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WHEAT HARVEST in Illinois this summer is not expected to be a long, drawn out affair. Wheat acres in the state are at a record low. ......8

JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH, o r i g i n a l l y d e s i g n a t e d a s s u ch because it was the time of year that surplus milk needed to be sold. ....9

CENTRAL ILLINOIS farmers John and Sue Adams will be getting a lot of face time in the D.C. area starting Tuesday. ........10

Monday, May 31, 2010

Two sections Volume 38, No. 22

RFS2 expectations push biodiesel credit urgency

WINDING DOWN

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Bryan Crump, son of Crump Family Gardens owners Bob and Joann Crump of rural Carlock in McLean County, picks the last of what was described as an above average crop of strawberries. The farm, in operation for 45 years, grows a variety of vegetables, flowers, and herbs, and sells firewood. The produce is sold at their farm and at five local farmers’ markets. The Southern Illinois strawberry crop was reported to be well above average this year. Additional photos appear at {www.ilfb.org}. (Photo By Ken Kashian)

The Senate left D.C. last week without reinstating a crucial biodiesel market incentive, and industry interests noted the clock is rapidly running down toward a key July deadline. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) last week suspended consideration of a comprehensive tax extenders package until after the Memorial Day recess. Meanwhile, the House passed the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act,” the measure that includes the biodiesel credit extension. The credit expired Jan. 1, resulting in some 40-50 plants being idled nationwide, according to National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Washington representative Michael Frohlich. Frohlich saw House debate of the controversial extenders measure alone as “clearly a positive development” toward retroactive reinstatement of the $1-per-gallon credit. Reid said he intends to prioritize extenders debate following the holiday recess. Alicia Clancy, spokesman with

Renewable Energy Group (REG), stressed the need for timely action upon the Senate’s June 6 return, given new renewable fuels standard (RFS2) requirements set to kick in July 1. Because of slower-thanexpected biofuels industry growth related in part to the economic downturn, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) combined 2009 and 2010 fuel industry biodiesel blending requirements into 2010 targets. As a result, major petroleum companies and other “obligated parties” are expected to commit to 1.15 billion gallons of annual biodiesel use by year’s end. “The indications from the Senate are that if the bill is not paid for (through other taxes or spending cuts), they’re (senators) going to want to do some work on it,” Clancy told FarmWeek. “Renewable Energy Group is in the biodiesel business, and we urge our senators to act as quickly as possible on whatever vehicle they need to get the biodiesel tax credit passed. “The $1-per-gallon biodiesel

tax credit is supported by Republicans, by Democrats, by senators, by House members. It’s not the biodiesel tax credit that is creating any sort of issue — it is the package in which it is sitting that has created the six-month delay.” REG recently completed its formal consolidation with Danville’s Blackhawk Biofuels, which should help spread the plant’s risks across the larger company’s production network. REG announced recently it was acquiring an additional 60- million-gallon-per-year biodiesel facility in Seneca, on the LaSalle-Grundy County line. Clancy noted Illinois “has the best biodiesel incentive program anywhere in the nation,” a tax exemption for 11 percent biodiesel blends. Thus, Blackhawk has avoided layoffs suffered elsewhere. The plant’s ability to sustain long-term operations is largely “a matter of risk management” and blenders’ confidence “their dollar will be reinstated,” she said. “In terms of industry survival and preventing irrepara See RFS2, page 4

Lawmakers pass budget, offer no solutions Periodicals: Time Valued

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois’ financial drama now enters the second act, and Gov. Pat Quinn is in the spotlight. The General Assembly last week passed a budget that doesn’t address how the state will make a $4.2-billion payment to the state employee pension fund. But legislators gave Quinn a double-edged sword with broad powers to make budget cuts and no direction on where the cuts should be made or how deep they should be. “It is probably more accu-

FarmWeekNow.com Visit FarmWeekNow.com to learn how IFB legislative priorities fared at the Capitol this spring.

rate to say that the General Assembly has approved a spending plan vs. a budget,” said Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau director of state legislation. The state’s new fiscal year starts July 1. Legislators approved a lump-sum budget with each agency, board, commission, and program receiving a general appropriation rather than

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

specific funding levels for various expenses, Semlow explained. In the budget, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is scheduled to receive a lump sum of $21.922 million for the agency’s general employee costs and additional funds for specific operations. However, the lump-sum payment means the governor’s office must determine which programs to fund or to cut, Semlow noted. IDOA also is to receive another lump-sum payment of $9.337 million for non-agency programs — such as Soil and

Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and county fairs — whose funding comes through IDOA’s budget. However, the budgeted amount was less than the total funding requested by each of the programs. Again, the governor’s office will need to determine which of the non-agency programs will be funded and which will be cut, Semlow said. For the first time, the budget did not stipulate any amount for Cook County Extension, and some state See Budget, page 3

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


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, May 31, 2010

STATE

Quick Takes E PA ‘ V E TO ’ VOT E P L A N N E D — S e n . L i s a Murkowski (R-Alaska) has reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) for a vote on her resolution that essentially would veto U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. Debate and a vote on Murkowski’s GHG regulation “disapproval resolution” are expected by June 10. The American Farm Bureau Federation has urged state Farm Bureaus to contact senators during the Memorial Day recess and ask them to vote for the resolution. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) expects the Senate to pass the Murkowski resolution. “I think it will pass. There are a lot of people who will be in the camp of, ‘We should do it, not the EPA,’” said Graham, a resolution co-sponsor. The resolution requires 51 votes for passage. INSURERS OFFER ALTERNATIVE — In a letter to U.S. farm organizations, crop insurance agents released a purportedly farmer-friendly alternative to a proposed $8.4 billion to $6.9 billion in insurance funding cuts proposed by USDA. With crop insurance an apparent target in forthcoming far m bill/ag spending debate, “what has been missing from this negotiation is a focus on what benefits the farmer,” said Ronnie Holt, chair of the Crop Insurance Professionals Association, an independent agents group. USDA and crop insurers currently are negotiating the contract, or Standard Reinsurance Agreement, which will dictate insurer reimbursements for carrying federal policies over the next five years. “If the government wants to shrink crop insurance costs or restrain company profits, then the USDA should consider lowering the premiums that farmers pay,” Holt argued. “USDA, not crop insurance companies, set these rates. The effect of such a step would be to lower producer premiums while also lowering g over nment costs.” Holt noted federal costs for crop insurance already are 35 percent lower than in 2008. LOSSES TO PREDATORS — Predators last year were responsible for about one-third of the deaths of sheep, goats, and lambs on U.S. farms and ranches, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported. Predator losses of sheep and lambs in 2009 totaled 247,200, which was 39 percent of deaths and resulted in the loss of $20.5 million for U.S. farmers and ranchers. In Illinois, 10 percent of sheep (300) and 14 percent of lambs (1,000) that died on farms last year died as the result of predators. Predators also were responsible for 32.5 percent (180,000) of all goat and kid deaths on U.S. farms and ranches last year. The second-leading cause of sheep and lamb deaths on farms last year was weather-related problems from the harsh winter followed by other factors such as disease and old age.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 38 No. 22

May 31, 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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Illinois farmers, landowners make conservation strides BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois farmers and landowners recently received more proof of their conservation progress. The latest National Resources Inventory (NRI) showed annual soil erosion on Illinois cropland dropped from more than 6.2 tons per acre in 1982 to 3.9 tons per acre in 2007, the last year data was collected by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “The data confirms that Illinois’ private landowners work hard to protect our land and natural resources,” said Illinois NRCS State Conservationist Bill Gradle. The NRI is a statistical survey of natural resource conditions and trends. At 66.3 percent, cropland is the largest land use in Illinois (see accompanying graphic). Interestingly, in 2007, at least, Illinois had a slightly larger percentage of acres in forest, 10.9 percent, than in developed/urban uses at 9.4 percent. A significant trend has been the number of acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) over the years. Since 1982, than 835,000 Illinois acres were converted from cropland to some other use. More than 400,000 of those acres (about 48 percent) were enrolled in CRP, said James Johnson, Illinois NRCS

resource inventory specialist. Johnson pointed out CRP started in 1986 and some land has gone into and out of the

‘The data confirms that Illinois’ private landowners work hard to protect our land and natural resources.’ — Bill Gradle Illinois NRCS state conservationist

CRP program. “It’s a moving target,” he said about CRP

enrollment. To date, CRP covers 1.8 percent of Illinois acres. Illinois also gained 303,000 acres of forest between 1982 and 2001. “We had a lot of land enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) and planted in bottomland hardwood trees,” Johnson explained. “A lot of trees have been planted.” Given the state’s urban growth, it is not surprising that Illinois lost more than 760,000 acres to development from 1982 to 2007. That would be comparable to the total conversion of McLean County’s land base to development, according to Johnson.

Failed McLean County elevator sold, reopens A failed McLean County elevator reopened last week after the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and Bloomington-based Evergreen FS Inc. completed a sale. On May 10, IDOA suspended the grain dealer and grain warehouse licenses of Towanda Grain Co. after learning of financial irregulatories from the failed cooperative’s board of directors. Evergreen FS, which already operates eight other elevators in the county, agreed to buy the Towanda elevator’s assets and will assume the outstanding grain obligations. Creditors, including farmers who are owed money for grain sold, will be paid in full, according to IDOA officials. No funds will be drawn from the Illinois Grain Insurance Fund. “We’re pleased an agreement has been reached that not only preserves a local market for grain produced in McLean County but also protects the financial interests of farmers who had done business with the cooperative,” Illinois Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said in a prepared statement. “The customers should see something transparent,” Kendall Miller, Evergreen’s general manager, told FarmWeek. “We’re very pleased to acquire the assets ... It’s great farmers will not lose funds or that we will not tap into the Grain Insurance Fund.”

Stuart Selinger, IDOA bureau chief of warehouses, said the department is continuing its investigation into the elevator’s failure. “If we should find evidence of criminal activity, we will notify the appropriate law enforcement authorities and recommend prosecution to the fullest extent under the law,” Selinger said in a statement. Evergreen has a combined storage capacity of 10.6 million bushels and will add storage for nearly 3 million more. Grain contracts for future delivery at Towanda will be honored by Evergreen FS, according to Evergreen FS officials. Towanda Grain was a good fit for Evergreen FS because a number of customers patronized both businesses, Miller said. The grain stored at Towanda Grain is typical of grain harvested in 2009 in that it has a slightly lighter test weight, Miller noted. “It’s not untypical of what we have experienced,” he added. Evergreen FS serves cooperative members in five counties: DeWitt, Livingston, Macon, McLean, and Woodford. The co-op’s diversified products and services include gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, agronomy products and services, precision agriculture, seed, custom turf, structures, welding, and tank manufacturing. — Kay Shipman


FarmWeek Page 3 Monday, May 31, 2010

STATE

Group works to develop new state industry for biomass crops The group’s focus remains heat and electricity uses for biomass and not conversion Building a new Illinois biomass industry into cellulosic ethanol. from the ground up isn’t easy. Just ask the Although many unresolved issues surindividuals who debated issues and disfaced, some progress was made on possible cussed opportunities last week at Heartland development of an electronic information Community College, Normal. network for biomass industry sectors. The Illinois Biomass Working Group Dar Knipe, Extension marketing and includes farmers, agribusinessmen, state business development specialist, discussed agency representatives, university the potential for an energy biomass program researchers, University of Illinois Extension based on Extension’s Market Maker prospecialists, biomass procesgram. sors, and others. Market Maker is an interDuring the daylong active mapping system that meeting, participants raised locates businesses and mar‘We’re here trying to kets of agricultural prodmore questions than there get an education. It’s ucts in Illinois and 17 other were answers. “We need to get more n o t e a s y g e t t i n g a states. specifics. What do contook suggestions new industr y star t- onKnipe sumers want in quality and information to be suped.’ volume?” asked Bill Ridgplied by farmers who want ley, GROWMARK’s directo sell biomass crops and tor of research and new — Gary Knecht by businesses and others Edwardsville farmer market development based who want to buy them. in Panora, Iowa. The final list included Edwardsville farmer such factors as quantity, Gary Knecht said farmers availability, moisture conwant biomass standards for grades and qual- tent, composition, and Btu (British thermal ity that aren’t based on wood chip standards. unit). “We’re here trying to get an education,” The work group plans to discuss developKnecht said of the farmers who attended ments and potential demonstration projects the meeting. “It’s not easy getting a new at a July 9 meeting in Decatur. industry started.” Additional information about the group is Last week’s meeting was a continuation of available by e-mailing Fred Iutzi, Western discussions from a March workshop on con- Illinois University Illinois Institute for Rural verting biomass to heat and electricity. Affairs, at F-Iutzi@wiu.edu.

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

ATV bill passes, to be forwarded to Quinn The Illinois House of Representatives last week passed a key Illinois Farm Bureau state legislative priority involving off-road vehicles. On a 112-0 vote, representatives concurred with a Senate amendment to HB 6094. The measure will be forwarded to Gov. Pat Quinn

for his review and action. The General Assembly has up to 30 days to send the bill to the governor. After receiving the bill, Quinn will have 60 days to take action. The legislation restores farmers’ ability to drive allterrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility-terrain vehicles on roads for farming purposes

and also to cross roads with the vehicles. Farm Bureau leaders were urged to ask their representatives and “adopted legislators” to support the bill. The IFB state legislative team thanked members who contacted their state representatives asking for action before the House adjourned.

Gov. Pat Quinn signs legislation to expand the Illinois Finance Authority agriculture lending program at the Champaign County Farm Bureau office, Champaign. Looking on left to right are Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (DUrbana), Champaign County Farm Bureau President Jerry Watson of Villa Grove, Champaign County FB Legislative Chairman Mark Pflugmacher of Thomasboro, and Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville). (Photo by Harold Guither, courtesy Champaign County Farm Bureau)

Governor signs bill to expand IFA ag loan guarantee program Gov. Pat Quinn last week signed legislation that expands the Illinois Finance Authority’s (IFA) agricultural loan guarantee program. SB 3719, sponsored by Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) and Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville), adds working capital and coverage of innovative farming practices to the list of eligible ag loan expenses. Quinn signed the legislation at the Champaign County Farm Bureau office. IFA’s ag loan program will continue to make funds available for land purchases, agriculture-related businesses, and debt restructuring. Financing through IFA, guaranteed by the state, is available at banks and other lending institutions across the state. “The IFA is an important partner for farm families and agribusinesses in my community. SB 3719 helps strengthen that partnership when a sagging economy makes our assistance more important than ever,” Frerichs said in a statement. Black noted the expansion of the ag loan program occurred at a good time. “I’m especially pleased this program will support the industry at all levels, from family farms to larger agribusinesses,” Black said. IFA is a self-funded, state authority that helps finance capital investment throughout the state to stimulate economic development and create jobs.

Extension, Illinois 4-H to host virtual science fair in August Illinois 4-H’ers will compete in their first virtual science, engineering, and technology fair from Aug. 1-18. The University of Illinois Extension and Illinois 4-H Foundation are working with 12 corporate partners to host the fair on an interactive website. Four-H members enrolled in 4-H science, engineering, and technology program activities may choose one or more four exhibit classes to showcase their projects. The 4-H virtual fair will offer a unique opportunity for 4-H’ers currently enrolled in a range of science, engineering, and technology projects related to citizenship, service learning,

consumer education, corn, dairy, personal finance, health, leadership, plants and soils, soybeans, swine, and veterinary science. “Participants will be able to view exhibits of other 4-H’ers from around the state, correspond with event judges, and add their own comments,” said Lisa Bouillion Diaz, a U of I Extension specialist. To prepare, participating 4H’ers will conduct an experiment, develop a new invention, produce a video, or create a map related to their project. Beginning Aug. 1, they will be able to post results of their work on an interactive website and receive feedback from industry professionals.

Corporate partners include: Illinois Farm Bureau, Country Financial, GROWMARK, Busey Wealth Management, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, LG Seeds, Paul A. Funk Foundation, Ropp Jersey

Cheese, Rural King, U.S. Bank, and Wal-Mart. On Aug. 18, a 4-H SET Innovation Award will be presented for each exhibit class. Winners will receive a “4-H dollars” that may be used to participate in any local, state, or

national 4-H event. For more information about the 4-H virtual fair, call Bouillion Diaz at 217-333-0910 or email her at lisabou@illinois.edu. Visit the virtual fair website at {http://virtualfair.4-H.illinois.edu}.

Semlow added. He speculated the money either will be taken from the general revenue fund or the state may be forced to sell some of its investment assets to make the payment. The latter option would cost the state about $20 billion in lost income, he explained. Quinn had recommended and the House had passed legislation allowing the state to

issue bonds for the pension payment; however, the Senate has yet to consider that proposal in its current form. The state would have paid about $1 billion in interest if it had issued bonds. “We anticipate the Senate could return in the next several weeks to address the pension-borrowing plan,” Semlow said.

Budget Continued from page 1 Extension funding for youth educators. The state’s overall budget “still has a huge hole,” Semlow said. A large part of that is the unresolved $4.2-billion installment due to the state employee pension fund. “The state will have to make the pension payment because it’s required by law,”


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, May 31, 2010

GOVERNMENT

Controversy, conflict complicating energy debate BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Days after President Obama gave the long-awaited green light to new offshore oil drilling, disaster struck in the Gulf. Now, “deepwater” oil resources are again off the table, for at least six months. In the wake of the BP oil spill, Obama reiterated a call to expand renewable fuels use.

sional climate proposals that would curb coal use and the U.S.’ “outdated regulatory barriers to building the next generation of nuclear plants.” Allen dismissed the idea of halting U.S. offshore drilling because of the BP spill, noting continued interest in deepwater deposits among “(Cuba’s) Castro brothers as well as China and Russia.”

dies, arguing greater corn fuel use will hike meat and poultry prices. Meanwhile, the liberal Friends of the Earth is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its renewable fuel standard, which directs 36 billion gallons of biofuels use by 2022. In what Renewable Fuels Association President Bob

‘Illinois coal is great; we ought to be cleanly and creatively using our coal.’ — George Allen Former Virginia governor/U.S. senator

However, an ethanol tax credit seen as crucial to biofuels growth has drawn fire from liberals and conservatives alike. Such are the complications that have slowed progress toward a comprehensive congressional energy policy. During a Chicago global climate forum, former Virginia governor and U.S. Senator George Allen, director of the American Energy Freedom Center, argued “there is no single silver bullet” to meeting energy needs — “We need silver buckshot.” Allen urges expanded coal and nuclear power development, arguing that “to use natural gas for base electricity is like using bottled water to take a bath.” He cited South Africa’s use of coal-to-gas technology to produce fuel and France’s successful recycling of nuclear wastes while blasting congres-

“Illinois coal is great; we ought to be cleanly and creatively using our coal,” he told FarmWeek. “Nuclear needs to be part of the mix. France reprocesses its spent fuel in a much safer, more efficient way than we do it in our country. “You put more natural gas into baseload electricity and you’ll have higher electricity prices. “If you’re using natural gas for baseload, it means chemical, fertilizer, glass, plastics, forestry product manufacturers are going to have higher natural gas prices.” The former policymaker’s silver buckshot has a limited range: Allen maintains wind power, “by its nature, is intermittent,” sustainable only through “huge subsidies.” He and others at the conservative Heartland Institute climate forum questioned ethanol mandates and subsi-

Dinneen called “tortured logic,” the suit claims that by forcing the U.S. to rely more heavily on biofuels, EPA is ensuring increased global oil use. New data nonetheless support ethanol’s net energy benefits: A University of IllinoisChicago (UIC) study indicates the energy needed to make a gallon of corn-based fuel decreased an average 30 percent over the past decade. To gather information for the study, UIC research economist Steffen Mueller surveyed 150 “dry mill” plants responsible for 85 percent of ethanol production. The BP oil spill may reawaken bipartisan biofuels support. Obama called the Gulf disaster a “wake-up call” for action on renewable energy, and urged the Senate to move on energy legislation. “It is time to accelerate efforts,” the president said.

Clean coal infrastructure threatened by climate regs Development of clean coal use technologies is crucial to efficient 21st Century coal-powered generation, Illinois Coal Association President Philip Gonet told FarmWeek. Gonet is frustrated by a lack of federal movement on FutureGen, a Mattoon coal power-carbon sequestration project delayed for more than a year after the Bush administration shelved it and the Obama administration subsequently revived it, pending revised estimates on costs and benefits. Christian County’s $3.5-billion Taylorville Energy Center and a proposed Jefferson County coal gasification-synthetic natural gas venture also are crucial to clean coal development, he said. Gonet believes South African coal gasification-liquefaction technology could be adapted to provide new U.S. fuels, and argues Illinois could be a production center. However, development of coal-based fuels likely would necessitate costly, extensive pipelines to safely transport the captured carbon dioxide. The Taylorville Energy Center plan, currently under Illinois Commerce Commission review and subject to state legislative approval, includes such a pipeline, designed to move CO2 to Texas for use in advanced oil recovery. But Gonet is concerned new U.S. Senate climate/green-house gas proposals could thwart coal CO2 sequestration and development efforts before they can coalesce. He questions whether the Senate plan is “much better than Waxman-Markey” — the failed 2009 House emissions cap-and-trade measure that would have placed stringent new emissions limits on coal-fired utilities. Fears regarding cap-and-trade proposals in part spurred fertilizer manufacturer Rentech’s decision to suspend plans for a Dubuque “coal-to-liquids” plant that, according to Gonet, could set the stage for use of CO2 captured across Illinois. The Taylorville project includes a pipeline that could be used to safely and efficiently transport CO2 to coal fuel plants. “Anything that restricts carbon prior to the technology being successfully developed and deployed is going to hurt the coal industry, which will cause increases in the cost of electricity, which will harm the economy,” he said. “We have an abundance of coal in this country. Here in Illinois, we have 100 billion tons of recoverable coal — enough to meet this country’s energy needs for 100 years. “We have five projects in some phase of planning or development, starting with FutureGen. Those will develop this technology, which we need in order to continue to provide low-cost energy for this country.” — Martin Ross

Financial package mixed bag for rural banks? Financial regulators themselves more than prospective financial regulation pose a key challenge for small and rural banks, according to David Schroeder, governmental affairs specialist with the Community Bankers Association of Illinois (CBAI). Schroeder told FarmWeek federal financial reforms now set for House-Senate conference approval offer a mixed bag for community banks. His association fought, with partial success, to moderate regulatory proposals that could affect community bank reserves and lending capabilities. “Like any piece of legislation — especially sweeping legislation — you’ll have some areas where you feel you’ve had some victories, where you’ve had some

defeats, and where there is some unfinished business,” he said. “This legislation is certainly no different.” Among clear CBAI “victories” is expansion of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (FDIC) assessment base. FDIC insurance crucial to depositor/borrower protection has been based on assessment of a bank’s total deposits. Under reform legislation, assessments would be based on total bank assets. That’s important to smaller banks, which fund operations primarily with deposits to a far greater extent than larger institutions. Under deposit-only assessments, small banks pay disproportionately high FDIC “premiums,” Schroeder said. Under the new formula,

more than 98 percent of community banks with less than $10 billion in assets reportedly would see average annual premium savings of 32.6 percent, enabling them to retain $4.5 billion over the next three years, he said. CBAI helped defeat a proposal to limit Federal Reserve Bank oversight strictly to major financial institutions. Schroeder argued Fed regulation of state-chartered banks and small bank holding companies as well as larger banks provides a “balanced view” of industry health and risks. CBAI challenged a requirement that would force banks to retain 5 percent of residential mortgage loans they sell to other institutions, to ensure they share responsibility for loan quality.

Noting financial woes resulting from risky “exotic mortgages,” CBAI and others persuaded lawmakers to exempt “traditional,” secure mortgages from the requirement. At the same time, Schroeder said Congress did not address “one of the biggest issues out there”: “Harsh” bank regulatory exams. In the wake of the financial shakeup, “the pendulum has swung way too far,” with bank examiners over-scrutinizing even secure, performing loans and forcing banks to place more earnings in loan-loss reserves, often regardless of their current strength, Schroeder related. “Banks are being very, very protective of their capital base, and as a result are

not lending to the extent they’d like,” he related. “That’s hurting the economic recovery.” CBAI advocates allowing community banks to amortize, or essentially write off, loan losses over a 10year period, strictly for regulatory purposes. That would provide them a temporary “lifeline,” similar to allowances FDIC offered banks during the 1980s farm crisis, Schroeder said.

RFS2 Continued from page 1 ble damage, (credit extension) has been an urgency since its lapse,” NBB’s Frohlich told FarmWeek. “The RFS2 plays into this, but there’s just a baseline urgency to getting this passed.”


FarmWeek Page 5 Monday, May 31, 2010

RESEARCH

Researchers learning sows know their needs best BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Humans may think they know what a sow wants, but researchers with Illinois State University (ISU) and the University of Illinois are learning man’s perception may not match a sow’s wants. Animal rights activists perceive that man’s idea of comfortable sow housing is the same as a sow’s idea, said Paul Walker, animal sciences professor at ISU. “We really don’t know what a sow thinks is comfortable,” Walker said. Sow comfort and well being are among the factors

‘These studies by I S U a n d t h e U of I tell producers not to give up the battle with animal rights groups. ’ — Paul Walker Illinois State University animal sciences professor

being studied in several joint research projects by ISU and U of I researchers on ISU’s research farm in Lexington. Results still are being tabulated for research that was funded by the National Pork Board and the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR). “These studies by ISU and the U of I tell producers not to give up the battle with animal rights groups. Going to loose housing may not be in the best interest of sows,” Walker said. “I don’t think people realize how aggressive sows are,” especially when given the

opportunity in group housing, added Andrea Hanson, an ISU animal science graduate student who conducted ISU’s first animal behavior studies. Preliminary results from a pilot study show gestating sows (protected in farrowing stalls) are more interested in socializing with other gestating sows than in moving around in their stalls, according to Hanson. She studied groups of sows that had other sows housed in front and behind them, sows in front of them and a wall behind them, or sows surrounding them. The study also included placing feed and water nipples together at the front of the stall or on opposite ends of the stall, which is the normal arrangement. “When the wall was at the rear (of the pen), they didn’t spend that much time facing the rear and they didn’t turn around as much,” Hanson said. “They turned around more when there were sows (housed) on both ends or when sows were (housed) on both sides.” Hanson has studied group sow housing with 18 square feet per sow compared to 25 square feet per sow. Both arrangements had pens of 10 gestating sows. Hanson fed the groups high-fiber or low-fiber diets. She theorized a high-fiber diet would fill up the animals more than a low-fiber diet and influence their behavior. Although Hanson is still analyzing her results, the amount of floor space and different diets did not affect gestation, she said. However, sows with less floor space had more wounds after two days of being housed together compared to their counterparts. “I’m fairly certain in group housing there is more aggres-

sion and more wounds,” Hanson said. Hanson also did analyses of existing studies to compare potential impacts of typical farrowing stalls with freedom stalls in which sows can turn around. Older, larger sows had more difficulty turning in the freedom stalls and probably didn’t perform as well, Hanson said. ISU researchers are planning additional housing studies, including self-feeding methods for sows in group housing. The joint ISU and U of I research is important for the swine industry and for the education of Illinois university students, according to Walker. “This is an example of how the universities work together, have many students involved, and do non-duplicative work,” he said.

A sow has space to move in a “freedom” farrowing stall on the Illinois State University research farm at Lexington. The stall sides are brought closer together when a sow farrows and then opened to the above placement about two days after farrowing. (FarmWeek file photo)

A sow turns around in a turn-about stall on the Illinois State University (ISU) research farm near Lexington. ISU and University of Illinois researchers are studying the stalls’ impact on animal production and behavior. (FarmWeek file photo)

Stall design may impact gestating sow behavior, well-being University of Illinois researchers are studying whether stall designs impact sow behavior and well-being. “Sows have changed,” said Janeen Salak-Johnson, U of I associate professor of animal sciences. “Our research shows that modifications of stall design may have a positive effect on sow behavior and well-being.” The study is being conducted on the Illinois State University (ISU) research farm near Lexington. The research was funded by the National Pork Board. Researchers included Ashley DeDecker of the U of I and Paul Walker and Andrea Hanson of ISU. Sows were evaluated in a standard gestation stall and a turn-around stall

that pairs two sows with a shared divider, allowing one animal to turn around at a time. Researchers compared the behavioral differences of sows housed in standard or turn-around stalls for 30 days. Some sows then were placed in group pens, while others stayed in stalls for the remainder of their gestation period. Preliminary results show that slight stall design modifications influence the animals’ well-being, particularly sow behavior and immune status. “Sometimes behavior is the best adjustment an animal can make in a stressful situation,” Salak-Johnson said. “Making modifications to the gestation

stall may allow sows to adapt more easily to stressful situations without experiencing negative consequences.” Researchers observed that stall design modifications resulted in behavioral differences between sow groups. Sows in standard stalls sat more, while those in turn-around stalls lay down more. Previous studies showed immune status was affected more by day of gestation rather than treatment. However for the first time, the U of I’s research indicated the stall design may impact sow immune status. Sows in turn-around stalls had greater lymphocyte activity, which indicated a more stimulated immune

response compared to sows in standard stalls. An activated immune system could imply either a sow’s biological defense to stress or a sow’s readiness to fight infection if challenged with a pathogen. “The next step is to figure out what these differences mean and which response is better for the sow,” SalakJohnson said. She and her team want to learn the positive physical components of each stall type and combine those into housing recommendations. “If you really want to find the best option, you need to see research results that prove one housing option is better than the other,” she said. “Right now, that information doesn’t exist.”


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, May 31, 2010

CROPWATCHERS Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: It’s warming up here in Northern Illinois, and we are getting some warm growing conditions that we missed out on last year. The rain last week was very spotty, with the east side of the county getting more than 1 inch and some areas missing out on the rain altogether. The corn is growing fast right now, with the warmer weather and good soil moisture. Most of the beans look good also, except some that were planted right before the heavy rain of a few weeks ago. That ground had some crusting, and there has been some replanting because of it. Lots of haymaking, sidedressing nitrogen, and post application of herbicides. Pete Tekampe, Grayslake, Lake County: A beautiful week in Lake County. Corn is all planted and growing fast, but so are the weeds. Beans are about 90 percent planted with early beans looking great. Some hay has been cut. The winter wheat is mostly headed out, and it’s still only May. That’s early for us. I didn’t get any rain last week. It all went to the northern or southern part of the county. I’m not asking for rain after the 4 inches we got the last time I asked for it. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: The 90-degree temperatures and 1.2 inches of rain really made things grow. Rain on Tuesday, May 25 ranged from a half inch to 2 inches-plus. Fierce lightning fried phone lines, computers, TVs, and equipment at the Savanna City Hall. Corn has good color and the herbicides are working well. Wheat is now heading. Oats are growing well and soon will be heading. Beans look good, and I think basically are all planted. Potato fields are blossoming. Green snap beans are growing. Peas have bloomed. It’s amazing what you see when you are traveling for computer repairs. Ron Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: Average corn is 6 to 8 inches tall and after a week of very warm weather has better color. Sidedressing nitrogen and some post spraying are keeping farmers active in the cornfields. About 10 percent of the soybeans remain to be planted. Low spots are slow to dry out and scattered showers continue to re-wet them. The showers have helped the soybeans that were planted before the heavy rains a couple weeks ago, but they are still struggling to emerge through crusted soil. Hay is being cut and ditches mowed. There is no lack of jobs this busy time of year. Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: Isolated showers rolled through Lee County off and on all week. If one passed directly over your farm, you probably were good for at least an inch of rain. You got closer to zero if you were more than a mile or two from the center. We’ve been busy working on equipment after the spring rush and shipping grain out of storage. The moisture on corn has been running right at 15 percent, but the test weight has only been in the 49- to 50-pound range. The discount for that will knock the heck out of what was a pretty good sale price. I took some time this week to get my 1946 Chevy pickup ready to drive this summer. I love the slow and relaxing Sunday drives to nowhere. Plus, it reminds me of my childhood riding in the back of Grandma Hummel’s ’46 singing songs with my brother and sister and cousins. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: The week started with a flurry of fieldwork that ended Tuesday afternoon (May 25). Spotty heavy showers left from a trace to 3.5 inches with some hail. Most planting on drier ground was expected to be finished by Memorial Day. I have a day each of corn and beans left. There may be the same amount of prevented planting as last year in the bottoms.

Joe Zumwalt, Warsaw, Hancock County: It was an extremely busy week in Western Illinois. From the middle of last week, equipment of every sort was moving here and there. Planting and replanting of both corn and soybeans, spraying, sidedressing, hay mowing, and everything in between have been taking place. This in spite of the numerous scattered heavy showers that moved through the area from Tuesday to Thursday leaving small areas even more wet than they were before. Early corn continues to look extremely good and is approaching V6 while some is not even in the ground yet. Some soybeans have been planted but very few. The weather is finally looking like we may actually be able to get some fieldwork done in a timely manner. Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: We received 2.5 inches of rain on May 21 and 22. That puts our total for May at nearly 8 inches. That is less than some areas that had more than 15 inches in May. We have had sun and 95degree temperatures since the rain. The hot weather crusted some bean fields to the point that we will have to replant 70 acres. That does not include the 30 acres of corn and beans that were drowned out by heavy rain. The corn roots are now starting to reach the nitrogen and turning the crop dark green. We did get hay mowed and baled last week without any rain on it. Hopefully, planting will come to a close in this area this week. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: What a week. The hot weather was nice to finally get the corn growing. Along with the heat came storms. I received anywhere from 0.3 of an inch to 5 inches and some hail. I still have some soybeans to plant, and now I have corn to replant. The weeds also have enjoyed the weather, so others and I have been spraying between rains. A week of good weather should wrap up planting in this area. Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: We had a somewhat dry week. Some bean planting was completed and a lot of corn spraying was done. We are starting to see some of our good fields and our bad fields. What worked in one field didn’t work in another. Our corn-on-corn tends to look the worst. I think the roots just haven’t grown enough to reach the nitrogen. It’s very spotty, very erratic, very yellow. There is green corn beside yellow corn beside short corn. Time will tell what comes of it. Beans seem to be coming up nicely. People were worried the first part of the bean planting season after all the hard rain, but the warm weather seems to have brought them up. There is a little bit of replanting, but in general things seem to be coming along OK. Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: After I made my last report, we received 0.5 to 0.6 of an inch of rain on Friday (May 21). Some farmers returned to the fields to begin sidedressing nitrogen or spray herbicides on Tuesday. Others entered the field the next day to sidedress nitrogen, row cultivate corn, or plant soybeans. Roadsides are being mowed. It rained again on the evening of May 26 or early morning of May 27. We received anywhere from nothing to 0.6 of an inch. That slowed up fieldwork for those who received the showers. We were able to continue sidedressing where we received little or no rain. Corn development is anywhere from the V3 to the V6 growth stage. Most corn is in the V4 to V5 growth stage. At V6, the growing point moves above ground and the stalk is beginning a period of increased elongation. Most soybean fields that have emerged are in the VC growth stage with their unifoliolate leaves open. Other fields are being planted or remain to be planted. The local closing prices for May 27 were nearby corn, $3.50; new-crop corn, $3.57; fall 2011 corn, $3.79; nearby soybeans, $9.38; new-crop soybeans, $8.77; fall 2011 soybeans, $8.93.

Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: Some widely scattered thunderstorms hit a few areas of the county slowing fieldwork for some. Our area was rain free and the planters and sidedress applicators kept rolling. Soybeans are getting planted and replanted. The beans that got in trouble coming up are the ones in poorly drained soils, planted just ahead of the two weeks of rain. A shot of nitrogen is what this corn needs, along with the summerlike temperatures. I see a lot of hay being cut and baled, waterways and roadsides will be next. As June approaches, let’s hope for timely rains and no insect problems. They tell me that the four corners in the northwest part of our county get the most rain. Markets will be keying off summer weather and Chinese buying. Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: The specter of the 2009 harvest continues to loom over us as some of the crop has struggled to get roots established, especially in continuous corn. Yellow streaks, stunting, and uneven plants are evidence of compaction, NH3 burn, and other factors. Soybean planting is wrapping up and post spraying of corn is under way. Corn is at V6 and soybeans are V2-3. Copious amounts of rain fell last week in widely scattered thunderstorms. Corn, $3.51; fall, $3.49; soybeans, $9.27; fall, $8.76; wheat, $3.93. Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: The green carpet emergeth from the dark soil! Corn and soybeans are growing well as the 77 percent good to excellent crop condition indicates. Corn is V3 to V6 growth stage. Soybeans are 67 percent planted with 42 percent emerged. Pop-up storms were in the area most recently on Wednesday evening when 2 inches fell in northeast Champaign County. Farmers are drilling beans, cultivating, side dress ing, spraying, and crop scouting. We have a 40 percent chance of rain on Wednesday with moderating temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees. Let’s be careful out there! Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: It’s been a dry and rather warm week in our area, which is just what the crops needed to get up and growing. So far in May, our gauge shows 2.7 inches and none since the 20th, although several in the area got some rain last week in pop-up showers. Corn is looking better since more has emerged, but there still are spotty stands. Some have dragged out the rotary hoes and some have spotted in some blank spots. Still not many soybeans in the ground. Wheat is headed out but short, and some hay also is being put down. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: I think I can speak for all the farmers in Coles County in saying that things are almost getting chaotic. After last weekend’s (May 22-23) rains turned out to be minimal, planters, sprayers, and toolbars started back out one by one when conditions became fit. They were out in full force until the most spotty rains I can ever recall stopped some, moved others, and had no effect on the rest of us throughout the midto later part of last week. The good news is that bean planting is close to wrapping up and spraying and anhydrous application are about half done or better. That heat we were wanting finally came last week and you can about watch the crops grow. Corn plants are in the V5 to V6 range and looking pretty good for the most part with the exception of a few spots showing nitrogen deficiency and or compaction problems. Early soybean plantings are enjoying the warmth also. They are easy to see from the road while the rest of the beans are just emerging or just getting planted. It is apparent this year’s soybean crop will be multi-generational, which will mean changing combines back and forth several times next fall.


Page 7 Monday, May 31, 2010 FarmWeek

CROPWATCHERS Carrie Winkelmann, Menard County: Our farm was hit hard by a 15-minute hailstorm on May 25. About one-third of the corn crop was damaged, our entire pumpkin crop, and a good portion of the plants in the garden. The corn will grow out of it, but will show a yield loss, I am sure. The pumpkins are going to have to be replanted, but I think the garden will pull through with minimal replanting. The area saw spotty storms, and hail was a problem areawide. We received 2.84 inches of rain last week with 2.13 of it coming with the hail on May 25. So far this month, we have seen 9.45 inches of rainfall. We have been held out of the field and still have no beans planted. Tom Ritter, Blue Mound, Macon County: A week of warm temperatures brewed up a lot of spotty showers. Some farmers received no rain and others received more than 2 inches. A lot of difference from mile to mile depending upon whether you were in the heat of the storm or not. But with the warm temperatures and humidity, corn has progressed. Almost all corn is knee-high or better here and has good color. Most fields look very good, except for a few isolated fields with compaction, showing some anemic symptoms. Soybean planting has been stalled for the last two weeks. A few farmers, depending upon the area they were in with spotted showers, have been able to complete planting. I estimate that 70 percent of beans in this area have been planted. Overall, crop prospects look good. There has been a lot of spraying going on, and farmers are definitely ahead of last year. Doug Uphoff, Shelbyville, Shelby County: We finally were back in the field last week only to find out it was dry on top and pure mud underneath. We quit until Thursday, when the soil started working a little better. All farmers are complaining of poor planting conditions. We were rained out Thursday with 0.02 of an inch in 5 minutes. That was much better than Neoga area that received close to 1 inch Wednesday, and Sangamon County received 2 to 5 inches in a few hours. Corn is still being planted south of here, some for first time. Some is being spotted in for the second and third time. We mowed hay Tuesday, waited on it to dry and, hopefully had it baled by Saturday. Sidedressing and post applications of Roundup on corn also is prevalent. Farm diesel, (no soy oil), $2.353; farm diesel (11 percent soy oil), $2.32; truck diesel (no soy oil), $2.828; truck diesel (11 percent soy oil), $2.783; gasohol, $2.599. Cash corn, $3.49; July corn, $3.51; fall corn, $3.60; January corn, $3.75; cash wheat, $4.23; cash beans, $9.44; July beans, $9.42; fall beans, $8.85; January beans, $9.01.

David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: It was a hot, humid week here, but we lucked out on the rain right here in the immediate area. Places in the county had rain on Monday night and Tuesday (May 24-25) with some of it being on the heavy side. The corn did some growing last week with the high temperatures and the high humidity. The only thing is low spots in the fields have yellow corn. Postemerge spraying and sidedressing of corn took place last week. On Wednesday and Thursday a few started to plant beans on select fields. I hoped to start with beans on Friday. No pest problems to report. I am seeing some white heads showing up on the little bit of wheat around. Grain prices gained a little bit of ground last week. Stay safe, and for everyone who is still wet, I hope it dries out soon. Ted Kuebrich, Jerseyville, Jersey County: The weather in Jersey County last week was hot and humid with the temperatures in the 90s. The fields dried out and farmers were back in the fields planting beans and spraying cornfields for grass. With the hot weather, the crops are growing fast. Jersey County received anywhere from 0.3 to half inch of rain. Prices at Jersey County Grain, Hardin: May 2010 corn, $3.62; fall delivery 2010 corn, $3.55; May 2010 beans, $9.60; fall delivery 2010 beans, $8.90; July wheat, $4.26. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: After being out of the fields for five weeks, most farmers in this area finally were able to get into the fields where ground conditions permitted on Wednesday and Thursday. A lot of corn is being replanted and planted for the first time. Spraying and applying fertilizer is being done. Spotty thundershowers moved through the area Tuesday (May 25) through Thursday leaving heavy amounts where they hit. It has been extremely hot and humid. Although showers are in the forecast early this week, we’re hoping they miss us so we can make more progress on planting corn. Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: The weather this past week was what I imagined the tropics would be. On Tuesday (May 25), Wednesday, and Thursday, the morning and early afternoon were hot and muggy. Then it would cloud up and rain. It just depended on where you were how much rain you got. Some places had more than one inch and some places have hardly any rain. Warm weather has helped the corn, but is still uneven and pale looking, especially in the low areas. We are trying to complete bean planting. The scattered rains seem to fall on the fields I don’t have planted yet. Reports received Friday morning. Expanded crop information available at FarmWeekNow.com

Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: We broke up the card game Thursday and were able to plant our first batch of beans. Thirty minutes later the fields were under water. 2009 all over again. Deal me in again.

Bob Biehl, Belleville, St. Clair County: Our area was very fortunate this past week. We had an opportunity to dry out with only a few showers a couple of days. Some areas were hit hard with 1 to 3 inches of rain. We have almost completed sidedressing corn, except for the last planted fields, and have got a jump on spraying corn. Corn sprayed right after planting is fairly clean except for some morning glories. Chemical that was worked in has quite a few escapes. Warm, dry weather has really improved the corn appearance and growth. Early in the week it was so uneven and the low areas looked like they were about to die from all the moisture. I have not seen anyone planting beans in our immediate area yet, but several were expected to start Friday with the ground finally drying out. Other parts of the county started beans late last week. We have to spot in some replant corn on fields planted May 7 that have been saturated with water. We hoped to kick off bean planting over the weekend. Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: Last week we had a rough time with Mother Nature. Every day we had popup thunderstorms and showers. It amounted to very little rain to some areas having 4 to 5 inches. Trying to get some fieldwork done last week was kind of hectic. We did get a little bit more done, and I am close to what we call the water’s edge down here in this river bottom ground. Maybe it will straighten up and this week I can finish up with the high ground. But the corn is growing. It’s grown out of the yellow stage and starting to show green. Some beans are big enough now that we are going back to give them their first spray. They are about soda can high and not looking too bad. Milo is up and growing and wheat is headed out pretty nicely. Still don’t know diseases in the wheat. If we could control the weather, we could do a lot better job of farming. Everyone take care with the planting season. Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: Spring continues to be a challenge here in deep Southern Illinois. We certainly haven’t had any shortage of rainfall. We were fortunate we missed the showers on Monday (May 24), but Wednesday we had an inch and a half here at the house. Some areas didn’t receive any. We started planting soybeans, and probably are about one third planted. We also are trying to spray and sidedress corn. Please remember to be careful during this busy season.

Pythium infects corn, soybeans in cool, wet weather BY KEVIN BLACK

Pythium is a disease associated with cool, wet weather. Infection typically occurs in soils with temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The Pythium spore is a swimmer. Free moisture in the soil is required for infection to take place. We have recently received a number of reports of Pythium infections in corn.

Reports of P y t h i u m infected soybeans are expected to follow soon. The same conditions are required for infection Kevin Black to take place in soybeans as with corn. In corn, individuals have

reported finding pinched or shriveled mesocotyls or crown infections. First signs of this disease typically include watery discoloration of affected tissue, which later shrivels and turns light brown to brown in color. As the infection progresses, all affected plant tissue becomes mushy. Corn can sometimes grow away from infection in the mesocotyl if

nodal roots have emerg ed and are functional. Pythium crown infections usually are fatal. If Pythium is associated with cool, wet weather, why are we seeing it now? Much of the corn has just come through a cool, wet period that was favorable for infection but not great for corn root development. As cur rent hot weather

creates moisture stress for the corn, plants that are already infected can’t keep up and are dying. However, this hot weather is positive because it will, in fact, limit any new Pythium infections. Kevin Black is GROWMARK’s insect and plant disease technical manager. His e-mail addr ess is kblack@growmark.com.


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, May 31, 2010

PRODUCTION

Wheat Tour finds low tiller counts, some disease BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Heavy rains during flowering and some disease pressure could take its toll on the already much smaller Illinois wheat crop. Participants of the Southern Illinois Wheat Tour last week scouted more than 30 fields and predicted an average yield of 48.2 bushels per acre. If realized, that yield would not meet previous expectations. USDA earlier this month projected an average state yield of 60 bushels per acre. The wheat crop last year averaged 56 bushels per acre in Illinois. “There was some winterkill, some of it drowned out (this spring), and there is some disease pressure,” said Jennifer Monke, quality assurance manager with Mennel Milling Co. in Mt. Olive. “Tiller counts (taken on the tour) were lower than normal.” Yield estimates in Southwestern Illinois generally

ranged from the upper 30s to 50-plus bushels per acre, Monke reported. The wheat crop in Southeastern Illinois, however, looked more promising based on tour findings, according to Dave Devore of Siemer Milling Co. in Teutopolis. “What I saw (for yield potential) typically was in the upper 50s to upper 60s,” said Devore, who noted disease pressure seemed lighter in the southeast compared to reports from the southwest. “The main issue (this year) is we don’t have the acreage, and tiller counts are down.” Many farmers were unable to plant wheat last fall while others destroyed fields this spring due to poor stands. USDA this month projected Illinois farmers will harvest just 325,000 acres of wheat compared to 820,000 last year. “It was a challenge” to find wheat fields during the tour, Monke said. “In some areas that you typically think of as ‘wheat country’ there just weren’t any fields.”

Madison County wheat growers Tim Gueldner, left, and Kyle Brase record tiller counts and crop observations in Macoupin County during last week’s Southern Illinois Wheat Tour, sponsored by the Illinois Wheat Association. Participants found a wide range of yield potential, from just 30 to 50-plus bushels per acre in Southwestern Illinois to 50 to 60-plus bushels per acre in Southeastern Illinois. Wheat harvest is expected to begin around June 20. (Photo by Daniel Grant)

Diseases found in some wheat fields during the tour included head scab, septoria, and barley yellow dwarf.

Monke estimated as much as 20 percent of wheat plants were infected with scab at one location in Macoupin County. Kyle Brase, a wheat grower near Edwardsville, believes fungicide applications may

pay off this year. “I think the crop is going to be better than we originally thought, with average to slightly below average yields,” Brase said. “It’s too early to tell about quality.”

Wheat growers prepare to harvest record-small crop Wheat harvest is expected to be “on time” or close to it in Illinois this year despite a late planting season last fall. Participants of the Illinois Wheat Tour last week predicted farmers in the southern portion of the state could begin wheat harvest by the third or fourth week of June. “I think we’ll see a fairly normal time frame for harvest,” Dave Devore of Siemer Milling Co. in Teutopolis said last week after scouting fields as part of the tour. As of the first of last week 81 percent of the wheat crop was headed and 28 percent was filled compared to the fiveyear averages of 77 and 17 percent, respectively, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois field office. The wheat harvest this year, regardless of when it begins, likely will be a brief exercise. Illinois farmers planted a record-low 350,000 acres last fall and are expected to harvest just 325,000 acres compared to 820,000 acres last year. “Obviously (planting) conditions were not ideal and a lot went in late into soil conditions that were not favorable,” said Tim Gueldner, a wheat grower from Moro in Madison County. Gueldner estimated about 55 percent of wheat acres on his family’s farm were destroyed this spring and planted to corn. Kyle Brase, who grows wheat near Edwardsville, also destroyed a significant portion of his crop. “I bet 30 percent was destroyed,” he said. “It did not get through the winter well.” The condition of Illinois’ wheat crop last week was rated 36 percent good to excellent, 35 percent fair, and 29 percent poor to very poor. USDA this month projected soft red winter wheat production nationwide will total 283 million bushels, a 30 percent drop from a year ago. — Daniel Grant


FarmWeek Page 9 Monday, May 31, 2010

EDUCATION

A year later, SIU progressing ISU to mark 100 years on its research farm repairs of agriculture study BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Southern Illinois University (SIU) has not regained its agricultural facilities that were destroyed by an inland hurricane about a year ago; however, the situation should change soon, according to the interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “It’s slower than what we would have liked, but FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has been good to work with,” Interim Ag Dean Todd Winters told FarmWeek. “We’ve made progress. We’ve done a lot of clean up.” On May 8, 2009, an inland Todd Winters hurricane tore through the area and caused significant damage to the SIU research farm. Twenty-three buildings were damaged and seven, including the feed mill, beef barn, and stallion barn, were destroyed. With assistance from FEMA and approval by the SIU board of trustees, the college should soon start rebuilding some of the farm buildings. FEMA is contributing 75 percent, leaving

the university to contribute the remaining 25 percent, according to Winters. Construction should start soon to replace the farm’s feed mill. Winters was optimistic construction would start this summer on the farm machine shop. Also this summer, work will start on the horse barn, according to Winters. Sheryl King, SIU’s horse program director, was able to raise funds to add “some small improvements” to a replacement barn, he said. He also was hopeful the beef research center will be replaced soon. However, clean up has progressed more slowly on the large number of downed trees that destroyed the farm fences. “The fence line is a bigger project than we thought because there are a lot of downed trees. We hope to have the trees cleaned up in a month or so,” Winters said. Outside contractors were hired to help cut and remove the downed trees. Temporary fences will remain in place until the cleanup is finished. While the college continues to rebuild its farm facilities, the outlook remains strong for enrollment, although final enrollment numbers won’t be available until next fall, Winters said. “I think we’re going to be looking good,” he added.

Illinois State University (ISU) is planning a series of activities, starting this summer, leading up to the agriculture department’s centennial celebration in 2011. A collection of centennial events with dates and details will be posted on the department’s website, according to Rob Rhykerd, department chairman. The information will continue to be updated as dates and specifics are finalized, Rhykerd added. The first summer event will be at 7 p.m. July 22 with ISU Ag Night at Normal’s CornBelters, a new professional baseball team. The game will be preceded by an agriculture alumni cookout at the Horticulture Center on Raab Road. A portion of the ticket price will go to support the Horti-

culture Center. Rhykerd said alumni and department supporters will be informed about upcoming activities in newsletters and notices. Dates have not been finalized for several activities, including some linked with men’s basketball games. In addition to activities, ISU’s ag department also is launching a fundraising initiative, dubbed “100 x 100.” The goal is to raise $400,000 to support four priorities: scholarships, the ISU farm, the Horticulture Center, and special projects, according to Rhykerd. Upcoming 2010 activities and dates include: • Harvey Woods Golf Classic, 8 a.m. July 23, D.A. Weibring Golf Course, Normal. • Autumnal Festival, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 2, ISU Horticulture Center, Normal. • Homecoming reception, 8:30 a.m., Oct. 16, Ropp Ag Building, Normal. — Kay Shipman

June is Dairy Month

Specialist: Milk continues to be a good buy for consumers Consumers have reason to celebrate June Dairy Month, according to Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois Extension dairy specialist. Dairy products continue to be a good buy for consumers, and the nutritional importance of dairy products in the diet plays a key role in human health and development. Dairy Month originally marked the time of year that surplus milk needed to be sold because cows produced more milk after grazing on pasture in the spring, accord-

ing to the specialist. Consumers in June will notice a focus on dairy products and dairy product recipes in displays at dairy cases around the country. “Milk prices have remained constant in most areas with specials on milk as low as $2 to $2.50 a gallon,” Hutjens said. Organic milk also is available at about $6 to $7 per gallon, “or consumers can purchase ‘green’ milk from dairy farmers using approved FDA (Food and Drug Administration) technologies to produce

Weed Science Field Day at U of I set for June 30 University researchers will present information along with tours at the 2010 University of Illinois Weed Science Field Day June 30 at the U of I Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, Urbana. “You can compare your favorite corn and soybean herbicide programs to other commercial programs and get an early look at some new herbicide active ingredients,” said Aaron Hager, U of I Extension weed specialist. Coffee and refreshments will be available near the Seed House at 8 a.m. The tour will conclude around noon with lunch. Pre-registration is not required. The cost for the tour is $10 and includes a tour book, refreshments, and lunch. Field research work is continuing at the DeKalb, Perry, and Brownstown research centers, along with a few on-farm locations. No formal weed science tours will be held, but most plots may be viewed during agronomy day field tours at those locations. For more information, contact your local Extension office.

milk resulting in a lower carbon footprint,” Hutjens said. Hutjens advised consumers

to avoid raw, unpasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk made national headlines last month when Wisconsin nearly

passed a bill that would have allowed dairy producers to sell such milk directly to consumers. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed the legislation, citing public health concerns as the main reason. “Consumers should never purchase raw milk due to potential bacteria risks,” Hutjens said. Dairy products in general, though, contain high-quality protein with essential amino acids in addition to whey proteins important for

weight control. “Milk contains high levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and added vitamin D, which are critical for human health and bone formation,” Hutjens said. “Dairy products can be particularly important for older consumers.” Daily U.S. dietary guidelines recommend two servings of dairy products for children 1 to 8 years of age and three dairy servings for adults and children 9 years of age and older.

LENDING A HAND AT KIDS’ FAIR Janet McCabe, Cook County Farm Bureau Public Policy Team member, and Mike Marron, chairman of the Ver milion County Farm Bureau Legislative and Local Affairs Committee, distribute agrelated information to some of the 500 visitors attending a recent Kids’ Fair sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) in Arlington Heights. The two county Farm Bureaus hosted an ag booth. Kotowski and Vermilion County Farm Bureau were matched through the Adopt-aLegislator program. The county Farm Bureau volunteers also chatted with the senator, his staff, and suburban constituents about agricultural issues. (Photo by Christina Nourie, Illinois Far m Bureau northeast legislative coordinator)


FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, May 31, 2010

EDUCATION

Corn campaign to plaster D.C. with farm faces BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

The disconnect between the Corn Belt and the Washington Beltway appears to be growing even as Congress considers ag policy, climate, and other issues critical to producers. That’s why Central Illinois producers John and Sue Adams will be getting in lawmakers’ faces over the next two months — in D.C.-area airport terminals, on the subway, even in the morning paper. The Adamses are among growers featured in a new Corn Farmers Coalition (CFC) education campaign focused on putting a face to modern agriculture and providing “a foundation of facts seen as essential to (Capitol Hill) decision-making.” The Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) and farmers from 13 other states are joining the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to support the program, which will promote

producers in a variety of publications, radio outlets, websites, and public venues such as Washington Metro stations and Reagan National Airport. The $1 million campaign launches Tuesday, with efforts continuing until Congress’ August recess. ICMB Chairman Jim Rapp reported the CFC will share “a significant amount of information on how innovative and high-tech corn farmers have become.” Farmers are “using some of the most advanced technologies on the planet to do more with less,” CFC Director Mark Lambert said. Farm efficiency and con-

servation are integral factors amid evolving climate policy proposals and ethanol debate

his corn yields have increased by 65-70 bushels per acre over the past 38 years, with

clouded by the “food vs. fuel” controversy. John Adams, a fifth-generation Atlanta producer, noted

reduced pesticide use and “a lot less fuel.” “Ten or 15 years ago, we’d come to Washington and visit our congressmen and senators, and we always had good rapport,” he said. “Two years ago, I came again and was quite shocked. We often heard, ‘We didn’t know there were any family farms left back in Illinois. We thought it was all big corporate farms.’ “There are a lot of family farms, and we are working quite hard to produce a lot of food, fuel, and fiber for our countries and for our foreign customers around the world.”

The coalition will advertise in Washington Nationals baseball programs and highlight ag technology, yield expansion, and farming as a “bright spot” in the economy in meetings with lawmakers, the media, and others. The CFC also aims to provide an accurate view of today’s producer — an important goal as policymakers grapple with confusing and conflicting perceptions of “corporate,” “independent,” “small,” and “large” farms. Adams stressed, “We are a true family farm.” According to NCGA President Darrin Ihnen, that is an increasingly diverse category. “Size doesn’t define a family farm — I’m larger than when my grandfather farmed, but I’m still a family farm,” Ihnen told FarmWeek. “Our farm is incorporated, but we still are a family farm — it’s my folks, my wife, our kids. Farms come in all sizes, and more than 90 percent of the corn produced in this country is from family farms.” Also, according to the coalition, 95 percent of all corn farms in America are family owned.

Illinois Herb Association SummerFest set June 12 The Illinois Herb Association’s (IHA) 2010 SummerFest will be Saturday, June 12, at the Washington Park Botanical Garden in Springfield. This year’s theme is “Catch the Passion.” Four speakers will share information about herbal uses and there will be a tour of the botanical garden. A vendor fair, featuring the latest in herbal products, fresh and dried herbs, and garden-related items also will be available. The public is invited. The programs: • “Favorite Culinary Herbs” with Deborah Lee, 9 a.m. • “Cooking with Herbs, Plant to Plate” with chef Tony Leone, 10:30 a.m. • “Herbs from the Garden to the Home” Kay Carnes, 1:15 p.m. • “Hosta Heaven 1-2-3” with Pat Beckman, 2:30 p.m. Cost of the day-long event is $30 for non-IHA members and $20 for members. This includes lunch and all the day’s events. To register, contact Diane Handley at the Illinois Farm Bureau. Her e-mail address is handley@ilfb.org, her phone number is 309-557-2107, and her address is Illinois Specialty Growers Association, 1701 Towanda Ave., Bloomington, IL 61701. For information, go to {www.specialtygrowers.org/herbs.htm}.


FarmWeek Page 11 Monday, May 31, 2010

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Animal biotechnology ‘ethical’ global approach? BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Rejecting animal biotechnology out-of-hand represents a lost “opportunity cost” for a growing, hungry, increasingly disease-prone world. And that, in Alison Van Eenennaam’s opinion, is a key consideration in debate over the “ethics” of tweaking livestock genetics. While some genetically engineered animals are being used to produce human drugs, livestock applications have largely “ground to a halt,” the University of California Extension scientist told FarmWeek. She laments that “we’re not able to use this very powerful technology,” which has produced an “Enviropig” that generates safer swine wastes

and promising efforts to genetically “knock out” bovine protein responsible for BSE and build poultry resistance to avian influenza. Van Eenennaam, a participant in a Chicago panel on animal biotech ethics, warned the developing world has “a tremendous need for protein” as populations grow and incomes rise. She thus finds it “morally reprehensible” not to use biotechnology to address global hunger and disease control. “I think this technology is particularly powerful in developing disease-resistant animals,” Van Eenennaam said. “That has implications for the (more affluent) ‘First World,’ where we’re looking to more sustainable-type agriculture. If you have an animal that’s

genetically resistant to a disease, you don’t need to use (antibiotics). “There’s a great opportunity here to make animals resistant to ‘swine flu’ (H1N1) or avian influenza. In the Third World, there are a lot of livestock diseases to which we could make animals resistant. Is there a risk involved in not pursuing these disease-resistance applications?” Advanced genetics are crucial to more than merely the producer’s bottom line or developing world economies, she argued. The United Nations estimates 75 percent of emerging infectious human diseases are derived from animals, at a rate of about two such “zoonotic” diseases per year.

Van Eenennaam thus stresses the need for heightened efforts to control that “crossover,” citing the “bird flu” linked to a 1918 epidemic that claimed some 20 million human lives. Some 100 million Chinese alone have been vaccinated against H1N1, a disease that has hurt pork sales despite the lack of a link between meat consumption and infection. Following U.S. approval for the first biomedical product produced in a genetically engineered animal in February 2009, Van Eenennaam cites added research into chickens that lay eggs containing human antibodies and plans for a similar commercial development in cattle. But while strides are being made in the pharmaceutical-

medical area, she noted a USDA-developed anti-mastitis trait as well as Enviropig and BSE knockout technologies currently are “not going forward to market.” AquaBounty’s GMO salmon, engineered to grow at an accelerated rate, is the only food animal now undergoing federal review, Van Eenennaam said. She attributes the disconnect between agricultural and biomedical advances to “a general uncomfortable feeling” about genetic modifications in meat or dairy animals. “These (animal health) applications are existing, they work, they do what they say they’re going to do, but at the moment, there’s no momentum to take these products to market.”

Welfare, biotech issues converge amid views of ‘natural’ behavior The ethical debate over livestock production has become vastly more complicated as consumers have attempted to get inside the skin (or hide or feathers) of food animals. During a Chicago roundtable on the ethics of animal biotechnology, Michigan State University ag ethics specialist Paul Thompson characterized ‘ This is a philopublic attitudes toward animal sophical conunwelfare and biotechnology as “quite clumpish.” drum.’ Consumers largely react emotionally to accounts of — Paul Thompson mistreated chimpanzees or Michigan State University gorillas but indifferently to rats used in research, Thompson maintained. Food animals appear to occupy “a strange zone in the middle,” he argued. Thompson cited a recent Oklahoma State University (OSU) survey focusing on livestock care issues and yielding three basic categories of consumers. “Price seekers,” who support “minimum levels” of humane livestock care but essentially “just want cheaper food,” constituted 14 percent of survey participants, he reported. “Basic welfarists,” who view animal comfort, freedom from pain, and pre-slaughter “satisfaction” as important production considerations, comprised 40 percent of the OSU sampling. But a “pretty significant” 46 percent of those polled were what Thompson called “naturists” — consumers who believe farm animals should live “the kind of life they lead in nature.” Naturists favor free-range production, and are unimpressed by generally reduced poultry mortality under confinement production. “They expect chickens to die in nature,” Thompson told scientists. Those consumers see livestock as “having feelings,” and argue behaviors such as chickens being able to flap their wings, bathe in dust, or perch are crucial to their well-being. That’s where biotechnology comes into the welfare debate. While geneticists conceivably could eliminate poultry behaviors that are “frustrated in the most intensive types of operations,” contributing to greater physically comfort in confinement, naturists might view such adaptations as cruel. “I think genetic changes will be viewed as less problematic if they don’t involve a substantial change in the type of life that is thought to be appropriate for a particular animal,” Thompson suggested. “If you take a more welfarist point of view, there’s a strong ethical argument in favor of these kinds of technologies, because animals aren’t suffering. This is a philosophical conundrum, a hard issue.” — Martin Ross

Mammalian oddball hero for the livestock sector? It seems like an accident of nature, blessed (cursed?) with a leathery bill, webbed feet, and the dubious distinction of being one of the world’s few egg-laying mammals. But to Ben Cocks, the platypus is a beautiful thing: a genetic marvel that shares features with mammals, birds, and reptiles and, in the Australian researcher’s view, “can teach us a lot about mammalian biology, from humans to ruminants” such as cattle and sheep. The platypus also possesses some impressive traits that could help reduce livestock’s greenhouse footprint and combat ruminant diseases such as bovine mastitis — a potentially key challenge with policymakers and consumers taking aim at current veterinary antibiotics (see accompanying story). Scientists at Cocks’ Victoria, Australia, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have discovered peptides (protein compounds) in the platypus genome

that could be used to fight multi-drug-resistant bacteria. During a recent biotech conference in Chicago, Cocks, DPI biosciences research director, told FarmWeek platypus-based “antimicrobials” appear effective against streptococci (organisms responsible for meningitis and pneumonia) and staphylococci (bacteria associated with food poisoning). Further, DPI already is collaborating with a biotechnology firm in exploring possible mastitis applications for the dairy sector. “One of the things we’re interested in is regulating microbial communities — things like the rumen (digestive) environment,” Cocks added. “Antimocrobials can regulate the microbial population, so we think these could add to the tools we can use in the future to be able to optimize feed efficiency and reduce methane emissions. “Obviously, beef and dairy

are very big in Australia, and they’re the second biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.” In 2008, Cocks announced a new antimicrobial peptide from the wallaby (a kangaroo relative) which now is being tested for mastitis treatment. Cocks and company are looking at possible methods for using platypus data in animal health, including transfer of platypus genetics into cattle or development of topical treatments for mastitis or devices that can deliver antimocrobials to the herd. Because platypus antimicrobials are not related to existing antibiotics, they could provide solutions for producers facing possible withdrawal of veterinary products that contain antibiotics also used in human treatments. Livestock interests have challenged speculation that such products can cause antibiotic resistance in consumers. — Martin Ross


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, May 31, 2010

FROM THE COUNTIES

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UREAU — The Women’s Committee will sponsor a health fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Farm Bureau office. LifeLine Screening will provide the tests, which include carotid artery/stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease, and osteoporosis. Call LifeLine at 800-324-1851 for an appointment or more information. • Bureau and Lee County Farm Bureaus will sponsor their first annual golf outing Friday, July 9, at Shady Oaks Country Club, Amboy. It will be a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Proceeds will benefit the Bureau and Lee County Agriculture in the Classroom programs. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-875-6468 for a registration form or more information. OOK — The Member Relations Team will sponsor a night to see the Thunderbolt’s baseball game at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Cost is $14, which includes box seat ticket, coupon for a hot dog, chips, soda, and ice cream. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-354-3276 for reservations or more information. • The Commodities and Marketing Team will sponsor a family field trip Thursday, June 24, to the Fair Oaks Dairy Farm in Indiana. Cost is $35 for member adults and $25 for children. Non-member cost is $40. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-3543276 for reservations or more information. • The Member Relations Team and University of Illinois Extension will sponsor a workshop on “Preparing Wills and Trusts and Transferring Non-Titled Property” from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 29, at the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-354-3276 for reservations or more information. UMBERLAND — The second annual National Trail “old Capital Ride” poker run will begin at 10 a.m. June 19 in Edwardsville and Marshall and meet at noon in Vandalia. This is a fundraiser for ag literacy to support Bond, Clark, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Madison, and St. Clair counties. Register online at {www.aglit.org} or at any of the Farm Bureau offices in the counties listed above. Cost is $15. ANCOCK — The Women’s Committee will tour the Heartland Creamery Tuesday, June 8. The group will leave the Farm Bureau office at 8:15

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a.m. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-357-3141 or email hcfb@frontier.com by Friday for reservations or more information. ENRY — The Henry/Stark Safety Camp for children in grades 3 to 6 will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday, June 14, at Black Hawk East. Cost is $5. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-937-2411, the Stark County Farm Bureau office at 309-286-7481, or the HenryStark Extension office at 309853-1533 for registration forms or more information. • Henry and Stark County Farm Bureaus will sponsor their annual golf outing Friday, June 11, at Baker Park Golf Course, Kewanee. Cost is $35 for members and $55 for non-members. Included are golf, cart, $5 lunch ticket, and a donation to Agriculture in the Classroom in Henry and Stark counties. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309937-2411 for tee times or more information. • Henry County Farm Bureau members may purchase discounted admission tickets to the Henry County Fair (June 22-27). Members may purchase day, week, or senior passes. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-937-2411 for more information. ANKAKEE — Keith Detwiler will speak about his recent trip to Argentina and Brazil at a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, at the Farm Bureau office. The Young Leaders will sponsor the meeting. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-932-7471 for reservations or more information. • The Local Foods Breakfast and Celebration of Agriculture will be from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 26, at the Kankakee Farmers’ Market. There will be antique tractors, a petting zoo, and farmers’ market plants and produce. Breakfast tickets are $10 and are available at the farmers’ market or by calling the University of Illinois Extension office at 815-933-8337. • Farm Bureau members may participate in a stroke detection screening from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 28, at St. Mark’s Methodist Church, Kankakee. The discounted price is $90. Call 877-732-8258 for an appointment or more information. • Farm Bureau and the county corn growers will sponsor a “Cultivating Communication” meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 13, at the University of Illinois Extension office, Bourbonnais. The meeting will focus on helping those in agriculture tell their

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story more effectively using social media. Kelly Rivard, North Central College Internet communications and design student, and Ray Prock Jr., AgChat Foundation, will be the speakers. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815932-7471 for reservations or more information. NOX — Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension, will be the speaker at a marketing seminar “Controlling the Crop Controllables” at 7 p.m. Monday, June 14, at the Knox Agri Center. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations or more information. • The Kids Farm Safety Camp for children ages 8 to 13 will be at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 26, at the Knox County Fairgrounds. Participants will rotate between safety sessions focusing on fire, pesticides, first aid, grain, electricity, and emergency preparedness. The camp will end with a mock accident. Registration forms are on the website {www.knoxcfb.org}. AWRENCE — Farm Bureau will sponsor a grain entrapment seminar through GSI from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, at the 4-H Center, Sumner. Dinner will be served. Call the Farm Bureau office at 618-943-2610 by Thursday for reservations or more information. EE — Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist, will be the speaker at a marketing workshop at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, at the Quality Inn, Dixon. Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside County Farm Bureaus, and Sauk Valley Bank are sponsoring the meeting. Call the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531 by Friday, June 11, for reservations or more information. • The Marketing Committee will sponsor a bus trip Tuesday, June 29, to the Quad Cities to tour John Deere Harvester, John Deere Pavilion, and the John Deere Homes. Cost is $35, which includes bus, admission to tours, and lunch. Registration and money are due to the Farm Bureau office by Monday, June 7. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-857-8531 for more information. IVINGSTON — The Young Leaders will sponsor a “Farmer’s Share” breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 12, at the Kilgus Farm, 21471 E 670 N Road, Fairbury. Cost is 60 cents, which is the price a farmer would receive for the products in the breakfast — sausage gravy and biscuits,

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two scrambled eggs, orange juice, milk and coffee. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information. ACON — Farm Bureau has Macon County Fair tickets available. Discounted tractor pull tickets are $10 and demolition derby tickets are $5. Events are highlighted on the website {www.maconcountyfair.net}. CDONOUGH — Steve Johnson, Iowa State University, will be the speaker at a marketing seminar at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 15, at the Vineyard Church, Macomb. The seminar is complimentary for members and there is a $10 charge for non-members. Haley Risk Protection and Agronomy Services will co-sponsor the event. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-837-3350 for reservations or more information. IATT — The Women’s Committee will sponsor a Milk Mustache contest from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 17, at the Monticello Farmers’ Market. The contest is open to children 12 and under. Pictures will be taken and voting will take place through the end of June at the Farm Bureau office. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a “Farming Around the U.S. and the World” seminar at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 22, at the Farm Bureau office. Farming in Florida, Oklahoma, Cuba, and Costa Rica will be discussed. Call the Farm Bureau office at 762-2128 for reservations or more information. • The Piatt County Farm Bureau Foundation’s annual golf outing will be at noon Monday, June 28, at the Monticello Golf Club. Cost is $65, which includes lunch, golf, and cart. Proceeds will benefit Piatt County agriculture scholarships. Registration forms are available at the Farm Bureau office. ANGAMON — The Young Leader Committee will sponsor its annual Farm Safety Day Camp Friday, June 25, at the New Berlin fairgrounds. Fire, chemical, outdoor, grain bin, and power take off safety and health habits will be the stations. The camp is for children 5 to 10 years of age. Children who register by June 7 will receive a free T-shirt and be entered to win a door prize. Call Katie at 752-5239 or e-mail her at ksmithenry@sangamonfb.org for reservations or more information. • The Women’s Committee will sponsor a bus trip Thursday, June 10, to Carlinville. Participants will tour a Sears home, which is open only for

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this specialty tour. Cost is $25 for members and $35 for non-members. Call the Farm Bureau office at 753-5200 for reservations or more information. TARK — Stark and Henry County Farm Bureaus will sponsor their annual golf outing Friday, June 11, at Baker Park, Kewanee. Cost is $35 for members and $55 for non-members, which includes golf, cart, and lunch ticket. Proceeds will benefit each county’s Agriculture in the Classroom program. Call the Farm Bureau office at 286-7481 by Monday, June 7, for tee times or more information. TEPHENSON — The Young Leaders will sponsor a pedal tractor pull at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 12, at the Orangeville Firemen’s Festival. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information. • A Prime Timers picnic for Farm Bureau members 55 and older will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, at the Koenig shelter, Freeport’s Krape Park. Plans for future activities will be discussed. Food and table service will be provided. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-232-3186 for reservations or more information. • Stroke Detection Plus will perform screenings from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, June 29-30, at the Farm Bureau office. Members will receive a discount on the screenings. Call 877-7328258 for an appointment or more information. ARREN-HENDERSON — Steven Johnson, Iowa State University Extension, will be the speaker at a marketing seminar at 7 p.m. Monday, June 14, at Knox AgriCenter, Galesburg. Warren-Henderson and Knox County Farm Bureaus will sponsor the seminar. Call 309-734-9401 or 309-342-2036 for reservations or more information.

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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.

Amplification With a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is working with Indiana’s Driftwatch program to adapt the existing program for Illinois. This is part of a regional effort in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio. Each state will customize the program for its agriculture and pesticide issues.


FarmWeek Page 13 Monday, May 31, 2010

COMMODITIES

Budget projections favor corn over beans in 2010 BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Net returns for corn the past decade typically were higher than average soybean returns in Illinois. And that trend likely will continue this year based on recent farm budget projections calculated at the University of Illinois using farm records from the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association. “Right now, we’re projecting corn returns will be $54 (per acre) higher than soy returns,� Gary Schnitkey, U of I Extension farm management specialist, told FarmWeek last week.

Net returns in 2010 were projected at $45 per acre for corn and minus-$9 per acre for soybeans. Corn returns exceeded soy returns from 2001 to 2009 by a cumulative average of $36 per acre. However, corn returns were below soy returns in 2009 for the first time since 2002. “Soy prices have taken more of a decline from last year than corn prices, that is the primary reason (for the disparity in projected returns this year),� Schnitkey said. “Corn costs also have dropped more than soybeans because of

Farmers make big push to plant soybeans Farmers who have not been able to plant soybeans due to wet conditions are expected to make a big push this week to complete that task. Soil conditions late last week finally started to dry out after two to three-plus weeks of consistently rainy weather and soggy soils. In the second half of May there were numerous reports of field ponds and flash flooding along with isolated reports of hail damage, particularly in Western and South-Central Illinois. “We haven’t done anything (in the fields) for two weeks,� Ron Moore, a Cropwatcher from Warren County, told FarmWeek Friday. “We’ve had anywhere from seven to 15 inches of rain in Warren and Henderson counties in May.� Illinois farmers during the first week of May planted 22 percent of the soybean crop and overall had 33 percent of the crop in the ground as of May 10, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois field office. But since then, soybean growers managed to plant just 9

percent of the crop from May 10 to May 17 followed by 5 percent between May 17 and May 24. Statewide, soybean planting as of the first of last week was 47 percent complete compared to the five-year average of 54 percent. Corn planting as of the first of last week was near an end at

FarmWeekNow.com Many farmers are finishing bean planting. Check out the latest crop conditions by going to FarmWeekNow.com.

from Jasper County. “A lot of corn is being replanted and planted for the first time,� he said. Farmers to the north, however, didn’t receive as much rain and last week were putting the finishing touches on soybean planting and harvesting the first cutting of hay, according to Steve Ruh, a farmer from Sugar Grove.

“Overall in Kane, DeKalb, and Kendall counties things look pretty good,� Ruh said. “We missed out on some of the showers and have been a little bit on the drier side.� Ruh reported much corn in his area last week was knee-high compared to last year when half the crop was not even planted prior to Memorial Day weekend. — Daniel Grant

(lower-priced) nitrogen fertilizer.� Non-land costs for corn this year are projected to total $441 per acre compared to $533 last year, a $92 drop. Non-land costs for soybeans this year were projected to dip by just $13 an acre to $278 per acre. Meanwhile, the average price of soybeans from 2009 to 2010 was projected to drop from $9.80 to $8.75 per bushel while the average price of corn was projected to remain steady at $3.50 per bushel compared to $3.52 last year. Overall, crop returns this year were projected to be down significantly compared to levels experienced from 2004 through 2008. “We have to go back to the early 2000s to find a comparable period for grain returns,� Schnitkey added. “Those obviously weren’t the best years for farm income.� The complete analysis of corn and soybean budgets for 2009 and 2010 is available online at {www.farmdoc.illinois.edu}.

97 percent complete compared to the average of 87 percent. “There will be a lot of beans planted this week,� said Moore, chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association, who also has to replant some corn and beans that didn’t survive in flooded fields. “It’s dry for the most part, and guys are going around the wet holes so they can get the crop in.� Elsewhere, some farmers as of last week had been out of the fields as long as five weeks due to the wet conditions, according to Dan Meinhart, a Cropwatcher

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FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, May 31, 2010

PROFITABILITY

Things to consider in protecting crop yield BY LANCE RUPPERT

Hopefully by now all of your crops are planted and we can turn our attention to getting the most out of the crop. As you are well aware, your crop’s highest yield potential is when the seed is still in the bag. After planting, Lance Ruppert everything that happens can negatively affect yield potential. Here are some key items to consider as you protect and preserve your seed’s yield:

• Weed control — competition from weeds is an easy way to rob precious nutrients, sunlight, and water from your crop. A residual herbicide application helps minimize early-season weed competition and provides a great window of opportunity to spray post herbicides. With this year’s corn crop going in so fast, many will be relying on post-applied herbicides for the bulk of their weed control. Be sure to aggressively manage weeds with this application. Many acres will have glyphosate applied, but don’t forget about adding a tank mix partner that can help control

glyphosate-tolerant weeds and give you added residual weed control. Also be aware that when you mix products in the tank with glyphosate, utilizing the proper adjuvant is essential to weed control. • Volunteer corn in soybeans — The last two harvest seasons have been late, followed by minimal tillage and cold temperatures. Like last year, we would predict the potential for a high amount of volunteer corn in soybean fields. Due to the high market presence of both glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans planted today, most of the volunteer corn in soy-

bean fields must be controlled with something other than glyphosate. Allowing volunteer corn to remain in soybean fields causes competition for nutrients, sunlight, and moisture, and also can be a risk in pest-resistance management. It is a sound management practice to add a product to control volunteer glyphosatetolerant corn with your first post glyphosate application. Again, proper adjuvant selection is imperative to allow the crop protection products used to control weeds at maximum levels. • Fungicides — Year after year, fungicide applications

have proven a good investment in both corn and soybeans. Besides the obvious disease control and “greener” appearance, standability is a tremendous benefit from fungicide use in corn. These are three key things to consider as you look at ways to protect yield this growing season. Product recommendations and economic analysis can be obtained from your local crop specialists. Allow their expertise to help you protect and maximize yield. Lance Ruppert is GROWMARK’s crop protection marketing manager. His e-mail address is lruppert@growmark.com.

Economist: Pork producers on pace for profitable year BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Pork producers this year are on pace to turn a profit despite a recent slip in hog prices, according to Chris Hurt, ag economist at Purdue University. Hurt last week projected U.S. pork producers this year will average a profit of $21 per head compared to average losses of $17 per head in 2008 and $24 per head in 2009. “We can’t maintain the super-level (of $60-plus per live hundredweight hog prices) we saw two weeks ago, but $55 to $58 hogs still would be very

profitable,” Hurt told FarmWeek. Livestock prices softened in recent weeks due to outside forces, particularly concerns

M A R K E T FA C T S

Feeder pig prices reported to USDA*

Weight 10 lbs. 40 lbs. 50 lbs. Receipts

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $34.33-$48.85 $42.20 $56.73-$65.00 $60.70 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 27,638 22,419 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $75.74 $81.22 $56.05 $60.10

Change -5.48 -4.06

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price Steers Heifers

This week $93.88 $93.90

(Thursday’s price) Prv. week Change $95.75 -1.87 $95.52 -1.62

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 108.41 111.03 -2.62

Lamb prices Confirmed lamb and sheep sales This week 614 Last week 603 Last year 609 Wooled Slaughter Lambs: Choice and prime 2-3: 90-110 lb., $119. Good and choice 1-2: 60-90 lbs., $130. Slaughter Ewes: Utility and good 1-3: $43-$45. Cull and utility 1-2: $38-$43.

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 05-20-10 3.9 20.3 40.0 05-13-10 9.0 13.1 38.9 Last year 18.7 19.8 31.0 Season total 1324.0 832.0 1278.1 Previous season total 1051.5 967.1 1219.5 USDA projected total 1420 825 1900 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

about the European debt crisis and its effect on the world economy. The Dow Jones industrial average last week dipped below 10,000 and was 12 percent below its recent high established on April 26. “The markets are pretty skittish right now,” Hurt said. “That leads to worries the

economy might not do as well, which would affect (consumer) buying power.” Consumers this summer also could face record-high meat prices, which could dampen demand. Hurt projected pork production this year will be down 5 percent and beef production down 3 percent compared to last year. Retail pork prices as a result could average nearly $3 per pound in May, up as much as 5 cents from last year, and reach $3.10 per pound between June and August. The previous high for retail pork prices was $3.03 per pound in September 2008, according to Hurt. The economist looks for hog prices this year to remain profitable at an average of $54 per hundredweight, though,

due to tight meat supplies. “I think we’ll see strong hog prices through the summer,” followed by a seasonal decline around September, Hurt said. Live hog prices by the fourth quarter could slip to an average of $50 per hundredweight. Chicken production this year could increase by as much as 5 percent and compete with pork and beef for market share. But Hurt believes it could be March 2011 before expansion returns to the hog industry. “I think producers won’t expand in the short-run simply because they dug an awfully deep hole (the past two years),” he said. “Most need six to nine months of profits to get their financial house in order.”

Farmers advised to use caution when tank mixing pesticides Applying mixtures of different pesticides or pesticides in combination with various adjuvants and fertilizers can be an efficient approach, but there also can be a downside, said Dennis Epplin, University of Illinois Extension crop systems educator. “When choosing to tank-mix various agricultural chemicals, the applicator should be aware of the potential for adverse effects,” Epplin cautioned. “Some pesticide labels state that the applicator assumes all liability if tank mixing. However, unless expressly prohibited by a pesticide’s label, tank mixing is legal.” Epplin said that potential problems include both physical and chemical incompatibility. Some labels indicate the necessary precautions for potential compatibility issues. Always read the label and follow all safety and personal protective requirements, he warned. Physical incompatibility refers to mixtures that form layers, gels, flakes, or crystals. Chemical incompatibility suggests the potential for the product not to work or injure plants or for the mixture to have a greater response than separate production applications.

Most labels have instructions concerning tank mixing and the order in which products are added. Follow label directions. If tank mixing instructions are not shown, Epplin advised farmers to tank mix products in the following order: • Fill the tank one quarter to half full with water, fluid fertilizer, or the appropriate carrier; • Begin agitation; • If needed, add utility agents, such as compatibility or anti-foam; • Add suspension products, dry products may be pre-slurried, then liquid suspension (ME, M: microencapsulated; F, FL, L: flowables or liquids); • Next, add emulsifiable products (EC, E: emulsifiable concentrates); • Add products that form true solutions; • Then, add any adjuvants or other spray modifiers if needed; and • Finally, top off with the appropriate amount of water or liquid fertilizer. Epplin said it would be unusual to use all of the pesticide formulations in a single tank mix. Remember, tank mixing and loading use pesticides in their concentrated forms, he said.


FarmWeek Page 15 Monday, May 31, 2010

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

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

Bean yield, planting time correlation not that strong Although there is a slight correlation between timely planting and good yields, the correlation for soybeans is not as strong as it is for corn. Much of that may be tied to corn development being tied to accumulating heat units. On the other hand, soybeans produced in the Corn Belt have initiation of maturity tied to changing length of daylight at season’s end. Soybean yields are more tied to weather conditions and moisture supplies at the end of the growing season than are corn yields. And with the higher seasonal temperatures, soil moisture tends to trend lower. Still, like corn, timely planting tends to go hand in hand with good yields. The difference being that soybeans are slightly more forgiving with slower planting than is corn. The two years in which planting occurred at a good pace but had disappointing yields were 1988 and 1993. As you remem-

Basis charts

ber, a dry spring in 1988 allowed fast planting, but it remained hot and dry into summer. In 1993, early planting went reasonably well, but early-summer flooding and moisture pressure had negative repercussions on yields in the western Corn Belt and the South. The two years that had extremely slow plantings and very poor yields were 1974 and 1983, both having summer droughts. You’ll also note there were two years with extremely slow planting, 1978 and 1990. But yields those years were a little above trend. And planting was slow in 1979 as well, but yields ended well above trend. Weather that year was much like last year, cool and damp. On average, those years with 50 percent of the crop planted by May 25 had yields very close to trend. Even if you adjust for an end of May planting date on years before 1990 to account for earlier planting in recent years, the average still comes in only 0.6 of a percent below trend. The trend used in making these projections is an areaweighted trend. It comes in just below 44 bushels per acre this year. The good planting pace, the return to more normal weather (warmer), and good soil moisture are reasons to be optimistic about the potential for this year’s crops. Even though we think the weighted trend used to develop this graphic may be a little optimistic, there’s every reason to think the 42.9 bushel yield USDA projected is attainable. Even if acreage were to shrink a little from the March USDA projection, production still should exceed demand, making lower prices probable if weather remains good this summer. AgriVisor endorses crop insurance by

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2009 crop: Prices are trending slightly higher, but the larger trend still has a downward bias. Cycle counts still point to a 40-week bottom in June. July futures have potential to drop to $3.40, maybe lower. Use rallies to wrap up old-crop sales. 2010 crop: Use rallies above $3.90 on December futures for catch-up sales. Even though we expect a lower trend into early summer, there should be one or two opportunities to add to sales during the summer.  Fundamentals: Outside markets remain the biggest day-to-day influence, giving the market a lift at the end of last week with emotions surrounding Europe’s problems calming down. Warmer temperatures have improved growing conditions and crop development. China rumors persist, but with their wheat prices below that of corn, we’re not sure big purchases will come soon. The government first needs to issue more import quotas.

Soybean Strategy 2009 crop: Outside factors remain the biggest day-today influence on soybean prices. We are seeing signs demand is slowing, potentially capping upside potential unless there’s a crop problem this summer. Use rallies to get old-crop sales wrapped up. 2010 crop: Outside influences may not be having as much influence on new-crop prices because weather is bolstering ideas of a large crop. Even though there’s still nearterm downside price risk, there should be another sales opportunity after the June price cycle lows. Hold off sales, unless November futures rebound to $9.40. Fundamentals: The monthly soybean crush has been smaller than expected the last two months. Big plants can still make money, but the crush margin is below breakeven for small plants. Export inspections have been below the needed pace four of the

last five weeks. Chinese imports are expected to slow the next one to two months because of stockpiles.

Wheat Strategy 2009 crop: Wheat shifted back into its sideways pattern after briefly slipping below $4.60 support on Chicago July futures. The seasonal trend and the 40week cycle count still point down into a June or July low. Use rallies for catch- up sales. 2010 crop: Chicago July futures reached our $5.15 target recently, boosting new-

crop sales to 40 percent. If you price wheat at harvest, use rallies to get sales up to 60 percent. Fundamentals: The overall fundamental picture in wheat remains unchanged, leaving upside momentum to come from outside influences. Large world supplies and only routine export demand continue to work against rallies. We are keeping an eye on Europe, Russia, and the Ukraine, as weather could trim output in those countries, reducing export competition somewhat.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, May 31, 2010

PERSPECTIVES

Farmers’ markets put a ‘face’ on farming The number of farmers’ markets in the United States has grown by more than 300 percent in the past 15 years. If you study that trend from an economics standpoint, you have to wonder why. The dollars and cents value of convenience, low prices, DAL GROOMS and access to a variety of guest columnist products just don’t add up. Online grocers are convenient with 24/7 availability. Farmers’ markets are not. At the local grocery store, comparison shopping to find the lowest price is done quickly as similar items are grouped together. That’s not the case at the farmers’ market. Mega-supermarkets offer food purchases, along with buying your automotive care products and even appliances. Farmers’ markets do not. So what brings consumers at increasing rates to more than 5,200 farmers’ markets around the country? It’s the relationship that consumers can have with farmers. The U.S. Agriculture Department calls it ‘food with a face.’ The popularity of farmers’ markets is the anchor of its current “Know Your Farmer” campaign. That “face” reminds us that food is not made in the grocery store basement. It is grown and pro-

duced with care by men and women who not only have a passion for working with nature to produce food but also have knowledge on how to produce it in a way that sustains their business at the market. Much is expected from these farmers. Consumers expect fresh, top-quality fruits and vegetables, as well as honey, dairy, meat, and grain products. They want these items delivered with a smile and willingness to explain the production methods. If you’ve walked by the vendors’ tables at a market, you know these farmers are delivering on both points. Other farmers are counting on them, too. Only about 4 percent of farmers use direct sales to consumers as part of their marketing plan. That means their “faces” represent the other 96 percent of farmers who use other marketing methods to sell their products. While some may think that’s putting too much on the shoulders of those farmers who are using direct marketing, most of them would just smile, shrug, and move on, shaking hands and telling customers about ways to prepare their products and what will be available at the market in the coming weeks. Clearly, the value of a farmers’ market is about relationships and trust — both of which are intangible items that have real value in today’s economy. Economists and marketers have developed any number of models so that relationship value can be

measured. They can run their numbers and manipulate their models. Most consumers already know the value of that relationship. Priceless. Dal Grooms is a new columnist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Grooms is a native of the Midwest, where she writes about rural and agricultural issues.

Gone fishin’ with insects or their replicas is the modern way Humans have gone fishing for eons. Archeological finds from Eastern Asia indicate humans were eating freshwater fish 40,000 years ago. Native Americans in California were using lines and hooks to catch fish 3,000 years ago. No doubt humans’ earliest fishing activities were for food. No one knows TOM for sure when TURPIN fishing became a recreational activity, but it certainly was long ago. Ancient Greeks and Romans both advocated fishing for sport. Fishing for fun has been part and parcel of the recreational scene of the United States throughout most of our history.

Historically, “going fishin’” would involve an old cane pole, a line, a hook, and a bobber. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn might have possessed just such equipment to fish in the Mississippi River. The old southern play-party tune, “Crawdad Song” refers to similar fishing equipment — “You get a line and I’ll get a pole.” Of course, that song talks about fishin’ in a crawdad hole, but fishin’ has come to mean trying to catch any waterdwelling creature, and crawdads and crayfish qualify. Of course, fishing requires equipment and oftentimes bait. The idea of fishing using a line and a pole is to somehow get a hook into the mouth of the fish. One of the ways to do that is to offer the fish some food on the hook. Soil-inhabiting, segmented annelids — better known as

earthworms — are perfect for baiting a fishing hook and often are called fishing worms. When given the chance, many types of fish also eat insects. Grasshoppers, crickets, mealworms, and bee moth caterpillars are sometimes used as bait. Fish come by their habit of feeding on insects naturally because insects share their freshwater environment. These are known as aquatic insects and include immature forms of mosquitoes, midges, mayflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, and dobsonflies. Some adult insects, such as water beetles and water bugs, also live in the water. All can end up as fish food. Water-dwelling insects are difficult to catch and use as live bait, so humans have resorted to developing insect replicas, called fishing lures, to attract

fish to the hook. Fishing using lures made to look like insects is appropriately known as fly-fishing. This type of fishing has been around since at least the 2nd Century when the Romans were trying to catch fish with artificial flies. Modern fly-fishing probably originated in Scotland and northern England. At least it was written about in the 1400s. Americans were fly-fishing using horsehair fishing line at the time of the Revolutionary War. Fly-fishing lures are created to resemble an insect and then presented in such a way as to mimic the insect’s behavior in or on the water. For instance, lures called floaters and sinkers act like terrestrial insects that accidentally fall on the surface of the water and either float or sink. In fly-fishing, there are

names for all kinds of artificial flies. Dry flies are lures designed to float. Wet flies sink. Nymph flies look like an immature form of an insect, such as a stonefly. Emerger flies resemble an adult emerging from the last immature form. So-called terrestrial flies look like insects that don’t live in the water but just fell in. My favorite lure is one for bass fishing called the firefly. It is a hollow, clear plastic device that unscrews in the middle. It works this way: Unscrew the lure, fill it with fireflies and cast it into the water. I suppose in theory the flashing insects attract fish to the lure! Tom Turpin is an entomology professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. His e-mail address is turpin@purdue.edu.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR CSP offers farmers many opportunities Editor: On May 10, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that farmers nationwide may apply for USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 farm bill, CSP offers payments to farmers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. CSP is available on tribal and private agricultural lands

and non-industrial private forest land statewide. June 11 is the deadline to be considered for the next ranking and funding period. CSP has been a popular and competitive program in Illinois. During the last ranking period, 265 contracts were approved for funding on 175,000 acres. One requirement is that the applicant must be the operator of the land and show control of the land for a five-year period. In addition, the land must have a Farm Service Agency

number to qualify. Applicants must provide: • Maps of entire operations showing wildlife habitat areas, water courses, and eligible and ineligible land; • Letters of assurances from the landowners showing control of the land for five years; • The operation’s management systems and acres of each, and • Member information for legal entity or joint operation. We need the above information by June 11 or shortly

thereafter, because the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will have a short time after June 11 to complete its ranking process. Each operator who applies will schedule an appointment with NRCS to review his farming or ranching operation and receive a ranking. NRCS staff will then conduct on-site field verifications of the top-ranking applications. Once the participant has been field-verified and approved for funding, a contract will be developed.

Contracts are set for five years and will include all the land controlled by an operator. A CSP self-screening checklist can help you determine if this program is suitable for your operation. This information and more is available online at {www.il.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/CSP.html} or www.nrcs. usda.gov/programs/new_csp/ csp.html}. WILLIAM GRADLE. Illinois NRCS state conservationist, Champaign


FarmWeek May 31 2010