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Showing posts from June, 2017

University of Illinois Hires Row Crops Entomologist

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URBANA, IL – Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois is growing, with two new research assistant professors joining the department this fall. The two faculty members, a row crop entomologist and a plant pathologist, will be working directly with growers to address crop production issues across the state. The new entomologist, Nick Seiter, visited the Urbana campus this week.

“These two positions represent our connection with growers and stakeholders,” said Germ├ín Bollero, department head for crop sciences. “We have researchers working on plant pests, but Nick will be our front door with the growers, really taking the pulse of what’s happening out there. He will do the translational work. I’m very excited for him to come.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Seiter discussed his background and his plans for the new position.

ACES Marketing and Communications: Tell us a little about your background.

Seiter: I’m from southeast Indiana originally. I did a bachelor’s and a master’s in entomolog…

USDA's June 30 Grain Stocks Report for Corn

USDA’s release of the Quarterly Grain Stocks report on June 30 will provide an estimate of corn stocks in storage as of June 1, 2017. Since many of the consumption categories for corn can be derived from data provided during the marketing year, this estimate provides the ability to calculate the magnitude of feed and residual use of corn during the third quarter. The calculation offers the basis for evaluating the probable feed and residual use during the entire marketing year and imparts information on the potential size of ending stocks. While the information imparted by the June Acreage report released on the same day will likely eclipse the Quarterly Grain Stocks report, the estimated corn stocks have important implications for the current marketing year.The supply of corn available during the first half of the 2016–17 marketing year is the base for estimating June 1 stocks. Corn stocks at the beginning of the quarter were estimated at 8616 million bushels in the March Grain Stock…

Wood Chip Bioreactor Controls Tile Line Nitrate Load

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The Dudley Smith research farm in Illinois is tiled and wired. Todd Gleason has more on how the University of Illinois is doing nitrogen loss research near Pana. Farmers gathered this week for a peek at the nitrogen loss control methods installed in Christian County. It’s a farm that rolls just a bit, but is pretty typical for the area other than the pastures on a portion of it. They came to hear from Laura Christianson. She’s a University of Illinois Crop Scientist, “At the Dudley Smith farm we have a wood chip bioreactor installed. A wood chip bioreactor is a little mini water treatment plant to clean nitrate out of tile drainage. The thing that makes the Dudley Smith bioreactor different is that is has baffles inside it. So, rather than the water just running straight through the wood chips, like most bioreactors, this bioreactor has baffles in it to make the water move in more of an S shape to improve how much nitrate is taken out of the drainage water”. Early indications are the …

What Makes a Top Third Farm

There are just two items that make the difference between a top third farm and an average farm. This University of Illinois study was on a small set in McLean County. This was done to limit the influences of weather and a few other factors. Gary Schnitkey says he wanted to know why some farms made more than others. Turns out, the answer is pretty simple say the ag economist, “What we found were distinct cost differences between the two groups. This was a $45 per acre difference between the average group and the high return group. The $45 came primarily in two items; machinery depreciation and interest cost.”The more profitable farms tended to have lower machinery and non-land interest cost. The two are related. If you buy more machinery, you have more depreciation and likely more interest costs. Other differences included storage costs, with high profit farms storing less at elevators and their cost of hired labor was lower, too. Over all, these farms usually had lower costs, but thes…

Feeding Wheat Co-Products to Pigs

Research from the University of Illinois is helping to determine the quality of protein in wheat middlings and red dog. Both are co-products of the wheat milling process. Each can be fed to pigs and other livestock.There is information about the digestibility of crude protein in some wheat co-products produced in Canada and China, says University of Illinois Animal Scientist Hans Stein, but only very limited information about the nutritional value of wheat middlings and red dog produced in the United States.Stein and U of I researcher Gloria Casas fed wheat middlings from 8 different states and red dog from Iowa to growing pigs. Despite the variety in the wheat middlings sources the concentration of crude protein were generally consistent. However, they did find some variation in the digestibility of the amino acids.The red dog contained slightly less crude protein than wheat middlings. Stein says the results of this study provide guidance to producers who hope to incorporate wheat co…

Check Dicamba Soybeans After Spraying

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Farmers are turning to an old technology this year to control weeds in their fields. Here’s what they can expect from a new, old-product.Dicamba has been around for about half-a-century. It is a corn herbicide, but soybeans have been modified to tolerate it. This was done because so many weeds have modified themselves to resist being killed by glyphosate, commonly known as Round-Up. The primary problem, says University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager, is waterhemp, “it, has never been excellent on any of the pigweed species. It can be good. It can be very good, but it is not excellent. It is not as consistent.” This inconsistency makes the timing of dicamba applications extremely important. Without a doubt, says Hager, most post applied herbicides are going to do a better job of controlling a full suite of weeds in a field when the weeds are less than three to four inches in size, “Certainly, with something like dicamba and waterhemp, our recommendation to farmers is …

Crop Progress Reports & End of Season Yields

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read blog postLast week USDA released its first national corn condition rating of the season. The crop, as you’ll hear, wasn’t in great shape. While it doesn’t mean much at this time of year, there is a relationship between the first crop condition rating and the end of the season yield. The weekly Crop Progress report is mostly the work of Extension and FSA employees, at the least the data collection part. They report local crop conditions to state USDA offices, mostly on Monday morning, who in-turn tally those numbers and pass them along to Washington, D.C. for compilation and release on Monday afternoon. Work at the University of Illinois shows a strong relationship between the end-of-season crop condition ratings and crop yield, however, agricultural economist Scott Irwin says that doesn’t hold so well for the rest of the season, “but, of course, what you really want to know is how soon do they become really predictive of final yields. Our analysis says they become pretty useful a…

Another Rough Income Year for Grain Farmers

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It looks like 2017 will be another rough year for grain farmers in the United States. Even in Illinois, where the trend line yield for corn is 200 bushels to the acre and 61 for soybeans, the average income on a 1500 acre grain for this year is just $25,000. That’s not good says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey, “That $25,000 isn’t enough to cover all the family living withdrawals and capital purchase expenses needed for a family farm of this size. Seventy to eighty-thousand dollars is needed to be sustainable in the long run. So, we are looking, again, at some financial deterioration if these projections hold”.
That $25,000 isn’t enough to cover all the family living withdrawals and capital purchase expenses needed for a family farm of this size. Seventy to eighty-thousand dollars is needed to be sustainable in the long run. It is a projection that wasn’t quite so low earlier in the year. Then, like today, Schnitkey was using an average cash sales price …