:00 o’clock in the morning. It will be very similar in terms of format to what we’ve done before. We’ll all gather around the South Farms at the Seed House for a few introductory remarks and comments, and then everybody will get back into their vehicles and we’ll car pool across Windsor Road and look at some of the research plots on the Animal Sciences tracts.

Again, the 2016 University of Illinois Weed Science Field Day is this Wednesday, June 29th at the University of Illinois Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, the South Farms, located just to the east of the State Farm Center (Assembly Hall).

Coffee and refreshments will be available under the shade trees near the Seed House beginning at 8:00 a.m. Cost for the Urbana weed science field tour is $10. The event will conclude around noon with a catered lunch.

The tour will provide ample opportunity to look at research plots and interact with weed science faculty, staff, and graduate students. Participants can compare their favorite corn and soybean herbicide programs to other commercial programs and get an early look at a few new products that soon will be on the market.

Agronomy Day on the South Farms August 18, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – Have questions about pest resistance or curious about the use of drones in agriculture? Plan to hear more on these and other topics related to crop sciences at the 59th annual Agronomy Day at the University of Illinois on August 18.

Field tour topics and speakers for Agronomy Day 2016 were recently announced. Topics include:

Cataloging the weapons arsenal of the Fusarium head blight pathogen
Genetic resistance for northern leaf blight and Goss’ wilt in corn
Stripe rust and scab resistance in wheat
Bt resistance in corn rootworm beetles Nematodes: How does the worm turn?

Nitrogen management: Balancing profitability with sustainability
Economics of nutrient management
Land values
Six weed management predictions to keep you up at night
Investigating low crop emergence in edamame

The show must go on: Balancing water use under continuously changing environmental conditions
Cover crops for soybean and corn rotation
Soybean planting date and variety maturity
Managing soybeans for high yields Drone information and demonstration

*Offered at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (tentative) with limited availability, as attendees will be transported offsite to SoyFACE. Attendees will need to sign up in advance at the registration table. Tours will last one hour.

What is SoyFACE?
Improving maize tolerance in air pollution CO2
Improving drought tolerance and water use efficiency in C4 crops

For a full list of this year’s speakers and topics, visit

Agronomy Day attracts more than 1,000 people each year seeking the latest information on technology and techniques to improve food and fuel production. This year, agronomy day will be held in a new location at 4202 South 1st Street in Savoy, Illinois. For more information on speakers, displays, and location, join Agronomy Day 2016 on Facebook or visit the Agronomy Day website.

National GMO Labeling Bill in Motion

The U.S. Senate’s agricultural committee has reached a food labeling bill agreement that could set aside the state of Vermont’s GMO law. Ranking members Pat Roberts of Kansas, a Republican, and Debbie Stabenaw, a Michigan Democrat, announced a digital codes compromise. If the full Senate and the House pass the legislation food packages containing a narrowly defined set of genetically engineered ingredients would include a digital disclosure code or an on package symbol or language that the Agriculture Department would approve. The code, which could be scanned by a smartphone, would be accompanied by the sentence, “Scan here for more food information”.

The compromise narrowly defines genetically modified for the purposes of food labels. Only ingredients derived from GMO’s made by transferring genes from one organism to another would require labeling. Foods made with ingredients where the genetic code is edited - a deleted or duplicated gene for example - would not require the GMO notifications.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Soybean Stocks, Acreage, and Weather

Soybean Stocks, Acreage, and Weather
Darrel Good, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

The price of soybeans has rallied so much this season that one agricultural economist is doubtful there is much additional upside potential. Todd Gleason has more from the University of Illinois.

New crop soybeans are worth about two-and-half dollars…
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New crop soybeans are worth about two-and-half dollars more today than back in February when farmers purchased insurance to cover the price risk inherent in farming. The rise has to do with a short crop from South America, above average temperatures in the United States, and only scattered rainfall in the mid-section of the nation. Farmers can now sell beans for about $11 a bushel for fall delivery, and that doesn’t seem too bad to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

Good :23 …less sensitive to summer weather than are corn yields.

Quote Summary - While there is a potential for prices to move even higher with stressful summer weather, that potential may be less than the potential for corn, depending on the magnitude of planted acres, since soybean prices have already experienced a sharp rally and soybean yields are less sensitive to summer weather than are corn yields.

The path soybeans have taken to higher prices is pretty clear. The July contract at the CME Group in Chicago is up 25% since April 1, 2016. The rally came as the market came to grips with a 200 million bushel reduction in the estimated size of the combined Argentine and Brazilian soybean crops and the resulting surge in export demand for U.S. soybeans. The next stop on this price train forward is the end of month reports from the United States Department of Agriculture. USDA will release the Acreage and Grain Stocks reports June 30th. Darrel Good calculates the expected June 1 Grain Stocks for soybeans near 842 million bushels.

Soybean Inventory Estimate
(in billion bushels)

1.531 March 1, 2016 Inventory
+ .006 Imports
- .173 Exports
- .487 Crush
- .035 Feed & Residual

0.842 June 1, 2016 Inventory

He believes there is room for a surprise in the Acreage Report. USDA’s survey of farmers in March put expectations at 82.236 million acres. This number could be higher for a couple of reasons.

Good :20 …corn planting in parts of the eastern Corn Belt.

Quote Summary - The consensus seems to be that the June Acreage report will reveal that acreage exceeded intentions due to some switching of intended corn acreage to soybeans as the result of the increase in soybean prices relative to corn prices since March and the delayed corn planting in parts of the eastern Corn Belt.

Soybean acreage may also exceed intentions, writes Darrel Good on the FarmDocDaily website, as a result of total acreage of spring planted crops exceeding intentions reported in March.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Corn Stocks, Acreage, and Yield

Corn Stocks, Acreage, and Yield
Darrel Good, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

The price of corn in Chicago is up about 75 cents since the end of March and this may represent a good new crop corn marketing opportunity. Todd Gleason has more from the University of Illinois.

The price strength comes from dry weather conditions…
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The price strength comes from dry weather conditions in South America and the associated strength in export demand for U.S. corn writes University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good on the Farm Doc Daily website. He also indicates there are expectations for planted acreage to fall short of intentions; and some recent yield concerns associated with an extended period of hot weather. Good says that last note is really important, but that the end of the month USDA reports are likely to weigh heavily on the trade.

Good :24 …during the third quarter of the marketing year.

Quote Summary - Prices will continue to reflect weather conditions and summer weather forecasts, but will also be influenced by the USDA’s Grain Stocks and Acreage reports to be released on June 30. The estimate of corn stocks as of June 1 will reflect the recent increase in the pace of exports and will reveal the pace of feed and residual use during the third quarter of the marketing year.

The expected size of June 1 stocks can be calculated based on consumption data currently available and on the assumption that feed and residual use is on pace with the USDA projection of 5.25 billion bushels for the year. Based on the USDA’s Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production reports for March and April and on the EIA weekly estimates of ethanol production during May, corn used for ethanol production during the third quarter of the marketing year is estimated at 1.24 billion bushels. Corn used for other domestic industrial and food products is estimated at 360 million bushels.

Adding those numbers to the cumulative export inspections during the first three quarters of the marketing year, along with some other calculations, and it sums June 1 stocks of 4.623 billion bushels. This is 170 million larger than stocks of a year ago. Stocks would likely have to differ from that estimate by more than 50 million bushels to produce a price response, admits Darrel Good.

The June estimate of planted acreage of corn is generally expected to be less than intentions of 93.6 million acres reported in March as some acreage may have been switched to soybeans due to the increase in soybean prices. Again, however, with the decline in prevent plant acres this year and some increase in crop prices during the planting season, total acreage of spring planted crops may have exceeded the surprisingly small March intentions. That potential increase creates some uncertainty about the magnitude of corn acreage. A June estimate near March intentions would be somewhat bearish, depending on late month weather and weather forecasts.

The bottomline writes Darrel Good is that without substantial surprises in the upcoming USDA reports, corn prices will be mostly influenced by weather and yield expectations, which is usually the case this time of year. He says the market has already begun to price in the risk of a 2016 average yield below trend. Increasingly, analysts are drawing parallels between the late 1982–83 weather pattern that resulted in very low corn yields and the 2015–16 weather pattern to date. Here’s what Darrel Good thinks farmers should do with this knowledge.

Good :43 …use of options or options-based cash contracts.

Quote Summary - Producers have waited for and now welcome the higher corn prices. The higher prices coupled with uncertainty about summer weather, however, means that producers now have more price risk along with some production risk. December futures prices are now $0.60 above the crop revenue insurance price established in February so there is revenue risk for unpriced new crop corn. Still, prices would continue to increase with unfavorable weather conditions. What to do? Managing the current new-crop price risk can be accomplished with a combination of the timing of incremental sales and the use of options or options-based cash contracts.

The choice of strategy, thinks Darrel Good, will be influenced by local crop conditions and production expectations. While developing a marketing strategy is challenging, he says it is important to have a strategy since weather markets provide a window of pricing opportunity that typically persist for a relatively short period.

One other important item; Darrel Good says the strategy probably should include plans for pricing some of the 2017 crop.

State of Illinois Open Meetings Act Webinar June 16


State of Illinois Open Meetings Act Webinar June 16
Chris Casey, Extension Community & Economic Development - University of Illinois

University of Illinois Extension is hosting a webinar June 16, 2016 from noon to 1pm on the State of Illinois Open Meetings Act. It is sponsored in part by the State of Illinois Attorney General’s office and aimed at helping elected local government officials (and staff) understand the Opening Meetings Act and its requirements.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fungicide Applications Improve Corn Silage Feed Efficiency

Fungicide Applications Improve Corn Silage Feed Efficiency
Phil Cardoso, Dairy Science - University of Illinois

June is National Dairy Month

Spraying a fungicide on corn in the Midwest has always been a 50/50 proposition related to cost. Half of the time it bumps yield by a couple of bushels and this can sometimes be enough to cover the cost. However, as Todd Gleason Reports, if that corn is going into silage, some new work from the University of Illinois says the improvement in feed efficiency for dairy cattle can pay for the fungicide not just once, but maybe twice.

This is simple science to understand…
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This is simple science to understand, yet it is important to note it seems only to apply to milk production. So, not for beef cattle. Dairy cows fed silage made from corn sprayed with a fungicide give more milk says University of Illinois Dairy Scientist Phil Cardoso (car-DOH-so)

Cardoso :32 …less of that material, of the corn silage.

Quote Summary - In the dairy cows what we have seen is that they gain feed efficiency. In our experiments we fed the cows after the peak of lactation, after 60 to 70 days in milk when they give less milk, and those cows produced the same pounds of milk while eating less of that material, of the corn silage.

The reason this happens is because the leaves of the corn plant, when harvested for silage, are in better condition. They are greener and more digestible. Interestingly enough says Cardoso there isn’t any change in the total mass, or weight of the material harvested - so no yield bump - just a healthier plant made that way because the leaves are protected from fungal diseases.

Cardoso :21 …get a return on it.

Quote Summary - In our trials we had linear responses. So, that means if you sprayed one time, two times, or three times - three times was even better than one time - however, when you adjust for the economics of milk production more than two applications weren’t worth it. Most likely one application would always provide a return.

One application of a corn fungicide improves silage feed efficiency. This statement has been true in the U of I field trials since 2013 and is not related to the presence of a fungal disease in the field. The silage contains less fiber, and more sugar. This improves the fermentation process, improves the quality of feed, and improves the feed efficiency of the dairy cows.