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Friday, April 28, 2017

Autism Resources at the University of Illinois

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Autism Resources at the University of Illinois
Susan Sloop, Extension Family Life Educator - University of Illinois

Learn more about autism and the resources available at the University of Illinois with U of I Extension’s Susan Sloop.

theautismprogram.org

How to Make a Compost Pile | with Duane Friend

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How to Make a Compost Pile | with Duane Friend
Duane Friend, Extension Environmental Stewardship - University of Illinois

Composting can be a great way to eliminate yard and garden waste along with some table scraps. It is easy to create a home compost pile.

directions on the web

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Black Cutworm Moth Flights & Projected Cutting Dates

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Black Cutworm Moth Flights & Projected Cutting Dates
Kelly Estes, Entomologist - Illinois Natural History Survey
University of Illinois Crop Sciences Field Crops Pest Guide

Farmers across Illinois will soon need to scout their cornfields for the black cutworm. Todd Gleason has more on the pest and projected cutting dates.

Black cutworm moths ride the southerly winds…
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Black cutworm moths ride the southerly winds into the state of Illinois and then lay their eggs in cornfields. The hatched larvae then feed on the stem of seedling corn plants. The eat all the way through it, cutting it off. That’s why it is important to monitor black cutworm moth flights into the state using traps says entomologist Kelly Estes from the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Kelly Estes :22 …cut those plants like you described earlier.

We’ve had reports of significant moth flights, which is more than eight moths (captured) over the course of a two-day span. We use this to set a biofix. From this bio-fix, we can use degree days to predict when black cutworm larvae will be in an area and large enough to cut those plants like you described earlier.

One cutworm can feed on as many as four corn plants - up to 15 inches in height - over its lifetime. They feed at night and burrow into the ground during the daylight hours. Conditions that favor black cutworm outbreaks include later tillage and planting dates, reduced or no-till fields, and or fields were large weed populations exist or were controlled late.

Damage is likely to occur when weed hosts are destroyed and larvae begin feeding on corn. Small larvae feed on plant leaves. Early cutworm feeding can be identified as small irregular holes in the leaves of corn plants. The larvae feed above ground for about the first quarter of their lives, or until they are approximately half an inch long.

Estes is now projected the earliest cutworm feeding will start May 9th in Madison County. That’s near St. Louis. Her projections move north from there with the passage of time.

Estes :37 …we expect to see larvae present.

Say, like, I–72 across with projected dates from May 11th through the 15th and then as we progress into northern counties, like Warren or Grundy and even as far north as Lee County, with projected cutting dates from May 17th through May 21st. So, as we see delayed planting in several areas across the state, we could potentially have small corn in those areas right about the time we expect to see larvae present.

Illinois farmers should begin to scout corn fields for black cutworm larvae now. They’ll need to scout five locations in each field, looking at about 250 plants total. The cutworm is black to gray and about an inch and half long when fully grown and looks a little greasy. A post-emergence rescue treatment is needed when 3% of the plants are cut, and larvae are still present.

Tracking Black Cut Worm Moth Flights in Illinois | with Kelly Estes

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Tracking Black Cut Worm Moth Flights in Illinois | with Kelly Estes
Kelly Estes, Entomologist - Illinois Natural History Survey

Todd Gleason talks with Illinois Natural History Survey Entomologist Kelly Estes about insect pests of corn in the state.





Friday, April 21, 2017

Evaluating Barley Yellow Dwarf Resistance in Oats

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Evaluating Barley Yellow Dwarf Resistance in Oats
Fred Kolb, Crop Scientist - University of Illinois

Doing research on crops can be tedious. It also ensures diseases and pests won’t over take them. Todd Gleason has more…

Fred Kolb heads up the small grains breeding…
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Fred Kolb heads up the small grains breeding program at the University of Illinois. He and his crew were out working on the south farms last week (Wednesday, April 18). They swing specialized tubes to deliver a little corn meal and an Aphid that carries Barley Yellow Dwarf disease. The aphid, says Kolb, infects the oats.

Kolb :43 …several in the U.S. and several in Canada.

Quote Summary - We are inoculating these oats with Barley Yellow Dwarf virus. And in order to that we rear aphids in the greenhouse, the aphids carry the virus, and then we put the aphids on the hills, and they infect the plants with the virus. We can then evaluate all these different genotypes for resistance to Barley Yellow Dwarf virus. We have material here from my breeding program, but we are also evaluating material from most to the other breeding programs in North America; several in the U.S. and several in Canada.

Kolb says about a week after the aphids are released, he and his team come back to eradicate them. Fred Kolb is a crop scientist at the University of Illinois.

Cattle | Increase Conception Rates after Lush Spring Turnout

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Cattle | Increase Conception Rates after Lush Spring Turnout
Travis Meteer, Extension Beef Educator - University of Illinois
Dan Shike, Animal Scientist - University of Illinois

During the winter most cattle are supplemented with dry forages, grains, and co-products. This ration is balanced and delivered to cattle. Then spring comes along and cattle are put out to grass. While green grass solves a lot of problems associated with winter feeding (manure, pen maintenance, calf health, and labor demands), it can, as Todd Gleason reports, pose nutritional challenges especially for newly bred cows.

That lush green grass forage has three major…
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That lush green grass forage has three major challenges when it comes to meeting cattle nutrition requirements.
  • it can lack enough dry matter
  • it is high in protein, but the excess can become a problem without the dry matter
  • and it is low in fiber
The beef cattle specialists at the University of Illinois wondered if this combination of problems has taken a hand in some of the lower artificial insemination conception rates they’ve seen in one of the three campus herds. A herd Animal Scientist Dan Shike says is very well managed, always in good condition, and thought be, well, right.
Shike :36 …turnout to spring grass coincided with our time of breeding.
Quote Summary - And yet, we were seeing our lowest A.I. conception rates. This happened a few years in a row. We thought we were doing ok on some the first traditional things you would look at. Then we decided we should consider the nutrition after breeding. We realized, with this particular herd, our turnout to spring grass coincided with our time of breeding. We started to point a finger there to see if that is where our concerns maybe were.
Shike, and Extension Beef Educator Travis Meteer set up an experiment to find out. Low dry matter and excess protein has been well documented by the dairy industry as a detriment to reproductive performance. The two wanted to know if a supplemental dry matter feed stock would make a difference. It did.
Shike :39 …the non-supplemented cows were pregnant to A.I.
Quote Summary - We had two treatments. Our control group was grazing pasture. The other group was grazing and fed four pounds of a mix. We started about ten days prior to breeding and turnout and carried it through for about six weeks after breeding. We looked at their bodyweight and body condition, but were ultimately interested in the first service A.I. conception rate. We did a synchronized timed A.I. At the first pregnancy check about 58% of the supplemented cows were pregnant to A.I. and 46% of the non-supplemented cows were pregnant to A.I.
A twelve percent increase is significant. However, Shike cautions he has just two years worth of data to support the findings. Shike and Meteer did a Facebook live video discussing lush spring grasses and the impact on cattle going to pasture that includes more details on conception rate work. Search Facebook for “University of Illinois Beef Cattle Extension”.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Choosing Nitrogen Rates

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Choosing Nitrogen Rates
Emerson Nafziger, Extension Agronomist - University of Illinois
read blog post

The growing season has started and most corn farmers have already applied nitrogen. It is a very expensive plant food and, as Todd Gleason reports, getting the rate right may mean using a little less.

Here’s how the University of Illinois nitrogen…
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Here’s how the University of Illinois nitrogen recommendation used to work. It was formula equal to roughly one-point-two times the expected yield minus the nitrogen leftover from the previous crop. That “yield-goal-based system” recommends too much for today’s corn hybrids says University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger.

Nafziger :13 …up more than requirements for nitrogen have gone up.

Quote Summary - That yield-goal-based system flat-out doesn’t work anymore. The reason it doesn’t is that our yields have gone up a lot, and we are clearly showing that yields have gone up more than requirements for nitrogen have gone up.

Nafziger believes there are two reasons for the change. First, he says the system always recommended more nitrogen than was really needed.

Nafziger :22 …bushel or what ever formulation people were using.

Quote Summary - And the other is that our hybrids have become much better at extracting what’s there; water and the nutrients that come with water. Nitrogen is the main one of those. Today we get higher yields and do not have to use the 1.2 pounds of nitrogen per bushel or what ever formulation people were using.

ILLINOIS abandon the formula about ten years ago in a favor of a system used and promoted by Land Grant’s throughout the corn belt. It is called the N Rate Calculator and it actually brought the Illinois rates down by a few pounds for this year.

Nafziger says at current corn and nitrogen prices, guideline rates for corn following soybean are 154, 172, and 179 pounds of nitrogen per acre in northern, central, and southern Illinois, respectively. 200, 200, and 189 for corn after corn. Southern Illinois farmers will make note that their rate for corn after soybeans is higher than in either central or northern Illinois and lower than both of those for corn after corn.

You may find and use the calculator online. Just search for “n-rate calculator”.

Too Early to Worry About Late Planting

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Too Early to Worry About Late Planting
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

Farmers have been a bit worried about getting into the field because of rains throughout the Midwest. It looks like those will clear out for the week, mostly, and even if they don’t, there isn’t much to worry about, yet. Todd Gleason has more on when the ag economist at the University of Illinois think late planting impacts the markets and yields.

Farmers have been itching to go to the field…
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Farmers have been itching to go to the field. They want to plant corn in the Midwest. There’s also some rumblings about delayed planting. That’s a little hard to swallow in mid-April says Todd Hubbs.

Todd Hubbs :05 …not getting a corn crop in.

Quote Summary - We need a few more weeks before we start getting panicked about not getting a corn crop in.

Hubbs is an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois. He’s looked at the stats and the historical record. He says it is pretty concise.

Hubbs :18 …data on crop progress and planted acres.

Quote Summary - If we have a huge amount of corn planted late, then we will see some acreage removed from the national portfolio. There is really no correlation or pattern with soybeans being planted late. There is for corn when you look at the national data on crop progress and planted acres.

It’s a correlation that won’t happen for about a month if it happens at all.

Hubbs :28 …I don’t think we are in any danger right now.

Quote Summary - May 20th for corn is late. You do see some yield hits as you move along. Emerson Nafziger has a really nice post from last year for Illinois in particular about corn and soybean yields and planting dates. So, May 20th for corn and around May 30th for soybeans and I don’t think we are in any danger right now.

You can check out Emerson Nafziger’s planting date post on the web. Just search google for bulletin and University of Illinois.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Working to Create New Illini Brand Soybean Varieties

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Working to Create New Illini Brand Soybean Varieties Troy Cary, Crop Sciences - University of Illinois Lauran Widman, ACES Graduate Student - University of Illinois

Troy Cary & Lauran Widman (wihd-man) are working to create twelve-thousand 2017 University of Illinois soybean breeding program plots. Todd Gleason caught up with them on Tuesday morning and put together this look at some of the pre-planting season work.

They started out as individually selected…
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Troy Cary, Crop Sciences
University of Illinois

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Lauran Widman, ACES Graduate Student University of Illinois

YouTube Link

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Frozen Sweet Peas Recall, Listeria, & Pregnant Women

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The Frozen Sweet Peas Recall, Listeria, & Pregnant Women
Mary Liz Wright, Nutrition and Wellness Educator - University of Illinois
voluntary recall notice
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Earlier this week (April 11th) frozen sweet peas sold under the Season’s Choice Brand at Aldi stores in seven states (including Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Wisconsin) were voluntarily recalled.

Listeria is a particularly concerning pathogen…
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Listeria is a particularly concerning pathogen that University of Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator Mary Liz Wright says should especially be avoided by pregnant women. However, Wright says there are some easy ways to make sure frozen peas are listeria free.

Wright :28 …chill them and use them in your salad.
Quote Summary - We need to cook those frozen vegetables before we add them to a cold salad. Listeria can be killed at 155 degrees F. So, bringing the peas up to a 155 degrees will kill the listeria and then you can safely chill them and use them in your salad.
The U.S. government reports pregnant women are twenty-percent more likely to contract listeria. It can lead to miscarriage.

Lakeside Foods says the 16 ounce packages of Season’s Choice frozen sweet peas were potentially contaminated. The product has already been removed from store shelves. Consumers should either throw the frozen peas they’ve purchased away, or return them for a full refund.

How to Boil, Color, and use Easter Eggs

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How to Boil, Color, and use Easter Eggs
Mary Liz Wright, Extension Nutrition & Wellness - University of Illinois
read blog post

If you haven’t made Easter Eggs for the weekend, you’re in luck. There is still time and Todd Gleason has the how-to details with University of Illinois Extension’s Mary Liz Wright.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pork Industry Favored by Strong Demand

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Pork Industry Favored by Strong Demand
Chris Hurt, Extension Agricultural Economist - Purdue University

The price of hogs should go up in 2017 even though there will be more of them around. Todd Gleason has more…

This year pork producers around the nation should…
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This year pork producers around the nation should raise about three percent more hogs. This increase in supply will coincide with an increase in price. That’s a bit unusual, but there are some reasons for it to happen says Purdue University Extension Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt.

Hurt :28 …at decade lows, as well.

Quote Summary - Prices will be supported by stronger demand because of a growing U.S. economy and by a robust eight percent growth in exports as projected by USDA. New packer capacity is also expected to contribute to stronger bids for hogs. Feed costs will be the lowest in a decade and total production costs are expected to be at decade lows.

The national breeding herd has increased by four percent since 2014. Notable expansions of the breeding herd in the past three years have occurred in Missouri 25 percent; Ohio 9 percent; Illinois 8 percent; and Indiana, Nebraska, and Oklahoma each up 4 percent. Given this increase, it is important to note live hog prices averaged about $46 last year. It is estimated producers lost about $11 on each hog they marketed. Prices are expected to be $3 to $4 higher this year.

Live hog prices averaged about $50 per hundredweight in the first quarter of 2017. Prices for the second and third quarters are expected to average in the very low $50s. Prices will likely be seasonally lower in the fourth quarter and average in the mid-$40s. Chris Hurt says if this forecast pans out, then prices would average near $49 for the year and be slightly under projected total costs of production. Producers would still lose about a $1 for every hog sold.

Hurt :13 …receiving a normal rate of return.

Quote Summary - This is basically a forecast for a breakeven year with all costs being covered, including labor costs and equity investors receiving a normal rate of return.

There are some financial shadows that could fall on the pork industry in 2017. Hurt is concerned about competition from the beef and poultry sectors. Both have increased production and will be vying for the consumer’s food dollar. That, by-the-way, has had an optimistic start to the year. However, Chris Hurt is cautious about the follow-through needed to maintain the strong economic tone as the new Administration works to develop stimulus packages. Feed costs, bad weather conditions in the northern hemisphere are always a concern. And finally, the industry, he says, needs to keep expansion of the breeding herd to near one percent.

Hurt :23 …one percent annual growth needed to expand exports.

Quote Summary - This one percent increase along with about one percent higher weaning rates means the industry can increase pork production about two percent a year. That is sufficient to cover a one percent growth in domestic population and about one percent annual growth needed to expand exports.

Growth of the breeding herd at more than one percent could shift the industry back into deeper losses.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Dicamba Soybeans | how to manage herbicide applications

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Dicamba Soybeans | how to manage herbicide applications
Aaron Hager, Extension Weed Scientist - University of Illinois

read more from Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Extension

Farmers going to the field this spring will be using a brand new type of soybean. Todd Gleason has more on why dicamba-resistant varieties will require them to exercise caution when making herbicide applications.

Dicamba is a very old herbicide…
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Dicamba is a very old herbicide. It has been in use for more than four decades. It kills broadleaf plants and one of the most sensitive of these says University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager has long been the soybean.
Hager :13 …trying to look at how soybean are.
Quotes Summary - It is one of the most sensitive broadleaf species that is grown in Illinois. You can look in the literature and find studies that have been done now for forty or fifty years really trying to look at how soybean are.
Recent work out of Missouri indicates sensitivity down to a rate of one-twenty-thousandths of a field use rate. There are many things listed on the dicamba label that will legally bind farmers planting dicamba and spraying resistant varieties. Even pre-season prohibitions.
Hager :38 …application, if we do that the buffer goes to 220 feet.
Quote Summary - We will give one example. If we are look at the Extendimax label, which is a straight dicamba formulation from Monsanto, there is a requirement to have a buffer area. A downwind buffer area. The size of that buffer area would vary depending on the rate that is applied. So, an in crop application that would require half-a-pound of dicamba acid would require a 110 foot buffer. However, if we are using decamba now in this pre-plant or pre-emergence time frame, when we are allowed to go up to a full pound at that application, if we do that the buffer goes to 220 feet.
This is not a recommendation. It a restriction. There is a big difference says Aaron Hager and farmers planning to use dicamba on dicamba resistant soybean fields this season must understand the consequences.
Hager :18 …are now violating this federal label.
These statements on these labels are not recommendations. These are things that must be followed every time these applications are made. So, for example, if you elect not to follow something like the nozzle selection type, or the height of the boom above the crop canopy, you are now violating this federal label.
This story has listed just a few of the restrictions; the downwind buffer, the nozzle selection type, the height of the boom above the canopy. There are others including speed, temperature, inversions, and predicted rainfall events. The point says Hager is that farmers choosing to use dicamba resistant soybeans this season and spraying them with decamba must read, understand, and follow the labels.

Birds, Bees, & Wild Things | Sting Like a Bee

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Birds, Bees, & Wild Things | Sting Like a Bee
Jason Haupt, Energy & Environmental Stewardship - University of Illinois
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Pollinators play a significant role in keeping habitats healthy and diverse. They are important to agriculture pollinating crops and help in ensuring a good healthy yield. When most people think of pollinators, their first thought is honeybees. However, there are so many more bees than just honey- bees (which are non-native) and more than 3,500 species of native bees in the United States with 228 of them found in Illinois. Without bees, much of the produce that you love to have in the summer would not be available in the quantities or the quality that you love. Peppers, tomatoes, many root vegetables, and many fruits need bees to pollinate and produce healthy produce. Bees ensure that the flowers properly pollinate and produce healthy and abundant fruits, seeds, and vegetables. Research has also shown that an increased native bee population also makes honeybees produce more honey increasing the yield of local honey.

Birds, Bees, & Wild Things | Float Like a Butterfly

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Birds, Bees, & Wild Things | Float Like a Butterfly
Jason Haupt, Energy & Environmental Stewardship - University of Illinois
read blog spot

When you are looking to attract butterflies and other pollinators to your yard, you need to think about providing for all stages in the life of the insects that you want to attract. Insects have multiple life stages, and each stage has a different food requirement. Milkweed is one of the most common plants chosen to attract butterflies, Monarchs specifically, but Milkweed only provides for one of the life stages of the Monarch’s life cycle. To attract and keep the butterflies coming to your yard, you need to provide food for the larval stage (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly) stages. Each stage has specific requirements.

Birds, Bees, & Wild Things | Feathered Friends

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Birds, Bees, & Wild Things | Feathered Friends
Jason Haupt, Energy & Environmental Stewardship - University of Illinois
read blog spot

Attracting wildlife to your yard is something in which everyone seems to be interested. But knowing how to do this is what many people lack. As you think about attracting wildlife to your yard, the first step is to start looking at your yard as a habitat. All habitats have four elements: water, shelter, food, and space.