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THE CHICAGO PUBLIC schools are interested in buying Illinois-grown fruit and vegetables to serve nearly 305,000 students.........2

A NEW PEST invading Illinois fields? No, just an insectresembling implement designed by a father and son team. ............3

WHILE SOME AREAS are still getting too much rain, others, such as this field in Iroquois County, are in desperate need of moisture. ........7

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two sections Volume 38, No. 30

Economist: Ethanol credit analysis a ‘So what?’ report BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

A congressional report on the “cost” of the federal ethanol tax credit makes for an ultimately unsatisfying read, according to an energy industry consultant. John Urbanchuk, technical director with the natural resources/environmental man-

agement consulting firm ENTRIX, challenges the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) conclusion that under the credit, U.S. taxpayers pay $1.78 for every gallon of gasoline replaced by equivalent ethanol use. The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee reportedly is eyeing a 20 percent reduction in the 45-cent-per-gallon

ethanol blenders credit set to expire Dec. 31. The measure, which would include a year’s extension of the credit and a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, may be part of a “green jobs” bill expected within the next two weeks. By itself, CBO’s credit cost estimate “doesn’t tell you anything,” Urbanchuk said. The

NO CHARM HERE

The third time was not a charm for this portion of a drowned out soybean field on the farm of Ron Moore, left, and Larry Moore, right, in Warren County. Neighbor Don Chipman helps survey the damage. The Moores replanted this field twice after the initial crop was drowned out but had no luck establishing a crop on five acres. The remaining crop suffered some water damage. Last week heat stress also became an issue for the crops. See more about current crop conditions on page 7. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

For more on ethanol policy impacts, see page 4 “‘So what?’ report” fails to consider ethanol’s offsetting “value and importance” and “comparative costs” associated with imported petroleum, he said. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) senior economist Bob Young argued credit availability spurs plant investment. Ethanol incentives foster “another domestically available (fuel) supply” during major petroleum price run-ups, Young added. “If it costs $1.78 to replace a gallon of gasoline with corn ethanol, what’s the cost to taxpayers of that gallon of gasoline?” Urbanchuk posed. “(The report) doesn’t give you any kind of a comparative measure to decide whether that $1.78 is good or bad. If that number was $1, would that be better? If it were $2, how much worse would it be? “The $1.78 would be offset by the revenue taxpayers would get as a consequence of the economic activity generated by the presence of the ethanol industry. A healthy domestic ethanol industry improves national security. It improves our energy security; it maintains our manufacturing sector.”

A 2005 CBO report noted capital investments such as oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective 9 percent rate vs. a 25 percent average U.S. business rate. Plus, the industry receives an estimated $4 billion a year in tax credits, and Urbanchuk calls costs of militarily securing sea lanes crucial to oil transportation a “hidden subsidy.” Farm Bureau supports a measure by Collinsville Republican Rep. John Shimkus and Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) that would renew ethanol incentives through 2015. Growth Energy, a coalition that includes several ethanol producers, proposes phasing out corn ethanol credits in favor of ethanol infrastructure funding.. CBO conceded the negative impact that January expiration of the biodiesel blenders’ tax credit has had on that sector, and predicted ethanol consumption would drop 32 percent in the absence of the ethanol credit. “I read ‘consumption’ and ‘production’ as basically the same,” said Urbanchuk, who projects a potential 37 percent drop in U.S. production without the blenders’ credit. Removal of the credit endangers 112,000 jobs, AFBF and the National Corn Growers Association warned lawmakers last week.

Periodicals: Time Valued

Will wind energy development spread from core areas? New assessment, grid issues key BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

News that Illinois has better wind resources than originally believed coupled with recent transmission constraints may lead wind energy developers to move into new territory, according to Dave Loomis, Illinois State University (ISU) economics professor and director of the Center for Renewable Energy. “I think we will see wind

development move south (in the state) and be more spread out,” Loomis said. “We are starting to see transmission constraints in some of the windiest areas, (development) shifting lower (from the north-central area), and counties have to deal with wind ordinances that never had to before,” Loomis explained. Part of that shift is due to a 2010 Department of Energy (DOE) map developed by AWS Truewind. The map showed more regions of the state have good wind

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

resources at higher elevations (shown in red on the accompanying map). “The new wind maps are

FarmWeekNow.com Check out the new wind development in the Midwest by going to FarmWeekNow.com.

good news for Illinois,” said Wes Slaymaker, one of the pioneers of Illinois wind energy and president of WES Engineering Inc. A 2003 DOE wind map, which sparked the first wind

farms, showed good wind resources exist in Bureau and Lee counties. “That’s why the first (wind) farms went there, but a (new) better assessment shows better wind resources are in the McLean County area,” Slaymaker added. The new map assesses wind speeds at 80 meters or about 262 feet, higher than the 50meter elevation of the earlier map. Even the caramel-colored regions that surround the red areas have good wind resources. “We’re seeing larger and See Wind, page 2

Illinois Farm Bureau®on the web: www.ilfb.org


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, July 26, 2010

STATE

Quick Takes STATES AGAIN SUE TO CLOSE CANAL — Five Great Lakes states — Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last week to close the canal connecting Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. The states claim the potential threat of Asian carp would destroy the sports-fishing industry. The lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago seeks a preliminary injunction, which would temporarily close the locks connecting the river with the lake. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit filed by Michigan to close the locks. EASY PICKINGS? — U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Collinsville Republican, is concerned congressional leaders faced with deficit and legislative “pay-go” pressures could allow the federal estate tax to return next year at a $1 million exemption and a top 55 percent rate. The tax temporarily expired last Jan. 1 at a $3.5 million 2009 exemption. Last week, the Senate rejected an amendment to the Small Business Jobs Act to permanently repeal the tax. Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) continue to push a plan to raise the estate tax exemption to $5 million and reduce the top rate to 35 percent over 10 years. A J.P. Morgan Chase analysis warns expiration of 2001 Bush tax cuts — which included the estate tax phase-out — would result in $184 billion in reduced domestic spending. However, Robert Rubin, former Clinton Treasury secretary and Citigroup chairman, argued estate tax revenues could “fund deficit reduction, additional public investment, or added assistance to those affected by the economic crisis.” Key lawmakers “need to raise money, and this is a way they can do it without actually casting a vote,” Shimkus told FarmWeek. BIODIESEL LEFT BEHIND — Biodiesel again was left behind last week as Congress approved a longawaited extension of nationwide unemployment benefits. Amid continued controversy over the massive tax extenders package that included jobless benefits, lawmakers broke up the bill into several components. Proposed restoration of a $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit that expired in January could find a new home in House “green jobs” legislation or an anticipated new energy bill. Illinois Farm Bureau National Legislative Director Adam Nielsen stressed current efforts would retroactively extend the credit (which encourages fuel suppliers to blend soy-based biodiesel) only until Dec. 31, requiring a second extension for 2011. “It’s disappointing that this already has taken nearly eight months,” Nielsen said.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 38 No. 30

July 26, 2010

Dedicated to improving the profitability of farming, and a higher quality of life for Illinois farmers. FarmWeek is produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau. FarmWeek is published each week, except the Mondays following Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Avenue, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61701. Illinois Agricultural Association assumes no responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products or services advertised in FarmWeek. FarmWeek is published by the Illinois Agricultural Association for farm operator members. $3 from the individual membership fee of each of those members go toward the production of FarmWeek.

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STAFF Editor Dave McClelland (dmcclelland@ilfb.org) Legislative Affairs Editor Kay Shipman (kayship@ilfb.org) Agricultural Affairs Editor Martin Ross (mross@ilfb.org) Senior Commodities Editor Daniel Grant (dgrant@ilfb.org) Editorial Assistant Linda Goltz (Lgoltz@ilfb.org) Business Production Manager Bob Standard Advertising Sales Manager

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Chicago school supplier seeking Illinois fruit, vegetable growers Farmers asked to supply info

ports locally grown food. Growers are asked to complete an information form and fax, e-mail, or mail the form to

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

The food service provider for Chicago public schools is interested in buying Illinoisgrown fruit and vegetables to serve nearly 305,000 students. Interested growers are being asked to supply information by Aug. 13. The purchases that could total $500,000 are to begin in September. Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, the food service provider, is working with Family Farmed.org, an Oak Park nonprofit organization that sup-

FamilyFarm.org, 7115 W. North Ave., Oak Park, Ill., 60302. The fax number is 708-763-9925.

The e-mail address is schoolproduce@FamilyFarmed.org. Last week, the Illinois Specialty Growers Association informed its members about the potential market. Grower and operation qualifications; types, grades, and amount of produce wanted; the information form; and other requirements are available online at {FamilyFarmed.org}. Click on “Request for Information.” Eligible growers must have product liability insurance of at least $1 million. Preference will be given to farmers who use integrated pest management and do not apply organophosphate pesticides.

New laws should expand growers’ opportunities Gov. Pat Quinn signed two new laws that will expand the customer base for Illinois specialty growers. SB 615, sponsored by Sen. Linda Holmes (DPlainfield) and Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago), will help school districts find Illinois fruit and vegetable growers. Under the new law, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will work with the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council to create an online database of schools seeking to buy produce and growers seeking buyers. The new law will go into effect Jan. 1.

HB 4756 sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) will make it easier for low-income residents to buy fresh produce at Illinois farmers’ markets. The new law creates a Farmers’ Market Technology Improvement Program to help people on public assistance use an electronic card to redeem food program benefits at farmers’ markets throughout the state. The farmers’ markets now will have the option of obtaining electronic LINK card equipment.

Wind Continued from page 1 larger projects come online and being proposed,” ISU’s Loomis said. Currently, Illinois ranks fifth nationwide for installed capacity of wind energy with 1,863 megawatts. One megawatt of wind energy can provide power for 250 to 300 homes.

Existing Illinois wind farms have contributed $8.3 million annually in landowner payments. Across Illinois, wind farm projects that would provide another 16,000 megawatts have been proposed, according to Larry Flowers with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Flowers acknowledged all the proposed projects may not be built. However, the wind industry already has contributed to Illinois’ economy, based on a 2010 ISU study. Existing Illinois wind farms have contributed $8.3 million

annually in landowner payments and $18 million annually in property taxes and created 384 long-term operation jobs and 8,495 temporary construction jobs.

Those wind projects will pump an estimated $3.2 billion into the economy starting with construction and extending through 25 years of operation, Loomis noted.


FarmWeek Page 3 Monday, July 26, 2010

CONSERVATION

High-rise implement seeds from above BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Don and Matt Birky’s unique highboy, which can elevate to 10 feet, six inches of belly clearance, could attract a crowd just for its high-rising maneuvers, but the father-son team created the special equipment for a tough job. The highboy, dubbed High Roller, was developed to seed legumes and other cover crops into standing corn in August using air pressure. The Birkys, who operate On Track Farming Inc. in rural Gibson City, put the highboy through its paces in a demonstration last week. The highboy was adapted to custom plant cover crops for a Central Illinois project offered through Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD). The goal is to increase acres planted with cover crops by providing farmers with technical expertise and cost-share funding. With 3,200 acres enrolled in 10 counties, participation has surpassed the original goal of 2,000 to 2,500 acres, said Dave Bishop, resource conservationist with McLean County SWCD. “These are cover crops for the 21st century,” Bishop said. The adapted highboy not only will help seed cover crops into standing corn but also will address special conditions in some fields, according to Bishop. “You can fly it (cover crop seed) on, but there’s getting to be so many places in the county that you can’t fly on seed with wind turbines (located in fields),” Bishop said. “This

A unique highboy, dubbed High Roller, dwarfs people gathered for a demonstration last week of the machine adapted by Don and Matt Birky to seed cover crops into standing corn. The spray boom near the observers is from another piece of equipment. (Photos by Ken Kashian)

(highboy) is practical and moves easily from place to place.” The Birkys adapted an AgChem RoGator with uniquely designed legs for which they are seeking a patent, Don Birky explained. The 60-foot-wide boom has 30-inch on center nozzles and

FarmWeekNow.com More photos of the new sprayer are at FarmWeek Now.com.

air pressure blasts the seed down at 80 mph. Birky noted the air-seeding machine will provide even coverage over the width of the boom. The highboy also has been outfitted with special features to move through standing corn. It has an automatic steering mechanism and a camera mounted underneath that sends images to a nine-inch screen inside the cab. Birky explained he and Matt learned from past experience it

can be difficult to see where rows are when driving through tall crops, and it is even more difficult when seated high above standing corn. “The wind really moves the corn around. You can’t tell where the rows are,” Birky said. The highboy also has two sets of light bars that tell the operator where to turn on end rows and point out the exact rows for the return trip through the field, he added. SWCD’s Bishop said he hopes to collect data during the project, including measuring how much seed gets caught in the whorls of the standing corn. The Birkys not only adapted the highboy for the cover crop project, they also are participating in the program. They will seed 300 acres of corn with a mixture of hairy vetch, red clover, and radishes to increase the field’s nitrogen levels, Birky said. The cover crop project is attracting attention outside of

CORN, MR. PRESIDENT?

Will County Farm Bureau member John Kiefner, right, describes storage problems with moldy corn to Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade who toured Kiefner’s Manhattan farm last week with a delegation of 25 cabinet members and other Senegalese leaders on a trade mission. Wade specifically asked to tour a corn farm and mentioned his interest in buying Illinois corn and soybeans. The delegation and Illinois Agriculture Director Tom Jennings signed an agreement to increase trade opportunities between the West Africa nation and Illinois. (Photo by Christina Nourie, Illinois Farm Bureau northeast legislative coordinator)

Matt Birky, left, of Gibson City points out a special feature on a highboy he helped adapt with his father, Don, second from left, to seed cover crops into standing corn. Looking on, left to right, are Paxton farmer Stan Nelson, in background, Dave Bishop with the McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Terry Bachtold with the Livingston County SWCD, and Dale Stikkers with the Champaign County SWCD.

Central Illinois. After the morning demonstration for local farmers last week, a group of Clinton County farmers, who have talked about working on a similar project, was expected for an afternoon demonstration of the special machine.

However, seeding cover crops may not be the only use for the Birkys’ high-rise highboy. “We’ve had incredible interest in putting the (hydraulic) legs on a liquid (highboy) machine to spray on fungicide,” Birky said.

Work to start on Chicago-St. Louis high-speed rail route in September Construction on a highspeed rail route between Chicago and St. Louis will start in early September, Gov. Pat Quinn announced last week. An agreement between the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Union Pacific (UP) Railroad will allow upgrades on an initial 90-mile segment of UP track. The $98million project is funded through federal stimulus funds. Work will start on the 90mile segment that extends from just north of Alton to south of Springfield. Work will then resume just north of Springfield to south of Lincoln. Currently, a study is being conducted to determine the best route through Springfield. Track upgrades will include the installation of new, high-speed rail and concrete ties. Work could be com-

pleted as early as December. In January, the Obama administration announced Illinois had been awarded $1.2 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed passenger rail — one of only three states to receive more than $1 billion. Federal investment in highspeed rail is expected to create 6,000 jobs in Illinois. Illinois’ high-speed rail signature route, Chicago to St. Louis, received $1.1 billion for corridor improvements. The improvements will allow passenger trains from Chicago to St. Louis to travel up to 110 mph. The project includes new locomotives and passenger cars, rebuilding of track, additional signaling devices at grade crossings, and implementation of state-of-the-art signaling technology.


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, July 26, 2010

GOVERNMENT

Would credit redirection help foreign ethanol sales? BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

While the idea of bolstering investment in renewable fuels infrastructure appeals to John Urbanchuk, the economist warns repurposing the ethanol tax credit could wind up pumping more imported ethanol into the U.S. The ethanol coalition Growth Energy’s “Fueling Freedom” plan proposes redirecting a portion of corn ethanol tax credit funds to help expand availability of specialized ethanol pumps and create ethanol pipelines and shift the remaining portion “away from the oil companies” — fuel blenders who use the credit to offset biofuels costs. Urbanchuk, an independent consultant, believes proposed redirection of incentives toward fuel retailers and distributors is “all fine and good.” But he stressed the blender incentive is a “consumption credit,” designed to encourage U.S. ethanol production. By shifting from a production focus, he said, Congress could endanger the current ethanol import tariff, which

was created to prevent cheaply produced foreign ethanol from gaining a competitive advantage via the blenders’ credit. “The idea of providing some inducement to improve infrastructure is good, but these are two different things,” Urbanchuk said. “If that tax credit goes away, the tariff also goes away. Under World Trade Organization rules, the tariff is illegal without the tax credit. “What you’re doing is providing an incentive for production to shift outside the U.S., mostly to Brazil but to other countries as well. What you then have is an incentive to improve distribution of ethanol in the U.S., but you’ll make it easier for Brazilian ethanol to get around the U.S.” Rep. John Shimkus, a Collinsville Republican, supports a straight five-year extension of the ethanol credit and tariff. “The corn growers/(Renewable Fuels Association) position is we ought to be going for the 45 cents (per gallon tax credit) and we shouldn’t sell out early,” he told FarmWeek. “I know there’s a conflict in the House: Money is tight, and

Earl (Pomeroy, a North Dakota Democrat and Shimkus’ cosponsor) has a challenge on his Ways and Means Committee. And there’s definitely an attack in the Senate (against a fiveyear extension).”

Meanwhile, Shimkus’ Renewable Fuels Marketing Act would create a new system that enables the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine whether new or existing fueling equip-

ment can safely handle higher ethanol blends. As of last week, 24 Democrat and 20 Republican cosponsors had come on board supporting the extension — in Shimkus’ view, “a good split.”

Economist’s conclusions hinge on iffy premise An Iowa State University economist’s conclusion that elimination of key ethanol supports would have minimal impact on future biofuels production hinges on a wobbly assumption, Illinois Farm Bureau economist Mike Doherty warns. In a study released last week, Iowa State’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Director Bruce Babcock downplayed the potential industry impact of eliminating the credit and an associated tariff on imported ethanol. Because of projected strong demand for ethanol in Brazil and a “largely saturated” U.S. ethanol market, elimination of ethanol import tariffs would have almost no impact on U.S. corn and ethanol markets in 2011, Babcock maintained. With elimination of the tax credit, annual U.S. ethanol production could decline by roughly 700 million gallons, causing corn prices to drop an average 23 cents per bushel, he projected. Babcock admitted the impact of ethanol policy changes likely would grow by 2014 as Brazil ramps up biofuels export capabilities. But given Brazilian ethanol demand growth and production limits, he argued impacts

would remain “modest.” However, his conclusions are based on key assumptions including U.S. approval of higher ethanol blends by 2014 and U.S. ethanol production capacity reaching 15 billion gallons within five years. As long as a long-term renewable fuels standard (RFS2) mandate for biofuels use holds, production ultimately would drop by no more than 500 million gallons and corn prices by no more than 16 cents, Babcock said. That’s far from a foregone conclusion, IFB economist Doherty said at a Champaign County Farm Bureau renewable energy forum last week. He noted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already has lowered 2011 RFS2 targets for cellulosic ethanol use from an original 250 million gallons to a mere 5 million to 17.1 million gallons, raising questions about whether “we can trust the mandates.” “Bruce and I kind of part company over whether those mandates will hold,” Doherty said. “They could fall apart; there may not be the political will to keep them (in place).” — Martin Ross

Farmers ‘pay the freight’ for transportation flaws Producers “pay the freight” for transportation deficiencies, and farm profitability rides heavily on future infrastructure policy, according to Soybean Transportation Coalition (STC) Executive Director Mike Steenhoek. New analysis released by STC confirms ag transportation is “one of those areas that really does have an impact on

farmer profitability,” Steenhoek told FarmWeek. The report, targeting Illinois and six other Midwest states, concludes agriculture is largely a supply- rather than demanddriven market because of competition from other grain- and oilseed-producing nations. That results in transportation costs being disproportionately passed to producers vs. buyers.

“There’s been a temptation among farmers to believe that once delivery actually has taken place, it’s ‘out-of-sight, outof-mind,’ and any of these subsequent costs associated with delivering that commodity or products derived from it to the ultimate customer really doesn’t have much of an impact on individual profitability,” Steenhoek said.

Urban ‘bias’ in transportation funding? Congress must ensure ag transportation is not relegated to the rear of the bus, Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) Executive Director Mike Steenhoek warns. Steenhoek agrees lawmakers shaping the next federal highway bill should help states share equitably in fuel tax revenues that feed highway operations and maintenance nationwide. But transportation funding formulas also must consider rural commerce and community economics as well as the needs of suburban-metro commuters, Steenhoek emphasized. Amid increased automotive congestion, he sees a rising share of highway funds shifting to “urban America.” “There’s a desire to make sure the money that goes to a state is more equal to (highway) use that occurs within that state,” Steenhoek told

FarmWeek. “That sounds rational, but how do you define ‘use’? “What’s greater use — 100 motorists driving to and from the office in an urban area or 10 semis full of soybeans going to market, which will have significant impact on a rural economy and our ability to feed ourselves? There’s a bias against freight in this country, and it certainly creeps into the formula for how (highway) funds are appropriated.” Congress also could bolster interstate commerce through more uniform commercial truck weights, Steenhoek said. Using STC analysis, Iowa recently moved to allow all ag freight semis to have weights of 90,000 pounds on six axles or 96,000 pounds on seven axles — weights previously permitted for livestock, construction materials, and a few other uses.

In contrast, Illinois recently approved an 80,000-pound/five-axle limit. STC has explored a 97,000pound/six-axle threshold, which Steenhoek said would enable grain producers to load an additional 183 bushels of soybeans per semi and, on average, save a day’s work and expenses each harvest season. Demand for highway freight movements is expected to increase by 77 percent by 2035, “yet we have no confidence the federal government will keep pace by investing in infrastructure in that way,” he said. Adding an axle to displace truck weight would help safeguard motorist safety and longterm “infrastructure integrity,” Steenhoek said. “You could really take away the two primary arguments against (increased semi weights),” he argued. — Martin Ross

“Increasingly, there’s an understanding that it has a more sizable impact on income than they originally believed. Farmers really are the ones who actually pay the freight.” Illinois has a healthy highway-rail-river network, but Steenhoek stressed shortcomings in all three of those areas. For example, he noted a continued lag in rail infrastructure investment has hiked freight rates over the last five years, including soy tonnage rates “the federal government would deem as potentially excessive.” Shippers respond “by paying farmers less,” he said. Seasonal demand may influence rates, but he stressed carriers overall “are in an elevated negotiating position with their rural customers,” regardless of the time of the year. Steenhoek is wary of Congress imposing “draconian” regulations that limit carrier profitability and infrastructure investment. But he cited federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) reauthorization measures spearheaded by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that seek balance between carriers and customers. Although no House version has yet emerged, Rockefeller reportedly hopes to move reforms this session. Ironically, Steenhoek said rail carriers have gained an upper hand with rural shippers largely because policymakers

have “hamstrung” competing highway and river channels. A quarter of U.S. bridges are rated as structurally deficient or “functionally obsolete,” but a mere 7 percent of 2009 federal stimulus funds went to transportation projects of any significant scale, he said. Given an administration emphasis on rail, Steenhoek suggests next year’s federal highway bill could include new incentives for private infrastructure investment. He nonetheless stressed the need to ensure fuel taxes are used solely to maintain and improve roads and bridges and that any rail incentives are funded through a different mechanism. He hopes Congress soon will address decades-old underinvestment in the na-tion’s locks and dams. Producers and shippers have awaited approval of federal funds for seven new Upper Mississippi/Illinois River locks since 2007. However, Steenhoek sees a “growing chorus of people” who prioritize recreational uses or even natural reversion of the rivers and believe “our interior waterways do not have much of a place for moving commerce.” “If farmers aren’t willing to be advocates in this issue, we can’t expect there will be others to take their place,” the STC director warned. — Martin Ross


FarmWeek Page 5 Monday, July 26, 2010

ECONOMY

Vision for Ag leaders to explore state fiscal issues BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

The state faces major financial problems, but Illinoisans hear different estimates on the depth of the deficit — numbers so large their scale is difficult to grasp. “If we laid off every state employee, it would only fill 30 percent of the deficit,� Thomas Johnson, president of

the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois, told FarmWeek. Johnson will discuss aspects of the state deficit Aug. 3 at a forum on fiscal integrity sponsored by the Vision for Illinois Agriculture. The Vision goal is to raise awareness about the state’s financial issues and to discuss potential solutions. The coalition will hear from several speakers who represent

DATEBOOK July 29 University of Illinois Brownstown Agronomy Research Center field day, 9 a.m. rain or shine. For information, contact Robert Bellm at 618-692-9434. Aug. 5 University of Illinois Dixon Springs Agricultural Center field day, 9 a.m. to noon, Simpson. For information, call 618-6952441. Aug. 13-22 Illinois State Fair, State Fairgrounds, Springfield. Aug. 17 Ag Day, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield.

‘If we laid off every state employee, it would only fill 30 percent of the deficit.’ — Thomas Johnson Taxpayers Federation of Illinois

different perspectives. “Even though this forum is hosted by an agriculture-centered coalition, we’re bringing in opinion leaders who represent different viewpoints, but who are all concerned about the state’s future fiscal viability,� said Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson. “We want to help facilitate discussion so Illinois, the state, is on sound financial ground so we can move forward to enrich not only the lives of farmers, but everyone in the state,� Nelson added. Johnson said his goal is to provide clarity and understanding of the state’s financial problems as well as a historical perspective. “How did we get

here?� he asked. “We’ve had deficits before. What is the difference between the current and past deficits?� Johnson added. The topic of cutting state

services has been raised many times, but Johnson explained such cuts truly wouldn’t impact services directly from state government. “The state doesn’t provide services to a great extent,� Johnson said. “Those (budget) cuts would cut services provided by others,� such as health

care providers. Johnson also plans to offer the Taxpayers’ Federation’s thoughts on solving the state’s budget problems. In addition to Johnson, the speakers will include Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs; Kathy Ryg, president of Voices for Illinois Children; and Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute. After the forum, a summary of key points raised during the discussion will be available online at {www.illinoisagriculturevision.org}.

Aug. 19 Agronomy Day, University of Illinois, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Crop Sciences Research and Education Center (also known as South Farms) Urbana. For information, call 217-333-4256 or go online to {http://agronomyday.cropsci.illinois.edu}. Aug. 27 - Sept. 6 DuQuoin State Fair, DuQuoin. Sept. 7-9 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Bike Ride in Eastern Illinois. For information, call 309-557-2230 or go online to {www.iaafoundation.org}.

‹*52:0$5.,QF$)DUP%XUHDX$IÀOLDWH$


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, July 26, 2010

CROPWATCHERS Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: We finally got some much-needed rain. After waiting for four weeks, we received 2 inches here at our farm on Thursday and Friday. There were much higher amounts throughout the county with the southwest corner near Seward getting 5.5 inches and it was still raining Friday morning. This rain came just in time. It probably is too much for some low areas but will greatly benefit every other field. There doesn’t appear to be too much insect pressure in our fields, even though we have been catching 10 to 12 western bean cutworm moths in our trap per week. That compares to zero caught two years ago and only 12 caught all of last year. Pete Tekampe, Grayslake, Lake County: We received 0.4 of an inch of rain Friday morning and it is still drizzling. Corn looks better after a long, hot week. Beans also perked up. Both crops are looking good. They were calling for storms Thursday night to give us 2 to 4 inches of rain, but most of those went north of us. Most of the wheat is cut. It is a little above average in yield, but lighter in test weight. Some of the spring grains have been cut but were below average. I know it will rain this week, because it’s fair week in Lake County. Come out and enjoy the Lake County Fair at the new fairgrounds. See you there. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Thunderstorms were occurring Friday morning with heavy rain. It was hot and humid all week. We did get all of our oats combined and straw baled — the earliest I’ve ever been done. Eighty bushels per acre plus 80 bales of straw. Corn and beans look excellent. There are no diseases or bugs at this time. Some third-crop hay has been cut while others are trying to finish their second crop. Ron Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: After more than a week of very high temperatures, crops are showing stress. The lower leaves on much of the corn are fired and brown, much earlier than normal. Insect pressure is growing in soybean fields and leaf-eating is more evident. The hot and dry conditions are favorable for aphids to move into the bean fields and populations need to be monitored. Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: I am fairly confident that we will be the only farmers in Illinois drying corn this week. We have non-GMO corn sold for July delivery that is coming out of the bin at 15-16 percent moisture. To qualify for the 50-cent premium, it has to be below 15 percent moisture. With that much money left on the table, we are going to fire up the dryer to pull about a point and a quarter out. I have been getting a little concerned that the rains have been going north and south of us, but after hearing reports of 3-8 inches of rain in those areas, I feel better. We are OK on moisture for now, but to keep yield potential up, we will need one before too long. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: Just a few tenths of rain for the week. There were huge rains just south and to the north. I actually saw a pivot running down on the sand, the first I have seen this season. Fungicide flights on corn have slowed down. It’s about time for applications on soybeans. Japanese beetles have been hard on the silks on the outside rows of corn. Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: Last week was another hot and dry one. No rain in our area for the second straight week. Corn is drying up and beans need a rain. No insect damage to report at this time. We sprayed some soybeans with fungicide — we will see if it helps yields. It is a good time to ride north. As we checked the corn all the way to Canada, our area seemed to be the driest. Markets are hanging in there.

Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: We received 2 inches of rain last week. With the hot weather, it was welcome. The corn is not rooted very deep and any period of dry weather will start to put the crop under too much stress. Most of the corn is pollinated now and starting to fill the ear. There is some disease showing up in the corn. The fungicide we applied will help. The beans are starting to flower and some fungicide is being applied to them. There are some minor infestations of bean leaf beetles and Japanese beetles. We will spray some of those fields, too. The pasture conditions are good for this time of year. The cattle are only grazing in the early morning and early evening to avoid the heat. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: Another hot and dry week. It seems all the rain stayed in the southern part of Peoria County. The corn is looking better. The majority of it has pollinated and looks more even. Surprisingly, I have not seen the corn suffer from the hot and dry weather yet. After scouting the cornfields, I have found a lot of rust starting but not much other disease at this time. It is also notable that some of the corn is running out of nitrogen and starting to fire. The soybeans planted in May are getting close to R3 and R4 stage. Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: Very hot and dry week. I hate to say it, but we could use a nice little 1-inch rain. People are wrapping up corn spraying and moving to the bean spraying and deciding what to spray. There are reports of a few Japanese beetles here and there, but no big numbers yet. People are getting ready for fall and getting rid of some old corn. Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: The week brought more heat and no measureable rainfall. So for the month of July, we received 0.4 to 1 inch of rain which fell on July 13. The 10-day forecast does not look too promising for rain, either. Corn in the area is anywhere from the R2 up to the R4 or dough stage. Crop-dusters have slowed down spraying local cornfields. Most soybean fields are anywhere from R2 up to R5, which is the beginning seed growth stage. The local closing prices for July 22 were $3.51 for nearby corn, $3.52 for new-crop corn, $3.74 for fall 2011 corn, $10.28 for nearby soybeans, and $9.51 for new-crop soybeans. Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: Monday (July 19) led off our wet week with 1 inch of rain, Tuesday with 0.2 of an inch, Wednesday with 0.4 of an inch, and Thursday with 0.5 of an inch for a total of 2.1 inches. Thankfully, we missed the strong winds that walloped our friends to the south. One microburst dropped 2 inches of rain in 20 minutes, so amounts varied widely. This week we should have highs in the mid-80s. Corn is about 15 percent dough stage and beans continue blooming and beginning to pod. See you at the Champaign County Fair! Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: Another wet week in our little corner of the state with a little more than 3 inches of rain collected in our gauge. That brings our July rainfall total to a little more than 7 inches, and no, we just did not need it at all. I think all the ditches and creeks got a good flushing. Oh well, one fellow said the other day he still would rather see a wet year than a dry one. Corn is enjoying the water, but it also would like to breathe some, too. Most is, as the song says, “tall as an elephant’s eye” and tasseled, but there still are a lot of short and uneven fields. Early beans are pushing knee-high and blooming while later ones are looking good but have a long way yet to go. It’s both fair time and vacation time. Enjoy both while you’re able. Have a safe week!

Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: Less than an inch of rain for the month of July leaves some to wonder how lawns, waterways, and crops are staying so green. Aerial fungicide applications for corn are complete and we are contemplating spraying our soybeans. Scouting for insects in beans and finding few problems. Corn, $3.48, fall, $3.48; soybeans, $10.24, $9.34; wheat, $5.36. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: Seven-plus inches of rain hit the ground along with some furious winds. Crops withstood the harsh weather for the most part with some damage on the west side of the county and a lot more in neighboring Moultrie County. Corn development looks to be well ahead of average and will bring an early fall to go with our late spring. The calculations found on the University of Illinois’ WARM database supports what we are seeing out in the fields. It shows growing degree units for April 15-planted corn at just over 1,900 — 250 above average. Soybeans also are busy putting on pods and working to fill them and should be benefiting from all of the rainfall. The Coles County Fair is under way with its many shows and activities. It’s always been a great excuse to take an afternoon or two off from the farm and have fun with the family. See you there. Jimmy Ayers, Rochester, Sangamon County: Wow, quite a week! Monday (July 19) we started out with a smooth, gentle rain — 1.5 inches but high winds in some areas. Quite a few storms rolled through Tuesday and three or more towns received damage. A lot of light poles and trees were knocked down in the Gerard/Palmyra/Taylorville area. We ended up with 2.7 inches from those rain events. In the area for the week, we had 4.2 inches. We went from dry as I spoke a week earlier to river banks full again. There were some reports of more than 5.5 inches of rain in some spots around Sangamon County. Lincoln had several showers along the north side. Corn probably is responding real well to the abundance of water if it wasn’t damaged by wind. There was pea size hail in different areas, but not a lot of damage. Soybeans seem to be responding to additional moisture also. A little bit of roadside mowing, but not a lot of activity on the farm. Doug Uphoff, Shelbyville, Shelby County: The northern part of Shelby County was pummeled by strong wind, hail, and rain July 19. Findlay and Moweaqua were especially hard hit. Sullivan in Moultrie County was hit even harder. Crop and tree damage was extensive and two Verizon towers east of Findlay were put to the ground. We had a good fair in the county last week. It is always like a family reunion each year. We also received 2.5 to 5 inches of rain in the county. Rain is robbing us of yield this year in the form of denitrification and saturated soils not allowing oxygen to the root systems of soybeans. The wind and hail made a lot of green snap corn. We also lost a lot of leaf area which definitely will hurt yields as well as cause some more disease problems. The 20inch rows and split rows did not take the wind as well and seem to have a more severe lodging problem. David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: Since last report, I received a little more than 3 inches of rain. The rainfall was very welcome here. This rain, I think, has helped our corn crop and it also helped our soybean crop tremendously. Some corn was showing some firing signs. Our corn never has been stressed and never has rolled up at any point. Very unusual for the crops here not to suffer at some point. Soybeans are growing well. They are blooming and have adequate moisture. Some bean fields also have another flush of weeds coming through. I am sure spraying will be picking back up as ground conditions permit. Producers are on cruise control getting prepared for the fastapproaching harvest.


Page 7 Monday, July 26, 2010 FarmWeek

CROPWATCHERS Ted Kuebrich, Jerseyville, Jersey County: Jersey County received 3 inches of rain last week. The corn and beans look excellent for the most part. You can see some spots in the fields where the crops stood in too much water during the growing season. The temperature has been very hot with the readings in the high 90s. Prices at Jersey County Grain, Hardin: July corn, $3.53; fall corn, $3.55; January 2011 corn, $3.68; July 2010 beans, $10.38; fall 2010 beans, $9.66; January 2011 beans, $9.93; July wheat, $5.40. Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Hot weather is still covering Southern Illinois. We have had some rain, so the crop conditions are holding up well. I’m beginning to hear about crop tours and yield checks, so I should have some yield guesses soon. Our local 4-H fair is this week, so I encourage everyone to attend and help support the work that our local 4-H kids and leaders have done this past year.

Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: It rained almost every day again this past week. Heavy rain on Monday afternoon and night (July 19) brought flooded fields and roadways. The creeks and rivers came out of their banks. We have had 8 to 10 inches of rain the past two weeks. In June, we received 12 inches or more of rain. This has put a lot of stress on the May and Juneplanted corn. Beans also are under great stress. The May corn is tasseling. Some bean fields are in dire need of being sprayed. In some situations, fungicides are being applied by air on corn. Hay baling has been on hold for the last two weeks. There are some fields that have not been planted. The weather has been very hot and humid. There is hope for a little cooler and drier weather this week. Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: Holy cow, Harry! Two-tenths of an inch of rain every other day. If it keeps this up for another month, we are going to have one heck of a bean crop. Everything looks really great around here now.

Reports received Friday morning. Expanded crop information available at FarmWeekNow.com

Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: The weather last week was hot and humid again. We did have a shower come through that gave us 0.5 of an inch of rain. Not all of Jackson County got that rain. There are still some dry spots. The corn and beans are growing pretty well. We need a little more rain here and there. Mostly, we are finishing up some spraying and doing some mowing. Thinking about getting stuff out and ready for harvest pretty soon. The important thing in my area is that the river is still high and we are still pumping water to keep our lowlands dry. It’s a later-summer job, so vacations are being taken and a few repairs are being done. Stay cool and be careful. Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: It was another typical summer week here in deep Southern Illinois — I mean hot and dry. Crops seem to be doing OK, but they sure could use a shower. I don’t know how much the corn has been hurt by the hot weather, but it was extremely hot and humid this past week. At least the grass in the yard is a little bit green, so we are hopeful. I guess we will find out this fall how things did. Please have a good summer.

The heat is on: Crops, livestock under stress BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Heat index readings in the triple digits last week stressed humans, crops, and livestock around the state and parts of the Midwest. Rolled corn leaves caused by heat stress have been quite common in recent weeks. Meanwhile, weight gain and milk production in livestock are expected to decline until temperatures return to more comfortable levels. “If we get a lot of heat, I think we’ll see heat stress on the corn even though we’ve had more water than we need,” said Larry Moore, a farmer from Warren County. Moore estimated his corn yield potential already is down about 10 to 15 percent

this year due to water damage and leaching of nitrogen in recent months. “The (corn) roots are shallow,” he said. “If it stops raining, I think we’ll see heat stress.” The condition of the U.S. corn crop last week deteriorated slightly, according to USDA, as the amount rated g ood-to-excellent declined from 73 percent to 72 percent. The rest of the crop last Monday was rated 19 percent fair and 9 percent poor or very poor. The condition of the soybean crop last week actually improved, according to USDA, as the portion of the crop rated good to excellent increased from 65 percent to 67 percent. The rest of the

Continued hot, dry weather has left sizable cracks in the soil in fields near Gilman. (Photo by Cropwatcher Ron Haase)

soybean crop last week was rated 24 percent fair and 9 percent poor or very poor.

“The fact that beans have been wetter than normal (and some were planted late) suggests there may be problems with yield,” said Moore, who planted and replanted one bean field this season three different times. Elsewhere, a combination of extreme heat, high humidity, and no wind last week was a blamed for the death of more than 2,000 cattle in feeding operations in Kansas, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Renderers repor tedly couldn’t handle all the carcasses and as many as 900 of the dead cattle had to be buried. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Ken Powell, environmental scientist with the

Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told AP. “Usually we have a few hundred head (die of heat stress) in the summer. Two thousand is a lot higher than normal.” On dairy farms, milk production was expected to plummet as the mercury continued to rise last week. “With the hot temperatures, it’s very hard to keep (livestock) cool,” said Jim Fraley, Illinois Farm Bureau livestock program director. “We will lose milk production.” Livestock are unable to perspire, so Fraley recommended producers make sure their animals have adequate shade and fresh water along with sprinklers and fans for those housed indoors.

Early conditions likely promoted SDS or BSR BY KEVIN BLACK

We n o r m a l l y d o n’t s e e symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) or brown stem rot (BSR) until much later in the season, often in August. This year, we may see characteristic SDS symptoms a little earlier than usual. Both SDS and BSR are characterized Kevin Black by yellowing between leaf veins, progressing to inter veinal necrosis, especially on top leaves (see picture). Veins tend to stay green, even when the necrotic areas between veins dry up and fall out. Following are some observations and facts concerning

SDS and BSR, along with a few management tips: • SDS is caused by a species of the Fusarium fungus (Fusarium virguliforme). This Fusarium species shows up in environments where it receives assistance in infecting the soybean roots. • Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is a pest whose presence is often correlated with SDS infection. • Slow soybean growth in cool soils (as with early planting) has also been linked with SDS infection. • The interveinal chlorosis that characterizes SDS and BSR is not actually the disease itself but is caused by a toxin translocated from the roots and lower stem to the upper part of the plant. • Soybean infection by SDS and BSR occurs early in the

season, while the leaf symptoms typically show up during pod fill. • For SDS, lower stem and root symptoms are difficult to see, but often include dark streaks in the root and a gray-

ing of the cortical tissue. The lower stem symptoms often are best seen in cross-section. • Browning of the pith is a key symptom of BSR but does not occur with SDS. • Late in the season, with SDS, leaflets will often drop off the petioles. The petioles remain attached and stick out from the stem. This is in contrast to BSR, where leaflets remain attached to the petioles, which droop, but remain attached to the stem. • Two key SDS management efforts include planting into warm soils (greater than 60 degrees Fahrenheit) and

use of SCN-resistant soybean varieties (where SCN is a confirmed pest). It is should be a given that crop rotation be practiced. • Soybean breeders are successfully selecting soybean lines that resist or tolerate SDS. This information is usually published in seed company literature. Many of these lines, not surprisingly, also are SCN resistant. K e v i n B l a ck i s G ROW MARK’s insect and plant disease technical manager. His e-mail address is kblack@growmark.com.


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, July 26, 2010

PRODUCTION

New herbicide-resistant waterhemp strain IDed Weed control options dwindle BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Farmer options to control waterhemp continue to dwindle in Illinois. Researchers last week confirmed waterhemp in Central Illinois is resistant to hydroxyphenyl pyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD)-inhibiting herbicides. The population of waterhemp resistant to HPPD-inhibitors was discovered in a field of seed corn in McLean County. It was unknown as of last week if the latest finding of herbicide resistance was an isolated case or if resistance to HPPD-inhibitors is more widespread. “It’s clear this population appears to be quite difficult and contains resistant genes,” said Chuck Foresman, manager of weed resistance strategies for Syngenta. Waterhemp populations in the state the past 20 years developed resistance to ALS (acetolactate synthase) inhibitors, triazine, PPO (protoporphyrinogen oxidase) inhibitors, and glyphosate. “We continue to find bio-

types with resistance to various herbicide classes,” said Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Extension weed specialist. “This (latest finding) represents the fifth herbicide family to which waterhemp has developed resistance.” Farmers as a result have fewer options to control weeds that complement the common Roundup Ready system that features glyphosate. The majority of soybeans planted in the U.S. are Roundup Ready. “In soybeans, the options (to control waterhemp and other glyphosate-resistant weeds) are becoming very, very limited,” Hager told FarmWeek. In Illinois, glyphosate resistance has been confirmed in waterhemp and marestail, and some populations of giant ragweed are believed to have the same resistance. Nationwide, about 10 weed species have resistance to glyphosate. But waterhemp is “hands down our dominant concern in Illinois,” Hager said. If waterhemp is not controlled, full-season interference from the annual broadleaf can create as much as a 42 percent yield loss in soybeans, according to the weed specialist. Hager and Foresman

believe herbicide resistance has become more of a problem due to an over-reliance on a few modes of action. “If you use the same thing over, and over, and over, that’s how instances of resistance develop very quickly,” Hager said. Foresman recommended farmers develop a weed man-

agement plan for each field; rotate herbicides; rotate crops; and use multiple modes of action in tank mixes, pre-emergence herbicides, tillage, and cover crops to reduce the development and spread of herbicide resistance in weed populations. Otherwise, if the problem is allowed to persist, Hager didn’t

rule out the possibility that some farmers eventually may be back to using cultivators in certain fields. Hager discussed the situation last week during the Illinois Soybean Association’s Research Tour in Urbana. Herbicideresistant weeds also will be discussed Aug. 19 at the U of I Agronomy Day in Urbana.

Meteorologist: August could be warmer than normal The recent run of warm weather could continue next month. Jeff Doran, senior business meteorologist with Planalytics — a Philadelphia-based business weather intelligence provider — last week projected hot temperatures in Illinois next month with normal to above-normal rainfall. “August continues to look warmer than normal,” Doran said last week at a weather intelligence symposium in St. Louis. “We’re looking at potential heat stress.” The forecast is based in part on a transition from El Nino to La Nina (the latter reflectively cooler-than-normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean). “A La Nina summer supports more heat,” he said. Crops may not lose as much yield potential to the heat — if it continues — this year compared to other years due to a quick growing pace and adequate soil moisture in many key growing regions, according to the meteorologist. USDA last Monday reported 65 percent of the U.S. corn crop was silking compared to the five-year average of 47 percent. In Illinois, 89

percent of the corn crop last week was silking compared to just 24 percent last year. Meanwhile, 64 percent of the Illinois soybean crop was blooming last week compared to 22 percent last year and the five-year average of 56 percent. Doran projected rainfall next month could be normal in the northern two-thirds of the state with a greater chance for above-normal precipitation in Southern Illinois. He also predicted rainfall in September could create some harvest delays, particularly in areas with previously saturated soils. A key component of the potential rainfall activity in coming months is the possibility of above-normal storm activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Doran projected 16 named storms could pass through the Gulf in coming months, compared to an average of nine or 10, and 10 to 12 could become hurricanes. “Hurricane season is going to be very active,” Doran predicted. Elsewhere, a cool/wet weather pattern developing in South America has the potential to create issues for the upcoming planting season in Brazil and Argentina. — Daniel Grant

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FarmWeek Page 9 Monday, July 26, 2010

PRODUCTION

Macoupin County farm’s tunnel part of NRCS pilot project BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Macoupin County farmer Dale Conrady joked that the jury is still out on growing strawberries under a plasticcovered tunnel, but he already has learned that his new production system will withstand strong winds after a storm blew through the Hettick area last week. Conrady and his wife, Becky, are part of a national pilot project through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to determine if high-tunnel production is a good system for growing vegetables and other specialty crops. NRCS offered special environmental quality incentive program (EQIP) grants for the three-year study. Illinois is one of 38 states participating in the pilot project. The goal is to learn if the tunnels will reduce pesticide and fertilizer use, maintain soil nutrients, extend the

growing season, or increase yields. Becky Conrady said she read about the pilot project in FarmWeek. “The idea is to extend the growing season for two or three weeks, to get the crops in the ground earlier, or to extend the growing season later,” said Gabe Gibson, soil conservationist with Macoupin County NRCS. In return for the grant, the Conradys and other participants must apply the same management practices to crops growing outside the high tunnel and keep three years of records comparing the two production systems, Gibson added. The Conradys connected two tunnels together to create a 30-by-192-foot covered growing space. They covered the structure with polyethylene in early July and planted strawberries July 16 and 17. Dale Conrady said his goal is to have strawberries ready to pick by Mother’s

Deadline Wednesday for special WREP signup Landowners in the lower Illinois River-Senachwine Creek Basin have until Wednesday to signup for the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP). WREP pays landowners to permanently restore wetland habitat to benefit water quality and wildlife. A priority will be given to frequently flooded cropland along the Illinois River in Woodford, Peoria, Tazewell, and Marshall counties. The initial signup target is cropland surrounding the Upper Peoria Lake. Enrolled lands will be restored as wetland habitat, generally under a permanent conservation easement. Eligible landowners may receive up to $3,200 per acre for permanent conservation easements on land that is

enrolled and accepted into WREP. Additional WREP signups will be announced in the future. Funding for WREP is being provided by the Mississippi River Basin Initiative through an agreement between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ducks Unlimited. The goal is to enroll 500 acres along the Illinois River over the next five years, according to Eric Schenck, a regional biologist with Ducks Unlimited. Landowners should visit their local NRCS county office for more information or to submit an application. To speak with a local Ducks Unlimited representative, contact Schenck at eschenck@ducks.org or 309224-5651.

Family and friends of Dale and Becky Conrady help cover a 30-by-192-foot tunnel that is being used to grow strawberries at Hettick in Macoupin County. The Conradys are part of a national pilot project through the Natural Resources Conservation Service to determine if high-tunnel production is good for growing vegetables and other specialty crops. (Photo courtesy Dale and Becky Conrady)

Day instead of the traditional late May harvest. Weather problems during the last four growing seasons influenced the Conradys’ decision to try high-tunnel production.

“I know it’s (the tunnel) going to help,” Conrady said. “It’s definitely a learning experience.” Conrady said he had read research showing high-tunnel systems allow farmers to harvest 90-some

percent of their crop compared to 65 in a traditional matted-row system. More information and photos of their operation are online at {www.backwoods berryfarm.com}.

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Brownstown Agronomy Field Day set for Thursday The University of Illinois Brownstown Agronomy Research Center will start its field day at 9 a.m. Thursday. The event will be held rain or shine. Presentations will be given on several topics, including nitrogen additives for corn and wheat, new weed management developments, corn additives and yields, soybean seedling diseases, and Japanese beetles and other pests. The last tour will start at 9:20 a.m. A free meal will be served. The research center is located on Ill. Route 185, south of Brownstown. For more information, contact Robert Bellm at 618-692-9434.

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FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, July 26, 2010

LIVESTOCK

Farm Bureau seeks extension for livestock comments BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Farm Bureau hails USDA efforts to correct practices that leave many poultry producers indefinitely indebted to integrators. However, proposed new federal livestock rules should not pre-empt potential market-

ing innovation and efficiencies, especially in the absence of evidence that any widespread abuse has taken place, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy specialist Tara Smith told FarmWeek. In a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, AFBF President Bob Stallman requested a 120-

day extension of the comment period for proposed new federal Packers and Stockyard Act (PSA) rules. The current 60-day comment period is due to close Aug. 23 — AFBF seeks an opportunity for further input through Dec. 21, “to provide our organization and producers adequate time to fully

Shimkus: Science not final in antibiotics debate The science of livestock antibiotic use and human antibiotic resistance is far from “settled,� according to U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee member John Shimkus, a Collinsville Republican. Shimkus, who heard testimony regarding livestock antibiotics at a July subcommittee hearing, told FarmWeek Rep. Louise Slaughter’s (D-N.Y.) proposal to restrict “sub-therapeutic� or preventative antibiotics use may be “setting the table for the next Congress.� Slaughter’s bill would require U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) re-review of seven classes of antibiotics used in both veterinary and human care. Shimkus argued FDA already has full authority to assess the safety of livestock antibiotics use for humans throughout the food chain. He suggested no major FDA controversy regarding veterinary drugs has arisen because no scientific proof has yet emerged. Shimkus said most of the purportedly “unequivocal� evidence of livestock antibiotic use impacting human health presented to his subcommittee was

based on “rehashed,� non-peer-reviewed, largely international studies. U.S. producers and consumers “don’t want to trust European studies,� said the congressman, who cited concerns that the European Union may be seeking tighter U.S. standards to gain a competitive trade advantage. “If someone can show us a direct link to antibiotic use in animals that increases antibiotic resistance in humans, we’ll be the first ones to say, ‘We have to address this issue,’� Shimkus said. “All we’re saying is, do peer-reviewed research, bring all the stakeholders in, empower them, and let’s make a decision. This is like the climate debate: They’re saying the science is settled. I don’t think it is.� Shimkus maintained the debate has been muddled by confusion over disease-specific therapeutic vs. “non-therapeutic� antibiotics use and especially over use of products supposedly as growth promoters. Rather than spurring spontaneous growth and development in livestock, “it’s that these animals are healthier,� he stressed. “Since they’re healthier, they’re bigger,� Shimkus said. — Martin Ross

analyze the rule,� Stallman stated. At a House Ag livestock, dairy, and poultry subcommittee hearing last week, respective chairman and ranking member David Scott (D-Ga.) and Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) questioned whether proposed PSA changes reflect Congress’ intent in the 2008 farm bill. Regulatory changes “will impact each operation differently,� depending on livestock species and type, producer marketing arrangements, and the location of operations relative to slaughter and processing facilities, Stallman argued. Added time is needed to fully analyze legal, economic, and policy impacts of broader rules, he said. AFBF has not yet submitted its own comments on proposed livestock purchasing rules, but Smith noted “several ways in which they’re going to hinder our producers’ ability to sell their product.� Proposed rules would prohibit packers from entering into exclusive arrangements with dealers other than those the packer has formally identified as “packer buyers� or from buying or receiving livestock from another packer, its parent company, or its wholly owned subsidiary. “We’re not sure what kind of abuse (USDA) is trying to get at; we’re not sure what kind of bad behavior they’re trying to stop with this rule,� she said. “In the meantime, our

fear is they’re doing damage to a lot of the marketing arrangements and marketing opportunities our farmers have. “If it thinks abuse is taking place, USDA already has complete authority to put a stop to any unjustly discriminatory, deceptive, unfair practice. But when we asked point-blank for an example of where this system’s been abused in terms of purchasing practices, they (USDA officials) couldn’t give us an example. They haven’t tried to prosecute an example.� At the same time, Smith stressed “there are a lot of provisions in the rule we support,� including producer protections in the poultry sector — a potential template for swine integration and contracting. Indebted producers are forced to accept “whatever contract’s put in front of them,� and regional integrators have been accused of demanding ongoing poultry facility upgrades “just to keep that producer in debt and force them to sign that next contract,� she said. USDA’s plan gives integrators a limited window after poultry or swine houses are built to require further capital investments. Integrators must demonstrate how growers would recoup 80 percent of their added investments, and contracts must be drawn for a reasonable period to allow for cost recovery.

Cattle on feed, export demand increase BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

‹*52:0$5.,QF$)DUP%XUHDX$IÀOLDWH$

Cattle prices could soften in coming weeks as the U.S. inventory of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market as of July 1 (10.1 million head) was up 3 percent compared to last year. Meanwhile, placements in feedlots in June (1.63 million) increased 17 percent from a year ago, USDA reported Friday in its cattle on feed report. The large jump in placements is due in part to the fact that placements the previous two years were at historically low levels. But the numbers still suggest there will be more animals coming off feed near-term, which could keep a lid on prices through the summer, according to Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor market analyst. “If we get some relief from the heat and humidity (which has reduced supplies due to cattle deaths), things could soften down� in the cattle market, Durchholz said. Steer prices could decrease from $94 to $95 per hundredweight to the low-$90s in coming months before rallying again in the fall, he said. Long-term, though, the outlook is more optimistic. USDA on Friday also released inventory estimates for all cattle in the U.S. which showed the number of beef cows as of July 1 is down 2 percent while the number of milk cows and the number of calves are down 1 percent. “With the calf crop down, this argues feeder cattle prices should be good into 2011,� Durchholz said. Another factor supporting beef prices is the export market. Beef export demand in May increased 34 percent compared to the same time last year. The average price of choice beef followed suit as it increased 2 cents per pound from May to June. The average retail price in June, $4.49 per pound, was up 21.4 cents compared to June 2009, Ron Plain, University of Missouri ag economist reported.


FarmWeek Page 11 Monday, July 26, 2010

FB IN ACTION

Adopted lawmaker, students take county fair field trip

MAKING A STATEMENT

Winning essays about the importance of agriculture led to a recent field trip to the LaSalle County 4-H Fair with their state representative for 40 fifth graders from Aurora. State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia (D-Aurora) and her adopted county Farm Bureau hosted the students from Nancy Hill Elementary School. The essay contest was open to all schools in Chapa-LaVia’s district. Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) joined the group at the fair. The students’ first stop was at Stoller’s Farm Equipment, Ottawa, where they learned the role machinery plays in growing and harvesting crops. Then it was off to the 4-H fair where the students and ChapaLaVia toured the livestock barns, chatted with 4-H’ers about raising farm animals, and rode on their first hayrack around the grounds. Many of the students were able to touch a cow, pig, or a goat for the first time. The visitors also learned how farmers care for their animals, making sure they are fed, watered, and kept cool during the summer.

Livingston County Farm Bureau Young Leaders promoted animal welfare and the humane treatment of livestock at the recent Livingston County 4-H Fair. Posters depicting young 4-H members caring for their animals with the slogan “Champions of Animal Care” were hung in six of the livestock barns at the fair. The text at the bottom of the poster provided a positive message about farmers taking good care of their livestock to the non-farming public visiting the fair. Shown are Brad and Anna Schmidgall, Forrest, Livingston County Farm Bureau Young Leader chairman and secretary, respectively, who hung the posters. The idea to promote the livestock industry and animal care came from county Farm Bureaus in Illinois Farm Bureau District 2. (Photo by Teresa Grant-Quick, Livingston County Farm Bureau manager)

LaSalle County 4-H’er Benjamin Temple, center, answers questions from Aurora students about caring for his lamb. The 12-year-old son of Brad and Kara Temple chatted with the fifth graders who toured the LaSalle County 4-H Show along with state Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia (D-Aurora). The LaSalle County Farm Bureau “adopted” Chapa-LaVia through Farm Burea’s Adopt-a-Legislator program. (Photo by Christina Nourie, Illinois Farm Bureau northeast legislative coordinator)

Dixon Springs Center field day Aug. 5 The University of Illinois Dixon Springs Agricultural Center, Simpson, will host its field day from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Aug. 5. The program will include information on several topics, including enhancing corn production, non-native invasive plant species, soybean seedling diseases, high tunnels for extending growing seasons, beef cattle research, canola production, and blueberry production. A free meal will be provided. The center is located on Ill. Route 145 near Glendale, 25 miles south of Harrisburg. For more information, call 618-695-2441.

Auction Calendar Tues., July 27. 7 p.m. 96.5 Ac. Farmland. Carole Bratton and William Atchley, Family of Lowell Peddicord, JOHNSONVILLE, IL. Carson Auction, Realty & Appraisal Co. www.carsonauctionandr ealty.com Thurs., July 29. 10 a.m. 158 Ac. Farmland. Marjie Munsson, ROBERTS, IL. Bill Kruse, Auctioneer. Thurs., July 29. 10 a.m. 158 Ac. Farmland. Marjie Musson, ROBERTS, IL. Bill Kruse, Auctioneer. billkruse.net Sat., July 31. 8:30 a.m. Estate Auction. Ward “Joe” Cain Estate, PANA, IL. Cory Craig, Auctioneer. www.corycraig.com Sat., July 31. 10 a.m. Machinery and collector tractors. Larry Armstrong

Estate, ODELL, IL. Immke and Bradleys’ Auction Service. biddersandbuyers.com/immke and bradleyauctionsinc.com Sat., July 31. 10 a.m. Monroe Co. Land Auction. Edward Rickert Trust, WATERLOO, IL. buyafarm.com Sat., July 31. 9:30 a.m. Estate Auction. Estate of Julius Kartheiser, YORKVILLE, IL. DeBolt Auction Service, Inc. www.deboltauctionservic e.com Wed., Aug. 4. 10 a.m. Farm machinery. Harold and Mary Becker, EMINGTON, IL. Immke and Bradleys’ Auction Service. www.biddersandbuyers.c om/immke Fri., Aug. 6. 10 a.m. Lg. Farm Eq. Auction. Estate of Lloyd E. Nafziger, HOPEDALE, IL. Jerry Watkins Auction Team. www.watkinsauctiontea

m.com Sat., Aug. 7. 9:30 a.m. Equipment. Dale Convention Center, Organizers, DALE, IL. Jamie Scherrer Auction Co. www.jamiescherrerauctio n.com Tues., Aug. 10. 10 a.m. Farm Eq. Auction. Thomas Rogers Charitable Remainder Trust, MAROA, IL. Mike Maske Auction. www.maskeauction.com Thurs., Aug. 12. 7 p.m. 240 Ac. Clay Co. Farmland. Linda Love and Veronica Wilkey, Family of Thomas L. and Kathryn M. Clark, CLAY CITY, IL. Carson Auction, Realty & Appraisal Co. www.carsonauctionandr ealty.com Thurs., Aug. 19. 10 a.m. 292.13+/- Ac. Champaign Co. MAHOMET, IL. Wallace Land Company. www.wallaceland.com

Don’t miss our Early Season Sale from March 17-31, 2010 Member Company Name Contact: Name

website

Phone: (000) 000-0000 ©2010 GROWMARK, Inc. A11425_6x8_aod


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, July 26, 2010

FB IN ACTION

Firefighters learn how to conduct grain entrapment rescue BY BRENDA SEBOLDT

More than 150 volunteer firefighters and farm families from Monroe and Randolph counties participated in a recent grain bin entrapment and farm safety program at the Gateway FS facility in Evansville.

The firefighters participated in the hands-on workshop taught by GSI Group and the Safety and Technical Rescue Association (SATRA) instructor George Lovell. John Lee, director of safety, health, and environmental services with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, provided information on

grain bin engulfment, grain bin fires, and grain dust explosions. The training provide the fire departments with background information on grain bin rescue techniques and demonstrated the best techniques for their victim’s safe removal. Maeystown firefighter and Farm Bureau Board member Dan Mueller was the “victim” in his group. He said the event was a good demonstration of what happens in a grain entrapment. Bob Gross and Chris Deterding of the Monroe County Electric Cooperative presented their live line demonstration for the firefighters and farm families. A highlight of the night was the landing of the Arch

Helicopter used for medical emergencies. The Waterloo Fire Department brought its fire house display, and attendees were able to see firsthand what to do if their house catches fire. Glen Muench of Gateway FS’ structures department presented information on PTO safety. Attendees were reminded about safety precautions while riding an ATV. The program was sponsored by Gateway FS Inc., Monroe County Farm Bureau, Randolph County Farm Bureau, and a grant from Illinois Farm Bureau and Country Financial. George Lovell, left, Safety and Technical Rescue Association instructor, talks rescuers through the extraction of a grain entrapment “victim.” (Photo courtesy of Monroe County Farm Bureau)

Brenda Seboldt is manager of Monroe County Farm Bureau. She can be reached at 618-9396197.

WIU institute’s oilseed biofuels field day Friday Holst Farms, in conjunction with Western Illinois University’s Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, will have a farm-scale biofuels field day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday on the Holst farm, Augusta. The program will include presentations on sunflower and canola oilseed crops, on-farm oil processing, and on-farm use of straight vegetable oil as fuel. Tours of the oilseed-crushing facility, double-crop sunflower field, and Flower Creek hydroponic tomato greenhouse are planned. “The Holsts have been double-cropping sunflowers after the winter wheat crop and crushing the seed into oil for four years,” said Fred Iutzi, program manager of the Illinois Value-Added Sustainable Development Center. The Holsts blend straight vegetable oil fuel into diesel for their late-model tractors and trucks and have displaced about a third of diesel fuel they previously used. The event is free. Pre-registration is not required, but large groups are asked to give advance notice to Luke Holst at 217430-3945 or LH-Holst@wiu.edu. Directions to the farm also may be obtained at that number.

RAISING FUNDS FOR AG LITERACY

Wayne Keller, left, owner of Buyafarm.com, congratulates Zack Miller for placing second in the special youth trap shoot competition during the fourth annual Pull for Agriculture Education at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta. About 190 individuals competed in the trap shoot and another 144 tested their skill in the sporting clays contest. An estimated $4,000 was raised to support agriculture literacy programs. (Photo courtesy of Randolph County Farm Bureau)


FarmWeek Page 13 Monday, July 26, 2010

FROM THE COUNTIES

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UREAU — Farm Bureau will sponsor a free family portrait program for members. Appointments are available from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Farm Bureau office. There will be one free portrait per family or household. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-875-6468 for a first-come, first-served reservation. HAMPAIGN — Farm Bureau will sponsor a land use seminar from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, at the Farm Bureau auditorium. Cost is $10. Registration forms are available at the Farm Bureau office or at the website {www.ccfarmbureau.com}. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-352-5235 for more information. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a commercial driver’s license course at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Farm Bureau auditorium. Cost is $50 for members and $55 for nonmembers. Registration forms are available at the Farm Bureau office or at the website {www.ccfarmbureau.com}. Deadline for reservations is Friday. OLES — The membership picnic and Foundation silent auction will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, at Morton Park, Charleston. Call the Farm Bureau office at 345-3276 by Wednesday, Aug. 11, for reservations or more information. EWITT — A policy development call-in program will be from 9:06 to 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 6, on WHOW Radio 1520. Call 217935-9900 with ideas and suggestions for Farm Bureau policy. • The DeWitt County Farm Bureau Foundation annual golf outing will be at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at Woodlawn Country Club, Farmer City. Cost is $75 for golf and lunch. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information. FFINGHAM — A Progressive Agriculture Safety Day for children ages 7 to 16 will be from noon to 2 p.m. Friday at the Effingham County Fairgrounds. Hands-on demonstrations will focus on fire, guns, grain, power takeoff, and underground utility hazards. Participants will receive a safety T-shirt, bag of goodies, and a coupon for lunch at the Pork Producers’ stand. Call 217-342-2103 for reservations or more information. • The Young Farmers Committee will sponsor a food pantry drive for all Effingham County 4-H clubs. Bring food pantry items to the fairgrounds through Aug. 4. Clubs that bring the most donations

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(determined by weight) will receive a pizza party at the next club meeting. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-342-2103 for more information. • The Young Farmers Committee will sponsor a pedal tractor pull at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, at the county fairgrounds, Altamont. There will be different age categories from 4 to 11 years. Participants will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone at the 4-H Dairy Bar. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-342-2103 to register. • The Partners for Ag Literacy will sponsor ag literacy programs at 11 a.m. Aug. 2-4, at the Effingham County Fair, Altamont. Participants will make paper plate chickens and putty eggs, homemade bread, and clothes pin sheep. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-3422103 or 217-347-7107, ext. 3, for more information. ORD-IROQUOIS — A policy development meeting will be at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 9, at the Happy Days Diner, Roberts. Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau director of national legislation and policy development, will be the speaker. • An On the Road seminar will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, at the Farm Bureau office. Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau transportation specialist, will be the speaker. ULTON — The Women’s Committee will sponsor Amanda Havens in the queen pageant at 7 p.m. Monday (today) during the Fulton County Fair. • The Women’s Committee will sponsor the Best Milk Mustache contest at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Merchant Building during the fair. • Directors will combine money with Riverland FS to bid on livestock during the auction, which begins at 3 p.m. Thursday. • The Young Farmer Committee will sponsor the pedal tractor pull at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the fair. • The Women’s Committee will conduct the beef cookoff contest at 11 a.m. Saturday at the fair. • Winner of the Young Farmer’s farmer tan contest will be announced during the evening events Saturday. AMILTON — A summer Viewpoint meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, at the Dale Community Center. McPeak Fish Market will provide the dinner. Call the Farm Bureau office at 643-2347 for reservations or more information. • Tickets are available for the bus trip Sunday, Aug. 1, to see the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates game. The

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bus will leave the Farm Bureau office at 9 a.m. Passengers also will be picked up at 9:45 a.m. at the Mt. Vernon Wal-Mart. Cost is $40. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations or more information. ENRY — The Women’s Market outlook seminar will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, at the Big River Resources ethanol plant, Galva. Cathy Ekstrand, Stewart-Peterson senior market adviser, will be the speaker. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-937-2411, the Knox County Farm Bureau office at 309-342-7392, or the Stark County Farm Bureau office at 309-286-7481 for reservations or more information. EFFERSON — Tickets are available for the bus trip Sunday, Aug. 1, to see the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates game. The bus will leave the Farm Bureau office at 9 a.m. Passengers also will be picked up at 9:45 a.m. at the Mt. Vernon Wal-Mart. Cost is $40. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations or more information. EE — The Young Farmer Committee is sponsoring a “Harvest for All” food drive that will run through Aug. 15. The committee will collect non-perishable food items that will be donated to Lee County food pantries. Cash donations will be accepted. Collections will be at the Farm Bureau office and the Woodhaven Association main office, Sublette. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-857-3531 or e-mail leecfb@comcast.net for more information. ONROE — The Mon-Clair Corn Growers test plot tours will be 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9, at Dale Haudrich’s farm, Hecker, and at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, at Greg Guenther’s farm, Belleville. Call the Farm Bureau office at 939-6197 or 233-6800 by Tuesday, Aug. 3, for reservations or more information. • The Ice Cream Social and Meet the Candidates night will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at the fairgrounds. Attendance prizes will be awarded. ONTGOMERY — A customer appreciation dinner for Farm Bureau members, patrons of M&M Service Co., and clients of Montgomery County Country Financial agents will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Taylor Springs. Tickets are available at the above locations. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-532-6171 for more information. • The Prime Timers will sponsor a bus trip Sunday, Aug. 22, to New Salem State Park.

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The group will see the play “Dividing the Estate” at the outdoor theater. Dinner will be at the Golden Corral. Participants must be a Montgomery County Farm Bureau member and 55 years of age or older. Cost is $39. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-5326171 for reservations or more information. EORIA — Ag Night will be at the Peoria Chiefs vs. Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game at 7 p.m. Wednesday. There will be agrelated trivia, activities, and displays at the game. • Peach orders may be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Farm Bureau office. • A Stroke Detection Plus health screening will be Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the Farm Bureau office. Call 877-7328258 for reservations or more information. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip Tuesday, Aug. 17, to the Illinois State Fair, Springfield. Cost is $20, which includes admission. Call the Farm Bureau office at 6867070 for reservations or more information. OCK ISLAND — An informational meeting for kicking off AgXperience will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Farm Bureau office. The AgXperience will be Sept. 1617 at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds and John Deere Pavilion. • The District 3 summer meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9, at Kenny and Marilyn Bushes’ farm. Tours of their museum will be at 5:30 p.m. Mary Ellen Fricke, Illinois Farm Bureau promotions manager, will present the program “Standing up for Agriculture: Using Social Media and the Internet.” Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-736-7432 by Friday for reservations or more information. • The Rock Island County Farm Bureau Foundation golf outing and fundraiser will be at noon Friday, Aug. 20, at Indian Bluff Gold Course. Cost is $60 per person or $240 for a foursome. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-736-7432 for reservations or more information. • Farm Bureau’s annual meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, at the Milan Community Center. Riefe’s and Reason’s Prairie Pride will serve dinner. An interactive Kids Zone will be available for children. Cost is $8 for members. and children ages 4 and under are free. Call the Farm Bureau office by Thursday, Aug. 19, for reservations or more information. T. CLAIR — The MonClair Corn Growers test

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plot tours will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9, at Dale Haudrich’s farm, Hecker, and at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, at Greg Guenther’s farm, Belleville. Call the Farm Bureau office at 939-6197 or 233-6800 by Tuesday, Aug. 3, for reservations or more information. TARK — The Young Farmer Committee is starting a program to help young people stay involved in production agriculture. The program is to connect people ages 18 to 35 interested in farming with older farmers preparing to transition out of the business. Names and contact information for young farmers are being compiled at the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm Bureau office at 2867481 to be included on the list. AYNE —- The appreciation dinner will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Fairfield. Tickets are $2, with children 12 and under free. Takeouts are available. There will be a silent auction to benefit the Wayne County Ag in the Classroom program. Deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, Aug. 6. More information is available at the website (www.waynecfb.com}. • The annual Wayne County Tractor Drive will be Sept. 6. The event will begin and end at the Wayne County Fairgrounds, Fairfield. Lunch and public viewing will be at Shreve’s Pumpkin Patch, Barnhill. Drivers may register by calling the Farm Bureau office at 618-8423342 or by downloading a registration form from the website {www.waynecfb.com}. HITE — The annual White County crop tour will begin with breakfast at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, at the Farm Bureau office. Lunch will be served following the tour. Call the Farm Bureau office at 618-382-8512 by Friday for reservations or more information. • The Young Leader Committee will sponsor a pedal tractor pull at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the White County Fair. Multiple weight classes will be offered. Rules are in the White County Fair book or online at {www.whitecfb.com}. • The member appreciation lunch will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, in the Floral Hall, White County Fairgrounds. Call the Farm Bureau office at 618-382-8512 by Friday, Aug. 6, for reservations and to be entered into a drawing for prizes.

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“From the counties” items are submitted by county Farm Bureau managers. If you have an event or activity open to all members, contact your county Farm Bureau manager.


FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, July 26, 2010

PROFITABILITY

Several ways to deal with fuel system issues BY MARK DEHNER

Want to reduce fuel costs and headaches? Take good care of your fuel and fueling system. Issues with fuel systems are on the rise because of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel, biodiesel, finer fuel filter media, and high-pressure common rail injection systems. Fifteen parts per million (ppm) ULSD has a Mark Dehner higher solubility factor than 500 ppm low-sulfur diesel. This means that sediment sitting on the bottom of storage tanks may be picked up and carried along with the ULSD fuel. This results in more contaminants hitting filters on storage tanks or in fuel systems. Also, ULSD has a higher affinity for water, increasing the likelihood of it precipitating to the bottom of the tank and creating an environment for bacterial growth. Fuel storage tanks should be checked periodically for water. Similar to ULSD fuel, biodiesel also acts as a solvent and loosens deposits sitting in storage tanks. Because biodiesel blends are relatively new, they often are blamed for plugged filters.

A closer examination, however, reveals that filters typically plug with sediment from dirty storage tanks. Fuel tanks should be checked on a regular basis. If a large amount of sediment is found, it should be removed. The fuel systems on many of today’s engines are equipped with two micron filters and require extremely clean fuel. The two micron filters plug quickly if contaminated fuel is introduced into the fuel system.

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed by Congress this month reportedly is an effort to avoid a repeat of the ongoing financial crisis. The bill will regulate overthe-counter derivatives (contracts that are traded and privately negotiated directly between two parties without going through an exchange). These products, which previously have not been regulated in the U.S., were at the center of the financial crisis in 2008, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Credit default swaps (a swap contract in which the buyer makes premium payments to the protection seller and in exchange receives a

Feeder pig prices reported to USDA*

Weight 10 lbs. 40 lbs. 50 lbs. Receipts

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $35.10-$41.50 $39.30 $56.33-$60.00 $58.00 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 29,399 30,754 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $78.57 $72.76 $58.14 $53.84

Change 5.81 4.30

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price Steers Heifers

This week $94.89 $94.96

of today’s engines also have an injection system called a high pressure common rail. The extreme pressure and heat of these systems can cause fuel to oxidize faster than normal, creating contaminants that recirculate through the fuel system and eventually plug filters. For best results: • Periodically check bottoms of storage and transfer tanks for water and sediment. • Check engine filtration requirements and match filters

on storage tanks accordingly. • Keep extra filters on hand. • Use a good-quality fuel such as FS Dieselex Gold that contains additive chemistry to minimize the effects of moisture, sedimentation, and oxidation. Mark Dehner is GROWMARK’s marketing manager of refined and renewable fuels. His email address is mdehner@growmark.com.

Will Wall Street reform bill impact ag markets?

M A R K E T FA C T S

Carcass Live

It is easier and cheaper to filter the fuel at the storage tank than it is to change fuel filters on equipment in the field. If storage tank filters are “catching” more contaminants in the fuel, they are going to plug more frequently. Operators should have plenty of extra filters on hand. Transfer tanks also warrant filtration since they can contain water and sediment, too. The fuel systems on many

(Thursday’s price) Prv. week Change $93.95 0.94 $94.00 0.96

CME feeder cattle index — 600-800 Lbs. This is a composite price of feeder cattle transactions in 27 states. (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change 111.93 112.70 -0.77

Lamb prices Confirmed lamb and sheep sales This week 816 Last week 730 Last year 755 Wooled Slaughter Lambs: Choice and prime 2-3: 90-110 lb., $118; 110-130 lbs., $132. Good and choice 1-2: 60-90 lbs., $125. Slaughter Ewes: Utility and good 1-3: $44-$46. Cull and utility 1-2: $38-$44.

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 07-15-10 6.9 22.4 38.9 07-08-10 7.0 14.3 38.7 Last year 13.9 14.5 40.8 Season total 1378.6 108.9 1607.9 Previous season total 1172.5 90.7 1499.7 USDA projected total 1455 900 2000 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

payoff if a credit instrument goes into default), for example, were blamed for dragging down the insurance company AIG.

‘It becomes a game of the devil is in the details.’ — Dale Durchholz AgriVisor market analyst

“Standardized derivatives will be required to trade on open platforms and be submitted for clearing to central counterparties,” said Gary Gensler, CFTC chairman. “This will greatly improve transparency and lower risk in the marketplace.”

It was unknown last week what, if any, impact the legislation could have on agricultural commodity markets. “The big issue with this is (Congress) passed a law, but (congressmen) really haven’t written any regulations,” said Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor market analyst. “It becomes a game of the devil is in the details. And, without knowing the specific regulations, it’s hard to say if there will be any impact back to agriculture.” Durchholz speculated the new regulations could reduce volatility in the commodity markets. But over-regulation also could dampen economic activity and take away opportunities. “The funds aren’t always the bad guys,” said Durchholz, who noted hedge or speculation funds generally support commodity prices.

Funds reportedly were long on 16 million bushels of corn in mid-June when December corn futures hovered around $3.50 per bushel, which was a good time for end-users to buy grain. But long positions on corn as of July 13 increased to 790 million bushels and corn futures subsequently increased to $4.05, which presented a selling opportunity for grain farmers. Research by economists at the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University recently concluded billions of dollars invested by speculators helps stabilize prices rather than drive them up. “Restricting investments by speculators could do exactly what these proposals (in the Wall Street reform bill) are trying to avoid,” said Scott Irwin, U of I economist.

Grain, oilseeds projected to trade sideways The outlook for the grain and energy markets through 2010 doesn’t appear to be anything for farmers to get too excited about — on the high or low side. Market analysts last week at the ninth annual Dow Jones Indexes mid-year commodities outlook event in Chicago predicted grain and oilseeds in coming months will remain relatively steady. Oil and fuel prices, meanwhile, could decline later this year, which suggests farmers this fall may not experience another drastic increase in input prices. “In all likelihood, we’re starting to move into an extended sideways period (in the grain and oilseeds markets),” said Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group. Scoville believes the grain markets in recent weeks tested the low end of trading ranges. Strong demand should counterbalance the prospect of big crops this fall and keep crop prices from sliding to low levels not seen since before the 2008 bull run. In fact, crop production challenges elsewhere in the world (drought in Europe and Russia and extreme wetness in Canada) could be beneficial to U.S. farmers, according to Scoville. “When you look around the world, there are some problems starting to show up,” he said. “That should support prices.” Scoville projected soybeans could trade in a range of $8.50 to $11 per bushel while corn could trade from $3 to $4.25 per bushel. A Reuters poll of market analysts, including

AgriVisor, last week projected a trading range the rest of the year for corn ($3 to $4.30 per bushel) wheat ($4.70 to $7.20 per bushel) and soybeans ($8 to $10.40 per bushel). Scoville believes the current price range should provide an opportunity for grain sellers and buyers to lock in profit. Overall, the Dow Jones Commodity Index was down 9.6 percent for the first half of this year, led by grain futures which collectively declined 16.5 percent. Oil prices also could be poised to decline later this year, according to Phil Flynn, senior market analyst with PFGBest’s Research. The situation could unfold as economic stimulus money runs out and the market is faced with strong supply. “We could see the price of oil back down,” Flynn said. “We could see $40 (per-barrel oil) by the end of the year (barring any supply disruptions from hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico).” The Energy Information Administration (EIA), however, was included to see higher oil prices, projecting prices the second half of this year will average $79 per barrel. EIA projected oil prices will translate to an average price of $2.80 per gallon for regular gasoline through the summer driving season (April 1 to Sept. 30) compared to an average of $2.44 last summer. Flynn projected gas prices by the end of the year could dip below $2. — Daniel Grant


FarmWeek Page 15 Monday, July 26, 2010

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

C A S H S T R AT E G I S T

Cents per bu.

2009 crop: Use current strength to wrap up remaining old-crop sales.  2010 crop: December futures have been unable to sustain prices above the psychological $4 mark. Sales should have been boosted to 50 percent when December futures fell through $3.98. Boost sales to 60 percent if December falls through $3.84. Fundamentals: The fundamental picture for corn hasn’t changed much. Prices gained short-term strength on spillover support from wheat. Upward momentum appears to be dwindling, and weather is starting to become a non-issue with much of the crop having pollinated with little stress. Weekly export sales were supportive this last week, 1,154,900 metric tons (44.8 million bushels), slightly higher than expectations. China bought another 58,700 metric tons (2.3 million bushels) for 2009/2010 delivery. Total newcrop sales are just above 3 million metric tons (117.9 million bushels), about average for this time of year.

Soybean Strategy

Speculators behind grain strength The recent surge in grain prices has come on weather fears, but it has been speculators, in particular managed money (hedge) funds, that have been the major buyers on the rally. Commercial long

Basis charts

positions in corn and soybeans have slipped lower, indicating end users are not chasing the market. Commercial wheat longs have risen a little in Chicago, while they’ve been mostly flat in Kansas City. A rise in long positions would be consistent with increased end user buying with har vest winding down. Even though the long positions held by hedge funds have risen sharply, they are still below the highs of the last couple years. And the data shown don’t include the last upward surge starting July 15, so their long positions are probably larger yet. Given the right factors, they could buy more, car r ying prices higher yet. But it wouldn’t take much to push prices lower, triggering stops on their long positions and potentially triggering a sharp price decline. AgriVisor endorses crop insurance by

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2009 crop: We are starting to see old-crop basis levels weaken, indicating the premium old-crop prices have over the new crop is coming to an end. Wrap-up sales now. 2010 crop: If November futures fall though $9.60, boost new-crop sales to 60 percent. Check the Cash Strategist Hotline occasionally to see if we change that trigger price. Fundamentals: Weather and its impact on the size of our crop will be the primary market driver the next few weeks. Crop condition ratings have been slipping, but that’s not unusual for a normal year. There are a lot of opinions about the potential size of this year’s crop, but it still hasn’t experienced any extreme stress. Even with last year’s late planting, USDA projected a 42.3bushel yield in August. We cannot imagine USDA starting a lot lower this year. Given demand expectations, yields may need to drop below 41 bushels before traders start to become con-

cerned that supplies are too tight.

Wheat Strategy 2010 crop: The upward trend in wheat remains intact with the trade worrying about international conditions. Sales were increased to 70 percent when Chicago September futures reached $6. Use current strength for catch-up sales. For producers who can store wheat, it is wor th noting storag e hedges are attractive this year. 2011 crop: A 15 percent sale was triggered when Chicago July 2011 futures reached

$6.60, bringing the total to 25 percent. We may recommend an additional sale if Chicago July 2011 futures penetrate $7. Fundamentals: Hot, dry weather continues to cut the potential size of crops in the Black Sea countries, Russia, Kazakhstan, and parts of the Ukraine. And short-term weather forecasts do not offer any sign of relief. The Ukraine cut its 2010/2011 grain export forecast to 16 million metric tons (587.8 million bushels). Russia may have little, if any, grain to export this year.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, July 26, 2010

PERSPECTIVES

Renew farmers’ American dream

Death, taxes, and uncertainty

with estate tax reform Most Americans are taught from their youngest days that hard work and good planning increase the likelihood of a bright and prosperous future. In many ways, this is the American ethos — a key to the American dream. Another distinctly AmeriJOHN HART can wish is for the next genguest columnist eration to experience a better life than the current one. All parents want their children to do better than they did, and this hope is even greater for their grandchildren. Throughout our nation’s history this hope has held true. For farmers, ranchers, and other small business owners, the expectation is that their heirs will be able to remain in the family business and carry on. This is as true for the owner of an Iowa farm or a California ranch as it is for the owner of a Brooklyn deli. However, that shared dream is threatened by estate tax provisions that take effect on Jan. 1. On that date, the estate tax returns with a vengeance. Unless Congress acts this year, the federal estate tax rate beginning in 2011 will be 55 percent on all assets exceeding $1 million. This onerous rate will hit even the smallest farm and the smallest pizza shop. The estate tax burden is particularly heavy on farmers because agriculture requires a large amount of capital assets, such as land and equipment, to generate the same dollar in income that another type of business could generate with less. With this low $1 million exemption, as many as 10 percent of farms and ranches could owe estate taxes next year, according to USDA. In comparison, only about 1.5 percent of farms had to pay the tax in 2009, when the exemption was $3.5 million. When estate taxes are due, surviving family members without enough cash on hand may be forced to sell land, buildings, or equipment they need to keep their operations going, just to pay the tax bill. Rural communities and businesses suffer when farms and ranches are dismantled and farmland is sold. When that occurs near urban centers, farmland is often lost forever to development. A higher exemption and a lower rate will give farmers and ranchers a better opportunity to transfer their family-owned businesses to the next generation. Farm Bureau is calling on Congress to support a bipartisan amendment to H.R. 5297 that has been introduced by Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Jon

Illustration by Sharon Newton

Kyl (R-Ariz.). The amendment provides estate tax relief by increasing the exemption level to $5 million, adjusting it for inflation, and reducing the maximum rate to 35 percent. Taking such action is fair and right. It will be one way Congress can show it still believes in the American dream and that it truly values small business, including families who farm and ranch. Congress can send a message that hard work is still rewarded in the United States. Estate tax relief will give future generations hope they can maintain the family legacy and keep the farm. Most importantly, estate tax relief will keep alive the American dream: If you work hard and plan ahead, you can pass the fruits of your labor to your children and grandchildren. By supporting estate tax relief as included in the Lincoln/Kyl amendment, members of Congress can help preserve that distinctly American vision. John Hart is director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation. His e-mail address is johnh@fb.org.

The big worry in the country is all about jobs. Businesses aren’t hiring. Banks aren’t making loans. One very obvious obstacle to growing the economy is that individuals and businesses are uncertain about the rules of the game. New regulations affecting business are proposed ever y day. JOHN The Environmental ProBLOCK tection Ag ency could have a major impact as it rushes to regulate carbon dioxide. Cap and trade is still a big question mark. We have trade agreements pending that could mean jobs, but will they ever get done? Look at all the jobs lost in the Gulf region with the administration’s moratorium on drilling. And let’s not forget the failure of Congress to give us some direction on the “death tax.” Farmers, ranchers, and small businesses of all kinds are sitting in limbo not knowing what the plan is. In 2009, the estate tax rate was 45 percent with a $3.5 million exemption. This year, there is no tax. That will remain the case unless Congress retroactively imposes one. Next year, the tax comes roaring back at a top tax rate of 55 percent and a $1 million exemption. That will hit 44,000 estates — eight times as many as in 2009. Estate taxes can destroy a family business. Farmers and ranchers don’t have a lot of money sitting around. To settle an estate, they might have to sell the farm. What is Congress going to do? We don’t know. With this kind of uncertainty, a lot of businesses are not going to grow or expand until they know what the rules are. The Family Business Estate Tax Coalition had this to say: “The uncertainty of the current law has left many family-owned businesses and far ms guessing about their estate tax liabilities and unable to make prudent business decisions.” The American Farm Bureau, to its credit, has launched the “Put Death Tax To Rest” campaign. Tell your members of Congress to get it done. John Block of Gilson, a U.S. agriculture secretary in the Reagan administration, is a senior policy adviser with the Washington, D.C., firm of Olsson, Frank, Weeda, and Terman. His e-mail address is jblock@ofwlaw.com.

LEADER TALK: What policy issue should Farm Bureau be addressing in the next five years?

“Educate the public about agriculture —where food comes from.”

“Agriculture’s ability to produce food and fiber in an ef ficient and sustainable manner.”

“Be proactive with government agencies on rules and regulations that affect ag production.”

Editor’s note: Members of the Illinois Farm Bureau GrassRoots Issue Teams (GRITs) were asked for their views on several questions. Their responses will appear periodically on the Perspectives page.

“Maintaining farmer input into political decisionmaking on the township, county, and state levels with fewer farmer members to do the work .”

Ron Hohenbery Peoria County

Stan Sipp Piatt County

Duane Strunk Champaign County

Don Guinnip Clark County


FarmWeek July 26 2010